Jeremiah 31:31: "Behold, the days come, saith the
Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with
the house of Judah; not according' to the covenant that I made with their
fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the
land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was all husband
unto them, saith the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with
the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord. I will put my law in
their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be
their God, and they shall be my people; and they shall teach no more every
man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord; for
they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them,
saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will
remember no more."
II. The time.
I. The parties embraced in this covenant.
II. The time of making the covenant.
III. The effect of this covenant.
A. The parties to this covenant.
1. Not any Christian people as such.
2. Not any heathen nation.
3. Not with the world at large; but--
4. The parties are two, the House of Israel and the House of Judah--these
two kingdoms combined -- not with either of them separately, but with   them both thus constituting the whole Israelitish nation.
The time seems to be indefinite. The prophet says: ".Behold, the days come." Some commentators, writing on this subject, seem to think the covenant was made to come into effect -- to be available -- at the death of Christ. And it seems to me there may have been reference to that event; for in every case of true conversion the law of God is indeed written on the heart. Their sin is forgiven, it is remembered no more, etc. But this, it seems to me, cannot express the full meaning of the covenant. This can be but the foretaste -- the first fruits of the great harvest before the time of the great ingathering; and that time can be only when the House of Israel becomes identified, and the House of Judah shall have been reunited to the House of Israel, so as both to become no more two nations, but one nation, according to the express terms of the covenant. The time, therefore, must evidently be in the future. But this time, as it seems to me, is definitely indicated in Ezk. 37: "The valley of dry bones."
III. The effect of this covenant.: Ezekiel 37.
The teaching of this parable.
(1.) The valley of dry bones represents the house of ten-tribed Israel.
(2.) That God will bring them to life, as if out of their graves.
(3.) When thus brought to light, Israel and Judah are to become one nation.
(4.) Then, finally, to be planted in Canaan again.
(1.) That the dry bones represent the ten tribes, seems evident from the language itself. The term, "House of Israel," is, indeed, used in many places as meaning the entire Hebrew nation. In the greater number of places used previous to the Assyrian captivity, B. C. 720, it may have that meaning; but after the division of the nation into two, the one called "the Kingdom of Israel," and the other "the Kingdom of Judah," we find these names appropriated accordingly. Hence, in Jer. 31:31, (in the new covenant,) these two names are definitely specified, "the House of Israel" and "the House of Judah." And generally in all the prophets who write after the Assyrian captivity, the House of Israel seems to refer to the kingdom of "ten-tribed Israel.'' In this passage, in Ezk. 37, we find both the House of Israel and the House of Judah mentioned.
(2.) The House of Israel, God is to bring to life. God says, "I will bring you up out of your graves, and put life in you; and ye shall stand up an exceeding great army.
Now what are the facts?
Hosea, 3:4, says' "Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice." Now it is found that Israel, "the House of Israel," did abide many days as specified above, even from B. C. 720 to some A. D. 800 -- fifteen hundred years without a king, etc.
And they were as truly lost to the world during that long time as if they had been actually buried up in the ground, and thus all reduced to their original dust. How then does it appear that God will bring up the House of Israel out of their graves?
Evidently here. God is now just beginning to bring to light this long-lost "ten-tribed Israel." And this seems so incredible that the great mass look upon it all as a hoax, and no more to be believed than a story; that the graves of a thousand years ago are now giving up their dead! And others, while not wholly incredulous, yet "see men as trees walking;" but a few see all things clearly. Indeed, it seems just as it was in the days of our Savior. Then the scribes and Pharisees -- the lawyers and doctors -- who of them believed ? No, God had "hid these things from the wise and prudent; but revealed them unto babes." Just so is it today. The great ones of earth -- the lawyers, the D.D.'s, the LL. D.'s, the historians -- who of all these, at first, received as true the report that lost Israel is found? Found in the Anglo-Saxon race; here in our own land, in our own family even at our very door!
Yet, if anything has been proved by evidence conclusive this has, for the evidence is both historic and prophetic. Israel has been traced in all his wanderings through Asia and into Europe, till he is finally planted in England, as the Anglo-Saxons. And next, every one of the prophecies relating to the kingdom of ten-tribed Israel is now found to have its actual fulfillment in this identical Anglo-Saxon people. If this is not proof, then there is no such a thing as proof.
But then, why should this be regarded with wonder? "The veil" has not yet been removed from all eyes. And is not this in accordance with the divine providence in all cases? Which of all the events predicted by the prophets of God has ever come to pass as determined by man? What about Babylon, Tyre, Egypt, and many others?
Have any of these predictions been fulfilled as men of the period expected? Alas! no one of all the millions that have ever lived on this earth ever knew the first thing as to the how or the time of the fulfillment of all the prophecies up to this time. All are kept in the counsel of the Father, just as truly as is the second coming of Christ. And of this event none has any knowledge, save what may be learned from "the signs of the times," as we see the day approaching. But there are signs enough now respecting the House of Israel to make it certain that the 37th chapter of Ezekiel is now being transacted. God has begun to bring the House of Israel to light, and what God undertakes we know He will certainly complete to the very utmost.
We now come to the close of this 37th of Ezekiel. The former part -- the valley of dry bones, this we have seen is, in part, fulfilled already; that is, God has begun to bring to light his long-lost people, Israel.
But this is the beginning only, for as yet only a small portion of the Anglo-Saxon race perceive the first ray of light on this subject; there is heard only the distant rumbling of the herald's chariot wheels, riding to the entrance of this "valley of dry bones." But as the former part of this wonderful vision has had its fulfillment, we are now made doubly sure that the latter part also will, in due time, receive a like fulfillment. But what is the import of this fulfilled prophecy?
"And thou son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel, his companions; then take another stick and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the children of Israel, his companions; and join them for thee, one to another into one stick, that they may become one in thy hand."
In the interpretation of this passage God says: "Behold I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions, and I will put them with it, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land, and I will make them one nation upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all."
It is not possible, as it seems to me, for human language to express more clearly than it is here expressed, the real meaning of this prophecy. nevertheless, as we have been taught by commentators and divines that the Jews only were to be returned to the land of their fathers, it seems necessary to elucidate this subject, if possible, that its true teaching may be seen.
1. In the first place, then, the two sticks are declared to represent the two kingdoms -- Houses of Israel, viz., the House of Israel -- Ephraim; and the House of Judah, the Jews. About this there need be no mistake.
2. These two houses, peoples, kingdoms, are to be united into one nation, and to be no more two peoples.
3. Then, thus united, they are to be transported back to the land given to Jacob, their father; there they are to dwell perpetually, to the latest generation. Now in this prediction, the House of Israel, viz., Ephraim, becomes more conspicuous than Judah. Ephraim evidently takes the lead, as is today seen in all the world. Ephraim --the Anglo-Saxon -- are reaching out the hand of love -- of fraternal affection -- to Judah, the Jews, inviting them to terms of fellowship, such as in the days of old when they came out of Egypt, and before the separation under Rehoboam.
Ephraim evidently takes the lead, as is today seen in all the world. Ephraim -- the Anglo-Saxon -- are reaching out the hand of love -- of fraternal affection -- to Judah, the Germans, inviting them to terms of fellowship, such as in the days of old when they came out of Egypt, and before the separation under Rehoboam.
Ephraim is also sending the heralds of the cross into all lands, carrying the Gospel of Christ, and discipline all nations; "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," and teaching all to read in a "pure language,"; the very Bible of God's revelation to man! (Zeph. 3: 4-9. Is not this "pure language" the English language, which the missionaries are now teaching to all nations?)
And now, as never before, Judah is listening to this angelic voice, bending down, eager to catch the key of this song of united Israel. What does not this portend? What more significant signs can be conceived of the approach of the union of Ephraim and Judah than are here and now given'? Judah and Israel uniting into one, soon to go back to Jerusalem! But how shall they go? Canaan, even all the land "from the River of Egypt unto the great River Euphrates," can hold only a fraction of this mighty nation of Israelites, now numbered as the stars of heaven or the sands of the seashore. Jer. 3:14-19: "Saith the Lord, I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion; and I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with. knowledge and understanding. In those days the House of Judah shall walk with the House of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the North to the land that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers"!
We see, then, how easily this great enigma is solved. God says, "I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion." Zion -- Jerusalem -- is to be the capital for this now united Israel, the same as Washington is the capital of this great nation; and the whole united Israel shall be represented at Jerusalem just as the United States are all represented at Washington.
And there, after they shall have been thus united and established in Jerusalem, they shall have one king over them all -- "my servant David shall be king over them." (Ezk. 37:24.)
But when shall these things take place? This question can be answered by God alone. "Of the times and the seasons God giveth account to none." It is approximately only that man can judge as to the time, and this by observing "the signs of the times." In this 37th chapter of Ezekiel, we have the winding-up of this great drama which has extended in its transactions by its various scenes down through four thousand years. Now we have entered upon the last scene, the curtain having but just been drawn, to be dropped not again till the final consummation of all things!
II. The time.