|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 24||Part 1|
Jeremiah 3:16, "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord, neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done any more." From this the Christians argue that the law of Moses, which was deposited by the side of the ark, would at a future period be annulled.
Refutation.—In chapter 19 we have already proved by unmistakable evidence, and especially by their own Gospels, and even by allusions to their theological writers, that the law of Moses is eternal, and that no new revelation will ever supplant our old law. Having then sufficiently proved the feebleness of the opinions adverse to this view, we confine ourselves here to the above quoted explanations: every reader of the Scriptures knows the passage in 1 Kings 8:9, "There was nothing in the ark but the two tables of stone." These tables having been called the tables of the covenant, the ark, as the receptacle of those tables, was named "the ark of the covenant." The Christians themselves admit that the contents of the tables of the Decalogue are immutable, and that no man can hope for the salvation of his soul who repudiates the Ten Commandments. We shall have to return to this subject on reviewing some passages in Matthew 19. So much is certain, that the Christians are enjoined to follow the Ten Commandments, although they have arbitrarily altered the day appointed for the celebration of the Sabbath, and, although no sanction for so doing was given either by Jesus or his disciples; consequently, the Christians have no right to plead that the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the two tables with their contents, will ever be forgotten; nor are they justified in the assertion, that the law of Moses will be abrogated: and not be remembered any longer by Israel, since the scriptural passages cited by them do not afford any evidence in support of their argument, particularly as Malachi, the last of the prophets (chapter 3:22 [4:4]), gives the divine admonition, "Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him on Horeb, enjoining it on all Israel with the statutes and judgments." This prophet clearly demonstrates that the divine law will certainly not be abolished at any future time; on the contrary, that the dignity of Israel and the dignity of Jerusalem will be augmented at a future day. Hence he alludes to those days when Israel shall have increased and multiplied in the Holy Land, and when the Gentile nations shall come to seek the Word of the Lord at Jerusalem. To this effect says Isaiah (chapter 2:2), "And all nations shall flow unto Him." Those nations shall not profanely ask after the divine covenant, and intrude into the resting-place of the Holy Ark, for they shall be too fully impressed with the sanctity of the house of God, where the throne of judgment will be re-established. The temple will then not be the exclusive locality to which the Gentiles shall flock, but all Jerusalem will be a residence of divine knowledge, whither the Gentiles shall resort in order to call upon the name of the Lord, and to serve Him with one accord; and the sacred and godly duties of man will not be limited only to the precincts of the temple. See Joel 4:17 (3:17 in the English version), "And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall not pass through it." Here we learn that the holiness of Jerusalem will prevent aliens from entering it for the purpose of desecrating it. The unworthy among the Gentiles, and the unclean among Israel, will in like manner be kept away through awe of the Holy City; but the city of the Lord shall spread its conversion and enlightening influence to the remotest distance. The Gentiles, following the wholesome ministration of the chosen race, will be deemed servants of the Lord like the children of Israel. The prophet, therefore, says, "And many nations will join the Lord and shall be my people." In chapter 56:6-7 Isaiah predicts, "Also the sons of the strangers that join themselves to the Lord to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants: every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant, even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people."
This shows that, at the time of the Advent of the Messiah, all nations will pay homage to the holiness of the land of Israel, and the entire land of Palestine will assume the sacredness of the city of Jerusalem; and the city of Jerusalem will again partake of the sanctity of the Divine Temple.