|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 44||Part 1|
I observed to some Christians, that after the advent of the Messiah, there will be but one faith and one religion throughout the world. See Isaiah 45:23, "I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall surely not be recalled, that before me every knee shall bend, and by me every tongue shall swear." Zephaniah 3:9, "For then shall I turn (restore) unto all the people a pure tongue, that they shall call upon the name of the Lord, and serve him with one accord." The Christians themselves must admit that there will take place a union of faith, since John acknowledges in his Gospel, chapter 10:16, that there will be "One shepherd and one flock." Now, since the doctrine of unity of faith is admitted on all sides, it is not necessary to argue which of the three principal creeds will prevail, whether the Jewish, the Christian, or the Mahommedan, for surely if one of those is to be adopted, the other two will of necessity fall. When we peruse the statements of the prophets, we must undoubtedly acknowledge that Israel’s faith is intended to survive all others. See for instance, Isaiah 52:1, "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on the garments of thy glory, for neither the uncircumcised nor the unclean shall ever enter again into thy gates." Scripture evidently designated the Christians by the name of uncircumcised, and the Mahommedans, in despite of their frequent ablutions, deserve, in many respects, the epithet unclean. These two sects are more especially pointed out in prophecy, because they, as the representatives of Edom and Ismael, have alternately held possession of Jerusalem since its destruction by Titus.
From the time of the coming redemption, the prophet declares that none of the uncircumcised and the unclean shall ever again enter the gates of the Holy city. In the same manner says the prophet Joel, in chapter 4:17 (3:17 in the English bible), "And Jerusalem shall be holy, and no stranger shall enter therein." Respecting the same two nations, says the prophet Isaiah (66:17), "They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens behind one in the midst of them, who eat the flesh of swine and the abominations and the mice, they shall perish altogether, saith the Lord." Those persons who sanctify and purify themselves are obviously the Ishmaelites who defile themselves by the most licentious indulgences. The reflective form of the Hebrew verb, as used in this quotation, conveys the idea of pretension and false claim, and in such a position are those of whom the prophet says, they "sanctify and purify themselves." The expression, the eaters of swine’s flesh and other abominations, has allusion to the Christians, and their creed will therefore perish during the wars of the latter times. Concerning the people of Israel, however, Isaiah says, chapter 66:20, "And they shall bring all your brethren from all the Gentiles as an offering unto the Lord, on horses and chariots, and in litters, and upon mules and upon swift beasts, to my holy mount of Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a holy vessel into the house of the Lord." The nations surviving the wars of the latter times shall show honor to the Israelites, and hasten to join the true service of the Lord; hence the prophet says (chapter 66:23), "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to the other, and from one Sabbath to the other, all flesh shall come to bow down before me, saith the Lord." In the prophecy of Zechariah, we likewise find (chapter 14:16), "And it shall come to pass, that all who have been spared of all the Gentiles who come up against Jerusalem, shall come up from year to year to bow down before the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles." The prediction of a periodical visit to Jerusalem by all the Gentiles, for the observance of the festivals of the Lord, is an evident proof that they are to be united with the ancient nation of Israel. With this view the prophet Zechariah says (chapter 8:23), "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, At that time ten men from all the tongues of the Gentiles shall take hold of the skirts of a man that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." The same prophet declares in another place (chapter 9:7), "And I shall remove his guilt of blood from his mouth, and his abomination from beneath his teeth, and also he shall be left unto our God." This proves that they will abstain from eating unlawful food, like those who are born Israelites. We have already dwelt on this point, and refer the reader to the Chapters 15 and 25 of this work. In order to prove the strength of our doctrine beyond any doubt, we have only to add the clear prediction of the same prophet (Zechariah 14:9), "And the Lord shall be king of the whole earth; on that say the Lord shall be one, and his name one." The Lord will no longer be adored under the restricted title of King of Israel, as he actually is described by Isaiah, who says (chapter 44:6), "Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel and his redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no other God." And again, chapter 45:15, "Surely thou art the God who art hidden, the God of Israel, and his Deliverer." In chapter 54:5, that prophet informs us of the extension of the name of the God of Israel, to that of the God acknowledged by all nations: he says, "For thy Maker is thy Husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name, and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, he shall be called the God of the whole earth." The one God, and his one and only law of Sinai, will be acknowledged by all the inhabitants of the earth; no principle of Duality or of Trinity will then prevail. "All nations thou hast made will then come, as the Psalmist exclaims (Psalm 86:9), "and bow down before Thee and honour Thy name." And as throughout the realms of the universe the Supreme King of heaven will be acknowledged, so throughout all the kingdoms of the earth will his anointed king, Messiah, be the only worldly ruler. We shall have another opportunity of treating on the last mentioned subject when discussing, in the second part of this work, the merits of the contents of the other chapters of the Gospel of John. We conclude this chapter with the conviction that men of understanding and reading, attentively considering such passages as we have quoted, cannot any longer conscientiously refuse their assent to our belief of the future universal establishment of the Faith of Israel.