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Written by W.M. Mitchell   


“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophet8, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chicken8 under her wings, and ye would not!
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”—Mat. 23:37-38.


There can be no doubt as to what Jerusalem is intended in the text. Jerusalem, which killed the prophets of God, is here clearly distinguished from the “Holy City, the New Jerusalem,” in which the Lord says He will rejoice.—Isa. 65; 19. National Israel, after the flesh, was under a covenant of works. This covenant was conditional. It contained blessings and curses—-blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience. Yet, it contained no eternal life as a reward of obedience, nor eternal death for disobedience. Its blessings and curses all pertained to temporal things, a very full catalogue of which is given in Deut. 28. Not one good thing ever failed to this people of all that the Lord promised them on the ground of their obedience, nor was there one evil thing that did not come upon them for disobedience. The Lord saith of them: “My covenant they brake,” and “I regarded them not.”—Heb. 8; 9. “Therefore pray not thou for these people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.”—Jer. 7; 16. Our God was ever ready to gather, shelter and protect them, according to the express provisions of the covenant under which they served; but they “would not.” Instead of securing the temporal mercies and blessings of this covenant by their obedience to its requirements, they brought down its wrath by killing the prophets, and stoning those whom the Lord had graciously sent unto them to warn them of the danger of their wickedness.

But, during all the period of their existence as a nation there was Israel, converted to Christianity, and born of the Spirit, then that old Jewish house was left truly “desolate”—-without one living inhabitant, in a Gospel sense, left to preserve it from utter desolation and destruction, as a nation. When Christ sent His apostles to preach, they were forbid, at first, to go among the Gentiles, or into any city of the Samaritans; “but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The first converts to Christianity were of the Jewish lineage. The apostle says of them: “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”—Acts 4; 26. And again: “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life, lo! we turn to the Gen tiles, for so hath God commanded us.”—Acts 13; 46.

The old Jewish house was then left desolate; and, like Sodom when Lot was called out, the city must be destroyed, and wrath came upon them, as a nation, to the “uttermost.”—M.

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