“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
When God had delivered his people from Egypt, he told them of the glorious land to which he was leading them, and that their continuance therein depended upon their observance of his statutes; otherwise they should be besieged by their enemies, who shall take them away captive, and among those nations they should find no case. (Deut. xxviii. 65-68.) All of which was fulfilled, and the tribes of Israel were cast out of their land, and the delightsome land was desolate because of them that dwelt therein, for the fruit of their doings. (Micah vii. 13.) The Lord accomplished seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem (Dan. xix. 2), and “in the set time to favor Zion.” “the acceptable year of the Lord,” the angel of the Lord was answered with good words and comfortable words. Thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it. (Zech. i. 12-17.) The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, and he made a proclamation for the return of Israel to their own land, and God raised up the spirit of the people to go. (Ezra i. 1.) Thus the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, and they worshipped the Lord once more in the holy mount at Jerusalem. (Neh. vii.) Such is the account of the way the Lord dealt with national Israel, who were in the wisdom of God the type of the spiritual, true and chosen Israel of God. What a precious word is this at the head of this communication! Let us now try and get a glimpse of its spiritual meaning. Assyria and Egypt are named as lands in which the children of Israel were found. Egypt was unto Israel the house of bondage, and Assyria the land of captivity. How true a description of the land in which we are all found by nature! Sin entered into the world and took us captive, promising us great rewards for our servitude, but we sold ourselves for naught to do iniquity, and became the servants of sin. Sin as a terrible tyrant reigned over us, and we were shut up in this house of bondage, though by nature we knew it not, and would say, We were never in bondage (John viii. 33, 34), and might boast of sin and Satan held us captive. Sin was as a bridle in our mouths, and we walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Eph. ii. 2.) We were held captive, shut up in bondage under the law, and under the curse of the law. (Gal. iii. 10, 13, 23.) Such was the land in which ye dwelt, “O ye children of Israel.”
Now let us look at the children of Israel, “in that day that the great trumpet shall be blown.” What estate are they in? They are “ready to perish in the land of Assyria,” and are “outcasts in the land of Egypt.” Such was the experience that was wrought in them under the effectual teaching of the Lord their God, for it is written, They shall all be taught of God and who teacheth like him? “Ready to perish.” The Lord bringeth the poor sinner to see, and causeth his heart to feel what a wretched, ruined state he is in. Sin is his master, and how confounded he is at its reign. All his efforts to affect his deliverance, all his resolutions to throw off the yoke of this tyrant sin, discover to him his impotence, bring low all his boastings of creature strength, and to this one, who is a partaker of the divine nature, what a famine there is in the land, and what hungering and thirsting after righteousness does he experience. He searches throughout all the land of his fleshly nature, but it cannot be found, and though he labors incessantly to produce it, the land will not bring it forth; until at length the Holy Spirit bringeth this one to the humiliating, painful and alarming experience of his utter destitution of righteousness, so that he cries out, In my flesh there dwells no good thing, I can bring forth nothing but sin, and every imagination of the thoughts of my heart are only evil, and that continually. He feels to be in a famished, dying state; yea, he sinks in deep waters, where there is no standing, where the floods of sin and wrath overflow, and ready to perish, he cries unto God, Lord, save me, I perish. “The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.” - Isaiah li. 14. An exile from the Lord, from the land of uprightness, taken captive in a foreign land, and shut up in the pit of his own corruption, he “hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die.” Oh what longings, what signs, what groanings for deliverance arise from the “ready to perish” one. Though he hasteneth he makes no speed. All his haste brings him no relief, he is “ready to perish in the land of Assyria.” The Lord speaks of “the outcasts in the land of Egypt.” Wretched, homeless, exiled wanderers, such do the called of God feel themselves to be when the Holy Spirit discovers to them their sinfulness. Like the poor, loathsome leper the law of the Lord cuts him off, and casts him out from the fellowship of the saints and of God. Like the publican, his sins and conscious unworthiness as an impassable gulf forbid his drawing nigh; but standing afar off, he does not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven, but smites upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner. I am so sinful I dare not enter in among the children, they are so pure and good, while I am such a loathsome wretch they could have nothing to do with me. O thou Holy One! if angels veil their faces while they cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, woe is me, for I am undone, I am cast out of thy sight. Oh what would not this poor outcast give to find a home among the children, to feel in the presence of Jesus at home? But he feels his state to be as the infant in the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel, cast out in the open field to the loathing of his person, polluted in his own blood, no one pittieth, or hath compassion upon him. This poor sinner feels himself as one who because of his leprous, sinful condition, is abandoned to die.
“It shall come to pass in that day.” It is no bare possibility; it is the will of the eternal, almighty, unchangeable God, who has said, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. He speaks, and it is done; he commands, and it stands fast. Unalterable his will, and who shall frustrate omnipotence? “It shall come to pass in that day.” What day? When “the set time it come.” - Psalms cii. 13. Typically, when the seventy years are fulfilled. The child is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father (Gal. iv. 2), the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke iv. 19), the accepted time, the day of salvation (2 Cor. vi. 2; Isaiah xlix. 8), the day of atonement (Lev. xxv. 9-13), the day of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the day in the experience of the children of Israel when the trumpet of the jubilee shall be blown. “It shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown.” Who shall blow “the great trumpet”? The great Preacher, the Lord Jesus Christ, for he says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” And “the great trumpet,” the gospel of the grace of God, gives us no uncertain sound; all its utterances are distinct. There is nothing spoken to no one. But the “distinction of sounds” is to a distinguished people. “He calleth his own sheep by name.” - John x. 3. Oh what a joyful sound, what glad tidings of great joy does “the great trumpet” proclaim! Thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for naught, and ye shall be redeemed without money. Ye are redeemed not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and mile without money, and without price.” The Lord gathereth the outcasts of Israel, I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. Ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. O, ye “ready to perish!” The Lord knoweth thee in thy low estate, and has commanded concerning thee, saying, “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine to these that be of heavy hearts.” - Prov. xxxi. 6. My flesh, saith Christ, is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. This is too strong for some, but it is just that for which all the “ready to perish” hunger and thirst; for the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. Redemption is in his blood and forgiveness of sins according to the riches of Jehovah's grace. (Eph. i. 7.) I am ready to perish, cries the poor guilty sinner. Oh that I could taste thy precious blood, O Jesus, Savior of sinners. “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples.” - Solomon's Song ii. 5. Let me eat and drink of thee, else I die. The blessed gospel proclaims, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. O ye outcasts, what good news, what glad tidings the gospel of Christ proclaims! “Ye shall be gathered one by one.” It shall be a matter of individual experience. “You, that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” “How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land [or land of desire], a godly heritage of the hosts of nations?” (an heritage of glory and beauty.) Ah, says the poor sinner, I know not, I cannot see how it can ever be. But the Lord says, “Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.” “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” “Thou are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, than an heir of God through Christ.”
“They shall come.” “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” “They shall all be taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Thus spake the dear Savior. “They shall come that are ready to perish.” Perhaps you are saying, I have no strength to come; I am so faint, and weary, ready to perish, because of my sins. The Lord “giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” “I drew them [saith the Lord] with the cords of a man, with the bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.”
“The people of Jehovah's choice
Are registered on high;
And they shall hear his sov-reign voice,
And by his grace draw nigh.
Far off, depraved, and prone to stray,
But they shall surely come;
For cov-nant love marks out the way,
And brings the outcasts home.
Yes, they shall come; 'tis heaven's decree
They shall to Jesus bow;
This precious 'shall come' conquered me,
And gives me comfort now.
I wandered from him while I could,
Till 'shall come' stopt my feet;
And now through Jesus' precious blood,
I shall come to his seat.”
Oh what a time it was when the dear Lord wrought and revealed these things in us! Truly it was “the time of love.” O precious, precious Jesus! O wonder of unutterable love! To what unfathomable depths of misery and woe would my sins have sunk me, hadst thou not remembered me in my low estate, and by the precious blood redeemed a poor sinner like me!
They “shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” Here are the true worshippers, that worship the Father in spirit and in truth. (John iv. 23.) They alone can and do “worship God in Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” - Phil. iii. 3.
But I will not write any more just now. What I have penned, I trust is in love to all the blood-bought of Jesus Christ.
Elder Frederick W. Keene
Raleigh, North Carolina
Signs of the Times
Vol. 99, No. 10 – October, 1931