Then the people of Judah and of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, and will go up out of the land. For great will be the day of Jezreel.
Hosea 2:22, 23). These words embody a rich Messianic promise which has already been partially fulfilled, but the complete realization of which is yet in the future. The import of this oracle was not exhausted by the return from Babylon; we may reasonably apply it still to every "high day" in the history of the Church. Some of these "days of Jezreel" are as follows: -
I. THE DAY OF THE INCARNATION. On that day Jesus Christ was sown in the earth, "the Seed of the woman." He fell into the soil of our humanity, that he might make it bring forth and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. The manifestation of God in the flesh has cut history in twain. Behind the Incarnation lies a moral wilderness; before it stretches the summer and harvest of the world.
II. THE DAY OF THE PASSION. Then the "corn of wheat fell into the ground and died," that it might "bring forth much fruit." And has not the Lord's death been fruitful indeed? It possesses healing virtue for every sin-wounded son. It is the spring of all right thinking and of all noble living among men. Jesus "with his pierced hand has lifted empires off their hinges, has turned the stream of centuries out of its channel, and still governs the ages" (J. P. Richter).
III. THE DAY OF THE RESURRECTION. Christ is "the First-begotten of the dead," and "the Firstfruits of them that slept." Because he lives, his people shall live also. His resurrection both secures and illustrates the quickening of the souls and bodies of the saints. The weekly return of the Lord's day commemorates the great truth that His resurrection has brought with it the new creation of the world.
IV. THE DAY OF PENTECOST. That was the birthday of the New Testament Church. The events which took place on it presaged an illustrious career for the cause of the Redeemer. On that day the Holy Spirit descended in the fullness of his saving power; and the gospel seed which was then sown yielded an immediate and copious harvest, typical, too, of its destiny ultimately to cover the earth (Acts 2:9-11).
V. THE DAY OF SALVATION. This day has already lasted for eighteen centuries. We are living in the streaming noontide of it. "Now is the accepted time" (2 Corinthians 6:2), The day of grace embraces every occasion regarding which it may be said, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow." And, as the result of all, "a seed shall serve him." "He shall see his seed."
VI. THE DAY OF REVIVAL. Sometimes the Church loses its spiritual freshness. It becomes parched and barren and desolate. But God pours out upon it the plentiful rain of his Spirit; and soon conversions are multiplied, and the whole Church smiles again with the verdure of piety and righteousness, like a spiritual valley of Jezreel "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty," etc. (Isaiah 44:3, 4).
VII. THE DAY OF MISSIONARY TRIUMPH. It is the special function of the Church to bring the heathen nations to the knowledge of the truth. This work God will bless. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." The fruit of the "handful of corn" "shall shake like Lebanon." The spiritual wilderness "shall blossom abundantly;" and in our times we see the fields" white already to harvest."
VIII. THE DAY OF MILLENNIAL GLORY. The Church is to enjoy a lengthened period of prosperity in the latter days before Christ's second coming. While the millennium lasts, "the fullness of the Gentiles shall come in," and the Jews shall be reingrafted into their own olive tree. Over all the world "Not-my-people" shall become "My people," and "Not-beloved" shall become "Beloved." The whole earth shall be God-sown, and shall "yield her increase."
IX. THE DAY OF THE NEW CREATION. At the "great and notable day of the Lord" the Church will be conducted, through the final baptism of fire, to "the restitution of all things." There are to be "a new heaven and a new earth," adapted to the resurrection-bodies of the saints, and fitted for the habitation of the glorified Church. What a great day that shall be, when Paradise shall be restored, and the garden-city of the New Jerusalem shall come down out of heaven from God I
"There falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
CONCLUSION. This grand picture is only still beginning to be realized. But the work is God's, and so we are confident that no part of it shall fail. "Jezreel" is "God's sowing." The seed is his. He is also the Sower. He will bless the springing thereof. He will fill the face of the world with fruit, and at last gather the wheat into his garner. - C.J.
Great shall be the day of Jezreel.
I. THE DAY OF JEZREEL SHALL BE GREAT IN THE MULTITUDES OF CONVERTS TO THE FAITH OF CHRIST. Hitherto the flock of real believers has been a little flock. The "whole world lieth in wickedness." May we not affirm that one-half Of the inhabitants of any city, town, or village possess not the semblance of religion? But painful as the contemplation of this picture is, our eyes look forward to happier days. There are seeds of a glorious harvest springing up.
II. GREAT IN THE UNANIMITY OF ITS SUBJECTS. The two houses were long divided; but under Zerubbabel they were to return from Babylon, and together rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Under the mediatorial dominion of Christ, there shall be one fold, one shepherd. Jews and Gentiles shall be united in crowning the Saviour Lord of all. The fair form of Christianity shall be clouded by no stormy contentions — disfigured by no angry disputes — defiled by no human inventions — dishonoured by no unscriptural elements. We may not assume that any one particular form of Divine service will become the only mode of public worship. All will worship in spirit and in truth.
III. GREAT IN THE HOLINESS OF ITS FRIENDS. There is a threefold departure from the world. The first is by death. This we may call involuntary. The second is by superstition. This we may call voluntary. It is "will-worship." The third is the one which grace effects. It is a commendable renunciation of the world. To live in it, while we forsake its spirit.
IV. GREAT IN THE GLORY OF ITS TRIUMPHS.
1. In the victories it shall achieve. All false religion shall perish. Idolatry shall be destroyed.
2. Great in the zeal of its subjects. It will no longer be a day of small things. All shall be ready with their offerings, and none shall appear before the Lord empty.
3. The day of Jezreel shall be great for the consummation of the work and glory of the Redeemer. He then will "see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied."
1. In a time of love, the Lord can and will turn His people's hardest lots into mercies.
2. Days of the Lord's manifesting mercy towards His people are great days, and worth the marking, as affording mercies above any mercies besides.
3. As all the times wherein God is kind to His people are remarkable times, so in particular, a time of love after sad calamities, His bringing forth the fruits of their afflictions, and of His love after a long interruption, will make a refreshful time.
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