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Miller’s Works, vol. 1. Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology

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    I. SHOW WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DESIGNED BY THE TWO STICKS

    II. WHAT IS MEANT BY THEIR BECOMING ONE

    Our text is an allegory, as all must agree, for the 18th and 19th verses, “And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand,” thus prove it: “Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these?” The Holy Spirit then tells him plainly that the two sticks mean,-1st. Judah, and the children of Israel his companions; and, 2nd. Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows. Thus far we cannot be mistaken. And, say you, the text itself proves it thus, and why call it an allegory? Because we have not yet got the meaning of Judah, Joseph and Ephraim; these must be understood as allegorical; for no one believes a moment that this can mean Judah, Joseph, and Ephraim literally; for they have all been dead many thousand years, and must arise from the dead, and all their companions, in order to be united in one kingdom on the mountains of Israel. See verse 22: “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” Then, say you, Judah must mean the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and Joseph and Ephraim must mean the ten tribes, and put them together and they will make the twelve tribes. Then, if Judah and Joseph stand for these tribes, I ask, who are their companions? For the text says, take thee one stick, and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions. It is very evident, then, that Judah and his companions cannot mean the same things; for he tells us plainly what companions mean, “the children of Israel;” these are companions with Judah. Therefore Judah cannot mean the two tribes, for they are the children of Israel. And the same argument will apply to Joseph and Ephraim, and all the house of Israel his companions. Here we have another difficulty: first, the children of Israel are put with Judah; this would include the ten tribes, as well as the two; for they were called the children of Israel in a special sense, while the two tribes were called Jews, and are so called to the present day.MWV1 86.2

    Again, they are to be put together and become one kingdom, “and David my servant,” saith the Lord, “shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.” This does not look like unbelief. Paul tells us, Romans 11:23, “If they abide not in unbelief, they shall be graffed in,” with the Gentiles; “for God is able to graff them in again.” Yet our context tells us in 25-27, “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” How can these things be? They are to dwell in the land given to Jacob, they, and their children, and children’s children, forever, and David is to be their prince forever, and God is to be their God, and they are to be his people, with his sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. And all this in a state of unbelief; for if they believe, they are graffed in with the Gentiles, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but all one in Christ Jesus. And without faith it is impossible to please God: yet the two tribes of the Jews, and the ten tribes of Israel, are to enjoy all these blessings for evermore, in their own land on the mountains of Israel, before the new heavens and new earth-before Christ shall come-before the resurrection of the dead! How, I ask, can the whole house of Israel be there? How can David be there? No more defiled with idols, nor detestable things, nor transgressions? “Saved out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned;” and yet saved in Judea, the very dwelling-place where they committed the great sin of murdering their own Messiah, the son and Lord of David their prince forever! How can these things be? I answer, they cannot be, and understand these two sticks to be the two tribes of the Jews and the ten tribes of Israel only; for this view of the scripture, (and I mean to speak with reverence of that blessed book,) would contain palpable contradictions.MWV1 87.1

    But, in my humble opinion, these two sticks represent the two covenants, or two dispensations, called the Law and the Gospel. These are called two separate kingdoms. One is called the “kingdom of Israel.” This is represented by Judah; for it is said of him, “The sceptre (or rod) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” What gathering of the people? The union of the two kingdoms, and the final gathering of the true Israel of God from all nations, the elect from the four winds of heaven. The other kingdom is called the gospel kingdom, or “kingdom of heaven.” This is clearly represented by Joseph; for of him it is said, Genesis 49:24, “His bow (or stick) abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel;”) meaning Christ, the shepherd spoken of in our context; and the stone means the same gospel kingdom, which Daniel tells us will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;-and, in our context, it is the same kingdom of which David (meaning Christ) will be our king forever. Hear further: “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above,” (these certainly look like gospel blessings,) “blessings of the deep that lieth under,” (yes, Christ says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,”) “blessings of the breast and of the womb.” Again, Christ says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” I will here remark, that the same blessings which Jacob gave to Joseph are in substance repeated to Ezekiel, and afterwards promised by Christ to gospel penitents. Also, let me turn your attention to Moses’ blessing Joseph, Deuteronomy 33:13-17: “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him who was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” Here we have the gospel blessings again brought to view, in Moses’ prophetic blessing of Joseph; all things in heaven and in earth are given into his hands, or placed upon his head. This reminds us of the blessings of Christ, Ephesians 1:10, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather in one (kingdom) all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him.” How exactly do these blessings agree:MWV1 88.1

    Joseph pushes the people together to the ends of the earth; Christ gathers them in the fulness of time at the end of this dispensation.MWV1 90.1

    This is sufficient for my purpose, to show that Joseph is a lively type of Christ, and that in Christ both sticks would be united, and Judah’s rod (or stick) swallowed up in the Shiloh when he should come; and then there would be but one stick unto the ends of the earth, and then would our spiritual Joseph push the people together, and to him would the gathering of the people be. “And I will make them one nation, in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all.” This king can be no less than our spiritual Joseph, and his kingdom was typified in the stick of Joseph, as Jacob said in his blessing of Joseph, “From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel.” But you will ask, Why is Joseph’s stick in the hand of Ephraim? I will answer you: Joseph’s stick, or kingdom, was not yet made manifest, neither could it be while Judah’s was yet standing;-as says Paul, Hebrews 9:8-15, Christ must first come, the mediator of the new testament, before the old could be done away, or immerged into the new. Therefore, when Ezekiel gave this prophecy, Ephraim was broken, and was not a people. See Isaiah 7:8. This was about 742 years before Christ, and Ezekiel’s prophecy was given only 587, being almost a hundred years after Ephraim was no more a people. Of course, he was a fit type of the gospel church, who were not a people until Jesus came and took the stick of Joseph out of the hand of Ephraim, which then were not a people, and constituted a new covenant people, and made them sons and daughters of God. He then brake off all the dead branches from Judah’s stick, and with the living branches under the old covenant, called in our text “the children of Israel his companions,” he called in the Gentiles, which were not a people. Like Ephraim, they were scattered over the whole earth, in all the kingdoms of the world; the moths had eaten them, Hosea 5:12; they were unaccustomed to the yoke, Jeremiah 31:18. “Ephraim has mixed himself among the people; he is a cake not turned,” says Hosea 7:8. That is, he is yet among the people, the Gentiles; they have not repented, they are not accustomed to the yoke, (the Jewish laws.) See Hosea 8:12: “I have written unto him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.” Ephraim is a type, then, of the state of the Gentiles, when Christ came, and called in the believers among the Gentiles, immersed them into one body both Jew and Gentile, and they became one in his hand, that is, one kingdom, and both together constituted the whole house of Israel; that is, the seed of Christ, the companions of the spiritual Joseph. Hosea 1:9-11, has reference to this very thing of which I have been speaking, when he says, “Then said God, call his name Loammi, (not my people;) for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” That is, “They are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” See Romans 9:6-27. You will there see Paul uses the same arguments as I have used, and for the same purpose, to show the union of the spiritual seed of Judah and Joseph, and who are the true Israel of God. But we will return to Hosea 10th verse: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place (Jerusalem) where it was said unto them, (Gentiles,) ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, (Gentiles,) ye are the sons of the living God;” at Jerusalem united with the stick of Judah, “it will be said,” etc. “Then (at that time) shall the children of Judah (meaning the companions of Judah) and the children of Israel (the companions of spiritual Joseph, now called sons of God) be gathered together, (united into one stick, one government,) and appoint themselves one head, (Christ, for he is head over all things to the church,) and they shall come up out of the land, (out of all nations;) for great shall be the day of Jezreel,” (the meaning of which is, the seed of God.) I pray you, my brethren, study this prophecy of Hosea with this view; understand Judah as being the representative of the Jewish kingdom, and Joseph and Ephraim as representatives of the gospel kingdom, and its state; and if you do not find harmony and light in it, and many other parts and prophecies in the Bible, I shall be not a little surprised.MWV1 90.2

    I will bring one more proof that Ephraim represents the gospel kingdom among all nations. See Genesis 48:16-20: “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the first-born; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.” You see when Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, he blessed Ephraim, the younger, above Manasseh, the elder: “he (Manasseh) also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a fulness of nations.” This is plain and positive proof that Ephraim would be called the head or representative of the gospel seed, which Paul calls the “fulness of the Gentiles,” and which Jacob calls “fulness of nations.” Paul says, “So all Israel shall be saved,” that is, when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Our text says, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.” Here is the same fulness, the same all, and the same Israel, in one case as in the other.MWV1 92.1

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