How were they banished from the "presence of the Lord?" "The presence of the Lord" is a form of expression denoting God's approbation. Such is its usage in the Bible. "Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden." Gen. iv:16. "Jonah rose up to flee into Tarshish, from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa." Jonah 1:3 "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Exodus 33:14.
In the former years when the Jews were captive in Babylon, they were cast out of the presence of the Lord. 2 Kings 24:20.
So when, during that generation, the Jews were overwhelmed, they went into everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. Long before these very terms had been applied to them as a people, and to their sorrows in this world.
"Therefore, behold I, even I will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you, and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence; and I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame which shall not be for-gotten."—Jer. 23:39-40
A similar doom was visited upon them when they were again overwhelmed, before the death of some who were then living. (Matt. 16:2-28. Matt. 24) Was this everlasting destruction without end, and final? Paul expressly says not. "For if the casting away of them (the Jews) be the reconciling of the world, (the Gentiles) what shall the receieving of them be but life from the dead." Rom. 11:15. "Blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved." Rom. 11:25-26. "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." Rom. 11:32
The Commentator, Gill, says: "'And to you who are troubled rest with us;' this is another branch of the justice of God, in rendering to them who are afflicted and persecuted for righteousness sake, rest; a relaxation or rest from persecutions, for a while, at least; as the churches of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had, from that persecution, raised at the death of Stephen, (Acts 9:31) and as the Christians had, at the destruction of Jerusalem; which, though it was a day of vengeance to the unbelieving Jews, were times of refreshing to the saints, who were now delivered from their persecutors."
Thus the word everlasting connected with destruction denoted limited duration, for it is followed by restoration. The word destruction denotes sometimes annihilation, Matt. 5:17, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill;" I John iii:8, "Might destroy the works of the devil;" Hos. 13:14, "O grave, I will be thy destruction;" 1 Cor. 5:5, "Deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus," that is, the mortification or subjection of the fleshly propensities, etc. Sometimes it indicates tribulation as Ps. 90:3. "Thou turnest man to destruction;" Hos. 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;" and 13:9, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help."
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