For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle,
&c.] Meaning not the Romans, in the time of Vespasian, for they were not all nations; nor did a part of the city only go into captivity then, but the whole; nor did any remain in it: it seems right to refer it to the gathering of the kings of the earth to the battle of the Lord God Almighty at Armageddon, ( Revelation 16:14-16 ) unless it may be thought better to interpret it of the vast numbers, out of several nations, the Turk will bring against Jerusalem, to dispossess the Jews of it, by whom it will be again inhabited in the latter day; see ( Ezekiel 38:4-8 ) and Kimchi interprets it of the Gog and Magog army. The Jews, in their ancient Midrashes F4, apply it to the times of the Messiah; which is true, if understood not of the first times of the Messiah, whose coming they vainly expect, but of the last times of the Messiah. And the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women
ravished, and half of the city shall go into captivity:
this will be the time when the outward court shall be given, to the Gentiles, the Papists; the two witnesses shall be slain, and their enemies shall rejoice and send gifts to one another, ( Revelation 11:2 Revelation 11:7 Revelation 11:10 ) this will be a trying season, and such a time of trouble as has not been known: and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city;
there will be a remnant according to the election of grace; the city, the church, shall not be wholly extinct; Christ will reserve a seed for himself in those very worst of times, as he has always done: this cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, for then all the inhabitants of the city were cut off, or carried captive, and none left; but, if literally to be understood, must refer to what will be, when the army of Gog shall come against it in the latter day; though these circumstances are not mentioned in Ezekiel.
F4 Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 22. 3. & Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2.