The Jews.

What the Scriptures Teach Us Are God's Future Designs Towards Israel.

Taken from: The Cottage Magazine, 1844


Some seem to expect that, on the conversion of the Jews to the faith of Christ, they will cease to be a distinct people, and be lost and mingled with the rest of the nations of the earth. The word of God directly contradicts such a notion. “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night,—if those ordinances depart from before me, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being A NATION before me for ever. (Jerem. xxxi. 35, 36.)

They will still continue a separate people, dwelling alone, and are reserved, as we shall see, for great and glorious purposes. For the present some of the branches” of the Jewish olive tree have been “broken off,” (Rom. xi. 17) and certain of the Gentiles are “grafted in among them.” The olive tree itself still stands the same. The Christian church, is has been well observed, is built upon the foundation of Jewish apostles and Jewish prophets, Jesus Christ, himself, as concerning the flesh, a Jew, being the chief corner-stone. The first fruits of the Christian church was the company of believing Jews at Jerusalem. The unbelieving Jews of that day, and those who, since that time, have continued in unbelief, are the branches broken off. During these “times of the Gentiles” those, who are led by Divine grace to believe with the heart on Christ unto righteousness, (Rom. x. 10,) enjoy the privilege of being grafted into the olive-tree, and are made partakers of the privileges promised to the true seed of Abraham; (Gal. iii. 9. 14, 29. “If be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.") Saint James has declared the intended order of God's designs with respect to the Jews and the Gentiles in Acts xv. 13—17. We are there told by that apostle, that “Simeon (Peter) had declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles" (that is, before the time when Israel shall be gathered and converted to the Lord, God has first visited the Gentiles) “TO TAKE OUT of them a people for his name.” After this,” says the Lord Jesus Christ, (St. James here refers us to a part of the prophet Amos ix. 11,) “I WILL RETURN, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things.” (compare with this passage Psalm cii. 13-16. Isaiah lxvi. 10— 12, 15-22.)

The Lord hath not finally cast away his people: “He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock." (Jerem. xxxi. 10.) Zion shall then no more be “called an outcast," neither shall it be said any more, “this is Zion whom no man seeketh after.” (Jerem. xxx. 17.) “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.” (Isa. li. 3.) As their expulsion from their land, their dispersion among all nations, and every other particular foretold in Deut. xxviii. and other similar passages, has received a full and literal accomplishment, we can have no doubt (and the fulfilment of the prophecies relating to the past gives us the most satisfactory assurance) that all that is foretold concerning their future conversion and restoration to their own land, with the wonderful events which will attend that occurrence, will be accomplished as fully and as literally.

On this subject the following excellent remarks of that holy servant of God, Archbishop Leighton, are well worthy of our attention. They are contained in a sermon on the text, Isaiah lx. 1, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come.” " Undoubtedly, " he says, “that people of the Jews shall once more be commanded to arise and shine, and their return shall be the riches of the Gentiles: and that shall be a more glorious time than ever the church of God did yet behold. Then, after observing that St. Paul's application of the last verse but one of the foregoing chapter (Isaiah lix. 20. “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob”) to the literal Israel, in Rom. xi. 26, furnishes decisive ground (as indeed the plain and necessary sense of the whole 60th chapter itself does) for applying what stands in such direct connexion with it to the same people and to the same times, he adds, “They forget a main point of the Church's glory, who pray not daily for the conversion of the Jews. "

As to the fact of the future conversion of Israel to the faith of Christ and their literal restoration to their own land, the language of prophecy is clear and decisive. What we have to prove in order to establish this point is, that there are prophecies in the Scripture foretelling the return of the Jews and their re-establishment in their own land, which cannot, by any means, be said to have received their fulfilment in their return from the Babylonish captivity.

With this view let us examine the celebrated prophecy contained in Deut. xxviii. and xxx: a prophecy which may be said to embrace the whole history of the children of Israel till the present times, while it also foretels much that yet remains to be accomplished concerning them. In chapter xxviii. 36, the Babylonish captivity is foretold by Moses in the following words, “The Lord shall bring thee and thy King which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known.” This evidently refers to a captivity which was to befal them at a time when they had a King, which was not the case when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, “the sceptre " having then departed from Judah, because “Shiloh was come.” (Gen. xlix. 10.) It also foretels that they should be carried captive in a body to the country of one nation in particular, as distinguished from their subsequent dispersion among all nations. Both these particulars were strictly fulfilled about eight hundred and fifty years after the time that the prophecy was delivered, as we find recorded in the last chapters of 2 Kings and 2 Chron. (see in particular 2 Kings xxiv. 14, 15 — xxv. 7. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 6.)

Moses afterwards (Deut. xxviii. 49 to the end) proceeds, with all the distinctness of history, to describe the terrible siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, every particular of which prophecy, about one thousand five hundred years after its delivery, was fulfilled to the very letter. After this overthrow of their city and nation, he predicts their dispersion throughout all nations. (Deut. xxviii. 64.) “The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth to the other.” In this state they continue to the present day; the land, moreover, which was once the most fertile of all lands, flowing with milk and honey,” (Deut. vi. 3, viii. 7-9,) having now been “brought into desolation,” (Levit. xxvi. 32) and having become “brimstone and salt and burning, that it is not sown nor beareth,” as the Lord foretold should befal it in case of Israel's disobedience. (Deut. xxix. 23.) Thus do we to this day see the awful judgments of God still ac complishing on that nation, and the curse which they imprecated upon themselves yet resting on them, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” (Matt. xxvii. 25.) “An awful reflection,” as has been well observed, “for any among us, who, while they profess to believe in Jesus, are practically rejecting him. See how God has visited the contempt of Him on his ancient chosen people.” “How then shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. ii. 3.)

In Deut. xxx. their repentance as a nation, after the accomplishment of these sore judgments upon them, is explicitly foretold, and their consequent restoration to their own land. “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shall return unto the Lord thy God;—that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee — and the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy father possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good and multiply thee above thy fathers." (Deut. xxx. 1-5.)

That this prophecy refers, not to their return to their own land after the Babylonish captivity, but to a return from their present dispersion, is plain; [1,] Because this prediction follows that of the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, which all allow to be foretold in Deut. xxviii. 49, sqq., and the return here referred to is to take place when “all the things” previously foretold “had come upon them;” (xxx. 1.) and, therefore, after the siege by the Romans. [2.] Because it is a restoration not from one place or one nation; (as in the case of the Babylonish captivity;) but from all nations, “from the outmost parts of heaven." (xxx. 1, 3, 4.) We gather from the above, also, that there will be a repentance and a humiliation before the God of their fathers, for their national and personal sins, in the lands where they are scattered, (such as is described in Isaiah lxiii. 15 to the end, and lxiv.) which will precede their return to their own land. (Deut. xxx. 2. 3.) Their conversion to the faith of Christ will take place after their restoration, which event will be attended with great judgments upon the world at large, and upon the ungodly part of the Jews, as we shall have occasion to notice afterwards. In proof of this, (their conversion to the faith of Christ as taking place after their restoration) it will be sufficient to refer to Ezek. xxxvi. 24, sq: “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” Then after that they are brought thither) “will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean.” (read the rest of the chapter.) To this we may add Zech. xii. 10. The whole context of that passage supposes the Jews returned to their own land: and then it is that “they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and mourn." (compare Rev. 1. 7.)

Were there no other prophecy in the whole Bible, from which the future literal restoration of the Jews to their own land, could be proved, this alone is decisive of the question. But it is only one amongst many which speak the same language as clearly and as undeniably.

There are two marks by which we may distinguish those prophecies which foretel the future restoration of the Jews from such as speak of their restoration from Babylon. Those relate to their future restoration which foretel, 1. The restoration of Israel (the ten tribes) as well as that of Judah (the two tribes.)

2. That when restored to their land they shall never again be cast out of it.

Neither of these things could be said to be fulfilled in the return from Babylon, since it was only the two tribes who were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and who returned from thence, the ten tribes having been carried captive by the king of Assyria some time before (2 Kings, xvii;) and though a few individuals of these from time to time returned, nothing like a general restoration of them has ever yet taken place- nothing that can be said to have by any means fulfilled the prophecies on record concern ing them. The second mark also cannot be applied to the return from Babylon, since, about six hundred years after that event, they were again cast out of their land by the Romans, as Moses had foretold, and so continue to this day.

Such prophecies, therefore, as contain the two marks specified, manifestly have yet to be fulfilled.

We shall now produce some of the prophecies which foretel that Israel, as well as Judah, will be restored, and that they will again become one nation.

Isaiah xi. 11, 12. “It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

Jeremiah iii. 18. “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. (See also Jer. xxx. 3. and Hosea i. 11.)

Ezekiel xxxvii. 15–17. The prophet is commanded to take one stick and write upon it, For Judah and for the children of Israel his companions; then to take another stick and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.” Then he is bid to “join them one to another into one stick.” He is then informed what is implied in this action. “Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 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: And David (or the Beloved) my servant shall be king over them; and they shall have one shepherd: and they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David (the Beloved) shall be their prince for ever.” (21. 24, 25)

Zechariah x. 6. “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph; and I will bring them again to place them: for I have mercy upon them; and they shall be as though I had not cast them off.” This possesses the additional force of having been written by a prophet, who prophesied after the return from Babylon: so that most manifestly (as it speaks of an event yet to come at the time when he wrote,) it cannot apply to that restoration in any sense.

But we have also to shew that, when restored from their present dispersion, they shall never again be cast out of their land.

Isaiah xxxiii. 20. “Look upon Zion the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed."

Isaiah lx. 18. “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders."

Jeremiah xxxi. 40. “It (Jerusalem) shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever."

Ezekiel xxviii. 28. “They shall no more be a prey to the heathen, but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.”

Amos ix. 15. “I will plant them upon their land; and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. "

That this prophecy of Amos relates to future times, is plain, from the reference made to it by St. James. (compare Acts xv. 16, 17, with Amos ix. 11.)

Zechariah xiv. 11. “And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”

That the Jews shall, as a nation, be literally again restored to, and permanently re-established in the land of their fathers, is placed beyond all doubt by the testimony of the above passages of the word of God, to which (did space allow) it were easy to add a multitude of other passages that speak the same language.

The Scriptures as plainly teach that, when restored, other their glory shall be such as neither they nor any nation ever possessed; a glory of which that, which they had in the days of Solomon, was but a type; and that they shall be made, in a wonderful manner, a blessing to the whole earth.

1. The nation will be, strictly speaking a holy nation. Deuteronomy xxx. 6. At the time then spoken of, Moses says of them, “The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. "

Jeremiah xxxi. 33. “After those days," (the chapter is one which most clearly refers to the future restoration of Israel) “saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour—saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.”

Ezekiel xxxvi. 25. “Then” (see the former verse) “will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you — and ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people and I will be your God.”

Isaiah xxvi. 2. In that day they will be “the righteous nation that keepeth the truth."

Isaiah lx. 21. “Thy people shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever.”

Zechariah xiv. 20, 21. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord:-and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts."

2. They will be raised to an unexampled height of glory and blessedness.

Isaiah xxiv. 23. The Lord of Hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”

Isaiah xxv. 6—8. “In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things — And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people: HE WILL SWALLOW UP DEATH IN VICTORY; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth.” (compare 1 Cor. xv. 54.)

Isaiah lx. 1. 3. 15. 19. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee:—and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising:-whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations:—Thy sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” (compare Rev. xxi. 23—27, and xxii. 5.)

Isaiah lxi. 4. 7. 9. “They shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.- For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion;-and their seed shall be known among the Gentiles: All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord has blessed.”

Isaiah lxii. 3. 4. 7. “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God: Thou shalt be no more termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married! " He will “establish and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

Isaiah lxv. 17, 18. Behold I CREATE NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH; and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (read the whole to the end.... compare 11 Pet. iii. 13.)

Jeremiah iii. 17. “At that that time they shall call Jerusalem, THE THRONE OF THE LORD.”

Jeremiah xxiii. 5,6. “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch; and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.” (see the following verses.)

Ezekiel xxxvii. 26-28. " Moreover I will make a covenant of peace 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. " (compare Rev. xxi. 3.)

Zechariah ii. 5. “For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”

Zechariah viii. 36. “Thus saith the Lord: I am re turned unto Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth: and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain.— If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes saith the Lord of hosts?”

3. They will be made a source of blessing to all nations, Isaiah ii. 2—4. “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, —and all nations shall flow unto it: and many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of and the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways forth we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Isaiah lxvi. 10–12. “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, ye that mourn that love her: rejoice for joy with her all ye that mourn for her: that ye may snack and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations:—For thus saith the Lord, Behold I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream."

Micah v. 7. The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass."—

Zechariah viii. 23. “In those days shall it come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you."

Romans xi. 15. “If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the recovering of them be, but life from the dead?”

The passages of the prophets, which refer to this important and delightful subject, are far too numerous to be all extracted at full length. The reader is referred to the following chapters for a fuller account of Israel's future glory, and of the universal blessedness which is to follow upon their restoration.

Isaiah, iv. xi. xii. xxxii. xxxv. liv. lx. lxi. lxii. Ixv. lxvi.

Jeremiah, xxx. xxxi. xxxii. xxxiii.

Ezekiel, xxxiv. xxxvi. xxxvii.

Joel, iii. Amos, ix. Zephaniah, iii. Zechariah, ii. viii. xii. xiv.