I. THE PROBLEM OF MOSAIC RESTORATIONISM
II. CHRISTIAN INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY
III. TYPICAL ISRAEL’S DEATH KNELL
IV. THE BIRTH OF POST-CHRISTIAN JUDAISM
V. TALMUDISM INVADES CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
THE PROBLEM OF MOSAIC RESTORATIONISM
“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will yet be wiser; teach a just man and he will increase in learning.” (Solomon)
“They are not all Israel, which are, of Israel . . . They which are the children of the flesh, these, are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom. 9:6, 8)
“If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
Events in the Near East within recent years have focused the world’s attention again on Palestine. Some seven years ago nearly one million Arabs (many of whom were devout Christians) were driven from their Palestinian homes into the desert to give place to European, Jewish refugees and Zionists from many nations.
On April 27, 1948, thanks to the United Nations, the new State of Israel was created. “The declaration of independence of Israel,” said Mr. Abba Eban, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, “was the answer to the hopes and prayers of 2,000 years.” He lists Israel’s present population as 1,800,000.
The restoration of Israel under a form of Mosaism has been the “Cherished Hope” of Talmudic Israel for nearly two chiliads. Orthodox Zionists the world over regard the present State of Israel as a positive fulfillment of the Old prophecies; many expect the rise of a Messiah of world proportions.
Many sincere but misguided Christians share, in part, the Zionistic interpretation of the prophecies; they accept the new State of Israel as a fulfillment of Moses and the Prophets; they regard it as a positive sign of Christ’s Second Advent. Not a few enthusiasts actually expect Israel to soon become a Christian Nation.
It is because of the present interest, among Christians, in the State of Israel, and because they have wrongfully interpreted Jesus’ “parable of the leafing fig tree,” (Luke 21:29-31) that I have taken the time to prepare this brief treatise on the subject. I will prove in the last chapter of this book that the parable mentioned has absolutely no reference either to Israel or to any future attempt to restore National Israel. Such interpretation rests upon a foundation of sand.
As the reader peruses this document he will be convinced that the doctrine of a “restored National Israel and a restored Judaism” is of Jewish, not of Christian birth. Dr. Patrick Fairbairn states that this doctrine was foreign to Christian theology during the first seventeen hundred years of the Church’s existence. “The fundamental teaching of the New Testament . . . was what led the Fathers with one voice . . . and all Christian writers, down to the seventeenth century, to reject as chimerical the Jewish expectations, both of a territorial restoration, and of a revived Judaism.” (Prophecy, p. 249.)
The idea of Israel’s national restoration has been injected into Christian doctrine by an extreme literalistic school of Bible interpreters, who in the words of Gregory, of Nyssa, have “enveloped their hearts with the Jewish vail.” The “hope of Talmudic Israel” has become the keystone in the prophetic scheme of the modern Dispensationalist, as represented by such men as C. I. Scofield.
The Dispensationalist is blinded to a truth basic in Christian theology; namely, that the ” Church is the proper sphere of prophecy.” Dr. Fairbairn wrote, “By the sphere of prophecy, we mean the parties for whom it was directly given, and the objects it more immediately contemplated.” (Prophecy, p. 42.)
The racists, among Bible exegetes, make the Church a “parenthesis between two Jewish dispensations.” After the Christian dispensation has run its course, wrote one of America’s noted Dispensationalists, Dr. Sperry Chafer, there will be “the regathering of Israel and the restoration of Judaism.” (Dispensationalism, p. 413).
The heresy of Dispensationalism results from the lack of a proper understanding of the nature of the Old Covenant and its relationship to the New. The Dispensationalists have never properly evaluated the change of Covenants at Calvary. Rev. Clarence Larkin, one of the best known of all the Dispensationalists, wrote that the New “Covenant has not yet been made. It is to be made with Israel after they get back to their own land. It is promised in Jeremiah 31:31-37. It is unconditional and will cover the Millennium and the New Heaven and New Earth.” Dispensational Truth, p. 151.) That Jesus came to establish the New Covenant at His First Advent is a fact plainly taught in the Scripture; it is emphasized weekly among Christians in the sacrament of the Holy Communion.
Dispensationalism projects many of the blessings that Christ has provided for His present day Church into a mythical, Jewish Millennium of some future day.
The traditional Christian position is well stated in the words of De Wette and Berkhoff. DeWette wrote, “The entire Old Testament is a great Prophecy, a great type of Him who was to come, and has come.” L. Berkhoff wrote, “The theocratic nation itself was merely a type, a shadow of the spiritual realities of a better day, and, therefore, destined to vanish as soon as the antitype made its appearance. The restoration of the ancient theocracy in the future would simply mean the recurrence of the type,” “The Kingdom of God,” pp 170, 171.
Jesus Christ is the soul and center of Old Testament prophecy. His coming in flesh was the greatest event in the history of our race. His earthly mission was preordained by God and clearly revealed in Holy Writ.
One of the chief acts He, the Mediator of the New Covenant, was to perform was to “Confirm the Covenant with many in one week.” (Dan. 9:27, Douay version). In other words the Christ, the greater Lawgiver than Moses, was predestined to Confirm a New and better Covenant with the people of God. With the Messiah’s Advent the Old Covenant, or Mosaic economy, was destined to give place forever to the New Covenant, or Christian economy.
It is a fact, established beyond dispute, that Jesus in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, established the New Covenant with the “spiritual remnant” (Rom. 9:27) of the literal descendants of Israel and Judah, in the persons of the Apostles and His other disciples.
It was because of open rebellion against God that the rest of literal Israel were deprived of Covenant-relationship with Jehovah under the better Covenant; the sons of the New Covenant are the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal. 3:29). Had literal Israel accepted their Saviour they would never have suffered under the terrible wrath of God and the Roman armies, 70 A.D.; instead they would have shared equally with Christians of other nationalities in the great Body of Christ, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Col. 3:11.) It is most probable that their biological identity would have absorbed itself within the walls of the “holy Christian Church,” as did the Apostles and the rest of the “faithful Israelitish Remnant” of the First Century.
One of the distinguishing attributes of the Almighty is that He establishes equity and “executest Judgment and righteousness” (Psa. 99:4). Before Jesus pronounced sentence upon apostate, temporal Israel, who had murdered her prophets, and whose wicked hands were about to crucify the very Son of God, He arrayed their crimes (Matt. 23) before their faces and before all the world that all might know that the horrible judgment assigned them (Matthew, Chapter 24), was a just and equitable one.
The year 70 saw the “rejected Stone” fall upon Mosaic Israel and grind her Old Covenant political and religious economy to powder (Matt. 21:44). There is no indication that the Almighty intended a future resurrection of the “powder” of temporal Israel. Spiritually, temporal Israel was as barren as the fig-tree (Matt. 21:19). The Old Covenant economy died from its roots never to bring fruit “henceforth for ever” (Matt. 21:19). This does not sound as if God intended to make Mosaic Israel a fruitful tree at some future date. It was because Old Covenant Israel was a ” lifeless carcass,” dead morally, spiritually and judicially, that Jesus consigned it to the “beaks and claws of the Roman eagles” (Matt. 24:28). At the time of the writing of the book of Hebrews, the writer knew that the “carcass” of the Old Covenant economy would soon vanish before the Roman army (Heb. 8:13); he did not anticipate its recurrence under Divine guidance either in whole or in part.
One of the most pathetic tragedies of history was that of the rebellion of Israel against her loving and beneficient God. By it, wrote Dr. W. T. Rouse, “they had forfeited all promises and blessings pertaining to the Covenants of God . . . By the ejection of the Jews we mean that God not only rejected them, but that the time came in His Providence when He not only cast them away, but He actually cast them out, plucked them up, dug them up by the roots, threw them out of their land, and scattered them throughout the earth!” (God and the Jew, pp 55,56)
Because of abject, spiritual blindness, Israel rejected Jesus as Christ and stubbornly refused to recognize the change of Covenants; they still assumed themselves as God’s Covenant sons. After the last vestige of the Levitical economy had disappeared beneath the heel of the Roman Conqueror, her leaders were determined that some day the “old carcass of Mosaism” would live. To see this realized they must again restore their nation, their city, and their temple.
During the past two thousand years they have made repeated attempts to accomplish their goal. Perhaps the best known attempt was that in the days of the Roman Caesar, Julian, the Apostate, who enthusiastically backed them in their attempt. All those conversant with history remember the tragic failure. The united effort to rebuild the temple by Julian and the Jews is recorded by Sozomen: “He thought to grieve the Christians by favoring the Jews, who are their most inveterate enemies . . . he gave them public money, commanded them to rebuild the temple, and to practice the cult similar to that of their ancestors, by sacrificing after the ancient way. The Jews entered upon their undertaking, without reflecting that, according to the prediction of the holy prophets, it could not be accomplished. They sought for the most skillful artisans, collected materials, cleared the ground, and entered so earnestly upon the task, that even the women carried heaps of earth, and brought their necklaces and other female ornaments toward defraying the expense. The emperor, the other pagans, and all the Jews, regarded every other undertaking as secondary in importance to this . . . they reckoned upon its ultimate success, and hoped by this means to falsify the prophecies of Christ.” He goes on to relate how, as they were about to lay the first foundation of the temple, their work was stopped by a great earthquake which killed and wounded many. Neither pagan nor Jew was willing to stop in spite of the unusual earthquake, which belched stones forth from the earth. Sozomen continues the story: “But all parties relate, that they had scarcely returned to the undertaking, when fire burst suddenly from the foundations of the temple, and consumed several of the workmen . . . A more tangible and still more extraordinary prodigy ensued; suddenly the sign of the cross appeared spontaneously on the garments of the persons engaged in the undertaking . . . Many were led to confess that Christ is God, and that the rebuilding of the temple was not pleasing to Him . . . If any one does not feel disposed to believe my narrative, let him go and be convinced by those who heard the facts I have related from the eyewitnesses of them, for they are still alive. Let him enquire, also, of the Jews and pagans who left the work in an incomplete state, or who, to speak more accurately were able to commence.” (The Ecclesiastical History, Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 11, pp. 343, 344.)
In order to prove their doctrine of the restoration of Judaism, these teachers characterized by a “racial complex” have resorted to forced and arbitrary interpretations unworthy of a true Bible scholar. An example of this is to be found in the parable that provoked the writing of this book. We are constantly being asked to watch the leafing of the fig tree. The “parable of the fig tree and all the trees” is a simple parable from the Saviour’s great Prophecy; the parable, in itself, contains absolutely no prophetic significance as might concern the future history of national Israel or any other nation. But they have made it a great “sign post” of Bible prophecy, a “prophetic sign,” predicting a final “restoration of national Israel and Judaism.”
Since the position of Biblical and historic Christianity is under daily attack by men who would project a “pharisaic racism” into Christian theology more insidious than that of the Judaizers of Galatia, I have felt it necessary to prepare this treatise.
The size of this book forbids a through discussion of the restoration theory or a consideration of many of the Scriptures they offer from both Testaments in support of their theory. I have confined myself, more or less, to an interpretation of the parable of the leafing “fig tree and other trees.”
To prepare the mind of the reader for the subject under discussion, I shall present a few pertinent facts pertaining to a correct interpretation of the prophecies under discussion. These relevant facts will be offered together with a brief history of the development of post-Christian Judaism, which owes its existence to the religious leaders of ancient Israel who were responsible for the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the “dead and broken off branches,” the “wicked husbandmen” divorced from God’s Vineyard, that was given, in turn, to ” New Testament husbandmen.”
Without a knowledge of the following facts, it is impossible to fully appreciate the significance of this modern doctrine which has been borrowed from the ancient Talmudists and projected into Christian doctrine by men with the “Jewish Vail.”
THE CHRISTIAN INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15
The Bible is a Divinely inspired Book. It is the infallible “rule of faith” for the Christian Church. Being a Book inspired by the Holy Ghost, it contains much truth that ascends to planes infinitely above the natural realm; that which is spiritual must be spiritually discerned or interpreted.
The Old Testament is a book highly esteemed by two distinct religions, Judaism and Christianity. Each claims the distinction of being the one true Faith and of worshipping the one true God, although the Jewish God is a unitarian God while the Christian’s God is a triune God; each claims the Old Testament as its Book, and its followers as the true sons of Abraham, the true soils of the Covenant, and the true heirs of God’s promises, serving God under the true Law.
However, a study of Christianity and Judaism will show them to be two absolutely different and diametrically opposed religions, representing two different and diametrically opposed schools of Bible interpretation. In his writings, Dr. Patrick Fairbairn, of Edinburgh, has discussed these two opposing schools of Bible interpreters; to them he adds the third school, the “semi-Jewish” which results from a fusion of the two; concerning this school we shall have considerable to say.
Let us first consider the Jewish method of interpreting the Old prophecies. Jewish teachers have consistently followed the extreme interpretations of the ancient Pharisees, which were characterized by an extreme allegorizing and mysticism, on the one hand, and an extreme literalism, especially as applied to certain Messianic prophecies, on the other.
The distinguishing “chosen race” or “racial salvation” philosophy of first century Phariseeism resulted from their abject spiritual poverty. Natural minds seldom transcend natural things. Their fleshly and materialistic minds easily adapted themselves to a literalistic or materialistic interpretation of prophecy. It was Pharisaic literalism, said Dr. E. W. Hengstenberg, in his Christology, that led the unregenerate, natural minded Pharisees to reject the New Testament Kingdom of God and to Crucify the King.
Phariseeism did not die at the change of Covenants, or with Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost. Its teachings survived and were destined to reach fruition centuries later in the Talmud, the highest authority in Judaism.
Furthermore, according to the Church Fathers, Phariseeism often projected its teachings into Christian thought, producing such heresies as Gnosticism, Ebionism, Arianism and Sabellianism. Saint Basil, of Caesarea, wrote “Sabellianism is Judaism imported into the preaching of Christianity. ” (Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 249.)
A survey of Judaistic and Christian writers will reveal the fact that these two basically different religions claim support for their teachings from the same Old Testament. Thinking men will, at once, see that a proper interpretation of the Old Prophecies is basic to our Faith. The method of interpretation that we accept will determine whether we embrace Christianity or Judaism. Some among us have chosen a third, or hybrid position, termed “semi-Jewish” by Fairbairn.
Christian scholars have developed Bible interpretation into a science, known as Hermeneutics. The interpreter must fully acquaint himself with the language of the Prophets. The Bible is an Oriental book; therefore, we may expect its pages to abound with figurative language.
Those portions of the Scriptures which are written in figurative language or which are characterized by parables, allegories, types and symbols will call for special care in their interpretation.
We often hear that “words should be understood in their literal sense unless such literal interpretation involves a manifest contradiction or absurdity.” This sounds indeed simple, but in actual practice it is not quite so simple as it sounds. Dr. M. S. Terry comments upon this very statement: “It should be observed, however, that this principle, when reduced to practice, becomes simply an appeal to every man’s rational judgment, and what to one seems very absurd and improbable may be to another altogether simple and self-consistent.” (Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 159)
The portions of the Old Testament, which forecast the future, were delivered with every variety of figurative speech, and were frequently clothed with types and symbols. This being a fact, Dr. Terry wrote, “A thorough interpretation of the prophetic portions of the holy Scripture is largely dependent upon a mastery of the principles and laws of figurative language, and of types and symbols.” (Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 313)
If we let the Bible speak for itself, it will be its own best interpreter. The New Testament is the Old Testament’s only infallible interpreter. The New Testament, therefore, exhibits, within its sacred pages, both the principles and methods of a sound trustworthy exegesis; Jesus and His Apostles are our worthy guides to prophetic interpretation; all prophecy must be interpreted in the light of the New Testament.
Our generation is plagued with “prophecy-mongers” posing as specialists in Bible prophecy; they distinguish themselves by their extravagant literalism, as applied to Old Testament prophecy.
An example of their extreme literalism is to be seen in the words of Dr. William L. Pettingill, who wrote, “All of fulfilled prophecy has been fulfilled literally.” (God’s Prophecies for Plain People, p. 228)
This statement is simply not true. Let us test this principle by the first recorded prophecy, that in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.” If we applied the bald and naked literalism of the Dispensationalist to this prophecy we would expect its fulfillment in a literal conflict between a man and a serpent, rather than between Christ and Satan. This is the first recorded prophecy; the law of first occurrence, therefore, offers little support to Pharisaic literalism.
Let us consider one more prophecy, Isaiah’s prediction of Christ and His forerunner, John the Baptist: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.” ( Isa. 40:3-4) Certain extreme Dispensationalists, known as Bullingerites, expect a future fulfillment of this prophecy when a “bulldozer” shall actually level hills and raise up valleys. The New Testament proves that this prophecy was spiritually fulfilled in John the Baptist and in Christ. (Luke 3:34)
Observing men have detected a marked similarity between the literalistic method of interpretation employed by the ancient Pharisees and that of the “chosen race” school of interpreters among us. The Pharisaic literalism of the Dispensationalist has created a “great gulf” between him and pristine Christian doctrine; it has set him at variance with traditional Christianity on many basic doctrines.
This is not the place to enumerate the many differences between Dispensationalism and historic Christian doctrine. To show the danger of extreme literalism I shall cite but one. Traditional Christian theologians considered Christ as the great “timepiece” of prophecy. Christ and His Church constituted the central theme of prophecy; the Dispensationalist gives this place of supreme distinction to unbelieving Jews. Scofield wrote, “The Church corporately is not in the vision of the prophets.” Another well-known Dispensationalist and prolific writer wrote, “I do not find any prophecy that has to do with the Christian dispensation as such. Prophecy has to do largely with His earthly people, Israel, and with the great Gentile nations.” This plainly contradicts Saint Peter, who wrote that all the prophets “foretold these days.” (Acts 3:24) Dispensationalism gave birth to the absurd “God’s earthly people” theory. God does not have two “peculiar peoples”, one, Christ’s disciples, the other His enemies. Such is pure nonsense! To what length will the Dispensationalist go? For every man is either a son of God or of Satan; his position is determined upon spiritual grounds, not racial.
Sound Bible exegetes recognize both the literal and figurative in predictive Scripture, but sound exegesis will reveal the inadequacy of the strictly literal method of interpreting the prophecies. The erudite scholar Dr. A. T. Allis has given us three reasons why a “thoroughly literal interpretation of Scripture is impossible.” I will list them as follows: (1) the figurative language frequently occurring in prophecy, (2) the deeply spiritual nature of the Bible, its Author and its Message, and (3) the typical nature of the Old Testament.
A careful study of the writings of the “chosen race” school of Bible interpreters will show them to be most inconsistent in their literalism: they apply the rule of extreme literalism to the Old Testament prophecies, but they often resort to an “extreme spiritualizing and allegorizing” when interpreting the historic sections of the Old Testament. In this they emulate the Talmudists; their writings abound with “numerology,” “hidden-meanings,” and “double references.”
In this regard I quote Dr. Allis: “While Dispensationalists are extreme literalists, they are very inconsistent ones. They are literalists in interpreting prophecy, but in the interpreting of history they carry the principle of typical interpretations to an extreme which has rarely been exceeded even by the most ardent of allegorizers . . . it emphasizes and carries to such extremes these two distinct and in a sense opposite principles in interpreting Scripture. In dealing with Old Testament History its treatment is highly figurative . . . In dealing with prophecy, its treatment is marked by a literalism which refuses to recognize types and figures. Israel must mean Israel; it does not and cannot signify the Church. Canaan must mean Canaan; it does not and cannot mean heaven. Eve, Rebecca, Asenath, Zipporah, Ruth, the Shulamite, and Vashti may one and all be viewed as ‘types.’ But Israel must mean Israel and only Israel! This seems strikingly inconsistent. Why is the method of interpretation which is regarded as so suitable to the Pentateuch, so utterly unsuited to Ezekiel? If Ruth can give a ‘foreview of the Church,’ if the ‘larger interpretation of the Song of Solomon concerns the Church, why must the Church be absent from the glorious visions of Isaiah?” (Prophecy and the Church, pp. 21, 22, 24). The traditional Christian view of Isaiah’s prophecy is found in the words of Saint Augustine, who said of him, “He forgets not also to proclaim Christ and His Church more amply than any other; insomuch that some call him an Evangelist rather than a prophet.” (The City of God, p. 291). Recent interest in the writings of the Ante and Post-Nicene fathers has wielded great influence against Darbyism, or Dispensationalism, in Protestant circles.
By the extreme literalistic method of interpreting the prophecies, the modern Dispensationalist has, before the entire world, betrayed his kinship to the ancient Pharisees, who were extremists in their method of interpreting the Scriptures. On the one hand they were extremely mystical and allegorical; on the other hand, especially when interpreting the Messianic prophecies, they were rigid literalists. Dr. Hengstenberg said it was their extreme literalism that led the Pharisees to disqualify Jesus as the Messiah and to reject the New Testament Kingdom. Dr. Fairbairn showed the method of Interpretation used by the Dispensationalist to be “semi-Jewish” and at variance with the New Testament.
Let us conclude by saying that since the Old Testament is one great type, one great prophecy of the New, the typical and the allegorical will sometimes occur in the historical sections of the Scriptures. And when we go to the great prophecies we will find both the literal and the figurative, the natural and the spiritual. The New Testament writers interpreted some literally, while others were given a figurative or spiritual fulfillment. Jesus and His Apostles often spiritualized the prophecies; this is ably proven by Rev. Russell B. Jones pastor of Central Baptist Church, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in his book The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter, and by Dr. George Murray, pastor of the First United Presbyterian Church of Boston, Mass., in his scholarly work, Millennial Studies. Both are men of caliber and finished scholars.
TYPICAL ISRAEL’S DEATH KNELL
“And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and mine elect shall inherit it . . .
“And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name.” (Isa. 65:9,15)
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” (Jer. 31:31)
“The kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt. 31:43)
Without a shred of Scriptural evidence the Dispensationalist assumes that national Israel, as a part of God’s economy, was temporarily set aside because of her sins, but that when she repents at the Second Coming of Christ, God will reestablish the Levitical economy under David who will be resurrected and will rule as a provincial king under the great King, Christ. This theory is known as the “Postponement Theory”.
The above theory is without Scriptural foundation. God, in the person of the Messiah, sounded the death knell of typical Israel. It was not her sin that marked the end of Jewish particularism; Mosaic particularism, regardless of Israel’s sins, was preordained, with the Advent of the Messiah, to give place forever to New Covenant universalism; in plain words typical or literal Israel, was destined to give place to the holy universal Church of Christ. All before Christ was preliminary or temporary and awaited its true fulfillment in Him under the New Covenant.
The whole Mosaic economy involving a promised land, a holy city, an earthly temple, a tribal priesthood, a kingly family and tribal nation, with its elaborate system of carnal ordinances, ended not because of Israel’s sin, but because it had served its purpose.
The temporal Israelitish economy was a type of the new Testament Kingdom of God; as a type it had to be a temporary arrangement; the type, or shadow, must give place to its antitype, or substance. Both Testaments designate the Messiah as the end of the Law. The Mosaic economy was to last until Christ (Gal. 3:19). He would fulfill and abolish the Old and establish the New (Mal. 3-l; Daniel 9:27; Matt. 5:17; 2 Cor. 3:3; 13; Eph. 2:15; Heb. 7:22; 8:6,7.)
The New Covenant of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer. 31:31-34) was established with the spiritual remnant of the physical descendants of Judah and Israel by Jesus Christ, in the persons of His disciples–the “little flock”. It differed from the Old; it lacked the many carnal features of Leviticalism and it was absolutely divorced from any sort of tribalism. The death rattle was already in the throat of dying Mosaism at the appearance of Christ.
No one can understand the prophecies unless he first has a clear understanding of the change in Covenants. Saint Paul reveals the fact that Israel’s eyes were vailed to the change in Covenants (2 Cor. 3:14); their sinful, blinded hearts led them to reject and crucify the Christ; their spiritual poverty induced them to choose the temporal Israelitish economy rather than the New Testament Kingdom of God.
The Prophets predicted that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles (Psa. 2:8; 72:7-11; Isa. 42:1-25; 49:22-26; 54:1-3). These are challenging Scriptures to those who hold that the salvation of the Gentiles was somewhat accidental, depending upon Israel’s rejection of Him. The true Christian concept is that from the beginning it was God’s plan to have a great Church, made up of all nations, without preference in His Body; that the Old prophets foresaw the universality of the Messianic Kingdom, the New Covenant Church, the New Testament leaves no doubt. The Old Testament was the first Scriptures from which the Apostles were obliged to preach: from its pages they easily proved the Messiahship of Jesus and the Divine origin of the New Testament Church. Saint Paul certainly did not embrace the Dispensational theory that the Prophets did not forsee the Church; neither did he endorse the ridiculous “postponement theory”. We hear him saying to King Agrippa, under oath, that his Gospel was fully predicted by Moses and the Prophets: “I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come; That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22, 23) Yet Paul tells us that it had not been as clearly revealed to them as it had to the Apostles (Eph. 3:4-6); we see that the True Messiah would absolutely tear down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile — that no special place would be given Israel, after the flesh, in the New Testament Kingdom of God. There were to be neither two true Shepherds, nor two true folds, but “one Shepherd and one fold. ” (John 10:16)
The Messianic Kingdom, as revealed in the prophecies, was to be one of international rather than of national scope, one “holy nation” made up of believers of every nation. The Divine Messiah-King was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). But He was to destroy the temporary Israelitish kingdom (Isa. 65:1-9, 15; Zech. 9:10; Psa. 72:8).
Daniel predicted that the, Kingdom of Heaven would be established during the reign of the Caesars, (Dan. 2:44). At the outset of His ministry Jesus declared that Daniel’s prophecy was being fulfilled in the establishment of His Kingdom, which was not of this world — not a temporal kingdom (Mark 1:15). Note the lack of provincialism in Christ’s Kingdom. He was introduced by John the Baptist as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the World.” Christ opened His ministry with a challenge to the “chosen race” philosophy of the Pharisees (John 8:39, 41). Later we hear Him say, “for God so loved the world . . .” (John 3:16)
Before His Ascension He commanded His disciples to go into “all the world” (Mark 16:15); the Gospel equally concerns every creature. The “racism” now being taught in the Name of Jesus is not only wrong, it is evil. God’s chosen people are believers of all nations. The New Testament spurns any form of “racism” which might be projected into God’s great scheme of Redemption. Israel’s national distinction in God’s economy was dependent upon the Old economies; at Calvary type merged into antitype; the commonwealth of Israel, the “good olive tree,” was thereafter identified as the Holy Church of Christ.
Scholars agree that “family records,” or chronology, were absolutely essential for the perpetuation of Leviticalism under the Old Covenant. An investigation of facts will show that Bible chronology was brought to its final completion under the New Covenant, in the person of Jesus Christ — the end of the Law and the end of Bible chronology. This is absolute evidence that Levitical Israel had served its time.
The Old economies were absolutely dependent upon a Divinely recorded chronology of Israel’s priestly and kingly families. Tribal records of the family of Aaron, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of Judah and the House of David were fundamental to Israel’s Levital existence.
If the Messiah was to sound the death knell of the “old carcass,” then we would expect Him to complete Bible genealogy; Matthew and Luke show Christ to he the end of inspired family records.
Christ came not to destroy but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Under the New, or everlasting Covenant, Jesus is the final heir to David’s throne: Aaron is superceded by Christ, the everlasting High priest of the order of Melchizedek, Levi by the New Testament priesthood.
But someone may think that God has secretly preserved a genealogy among the post-Christian Jews. This cannot be true, God’s genealogy is always inspired genealogy. Old Testament genealogy was recorded by men of God, men guided by the Holy Ghost. Since the change of Covenants, inspiration is to be found only within the Christian Church.
Furthermore, under the Old Covenant God preserved genealogy in the spiritual remnant; at Calvary and Pentecost the disciples of Christ constituted the spiritual remnant of Israel; had God intended the preservation of tribal Israel He would have preserved her within the Christian Church. The records prove that since Christ, God has made absolutely no attempt to preserve genealogy. The Apostles not only failed to preserve genealogy, but they condemned the keeping of genealogy. (Titus 3:9, 1 Tim 1:4) In the Church, tribal walls vanished. No one can identify the present descendants of the Apostles, or of the first century Christians of Israelitish racial stock.
Since it is manifest that typical Israel’s existence was as dependent upon inspired genealogy as a fish is dependent upon water, sensible minds should see that God’s purpose for Israel as a distinct, typical nation was accomplished under the Old Covenant; the Bible offers no example of a reversion from the antitype to the type in God’s prophetic plan.
We have seen that Mosaic Israel, or Old Covenant particularism, gave place to the “holy Catholic Church” by Divine appointment rather than because of Israel’s sins.
Israel had become one of the most wicked of nations. Jesus characterized them as a wicked and adulterous generation, a people with viperous hearts and lying tongues. The “wages of sin is death” applies to all. What price then did Israel pay because of her sins? She was cruelly crushed beneath the Roman heel, while, of those that survived the wreckage, many were dispersed among the nations.
But before the Almighty destroyed Israel He gave her ample opportunity to repent and be saved. But for rare exceptions, “blind leaders of the blind” described the Israelitish Shepherds together with their flocks. Isaiah described Christ’s ministry among the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” in the following words: “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
“A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
“Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominable things in their vessels;
“Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.” (65:1-5)
The One that wept over Jerusalem did not will that they perish, but that they accept Him and be saved. To a sin laden people the “Man of Sorrows” ministered with the love and compassion of God. He sought daily to purify Israel with refiners fire, to wash her with fuller’s soap, to carefully separate the wheat from the chaff.
He did not cast away His people; those who were cast away were not His people. The good olive tree was preserved; only its dead branches were cast away. The live portion of the olive tree was preserved by God to become the New Covenant Church, the Israel of God into which all saved men are grafted (Rom. 11:17, 23)
Jesus kept the gold and cast away the dross. He saved the wheat and destroyed the chaff. The true Israel became His little flock. Jesus placed His Vineyard under the New Testament husbandmen; its wicked husbandmen (the old covenant priesthood) were destined to destruction. (Matt. 21:24) At Calvary those truly saved in ancient Israel came under the New Covenant to become “one fold under one Shepherd.”
It was not strange that blind men should mistake the “Promised Seed,” the great Prophet of prophecy, for the prophet of Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24) ; or that they should exchange Jesus, their promised Saviour, for Barabbas, the robber; or crucify the Kings of Kings and embrace Caesar.
Israel’s sins shut them out of the Kingdom of God; their unbelief and rejection caused them to forfeit all promises and blessings promised in God’s Covenant, which could only find fulfillment in Christ under the New Covenant. These sins brought about the immediate destruction of the Israelite’s temple, their city and their nation, which would otherwise have lost its ancient particularism in the universalism of the New Covenant.
Rejecting Him who is the “true light” left their souls and minds in utter darkness, as shown by Cyprian, the Carthagenian Father, in his Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews or in Justin’s Dialogue With Trypho a Jew or Tertullian’s An Answer to the Jews; Christ-rejection blinded them to all the prophecies.
Subsequent material will show that the “dead branches” refused to accept their position as being cut off from the “Commonwealth of Israel.” The “wicked husbandmen,” Israel’s religious leaders refused to recognize the Divinely appointed position of the “good husbandmen,” the Apostles who were given thrones or spiritual authority over the Israel of God. (Matt. 19:28) They retained the “old garments” in preference to the “new.” They rejected Christ as King and Saviour, ignored His Covenant, refused to accept the Church as God’s Israel, and, as we will see, continued to assume Israel’s pre-Christian position as the Chosen people of God.
THE BIRTH OF POST-CHRISTIAN JUDAISM
“Which things are an allegory; for these are two Covenants; the one, from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
“For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answerest to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the Mother of us all . . .
“Now we brethern, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise.
But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
“Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the freewoman.
“So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free.” (Gal. 4:22-26; 28-31)
The Christian Religion is the oldest religion in the world; it is the present form of the Church that God established in Eden which had been foreordained in the purpose of God before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4)
Dr. J. C. Simmonds, the great Methodist scholar, states the Biblical position of the Church in the following words: “God established the Church of Jesus Christ in Eden immediately after the fall . . . the Church of Jesus Christ has been the same in all ages, but there have been different dispensations; and while the worship of God through Christ has been identical in all ages, yet God has adapted this worship to man’s surroundings and condition. From the fall to the flood, men worshiped God here at the East of the Garden of Eden. From the flood to Moses, men erected altars and worshiped God where it was most convenient for them; for we read that Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others built altars and worshiped God. When God gave the Law by the hand of Moses, then the tabernacle erected, and men came unto that. When they reach the promised land, God chose Jerusalem as the place of worship; and here it was observed until Christ came, crucified, rose from the dead, and ascended on high ‘to appear in the presence of God for us.’ From that time to the present, men ‘worship Him in Spirit and in truth, for God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.’ (Kingdom and Comings of Christ. pp 5,6)
From the prophets we learn that the Messiah was ordained to destroy national Israel because of her sins and to give the spiritual remnant a New Name: “The Lord God shall slay thee and call His servants by another name” (Isa. 65:15); in the New Testament we read, “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
The learned Saint Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, in the early part of the fourth century used the passage that I just quoted, in Isaiah, to prove to the Jews that their religion could not be foreshadowed in the prophecies: “Jesus Christ being the son of God gave us the dignity of being called Christians. But some will say, the name of ‘Christian’ is new, and was not in use aforetime: the new-fashioned phrases are often objected to on the score of strangeness. The prophet made this point safe beforehand, saying, ‘But upon my servants shall a New Name be called, which shall be blessed upon the earth.’ Let us question the Jews: Are ye servants of the Lord, or not? Shew then your New Name. For ye were called Jews and Israelites in the time of Moses, and the other prophets, and after the return from Babylon, and up to the present time: where then is your New Name? But we, since we are the servants of the Lord, have that New Name, which shall be blessed upon the earth . . . it is the name of the Only begotten Son of God that is proclaimed. ” (Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7 pp 619 62)
At Calvary the true Mosaic economy merged into the New Covenant Church. Peter, in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, quoted Moses in proof of the fact that all literal Israelites that rejected Christ were “cut off” from the true commonwealth of Israel, the true Church of God. (Deut. 18:15, 18, 19; Acts 3:22, 23) The rest of this chapter relates how cast-away Phariseeism, with its roots in Babylonian soil, developed into a new religion; this was typified in Old Testament history, according to Paul, in the case of Hagar’s and Ishmael’s flight from the home of Abraham. (Gal. 4:21-31)
The year 70 A.D. saw the “rejected Stone” fall upon Israel. Old Covenant Israel disappeared beneath the heel of the Roman Conqueror. Over one million perished, while over nine hundred thousand were taken prisoners during the course of the war. Jerusalem became a smoking ruin, its beautiful Temple a heap of ashes and debris, and Palestine’s cities and villages, for the most part, lay in ruins, especially in Judaea, with few Jews left. Many Old Testament prophecies found their fulfillment in that tragic event.
The first century Christian accepted this as the fulfillment of Christ’s curse which He pronounced upon the city some forty years before. (Matt. 24) Christians everywhere accepted it as God’s wrath upon the crucifiers of His Son, and as a sign to Jewry and to the world that the Old economy had given place to the New. Many Jews accepted this viewpoint and became Christians.
But the leaders of Jewry were determined to preserve their religion and to save their disciples from Christianity. In spite of all the handicaps the “old bottle” must not perish from the earth; they set forth to reconstruct their shattered religion with “dead and severed branches” from the good olive tree.
The next few paragraphs will show how brilliant leaders of Jewry arose, with the zeal of a Saul of Tarsus, to make Mosaism into Judaism without a land, a city, a covenant, a Temple, a priesthood, a Divine chronology of the tribes, a sacrifice, and without the true God–the triune God.
Rabbi Jochanan Ben Zakkai was perhaps chief among those responsible for the development of the New Judaism from the “carcass” of literal Mosaism. He was a student of Hillel and member of the Sanhedrin dwelling in Jerusalem during the siege of 70 A.D.
His escape was remarkable. He was carried from Jerusalem in a casket to Vespasian, who, at the time, was encamped with his army against Jerusalem. Vespasian granted him permission to make his abode at Jamnai, near the sea.
At Jamnai, Rabbi Jochanan Ben Zakkai distinguished himself as a writer and leader of world Jewry. His able pen transformed the Pharisaic “tradition of the Elders” into a literary work known as the Palestinian Talmud, which reached completion four centuries later in Babylonia.
Under the brilliant leadership of Jochanan, called the “Father of Wisdom” by Jewry, Jamnai became the headquarters of world Jewry, and remained such for four centuries, when it was transferred to Babylonia, where heavy Jewish population had remained since the Captivity. Jochanan’s Talmud was called the Palestine Talmud; its chief compositors were Jochanan, Akiba, Meir and Judah, the greatest being Rabbi Judah, whose title was “ha Nasi”–the Prince.
The next several centuries saw Babylonia the center of world Judaism. In the schools of Babylonia, chiefly Sura, the Jewish masters of Cabbalism (mystical Talmudism) produced the sacred writings of Judaism. Rabbi Bildersee tells us that the writers of the Talmud were sometimes visited by angels who imparted to them profound mysteries. The Babylonian Talmud received its final touches from the hands of the Saboriam, Jewish scholars, about the sixth Century. Some men of great learning hold Saint John’s vision of Revelation, seventeen and eighteen, to be a symbolic picture of post-Christian Babylonized Judaism.
The ancient Sanhedrin perished with Jerusalem. But Rabbi Jochanan Ben Zakkai had organized a new Sanhedrin at Jamnai. The Sanhedrin, together with the chief Elder, the Nasi or Prince, constituted the body in which was vested the highest authority in world Jewry. The Nasi, or the Prince of the Captivity, not only exercised great authority over the Jews of Babylonia, who, according to Prof. H. Graetz, Jewish historian, “regarded themselves a living in a commonwealth of their own” (History of the Jews, Vol. 2, pp. 370), but he, who was also called the supreme pontiff, also possessed tremendous political power in Babylonia and throughout Persia, as well as over the kings of earth.
The British historian, Henry Milman, used the phrase “State within a State” to describe the pattern followed by Jews among the nations following their dispersion (History of the Jews, Vol. 2, p. 485). He further shows that “this commonwealth of their own” custom sometimes brought against them the accusation of double citizenship. It was, no doubt, this, together with the extraordinary political power of the Prince of the Captivity and of Judaism in Babylonia, as well as throughout Persia, that led the Persian Kings to arise against her. The Prince of the Captivity was hanged, the Talmudic schools were closed, and the surviving Talmudists fled to Spain, finding refuge in the city of Cordova.
Cordova, Spain, then became the World Capital of Babylonized Judaism for several centuries. In Spain Jewry enjoyed her “Golden Age.” Jewish influence was felt in both Church and State. It was in Spain that thousands of Jews, called Marannas, joined the Catholic Church, while secretly adhering to Judaism; many found their way into the priesthood. At the time of the Mohammedan invasion and triumph over Catholic Spain, during the eighth century, the Jewish historian, Prof. Graetz, shows the Jews to have rendered invaluable aid to the Arab conquerors: “The victorious Arabs pushed onward, and were everywhere supported by the Jews. In every city that they conquered, the Moslem generals were able to leave but a small garrison of their own troops, as they had need of every man for the subjection of the country; they therefore confided them to the safekeeping of the Jews. In this manner the Jews, who but lately had been serfs, now became the masters of the towns of Cordova, Granada, Malaga, and many others . . . while the Christians were in Church, praying for the safety of their country and religion, the Jews flung open the gates to the victorious Arabs (Palm Sunday, 712), receiving them with acclamations, and thus avenged themselves for the many miseries which had befallen them in the course of a century since the time of Recarred and Sisbut.” (History of the Jews, Vol. 3, p. 109)
When Christianity reconquered Spain is was quite natural that Jewish collaboration with the Moslems, together with other past differences between the Jew and Christian, would create a strained relationship between the two peoples. Jews soon sought refuge elsewhere because of pressure from Catholic Spain. In the midst of persecution, during the Middle Ages, Jewry’s international headquarters were moved from Cordova, Spain, to Mohammedan Turkey.
We shall now leave Jewish history to examine briefly the Jewish method of interpreting the Old Testament prophecies. Never in the history of the world had a religion made such progress and become so widespread as had Christianity during the first four centuries under the leadership of the Apostles and their successors. It was challenging Judaism on every hand. Jesus Christ and the Church had become an international issue. Christian leaders used Moses and the Prophets to establish the Messiahship of Jesus, and the Divine origin of the New Testament Kingdom of God or the Christian Church; Christian apologists contended that Jesus and His Church constituted the “true sphere of prophecy.” This was in direct contradiction to the teachings of Judaism, which made all prophecies center in the literal Kingdom of Israel, and in an earthly Jewish King, or Messiah — the Jew and his Messiah constituted the “true sphere of prophecy.”
During the first centuries of the Christian era many zealous Jewish scholars arose in defense of Judaism; the Old Testament became the famous battleground upon which many important battles were waged between Jew and Christian. The chief work of the Jewish scholars, or Cabbalists, according to Rabbi Bildersee, was to “define and to defend” Judaism against what they termed the Christian heresy.
Jewish commentaries were characterized by Asiatic mysticism; to the Cabbalist (Jewish Talmudist) the Old Testament was a work of profound mysteries; his interpretations usually abounded on the one hand with “multiple meanings,” “hidden secrets,” “numerology,” “mysticism,” and “allegory”; but on the other hand, when interpreting prophecies, especially the great Messianic prophecies, he employed the extreme racialistic, literalistic method of the ancient Pharisees.
Such Jewish scholars as Trypho, Nachmanides, and Crool, who concurred with Maimonides, their intellectual giant, in his “Thirteen Articles of Faith,” always applied extreme literalistic principles of interpretation to the prophecies in order to show that they did not find their fulfillment in Jesus and His Church.
It was not an uncommon thing for Christian and Jew to meet in debate. Rabbi Nachmanides was one of the most zealous defenders of Judaism; it afforded him great religious satisfaction to defend the “chosen people” of Judaism against the uncircumcised Christian. Rabbi Bildersee lists the chief points of Rabbi Nachmanides’ argument at follows: (1) that Jesus was not the Messiah; (2) that the Messiah of the prophecies was not to be a God-man, as was Jesus; (3) and that the proper sphere of prophecy was Judaism and not Christianity, a fact which of course made Judaism the true faith.
It is interesting to note the extreme, literalistic method of interpretation applied to the “three key Messianic prophecies,” (Isa. 9:6, 7; Zech. 9:9; Mic. 5:2) To the Jew, the Messiah of prophecy must be a human king; his seat of government must be on Zion’s Hill in Jerusalem; he must sit upon David’s throne, ruling over physical Israel; his kingdom of peace would extend itself to the ends of the earth. The Talmudists argued that Jesus did not fulfill any of these stipulations; He was not a king, He did not sit upon David’s throne over Israel, and He did not establish a kingdom of peace.
Christian apologists held that the Messiah of prophecy had to be of Divine origin and of virgin birth; to substantiate their claims they referred to Isaiah 7:14. Jews rejected the Christian interpretation of this verse; they violently opposed “the Son of God,” or the “God with us” concept of the Messiah as held by Christians and embraced the idea of a natural or human Messiah. The doctrine of the “virgin birth” of our Lord was, to them, blasphemous.
They engaged in numerous debates with great Christian theologians on the correct meaning of the Hebrew word “Alma,” found in Isaiah 7:14; Christian scholars, in harmony with the erudite Hebrew scholars of the third century B. C., who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek, known as the Septuagint Version, then, as now, maintained that the word “Alma” should be translated “virgin,” rather than “young woman,” as the Talmudists insisted. In this regard I quote Saint Jerome, of the fourth and fifth centuries, translator of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into the Latin, known as the Vulgate: “I know that the Jews are accustomed to meet us with the objection that in the Hebrew the word ‘Almah’ does not mean a virgin, but a young woman, and, to speak truth, a virgin is properly called Bethulah, but a young woman, or a girl, is not Almah, but Naarah! What then is the meaning of Almah? A hidden virgin, that is, not merely virgin, but a virgin and something more, because not every virgin is hidden, shut off from the occasional sight of men. Then again, Rebecca, on account of her extreme purity, and because she was a type of the Church which she represented in her own virginity, is described in Genesis as Almah, not Bethulah. ” (Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 370)
In referring to the Jewish viewpoint, the great Dr. Martin Luther wrote, “If a Jew or a Christian can prove to me that in any passage of Scripture Almah means ‘a married woman,’ I will give him a hundred florins, although God alone knows where I may find them.” Dr. E. W. Hengstenberg, of Berlin, a theologian of gigantic stature, conclusively proves the Christian viewpoint, in his Christology, Vol. 2, pp. 43-54.
Today the Christian Church has been betrayed by men who, in the name of Christ, have before the world, accepted the Talmudic interpretation of the Hebrew word “Almah” rather than the universal Christian interpretation of the past two thousand years, and of Israel’s finest Hebrew scholars, who lived in the third century B.C., the translators of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. A notable example of their betrayal is found in the new Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which translates “Almah” as “young woman” rather than as “virgin.” It is most probable that the translators of the faulty version chose the Talmudic over the Christian interpretation of the word “Almah” because a Talmudist, Harry M. Orlinsky, of the Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, played a considerable part in the translation of the Old Testament. (See page nineteen of An Open Letter Concerning the Revised Standard Version.)
In his recent book, “The Christianity of Sholem Asch”, Rabbi Chaim Liebermann states that the translators of the Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, published in 1952 by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, chose the Jewish translation of the Hebrew word Almah, of Isa. 7:14, in preference to the Christian — the words “young woman” were substituted for the word “virgin.”
In October, 1953, Henryetta B. Wells wrote a book review of Rabbi Lieberman’s book in the magazine section of the Tulsa World, under the title — “2,000-year Dispute”. In her article she noted the triumph of the Talmudic viewpoint over the Christian. I quote: “Two thousand years of conflict between Judaism and Christianity may be approaching a conclusion with the triumph of the Jewish version of Holy Writ, according to the Jewish scholar Chaim Lieberman, in his new book The Christianity of Sholem Asch.”
“Christianity, according to Mr. Lieberman, has always been based upon ‘erroneous translations from the Bible.’ Christian moderns, however, are ‘slowly but surely yielding’ to the Jewish translation and abandoning ‘the notion that the Saviour is virgin born,’ she says.
“Quoting from Mr. Lieberman’s book: ‘The Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, sponsored by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and published in 1952, has changed the word ‘virgin’ to ‘young woman’ in the much disputed verses in Isaiah. Thus an eminent group of Christian scholars at long last have bowed to the truth and yielded to the Jewish point of view.”
We shall now return to the historic and apostolic interpretation of the “three key Messianic prophecies.” This viewpoint is well presented in The Christology of the Old Testament, by Dr. E. W. Hengstenberg. In it he ably shows their fulfillment in Christ, at His First Advent and in His present Reign; He is now King of Kings; His Kingdom is not a temporal kingdom, but a spiritual Kingdom of Peace on earth of universal scope. He is now enthroned and crowned at God’s right hand; He now rules from Zion’s Hill (of which David’s throne was a feeble type) over the whole “house of Jacob,” the universal Church of God; He is now supreme Prince among the kings of earth; His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom (Luke 1:33).
The above facts show Judaism and Christianity to be two entirely different religions. A knowledge of theological history will show Dispensationalism, a child of last century, to have adopted a semi-Jewish method of Bible interpretation. He does not go all the way with the Talmudist; but, although he admits that Christ did not fulfill these “three key Messianic prophecies” at His First Advent, he is quite sure that He will at His Second Advent. He has introduced a dangerous “futurism” and “postponement idea” into the Christian theology; Futurism is that theory which distinguishes itself by postponing the fulfillment of many prophecies which referred to His First Advent to His Second Coming.
The Talmudist was not without his troubles. They came from Jews as well as Christians. He must defend his religion against the wisdom of the Apostles and the scholarly Church Fathers, as well as to satisfy the inquisitive minds of many adherents of Judaism. Jews were greatly troubled over the destruction of their Temple and city, and by the fact that so great a percentage of their people had been driven from Palestine. It was common knowledge to Jews that the prophets had predicted the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities together with the restoration of a remnant of Judah and Israel to Palestine, after which they would rebuild their land, their city and their Temple, which Temple would stand until the birth of the Messiah. Their Nation and Temple was restored in the fifth century B.C. but where was their Messiah?
The historic section of the Old Testament furnished every Jew with a hemorrhage of evidence proving that his nation, so recently destroyed by Romans, was established after the Captivities by a remnant of both Israel and Judah.
The following facts will prove that the Ten Tribes were not lost immediately after their Assyrian Captivity, as some have supposed, but that a remnant of the Ten Tribes returned with Judah.
First we must remember that not all of the Ten Tribes were carried into Assyria by Shalmaneser in the year 722 B.C.; some remained and occasionally joined with the peoples of Judah in the worship of the true God (2 Chron. 29, 30, 31). Those who had been taken into Assyria were not immediately lost sight of; neither did they lose contact entirely with the peoples of Israel and Judah who still remained in the land. The great prophet of God, Tobias, kept the hope of Israel’s restoration before the captives of the Ten Tribes in Assyria (Tobias 14:6). When Judah was carried into Babylon, 605 B.C., it is most probable that many of the remaining descendants of the Ten Tribes who had dwelt there after the Captivity of Israel, were taken into Babylonia with Judah; furthermore, it is most probable, since Assyria had been conquered and absorbed by Babylon, that men of Israel and men of Judah were not only in touch with each other, but also that many got together. Two great prophets of the Captivity, Ezekiel and Daniel, offer positive evidence to the effect that the whereabouts of both Israel and Judah was well known (Ezekiel 1:1; 2:3; 3:4; 4:4-6; Daniel 9:7, 11, 20, 24). The prophets who wrote after the restoration under Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah, spoke of’ the restored nation as men of Israel, as well as of Judah (Neh. 1:6; 2:10; Ezra 10:1; Zech. 1:19; 9:1; 13; Haggai 2:21; Mal. 1:1; also in the Apocryphal book, I Machabees 8:18). Furthermore, Nehemiah (Neh. 1:8-10) knew that the captives who were returning to Palestine were composed of Israelites and Judahites and that their return was a fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 30:4.
The above array of Scriptural references and facts will prove that the New Israel of Ezra’s day was made up of a remnant of the Whole House of Israel. But in order to provide the honest searcher after truth with more factual evidence in this regard, I shall consider, at some length, the testimony of four outstanding witnesses, regarding the whereabouts and the restoration of the Tribes of Israel; Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi.
Let us first consider Daniel, who, as a boy in Jerusalem was carried away to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar with others of Judah. At the time of the writing of chapter nine he was an old man living in captivity. But the years spent in a foreign land had not lessened his desire to see the restoration of Israel.
In Daniel, chapter nine, he informs us that in the first year of the reign of Darius, the Mede, over Chaldea, he discovered in the writings of Jeremiah, that at the end of seventy years his land was again to be restored. He was very burdened over the sins of both Israel and Judah. He went to prayer on their behalf. “And I set my face unto the Lord my God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God . . . we have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled . . . O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them because of their trespass.” In the latter verses Daniel exposes the error of the modern Dispensationalist — the theory that the Ten Tribes were lost in Assyria, and that the Two Tribes were taken into Babylon only and not scattered among the nations. The fact is that in Daniel’s day the whereabouts of the Ten Tribes was known, as well as that of Judah; and instead of their being confined in Assyria and Babylon only, they were, as Ezekiel had predicted, scattered to the four winds among the nations. (Ezek. 5:12-15; 36:18,19)
Daniel prayed with the earnestness of a true saint of God for the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Gabriel appeared and assured him that Israel, as well as Judah, would take part in the restoration, and would dwell in Palestine during the seventy weeks (490 years) until the Messiah came. Quote: “And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel (notice Daniel here speaks of all Israel not Judah only) . . . yes, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel . . . touched me . . . And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (The Twelve Tribes) and upon the holy city.” (Daniel 9:20-23) No scholar will contend that the seventy weeks were determined upon Judah, but upon all Israel.
Our next witness is Ezra, the great Governor of New Israel. Writing of those who had returned to Palestine, said, “all Israel” dwelt in their cities. (Ezra 2:70) In Ezra 2:28 he speaks of “the men of Bethel and Ai” who were members of the Ten Tribes. Again he said, “And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.” (Ezra 3:1) This fulfilled Ezekiel’s prophecy which stated “and they (Judah and Israel) shall become one in mine hand.” (Ezekiel 37:19)
We shall now consider Nehemiah’s interest in the restored nation which manifested itself by his interest in all Israel, and not Judah alone. Quote: “I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel.” (Nehemiah 2:10)
Nehemiah reports a solemn fast in Palestine “Now in the twenty and fourth day of this mouth the children of Israel were assembled with fasting . . . and the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers . . . ” (Neh. 9:1, 2)
Finally we will consider Malachi which was the last of the Old Testament prophets who wrote after New Israel was an accomplished fact; he addressed his message to its citizens thus: “the burden of the word of the Lord to Israel”. (Mal. 1:1)
Both Christians and Jews had the above information which proved that the “literal restoration” of prophecy had been fulfilled and that Jerusalem and the Temple had been rebuilt; and both understood that the Old Testament clearly taught that the Messiah would appear in Zerubbabel’s Temple which had been remodeled by Herod.
The Christian position regarding the restoration of Zerubbabel’s day is clearly presented in the New Testament; its writers, contrary to a modern school of prophetic writers, considered the nation of Christ’s day a nation made up of descendants of both ancient Israel and Judah.
The following New Testament witnesses prove the Nation of Christ’s day to have been composed of a remnant of the ancient Twelve Tribes; the ancient prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel and Judah had been fulfilled centuries before Christ. The saintly Simeon spoke of Christ as the “Glory of Israel” (Luke 1:34). John the Baptist said that the Messiah “should be made manifest to Israel” (Jno. 1:31). If Jesus did not minister to the literal descendants of ancient literal Israel, as well as Judah, He was not the true Messiah. Jesus stated that He came to the lost sheep of the “House of Israel ” (Matt. 15:24) ; on the day of Pentecost Peter addressed his audience as “men of Israel” (Acts 2:22) and as the “House of Israel” (Acts 2:36). Luke speaks of Anna of the Tribe of Asher (Luke 1:36). The theory that the restoration did not include men of the Ten Tribes is purely myth.
The destruction of their nation, their city, and their Temple, created a reign of confusion among Jews because their teachers had assured them that the Temple would never be destroyed, but would stand until the Messiah. The Apostles, together with many others of the saved Jews of literal Israel, understood these facts and accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. They were able to defend the Christian position. They proved that the prophecies had not failed, as some Jews had supposed; a remnant of the House of Israel had returned to become “one stick” (Ezek. 37:16,17) in fulfillment of prophecy; the land bad been restored, the city and Temple had been rebuilt; the Messiah had been born and had visited Herod’s Temple, while the tribes were still in the land. Every well taught Jew knew the Messiah must come while the tribes were in the land as a nation.
Many Jews were convinced by the preaching of the Gospel that Jesus was “Israel’s true Hope,” that He was their Messiah. They saw in Him and His Church the fulfillment of hundreds of the prophecies. The Christian Church baptized many Jews.
Jewish leaders sensed the gravity of the situation. Something had to be done. They were losing too many to Christianity, including some of their own leaders. In order to disqualify Jesus as the Messiah upon Scriptural grounds, they became more and more extreme in their rigid literalism concerning the Messianic prophecies. They tried to give their people explanation, if possible, for the destruction of their Temple and the dispersion. First, they sought to prove that the restoration under Zerubbabel did not fulfill the prophecies; they held that it only included a remnant of Judah, while the prophecies foretold a restoration of the “Twelve Tribes”; the Messiah would therefore appear when the ” Twelve Tribes” returned. According to Jewish theology, Jesus appeared after the wrong restoration.
It became necessary that the Jews give their people the real reason for the dispersion. It could not be, as the Christians had taught, that their plight was the result of their rejection of Christ. Indeed not! God had scattered them among the nations not because of their sins but to bless all nations, as had been promised to their father, Abraham. But at some future date God would restore them to Palestine and give them the Messiah. This, eventually, of course, was challenged by the Church.
Soon after 70 A. D. the doctrine of “Israel’s temporal restoration” became the very “keystone in the prophetic plan of Talmudic Judaism”; it was basic to the preservation of Judaism. The dispersion, effected by Titus was God’s will, said the rabbis, but after they had carried out His wise plan to bless the nations with their true light and law, God would restore the “Twelve Tribes” to Palestine to become a Nation, under their Messiah-King, with a city, a temple, a priesthood and a sacrifice. Zionists thrill at the thought of a “restored Mosaism,” which is “Israel’s Hope.” Such works as Rabbi Creel’s Restoration of Israel are standard works of Talmudic prophecy.
If the remnant of the “Ten Tribes” did not return with the remnant of Judah in the fifth century B.C., as the Talmudists taught, the question of their whereabouts would of necessity arise. This proved to be a “sixty-four-dollar-question” for the Talmudists, as it has among Christians of the racial school.
Jewish scholars began to advance the “Ten Lost Tribe” theory; they taught that, although the Tribes had lost their biological distinction among the nations, so far as human knowledge was concerned, they had never been lost to God; He had kept watch over them and had preserved their biological, tribal identity among the heathen. Jews everywhere were taught by zealous Talmudists that God had mysteriously and miraculously preserved the tribes somewhere among the nations; in the end-time they would be restored to Palestine, and under the rule of the earthly Messiah Judaism would enjoy a Golden Age, exercising dominion over the earth from Zion’s throne in Jerusalem.
If the Ten Tribes were distinct from, and not represented in the Jews of the Roman dispersion, 70 A. D., the question would naturally arise, “Who and where are the Ten Tribes?” Earnest Talmudists such as Eldad, Farisol, Reubeni, Yagel, Maimonides and Manasseh Ben Israel began their long and fruitless search for the lost tribes.
The learned and influential rabbi of the seventeenth century, Manasseh Ben Israel, claimed discovery of the tribes. In this book, Hope of Israel, he traced their course to Tartary and China, and thence to America — the Indian tribes. Had Manasseh learned from the great Apostle Paul, that the Gospel of Christ is the true hope of literal Israel, and of all men, he would have lost interest in trying to resurrect the “carcass of Mosaism” in barren Palestine.
In the year 1655, by invitation of Cromwell, the great rabbi of Amsterdam, Manasseh Ben Israel was afforded the opportunity of presenting his petition before the Protector and before the British Parliament.
Considerable interest in the Jew, as well as in the Talmudic doctrine of “the restoration,” resulted. Edward Nicholas, Secretary of Parliament under Cromwell, became the most zealous British defendant of the Jewish cause. His defense is set forth in his work, An Apology for the Honorable Nation of the Jews and All the Sons of Israel.
Cromwell’s friendship with Manasseh endeared him in the hearts of Jews. His sympathy for the Jewish people was seen in the far-away Colony of Maryland, in America, by his defense of the Jewish Doctor, Jacob Lumbrozo, in 1663, who was brought before the Maryland courts because of his efforts to disprove Jesus as the true Messiah. His warm sympathy toward Jews created many rumors among Christians. “Cromwell was declared to be of Jewish descent, and it was further alleged that his Jewish kinsfolk beyond the seas had recognized him as their messiah.” Outlines of Jewish History, p. 250, by the Jewess, Lady Magnus.
From about the time of Manasseh’s visit to England, and perhaps partially due to the influence of his two books, “Hope of Israel” and Vindiciae Judaeorum, or Defence of the Jews, we see the twin Talmudic doctrines, the “preserved lost tribe theory” and the “restored literal Israel” idea, appearing in Christian theology. Dr. Patrick Fairbairn shows, in his great book, “Prophecy”, that Christian theology was free from these Jewish doctrines during the first seventeen centuries of Christian history. The New Testament position toward the Talmudic doctrines of a “restored Israel and a revived Mosaism” is pungently stated by the great Baptist theologian, Dr. W. T. Rouse, in his book God and the Jew, where he said that such an accomplishment would be the “world’s most horrible anticlimax.”
The Jewish doctrine of the restoration of tribal Israel rests upon the tribal preservation theory. “He who asserts must prove” is a rule of evidence that applies equally to law and to theology. Neither the Talmudist nor the Dispensationalist has offered any substantial evidence in support of the preservation theory. Science proves that the tribes became a mongrel people. If the tribes have not been preserved, it is therefore, impossible for them to be restored.
I do not have space in this booklet to adequately discuss the racial stock of the modern members of the Jewish faith. I have discussed this, in some detail, in my article, entitled, “The Twelve Lost Tribes,” and in my book “Christ’s Brethren.”
However, I shall present a few facts which will show that the ancient Israelitish tribes became perhaps the most mixed among racial groups known to science. The idea of a distinct preservation of the “pure tribal walls” of ancient Israel is as mythical as the idea of Santa Claus.
A birds-eye view of the sons of Abraham through Jacob will prove them to have been mixed racially from their beginning. God willed it so. Racially, Israel was to typify the Holy Christian Church, which was to be a holy nation made up of all nations. A true knowledge of the Old Testament will show that it was circumcision, under the Mosiac economy, rather than race, that constituted one a true Israelite, and of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 17:9-14).
There has never been a son that was of pure Abrahamic or Jacobitic racial stock. Abraham’s wife was either a relative or a half-sister, “the daughter of the same father, but not the daughter of the same mother.” Hebrew tradition says she was a relative of Abraham. A different stock was introduced into Isaac’s family as he married a relative, Rebekah, and not a full-sister.
Jacob, the son of Rebekah, became the paternal head of the Twelve Tribes, which tribes have never at any time been of pure Abrahamic, or even pure Semitic stock. Jacob’s twelve sons were born of four mothers. Leah and Rachel, his two wives were not descendants of Abraham. But some might say “they were granddaughters of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. ” We grant this fact, but different racial stock was introduced through them. Jacob had two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah, who, according to Origen, were of Gentile blood. These gave birth to four of Jacob’s sons — Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Racially these fathers of tribes were at least half Gentile.
Each of Jacob’s sons took a different wife. Since our records are incomplete we have no way of knowing the variety of racial stock that was incorporated into the Twelve Tribes through the wives of Jacob’s sons. We know that certain of his sons married Canaanitish stock; for instance Judah, the father of Israel’s kingly tribe, married the daughter of a certain Canaanite named Shuah. The tribe of Judah began as half Canaanitish.
Joseph, the son of Rachel, married the daughter of an Egyptian; his sons became the fathers of two tribes — Ephraim and Manasseh.
Moses married a Midianite. At the time of the Exodus he permitted a “mixed multitude” to accompany Israel. Later they, together with the Kenites and Gibeonites, were absorbed into the “seed of Abraham.”
A careful study will show Israel to have mingled their blood with that of their neighbors in Egypt, in the wilderness, in Canaan under the Judges, under the United Kingdom, under the two kingdoms, in Assyria, in Babylonia and Persia (during the captivity), and in the land from Nehemiah until the birth of Christ. In the second century B.C., John Hyrcanus, ruler of Israel, conquered the Edomites and forced them to be circumcised by which they were incorporated into the Jewish nation. History will show that from the captivities until Christ, more Jews lived outside than inside Palestine. They continued to intermarry with their neighbors.
Israel was to win converts from the nations. These converts were called Proselytes. We have no way of knowing how many thousands, from heathendom, were brought into the Commonwealth of Israel through this practice. Thinking men will see that this alone would have caused Israel to become a mongrel people.
At the time of Christ there was a semblance of “tribal-walls” remaining in Israel; however, due to the heavy mixture of foreign blood they were then exceedingly tottery. When Christ “tore down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile” on Calvary, these crumbling walls fell, to be forever lost among the nations.
During the two thousand years of Christian history, the descendants of Jacob have continued to intermarry among themselves, and to mix their blood with that of the nations. In the eighth century the Chazars, a Mongolian nation, accepted Judaism under their king, Bulan. Many Russian Jews are most probably of Mongolian stock.
In the light of these plain facts, which even a High School youth can know, why do Christian racists continue to prate about the “great miracle” of Israel’s preservation ?
If the Dispensationalist fully understood the change of Covenants at Calvary, if he apprehended the true significance of the Abrahamic Covenant and Circumcision which spoke so eloquently of Jesus Christ, the New Birth and the New Covenant Commonwealth of Israel — the Christian Church — he would not attempt to bring back that which has been done away.
Unbiased minds will readily see that it is impossible to restore Twelve Tribed Israel to Palestine; there are no tribes to restore. Zionism can, at the most, establish a nation in Palestine by men bound together by religion and by Jewish cultural traits; they can never build a nation from the “pure stock of Jacob”.
I know of no real scholar, whether he be Jew or Christian, that would try to refute the above facts. Although Judaism forbids her adherents to intermarry with Christians and those of other religious beliefs, we find numerous examples among us where they have married those of various religious beliefs from among the white, yellow and black races.
The Jewish authority and writer, Dr. Camille Honig, literary editor of The Jewish Voice, in his review of the book Israel Between East and West, by R. Patri, wrote “If you studied Jewish types and communities in five continents, as the writer had the opportunity of doing, you would have realized that it is sheer nonsense . . . as well as unscientific to speak of a Jewish race . . . Jews do not belong to a single homogeneous group”. (The Jewish Voice, Nov. 25, 1953)
The world renowned anthropologist, Dr. A. L. Kroeber, wrote “The only fundamentally peculiar element in Zionism is that proponent Jews are not a full nationality and have not been one for two thousand years. It a religion and religious customs . . . that have at the same time held Jews together and segregated them from the rest of the world.” (Anthropology, p. 440).
Anthropologist Dr. Ashley Montague wrote, “They (Jews) are drawn from probably more heterogeneous sources than any other identifiable people in the world. Jews are not anything approaching a homogeneous, biological entity, nor are they a race. Strictly speaking, one is a Jew only when he is a practicing member of the Jewish faith.” (Statement on Race, pp. 63, 64.)
It is true that anthropologists are able to identify some members of Judaism by their so-called “Jewish look.” This is because many Jews are an aggregation of Semitic, Near Eastern and Mediterranean stock. Many Jews of Russian origin seem to have inherited certain racial traits from their Mongolian ancestors, the Chazars of the eighth century.
Dr. Montague discusses the “Jewish look” in the following way: “Some Jews possess a certain quality of looking ‘Jewish,’ but again this quality is not peculiar to Jews alone, for it is the ‘look’ which most of the peoples of the Near and Middle East possess. In the Occident people of such origin are frequently taken for Jews . . . one will often go wrong and identify as Jews persons of no Jewish affiliation whatever, such as many Italians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Berbers, and related peoples. ” (Statement on Race, p.65.)
The fable of Santa Claus continues to thrive among children, so it seems that the myth of “Israel’s racial pity” will continue among the biased and uninformed. But sensible heads are forced to conclude with Herbert L. Willet, who wrote that the Jews were a “mixed race from their beginning.” (The Jew Through the Centuries, p. 3 )
Therefore, we must understand that the term “Jew” applies more accurately to religion than to race; as a religion, Judaism is characterized by its racial philosophy, derived from first century Phariseeism; her sacred writings identify religion with race, the so-called Sons of Jacob. There can be but little doubt that a large percentage of those belonging to Judaism and claiming Palestine as their homeland have little, if any, of Jacob’s blood. Only the naive or those “with a doctrine to prove” will object to this statement.
TALMUDISM INVADES CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when its branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
“So likewise ye, When ye see these things . . . know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matt. 24:32, 33)
“And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
“When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
“So likewise ye, When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand”. (Luke 21:29-31)
A comprehensive knowledge of history and the sacred Scriptures will convince the honest seeker of truth, as it has such learned men, in our day, as Philip Mauro, R. C. Reed, T. T. Shields, B. H. Carroll, W. T. Conner, W. T. Rouse, Albertus Pieters, Roderick Campbell, T. H. Salmon, G. B. Fletcher, F. G. Smith, C. E. Brown, O. T. Allis, George Murray, and a host of other erudite Bible scholars, that Calvary and the New Covenant brought about a New Order, once for all.
Under it God did not purpose the continuance of the Jews as a separate and distinct people, but that they should, through regeneration, become “one” with believers of all nations in the Christian Church. Dr. Albertus Pieters wrote, “This is clear from (Eph. 2:14, 15), where we are told that Christ broke down the middle wall of partition contained in ordinances that He might make of Jew and Gentile one new humanity. Without such separating ordinances the Jews would soon have ceased to exist as a distinct community. It was the will of God that this come to pass. In that it did not we see the apparent contradiction which constantly confronts us between what God wills in the sense that He desires it, and the evil that He allows to take place in His permissive decree. For example, He wills that none should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9) . . . Similarly in the matter of the Jews God willed that after the institution of the New Covenant there should no longer be any Jewish people in the world, yet here they are.” (Prophecy and the Jew, pp. 85, 86, taken from “The Millennium” by Fletcher.)
In the previous chapter I have shown how the Talmudists of Post-Christian Judaism were determined that Jesus Christ and His New Covenant not bring about the destruction of the Mosaic economy.
Jewish scholars, burning with a loyalty to their people and a deep respect and reverence for the “traditions of their Elders,” were responsible for the survival of Post-Christian Judaism; they were the creators of the Talmudistic or Cabbalistic writings which constituted the supreme authority in Judaism.
These Jewish Cabbalists knew that the idea of a “future restoration of their nation to Palestine” was of basic importance to the preservation of Judaism, if it were to actually assume the role of ancient Israel. Therefore, they ever kept this doctrine the “keystone of Judaistic prophecy” before their people and before the world by such works as the Zohar, by Rabbi Simeon Ben Jochai, of the second Century, and Israel’s Hope, by Manasseh, of the seventeenth century.
We have seen how this idea of a future restoration of literal Israel, to Palestine, was foreign to Christian theology during the first seventeen Christian centuries. But from about the time of Rabbi Manasseh’s speech before the British Parliament, we see evidences of this doctrine in Christian theology.
This Talmudic theory found fruitful soil in the theology of such men as J. N. Darby, of the nineteenth century. Restorationism, as pertains to national Israel, has invaded Christianity, especially through the modern school of Dispensational Premillennialism; honest scholars can not help note the striking similarity between the prophetic scheme of the Talmudist and the Dispensationalist; this modem “chosen race” theology betrays itself as semi-Jewish.
As a former Dispensationalist, I was especially impressed by the affinity that existed between Dispensationalists and Zionists; Dispensationalists zealously sought the friendship of rabbis. I was taught to believe that as I blessed them, in like measure would God bless me; this attitude is especially emphasized in Cabbalistic writings. Rev. W. E. Blackstone, author of “Jesus is Coming” and champion of Dispensationalism, frequented Zionistic meetings in Chicago. I have a copy of his letter written to President Benjamin Harrison in 1891 which petitioned the President on behalf of Zionism and a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Although Jewry, during the last two thousand years, made several attempts to restore their nation in Palestine, today is the first time they have ever enjoyed the help of even a segment of the Christian Church in their attempt to restore the old National Mosaic economy.
The shelves of Christian book stores are lined with books on prophecy with titles pertaining to this so-called “Hope of Israel.” Saint Paul knew nothing about a “future restoration to Palestine” being Israel’s Hope. For when he arrived at Rome he called the chief Jews of the city together and said to them, “Because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20) ; Paul declared the Gospel of Christ which he preached to be Israel’s Hope.
Dispensationalists have made much of the Jew and Palestine in Prophecy. The position held by Christ and His Church –“God’s true timepiece of prophecy” has been surrendered to unbelieving Jews.
Jesus made Jonah’s experience in the whale a type of the resurrection; they make it a type of Israel’s national restoration. Here is another example where we have the interpretation of Jesus versus the Dispensationalist. The restorationists have advanced many half-truths and even fables in the name of prophetic truth. For example, we are told that Israel never has possessed the land that God promised, that a remnant of the Ten Tribes did not return with Judah, under Zerubbabel, that God has mysteriously preserved the racial purity of the Twelve Tribes, that Palestine was without any Jews from 70 A. D. until modern times, that the Temple is now ready to be rebuilt, that Palestine Jews are being converted to Christianity in great numbers, that converted Jews will soon evangelize the world, and that Jews are God’s chosen people.
The facts are that Israel did possess all of the land God promised (Josh. 21:43,45), a remnant of Israel did return, the Israelites have not preserved their racial purity, Palestine has never been without considerable Jewish population, the Temple is not now in the process of being built, great numbers of Jews are not being converted to Christianity, and the Church, rather than the Jew, is God’s chosen people (I Pet. 2:9).
If time permitted an interpretation of the many Old and New Testament Scriptures they have advanced, in support of their theory, we would find them falling under four general classifications: (a) those that found their fulfillment under Zerubbabel, and in the centuries before Christ; (b) those that will never be fulfilled, because God’s conditions were never met; (c) those that were fulfilled in the saved remnant of Jewry (Rom. 11:7) at the time of Christ and the Apostles, who came under the New Covenant, and (d) those being fulfilled in New Covenant Israel (Phil. 3:3, Gal. 3:29).
It is a general principle in Christian exegesis that doctrine must find sufficient and positive proof from the New Testament before it can be accepted as a part of Church doctrine. If the doctrine of “the restoration” is of such vital importance the New Testament should furnish the doctrine adequate support; where evidence is most needed is where evidence is most lacking.
To prove their new doctrine, Dispensationalists most frequently make use of the “parable of the fig tree. ” This parable of the “fig tree and the other trees” is one of Christ’s simplest parables; it is a parable referring only to the realm of nature, to the natural or physical seasons of Palestine. In itself, it is wholly void of prophetic reference to national Israel or any other nation.
Its interpretation is very simple to those without the “racial vail.” The fig tree produced one of Palestine’s most common and valuable fruits. In the McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, we are informed that in the spring the fruit on the Palestinian fig made its appearance before the leaves; when the leaves made their appearance it was a certain sign of the approach of summer.
Jesus used the parable of the “fig tree and the other trees” in connection with His great prophecy, delivered during Passion Week, in which He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the end of the age and the General Judgment. Its purpose was simply this, to show His people that there were certain laws and processes upon which men could certainly rely. The naturalist is acquainted with many of nature’s “seasonal signs” in both plant and animal life. Here Jesus used the putting forth of the leaves of the ” fig tree and other trees” as “nature’s infallible sign,” predicting the appearance of summer. In my native Kansas, the swelling of the “cottonwood” buds was a sure sign of the approach of Spring.
It is most obvious that Jesus established but one fact by the use of this parable; namely, that men had “seasonal signs” that were absolutely certain.
With this fact established Jesus went on to tell them that He had given them “signs” in His great prophecy that were equally certain. He proceeded to assure them that when he saw the fulfillment of certain of His predictions in His great discourse, they could be certain that “it is near, even at the door,” or as Luke said, “The kingdom of God is night at hand.”
The reader will observe that Jesus did not ask His disciples to look for the “leafing of the fig tree” to determine the approach of the “kingdom of God.” Fig leaves could only reveal the approach of summer. The fulfillment of the predicted events of the prophecy (and not even the Dispensationalists can find any statement in Christ’s prophecy stating that national Israel must be restored to be a “sign post” of the Kingdom of God), and they alone, were to be signs of God’s kingdom.
It is certain that the “parable of the fig tree and the other trees” and the “red and lowering sky” sign (Matt. 16:2, 3) were used by Jesus as “nature signs,” not prophetic signs. In spite of these plain facts Christians are being asked from pulpit, radio, television and the press to watch for the “leafing fig tree” or the restoration of Israel as a sign of Christ’s return. No where did Jesus or His apostles indicate this leafing fig tree had reference to a national restoration of Israel. God warns against adding to, as well as taking from, His Word.
The reader may ask, “Does the New Testament contain references of Israel’s future beyond Calvary and Pentecost?” The answer is yes! In the case of the “fig tree in the vineyard” (Luke 13:6-7) Jesus told the parable to portray the fruitless tree of national Israel. Because the Lord found no fruit on it, even at the close of His ministry, it was cut down; Jesus gave no hint of a future restoration to fruitfulness. Dr. Hengstenberg held that typical Israel was cut off from its position as God’s chosen nation during the last year of Christ’s ministry: “The parable of the fig tree in the vineyard is intimately connected with the symbolical action, performed by Christ, when He afterwards cursed the fig tree (Matt. 21:18). The year of grace had now expired; and the sentence which had been delayed before, now actually took effect upon Jerusalem . . . compare the words ‘immediately the fig tree withered away’; with Luke, ‘if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.'” We have no indication that either of these fig trees shall be revived; the evidence is to the contrary.
In another place Jesus told the leaders of Israel that He was taking the kingdom from them, and would give it to a nation that would bring forth fruit; Saint Peter identifies the Church as that holy nation; Daniel declared that the kingdom of God, or the Church, should never give place to another. In Galatians, 4, Saint Paul portrays the prophetic future of post-Christian Judaism by Hagar, with Ishmael representing her sons; Ishmael was to wage an age-old battle against the Church. Hagar and Ishmael never returned to the house of Abraham; there is no Bible evidence that Judaism will ever return to the true Israel — the Christian Church.
Dr. Albertus Pieters lists the following reasons why the prophecies do not teach a literal restoration of Israel under the New Covenant; “(1) Many of the promises to Israel and of the prophecies concerning Israel were fulfilled in the history of that people while the national form persisted. They were promised the land of Canaan — they got it. It was predicted that they should be oppressed in Egypt and carried away to Babylon — they were; that they should be brought back — it happened. (2) Many of the promises have been forfeited because of unbelief (vide Jer. 18:7-10 for the principle governing such prophecies). (3) Many of the promises, and these the most precious, having to do with spiritual and heavenly, not with earthly things, are continually being fulfilled in the Christian Church, and will continue to be so fulfilled through eternity . . .
“The promises of God to His people are always in terms of their situation and needs when spoken, and are fulfilled in terms of their situation and needs when the time of fulfillment arrives. They are therefore sometimes fulfilled literally, if no important change has taken place, and sometimes according to the intent rather than the letter if the situation renders the literal fulfillment inappropriate . . .
“An example of this may be found in Jer. 33:18-22. Here it is promised in the most definite terms that there shall never be a time when there shall not be Levites offering to Jehovah burnt offerings and sacrifices. Yet there has been none for nearly nineteen centuries. If no fulfillment is real except it be literal, the promise has failed . . . The form of the prophecy has not been fulfilled but the essence and intent of it are realized in every Christian service of worship.
“That the Divine promises to Israel were given to that people, not in any racial or national capacity, but to them as the seed of Abraham, the covenant group, and are therefore inherited by the New Covenant Israel, seems clear . . .
Dr. William T. Rouse gives nine reasons why the Scriptures do not teach a literal restoration: “(1) God promised to give Canaan to the Israelites as a possession. This He caused, to be realized literally . . . (Josh. 21:44)
“(2) God promised to go with them, fight for them, and drive out their enemies. This was also literally brought to pass and the people safely located in the land . . . (Josh. 11:23)
“(3) After they came into possession of the land, they were frequently warned of their destruction if they were disobedient to God’s commands — . . . (Deut. 8:19)
“(4) After they came into possession of the land, they were threatened with the Assyrian and Babylon captivities, if they continued their disobedience. This warning was disregarded and God sent them — both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms — into captivity.
“(5) God in His mercy, in keeping with His promise, brought a remnant back from the captivities. Nevertheless . . . they continued to disregard God’s warnings of the coming destruction, and plunged headlong into the threatened ruin and destruction.
“(6) God not only at last rejected them, but plucked them up and cast them out as He had promised through Moses that He would do. “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to naught and ye shall be plucked from the land whither thou goest to possess it.” (Deut. 28:63) This came to pass in the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole land, in A. D. 70.
“(7) The terms of destruction and the manner in which this destruction was wrought, makes impossible any future restoration of the nation. Not a stone was left of the temple. Utter destruction, as had been promised, overtook the people.
“(8) From this utter destruction as a nation there was not, and there is not now, any promise of relief. “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from one end of the earth even to another . . . and among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the soul of thy feet find any rest, but the Lord shalt give thee there trembling of heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind.” (Deut. 28:65-67) This is the sad plight of the nation in this hour in which we live.
” (9) The greatest of all reasons why National Restoration will never be, is the Jews themselves. It is estimated that before the war began, there were about 16,000,000 Jews . . . “
We often hear the Dispensationalist remind us that, under the Old Testament, Moses said to dispersed Israel that if they would repent, God would restore them to Palestine; but let the Dispensationalist remember that under the New Covenant there is no such promise; there is but one promise given all men: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. ” After Calvary, when a Jew gets saved he is not returned to Palestine, but he comes into the great Body of Christ, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile. Since Calvary, the New Covenant has been in force. Under the New Order there is no chosen tribal nation; no temporal House of Judah; no Aaronic priesthood, no Levitical priesthood, no literal Temple, no animal sacrifices, no literal city, and no literal Canaan land. It is obvious that a restored literal Israel could have no place whatever under the new and final Covenant.
Contrary to modern prophetic thinking, God was never a “racist,” even under the Old economies. His promises to Israel were not given to them in a distinctive racial capacity, but as the “Seed of Abraham,” the “Covenant group”; these promises are therefore inherited by New Covenant Israel. Under Moses, Israel was forbidden to intermarry with the inhabitants of Canaan upon moral and religious grounds, not racial. Under the Law if a circumcised Israelite spurned the Law of Moses, he was cut off from the congregation of Israel and reckoned as an uncircumcised Philistine. His Covenant-relationship with Jehovah was dependent upon faith and obedience.
There is no miracle in the preservation of tribal Israel, because tribal Israel has not been preserved. Typical Israel served her purpose under the Old Covenant; during the Christian era, history has demonstrated the destruction of her tribal walls, which even before Christ, were feeble and toppling.
I can see no special miracle in the preservation of Judaism as a religion any more than I can see a miracle in the preservation of any other religion. In the light of the Bible and scientific facts, Twelve Tribed Israel can never be restored to Palestine, simply because they are racially absorbed in the stream of humanity. Talmudic Zionism can at the most establish a nation in Palestine of men bound together by religion and by Jewish cultural traits. The tribes of Israel can never be numbered as Moses numbered them, for such tribes do not exist.
It is physically impossible to establish ancient Israel in Palestine under the Mosaic economy for the following reasons: Ancient Israel was dependent upon a chronology of the tribes, as well as the existence of the tribes; ancient Israel had the Aaronic priesthood, the Levitical priesthood, the tribe of Judah, and the house of David; present-day Israeli possesses none of these things. Finally, under the New Covenant God’s wrath would be upon anyone who might endeavor to re-establish either the ancient Temple or its sacrificial system (Isa. 66:3). We are forced to conclude that “Tribal Israel had a great fall, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can never put Twelve-Tribed Israel together again”.
The historic Christian interpretation of the various Old Testament prophecies now being used by the Dispensationalist and the Jew to teach a restoration of National Israel can be summed up in words of the late scholar, Dr. Philip Mauro, in “The Gospel of the Kingdom”; “All promises of blessing yet to be fulfilled belong to that ‘holy nation; that peculiar people’ of I Pet. 2:9. For though there were yet a million promises of National blessing to be fulfilled and though they were all in terms for the Jews; every one of them would belong to the true Israel of God.” This is certainty in harmony with Saint Paul (Rom. 11:7; Rom 2: 28, 29; 4:13-16; Gal. 3:27-29; Phil. 3:3).
Today many Christians have been misled to believe that Jews are occupying Palestine for the first time in nearly two thousand years. When the fact is that it is extremely doubtful that there has ever been a time since Israel invaded Palestine, under Joshua, that a remnant of Jacob’s sons have not been in Palestine; certainly a few have remained since the day of Christ.
Furthermore, the present effort to rebuild a Jewish nation is nothing new but constitutes a vital part of Post-Christian Judaistic doctrine and has been kept alive by numerous Jewish writings such as the Zohar and Manasseh’s “Hope of Israel”. Since 70 A.D. numerous efforts have been made to restore National Israel. Some of the chief attempts were led by such men as Bar Coshba (135 A.D.), David Alroy (1160 A.D.), Joseph Caro (1566 A.D.) and Sabbatai Zevi (1684 A.D.).
Bar Coshba and Rabbi Akiba led a revolt against Hadrian hoping to restore Israel. Jerusalem was captured. But this attempt met an inglorious defeat, as did each successive one. The house that is not built upon the Rock (Christ) must ultimately fall.
It is a fact, beyond dispute, that National Israel was a type, just as typical as were her holy-days, sacrifices, priesthood and Temple. It is a law in typology that a type is a temporary arrangement destined, in God’s own time, to give place to the antitype. Ancient or typical Israel was a type of the New Testament Kingdom of God, the type was superceded eternally by the antitype
In conclusion I offer a brief suggestion concerning the common question, “Does the present Palestinian effort have prophetic significance?” We must remember that this is only one out of many attempts which have been made since 70 A. D. to restore National Israel. Whether this present effort will create a strong international capital for world Judaism remains to be seen. The present state of Israel has stirred a storm of controversy in Christian theology. It has brought upon it the wrath of the Moslem world. War clouds are gathering. There is thunder over Israel!
The Christian Church has looked upon all previous attempts to rebuild Israel with concern. Certain of the early Church Fathers taught that a final Antichrist would arise out of Palestine, with headquarters at Jerusalem; they believed that he would “sit as God” perhaps in a rebuilt Temple or perhaps in the Christian Church, and that he would make an all out attempt to destroy the true Christian Faith. But they held that the Church would escape destruction by Christ Himself at His Second Advent. Many Christians today hold similar views; they anticipate a World-State unfriendly to the Church, with headquarters in Jerusalem. Therefore, this or any attempt to restore Mosaism in Palestine is considered in opposition to God’s plan, as clearly revealed in the New Testament, and is looked upon with grave concern. Amen!