ISRAEL'S NATIONAL FUTURE

 

[This tract has a link attached.]

 

1. 1 Chron. 16. Israel's spiritual state declined, apostasy deepened. At length God allowed the ark of His presence to be taken to a heathen land by the heathen (1 Sam. 4) and presently the house of God at Shiloh was itself given over to destruction, as a punishment for sin (Ps. 78: 59-61). This was drastic treatment. Centuries later God reminded His people of it as a warning against still severer punishment (Jer. 7: 12; 26: 4-6).

 

Did this general declension and religious break-up disturb the purposes of God? Not at all. As soon as David had brought the ark to Jerusalem, and had restored in measure the national worship, his prophetic song of thanksgiving (in 1 Chron. 16) returned at once to celebrate the covenant God had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, declaring it to be an everlasting covenant commanded to a thousand generations (15-17), and quoting the Divine promise as to the land of Canaan. Looking to the promise that all the families of the earth shall be blessed the singer calls upon all the peoples to worship Jehovah, and speaks of an era when Jehovah reigns and judges, the world is established immovably, and concludes with a prayer that Israel shall be gathered together and delivered from the nations (28-36). These last conditions have never yet obtained. Are they yet to do so? or is this inspired prayer and prophecy to fail of fulfilment, as some assert?

 

2. 1 Chron. 17. The answer of God to that prayer is given in the next chapter. David had planned to erect a grand temple, to take the place of the tabernacle. God approved the purpose but said that a son of David should carry it out. But to David He said that He would build him a house, that is, a family line, and make him great. As for David's people, this significant promise was added: "And I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the first ... " (9, 10).

 

These features are renewed from the Abrahamic covenant:

 

(1) Israel is God's special people. (2) They have a special place appointed by God, that is, the land promised to Abraham, Canaan. (3) They shall dwell there and never be moved from it. (4) They shall never again be wasted by oppressors as formerly. As history shows, these last two promises have never been fulfilled. Are they to be so ? or is this covenant with David now null and void? But there are further correspondences of weight. (5) Even as victory was promised to the seed of Abraham so it was here promised to David, "I will subdue all thine enemies" (10). (6) And just as the guarantee to Abraham was of an everlasting covenant so it was three times said positively to David concerning his son, "I will establish his throne for ever ... I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever, and his throne shall be established for ever" (11-14). But (7) inasmuch as the covenant with Abraham and his descendants was conditional, so it was laid down that, if David's son should commit iniquity, he should be chastened, yet nevertheless God's mercy should not be withdrawn from him, as it had been entirely withdrawn from Saul (2 Sam. 7: 14, 15).

 

It is obvious that neither David, nor Solomon, nor their kingdom continued for ever. Yet God calls it "My kingdom." Is this promise to be fulfilled or not?

 

3. Ps. 89. The covenant was confirmed by the oath of God and its terms were public property. Ethan the Ezrahite recited them in his psalm (19-37), and emphasized (1) the supremacy promised to David over all kings; (2) the certainty and everlastingness of the covenant; (3) the chastisements for failure and disobedience; (4) but

 

"My covenant will I not break. Nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness; I will not lie unto David; his seed shall endure for ever, And his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as the faithful witness in the sky" (i.e., the rainbow) (34-37).

 

Yet in spite of these solemn unequivocal declarations by Jehovah some ask us to believe that He has altered the thing that has gone out of His mouth, and that the notion of the throne of David being established for ever is now wholly ruled out, and that Israel never will be established for ever* in their own land.

 

[* That is, for as long as this earth remains, before being replaced with a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21: 1).]

 

4. Isaiah 19. But this is the exact reverse of how Isaiah was enlightened by the Spirit of Christ and inspired to describe the future of Israel and the nations.

 

The future of Egypt is the subject of this chapter, but that of Israel and Assyria is interlocked with that of Egypt. The following particulars have never been fulfilled and must be future. (1) Judah a terror to Egypt. (2) Five cities in Egypt speaking the language of Canaan, (3) invoking the name of Jehovah and (4) at the same time one being named "the city of destruction." (5) An altar for the worship of Jehovah in the midst of Egypt.*[* It is untenable and fanciful to refer these particulars to the Great Pyramid. That is not an altar, nor is it a pillar as next mentioned, nor is it at the border of Egypt.] (6) The Egyptians crying to Jehovah for deliverance and (7) worshipping Him when He has delivered them. (8) A highway from Egypt to Assyria, with regular peaceful traffic. (9) The Egyptians and the Assyrians worshipping Jehovah together, and therefore having abandoned their idols. And finally (10) it is declared that

 

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth: for that Jehovah of hosts bath blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.

 

It is certain that these three peoples never yet have had such a triple alliance and been jointly a blessing at the world's centre. Never yet has Egypt been a people of Jehovah, nor Mesopotamia been His handiwork. Is this rich prophecy to have fulfilment? Or is it also to prove void and vain? They who rule Israel out of the future, as merged in the church, must say who is to be the third with Egypt and Assyria in that great time; or else they must rule out these lands also as having no future, and so the prophecy will be reduced to a nullity and falsity.

 

But this will involve similar mangling of the many other prophecies concerning the other lands of the Middle East, for they are all associated with these three both geographically, politically, and in the Divine forecasts of the End Days.

 

Those who would turn the literal Israel out of God's programme do assuredly emasculate and evaporate of meaning the words of God as effectively as do the sceptical opponents and higher critics they themselves heartily oppose. Nothing is more condemnatory of the mis-called "spiritualizing" of the prophecies than that its advocates simply cannot accept the plain, straightforward meaning of innumerable Divine statements, but must entirely devaluate them and force on them a sense utterly diverse from what they say.

 

To the speakers, hearers, and readers of the prophecies the names used had definite, well-known significance. Israel was the nation dwelling in Palestine. Jerusalem and Zion were known spots. Egypt, Assyria, Edom, Moab, and the rest, were similarly identifiable. Yet these modern teachers would have us believe that God caused His prophets completely to mislead their hearers, by using well-known names to create certain prospects for the future of these countries, though He foreknew that such prospects were not to be realized. It virtually means that God juggled with well-known names to create false ideas, just as modernistic theologians juggle with well-established theological terms to instil false doctrines.

 

- G. H. LANG.

 

 

ISRAEL'S INALIENABLE POSSESSIONS

 

by

 

DAVID BARON

 

[David Baron was a learned Hebrew Christian, born in Lithuania, but brought as a young man to faith in Christ. Russian was the language of the country, but, Hebrew of his home. He told me that in his sphere a boy of eight years was expected to have done the Old Testament in, Hebrew and be ready to go on to the Talmud. By the time he was twelve he knew the whole book of Psalms by heart in Hebrew. When asked a question upon the Old Testament he would commonly mutter the verse to himself in Hebrew. He was perhaps one of the most reliable expositors of the Old Testament of modern times. Each of his many books is of value. Such as are now in print may be obtained from The Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel,189 Whitechapel Road, London, E1, of which he was the Founder.]

 

THE PROMISES. (Rom. 9: 4)

 

"Now I say that Christ hath been made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises given unto the fathers."- Rom. 15: 8.

 

"And the Promises." This constitutes another of God's great and irrevocable "gifts" to Israel. Perhaps the great Abrahamic promises with regard to the land and the promised seed, in whom all families of the earth should be blessed, are uppermost in the Apostle's mind - the promises which are unfolded and amplified in the words of God subsequently spoken to Isaac and Jacob, and, later, to the whole people, through Moses and the prophets, and which are wonderful and comprehensive in their scope; and are God's guarantees for the blessing of Israel, and through Israel for all the nations of the earth.

 

Now, on this point, especially professing Christendom, and many true Christians even in Protestant countries, have through ignorance been at variance with the Apostle and with the clearly revealed mind of God. The general belief of Christians for many centuries has been that the promises made to Israel have, in consequence of their rejection of Christ, been either annulled or bodily transferred to the church. This has arisen from the erroneous belief that God hath utterly cast off His people which He had foreknown, and that there is no more a national future for the Jewish nation.

 

"The attitude of such Christians in relation to the Jews has been humorously illustrated by that prominent Jewish witness for Christ, the late Joseph Rabinowitch, in the following story: During the last Russo-Turkish war, after a great battle, a certain number of men in a particular regiment were returned in the list as dead, and an officer with a company of soldiers was commissioned to attend to the sad duty of seeing them decently buried.

 

While engaged in this task, they came across a poor man who was badly wounded, and left on the field for dead, but who had life enough in him to refuse to be buried. But the amusing part of the business was that the officer in command seemed, very much perplexed. He asked the poor man's name, looked at his list, and then said, ' Well, I do not know what to do with you; in my list you are put down as dead.' This, Mr. Rabinowitch said, is the attitude of many Christians in relation to the Jew.

 

In their political and religious creeds, the Jews as a nation are put down as dead, and even many true Christians, when reading in the Scriptures the exceeding great and precious promises which God made to Israel, say, 'Oh yes, Israel that is a nation that once lived, but died some nineteen centuries ago, when they rejected Christ, and now "Israel means no longer Israel, but the Church which has entered into their inheritance.' But Israel, though seriously wounded, is not dead, and refuses to be buried; and the remarkable signs of vitality which as a people they are now manifesting are in themselves sufficient to show that they are not merely a nation of the past, but pre-eminently the nation of the future." *

 

[*Quoted from my (D. Baron's) book, "The Ancient Scriptures and the Modern Jew."]

 

When the Apostle Paul wrote these words, Israel had already rejected Christ, and it was on that account that he pours out the great sorrow and uninterrupted pain of his heart, yet - and this is one great purpose he had in writing these three chapters (Rom. 9-11.) - he proceeds to show how that, though all men be liars, God abides faithful, and that His gifts and calling of Israel (in spite of all that has happened) are "without repentance" or a change of mind on His part.

 

Therefore, it is with design that he says, not that they were Israelites, and that to them belonged the adoption, and the glory and the covenants, and the service of God, and the promises: but who are Israelites, and that theirs are all these gifts which constitute their high calling, for God hath not cast off the people which He had foreknown; and though the majority of many generations of Israel may exclude themselves through unbelief from the enjoyment of these great privileges, they are reserved in the purpose of God against the time when "all Israel shall be saved," and when, through Christ, they shall experience nationally what we now experience individually, that all the promises of God, "how many soever they be," and whether relating to spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, or to national and "temporal" blessings in earthly places in Canaan - "in Him is the yea" of verification, "and through Him also is the Amen" of response and of experience "to the glory of God through us" (2 Cor. 1: 20).

 

Meanwhile, far from the death of our Lord Jesus being occasion for the cancelling or annulling of the promises made to Israel, the Apostle assures us that "Christ was made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God that He might confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Rom. 15: 8); and since they have been ratified with His own precious blood, they have been made doubly sure, and can never fail.

 

I am speaking to Christians, and do not want to be misunderstood. I believe that there is not a promise in reference to spiritual blessing which the least and weakest believer in Christ may not apply and enjoy as if uttered to himself, and (as I said elsewhere) remember that in all His words and acts to Israel the heart of Israel's God is opened up to you, whoever you may be, who have learned to put your trust under the shadow of His wings. For this God is your God for ever and ever - the Father of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who wants you to learn from His infinite grace and faithfulness to His unworthy Israel that His faithfulness to you, too, can never fail.

 

But what I want you to know is that your inclusion into promises made to Israel in no way alters the meaning and force of the words as primarily uttered to that nation, and that you can be no gainer, but rather much of a loser, by the so-called spiritualizing, or phantomizing, method of interpreting Scripture, by which "Zion," "Israel," "Jerusalem," etc., are explained to mean the "Church," or "heaven"- a method which is largely responsible for the fact that the Bible, especially the prophetic Scriptures, has become a scaled book to the majority of professing Christians, who in consequence become an easy prey to every wind of false doctrine, or to the specious rationalism in relation to God's Word which now, alas, permeates the Churches!

 

"Theirs are the promises," and not one thing that God spake will ever fail - "For thus saith Jehovah, like as I brought all this great evil upon this people [and so literally fulfilling all the threatenings and curses which He had uttered against them], so will I bring upon them all the good that I promised them." "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities, and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth unto Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." And then, when Jehovah "hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel, all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God" (Jer. 32: 42; Mic. 7: 19 20; Ps. 98: 3).

 

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