1. But has Israel a national future?



Some say, Yes, assuredly; a grand future: it is the future of Britain and the United States of America!


Others say, No; certainly not: Israel as a nation lost for ever its privileges and prospects by rejecting Christ, its Messiah.  From that hour individual Israelites who receive Him become part of the church of God, which society is heir to all the spiritual and heavenly blessings of the new covenant; to it, as the Israel of God, appertain the promises to the fathers, and no literal, earthly fulfilment to a national Israel is to be expected. Thus the curses are left to the Jew, while the privileges are transferred to the church.


For a century there has been accepted a scheme which asserts that the Lord, when here, at first offered to Israel that He would then and there set up the kingdom of God in power and glory, giving fulfilment to the ancient promises concerning supremacy of Israel over the nations.  But when Israel rejected Him the offer was presently withdrawn, and the era of the heavenly church inaugurated; yet, when the latter company has been completed and removed to heaven, then Israel, as a repentant people, will be taken up again by God and there will be a literal fulfilment of the promises concerning them, in their land and city.


Against the former part of this scheme there has come of late a strong and needed reaction.  The theories of the “postponed kingdom,” the “interim dispensation” between Pentecost and Paul being rejected by the Jews at Rome; the “Jewish” character of the Synoptic Gospels; that only Paul’s prison epistles are properly “church” scriptures - these features, most of which have been so widely spread by the Scofield Bible, have been properly attacked and demolished.  But, most unfortunately, some vigorous writers, in their unbalanced zeal to drive Scolield over one precipice have themselves toppled over another and have maintained the equally indefensible theory outlined above, that there is no national future for Israel.  Yet by no necessity does the latter half of the scheme attacked depend upon the former part: reject the notion of the “postponement” of the kingdom and the dependent ideas, and the belief in a national future for Israel can be maintained on its own grounds.  In this, as in all matters, judicial balance of mind is required.


2. Duality



Upon this important question certain determining factors and scriptures have been neglected or unrecognized.


1. Gen. 1: 1.  The first statement of the Word of God has decisive bearing upon many questions.  In fact, it is the prologue to the whole Book of God.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth  Therefore there was a point when the universe had a beginning - it is not eternal.  But God was already there at the beginning or He could not have created what had a beginning - He is eternal.  The universe is neither self-existent, nor did it evolve of itself, or emanate from God - it is a creation.  This universal creation was brought into existence in two stages.  The heavens were created first and then their inhabitants; then the earth and its inhabitants.  This is shown by the Creator’s statement to Job that heavenly beings exulted when the foundations of the earth were laid (Job 38: 4-7).


Thus from God’s point of view the universe is divided into two chief sections, the heavens and the earth, which fact is a key to the development of His universal plans.


2. The arrangements in the prior region, the heavens, are the standard or type, and of these the arrangements on earth are a copy or replica.  This must be illustrated.


(1) From its beginning the Son of God has been the Sovereign of the universe and also the Mediator between God and His creatures.  His statement to Thomas (John 14: 6), “No one cometh unto the Father but through me,” declares what had always been the situation, as well in heaven as on earth, of angels as much as of men. (The A.V. “no man” is an unwarranted limiting of the statement.)


Thus in the heavens there ruled a Priest-King, which feature was duly reproduced on earth.  Noah, the head of the human family after the Flood, offered sacrifice to God, being essentially a priest-king.  So acted Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as head of their clan.  At that same time Melchizedek, in Salem, was publicly a priest-king, standing for the Creator, God Most High, in a land and world which had rejected Him.  In Israel Moses was such a royal priest as to rank.  He directed the sacrifices (Ex. 12: 21-28; 24: 4, 5; Lev. 8), and he legislated and ruled, being “king in Jeshurun” (Deut. 33: 4, 5).


This institution was general, if not universal, in the ancient world.  The sovereign was also the high priest of his people.  It persisted in China till recent times; the emperor offered an annual sacrifice on behalf of his nation.


It is to be noted that the earthly was copied from the heavenly.  Melchizedek was “made like unto the Son of God” (Heb. 7: 3).  Nor was he made like unto what the Son of God was to become in resurrection, but unto what He already was before Melchizedek was born, and which office as Priest-King He resumed, as He did His other glories (John 17: 5), as the ascended Son of man.


Moreover, under the Divine Sovereign and Priest in that heavenly realm there are angelic rulers and priests. Daniel saw thrones associated with the judgment session of the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7: 9).  Paul divides that invisible government into thrones, dominions, princedoms, and authorities (Col. 1: 16).  John saw those thrones around that of God (Rev. 4: 2, 4), and the sitters upon them had crowns and priestly robes.  These rulers, in conjunction with the four Living Ones, lead the worship of the universe, and so are priestly in office (Rev. 5).  Another angel is shown in priestly service adding incense before God to the prayers of saints of the earth (Rev. 8: 3).  The elders were in office before the Lamb was formally invested with sovereign power, and therefore they cannot be His church, for the Bride may not be installed before the royal Bridegroom.  This subject is opened at length in chs. 4 and 5 of my book The Revelation of Jesus Christ.


(2) In that heavenly world there was created “the sanctuary, the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man  In it is “the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb. 8: 1, 2), and there the Son of man sat down at His ascension, resuming His priestly office and interceding for His people.


This sanctuary is within the created heavens, itself a created spot, for it was “pitched” and is not eternal.  When the infinite God, the triune, Father, Son, and Spirit, alone existed there was no need of a local place of communion ; but when localized and finite beings had been created it required that there should be a local manifestation of Deity before which they could appear and where they could worship and serve.  This is the centre of government and worship for the universe.  As Milton wrote of God,


                                             … His state

Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without rest.

They also serve who only stand and wait.


The statement (Gen. 4: 16) that “Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah” may hint that in that earliest time there was a spot on earth where God could be met and from which Cain was banished.  Be that as it may, when God had separated one race of men, Israel, to be His people on earth He caused a sanctuary to be made where He could dwell visibly among them in a ray of glory.  This sanctuary was a copy of that heavenly sanctuary, a pattern of which Moses was caused to see and of which pattern the earthly tabernacle was to be an exact replica (Heb. 8: 5).


(3) Even as in that upper world there is a ruling angelic company having dominion over the angelic hosts and the earth, so was Israel as a people designed by God to be a race of royal-priests to rule the peoples of the earth: “Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation” (Ex. 19: 5, 6).  This was implied in the two-fold promise to their ancestor, Abraham: “thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” - political supremacy; “and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed” - priestly service (Gen. 22: 17, 18; 12: 2, 3).


(4) Again, in that heavenly world there is not only a sanctuary but a royal city, “Jerusalem that is above,” which is the mother city of the saints (Gal. 4: 26).  It is the capital city of the universe, where God dwells, and whence the universe is governed.


And the highest point in that city, distinguished from the city itself, is Mount Zion: “ye have come unto mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12 : 22).


Corresponding to this God chose to dwell on earth at Jerusalem in Canaan; and in Jerusalem the highest point was mount Zion, where was king David’s royal palace and where stood the thrones of government (2 Sam. 5: 7, 11; Psa. 122: 5); and in that city, on mount Moriah, stood the temple, in all essential respects a continuation of the tabernacle, and the holy dwelling of God to be the centre of worship for all peoples (Isa. 56: 7; Zech. 14: 16-21).


These particulars suffice to illustrate the feature of duality instituted by God; heavens and earth, and the earth to follow and correspond to the heavens.  But the most momentous instance of it is as follows:


(5) God is the most sublime of all Beings; He is “the Majesty in the heights” (Heb. 1: 3), “dwelling in light unapproachable, whom no man hath seen nor is able to see” (1 Tim. 6: 16).  In this divine Majesty the Son of God shared; He was “existing originally in the form of God” (Phil. 2: 6, R.V., mgn.), and “in Him all the Fulness was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1: 19).


It was the plan of God that there should be a lord of the earth corresponding to the Lord of the heavens, and therefore “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion” (Gen. 1: 26, 27).  This was toward a further design, even that the Lord of heaven should in the fulness of time assume the human form which was a copy of Himself, dwell awhile as a man on earth, take the human nature back to the heavens, and later remove thither others of the human race and associate these with Himself in His heavenly glory and dominion.  Thus should the heavens and the earth be most intimately associated, and Man, in Christ and His church, have universal dominion.  And thus on earth, where God has been dishonoured by rebellion, it shall be said, “O Jehovah, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” (Psa. 8; Heb. 2; Rev. 5).





3. Abraham


1. There arose in the heavens a revolt which cut across this Divine plan.  Lucifer resolved to usurp the throne of God and assume the sovereignty of heaven and earth (Isa. 14: 12-14; Ezk. 28: 11 ff; etc.).  First angels and later man were seduced by him.  Both before and after the Flood almost the whole human race followed him, and a point was reached where, as far as we can learn, only Melchizedek stood for the rights of God Most High.  At that time, in pursuance of His purpose, and to recover the situation on earth, God made overtures to Abram, a heathen idolator in Chaldea (Acts 7: 2-8; Gen. 12: 1-7; etc.).  Abram responded by trusting the promises of God and acting in obedience, though all but his family refused God and His holy will.  Thus Abram began a new type of humanity, distinguished by faith in God, and thus he is the “father” of all subsequent believers on God (Rom. 4: 16).


In the covenant of God with this man of faith the feature of duality is prominent.  He was guaranteed mighty blessings upon earth but also mightier prospects in the heavens.  His faith embraced both regions, especially the heavenly.  He “desired a better country, that is, a heavenly” (Heb. 11: 8-16).  It will be necessary to look shortly at some details of this covenant: for the moment it is enough to note carefully the determining fact that Abraham’s acceptance of the heavenly portion in no wise cancelled the promises of God as to the earthly portion.  Among other proofs this fact establishes the point, that for centuries Abraham’s seed possessed the land of Canaan which was part of the earthly portion.


2. (1) From that time God’s covenant with Abraham has been the basis of all spiritual blessings which have reached mankind, and he and his seed [which is firstly Christ (Gal. 3: 16), and then those associated with Christ by faith] have been the channel of those benefits.  A chief blessing promised is that through Abraham “all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” the whole human race shall be recovered from Satan and blessed in Christ, Gentile as well as Jew (Gal. 3: 13, 14).


(2) From that time the human race has been divided into two classes; those who have come into true relations with God by faith, as Abraham did, and those who have not done so.  This line cuts across the natural descendants of Abraham, as across Gentiles.  “They are not all Israel who are of Israel,” for not all have come into relation with God by faith (Rom. 9: 6, 32) for “he is not a Jew who is one outwardly ... but he is a Jew who is one inwardly,” who has a circumcised heart and spirit (Rom. 2: 28, 29).


(3) But the line cuts still closer, and divides into two classes even those who have a real faith in God.  Of those some have been content with the earthly portion promised to Abraham, whereas others, like him, have embraced the heavenly prospects as their chief good.  The distinguishing sign is definite.  Those who lay hold of the heavenly hope feel themselves aliens among men of the earth, friendly aliens indeed, but aliens, belonging in heart to another land, and they are content with the little that the pilgrim needs as he journeys to his own country and home.


This distinction has always displayed itself among the pious.  Abraham was satisfied to live the wandering life of a tent-dweller: Lot, though revdrencing Abraham’s God and being and acting as a righteous man (2 Pet. 2: 7, 8), preferred the settled, comfortable life of a great and luxurious city.  He went there as a sojourner, but lost that character and became a resident, and toiled, though vainly, to make the world better (Gen. 19: 9).  By contrast, Abraham could say to the men of the world, “I am a stranger and sojourner with you” (Gen. 23: 4), and he was ready to pay a good price for a field which was already his in title by grant from God.  Isaac and Jacob were in this one with Abraham, and in the like spirit David recognized the vanity of human life on earth and could say to God, “I am a stranger with thee, a sojourner” (Ps. 39: 5, 6, 12; 1 Chron. 29: 15).


This vital distinction continues in this Christian age.  We who have faith in God are likewise called to be “sojoumers and pilgrims” and to live accordingly (1 Pet. 2: 11, 12).  We are exhorted to “set our mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth” (Col. 3: 1-4); to live for the future, and therefore to “set our hope perfectly [undividedly] on the favour that is being brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1: 13).  The believers addressed in Heb. 10: 34 had been so minded, for of them it could be said, “ye accepted with joy the plunder of your goods, knowing that ye have for yourselves a better substance, and an abiding one” (Darby).  The heavenly was so substantial to their faith that they held the earthly of little account.  Their danger lay in relaxing that grip on the heavenly and tightening their grasp on the earthly.  Demas, once a fellow-worker of Paul (Philem. 24), had succumbed to this deadly danger and had forsaken the apostle in his extremity, “having loved this present age,” but Luke had stuck faithfully to the aged prisoner of Christ (2 Tim. 4: 10, 11).


And in the final adjudication and adjustment each [regenerate] believer shall be dealt with acdording to the inflexible rule announced repeatedly by the judge, “according to your faith be it done unto you” (Matt. 9: 29; etc.).  Therefore the Intercessor prayed for one follower that his faith might not collapse utterly (Luke 22: 32); therefore the apostle rejoiced over some that their faith was growing exceedingly (2 Thes. 1: 3), and warned others that their reaching the full heavenly prospects, of being presented by the Son unto the Father in the realm of light above, was contingent if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1: 2 3).


This distinction and its consequences will illuminate some difficult aspects of our theme.  It is in line with the principle of duality, even the existence, the correspondence, the difference of the heavens and the earth.


4. The Abrahamic Covenant


His covenant with Abraham was regarded by God as so fundamental, and so permanent, that He declared it ten times, six times to Abraham, and twice each to Isaac and Jacob.* [* See Gen. 12: 14; 13: 14-17; 15; 17: 1-21; 18: 9-19; 22: 16-18; 26: 24; 26: 24; 28: 13-15; 35: 9-12.] It was solemnized by sacrifice (Gen. 15) and ratified by oath (Gen. 22).  It guaranteed notable privileges, of which these are prominent


1. Abraham’s descendants should become a great nation, indeed nations, comparable in number to dust, sand, and stars.


2. The attitude of men to him would determine the attitude of God to them (Gen. 12: 3).


3. In him and his posterity blessing should reach all the families of the earth.  This was specified five times.  It has already had some, though only very partial, fulfilment, as through


(1) God-fearing natural descendants of Abraham.  Joseph was a blessing to Egypt; Elijah to the Sidonian widow; Elisha to Naaman the Syrian; Daniel to the Babylonian and Persian empires.  Roman officers stationed in Palestine learned to fear Israel’s God (Luke 7: 4; Acts 10: 1, 2). Gentiles in other lands became proselytes (Acts 13: 16, 26, 43).


(2) In this Christian age spiritual descendants of Abraham, Jewish and Gentile, have dispensed the blessings of the gospel among all races.  The distinctive message of God in this age is not the forgiveness of sins through atoning sacrifice: this was known from Abel’s time onwards, though the scope of forgiveness has, indeed, been widened by the cross of Christ as contrasted with the law of Moses (Acts 13: 38, 39).  The characteristic dominant in the Christian message is that it stresses the call to heavenly privileges, even more than earthly. Thus Christ early taught His disciples that “great is your reward in the heavens”, (Matt. 5: 10, 12); and so Peter teaches Christians that we are begotten again unto an inheritance “reserved in heaven” (1 Pet. 1: 3-5); and so Paul said that we should “walk worthily of God Who calleth you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thes. 2: 12), and that the Lord would preserve him “unto His heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim 4: 18).


Thus the emphasis now is upon the heavenly prospects opened to Abraham, and fully revealed in apostolic teaching, and only to be obtained by faith, faith of the type that animated Abraham.  Yet here again the embracing of the heavenly does not forfeit the earthly.  The Son of God owns the earth as well as the heavens; He has redeemed the earth, He will yet take possession of it (Psa. 2: 8, 9), and His heavenly associates shall rule it with Him: “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5: 5); “all things are yours ... the world” (1 Cor. 3: 21-23).  To the apostles Christ has guaranteed that they “shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22: 28-30).  Here there is no meaning possible other than the plain sense of the words.


Yet hitherto this wide-reaching promise concerning all mankind has received no adequate fulfilment, neither in the former age nor in this.  At the most only a very small minority of mankind have been blessed through Jew or Christian; the vast majority have always remained uninfluenced by Moses or Christ.  As families, races, or nations humanity has continued as in Abraham’s time, “alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart” (Eph. 4: 18).  When, therefore, is this promise to be fulfilled, and how?


4. The covenant guaranteed to Abraham everlasting possession of the land of Canaan.  The promises are specific and emphatic.  Ten times is the land mentioned.  (1) Gen. 12: 1, “Get thee unto the land that I will show thee ... into the land of Canaan they came


(2) Gen. 12: 7: “And Jehovah appeared unto Abraham, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land


(3) Gen. 13: 14, 15: “And Jehovah said unto Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes ... for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever


(4) Gen. 13: 17 : “Arise, walk through the land ... for unto thee will I give it.”


(5) Gen. 15: 7: “I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it


(6) Gen. 15: 18-21: “In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river [brook, Wady el Arish] of Egypt unto the great river, the.river Euphrates: the Kenite, and the Kenizzite ... and the Jebusite  Thus the boundaries of the land were defined.


(7) Gen. 17: 7, 8 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”


Thus both the covenant and the possession of the land are guaranteed as everlasting.


(8) Gen. 26 : 2, 3.  To Isaac God said “Go not down into Egypt: dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee: for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father  God cared for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their descendants even when they were in Egypt; but the covenanted earthly blessings were guaranteed only in the land, and therefore when the time came for bringing Israel, as a people, into the good of the covenant God said to Moses: “I am come down ... to bring them up out of that land [Egypt] unto a good land and a large ... unto the place of the Canaanite, etc.” (Ex. 3:  8).


(9) Gen. 28: 13.  To Jacob God said : “I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed and this He repeated, saying,


(10) Gen. 35: 12: “and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land


This oft reiterated guarantee by God that that land belongs to Abraham and his descendants for ever is emphatic and unambiguous.  It admits of only one meaning, and when some tell us that it will never again be fulfilled we reply, “you have made void the word of God on account of your tradition” (Matt. 15: 6).



5. The Covenant is Conditional


1. Some have created and pressed a sharp contrast between the covenant of God with Abraham and that made with Israel at Sinai.  They assert that the latter was under law and with conditions on man’s side, but the former was of God’s free grace and unconditional.  This goes beyond Scripture.  It is true that the proposals to Abraham originated in the free grace of God, seeing that He was under no obligation to make terms with any sinner; but it is commonly overlooked that it is a moral impossibility that God can bless a sinner (or a saint) unconditionally.  If God could disregard moral considerations He could make a covenant with Satan.  Even in the original unfallen state of the angels there was of necessity an implied condition that their felicity would continue only as long as their loyalty should continue.  This was so with Adam and Eve in Eden.  It is beyond possibility on God’s side that He should covenant to condone distrust and disobedience.


2. As regards Abraham’s natural seed, their sharing in the covenant individually was dependent upon each male being circumcized.  If this was not done he lost all benefit under the covenant (Gen. 17: 14).


3. The actual situation is shown distinctly in God’s soliloquy before He destroyed Sodom: “And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  For I have known him [on the force of ‘known’ see Amos 3: 2], to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that he may keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him” (Gen. 18: 17-19).


Thus God’s covenant followed His foreknowledge (comp. Rom. 8: 29, 30) that Abraham would fulfil the moral conditions necessary for serving the moral ends God had in view.


4. Again, after the sacrifice of Isaac God said, “By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing ... that in blessing 1 will bless thee, etc.” (Gen. 22: 16, 17).


5. This element of the transaction between God and Abraham was made clear beyond cavil when God renewed the covenant to Isaac and said: “I will establish the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father ... because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen. 26: 2-5).


It is evident that God made to Abraham a much fuller communication of His commandments, statutes, and laws than the history records.  At that time Hammurabi, the chief ruler of Mesopotamia, had issued his now recovered code of laws.  Over against this God announced to His servant His statutes and laws, and it was because Abraham obeyed the laws of God, rather than those of men, that God confirmed His covenant to the descendants of His faithful servant.


The full import of this conditional element will appear as we proceed.



6. The Covenant and the Land


The covenant with Abraham being basic the further dealings of God rest upon it and confirm it.


1. Another salient feature of the covenant, as regards its earthly side, was that the blessings guaranteed were to be fulfilled in the land described in the covenant.  Thus God told Abraham that his seed should be oppressed “in a land that is not theirs. ... And in the fourth generation they shall come hither again” (Gen. 15: 13-16).  And again God said to Jacob, “fear not to go down into Egypt  … I will also surely bring thee up again” (Gen. 46: 3, 4).


2. When the time had arrived for this return to Canaan God said unto Moses, “I am come down to ... bring them up out of that land [Egypt] unto a good land” and then the land was defined by mentioning the races then occupying it, as it had been before defined to Abraham (Ex. 3: 7, 8, 16, 17; Gen. 15: 19, 20).



7. The Covenant Renewed to Israel nationally


After the people had left Egypt and were on the resurrection side of the Red Sea, committed to a walk with God by faith, His word to them was, “if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Ex. 19: 3-6).


It is to be noted that (1) this has to do with Israel’s place as a nation, (2) on [this] earth, (3) in contradistinction to other nations and in superior relationship to God, and (4) the royal priesthood was to be their dignity as a kingdom; but (5) these privileges were declared to be conditional upon obedience and faithfulness to their side of God’s covenant.  (6) This was before the covenant enacted at Sinai and therefore not subordinate to or co-ordinate with it.  It was a confirmation to them as a nation of the covenant with their father Abrabam and like it was expressly conditional.





8. Sinai


With accompaniments of terrifying splendour God promulgated His holy law for human life.  That law was holy and righteous and good (Rom. 7: 12), and capable of assuring life to the obedient (Lev. 18: 5; Rom. 10: 5).  On the terms of that law, and on the condition that the people should obey it, God made with them a covenant.  To encourage them in obedience He came to dwell among them in the tabernacle, so creating on earth a relationship between Himself and man resembling that higher fellowship enjoyed by the hosts above in the heavenly sanctuary.  To overcome the hindrances to fellowship caused by human sin and failure God established sacrifices and ceremonies, which pointed forward to the one efficacious sacrifice of His Son, and worship based on it.  To strengthen them in spirit for obedience and worship they were granted spiritual food and drink, heavenly nutriment of which the manna and the water were earthly counterparts (1 Cor. 10: 1-4).


Yet all these provisions of grace proved unavailing.  The law was weak through the flesh and could not serve its purpose. They that are in the flesh are not able to please God, and with the vast majority of Israel God was not well pleased, which was shown by their death in the wilderness (Rom. 8: 3, 8; 1 Cor. 10: 5).  While the glory still crowned the summit of Sinai Israel broke the primary demand of the law that God alone should be worshipped, and thenceforward they proved themselves a stubborn and rebellious people.  Thus they promptly broke the covenant, in this rebellious spirit and practice they persisted, and after some seven centuries of forbearance God declared the covenant null and void and announced that a new covenant would have to be made (Jer. 31: 31, 32; Heb. 8: 8, 9).


Did this complete national breakdown and the abrogation of the covenant make void the purposes of God and His guarantees to Abraham that the land should belong in perpetuity to him and his seed and that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed? or is its effect only a postponement of fulfilment?  Let the Old Testament answer.


1. Deut 32. After forty years of failure and perversity Moses recited the song that God Himself had indited (Deut. 31: 19).  It was to be God’s permanent witness against their then present and their future obstinate rebellion.  It recounted their sorry past and warned of judgment to come yet concluded by re-affirming the Abrahamic covenant, saying, “Rejoice, O ye nations with his people: For he will avenge the blood of his servants, And will render vengeance to his adversaries, And will make expiation for his land, for his people” (Deut. 32: 43).  This prospect of the Gentile peoples being blessed continued to animate instructed Israelites. David expressed it (Psa. 18: 49), so did a later psalmist (117: 1).  In an extended prophecy most clearly pointing to the days of Messiah, Isaiah, by the Spirit of God, re-affirmed it (Isa. 11: 10, and see also chs. 55 and 56: 1-8).


The cogent arguments of Paul, in Romans, will be examined in their place.  We notice now that the words of Moses include matters which have no fulfilment in this gospel age and are even contrary to its spirit, namely, vengeance upon God’s adversaries for having shed the blood of His servants; and we observe that he states distinctly that the land, God’s land, that is Canaan, shall come again into favour, together with God’s people [Israel].  In this gospel age no particular land is in question nor is God’s land.  As the words then meant they could have no other sense to Moses and his hearers than Canaan and Israel.





9. David


2. 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 (Psa. 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 (vv. 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 [in the land] and judges, the world is established immovably, and concludes with a prayer that Israel shall be gathered together and delivered from the nations (vv. 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?


3. 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 ...” (vv. 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 Gocl, 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” (verse 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 [Christ], “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” (vv. 11-14).  But (7) inasmuch as the covenant with Abraham was conditional, and with his descendants, so it was laid down that, if David’s son [Solomon] 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?






10. Psalms and Prophets


4. Psa. 89. The covenant was confirmed by the oath of God and its terms were public property.  Ethan the Ezrahite recited them in his psalm (vv. 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) (v. 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.


5. 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.* (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 hath blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance


[* It is untenable and fanciful to refer these particulars to the Great Pyramid.  That is neither an altar nor a pillar, nor is it at the border of Egypt.]


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 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 commonly 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.


We will consider further statements of God through Isaiah.


6. Ch. 51 foretells a time when “Jehovah hath comforted Zion ... and hath made her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of Jehovah” (verse 3).  One who has stood on the summit of Olivet and gazed down over the horrid wilderness of Judea will know that this scripture has not been fulfilled.  Nor has verse 4: “a law shall go forth from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the peoples.”  The prophecy shows that at the era for fulfilment the feature of duality will still obtain: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath” (verse 6), and verse 16 tells that God will “plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth,” at which time He will “say unto Zion, Thou art my people


What people is meant is shown in the continuation of the prophecy in ch. 52: 4: “My people went down at first into Egypt ... and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without cause  This is no description of God’s present spiritual people, the church, but plainly means the literal Israel.  It is therefore the earthly Zion and Jerusalem [during the Millennium] that are meant in verse 1, “Awake, awake, put on thy, strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city


7.  In ch. 60 it is said to Zion that “the Holy One of Israel hath glorified thee” (verse 9).  Why is God so described if not Israel is meant but the church?  Verse 5 says, “the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto thee  How can this refer to the eternal earth seeing that then “the sea is no more” (Rev. 21: 1)?  It is further specified that “the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee  How shall this be other than literal seeing that six peoples or localities which shall contribute to this inflow of wealth to Zion are mentioned by name?  They are Midian, Ephah, Sheba, Kedar, Tarshish, and Lebanon.  Take this as literal, that these lands will contribute to the enrichment of Palestine, and the sense is simple.  It will defy the utmost ingenuity to give them a “spiritual” sense, and the attempt must end in denying them any meaning at all, and once again a prophecy will be nullified.


8. The Royal Priesthood.   Isa. 60 further shows that Israel will reach dominance over the other peoples. “The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted” (verse 12): and ch. 61: 5, 6, shows that they will have priestly standing:  “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.  But as for you, ye shall be called priests of Jehovah: it shall be said of you, Ministers of our God” (Darby).  Thus shall be fulfilled the promises to Abraham, that they should possess the gate of their enemies and should be a blessing to all the families of the earth; so shall they as a people reach at last the honours offered at the time they came out of Egypt (Ex. 19: 6); and thus shall it be seen finally that God has indeed not changed His mind as to His gifts and calling of Israel, nor is He to be thwarted of His goal (Rom. 11: 29), nor reproached with any failure to keep His word.


9. Isa. 61. 4. It is said of Israel that “they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations  It is easy to conceive a literal fulfilment of this in a land so often desolated by war as Palestine.  It is quite impossible to conceive of any fulfilment at all by the heavenly sons of Abraham in their heavenly country.  What desolated cities will they rebuild there?  Or what need will they have of alien plowmen and vinedressers to do their field work while they serve as priests and kings?  To “spiritualize” such promises is to render God’s Word as desolate as the ravages of war made Palestine: to take them to mean what they say gives direct meaning and comforting force to such a word as ch. 62: 4: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and thy land Beulah [Married]: for Jehovah delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married


10. Isa. 65.  The subject of Israel’s restoration is continued: “I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains” (verse 9).  The former troubles will be forgotten, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind ... for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy” (vv. 17, 18).  It is added (verse 20) that in that era “the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed  This cannot point to the heavenly world, nor to the eternal new heavens and earth, because in those there shall be neither sinners nor curse.  It must therefore refer to the Millennial kingdom and the conditions of the earthly Jerusalem.  Therefore it must be taken as literal that “they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them ... they shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of Jehovah [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], and their offspring with them” (verse 23).  Therefore shall their prayers be answered (verse 24, evidently a literal matter), and wolf and lion and serpent “shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith Jehovah” (verse 25).


Those who would make this mean the church and heaven must be bold and assert that wolves and lions and serpents are found in heaven.  But if they say that these are figures of Satan and his angels, the answer is simple and conclusive, even that when the era of this prophecy comes, and the heavenly seed of Abraham are removed to that heavenly realm, Satan and his angels will have been previously expelled from heaven, and the prophecy cannot apply. Rev. 12 : 7 ff.


It must be observed that in that Millennial period the fact of the original duality continues, both the heavens and the earth being mentioned as gloriously renewed.  This had been before intimated by Isaiah at 24: 21: “And it shall come to pass in that day that Jehovah shall punish the host of the height, and the kings of the earth upon the earth


11. Jeremiah confirms Isaiah.  Ch. 31.  He announces that a new covenant will be concluded and specifies that it will be made with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (verse 31).  After its terms have been mentioned it is added that if sun and moon “depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.  Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah” (vv. 35-37).  That is, it is as utterly impossible that God should cast off all the seed of Israel, and repudiate them as a nation, as it is impossible that man should measure the heavens; yet some insist that, because of their evils, He has done this very thing He Himself has declared He will not, cannot do, in spite of their evils.


It is immediately added that “Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the city shall be built to Jehovah from the tower of Hananel unto the gate of the corner.  And the measuring line shall yet go out straight onward unto the hill Gareb, and shall turn about unto Goah.  And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto Jehovah; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever” (vv. 38-40).


The tower of Hananel, the corner gate, the hill Gareb, Goah, the valley of dead bodies and ashes, the brook Kidron, the horse gate, all these seven were well-known points in the literal Jerusalem and its suburbs, and can be so again.  Will our brethren tell us equally simply what are the features of the heavenly Jerusalem to which these terms apply after a spiritual manner, and especially what corresponds in that upper world to the valley of dead bodies and ashes?  But as this cannot be done, and if in addition there is to be no literal fulfilment at the earthly Jerusalem, then this so detailed prophecy means nothing at all; it has been written and preserved in vain.


12. Jeremiah 32 and 33.  The prophet was in prison in Jerusalem; the whole land was in the grip of the Chaldean invaders; Jerusalem was invested and Jeremiah was assured by God that it would be captured and destroyed.  Yet he was Divinely directed to buy a field.  It appeared a futile purchase, but the guarantee was given that fields should become of value and be bought and sold “in the land of Benjaulin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the hill country, and in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith Jehovah” (32: 42-44).  Whatever corresponded to this after the return from Babylon, seventy years later, was not the fulfilment of this prophecy, because much that was to accompany did not take place and has never yet taken place.  For instance.  The God of Israel said at the same time, (1) “I will gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them” (verse 37).  At the return mentioned only a minority came to Jerusalem and then from only some of the countries.  God added: (2) “I Will cause them to dwell safely” (verse 37), which they never did after the Chaldean conquest and never have done since.  (3) God declared: “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever” (verse 39), and “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good” (verse 40).


Ch. 33.  Obviously these promises await fulfilment, but not by means of a national lapse of Israel as a people and a mere remnant being merged into the church of God, for Jehovah continued: “I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first” (verse 7).  Now their first upbuilding was national, visible, in the land of Canaan, and God added (verse 6) that “I will bring itthis city’ verse 5) health and cure. ... And this city shall be to me for a name of joy, for a praise and glory, before all the nations of the earth ... for I will cause the captivity of the land to return as at the first, saith Jehovah” (vv. 9, 11).  Then once more to fix the reference to the earthly Jerusalem the Lord added: “Thus saith Jehovah of hosts; yet again shall there be in this place, which is waste, and in all the cities thereof ... shepherds causing their flocks to lie down” (verse 12).  All parts of the land are then specified again (verse 13) and the fulfilment is shown to be Millennial in the days of Messiah as “the Branch of righteousness to grow up in the house of David. ... For thus saith Jehovah, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel” (vv. 14-17).


Thus the covenant with David is reaffirmed, and the solemn assurance is added that God can no more break that covenant than man can break the ordinahees of day and night and heaven and earth (vv. 20-26).  Thus is it certain beyond doubt that David’s seed shall “be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (verse 26). This cannot be a reference to Christ as head of the church because it speaks of “rulers,” and it specifies the ruled by their connexion with the three patriarchs.  Christians are spiritual children of Abraham, but are not the seed of Isaac and Jacob.


13. Ezekiel confirms his predecessor Isaiah and his contemporary Jeremiah.  In ch. 16 Jerusalem is shown to have been founded by heathen Hittites and Amorites (vv. 3, 45), and is compared to an infant girl cast out at birth to die.  But Jehovah took her up, nurtured and adorned her, and attached Himself to her as a man to his wife.  But Jerusalem was faithless to Him and became as a harlot, consorting with the heathen and so was defiled.  God regards her as a sister in wickedness of Sodom and Samaria, as “having despised the oath in breaking the covenant” with God (verse 59), as an adulteress violates the marriage covenant.  But Jehovah goes on to foretell a return from captivity of both Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem, though after severe chastisements, and says to Jerusalem, “I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant” (verse 6o).


Here is a contrast between an earlier covenant and a later.  This can have no application to the church of God, since its members partake in the later covenant only.  The passage refers to Jerusalem as Jerusalem, and promises its restoration as a city.  If “Jerusalem” here means the church, what do its sisters Sodom and Samaria mean?  As these can be only those actual cities, so must Jerusalem be that actual city.  If it is to be “spiritualized,” what place in the heavenly church are Samaria and Sodom to have?


14. In ch. 36, of Ezekiel, God addresses the mountains of Israel and promises renewed fruitfulness “to my people Israel; for they are at hand to come” (verse 8).  Are the mountains of Israel in heaven? will they be tilled and sown, and be trodden by multitudes of men and beasts, “even my people Israel”? (verse 12).  God proceeds : “when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land they defiled it” (verse 17).  Therefore God poured upon them His fury and scattered them among the nations (vv. 18, 19).  Then follow wondrous promises of restoration, addressed to the very same “house of Israel” that God scattered, and announcing what He will yet do for them, as follows (vv. 24-38):


(1) “For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and bring you into your own land  But some say, This no longer means what it seems to mean, and did at first mean; “your own land” now means heaven.


(2) “And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean,” which refers back to the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14) and the ashes of the heifer (Num. 19), which typified how, by means of living water, blood or ashes, both visible tokens of atoning death, were applied to the defiled for his public cleansing.


(3) “A new heart also will I give you, and (4) a new spirit will I put within you, and (5) I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and (6) I will give you a heart of flesh.  And (7) I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them


And now follows immediately a further reference to their land.  They being thus cleansed and renewed, God says: “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave unto your fathers,” to which are added rich promises as regards corn and fruits, and that the cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt, so that travellers shall say, “This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden;” and this is all distinctly to apply to the earthly land, for it is added that “the nations that are left round about you shall know that I Jehovah have built the ruined places  There will be no rebuilding of waste cities in the heavens, nor nations round about to watch the church of God build them.


15. Ch. 37 of Ezekiel follows with a picture to illuminate what has just been promised.  A valley is full of dry bones: these are revitalized, and “are the whole house of Israel,” of whom God says, “I will cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. ... And I will put my spirit in you, and I will place you in your own land” (vv. 11-14).


The whole programme is thus stated in a straightforward manner and is simple to understand.  And that the literal fulfilment is meant is now shown by a prophecy that the division of the nation into southern and northern kingdoms shall cease.  It existed in Ezekiel’s day, but he was to take two sticks, and write upon one the name of Judah and the children of Israel his companions, and on the other the name of Ephraim and all the house of Israel his companions; then he was to join them to-gether into one stick, to teach that the two kingdoms should be again one in the hand of God.  It were but trifling to suggest that this can have any application to the heavenly church.


And this one nation shall be “in the land, upon the mountains of Israel. ... And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers dwelt” (vv. 22-25).  Observe the words “have given,” not simply “gave”; the grant had not been withdrawn, but was still in force in Ezekiel’s time, in no wise cancelled by Israel’s rebellion or by them being in captivity as punishment.  It was as God had said through Moses nine centuries earlier (Lev. 26: 44): “And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them


16. Ezekiel 40-48. The City and Sanctuary.  The renewal of the nation having been thus set forth, chs. 38 and 39 describe the final invasion of Palestine by the last world Emperor, and his destruction by Christ at His appearing, which leads on to a description of a city and its temple.  The city is said to stand “in the land of Israel ... upon a very high mountain” and on its south side.  Why this last detail if the fulfilment is to be heavenly?  To the prophet it was said: “Declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel” (40: 1-4).  There follows an elaborate and detailed description of the house, its priests, its appointments, and sacrifices.  The whole concludes with directions as to the division of the land between the tribes of Israel, and an account of the twelve gates of the city, and is completed with the glorious announcement: “The name of the city from that day shall be JEHOVAH SHAMMAH,” Jehovah is there (48: 35).


Sundry details show that a literal fulfilment of the vision is intended.


(1) 43: 7. “He said unto me, Son of man, this is the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever,” that is, this house is to be the renewal, continuation, and perfecting of the former dwelling place of God on that same spot.


(2) 43: 10, 11. “Thou, son of man, show the house to the house of Israel. ... And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the form of the house ... and all the laws thereof, and write it in their sight: that they may keep the whole form [or, all the appointments] thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them  The former rebellion of the house of Israel was a reality; therefore their repentance, shame, and obedience are to be a reality.


(3) 43: 12. “This is the law of the house: upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy.  Behold, this is the law of the house.” The ceremonial sanctity of a literal house on a literal mountain is intended because a boundary limit is defined.


(4) The very name of the family of priests that are to officiate is given four times, namely, Zadok, a family well-known among the sons of Aaron (chs. 40: 46; 43: 19; 44: 15; 48: 11; 1 Chron. 6: 8).  And the reason for that family resuming office is that they were faithful to Jehovah when other priests succumbed in the apostasy (44: 15).


(5) 47: 1-12.  The river that flows from the sanctuary is a reality, for the stretch of it where fishermen shall fish is defined by the names of two places, En-gedi and En-eglaim (the former being well-known in the history of Israel), and the region into which the river shall run is given its regular name of the Arabah.  Hence the sanctuary from which the river issues must be literal.


(6) 47: 13-23.  The boundaries of the land are defined and some fourteen towns or districts are mentioned by name, commencing from the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) unto the brook of Egypt.


(7) 48: 1-7; 23-29.  The names of the tribes that are to inherit are mentioned, the relative location for each is specified, it being laid down that “This is the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, and these are their several portions, saith the Lord Jehovah


(8) 45: 1-8; 48: 8-22.  The portion of the land to be dedicated unto Jehovah, in which the sanctuary is to stand, is specified as to its measurements, its divisions, and its relation to the land of the tribe of Judah.  Further, the portion to be allotted to the prince, with numerous details as to his duties, are laid down, with sundry other practical matters.


No difficulty exists in taking literally all this mass of detail.  It almost all existed as part of the life of Jerusalem in older times and can exist again.  To give rational spiritual counterparts to it all is clearly impossible.  Probably no difficulty would be felt in taking it literally were it not for the directions as to the chief remaining matter, namely, (9) The Resumption of Sacrifices, especially of the sin offering.  It is urged that such resumption would be so contrary to the teaching in the epistle to the Hebrews that it cannot possibly be contemplated, and, as the system of sacrifices is an inseparable part of the whole scheme, the whole must be set aside as either not intended to be realized literally, or alternatively, as having been abrogated because of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah.


Whether the reinstituting of sacrifices would be contrary to Hebrews will be examined when we reach that epistle in these studies.  At present some relative considerations are stated.


(a) The prospect depicted by the vision has never had any sort of fulfilment, and therefore, if it is to be fulfilled, it must be Millennial, especially as God is to dwell in this temple in glory (ch. 43).  Conversely, if the vision is never to be realized, why was it given?  God must have known that it would be idle to give it.  But in the fact He foreknew that Israel would repent, be ashamed, and that so the moral condition for its fulfilment would become fact.


(b) If the resumption of sacrifices will be contrary to the teaching of Hebrews, why did God give an elaborate forecast of what He knew would be contrary to His ways in salvation?  The position forced by the alleged contradiction comes pretty near to a challenge of the Divine inspiration of either Ezekiel or the Hebrews.


(c) The prophecy of the renewal of the temple at Jerusalem, and its ritual, is not confined to Ezekiel but is a regular theme of the psalmists and prophets; so that very much of their writings also must be set aside with that of Ezekiel.  This agreement in testimony will be now set forth.


17. Prophecies of Millennial Temple.


(1) Psalms 66, 67, 68 are millennial.  They look onward to a time when “all the earth” shall praise and worship the God of Israel (66: 1, 4).  Israel calls upon other peoples to bless their God (8).  They recite their national sufferings and how God has brought them out into a wealthy place, (or, as Darby’s German version has it, “an overflowing refreshing”) and does not suffer their foot to be moved (vv. 8-12).  At this point the writer exclaims: “I will come into thy house with burnt offerings ... I will offer unto thee bullocks with goats” (vv. 13-15).  It is of interest that the Septuagint heads this Psalm as “a song, a psalm of resurrection.” , Psa. 67 follows and is millennial “God shall bless us [Israel]; and all the ends of the earth shall fear HimPsa. 68 is millennial.  It leads the thoughts through God’s dealings with Israel from Sinai on to a time when Jehovah shall dwell for ever “at the mountain which He hath desired for His abode” (verse 16) where He “is among them, as in Sinai, in the sanctuary”(verse 17).  For this purpose He has ascended on high, and received gifts for men. Eph. 4: 8 applies this to the ascension of Christ, and the psalm links this with the object “that the Lord God might dwell with them” (vv. 17-18).  So that a sanctuary is envisaged at God’s mountain, even as it is added in verse 29, “Because of thy temple at Jerusalem kings shall bring presents unto thee  Now there was no temple at Jerusalem when David wrote this psalm, and that the reference cannot be to Solomon’s temple is plain from the prior reference to the ascension of Messiah to heaven.


(2) Psa. 96 is millennial. “Sing unto Jehovah all the earth The nations and “all the peoples,” the “kindreds of the peoples,” are to hear and worship.  “Say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth; the world also is established that it cannot be moved.”  Heaven and earth are to rejoice because “He shall judge the peoples with equity,” for which purpose “He cometh [or, is come]; for He cometh to judge the earth” (10-13).


In the midst of this exultation there sounds the call, “Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. ... Bring an offering, and come into his courts” (6-8).  This cannot be a forecast of heaven or of the church of God, for in these realms the national distinctions of earth have no place (Col. 3:11).


(3) Isa. 19: 21.  This millennial prophecy (as we have already shown it to be) refers to Egyptians worshipping Jehovah “with sacrifice and oblation


(4) Isa. 27: 13.  This prophecy points to a time “when Jehovah cometh forth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (26: 21).  In that day Israel shall be “A vineyard of wine. ... In days to come shall Jacob take root; Israel shall blossom and bud: and they shall fill the face of the world with fruit” (27: 2-6).  “And it shall come to pass on that day ... ye shall be gathered one to another, O ye children of Israel” (12). “And it shall come to pass in that day ... they shall worship Jehovah in the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (13).


(5) Isa. 66.  Verse 10 says “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem,” because (12) God “will extend peace to her like a river” and His people “shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (13).  This is to be because “Jehovah will come with fire” to deal “with all flesh, and the slain of Jehovah shall be many” (15, 16). Comp. 2 Thes. 2: 7, 8 and Rev. 19: 11-21.


The peoples shall then “bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an offering unto Jehovah,” and “of them also will I take for priests, for Levites, saith Jehovah.  For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, so shall your seed and your name remain” (20-22).  The permanent status of Israel being thus guaranteed, the prophecy adds: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah” (23).


This new earth is millennial.  There is to be a centre of worship, and all mankind will resort there; the sabbath is to be observed, as also monthly festivals; and priests and Levites officiate.  That the scene is on earth at Jerusalem is clear by the appended reference to the Valley of Hinnom outside the city.


(6) Jer. 33: 17, 18.  As noted above this prophecy concerns the time of Messiah as the “Branch of righteousness” (15), and Jerusalem shall bear the name “Jehovah is our righteousness” (16). “For thus saith Jehovah David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to burn oblations, and to do sacrifice continually  This covenant with David and the Levites is as inviolable as the ordinances of day and night (20-22).


(7) Ezek. 37: 26, 27.  Therefore when God gave to Ezekiel the vision of the city and sanctuary He was not displaying something unknown, new, or exceptional, but was confirming and elaborating what He had declared through earlier inspired psalmists and prophets.  Indeed, the vision was but the full exhibition of what He had before said to Ezekiel. “I will make a covenant of peace with them ... and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.  My tabernacle also shall be with them. ... And the nations shall know that I am Jehovah that sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore


Thus (1) that sanctuary is designed as a means of instruction to the heathen nations of the time, and (2) it is to exist for evermore.


(8) Dan. 8 1-13. . This is the prophecy which our Lord (Matt. 24 : 15) bids us to understand concerning the abomination of desolation which shall stand in the holy place, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.  The angel said that the vision belongeth to the “appointed time of the end” (19), and will be fulfilled in the “latter time” of Gentile authority, “when the transgressors are come to the full” (23).  In that time the little horn, (Antichrist, the Beast of Rev. 13) shall take away from the Prince of the host “the continual burnt offering, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.  And the host was given over to it, together with the continual burnt offering, through transgression ... the transgression that maketh desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot.” This is indeed not the temple foretold by Ezekiel, but one to be erected by Israel just prior to the advent of Messiah.  The vision shows that the Jews will have again instituted temple and sacrifices, as the present leaders in Palestine are even now proposing to do.


The prophets who followed Ezekiel were Divinely instructed to the same effect.


(9) Haggai 2: 6-9. “For thus saith Jehovah. of hosts: yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desirable things of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of hosts.  The silver is mine and the gold is mine, saith Jehovah of hosts.  The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, saith Jehovah of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith Jehovah of hosts


This shaking of heaven and earth was future when Heb. 12: 26-28 was written, and is still future.  So therefore is the house of God at Jerusalem here foretold.  The Divine usage of words has instruction.  Solomon’s temple had been destroyed nearly a century earlier than Haggai; the second temple was in course of erection.  Referring to the latter God said: “Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes as nothing?” (Hag. 2: 3).  So that the second temple and the former were the same house, as God saw it.  And again of the second temple God promised “I will fill this house with glory. ... The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former” (2: 7‑9).  Even when enlarged by Herod that second temple did not exceed Solomon’s temple, nor did the glory ever occupy it.  Therefore the future temple is viewed as but one with the first and second temples, and is to be more glorious than either.  This is explained by Haggai’s contemporary, Zechariah.


(10) Zechariah 6 : 12-15.  The last of the earliest series of glowing millennial visions given to this prophet said, “Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch.” (This title of Messiah is found at Isa. 4: 2 Jer. 23: 5; 33: 15, and Zech. 3: 8.)  The prophecy continues “He shall grow up out of his place [comp. Isa. 53: 2: “For he - the arm of Jehovah - grew up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground”], and he shall build the temple of Jehovah, even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne. ... And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah,” Gentiles being meant (comp. Eph. 2: 17).


Here is the great Priest-King both ruling and leading worship, sitting upon a throne and building a temple.  The two are so interlocked with the one Person that if the temple is not to be actual neither can the throne be; Messiah is, then, to be neither King nor Priest, as far as the earth, with Israel and the nations, is concerned, and the feature of duality basic in the plans and ways of God is annulled.  Christ may be King of heaven, but will not be King of Israel or the earth.  But this would be in flat and irreconcilable contradiction of what was further revealed to Zechariah.


(2) Zechariah 14: 16-21.  This prophecy, beginning with ch. 12, has to do with the day when “all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against” Jerusalem (12: 3), when “Jehovah shall defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem” and “destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (12: 8, 9).  “His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,” and, as if expressly to forbid any other than the literal sense, the location of that mountain is defined, it “is before Jerusalem on the east” (14: 4).  “Jehovah my God shall come, and all the holy ones with Thee” (14: 5).  Comp. Matt. 25: 31, where Christ says: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all the nations


The destruction of the nations gatherd against Jerusalem is then described, “and it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the king, Jehovah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (14-16).  Judgments are next denounced against any who do not attend this annual festival, the “feast of tabernacles” being again twice specified; and the prophecy concludes by saying that “the pots in Jehovah’s house shall be like [that is, equally as sacred as] the bowls before the altar.  Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holy unto Jehovah. of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein : and in that day there shall be no more a Canaanite [a trafficker, comp. John 2: 13-16] in the house of Jehovah of hosts


All this sets forth, as realities to be expected, the coming of the Lord to the earth, Jerusalem as His city, His throne to be there, that He will build the house of God as the centre of worship for the world, and that there is to be a resumption of festivals and sacrifices.


(12) Malachi.  The final prophet of the Old Testament speaks emphatically to the same effect.  The Lord “shall come suddenly to his temple ... He shall purify the sons of Levi ... and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years” (3: 1-4).  The future therefore, is to be as actual as was the past, the “ancient years.” This is to be “in the day that I make, saith Jehovah of hosts” (3: 17); “For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace” and the wicked shall be burned up (4: 1).  “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings ... in the day that I do make, saith Jehovah of hosts” (4: 2). And it bears upon our topic that the call for that time is, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and judgments,” for aiding in which purposes Elijah shall be sent, the prophet re-enforcing the lawgiver (4: 4-6).


Thus the prophets speak with one voice to the effect that Jerusalem is to be the millennial centre of the earth under the rule of Messiah and its centre of worship, with a temple and priesthood and sacrifices. Was this mighty volume of clear and consentient testimony given by God in vain?  If there is a conflict between this testimony and the writer of Hebrews, which has Divine authority?  We decline to mangle, paralyze, and kill the prophecies of the Old Testament merely because some to-day understand, (or misunderstand) the writer of the Hebrews to require it.


This whole body of weighty prediction is the culmination of the early statements of God, made twice, through Micah (4: 1-4) and Isaiah (2: 2, 3):


(13) Micah 4: 1-4: “But in the latter days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the Lord’s house, shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and (allIsa.) peoples shall flow into it.  And many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge between many peoples, and shall reprove strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.   But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it


Without the literal fulfilment of this scripture all prophecy is rendered chaotic and unintelligible: with it as a clue all is simple and consistent.  Without it there is no light as to the future of the nations, of Israel, of the earth; but by its means Divine light is thrown upon the plans of God and they are seen to be consistent with the past and worthy of Himself.


The New Testament is wholly harmonious with the Old, as will be now shown.





11. The Gospels


18. The Annunciation.  The holy angels have been instructed by God to expect a literal fulfilment of the promises concerning Messiah and Israel, as said Gabriel to Mary regarding Jesus: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1: 32, 33).


(1)  (a) David is promised no throne to reign over the church of God, but over Israel, as we have seen.


(b) The choice of the name “Jacob” forbids application to the church.  The name “Israel” has a double significance, which will be considered later; but “Jacob” has no meaning in Scripture but that of the physical descendants of the patriarch their ancestor, with a hint that his earlier character has passed to them.


(c) This kingdom of the Messiah over the house of Jacob is to endure for ever, which is not at all the same idea as that it will lapse and be merged into another, a heavenly condition, very different to itself in state and place. The everlasting duration of his kingdom was guaranteed to David, and was confirmed to Daniel (Dan. 2: 44; 7 : 14, 27), in which prophecies it is stated specifically that this kingdom is to be on the [this present] earth “the stone became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth;” “the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High” (Dan. 2: 35; 7: 27).


(2) The godly expected such a fulfilment.  Mary said: “He hath given help to Israel his servant, that he might remember mercy (as he spake unto our fathers), toward Abraham and his seed for ever” (Luke 1: 54, 55).  For her, the covenant with Abraham was still in force, and the coming of Messiah was in pursuance thereof; that covenant would be remembered by God for ever.


(3) It was thus with Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1: 67-79).  Filled with the Holy Spirit he declared that the horn of salvation would come in the house of David, and would be through remembrance by God of “the oath which he sware unto Abraham our father


(4) Simeon, Divinely taught, knew that in Jesus had come “Thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2: 30-32). Thus the purpose that “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” was still in force, and yet there is here no merging of Jews and Gentiles into one company (as in the church of God), but they are kept distinct, and while the Gentile peoples shall receive “revelation” the “glory” is for Israel.


(5) Who taught the Magi from the East that Jesus was “born king of the Jews”? (Matt. 2: 2).  And why were they so taught if in fact there is to be no Jewish kingdom?


(6) (a) In The Gospel of the Kingdom (now out of print) I declared my full agreement with those who repudiate the notion that John the Baptist and Jesus offered to Israel that the kingdom would at that time be set up in glory if the people would receive Jesus as the Messiah.  As to John, he most distinctly declared that Jesus was the lamb of God who should bear away the sin of the world, implying that therefore He must die (John 1: 29, 35).  As to Jesus, in the very first pronouncement by Him that is recorded He told Nicodemus that “the Son of man must be lifted up” (John 3: 14, 15).  Neither had the impossible idea that Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22 need not be fulfilled.  All the prophets had said that Messiah must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24: 25-27; 1 Pet. 1: 10, 11).


Many have insisted that the years described in the Gospels belonged to the Old Dispensation and that therefore the teaching of Christ was “Jewish” in character and outlook, being addressed to His hearers as still on that ground.  This ignores His own explicit statement that “The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the good news of the kingdom of God is preached” (Luke 16: 16).  Matthew, supposed to be the most  “Jewish” of the Gospels, is the one that repeats the Lord’s teaching as to the church (Matt. 16: 18; 18: 17).


What John and Jesus announced was not that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (which wrong translation has furthered a wrong idea), but that “the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near,” that is, in the sense in which a kingdom is embodied and exhibited in its King, and has drawn near to a land when its king visits there (Matt. 12: 28).


(b) But from the early days of His ministry the Lord sought to draw the minds and hearts of His hearers towards the heavenly prospects, which Abraham had embraced and which were now even more important, seeing that the earthly prospects would fall into abeyance when He Himself should be rejected and driven from the earth.  “After this manner therefore pray ye, Our Father who are in the heavens ... Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth but lay up for yourselves treasures in the heavens. ... Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake [the Old Testament saints]; for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you and persecute you ... for great is your reward in the heavens” (Matt. 6: 9, 19, 20; 5: 10-12).  This line of teaching the Lord continued until just at the end of His course He said to the faithful and persevering of His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you [in My Father’s house] ... and I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am ye may be also,” and then to His Father He said, “I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory” (John14: 1-3; 17: 24).


(c) Thus did the Lord inaugurate the age of the gathering of His then scattered sheep and church, which work the apostles continued and which is still in progress.  But did this with Christ and the apostles He taught imply that Israel nationally and their earthly prospects were now cancelled, and only the heavenly prospects remained open?


If this had been the purport of Christ’s teaching during three and a half years it seems remarkable that those who listened to Him the longest and the most attentively completely failed to gain even an inkling of it, for had they done so they never would have asked, after His resurrection, the question, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?  Moreover, if the Lord had wished to disabuse their minds of the idea as being erroneous, surely this was the occasion to have made clear to them that the kingdom never would be restored to Israel.  On the contrary, He left the idea in their minds uncorrected, merely saying that “it is not for you to know times or seasons” (Acts 1: 6, 7).  Thus the event was left to be expected, though the time for it was left unstated, because it was not at hand but far off, to come after the gathering [of the ‘Bride,’ (Rev. 19: 8)] out of the church should have been completed.


(7) It has been noted above that the closing statement of Old Testament prophecy was a call to Israel to remember the law of Moses and a promise that Elijah the prophet should come before the great day of the Lord, and should turn the hearts of the fathers and children, lest a curse should smite the earth (or the land, i.e. of Israel) (Mal. 4 : 4-6).  It is manifest that neither the law, nor Elijah, nor the curse can apply to the heavenly people. The land in question cannot be the world above.  Yet the Lord, when asked why the scribes taught “that Elijah must first come”, replied definitely that “Elijah indeed cometh and restoreth all things” (Matt. 17: 11).  He added, “but I say unto you that an Elijah came just now” (ede elthen), meaning John the Baptist (vv. 12, 13).  John indeed came “in the spirit and power of Efijah” (Luke 1: 16, 17); but the Lord’s answer asserts that nevertheless, “Elijah, indeed, cometh”; Malachi’s prediction has yet to be fulfilled, and therefore Israel must needs be in existence for the fulfilment.


(8) When Peter asked what they should have who had left all to follow Christ, the Lord might have used this as an opportunity to turn away their minds from earthly prospects, as not to be available, and have repeated His instruction that the reward is in heaven.  This He did not do, but showed that the earthly will exist as well as the heavenly, “In the regeneration [when all things shall be born anew], when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19: 28).  This at once confirms Zechariah’s prophecy that Messiah, the Branch, “shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne.” (Zech. 6: 13), and Ezekiel’s forecast of the existence of the twelve tribes in their land (47: 13‑48 : 29).  But these features being confirmed by Christ as literal, so must the accompanying details as to the land, the city, and the temple be literal, as literal as the coming of Christ in glory.


Thus does the earthly prospect of Christ and His people abide, not being swallowed up in the heavenly.


(9) At the entry into Jerusalem the crowds cried aloud, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed is the kingdom that cometh, the kingdom of our father David” (Mark 11: 9, 10).  All knew that this psalm (118) was Messianic, which Christ endorsed by applying to Himself vv. 22, 23 concerning the stone being made the head of the corner (Matt. 21: 42).  When the Pharisees asked Him to rebuke His disciples for applying to Himself this psalm, the Lord supported His followers as well as the children (Luke 19: 39, 40; Matt. 21: 16, 17); and in those same days, while these things were fresh in mind, and the controversy was acute as to whether Jesus was the King that cometh, He said to His enemies ere He withdrew finally from the temple, “Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23: 39).  But this implies a literal fulfilment of the psalm when a repentant Israel shall look on Him Whom they pierced and mourn bitterly their former rejection of Him.  Israel shall then apply to Christ the very words against the application of which to Him their former leaders so fiercely protested.


(10) During the discussions of these days the Lord spoke the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matt. 21: 33-46), and said: “Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”.


1. Considered strictly this does not touch the question of a possible future for Israel as a nation.  The words were not addressed to the nation but to its then leaders, the chief priests, elders, Pharisees (vv. 23, 45).  These were the “husbandmen”, supposed to be caring for God’s interests but really concerned with their own advantage.  It was from them that the kingdom of God would be taken away, as the vineyard from the husbandmen.  The people were rather the vineyard (Isa. 5: 7).


2. But the depriving of the leaders of their position did in fact involve that the nation would be set aside, and the church would be entrusted with the task of caring for God’s affairs and rendering to Him His expected portion from the earth.  Doubtless the church is that “nation” to whom Christ referred (comp. 1 Pet. 2: 9).


3. It has been said that our Lord’s words in this place do not lend any support to the view that the setting aside of Israel was only for a time and to be followed by a national restoration.  But they leave room for this, and are to be read in the light of Paul’s warning in Rom. 11 that, inasmuch as Israel’s unbelief was the cause of them being put aside, unbelief on the part of Gentile Christians may be expected to cause them also to be set aside, and the natural branches, Israel, to be grafted in again.  This scripture will be considered in its place.


Christ was not at that time imparting instruction as to the full plans of God for the future, but confined His remarks to the point in hand, the warning of the official leaders of the judgment that would overtake them.


(2) The Olivet Prophecy (Matt. 24 and 25).  Having thus abandoned the temple and nation the Lord at once instructed His followers as to the future, answering their inquiry as to His coming and the heading up of the age.  It is to be noted to what event and what point their minds had gone forward.  In a few sentences the Lord sketched the period which would end with the universal preaching of the gospel (24: 14).  If that had been the whole message and outlook, if the merging into the church of the elect remnant of Israel was to complete the Divine programme, this was again a suitable occasion to have made that clear, but Christ spoke to the opposite effect.  He at once


(a) re-affirmed Daniel’s prophecy as to the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, which has nothing to do with the heavenly prospects but much to do with Jerusalem and Israel (verse 15).


(b) He pictured Himself as coming visibly to the earth, to the alarm of the tribes of the earth (verse 30).


(c) He described the moral condition of mankind at that period, as similar to the days of Noah (vv. 37‑39).


(d) He confirmed various prophecies by saying that “the Son of man shall come in his glory (Dan. 7: 13, 14), and all the angels with Him (Joe13: 11-17), then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory (Zech. 6: 13), and before Him shall be gathered all the nations” for judgment (Joel 3: 11-13). Matt. 25: 31, 32.


All this implies that the distinctions between Israel and the nations will continue down to this session of judgment at Jerusalem when the Lord has returned to the earth; and this will be after the church shall have been completed and removed from the earth at the first outshining of the parousia of Christ (Matt. 24: 31; 1 Thes. 4: 13 - 5: 11).  Thus the spared of Israel and the nations are shown as on earth subsequent to the removal of the heavenly company and therefore they are not merged into that company.  All this confirms such passages concerning the Gentiles and Israel as Isa. 66: 18-20 and Joel 3: 11-17 before cited.


The passages in the other Gospels parallel to those quoted from Matthew are to the same effect and do not need detail mention.







1. The bearing on our subject of the question of the disciples “Dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” with Christ’s answer, has been considered (Acts 1: 6, 7).  The disciples went on with the work of announcing the good news in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the gathering out of the church of God in this age prospered.


2. Acts 15: 12-18.  In due course an occasion came which enabled a leader to intimate clearly how they understood the work in which they were engaged in relation to the whole programme of God.  An important gathering was held of the apostles, the elders of the church at Jerusalem, with the whole church there, attended by a delegation from the church at Antioch.  Peter (verse 7) reminded the company of the first occasion when God caused that “the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe”.  Barnabas and Paul told how that work of God among the Gentiles had greatly expanded.  James then makes the following illuminating comments:


Symeon hath rehearsed how first God did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.  And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After these things I will return, and I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world.


The speaker indicated four successive stages of the plans and works of God.


(1) The present stage : God is visiting “the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name”.  This is the gathering out of the church.


(2) The next event. “After these things” - that is, as the immediately preceding context requires, after the taking out of that people for God’s name – “I will return”: the personal return of the Lord prophesied and promised.


(3) The rebuilding of the house of David.  The church of this age is not the “house of David”.  According to James the return of the Lord and the setting up of the house of David are events to take place after the outgathering of the people for God’s name.  Not the most violent forcing could make James mean that the outgathering and the rebuilding are one and the same.  The one precedes, the other follows; and the Return comes between, being at once the completion of the one and the commencement of the other.


(4) The Residue of Men.  This setting up of the ruins of the house of David, this re-instating of the Davidic throne over the house of Israel, is with the view of furthering the promise to Abraham that “all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.  “I will set it up: that [in order that, to serve this end] the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called


The gathering of the church, the return of Christ, the re-establishing of Israel, the conversion to God of the rest of mankind - these are the four stages of the Divine programme contemplated by James and accepted nemine contradicente by the rest present.  James says that this is the teaching of the prophets, and we trust these pages have shown that this is indeed what the prophets teach as regards Israel and the nations.


It is surely clear that James had no such notion as that the prophetic statements had now changed their meaning to something quite other than they say.  If James had held the view that David, Israel, and the nations as such had disappeared from the programme, and as such had no future on earth, but that some individuals of them were being merged into the church of God, now the only sphere of blessing, then he neither could nor would have made his statement.  That view could have been stated by him quite as simply and definitely as by modern writers; but what he said bears no resemblance to what they say, but is in plain contradiction.







1. Romans.


(1) Ch. 2: 6-16, shows that in the final judgment day Jew and Gentile will be judged by the same test, the attitude taken to what light as to the will of God each had received.


(2) Ch, 2 . 17-29 teaches that outward position by circumcision is not enough: the vital matter is that of the state of the heart shown by obedience to the will of God, in which respect a Gentile may be superior to a Jew.


(3) Ch. 3 : 1, 2.  Nevertheless the Jew had real advantage and privilege beyond the Gentile in being entrusted with the oracles of God.


(4) Ch. 3 : 9-19.  In spite of this privilege Jew and Gentile are alike under sin and liable to the judgment of the Divine law.


(5) Ch. 3 : 20-27.  There is but the one way of salvation for either, that of faith in Jesus Christ.


(6) Ch. 3 : 28-31.  There is but one God for Jew and Gentile alike.


(7) Ch. 4 shows that the faith which saves is such a faith as that of Abraham, who is the “father” of all the justified.


Having thus laid down the general moral situation as between Jew and Gentile, in


(8) Chs. 9-11 Paul enlarges upon their particular and dispensational relationships.  He lifts into relief


1. in 9: 1-5 the splendid superior privileges of Israel “according to the flesh”.  They are Israelites, not Ishmaelites or Edomites, though these also were descended from Abraham or Isaac.  They possess the adoption, glory, covenants, law, public worship of the true God, the promises, and the God-blessed fathers of their people.  And last and chiefest, it was in their race that the Messiah was born Who is God over all.  All this expands the brief earlier statement (3: 1, 2) that the advantage lies with the Jew “every way”.


2. 9: 6-13, There is a Divine sovereignty behind human affairs, directing and determining events, and displaying the mercy and the wrath of God.  He takes up Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob not Esau; and deals with Pharaoh as He thinks right.  Similarly, as He thinks fit, He treats Israel, His people, as not His people, and Gentiles, not His people, as being His people.  As one outworking of this Divine government Israel, seeking to be right with God, failed in this, whereas Gentiles, unconcerned as to this matter, found the way to this righteousness before God.  The likely did not occur, the unlikely took place.


3. But in no degree is there to be imputed to the Divine sovereignty an element of caprice, arbitrariness, or fatalism.  God is not mere will but is also moral, and He acts on moral grounds, He called Abraham knowing that he would train his family to further the will of God.  He foreknew that Jacob would value privileges which Esau would despise.  He did not harden Pharaoh till Pharaoh had several times hardened his own heart till it was beyond change, as the history takes pains to show.  Israel was not put away until she had become nationally as an adulterous wife.  The Gentiles gain righteousness because they seek it by faith and by that faith honour God and become spiritual children of Abraham.


Therefore the question as to the future which now arises is, Will Israel corporately ever return unto the Lord with repentance and faith, or will there never be any but individuals from among them who thus seek God?


4. Ch. 11.  This question Paul faces.  He asks: “Did God cast off His people?” Is Israel utterly rejected?  He answers: “God forbid”.  The proof is: “I also am an Israelite” (verse 1).  If the rejection had been total I should not have been received.  In Elijah’s day there was a remnant who feared God, and there is such to-day.


But is the salvation of a remnant, a small minority, of Israel the most that is to be expected?  Is the merging of this minority into the church of God all that is to be?  Paul states a twofold contrast.


“at this present time remnant (verse 5)


“until” a certain event and then - “all Israel shall be saved” (vv. 25, 26) :


now, a “hardening in part”, the unhardened remnant being saved and incorporated into the church;


then “all” (that is, all then living) being grafted in to their own olive tree.


The event to which the “until” reaches is that “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”, that is, until that people for God’s name, of which James spoke, has been taken out from all nations; and then shall “all Israel be saved”.  But this shows that after the completion of the church a general restoration of Israel will follow, that is, a restoration of that other and later “very small remnant” (Isa. 1: 8, 9) who will be all that will survive the judgments at the end of this age.


As to the hardening in part Paul (verse 8) refers to Isaiah’s prophecy.  God told the prophet (ch. 6) that Israel’s heart should be stupified lest they should be healed.  This the prophet was to effect by his ministry.  But when the Lord Jesus applied this to Israel in His time He varied the statement to show that Israel, as Pharaoh, had already themselves hardened their heart and closed their eyes (Matt. 13: 14, 15).  Now Isaiah raised the question as to how long this dread situation should continue: was it irrecoverable and therefore permanent? God answered, No, it was “until” it had reached a certain extension (Isa. 6: 11, 13), and that a certain “holy seed” should remain, as the stock of a tree remains and can sprout again.  But this is the same tree reviving in the same spot, Israel blossoming in their own land and then filling the face of the world with fruit unto God (Isa. 27: 6).


Thus the prophet and the apostle agree that the hardening of Israel is only partial and only “until” a given point of time whereupon that people will be saved, but subsequent to the completion of the church and to the completion of the Divine judgments on the sinners in Zion.  Thereupon open out the magnificent promises to Abraham and his seed of the inheriting of the world, and the blessing of all its families.  There is thus no dislocating or annulling of the plans and promises of God, all shall be accomplished.  “The zeal of Jehovah of hosts shall perform this” (Isa. 9: 7; 37: 32), an adequate guarantee indeed.


This maintains the original principle of duality.  In that Millennial era Abraham will have a dual seed, the church in the heavenly places, Israel on earth; and so of that day when “the world is stablished that it cannot be moved”, it is written,


“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice” (Ps. 96: 10, 11).



The Corinthian epistles are limited to matters connected with the church of God.


2. Galatians, ch. 6: 15, 16


“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.  And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and upon the Israel of God”


These verses are used, but without warrant, to teach that the term “Israel” now describes the church of God and no longer the Jewish people.  But if the passage does mean this then Paul contradicts his usage of the name “Israel” in the letter to the Romans written only three years, earlier, for, as seen above, then he distinguished between the two companies.  But in fact nothing he says to the Galatians equates Israel and the church.


What he teaches is that “they who are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham” (3: 7).  These include Gentiles as well as Jews who alike have faith in Christ (3: 8-14), they are all “blessed with the faithful Abraham.”; therefore, “if ye are of Christ, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” (3: 29).


He then shows (ch. 4) that these sons of promise are not in bondage to Sinai, nor citizens of the then earthly Jerusalem, but of “the Jerusalem that is above”, which “is free, which is our mother”.  He now adds a most significant remark: “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise”.  So that we who are of faith are of the same class as Isaac was, who believed God, who embraced by faith the prospect of the city that is above, and walked the pilgrim path (Heb. 2: 8-16).  All this was true of Isaac centuries before Sinai, from which Paul draws the lesson that we who are one with Isaa,c are no more under the Sinaitic bonds than Isaac was.  This is the central point of the epistle, for the Christians addressed were lapsing from their heavenly and spiritual position to walk by the flesh, not the Spirit.


Clinching the argument in the closing paragraph before us, Paul extends it beyond Sinai to the prior rite of circumcision; for essential as this ordinance was to the natural seed of Abraham. participating in the privileges of the covenant made with him, it could be no necessity beyond that natural seed, for Gentiles are neither born in his house nor bought with his money (Gen. 17: 9-14).  In any case an external rite can be no necessary condition for enjoying spiritual and heavenly prospects, since these are apprehended by the spirit, not by bodily senses.  Therefore in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of consequence; what matters is “faith working through love” (5: 6), for to be “in Christ Jesus” is to be associated with Him by faith in the place where He now is, where obviously circumcision does not count.


Such as are in the good of this truth glory only in that cross which delivers from the bondage of earth and introduces the soul into that new creation where Christ is; “And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God”, that is, the Israel of God are those who walk by this rule, even as Isaac did in his day and the heavenly-minded sons of Abraham have ever done.


But by no sound reason does this heavenly Israel exclude a contemporary earthly Israel.  It has been before noted (pp. 7, 10) that the heavenly does not annul the earthly, for Abraham has both regions as his inheritance and both peoples as his seed.


Moreover, when the heavenly portion shall have been removed to their sphere, and the earthly people shall have repented and been regenerated and restored to their sphere (Canaan), they too will “walk by this rule”; they will mourn over the former rejection of their Messiah (Zech. 12: 10), they will glory in Him and His cross and will have no further confidence in the flesh, and being thus sharers in that new creation they likewise win be of the Israel of God, they shall find mercy and peace shall be upon them.


Thus the title Israel of God is not exclusive, but inclusive; the new creation includes all born of God in every age, both those in heaven and those on earth.


3. Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians need not detain us, for it is agreed that in this present age Jew and Gentile alike lose before God their characteristic standings as of earth, and are joined in the new and heavenly man where the distinctions of earth cannot obtain.


The succeeding epistles as far as Philemon do not bear upon the subject of the future status of Israel.


4. Hebrews.  Those brethren who deny to Israel a future regard this epistle as their stronghold.  Here they entrench, and they sincerely think the position impregnable.  But it is not so.  Their fortification is founded on misunderstanding.


(1) The main position of the Writer is based on the fact that Jesus is the Man in heaven, crowned there with glory and honour (2: 9); and then that God is conducting many others of His sons to join His Son in the glory (2: 10).  Therefore these sons are addressed specifically as “partakers of a heavenly calling” (3: 1).  His arguments and appeals are addressed to them in this character as a heavenly people.  They had exercised the same faith as Abraham by embracing the heavenly prospects set before him, and like him they had relaxed their hold on even legitimate earthly possessions (10: 32-35).  Their peril lay in relaxing that grip on the heavenly and renewing their attachment to the earthly.


(2) For denizens of heaven such arrangements as an earthly sanctuary and sacrifices and ceremonies are of course both needless and harmful, being but shadows of the realities of the heavenly.  It were wrong and hurtful to surrender the substance for the shadow.  The latter was in itself ineffective: “the law made nothing perfect”, for the blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sin (7: 19; 9: 9; 10: 1, 4), whereas “by one offering Christ hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (10: 14).  Let them not therefore forgo the better heavenly privileges to return to the earthly, even though these had been good.


(3) The Annulled Covenant.  But it is urged now that the whole covenant under which the tabernacle, with its priesthood and sacrifices, was established has been denounced by God and that consequently no re-establishment thereof such as was foretold by Ezekiel can possibly take place.  And that as the setting up of that temple cannot be taken literally, neither can the city in which it is shown be literal, nor the land and its tribal divisions.  Indeed, Israel as a nation cannot be meant.


If this is correct then Hebrews is evidently in a direct, head-on conflict with the whole mass of the preceding Scriptures, the plain consensus of which, as has been here shown, is to precisely the opposite effect.


How shall this conflict, if real, be reconciled?  It cannot be.  But in fact it is not real.


(4) What Covenant has been cancelled ?  The answer is crucial and plain.  It is the covenant made at Sinai.  God describes it distinctly as “the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt” (ch. 8: 9).  That covenant is cancelled.  It was broken on man’s side and disregarded by God: “for they continued not in My covenant and I regarded them not, saith the Lord” (8: 9).  That covenant therefore lapsed, that and none other.*  The Writer of Hebrews is dealing with legal matters.  His topics are law, covenants, wills, statutes, ordinances.  It is a fixed principle of legal interpretation that when a statute, covenant, or codicil to a will declares that some former statute, covenant, or provision is annulled only that which is distinctly specified to be annulled is so, and all not specified remains in force. Therefore the Noachian covenant stands, with its guarantee that the seasons shall continue.  And the Abrahamic covenant also remains in force.


[* The Sinaitic covenant was not strictly the first God had made with men, for those with Noah and Abraham preceded it; but it is the first which God made with Israel as a people.  The new covenant is the second viewed in relation to that other, though it is the fourth reckoning from that with Noah.]


(5) It further follows that only those features lapsed which belonged to the Sinaitic covenant alone, whereas any features in it which had been repeated from the earlier covenants did not lapse.  Among these features of the Abrahamic covenant these are prominent :


1. The heavenly prospects offered to faith.


2. The earfhly guarantees to Abraharn and his seed of national continuance, and pre-eminence.


3. The everlasting possession of the land of promise - Canaan.


4. The confirmation of the covenant by animal sacrifices and the regular offering of such sacrifices in worship, as when the patriarchs built altars and sacrificed animals on them, as, indeed, Abel and Noah had done before the patriarchs.


It will not be contended that item 1, the heavenly calling, has ceased because the covenant at Sinai has lapsed, nor is there warrant for regarding the other pre-Sinaitic features as annulled.  Therefore, whatever changes that annulment involved does not alter the permanence and pre-eminence of the national seed of Abraham, or their proprietorship of Canaan, or prevent the re-introduction of sacrifices if God should see this to be proper and beneficial.


The questions therefore are: Can patterns and pictures be again beneficial? and has God said they shall be employed?


(6) It is fully admitted, indeed strongly asserted, that for such believers as are contemplated in Hebrews, persons who have enjoyed the heavenly benefits, no return to shadows can be helpful but only, and necessarily, hurtful.  And it is to be regarded as logical that such as entertain the notion that the gospel now preached is to convert all mankind, and bring the human race entire into the church of God and to “heaven”, can find no room in their scheme for Israel and the nations on earth.  But this is in flat contradiction of the Word of God as to the character of this age and its end.


(7) Of the End of this Age, the Lord foretold that iniquity will “be multiplied and the love of the many” (i.e., the majority) who had loved Him “shall wax cold” (Matt. 24: 12).  “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in later times some shall apostatize from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim. 4: 1; 2 Thess. 2: 3).  There shall be bitter and universal hatred of the followers of Christ and the slaughter of many (Luke21: 16, 17; Rev. 17: 6; 12: 13-17; 13: 7, 15), as well as a determined effort to exterminate Israel (Psalm 83: 1-8; Dan. 8: 24, 25; Rev. 11: 2).  The ungodly confederacy mentioned in the psalm cited, led by Antichrist, will attempt to do literally what some truly godly men attempt to do theologically, even “to cut off Israel from being a nation  Both attempts will fail.  Further, while mankind is thus definitely rejecting light the chief light-bearers, the heavenly children of God, will be removed suddenly to the heavens.  There will remain that very small remnant of Israel as a testimony to the true God, but apparently no active witnesses to Christ.  The general result will therefore be what Isaiah foretells in the words “darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the peoples” (Isa. 60: 2).  For because they refused the truth God shall send a working of error that they shall believe the lie (2 Thess. 2: 8-12), and idolatry will prevail, culminating in the worship of the Beast (Rev. 9: 20; 13: 12; 2 Thess. 2: 4).


The effect will be a revival of the spiritual and moral conditions obtaining when God brought Israel out of Egypt.  Pharaoh pleaded ignorance of the Deity whose commands Moses brought.  “Who is Jehovah? ... I know not Jehovah” (Ex. 5: 2).  Thus will the world of that future time be in spiritual ignorance as to God and His Son.  They will neither have heard His fame nor seen His glory (Isa. 66: 19).  A clear indication of this is given in the fact that when the Lord shall have the nations before Him for judgment and grant eternal life to those who had befriended His brethren during the then recent persecutions, these will give an answer which shows that they did not know that they were doing anything for Him: “When saw we thee hungry, and fed thee?” (Matt. 25: 37-40).


Seeing, therefore, that in a period of spiritual ignorance and infancy God saw good to teach men by external types and ordinances, and so to enlighten them as to the Saviour Who was to come, it does not appear difficult to believe that at that coming period of ignorance and infancy He will teach men again by external ordinances which will be pictures of the past, of the Saviour Who had already been and died.  And with that once crucified and now glorified Redeemer present among them, with the weals of His wounds visible to their eyes (Matt. 26: 64; Rev. 1: 7) there will be no danger of men regarding the sacrifices as anything more than memorials of His sacrifice,which alone makes propitiation for sins.


(8) The Ten Commandments.  The situation here examined is well exhibited in the matter of the Ten Commandments.  These laws were not first imposed at Sinai.  From Adam’s creation it had been the duty of man to worship God only and to revere His name.  Indeed, this had before been the duty of the angels from their creation.  It never had been nor could be right for man to commit adultery, to steal, or to covet.


But the addition made at Sinai, and characteristic of that covenant, was that justification before God became dependent upon the keeping of the law.  “For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby” (Rom. 10: 5).  This was not so previously, and especially not in the typical case of Abraham: “For what saith the Scripture?  And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness” (Rom. 4: 3).  Even during the age of law men of faith had appreciated this, “Even as David also pronounceth blessing upon the man unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from works” (Rom. 4: 6).


With the annulment of the Sinaitic covenant, relationship with God reverted to the ground upon which Abraham had been accounted righteous, and “Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth”, to each that has an Abrahamic faith in the promise of God (Rom. 10: 4; 4: 19-25).  Yet Christ is not the “end of the law” absolutely, but only for the one purpose of the sinner being reckoned righteous; for other purposes the ten commandments retain their pre-Sinaitic claim.  Thus in several practical matters of the Christian life Paul, the decided apostle of grace, appeals to the law for guidance (1 Cor. 14: 34, “as also saith the law”; 1 Cor. 9: 8, “saith not also the law the same?”; etc.).  Thus while under Sinai the law was the ground of life (and therefore life was unattainable because man could not keep the law; Rom. 8: 3 ; Gal. 3: 10), before Sinai, and since its covenant lapsed, the moral law is the guide of life, and its commands are as obligatory as ever.


The law of the sabbath is an illustration.  It was pre-Sinaitic, having been imposed on man at his creation, and it was observed in Israel before Sinai (Ex. 16: 22-30).  Therefore at Sinai the word was, “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy”.  Then at Sinai there were added for Israel detail restrictions, not before laid down, directing the occasions, manner, and degree for its observance, and the penalty of infringement was death (Ex. 35: 2, 3; Lev. 23: 26-32; Num. 15: 32-36).


These details lapsed with the covenant in which they were enacted, but the law of the sabbath did not lapse, even though in this present age it is not formally enforced; and, as to the Millennial age, Isa. 56: 1-8 shows that it will then obtain and its observance be a condition for enjoying the blessing of God.


(9) The Resulting Position is that


1.  The pre-Sinaitic situation, grounded on the covenant with Abraham, retains its everlasting validity, and the terms upon which man and God have relations are those of that covenant, not those of the Sinaitic covenant. Therefore Abraham will always have two classes of descendants, a heavenly and an earthly, and these will have their respective spheres, heaven and earth.  The one will enjoy the dignity and benefit of that true tabernacle in the heavens and the other the advantages of its earthly copy; the one being the citizens of the heavenly country and its capital Jerusalem that is above, the other of Canaan and the Jerusalem that is there, “the city of the great King” on earth, as its King Himself described it (Matt. 5: 35).


2. The New Covenant fits exactly into this view.  It is already in force, for the sacrifice that seals it has been offered and the Mediator Who dispenses its blessings is before God.  Thus Christ said of the cup of blessing, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood”, and so it is declared that it “hath been enacted” (Heb. 8: 6). Already Abraham’s spiritual children are in the good of it.  But here a point of importance is to be noted. Though it is true that the heavenly seed are even now blessed under this new covenant, yet the Writer, when quoting from Jeremiah the prophecy which foretold it, twice repeats that it will be made “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” even “with the house of Israel” (Heb. 8: 8, 10).  Against Anglo‑Israel views it is seen in the second occurrence (verse 10) that the name “Israel” is equivalent to “Judah and Israel” and covers Judah.  But if the Writer had been taught that the literal people has no future, but the church has superseded them, would he have repeated names which have no meaning in the church?  Would he not rather have dropped the names out and have given the passage as he does give it at 10: 16, using the indefinite expression “the covenant I will make with them”?  The inclusion of the names harmonizes naturally with the view that Abraham’s earthly descendants are to be brought into the new covenant.


3. It is to be observed that this new covenant promises blessing that had been already enjoyed by Abraham and his spiritual children.  God’s law had evidently been written in their hearts and minds, which is the essential superiority of the new covenant over the Sinaitic.  Under the latter the law had been written on tables of stone external to man, but not in his heart.  The law of Moses was something additional, not primary, “it was added because of transgressions” (Gal. 3: 19); it was supplemental, “it came in besides, that the trespass might abound” (Rom. 5: 20).  Its purpose was to compel man to recognize his inability by nature to secure the favour of God by works and so to drive him to the way of faith, the principle upon which Abraham had walked with God.  Thus the law, the covenant of works, was supplemental to the existing covenant with Abraham, and in effect the new covenant is the means of bringing into the Abrahamic covenant those who had failed under the law to reach righteousness by works of law.  It is “new” in relation to the Sinaitic covenant, but essentially it is a making operative of the prior Abrahamic covenant.


Abraham must have had God’s law in heart and mind or he could not have so walked as to be called the friend of God (2 Chron. 20: 7; Jas. 2: 23).  The carnal mind cannot so walk (Rom. 8: 5-8).  It must have been the case with David also or he would not have been described as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13: 14).  So a psalmist could say, “Thy word have I laid up in my heart. ... Oh, how I love thy law, It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119 : 11, 97).


Into this inward and spiritual blessing the true sons of Abraham are brought to-day by the Spirit, they inherit under Abraham.  Perhaps in strict application we do not enter the “new” covenant, for we were never under the “old,” the Sinaitic covenant.  We pass to-day directly into the Abrahamic covenant.  But Israel as a people has been under the “old,” so that when as a people they enter hereafter in relations with their God it will be to them a “new” covenant, and hence the statement that the “new” covenant will be made with “Israel and Judah  Yet it will be only the extension to them of the benefits of the promises to their father Abraham.


This was declared in advance by God through Moses (Lev. 26).  God assured them that if they should break the Sinaitic covenant (vv. 14, 15) ever severer punishments should overtake them, including expulsion from their land; but that when they should be humbled and “accept the punishment of their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land” (vv. 40-42).


4.  It is sound reasoning that the whole scheme falls or stands together, for all its features are parts of one whole picture.  If, therefore, there is to be a manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth, with Messiah as its present and visible King, then it must have a centre in some land and city, which centre the Bible declares will be at Jerusalem.  And if the great King is to reside there in glory, and as the Priest-King lead nations in the worship of God, it is entirely consistent and reasonable that there shall be a palace-temple as much more magnificent than that of Solomon as the King will be greater and grander than he, for that temple is to be also the dwelling and throne room of God (Ezek. 43: 1-7; Zech. 6: 12, 13).  And all this, with its accessory details, the Bible declares plainly and frequently.


On the other hand, if there cannot be such a palace-temple and worship, then the scheme will be very decidedly imperfect, wanting in a truly salient feature, and it must be set aside entirely.  In this case the whole future described in the whole Old Testament is disintegrated and falsified; for its terms very distinctly require an earthly, literal fulfilment and cannot be distorted to mean anything else.  It is truly lamentable that godly men should have furthered this distortion of the Word of God and on no firmer basis than their own conceptions of a few passages in the New Testament.  Their sincerity is allowed; but not having discerned the principle of duality in the plans and works of God, and the limit imposed by the fact that the Sinaitic covenant alone is done away, while the Abrahamic covenant abides, they missed the key to the promises of God and His ways for their fulfilment.  By this key the temple of prophecy can be opened and is seen to be a Divine, harmonious, perfectly proportioned structure.  The epistle of James does not touch directly on our subject.


5. Peter.  Arguing that the church has supplanted Israel in the purposes of God it has been recently said that:


Peter is as explicit on this matter as language can allow.  He declares that the privileges of the old Israel now belong in fullness to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In distinction from the Jews, who stumbled at the Word, Christians are the “elect race, royal priesthood, holy nation, people for God’s possession ... which in time past were no people but now are the people of God” (1 Peter 2: 9).  These attributes described in the Old Testament the Jewish nation; now, without any reserve, they are applied to the new Israel.


The opening statement is wholly unwarranted.  Peter does not so much as mention an “old Israel” and a “new Israel”, and therefore says nothing explicit about them.  The very terms are unjustified and misleading.  They beg the issue by assuming the point that is to be proved.  They assume that Israel nationally had become “old” and passed off the scene and that the church had taken its place and is the “new Israel  But the terms are not found in Scripture, and we hope it has been shown that the ideas are not correct.  In the Hebrews passage last considered Judah and Israel are names of the same Israel that had broken the old covenant and with whom a new covenant is to be made, and this is the usage of the whole Bible.  The term “Israel of God” in Galatians 6: 16, has been before shown to cover the spiritual sons of Abraham of every dispensation, past and future, and is not synonymous with the name “church of God  It is further to be observed that Peter does not say that Christians are the elect race or the people of God.  Our versions mislead by inserting the definite article in verse 10, and the insertion is the more unjustified seeing that immediately before verse 9 the same noun had been rightly rendered with the indefinite article “a people  Greek not having an indefinite article the passage reads, “ye are elect race, royal priesthood, people of God’s own possession ... people of God”.  The sense thrust upon Peter cannot stand without the definite article, and this Peter avoided.  In this he followed the Septuagint he quoted, which also has no articles (Exodus 19: 6; and Hos. 2: 23).  There also the article is omitted: God said, “Ye shall be unto me people of possession ... royal priesthood ... people of me


In Greek such passages without the article denote that the qualities stated characterize the persons in view, and they assert no more than this.  Thus Paul said to the Christians in Corinth, “Temple of God ye are” (1 Cor. 3: 16), “body of Christ ye are” (1 Cor. 12: 27).  It were plainly wrong to make Paul say that those persons in Corinth alone held these privileges to the exclusion of others.  Paul meant that their status was such.  The absence of the article allows that others may be in the same relationship to God and Christ: the insertion of the article strictly means that they alone formed the temple and body.


It is equally unjustified to make Peter mean that Israel of old held the status in question, and that now Israel has lost it and the church alone holds it.  The argument amounts to this: William Smith owned a blue coat; John Jones owns a blue coat; therefore William Smith has been merged into John Jones, and henceforth no one but John Jones will own a blue coat.  Quid est absurdum as to its logic.


The absence of the article in God’s first statement meant that the status in question was open to Israel; they would be an elect race, a kingdom of priests, a people of God, distinct in this from the other nations: but this left room for others to be granted that status, for God was looking to that heavenly seed of Abraham, of which His church should later be an exhibition.


Likewise, the absence of the article by Peter allows that Christians have been granted this status, but it in no wise asserts that Israel will never again attain it, or that what belonged to Israel has been transferred to others.  These last ideas have been imported into his words, and make him contradict all Scripture.  He leaves room for that foretold resumption by repentant Israel of their status and privileges.


This passage illustrates the accuracy with which Scripture was written and the necessity for exactness in translating it.  It is also a good test case of the theory here refuted.  For this theory requires the unwarranted insertion of the definite article, the use of titles not given in Scripture, and the importing of a sense not in the words or the argument.  No idea is true which requires such dealing with the Word of God.


The remaining epistles do not touch our subject.







1. Ch. 7.  John saw these visions long after the supposed transfer of the privileges of Israel to the church of God and its having ceased to have as a nation a place in the plans of God.  Yet in chapter 7 he records an angelic announcement regarding the then future in which “every tribe of the children of Israel” is mentioned separately as an object of the sparing mercy of God.  Even could some sort of a case be made out that “Israel” in the New Testament means the church, yet it defies all reason to try and “spiritualize” the names of the several tribes and apply them to the church.


Moreover, these “children of Israel” stand in obvious distinction from the company next mentioned for (1) The “great multitude come” out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues (verse 9); (2) A number (whether literal or figurative does not here matter) is given for Israel (verse 4), but the multitude is so great as to be innumerable (verse 9) ;


(3) The children of Israel are on earth (vv. 1-3), whereas the multitude are before the throne and serve in God’s heavenly temple (verse 9);


(4) The Israelites are to be preserved from judgments about to come (verse 3), while the multitude have already passed through their tribulation and gone where there is none (verse 14).


Interpret this as you will, it was future to John’s day, and it shows the continued existence of Israel and the other nations, distinguished from each other.  Therefore Israel had not lost its identity before God, and its divisions into tribes remained.  The fact is proved by 1 Pet. 1: 1 and James 1: 1 also, and Ezekiel foretold the continuance of the tribes to the days of Messiah (Ezek. chs. 47, 48).


2. Rev. 11 is a vision of happenings in a city “which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt” (verse 8).  See Isa. 1: 10 for Jerusalem being called Sodom, and Ezek. 23: 3, 8, 19, 27 for her association with Egypt.  But to leave no question that it is the actual city in Palestine that is in view, it is added, “where also their Lord was crucified” (verse 8).  That a veritable city is meant is clear in verse 13, which tells us that “a tenth part of the city” was levelled by earthquake and that seven thousand persons were killed and “the rest were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven”.  The last statement is obviously literal, therefore the events that induce the terror must be so.  Nor can any sane “spiritual” meaning be given to the facts and numbers.


All this therefore intimates the existence of Jerusalem as a centre of Divine and Satanic activities at some period after the city had been destroyed by Titus, seeing that the visions were seen later than that event.  As the events have never yet taken place the fulfilment must still lie in the future.


And again Jerusalem and the Jews are shown as distinct from the other nations - see verse 9.  The city is identified with the Jerusalem of Isaiah and Daniel by the description “the holy city” (Isa. 48: 2; 52: 1; Dan. 9: 24).  It being “trodden underfoot” by the nations indicates violent destruction, not peaceable occupation, and refers to Luke 21: 24 and the events of the forty-two months correspond to Daniel 8: 11, 12, and to the half-week (three and a half years=42 months) of Daniel 9: 27.  Verse 26 shows that this is to take place at “the end,” the “full end” (verse 27, A.S.V.), the end of both the times of the Gentiles and of God’s chastisements on Israel, at the close of this age.


Also a temple is standing in the city, with altar and worshippers, and the exterior court is distinguished from the temple, another detail without rational counterpart in the church of God.


The whole scene corresponds in detail with all other prophecies, and this one being future and literal so must those be.  Again the inexorable alternative is to make the Divine prophecies meaningless and a nullity, forcing upon them a sense which deprives them of sense.


3. Rev. 21. New Heaven and New Earth.  “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away. ... And He that sitteth upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (vv. 1, 5).  These statements declare that the duality with which the universe began is to continue for ever.  So far from the earthly being swallowed up in the heavenly they both abide for ever; even as Peter had said: “But, according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3: 13).


As has been noted above, the forecast of this in Isa. 65 was primarily Millennial, for sin and death were still present; the sense which deprives them real fulfilment will be eternal, for where there is only righteousness “there shall be no curse any more” (Rev. 22: 3).


At the commencement of human history God used to visit the earth personally and talk awhile with man (Gen. 3: 8).  Sin largely interrupted this familiar intercourse; but Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and John saw in vision that God will come down to abide with men on earth; so that the communion of God and men, of heaven and earth, shall be closer and richer than at first.


But the manner in which God will dwell among men will be other than at the first.  He will inhabit the bodies of Abraham’s heavenly seed in such glory that it is said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, their God” (verse 3). This is pictured by a double figure of speech.  The heavenly saints are “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (verse 9).  But when John is to be shown this “bride” she is seen under the similitude of a “city,” “the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (vv. 9-11).


In Preliminary Dissertation 1 to my book The Revelation of Jesus Christ it is shown that the Bible conforms to the constant feature of human speech that the literal and the symbolic are interwoven.  This must be remembered in the present chapter.  As the “bride” is actually a company of persons, and as the “city” exhibits the bride, the “city” must represent a company of persons, unless by some “spiritualizing” process it can be shown that things which are equal to the same things are not equal to one another.


But heaven is actual and earth is real enough.  The heavenly company are literal beings and so are the people that dwell on the earth.  Notice that there are to be peoples on the new earth (verse 3), not merely one people; and they are to be nations, so national life is to continue, for the nations will be ruled by kings (vv. 24, 26).


The figure employed being a city, naturally the “city” has “foundations On them are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, even as it is said in Eph. 2: 20, that the saints are “built upon the foilndation of the apostles and prophets,” that is, upon the teaching concerning God and His Son set forth, laid down by the first messengers of Christ.  Paul, for example, could say, “I laid a foundation” (1 Cor. 3: 10).  The apostles were real men, and by the Spirit they did work eternal in character and results.


But naturally the “city” has “gates,” into which the nations may enter and honour God as dwelling there (vv. 25, 26).  Now upon these twelve “gates” are “the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” (verse 12).  Therefore just as certainly as the apostles are the same persons as trod this earth and will return to it in that eternal world to come, so must Israel be the same people that trod the old earth, which is the more evident from the fact that their tribal divisions continue in the same numbers as before.  If Israel does not mean the literal Israel then the twelve apostles cannot be the twelve apostles, and then the final prophecy of God’s Word means nothing.


In the light of earlier Scriptures the meaning of all this is clear.  The church of God is to be the chief and dominating means for fulfilling the promise to Abraham that all the families of the earth are to be blessed.  Its members will reign with Christ, even as He said to those who had shared His trials: “I appoint unto you a kingdom ... ye shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22: 28-30).  And again: “he that overcometh ... to him will I give authority over the nations : and he shall rule them” (Rev. 2: 26-28, and see 3: 21).  And yet again: “I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them, and they lived and reigned with Christ the thousand years” (Rev. 20: 4-6), and thereafter, in the new heavens and the new earth, “they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22: 5).  Now the King rules for the good of His realm, God has “set him to be blessings for ever” (Psa. 21: 6 mgn.).


But of old Israel had its place as an instrument of God for blessing the nations.  Within its sphere there was that nucleus of spiritual and heavenly men and women who were the channels of grace to their nation whenever and as far as the people gave heed to the messages of God through them.  In that measure and at such times the nation was a blessing to the other peoples, as when they had the advantage of Solomon’s wisdom or God’s messages through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.  This situation will obtain in the Millennial era, for Israel shall rule the nations, and it will be by submission to that rule that the peoples shall be blessed, “shall enter in by the gates into the city” (Rev. 22: 14).  On the one hand, “the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish” (Isa. 60: 12): on the other hand, with those who submit God “will make an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David for “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples” (Isa. 55: 3-5). These chapters of Isaiah picture the Millennial glory and blessedness of Israel by similar figures as are used for the heavenly and eternal city.  Neither picture excludes the other; they are complementary; the Millennial passes into the eternal, and in the latter it will still be by means of Israel that the nations will enjoy the benefits mediated primarily by the Son of God, secondarily by the church of the firstborn sons of God, finally by Israel.


The angels of God also will have their place; they stand in dignity at the gates of the city.  They watch and serve the church, and Israel, and the nations (Rev. 21: 12: comp. Heb. 1: 14).


All the facts and all the figures of speech of the Bible teach consistently.  In patriarchal times the father of the family or clan owned and ruled all, but he exercised his authority, and dispensed ncessities and rewards, very largely through his firstborn son.  In the national realm Jehoyah announced that “Israel is my son, my firstborn” (Ex. 4: 22), and as far as they lived up to that they were dispensers of God’s authority and benefits to the world.  In the world above the spiritual sons of Abraham are “the church of the firstborn ones, whose names are enrolled in heaven” (Heb. 12: 23, and see Luke 10: 20).  All God’s ways follow His principle of duality right on into the eternal state.  To deny Israel and the nations their separate places in the Millennium and in eternity distorts the programme and blurs the picture.


Moreover it robs the church of God of its unique place in the plan of God.  If all the saved of all ages are to be in the church then the latter honour ceases to be in any sense a reward which the grace of God will grant for having been a pilgrim and stranger on earth and having overcome in the battles of the Lord.  Again, the church is to be the wife of the Lamb, the true and only Queen of heaven.  But if all the saved are the bride of the King, seated with Him on His throne, who will be the subjects over whom they will reign?  There will be no kingdom, for a king and his consort alone do not make a kingdom.


When it is thus seen that Israel regenerate and the nations regenerate are to have their foretold places on the eternal earth, it is understood why their positions and privileges are so constantly stated in the Old Testament to be everlasting.  To Abraham God said, “I will establish my covenant ... for an everlasting covenant. ... And I will give ... all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17: 7, 8).  This was confirmed to Jacob (Gen. 48: 4).  The covenant with David was to stand for ever (1 Chron. 17: 12, 14, 22, etc.), and so David understood: “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant” (2 Sam. 23: 5).  So Ethan also understood (Ps. 89: 28-37).  The passages which declare that the nation, the land, the city, the temple are to last “for ever” are too numerous to cite and almost to count.  It is true that the term “everlasting” may mean only that a certain condition will continue as long as the object in question exists, but as regards the new earth and the kingdom of God the word must have its fullest meaning, for these will be literally everlasting.  Therefore both the “city,” the apostles, Israel, the nations, and the angels, being connected with the eternal heavens and earth, will be everlasting, and the guarantees given by God of old will prove to carry their full natural meaning.


With God there is only forethought, but no afterthought.  He does not modify His purposes or change His plans; but, on the contrary, He makes His foes to serve Him and their very wrath to praise Him.  The individual, whether Jew, Gentile, or Christian, may by rebellion forfeit his share in this or that part of the privileges made available by the grace of God, but the purpose as a whole will be accomplished.  The line upon which God commenced to work out His thoughts He follows till His goal is reached: the end shall answer to the beginning.  Jew, Gentile, and the church of God are shown as having their places in the eternal realization of that plan.  And each and all who find a part in that realization shall exclaim with the Divinely taught apostle:


0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor? or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?  For of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things.  To Him be the glory for ever. Amen. (Rom. 11: 33-36.)





This study has been confined to a consideration of the actual meaning of Scripture, irrespective of whether there is or is not sign of fulfilment.  Abrahamic faith expects the fulfilment though there is no sign thereof.


But, in closing, it is pertinent to mention obvious facts which confirm the obvious meaning of the Word of God.


(1) Three thousand three hundred years ago, at the commencement of Israel’s national career, a prophet exclaimed


Lo, it is a people that dwelleth alone,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations. (Num. 23: 9).


Pharaoh attempted to merge them into his people by killing the boys.  The girls would have been married to Egyptians.  The plan failed, and all later attempts have failed, even though in seasons of persecution not a few Jews have professed to be Christians.


Why has God preserved them from racial extinction if He has no racial future for them?


(2) The singular providence of God has confirmed the specific promise of God that Abraham’s seed shall never be destroyed “utterly” (Lev. 26: 44; Deut. 4: 30, 31; Jer. 30: 11).  The most violent efforts and most fearful desolations have signally failed of the purpose that Israel shall be exterminated.  Saphir well said that Pharaoh tried to drown them and they would not drown, Nebuchadnezzar to burn them and they would not burn, and Haman to hang them and they would not hang, and that the history of Israel is the history of miracle, even as it is the miracle of history.  The last few years have seen this on a vaster scale than ever before.


Why has God thus preserved them as a people if He has no future for them as a people?


(3) The present attempt to resuscitate the notion that Israel has no national future seems particularly ill-timed, seeing that God has permitted them at this very juncture to establish themselves as a national, political entity, and in their own land.


Not that this is that regathering and establishing of them by God which prophecy foretells (Isa. 11: 11; Ezk. 36: 24; etc.): it is rather an example of Dan. 11: 14, “the violent among thy people shall lift themselves up to establish the vision But evidently it works toward a future for the nation, and it corresponds with the prophecies which picture Israel as a people in Palestine in the End times (Dan. 9: 2 7; Rev. 11: 1-13; etc.).


The Providence of God has permitted the recent notable events which favour the exposition and expectation of a national future for this indestructible people, and are so far a confirmation of the plain literal sense of His promises and predictions.


The late Samuel Wilkinson wrote a striking and convincing treatise entitled THE ISRAEL PROMISES AND THEIR FULFILMENT, An examination of the Pronouncements found in the Book entitled “The Hope of Israel: What is It?”  by Philip Mauro.


It is to be obtained from The Mildmay Mission to the Jews, Philpot Street, London, E.1. By post 6/6d.. 195 pages.


The exposition is sound, the argument irrefutable.