Veiw of the Hebrews
by Ethan Smith
THE CERTAIN RESTORATION OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
[p.47]The subject of this chapter is introduced with a concise view of the expulsion of the ten tribes from the promised land. The ten tribes revolted from the house of David, early in the reign of Rehoboam, son and successor of king Solomon. They received from this young prince treatment, which was considered impolitic and rough; upon which they separated themselves from that branch of the house of Israel, who, from that time, have been distinguished by the name of Jews. The revolting ten tribes submitted to another king, Jeroboam. And this breach was never after healed. Jeroboam, to perpetuate and widen this breach, and apprehending that if the Jews and ten tribes amicably met for public worship, according to the law of God, the rupture between them would probably soon be healed, set up two golden calves, one in Dan, and one in Bethel; and ordered that the ten tribes of Israel should meet there for their public worship. He thus “made Israel to sin.” And would to God he had been the last who has made the professed worshippers [sic] of Jehovah “to sin,” by assigning them different places of worship, from motives not more evangelical than those of Jeroboam.
[p.48]The ten tribes thus went off to idolatry. A line of kings succeeded Jeroboam; but none of them, to the time of expulsion, were true worshippers [sic] of the God of Israel. By their apostacy [sic], folly, idolatry, the ten tribes were preparing themselves for a long and doleful rejection, an outcast state for thousands of years. This Moses had denounced; Deut. xxviii. And this God fulfilled.
Tiglah-Pilnezer, king of Assyria, captured the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manassah, who lay east of the Jordan, and placed them in Halah, Harah, and Habor, by the river Gozen.—1 Chro. v. 26. About twenty years after, (134 years before the Babylonish captivity of the Jews, and 725 years before Christ,) the rest of the ten tribes continuing impenitent, Shalmanezer, the succeeding king of Assyria, attacked Samaria, took the remainder of the ten tribes, in the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, carried them to Assyria, and placed them with their brethren in Halah and Habor, by the river Gozen in Media—2 Kings xvii. This final expulsion of Israel from the promised land, was about 943 years after they came out of Egypt. The king of Assyria placed their stead, in Samaria, people from Babylon, Cutha, Ava, Hama, and Sapharvaim. Here was the origin of the mongrel Samaritans.
From this captivity the ten tribes were never recovered. And they have long seemed to have been lost from the earth. They seem to have been indeed “outcast,” from the social world and the knowledge of civilized man. The Jews, long after, were dispersed among the nations; but have ever been known as Jews. But not so with Israel. They have seemed strangely to disappear from the world; and for 2500 years to have been utterly lost.
What are we to believe concerning the ten tribes? Are they ever again to be restored and known as the natural seed of Abraham? Are they now in existence as a distinct people? If so, where are they to be found? All parts of the world are now so well known, that one would conceive the commonwealth of Israel [p.49]cannot now be found among the civilized nations. Must we look for them in a savage state? If so, the knowledge of their descent must be derived from a variety of broken, circumstantial, traditionary evidence. Who, or where, then are the people who furnish the greatest degree of this kind of evidence?
An answer, relative to their restoration, will be involved in this chapter; and an answer to the other questions may be expected in the chapter following.
That the Jews are to be restored to Palestine as Jews, seems evident from a variety of considerations. And that the ten tribes of Israel will there be untied with them, seems also to be plainly predicted in the prophets.
Let the following things be considered:
1. The preservation of the Jews, as a distinct people, among the many nations whither they have been dispersed, now for nearly eighteen hundred years, affords great evidence, to say the least, that the many predictions which seem to foretel [sic] such a restoration are to have a literal accomplishment. This their preservation is a most signal event of providence. Nothing like it has ever, in any other instance, been known on earth; except it be the case with the ten tribes of Israel. Other dispersed tribes of men have amalgamated with the people where they have dwelt, and have lost their distinct existence. And nothing but the special hand of God could have prevented this in the case of the Jews. The event then shows, that God has great things in store for them, as Jews. What can these things be, but the fulfillment of those many prophecies which predict their restoration to the land of their fathers, as well as their conversion to the Christian faith?
2. That people have never, as yet, possessed all the land promised them; nor have they possessed any part of it so long as promised. Hence their restoration to that land is essential to the complete fulfillment of those ancient promises. They were to possess the land to the river Euphrates, and forever; or to the end of the world. God promised to Abraham, Gen. xv. 18—[p.50]”Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” Exod. xxii. 31—”And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea, even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river (Euphrates;) for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and thou shalt drive them out before thee.”—Deut. xi. 21—”Every place whereon the sole of thy feet shall stand, shall be yours, from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea, shall your coast be.” Here then, are the boundaries of this ancient divine grant to Abraham and his natural seed. Beginning at the river of Egypt, (a river not far from the north-east corner of the Red Sea, and running into the Mediterranean.) Thence northward, on the shore of the said sea, as far as the point due west of Mount Lebanon. Thence eastward, over said mountain, away to the river Euphrates. Thence southward, as far as the north line of Arabia. Thence westward, to the first named river. The [p.32]whole of this territory, the natural seed of Abraham were to possess “for ever.” The inhabitants “should be driven out before them.” But this people anciently possessed but a small part of this territory. There was indeed a kind of typical possession of it in the reign of Solomon;—which reign was a type of the Millennium. (See Psalm [xxii.) David in his wars which were typical of the wars that will introduce the Millennium, subdued and put under tribute the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, and most of the nations dwelling in the above named territories. And they continued in subjection in the reign of Solomon. (See 1 Kings iv. 21.) But those nations were not then driven out; nor was their land possessed by the children of Abraham. They afterward threw off their yoke, and were extremely troublesome to the people of God. They were only made tributary during a part of two reigns. But God promised—Exod. xxiii. 31—”I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river (Euphrates.) For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, [p.51]and thou shalt drive them out before thee.” The land east of Canaan, and away to the river Euphrates, was never possessed by Israel. Their literal possession of that extent of territory must be an event still future.
The promised land was given to Israel “for an everlasting possession;” Gen. xvii. 8. Surely this must mean a longer time than they did in ages past possess it. This promise remains then to be yet fulfilled. It must mean an undisturbed possession of it, so long as the possession of it on earth may be desirable; or to the end of the world. We accordingly find that people, at the time of the introduction of the Millennium, expostulating with God, and pleading that ancient grant; Isa. lxiii. 17, 18; “O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy way, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servant’s sake, the tribes of shine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it (shine inheritance) but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine. Thou never bearest rule over them; they are not called by thy name.” Here is a plea put into the mouths of the ancient people of the Lord, at the time of their restoration, not long before the battle of the great day, with a description of which battle this chapter begins. They expostulate relative to the sovereignty of God, in the resting of the veil of blindness and hardness so long on their hearts, during their long rejected state. They plead that they are God’s servants, according to the ancient entail of the covenant. They plead for a restoration;—and [p.33]plead that their nation had enjoyed, that their everlasting inheritance, but a little while; but that a people not called by God’s name, nor governed by his word, had trodden down the sanctuary; a description exactly fulfilled by the Turks. This fully implies the entering again of the Jews upon their ancient inheritance, in the last days.
3. I shall now adduce some of the numerous express predictions of this event. In the prophecy of Ezekiel, the restoration of the Jews and of Israel to their own land, as well as their conversion in the last [p.52]days, is clearly predicted. In chapter xxxvi. we have their long dispersion, and their guilty cause of it. But God, in the last days, works for his own name’s sake, and recovers them. God says, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord—when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give unto you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways—and shall loathe yourselves. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you. Thus saith the Lord God; in the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities, I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all the heathen that passed by. And they shall say, this land that was so desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced and are inhabited. Then the heathen who are left round about you, shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that which is desolate. I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” Here is their regeneration; having a new heart; being cleansed from all sin. And beside this, we find expressly promised, their being reinstated in the land of their fathers, which had long lain waste. They rebuild their ancient cities. That this is in the last days, connected with the introduction of the Millennium, the connexion [sic] of the whole passage, and the following chapters, fully [p.34]decide. Both houses of the descendants of Abraham, [p.53](viz. Israel and Judah,) are recovered, as will be seen. Those predictions cannot be fulfilled merely by the conversion of that people. For over and above their express conversion, they are established in the land of their fathers.
The prophet proceeds further to predict and illustrate the wonderful events, by the resurrection of a valley of dry bones, chap. xxxvii. which figure God thus explains: “Son of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, our bones are dried, and our hopes lost; we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophecy, and say unto them; thus saith the Lord God; behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your land. Then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
The re-union of the two branches of that people follows, by the figure of the two sticks taken by the prophet. Of the one he writes, “For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.” Upon the other; “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.”
Lest any should say, the prediction which here seems to foretel [sic] the restoration of the ten tribes, as well as that of the Jews, were accomplished in the restoration of that few of the Israelites, who clave to the Jews under the house of David, and the ten tribes are irrecoverably lost; it is here expressed that the Jews and those Israelites, their companions, were symbolized by one stick; and Ephraim, all the house of Israel, (the whole ten tribes,) by the other stick. These sticks miraculously become one in the prophet’s hand; which is thus explained. “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel (their general ancient name, including the twelve tribes) from among the heathen, whether they be gone; and I will [p.54]gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. And they shall dwell in the land that I gave unto Jacob, my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children and their children’s children forever.” Can a doubt here rest on the subject, whether the Jews and the ten tribes shall be re-established in Palestine? Can such divine testimony as this be done away? But similar testimonies to the point are numerous in the prophets. This passage has never yet received a primary, or partial fulfillment. The whole of it remains to be fulfilled. Some of the predictions, which are to have an ultimate accomplishment in this final restoration had a primary one in the restoration from the seventy years captivity in Babylon. But even this cannot be said of the prophecy under consideration. None of those written on the second stick, in the hand of the prophet, have ever yet been recovered. The whole passage is intimately connected with the battle of that great day, which introduces the Millennium; as appears in the two following chapters. Here the house of Israel enter again upon their everlasting possession of the land of promise, which God engaged to Abraham.
A reiteration of these predictions is intermingled with the predictions concerning Gog, or the powers of Antichrist, to be collected against the Jews, after their restoration, in the two chapters succeeding. “In the latter years thou (Gog) shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste, (or have lain waste for so many centuries during the dispersion of the Jews;) but it (that nation) is brought back out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith [p.55]the Lord God; it shall also come to pass, that the same time, shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought; and thou shalt say, “I will go up to the land of unwalled villages, (the state of the Jews in Palestine, after their restoration;) I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them, dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; to take a spoil, and to take a prey, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.” “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou and all thy bands. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, it is come, it is done, saith the Lord God. This is the day whereof I have [p.36]spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons—seven years.”
The whole account is thus divinely summed up. —”Therefore, thus saith the Lord God; now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my only name; after that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, who caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen; but I have gathered them into their own land, and left none of them there (among the heathen) any more; neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” It seems as though this were enough, if nothing more were quoted from the prophets to prove our point. If this proof should be deemed insufficient, one would be apt to say, nothing that inspiration can assert upon the point, could be deemed sufficient!
[p.56]But that it may appear that the prophetic writings unite to exhibit this as a great object of the Christian’s belief, I shall note some of the other predictions of it.
In Isaiah xi. the stem from the root of Jesse is promised. The Millennium follows, when the cow and the bear shall feed together, and the wolf and the lamb unite in love; and nothing more shall hurt or offend. “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, to gather the remnant of his people, who shall be left, from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Humah, and from the isles of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth.” Here just before the Millennium, the Jews and ten tribes are collected from their long dispersion, by the hand of Omnipotence, set a second time for their recovery. A body of the Jews, and some of several other tribes, were recovered from ancient Babylon. God is going, in the last days, to make a second, and more effectual recovery from mystical Babylon, and from the four quarters of the earth. The prophet proceeds; “And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry shod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” Mr. Scott, upon this passage, says; “For the Lord will then remove all obstacles by the same powerful interposition, that he vouchsafed in behalf of Israel, when He separated the tongue, or bay of the Red Sea, and destroyed that hindrance to the departure of Israel; and with a mighty wind he will so separate the waters of the river Euphrates, in all its streams, that men may pass over dry shod. Thus an highway shall be made for Israel’s return, as there was for their ancestors to pass from Egypt into [p.57]Canaan. This part of the chapter contains a prophecy, which certainly remains yet to be accomplished.”—Bishop Lowth says the same; and adds, as quoted by Mr. Scott, “This part of the chapter foretels [sic] the glorious times of the church, which shall be ushered in by the restoration of the Jewish nation, when they shall embrace the gospel, and be restored to their own country. This remarkable scene of Providence is plainly foretold by most of the prophets; and by St. Paul.” We thus have the testimony of those great men, Lowth and Scott, in favour [sic] of a literal restoration of the Jews to their own land, being here predicted. And here is a drying up of a mighty river, to prepare the way for the event. A river is the symbol of a nation. When Israel were to be redeemed from Egypt, the Red Sea was to be dried before them. When they were to be redeemed from Babylon, the Euphrates was by Cyrus to be dried or turned, to accomplish the event. And in their last restoration to Palestine, (ere long to be accomplished,) another great mystical river is to be dried up. The sixth vial dries up the mystic Euphrates, that the way of the kings of the east may be prepared. This is to be fulfilled on the Turks. Perhaps the event is now transpiring. This river is to be smitten in its seven streams; as stated in this prophecy of Isaiah; perhaps indicating that the Turks, be they ever so powerful in provinces and resources, as seven is a number of perfection, they yet shall fall by the remarkable hand of God, to accommodate the return of his ancient people. These prophetic hints give an interest to the present struggles in the south-east of Europe, or in Greece.
In Jeremiah, xxiii. 6, 8, is the restoration of Israel. “In his days, (i. e. under the millennial reign of the righteous branch raised up to David,) Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; I will [p.38]gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries, whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their own folds. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land [p.58]of Egypt; but, the Lord liveth, who brought up, and who led the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I have driven them, and they shall dwell in their own land.” As this event is under the reign of Christ, so it has never yet been fulfilled. It is an event of the last days; and plants the ancient people of God in their own land.
The same comparison of the same event, we find in Jeremiah xvi. 14, 15. After denouncing their long dispersion for their sins; God says, “Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither I had driven them; and I will bring them into their land, that I gave unto their fathers.”
In Isaiah xviii. a land shadowing with wings at the last days, is by the Most High addressed, and called to aid this restoration of that people of God. “Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out, and trodden down; whose land the rivers have spoiled. In that day shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot; whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion.” The people here described, (to be brought by that land addressed, as a present to the Lord, to Mount Zion, or to Palestine,) are evidently the descendants of Abraham, and an event of the last days. A further explanation of this chapter is to be given in the last chapter of this work.
The same thing is noted in Isaiah lx. The Jewish church is called upon; “Arise, shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. The gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Who are these that fly as clouds, and as doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall [p.59]wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” Here are ships conveying the Hebrews to Palestine, as clouds and as doves to their windows. Chap. lxvi. 20: “And they shall bring of your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring and offering in a clean vessel unto the house of the Lord.” In Zephaniah iii. 10, (connected with the battle of the great day, and the Millennium.) we read; “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants (or worshippers [sic]) shall bring my offering, even the daughter of my dispersed;” as the passage should be rendered.
In Isaiah lxv. we find the sin of the dispersion, and the gathering again, at the Millennium, of the ancient tribes of the Lord. In relation to their gathering after their banishment, and “their works are measured into their bosom,” it follows; “Thus saith the Lord; As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not; for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants, sakes that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.” Here after the long rejected state of Jacob and Judah, a blessed remnant at last shall be recovered;—a seed from Jacob, (the ten tribes) and from Judah the Jews) an inheritor of Canaan shall come and dwell in that land. This has never yet been fulfilled. But it will be accomplished when God will (as in the following verses) “create new heavens, and a new earth,” in the millennial glory of the church.
In Amos ix. 14, 15, is a prediction of this event. “And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; and I will plant them upon their land, [p.60]and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land, which I have given them, saith the Lord God.” This restoration is surely future. For after the restoration from the Babylonish captivity, they were again expelled from their land, now for many centuries. But after the restoration here promised, God says, “They shall no more be pulled up out of their land.” This shows that the restoration here promised is both future and literal. Jer. xxx. 3; “For lo, the last days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people, Israel and Judah, saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” In the restoration from Babylon, Israel was not returned; and the Jews possessed their land but a short [p.40]time. Hence this prophecy remains to be fulfilled. Read the whole 31st chapter of Jeremiah, and you will find the restoration of the Jews and the ten tribes, to the land of their fathers, in the last days; and their continuance in it so long as the sun, moon and stars endure. “If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord. (i. e. of the sun, moon and stars) then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before me forever.” God here promises “the city (Jerusalem) shall be built to the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever.” Here God engages that as Ephraim is God’s first born; so he will earnestly remember him still, and surely have mercy upon him for his bowels are pained with his long outcast state. That he will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of men; and that like as he had watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, to throw down, and to destroy and afflict; so he will watch over them to build and plant. That all this shall be, when the new covenant is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that he made with their fathers. Thus it is an event to take place under the last, the gospel dispensation; and hence it must be now future.
[p.61]The prophet Joel, when foretelling the last days, and the Millennium, notes this event; chap. iii. 1. “For behold, in those days, and at that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat.” The battle of the great day of God follows; verse 9-17. Upon which follows the Millennium. In this series of events, God “brings again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.”
In Zeph. iii. is the same. A new preparatory scene of judgement is predicted; verse 6, 7. The battle of the great day follows; verse 8. Then the Millennium; verse 9. To prepare the way for this, the noted restoration is promised; verse 10-18. And the scene closes thus; verse 19, 20. “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get me praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time I will bring you again, even in the time that I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.”
The prophet Hosea most decisively predicts this event. His first son must be called Jezreel; for God would soon avenge the blood of Jezreel; and I will cause to cease the house of Israel.” This house did cease; and has been banished and lost to this day. The name of his daughter Lo-ruhamah, is explained: “Ye are not my people; and I will not be your God.” Here is their long excommunication. But he immediately proceeds to predict their restoration. Chap. i. 10, 11; “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that in the place, where it was said unto them. Ye are not my people; there shall it be said to them. Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Israel and the children of Judah be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head; and they [p.62]shall come up out of the land; (earth;) for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” Here the ten tribes were to be dispersed, and again restored, together with the Jews; and their numbers and prosperity shall be immense. St. Paul quotes this passage, Rom. ix. 25, merely by way of accommodation, to note that the gentiles were called into the church; (a thing noted by expositors as very common in the sacred writings;) yet by no means with a view to hint, that this text is not to receive a more literal accomplishment in a future restoration of the ten tribes. In numerous scriptures the sentiment is confirmed that there shall be a literal restoration. The bringing in of the gentile church is a prelude to this. Israel were excommunicated that the gentiles might take their place. But it was to be thus, only “till the fulness of the gentiles be come in,” and then Israel shall be grafted in again, and their promised restoration be accomplished.
This prophet proceeds in the following chapters to predict the same event. See Hosea, 2d and ad chapters. The account closes thus; “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without a teraphim. Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God, and David, their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Here is a description of the present rejected state of Israel; and a prediction of their national restoration, “in the latter days.”
But few of the predictions of this final restoration are given. To recite them all, would be unwieldy. In Isai. xiv. is a prediction of the destruction of a power under the name of the king of Babylon; which event is evidently the same with the destruction of the mystical Babylon of the last days,—inasmuch as it is to be accomplished upon the mountains of Israel; verse 25. To prepare the way for this, we have the promised restoration of Israel, verse 1, as immediately preparatory to the event; and therefore [p.63]it must in its ultimate accomplishment be still future. “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them on their own land. And the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.” The stranger being joined unto Israel, restored to their own land, and what follows in the second and third verses, were events, which were not fulfilled when the Jews returned from ancient Babylon; but are just such events as are promised to take place after the final restoration of Israel, and the battle of the great day. The promised restoration is expressly applied to Israel. Judah and Israel had become two nations long before this prophecy. The event is then clearly future. Israel shall be again chosen and set in their own land.
This restoration is a great event in the prophets; and we find it in the New Testament. Paul (in his epistle to the Romans, chap. xi.) notes their being again grafted into their own olive tree, as a notable event of the last days, which shall be the “riches of the gentiles;” yea, “life from the dead” to them. See also Isaiah xlix. 18-23. One passage more I will adduce from the writings of Moses; Deut. xxx. The long and doleful dispersion of this people had been predicted in the preceding chapters. Here their final restoration follows. “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God;–that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it, and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” This has never yet been fulfilled. For the Jews, returned from Babylon, were very far from being multiplied in their land above their fathers. This remains still to be accomplished.
[p.64]Thus the prophetic writings do clearly decide, that both Israel and the Jews shall, in the last days, before the Millennium, be literally restored to their own land of Palestine, and be converted to the Christian faith.
4. To give a mystical import to all these prophecies, and say they will be fulfilled only in the conversion of these ancient people of God to Christianity, is to take a most unwarrantable liberty with the word of God. Some have made such presence; but far be it from me to follow them! Why not as well apply a mystical sense to every prediction of future events? To the predictions of the battle of that great day; of the Millennium; of the resurrection of the bodies of men; of the final judgement; of the conflagration of this world; of heaven, and of hell? Why may not those as well all be fulfilled, not by a literal, but by some mystical accomplishment? Is not this to add and to diminish, with a witness? Paul says, (2 Tim. ii. 16,) “But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their words will eat as cloth a canker; of whom Hymeneas and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying, that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some.” What was the liberty taken by those arch heretics? No doubt it was this; applying to predictions of a resurrection of the bodies of men from the grave, a mystical resurrection of the soul from the death of sin. But the predictions of the resurrection are far less numerous, and are not more express, than are the predictions of the restoration of the Jews and Israel to their own land.
In various of the most remarkable of these predictions, we find it distinctly ascertained that the Jews shall be converted; shall have a new heart given them; shall have their hearts circumcised to fear the Lord. And beside this, it is said that people shall (as a distinct nation.) be restored to the land of their fathers, and shall dwell in temporal prosperity there through all following ages, and be more numerous than [p.65]ever were their fathers. To say then, that all those predictions of such a restoration to Palestine, are to be accomplished only in the bringing of that people (in their dispersed state) to embrace the Messiah; is to take a most unwarrantable liberty with the word of God! Look at one passage; Ezekiel, 36th, 37th, 38th, and 39th chapters. Are the new heart (the heart of the flesh) there promised, and God’s gathering them out of all lands into their own land, which had so long lain waste, one and the same event? What can such expositors do with the predictions of Gog and his bands, gathered against them, and falling upon the mountains of Israel? Are these (and all the predictions in Joel, Zechariah, and other prophets, of the gathering of all nations to Jerusalem,) to be explained away, so that no “gathering of the nations, and assembling of the kingdoms” must be expected? It must be a dangerous expedient thus to explain away the clear and express sentiments of revelation. The old and best expositors generally have believed in a literal restoration of Judah and Israel. And no material objections can be raised against it, which might not in its principle operate as forcibly against all predicted future events.
5. That the Hebrews are to have a literal restoration, appears from the fact, that the threatenings that God cast them off, had their fulfillment in a literal rejection of them from the promised land. The promises of their restoration appear to be an exact counterpart of this; and hence must have their effect in restoring them again to Palestine. If such promises did not design to restore them again to the land of their fathers; why should the threatenings of their rejection of God, be designed to have their effect in expelling them literally from the land of promise? Why should one of them receive a literal, and the other a mystical construction? No account can be given of this. If there is no benefit in restoring them to Palestine; why was there any calamity in expelling them from Palestine? Why did not God let them continue there, though he withdrew his spirit and grace from [p.66]them? But if, over and above this, they must be expelled from the land of promise; then surely their promised restoration must (over and above giving them the heart of flesh) bring them back to Canaan, which was given to them for an everlasting possession.