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in point of fact, substantially the same as the foregoing,—the one considers the conversion of a particular race of mankind, the subject of prediction, — the other regards the general spread of the Gospel, without confining it to any one nation as the subject; but this manifestly does not affect the principle of the interpretation, nor in any degree lessen the force of any general arguments adduced against it.
III. The only remaining theory which I have met with is that which combines the literal and spiritual interpretations, and adopts each according to the necessities of the case. It understands the land to mean Palestine in one part of a prophecy, and the Church of God in another part; the Israelites to mean the Jews in one part of a prophecy, and Christians in another; and the restoration consequently to mean in one part the return from Babylon, and in another part the conversion of sinners to Christianity, thus mingling, with gross inconsistency, the two interpretations above considered : “ This system, or rather no system, refutes itself; for if such arbitrary liberties be taken with the language of Scripture,—if, when the prophet in two different places of the same prophecy uses the same words without
intimation of a difference in his meaning, the interpreter be permitted to say, that the words in one place have a meaning which they cannot have in the other place, then manifestly the Church is at the mercy of the fancy of the interpreter, and all settled consistent exposition is at an end."—(Mc Neile's Lect. on Jews, p. 137).
With regard to the period of the great event which forms the subject of this chapter, though it is nowhere revealed with that precision which belongs to the chronological predictions, the statements of inspiration are sufficiently explicit to enable us to determine its date within a few
In the last chapter of Daniel it is written,—“That it should be for a time, times, and half a time: and when he shall have
accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”—Dan. xii. 7. This passage has been considered by many to denote that the dispersion of the Jews would terminate at the close of the time, times, and half a time, i. l., about A.D. 1864. I cannot, however, regard it in this light. The time, times, and half, or first mentioned period, appears to me, to denote merely the continuance of the prosperity of the king who does aceording to his will” agreeably to the 34th verse of the previous chapter, " he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished.” The second era mentioned, “ when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people," does not appear synonymous with this, but indicates a further period, viz., the fulfilment of the whole of the prophecy down to the period of the time of trouble such as never was ; and the purport of it seems to be, that the restoration of the Jews to the land of Judea, shall be the period for the accomplishment of the last-mentioned prophecy,--the planting of the palaces of the wilful king in Judea, the standing up of Michael, and the time of trouble such as never was,—“And when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Hence, the opinion, that the Jews will be restored at the close of the twelve hundred and sixty days has no support in Scripture ; it is mere conjecture. It may be, however, unquestionably inferred from this
passage, that the restoration of the Jews will take place during the interval between the close of the time, times, and half a time, and the accomplishment of the last part of the prediction, which refers to the fall of “the King,” and the standing up of Michael. Other passages agree in stating that it shall shortly precede the Battle of Armageddon :Joel iii. 7; Zeph. iii. 8; and in the course of the following chapters, the same truth will be illustrated at some length.
I repeat, therefore, that the doctrine of Scripture in reference to the period of the wondrous and important event of the restoration of the Jews to the land of Palestine, appears to be, that it will occur subsequently to the close of the time, times, and half a time, 1864, or 1866 A.D., and previous to the Battle of Armageddon, which, in all probability, occurs thirty years after ; that is, it will occur during the period of the effusion of the first six vials of the wrath of God.
There is not the slightest doubt, in my opinion, that the Jews will be restored, whilst in their present unconverted state ; the testimony of Scripture is full and decisive on this point. It is by no means inconsistent with this opinion, that a certain sense of past wickedness, and entreaty for pardon and a removal of the present curse resting upon them, by placing them again in their land, may precede it. But whatever of this sort happens, will be purely of a carnal description, and unaccompanied by any spiritual sorrow, or change of heart ; but as the following pages will bring before us evidence most conclusive, in proof that the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, occur after their restoration to the land, I shall not formally discuss the point at present.
The history of the Jewish people after their restoration, as it is revealed in many prophecies of the Old Testament Scripture, is replete with instruction as well as intense interest. As, however, the leading events will come under notice in the ensuing chapters, I shall omit all mention of them here.
“ That the Jews shall cease to exist as a distinct race, on their incorporation into the Christian Church, the Bible nowhere teaches ; nor is such an event probable in the nature of things. But if they shall exist as believing Jews, on what principle can it be maintained that they may not live in Palestine, just as believing Britons do in Britain, believing Americans in America ? Christianity does not destroy nationality, nor require an amalgamation of the different races of mankind, however it may insist that, in a spiritual point of view, all its subjects constitute but one people and one nation, holy and peculiar, the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. If the Jews had received the Messiah, when preached to them by the Apostles, there is no reason to suppose that they would have been expelled from their own land; so that whatever admissions of Gentiles there might have been into their community, it would still, in the main, have been made
of Jews, as in fact, the Churches of God' were, which in Judea, were in Christ Jesus.' Nor is there anything in what I conceive to be the doctrine of Scripture on this subject, at all at variance with its representations respecting the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ. The Jews, when converted, will be required to conform, in every point, to the laws of that kingdom, precisely as the Gentiles are on their becoming subject to its Head and Lord. Not the slightest hint is given, that any forms of ecclesiastical polity, or any modes of worship will obtain among the restored Jewish converts, different from those instituted by the Apostles.
“ As to the degree of temporal prosperity promised to them, it appears to have special respect to the long-continued circumstances of adversity in which they have lived ; and may, perhaps, after all, differ but little from that which will be enjoyed by the members of the Divine Kingdom generally, during the happy period of the Millenium.”—(Dr. Henderson's Pref. to Com. on Isaiah.)
Mistaken idea generally prevalent on this subject, Passages of Scripture
which describe this tribulation as unparalleled—It refers exclusively to the Jews-It occurs at the very close of their present dispersion-It arises from a tremendous assault upon Jerusalem by all the nations of the earth-The 3rd chapter of Joel describes this attack-Other predictions of that event-Particulars of this Great Tribulation.
Another important subject of inquiry connected with the last days—is, the time of trouble, such as never was and never shall be, or as it is often termed, THE GREAT TRIBULATION.” The common opinion respecting this period of suffering is— that it refers to the Christian Church,—that it will consist in a dreadful persecution, and that it will occur towards the close of the great period of 1260 years. The death of the witnesses of God,-Rev. xi. 7., is considered by the Expositors of Prophecy to refer to that event, and they who have out of great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,”—Rev. vii. 14., are thought to represent the subjects of it after reaching Heaven. Such an opinion, however, is totally devoid of any real evidence, and contradicts the conclusive testimony of Scripture, as to the period, nature, and subjects of this unparalleled tribulation.
In order to prevent the possibility of confounding two or more different troubles predicted in the Scriptures together, and thus ascribing to one period of distress, circumstances which do not belong to it, I shall confine myself, in this inquiry, to such few passages as expressly speak of this period of suffering as wholly unparalleled. Such passages, beyond all