Those who interpret the Bible literally will not be disappointed!
John Gill, Exposition of the Old Testament, 1763--
“That the Jews upon their conversion in the latter day will return to the land of Judea again, and possess it, is the sense of many passages of Scripture; among others, see Jer. 30:17.”
Charles Simeon, Horae Homiletcae, Or, Discourses Upon the Whole Scriptures, vol. 6, 1820--
“[T]he Jews at large, and the generality of Christians also, believe that the dispersed of Israel will one day be restored to their own land.”
Edward Bickersteth, The Restoration of the Jews to Their Own Land, 1841--
“Shortly afterwards Abraham was called to survey the land of Canaan, and it was promised to him in these words, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. Gen. 13:14, 15. The promise was renewed, and confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. Gen. 17:4-16; 22:15-18; 24:3, 4; 28:13-15. The extent of the land is more explicitly stated in the words, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river Euphrates. Gen. 15:18.
“These promises, in their plain and obvious meaning. convey a perpetual possession of this land to this nation; Yet hitherto the actual possession by the children of Abraham has been very partial and interrupted. Even in the reign of Solomon there does not appear to have been that full possession and sovereignty of the whole which the promises lead us to expect. And history shews us that for 1800 years, the Jews have been driven from this land, and scattered over the face of the earth; but they are so marvellously preserved in their distinctness, in the midst of the nations, that the literal fulfillment of the prophecy is to this day a possibility, and their present state is, in the providence of God, such as to make it a probability in the eyes of men in general.
“The original promises are confirmed and enlarged in a great variety of forms in subsequent parts of the Holy Scriptures. Prophecies which describe literally their present dispensation and degradation, then promise their future restoration and glory; thus making the dispersion the pledge and assurance of the restoration.
“There have been different systems of interpretation of these prophecies in the Christian church. Some would view them as already literally fulfilled; or explain them in a figurative and mystical sense. Others, fully agreeing that true believers have, through Christ, a real interest in every spiritual and eternal blessing promised in the Old Testament, and that the New Testament justifies us in a spiritual application of some of the Old Testament prophecies to the Christian church, believe also that there will be yet an exact literal accomplishment to the Jewish nation of the promises made to them. This is the view here maintained.”
James Hamilton, Lectures on the Conversion of the Jews. Lecture I “The Destination of the Jews,” British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, 1843--
“Abstaining from all speculations regarding the period when, and the agencies by which the result is to be brought about, it will be the subject of this lecture to show I. That the Jews are to be restored to their own land; and II. That they are to be converted. In other words, the destination of the Jews includes their restoration and conversion.
“When a great city is overthrown, and the first outburst of sorrow dies away, it is either quietly rebuilt and re-occupied, or forsaken and forgotten. In either case it is only one generation which suffers. If a new city rise on the ruins of the old, the conquerors and the conquered usually blend more or less together, and in some future age they live promiscuously and rejoice in common on a soil which their fathers moistened with one another’s blood. What modern Roman lays it the least to heart that the grass waves in theatres where his forefathers sat the long summer day, and laughed, and cheered, and shouted; or, who feels it personally that the bramble grows out of the riven altar on which Romulus or Numa laid the struggling victim? The chain of identity is broken, and the new race is clean severed from the old. If, on the other hand, no new city be suffered to arise, if the shock which overturned its walls have also dispersed its people, like the shattered fragments of the avalanche, they soon melt and are lost atoms in the stream of some mightier population. Where is the bosom in which Troy awakens the faintest throb of patriotic feeling? What nation pays its pilgrimage to the swampy sites of Nineveh and Babylon? ... Where are the people who have the hereditary right to sit down among such ruins, and recognising emblems of departed glory, the right to weep because their ‘house is left unto them desolate?’ Where are the old inhabitants? They are not exterminated, and yet they have vanished. Merged in the nations, and mutually commingled, there is no precipitate which can decompose them and bring them out in their original distinctness again. The house is desolate; but no one feels that the house is his, so no one mourns its desolation.
“But there is a city whose case is quite peculiar. Captured, ravaged, burnt, razed to the foundation, dispeopled, carried captive, its deported citizens sold in slavery, and forbidden by severest penalties to visit their native seats again; though eighteen centuries have passed, and strangers still tread its hallowed soil, that city is still the magnet of many hearts, and awakens from time to time pangs of as keen emotion as when its fall was recent. Ever and anon, and from all the winds of heaven Zion’s exiled children come to visit her, and with eyes weeping sore bewail her widowhood. No city was ever honoured thus. None else receives pilgrimages of affection from the fiftieth generation of its outcast people. None else after centuries of dispersion could at the first call gather beneath its wings the whole of its wide-wandering family. None else has possessed a spell sufficient to keep in remotest regions, and in the face of the mightiest inducements, its people still distinct; and none but itself can now be re-peopled with precisely the same race which left it nearly two thousand years ago. The reason of this anomaly must be sought, not in Jerusalem, but in the purposes of God” (James Hamilton, “The Destination of the Jews,” Lecture I in Lectures on the Conversion of the Jews, British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, 1843).
Charles H. Spurgeon, 1864--
“The meaning of our text [Ezekiel 37:1-10], as opened up by the context, is most evidently, if words mean anything, first, that there shall be a political restoration of the Jews to their own land and to their own nationality. And then, secondly, there is in the text and in the context a most plain declaration that there shall be a spiritual restoration--in fact a conversion--of the tribes of Israel.
“Israel is now blotted out from the map of nations. Her sons are scattered far and wide. Her daughters mourn beside all the rivers of the earth. Her sacred song is hushed--no king reigns in Jerusalem! She brings forth no governors among her tribes. But she is to be restored! She is to be restored ‘as from the dead.’ When her own sons have given up all hope of her, then is God to appear for her. She is to be reorganized--her scattered bones are to be brought together. There will be a native government again. There will again be the form of a political body“ (“The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews,” Metropolitan Tabernacle).
Samuel Wakefield, Theology, 1869--
“... a future restoration awaits this people, and will be to the world a glorious demonstration of the truth of prophecy. ... Three things are certain: the Jews themselves expect it; they are preserved by the providence of God as a distinct people for their country; and their country, which is in fact possessed by no one, is preserved for them” (p. 96).
William E. Blackstone, Jesus Is Coming, 1878--
“And their wonderful preservation, as a distinct people, through all the persecutions, vicissitudes and wanderings of the past eighteen centuries down to the present moment, is a standing miracle, attesting the truth of God’s word, and assuring us of His purposes in their future history. Said Frederick the Great to his chaplain: ‘Doctor, if your religion is a true one, it ought to be capable of very brief and simple proof. Will you give me an evidence of its truth in one word?’ The good man answered, ‘Israel.’ Other nations come and go, but Israel remains. She passes not away. God says of her, ‘For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, said the Lord, thy Redeemer.’ Isa. 54:7-8. But, perhaps, you say: ‘I don’t believe the Israelites are to be restored to Canaan, and Jerusalem rebuilt.’ Dear reader! have you read the declarations of God’s word about it? Surely nothing is more plainly stated in the Scriptures.” (This book sold millions of copies and was translated into more than 40 languages.)
David Baron, The Jewish Problem: Its Solution, or, Israel’s Present and Future, 1894--
“This book [Jeremiah], dictated by God Himself, is a very remarkable one; for though it concerns Israel, it is addressed chiefly to the Gentile nations.
‘For thus saith the Lord Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. ... Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock’ (Jeremiah xxxi. 7, 10).
“It is a testimony, then, not so much to Israel as to the Gentile nations about Israel. Just as, in the epistle to the Romans, we find, as it were, an epistle within an epistle; three chapters—ix., x., xi.—expressly indited by the Spirit of God, for the purpose of enlightening Gentile Christians with regard to God's purposes in Israel. The apostle is most impressed with the importance of the Church having correct views on this subject; and feels that he cannot leave them ignorant of this mystery, lest, through the erroneous notion that God hath cast away His people Israel which He foreknew, and that the special promises and privileges reserved to Israel nationally in the Word of God have been transferred to the Church, they should fall into the danger of self-conceit.
“So here, through the prophet Jeremiah, there is a definite message, a proclamation, a warning, to the chief of the Gentile nations, and to the isles afar off, to the same purport, viz., that God is not yet done with Israel—that ‘He that scattereth Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock.’ ...
“There are several methods of interpretation which seem alike unsatisfactory, and are perhaps responsible for a great deal of Jewish and Gentile unbelief. There is, first of all, the old-fashioned way of so-called spiritualizing the prophecies making Israel and Zion to mean the Church, and The Land to signify heaven; but I confess this system of interpretation has no consistency about it, and makes the Word of God the most meaningless and unintelligible book in the world. For instance, we read here:
“‘I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah; ... and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers.’
“If Israel be the Church, who is Judah? If Judah be the Church, who is Israel? What is the ‘captivity’ the Church has endured ? and where is ‘the land’ from which the Church has been driven out, and to which it will return? At the end of the prophecy we read:
“‘Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kedron, unto the corner of the horse-gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever’ (Jeremiah xxxi. 38-40).
“In what particular locality in heaven are the tower of Hananeel and the corner gate? And what will our allegorical interpretations make of the hill Gareb, and Goath, and the brook Kedron? All these are known to me in the environs of the literal Jerusalem in Canaan; but I confess some difficulty in locating them in heavenly places. If Israel does not mean Israel, and ‘the land God gave to the fathers’ does not mean Palestine, then I do not know what is meant.
“The announcement is: ‘He that scattereth Israel will gather him.’ Now, when it comes to scattering—of course, this is allowed to refer to literal Israel, to the Jews, ‘scattered and peeled’; but when, in the same sentence, a gathering of the same people is mentioned oh, this is the gathering of the spiritual Israel. What consistency or honesty, I pray, is there in such interpretations!”
Alfred H. Burton, The Future of Europe and Russia’s Destiny in the Light of Prophecy, 1896--
“The Jews will then be settled in their own land. Having returned in unbelief, they will have formed themselves into a flourishing community. ... Reader, these things may soon take place. The mighty armies are to be mown down before the brightness of Christ’s glory, when like the lightning He shall descend from heaven. Let not the infidelity of our days lead you to question the possibility of such things” (pp. 72, 73).
Ford C. Ottman, The Unfolding of the Ages in the Revelation of John, 1905--
“Israel is yet to be revived, and Jesus says: ‘Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh’ (Mat. 24:32). What is the meaning of the modern Zionist movement, and the widespread interest in the return of the Jews to Palestine? A distinguished Jewish Rabbi said recently: ‘There is no Jewish nation, and there never will be. The Zionists that make so much noise do not represent Jewish sentiment. There is no general movement to restore Israel to Palestine. We preach today not Jewish nationality but universal Judaism, humanitarianism, the unity of God and man. Washington is to us a second Moses. When he freed America from Tyranny he created a haven of refuge for all the oppressed, including the Jews. Why do we need Palestine? We have America. That is enough.’ The unbelieving surrender of the promises only shows how completely Israel has given up her God. But the God of Israel abides, and He will yet come forth and recover the glory due Him. Back the Israelites shall go, whether they know it or not, and God will vindicate His faithfulness and glory. The fig tree, though barren, still abides” (pp. 172).
Walter Scott, At Hand, Or, Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass, London: Pickering & Inglis, 4th edition, 1910--
“Israel is the subject of prophecy. In the drama of human history the Hebrew is the chief actor. In the domain of prophecy he is equally prominent. The past and future circle round the Jew. The Jew is the great factor in prophecy. ... The once mighty monarchies of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome have risen, flourished, and fallen, leaving no permanent results behind. But the Jews, whose reliable history goes further back than any of those ancient kingdoms, are with us to-day. In physiognomy and national characteristics the Jew is unchanged. In a history of nigh four thousands years. ... The Jews as a people cannot be destroyed. God is their keeper and preserver, even while under His governmental judgment as they are to-day. The Jews, without a home, without a country, without a government, without a head, are yet a people as distinct from the Gentiles in national faith, feeling, and hope, as in the days of David and Solomon” (pp. 66, 68).
“The Restoration of the Hebrew Commonwealth is the first and indispensable necessity for the arrangement of the situation to suit the requirements of the prophetic orderly system mapped out in the Word. The whole prophetic future depends on that primary fact. The Jew, and not the Gentile, is the centre of God's government of the earth; hence all take shape and colour from the settlement of Judah in her land. This will be the great political event of the centuries, and one which will attract universal attention. ... whenever, and by whomsoever, the return of Judah is effected, the result will be to change the whole political government of the world. ... The Restoration of Israel to Palestine is the first and fundamental necessity demanded by prophecy.” ( pp. 71, 72, 73)
Jesse Forrest Silver, The Lord’s Return: Seen in History and in Scripture as Pre-Millennial and Imminent, 1914--
“... we must remember that every promise made to the Jewish people will be literally fulfilled. God hath not cast them off forever. The Abraham covenant promised land never yet wholly possessed (Gen. 15:18). Spiritual blindness will be removed when ‘the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25, 26). The tabernacle of David will be rebuilt (Amos 9:11-15; Acts 15:16). (pp. 245, 246).
W. Graham Scroggie, Prophecy and History, 1915--
“The universal blessing through Israel, promised in the Covenant with Abram, is to be bestowed in a theocratic dispensation, which, of course, the present dispensation is not. In that day ‘the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains ... and peoples shall flow unto it. ... And He shall judge between many peoples, and shall reprove strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ ... If it has any fulfillment, it must be literally as it stands; and as such a thing has never yet come to pass, the passage still awaits fulfilment. But before the Restoration, Reunion, and Readjustment take place, of which we have spoken, the Jews, in unbelief, will have returned to Palestine--a circumstance required in order to the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the end; and a circumstance which we see in process of accomplishment at the present time” (pp. 46, 47).
I.M. Haldeman, Ten Sermons on the Second Coming, 1916--
“‘Here the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He tht scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.’ (Jer. 31. 7-10) He will bring them into the land of Palestine. They shall no longer be two nations. They shall no longer be separate peoples, the one wanders among the Gentiles, and the other sunken in them as those who be in their graves. They shall be one nation upon the mountains of Israel; as it is written: ‘And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will 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.’ (Ezek. 37:21, 22). ... The twelve apostles, themselves Jews, will be their rulers, administrators and judges, according to the promise which the Lord Himself promised.”
Arno Gaebelein, The Prophet Ezekiel, Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1918--
“The near fulfillment was the return of the remnant from the Babylonian captivity. But that does not exhaust this prophecy; there is a greater homecoming in store for Israel, when they will be gathered out of all countries to possess the land and multiply there as they never did in all their past history. ... The national resuscitation of the whole house of Israel, the restoration to their own land and the accompanying spiritual revival (though the latter does not fully come into view here) is the meaning of the vision [in Ezekiel 37]. ... In the vision of the dry bones physical resurrection is used as a type of the national restoration of Israel” (pp. 238, 245, 246).
James M. Gray, A Text-Book on Prophecy, 1918--
“Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones is so familiar that it is not necessary to quote it (chapter 37); but it may be sufficient to say that the resurrection it typifies is not a physical resurrection of individuals, but a political resurrection of the nation of Israel and Judah, to be then brought together again as one. ... As a closing word it may be said that, unless Israel shall be restored again to her own land, the larger part of the book of Revelation, certainly chapters 7 to 20, would be almost entirely without meaning. Those chapters are very largely Jewish, and relate to events that will take place in the history of that people, to a considerable extent in Palestine and the beloved city of Jerusalem ” (pp. 43, 46, 47).
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