The Gathering of Israel


Chapter 11—The Adventist Reply

How did Himes and the majority group reply to the age-to-come doctrine? They contended that there was no prophecy that must yet be fulfilled in a future age before the end of probation, and that the promises made to Israel were being misinterpreted. Against the new “Judaism” the writers in the Advent Herald repeat the same Scriptural arguments as had been employed in the Miller period, and the same as those used later by the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Some of these, when used today, have been regarded as new by those who do not know what the early Adventists—and the early Seventh-day Adventists—said on this subject. GI 9.5

The principal points made by various writers may be itemized thus: 1 GI 9.6

1. The kingdom promises to ancient Israel were conditional.

Many of them are made to them [the Jews] conditionally, and the conditions not having been complied with, the promises are not now good to them .... GI 9.7

Here [in Jeremiah 18:7-10] we have the unvarying conditions on which are given all national promises. 2 GI 9.8

2. These promises were forfeited through failure to meet the terms.

When he [Christ] came, ... and his nation rejected him, their probation ended.... The national probation for the enjoyment of the inheritance and kingdom [of God] was at an end. 3 [Matthew 21:43 quoted.] GI 10.1

3. These prophecies picture what might have been if the conditions had been met.

Had they [the Jews as a nation] been faithful to their covenant obligations to their God, it would seem that they would have been blessed finally in a manner similar to the blessings promised in the new earth .... GI 10.2

[After the Babylonian captivity] thorough repentance, and continuance in obedience, would have again secured to them the promise of ... the ultimate state promised to, and forfeited by their fathers. 4 GI 10.3

Had the nation ... accepted Christ, it would not have fallen, but would, as a nation, have had the advantages above all other nations .... If with their fall and diminished numbers the Gentiles have been made rich, how much more would the Gentiles have been enriched if the full number (fullness ...) of the Jews had believed. 5 GI 10.4

4. Some of these prophecies were fulfilled to the Jews in the past.

The prophecies which are supposed to hold out to the Jew and to Jerusalem a future hope [include] the prophecies which referred to the restoration of the Jews from the captivity in Babylon. 6 GI 10.5

5. Some will be fulfilled to “true Israel” in the final reward of the saved.

Then [at the resurrection of the just] will be verified the ancient promise, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, ... and bring you into the land of Israel....” The patriarchs and their true seed will inherit the promised territory when they shall live in the resurrection state. 7 GI 10.6

6. The Old Testament prophecies must be understood in harmony with the inspired interpretation in the New Testament.

[Some promises] are explained by the inspired commentators in the New Testament, to be good to all who are of the faith of our father Abraham, to all who are graffed into the good olive-tree. 8 GI 10.7

If we had no inspired [New Testament] expositions of the promises which relate to the inheritance of “Abraham and his seed,” there would be some excuse for applying the promises to Abraham and his seed according to the flesh .... But we should need a new revelation before we should dare to apply those promises to Jews, as such, ... for Paul has applied them otherwise. 9 GI 10.8

For all of these arguments against the “Judaizing” interpretation the writers cited various scriptures. It is true that not all of them stayed within the proper limits of Scriptural evidence. Some of them—like, unfortunately, certain of their Seventh-day Adventist successors in later years—went out on a limb and said that since the prophecies did not promise the literal Jews a future restoration as a theocracy, there would never be a Jewish nation in Palestine at all. But some of them, more than a century ago, pointed out the valid distinction between a return as a national, political entity and a return as the theocracy foretold in the divine prophecies. GI 10.9