The Gathering of Israel


Chapter 12—Not A Fulfillment Of Prophecy

Take Himes, for example. What would he have said if he could have looked into a crystal ball and seen the establishment of the twentieth-century State of Israel? Would he have decided that the prophetic views of the age-to-come people were right after all? Hardly—no more than he would have swung over to the British-Israel doctrine if he could have seen Allenby entering Jerusalem and the League of Nations setting up the British Mandate in Palestine. GI 10.10

He would have said, presumably, just what he did say as early as 1849, in discussing M. M. Noah’s great expectations: that even if the Jews should be restored nationally in Palestine under conditions of probation, their occupancy of the land would not constitute a fulfillment of the prophecies. The promise, says Himes, was of GI 10.11

“the land ... for an everlasting possession.” ... No mere sojourn in the land of promise could be a fulfillment of it .... As no mere residence in that land, whether as a nation, or as individuals, was the promised possession, so the longer continuance of the Jews, or another restoration of them there, under the same probationary conditions, would or can be no fulfillment of the promise. 1

Curiously enough, Crozier, in the age-to-come camp, said almost the same thing later. Since he taught the literal restoration of Israel during the millennium, he contended with those who looked for it to begin before the Second Advent. Even if Rothschild should buy Palestine, gather the Jews, and rebuild the Temple, he declared, that would not be a fulfillment of prophecy. 2 GI 10.12

And that was not new. Already in 1842 Henry Dana Ward had written: GI 10.13

Were they restored to Palestine to-day, they could not have it more than Jeptha [sic], Samuel, and David had it; but as their possession was not the promised possession [for all these “received not the promise” (Hebrews 11:39, 40 cited)]; neither would the possession by the modern Jews be the promised possession.... Those who inherit with [Abraham and Christ] will not expect it in this mortal life, but in the resurrection and eternal life. 3

The Seventh-day Adventists, still a small minority group, stayed out of the 1850 controversy; indeed, they could hardly have been accepted as allies by either side. Himes’ Advent Herald party and Marsh’s age-to-come adherents recognized each other as erring brethren, but considered the Seventh-day Adventists outside the pale. The latter, in turn, regarded both other parties as having departed from the original Advent message and having rejected the new light on the Sabbath. 4 GI 11.1

But the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the millennium precluded accepting the age-to-come views: With all the redeemed in heaven and no human being left alive on the earth, there is simply no room for either probation after the Second Advent or a “Judaizing” millennial kingdom on earth. GI 11.2

Like the Millerite “anti-Judaizing” view, the Seventh-day Adventist belief had nothing to do with the Jews or with their religion or national status. It opposed one specific Christian prophetic interpretation, namely: the application of certain prophecies to an expected gathering and conversion of the Jews, and to their place in a “Davidic” kingdom on earth during the millennium. (An opinion for or against the “Judaizing” Literalist interpretation of the prophecies no more makes one pro-Israel or anti-Jewish than does the acceptance or rejection of the British-Israel claim make one pro- or anti-British.) 5 GI 11.3