The First Report of the General Conference of Christians Expecting the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ




The restoration, or return of the Israel of God to their “own land,” is abundantly revealed in the Scriptures, and probably admitted by believers generally; though admitted in their own way of understanding the words of the promise. And while they differ somewhat in certain matters of this return, they generally agree in giving it a very close connexion with the second coming of Christ in his glorious kingdom. There are two very common and prominent views now taken of this subject, even among ourselves who advocate Christ’s coming and kingdom at hand. Some of us firmly believe that the Israel of the promise are the Jews, the literal descendants of Abraham,-that the land promised on the return is the country of Palestine, or former Canaan; and that the promised return or gathering is the literal going back of the natural Jews from all countries to that literal country. Those of us who advocate this view of the promised return, do it only as a supposed indispensable preparatory step to the soon-expected coming of the Son of man with his everlasting kingdom. In thus doing, it is natural for individuals to feel that nothing can prepare the way for the Messiah’s glorious return, until the Jews, as such, shall he thus removed to the land of Palestine. Accordingly, should we all adopt this understanding of the promise and engage in the work of preparation for it, and should we unite all our efforts in it; we should, in our own view, be laboring most directly and expressly in preparing the way for the Messiah soon to come. FRGC 58.7

But others of us, in looking out also for the now immediate coming of our blessed Lord to redeem, and finally deliver all his people, consider that the literal and unbelieving Jews have nothing to do with these restoration and returning promises. We consider, rather, that the Israel to whom all such promises are made, are God’s true saints, or Israel only by faith in Jesus Christ,-that the land of promise is a “heavenly country” or this earth new-created, so as to become the promised “new heaven and new earth” for their eternal abode; and that the promised restoration, or return of God’s Israel, is the final gathering of God’s saints, also called Israel, from all nations of the whole world, into this glorious “heavenly Jerusalem” at the resurrection of the dead, and second appearing of Christ, in which “Jerusalem” they will all dwell and reign with him in their promised everlasting life, or forever and ever. FRGC 58.8

Thus, we consider this restoration, or return of Israel, to be one of the mighty events of Christ’s second coming itself, and not as a lingering work done by mortals in the flesh, as only a preparation for it. In fearing to be found of our Lord among those who, in any way, say, “my Lord delayeth his coming” it naturally seems to us, that the theory of the unbelieving Jews’ return, preparatory to the coming of Christ, is only as an imaginary mighty block before the chariot wheels of the Almighty; while, indeed, there is no such obstruction in the way of his coming suddenly as the lightning from heaven, to save his people, and to destroy his unbelieving enemies, both Jew and Gentile. And thus, it naturally seems to us, that such a hindering of ourselves to remove a mere imaginary impediment of the Lord’s coming, must also, in an equal degree, hinder our necessary united and loud blowing of the trumpet in Zion, to “sound the alarm in God’s holy mountain,” that “all the inhabitants of the land” may “tremble,” in view of “the day of the Lord-nigh at hand,” or of Christ’s coming, at the very “door,” instead of its being off beyond the natural Jews’ return to Palestine. FRGC 60.1

Of course, the view now to be taken of this subject, is, that the glorious return of the Messiah is now specially at hand, without any foretold literal return of such Jews first;” and that these restoration, gathering and returning promises all belong rather to God’s believing Israel or saints, who, at the now soon coming of Christ, are to return and come to “Mount Zion,” “with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads,” where “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” FRGC 60.2

In undertaking to establish this position, I proceed- FRGC 60.3

I. To show its harmony with some of “the first principles of the oracles of God.” FRGC 60.4

II. Its harmony with certain other scripture facts. FRGC 60.5

III. Its harmony with those returning promises, as explained by their several connexions. And, FRGC 60.6

IV. To show an apparent misapprehension in some of the supposed most prominent arguments in favor of such a literal return. FRGC 60.7

I. I proceed to establish the position by showing its harmony with some of “the first principles of the oracles of God.” FRGC 61.1

1. It harmonizes with the scripture principle, that the very word “Israel,” and its parallels, in the promise, mean the saints, and not the unbelieving Jews. In seeing that this is a true scripture principle, it will be remembered how Christ himself explained it, when the unbelieving Jews pretended that they were the true Israel, or children of Abraham; he told them boldly that they were rather of their “father the devil.” And thus has an apostle decided the same question, by saying that “he is not a Jew,” or Israelite, “who is one outwardly; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly;” that “they are not all Israel who are of Israel,” or not all saints who may call themselves so; and that “all Israel” truly, or all the saints, “shall be saved,” though not so of all the natural Jews. Further, he tells us that “they which are of faith,” or are true believers, “the same are the children of Abraham” or “Israel” truly; and that they which be of faith “are blessed with faithful Abraham.” And again, he says, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” And what a palpable contradiction it would then involve, to say, that the unbelieving Jews, of their “father the devil,” are rather Abraham’s seed, to inherit all these restoration and returning promises. FRGC 61.2

2. The position is proved by the scripture principle, that the divine promises made to a believing Israel, are quite too great and glorious to be inherited in a temporal Canaan, and can only be received in an everlastingheavenly Jerusalem” or city of God. Without multiplying proof, as might be done exceedingly, in showing that this is a scripture principle, we have only to remember, that, as now shown, all true saints are the Israel of the promise, and that, as all the saints agree, their own promise is for an everlasting rest in heaven, and not for a Palestine of this world. And further, the apostle sets this question beyond all appearance of doubt, in telling us of the seed of Abraham, as numerous as “the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand of the sea-shore innumerable;” that “these all died in faith.” i. e. being true believers, “not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth.” Then the same apostle proceeds to call over by name, a catalogue of saints, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and many others, even “of whom the world was not worthy,” and says “these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us;” i. e. some better thing for us all, as such enduring saints, than a mere worldly inheritance before death. If a temporal Canaan were the true promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that vast multitude of the true Israel by faith, where most of them lived and died, then certainly they received that promise before their death; and the apostle would be wrong to say that they did not, and that they rather confessed themselves pilgrims and strangers on the earth. This apostle also further explains this “better thing” of the promise, and says it is “a better country, i. e. an heavenly,” and proceeds to call it also “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” According to this scripture principle of the promise, and according to these clear explanations by the apostle, the divine promise to Abraham and all his true seed by faith, to the last, must be fulfilled to them in a “heavenly Jerusalem,” and never in the return of unbelieving Jews to Palestine. FRGC 61.3

3. The scripture principle that God’s word, containing Israel’s promises, “is spiritual,” is understood to show, that such promises cannot, of course, be so secular, or carnal, as the return of the natural Jews to Palestine. The apostle in his commentary upon “the law,” and “the testimony,” of “Moses,” and “the prophets,” says: “We know that the law is spiritual;” as though we all ought to know, that the promises of this spiritual word of the Lord, are not so carnal as to gratify the carnal mind of unbelieving Jews, in a temporal land. And this same apostle, in all his instructions, dwelt on spiritual things, while reasoning “out of the Scriptures” of the Old-Testament promises, and says, that he only compared “spiritual things with spiritual,” as an “able minister of the” divine word, “not of the letter, but of the spirit,” for, as he said, “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Christ also affirms the same; being by his spirit in the prophets when they wrote, to inspire their writings and make them his own, he says of his own words, (surely including those of the promise in the Old Testament) “My words are spirit and they are life.” These inspired commentaries on the spiritual and life-giving promises of the Old Testament, certainly forbid our supposing them to be so carnal and life-destroying, as a temporal land, for unbelieving Jews, even should they afterwards come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. FRGC 62.1

4. The scripture principle that all interpretations of the promise, which flatter the wicked, are false interpretations, shows that the saints are to enjoy these returning promises in heaven, rather than the natural Jews in Palestine. For certainly, there is nothing but “wo! wo! wo!” to be said to the wicked Jews except they repent, while the prophets are condemned by the Lord who shall prophesy smooth things unto them, or daub with untempered mortar, saying “peace, peace, where there is no peace.” And what could be more directly prophesying smooth things, and saying peace, peace to the unbelieving Jews, than telling them, that the Abrahamic promises for a land, are all theirs, and for a worldly possession? And what flattering song of seducing spirits could have more effectually flattered them to remain so long as they have still unbelieving Jews? FRGC 62.2

5. The scripture principle that all interpretations of the divine promises are false which naturally diminish the “comfort” of the spiritual mind, or “make the heart of the righteous sad,” shows that these returning promises are for the saints, and not for the Jews, a worldly land. FRGC 63.1

The Lord everywhere aims to comfort the faithful saints with exceeding great and precious promises; and requires all his prophets or teachers of his word to do the same. And they did it anciently, in such words as, “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people;” “Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees;” “Let not your heart be troubled;” “Wherefore comfort one another,” etc. And further, the Lord severely reprobates those who “with lies make the heart of the righteous sad.” But certainly, to lake these precious returning promises away from spiritually-minded saints, who, like Abraham and other pilgrims, have their hearts set on them, in pursuit of a heavenly and promised country, could only make them sad, so far as made to believe that they were intended rather for the ungodly Jews in the present world. FRGC 63.2

6. The principle that the infinite and everlasting things of God’s word are always to be taken literally, and never figuratively, shows these gathering or returning promises for a land to be for the saints a “heavenly country,” rather than for the Jews’ return to Palestine. It will be remembered that this promise of a land, to Abraham and his seed, was originally for an “everlasting possession,” and for an “inheritance forever,” and that the predictions of its fulfilment frequently connect it with the things of the “judgment”-“day of the Lord”-coming of “God”-“new heavens and new earth,” and with eternity itself. Now, unless we admit the opposite apparent monstrous principle, that the Lord himself borrows infinite and everlasting things, and even eternity itself, as mere figures of finite and momentary things; certainly, all these infinite and everlasting things are literal, and will be fulfilled at the literaljudgment”-literalday of the Lord”-literalcoming of the Lord,” with a land or city for the saints which will be literallyeverlasting,” and literally and “forever” “their own land,” or “heavenly country.” FRGC 63.3

II. As proposed, I proceed to prove the position before us, by the presentation of a few scripture facts on the subject. FRGC 64.1

1. It appears to be a scripture fact, that ten of the twelve Jewish tribes are not as a distinct people now on the earth; and never have been, since their bodies were entombed, soon after their utter revolt and being cast off by the Lord. And if not, they can never literally go back. And though some may suppose they yet remain, as the aborigines of America, or elsewhere, as a distinct people, it is certain that no such thing is anywhere foretold of those ten tribes by the prophets either of the Old or New Testaments. More than this, it does rather plainly appear from 2 Kings, chapter 17., that on being conquered by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, they immediately became amalgamated with the Assyrians, all the common enemies of the Lord. And sure, it is plain enough, from the whole connexion, that they had no desire to keep themselves distinct as a peculiar people of God, for they utterly renounced him, and all their former privileges as his people, and wilfully mingled themselves with his enemies, and became his enemies before being cast off. And as further proof that they did so amalgamate themselves with God’s common enemies, it will be recollected how Christ, some hundreds of years after, went through Samaria, where they had formerly dwelt as a distinct nation; and how ready he found the woman at the well, and many others of the Samaritans, to believe on him, as their expected Messiah; though the more self-righteous Jews disowned them as Jews altogether, and would have no dealings with them. And who were those Samaritans where the ten tribes dwelt, and were looking for the same Messiah as the other Jews, if they were not the mingled descendants of those ten tribes? Then where else on earth shall we now look for those tribes, but in the dust of Samaria and Assyria, or in the mingled blood of the Gentiles in all the world, and in ourselves, for aught we know? FRGC 64.2

2. It is a fact, that in all the New-Testament sayings about Israel, and Israel’s promise of being “grafted in,”-of becoming “life from the dead,” etc., there is not a word said which can be construed as expounding any of the Old-Testament return-promises to Israel, as foretelling the natural Jews’ return to Canaan. But surely, had Paul and the other inspired expounders of the Old-Testament promises so understood them, they would naturally, repeatedly, and clearly have so explained them, instead of speaking of them so exclusively and uniformly as given rather for “a better country, that is an heavenly.” FRGC 64.3

3. It is also a fact, that Christ, in his three years’ preaching to the Jews personally, never explained any of the divine promises as for the natural Jews’ return; neither did he ever give them the least kind of a promise of anything good on their remaining Jews. And yet, he personally, distinctly, repeatedly, and even roughly too, denounced them all as Jews; calling them “Pharisees,” “hypocrites,” “fools,” “serpents,” and a “generation of vipers;” and as guilty of the blood of all the prophets from first to last. And as such, he threatened them with the sure “damnation of hell,” and with their utter desolation as a “house,” people, or “generation,” when at his coming they must acknowledge him as the “blessed” “of the Lord.” But had Christ understood Moses and the prophets as foretelling a return for the natural Jews, as many do now, why did he not sometimes say, as many have said since that time, that the Jews were God’s peculiar people,-his covenant people,-his chosen and elect people, and that, as natural Jews, they were entitled to the promises of Abraham’s children, rather than deal with them so roughly, as even to denounce them as the children of the devil, and not to “escape the damnation of hell?” FRGC 65.1

4. It is also a fact, that Abraham, who was the first man to have inherited a temporal Canaan, if that had indeed been the “everlasting possession” promised his natural seed after him, never for a moment inherited it for himself. It is true, he dwelt on it as a stranger, during a short pilgrimage, dwelling in tents, going where he would, to sojourn; and that he, and Isaac, and millions of his posterity, lived and died there: yet inspiration tells us that God never gave, even Abraham, any “inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession and to his seed after him.” 62 Why shall we then say, that the natural Jews shall yet go there to inherit it as “an everlasting possession,” seeing that their natural father, Abraham, lived and died there without inheriting a foot of it for himself? FRGC 65.2

5. It is further a scripture fact, that Abraham, the father of the faithful, never understood the promise to be for a worldly inheritance. He neither sought it, nor desired it. But he did rather seek “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and whose maker is God.” And so it was with all his ancient believing posterity. They had “no continuing city” on earth, and expected none here, to fulfil their blessed promise of a city of rest; but confessed, rather, “that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” in pursuit of their promised land, “better country” and “heavenly Jerusalem.” And could the present surviving natural Jews, on going to that land, any more inherit it, as the promise to Israel, than did the millions of their ancestors who lived and died there, without receiving, or looking for, their promised possession in that country? FRGC 65.3

III. Our position is to be proved, by showing its harmony with those promises of “return,” as they explain themselves where recorded. FRGC 66.1

1. “For I will take you [Israel or saints] from among the heathen, [unbelievers, or enemies of God] and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” 63 FRGC 66.2

If there be any scripture promises for the natural Jews’ return to Palestine, this, surely, is one of the most prominent of them. But in seeing that this is a promise for a heavenly land for the saints, rather than for the natural Jews’ return we need only to remember, that mortals can have no land, nor possessions of “their own,” in this world, where they are all but stewards of the Lord’s goods, for the moment, and the to give account for their improvement; while “the silver and the gold, and the cattle,” yea, and “the world, and the fulness of it,” are all the Lord’s. And yet, the saints have a “land,” “better country,” or “heavenly Jerusalem,” which is, and will be, “their own land” literally, and forever and ever; being their promised possession, and purchased for them by the blood of their adorable Redeemer. FRGC 66.3

In further seeing that such is the blessed nature of this promise, its connexion tells us that it will be fulfilled when God shall have perfectly “cleansed” this gathered and returned people; and they shall be his people, and he “will be their God;” and when this promised land shall be “like the garden of Eden.” 64 And in case the natural Jews should literally return to Palestine, would that literally fulfil this heavenly promise? Could they literally inherit it “forever and ever,” “like the garden of Eden?” FRGC 66.4

2. “Behold, I will gather them [Israel or saints] out of all countries, whither I have driven them, in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath, and will bring them again to this place, and cause them to dwell safely.” 65 FRGC 66.5

This, also, is one of the most conspicuous passages many times understood to foretel the natural Jews’ literal return. But in understanding it rather as promising the final return of God’s wandering and scattered spiritual Israel (who become Israel by faith in Christ) to their own “heavenly country,” let us consult the connexion of the promise. (1.) The promise itself represents its fulfilment to be where, and when, they shall “dwell safely.” But sure, heaven is the place for the saints forever to “dwell safely,” with God, rather than mortals still on trial and in the flesh. (2.) The next verse to the promise represents their habitation or “land,” where gathered, as being where they will “fear” or worship God “forever,” which the Jews certainly if returned could not do literally, in a worldly Canaan unless Palestine shall forever survive the final conflagration. (3.) The next following verse represents the place of the return as being where God will never “turn away from them to do them good;” and where they shall not “depart fromhim. And where else but in heaven can this be literally fulfilled? But a literal fulfilment it must have. (4) The next onward verse shows, that these gathered Israelites or saints, on returning, are to be “planted” there, with the “whole heart and soul” of the Almighty. And just so sure as this will be literally fulfilled to the saints, now soon, at Christ’s coming to gather them into heaven as his elect, just so sure, the unbelieving Jews will have no part in it, while rather they, if remaining such, must be planted deep as the bottomless pit in the lake of fire. (5.) And the next verse still onward represents the return as taking place where and when God “will bring upon” the returned Israel “all the good that” he has “promised them.” This, again, can, and will be literally fulfilled to God’s believing Israel, on their being gathered soon, at Christ’s coming with his angels, for the purpose; while it never will, and never can, be literally fulfilled to natural Jews in a Palestine of this world, unless, “all the good” of God’s promises belong to this world only. FRGC 66.6

3. “And I will bring your brethren [Israel or saints] for an offering to the Lord, out of all nations—to my holy mountain, Jerusalem,—and I will take of them for priests and Levites, saith the Lord.” 66 FRGC 67.1

This is another of the most clear predictions, as supposed by some, of the literal return of the natural Jews to prepare the way for Christ to come afterwards. But in seeing that this, also, is a promise for the saints’ return to their promised heavenly and everlasting country, and not for the mere Jews a temporal Canaan,-(1.) The passage explains itself by representing its promised “Jerusalem” as being God’s “holy mountain,” which is apparently the same as “the Mount Zion,” where the innumerable multitude of the saints are to stand, with “the Lamb of God,” where with “loud voices” they will all sing the “new song” of the “redeemed,” and shall forever continue their high praises, in “harping with their harps.” 67 (2.) The passage also explains itself, by showing the promise of return fulfilled when God will make them “priests,” etc. This appears to be the same promised to the saints as that which promises their being made “a kingdom of priests, an holy nation;” 68 and that they shall be “kings and priests unto God,” to “reign with him on the earth” “new earth,” “forever and ever.” 69 Of course, the natural Jews must repent and be converted from their Judaism, before having any part in this blessed and glorious return of the true and faithful Israel. (3.) The next verse represents the gathering, also, to be when there shall be “new heavens and new earth,” and when the then gathered Israel shall remain before him as long as that blessed and of course, everlasting habitation for the saints “shall remain before him.” (4.) The next following verse represents this bringing back of God’s people as taking place, when they shall look upon the slain “carcasses of the” wicked, where “their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched,” and when made “an abhorring unto all flesh.” (5.) The fifteenth and sixteenth verses of the same connexion represent the same bringing back of Israel to be when “the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire,” and when “the slain” by the Lord’s sword “shall be many.” FRGC 67.2

Most surely, all this matter of the Lord’s finally bringing back his people “out of all nations,” is one of the most awakening prophetic descriptions of the Lord’s coming himself to judgment which could be given; and will be now quickly and literally fulfilled, in his terrible and yet glorious appearing with his everlasting kingdom, in the gathering of all his saints out of all countries into their promised heavenly city, and in the utter destruction of his then abhorred enemies. This description of the infinitely momentous event, by Isaiah, is perfectly the, same, and almost to the very letter, and in every particular, as that given of it by Christ himself, in multiplied instances, both in the Evangelists and Revelation, where seemingly too plain to be misunderstood, even by a child. And is not this foretold return and gathering of Israel the same as that foretold by the same prophet Isaiah on another occasion, where he says, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion [‘Mount Zion’] with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads,” when “the shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,” and when, as the connexion shows, “God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense,” to “save” his then gathered people? 70 And what has this to do with Palestine, or the natural Jews? FRGC 68.1

These are a few of the most conspicuous passages, the interpretations of which, have probably led most of us to conclude, that the literal return of the natural Jews is very considerable part of the Old-Testament prophecies; while yet, as now exhibited, they only, and rousingly foretell the everlasting and infinite affairs of the saints’ glorious an final return to “Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” 71 in triumph over the perishing, and utter destruction of all the unbelieving, and powers of darkness, in “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” It will be found, also, by examining all the parallel prophecies of Israel’s return, that they are faithfully explained by their several connexions, not as foretelling the natural Jews’ literal gathering to Palestine, but rather the saints’ literal return to the New Jerusalem city, where now, very soon, as the signs of the times and fulfilment of prophecy abundantly indicate, Christ, the great Judge, will come, in his glory, to “sit upon the throne of his glory,” to “gather before him all nations,” to “separate” the righteous forever from the wicked, to pronounce and execute the irrevocable sentence of the everlasting promise and curse, in the presence of the assembled universe. Then, to be sure, the natural Jews will all be literally gathered; the believing on the Judge’s right, but the unbelieving of them on his left hand. In further support of the same position, I am to show- FRGC 69.1

IV. That there is an apparent misapprehension in some of the supposed most prominent arguments in favor of the Jews’ literal return, to prepare the way of Christ to come in his glory, afterwards. FRGC 69.2

1. Probably most of us have been led to suppose, that it is absolutely unaccountable how it is, or why it is, that the Jews have so long been continued, and are yet, a distinct nation or people, under all their discouragements in maintaining it, unless it be, that the Lord may yet carry them back, and thus fulfil the prophecies of Israel’s return. Without attempting to decide particularly why the Jews have kept themselves so distinct and peculiar as a people, and yet not to be carried back to Palestine; it does seem that we may see, if we will, somewhat how it has been brought about. And has not this long and far proclaimed “Jewish fable,” or “doctrine,” so called, of the Jews’ general and literal return, naturally tended to judaize them, or make them remain Jewish, against all accompanying attempts to christianize or denationalize them? And has it not been virtually saying, “peace, peace” to the wicked Jews, to flatter them with the carnal doctrine of all the return-promises of God as though made to them, and to be fulfilled in treasures upon earth, though they remain unconverted and blaspheming Jews, in crucifying afresh the Son of God, until the fulfilling of such promises? And what unconverted and wicked men would not like, and much choose, to remain as a nation or people, in a condition where, according to the testimony of the christian church, they may retain a sure claim to the great promises of the Old Testament, and to be fulfilled too in just such treasures as their unbelieving hearts naturally desire? And why should they not naturally desire to remain Jews, under such testimony, and where they can assure their unbelieving hearts of being the special objects of the divine favor, rather than Christians, supposed thus to have no part in those Jewish and worldly promises? And why should they, while yet unconverted Jews, and lovers of the world, be willing to give up their Judaism, and thus in a moment, without an acknowledged substitute, to their hearts from so many supposed golden earthly promises? And why should they be willing to suffer as a nation, and their children after them, the common lot of poor Christians, who, as a people or nation, are acknowledged by Jews and Gentiles, of every class, as having, in this world, no promised portion. “no continuing city?” And would not the Jews be much more readily denationalized, and christianized too, should the whole voice of the christian church towards them be suddenly changed, so as no longer to sing to them this syren song of divine promises their own, while yet in their Judaism? And would not the opposite course, if suddenly and faithfully adopted towards them, be even electrical? Or what if the Christian church should, now at once, put away all her remaining Judaisms, and say, with trumpet voices, “Wo! wo! wo!” to you, unbelieving Jews! you, “Pharisees, scribes, hypocrites!” “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish;” and “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;” without a promise, of any kind, in all the Old Testament, for one of you while yet remaining unbelieving Jews, and crucifiers of the Messiah, already come in the flesh, as everywhere foretold in the Jewish Scriptures? Would not such a gospel as this preached to them, as Christ did it, and bid his followers do it, rather stir them up, make them tremble, and, by the co-operating Spirit of God, lead them to see their miserable condition, in so long standing it out against Christ? And would it not naturally lead them to flee from the wrath to come, and to prepare for the now expected sudden, second coming of the Messiah to judgment, to destroy every remaining unbelieving Jew, with the second death, rather than flatter them to remain Jews, as they have been, with false, carnal, and Jewish promises? FRGC 69.3

2. Most of us may have been led to believe in the natural Jews’ literal return to prepare the way of the Lord, from the alleged supposed fact, that hitherto the prophecies concerning them have all been literally and faithfully fulfilled The most noted of these supposed fulfilled Jewish predictions, are, (1.) their being “driven” and “scattered among all nations;” (2.) their having become a “hissing and by-word;” and (3.) their having been now long experiencing the “curse” of the Lord for the guilt of their fathers in rejecting and crucifying the true Messiah. It is true that the Jews are very much scattered among the nations, though by no means so much so, as the people or nation called Christians, much later on the field of action than the Jews. Neither is it true, that in thus becoming scattered, they have always been specially abused, and driven from nation to nation, because I can now bring, and design to bring full and authentic testimony from credible Jews themselves, that they have gone, and are now living, generally, where they have chosen to go; for the best success in their mercantile business,-that had they chosen it, they could all have located themselves in christian nations; and could have brought their population more together in one nation, and even into Palestine, had their mercantile interests permitted it, as the would, had they been more like others, an agricultural and mechanical people. FRGC 71.1

And with regard to their having long since become a “by-word” and a “hissing” in the earth, as frequently foretold of Israel; it is believed, and will be found on examination, that this prophecy is now fulfilled rather with the people called Christians, than with the natural Jews. The Jews, like others opposed to Christ’s holy requirements, may have felt themselves reproached and hissed by their supposed enemies the Christian Gentiles, Catholics, etc., but surely there has been scarcely enough of anything about them which has been godly, or contrary to their profession as Jews, to excite the reproaches and hisses of God’s open enemies of any nation. But with christian nations, the descendants of the christian fathers, and with the professed and most evangelical part of them, it is true, in all the earth, as it were, they have become a proverb, a by-word, and a hissing; say, far more so than in case of the consistent and unwavering Jews. But this reproach has not befallen the christian church, or Israel, by reason of her consistent Christianity; but by reason of her present hypocrisy, in continuing her high profession and outward show of all her religious forms and possessions as public as possible, in every way. And yet, she has so far left her first love, and cast away the spirit of primitive Christianity, in giving place, as she has, to an almost nameless host of popular and gross sins and abominations in common with a political wicked world, also calling themselves christian, that it must be allowed, though it is humiliating in the extreme, that this fulfilled prophecy of Israel’s becoming a hissing. etc., is a hundred fold more appropriate to the truly devoted christian, than to the natural Jews. FRGC 71.2

And as it respects the alleged present literal fulfilling of prophetic curses against the Jews, for their fathers’ sins, as analogous to their soon expected literal return; there are certainly in it, some points which are objectionable and unscriptural. FRGC 72.1

(1.) It is quite aside from scripture, that “the children’s teeth” shall be “set on edge because their fathers have eaten sour grapes;” or that they should ever be cursed for their fathers’ sins. (2.) It is considered grossly unscriptural to say that the penal curses of God’s law are executed upon Jews or other sinners while yet on probation; or in mere momentary afflictions or sufferings; while the entire opposite rather is true, viz., that such curses will be interminable at the close of probation, and in the world of wo. For while on probation, though the wicked suffer, and though the Lord afflicts, he does it “not willingly, nor grieves the children of men.” And during the period of probation, God is certainly pouring out his mercies upon them, and not the vials of his curses and wrath, so that it is of his mercies that sinners are not already “consumed.” FRGC 72.2

And as to these afflictions, observation tells us, that the righteous have the fullest cup of them, while the scripture also says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” and they are “plagued all the day;” while the wicked rather are those who “prosper in this world,” who “increase in riches,” having “more than, heart could wish.” So it is also that the wicked rather have their “good things” now, and the righteous their “evil things.” All this hinders the understanding of the prophetic curse as now literally fulfilled upon the heads of the still living Jews. FRGC 72.3

And further, it is not admitted that, in any sense, the Jews, as a nation, are suffering above all others the afflictions of this world. The black and red men of America, immensely more numerous than the four or five millions of Jews in the world, it is too well known, to our shame, have, for two hundred years, suffered a hundred fold more from inhuman hands, than the Jewish nation has suffered from all quarters; though the black and red men have so suffered, exclusively, as it appears, because of the peculiar characteristics of their respective nations. And why shall it be said that the Jews, as a nation, are suffering peculiar afflictions or privations? They say themselves that it is not so; while, if they please, without changing their religion, they can enjoy equal civil and political rights among the christian nations. True Christians, certainly, cannot persecute and oppress them for their unbelief in Christ; and being of the world, the world, which loves his own, cannot hate them for their unbelief. And besides, we see that they are not an oppressed, cast down and greatly afflicted people, as a nation; while rather we count them, nationally, or generally and proverbially, “rich” in this world’s goods; or why do we make so much use of the long-standing proverb, “As rich as a Jew?” Then, where is the present literal fulfilment of the prophetic curse upon the Jews, either nationally or individually? And where is the burden of the argument from their present sufferings, that they must yet literally return to Palestine to prepare for the soon coming of the Messiah to reign gloriously? FRGC 73.1

3. Many of us have doubtless been strengthened in the expectation of the natural Jews’ literal return, at no distant period, by the late frequently alleged and popular argument, that there are of late, among the Jews themselves, greatly increased and increasing anxieties, movements, and prospects of a general and speedy return of the nation to Palestine, together with special expectations among their leading men of the appearance of their long-expected Messiah soon It is true, that for some time there have been special movements among Christians, and christian societies, especially in England, in favor of christianizing the Jews, and procuring their removal to Palestine as soon as practicable And very much has been publicly said and published on the subject, and many meetings held to excite a public interest in the enterprise, which are certainly good things; so far as tending to the Jews’ conversion But of late, I have been led, by new developing, to question the strict correctness of some of the popular supposed facts in the case, and to conclude that there are no special and recently commenced anxieties and movements among the Jews themselves for soon going generally to Palestine. FRGC 73.2

It may be proper here to state facts not long since come to my knowledge, by which I have been persuaded, that many of the public and popular reports and statements, that the Jews are now specially excited, and on the move, soon to inhabit Palestine, to build Jerusalem; the temple, etc., are either groundless altogether, or unjustifiably exaggerated. FRGC 74.1

I have taken pains to visit and inquire of many of the mercantile Jews of New York, and have seen and learnt considerably of them; there being about 10,000 of them in the city. On seeing so much of them, I was led to inquire in my mind whether they did, as a people, really wish to return to Jerusalem, and to ask the question of one of them when trading with him, to which he very promptly replied, “What should we want to go there for? We have here all the privileges we can ask,-here is a good place for our business, but not there. If we wished to go, we could have gone before now; we have means sufficient to procure a conveyance, and to purchase the country if we wanted it.” On learning this, I was naturally excited to continue my inquiries more fully of others of them from store to store in Chatham street, where many of them are located and engaged in clothing stores. They were alike on this question; and exceedingly averse to Christianity; and in some cases, with open and shocking blasphemies against Christ, pretending to no piety themselves, though they affirmed that a few of their number and their priests were pious. Since then, I have become familiarly acquainted with their priests, who did appear pious, so far as could be, with their disbelief in a Messiah already come in the flesh. They told me, that there were no special movements among their people for a return to Palestine; and no desires, nor willingness to go, if they could; and that the many reports to the contrary were not true. More than this, they stated, that as a people they never expected, nor desired, to go to inhabit and cultivate the natural soil of that country, and would have me understand that their views of Messiah’s final coming were very different from what has been commonly supposed of them. And though different individuals of their learned priests may give different statements on the subject, for aught I know; these in particular would have it understood, that the informed Jews were looking for a Messiah to come; but not to move them to Jerusalem, nor to Palestine, as a worldly country, literally to eat, and enjoy its natural productions; but suddenly, at his coming, to destroy all his and their enemies, and to remove them, and all his saints, to dwell in a “heavenly Jerusalem” forever. They also admitted their conviction that many Christians would enjoy the same at Messiah’s coming; though they fix no time. But living so long among Christians, and feeling so much dependence on them, in their own weakness, it is doubtless a fact, that they act and speak differently on these points from others of their numbers in different countries. FRGC 74.2

And why should the mercantile and secular-minded Jews desire to return to Palestine? For if they go there as a nation, they must, as a nation, and as individuals, change their occupation mostly; and become farmers, generally, instead of merchants. There they must cultivate the soil, and live by the sweat of their face, rather than on the profits of trade. And do they not love their present mode of money-making too well to exchange it away for the slow profits and toils of agriculture? And would it not require something like a miraculous influence, so to change their second nature-habits and feelings, as to procure their general consent to remove, as a nation, soon to the occupation of the soil of Palestine; and that, too, before being converted to Christianity? And should they first be converted, they would be no longer Jews, to inherit the Jewish promise; but Christians, to have no earthly portion, nor here any continuing city. Then, of course, they would not naturally wish to go to partake with unbelieving Jews in an earthly inheritance; but would, rather, like Abraham, the father of believers, seek a city having “foundations, whose builder and maker is God. FRGC 75.1

In further showing that there is a misapprehension in the popular arguments for the natural Jews’ literal return, which represents them as already on the move themselves, with prospects of having the business soon accomplished; I am prepared to prove that the reports are not to be accredited, which tell us that the astonishing wealth of the Rothschilds, and some others of that people who possess their multiplied millions of Jewish gold, are being moved to appropriate it all for the return;-that Jerusalem and Judea are now fast filling up with Jews returned:-that many thousands more are just about to go;-that they are now looking so confidently for their Messiah very soon, that they threaten becoming believers in Christ, unless their long-expected Messiah shall come within a year. This point, I am aware, is an important one, on this whole question; and that I have now assumed a position which, to very many, was not expected; and that much very authentic testimony on the subject will be demanded. FRGC 75.2

This point, most truly, is momentous in its bearing on the whole subject; and one of extreme delicacy to be touched, because of the entire discrepancy of opinion upon it, of thousands of the dear saints who are also now looking for their Lord at hand. In assuming this probably surprising position before the public, against so many generally admitted and long standing Jewish reports, I would do it only with the greatest deference, and with the kindest feelings towards our dear transatlantic brethren especially, to whom, doubtless, we are much indebted for their more early and indefatigable labors, as the means of awaking us, this side the waters, to look for the Lord nigh at hand. Under these circumstances, it is reasonable that they should demand some palpable and authentic testimony, and that other advocates of the natural Jews’ return should do the same. Accordingly, as a specimen of the spirit and bearing of these popular reports, I will first give an extract of an address by “the Rev. J. H. Stewart,” “at a meeting of the Liverpool Auxiliary Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews; held on Monday, 16th September,” 1839. FRGC 76.1

Mr Stewart said:-
The Jewish Rabbis [ministers] were now ready to enter upon the discussion of the prophecies relating to the return of the Jews to their native land, not in a spirit of bitter opposition, but in a spirit of kindness and affection. The Rev. gentleman then read an interesting letter from Mr. Herschell, the Chief Rabbi [high priest] of London, expressive of the satisfaction which he felt in witnessing the interest shown by the Jewish Society in the restoration of the children of Israel to the land of Judah. The letter strongly asserted that the Jews were now looking with earnest expectation for the appearance of the Messiah to rule over his chosen and ancient people. A day had been recently appointed, as a day of especial intercession for the return of the Messiah. That day of prayer would be on Wednesday next, when a service would be read in the Jewish synagogues on this interesting subject. The Rev. gentleman then suggested the propriety of setting aside the same day among the Christians of Liverpool as a day of fasting and prayer. He apologized for occupying so much time, but as he felt that there was very great crisis in the present condition of the Jews, he felt that he could not avoid offering the observations in which he had indulged.”
FRGC 76.2

Here follows a letter from Mr. Herschell, the said Chief Rabbi, designed as an immediate contradiction to the above statements concerning himself, and the present movements, etc. of “the Jewish Rabbis.” FRGC 76.3

“Sir,-When, last year, you requested my permission to publish a letter I had addressed to you-as an individual declaring yourself unconnected with, and disapproving of, any society, or body of men, whose avowed object is to seduce Israelites from their faith-it was with reluctance I yielded to your urgent and repeated request; not because that letter contains anything I ought not to have written, or any one sentence I would disown, but because the serpent is most cunning, and that those who seek to ensnare Israel are by no means scrupulous in the method they employ. In the Liverpool Standard of the 17th ultimo, I find an account of a meeting held by the Liverpool Auxiliary Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews; which account states, that the Rev. J. H. Stewart ‘read an interesting letter from Mr. Herschell, the Chief Rabbi of London, expressive of the satisfaction which he felt in witnessing the interest shown by the jewish society in the restoration of the children of Israel to the land of Judah. The letter strongly asserted that the Jews were now looking with earnest expectation for the appearance of the Messiah to rule over his ancient people. A day had recently been appointed as a day of special intercession for the RETURN of the Messiah; that day would be on Wednesday next,’ etc. FRGC 77.1

“To the best of my recollection, I have not for many years written to any Christian on the subject of the hopes of Israel, except to yourself; and as it cannot be a matter of indifference to me, that my name should be publicly used as the authority for a series of mis-statements calculated to do great mischief, I call upon you publicly to contradict this fabricated abrégé of the letter I wrote to you. FRGC 77.2

“I never expressed satisfaction at anything done by the ‘Jewish Society,’ (i. e. the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews.) Many years ago, on the 10th January, 5567, I publicly declared in the synagogue, ‘that the whole purpose of this seeming kindness on the part of the society, is an inviting snare, a decoying experiment to undermine the props of our religion.’ In the thirty years and more which have since then elapsed, nothing has occurred to induce me to alter that opinion, but much to confirm it; nor could I express satisfaction at anything connected with that society, except, indeed, at its dissolution. Accordingly, my letter to you does not contain the slightest allusion to the ‘Jewish Society.’ FRGC 77.3

“The assertion ‘that the Jews are now looking with earnest expectation for the appearance of the Messiah,’ only states what ever since their dispersion has been a well-known fact; nor does my letter to you state that their confidence in the promises of their heavenly Father is now in particular greater or less than it always has been. But to quote me as authority for the invention, ‘that a day of special intercession for the return of the Messiah has been recently appointed,’ is really too bad. I will not offer any remark on the degree of biblical knowledge which could proclaim the day of atonement as one ‘recently appointed,’ nor will I notice the expression ‘RETURN of the Messiah,’ further than by saying, had I used it, I should be unworthy the name of a Jew. But as the whole paragraph is absolutely the reverse of what I wrote to you, I have a right to expect that you, as an honest and candid man, will, in the same journal in which it was published, contradict this unfair and untrue use of my name and authority. FRGC 77.4

“I am, sir, your sincere well-wisher,
“S. HERSCHELL, Chief Rabbi.
FRGC 78.1

“5, Bury-Court, 2nd Oct., 5600 A. M. [last Oct.] FRGC 78.2

“Henry Innes, Esq.” [layman of the Church of England.] FRGC 78.3

The above documents are now copied, with precision, from “The Plymouth Herald,” (Eng.) of Nov. 23, 1839, having previously appeared in the “Liverpool Standard” of Sept. 17 and Oct. 22. The paper out of which the above documents are taken, was generously loaned me, by Mr. Isaacs, one of the Jewish priests of New York city; and was sent over by the High Priest himself, as appears by the following mark upon the top of it. viz., “With compliments from the Rev. S. Herschell London, to Mr. M. Micholl, 291 Broadway, New York.” FRGC 78.4

Upon this document of high authority, or from “the highly talented and much esteemed Dr. Herschell,” (as he is called in the same Liverpool paper.) “Chief Rabbi of the English Jews,” offer no further remark, than that it proves to us, that the testimony of the most learned, reputable, and high standing of the Jews, when obtained, is very much at war with many statements concerning that people, which statements have heretofore passed currently among us, as arguments in favor of increased efforts for their entire removal, at no distant period, to the land of Palestine. FRGC 78.5

An extract may now be given from a christian missionary at Jerusalem, who, of course, favors the present christian efforts for the return of the natural Jews, etc. FRGC 78.6

“A missionary, writing from Jerusalem, says,-’The Jews here have neither trade nor profession, and live on the free contributions of their benevolent brethren abroad; and these contributions are tendered entirely on the supposition that the Jews here are peculiarly devout, and most assiduous in studying the talmud. * * * One thing more; the number of the Jews here is nothing like what you think in England. Mr. Nicolayson thinks it is in all 5000; and this is the highest number I have heard yet; but some of the Jews told me that the number of souls does not exceed half this number. Nor is the number of those who annually come here so great, and they are barely or scarcely sufficient to make up for the ravages that the periodical visitations of the earthquake, plague, etc., make among them. A Jew told me that he had now been here four years, and that the number of Jews he then found are now no more, while a majority of the present are new comers.’ FRGC 78.7

“This is an affecting statement respecting the Jewish population; entire generations of which seem to be cut down by pestilence, earthquake, or the sword, in the space of a few years. A considerable accession of new comers must be required to keep up the number; and continual changes must spread among the Jews, throughout the world, the knowledge of what is doing at Jerusalem. It is well known that the Jews are in the habit of studiously concealing their numbers.”-[From the New York Evangelist of Nov. 23, 1839.] FRGC 79.1

The learned Jewish priests of New York city, professing to understand the state of the Jews at Jerusalem, deny a part of the above statements, affirming that no such disasters have there occurred to diminish the Jewish population; leaving us to conclude, that this acknowledged want of increase there, results from their want of business and money, rather than from such disasters as here stated. FRGC 79.2

Such being the condition of the whole Jewish population at Jerusalem, what motive could thousands and millions more of the same people have, for going there also, to be supported as paupers, or immediately to return to their present Gentile habitations, still to enrich themselves by merchandising? FRGC 79.3

The following items of testimony were kindly given me, at my request, in July last, by Messrs. J. J. Lyons and S. M. Isaacs, the only two regularly officiating Jewish Rabbis, or priests, of New York city, with permission to publish them, concerning the present condition and prospects among the Jews generally, in relation to their soon going to Palestine. The testimony has since been published in papers of New York and Boston, and I now copy it from the N. Y. Olive Leaf, in the very form in which I first took it from their united verbal statements; which document was examined by themselves, approved as correct, and allowed for publication. FRGC 79.4

“In all Christian countries, they say that their people enjoy equal social, civil, and religious privileges with Christians in almost all respects; that they take part in the government, hold offices, etc.; and that so far as some may have suffered more or less persecution as Jews in pagan countries, where they have sometimes staid a little too long, they only went there from choice, in hopes to do better than elsewhere, while they might all abide safely, if they chose, in Christian nations. Although, now, their situation is so favorable throughout the world, they have, in former times of their dispersion, experienced more occasional persecution. Of late, some ten or dozen of the Jews have been massacred at Damascus by some avaricious and unprincipled Romanists and others, under the false charge of their having murdered a monk, and used his blood in some of their Jewish rites; which is supposed to be only as a presence to obtain their property, then considered as lawful spoil; while it was very well known that the Jews never use blood of any kind on any occasion, considering it most strictly forbidden of God in his word. FRGC 80.1

“The Jews of Jerusalem they admit to be poor, and generally without business to support themselves, while they live on the benevolence of their more wealthy brethren abroad, whose business is lucrative. FRGC 80.2

“Nearly all the Jews elsewhere, throughout the world, are engaged in mercantile business or trade, and but very few, anywhere, in farming. FRGC 80.3

“With regard to their return to Jerusalem, or ‘Judah,’ they understand all the prophecies to foretel it, though they profess not to see any more signs of the event now near, than there have heretofore been, since their dispersion. FRGC 80.4

“They have no anticipations nor desires of going to inhabit that country at present, or under existing circumstances, and would by no means consent to go as a people, even if the whole country were given them, with the city and temple at Jerusalem already built, unless the eastern powers would become pledged to protect them as citizens and as Jews, not being able to protect themselves. FRGC 80.5

“When their Messiah shall come, and they as a people shall return, they expect him to come not as a mortal man, but with great power and glory, as Daniel and the prophets have described it-to destroy all his and their enemies, in the end of all worldly things-to dwell with them, and they with him, in a glorious state forever and ever; when their land, being created anew, will ‘flow with the milk and honey of spiritual and everlasting enjoyments-then with angels in a heavenly state. FRGC 80.6

“They utterly disclaim all fellowship and sympathy with christian efforts and societies for bettering their condition, or for gathering them again into the land of Israel; believing all these movements to be evil designs against them, to denationalize, or mingle them with the Gentile world. FRGC 81.1

“They affirm that the christian institutions of the East for the maintenance and education of the indigent children of Jews, have not been successful in obtaining such children; and that although those institutions have obtained such reputed children, inquiry has been made into the matter, when it was ascertained that such children were not really of Jewish parents, though in some instances one of the parents might have called themselves Jews, but were not truly of the Jewish faith. As proof of this assertion, they say, that the Jews themselves stand ready, with their own institutions, to maintain and educate all such indigent Jewish children, instead of their being driven by want to take refuge with a people not their own.” FRGC 81.2

The preceding testimony of the New York Jewish priests I have been led to consider credible, from the considerations, that it perfectly harmonizes with that of “the highly talented and much esteemed Dr. Herschell, Chief Rabbi of the English Jews” and also with that of the Christian “missionary at Jerusalem,” on the prospects of the Jews, and with a mass more of authentic testimony which might be given, if time permitted. I have also felt bound to give heed to the same, from the fact, that on becoming personally acquainted with these gentlemen, Jewish priests, being several times at their houses, and having made particular inquiry of others concerning them, I felt constrained to regard them, aside from their professed and consistent Judaism, as said of the High Priest of London, “highly talented,” etc. FRGC 81.3

It will be seen readily, that this testimony, from the most authentic sources, is all directly to the point; and that it presents itself in formidable array against the foundation of the popular argument in favor of the speedy literal return of the natural Jews, which argument stands on the alleged position of the present unprecedented and successful movement among the Jews themselves for their speedy removal. And thus we leave the testimony, and the whole subject; without further remark, except most seriously and affectionately to urge all, of an opposite opinion on this subject, to whom these and other facts may come, faithfully to examine and weigh them; and to give the whole subject a fair and thorough investigation, being by no means presented by a contrary preconceived opinion, nor by the many popular and heretofore uncontradicted public reports to the contrary. And though good men may have sometimes originated, or propagated, those unfounded or exaggerated reports, it is certainly no more strange than the story of the “five black crows,” before its being” traced back to the mere “something as black as a crow.” And why should it be strange, if these flattering Jewish reports have become extremely exaggerated in so long passing the rounds, without being traced back, or publicly called in question? FRGC 81.4

And to conclude, let it not be said, that the positions and proofs generally, now offered, are opposed to the many laudable efforts for the spiritual and everlasting good of the long-neglected and unbelieving Jews. Far from it. But let it rather be understood, that as we are united with our English and other brethren on the subject of Christ’s second coming and kingdom at hand, though they advocate a speedy removal of the Jews to Palestine; so are we most heartily united with them also, and with others of the same faith, in our desires and labors for the conversion of the unbelieving Jews, as a preparation for their glorious return to a “heavenly Jerusalem” with all others of the redeemed, at the anticipated now speedy coming of our Lord in glory, to receive to himself all that are his, both Jews and Gentiles, without distinction, at the making up of his jewels. Let us not then be divided in our professed joint labors for a speedy literal return of the whole scattered nation of God’s believing or true Israel, both Jew and Gentile, to their “own land,” which is a “better country,” and even a “heavenly Jerusalem,” for their literal “everlasting possession,” and their own literal “inheritance forever.” And let us do with our might, or with our strength united, what our hands find to do in the great work; “For this I say unto you, brethren the time is short,” for “in a little while, he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” “Come quickly.” FRGC 82.1