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Alex's Blog - August 8, 2009 - The Restoration of the Jews (Part 1)
By Alex Dodson
Will there be a restoration of the Jews in the future? Many believe today that Israel will be restored to its former glory and the temple rebuilt and that Jesus will return and reign over the world from that temple in Jerusalem. The sacrifices and priesthood will be restored as well. There are others who believe that there will not be a restoration of the Jews that the Jewish nation was completely done away with in 70 AD and totally replaced by the church. Yet, there are others who do believe in the restoration of the Jews as a people in that the Jewish people will be converted to Christ and brought into the church in mass. They believe that all Israel will be saved and that the Jews will be grafted back in to their own olive tree. Marcellus Kik wrote in 1948 - "It is true that we look forward to the conversion of the Jewish nation, and that the whole world will be blessed by this conversion. But that is something entirely different from the idea of a temporal Jewish kingdom holding sway over all the nations of the world." (p. 78 Puritan Hope)
David Brown who firmly believed in the restoration of the Jews wrote in 1861 - "Not a shred of Judaism do I expect to be restored. For no temple at Jerusalem do I look. Circumcision, priesthood, sacrifices, ritual separations and peculiarities, I hold to have been all done away in Christ, never to be revived." (p. 97 The Restoration of the Jews) Yet, he wrote a whole book showing that the Bible teaches a great restoration of the Jews in this age which will usher in a worldwide revival. He writes in commenting on Romans 11:15 - "The meaning seems to be, that the reception of the whole family of Israel, scattered, as they are, among all nations under heaven, and the most inveterate enemies of the Lord Jesus, will be such a stupendous manifestation of the power of God upon the spirits of men, and of His glorious presence with the heralds of the Cross, as will not only kindle devout astonishment far and wide, but so change the dominant mode of thinking and feeling on all spiritual things, as to seem like a resurrection from the dead." (P. 129 The Restoration of the Jews)
The Westminster Larger Catechism written in the 17th century on question 191 states - "What do we pray for in the second petition (of the Lord's Prayer)?" The answer: "In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come,) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in……" The Puritans believed in the conversion of the Jews to Christ. They looked forward to a time when all Israel would be saved in the sense of the Jewish people as a whole being converted to Christ. Iain Murray writes in The Puritan Hope - "This same belief concerning the future of the Jews is to be found very widely in seventeenth- century Puritans as John Owen, Thomas Manton and John Flavel, though the indices of nineteenth-century reprints of their works do not always indicate this." ( p. 44) In 1669, Increase Mather, New England Puritan, wrote - "That there shall be a general conversion of the Tribes of Israel is a truth which in some measure hath been known and believed in all ages of the Church of God, since the Apostles' days…Only in these late days, these things have obtained credit much more universally than heretofore." (p. 45 Puritan Hope)
Jonathan Edwards wrote in 1773 about the great revival that would come and also about the widespread conversion of the Jews in that day. He writes, "Jewish infidelity shall then be overthrown….when that day comes, the thick veil that blinds their eyes shall be removed, 2 Cor 3:16; and divine grace shall melt and renew their hard hearts, 'and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness, as one that is in bitterness for his first born,' Zech. 12: 10, etc. And then shall the house of Israel be saved: the Jews in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity, and shall wonderfully have their hearts changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief and obstinacy; and shall flow together to the blessed Jesus, penitently, humbly, and joyfully owning him as their glorious King and only Savior, and shall with all their hearts, as with one heart and voice, declare his praises unto other nations." (p. 312-313 The History of Redemption)
This great restoration or conversion of the Jewish people does not necessarily have to occur at the Second Coming but may very well come before then. This great conversion could very well usher in a worldwide revival in which the whole earth comes to acknowledge Christ. This seems to be the understanding of the authors quoted above. For example David Brown refers to Whitby's Treatise of the True Millennium written in the 1700's in which he writes, "shewing that it is not a reign of persons raised from the dead, but of the Church flourishing gloriously for a thousand years after the conversion of the Jews, and the flowing in of all nations to them thus converted to the Christian faith." (p. 91, footnote 13 The Restoration of the Jews)
Evangelicals of the past saw a great restoration or conversion of the Jews coming but they did not see it as a restoration of Judaism or a rebuilding of the temple and restoration of the sacrifices and worship. They saw it as a mass conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith, Jews from all over the world. They saw it also being accompanied by a worldwide revival.
This is the first of a series of blogs on the Restoration of the Jews. We will look at several Bible passages beginning in the next blog that relate to this important topic.
Edwards, Jonathan. The History of Redemption. The National Foundation for Christian Education, Marshallton, Delaware, 1773.
Murray, Iain H. The Puritan Hope. The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971.
Schlissel, Steve and Brown, David. Hal Lindsey & the Restoration of the Jews. Still Waters Revival Books, Edmonton, AB Canada, 1990.