Q232 : Did Early Students of the Bible Predict the Reestablishment of Israel?

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Q232 : Did Early Students of the Bible Predict the Reestablishment of Israel?

One thing to note about Israel's return.

In the 1930's, pre-Nazi Germany, a famous Rabbi in Europe was often published for his studies into the ancient prophetic texts. In his works, he never mentioned a return to the land, nor did he even call it Israel . . . only Palestine as it was named by Titus after the fall and destruction. Until the event happened, no Jews outside of the Zionist political party of Theodor Herzel, and his benefactor Rothschild had any belief or intention that the land would see a return before the Messianic Age.

It was only AFTER Israel came back into being in 1947 that tons of scholars JUMPED to go back and try to justify this return before the Messianic Age, as ancient Rabbinical commentary said the Prophets writings meant.

A232 : by Tony Garland

You haven't done your homework.1 Below are some quotes, for your consideration, from students of the Bible prior to 1947 who understood Scripture to indicate the restoration of the Jews or the return of Israel.

First, from men who clearly indicate they expect Israel to be back in the land before the return of Jesus:

1796-1861 Walter Scott “‘The great tribulation’ is yet future. It pre-supposes the Jewish nation restored to Palestine in unbelief, to serve Gentile political ends, and brought there by the active intervention of a great maritime power (Isa. 18).”2
1800 Elhanan Winchester “A notable preacher, both in Great Britain and America, at the beginning of the nineteenth century was Dr. Elhanan Winchester; in 1800 he published a most interesting volume entitled, “A Course of Lectures in the Prophecies that Remain to be fulfilled.” The third lecture was devoted to the thesis that “The return of the Jews to their own land is certain.” In this lecture, Dr. Winchester said: “As the Turkish power has always been a great enemy to the Jews and having their land in possession at this time, nothing can well be more evident then that the Turkish power must be greatly weakened before the Jews can return to their country and possess it . . . This even may be easily accomplished if the nations that shall weaken the Turks make this one of their demands, namely, that they which yield up the holly land to its rightful owners, the Jews, to repossess which God sware to give to the patriarchs and their posterity.” He even foresaw a great conflict to take place here. “The nations round them will make a general combination against them when they least expect it and will gather a numerous and very formidable host to effect their destruction. In this they shall not finally succeed.””3
1816-1900 John Charles Ryle “I believe that the Jews shall ultimately be gathered again as a separate nation, restored to their own land, and converted to the faith of Christ, after going through great tribulation (Jer. 30:10-11; Jer. 31:10; Rom. 11:25-26; Dan. 12:1; Zech 13:8-9).”4 “I might show you by scriptural evidence that the Jews will probably first be gathered in an unconverted state, though humbled, and will afterwards be taught to look to Him whom they have pierced, through much tribulation. . . . I can see no ground for refusing to believe that God may yet do wonderful things for the Jewish people. It would not be more marvelous to see them gathered once more into Palestine, than it was to see them brought from Egypt into the promised land. What God has done once, He may surely do again. [J. C. Ryle, “Coming Events and Present Duties, and Prophecy” (1867) cited by Richard L. Mayhue, Editorial]”5.
1835-1913 Bullinger “The Zionist Movement commenced with the first National Congress of 1896, and has made great strides since then. Other changes in the Balkan States, and in the Constitution of Turkey, which took place so unexpectedly in 1908, show us how suddenly a change may take place which will lead up to the re-settlement of the Jews in their own land, perhaps, at first, under the suzerainty of the Sultan; and prepare the way for the rise of the Beast . . .”6
1841-1918 Robert Anderson “But first it must be clearly recognised that in the twenty-fourth of Matthew, as in the book of Daniel, Jerusalem is the centre of the scene to which the prophecy relates; and this of necessity implies that the Jews shall have been restored to Palestine before the time of its fulfilment. Objections based on the supposed improbability of such an event are sufficiently answered by marking the connection between prophecy and miracle. The history of the Abrahamic race, to which prophecy is so closely related, is little else than a record of miraculous interpositions. . . . the question is one of peculiar interest on general grounds, whether passing events are not tending towards this very consummation, the restoration of the Jews to Palestine.”7 “If the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire be still delayed, it is due entirely to the jealousies of European nations, whose rival interests seem to render an amicable distribution of its territories impossible. But the crisis cannot be deferred indefinitely; and when it arrives, the question of greatest moment, next to the fate of Constantinople, will be, What is to become of Palestine? Its annexation by any one European state is in the highest degree improbable. The interests of several of the first-rate Powers forbid it. The way will thus be kept open to the Jews, whenever their inclinations or their destinies lead them back to the land of their fathers. . . . the probabilities of the case . . . are in favour of the colonization of Palestine by that people to whom historically it belongs. . . . But long ere then the Cross must supplant the Crescent in Judea, else it is incredible that the Mosque of Omar should give place to the Jewish Temple on the Hill of Zion.”8 “Of the great political changes which must precede his advent [the rise of Antichrist], the most conspicuous are the restoration of the Jews to Palestine, and the predicted division of the Roman earth.”9
1849 John Thomas “In 1849, the author John Thomas wrote in his book (entitled Elpis Israel — The Hope of Israel) the following words: “The truth is, there are two stages in the restoration of the Jews, the first is before the battle of Armageddon; and the second, after it; but both pre-millennial. God has said, “I will save the tents of Judah first.” This is the first stage of restoration...There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonisation of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him.””10
1850-1924 Clarence Larkin “From these scriptures we see that the Jews have not been supplanted by either the Gentiles or the Church, and when the time comes they will again become a nation. We indulge in no idle and profitless speculations when we attempt to forecast the future of the Jewish People. All we have to do is to gather together and place in their logical order what the Holy Spirit through the Prophets, has foretold. The method is as simple as the result is sure.”11
1855 Charles Spurgeon “Preaching on Ezek 24:26 in 1855, just prior to the rise of modern Zionism, he [Spurgeon] declared, Not long shall it be ere they [the Jews] shall come — shall come from distant lands, where'er they rest or roam; and she who has been the off-scouring of all things, whose name has been a proverb and a bye-word, shall become the glory of all lands. Dejected Zion shall raise her head, shaking herself from dust, and darkness, and the dead. Then shall the Lord feed his people, and make them and the places round about his hill a blessing. I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the bible it is this. I imagine that you cannot read the bible without seeing clearly that there is to be an actual restoration of the children of Israel. [C. H. Spurgeon, The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, I, no. 28, 1855 (Albany, Oregon: Ages Software, 1998), 382]”12 “Speaking on Ezek 37:1-10 in 1864 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in aid of funds for the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Jews, Spurgeon declared, “This vision has been used, from the time of Jerome onwards, as a description of the resurrection, and certainly it may be so accommodated with much effect. . . . But while this interpretation of the vision may be very proper as an accommodation, it must be quite evident to any thinking person that this is not the meaning of the passage. There is no allusion made by Ezekiel to the resurrection, and such topic would have been quite apart from the design of the prophet’s speech I believe he was no more thinking of the resurrection of the dead than of the building of St. Peter’s at Rome, or the emigration of the Pilgrim Fathers. . . . The meaning of our text, 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; an then, secondly, there is in the text, and in the context, a most plain declaration, that there shall be a spiritual restoration, a conversion in fact, of the tribes of Israel. . . . If there be meaning in words this must be the meaning of this chapter. I wish never to learn the art of tearing God’s meaning out of his own words. If there be anything clear and plain, the literal sense and meaning of this passage — a meaning not to be spirited or spiritualized away — must be evident that both the two and the ten tribes of Israel are to be restored to their own land, and that a king is to rule over them.” [C. H. Spurgeon, The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, X, no 582:533 1864 (Albany, Oregon: Ages Software, 1998), 536-37]”13 “In 1887 [Spurgeon] declared, “We cannot help looking for the restoration of the scattered Israelites to the land which God has given to them by a covenant of salt: we also look for the time when they shall believe in the Messiah whom they have rejected, and shall rejoice in Jesus of Nazareth, whom today they despise. There is great encouragement in prophecy to those who work among the seed of Israel; and it is greatly needed, for of all mission fields it has been commonly represented to be the most barren, and upon the work the utmost ridicule has been poured.” [C. H. Spurgeon, The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, XXXIV, no. 2036, 1887 (Albany, Oregon: Ages Software, 1998), 545]”14
1918 David Baron “There will be at first, as compared with the whole nation, only a representative minority in Palestine, and a Jewish state will be probably formed, either under the suzerainty of one of the Great Powers, or under international protection . . . A large number more from all parts of the world will in all probability soon be gathered; but we shall only be able to speak of a restoration of the Jews as an accomplished fact when Palestine becomes by international consent (to quote from the Zionist programme) the ‘openly recognized and legally assured home’ of the Jews, i.e., when the Jews are once more acknowledged as a nation with a land of their own to which they might go.”15

For the sake of completeness, here are some additional early quotes recognizing the Scriptural prediction of a restoration of Israel to her land, although not necessarily prior to the return of Jesus:

1558-1625 Henry Finch “Sir Henry Finch (1558-1625) . . . wrote a seminal book on the topic. . . . Finch not only taught a restoration of Israel to their land, he took many of the details of a Jewish millennium literally. A regathered Israel “shall inhabite all the parts of the land” and “shall continue in it for euer.” Finch also taught that all twelve tribes will be united and “all nations shall honour them.” [Cited in Culver, “Contribution of Sir Henry Finch,” p. 57] cited by Thomas Ice, Sir Henry Finch: Early Christian Zionist16
1635-1711 Wilhelmus a Brakel “A further example of a more pro-Judaic European eschatology that appeared in the seventeenth century was that expressed by Wilhelmus a Brakel (1635-1711), an esteemed Dutch Reformed theologian who ministered in Rotterdam, Holland, having eschatological views that contrasted with the more standard Augustinian variety, Willem VanGemeren explains that, in objecting to Calvin, Brakel held that, “the Church could not be identified with the New Israel. When Paul wrote about "all Israel" (Rom. 11:25) he was referring to the nation, and not the totality of the church and national Israel.” This rejection of Calvin was also found in Brakel's contemporaries. Brakel expected all twelve tribes to repent and express faith in Jesus as the Messiah. He also held that the Jews would be privileged to return to their land. The promise of the land is not just a type of the eternal rest or of heaven, rather it is part and parcel with the covenant of grace which God made to and affirmed with Israel. . . . Brakel . . . wrote, “Will the Jewish nation be gathered together again from all the regions of the world and from all the nations of the earth among which they have been dispersed? Will they come to and dwell in Canaan and all the lands promised to Abraham, and will Jerusalem be rebuilt? We believe that these events will transpire.””17
1669 Increase Mather “The first of [Increase Mather’s] many works on prophecy was published in London in 1669, entitled “The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation Explained and Applied — a discourse concerning the general conversion of the Israelitish nation.” . . . Concerning the matter of their return to the land, Mather is clear: “Some have believed and asserted a general conversion of the Jews, yet have doubted whether they should ever again possess the land of their fathers. But the Scripture is very clear and full in this, that you see not how it can justly be denied or questioned.” . . . Even the great period of Israel’s tribulation was not hidden from Mather’s mind. Later in the book he amplifies this truth: “A little before the conversion of the Jews, there will be the most terrible doings in the world that ever were heard of in respect of wars and commotions, the waves of the sea roaring, confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke; but after the kindome [sic.] shall be restored unto Israel, then shall be glorious days of peace and tranquility.””18
1673 John Owen “In 1673 an interesting book was published, with a preface by Dr. John Own, “A Collection of Prophecies which Concern the Calling of the Jews and the Glory that Shall Be in the Latter Days.” The scores of references were classified under eight headings which may be of interest to my readers: “I. The Jews shall be gathered from all parts of the earth where they now are scattered, and brought home into their own land. II. They shall be carried by the Gentiles to their place; who shall join themselves with the Jews, and become the Lord’s people. III. Great miracles shall be wrought when Israel is restored, as formerly when they were brought out of Egypt — viz.: 1. Drying up the river Euphrates. 2. Causing rivers to flow in desert places. 3. Giving them prophets. 4. The Lord Christ himself shall appear at the head of them. IV. The Jews, being restored, and converted to the faith of Christ, shall be formed into a State, and have Judges and Counsellors over them as formerly: the Lord Christ himself being their King, who shall them also be acknowledged King over all the earth. V. They shall have the victory over all their enemies, and all kings and nations of the earth shall submit unto them. VI. The Jews, restored, shall live peaceably, without being divided into two nations, or contending with one another any more. VII. The land of Judea shall be made eminently fruitful, like a Paradise, or the Garden of God. VIII. Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, and after the full restoration of the Jews shall never be destroyed, nor infested with enemies any more.” All of this material was quoted by the famous Dr. Philip Doddridge in a work now seldom seen [Philip Doddridge: “Works,” Leeds, 1802, Vol. V.]”19
1707-1788 Charles Wesley Although not explicitly predicting a nation, Charles Wesley’s hymn Calling the Hebrews Home clearly recognizes the restoration of the Jews in a gathered nation: “O that the chosen band might now their brethren bring And gathered out of every land present to Sion's King. Of all the ancient race not one be left behind But each impelled by secret grace his way to Canaan find! We know it must be done for God hath spoke the word All Israel shall their Saviour own to their first state restored. Rebuilt by His command Jerusalem shall rise Her temple on Moriah stand again, and touch the skies. Send then Thy servants forth to call the Hebrews home From west and east, and south, and north let all the wanderers come. Where'er in lands unknown Thy fugitives remain Bid every creature help them on Thy holy mount to gain.”
1740s Jonathan Edwards ““[Jonathan Edwards held that] when ‘the fulness of the Gentiles’ is brought in, then ethnic Israel will also be largely saved and, while restored to their own land, they will be united with all the church of Christ and ‘look upon all the world to be their brethren, as much as the Christians in Boston and the Christians in other parts of New England look on each other as brethren’.”20
1848 John Nelson Darby “In 1848 he wrote, “As far as the world is concerned, Jerusalem is nothing; it is a city trodden down, with neither commerce nor riches nor aught else. Superstition is established there on the sepulchre of the Lord. It is true, indeed that the kings of the earth are beginning to look that way, because providence is leading in that direction, but as for God, He ever things of it; it is always His house, His city. His eyes and His heart are there continually. Now faith understands this.” [Paul R. Wilkinson, John Nelson Darby and His Views on Israel]”21

See also Is Today's Return of Israel Scriptural?a


1.I remain both amazed and disappointed by the numerous “Bible teachers” of our day who are busy writing blogs and e-books to educate us concerning things they themselves know little of (Rom. 2:21; 1Ti. 1:7; Jas. 3:1).
2.Ref-0225, 163
3.Ref-1163, 52-53
4.Ref-0114, 384
5.Ref-0164, Vol. 19 No. 1, Spring 2008, 1:14, 9
6.Ref-0214, 527
7.Ref-0762, 165-167
8.Ref-0762, 167-168
9.Ref-0762, 210
10.BITT, Bible in the Newsb accessed 20080312
11.Ref-0835, 33
12.Ref-1263, pp. 11-12
13.Ref-1263, 11-12
14.Ref-1263, 11-12
15.Ref-0206, 494
16.Ref-0181, Vol. VIII No. 82 November/December 2010, pp. 1,5
17.Ref-1263, 153
18.Ref-1163, 49-52
19.Ref-1163, 47-49
20.Ref-1302, 49
21.Ref-0200, Vol. 166 No. 661, January-March 2009, 84:99, 96


Ref-0114Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996). ISBN:0-8254-2351-1c.
Ref-0164Richard L. Mayhue, ed., The Master's Seminary Journal (Sun Valley, CA: Master's Seminary). [www.mastersem.edu].
Ref-0181Tim LaHaye, Pre-Trib Perspectives (Dallas, TX: Pre-Trib Research Center, n.d.). [www.pre-trib.org].
Ref-0200Roy B. Zuck, ed., Bibliotheca Sacra (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, n.d.). [www.dts.edu].
Ref-0206David Baron, Zechariah: A Commentary on His Visions and Prophecies (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1918).
Ref-0214E. W. Bullinger, Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935).
Ref-0225Walter Scott, Overcoming the World Missions Crisis (London, England: Pickering and Inglis, n.d.).
Ref-0762Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince (TX: Galaxie Software, 2004).
Ref-0835Clarence Larkin, Rightly Dividing the Word (Philadelphia, PA: Clarence Larkin, 1921).
Ref-1163Wilbur M. Smith, Israeli/Arab Conflict and the Bible (Glendale, CA: G/L Publications, 1967).
Ref-1263Barry E. Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2007). ISBN:978-0-8054-4627-2d.
Ref-1302Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987). ISBN:978-0851514949e.

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