“They as a people, together with their city, were destroyed: they were no more to live in one place; they were to be dispersed, and scattered over the face of the whole earth; they were to shew themselves a standing miracle of God’s mercy and judgment to produce and bear witness to the oracles of God, which they confirm by their own appearance under the circumstances they now are, trustees and guardians, as it were, of those divine records for the use of Christians.—What would have still preserved and kept them together in one place, the city and the Temple, were taken from them ; they have now no home; and yet are as distinct: from all other men, with whom they live in great numbers over all the earth, as when they inhabited Jerusalem in its ancient splendor.
They could have no Temple, nor any sacrifice, but in Jerusalem; and when that was destroyed, they were dispersed.
Circumcision, the mark of the covenant, or token of the promise, could be of no peculiar use, when the covenant of promise was fulfilled, and the promised seed had evidently appeared in the person of Jesus. All that was peculiar to the Jews; all that obstructed the general union of mankind under one God and Savior of us all, the calling of the Gentiles, who by adoption are made heirs of the promise; all that was local and temporary became obsolete, and of no use or significancy ; for by the accomplishment of the propheccies, and the appearance of the Son of God, all these things were abolished: sacrifices had their end; the carnal ordinances, the Temple, the Jewish polity, sacred and civil, as connected with the city of Jerusalem ; all were deftroyed in one general ruin, and the distinction of the tribes is entirely lost.
This great event is foretold by almost all the prophets. The destruction of Jerusalem is expressed by The GREAT DAY OF THE LORD * The day of the Lord is a day of sacrifice and vengeance upon his enemies. The destruction of Babylon described in such awful terms, as if all nature suffered by the mock, is represented as a day of the Lord, Isai. xiii. 6. So is the destruction of Bozrah and Idumasa, isAi.xxxiv. 8. of Pharaoh’s army at the Euphrates, Jer. xlvi, 10. of Egypt, Ezek. xxx. 3. of the heathen, Joel iii. 14. Obad. 15-.- Zephan. ii. 2, 3. But the Great Day Of The Lord always means the destruction of Jerusalem.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
Joseph Eyre (1771)
Futurist / Christian Zionist View
“APPENDIX TO Observations on the Prophecies relating to the Restoration of the Jews, BEING AN ANSWER TO THE OBJECTIONS of a late AUTHOR (PDF)
“The day of the Lord cannot here signify the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, or the Romans, because the description of the northern army which shall come against it, by no means agrees with either of those people, as I have mown in Art. IV. of the preceding work. The invasion of the ‘Turks and Saracens answers indeed to this prophetic description, as I have made appear in the aforementioned place “
WHILST I was writing the preceding observations, there came to my hands at pamphlet, intituled, The Rise and Fall of the Holy City and Temple of Jerusalem, &c. by Gregory Sharpe, LL.D. in which the restoration of the Jews, which I have here been endeavouring to prove, is absolutely denied.
The character which this learned and ingenious divine very deservedly bears in the literary world, would render me inexcusable, if I was wholly to overlook the objections which he has brought against the opinion I have endeavoured to establish ; I shall therefore, with all due deference to one, whose learned and excellent defences of Christianity are so justly admired, point out the passages in the above mentioned work, in which I apprehend this learned and ingenious Doctor to have been mistaken ; adding, at the same time, the scripture grounds and reasons, which oblige me to differ from him.
The first thirty pages of his second edition contain nothing that I mail object to, but, on the contrary, many curious and entertaining observations. But p. 33. he expresses himself in the following manner:
They (the Jews) as a people, together witlv ‘ their city, were destroyed : they were no more ‘ to live in one place; they were to be dis persed, and scattered over the face of the whole earth ; they were to show themselves a standing miracle of God’s mercy and judgment, to produce and bear witness to the ora-‘ cles of God, which they confirm by their own appearance under the circumstances they now are, trustees and guardians, as it were, of those divine records for the use of Christians. What would have still preserved and kept them together in one place, the city and the temple, were taken from them » they have now no home – and yet are as distinct from all other men, with whom they live in great numbers over all the earth, as when they inhabited Jerusalem in its ancient splendor. They could have no temple, nor any facrifice, but in Jerusalem, and when that was destroyed, they were dispersed. Cir’ cumcifion, the mark of the covenant, or token of the promise, could be of no peculiar use when the covenant of promise was fulfilled, and * the promised seed had evidently appeared in the person of Jesus. All that was peculiar td the Jews; all that obstructed the general union of mankind under one God and Saviour of us all, the calling of the Gentiles, who by adoption are made heirs of the promise ; all that was local and temporary became obsolete, and of no use or signisicancy ; for by the accomplishment of the prophecies, and the appearance of the Son of God, all these things were abolished, facrifices had their end ; the carnal ordinances, the temple, the Jewish polity, sacred and civil, as connected with the city of Jerusalem, all were destroyed in one general ruin, and the distinction of the tribes is entirely lost.’ the promised seed had appeared, by no means follows, for if we look into the 17th chapter of Genesis, we shall find the covenant,’ of which circumcision was to be a token between God and Abraham, was this mentioned in the 8th verse: ‘ And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, far an Everlasting possession, and I zvill be their God. Now if Abraham, who, as St. Stephen observes, Acts vii. 5. had no inheritance in Canaan, no not so much as to set his foot on, is still to have this promise made good to him, and his feed have not yet entered upon the everlasting possession of it here mentioned, it is evident that the token may be yet of peculiar use to them, as it assures them of the certainty of God’s fulfilling it to them hereafter. Circumcision therefore was not a token of the promised seed, or that in Abraham’s seed sjwuld all the nations of the earth be blessed; for tho’ this had been also promised him, yet God makes no mention of it when he repeats to Abraham the contents of the covenant of which circumcision was to be the token, Gen. xvii. 6, 7, 8. Neither do the rites peculiar to the Jews, seem to me to have any way obstructed the general union of mankind under one God and Saviour of us all, or the calling of the Gentiles, they being in fact called while these things subsisted, All that was local must indeed cease at the dispersion of the Jews; but that by the accomplishment of the prophecies, and the appearance of the Son of God, all these things were 1 abolished
That the Jews were to be dispersed and scattered ever the face of the whole earth, that they now shew themselves a standing miracle of God’a judgment, and will hereafter of his mercy, I allow ; and also that they bear witness to the oracles of God, which they confirm by their own appearance under the circumstances they now are j but it does riot from hence follow^ that they are ho more to live in one place, for though what Would have still preserved and kept them together, the city and the temple, were taken from them, it cannot from hence be concluded that these shall never be restored to them again. That circumcision, the mark of the covenant, or token of the promise, could be of no peculiar use when abolished, and that the temple, the Jewish polity, facred and civil, as connected with the city of “Jerusalem, were so destroyed as never to be again restored, is more than we are warranted by the scripture to asfirm.
Again, in a note, p. 45. our Author reasons in the following manner: ‘ The facrifices appointed ‘ by the law of Moses, and the whole Levitical 1 Jaw, were appropriated to the tabernacle and temple, and the destruction of the latter was ‘ the end of all ; this obliged the Jews to in‘ vent a third temple, and to apply the prophe’ cies that had been accomplished by the second temple to a future temple; and to assert, that the plan laid down by Ezekiel was not followed ‘ by Zerubbabel, but is to be executed in some ‘ future age. The Christians have suffered them’ selves to be imposed upon by the Jews, and the apocryphal writers, who were. Montanists* ‘ and many of the Fathers, have almost made the ‘ imposition facred. But how wild and ground less the conceit! Are we to suppose then that a ‘ plan was given for a third temple to be built ‘ at the end of the world, and no notice taken ‘ of that which was to be built in about forty years ? Are not the times particularly connected with the captivity by the Prophet, and the peo4 pie called upon now to put away their idolatry ?
Ezek. xi. 1.—xliii. 7—12. Are we to expect ‘ priests of the offspring of Zadock ? Ezek. xliii. ‘ 19. Are burnt-offerings, with all other Mosaic rites and ceremonies, to be restored ? And its sacrifices, sacrifices are to be revived, what use or purpose, ciyil, moral, or religious, are they in that age to serve ? What are they then as types to prefigure ? May ve be permitted to call them antetypes, or imagine them to be prefigurative emblems of services in the heavenly Jerusalem ? Is this the method of converting the Jews ? Is this the new covenant made with the house of Israel and Judah ? And are we to see the old covenant, which St. Paul declared, even in his days, to be decayed, waxen old, and ready tq vanish away, restored again ? Heb. viii. 13. Are the able ministers of the new covenant to be obliged to exchange the ministration of the fpi? rit of righteousness, of life, and of glory, for the ministration of condemnation and death ? No sprely ; the letter which killeth, should never be preferred to the spirit which giveth life, 2 Cor. ‘in. 6—11. Is this the word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ ? Æs x. 36. The disference between the second temple and that described by Ezekiel, is rather made than proved by modern Jews, who can have no good authority for their assertions in a matter of such remote antiquity ; nor will the figurative use and application of prophetic language by St. John in the Revelations, support the Montanisl in his absurd concessions.’
That the sacrifices appointed by the law of Moses, tho’ not the whole Levitical laws, were appropriated to the tabernacle and the temple, is allowed, but it does not follow from hence that the destruction of the latter was the end of all, if by this expression cur author means, as he had before asserted, that the Jewish -polity, sacred and civil, as connected with the city of Jerusalem, all were destroyed in one general ruin, so as never to be again restored. That the sacrifices cannot be restored, consistently with the law of Moses, whilst the temple continues desolate, is true; but that the temple itself must always continue so, by no means follows.
That a third temple is an invention of the Jews, does not appear from any arguments that our Author has made use of, but the future existence of such a temple may be fairly inferred from several prophecies in the Old Testament; neither have these prophecies been accomplished by the erecting of the second temple: That the plan laid down by Ezekiel was followed by Zerubbabel does by no means appear, nor can the prophecies relating to EzekieFs temple be applied to Zerubbabel’s, upon account of the different circumstances which they foretel shall happen at the time of its establishment: For first, the Shecinah, or Divine Presence, was to return, as appears from Ezek. xliii. 2. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way os the gate, whofe profpect was toward the east: So the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner court, and behold the glory of the Lord filled the house; and 1 heard him speaking unto me out of the house, and the man stood by me: And he said unto me, Sen of man, the place of my throne, K 4 and and the place of the soles cf my feet, where I wilt dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more de. file, neither they nor their kings, &c. Now this great honour and advantage that attended the temple of Solomon, is allowed by all authors to have been wanting in the second temple; and therefore the femple of Zerubbabel cannot be the temple intended by Ezckiel.
2dly, The extent and form of the city then to be rebuilt, was to be very different from that of the city rebuilt by Zerubbabel, or enlarged by any of his successors, even to the time of its destruction; for, as it appears by Ezek. xlviii. 30. &seq. each side of the city was to be four thousand and five hundred measures; and the gates of the city were to be after the names of the tribes of Israel; three gates northward, one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi; three gates eastward, of Jofeph, Benjamin, and Dan ; three at the south side, cf Simeon, Ijsachar, and Zebulon ; and three at the west side, one of Gad, one of Asicr, and one of Naphtali: It was round about eighteen thousand measures: And the pame of the city from’ that day fhall be—The Lord IS THERE.
Now, neither the dimensions and form of the city, nor the names and number of the gates, rebuilt after the BabylonijJi captivity, do at all agree with this description of Ezekiel. From all which, I think it demonstrable, that the temple prophecied of by Ezekiel, could not be the temple built by Zerubbabel, and afterward rebuilt by Herod,.
But ‘ But, (says our Author,) are we to suppose then that a plan was given for a third temple to be built at the end of the world, and no no’ tice taken of that which was to be built in about forty years ? Are not the times particularly connected with the captivity by the Prophets* ‘ and the people called upon Now to put away their idolatry ?’ Ezek. xi. i. xliii. 7—12. To which I answer, that the return of the -Jews, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and of the second temple, was taken notice of by the Prophets, and foretold, though a particular plan for the building of it was not given ; and the reason might be, that as this temple was greatly to fall short of that built by Solomon, so that those who had seen the former should weep aloud at the fight of this, and was likewise to be totally destroyed again in a few centuries, it might not upon these accounts be thought so worthy of a divine pattern or direction, as that of Solomon’s, or the future one of Ezekiel; and more especially as it was not to be honoured by the Shecinah or Divine Presence.
As to the times being particularly connected with the captivity by the Prophet, &c. the first text, Ezek. xi. 1. speaks plainly of the temple of Solomon then standing at the time of the vision, Jaazaniah and Pelatiah there mentioned being then in Jerusalem, about six years before the destruction of it by Nebuchadnezzar; so that this prophecy has no relation to the second temple. The other text, Ezek. xliii. 7—12. is indeed connected with the captivity; but it is plainly the last captivity that is here spoken of, and the final restoration of the temple that is to follow it, as appears from the very words of the Prophet. And he said unto me, Son of Man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, &c. which passage relates to the return of the Shecinah, when the angel of the Lord, who (as our Author justly observed, p. 38. did frequently appear amongst them in former times) shall again take up his residence in their city; upon which account the city shall be called (Jehovah Shammah) The Lord is there. The now in the ninth verse refers to the time here spoken of, when the Lord should dwell amongst them ; then it is that they are to put away their whoredoms, &c. But to proceed to our Author’s next questions.
Are we to expect priests of the offspring of Zadock ? Ezek. xlviii. 19. Are burnt-offerings, and peace offerings, with all other Mosaic rites and ceremonies, to be restored ? And-if sacrifices ‘ are to be revived, what use or purpose, civil, moral, or religious, are they in that age to serve V &V. To the first of these objections I reply, that to expect priests of the offspring of Zadock implies no such improbability as our Author seems to suppose ; for it is highly probable that some of the offspring of Zadock remain to this day ; and that it is now impossible to distinguish who these are, is very far from being so clear a point as some may imagine. Many of the Jews who live amongst us, are indeed unable to make out their pedigree, or tell what tribe they belong to ; but it cannot from hence be concluded that there are no Jews in any part of the world, that have preserved authentic records, or uninterrupted traditions of their family or tribe: that she distinction of tribes is entirely lost is therefore very far from being certain : but if we were even to allow this, it would not follow that the offspring of Zadock shall not be discovered by the Divine Power, which will certainly interpose at the restoration we are now speaking of As to the second part of the question, I own it is attended with some difficulties. Sacrifices and offerings are indeed mentioned by Æzekiel to be offered by the Israelites upon the rebuilding the temple he has described; and not only He, but many of the other Prophets, speak of offerings to be made by the people of Israel upon their final restoration, and also of offerings to be brought up to Jerusalem by the neighbouring nations. This is the literal fense of the prophecies. But whether we are to take them in this literal sense, or to consider them as figurative expressions, I shall not take upon me to determine. The Mosaic laws and ordinances are, in several places, faid to be ordinances for ever. Even our Lord himself says, Matt. v. 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I fay unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass pass from the law. Accordingly it docs not any where in scripture appear, that the Mosaic law was ever abolished. Our Lord himself conformed to it, and so did his Apostles; nay even St. Paul, from whom the arguments of those who contend for its abolishment are generally brought, did so,. and took and circumcised Timothy, tho’ his father was a Greek. The decree also of the council of the Apostles, Acls xv. which met on purpose to consider this matter, after much disputing determined that the gentile converts only mould not be obliged to keep the law of Moses, but did not absolve any of the Jews from their obligation to observe it. It has been indeed replied to this, that the laws of Moses were to be in force till the destruction of Jerusalem, and no longer. But they who assert this, bring no proof of it from scripture ; the passages in St. Paul’s epistles generally brought for this purpose, being designed to convince the gentile converts, and also the Jews, that salvation was not to be obtained by the works of the Mosaic law alone, but by faith in, and obedience to Christ. If it be argued that the destruction of Jerusalem did of course put an end to the observance of the Mosaic law, I answer, that this is not true in fact, for the Jews to this day observe the greatest part thereof. Their temple service, sacrifices, 13c. did indeed cease; but if the want of a temple only is the reason of this cessation, no reason can be given why the restoration of it should not revive the fame services. The most common objection therefore to a renewal of these services, is the insignificancy or inutility of them \ and this is the subject of our Author’s next question : * What use or purpose, civil, moral, or religious, are facrifices in that age to serve ?* To which it is a sufficient answer, that supposing we are not now able to assign the true uses and purposes which they may then answer, this is no argument against the revival of an institution, which the people to whom it was given have never yet been absolved from their obligation to observe
All this may be alledged in favour of the literal sense -, but supposing that the passages in Ezekiel’s vision concerning the facrifices, offerings, and other rites and ceremonies there mentioned, are to be considered as figurative expressions, it will not thence follow, that the temple and city of Jerusalem will never be restored, since these figurative expressions may be used to signify the Christian worship, made use of by the converted Jews in their rebuilt temple. The Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, was considered by many of the primitive Fathers as an oblation or offering; but whether this be the offering which is figuratively described by Ezekiel, I shall not take upon me to determine. I shall only observe, that, upon this supposition, our Author’s arguments will have no weight at all against the restoration of the city and temple of Jerusalem; since they are all founded upon the supposed inutility and absurdity of the revival of facrifices, and all other Mosaic rites and ceremonies. There are some indeed who are of opinion, that the restoration of the Jews shall be prior to their conversion •, and if so, facrifices may be again revived, tho’ they shall afterwards cease upon the new covenant being made with the house of Israel and Judah, which it were easy to show from the prophecies, is not to take place till after their restoration. But whichever of these opinions be the true one, to prove that the Jews will never be restored to Jerusalem, it is not sufficient to produce objections from our not being able to assign the uses or purposes of such a restoration, supposing this to be the case; but it is necessary to shew that every one of the numerous prophecies which foretell it, can and ought to be otherwise interpreted;
Another point which I apprehend our ingenious Author to have mistaken is this i That the great day of the Lord always means the destruction of Jerusalem. ‘ The destruction of Jerusalem (says he) is expressed by the great day of the Lord ;. the first destruction by the Chaldeans under Nebuehadnezzar, the last by the Romans under Fes’ ‘ pafian * : and, in a note in the same page, he adds, the day of the Lord is a day of facrifice and vengeance upon his enemies, &c. -bue the great day of the Lord always means the destruction of Jerusalem. Amos, Jeremiah, Joel, Zephaniah, Malachi, all use this language when they speak of the destruction of Jerusalem. In Joel the trumpet sounds an alarms—-the day of the Lord cometh ; the day of the Lord is very great, and who can abide it ?’ Joel ii.
The day of the Lord cannot here signify the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, or the Romans, because the description of the northern army which shall come against it, by no means agrees with either of those people, as I have mown in Art. IV. of the preceding work. The invasion of the ‘Turks and Saracens answers indeed to this prophetic description, as I have made appear in the aforementioned place ; but tho’ the Turks be most probably the people spoken of in this chapter, yet by the great day of the Lord is not meant any destruction which they, or any other people, shall bring upon the Jews or Israelites, but, as our Author rightly observes, a day of sacrifice and vengeance against his (the Lord’s) enemies. It was to succeed the prayers and supplications of his people, and is described, ver. 18. Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Behold, I will send corn and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith; and I will no more make you a reproach among the Heathen ; but I will remove’ far off from you the northern army, &c. This is the great day of the Lord, when he shall take vengeance upon the northern army, his, and his people’s enemies, the Gog of Ezekiel, who, in the latter days, shall come into the land which is brought back from the sword. Our Author indeed understands by the northern army that of the Chaldeans, as appears from p. 48, ‘ In Joel (says he) the * the trumpet sounds again, a new proclamation is made, the people return, they are gathered together, the congregation is fanctified, the nor them army is removed far off, the ears that the ‘ locust hath eaten, the canker worm, and other ‘ instruments of destruction in the hand’of Pro’ vidence, are to be restored, they were to eat in plenty, and be fatisfied: and after this, it shall come to pass, that I will pour out my fpi4 rit (which happened upon the day of Pentecost) upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy : And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids, in those days will I pour out my spirit: This was to precede the other great day of the Lord, the final destruction of Jerusalem; when, as it immediately follows, I will shew wonders in the heaven, and in the earth, blood and fire, and pil’ lars of fmoak; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood :——»the ‘ natural effects of a fiege so dreadful as that of ‘ Jerusalem, when the light of the sun and moon ‘ was obscured by the fire and smoak, and ruins,’ ” in that great and terrible day of the Lord.’
I have (I think) given sufficient reason above *, why by the northern army cannot be here meant the army of the Chaldeans ; I shall only add here, that the Chaldeans, or people of Babylon, were an eastern, and not a northern people, with respect to Jerusalem. The locust, the canker-worm, the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, mentioned hrre, and in the 4th verse of chap. i. are, by some commentators, thought to signify the four monarchies which successively. oppressed the Jewish nation ; and if so, the deliverance here promised, must be posterior to their oppression by the last of these monarchies: but I am more inclined to think, that by the locusts are here meant the Saracens or Turks, who are represented by that similitude in the Revelations to St. John, chap. ix. according to the opinion of the best interpreters. As to the pouring out of the Spirit here spoken of, it is to be after that they fliall know that the Lord was in the midst of Israel, and that he was their Lord and God, and none else; and after which, his people shall never be ashamed, ver. 27. A portion of the Spirit was indeed poured out upon the day of Pentecost, but it cannot be with propriety faid, to be upon “all flesh, as is here prophecied -, so that it is reasonable to expect a.more plentiful effusion of it hereafter, at the time here spoken of. The wonders in heaven and earth, ver. 30, &c. therefore are not signs of any destruction of Jerusalem, as our Author supposes, but of a deliverance in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as appears from ver. 32, and the two following verses, which declare that it shall be in those days, and in that time, when the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, L and and when he will father all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehofaphat, and will plead with them there for his people, and for his hefit age Israel, whom they have scattered, and parted his land.
This great day of the Lord is therefore not a day of destruction to his people Israel, but a day of vengeance upon their enemies, to be executed upon them hereafter, when the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.
The great day of the Lord, mentioned by Zeph. i. 14. that was near and hasted greatly, seems indeed to be the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, which happened about 150 years after this prophecy ; for I do not assert, that the day of the Lord never signifies the destruction of Jerujalem, but that it often points at that great day when the Lord shall restore his people ljrael, and take vengeance upon their enemies and oppressors.
The Prophet Amos, as our Author observes, speaks of a day which was to be darkness, 13c. and fays, the virgin of Israel is fallen ; site shall n» more rise, she is forsaken upon her land, there is none to raije her up ; Amos v. 2. which is a prophecy of the captivity of the ten tribes. It is indeed here faid, that, the virgin of Israel shall no more rise, but this must not be so understood as to contradict the very remarkable words with which this Prophet concludes his prophecy : And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities- and I will plant them upon their land, and they fliall No More be pulled up out of their land which 1 have given them, faith the Lord thy God.
In Malachi, the last of the Prophets (fays 1 our Author) is a most evident and clear prediction of the coming of a messenger to pre pare the way of the Lord who was suddenly to come to his people Behold he shall come, faith the Lord of Hosts.- After this, the day that was fatal to Jerusalem cometh ; the ‘ day that shall’burn like an oven, when all the ‘ proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be as ‘ stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, faith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.- Behold I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming e of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.- .Hence it follows, that by the great and dreadful ‘ day of the Lord, is to be understood the destruction of Jerusalem; and that before the last destruction of that ancient and glorious city, in ‘ which God, on account of his people and his 1 temple, was faid to dwell, the Messiah or Christ, and his herald John, in the character of Elijah j ‘ were to appear.’
As to the coming of a messenger, Malachi iii. i. our Saviour himself, as I above observed -f, has applied this passage to John the Baptist, and affirmed that he was the Elias which was to come ; but as he, at the same time, also affirms that Elias shall truly first come, I am of opinion, that the preparing of the way of the Lord, mentioned by Malachi, was not that then executed by John at his coming, but relates to the time of a future Elias, or rather to a future coming of the same Elias, as Mr. Mede thinks, which is to precede the second coming of our Lord ; because it is added, Malachi’ii. 4. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of eld, and as in former years; and, ver. 11. I will rebuke the devour er for your sakes, and heshall not destroy the fruits of your ground. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts. All which was so far from happening after the first coming of this Messenger, that the direct contrary events then took place. The day therefore that shall burn like an oven, &c. tho’ it shall really follow. the coming of the Messenger, was rot the destruction of Jerusalem ; which, tho’ it burnt up a great number of the Jews who did wickedly, yet has not left that nation without root or branch, as is evident to the whole world ; but the day here spoken of, is a day when the Israelites shall tread down the wicked, and they shall be ashes under the soles of their feet, at their return, spoken of in the very verse preceding the mention of that day. Then shall ye return and discern between ‘the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. For behold the day cometh that shall burn like an oven, &c. Mai. iii. 18.—iv. 3. Before the coming of this great and. dreadful day of the herd, when his people shall return, and their enemies be destroyed; it is, that he will send Elijah the Prophet, and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, least the Lord come and smite the earth with a curse. Mai. v. 6. which things, by way of preparing the way of the Lord, seem not to have been done at the first: coming of John the Baptist.
There is one prophecy quoted by our Author, which, at first sight, may indeed be thought to favour his opinion. It is foretold by Balaam, Numb. j^xiv. 24. that ships from the coast of Chittim shall afflitl Astiur(the Assyrian.) and Eber,so that He also Jhould perish for ever. If by He we are here to understand Eber, how contrary is this to Jer. xxxi. 36. where the Lord says, If these ordinances (the fun and moon, &c.) shall depart from before me then the seed of Israel also sJiall cease from being a nation before me for ever / The word He can relate but to one of the two nations mentioned : Jshur has perished, after being afflicted by the ships of Chittim, and has ceased from being a nation, but Eber has not; unless the being kept a distinct and separate people, ready to return to L 3 iheir their own land, and in expectation of it, can witH. any propriety be called perishing for ever; and therefore the word Eber, being the last antecedent, is not sufficient reason to explain the text, not only in direct contradiction to other Prophecies, but also to the events themselves. The authors of the Univerfal History, vol. I. p. 266. speaking of this text, have the following note, which perhaps may set this passage in a yet clearer light. * The common opinion is, that by Eber., in this place, is to be understood the Hebrews or Jews; but a learned author has offered reasons which seem to prove the contrary. He observes, that ” to take it in that sense, is repugnant to the design of the passage, and makes Balaam bless and curse the children of Israel in the same breath, by prophecying of their destruction; (vide Hyde de rel. vet. Pers.) and therefore he will have it, Heber has not respect to persons, but to place, and signifies beyond 1 the river; in which sense that word is often ‘ used . in scripture. Upon this occasion the fame author proposes to amend oyr translation of the above text, by reading it thus : ” And 1 they shall go forth from the coast of Chittim, and ‘ stall afflitt Jshur, and stall efflitt the other side of *’ the river; that is, the countries beyond the *’ Euphrates f.”
Now whether by this king of fierce countenance be meant Antiochus Epipbanes, as some L 4 think think, or the Roman empire according to others^ yet the holy people must here signify the Jews, who were greatly destroyed by both these. Again, in chap. xii. 7. it is faid, When He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the Holy People, all these things shall be finished; i. e. when the time of the scattering or dispersion of the Jews shall be ended, all the predictions mentioned before shall be fulfilled. But supposing Daniel had not in any other place applied the title of Saints of the Most High, it follows not, that he has not here applied it to them, since it was a title very frequently applied to them by the other Prophets.
As to our Saviour declaring, that they (the Jews) shall see him no more till they shall say, Blessed is he that cemeth in the name of the Lord, which our Author seems to think an argument against the restoration of their temple, p. 59, I cannot fee where the force of it lies; the meaning of this passage being, that they should not see him again till his second coming, to resettle them in their own land, and destroy their enemies, when they shall make use of that form of blessing.
What our Author says, p. 62, of the light of the fun and moon’s beirig obscured, &c. being circumstances not descriptive of the last day of judgment, but of the destruction of Jerusalem^ and of Joel’s signs of that day, has been already answered, in my remarks upon the Prophecy of Joel; and as to the close of our Saviour’s predictions, Matt. xxiv. 34. I refer the reader to Article LV. of the preceding work, where the true meaning of that text is laid before him.
Page 66, our Author, in a note, presents us with a quotation from Bishop Warburton’s Divine Legation, dedicated to the Jews, page 19, vol. iii. edit. 4. which, upon account of the singular reputation of its learned Author, I cannot pass by unnoticed.
The Jews, from the ancient Prophecies, vain ly flatter themselves with expectations of a recovery of their civil policy, a revival of the temple service, and a repossession of the land of Judea. But the genius ef Christianity, and the tenor of the Prophecies, as interpreted by ? Christ and his Apostles, declare such a restoration to the land of Judea, and a revival of the t temple service, to. be manifestly absurd, and 1 altogether inconsistent with the nature of the whole of God’s religious dispensation; for by this it appears, that the Mosaic law or religion, (as distinguished from its foundation, natural religion, on which it was erected) was only pre‘ paratory, and typical of the gospel; consequently, ‘ on the establishment of Christianity, the political part of your institution became abolished, f and the ritual part entirely ceased; just as a scaffold ‘ scaffold is taken down when the building is rested, or a shadow is cast behind when the 4 substance is brought forward into day. Nor .’ were you, after this promised conversion, to ex’ pect any other civil policy, or religious ritual, ‘ peculiar to yourselves, or separate from those in use amongst men, who profess the name of ‘ Christ; because the gospel, of which you are ‘ now supposed to be professors, disclaims all ‘ concern with political or civil matters ; and because All its professors compose but One religious body, under one head, which is ‘ Christ.’
This author’s argument (if I rightly apprehend it) is this; that because the gospel disclaims all concern with political matters (excepting perhaps by way of alliance), and because All its professors compose but One religious body, under one head, which is Christ; therefore the Jews are not to expect any other civil policy, &c. peculiar to themselves, or separate from those in use among men, who profess the name of Christ. But how does it follow, that because the gospel disclaims all concern with political or civil matters, that therefore the Jews are not to expect a recovery of any civil policy peculiar to themselves, or fe-? parate from those in use amongst others ? or that, because all the professors of the gospel compose but one religious body, that therefore the Je.ws% now supposed to be professors pf it, cannot, by a restoration to the land of Judea, become. a-separate civil body or nation ? Or how does it follow, that because the Mosaical law or religion, &c. was only preparatory and typical of the gospel, (if this be allowed), that therefore the genius of Christianity, and the tenor of the Prophecies, OJV. declare, that the Jews’ recovery of their civil policy, and their repossession of thejand of Judea, is manifestly absurd, and altogether inconsistent with the natyre of the whqle of God’s religious dispensation? For what if we were to allow that the Mofaic law was only preparatory and typical of the gospel, (whjch cannot perhaps be proved, as many other designs of Providence may have been intended to be answered by it) will this prove a restoration of the Jews to the land of . Judea, and their recovery of a civil policy, to be manifestly absurd, and altogether inconsistent with she whole of God’s religious dispensation ? The tenor of the Prophecies, even as interpreted by Christ and his Apostles, declares such a restoration to be certain; of which I have (I think) produced abundant proofs in the foregoing work. God’s word and promise are engaged to render the Israelites a praise in the earth, to take away their reproach among the nations, and to restore them to their own land, never to be plucked up out of it Any More, but to inhabit it for ever, or to the end of the world. Without the accomplishment of these Prophecies, how shall we be able to account for
those those repeated promises of blessings and happiness superior to all other nations, which we so frequently meet with in the Prophecies ? If it be replied, that the MessiahVbeing born of the seed of Abraham, and of the feed of Israel, fulfilled all these ‘predictions, I answer, that tho’ this must be allowed to be the highest honour to the Jewish nation, yet it has been so far from promoting the happiness of that people in particular, that, on the contrary, they, of all people, have hitherto had the least share, in either the temporal or spiritual blessings or benefits that have hitherto accrued to the world from that event: nay, so far from receiving any benefit, that they have experienced little ^elsc but calamities since that period. Can the great prosperity in The LatTer Times, so often promised to the children of Israel, be fulfilled by the birth of a Messiah among them, if they are ever after to continue in a state of dispersion and adversity ? No. Let us therefore conclude, agreeable to the scripture, that this people, tho’, (as St. Paul says, Rom. xi.) they are, as concerning the gofpel, enemies for our fakes, yet, as concerning the election, beloved for the fathers’ fakes, will, in due time, find the effects of that love, not only by partaking of the common benefits of Christianity, but also of those great and national blessings, which were first promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the promise afterwards repeated and confirmed to them by the rest of the Prophets.
The enemies of our holy religion, and (what I am sorry to add) many of its friends too, look upon this particular regard to the children of Abraham^ as a partiality not to be ascribed to God -, but these persons seem not to have duly considered the case: God’s providence and justice are in nothing more conspicuous, than in the fates of kingdoms and empires: He it is, that’ setteth up one, and deprefleth another; the wise politician, the skilful general, or the brave soldier, being nothing more than instruments in his hand ; tho’ they perhaps may consider themselves as the sole cause of such revolutions as happen in the world. The several monarchies of the world have had their rife and fall by divine direction, and it has pleased Providence to punish one by the means of another, whenever its measure of iniquity was filled up. Thus too it was God’s pleasure to treat his chosen people, when their sins had rendered them fit objects of his judgments. That the Jews were absolutely more profligate and wicked, than all those nations whom it has pleased God wholly to destroy, cannot (I think) be asserted, without impeaching the _divine justice, and also contradicting many parts of well attested history. That their wickedness, at the time of the destruction of their city, was very great, must be allowed; but then, have they not
suffered a more grievous punifhent than any other people who have not undergone a total excision, whether we regard the great severity, or the long continuance of it ? If God therefore, after the severe vengeance which he has poured out upon them, shall, upon their repentance, not only restore them again to their own land, but also to a much higher degree of national prosperity and power, than any they ever yet enjoyed, where will be the partiality of such proceeding ? They may then be as sit objects of divine favour upon account of their righteousness, as they have been of judgment because of their iniquities. And indeed this is what the same Prophecies also foretel.
The words ALL ISRAEL therefore, when they occur in many places of the New Testament, must, of necessity, be taken in a limited sense, and signify those only that then remained of them in the land of Judea ; tho’ in some of the texts quoted by our Author, they may well mean the whole of them i As when twelve goats were offered for a sin-offering for all Israel, this surely might be done for those who were absent, as well as for those present; or the1 law of Moses having ordained that twelve goats should be offered for a sin-offering for -all Israel, they might not think themselves at liberty to omit any of that number, tho’ not one of the ten tribes had re turned or been present. As to our Lord’s ordering his disciples to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the house of Israel is not here opposed to the house of Judah ; but the Jews, who were lost sheep of the house of Israel as much as any other tribes, are here mentioned in opposition to the Gentiles by our Lord, as appears from the preceding verse : Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, iutgo rather to-the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt. x. 5, 6. So also, Matt., xxvi. 24. it was to a woman of Canaan that our, Lord said, I am M mt not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And by John’s preaching the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel, can only be meant that he preached to the Jews, and those few of the ten tribes that might be still remaining among them, they being all the people of Israel that were to be found within the compass of John’& preaching -, but when St. Paul, in the presence of Agrippa, speaking of the hope of the promise, fays, ” unto which promise our twelve tribes ” hope to come” he here speaks of the tribes in general. What the promise was, which they hoped to come to, we are told in the verse before,. viz. the promise mc.de of Cod unto the Fathers; not that of sending the Mffiah into the world, for this was already past, and therefore not then a subject of hope, but that of a resurreclion, and enjoying the promised land; for the connection between which, see the learned and fagacious Mr. Mede’s observations on Matt. xxii. 31. Art. I. of the preceding work, p. 4. in the note: For the hopes of which promise, St. Paul adds, that he thenstoA. and was judged. When the same Apostle also declares, that All Israel jliatt be saved, he undoubtedly means the whole nation, consisting of all the tribes. But this saving of Israel is yet future, asappears from the preceding words; blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles he come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. It appears also to be future, from the words that immediately follow, as it is written, there shall mne out of Sion the deliverer, and shell turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when 1 shall take away their sns. Now this coming of the deliverer out of Sion, cannot mean our Lord’s first coming ; for ungodliness was so far from being taken away from Jacob in thole days, that they had then mere of it perhaps than at any other time whatsoever, but of his second coming, when he shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, by taking away their fins; that is, by remitting the punishment of them, and redeeming them from that captivity they have so long suffered upon account of them.*-—The new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, mentioned here, and J er. xxxi. 31. is likewise plainly future; for it follows, ver. 34..of Jeremiah, that when this covenant shall be made, they shall all know the Lord, from the least of them unto the greatest of them ; which is very far from having come to pass as yet. Add -to this, what the Lord saith in the two next verses, that the seed of Israel stall not cease from being a nation before him for ever; and what follows, that the city siall be built unto the Lord from the lower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner and that it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down, any more for ever. These circumstances, which are to at.tend the new covenant here spoken of, prove to a demonstration, that this covenant is not yet made with the houses cf Israel and Judah. This language therefore might be used properly enough, though the greatest part, or even all the ten tribes, were carried away to return no more, till some future coming of the Messiah. But, (fays our Author), ‘ if these tribes are yet lost, the gospel is not yet preached unto them, the new covenant not made with them, and therefore their Messiah or Christ is not yet come: a circumstance def structive of Christianity !’
That the gospel is not yet preached to them is very true, nor the new covenant made with them; but it does not follow from hence, that their Messiah or Christ is not yet come. They do not know him to be come indeed, nor have as yet received those advantages from his coming which we have, and they themselves shall hereafter. And this is also the case of many other nations in the world. But neither of these circumstances infer any consequences destructive of Christianity. The truth of our and their Messiah’s being already come, does not depend upon their, or any other nation’s knowing, or npt knowing of it; if it did, the consequences might indeed be destructive of Christianity ; but, thanks be to God, that event is too well established to us, to be rendered precarious by any people’s ignorance thereof.
As to the tribes never yet returning, but remaining in some part of the earth, being a fiction of the Jews, supported only by apocryphal writings, writings, and a most extravagant assertion of Josephus, &c. there is no reason for this opinion, the apocryphal writings being supported and countenanced by other accounts in history, not to mention the reasons given by some learned and judicious writers for the genuineness and authenticity of those books, for which see Art. LIII. of the preceding work ; and the extravagant assertion of Josephus, tho’ he makes use of an hyperbole, is nevertheless an argument of there being great numbers of the ten tribes in those parts in his time. That ‘ a new covenant is to be made when Christ ftiall come with the house of Israels when all Israel, all the tribes\ the ten . tribes of Israel, the house of Israel, as well as the house of Judah, will be saved’ I allow, and contend for; but I am convinced by the scripture reasons before mentioned, that this will be at the second coming of Christ ; and therefore the denying any new covenant to have been made with all the house of Israel at his sirst appearance, is by no means denying the Messiah to have appeared, nor is it any ways “destructive of Christianity.
Thus have I carefully and (I hope) impartially considered those parts of the Doctor’s discourse, which oppose the opinions laid down in the foregoing work. Many other passages of his discourse I allow to be very curious, learned and ingenious”, and to contain some excellent arguments in defence fence of Christianity. If any thing I have here advanced shall be proved to have a contrary tendency, I shall be very ready to retract it, and render my sincere thanks to him who shall make me sensible of it; my chief design in writing these observations being to prove the truth of the revelations delivered to us in the Bible, from the Prophecies relating to the Jews therein contained, and to endeavour to lead us into a right understanding of diem.
May the God of Truth lead us all into the knowledge of ir, and give us that disposition of mind that shall be ever ready to embrace it, without regard to our own, or other’s prejudices and opinions.” (Beginning on Page 129)
The Critical review, or, Annals of literature, Volume 19 (1765)
IV. The Rise and Fall of the Holy City and Temple of Jerufalem : An Argument in Desend of Christianity. Being the Substance of a Discourse preached at the Temple Church the 1 itb of November 1764. By Gregory Sharpe, LL.D. Master of the Temple, Chaplain in Ordenary to his Majesty , and Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies. Publijhed at the Request of the Masters of the Bench. 8v0. Pr. 1 s. Hawkins.
IN the perufal of this discourse, the intelligent reader will receive more entertainment and instruction, than generally arise from productions of this nature.
The learned and judicious author traces the history of Jerusalem (including that of the temple) from its origin in the patriarchal ages, to its destruction in the reign of Vespasian.
In the course of his enquiry, he illustrates the designs of Providence in a series of remarkable events, casts a light on many pasfages of Scripture, rectifies several erroneous opinions, and places a multitude of important topics in a just and conspicuous point of view. He particularly shews that Jerufalem was the ancient Salem ; and mentions some of the chief opinions concerning Melchisedeck, (leaving that controversy, as every reasonable writer would choose to leave a subject which is involved in the depths of antiquity 😉 he observes that the city was afterwards possessed by the Jebusites, and called Jebus ; that the place where David raised an altar, to atone for his transgression in numbering the people, and where Solomon built the temple, was Mount Moriah, on wkich Abraham presented and dedicated his son to God : he ascertains the meaning of the words Moriah and Jerusalem, and points out their allusion to particular facts ; he considers the subsequent revolutions of the Jewish state, and the predictions relating to these events; he observes that the prophetic writers call the destruction of Jerufalem the
great day os the Lord, and assert that the Messiah, and his herald John, in the character of Elijah, were to appear before the final devastation of that city.
The remarks which the author occasionally introduces are judicious and important. The following passage exhibits a clear and comprehensive view of God’s providential dispenfations relating to the Jews.
* The holy city of Jerufalem had been preserved through so many ages by the particular providence of Almighty God, to be the residence of his people, so long as they continued faithsul and obedient ; but when they despised and rejected him who was appointed to rule over them ; when they crucified the Lord of lise, and denied him to be the promised seed, or Messiah, the Christ, their prince, the prince of Salem or Peace, whom all the prophets had taught them to expect, they themselves were justly abandoned. When all the signs for his coming were accomplished, and they disowned and rejected him, they were rejected, because they knew not The Time Of Their, Visita* Tiow ; by which is meant, not the destruction of Jerufalem, which soon followed, but the time in which ” God remembered his holy covenant, the oath which he sware unto Abraham, and Visited and Redeemed his people.”
* They as a people, together with their city, were destroyed: they were no more to live in one place; they were to be dispersed, and scattered over the face of the whole earth; they were to shew themselves a standing miracle of God’s mercy and judgment, to produce and bear witness to the oracles of God, which they consirm by their own appearance under the circumstances they now are, trustees and guardians, as it were, of those divine records for the use of Christians.—What would have still preserved and kept them together in one place, the city and the Temple, were taken from them ; they have now no home; and yet are as distinct from all other men, with whom they live in great numbers over all the earth, as when they inhabited Jerufalem in its ancient splendor.
* They could have no temple, nor any facrifice, but in Jerufalem ; and when that was destroyed, they were dispersed. Circumcifion the mark of the covenant, or token of the promise, could be of no peculiar use, when the covenant of promise was sulfilled, and the promised seed had evidently appeared in the person of Jesus. AU that was peculiar to the Jews; all that obstructed the general union of mankind under one God and Saviour of us all, the calling of the Gentiles, who by adoption are made heirs of the promise; all that was local and temporary became obsolete, and of no use or significancy ; for by the accomplishment of the prophecies, and the appear ance of the Son of God, all these things were abolished : fa» crifices had their end ; the carnal ordinances, the Temple, the Jewish polity, facred and civil, as connected with the city of Jerufalem; all were destroyed in one general ruin, and the distinction of the tribes is intirely lost.’
The Jews have a notion that in some suture period they shall return in triumph to their holy city, and erect a temple upon the plan which was drawn by the prophet Ezekiel. Our author judiciously explodes this vifionary expectation.
‘ Christians, fays he, have susfered themselves to be imposed upon by the Jews and the apocryphal writers who were Montanists, and many of the fathers have almost made the imposition facred. But how wild and groundless the conceit! Are we to suppose then that a plan was given for a third temple to be built at the end of the world,, and no notice taken of that which was to be built in about forty years ? Are not the times particularly connected with the captivity by the prophet, and the people called upon Now to put away their idolatry ? Ezes. xl. i. xliii, 7—iz. Are we to expect priests of the osfspring of Zadok ? Ezek. xliii. 19; Are burnt-osserings and peace-offerings, with all other Mofaic rites and ceremonies, to be restored ? And if sici ifices are to be revived, what use or purpose, civil, moral, or religious are they in that age to serve ? What are they then as types to presigure? May we be permitted to call them antitypes, or imagine them to be presigurative emblems of services in the heavenly Jerufalem ?
‘ Is this the method of converting the Jews ? is this the new covenant made with the house of Israel and Judah ? And are we to see the old covenant, which St. Paul declared, even in Iiis days, to be decayed, waxen old, and ready to vanish away, restored again ? Heb. viii. 13. Are the able ministers of the new covenant to be obliged to exchange the ministration of the Spirit of righteousness, of lise, and of glory, for the ministration of condemnation and death? No surely ; the letter which killeth, should never be preserred to the Spirit which giveth .lise. z. Con. iii. 6—11. Is this the word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ ? Acts x. 36.
‘ The difference between the second Temple and that descri- ‘ bed by Ezekiel is rather made than proved by modern Jews, who can have no good authority for their assertions in a matter of luch remote antiquity: nor will the figurative use and application of prophetic language by St. John in the Revelations support the Montanist in his absurd concessions.’
In order to prove that Christ was not the Messiah, the Jews Jn the second or third century advanced a fabulous hypotheses concerning the ten tribes; which our author essectually exposes in the following note :
‘ It is evident that no intire tribes were lost in the captivity. The numbers of those who came back were registered in the’ books of Ezra and Nehemiah.—” All Israel returned, and twelve goats were offered for a sin-offering for all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.”—Throughout the scriptures, old and new, the expression is All Israel, or the house of Israel and Judah. When our Lord came, he ordered his disciples to ” go first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Mat. X. 6. xv. z4. St. Paul declares in the synagogue at Antioch that John had first preached the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” Acts xiii. z4. And again in the presence of Agrippa, speaking of the hope of the promise, he fays, ” Unto which promise our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and nighr, hope to come.” xxvi. 7. St. Peter says, ” God sent the word unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.” x. 36.—St. Paul declares that all Israel shall be faved:—” When the Deliverer shall come out of Sion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their fins, Rom. xi. z6. I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” Jer. xxxi. 31. Heb. viii. 8. This language could never have been used of all Israel in both scriptures, if the ten tribes, if all Israel had been lost in their captivity, having been carried away into Assyria to return no more till some suture coming of the Messiah.—If these tribes are yet lost, the gospel is not yet preached unto them, the new covenant not made with them, and therefore their Messiah or Christ is not yet come !—A consequence destructive of Christianity, but which cannot be inserred from any paffage in the whole canon of scripture: the contrary may be proved from every place in which mention is made of Israel, the house of Israel, and all Israel, after they were ” gathered out of the lands, from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South.” Psalm evii. z, 3.—The perpetual loss of the ten tribes, never yet returning, but remaining in some part of the earth, still preserving the distinction of their tribes, and observing their rites and ceremonies is a fiction, and a mere pretence of the Jews, supported only by apocryphal writings, and a most extravagant assertion of Josephus, who asserts that numeration is incapable of expressing the insinite myriads of the ten tribes that were in his time beyond the Euphrates— An argument fallaciously urged to set aside the evidence for Christianity, by denying any covenant to have been made made with the house of Israel, and therefore denying the Messiah or Christ to have appeared ; for when he shall come, a new covenant is to be made with the house of Israel; when all Israel, all the tribes, the ten tribes of Israel, the house of Israel, as well as the house of Judah, will be faved. Many of both houses, no doubt, were lost in the captivity l some revolted from the Lord, and mingled with idolaters; others, from their connexions by marriage, interest, and other motives, might remain behind:—but that ten intire tribes remained, and still remain, no body knows where or how, in distinct tribes, diligent observers of their law, and waiting for the coming of the Lord, is by no means to be admitted.—Let us therefore leave it to the Jews to find out the place where the ten tribes now are, whether beyond a fabbatical river, that never rests but on the fabbath, or whether they are in Tartary or China.—Let us leave it to the Jews to shew that Israel never yet returned ; that the gospel was never preached to the house of Israel ; that the new covenant has not yet been offered unto Israel ; and, consequently, that the Messiah or Christ has not yet appeared in the world.’
The great use of this history of the rise and fall of the temple of God, and the holy city of Jerufalem, is, in the words of our author, ‘ to shew the good providence of God in ths care of his people, and the preservation, of religion, the certainty of revelation, and in particular of the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus the Christ, the glory of the second temple, the delight and expectation of the Jews in the days of the prophets, and the Saviour of the world, who came to folsil the law and the prophets, to complete revelation, and put an end to the city and temple of Jerufalem.
* Such amazing scenes of providence, through so many ages, all expresly foretold so long before the events that corresponded with and consirmed them, afford an evidence for religion, for the Christian religion that is irresistible: and if the history of the Jews, and the oracles delivered by the prophets, the holy and inspired scriptures, were read with that attention which they deserve, it would be almost impossible not to believe in God and his Christ.’
The author concludes his discourse with some observations on the spiritual constitution of the Christian church, and the sacrisices which we are commanded to offer, by which he appears to be persectly acquainted with the genius of our holy religion, and the language of the facred writers.” (pp. 176-180)