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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The apostles understood this well enough, and so do all who understand the Gospel of the Kingdom.

After his resurrection, Jesus conversed with them during forty days, "speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God".

This was certainly long enough, under the instruction of such a teacher, to enable them to understand the subject well.

It took possession of their minds and hearts, and created in them a desire for its immediate establishment.

Hence, they put the question to him, saying, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel"?

It is evident from this, that they regarded Israel as having once possessed the kingdom, and expected the same Israel to possess it again.

No other meaning can be put upon their words: for to restore a thing "again" to a party implies that they had once possessed it before.

When Israel had the kingdom, they were ruled by Israelites, and not by Gentiles, for a foreigner could hold no office under their law.

This was not the case in the days of the apostles, for they were ruled by the Roman Senate, and kings of its appointment.

But it will not be so when the kingdom is restored to them again.

The horns of the Gentiles will then be cast out of the land, and they will be ruled by "Israelites indeed" who will have become Jews by adoption; for no Jews or Gentiles after the flesh can have any part in the government of Israel and the Israelitish empire, which will embrace all nations, unless their Jewish citizenship is based upon a higher principle than natural birth.

The flesh constitutes a Jew a subject of the kingdom, but confers on him no right to sit and rule upon the thrones of the house of David.

This is reserved for Christ and his apostles, who "shall sit upon twelve thrones of his glory"; and for all other Jews and Gentiles who shall have become "Jews inwardly," for whom the dominion under the whole heaven is decreed in the benevolence of God.

There are several strange fancies in the world concerning the restoration of the Jews.

Some deny it in toto, and yet impose upon themselves the imagination that they believe the gospel of the kingdom!

If any such have followed me through this work, they will, I think, long since have concluded that they have been in error.

Others advance a little further, and regard it as an "open question" -- a position that may be disputed, but for which more may be said than against it, but concerning which they are not able to decide.

This is tantamount to saying that the gospel is an open question, and that they really cannot say whether the kingdom of God will have subjects or not.

There are others who believe that Israel will certainly be restored, but they clog it with a condition which in effect makes its fulfilment impossible, or eternally remote.

They tell us that they will not be restored until they are converted to Christianity!

By Christianity they mean the inanity preached from the "sacred desks" of the apostasy -- the pulpit-gospels of the day; "for," say they, "if they abide not in unbelief they shall be grafted into their own olive again".

This is quite true; but the fallacy consists in construing this to mean that their restoration is predicated on their believing what the Gentiles teach.

The Gentiles themselves are in unbelief.