What Classic Christian Authors Thought About The Jewish People

There are some in various Churches today who teach that God is finished with the Jewish People. They believe that the Church is a new "Spiritual Israel", replacing the Jewish people in the plan of God. It it's mild form, this false, unbiblical teaching leads to a sense of superiority by Gentile Christians and neglecting to share Messiah Jesus with His own Jewish people.

In it's worst form, this false teaching has lent a theological excuse to those who are anti-Semitic, 'justifying' their bigotry. For some of these, this gave rise to the horrors of the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Pogroms, during which hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered on Monday by people who had gone to large, institutional churches on Sunday. My own relatives suffered this way. More recently, six million Jewish people were murdered by Hitler, who 'justified' the Holocaust in part by quoting Martin Luther, the well known Reformation "Christian" leader who became a bitter anti-Semite in his later years and then advocated violence against the Jewish people.

So, to balance that, we present this selection of Christian leaders, Reformers, Puritans and famous Evangelists, who read their Bibles and despite diverse theologies, recognize God's continuing Covenant relationship with Israel. That continuing Covenant relationship stems from the Abrahamic Covenant, which ensures the continuity of the Jewish people, but does not grant atonement to individual Jewish people, something only obtained through individual faith.

While we cringe at the condescending language used in some of these quotes, repudiate it, and even though we differ from a number of these men in theology, these excerpts show that they understood God's everlasting love and special concern for His Jewish people.   - Mottel Baleston

These quotes compiled by Lloyd Elias Scalyer, Director, Messianic Hebrew Christian Fellowship of Pennsylvania, and edited by Mottel Baleston

"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." Vol. 1 pg 214. "The day shall yet come when the Jews, who were the first Apostles to the Gentiles, the first missionaries to us, we who were far off, shall be gathered in again. Until that shall be, the fullness of the Churches' glory can never come. Matchless benefits to the world are bound up with the restoration of Israel; their gathering in shall be as life from the dead." Vol. 17 pgs 703,704. "Oh for greater faith, to believe that nations may be born in a day, that multitudes may be turned to God at once, and we shall yet see it - see what our fathers never saw." The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews Vol. 10 pg 436.

When preaching before the House of Commons in 1649, John Owen spoke of "the bringing home of his ancient people to be one fold with the fullness of the Gentiles....in answer to millions of prayers put up at the throne of grace for this very glory, in all generations. Vol. 8 pg 266. Days of prayer and humiliation were kept in Scotland, one particular object being "that the promised conversion of His ancient people of the Jews may be hastened." A humble Acknowledgment of the sins of the ministry of Scotland.

"He ever discovered a most compassionate concern for the Jews, and did upon all occasions pray
for . . . (them ) with extraordinary earnestness. The Non Conformists Memorial Vol 2 pg 17.

" When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation, . . . which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first born in God's family, as Jews are the first born, what the prophet declares must be fulfilled, especially in them; . . . it is to be ascribed to the preeminence of that nation, who God had preferred to all other nations....God distinctly claims for Himself a certain seed, so that His redemption may be effectual in His elect and peculiar nation....God was not unmindful of the covenant which He had made with their fathers, and by which he testified that according to his eternal purpose He loved that nation; and this he confirms by this remarkable declaration, - that the grace of divine calling cannot be made void." Calvin's Commentaries, Vol 19 , Epistle to the Romans, Baker House, pg 434 to 440.
(Mottel's Note: While Calvin most often confused the separate identities of Israel and the Church, a remainder of the Roman Catholic theology in which he was reared, when faced with the very clear teaching of Romans chapters 9 - 11 regarding the fact that the two are separate, he makes the above admission. After finishing this portion, he then resumed his disparagement of Jewish identity! Go figure!)

In a sermon preached in Dundee in 1811, Walter Tait gave 3 reasons why Christians should have a particular regard for the Jews: " 1. Because their salvation must be peculiarly honoring to God. 2. Because taking any peculiar interest in the salvation of the Jews is only making a proper return for the spiritual advantages we enjoy by them. 3. Because their final restoration must have a favorable aspect on the conversion of the whole Gentile world."

"To the Jew first. Converted Israel, he declared, will give life to the dead world....just as we have found, among the parched hills of Judah, that the evening dew, coming silently down, gave life to every plant, making the grass to spring and the flowers to put forth their sweetest fragrance, so shall converted Israel be when they come as dew upon a dead, dry world. The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." Micah 5:7. Memoir and Remains of R. M. M'Cheyne - 1966 reprint pg 489. In 1840 M'Cheyne went to Ulster to plead for the interest of the Jews. This stirred up great interest. The following year the Irish General Assembly resolved to establish work among the Jews. They established missions in Syria and Germany, believing "missionary enterprise is one of the means to bring about the restoration of Israel in accordance with the Scriptures." * Minutes of the General Assembly. 1840-1850 .

"To the Jew first, and also to the Greek...it does not appear sufficient to regard this priority as that merely of time. In this text there is no suggestion to the effect that the priority is merely that of time. the implication appears to be rather that the power of God unto salvation through faith has primary relevance to the Jew, and the analogy of Scripture would indicate that this peculiar relevance to the Jew arises from the fact that the Jew had been chosen by God to be the recipient of the promise of the gospel and that to him were committed the oracles of God.... Israel,. . .beloved as regards the election..."Beloved" thus means that God has not suspended or rescinded his relation to Israel as his chosen people in terms of the covenants made with their fathers. Unfaithful as Israel has been and broken off for that reason, yet God still sustains his peculiar relation of love to them, a relation that will be demonstrated and vindicated in the restoration." The Epistles to the Romans, John Murray, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Col, 1984, Vol 1 pg 28 and Vol. II pp. 14-15 and 76-101, passim.

"... the faithful Jews rejoiced to think of the calling of the Gentiles; and why should not we joy to think of the calling of the Jews..*The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes by A.B. Grosart Vol 1 pg 99. And when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, then comes the conversion of the Jews. Why may we not expect it? They were the people of God. We see Christ believed on in the world. We may therefore expect that they will also be called, there being many of them, and keeping their nation distinct from others. Richard Sibbs vol 5 pg 517

In his work the Mystery of Israel's Salvation Explained and Applied says the following : "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 herefore."
"There is a veil of miserable blindness upon their hearts that they cannot, they will not, see the truth ; but, sayeth the Apostle, "this shall be taken away". And (sayeth he) "it shall turn". What is this? I answer; "it", there may note the body of the Jewish nation, or the words may be read, "they shall turn" (i.e. the blinded minds of the Jews shall turn) "unto the Lord".

"The Lion of the Covenant" Cameron preached on May 30, 1680 from the text "and ye will not come to me, that ye might have life". In the midst of this sermon which has been described as one of the most remarkable blessed of the Lord preached in Scotland, Cameron fell into a "rapt of calm weeping", and his hearers wept with him. Compelled for the moment to stop, he "prayed for the restoration of the Jews". John Herkless tells us that 200 years later, the memory of those services, had not died out among the people of the districts where Cameron spoke. Richard Cameron, John Herkless, 1896, pg 109

". . . the Jews in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity, and shall have their hearts wonderfully changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief . . .
They 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 one heart and voice, declare his praised unto other nations.. Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national conversion of the Jews in Rom 11.
Besides the prophecies of the calling of the Jews, we have a remarkable providential seal of the fulfillment of this great event, by a kind of continual miracle, viz. their being preserved a distinct nation...the world affords nothing else like it. There is undoubtedly a remarkable hand of providence in it. When they shall be called, that ancient people, who alone were so long God's people for so long a time, shall be his people again, never to be rejected more. They shall be gathered together into one fold, together with the Gentiles..." *The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol 1 Banner of Truth Trust, 1976, pg 607.

A Scottish missionary to the Gentiles in India he also remembered Israel's place in the unfulfilled promises of Scripture. He spoke on The Conversion of the Jews; and Its Bearing on the Conversion of the Gentiles. His address was published posthumously in Edinburgh in 1853. In a Preface, Braidwood writes, "We could not but express our conviction that the circulation of it was fitted to edify the body of Christ generally; while it would prove to all how strongly the missionaries to the Gentiles sympathize in efforts for the conversion of the Jews." And he closes his Preface with these considerations "to stir up our hearts to faith and prayer for Israel":
1. The national restoration of the Jews, and its blessed effects on the world. For what have they been preserved, but for some wondrous end? If their lapse is the world's wealth, and their loss the wealth of the Gentiles, how much more shall their replenishment be all this? Rom 11.12.
2. "The Jews are the whole world's benefactors. Through Jewish hands and eyes God has sent his lively oracles of truth to us. They penned, and they preserved the Bible.
3." Our Redeemer - the God-man- who has all power in heaven and earth, is their kinsman. "He took on Him the seed of Abraham."
4."Viewed nationally, the Jews are the most miserable of all nations. The Messiah wept over Jerusalem, their capital, before the curse fell on it: ought not we to weep over the accumulated progressive woe springing from the curse, and drinking up the nation's spirit for eighteen centuries?
5." Their covenant prospects are bright beyond all conception. On the grand day of their realization, will anyone of us all regret that we pitied Israel apostate and outcast?"

"The second great event, which, according to the common faith of the Church, is to precede the second advent of Christ, is the national conversion of the Jews ...that there is to be such a national conversion may be argued from the original call and destination of that people. God called Abraham and promised that through him, and in his seed, all the nations of the earth should be blessed...A presumptive argument is drawn from the strange preservation of the Jews through so many centuries as a distinct people.
As the rejection of the Jews was not total, so neither is it final. First, God did not design to cast away his people entirely, but by their rejection, in the first place to facilitate the progress of the gospel among the Gentiles, and ultimately to make the conversion of the Gentiles the means of converting the Jews...Because if the rejection of the Jews has been a source of blessing, much more will their restoration be the means of good...The restoration of the Jews to the privileges of God's people is included in the ancient predictions and promises made respecting them...The plan of God, therefore, contemplated the calling of the Gentiles, the temporary rejection and final restoration of the Jews...
He shows that the rejection of the Jews was not intended to result in their being finally cast away, but to secure the more rapid progress of the gospel among the heathen, in order that their conversion might react upon the Jews, and be the means of bringing all, at last, within the fold of the Redeemer...
The future restoration of the Jews is, in itself, a more probable event than the introduction of the Gentiles into the church of God. This, of course, supposes that God regarded the Jews, on account of their relation to him, with peculiar favor, and that there is still something in their relation to the ancient servants of God and his covenant with them, which causes them to be regarded with special interest. As men look upon the
children of their early friends with kinder feelings than on the children of strangers, God refers to this fact to make us sensible that he still retains purposes of peculiar mercy towards his ancient people.
As the restoration of the Jews is not only a most desirable event, but one which God has determined to accomplish, Christians should keep it constantly in view even in their labors for the conversion of the Gentiles."**Systematic Theology V3,James Clark & Co. 1906, p 805 and A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1836, pp 270-285 passim.

"Now two things he exhorts the Gentiles to, with reference to the rejected Jews: - to have a respect for the Jews, notwithstanding, and to desire their conversion. This is intimated in the prospect he gives them of the advantage that would accrue to the church by their conversion, Rom. 11:12, 15. It would be as life from the dead; and therefore, they must not insult or triumph over those poor Jews, but rather pity them, and desire their welfare, and long for the receiving of them in again.
Another thing that qualifies this doctrine of the Jews rejection is that though for the present they are cast off, yet the rejection is not final; but, when the fullness of time is come, they will be taken in again. They are not cast off for ever, but mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath.

The Jews are in a sense a holy nation (Ex. 14:6) being descended from holy parents. Now it cannot be imagined that such a holy nation should be totally and finally cast off. This proves that the seed of believers, as such, are within the pale of the visible church, and within the verge of the covenant, till they do, by their unbelief, throw themselves out; for, if the root be holy, so are the branches...though grace does not run in the blood, yet external privileges do (till they are forfeited), even to a thousand generations...The Jewish branches are reckoned holy, because the root was so. This is expressed more plainly (Rom. 11:28)
Though particular persons and generations wear off in belief, yet there having been a national church membership, though for the present suspended, we may expect that it will be revived...It is called a mystery (Rom 11:25), that which was not obvious, and which one would not expect upon the view of the present state of that people, who appeared generally so obstinate against Christ and Christianity that it was a riddle, to talk of their unanimous conversion. Alas! who shall live when God doeth this?"
*Matthew Henry's Commentary, V 6, MacDonald Publishing Company, pp 448-453.

Once at a missionary meeting Simeon had seemed so carried away with the future of the Jews that a friend passed him a slip of paper with a question, "Six millions of Jews and six hundred millions of Gentiles - which is the most important?" Simeon at once scribbled back, "If the conversion of the six is to be life from the dead to the six hundred what then? (Romans 11). W. T. Gidney The History of The London Society For Promoting Christianity Among The Jews. 1908 pg 273

"O to see the sight, next to Christ's Coming in the clouds, the most joyful! Our elder brethren the Jews fall upon one another's necks and kiss each other! They have been long asunder; they will be kind to one another when they meet. O day! O longed for and lovely day - dawn! O sweet Jesus let me see that sight which will be as life from the dead, thee and thy ancient people in mutual embraces." O that there were nations, kindreds, tongues, and all the people of Christ's habitable world, encompassing his throne with cries and tears for the spirit of supplication to be poured down on the inhabitants of Judah for that effect.
Letters of Samuel Rutherford Bonar's edition, pg 122-3 and early letters of Samuel Rutherford

   A. W. Tozer
"Every time a Christian picks up his Bible he is reminded of his debt to the Jews. It is an astonishing thing that multitudes of Bible students and lovers of the truth should calmly overlook their obligation to Israel."

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