The Prophets, however, without specifying the manner of introduction, predict that the Gentiles shall participate in the blessings of this Theocracy or Kingdom.
PROPOSITION 30. The Prophets, however, without specifying the manner of introduction, predict that the Gentiles shall participate in the blessings of this Theocracy or Kingdom.
This needs no special proof, for the fact is satisfactorily evidenced that, although the prophets announced it and Jesus declared it, the apostles even did not understand how it could consistently (in view of our preceding Propositions) be done, until the principle and order under which it could be accomplished were revealed to Peter (Acts 10 and 11), and acknowledged in a council (Acts 15). Hence it is called a mystery revealed (Eph. 3).
Obs. 1. If these predictions were not given, a strong proof of God’s foreknowledge and determination to carry on His Divine Purpose would be lacking. Even already by Moses (Deut. 32:21, 43) it is foretold, and as the anticipated unbelief and perversion of the nation arises and its rejection for a time is insured, the announcement becomes more bold and frequent.
Obs. 2. If such prophecies were wanting, then the objection would arise that God had not revealed a definite Plan, or made provision in that Plan for the temporary failure of the Jewish nation. Therefore, aside from their relationship to us believing Gentiles, they are exceeding precious predictions, indicating completeness in the Divine Purpose.
Obs. 3. The very manner in which the predictions are given manifest the wisdom of God. One feature is carefully kept in the background until the time has arrived for fulfilment, viz.: how the Gentiles are to have part in the blessings of Abraham, seeing that the promises pertain to Abraham’s seed. While the kingdom belongs to the Jews, and the nation renders itself unworthy of it, and God’s Purpose is to turn to the Gentiles, yet the mode of incorporating these Gentiles is left for future revelation. The call of the Gentiles is given in a way that implies that certain events connected with it must first be fulfilled and additional revelation be given before it can be properly comprehended. In the very nature of the case, it could not be otherwise, for if every event, link after link in the chain of Providence, had been revealed systematically and minutely, it would have interfered with the moral freedom of man, or it would have placed him in a position from which to consider himself the victim of unalterable predestinated circumstances. Thus e.g. had the Word predicted all the events respecting the First Advent and its result, the conduct of the Jews, Romans, etc., in such a form, as necessary preliminaries to the call, it would have been terribly depressing, and it would materially (2 Cor. 2:8) have interfered with the fulfilment of events. There is, consequently, a deep wisdom, such as man could not evince, in those isolated, broken predictions. A blessed sufficiency is given to vindicate God’s knowledge, to impress His mercy, and to invite trust in His Power, that the Messiah will be (as the Jews also held, Mac. 2:7, 14) “the King of the world.”
Obs. 4. The reader will notice, too, that this calling of the Gentiles, while in a few places spoken of as a result of Jewish unbelief and punishment (as e.g. Deut. 32:21), is more generally, almost universally, predicted by the prophets to occur in connection with the Jewish nationality. It is a matter either taken for granted or directly mentioned in immediate combination with the Jewish nation. The reason for this is, that while the Gentiles enjoy special favor during the period of the nation’s dispersion, yet, as Paul (Rom. 11:12, 15) asserts, they shall realize immeasurably greater blessings when God’s kindness and faithfulness shall restore the nation to its former Theocratic position. The privileges and rich results of the Theocracy restored are to be enjoyed by the Gentiles (thus e.g. Isa. 11:10–16, chs. 60, 55, 62, etc.).
Obs. 5. The Kingdom being given to the nation, and this being based on covenants and promises confirmed by oath, (1) no other nation can obtain it without a recall of the covenant relationship; (2) such a recall is nowhere asserted, but the perpetuity of the same is most explicitly and repeatedly affirmed; (3) the nation, for a time suffering the withdrawal of God’s special Theocratic ordering, does not vitiate the covenant relationship; (4) hence, the participation of the Gentiles in the covenanted relationship (and through this, to an inheriting of the blessings of the Kingdom), must depend (as has been stated) upon their being, in some way, adopted as the seed of Abraham. Precisely here was the mystery, which baffled even the apostles until specially enlightened.
Obs. 6. The original bestowment of the Theocracy being in a most solemn, public manner, if ever the Jewish nation is to forfeit its relationship to that Theocracy, this must be done in as public manner, or, at least, the most explicit statement must come from God to this effect. This has not, cannot be done—although multitudes, misled by the temporary punishment of the nation, infer it—without violating God’s pledged word. Hence, the importance of closely tracing the call of the Gentiles, and noticing its connection with the Jewish nation.
Obs. 7. Infidelity has never yet attempted to explain by what mental process the prophets could predict this call of the Gentiles when so directly opposed to Jewish election and covenanted relationship. Unbelief cares not to study the delicate and most admirable traits of Divine Wisdom in the predictions, given in general terms, and leaving, for the best of reasons, the filling up of the web of events to the time of fulfilment. Unbelief cares not to contemplate prophecies given thousands of years ago, and most wonderfully fulfilling, without interfering with moral freedom, for this would lead to the supernatural.