by Adolph Saphir
(Originally published in 1898)
"I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery." – Romans 11:25
It is the duty of every minister of Christ to explain the mystery of Israel. It is a part of our holy religion.
It belongs to the counsel of God. It is inseparably connected with the truth as it is in Jesus.
There can be no true and full preaching of the Gospel without explaining the mystery of Israel. The very "simplest form of speech which infant lips can try"—the most elementary expression of our faith—is, "Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah"; and who can understand what is meant by the word Messiah who does not know the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, that this is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham? The sum and substance of all the declaration of the Church is this—that Jesus has come in humility and died upon Golgotha, and that Jesus is coming again in glory. And who can understand the first and the second advents of our blessed Lord, without understanding that people which, so to say, forms the link between the two, even Israel, whom God has chosen that through them should be made known His glory and His salvation?
A minister is a steward of the mysteries of God—things which no human wisdom, and things which no human mind by its own exertions, can understand, but which God has revealed unto us in the Scripture and by the Holy Ghost. There is the mystery of godliness, "God manifested in the flesh." There is the great mystery of "the Church which is His body." There is the mystery of Israel, the everlasting nation, chosen of God to be the centre of the earth, and to show forth His power and goodness to all nations.
Now in these three mysteries there is one side which is patent and intelligible to all men.
Jesus Christ is an historical character. The words of Jesus are read by all. It is a matter of history that there was Jesus, and that He exerted a mighty influence in the world. But there is a mystery of godliness—God manifest in the flesh; and no human analysis will be able to discover that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. We, then, if we are messengers of Christ, must tell every one we know that there is a person, Jesus; but who Jesus is can only be revealed to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. We declare to you the mystery of godliness. Likewise every person knows that there is a Church, that there is a community of people who profess to believe in Jesus, but what the Church really is, is a mystery—Christ the Head, and we the members.
In like manner, who is so ignorant as not to know the history of the Jews?
Who is so ignorant as not to know the Ten Commandments, and the wonderful revelations of God which through them have become the property of all civilised nations? And who does not know the fact that at this present moment there are twelve million descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, scattered among all the nations of the earth, and yet a people separate by themselves? But the meaning of Israel no one knows, unless the Holy Ghost has enlightened him through the Scriptures. There is a mystery about Israel: there is something which no philosopher will be able to discover. Their present existence, their present dispersion, and their future destiny, have all been revealed to us in the Word; but God's Word can only be apprehended through the teaching of the Holy Ghost. It is quite in accordance with this remark that one of the most acute philosophers—the greatest philosopher that Germany has produced—Hegel, a man who was very fond of showing the meaning of history, said, when he came to the history of the Jews, "It is a dark, troublesome enigma to me. I am not able to understand it. It does not fit in with any of our categories. It is a riddle." It is a mysterious nation—just as mysterious as Jesus is mysterious. His name is "Pâle"—"Riddle"—"Wonderful." A nation is known by its highest exponent. The Roman nation found its culminating point in Caesar Augustus. The Jewish nation has its culminating point in Jesus, and therefore it is a mysterious nation. "I would not have you ignorant of this mystery" (Rom 11:25)
And this is one great reason why God in these latter days has raised up a mission to the Jews, because Christendom has become apostate—because even Christians who believe in the Scripture in a certain way, and in the Holy Ghost, do not believe the testimony of the Scriptures, and that God, the Living One, is about to arise and to introduce a new era into this world—that the history of the world is coming now to its crisis, to its culminating point, and that the fifth monarchy, the kingdom which shall never be destroyed, is about to be ushered in by the appearing of the Son of Man. And, therefore, God is directing our attention to this wonderful nation, beginning with Abraham, but not ending until time shall be no more. Do not be astonished, and do not let it be a hindrance to your acceptance of the truth, that this aspect of God's revelation has for many centuries been hidden even from God's own people. When we look back into the history of the Church we find that the whole truth was preached by the Apostles, but that immediately after the days of the Apostles there was only a partial apprehension of the truth, so that in the first ages of the Church God's people dwelt chiefly on the Incarnation. Afterwards they dwelt on grace in the days of Augustine. The doctrine of justification by faith was hidden from the Church for nearly fourteen centuries, until in the time of the Reformation this bright jewel was brought forth to the light. And if this was so, why should we be astonished that this mystery of Israel has not been understood and acknowledged till in recent days?
In bringing before you very briefly this great subject, and only mentioning the culminating points, I want to view it in a threefold aspect. How does faith regard it? How does hope regard it? How does love regard it? There is a quaint inscription on an old house in a German city—"Faith lays the foundation, love builds the house, hope ascends the roof and looks into the joyous prospect." And so indeed it is. Let us take the Scriptural order, faith and hope before love, because love requires both faith and hope to sustain it.
Now what does faith say about Israel? Time does not exist to faith; so I do not care where faith takes up its position, it will always see the same thing.
Supposing we take up our position with Abraham. There we shall see the land, the nation, and the Messiah promised to Abraham, and the nations of the earth blessed in this central nation. Supposing we ascend Mount Nebo with Moses: we see the same thing—Israel redeemed out of Egypt on account of the covenant made with Abraham; Israel about to enter into the promised land; Israel chastised on account of their iniquity and unfaithfulness; Israel restored to show forth the praise of the Most High. Supposing we take up our position with David. There we see the same thing—David speaking to his son and to his Lord, and David in Psalm 72 beholding that universal kingdom of righteousness and of prosperity extending from the river to the great sea, the centre of which is the Son of David, the King of Israel. Or let us take up our position after the Babylonish captivity in the day of Zechariah. God's promises were not exhausted and fulfilled when the Jews were brought back from Babylon. Zechariah beholds the nation again, and above that nation the man—the man that was the equal of Jehovah—who is His fellow, and Israel looking unto Him whom they have pierced. And then he beholds this Messiah called the King of the whole earth; and from Jerusalem as the centre the streams of love and righteousness go forth to all the world. Or let us take up our position with aged Simeon. What does aged Simeon see? "A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel" (Luke 2:32). Or take up your position with the Apostle Paul after he had experienced all the unbelief and hatred of the Jews. He is perfectly sure that God has not cast away His people, but that all Israel shall be saved. It is all the same. Wherever faith takes up its position it beholds the eternal counsel of the Most High, which must stand for ever. It develops; it unfolds; and nothing is able to withstand its progress. The very unbelief of Israel, and their very chastisement and dispersion among the nations of the earth, cannot make the promises of God of none effect. The Lord has chosen Israel, and this choice of Israel is rooted in the everlasting counsel of God, of which Jesus is the centre.
When we believe this, we who know Jesus as the centre cannot place the centre anywhere else but where God has placed it. Round Jesus are the people of Israel. That is the circle immediately round Jesus; and Jesus and Israel are perfectly inseparable. There we have election, God's own will to manifest His glory; and while the purpose of God is the manifestation of His glory, the inside of that purpose is nothing else but love. It is His glory that He wishes to manifest Himself to all the ends of the earth. It is this election which is its own force and its own motive—out of which comes the whole history of Israel, and out of which comes the whole history of the Church. Your salvation and the election of Israel are inseparably connected; and because God chose Israel, therefore He called Abraham, and therefore He made a covenant with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob—an unconditional covenant. Mark this, because upon this rests the whole Gospel.
This covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which embraced the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, the nation Israel, and the land of Palestine, is a covenant which depends exclusively upon the faithfulness of God—not upon our faithfulness; not upon our works. It is an absolute election of grace. It is quite true that when Israel is unfaithful she is chastised and punished, just as we are chastised and punished when we depart from our Lord Jesus Christ. But the counsel of God, the plan of God, the thoughts of God, the election of God, cannot be altered. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom 11:29). He may suffer them to be afflicted for four hundred years in Egypt, but He will bring them out on account of the covenant. He may send them to Babylon for seventy years, but He will bring them back on account of the covenant. He has punished them for nearly 2,000 years on account of their rejection of Jesus, but He will bring them back because the covenant is unconditional, and His purpose is unchangeable.
Unconditional is the covenant, and the counterpart of that is the doctrine of grace. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His own purpose and according to His infinite love, has He given us salvation in Christ. With regard to this covenant which the Lord God has made with Israel, and of which our blessed Savior Jesus Christ is the centre, in the whole history of God in all His dealings with Israel, He has continually to go back to His love, else He would have to give them up altogether; and so we find that to reveal Himself to Israel and to carry out His great promises, there appeared among the people of God two things, which do not appear among the other nations, and which are a great stumbling-block to all unbelief. Why do people find such great difficulty in accepting the Bible? There are two things which they do not like. The first is prophecy, and the second is miracle—prophecy and miracle. And when I speak of unbelief I am sorry to say that I have to include a great many people who think themselves Christians and Christian theologians. But faith they have not, whatever else they may have.
Prophecy is God revealing Himself to man and foretelling the future in a miraculous supernatural way. Miracle is God Himself interfering and showing His direct power and goodness to rescue His people. But if there is a living God there must be prophecy and miracle. Prophecy is the interference of God by His word; miracle is the interference of God by His act. The culminating point of prophecy and of miracle is the incarnation of Jesus. Jesus is the wisdom of God, when the world was not able to find out God. When all human reason and speculation ended in nothing else but ignorance and darkness, then God Himself came down from heaven, and we beheld the countenance of God in Jesus Christ, His Son. That is the incarnation of prophecy. And again, when we were perfectly helpless as sinners and under the power of death, God, by sending His own Son, took away sin and overcame death.
All the miracles that are recorded for us in the history of Israel lead up to the central truth. God redeemed His people Israel out of Egypt by miracle. God sustained His people in the wilderness by miracle. God planted His people in the land of Canaan by miracle. After He had done this, there was a pause—there was a quiet development until it became necessary again to interfere. So in the days of Elijah, when the people were well-nigh lost in idolatry, God interfered again by miracle. Then there came a long pause in which there was no miracle. Then came Jesus, and with Him the revelation of the power and goodness of God in miracle, and in the days of the Apostles.
And now there has been again a long pause, when there is no miracle. But God is still living, and the time is coming when there will be again a direct interference of God in miracle through Israel; for as He has not begun and continued His people Israel without the direct interference of His omnipotence, neither shall He consummate the history of Israel but by appearing in such a miraculous way that all nations shall be astonished, and the whole world shall exclaim, "The Lord is God!" and "The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!"
I have spoken of faith's vision of the past and of the future of this wonderful and mysterious nation; let us now cast our glance more especially at the present. In the whole history of Israel it is made evident that the real people of Israel, with whom God is dealing, are only a remnant, only a minority. And here there is a very important lesson for us all. God does not care for numbers; God does not care for outward power. On the contrary, He must make it perfectly plain that His is the power, and that ours is only weakness. Now look at the people of Israel. How many entered into the promised land? None but Joshua and Caleb. Look at Gideon. Thirty-two thousand were ready to go forth into battle, but God said, "I do not care for thirty-two thousand. They must be real godly ones that trust in Me, and who know that I am with them and in them." And the thirty-two thousand were reduced to three hundred. Oh, how different God is from us! We want to force everybody into the Church to make them Christians, whether they like it or not—to call them or label them Christians, although they do not believe, because we want to bring in, as it were, the whole nation into the Church. God's plan is to winnow, to sift—to separate the chaff from the wheat. Three hundred out of the thirty-two thousand! Look at the time of David. Who was it that acknowledged David when he was persecuted? Saul was a tall man, and had all the splendid and regal qualities that made him to be estimated a powerful and suitable leader. But it was a poor and despised people who flocked round David.
Look again in the days of Elijah. Poor Elijah thought that he was the only one left. There were seven thousand; but they were scattered and hid. Look at the days of our Lord. Who welcomed Jesus? Who believed in Jesus of the whole Jewish nation? Who gathered round Him? Not the Scribes, not the Priests, not the Pharisees, not the great or wise; because in those days it was just as it is in our day. There were the learned theologians, and there were those who were addicted to the ceremonial law, and to the priesthood; and there were the Herodians—those that took statesman-like views of things, and were always meddling with politics, and always studying the interests of the House of Herod. But none of these great men—none of these great parties—gathered round Jesus. Oh, no! it was a poor afflicted people that the Lord had left among them—a remnant.
So also there is a remnant now according to the election of grace among Israel. This idea of the remnant we must always keep in mind.
But now, after Israel has rejected Jesus, and has been scattered among all the nations of the earth, what do we behold? Faith enlightened by the Word of God is alone able to account for their existence. Nothing else can account for the existence of the Jewish nation, when so many of the other great and powerful nations have disappeared, or, if they have not disappeared, have altogether lost their vigor. Here is Israel. Why do they exist after all the persecutions which they have endured? Pharaoh tried to drown them; but they could not be drowned. Nebuchadnezzar tried to burn them; but they could not be burned. Haman tried to hang them; but it was of no avail. All the nations of the earth have persecuted them; but here they are, and more numerous at the present day than ever before. Why? Because God calls them an everlasting nation. Now, mark you, God says: "You who know the sun and the moon and the stars; you who know that every year there is spring after winter, and summer after spring, and autumn after summer—as surely as those ordinances exist, so sure is it that Israel shall be a nation before Me for ever." We see them among all the different nations of the earth, and yet they cannot be absorbed in them; they cannot be amalgamated with them. How does faith account for that? Faith accounts for it through the Word of God. Balaam already, in the fields of Moab, predicted that they would dwell apart from all other nations. We see them without a king, without a prince. They have lost their independence; they have lost their country. They are not even a tributary kingdom as they were in the days of our Lord. We see them still adhering to God, free from idolatry; whereas in former years, before the advent of our Lord, they constantly fell into idol-worship.
How does faith account for it? It is written in the Prophet Hosea, "They shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim" (3:4). These are exactly the features which characterize the Jewish nation now. Faith sees that they have rejected the blessed Savior; but has God rejected them on that account? The Apostle Paul asks you this question in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans: "Has God cast away His people Israel?" (11:1). And how does he answer the question? He says, "I also am an Israelite"—as much as to say, "If there is only one Jew converted after the crucifixion of Jesus, and after the stoning of Stephen, that one case proves the whole principle, namely, that, notwithstanding the fearful sin of Israel, God has not cast away His people." If God had dealt with Israel according to their merit, and according to what we might naturally and reasonably expect, no sooner had Jesus been crucified, and Stephen been stoned, than God would altogether, leave Israel to themselves.
But God has not totally rejected His people, and the conversion of even one Jew—so Paul argues—is a proof of it. This then is how faith beholds Israel now, in the apostasy. Great is that apostasy. They have crucified Jesus. They have made the Word of God void by the traditions of the elders. They have sunk into superstition and legalism; they have sunk into worldliness and materialism. Many of them have fallen even into unbelief. Oh! the state of Israel is one that should move our deepest sympathy. They are enemies for the Gospel's sake. Wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. Blindness has happened unto Israel; the veil is upon their hearts. But yet what does faith see, notwithstanding all this?
Brethren, let me speak to you freely on this subject. The apostasy of Israel is not as the apostasy of Christendom. The apostasy of Christendom is incurable; but the apostasy of Israel is curable. Although Israel have rejected Jesus, they do not wish to reject God; they still believe in His Word; they still invoke His Holy Name. They still remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. They still, as the Apostle Paul says, "have a zeal for God, although it is not according to knowledge" (Rom 10:2). There is still a godly remnant among them. There is still the fear of God and the acknowledgment of God before their eyes. Whereas, what is the history of apostate Christendom, as it is presented to us in the Scriptures, and the beginnings of which we can see already? First, people do not believe in Jesus as an atonement. They begin with that. They do not like the blood of Jesus; they like the character of Jesus very well. Then they give up Jesus altogether. Then they give up the Father too, and do not believe in a Creator. And then they become agnostics, and say that they know nothing about it—whether there is a God or not—the worst thing that this world has ever seen, and the most insulting to God. And then they give up morality, as necessarily they must give it up; and then they fall into the most abject pessimism, and look upon man as a flower of the field, which is to-day, and to-morrow is cast into the oven. This is the downward career of the Gentile apostasy. But in the Jewish apostasy there is still kept the connecting link, the golden thread—a spark dying, yet not dead, of a belief in God, however unenlightened, and in a future. So faith looks upon the mystery of Israel.
Now let us see what hope says of Israel. Hope is built entirely on the Word of God. We accept the future on the ground of what God has revealed to us in the Scriptures. And here I must repeat again that whether a thing is fulfilled or not fulfilled, has not the slightest bearing upon the attitude of faith and hope. Why do you believe that Jerusalem and the temple have been destroyed? Because it is written in Josephus and in history, or because it is written in the Word of God? Jesus said that the temple would be destroyed, and all the prophets announced the judgment that would come upon Israel. And God fulfilled it. And just as we believe the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgments which have come upon Israel because God foretold them, so do we believe the restoration of Israel simply because God has told us—because it is written.
Our hope is built upon nothing less than the Word of God. It will require the omnipotence of God to raise the dead out of their graves. But so it is written in the Prophet Ezekiel that the dead bones shall live. It will require all the attributes of Deity to bring about the wonderful things which God has promised to us in the Scriptures. But God will do it. In the Word of God the restoration of Israel is always based upon the power and love and the unchanging character of the promises of the everlasting God. And just as God says, "I, even I, have created the world; I, even I, have redeemed sinners"—so it is only God who Himself is able to restore His people Israel. "For My own Name's sake I will do it." And how will the Lord do it? The Lord is an holy God; and Israel having departed from God there are these two principles which seem to be conflicting—the holiness of God and the sin of Israel. But God is able to subdue their iniquities and forgive all their sins, and renew their hearts, and to put a right spirit within them. Do not imagine that any temporal glory or power will be entrusted by God to Israel as an unconverted nation. That would not be for the glory of God, nor would it be for the welfare of Israel and the world. They must be led through deep waters. They must be brought through fearful judgments. They must experience the wrath and the indignation of the Lord. They must be led into the valley of humiliation. Then will the Lord appear unto them, even as Joseph appeared unto his brethren, and the spirit of grace and of supplication will be poured out upon them; and there will be weeping such as this world has never heard; and there will be repenting and contrition more profound than the angels have ever witnessed upon earth, for they shall mourn over Him as over their only child; and then God, having cast them into the fire of His indignation, and having by the Holy Ghost worked in them repentance and granted to them the remission of sin, shall fit them for the wonderful work that is before them in the future; for a nation that has come through such repentance and through such faith—a nation that has so tasted the bitterness of sin, and the sweetness of the infinite love of God, which is stronger than death—will then go on for a thousand years without ever looking back. In the Old Testament you always read, "Oh, backsliding Israel." They are always backsliders; they have always to be restored. But there are so many passages in the Prophets which tell us that after Israel has been brought back the second time they will never look back. There will be no backsliding any more; but for a thousand years Israel shall go on in the fear of the Lord, and in the love of the Lord, and from Israel shall flow forth blessings in all the world.
Notice this. It is nowhere said that Jesus died for any nation, except for the Jewish nation. He died for that nation, and for that nation only. He died that all the children of God should be gathered in: but you see there is a difference. He died for the nation, and He died for the rest as individuals. It is nowhere said in the Bible that any nation will exist for ever; but it is said of the Jewish nation that they will exist for ever. This nation has God chosen, and when He divided the world unto mankind, it is written in the Book of Deuteronomy that He planned it all in relation to the central nation of Israel, who are to be the point from which all His blessings will radiate. And therefore this is the remarkable thing about Israel. "All Israel shall be saved" (Rom 11:26)—the nation as a nation, that is to say, that godly remnant that shall be left after all the judgments which shall come upon Israel; and then they shall be a blessing to all the world.
And as Israel shall thus be truly spiritually brought unto God and endowed with His grace, there shall be restored unto them their land; there shall be restored unto them their sanctuary; there shall be given unto them more abundant harvests than ever they had before. There shall be a more joyous, prosperous, national life than Israel has seen even in the days of Solomon. And this will be the wonderful thing—that in Israel as a nation there will be then presented that of which we hear so much talk, but of which we see so little reality, namely, that there will be nothing in the national life separate from the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. We hear a great deal in this nineteenth century about Christianity penetrating and pervading everything. We hear a great deal about "religion in common life." There is plenty of common life, but I cannot say that I see the religion in it. I do not see how religion is now penetrating and pervading our whole national life. I cannot say that our literature is Christian. I cannot say that the greatest poets and authors and philosophers which England and France and Germany have produced this century are Christian. Far from it. Most of them are anti-Christian. The culture of the present day is not Christian. I cannot say that art is Christian. I do not know whether it has even a high standard of morality. I cannot say that politics are Christian.
What is Christian? Oh, we are a poor, poor minority—strangers and pilgrims here upon earth, very much as we were in the days of the Apostles; and the world, even with that which is great and powerful and beautiful in it, lieth in the wicked one. Still, the idea is perfectly correct. Christianity, godliness, ought to pervade everything that God has created. The world—the whole world—shall be full of His glory. "Holiness unto the Lord" shall be written even upon the bells of the horses (Zech 14:20). Politics will be Christian; science will be Christian; poetry will be Christian; everything will be Christian. In their seed-time and in their harvest, in their journeys and in their commerce, in their work and in their recreation, in their garments and in everything about them, from one end of the year to the other, there will be no branch of life, there will be no branch of knowledge, there will be no branch of activity, there will be nothing, that will not be sanctified unto the Lord, for they shall walk in the name of the Lord, and the light of the Lord shall be their light, and the glory of the Lord shall be their beauty, and all the nations will follow their example.
Oh, we pray every day, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." And this is what I hope, and what every Christian must hope—that, through the intervention of Jesus Himself, and through the mediation of the Jewish nation, there is a time coming when God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Talk of drunkenness; talk of profligacy; talk of all the crimes and vices which now pollute the earth: they shall be done away. But that is only the negative side of it. How is God's will done in heaven? There is no drunkenness there; there is no profligacy there; there is no war and bloodshed there. True; but how is God's will done? It will be an angelic world. As the angels above, so will men be here upon the earth, "for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Then the promise, "In Thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blest" (Gen 22:18), shall be fulfilled, and the Son of David shall rule over all the world, and righteousness shall flow as a river, and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover all the earth as the waters cover the sea. That is what we hope about Israel, and all because of Jesus.
Now let me ask you what love says to the mystery of Israel? Faith, hope, love.
Do you love Israel? I wish to speak to you first about what is said against Israel; why people do not love Israel. They have crucified the Lord. Ah, dear friends, that is true, and no one feels it more than an Israelite who believes in Jesus; and you know how ultimately Israel will acknowledge their sin, and weep on account of it. But I want to ask you this question: Have not you crucified Jesus? If you have not crucified Jesus, then Jesus has not saved you by His death. If you have not wounded Him by your transgressions, and if He was not bruised and pierced on account of your iniquities, you have no salvation. Look at it. Have you any feeling of hatred to Adam because Adam was our representative, and because Adam did not stand the test? It is just in the same way that Israel was chosen to be the representative of humanity and mankind. They were put to the test in order that blessings should come unto all ends of the earth through them. And will you therefore remember that wherein you also are like Israel, and forget all the suffering which they have endured on your account, and all the labour with which they have toiled in fulfilling and in holding fast the promises before your time?
Remember how God loves Israel; and, here again, I wish to appeal to your experience. You read such passages as "I have loved thee with an everlasting love. Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. The mountains may depart and the hills be moved: but My lovingkindness shall not depart. My thoughts are thoughts of peace concerning you." And you apply them to yourself. Why do you apply that to yourself? You are quite right to apply it; but why? What right have you? Oh, these promises were given to Israel. Now, listen to me. God says to Israel, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love. Although the mountains depart I cannot change My love to you. I will plant you in your own land." With My whole heart and with My whole soul; and even during the time of their banishment and captivity He calls them "the beloved of My soul." If God does not mean this to Israel, how much less does He mean it to you! You apply the assurances of love which God has given to Israel, and argue by analogy that the Lord will also be faithful and loving and forgiving to you. Ah! therefore you must believe the first to be true. Oh, God loves Israel! Jesus loves Israel, and wept over Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul loved Israel, although he had thousands of converts among the Gentile nations. Love Israel, because God loves Jesus, and because Jesus loves Israel.
Oh, remember how Israel loved you. Remember how David and all the Prophets knew no greater joy than to think of the time when the idols shall be abolished, and when all the Gentile nations should rejoice in Jehovah as their God and as their portion.
And if you thus love Israel, then it is for you to show mercy to Israel, and to labour for Israel, that through your instrumentality there may be gathered the remnant according to the election of grace.
I notice that when speaking about the Jewish Mission to some people, a kind of painful resignation comes over their countenances, as if it was a very disagreeable duty that had to be performed, and one in which there was no encouragement and no joy. Oh, pity their ignorance, and pity also their lukewarmness; for if their heart was in the right spot, they would soon know what has been done among Israel during the last fifty years. I may mention to you the testimony of one who had the greatest knowledge of mission work in the world, the late Dr. Barth, of Calw (Germany). His work was in connection with the missions among the heathen. There was scarcely a mission among the heathen with which he was not acquainted, and with the missionaries of which he did not correspond, and about which he did not collect most carefully the information and spread it throughout Germany. Now, this eminent man of God said shortly before his death, and said it repeatedly, "God has greatly blessed the mission among the heathen, but nothing in comparison with the blessing which has attended the Jewish Mission. The result of the mission among the heathen in China, India, Africa, and wherever it has been, has not been as great as the result of the mission among the Jews. In proportion to the number of Jews, there have been a far larger number of converts during the last fifty years brought to the knowledge of Jesus from amongst them than from among the other nations."
You do not see them. They do not live in one country. They do not live in one city. They do not stand out conspicuously. They have their different spheres of usefulness where God has planted them; but this simple fact alone will show you that the Jewish Mission is unparalleled, not only in the Scriptural importance which God has given to it, but also in its result—that during the nineteenth century, as far as we can compute, three hundred thousand converts have been brought to the Savior, and that this very day there are about three hundred ministers of the Gospel, Jews, who by the grace of God have been brought to the knowledge of Christ.
Therefore faith believes the testimony of God; hope cherishes the promises of God; love loves where God loves, and love rejoices that God has blest us, and that His power and His Holy Spirit are with us in this work. In all humility, and often in sorrow, this work must be carried on. In the Jewish Mission more particularly, this is the dispensation where we must sow in tears, but it is the blessed assurance that we shall reap with joy, for as sure as the mouth of the Lord has spoken it, all Israel will yet welcome Christ, and Christ shall yet be the glory of Israel.