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the Jews themselves, through the whole period both of their dispersion and restoration, a standing evidence of the divine mission of him, whom they refuse to acknowledge as the promised Messiah.
The restoring of the kingdom to Israel.
Acts i. 6. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
This is another oblique prediction of the restoration of Israel. Our Lord does not answer the question of his disciples, by telling them that they were completely mistaken in their belief that the kingdom would be restored to Israel, but only by informing them that it was not for them to know the times or the seasons ; thus tacitly allowing that such a restoration would sooner or later, assuredly take place *
We are at present in just the same state of uncertainty that they were, respecting the precise era of this great event. For, although we know in general, as they likewise might have known, that Judah will begin to be restored at the end of the 1260 years ; yet, in particular, we cannot be positive respecting the true date of those 1260 years ; we can merely pitch upon such a one as appears to us most probable; the event alone can bring cere tainty to men, for the Father hath put in his own power the times and the seasons. To myself the year 606 appears the proper date: but, after all, it is very possible that I may be quite mistaken, as Mr. Mede and others of my predecessors have been before me.
They seem to have expected, that, when the Spirit was in so extraordinary a manner poured out, and the world ac“cording to Christ's prediction (John xvi. 8.) convinced of “ sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, the whole nation of " the Jews would own him for the Messiah, and so not only “ shake off its subjection to the Romans, but itself rise to
very extensive and perhaps universal dominion. The word “ amoxadosavens intimates the shattered and weakened state, in " which Israel now was.
And I cannot but think our Lord's answer may intimate, it should at length be restored, though “ not immediately, or with all the circuinstances they ima. “ gined; which concession seems the most satisfactory answer " to Rabbi Isaac's objection against Christianity; from his “ mistaken sense of these words.” Dr. Doddridge's Comment. in loc.
The present rejection and final conversion of the
Jews, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come.
Romans xi. 1. I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2. God hath not cast away which he foreknew-11. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid : but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12. Now, if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles ; how much more their fulness ? 13. For I speak to you, Gentiles; inasmuch as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14. If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flock, and might save some of them. 15. For, if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead : 16. For, if the first-fruit be holy, the luinp is also holy: and, if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17. And, if some of the branches be broken off, and thou being a wild olive-tree wert graffed in among them, and with thein partakest of the root
and fatness of the olive-tree; 18. Boast not against the branches." But, if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. 21. For, if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23. And they also, if they abide not iu unbelief, shall be graffed in : for God is able to graff them in again. 24. For, if thou wert cut out of the olive-tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olivetree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olivetree.
25. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits ; That blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be coine. 26. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but, as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes. 29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, 30. For, as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; 31. even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !
The whole mystery of the call of the Gentiles, the rejection of the unbelieving Jews, and the final conversion of their posterity in the last ages, is here very fully and explicitly set forth. The Jews were rejected of God, because they rejected and cru. cified the Messiah. But, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have arrived, or, as our Lord expresses it, when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled ; that is to say, when the times of the four great monarchies of the Gentiles shall have expired, and when the three times and a half shall have come to their close: then shall the natural branches, now no longer abiding in unbelief, be graffed into the good olive-tree of the Church.
The events of the day shew, that this coming of the fulness of the Gentiles cannot be very re