Monday, April 24, 2023

Restoring the Jews

The Christian theological conceptualization of the Jewish people's restoration to their national home dovetailed with the Biblical and Talmudic idea of the return to Zion. There is another meaning to "restoration" which is interpreted as the "restoration of the Israelites, who were formerly rejected, and the bringing them back to the communion of God in Christ". As is recorded: "In July of 1696, the New England Puritan Cotton Mather wrote in his diary: “This day, from the dust, where I lay prostrate, before the Lord, I lifted up my cries […] For the conversion of the Jewish Nation, and for my own having the happiness, at some time or other, to baptize a Jew, that should by my ministry, be brought home to the Lord.”"

This concept of Jewish restoration to Palestine as was argued by some of its proponents "for Jewish supremacy over Gentiles in the millennial period." For those who promoted the idea, there was an element of "Judeo-centrism".

I have extracted a considerable amount of quotations from this source to show that the idea of Jews going home ot the Land of Israel was a constant throughout the centuries, from the 13th on. (The footnotes can be found at the source)

one who held to a Jewish restoration is Gerard of Borgo San Donnino (around 1255). He taught that some Jews would be blessed as Jews in the end time and would return to their ancient homeland.18  John of Rupescissa (ca. 1310–1366) could most likely be viewed as a Christian Zionist. “For him the converted Jews would become God’s new imperial nation and Jerusalem would be completely rebuilt to become the center of the purified faith. For proof he drew on a literal exposition of the Old Testament prophecies which until then had been read by Christian exegetes to apply either to the time of the incarnation or to the heavenly Jerusalem in the beyond.”19

it was out of the English Puritan movement that this belief sprung. “Starting with the Puritan ascendancy,” notes Tuchman, “the movement among the English for the return of the Jews to Palestine began.”32 Why the Puritan? Puritans were not just dissenters, they were a Protestant sect that valued the Old Testament to an unprecedented degree in their day.

One of the first Englishman to put forth the view that the Jews should be restored to the land of Israel was a scholar who had taken two degrees from Cambridge named Francis Kett. In 1585 he had published a book entitled The Glorious and Beautiful Garland of Mans Glorification Containing the Godly Misterie of Heavenly Jerusalem (one of the shorter titles of the day). While his book primarily dealt with other matters, Kett did have a section in which he mentioned “the notion of Jewish national return to Palestine.”

As the 1600s arrived, a flurry of books advocating Jewish restoration to their land began to appear. Thomas Draxe released in 1608 The Worldes Resurrection: On the general calling of the Jews, A familiar Commentary upon the eleventh Chapter of Saint Paul to the Romaines, according to the sense of Scripture. Draxe argued for Israel’s restoration based upon his Calvinism and Covenant Theology.38

Two great giants of their era were Thomas Brightman (1552–1607), (likely a Postmillennialist) and Premillennialist Joseph Mede (1586–1638) who both wrote boldly of a future restoration of Israel. Brightman’s work, Revelation of the Revelation appeared in 1609 and told “how the Jews will return from the areas North and East of Palestine to Jerusalem and how the Holy Land and the Jewish Christian church will become the centre of a Christian world.”39  Brightman wrote: “What, shall they return to Jerusalem again? There is nothing more certain; the prophets do everywhere confirm it.”40

Joseph Mede’s contribution was released in 1627 in Latin42 and in 1642 in English as The Key of the Revelation. 43 The father of English premillennialism was also an ardent advocate of Jewish restoration to their homeland. Following Mede in many ways, Thomas Goodwin (1600–1680) also saw the Jews one day returning to Israel. In An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (1639), he taught that the Jews would be converted to Christ by 1656.44 Momentum was certainly building toward widespread acceptance of English belief in Jewish restoration, but a few bumps in the road still lay ahead. Giles Fletcher (1549–1611), a fellow at King’s College, Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth’s ambassador to Russia wrote a work advocating Restorationism. Fletcher’s book, Israel Redux: or the Restauration of Israel; or the Restauration of Israel exhibited in two short treatises (shortened title) was published posthumously by the Puritan divine Samuel Lee in 1677.45 Fletcher cites a letter in his book from 1606 as he argues for the return of the Jews to their land.46 Fletcher repeatedly taught the “certainty of their return in God’s due time.”47 A key proponent for Israel’s future restoration was Henry Finch (1558-1625) who wrote a seminal work on the subject in 1621, called The World’s Resurrection or The Calling of the Jewes. A Present to Judah and the Children of Israel that Ioyned with Him, and to Ioseph (that valiant tribe of Ephraim) and all the House of Israel that Ioyned with Him. 48 Finch, at the time of the publication of his book was a member of Parliament and the most highly respected legal scholars in England at the time…Finch taught that the biblical “passages which speak of a return of these people to their own land, their conquest of enemies and their rule of the nations are to be taken literally, not allegorically as of the Church.”51 King James of England was offended by Finch’s statement that all nations would become subservient to national Israel at the time of her restoration.52 Finch and his publisher were quickly arrested when his book was released by the High Commissioner (a creation of King James), and examined.53 Finch was striped of his status and possessions and then died a few years latter. “The doctrine of the restoration of the Jews continued to be expounded in England, evolving according to the insight of each exponent, and finally playing a role in Christian Zionistic activities in the latter part of the nineteenth and in the first of the twentieth centuries.”54 Many Puritans of the seventeenth century taught the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land.55 One of the greatest Puritan theologians in England was John Owen (1616–1683) who wrote, “The Jews shall be gathered from all parts of the earth where they are scattered, and brought home into their homeland.”56

There were a number of Restorationists in Holland during the time of the Puritan movement. Isaac de la Peyrere (1594–1676), who served as the French Ambassador to Denmark, “wrote a book wherein he argued for a restoration of the Jews to Israel without conversion to Christianity.”59 In 1655, Paul Felgenhauever, wrote Good News for Israel in which he taught that there would be the “permanent return of the Jews to their own country eternally bestowed upon them by God through the unqualified promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”60 The Dane, Holger Paulli (1644–1714) “believed wholeheartedly in the Jewish Return to the Holy Land, as a condition for the Second Coming.”61 He even “lobbied the kings of Denmark, England, and France to go and conquer Palestine from the Ottomans in order that the Jews could regain their nation.”62 Frenchman, Marquis de Langallerie (1656–1717), schemed with the Turkish Ambassador in the Hague on a plan defeat the Pope and trade the papal empire for a return of the Jews to the Holy Land. Langallerie was arrested in Hamburg, tried and convicted of high treason and died in prison a year later.63 Other European Restorationists of the era include: Isaac Vossius, Hugo Grotius, Gerhard John Vossius, David Blondel, Vasover Powel, Joseph Eyre, Edward Whitaker, and Charles Jerran.64 The mid-1600s witnessed “the sudden explosion of millenarian publications,”65 which predisposed the British to also consider the future fate of the Jews in the holy land. James Saddington lists the following seventeenth century English individuals as holding to Restorationist views: John Milton, John Bunyan, Roger Williams, John Sadler and Oliver Cromwell.66 “The doctrine of the restoration of the Jews continued to be expounded in England, evolving according to the insight of each exponent,” concludes Ehle, “and finally playing a role in Christian Zionistic activities in the latter part of the nineteenth and in the first of the twentieth centuries.”67

Perhaps the most influential of the early Puritan ministers in New England was John Cotton, who, following the postmillennialism of Brightman held to the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land.68 According to Ehle, in addition to John Cotton (1584–1652), early Restorationists included: John Davenport (1597–1670), William Hooke (1601–1678), John Eliot (1604–1690), Samuel Willard (1640–1707), and Samuel Sewall (1652–1730).69 Ephraim Huit, a Cambridge trained early minister in Windsor, Connecticut believed that the Jews would be regathered to their homeland in 1650.70 One of the standout advocates of the restoration doctrine was Increase Mather (1639–1723), the son of Richard and father of Cotton. Increase Mather wrote over 100 books in his life and was a president of Harvard. His first work was The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation, which went through about a half dozen revisions during his life.71 His support of the national restoration of Israel to her land in the future was typical of American Colonial Puritans and was generally widespread.

President John Quincy Adams expressed his desire that “the Jews again [were] in Judea, an independent Nation, . . . once restored to an independent government and no longer persecuted.”74 President Abraham Lincoln in a meeting with Canadian Christian Zionist, Henry W. Monk, in 1863 said, “Restoring the Jews to their homeland is a noble dream shared by many Americans. He (the Jewish chiropodist of the President) has so many times ‘put me on my feet’ that I would have no objection to giving his countrymen a ‘leg up’.”75

The wave of premillennialism is what produced in Britain a crop of Christian Zionists that led to political activism which culminated in the Balfour Declaration. Anthony Ashley Cooper (1801–1885), later Lord Shaftesbury…“Oh, pray for the peace of Jerusalem” were the words engraved on a ring that he always wore on his right hand.84 Since Lord Shaftesbury believed that the Jews would return to their homeland in conjunction with the second advent, he “never had a shadow of a doubt that the Jews were to return to their own land. . . . It was his daily prayer, his daily hope.”85 In 1840, Shaftsbury was known for coining a slogan that he would often repeat throughout his life, that the Jews were “a country without nation for a nation without a country.”86 Shaftesbury greatest contribution to the Restoration movement was his attempt to accomplish something in the political realm in order to provoke England to develop a policy in favor of returning the Jews to their homeland. He succeeded in influencing England to adopt that policy, but England failed, at that time to influence the Turks. In 1838, in an article in the Quarterly Review, Shaftsbury put forth the view that Palestine could become a British colony of Jews that “could provide Britain with cotton, silk, herbs, and olive oil.”87 Next, Shaftsbury “lobbied Lord Palmerston, the Foreign Secretary, using political, financial and economic arguments to convince him to help the Jews return to Palestine. And Palmerston did so. What was originally the religious beliefs of Christian Zionists became official British policy (for political interests) in Palestine and the Middle East by the 1840s.”

While British foreign secretary in 1840, Henry John Temple Palmerston (1784–1865) wrote the following letter to his ambassador at Constantinople in his attempt to advocate on behalf of the Jews: There exists at the present time among the Jews dispersed over Europe, a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation is to return to Palestine. . . . It would be of manifest importance to the Sultan to encourage the Jews to return and to settle in Palestine because the wealth which they would bring with them would increase the resources of the Sultan’s dominions; and the Jewish people, if returning under the sanction and protection and at the invitation of the Sultan, would be a check upon any future evil designs of Mehemet Ali or his successor. . . . I have to instruct Your Excellency strongly to recommend [the Turkish government] to hold out every just encouragement to the Jews of Europe to return to Palestine.

One time governor of Australia, Colonel George Gawler (1796–1869) was one of the most zealous and influential Restorationist, next to Shaftsbury, in the 1840s.93 “Colonel Gawler was a senior commander at the Battle of Waterloo.”94 When he returned to England in 1841 he became a strong advocate of Jewish settlements in the land of Palestine. Gawler’s Restorationism, like most of his day, was sparked by his religious convictions, but he argued for Jewish return to their land upon geopolitical grounds. Gawler stated the following: [England] urgently needs the shortest and safest lines of communication. . . . Egypt and Syria stand in intimate connection. A foreign hostile power mighty in either would soon endanger British trade . . . and it is now for England to set her hand to the renovation of Syria through the only people whose energies will be extensively and permanently in the work—the real children of the soil, the sons of Israel.95 Working with Sir Moses Montefiore (a British Jew) Gawler provided an agricultural strategy for Jewish resettlement of the Holy Land. One of these Montefiore-Gawler projects resulted in “the planting of an orange grove near Jaffa, still existent today and known as Tel Aviv’s ‘Montefiore Quarter.’”96 Charles Henry Churchill (1814–1877), an ancestor of Winston Churchill, was a British military officer stationed in Damascus in 1840. “He was a Christian Zionist and he supported the Jews against the non-Zionist Christians of Damascus.”97 It was through his efforts that he helped acquit the Jews accused of the infamous charge of blood libel. Col. Churchill was honored a banquet hosted by a grateful Jewish community where he spoke of the “hour of liberation of Israel . . . that was approaching, when the Jewish Nation would once again take its place among the powers of the world.”98 In a letter to Jewish philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore (1784–1885), dated June 14, 1841, Churchill said, I cannot conceal from you my most anxious desire to see your countrymen endeavor once more to resume their existence as a people. I consider the object to be perfectly obtainable. But two things are indispensably necessary: Firstly that the Jews themselves will take up the matter, universally and unanimously. Secondly that the European powers will aid them in their views.99

Laurence Oliphant (1829–1888) was an evangelical “British Protestant, an officer in the British Foreign Service, a writer, world-traveler and an unofficial diplomat.”103 Oliphant was passionate about the Jewish Restoration to their land that came from his intense religious convictions, which “he tried to conceal them behind arguments based on strategy and politics.”104 In 1880 he published a book, The Land of Gilead, “proposing Jewish resettlement, under Turkish sovereignty and British protection, of Palestine east of the Jordan.”105 Even then, he foresaw the agricultural potential and the possibilities of developing the resources of the Dead Sea.

A German Lutheran, C. F. Zimpel, who “described himself as Doctor et Philosopiae, member of the Grand Ducal Saxon Society for Mineralogy and Geognosy at Jena,” published pamphlets in the mid-1800s entitled “Israelites in Jerusalem” and “Appeal to all Christendom, as well as to the Jews, for the Liberation of Jerusalem.”123

Frenchman, Charles-Joseph Prince de Ligne (1735–1814) advocated Jewish Restorationism. He called upon the Christians of Europe to lobby the Turkish Sultan so that the Jews could return to their homeland. De Ligne’s appeal was used by Napoleon in his efforts to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. “Among those French Restorationists were theologians and authors, but also, increasingly, politicians.”125 Some of them included Ernest Laharanne, Alexandre Dumas, and Jean-Henri Dunant (1828–1910), who was also the rounder of the International Red Cross.126 Restoration proposals were put forth by a number of Europeans in the nineteenth century. A Swiss theologian named Samuel Louis Gaussen who wrote a book advocating a Jewish return to their land in 1844.127 Italian, Benedetto Musolino (1809–1885) wrote a book, after a visit to the Holy Land, in which he argued “that the restoration of the Jews would allow European culture into the Middle East.”



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