Joshua William Brooks (1790-1882), was an Anglican priest at St. Mary's Parish, Nottingham, England, and author of Elements of prophetical interpretation. He cited several prophetic scriptures which refer to another restoration of Israel, both in a spiritual sense, by a reconciliation to God, and also, by Israel's restoration to the land that God promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are Deut. 30:3-6, and Jeremiah 30, 31, & 32, and Ezekiel 11:17-20, and 36:24-28. Brooks wrote:
That the preceding extracts refer to the Christian covenant is evident from the circumstance, that some of them are brought forward by the apostle when arguing that the covenant of works is superseded. See Heb. viii. and x. This covenant, therefore, is not to be arbitrarily divided or limited by us; we are not at liberty to select those only of its particulars, which may commend themselves to our minds; but it must be received in that circumstantial fulness in which we find it to be understood and dilated upon by the prophets.
[Elements of prophetical interpretation, by Joshua William Brooks. Orrin Rogers, 1841. p. 30]
If this is true, it works in two ways. On the one hand, these prophecies describe a spiritual return to the true worship of God, which has not been accompanied the migration of Jews to Palestine in modern times. They all speak of things pertaining to the new covenant, that apply to Christians. On the other hand, they imply that the same Israel which becomes reconciled to God in a spiritual sense, possesses the promised land. Clearly, this Israel is the church rather than ethnic Jews. But the church is nowhere encouraged to go to the literal, earthly Jerusalem. Thus its "return to the promised land" must be understood spiritually. And in harmony with this view, the author of Hebrews says Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hoped for a "heavenly country."
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
In Jacob's dream at Bethel, the ladder reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it, connected the land of promise with a heavenly purpose. [Genesis 28] Jesus identified himself as "the holy place" where angels ascend and descend, thus replacing the literal Bethel. [John 1:50-51]
The eternal inheritance of the saints was represented by the promised land; however it encompasses much more than possessing the limited area of Palestine, that Joshua took possession of; Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." [Matthew 5:5] Paul said the promise to Abraham's seed was that he would be "the heir of the world."
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
The Israelites in the wilderness under Moses hoped for a future "rest" in the land of promise, and similarly, the church is promised a spiritual "rest," which may only be entered by faith, and includes an understanding of the prophecies of scripture, many of which pertain to the land.
Possessing the land is associated with reconciliation to God; whereas, a physical return to Palestine by Jews has produced in them no spiritual benefit. It is a vain substitute for faith in Christ, and it is a delusion, to suppose it in any way fulfils Bible prophecies such as those cited by Rev. Brooks.
As Brooks noted, "This covenant, therefore, is not to be arbitrarily divided or limited by us; we are not at liberty to select those only of its particulars, which may commend themselves to our minds."
Dispensationalism, by insisting that Jews returning to Palestine are fulfilling the prophecies such as Deuteronomy 30:3-6; Jeremiah 30-32; Ezekiel 11:17-20; Ezekiel 36:24-28, arbitrarily ignores all of the spiritual things included in those scriptures, such as: "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart ... And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God ... And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you ... And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." The partial, carnal meaning, that is obtained when these statements are removed, is used to justify the lusts of unbelieving Jews for material gain, and their shameful land grab, and killing and maiming of innocent people.
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