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S. Lewis Johnson Quotes Collection: Worldview, Church Life, and Other Categories

March 25, 2013 4 comments

As some people are aware, I have recently been posting daily S. Lewis Johnson quotes on facebook: a simple but effective way to increase general awareness of a great teacher, with fairly short quotes (up to 7 or 8 lines on a facebook status) highlighting various doctrinal points along with S. Lewis Johnson’s commentary.

As a follow-up from the facebook quotes selection, the following is a sampling of quotes from one category: Worldview / Philosophy / Apologetics.  See also the links to each category of quotes. These pages will be expanding over time as I continue to find and add more great quotes.   (Some of the quotes are expanded from the original facebook postings.)

Worldview / Philosophy / Apologetics

From  Gospel of John, message 80:

if it is true that these gospels are forgeries, and if it is true they have not come from the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then we ought to be able to write gospels ourselves.  Is not that fair?  If these gospels are simply the products of men, then we ought to be able to write similar works.  Isn’t it striking that no one has ever written a work that has contended with the four gospels?

From Revelation series, message 12:

When you look at the philosophies of men you find that many of them are philosophies in which the world is looked at as being the continuous unfolding of the same thing, for example, in Hindu thought, and in some forms of Greek thought, the world is endless repetition. …The biblical picture, on the other hand, tells us that this world has a meaning and a goal and a destiny. That it’s created by God for his glorification.  Biblical history is therefore unique it moves from the first creation in the book of Genesis, to the new creation in Christ in Revelation chapter 21 and 22

From “Messianic Prophecies in Isaiah” message 5

“The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the magistrates as equally useful.” — Edward Gibbons, quoted by S. Lewis Johnson

From 1 Corinthians, message 4:

“No reason for self-esteem here. The only kind of self-esteem that really counts is the self-esteem that comes when we realize we’ve been chosen. That’s the source of all ultimately valid divinely-supported self-esteem, when we know that we belong to the Lord.”

From Acts, message 42:

Acts 19:35, “who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis.”(ESV) — “He soothed their vanity with appeal to fame and legend; and it illustrates for us the important fact that what really is lasting is the truth of God.  No one knows today, except those who attend a Christian church, that Ephesus, ancient Ephesus, was the city where Artemis, the Asian goddess, the Asian goddess known as the many-breasted goddess of fructifying powers was worshiped; but people know about Jesus Christ and people know about Christianity.”

The Church and Christian Life

Suffering, Patience versus Anxiety

Eschatology

The Resurrection

The Holy Spirit, Assurance, and Our Spiritual Life

The Literal Hermeneutic, Described by Historic Premillennialists

September 19, 2012 6 comments

For those who still associate any form of premillennialism with classic dispensationalism, and who think that premillennialists’ literal hermeneutic is wooden literalism (which never was the case) rather than normal, plain language: I am revisiting some great quotes from 19th century non-dispensational historic premillennialists:  Charles Spurgeon, J.C. Ryle, and Horatius Bonar.

Consider the following, in which these men in their own words describe and explain the literal hermeneutic along with specific examples from God’s word:

Charles Spurgeon, concerning the First Resurrection in Revelation 20:

… if the First Resurrection here spoken of is a metaphorical, or spiritual, or typical resurrection—why the next, where it speaks of the resurrection of the dead, must be spiritual, and mystical, and metaphorical too!  When you read a Chapter, you are not to say, “This part is a symbol, and is to be read so, and the next part is to be read literally.” Brothers and Sisters, the Holy Spirit does not jumble metaphors and facts together! A typical Book has plain indications that it is so intended, and when you come upon a literal passage in a typical Chapter, it is always attached to something else which is distinctly literal so that you cannot, without violence to common sense, make a typical meaning out of it! The fact is, in reading this passage with an unbiased judgment—having no purpose whatever to serve, having no theory to defend— … I could not help seeing there are two literal resurrections here spoken of—one of the spirits of the just, and the other of the bodies of the wicked; one of the saints who sleep in Jesus, whom God shall bring with Him, and another of those who live and die impenitent, who perish in their sins.

Also from Spurgeon, (full quote posted here) concerning Ezekiel 37:1-10:

If there is meaning in words this must be the meaning of this chapter! I wish never to learn the art of tearing God’s meaning out of His own Words. If there is anything clear and plain, the literal sense and meaning of this passage—a meaning not to be spirited or spiritualized away—it must be evident that both the two and the ten tribes of Israel are to be restored to their own land and that a king is to rule over them. “Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen where they are gone and will gather them on every side and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king to them all.”

From J.C. Ryle (previously posted here and also here):

Beware of that system of allegorizing, and spiritualizing, and accommodating, which the school of Origen first brought in, in the Church. … Settle in your mind, in reading the Psalms and Prophets that Israel means Israel, and Zion means Zion and Jerusalem means Jerusalem. And, finally, whatever edification you derive from applying to your own soul the words which God addresses to His ancient people, never lose sight of the primary sense of the text.

and

What I protest against is, the habit of allegorizing plain sayings of the Word of God concerning the future history of the nation Israel, and explaining away the fullness of their contents in order to accommodate them to the Gentile Church. I believe the habit to be unwarranted by anything in Scripture, and to draw after it a long train of evil consequences.

Where, I would venture to ask, in the whole New Testament, shall we find any plain authority for applying the word “Israel” to anyone but the nation Israel? I can find none. On the contrary, I observe that when the Apostle Paul quotes Old Testament prophecies about the privileges of the Gentiles in Gospel times, he is careful to quote texts which specially mention the “Gentiles” by name. The fifteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a striking illustration of what I mean. We are often told in the New Testament that, under the Gospel, believing Gentiles are “fellow heirs and partakers of the same hope “with believing Jews. (Ephes. 3:6.) But that believing Gentiles may be called “Israelites,” I cannot see anywhere at all.

And from Horatius Bonar (previously posted here and here):

To attach a general meaning to a whole chapter, as is frequently done, shows not only grievous irreverence for the Divine Word, but much misconception of the real nature of that language in which it is written. Yet such is often the practice of many expositors of prophecy. They will take up a chapter of Isaiah, and tell you that it refers to the future glory of the Christian Church; and that is the one idea which they gather from a whole chapter, or sometimes from a series of chapters. Their system does not admit of interpreting verse by verse and clause by clause, and affixing an exact and definite sense to each. Bring them to this test, and their system gives way. It looks fair and plausible enough, so long as they can persuade you that the whole chapter is one scene, out of which it is merely designed that one grand idea should be extracted; but bring it to the best of minute and precise interpretation, and its nakedness is at once discovered. Many prophecies become in this way a mere waste of words.  What might be expressed in one sentence, is beaten out over a whole chapter; nay, sometimes over a whole book.

These expositors think that there is nothing in prophecy, except that Jew and Gentile are all to be gathered in, and made one in Christ. Prophet after prophet is raised up, vision after vision is given, and yet nothing is declared but this one idea! Every chapter almost of Isaiah foretells something about the future glory of the world; and every chapter presents it to us in some new aspect, opening up new scenes, and pointing out new objects; but, according to the scheme of some, every chapter sets forth the same idea, reiterates the same objects, and depicts the same scenes. Is not this handling the Word of God deceitfully?

What liberties do some interpreters take with the prophetic word! They find in every page almost what they call figurative language, and, under this idea, they explain away whole chapters without scruple or remorse. They complain much of the obscurity of the prophetic language. It is an obscurity, however, of their own creating. If they will force figures upon the prophets when they are manifestly speaking with all plainness and literality, no wonder that darkness and mystery seem to brood over the prophetic page. . . . Proceeding, then, upon this principle, that we must take all as literal till we are forced from it by something inconsistent or absurd, we shall find a far smoother and straighter way through the fields of prophecy than most men will believe. If we take the waters as we find them, we shall enjoy them clear and fresh; but if we will always be searching for some fancied figure at the bottom, or casting in one when we do not readily discover it, we need not be astonished nor complain that the stream is turbid and impure.

Charles Spurgeon: The Political Restoration of the Jews

May 28, 2011 1 comment

From Sermon #582, from June 16, 1864: The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews.

First, THERE IS TO BE A POLITICAL RESTORATION OF THE JEWS. Israel is now blotted out from the map of nations. Her sons are scattered far and wide. Her daughters mourn beside all the rivers of the earth. Her sacred song is hushed—no king reigns in Jerusalem! She brings forth no governors among her tribes. But she is to be restored! She is to be restored “as from the dead.” When her own sons have given up all hope of her, then is God to appear for her. She is to be reorganized—her scattered bones are to be brought together. There will be a native government again. There will again be the form of a political body.

A State shall be incorporated and a king shall reign. Israel has now become alienated from her own land. Her sons, though they can never forget the sacred dust of Palestine, yet die at a hopeless distance from her consecrated shores. But it shall not be so forever, for her sons shall again rejoice in her—her land shall be called Beulah—for as a young man marries a virgin so shall her sons marry her. “I will place you in your own land,” is God’s promise to them. They shall again walk upon her mountains, shall once more sit under her vines and rejoice under her fig trees!

And they are also to be reunited. There shall not be two, nor ten, nor twelve, but one—one Israel praising one God—serving one king and that one King the Son of David, the descended Messiah! They are to have a national prosperity which shall make them famous. No, so glorious shall they be that Egypt and Tyre and Greece and Rome shall all forget their glory in the greater splendor of the throne of David! The day shall yet come when all the high hills shall leap with envy because this is the hill which God has chosen! The time shall come when Zion’s shrine shall again be visited by the constant feet of the pilgrim—when her valleys shall echo with songs and her hilltops shall drop with wine and oil.

If there is meaning in words this must be the meaning of this chapter! I wish never to learn the art of tearing God’s meaning out of His own Words. If there is anything clear and plain, the literal sense and meaning of this passage—a meaning not to be spirited or spiritualized away—it must be evident that both the two and the ten tribes of Israel are to be restored to their own land and that a king is to rule over them. “Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen where they are gone and will gather them on every side and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king to them all.

Spurgeon: What is Done on Earth is Known in Heaven

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

From Spurgeon sermon #203, The Sympathy of the Two Worlds:

But I have no doubt, Beloved, the thought has sometimes struck us that our praise does not go far enough. We seem as if we dwelt in an isle cut off from the mainland. This world, like a fair planet, swims in a sea of ether unnavigated by mortal ship. We have sometimes thought that surely our praise was confined to the shores of this poor narrow world— that it was impossible for us to pull the ropes which might ring the bells of Heaven—that we could by no means whatever reach our hands so high as to sweep the celestial chords of angelic harps! We have said to ourselves there is no connection between earth and Heaven. A huge black wall divides us. A strait of unnavigable waters shuts us out. Our prayers cannot reach to Heaven, neither can our praises affect the celestials. Let us learn from our text how mistaken we are! We are, after all, however much we seem to be shut out from Heaven and from the great universe but a province of God’s vast united empire and what is done on earth is known in Heaven! What is sung on earth is sung in Heaven! And there is a sense in which it is true that the tears of earth are wept again in Paradise and the sorrows of mankind are felt again, even on the Throne of the Most High.

J.C. Ryle: The Workers in the Vineyard

April 23, 2011 Leave a comment

J.C. Ryle, from Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew.

Text:  Matthew 20:1-16  (The parable of the workers in the vineyard hired at different hours of the day.)

Let us beware of supposing, from this parable, that the distinction between Jews and Gentiles is entirely done away by the Gospel. To suppose this is to contradict many plain prophecies, both of the Old Testament and New. In the matter of justification, there is no distinction between the believing Jew and the Greek. Yet Israel is still a special people, and not “numbered among the nations.” God has many purposes concerning the Jews, which are yet to be fulfilled.

Let us beware of supposing, from this parable, that all saved souls will have the same degree of glory. To suppose this, is to contradict many plain texts of Scripture. The title of all believers no doubt is the same–the righteousness of Christ. But all will not have the same place in heaven. “Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor.” (1 Cor. 3:8.)

How to Properly Benefit From The So-Called “Paper Pastors”

April 11, 2011 2 comments

A recent re-post at Pyromaniacs makes a point about people who idolize a “paper pastor” as someone better than their own pastor, because that “paper pastor” is not real but an abstract idea, someone who doesn’t know you from Adam — as flawless as the picture models that men are often attracted to.  The post is good so far as it goes, given several basic assumptions:

  1. You’re going to a church of your own choosing
  2. Your local pastor is biblically grounded, basically of the same doctrinal persuasion as your paper pastor
  3. Your local pastor is a people-caring person willing and able to spend time with you

But what about cases where the above three premises do not fit:  someone who is compelled by another family member to attend a church not to their own liking; the pastor there is not biblically grounded — and of a very different doctrinal persuasion; and furthermore that pastor is not a “people-person” but sees himself as an ideas person, even as a preacher to other preachers.

Since good local connections are cut-off (at least as far as sermons and Bible instruction are concerned), that person must rely on “paper pastors” for good Bible teaching and overall Christian living.  So this post is my attempt to answer that very different situation:  in what ways can the so-called “paper pastors” be of benefit to believers cut-off from the “good local church” option.  These points can also be applied generally to all believers, in how we should approach Bible study and how we learn from good Bible teachers.

First we must consider some overall principles, as embodied in texts such as 1 Corinthians 11:31 (If we judged ourselves we should not be judged), and 2 Peter 1:5-8see this recent post.  I especially note S. Lewis Johnson’s observation concerning backsliding and non-backsliding Christians  (see the longer quote here):

If people will not study the word of God, they are going to need spiritual medicine.  They are going to need a spiritual physician, and I think that through the years the thing that has impressed me in the church is that those Christians who are the least problem to the elders are the Christians who are growing in the knowledge of the Bible.  If you could just get a group of Christians in a church together in which everyone was daily growing in the knowledge of the word of God, the elders could set it out and twiddle their thumbs because it would be a healthy, happy, growing, fruitful body of Christians.  This is so fundamental because the word is powerful and God sees that it accomplishes His purposes.  It is when we neglect the Bible that we begin to drift, becoming indifferent, lose our love, become overtaken and entangled in sin.

The above considerations answer one criticism in the Pyromaniacs post:  “They never persistently probe an area of sin, in you, in person, eyeball to eyeball… nor will they. Church discipline will not be a threat with them. Ever.” For the real issue is the individual’s close walk with the Lord:  continuing to study, to grow and increase in the knowledge of the Lord.  People who are doing so, as SLJ pointed out, are not the people who give problems to church elders or are in need of “church discipline” in the first place.

With that in mind, here are a few more general guidelines and suggestions:

  1. Read and/or listen to several good preachers — find those who are trustworthy and generally reliable, of basically the same doctrinal persuasion yet with many personal variations.  My “paper pastors” include Spurgeon, J.C. Ryle, S. Lewis Johnson, Dan Duncan and others at Believers Chapel, John MacArthur and Phil Johnson.
  2. Don’t just collect “quotes,” read popular Christian books on general topics, or listen to special topic church conference lectures.  DO listen to or read entire sermons — preferably exegetical, verse by verse type through a book of the Bible.  Spurgeon’s topical style also works, since he goes into considerable depth in each sermon, in a similar manner to exegetical preachers.  Read the sermons in sequence rather than skipping around to “shut-out” material you might not want to read as much (this is in answer to another of the Pyromaniac post criticisms of paper pastors, that you don’t have to listen to them and “can instantly shut them up, snap!”) This approach compensates for the lack of sermons in the local church situation and provides the biblical teaching and application that at least average-quality preachers deliver.
  3. Read the Bible daily (and good quantity) — I highly recommend the Horner Bible Reading Plan or variations on it.  Read with a Berean spirit, comparing what each preacher says to the words of the text.  J.C. Ryle’s Practical Religion, chapter 5, also has many great thoughts concerning how to read the Bible.

Through this approach, the believer does not look to any one particular “paper pastor” but gains Bible teaching and godly counsel from several.  I read or listen to several good preachers, yet am well aware of “flaws” in each of them (at various minor points), areas where they “do not measure up” and don’t agree exactly with my understanding of scripture.  Thus they are not “picture perfect” idols of pastors that “aren’t real.”

J. C. Ryle: So That We May Not Offend Them

April 9, 2011 Leave a comment

From J.C. Ryle’s “Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew,” Matthew 17:24-27

There is deep wisdom in those seven words, “so that we may not offend them.” They teach us plainly, that there are matters in which Christ’s people ought to forego their own opinions, and submit to requirements which they may not thoroughly approve, rather than give offence and “hinder the Gospel of Christ.” God’s rights undoubtedly we ought never to give up; but we may sometimes safely give up our own. It may sound very fine and seem very heroic to be always standing out tenaciously for our rights. But it may well be doubted, with such a passage as this, whether such tenacity is always wise, and shows the mind of Christ. There are occasions, when it shows more grace in a Christian to submit than to resist.

Let us remember this passage as CITIZENS. We may not like all the political measures of our rulers. We may disapprove of some of the taxes they impose. But the grand question after all is–Will it do any good to the cause of religion to resist the powers that be? Are their measures really injuring our souls? If not, let us hold our peace, “so that we may not offend them.” “A Christian,” says Bullinger, “never ought to disturb the public peace for things of mere temporary importance.”

Let us remember this passage as members of a CHURCH. We may not like every jot and tittle of the forms and ceremonies used in our communion. We may not think that those who rule us in spiritual matters are always wise. But after all–Are the points on which we are dissatisfied really of vital importance? Is any great truth of the Gospel at stake? If not, let us be quiet, “so that we may not offend them.”

Let us remember this passage as members of SOCIETY. There may be usages and customs in the circle where our lot is cast, which to us, as Christians, are tiresome, useless, and unprofitable. But are they matters of principle? Do they injure our souls? Will it do any good to the cause of religion, if we refuse to comply with them? If not, let us patiently submit, “lest we cause them to stumble.”

Our Conversion: For the Conversion of Others

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

In my recent Sunday morning sermon reading, came some rather unusual remarks from Spurgeon.  This was at the beginning of Volume 4, #169 (“What Have I Done?”), delivered at the year-end of 1857 as he reflected back on Christian service by believers during the past year.  The words sound very much like something an Arminian evangelist would say, and taken by themselves apart from Spurgeon’s other writings, should indeed be troubling.  A brief excerpt:

I will, however, ask a pointed question—are there not many Christians now present who cannot remember that they have been the means of the salvation of one soul during this year? Come, now. Think—have you any reason to believe that directly or indirectly you have been made the means this year of the salvation of a soul? I will go further—there are some of you who are old Christians and I will ask you this question—have you any reason to believe that ever since you were converted you have ever been the means of the salvation of a soul? . . . And yet there are some of you here who have been spiritually barren and have never brought one convert to Christ! You have not one star in your crown of glory and must wear a starless crown in Heaven!

Perhaps one point in properly understanding the above, is his wording “directly or indirectly.”  For at the surface, at least, these words suggest that we should all be actively talking to others about Jesus — and 20th century terms such as “street evangelism” come to mind.  In contrast to this idea, though, I think of the oft-quoted saying from St. Francis of Assissi:  “Preach the gospel daily.  Use words if necessary.”

But soon after considering Spurgeon’s “What Have I Done?” sermon, I read the following great passage from J.C. Ryle, in Holiness chapter 17.  Here is a better explanation concerning our role as Christians, converted not only for ourselves but to lead to the conversion of others:

I believe that just as ‘no man lives unto himself’ (Rom. 14:7), so also no man is converted only for himself and that the conversion of one man or woman always leads on, in God’s wonderful providence, to the conversion of others. I do not say for a moment that all believers know it. I think it far more likely that many live and die in the faith, who are not aware that they have done good to any soul. But I believe the resurrection morning and the judgment day, when the secret history of all Christians is revealed, will prove that the full meaning of the promise before us has never failed. I doubt if there will be a believer who will not have been to someone or other a ‘river of living water,’ a channel through whom the Spirit has conveyed saving grace. Even the penitent thief, short as his time was after he repented, has been a source of blessing to thousands of souls!

a. Some believers are rivers of living water while they live. Their words, their conversation, their preaching, their teaching, are all means by which the water of life has flowed into the hearts of their fellow men.  …

b. Some believers are rivers of living water when they die. Their courage in facing the king of terrors, their boldness in the most painful sufferings, their unswerving faithfulness to Christ’s truth even at the stake, their manifest peace on the edge of the grave—all this has set thousands thinking, and led hundreds to repent and believe. Such, for example, were the primitive martyrs, whom the Roman Emperors persecuted. Such were John Huss and Jerome of Prague. Such were Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Hooper and the noble army of Marian martyrs. The work that they did at their deaths, like Samson, was far greater then the work done in their lives.

c. Some believers are rivers of living water long after they die. They do good by their books and writings in every part of the world, long after the hands which held the pen are mouldering in the dust. Such men were Bunyan and Baxter and Owen and George Herbert and Robert MCCHEYNE. These blessed servants of God do more good probably by their books at this moment than they did by their tongues when they were alive. Being dead they yet speak (Heb. 11:4).

d. Finally, there are some believers who are rivers of living water by the beauty of their daily conduct and behavior. There are many quiet, gentle, consistent Christians, who make no show and no noise in the world, and yet insensibly exercise a deep influence for good on all around them. They ‘win without the Word’ (1 Peter 3:1). Their love, their kindness, their sweet temper, their patience, their unselfishness, tell silently on a wide circle, and sow seeds of thought and self–inquiry in many minds.

The last category is certainly the ideal that the St. Francis quote above upholds, and one we can all aspire to.

In category A I think of the “celebrity preachers,” especially those who have influenced many others by their great teaching and preaching, such as John MacArthur, as well as lesser but still prominent names of good preachers whose audio sermons are regularly updated to the Internet, and/or whose online writings encourage many.

By the very nature of things, most of us will not fit in categories B or C.  Perhaps some of us will yet be “rivers of living water” as martyrs in yet unknown persecutions, but the Lord alone knows that matter.

In reading item C and the list of names, I thought of J.C. Ryle himself, another great saint to add to the list of those who continue to guide believers today — “being dead they yet speak.”

As one plenty guilty of Spurgeon’s words above, having never directly shared the gospel with unbelievers (well, except within the format of “Evangelism Explosion” one year in my early Christian days), I yet take comfort in J.C. Ryle’s observation that it is “far more likely that many live and die in the faith, who are not aware that they have done good to any soul” but that even the dying thief on the cross, by his testimony, has brought comfort to many.  It is enough to trust in the Lord and hold steadfast to Him throughout the daily trials, doing even little things in service each day — even the simple blog format as a way to share my insights and encourage others.

J.C. Ryle: The Lord Jesus During this Present Dispensation — Like David in 1 Samuel

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

From “Coming Events and Present Duties,” chapter 2 “Occupy Till I Come”:

The Lord Jesus during the present dispensation is like David between the time of His anointing and Saul’s death. He has the promise of the kingdom, but He has not yet received the crown and throne (1 Sam. 22:1, 2).

He is followed by a few, and those often neither great nor wise, but they are a faithful people. He is persecuted by His enemies, and oft times driven into the wilderness, and yet His party is never quite destroyed. But He has none of the visible signs of the kingdom at present: no earthly glory, majesty, greatness, obedience. The vast majority of mankind see no beauty in Him: they will not have this man to reign over them. His people are not honored for their Master’s sake: they walk the earth like princes in disguise. His kingdom is not yet come: His will is not yet done on earth excepting by a little flock. It is not the day of His power. The Lord Jesus is biding His time.

Reader, I entreat you to grasp firmly this truth, for truth I believe it to be. Great delusion abounds on the subject of Christ’s kingdom. Take heed lest any man deceive you by purely traditional teachings about prophetical truth. Hymns are composed and sung which darken God’s counsel on this subject by words without knowledge. Texts are wrested from their true meaning, and accommodated to the present order of things, which are not justly applicable to any but the period of the second advent. Beware of the mischievous infection of this habit of text-wresting. Beware of the sapping effect of beautiful poetry, in which unfulfilled promises of glory are twisted and adapted to the present dispensation. Settle it down in your mind that Christ’s kingdom is yet to come. His arrows are not yet sharp in the hearts of His enemies. The day of His power has not yet begun. He is gathering out a people to carry the cross and walk in His steps; but the time of His coronation has not yet arrived. But just as the Lord Jesus, like the nobleman, “went to receive a kingdom,” so, like the nobleman, the Lord Jesus intends one day “to return.”

J.C. Ryle: Scattered Israel to be Gathered

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

J.C. Ryle Quote on “Our Blessed Hope” Blog — Click Here

 

From J.C. Ryle, “Coming Events and Present Duties,” chapter 5: Scattered Israel to be Gathered

What I protest against is, the habit of allegorizing plain sayings of the Word of God concerning the future history of the nation Israel, and explaining away the fullness of their contents in order to accommodate them to the Gentile Church. I believe the habit to be unwarranted by anything in Scripture, and to draw after it a long train of evil consequences.

Where, I would venture to ask, in the whole New Testament, shall we find any plain authority for applying the word “Israel” to anyone but the nation Israel? I can find none. On the contrary, I observe that when the Apostle Paul quotes Old Testament prophecies about the privileges of the Gentiles in Gospel times, he is careful to quote texts which specially mention the “Gentiles” by name. The fifteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a striking illustration of what I mean. We are often told in the New Testament that, under the Gospel, believing Gentiles are “fellow heirs and partakers of the same hope “with believing Jews. (Ephes. 3:6.) But that believing Gentiles may be called “Israelites,” I cannot see anywhere at all.