In Proposition 113, George Peters states:
“The connection of this Kingdom with Jewish restoration necessitates the realization of their predicted repentance and conversion.”
This is a simple yet important proposition. Restoration is intimately connected with a future repentance and conversion. One will not take place without the other. Moreover, this is an issue of national repentance and conversion. While individual repentance and conversion has, is, and will take place, what is being addressed in this proposition is something on a national and holistic scale.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 113 is the following:
“The restoration of the nation cannot, and will not, take place without a repentance; and therefore it becomes essential to notice some more particulars relating to it. It is no ordinary repentance, and not merely that of individuals, but extraordinary and national in its extent, Micah 7:15-20, etc. It is caused by the judgments of God, Mal. 3:2-4; Hos. 5:15; Is. 30:18-19, and the personal presence of the King, Micah 2:12-13; Ezek. 20:33-44; Zeph 3:15. It is done that God’s faithfulness may appear, Ezek. 36:22; Is. 43:25; Is. 44:22-26. It is bestowed in the land given to their fathers into which they are brought, Ezek. 36:24-35; Jer. 33:7-16; Jer. 32:37-44; Jer. 31, etc. The reign of the Messiah is intimately connected with it, as e.g. in Jer. 23:3-8; Ezek. 34:23-31, etc. The absence of such national repentance for the last eighteen hundred years is no proof that it never will be accomplished. On the other hand, it is decisive that it will yet come to pass, if we but consider that this very absence of repentance – excepting in individual cases – this “veil of unbelief covering them, is also predicted. Seeing the prophecy in the one case verified before our eyes, it is faithless to deny the other. Paul tell us (Rom. 11; 2 Cor. 3:16) that this “veil” shall finally be removed, corroborating the testimony of the prophets. There is a divine unity in all the writers on this point, worthy of a revelation from God; and it becomes distinctive just in proportion as a comparison of their utterances is instituted. So striking is this, that men of all classes, even the most hostile to our belief, fully admit it, however some may be inclined to spiritualize certain portions of it, as the Coming and reign of the Messiah. The repentance and restoration is so much the burden of prophecy, runs through and enters into the Divine Plan so thoroughly, that its almost universal admission is presented by a witness so impartial (owing to his opposition to our doctrine) that all will acknowledge its force. Dr. Whitby on Rom. 11, speaking of this repentance and restoration of the Jews emphatically says: “it hath been the constant doctrine of the Church of Christ by the Greek and Latin Fathers, and by all commentators I have met on this place.” But right there is an inconsistency in many modern writers, to which allusion has been made, and which deserves repeated notice. They acknowledge that the prophecies describe a literal repentance and restoration but refuse credence to the time, and manner and accompaniments of the same as also portrayed by the prophets. Why this change of time after, to one before the Advent; of this supernatural interposition into one of ordinary means; of this personal presence of David’s Son, and introducing a spiritual Coming in its place; of this transposition of a visible Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom into an invisible reign, etc.? What satisfactory reason can be assigned for introducing an entire new element of interpretation which emasculates some of the most precious of God’s promises to man? Where is the authority for this most arbitrary dealing with the Word? Are the rules for such a proceeding given authority by God or man; and if so, where found? Simple consistency, if nothing else, demands that if one portion of these prophecies is conceded to be literal (i.e. to mean what the laws of language present) then the other portion must be understood in like manner. For, having applied the literal interpretation, compatibility requires its continuance, unless God Himself, the only Being having authority to indicate a change, in express terms revokes it, or informs us that it is to be understood differently. Besides, it is this literal interpretation that becomes history, doctrine, evidence of inspiration, etc. Is it not time, in this matter, to discriminate between the Word and human opinions attached to it? Therefore, cleaving to the Word, as it reads, our argument holds that, having no authority to make any change, we must receive this repentance, restoration, and the reign and Kingdom identified with it, precisely on the same ground of interpretation. And, it will not answer for the believer in God’s Word, in the face of the Incarnation, etc., to reject any portion of these promises because he cannot tell how, if accepted as the Word plainly indicates, they can be fulfilled; for God, the All-sufficient, is abundantly able to take care of their fulfillment.”
I appreciate the tone and forcefulness of this observation. The questions Peters asks are vital not only for this topic, but for all of Scripture and how we develop and apply theology. When God outlines a clear and specific plan on action that will take place in a physical sense, to spiritualize the matter because of either errant theology or because we cannot comprehend how God will accomplish such a feat, does damage to Scripture. In essence, such an approach places biblical authority in the hands of man rather than God, with man manipulating the text in order to fit one’s theological persuasion. Outside of any biblical mandate for such an alteration of God’s plan or the biblical text, what has been presented by the OT prophets and in turn by the NT authors, namely that of Jewish restoration to the land concomitant with a national repentance and conversion must be averred as truth. The literal interpretation in this case, regardless of whether we can fully wrap out minds around how it will take place, is nevertheless the facts God has provided us in His word.
As Peters so wonderfully states, “God, the All-sufficient, is abundantly able to take care of their fulfillment.” This national conversion of the Jewish people can be stated to be a future event, one which God will in keeping with His covenant promises, make abundantly sure will take place.