The intervening period between the two Messianic epochs- between the destruction of Jerusalem and the conversion of ‘All Israel’ and which forms for the people of the covenant a great parenthesis- is veiled from Daniel, in much obscurity, on account of his Old Testament standpoint.
Thus do the visions of the empires, beasts, and seventy weeks, concur harmoniously and, with their corresponding intervals, span the course of ages from the Babylonian time down to the second Advent. All, without exception, overleap the interval of Israel’s national rejection, and locate the point when Israel’s blessedness begins at Christ’s second appearing. Here enter those times of “Return,” “Reviving,” “Refreshing,” “Restitution,” “Regeneration,” “Resurrection” and “Redemption,” foretold for Israel, and the resultant blessing, after judgment, for the nations; millennial times described in terms so glowing and so wonderful. The pre-condition of them all is the second Advent, itself pre-conditioned by the witness of the gospel to all nations, and Israel’s begun repentance and return to Christ. Nowhere, in all prophecy, is the Millennial Age located in the “Times of the Gentiles,” the Church-Historical Period, the time of Israel’s national death and resting in the grave. Impossible! Nowhere is the word of God guilty of the nameless folly of confounding the “Times of the Gentiles” with “the 1,000 years.” It would make all prophecy a contradiction of itself. These never come before the fall of the Colossus, nor before the overthrow of Antichrist, nor before the end of Gentile power, nor before the resurrection of the faithful dead; none of which events occur before Messiah’s coming in the clouds of heaven, descending to alight “on Olivet,” “come to Zion,” and cause His voice to “roar from Jerusalem.” (Zech. 14.3; Is. 59.20; Dan. 12.9, 22; 12.2; Joel 3.16).
No figurative exposition and no spiritualizing interpretation can avail to break the oracles of God, or transmute Israel into the New Testament Church, Canaan into Christendom, or the times AFTER Christ’s second Coming into times BEFORE it. It is impossible upon the ground of Old Testament prophecy, or of New, in their common distribution of the ages, to locate the Millennium between the First and Second Advents, for the simple reason that, between these Advents, Israel lies nationally dead, and the Millennial Age begins with Israel’s national resurrection (Ez. 37.1-28); and also for the simple reason that between these Advents the Gentile Colossus still remains standing and the Millennial Age begins when the Colossus is struck and blown away like chaff (Dan. 2.35). And that this was not a fact at the first Advent, and is not a fact now, is proved by the further fact that Gentile politics and power still rule, and Israel, as a nation, is still unrisen from the dead [i.e., she has not been raised in the final uniform, salvific sense].
The contrary view which makes a “figure” of the Second Advent, would break down the whole Apocalypse of John which is built up, line for line, on Old Testament prophecy, and the words of our Lord in His Olivet discourse, and puts the crown and consummation on Israel’s hope. Impossible- forever impossible- that the prophetic pictures of Israel’s future, so brilliant and glowing, should belong to that period time when Jerusalem lies trodden in the dust with Gentile chains on her neck, and the proud Colossus tramples on the bones of Israel still bleaching in the valley, and Israel’s faithful dead still slumber in the grave; an age when Israel remains outcast, dispersed, rejected, still enthralled and unredeemed! Impossible! Impossible! As impossible as that the Covenant of God should break, or the “Strength of Israel” should lie! It cannot be! To evade, by dogmatic prepossession or false hermeneutics, or ignorant prejudice, or indifference, the clear revelation of God herein, and insist that the “Jewish people,” “Daniel’s people,” “Ezekiel’s and Isaiah’s people,” “the whole House of Israel,” mean “the totality of believers in all ages of the world,” or “The New Testament Church,” and that “the land” means Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, “the Territories of Christendome (Keil), is to do more than trifle with God’s Word. “It is to distort and negate it.” (Delitzsch).
By such a method of exposition, all the Eschata of both Testaments are dislocated, fact is evaporated, development in prophecy ignored, our present age misunderstood, no time or history beyond the Second Advent allowed, Israel’s future destiny and mission denied, the unity and continuity of prophecy left unheeded, and our conceptions substituted for the thought and will of God.
If we sum up, therefore, the result of our study, the whole subject will shine out with a clearness equal to the brilliance of the noonday. What we have is the development, in prophecy, of God’s kingdom on earth, by means of Israel the Messianic people.
…the prophets look to the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel at Messiah’s Coming in the clouds of heaven, and even to the eternal glory beyond.
*Nathaniel West was born in Sunderland, England, in 1826 and passed away in Washington, D. C. July 7, 1906, at the age of eighty. He was a well known speaker at Prophecy conferences in the 19th century, and the author of several works, including The Thousand Year Reign of Christ.