About the quotation of Isaiah 6:9, 10 by the Lord Jesus
in Matt. 13:14, 15, Mr. Welch says:
"No word could more definitely indicate that this prophecy was at that time completely, nationally and finally fulfilled."
He points out that the word "filled-up" (anaplEroO, its only occurrence in the Gospels) is "intenser" than the usual "fulfilled" (plEroO), and that in the two repetitions of this quotation of Isaiah (John 12 and Acts 28) "filled-up" is omitted. Mr. Welch adds:
"Isaiah 6:9, 10, while repeated in Acts 28, was really fulfilled in Matthew 13."
Let us get this vital fact firmly fixed in our minds. Isaiah 6:9, 10 was in the fullest sense filled-up in Matthew 13, completely, nationally, and finally, so that, while repeated in Acts 28:26, 27, it was really fulfilled in Matthew 13.
Many of us have been for years under the impression that the filling-up of this prophecy took place in Acts 28 at Rome. Mr. Welch has been the foremost exponent of this view, which he has now completely and finally exploded and which for years past I have been contending is fallacious and false. I cannot, however, yield to Mr. Welch all the credit for exploding it; for I have all along realized that the view is a delusion, whereas Mr. Welch plainly indicates that he does not even yet understand the implications of this statement of his! In spite of it he reiterates at the end of his paper that "the theme 'Acts 28 the Dispensational Boundary,' which opened our ministry in The Berean Expositor in 1909 . . . has been examined and re-examined, and challenged but never refuted." (p. 159).
He even said "The 'dismissal' of Israel pronounced with such solemnity in Acts 28, and the dismissal of Israel pronounced with equal gravity in Matthew 13, 23, 24 are related to one another as de jure is to de facto. Often a period intervenes between the sentence as pronounced and the sentence as executed." Although the prophecy was "at that time (i.e. in Matthew 13) "completely, nationally and finally fulfilled"; also, according to Mr. Welch, it was not fulfilled then at all but "A stay of execution was granted" and "The dismissal, however, became de facto at Acts 28" (p. 155).
Frankly, I cannot understand such playing with words! If Isaiah 6:9, 10 was "completely, nationally and finally" filled-up in Matthew 13; and it certainly was; it was filled-up, then and there, once and for all. The writer who in one breath speaks of a prophecy as completely and finally fulfilled and in the Next finds a stay in execution and a postponement of some forty years hardly deserves congratulation.
The astonishing thing about some expositors is the way so many fine ideas come to the surface of their thinking but never manage to emerge, clarify themselves and relate themselves to other ideas.
Here Mr. Welch could have led the way to a great new advance by his recovery of the lost truth about Matthew 13. Instead, he has failed to understand it at all and has even conceived the grotesque idea that it supports his doctrine about Acts 28 instead of finally annihilating it.
I am informed that in some quarters I am being blamed for the alleged difficulty of my chapters so far published. No doubt a greater writer would achieve greater simplicity, but I would again remind my critics that ALL these complexities were manufactured for me before ever I started. Mr. Welch's paper from which I have quoted is a case in point. He could have done much to simplify this issue. Instead, he has obscured it to an extent which I would have deemed impossible until I read his paper. By all means let us resent the complications which have been woven around this subject; but let us also in fairness reserve our blame for those who first wove them!
By the way, I humbly suggest that we would do well to consider again what Matthew 13:14, 15 actually does say. Mr. Welch seems to think that it refers to "the dismissal" of Israel, to Israel's "rejection" and "divorce." I wonder he did not for full measure include "Israel's casting away"! Why do we all find it so hard to keep to the precise words of Scripture?
R. B. WITHERS Last updated 4.10.2008