Vol. 23 New Series December, 1961 No. 6

Although I have said that Philip Mauro published a number of very useful books round about fifty years ago, there was one in his latter days which was quite erroneous. It was called "The Hope of Israel: What is it?". I had never heard of it until I found a book in a bookshop called" The Israel Promises and Their Fulfilment," by Samuel Hinds Wilkinson of Brentwood, in Essex, England, published in 1936 in London.

Mr. John Wilkinson was the author of the book "Israel My Glory," and he obviously knew far more about Israel than Mauro did. In fact, Mauro was hopelessly muddled about the Hope of Israel. Mauro's position was as follows:—

Here Mr. Wilkinson waxes bold, and says, "He accurately describes the Church as regards its composition, and then, discarding the New Testament title of this 'people,' affixes his own title, the 'true Israel' to it.
Mauro then refers to the 'fellowship of the mystery' of Ephesians 3:9 as:— On the same page Mauro affirms then:— Again Mauro states:— Mr. Wilkinson then says, "If words mean anything, Mr. Philip Mauro considers that the Church is Israel, and that the natural Israel has become dispossessed of all the promises specifically given to it as a nation." Further, there is "an imputation of dishonesty to the promises of God and a dismissal to final ignominy of the people that He had formed for Himself to show forth His praise (Isaiah 43:21)." Again, "For there is no disguising of the fact that Mr. Mauro recognizes no other Israel but the Church, and regards the natural Israel as a heap of 'mortal and decaying remains' of 'dust and ashes.' He considers Israel and the Church to be 'mutually exclusive' and therefore incapable of co-existence." Mauro believed and declared that the natural Israel had reached and passed the end of its history, and that there is to be no recovery for it. Mauro's "true Israel" is Israel. There is no other. Any other claimant to the title is permanently. disqualified. Speaking of Israel's scattering, Mauro says: "This was to be the end of their history as a nation."

Yet the strange thing is that Mauro declares elsewhere in his book that the survival of the Jewish race is one of the two continuing miracles of history. And he also says in his Foreword:

Mauro then claims that the conception of the restoration of Israel is not only contrary to the Scriptures, but is the setting up of another hope, different from the 'one hope' of the Gospel of Christ; that it is indeed 'another gospel' and the very thing against which St. Paul gave the warning of Galatians: 1:8 and 9. He also claimed that the hope of Israel which Paul preached definitely excluded any future blessing for Israel, and that it was on this account that the Jewish people of his day clamoured for his death and denounced him as a pestilent fellow and a mover of sedition, Further, Mauro claimed that the Jewish teachers of Christ's day on earth wrongly interpreted Old Testament Scriptures in a 'literal' sense, believing that Israel was an earthly people, Zion an earthly locality, and the Messiah to be an earthly conqueror.
Here is another of his strange claims: Mr. Wilkinson then continues with seven more paragraphs exposing Mauro's strange ideas. The company composed of believing Israelites and believing Gentiles existent now, forming one body as represented by the Olive Tree of Romans 11 (and which in the New Testament is called the ekklEsia or Church) is the true Israel of God, and the name Israel properly belongs to the new covenant people or Church. Therefore we must conclude that all the promises to Israel which are apparently unfulfilled, apply to the true Israel of God (i.e. the Church of the New Testament) and that their fulfilment is in the realm of things spiritual and unseen.

Mauro then says that the New Testament has not one word to say as to a future reconstitution of the Jewish Nation, or to its re-occupation of the land of Canaan; that those who teach a distinct hope for the Jewish Nation admit that their teaching is not supported by the New Testament; that the Nation of Israel (in its national capacity) is not to be converted in millennial times or ever; that when the Kingdom of God was taken from Israel and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, the transfer was 'of course a finality'; that the doctrine of a yet future restoration of the Jewish Nation has not a Scriptural leg to stand upon; that no recovery is hinted at; and that the curses involved in the breach of the Sinaitic Covenant, as set out in Deut. 28:63-67, indicated the end of Israel's history as a nation.

The next argument by Mauro which is dealt with is that such promises as are found in Isaiah 11:12 and 13; Jeremiah 31:35-37; and Ezekiel 37:21 and 22 refer to the Spiritual Kingdom of Christ and the present Gospel era; and that the 'after this' of Acts 15:14-17 indicates the time then already come and that all the unfulfilled promises of God to Israel are for the 'spiritual seed' of Abraham. These passages refer to God's gathering of the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah; if the ordinances of the moon and the stars depart before Me, declares Yahweh, I also may reject all the seed of Israel for all that they have done; I Myself am going to take the sons of Israel from among the nations whither they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and will bring them in upon their own soil; and will make them one nation in the Land, among the mountains of Israel, and one King shall they all have for King,—And they shall remain no longer two nations, nor shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more. Acts 15:14-17 is about God at first visiting, to take out of Gentiles a people for His name. With this agree the words of the prophets; according as it has been written: "After these things will I return, and rebuild the tent of David that has fallen down; and the ruins thereof will I rebuild and will set it upright again; to the end that, in that case, the remainders of men may seek out the Lord, even all the Gentiles upon whom has been invoked My name upon them, says the Lord who does these things"—known from antiquity.

Here Mauro was simply denying very important prophecies of Scripture. He even said that the conception of a future national restoration for Israel is based on unspiritual interpretation, whether in ancient Jewish teachers or present-day orthodox Christians. Further, he said that "the setting up of the Davidic Kingdom is not the order of revelation as it stood when Christ appeared."

Mauro's whole purport is to make the Church of the New Testament the legitimate heir of promises specifically made to Israel people. This position is no new discovery: it is an old-standing error. Deeply ingrained in Christian theology, it has been a factor in stimulating those persecutions of Jews with which the name and cause of Christ have been sullied by those who professed and called themselves Christians. And the considerations which overrule Mauro's position, which disprove it, which make it to be a challenge to Divine honour and a distortion of Divine purpose, are as follows:— (1) All the promises to Israel under the Abrahamic covenant which the Sinaitic Covenant of law could not annul (Gal. 3:17-20) are made good for ever to the very Israel to whom they were given by virtue of the New Covenant and by Christ Himself, Who is the promised seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16).

(2) Israel received the promises before the legal Covenant was made: Israel received the promises by grace: the Covenant of law did not and could not vitiate those promises; the law was "added" till the promised Seed should come (Gal. 3:19). It was broken (Jeremiah 31 : 32) and replaced by a New Covenant, again resting, as did the Abrahamic Covenant, upon grace. Thereby the Sinaitic Covenant became obsolete (Heb. 8:13) and ready to vanish away. The Israel promises remain secure under the Abrahamic Covenant and are to be enjoyed by virtue of the New Covenant which guarantees the conversion of the nation (Heb. 8:10), and the complete effacement of all their sins (Heb. 8:12). In other words, what Israel received by grace under the Abrahamic Covenant, what Israel temporarily forfeited of enjoyment under law, Israel recoverS under grace by vision of the New Covenant.

(3) The Church has another calling, another habitation, another relationship to God than that of Israel. The figures of temple, vine, flock, physical frame, family bond and bride confirm this, just as do the independent figures of olive, flock, sonship, unfaithful wife and a dozen others set forth a similar but not identical relationship between God and Israel. The former are New Testament figures and concern the Church alone; the latter are both Old and New Testament figures and concern Israel.

(4) The application of the terms "true Israel," true Zion, Spiritual seed of Abraham to the New Testament Church is erroneous and misleading. Gentile believers are privileged to be a seed of Abraham "by faith" (Romans 3:30; 4:16). The attempt to find a Spiritual fulfilment of Israel promises in the present age, with the Lord absent, with the world in rebellion, with the Church itself largely infected by worldly wisdom and error and apathy, involves a limitation of grace and purpose, a lowering of the standard of the doing of the Divine will on earth as it is done in heaven, a diminution of the measure in which our Lord is to see of the travail of His soul in being glorified and acclaimed on the same earth as that on which He was rejected and crucified.

Further on, Mr. S. H. Wilkinson says: "It is a matter of special grace and of special and later revelation that believing Gentiles should be made partakers with the believing remnant of Israel of present Spiritual blessing as well as of heavenly inheritance. No more than did the seven thousand resistants to Baal obliterate the main, though idolatrous body of Israel or deprive it of its place in Divine purpose, does the New Testament Church, precisely analogous of the other, replace Israel or cancel Israel promises:—Rather than this, let the New Testament declaration stand :—"

A quotation is then given from Mr. John Wilkinson's book, "Israel My Glory":—"The meaning of this verse is that, although the Jewish nation has fearfully stumbled, it is not to be destroyed, and that pending the nation's restoration and blessing and the fulfilment of the nation's election and preservation, the nation's trespass is to be made the occasion of large though limited blessing to the Gentile world, and thus the Divine Mission of Jesus proved to the unbelieving Jews by the transformed character and lives of Gentiles who believe in and follow Him. The effect of Christ-like lives among Gentiles will be to excite the Jews to emulation when they see the reality and power of the Gospel of Christ."

On another page S. H. Wilkinson tackles Mauro concerning the term Israel. Mauro says "Now the apostle. . . . declares expressly that the unbelieving part of the nation is not the true 'Israel.' "Mr. Mauro, the apostle does not say so, there or anywhere, expressly or even suggestively. What he does say is that "They are not all Israel which are of Israel." A similar statement, to be similarly understood, is found in Romans 2:28, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly." The word does not disenfranchise unsaved Jews, but draws the clear distinction between Jews who are such by race only, and "completed Jews," who are Jews both by race and by true Jewish faith, completed in the Gospel. The distinction here drawn is between those Israelites who are merely the natural posterity of Abraham and those other Israelites who are not only Abraham's natural posterity but also Abraham's spiritual children by faith. But the name Israel itself is not thereby transferred to the believing remnant in such a manner as that the natural posterity of Abraham, who are also of Israel, are dispossessed of it. Otherwise how could the apostle say "My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved." How could Israel need prayer for their salvation if the term Israel applied only to an already saved portion of it? How could the same apostle in the same context have continual heaviness and sorrow in his heart for those "who are Israelites," if the term applied only to those who had become spiritually elect Israelites by faith and regenerating grace?

Then it is stated that the children of Israel are to abide many days "without a king and without a prince and without a sacrifice and without an image and without an ephod and without teraphim": But no less true is it that "afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God and David their king: and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days" (Hosea 3:4 and 5).

It is next stressed that there will be only "One Kingdom" of Israel, not two, and Acts 3:21, and 15:15 and 16 are quoted.

Steadily in his book of 186 pages S. H. Wilkinson presses and pushes Mauro more and more tightly. But there is one mistake Wilkinson made: "For the Church is the Bride of Christ" (page 139). Those who have found salvation since the time of Paul and have faith in Christ are not the Bride of Christ. Paul never uses the Greek word for Bride (numphE), which occurs eight times in the New Testament.

One can feel sorry for Philip Mauro. Probably he had become muddled in his mind when he was old. He certainly made statements which contradicted each other.

A.T. Last updated 10.11.2005