RT. REV. TITCOMB: FROM THE 19TH CENTURY. CHAPTER 4

In Chapter 4, Bishop Titcomb begins laying the scriptural basis for British Israelism. He reminds us the Mosaic covenant was a nigh interruption between the Abrahamic and Messianic, and we shouldn’t be too distracted by it, “In other words, although the Mosaic Law intervened, yet there was no break between the Abrahamic covenant and the Messianic.” (p. 24) Starting with elements of promise given to Abraham, Titcomb divides the chapter into three parts: “the seed”, the ‘nation’, and the ‘land’, explaining each.

For the section regarding ‘seed’, Titcomb makes something of a distinction between ‘one seed’ found, say, in Gal 3:16 compared to the multitudinous one given in Gen. 13.16. The one-seed obviously led from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to Christ. However, Titcomb must answer if by ‘multitudinous seed’ either a spiritual or natural posterity is meant. As usual this kind of differentiating tends to be artificial as Jehovah indeed blesses families, their household heads, and their children. In the case, of the titular tribe of Judah, who carries the covenants, law, and adoption forward after conquest, there is perhaps a double honor. Titcomb says,

“It doubtless would include both. Certainly it refers to the latter, because in Gal. 3.7, St. Paul shows that all Christian believers are spiritually the ‘children of Abraham’. No less, however, must it include the literal seed also. Indeed, this was its primary meaning; as Solomon shews in 2 Chron. 1.9. The multitudinous seed, therefore, was as much a genealogical promise to Abraham, as a spiritual one. It was moreover, perfectly inalienable and absolute, being quite independent of any conditions attached to the Mosaic Law.” p. 24-5

As bible Christians we often confuse the Abrahamic promises with the Mosaic covenant simply because both are in the Old Testament. However, Christ not only fulfills the Law but, more importantly, realizes the Promises given to Abraham. British-Israel therefore makes no sense without clinging to Abraham’s covenant which displays blessings both to . Titcomb runs through related verses dismissing salvation by mere lineal descent. Rather, the Abrahamic promises of a genealogical character, just as they were declared to Abraham himself, are acquired by unmerited grace. He says,

“Thus the literal promises made unto the fathers were evidently abrogated after the coming of Christ, until they could be reinherited through evangelical faith. Nevertheless, St. Paul in no ways said that those promises and covenants were to be altogether forfeited or lost. On the contrary, he expressly addressed his unbelieving brethren, in this same chapter, as still having a title to them. For he says:– ‘Whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants” (v. 4). That is to say, they were not necessarily robbed of their old Abrahamic promises; they were held in reserve for them as the literal seed, so soon as they could claim them by virtue of Messianic faith.” p.25-26

Titcomb’s second section deals with the ‘nation’. Titcomb reminds us in as much as the covenant was made with Abraham was “Messianic, and not Mosaic, there seems no reason for supposing the national promise lapsed with the destruction of Jerusalem”. Indeed, we’ve shown in many previous postings how common English Protestant opinion was about a latter-day Restoration. Very compelling is Titcomb’s quote from Luke 21.24, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down under foot of the Gentiles UNTIL the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. This second part is usually understood as the ‘fullness of Gentiles’ which means all the elect of heathen are finally gathered. But there are three ways to understand this phrase. Interestingly, Titcomb does so by citing prominent Anglican authorities, namely, Patrick and Lowth (i.e., Bp. Patrick quoting Bp. Lowth) on Peter 2.10. They posit the following possibilities as to the dispersed’s identity:

“The the epistle was written to the Jews dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithyania the inscription shows; but that it must be also written either to the Gentiles proselyted to the Jewish religion– of whom see the note on 1 Pe. 1.1– or to the converts of the Twelve Tribes scattered among the heathen” p. 27

I see no reason why both can’t be true, given the Ten Tribes were reduced to Gentilism. In other words, by the dragnet of Gentiles, lost Israelites were ‘caught’ among the other fish. So, Titcomb says, and I find this to be likely, “It seems more than probable, therefore, that these Hebrew converts had been gathered from the dispersed of Israel rather than of Judah” (p.. 27)

The third section regards the Abrahaimic blessing of ‘land’. Since Titcomb has already substantiated ‘the perpetuity of the nation’s existence during the Messianic dispensation’, the land should logically be of the same surety. What’s interesting about Titcomb’s assessment is his view of prophetic postponement until repentance and faith is had. Of course, this also has its due season:

“And it is no less true this tenancy of it has been actually lost through unbelief for eighteen centuries; and it is, doubtless, equally true that so long as the state of disqualification continues, the re-inheritance of the land must be kept inn abeyance. But what if the House of Judah and Israel should both reappear in Messianic faith? Would the curse of the Mosaic law still endure? Would the original donation of grace have no effect? Would the covenant made with Abraham, here pronounced ‘everlasting’ be set aside and abandoned? I repeat once more those words of St Paul, “The law which was four hundred and thirty years afterwards, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” (Gal. 3.17). Hence, although the literal seed of Abraham has been excluded from the land so long, yet that land abides in the ‘everlasting covenant’ as a possession which can never be alienated, and which only waits for the time predicted by so many of the prophets, when it shall once more be inhabited under Messianic protection.” (p. 29)

Titcomb finally concedes the NT has few direct proofs for Israel’s national restoration, but it apparently contains numerous indirect proofs. One of my favorites mustered by the Bishop is from Rom. 11.2. Here, the Apostle quotes Deut 30.43, “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people”. There will indeed be a day when Jehovah will shame nay-sayers that he has kept His Word with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It likely will be not the current Zionist state of Israel but Judah converted and Israel pulled in from among the nations, together in the land of Promise, and the Gentiles will rejoice. Meanwhile, we’ll finish this post with a final verse from Titcomb, and if I can dig it up, a hymn for Deut 32.43. Titcomb says,

“other passages may be quoted of the same kind, proving that, although the object of the New Testament was not to enlarge upon the future of the literal Israel, it was certainly not its object to suppress it.” p. 30

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RT. REV. TITCOMB: FROM THE 19TH CENTURY. CHAPTER 4

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