A Brother who has been reading DAWN, VOL. II., and who sees clearly that much of the strength of the argument in Chapter VII.—Parallel Dispensations—lies in the word "double," raises a question the answer to which may interest and strengthen others. We, therefore, give below the question and our answer to it.
He asks: "Is there any danger of mistake in your method of applying the word 'double.' Perhaps we should begin to count Israel's favor at the time of their deliverance from Egypt. Can it be said that Israel was in favor while suffering under the task-masters of Egypt? If not, would not this cut short their dispensation of favor 198 years (the period from Jacob's death to the coming of Israel out of bondage—out of Egypt, as you show it, vol. ii., p. 231), and leave it only 1647 years long instead of 1845? But then, if we begin Israel's national career and favor at the Exodus, we must still admit the turning point of their history was at the rejection of Christ, and as you so clearly show (vol. ii., p. 225) the very day that he rode to Jerusalem on the ass, five days before the crucifixion, is marked by the prophet as the date when the second part of their 'double' began. And if the first half of their 'double' was only 1647 years long, the other half must be the same; which would make their double end 1647 years after A.D. 33, that is, in A.D. 1680. But here I meet the difficulty that nothing in the nature of events to be expected at the end of their double occurred in 1680. Divine favor did not return to Israel and the fulness of the Gentiles (the end of the Gospel call) did not occur there.
"In a word, I am all mixed up. I have nothing regarding the 'double' to suggest myself—no reasonable or Scriptural solution to offer. And I have no fault to find with your applications and deductions, except the one point first stated, viz.: I cannot see how the first half of Israel's national experience from the death of Jacob to the death of Christ, 1845 years, was wholly either a period of chastisement or a period of favor. Can you straighten me out and show me where my difficulty lies? If you can, I will be thankful, as I prize the forcible and blessed conclusions of this chapter on the Parallel Dispensations greatly, and wish to have the subject clear."
Our reply may be brief; not much is necessary. The question is well stated and shows that the Brother has well digested the subject. We wish that all readers were as earnest and as thorough in their examination of these great subjects, that their faith might rest in the Word of God. We can help the Brother. We see just where he misses his footing, and it is an error very common to God's children against which all should studiously guard. The Brother has erred in reading into the Word of God, and into the DAWN account, something about the "double" which neither the DAWN nor God's Word say about it. Neither the DAWN nor the Bible anywhere say that the "double" was either a double of chastisement or a double of favor, nor that one half was of favor and the other half of chastisement. It is merely a time "double," regardless of the favors and disfavors, the chastisements and blessings they experience during their "double" time.
Get the thought: Israel as a nation at the death of Jacob became heirs of a promise, the Abrahamic promise; and under its provisions they expected a great personage to arise among them who, under special, divine favor, would become the great ruler of earth; who would more or less use them, his own nation, in subduing all things unto himself; and they expected thus, also, a share in his glory and influence as his special family nation. They clung more or less to this hope through centuries, and as Moses arose and did great things for them and yet died telling them that the great one was yet to come, and that his achievements for them were merely typical representations of the greater work of the coming Messiah (Deut. 18:15); as Joshua and Samuel and Saul and David and Solomon in turn passed away, we can see that the question with them must have been a question of time. When will God's time come for the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom so long promised and hoped for? This time came at the first advent, in one sense, when Messiah offered himself to his own nation and sent his disciples among them with the message, "The Time is at Hand—believe the good news [gospel] and repent." And when their national trial and sifting ended unfavorably to them, and the Master, as their King mounted on the ass, exclaimed, "Your house is left unto you desolate"— [R1160 : page 8] there the opportunity of furnishing the Messiah with a Bride class of joint-heirs, a complete Cabinet for the promised kingdom, passed from that nation; their worthy ones were accepted, but did not fill the fore-ordained number which God has since been completing by selections from among all nations.
Since Israel was unprepared to furnish Messiah a complete cabinet of faithful ones, and since he would not set up his kingdom until his cabinet or Bride is complete, therefore Israel as a nation must wait for its promised and longed-for share of work and honor, under Messiah. How long a time must they wait because of their failure to have ready a prepared people, fit for joint-heirship with Messiah? God through the prophet answers, I will render unto you double because of your sins. Shout O daughter of Zion, behold thy King cometh unto thee—(but God, foreseeing his rejection, except by the few, causes the prophet to continue) Even to-day do I declare it—I will render unto you double: You must now wait as long again.
With this thought of the "double" referring to nothing but duration, time, waiting, read again carefully the chapter entitled Parallel Dispensations, and you will have no difficulty. The fact that God has shown Israel no favor during the last half of their "double," and the fact that he foretold that it should be so, has nothing to do with the double of time. It is not a double time of favor, nor a double time of disfavor, but simply and only a double of time;—waiting for the promised kingdom.