Because of our connection with a certain school of Christian thought, we once held the erroneous opinion that most of the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled, and that its present use was simply to feed the faith of devout men. Also, that any nourishment for faith which could be drawn from that source was not wholesome food for the soul, unless we were in possession of such an exalted type of spirituality that we would be able to rise above the somewhat prosy details of its histories, and find our soul-food in a surely accompanying spiritual influence, which, in its action upon us, was superior to the mere literalness of the subject matter.
We were also led to suppose that the unfulfilled prophecies of "Moses and the prophets" were of no special moment to Christianity, because the great momentous question, the coming of a Saviour, was settled forever. Consequently, when, perchance, we found some prophetic utterance therein, which we were forced to admit had not become a historic verity, and since this was the dispensation of the Spirit, we felt at liberty to give the reins to our somewhat vivid imagination, and let it run unchecked through the verdant and fruitful fields of speculation in search of some rare and deeply spiritual truth which we might lay against that seeming rhetorical figure of Holy Writ.
But this roaming through those alluring fields always resulted in failure, for when those fanciful and random conjectures, no matter how lofty, were brought before our quickened conscience, they were soon condemned, because that judge who sits at the bar of our spiritual integrity not only revealed their insincerity, but also convinced us that they did not contain the real import, thought and purpose for which those words of God were written. Thus defeated, we could only bemoan our lack, not only of the mental power to grasp the true meaning of those holy words, but also the depth of spirituality which was supposed to be essential to the possession of that intense spiritual power which could pierce through the density of earthly things into the rarity of those which were heavenly. For the spiritual standards which we had erected for ourselves demanded the attainment of a soul life which would give us power to soar in the spirit into such rarefied heights of divine enlightenment that we could discern the graceful curves, the symmetrical outlines, the non-earthly shadows, the heavenly half-tones and the divine highlights of that wonderful picture -- that spiritual masterpiece -- which lay behind the coarseness of the letter.
These errors so blinded us, that, in our ignorance, we even considered that the twelve apostles, whom our Lord had chosen and enlightened, were in gross error when they understood Christ and the Scriptures to teach that there was to be a literal and visible kingdom of God on the earth with the Lord as king of all the earth when that day came. We assumed that their conception of the promised kingdom, when contrasted with our own, was carnal in the extreme, and that the superiority of our conception lay in the fact that it was free from all such mortal grossness. And we really thought that this spirit of moral groveling among the apostles had reached its climax, when James, who afterward became a martyr, and his brother John, he whom the Master loved, took their mother to Christ, and had her make a request of Him for them which they did not dare make for themselves.
But, thank God, such conceptions of divine truth were only our spiritual swaddling clothes, and the daydreams of spiritual babyhood. For, as we grew in grace, and became less presumptive, the Holy Ghost lifted the veil from our mind, and illuminated the following portion of the Saviour's reply to the request of the mother of James and John: "To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."
In this work we have followed the history of the two families, or kingdoms, into which the seed of Abraham were divided, through the intricate paths of their Biblical history, and the prophecies concerning them, which have thus far become history, down to the present day, without the loss of any single connecting link.
We have been moved by the Holy Spirit to thus write concerning the earthly history of God's chosen race, because so very little of it is known by the masses of our people, and yet it is the foundation upon which the entire structure of Christianity must rest. A knowledge of these earthly things not only renders the claims of Christianity impregnable, but they are also the basis upon which we must rest our faith for better things. For Jesus has said, "If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" The truth of this saying of our Lord has been demonstrated in our own ministry; for in the past seven years, during which time we have been able to demonstrate the special features of truth as set forth in this book — i.e., the realization of the promises made to ISRAEL, by THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL — the Lord has used us to bring more skeptics to the light of his truth, than in all our previous ministry of twenty-one years. Also during this seven years, while we have seen the faith of some fail, the Lord has helped us to save the tottering faith of many. We are also sure, from the very reasons which are given, that the faith of those who have made shipwreck could not have failed, if they had known these things. Hence we have written this time concerning the earthly things which are the subjects of Divine inspiration, praying that God will use them to strengthen the faith of some, and to bring others into the faith in the inspiration of the Bible. But if there seems to be a demand for it we will write again, and then we will write on THE HEAVENLY THINGS.