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Posts Tagged ‘Judaism’

Why Christians Must Pray For The Salvation Of The Jews

Posted by Job on December 26, 2010

Upon leaving the dispensationalism that I was reared in, the question of precisely what position that I as a Christian should take towards the Jewish people and the Jewish state vexed me. Should I take the hostile position towards both that has been exhibited by many Christians throughout history, a position that cannot be reconciled with either the New Testament text or the wise words of Augustine? Should I continue the dispensational practice of preferring Judaism and Israel over other false religions and nation-states established around them? (What, for instance, justifies the Christian’s being any more supportive of Jews and Israel than of Muslims and Saudi Arabia or Hindus and India?) I resolved this theological, intellectual and emotional internal conflict by choosing the path of Sweden, which is neutrality. I attempted to wash my hands of all things concerning Israel and Jewry and began to try to concern myself only with Christians as part of an attempt to remain more faithful to the Bible.

That is, until, I recently encountered a snippet of knowledge, the source of which I have since forgotten. It appears that in some setting at some time, some Christian was challenged to justify his faith in God by providing evidence or proof. This fellow responded to the effect that the best physical, tangible evidence of the existence of God and the truth of the Bible was the continued existence of the Jewish people. And it should be mentioned that the person who provided this bit of wisdom was no premillennial dispensationalist.

And the wisdom of this cannot be denied. Of all the people groups that have existed and passed into history, of all the languages, cultures, religions and traditions, what accounts for the dogged perseverance of the Jews? And has there been a more uniquely persecuted, hated, marginalized, discriminated against, and despised group of people throughout recorded history than the Jews? The attempts by the ungodly to destroy the Jews date back to the stated desire of Esau to murder Jacob and climaxed with Hitler’s final solution, which nearly succeeded because no one, no nation stood up in their defense. And yet the Jews still exist while people groups have perished. Indeed, they have existed despite not controlling a sovereign homeland since 586 B.C. Why? It is not because of their strength, nor because it is of their great numbers. The only logical, rational, reasonable answer to the conundrum that is the continued existence of the Jewish people is that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still lives, and is still protecting them.

But why is this? The mission of Israel has been completed. Though national Israel failed to accomplish the task, the Son of Israel, God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, did so, and the result of Jesus Christ’s fulfilling the law of Moses and dying on the cross for our sins is the church, composed of both Jew and Gentile. The law was a schoolmaster to point us to Jesus Christ, who has come from the Father, walked this earth in perfect obedience to the Father, returned to the Father, and now is in His high priestly role as intercessor between God and man, awaiting His second coming. So then, why is the continued existence of the Jewish people necessary?

The answer is found in Romans 11:25-27, which reads “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

We cannot be naive as touching this prophecy. Satan and the other enemies of God know this prophecy. They do not want this prophecy to be fulfilled. So, the enemies of God have been hard at work trying to prevent it from being fulfilled by attempting to destroy the ones who will be heirs to this prophesy and its promise from the face of the earth. Their attempts can be described by Psalm 2:1-3 “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, [saying], Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

And who can deny that these attempts are ongoing? The attacks against Israel and the Jews are increasing in their vehemence and frequency. And what is being done about it? Nothing. Now, I have toned down my “new world order” talk in recent months, but who can deny that this “new world order” of secularists, socialists, nationalists, Muslims and Catholics is very bad for both Jews and Bible-believing Christians? Look at what is going on in the world … Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, the European Union, and even a coalition of Latin American countries led by Venezuela constantly saber-rattles against Israel. Most other nations, including the United States, China and Russia, are openly collaborating with Iran and Israel’s other enemies. The same is true of the United Nations and the other leading NGOs.  Now I do not subscribe to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thinking, but simply looking at the geopolitical currents is enough to challenge the “neutral towards Israel and the Jews” thinking. We cannot deny that these evil people and groups are bent on destroying Jews from the face of the earth as an act of defiance and rebellion against God and His Word.

So what, then, are Christians to do? There are a lot of things that are currently being done, and many of them I used to support. However, beware: so many of them rely on human methods – the arm of the flesh – in support of a religion and a nation state that honestly does explicitly reject Jesus Christ. We cannot and should not use those methods. Similarly, we are also not to succumb to the temptation of becoming anti-Israel or anti-Jew, nor can we fall into the trap of apathy, or as I called it for myself , “neutrality”, as the Bible commands us to study the scriptures and discern the times.

What is the answer, the solution, then? Prayer. We must pray that the prophesy of Romans 11:25-27 come to pass, that all Israel be saved! After the manner of the prayer that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave to us, we must pray that this thing be done on earth just as it is God’s Will in heaven. This is something that all Bible-believing Christians regardless of background, political beliefs or theological/eschatological system must do: pray for the salvation of the Jews. That is the answer – the only answer – that resolves all the issues involved.

Yes, we are to bring the gospel to all nations as commanded to the Great Commission, and yes, God has no respect of persons. Yes, Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11 are still true … in Christ there is neither Jew or Gentile, male or female, free or slave, rich or poor etc. However, we cannot be ignorant of the fact that Romans 11:25-27 (and the entire context of Romans 11 for that matter, which begins with “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.”) is not universal in scope but instead applies only to Jews. So, it is for the salvation of the Jewish people that we must pray. And yes, this does mean we must pray that the Jewish people continue to exist and have God’s protection during the times of the Gentiles, so that at the consummation of the times of the Gentiles, this prophecy will be completed. This thing is God’s will, as Bible-believing obedient and submissive Christians it should be our wills as well, and God’s will shall be done to the glory of God alone. So, then, in this fact, let all of God’s people, Jew and Gentile alike, rejoice!

And whether you are Jew or Gentile, if you are not one of God’s people, I urge that you become one today. Turn away from your sins, flee the judgment of death and destruction that God will inflict on His enemies, and

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan Today!

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On Franklin Graham And The Pentagon’s Rescinding Their Invitation

Posted by Job on April 26, 2010

You may have heard about how Franklin Graham was disinvited to a Pentagon prayer service because of his refusal to rescind comments that he made attacking Islam, as it is the subject of not a little controversy. Two thoughts.

1. Some use incidents as these as evidence that America is turning away from Christianity. My position is that nations and governments are all of the world, and as such have rejected Jesus Christ and will be judged by this same Jesus Christ. While the rejection of Jesus Christ by our nation and its institutions is perhaps more overt in some respects than in the past, and while there probably are indeed fewer legitimate Christians in America in terms of the percentage of the population than there were in times past, America is still as it always was … of the world. The church of Jesus Christ is the ekklesia, the elect that is called out of the world. Further, America is just one of many nations that has existed and will exist in human history. While God has used America’s Christians to do a lot of great things (i.e. in missionary evangelism), let us not fall into the deceptive thinking that America has a special standing before God; that America is or ever was in some sort of covenant relationship with God, or any of the other myths of American culture and tradition. There was only one nation brought into existence as an act of special creation by God with the purpose of being the light to the nations. That nation was Israel, and Israel’s purpose was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God did not create America or any other nation to carry out the purposes that Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – already accomplished.

2. For the record, I agree with what Franklin Graham said against Islam. This places me in league with virtually all of the supporters of Graham in this controversy. The point of divergence is that I will apply what Graham said against Islam to Judaism, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism and any other false or heretical religion or belief system that denies God’s revelation and exalts itself against the God of the Bible. So Graham attacks Islam, suffers (minor) consequences for it, and is the evangelical hero of the moment in some quarters. But suppose Graham were to say the same about Judaism? These same people wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. Many of them would be front and center denouncing Graham as anti-Semitic and hateful, and they would by no means be limited to premillennial dispensationalists. The very same people who run their little “Jihad Watch” websites and blogs reciting violent statements in the Koran ignore that the very same exhortations to commit genocide and kill nonbelievers appear in the Old Testament, making them perfectly valid for Jews to practice. They know full well that Jews are operating in darkness because they reject the New Testament revelation – that of an explicitly fully revealed Jesus Christ – that puts the Old Testament into context. Yet had Graham gone after Jews the way that he did Muslims, how many people would find his being expelled from the Pentagon prayer event to be overly objectionable? The same number as would had Graham said those things against Roman Catholics and Mormons. The conservative evangelicals on the religious right, who rely on conservative Catholics, Mormons and Jews, would in particular be apoplectic. Which, of course, is why you rarely hear evangelical leaders speaking against those false religions anymore.

Yes, I know that Franklin Graham made those comments after September 11th, when Muslims killed a great many Americans. But in addition to Graham’s unwillingness to challenge Roman Catholics on their many heresies because he is an ecumenical sort like his father, it is curious that Graham was moved to such strong speech by Muslims’ killing Americans but not Americans’ killing Muslims. What does Graham think of our overthrowing the Iranian government over oil profits? What does Graham think of our overthrowing the Iraqi government to put Saddam Hussein in power, and then sponsoring Hussein’s Iraq government in a war against this same Iran (after they turned on us) that killed millions of Muslims? What does Graham think of first war against Iraq, which happened because Hussein invaded Kuwait as part of a scheme to get OPEC to raise oil prices because our proxy war against Iran left his nation broke? What does Graham think of the crushing sanctions against Iraq after the first Iraq War, or the second Iraq War? Apparently, it is just fine for America to kill millions of Muslims with wars, proxy wars and sanctions. We’re America, and we can do whatever we want, right? But when the Muslim world responds to our killing millions of THEM by killing a few thousand of US, this is how Graham responds (and keep in mind, this was Graham’s softened public relations backtrack from his original, harsher comments)? Graham talks about how Islam treats its women when America invented pornography and is trying to impose legalized abortion on the rest of the world through the U.N. and other NGOs?

Here is a quote: “Graham later wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying he did not believe Muslims were evil because of their faith, but “as a minister … I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching.”  Fine. But let’s hear Graham, as a minister, replace “Muslim” with “Jew”, “Mormon”, “Roman Catholic”, “Jehovah’s Witness” or “AMERICAN” in that sentence. Theologically, he would be justified. But if he did, the same people defending him over this now would have rejected him over it. The reason is that these people aren’t interested in legitimate Bible-based Christianity. If they were, it would be Muslim, Mormon, Jew, Catholic … six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Instead, these people are fighting political and cultural battles. Because after all, politics and culture – the world – is the only sphere where preferring the Muslim to the Jew or Catholic makes sense. It’s the only sphere where an aggressively hostile attitude towards Muslims can coexist with the “Christians must support Israel!” mindset when in truth there is no New Testament justification for EITHER.

Now again, what Franklin Graham said against Islam was 100% true. The problem is that the same people who supported Graham in what he said against Islam would abandon him in a heartbeat were he to say the same against Jews, Catholics, or for that matter whatever policy that got us into this Iraq/Iran mess. The reason for this double standard, this hypocrisy is worldliness, and this worldliness is not something that can be blamed on the people that had Graham disinvited from the prayer event.

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Jewish Rabbis Embrace Jewish Jihad (Against Non-Jews Only Of Course)

Posted by Job on November 12, 2009

When your religion is based on the opinions of man (Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, liberation theology) instead of the Bible (Christianity) well these things happen! And by the way, this IS taking Zionism, including Christian Zionism, to its logical conclusion, because Christian Zionism teaches that the Old Testament is still in effect and binding for Jews. Christian Zionism actually regards teachings that Jesus Christ fulfilled, replaced and superseded the Old Testament to be anti-Semitism. So, since the Old Testament is still in effect, Jews have carte blanche to kill anyone that they regard as an enemy, and when I say kill I mean GENOCIDE.

Courtesy of PJ Miller:

West Bank rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel

 

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America’s Occult Past And Present From Joseph Smith To Joel Osteen!

Posted by Job on October 27, 2009

DUIN: Halloween spurs tales of the occult

Two key excerpts:

“Dubbed the Burned-Over District, the region was the perfect incubator for Mormon founder Joseph Smith, a well-known clairvoyant before his famous visions. His family owned magical charms, divining rods, amulets and other esoterica. “

Next …

“Plus, a lot of mystical subcultures have gone mainstream and have been Christianized. Mr. Horowitz did a brilliant job of tracking down how positive thinker Norman Vincent Peale borrowed his core self-help philosophy from a religious movement called New Thought.

“I listen to [megachurch preacher] Joel Osteen frequently on Sunday mornings,” the author said, “and he’s giving sermons that are discourses in positive thinking. He’s standing on the shoulders of an occult tradition.””

Further proof that no nation, America included, can be a “Christian nation” for “founded on Christianity” or “founded on Christian principles.” The road to destruction is easy and wide and has many entry points, but the road to heaven is narrow and rough and can only be entered by the cross of Jesus Christ!

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The Strange Religious Direction That Quantum Physics Is Taking

Posted by Job on October 15, 2009

From the Huffington Post:

And in the modern world, with the strange and inexplicable discoveries of quantum physics, scientific treatises on the nature of reality sound remarkably like ancient mystical writings. The more we learn about the shocking contradictions and improbable mechanics of the subatomic world, the more it appears that the universe is less like Isaac Newton’s giant clock and more like one giant dream, imagined from within an implicate order that transcends human reason. Such a vision would be familiar to the Sufis of Islam, along with their counterparts among Buddhist masters, Kabbalists and Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart.

So, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and “Christian” mystics all agree on this stuff. Fascinating. In addition, the “dreamtime” religious myths of Australian aborigines can be compared to this also. (Incidentally, Kabbalist means Jewish, as Kabbalism is part and parcel to the accepted Jewish religion. Kabbalism is in no way pseudo-Jewish cultism. Instead, esoteric knowledge and magic are all over Judaism, and is the acknowledged but seldom spoken of underpinnings of the Talmud and other rabbinic Jewish books. Kabbalah, which at best is a syncretism between some elements of the Hebrew religion and the Babylonian pagan mystery religions and is more likely the Babylonian mystery religion in Jewish guise, can be considered “higher Judaism.” Jews are encouraged to master the Talmud and the other books first, and the brightest and most devoted then go on to study Kabbalah. From a Jewish website: Kabbalah is also part of the Oral law. It is the traditional mystical understanding of the Torah. Kabbalah stresses the reasons and understanding of the commandments, and the cause of events described in the Torah. Kabbalah includes the understanding of the spiritual spheres in creation, and the rules and ways by which G-d administers the existence of the universe. More information that “Christian Zionist” preachers and leaders never tell the laymen, though they certainly know about it. So, we should not be surprised that Kabbalists and Muslims agree on this topic, because it is “knowledge” that not only spiritually but also quite literally has the same origin.)

This also seems to correlate to the religious worldview pushed by people such as Dan Brown and George Lucas (theosophy and New Age sorts), where knowledge (or more accurately consciousness), matter and energy themselves are worshiped as god. Reminds me of a couple of articles I read (see below). One world religion anybody? The interesting thing is that this religio-scientific worldview very much accommodates evolution, the big bang theory and similar. As a matter of fact, the article points out that believers in this worldview include Francis Collins, the current director of the National Institutes of Health (Barack Hussein Obama appointee). Despite his belief in and advocacy for evolution, Collins is considered to be an evangelical Christian (and is indeed embraced as one by evangelicals desperate to see one of their own ranks represented in mainstream culture, especially in the elite academic, scientific and government arenas, and Collins represents all three), and is working to get evangelical Christians to abandon their opposition to evolution. I should point out that in this Francis is far from alone, as not a few Anglican evangelical theologians, including Alister McGrath, have been trying to get evangelicals to submit to evolution for decades. And incidentally, you should know that the Roman Catholic Church, with its long history of mysticism, is slowly accommodating evolution as well. Again, one world religion maybe, perhaps?

crossroad.to/articles2/05/star-wars.htm

rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/newage.htm

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How Does Premillennial Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology Interpret The Parable of the Tenants In The Vineyard Matthew 21:33-44?

Posted by Job on August 26, 2009

The parable of the tenants of the vineyard of Jesus Christ is as follows.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

The Word of God for the people of God, praise be to God.

Now, this is a parable that should cause trouble to both covenant theology and premillennial dispensationalism. First, regarding covenant theology “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” has to point to a clear distinction, a clear demarcation between Israel and the church. Further, the fact that there were 12 apostles does so as well. The 12 apostles clearly supplant the original 12 tribes of Israel. It is the apostles and prophets that are called the foundation of the church, not the patriarchs of the 12 tribes, and even Moses is only included in the church’s foundation inasmuch as he is a prophet. Further, when Jesus Christ stated that he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist, whom Jesus Christ called the greatest of prophets (meaning greater than Moses) then the church age prophets would have been greater than the Old Testament prophets. Now, it is true that there is one people of God; one elect people, and further that everyone in this elect group was justified by the work of Jesus Christ. However, this group does not only include Israel and the church. It also includes Seth, Enoch, Noah, Job, Melchizedek, Jethro/Reuel, the Queen of Sheba, and many others that cannot be called “Israel” in any sense. Just as Job and the Queen of Sheba were most certainly not Israelites, having no part in the Sinai covenant or Abraham’s lineage, the Israelites are certainly not part of the church. Also: the Bible makes it clear that everyone who is in the universal, invisible church, the actual body of Christ, is born again and thus heaven bound. It is self-evident from scripture that every Israelite was not and is not heaven bound. Yet, covenant theology maintains that “Israel was the church of the Old Testament” because covenant theology was created to support the concept of the state-church where everyone in a given jurisdiction was initiated into by paedobaptism (infant baptism) as opposed to a confession of faith and subsequent believer’s baptism (which is the method that the Bible actually commands and gives examples of whereas there is not a single instance of paedobaptism recorded or commanded in scripture despite the best attempts of paedobaptists to claim that the command “believe and be baptized and you will be saved, you and your house” to the Philippian jailer justifies this doctrine, ignoring the critical “believe” portion of the formula which precludes sprinkling babies) and state church advocates openly acknowledged that not everyone in these churches was born again, that only the ecclesiola within the ecclesia (the hidden invisible smaller subset within the larger church) was going to heaven. Keep in mind: there was never any denial that the state church was one where people were joined to by compulsion (with death or banishment to those who refused) and was maintained not for political purposes but because of the belief that a single religion was necessary for political and cultural unity and stability, not for religious reasons. So, with the need to maintain such political-religious institutions, the notion that baptizing unregenerate and non-elect infants into the church was the same as circumcising non-elect Jews under the old covenant was a natural progression. However, once one actually obeys James 4, Romans 12:1-2, John 14-17 and learns from the typology of the sacrificial system (where it wasn’t even lawful to use tools to cut the stones for the altar or else the altar would be rendered ritually impure by the tools and the hands that used them … the seed of the “by the gracious work of God and not the works of men” doctrine) and removes the holy sanctified church from the unholy and defiled state and larger society, the whole “Israel is the church of the Old Testament” idea falls apart, and the concept of the theocracized government and culture with it.

Now for premillennial dispensationalism. The first servant rejected by the tenants was Moses, which happened when Israel refused to enter Canaan, choosing to believe the evil report over the good report of Joshua and Caleb. The second servant rejected by the tenants was Samuel when Israel asked for a king. Then Israel – or at least the northern kingdom – rejected the line of David. The subsequent servants rejected were the prophets who warned Israel of their apostasy and called them to repent, but ultimately were not heeded. And finally, Israel rejected the Son Jesus Christ. Now a key here is this portion: “When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” Please note that while Jesus Christ did not emphasize their interpretation, He did not deny it either. Rather, He assented to it, and moved on to the main point that He was trying to make. Yet the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to recall and include this answer – which was in no way wrong – for a reason. The destruction of the wicked men who rejected the Son of God was a reference to the destruction of the Jewish temple and the nation in 70 A.D., a topic that Jesus Christ gave more detailed attention to in the Olivet discourse. (While I am not a preterist – whether partial or full – this is the portion of “this generation” of Matthew 24:34 and similar that was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Of the range of meanings of “genea”, it cannot mean “nation or race” for the Jewish nation will never be destroyed, and whether it means “age” or “generation” is of no consequence, as the Jewish age did come to an end at 70 A.D., and it happened within that generation, the people living in that time.)

And this brings us back to “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” What of the premillennial dispensationalists calling “replacement theology” an evil, anti-Semitic heresy? Who was the kingdom of God taken from but the Jews? Who was it given to but the church? In particular, this is a problem for the premillennial dispensational “Jewish millennium” doctrines, which states that after the church age ends, a newer, better Jewish age will begin with Jesus Christ ruling from the Jewish temple, the sacrificial system and priesthood reinstituted (which completely rejects or ignores virtually everything in the book of Hebrews), and all nations and people serving Israel. If the kingdom of God was taken from Israel, then the millennium will not be Jewish but Christian, and Jews will participate only inasmuch as they become Christians and join the church.

Premillennial dispensationalism, however, rejects this and states that the millennium will be one of Messianic Judaism (or what Messianic Judaism is fast becoming, see exhibit 1 and exhibit A, exhibit B and exhibit C and exhibit D and many more!) and not Christianity hence the true Messianic age. In that case, what does that make the church age? A type or foreshadowing of the Messianic dispensation? If that is true, what does that make Old Testament Israel? Premillennial dispensationalism makes Israel the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, and the church goes from the mystery planned but kept secret from the foundation of the world that the prophets spoke of whose true nature will not be revealed until the seventh trump sounds in Revelation to being a “make-work keep busy project” between the two Israel ages, and Christianity becomes an inferior and temporary – though suitable for Gentile purposes – form of the true eternal revelation and religion, which is Judaism. This rejects even the Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah, which states that rather than Israel being the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, the purpose and role of Israel in redemption was transferred to the Son of Israel Jesus Christ, which in these days is accomplished by the Body of Jesus Christ, which is the church.

Now of course, Paul the Benjamite did say that God has not cast aside His people and that all Israel will be saved after the times of the Gentiles are done. However, a contextual reading of Romans (and everything else that Paul wrote, not to mention everything else that Peter, James, John, Luke, Jude, the writer of Hebrews etc. wrote) makes it clear that all Israel will be saved by virtue of hearing the gospel, which means that all Israel joins the Gentiles in the church to form one new man. Premillennial dispensationalism does give a plausible explanation for why the millennium will be a Jewish one: the church will have been raptured. This allows premillennial dispensationalism to interpret the Kingdom of Heaven parables to refer to the Jewish nation during the millennium as opposed to the church age. (Seriously, that is what this system teaches. So, “the pearl of great price” under this system does not refer to either a man giving up everything – his old nature – to become saved or Jesus Christ’s lowering Himself and going to the cross to redeem the church, but rather the Jewish remnant during the great tribulation.) So, while it is possible that Paul’s prophecy “all Israel will be saved” will occur during the millennium, the idea that it will happen with the restoration of the Jewish kingdom directly conflicts with Jesus Christ’s statement that the kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to another nation (the church) and its fruits. Indeed, “all Israel shall be saved” will be counted as the fruits of the church.

The bottom line: Jesus Christ specifically stated that the kingdom was transferred from the Jews to the church, and this message was modeled by His choosing 12 apostles to replace the original 12 patriarchs of Israel, and it was repeated by the writers of the New Testament. Though the Bible does say “all Israel will be saved”, at no point does it say that the kingdom (meaning the focus of God’s economy, the people of God, the people that give God prayer, worship and praise that He accepts, and the people that God works through to carry out His purposes) would be transferred back to Israel. No scripture text that can be interpreted as claiming that the kingdom would revert from the church back to Israel can be found in either the Old or the New Testament, and no doctrine based on scripture can be formed to even explain why this will have to take place. Now the kingdom was taken from Israel first for their breaking the Sinai covenant terms in Deuteronomy (read first where Deuteronomy predicts that this will happen, and second where Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets state that the old covenant was broken and will be replaced) and second for their rejecting Jesus Christ. The new covenant will not be broken and the church will not and cannot reject Jesus Christ because of A) the promises of the new covenant and B) the church is Jesus Christ’s own Body and as such is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and God the Father, and no part of the Godhead can reject or be divided against Himself. So, the only way that the kingdom of God can revert back from the church to the Jews is the rapture of the church. With the church out of the picture (meaning out of the way) things can simply revert back to how they were in the Old Testament, right? Pardon me, but that would mean rejecting the cosmic effects of the incarnation, the cross of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection. Like time itself, salvation history only goes forward, it cannot go back. Moreover, the book of Hebrews describes the ultimate relevation of God to be through Jesus Christ by way of His incarnation, cross work, resurrection, and return. Premillennial dispensationalism makes the salvation of Israel during a second age of grace the ultimate revelation of God, and removes Jesus Christ’s own Body in order to facilitate it!

It really is no surprise that premillennial dispensationalism is so attractive to Messianic Jews who want to retain the essentials of their old system. It treats the church age as just an interstitial intermediary between the first Jewish age and the second Jewish age, and further one that happened not because it was God’s plan and the climax of His salvation plan all along, but only as punishment for the Jews for first failing to keep the Torah and second for failing to accept Jesus Christ. Once these errors are atoned for, things go right back to where they should have been all along! Further, premillennial dispensationalism re-instates the wrongheaded ideas about the millennium/Messianic age that Jesus Christ corrected! This is probably the one good point that the amillennialists do make: that the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ were expecting a political liberator and ruler who would usher in the Messianic age and institute a global Jewish theocracy and a time primarily for the benefit of Jews, not the God-man Saviour who would usher in an age of grace for the benefit of all nations. The Jewish religion still teaches the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees to this day, and premillennial dispensationalism – which includes most strands of Messianic Judaism – tells them that they are right about everything save the timing.

The core of premillennial dispensationalism is that God ceases dealing with His temporary vehicle the church and begins dealing with the Jews anew. However, unless premillennial dispensationalists can identify a part two of the parable of the tenants that describes when this will happen (and more importantly, how and why such a thing will happen in a manner that makes it consistent with New Testament doctrines and promises) this area of their doctrine is Biblically unjustified. Premillennial dispensationalism teaches that their doctrines concerning the millennium allows for the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham, David and Israel under the old covenant. However, in order to accomplish this, their doctrines require breaking the promises made to the church under the new covenant!

So, just as the parable of the tenants is very problematic for covenant theology by declaring an explicit distinction between the church and Israel, it is even more so for premillennial dispensationalism by explicitly proclaiming that with regards to their place in God’s economy, just as the the second temple could not match the glory of the first (for it did not include the ark of the covenant with the rod that budded or the tablets of the law), for the Jews the former things are no more, and their only place in the latter things (which are greater than the former because the latter is founded on better promises, bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ and hence incorruptible) will be inasmuch as their place is found alongside the redeemed and grafted in Gentiles in the church.

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Meet Barack HUSSEIN Obamas’ Pentecostal Enablers: Joshua DuBois, Eugene Rivers And Leah Daughtry

Posted by Job on August 2, 2009

(To be fair, Eugene Rivers works both sides of the aise)

WASHINGTON – From a sparsely adorned office building a stone’s throw from the White House, Joshua DuBois carefully navigates the delicate line between church and state.

Each morning, he sends a devotional message to President Obama’s BlackBerry. He appears before religious and community groups to explain his role as director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and, in turn, relays their concerns to administration officials. In the course of any given day, he’ll receive as many as 750 emails from religious leaders, reporters, and government officials.

But in all the political juggling, the 26-year-old preacher’s kid remains a person of faith who quotes from favorite hymns – “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is one. The Bible, too, serves as inspiration.

“I’m often inspired by the grass-roots nature of Acts and the early church,” he said recently in an interview, “and what they were able to build from virtually nothing.”

A distinct contrast

To some extent, DuBois is doing just that with the faith-based office, which Obama inherited from former President George W. Bush, but revamped in a bid to expand its focus, depoliticize the grant-making process, and tamp down church-state concerns.

DuBois, a veteran of Obama’s Senate office who oversaw religious outreach for his presidential campaign, is a distinct contrast from the Republican appointees who preceded him, including the policy wonk John DiIulio, who opened the office in 2001, or Jim Towey, a former lawyer for Mother Teresa, or the cerebral Jay Hein.

Raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church by his mother and stepfather, a minister in Nashville, Tenn., DuBois became an associate pastor of Calvary Praise and Worship Center, a small, African-American Pentecostal church in Cambridge, Mass., while an undergraduate at Boston University.

“I am very clear about the fact that I am a committed Christian and my faith is important to me; it’s a central part of my life,” he said. “At the same time, I am now in a role in this office … to reach out to Americans of all different religious backgrounds and folks who don’t adhere to a particular religion.”

In Washington, DuBois attends a nondenominational church that worships in a rented movie theater. He still maintains ties to the Cambridge church and to Boston, where he worked with the National TenPoint Leadership Foundation, which encouraged black churches to aid at-risk, inner-city youth.

“Josh was very serious and very smart and was very concerned … as an undergraduate in trying to connect faith to issues of public policy,” said Eugene Rivers, a co-founder of the foundation and a prominent black Pentecostal leader.

In a May interview with radio host Krista Tippett in St. Paul, Minn., DuBois talked about his awakening in 1999 when New York police officers were acquitted in the shooting death of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo.

“It shook in me a sense that I needed to connect to something larger, to understand all the nuances in the world, both in terms of politics and also in terms of religion,” he told Tippett’s “Speaking of Faith” program.

“So that’s when I found my church and my faith and also started my political path as well.”

That political path is taking shape as his office helps craft Obama’s key speeches on religion – Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, Islam at Cairo University, for example. His office also works with various federal agencies on issues ranging from disaster preparation to the upcoming 2010 census.

Though he doesn’t dwell on his relative youth, he said he realizes the weighty responsibilities given to someone who hasn’t even reached 30 yet. “I think one of the most important things is to know what you don’t know,” he said.

In his talks to various religious groups, DuBois outlines the office’s four-point focus on economic recovery, abortion reduction, responsible fatherhood, and interfaith relations. He’s met with evangelicals, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs, as well as secularists who think his office shouldn’t exist.

Religious leaders, including members of the office’s advisory council, say DuBois, like the president, is a good listener who seeks to find common ground among disparate viewpoints.

Leah Daughtry, a Pentecostal minister who until recently was the chief of staff at the Democratic National Committee, sees DuBois’ Pentecostal background informing his work.

“The kind of work that he’s doing in reaching out to people across political spectrums, across ideological perspectives, across theological perspectives, really can only be done if you’re Spirit-led,” she said. “Because it’s the same spirit of Christ that sought to reach beyond the confines of his own people.”

While DuBois’ day job is heading up the faith-based office, he also carries another title: special assistant to the president, which includes the daily presidential meditations as well as helping the first family find a church home in Washington.

Some people who have known DuBois say his workload can cause him to be disorganized and unresponsive, although they declined to have their names attached publicly to their criticisms. For his part, DuBois says he’s doing the best he can.

“We’re a federal entity that’s coordinating 11 offices with pretty key priorities. … I try to be as responsive as I can, along with my staff and others here at the White House. But there are always going to be some challenges in that regard.”

Daughtry joked that DuBois – who finds time to be a Big Brother to a Boston teenager and keep up a five-year relationship with his girlfriend – has made a bargain of sorts with God to manage his busy schedule.

“He’s attached to that cell phone like it’s another appendage,” she said. “I’m convinced he’s got some deal with God to give him a couple of extra hours a day.”

(The seeds of this “many paths to heaven” religious inclusivism/pluralism are being sown into Pentecostalism through politics in this generation just as Billy Graham did the same among Baptists and evangelicals in the prior one, and as it was done in other movements i.e. the mainline denominations earlier in the last century. We Christians must watch and pray. By the way, we Reformed Christians shouldn’t be so quick to point fingers, as the Reformed/Calvinist state churches practically invented inclusivism, unitarianism, universalism and other forms of theological liberalism, and liberal Episcopals, Presbyterians etc. have long been religious pluralists. The Pentecostals are just following the older and more established Christian movements down the path which may lead to one world religion and one world government.)

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LAND, SEED, AND BLESSING IN THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

Posted by Job on July 29, 2009

From Psalm 45. Hopefully they will not mind my wholesale appropriation.

The character of the promises first made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, and later reiterated and expanded in 12:7; 13:15-17; 15:1,4-21; 17:1-9,19; 21:12; and 22:16-18 has long been recognized, in some sense, as foundational to all of redemptive history subsequent to this epochal event. How we understand the precise nature of these promises, therefore, will largely shape our understanding of all of redemptive history from the call of Abraham to the eternal state. An understanding of these promises that concentrates predominantly on their physical aspect, and therefore sees an ongoing necessity for Middle Eastern geography to be reserved for the ethnic offspring of Abraham has several problems: first, it little accords with the understanding that the patriarch himself had of the covenant promises; second, it is in violation of clear fulfillment formulas found later in the Old Testament; and finally, it fails in its intent to understand literally the promise of eternal possession of the physical land by the physical offspring of Abraham. The discussion of the first of these points will be reserved for the main body of this article; but it will not be out of place here to touch briefly on the other two. As regards the former of these, we find stated in Joshua 21:43-45, in very specific terms, that God had fulfilled all that he swore to the fathers. Later, in I Kings 4:20,21 and II Chronicles 9:26, we see the precise geographical boundaries promised to Abraham in the actual possession of Solomon, at the height of Israel’s political history. Immediately subsequent to this complete fulfillment of the land promise in its physical aspect, its typical purpose then having been realized, Israel as a nation began to lose possession of the extreme portions of its geography, never again to recover them. Can this historical reality be consistent with the promise made to Abraham that “all the land which you see I will give to you, and to your seed forever”(Gen. 13:15)? Those who understand the permanence of the promise to mandate a renewed future possession of these boundaries by the nation of Israel have the same fundamental problem that they criticize in the interpretation which considers the physical aspect of the promise to be done away with upon its fulfillment under Solomon: namely, that this geographical possession will one day end; the one interpretation is no more consistent with an eternal fulfillment than the other. The old earth will one day melt with a fervent heat to make way for the new (II Pet. 3:10); and as soon as this dissolution of the old earth takes place, (including the geographical regions promised to Abraham), a literal fulfillment of the land promise becomes impossible. The nature of the promise made to Abraham is such that, any fulfillment which is not eternal does not do it justice. God’s promise to Abraham must extend to him and his seed for all eternity, including that portion of eternity in which the land of Palestine no longer exists. There must be a time, therefore, when the physical land promise is done away with, and only that aspect of the promise which was eternal remains. Whether this transition is placed immediately subsequent to the height of Israel’s glory or immediately prior to the dissolution of the earth has no bearing on the reality that what was promised to be for Abraham’s seed forever is actually not forever. The Abrahamic promise, then, could never be eternal unless something other than the physical land of Palestine is fundamentally intended by the promise. And if something other than the physical land isintended by the promise, then it would be vastly beneficial for us to ascertain the nature of this original intention, together with the ramifications that it has for our understanding of God’s unfolding plan of redemption. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the fundamental intention of the land, seed, and blessing aspects of the Abrahamic covenant was, respectively, (1) An eternal place of restored fellowship with God; (2) An eternal people enjoying a restored fellowship with God; and (3) A universalization of the promised blessings of this fellowship which is, at the same time, a specific localization of those blessings within Abraham. This understanding will be demonstrated, first, by an examination of the promises in connection with Abraham’s history; and second, by an examination of the promises from a New Testament perspective.

The “Land” Promise Intended an Eternal Place of Restored Fellowship with God

From the time of his first being called out by God and commanded to go to a land which Jehovah would show him, Abraham demonstrated an understanding of the nature of that land which transcended mere physical possession. Hence, the first thing we see of Abraham’s sojourn in the land of Canaan is an occurrence which eventually becomes a pattern: Abraham experiences a divinely-initiated encounter in which he enjoys personal fellowship with God. He immediately builds an altar at that place of fellowship; and, at later periods of his wandering, he returns to that specific place to call upon the name of the Lord. (Genesis 12:7,8; 13:3,4). Eventually, we find Jehovah revealing himself and Abraham building altars and calling upon his name throughout the land of Canaan, which Jehovah had promised to him. We read that Abraham built altars or called upon the name of the Lord at Shechem, Bethel, Hebron, Beersheba, and Moriah, all places within the boundaries promised to him by Jehovah. And, although he traveled outside of those boundaries, for instance journeying twice to Egypt, we never read of him building altars or calling upon the name of the Lord except in the land which God had promised to him. From the beginning, then, we find a pattern linking the promised land to places of theophanies and personal encounters with Jehovah, and places where Abraham was led to respond to those theophanic experiences in worship and personal fellowship.

Furthermore, Abraham never truly possessed the land which Jehovah had promised to him. And, although he was rich and powerful, he never sought to take possession of the land by wealth or force, excepting the single incident of his buying a burial plot for his wife. In fact, at times when he might have gained some of the land or its wealth, as when he defeated the coalition of kings and was offered compensation for it, he adamantly refused, fearing that his possessions might then be construed as coming from human hands (Gen 14:22-24). In rejecting this portion from the king of Sodom, Abraham demonstrated an understanding of the nature of his promised blessings as transcending the mere physical. He had ample opportunities to seize the city of earthly foundations; but he already possessed the conviction that the land which was promised to him was a city of spiritual foundations, a city in which the redeemed might enjoy everlasting fellowship with God. In the circumstance of God’s bountifully providing personal encounters of fellowship with Abraham in the land of promise, while at the same time denying him the physical possession of that land, we perceive a divine safeguard against a crassly physical hope which longed for a city of bricks and stones as the pinnacle of the land promise made to Abraham. Abraham demonstrated a lively faith which steadfastly embraced the eternal hope which glowed alluringly beyond the hills and valleys of Canaan and found satisfaction only in an inheritance of unending personal fellowship with Jehovah at the place where he would choose to set his name. Tragically, many of his descendants, lacking his spiritual perception, failed to look beyond a physical land in which God’s presence was nowhere to be found except as mediated through a cumbersomely wrought cult of ritual approach.

The “Seed” Promise Intended an Eternal People Enjoying a Restored Fellowship with God

One of the most striking statements Abraham had of the true nature of the blessings promised to him comes, appropriately, at the occurrence of the official inauguration of the covenant, in which God swears by himself that he will give Abraham a seed and a land (Gen. 15). Although God had promised Abraham several specific things falling into the general categories of land, seed, and blessing, when he sums up all those blessings at once, he declares, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1). At the heart of the covenant, then, God himself is the intended fulfillment of the promise. Therefore, every true understanding of the promised blessings must be able to be subsumed under that head. The land promised to Abraham was only included in the promise because it was integral, in some way, to the reality of having God as his portion. This point is vital for understanding the nature of the promises as they relate to Abraham and his seed. Yes, the Lord made Abraham the father of many nations: Israelites, Edomites, and twelve Arab nations all sprang from his loins. But the ultimate fulfillment of his being made a father to a great people, or to many nations, could only come by his being a father to those whose exceeding great reward was Jehovah. Hence, when we find the original promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 repeated and developed in Genesis 17, we find the very essence of the covenant promise made manifestly clear. In verse 4-8 of the latter chapter we read,

As for Me, behold! My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. For I have made you a father of many nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, greatly so, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you. And I will give the land to you in which you are a stranger, and to your seed after you, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God.

At the heart of this reiterated covenant promise is the reality that Abraham’s true seed would be those whose God would be Jehovah. This promise, “I will be their God,” is given twice, once in connection with the seed that Abraham would father, and once in connection with the land that God would give to them. It is readily apparent from these verses that the Immanuel principle — the principle of God being the God of a certain people and dwelling with them alone of all the nations of the earth — is a vital principle for understanding the promise made to Abraham. At the heart of the seed and land promises, and in fact what constitutes the very essence of those promises, is the reality that Jehovah will be their God. This “Immanuel principle” is the substance of all later redemptive history, and the precise content of the Abrahamic covenant.

In safeguarding against a literalistic/physical misunderstanding of the “seed” aspect of the promise, God found it expedient to go to considerable lengths. Hence, he closed Sarah’s womb, making her barren for the entire fruitful period of her life; then, he awaited the fulfillment of the promised seed until Abraham himself was beyond the age of reproductive virility; and additionally, beyond the age of Sarah’s natural fertility even if she had been capable of bearing children in her youth. Finally, he brought about a seed to Abraham through purely physical means (i.e. Ishmael) simply to declare that this physical seed was not the fulfillment of the seed promise(Genesis 16). In these circumstances we see that a purely physical seed could never meet the criteria for being the seed of which Abraham was promised an innumerable multitude. Instead, a seed to whom Jehovah sovereignly gave life out of death was to be the nation which fulfilled the promise given. It would have benefitted the later descendants of Abraham who presumed upon the favor of God by virtue of their genealogy to have considered well this point.

The “Blessing” Promise Intended a Universalization of the Blessings of Fellowship Which Is, at the Same Time, a Specific Localization of Those Blessings Within Abraham

In the phrase we have recorded for us in Genesis 12:3, “In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” we ascertain the striking circumstance of Abraham’s blessing being at once universalized, so that all the families of the earth come to share in its riches; and at the same time localized, so that the fountain of this world-encompassing blessing is in some sense within Abraham. That Abraham is seen as the source or location from which the blessings comes, and not merely a dispenser or mediator through whom it would be disseminated, is the natural reading of the inseparable bethpreposition in the original. This relationship of Abraham’s blessing to himself and to the world, so that he would be, on the one hand, blessed himself, and on the other hand, the location from which the blessing would spring, is vital for understanding the promises made to him. The precise manner in which the blessing was said to be both for Abraham and in Abraham must have been initially somewhat obscure: but by the end of his life, Abraham would have understood that the promised blessing was to come through a person, the one seed to whom the promises were ultimately referring. When God favored Abraham through encounters of personal fellowship, he connected those events with reiterated promises that he would give the land in which fellowship with God was made possible to his seed (Genesis12:7; 13:15; 17:8). Hence, Abraham would have learned to connect in some organic sense the place of fellowship with God to the advent of the seed promised to him. This connection would have led to an intensification of his desire for the promised seed to come. And as he remained frustrated in his continued expectation, and utterly failed in his own attempt to produce it through other means, he must have come to understand in a fuller sense how vastly significance this promise was, that it could only be accomplished by the all-powerful God performing that which is impossible. The first instance in which we are forced to recognize, to a large degree, this mature understanding in Abraham is when the Lord appeared to him and gave the promise, “He that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir” (Genesis 15:4). It is in this context that the statement is made that Abraham believed in the Lord, and he counted it for righteousness. What was it that Abraham believed that was sufficient to stand as the grounds of his justification? It could not have been simply that God would give Abraham a child of his own. This indeed happened when Abraham fathered Ishmael, and yet it was not the fulfillment of the promise that God had made. The only fulfillment consonant with what Abraham had come to expect was a seed who would bless the nations, a seed who would provide fellowship with God, a seed who would possess the land where God dwells with man, and a seed who could only be brought about through the accomplishment of the impossible. In other words, what Abraham believed was that God would supernaturally send a seed who would be the ground of blessing and fellowship with God. All of this becomes more manifest when Sarah commands Ishmael to be cast out, having rejected the thought that the son of the bondwoman should inherit with her own son. In God’s response to Abraham’s initial displeasure at this idea, we find that Sarah was essentially right. When God came to reinforce to Abraham the decision that Sarah had made, he reiterated the principle that it was through a specific seed in the future that the blessing would come. Sarah’s desire was indeed appropriate because, “In Isaac shall a Seed be called to you.” In adducing this promise, God was indicating that Ishmael by all rights should be cast out because he had no part in bringing in the promised blessing; instead, the Seed who would bring Abraham the blessing was in Isaac. It is significant that Isaac is not said to be that seed, but rather that the Seed who would be called to Abraham, the Seed who would be the grounds for every blessing given to him, was in Isaac — again, the natural reading of the bethpreposition.

This consideration of Abraham’s history compels us to credit him with a much greater understanding of the Messianic hope than some interpreters have given him. It is not some raw, blind faith without content (or with a content of which the full extent is the birth of a child essentially the same as any other child) that justifies a man. It is only faith in the promised Christ and his victorious work of redemption that justifies. This was the content of the belief that Abraham had, and for which he was counted righteous. The essential correctness of this assertion is borne out later by the nature of the test to which God put Abraham’s faith. When God put Abraham’s faith to the ultimate test, he did not ask for some task that was entirely unconnected to the content of his faith. Instead, he gave a command to Abraham that was so constructed that his response to the command would indicate precisely what it was he believed about the promises of God. God had already revealed that the Seed who would come to bless all the families of the world was in Isaac. When God commanded Abraham to put Isaac to death, and Abraham obeyed without hesitation, he demonstrated that he believed in a coming Seed who could be put to death and yet be brought to life through the power of God. Abraham’s faith had grown so that even the death of the one in whom the promised Seed still resided could not overcome his belief in the triumphant life of that Seed. Abraham had grown to trust in the resurrection power of God by which he would make the promised Seed victorious even over death. By the end of Abraham’s life, therefore, we must conclude that he understood that the blessing which would come to all the families of the earth was in him before it came to be in Isaac, by virtue of the fact that he was in the genealogical line of the Messiah that was prophesied from the time of Adam. In this respect, the blessings which Abraham hoped for, blessings of a people of God enjoying a place of fellowship with God were to be universalized so that they touched the whole earth; and at the same time localized so that they were in Abraham.

Further Support Adduced from the New Testament

In examining the teaching of the New Testament as it touches the topic at hand, we find our conclusions largely corroborated and made explicit. We concluded that the land promise made to Abraham could be ultimately fulfilled only by a place in which fellowship with God is possible. In light of this conclusion, it is striking that the place of rest with God for saints who have fallen asleep in the time of Jesus is a place which Christ refers to as “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). More interesting yet is the observation made of Abraham’s life, concerning which he was said to have possessed that faith by which one draws close to God, that, “He looked for a city which has foundations, of which the Builder and Maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham’s faith did not consist in looking to the ownership of Middle Eastern geography; he looked instead to the land which Canaan could only symbolize, a city which God alone would build. That this city intended a place of fellowship with God is made clear throughout the New Testament. InGalatians 4, Paul declares that believers in Christ are inhabitants of the Jerusalem which is from above, which he sets in opposition to the physical city of Jerusalem. In Hebrews 13, the author declares that we who worship have come to the spiritual Zion. The apostle John looks to a New Jerusalem, one whose chief characteristic would be the presence of God and his dwelling with men (Rev. 21:2,3). In all of these instances we find certain confirmation both of our conclusion that physical Palestine served as the type of a place of restored fellowship with God; and of our conclusion that this was precisely what Abraham understood and believed and awaited.

The second assertion we made, that the seed promise intended a people enjoying restored fellowship with God, is also corroborated by New Testament teaching. In the fourth chapter of Romans Paul makes evident that Abraham was justified through faith in the one who justifies the ungodly. In virtue of this reality, Paul goes on to assert that Abraham, by virtue of his faith, became the father of all those who believe, whether uncircumcised and believing (as Abraham himself was when he believed) or circumcised and believing. The ultimate fulfillment of the promise that he would be the father of many nations came when people from every tribe, tongue kindred, and nation believed, and so demonstrated that believing Abraham was their father. And this teaching is not isolated to Romans alone. In the third chapter of Galatians, Paul explains that, “Those who are of faith, these are the children of Abraham” (verse 7); and again, “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all nations be blessed.” So then those of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (verses 8,9). How was it the nations were blessed in Abraham? By virtue of the fact they were in Abraham, who fathered them all as the patriarch of the family of faith; and, being in Abraham who believed unto justification, they received likewise the blessings of justification through faith. As Paul sums up later in the chapter, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise” (verse 29).

The final conclusion we made was that the blessing promise intended a universalization of the blessings of fellowship which is, at the same time, a specific localization of those blessings within Abraham. In demonstrating this, we observed that the promised blessing was to come to Abraham and all those who believe, through his promised Seed; this promised Seed is the long-awaited Christ; and therefore, it is only in Christ, the true Seed of Abraham, that we are blessed together with him. This conclusion is borne out by the New Testament teaching that those who believe are in Christ. Faith brings justification, but only because faith establishes one in a relationship in which he is said to be “in Christ”. Hence we are blessed because we are in Abraham, the spiritual father of us all, as we observed in Galatians 3:7-9; but more specifically, we are in Abraham because we are in Abraham’s seed, Christ. Later in the chapter, Paul clarifies just how it is that those of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…so that the blessing of Abraham might be to the nations in Christ Jesus“ (verses 13,14). The blessing of Abraham comes to the nations because they are in Christ; Christ is the seed of Abraham; therefore, if we are in Christ, we too are the seed of Abraham by virtue of our relationship in Christ. We, not ethnic Jews or Arabs, are Abraham’s true children and heirs.

That we alone are Abraham’s heirs, as his children through faith, is demonstrated by a grammatical feature of our text in Genesis that Paul brings to light in his letter to the Galatians. Ethnic Jews could never claim to be the heirs of Abraham, and therefore the rightful owners of Palestine, for the simple reason that the promise was never made to all of Abraham’s offspring. Paul recognizes this truth in Romans 9, where he observes that, “not because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children. But, “In Isaac shall your Seed be called” (Romans 9:7). In other words, mere ethnic descent was never sufficient to make one a true child of Abraham. The promises were never given to all Abraham’s offspring — as Paul goes on to clarify later in the chapter that Isaac was chosen and not Ishmael, Jacob and not Esau, and so on. This basic point Paul reiterates in Galatians 3, when he observes that the promises were originally made not to Abraham and his children, but to Abraham and his seed, which is singular. This one seed of Abraham, to whom the promises must be fulfilled, was Christ alone (Galatians 3:16). If Christ is the only seed of Abraham to whom the promises must be fulfilled, then those who are in Christ, not those who are ethnically descended from Abraham, are the heirs of the promises. Hence, Paul tells us that we have all spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3); that all the promises of God find their “yea” and “amen” in Christ (II Cor. 1:20); and that the nations are fellow heirs and of the same body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ (Ephesians 3:6). Only to Christ were the Abrahamic promises fulfilled; and therefore only by virtue of being in Christ are we Abraham’s children and heirs.

Conclusion

The interpretation of the Abrahamic covenant which sees the promises necessitating the possession of physical Palestine by ethnic Jews fails to do justice to the spiritual understanding of the promises that Abraham himself had. As Christ told the Jews of his day, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and He saw and was glad” (John 8:56). Abraham looked beyond the merely physical and placed his hope in the coming Messiah, and in God who would raise him from the dead. This assessment is borne out by a careful study of Abraham’s life. And that this understanding that Abraham had of the promise is essentially correct is made clear by New Testament teaching on the topic. Any interpretation of the Abrahamic covenant that misunderstands the scriptural teaching of what the promises signified, to whom they were made, and who could claim them as Abraham’s true children and heirs is not only wrong, but positively harmful. An interpretation that insists on claiming physical benefits for Israel on the basis of their ethnicity obscures the vast spiritual riches of the Abrahamic promises as fulfilled to Christ and to us who are in Christ; it minimizes the place of Christ as the one true Seed of Abraham and the one in whom are all promised blessings; and it conditions us to be looking for a crassly physical, not to mention false, eschatological hope in the coming of an ethnically Jewish millennial kingdom, instead of understanding and awaiting that blessed hope of all redemptive history, the great proclamation, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3). This is the hope of Abraham and all his true children, and the goal of all redemptive history.

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Some Challenges To Dispensationalism

Posted by Job on July 29, 2009

HT PJ Miller.

My Journey Out of Dispensationalism

My friends have often heard me say, “The more I read my Bible the less dispensational I become.” This statement comes from someone who was spiritually nurtured in churches with dispensational theology, who graduated from a Christian university steeped in dispensational theology, who received his first graduate degree from a dispensational seminary, and who—for twelve years—preached sermons that reflected dispensational theology. For the first sixteen years of my Christian life, I rarely questioned the fundamental distinctions of dispensational theology. What are those distinctions? In his discussion of what he called the “sine qua non of dispensationalism,” Ryrie asserted:

A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the Church distinct …  This is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a man is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive (Ryrie 44-45).

Later he concluded, “the essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the Church” (Ryrie 47).

As a dispensationalist I studied my Bible with the understanding that God had dual and separate plans for Israel and the church. I understood this “church age” to be somewhat parenthetical until God resumed His plan with the nation of Israel. I believed that the Abrahamic covenant and all the other Old Testament covenants were essentially for national Israel, and that only the soteriological benefits of the covenants belonged to the church.

As I continued to pastor and preach, I realized that my training in the Old Testament was weak. I decided to pursue a Master of Theology in Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. My dispensational comrades in ministry assured me that Westminster would ruin my theology. I suppose many of them believe that has happened. Nevertheless, I was drawn to Westminster primarily because Bruce Waltke was teaching there. I had read books and articles by Dr. Waltke and had profited immensely from them.

While at Westminster I had the privilege of learning from Vern Poythress, Tremper Longman, and Raymond Dillard, along with Bruce Waltke. At first I listened as an antagonist, but I was soon won over by their personal graciousness and their commitment to Scripture. I began to experience discomfort as I realized that my commitment to dispensationalism was often unyielding, even when contradicted by the results of exegesis. These words from the introduction to my Th.M thesis summarize my response at that time:

Exegesis often eviscerates one’s theological presuppositions. When a theological bulwark withstands the penetration of biblical exegesis, its tenets remain secure. However, if its walls crumble beneath the weight of incisive and precise exegesis, then one must abandon the fortress and construct a better one (Davis, 1990, 1).

During the course of my study at Westminster, Bruce Waltke was my faculty advisor. I was privileged to have a number of personal discussions with him regarding the uneasiness I felt in questioning dispensationalism. As I considered what to research for my Th.M thesis, he suggested a topic that would be beneficial to me on my journey and helpful to others. I wrote “A Critical Evaluation of the Use of the Abrahamic Covenant in Dispensationalism.” The writing of that thesis opened a door and gave me a gentle push toward my eventual departure from dispensationalism. Rest of the article continued (click here)

Now for article two.

Dispensationalism and the Eclipse of Christ (An Open Correspondence)

As many of you are no doubt aware, I was raised a Dispensationalist. When I first became convinced that the teachings of Dispensationalism are not supported by an honest assessment of scriptures, I determined to change my thinking on the topic, and so be done with the issue summarily. Such were my intentions, but I found, much to my surprise, that the roots of Dispensationalism are so deep, and they affect so profoundly one’s way of thinking about virtually every theological issue, that the task of rejecting one’s own Dispensationally-flavored way of viewing the Bible is no simple task. It is a monumental struggle that requires years of deep, intense, Spirit-reliant searching of the scriptures. As I embarked on this long process, I slowly became aware of a vast array of manners in which a thorough grounding in the Dispensational ideal tends to influence one’s beliefs and emphases. This in itself was shocking to me; but what came as the severest shock of all was the reflection that virtually every one of these Dispensationally-derived misunderstandings tended in some way towards the eclipse of Christ as the sum and substance of every redemptive promise and reality, the One for whom, to whom, and by whom are all things, the One who sums up all of reality, brings all things under his feet, and is in himself all the fullness of the Godhead. Let me be clear here: I have no doubt that many, if not all Dispensationalists would affirm in theory the Christo-centrism of all reality; nevertheless, the fact remains that in practice they deny the explicit Christ-centeredness of many times, persons, and realities in history – and not just minor, inconsequential persons and things, but those that stand out as epoch-defining and historically-pivotal.
I am indeed grateful for the many resources available today which demonstrate scripturally that Dispensationalism is in error. I think that our current need is not so much to argue that Dispensationalism is wrong – although such efforts will certainly continue to be helpful – as it is to show just how grave and far-reaching the errors really are. In contribution to this latter goal, I have reproduced a portion of an interaction that I had some time ago with one of my Dispensational friends. My hope is that the preceding comments and following correspondence will not be unduly inflammatory or derogatory in nature, but that they will be used by God “for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ, until we all attain, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man…” (Ephesians 4:12-13). We all retain errors of some sort in our striving after the full knowledge of Christ and his great work: God grant that such dialogues between fellow-believers in Christ may be useful in the doctrinal maturation of each one of us!

Read rest of article (click here)

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Well This Ends Any Desire On My Part To Advocate For The Palestinians

Posted by Job on June 14, 2009

In large part because of my finding out the truth about Zionism, the modern Jewish religion, and the dishonesty of many prominent premillennial dispensational political activists who knowingly deceive Christians about both, I had begun sympathizing on some level with the plight of the Palestinian people (in contrast with their leaders, Hamas and the PLO) for the sake of the gospel, for humanitarian reasons, and also out of a desire to provide what I felt was a much – needed counter to the “Judeo – Christianity” propaganda deception of the Zionists and the dispensationalists, which unfortunately has deceived a great many decent Christians and Jews. After the events of today, I am washing my hands of both sides of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and am going to simply pray and wait for God to sort it out.

Today Binyamin Netanyahu, a fellow that I thoroughly dislike for reasons that I will not enumerate, made a fair offer to the Palestinians: a state that would be sovereign in every respect save a lack of a military in return for a cessation of hostilities, allowing Jerusalem to remain in Israeli hands, and the 4.5 million Palestinian refugees having to settle in the new Palestinian state as opposed to Israel. Now long term, these conditions are unacceptable: a state without a military is no state at all, and issues regarding east Jerusalem and Palestinians driven from their homes would still have to be worked out.

But this agreement would be outstanding as an intermediate step. It would give the millions of Palestinians now living in tents, refugee camps, or in other countries a place to go, and they would be immediately supported by hundreds of billions in foreign aid. Also, any Palestinian with a sense of irony ought to be able to appreciate the perverse pleasure at seeing the very same Israeli military and police that for decades bombed their neighborhoods and subjected them to checkpoints be FORCED to protect and defend PALESTINIANS while the PALESTINIANS use MONEY FROM ISRAEL AND ITS WESTERN ALLIES to build homes and businesses! Where now the Israeli military protects Jewish settlers in Palestinian territory, the military would be responsible for A) evicting those Jewish settlers and B) defending the Palestinians who move into the homes of very Jews that the Israeli military evicted! The plight and living standards of the millions of Palestinians would instantly be raised, and the Palestinians would have years, decades even, to work on getting still more concessions from Israel.

But alas, it appears that the Palestinians lack any sense of or appreciation for irony. The Palestinian leadership does not care about helping the Palestinian people out of misery, and the Palestinian people does not care about getting out of misery, about going from dirty tents to clean modern homes and apartments paid for with billions in international welfare. They don’t care about moving from having to deal with Israeli bombs, tanks, and police to having complete freedom. No, all they care about is destroying Israel and killing Jews, and are willing to live in poverty and squalor waiting for the chance.

So, Mahmoud Abbas, whom both the Obama AND Bush administrations claim is the “moderate, pro – western respectable peace partner”, rejected Netanyahu’s offer. Abbas rejected Israel’s desire to continue to exist as a Jewish state. (Realize that during the Clinton administration, the PLO pretended to recognize Israel’s right ot exist. We now know that they were lying and have been for the past 10 years.) Abbas claimed not only east Jerusalem but ALL OF JERUSALEM as the capital of the Palestinian state. After years of not even trying to stop terror attacks on Israel’s military and citizens, Abbas rejected Israel’s demand that they be demilitarized. And amazingly, Abbas insists on the millions of Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to Israel if they so choose, despite the existence of TWO “PALESTINIAN” STATES, PALESTINE AND JORDAN, for these “refugees” to live in while receiving new homes and unlimited welfare FOR LIFE!

Now prior to today, Abbas claimed that Netanyahu was destroying the peace process for refusing to commit to a two state solution and stated that violence would result. Now that Netanyahu has committed to a two state solution, guess what? Abbas claims that Netanyahu was destroying the peace process by refusing to allow the PLO/Fatah to bombard Israel’s airport, cities, factories, apartments with rockets and grenades, for refusing to turn all of Jerusalem over to Palestine, and for refusing to allow Israel to be flooded with Palestinians who oppose the existence of Israel!

And yes, Abbas sent the message to the Palestinians to start up a new round of murderous violence against the Jews. Of course, the last round of violence didn’t end because of the Palestinians’ commitment to peace. It only ended because of A) the internal power struggle between Hamas and the PLO and B) because of the security fence. Palestinians have complained for years over how horrible the security fence makes life for Palestinians. Now, in rejecting a chance to be free and on welfare without the worry of having to defend or provide for themselves for the next 50 years, we know that the real reason for opposing the security fence wasn’t the humanitarian effects on the Palestinians, but rather the fence’s successfully stopping Palestinians from getting into Israel to blow up Jewish toddlers.

So why do I not blame the Palestinian leadership while continuing to support the Palestinian people? Simple: the Palestinian people elected these leaders, they refuse to rise up to oppose these leaders, and they generally obey them. If these people wanted an end to the poverty, disenfranchisement and violence, they should be out on the streets demonstrating “take the deal!” Instead, as always, they will obey the PLO/Fatah and Hamas and take to the streets to be mowed down by Israeli airplanes and tanks, and allow their homes, schools, mosques and hospitals to be used as human shields. These people want to see the destruction of Israel and dead Jews more than they want to provide safety, freedom and prosperity to their own children.

It is obvious that the Palestinians do not need more advocates for their political, economic, or humanitarian agenda and plight, for it is now obvious that this agenda is only to destroy Israel and kill Jews, and their plight is due to their single minded devotion towards that goal rather than working to improve their own lives. No, what the Palestinians need – and what the Jews need for that matter – is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian interaction with Palestinians and Jews should be limited to the gospel. Beyond that, we should leave these people to their own affairs and pray for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Regarding Barack HUSSEIN Obama Celebrating The Passover

Posted by Job on April 11, 2009

Perhaps you have heard of Obama holding and officiating over a Passover Seder recently. Now I honestly believe that for a born again Christian to participate in a Passover Seder in full view of the fact that the original passover pointed to and was fulfilled in the Passover Seder that was the Lord’s Supper and in the work and ministry of Jesus Christ is a great thing, something that I find much preferable to things related to Easter eggs and the rabbits that bring them. 

But what of the person who rejects Jesus Christ, as this Barack Hussein Obama clearly does, celebrating the Passover? Well … Obama ran with the Louis Farrakhan Nation of Islam crowd in his Chicago days, a fact that – similar to George W. Bush’s affiliation with the Skulls and Bones – people either seem to have conveniently forgotten, or the fact that we are now stuck with this person as president makes it OK. (Just as Bush’s having the same theological views as the liberal “Christians” that are ordaining homosexuals – that the Bible should not be interpreted literally, is not the final authority, and that all religions worship the same god – became “OK” with evangelicals who defend him to this day, even after Bush rammed through the bailouts that set the stage for HUSSEIN Obama to take over the banking and automobile industries and hand them over to the international interests, which of course these folks are now blaming on Obama alone.) Now as you may know, the Nation of Islam has the belief that Jewish wealth and power – which is held disproportionate to their numbers – has something to do with secrets of Jewish mysticism that they picked up in various places, including but not limited to Babylon. Farrakhan claims that Jews use their secret mysticism to gain benefits at other groups’ expense, especially black people whom Farrakhan claims are the rightful owners and originators of this knowledge, and which the Jews have used to displace blacks (and, er, Arabs, as Fard Muhammed, who trained Elijah Muhammed, was Arab) from their rightful place as leaders of world civilization.

So, we know that Obama does not celebrate the Passover  because of any beliefs that he legitimately holds (whether Christian or Jewish). He is not holding it for the same reason that, say, Calvinist – leaning Messianic Jews are. We know that Obama is not interested in winning Jewish votes or support at this point. So … is Obama holding a Passover seder to get his hands on some of this mystical power, kabbalah and similar? Consider this snippet to know that it cannot be counted out:

The Seder, it turns out, is a fulfillment of a vow that a small group of Obama campaign staff made during their Seder last year, on April 19.

Unable to go home for the holidays, the group of about 10 held an impromptu Seder in the basement of the Sheraton Hotel in Harrisburg, Pa., as the Obama campaign neared the end of its long primary campaign battle in the state.

Obama participated in the Jewish ritual, along with a few friends who were traveling with him that day. At the end of the ritual, after the traditional refrain “Next year in Jerusalem!” Sen. Obama and others in the group jokingly added, “Next year in the White House!”

I regard there to be a link between kabbalah and freemasonry that is stronger than the purported link between Islam and freemasonry (a claim that is made by Muslims and few else incidentally), even though the freemasons fervently deny it. Well, freemasons cannot deny that the actual, legal oath of office by Obama just happened to be taken below the picture of Benjamin Latrobe, the freemason architect of the United States capitol. Incidentally, religious right George W. Bush supporters, John Roberts participated in this, so you cannot deny whose side Roberts is on, or for that matter which side the man who appointed him is on. (On the Latrobe, no complaints from black history buffs who credit most of the things in Washington D.C. to Benjamin Banneker … Banneker was a freemason also.) 

So, this really makes me think that this Obama fellow is dealing with some very sinister and powerful things that not even the people who put him in office are aware of – or can control. Make of this what you will.

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Burning Incense To Caesar: Regarding Avigdor Lieberman’s Proposed Loyalty Oath In Israel

Posted by Job on February 27, 2009

Two things.

First, I am thoroughly shocked at the intense and pervasive anti – Israel and anti – Semitic feelings around the globe that has been growing exponentially since the September 11th terror attacks. Now I do have a theory on why SOME of this is taking place, specifically among certain corners of the left. First, there has always been a large anti – Semitic presence on the left, but it has been largely muzzled by an apparently pro – Jewish sentiment in that body. I said “apparently” because it was never legitimate, but rather many of these people’s using the Jews. First, Jews were a bold, intellectually vital, and financially necessary part of the radical left in its early days. Second, it was unbecoming to be an open anti – Semite while simultaneously agitating for equal or special rights for blacks, women, Hispanics, homosexuals, atheists etc. Third, and perhaps most important, Jews were very important as a strategic weapon against conservatives, which at the time was primarily led by anti – Semitic (or at least non – Zionist) paleoconservatives.

Now the situation has reversed itself. The radical left is now mainstream, fully in control of the government and further having made major inroads in our corporate and financial institutions. So, they no longer need the courageous leadership, brilliant ideas, or financial backing of Jewish socialists. Also, multiculturalism and relativism now make it entirely possible – indeed fashionable – to denounce Israel and Jewry as evil while glorifying suicide bombers who target Israeli schoolchildren as freedom fighter servants of “god” through the religion of peace. And most importantly, the left can no longer use the charge of anti-Semitism to attack the actions and motivations conservative opponents, because the paleoconservatism of the recent past has given way to a pro – Zionist neoconservatism, many of whose ideas and leaders come from the ranks of conservative Jews, and much of whose money, numbers, and organizing muscle comes from premillennial dispensational evangelical Christianity. So, where a conservative was often called “anti – Semite” as a political tactic in times past by leftist activists, modern leftist activists now bash Jews and Israel far more overtly, publicly, and viciously than the conservative WASP (or as it were Roman Catholic) bankers and politicians ever did in private, and now use “homophobe” as their weapon of choice against conservatives. The best example of this startling shift: where leftist Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fervent Zionist and employed communist Jews as his speechwriters, organizers, and strategists, Barack HUSSEIN Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright casts his lot with the Palestinian terrorists and counts Louis Farrakhan (and similar) among his support system. Not the Palestinians, mind you, for the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not violent criminals, but people and groups who have blood on their hands and are thirsty for more of it. And where King was roundly criticized for his Zionist position, Obama and Wright were only challenged – and in an extremely muted fashion – by a few neoconservatives.  This is only explicable by a rapid and amazing rise in the climate of anti – Semitism (both that which exists and that which is tolerated in others) which can only be explained by the activity of evil spirits. 

So, it is in this context that Avigdor Lieberman is being called – amazingly – “Jewish Hitler” in some circles. I will not even bother to explain how such a moniker, such a comparison, is so grotesquely inaccurate and inappropriate that it can either only be made by someone who is unaware of Hitler’s ideology and behavior and is merely used to calling someone that you disagree with “a Nazi” (which does honestly seem to be increasingly the case … the media and the education system seem fine with willfully refusing to educate people about Hitler and the Nazi regime so that any view or ideology that they disagree with, including those in the New Testament, can be accused of either contributing to the Holocaust or leading us to a new one … a columnist for the Detroit Free Press actually claimed that George W. Bush’s proposals to cut taxes and create private Social Security accounts could lead to a state policy of exterminating low income people, and yes people like her often tend to be pro – abortion!).

And what makes Avigdor Lieberman so monstrous? Quite simply, his proposal for a loyalty oath, that all citizens be required to publicly express loyalty to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. Those who refuse have to options: to leave Israel (and if I am correct, it is at Israel’s expense!) or to remain there as a sort of second – class citizen. Lieberman has even stated that a person does not need to declare loyalty to Zionism, which comes with a lot of political and religious implications that a lot of people (including haredi Orthodox Jews!) cannot abide. Such a person merely needs to be willing to declare an acceptance of the fact that Israel exists now and of its continued existence in largely its current makeup and form (a secular western democracy with a mostly Jewish population where Orthodox Judaism plays a huge role – indeed a larger role than Christianity ever has in America, as it is modeled more closely after 19th century Lutheran Germany or Anglican England than America) – in Jewish government and institutions.

Jewish supporters of Lieberman’s proposed oath point out that the United States requires the same of people beocoming  naturalized United States citizens. That is a willfully false comparison, as Lieberman’s oath would be required of everyone, both natural born citizens and already naturalized citizens, as a requirement of retaining their citizenship. In America, it is practically impossible for a natural born or naturalized citizen to be stripped of his status against his will. 

However, Israel is not America. Enumerating the many differences between their legal code and its underlying assumptions and our own would be rather unwieldly, but suffice to say that a Christian could spend a year in an Israeli prison for giving a “Gideon’s Bible” containing the New Testament (as they of course all do) to a Jewish 12 year old. Like all parliamentary democracies, Israel lacks freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other things that make America much more of a constitutional republic than a pure democracy. 

Also, what Israel chooses to do with its citizenry is ultimately a matter of state, not of the cross. And though I believe Lieberman’s proposal to be exceedingly unwise, as it would be the doings of a democratic state that is not only secular but “founded on and governed according to anti – Christian principles and values” (it is a Jewish state, after all, so cast aside your premillennial dispensational Christian Zionism long enough read the 1, 2, and 3rd John and take its contents seriously) as opposed to the doings of a church or other body of professed Bible believing Christians, my position must be neutral, one of the many things that has happened and will happen in this world until Jesus Christ comes back. 

Yet and still, I cannot restrain myself from considering this policy past and future. It reminds me of the persecution against Christians in the Roman Empire. Christians were required to swear loyalty to the Roman state – and its state religion – with Caesar as head of both the state and religion with the status of a minor god in the religion by signing a document and bowing before either Caesar or his effigy. People who did so received certification of having done so, and people found by authorities in a condition of not having this certification either had to burn incense to Caesar or his statue immediately, or be subject to arrest, torture, and death. This policy resulted in the deaths of Christians in numbers exceeding a million, and the imprisonment or torture of still more.

I think that it is fair to point out that some Christians interpret the “mark of the beast” portions of Revelation to refer to this time, while others – myself included – believe the Roman persecution to be a precursor to the much worse persecution still to come under the great tribulation.

With that in mind: consider this. Were Israel to actually implement Lieberman’s policy (which by the way would take major changes to Israel, including but not limited to a major redirection of public opinion, big changes of Israel’s laws, and a complete overhaul of the composition of their largely liberal courts, which are far more likely to sentence conservative Israelis to 6 months of community service for speech code violations for displaying shirts and bumper stickers with slogans offensive to Muslims – again, Israel has no freedom of speech – than approving a citizenship test), then in order to be viable and practical, the government would have to be able to differentiate between who has taken the loyalty oath and who hasn’t. (After all, Christians had various ways of evading detection and capture by the Romans.) This is not the case of apartheid South Africa, where it was very easy to use physical appearance to determine different treatment by government authorities. Israel is not even planning on automatically deporting those who reject the loyalty oath, but rather giving such people the option of remaining as second class citizens. 

So, how is this to be done except A) completing a national computerized database or registry of people who have  and haven’t declared a loyalty oath and B) requiring people to carry evidence of their loyalty and status with them on their person so that the government officials – and anyone else who decides to enact similar policies of their own, including banks, grocery stores, and other businesses – would be able to differentiate and treat people accordingly? Would it take the form of an identification card that a person would be forced to carry? Well, those can be forged. What about a government – issued microchip? 

But that is just Israel, you say? Wrong. Various interests in America have been promoting “national ID cards” and “national registries” for years to combat everything from legal immigration to voter fraud (not to mention databases of people allowed or not allowed to buy firearms, and also of sex crime offenders … are “hate crimes” offenders next?).  If Israel adopts a national registration and ID system to implement their loyalty oath policy, then other western style governments are very likely to emulate it for their own national ID systems to address their own (real and perceived) problems. As a matter of fact, dictatorships and other authoritarian regimes are even more likely to. 

So, for no other reason than that, Lieberman’s proposal is something to watch and think about, along with the many similar proposals in our own country, especially those who prefer national ID cards over simply building a border fence, or people who claim that there aren’t simple and local solutions to voter fraud.

Posted in Christian Persecution, Christian persecution America, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments »

Dutch Jews Denounce Christian ‘Peace By Conversion’ Group

Posted by Job on February 22, 2009

Note below: these fellows are criticizing Christians for evangelizing not only Jews but also Muslims, and also for visiting a concentration camp. 

Dutch Jews slam Christian ‘peace by conversion’ group 

By Cnaan Liphshiz Tags: Jewish WorldIsrael NewsDutch Jews are accusing a Christian organization of insulting Jews and Muslims by trying to convert them under the banner of promoting peace and interfaith dialogue. 

The Jewish community’s umbrella group, the Central Jewish Committee, issued an unusually harsh statement about a conference held by the Christian organization Cornerstone in the town of Soest, near Utrecht, yesterday. 

The organizers of the conference, which drew hundreds to Soest’s Juliana Church, advertised it under the slogan: “The path: Reconciling Jews with Arabs.” Preceding the event was a visit by Cornerstone leaders to a Dutch concentration camp. 

 

“It is an insult and maltreatment of the Jewish and Muslim faiths to suggest that their followers can only coexist in peace if they convert to Christianity,” the Committee wrote. 

One of the organizers, Cornerstone’s Jaap Broker, labeled this criticism “laughable,” adding that the conference was not geared toward conversion. He nonetheless added that “the only path to reconciliation is to accept Jesus Christ as one’s Savior.” 

In an interview with the Dutch paper AD, Broker is quoted as saying: “Being Christian doesn’t mean losing one’s Jewish identity. They remain Jewish. The Committee is jumping to conclusions.” 

Ronny Naftaniel, a prominent figure within the Jewish community and head of the Center Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), said he opposed Cornerstone’s Friday trip to the Westerbork concentration camp in the north of Holland. 

“It is upsetting that they come to commemorate Jews [murdered in the Holocaust] while they themselves believe that Jews should no longer exist, and become Christian,” Naftaniel said. 

Broker explained that the organization brought Christian Arabs to the site. 

“Christian Arab leaders want to know more about the Holocaust, which will help create a bond with the Jewish people,” he said. 

In an interview with the local paper Leidsch Dagblad, Broker is quoted as inviting Naftaniel to attend the conference, adding: “But it’s on Shabbat, so he can’t start the car.”

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , | 40 Comments »

 
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