God created Israel separate from the nations with the duty to be a light to the other nations. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit led Israel and were present with Israel, but did not indwell national Israel. Thus, Israel failed. Not only did they not become a light to the other nations, but fell into an apostate state whose abominations and wickedness actually EXCEEDED the evils of the other nations. Thus, only a righteous remnant preserved by God remained.
By contrast, when God created the church, it was not as a set apart nation to be a light to the other nations. Instead, God created the church as a people called out from ALL nations, Israel included, to be a light to the world. Where Israel was God’s national project with global implications, the church is God’s global project with eternal ramifications. And unlike national Israel, the church did not and will not fail. Unlike national Israel, the church was bought and created with God’s own divine Blood, that being sinless Jesus Christ shed on the cross. And unlike national Israel, the church is Jesus Christ’s Body with Jesus Christ Himself as the Head, and the Holy Spirit is not only present with the church, but indwells the church.
So where the failure of Israel was a failure of man – the human leaders and followers of national Israel – the church cannot and will not fail because God Himself indwells it. The old covenant was temporal, conditional and limited to one people (Israel) in one time (prior to that of Jesus Christ) and one place (the land of Canaan). The new covenant is unconditional (cannot be broken), eternal (will last forever) and universal (given to those coming from all nations, tribes and tongues).
Thus, contra covenant theology, Israel was not the church of the Old Testament. Instead, national Israel was a type, seed or foreshadowing of what was to be fulfilled by the church, New Testament spiritual Israel that both includes those natural descendants of Israel who are elect and thus believe, but it also transcends them. Calling Israel the church of the Old Testament distorts the purpose and method of its creation, and it also rejects the fact that the presence of God (the Holy Spirit) was in the tabernacle/temple behind the veil and not indwelling Israel in a corporate sense as it does the church in a corporate sense. At best, the Holy Spirit may have indwelled individual Old Testament saints such as the prophets and King David, and even in that sense the Old Testament saints were not limited to national Israel (consider Jethro/Reuel, Melchizedek, Seth, Abel, Noah, Job, the Queen of Sheba, Nebuchadnezzar etc.)
And also against dispensationalism, the church age is not a parenthetical period between two Israel ages (the Old Testament and the Jewish millennium), with memorial animal sacrifices in a third temple to Jesus Christ to occur in the second Jewish age, and Israel again taking her place as a light to the nations during the millennium. Instead, the purpose of Israel’s lesser light (and in creation, the lesser light rules THE NIGHT, which according to the parables of Jesus Christ is the time of sorrow because the bridegroom is not present) was to point to Jesus Christ, who is the true light to the nations, including Israel, and is the greater light which rules THE DAY. So, what of the Old Testament prophecies of the nations’ bringing gifts to Zion and serving Zion that were to be fulfilled in the millennium, the alleged “unfulfilled promises to Israel that have to be fulfilled in the millennium”? Read “servant songs” of Isaiah. Jesus Christ is the Son of Israel, who took upon Himself the role that Israel rejected, succeeded where Israel failed, obeyed and fulfilled the law of Moses that Israel broke (and dispensationalists claim that Israel should have never accepted to begin with when the truth is that Israel had no free will in the matter to accept or reject; they had no choice for they were chosen unconditionally by God and could not resist or reject His will) and thereby became Israel or Zion within Himself.
Jesus Christ is able to fulfill the prophecies given to both national Israel because He IS both national and spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ is national Israel because He was born a Jew to Mary and Joseph as a natural son of David of the tribe of Judah, and spiritual Israel because one is part of spiritual Israel only through faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the object, author and finisher of that same faith. So, the “Zion songs” that speak of a restored Israel receiving the worship and gifts of the nations and ruling the nations are actually fulfilled in Jesus Christ who – as Israel’s personification, representative and fulfillment – rules the nations with a rod of iron and receives the worship and praise of all who have faith in, abide in and obediently serve Him in heaven and on earth while ruling the nations with a rod of iron.
Suggesting that national Israel will rule and receive gifts in the place of the only One who is worthy of such rule and praise is to take the position that Jesus Christ was never incarnated, crucified and resurrected. Incidentally, the amillennial beliefs held by many covenant theologians and is being adopted by dominionists, which holds that the church is to subdue and rule the earth just as Israel was to do with Canaan (and in the case of the dominionists, as Adam was subdue and rule the earth), possesses a similar error, giving to man and his institutions the rule – and praise – that belongs only to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will not rule the earth through the church, but instead will rule the earth including the church. And there will be no memorial sacrifices to Jesus Christ, for why do things in memory (as is done to those who are dead and sleep) to that who is alive and present forevermore? Instead of memorial animal sacrifices in a temple, Jesus Christ will receive active worship and praise in spirit and in truth from the hearts of those who believe, those whom the Holy Spirit indwells!
Therefore, knowing the difference between the church and Israel is vital to understanding the past, future and the present for the Christian. By contrast, failing to know these differences leaves one vulnerable to error and deception. So, do not be destroyed for the lack of knowledge! Instead, study to show yourselves approved!
One of the earliest controversies to center about BJU was the break that occurred in the late 1950s between separatist fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals represented by the newly prominent evangelist Billy Graham. Graham had briefly attended Bob Jones College, and the University conferred an honorary degree on him in 1948. During the 1950s, however, Graham began distancing himself from the older fundamentalism, and in preparation for his 1957 New York Crusade, he sought broad ecumenical sponsorship.
Bob Jones, Sr. argued that if members of Graham’s campaign executive committee had rejected major tenets of orthodox Christianity, such as the virgin birth and the deity of Christ, then Graham had violated 2 John 9-11, which prohibits receiving in fellowship those who do “not abide in the teaching of Christ.” In the 1960s, Graham further irritated fundamentalists by gaining the endorsement of Richard Cardinal Cushing for his Boston campaign and accepting honorary degrees from two Roman Catholic colleges.
Graham tried to remain above the fray, but members of his staff openly accused Jones of jealousy on the grounds that Jones’s evangelistic meetings had never been as large as Graham’s. Graham’s father-in-law, L. Nelson Bell, mailed a fiery ten-page letter to most members of the BJU faculty and student body (as well as to thousands of pastors across the country) accusing Jones of “hatred, distortions, jealousies, envying, malice, false witnessing, and untruthfulness.”
In what seemed to the Joneses to be a deliberate affront, Graham held his only American campaign of 1966 in Greenville, South Carolina. Under penalty of expulsion, the University forbade any BJU dormitory student from attending the Graham meetings. In a four-page position paper delivered to students in 1965, Bob Jones, Jr., condemned Billy Graham’s “ecumenical evangelism” as unscriptural and “heretical,” noting that Graham shared his platform with Catholic priests and that one could not “be a good Catholic and a good, spiritual Christian.” When Graham arrived in Greenville, Jones, Jr. emphasized that the basis of the University’s position was scriptural and not personal. “The Bible commands that false teacher and men who deny the fundamentals of the faith should be accursed; that is, they shall be criticized and condemned. Billy approves them, Billy condones them, Billy recommends them….I think that Dr. Graham is doing more harm in the cause of Jesus Christ than any living man; that he is leading foolish and untaught Christians, simple people that do not know the Word of God, into disobedience to the Word of God.”
The negative publicity caused by the rift with Graham, itself a reflection of a larger division between separatist fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals, precipitated a decline in BJU enrollment of about 10% in the years 1956-59. Seven members of the University board (of about a hundred) also resigned in support of Graham, including Graham himself and two of his staff members. By 1966, when Graham appeared in Greenville, BJU enrollment had strongly rebounded and continued to grow thereafter until the mid-1980s.
Note: this was my response to a “Contact Us” query, but unfortunately the person who sent the question did not leave a valid email address. So perhaps the questioner will see my reply cut and pasted here.
Some say that Leviticus 19:28 forbids getting tattoos. The verse reads “‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD” according to most of the newer translations. Others say that Leviticus 19:28 is taken out of context or applies only to Israel living under the old covenant. I personally would urge a Christian not to get a tattoo. Tattooing is part of the practice of a lot of pagan religions. Also, a lot of the popular tattoos literally are symbols from the occult, wicca, paganism, earth worship, etc., or they are rebellious political symbols. Furthermore, you are going to know very little about the person with the needle punching holes in your skin … about that person’s religious beliefs or what motivated him or her to become a tattoo artist in the first place. And it is also unhealthy: various diseases like herpes, hepatitis, even AIDS have been known to be transmitted by tattoo parlors that do not sterilize their needles. So not getting tattoos is my personal recommendation, and because it is so unwise – in addition to being quite painful – I cannot help but wonder about any Christian that has one. And I feel quite comfortable in saying that because I myself have a tattoo that I got back when I was unsaved and living quite foolishly, and to this day regard it as one of the worst of my many very bad decisions! If someone were to make the case that having a tattoo is a sin, based on my own experience I would not disagree.
But I am not willing to go that far myself. Since I do not know if it is mentioned in the New Testament – and even its mention in the Old Testament is singular and in a questionable context – I am not going to create a doctrine out of it. I would rather not be guilty of what Jesus Christ convicted the unbelieving Pharisees of in the Gospel of John, of judging by external standards. So, I will leave it at what Paul said in the 1 Corinthians 10:23: all things are lawful for me but not all things are expedient. This selection particularly fits the larger context of 1 Corinthians 10, which is dealing with temptation, and the books of Corinthians, where Paul was writing to a worldly carnal church in a heavily paganized and immoral city … Corinth was a “port city” with all that implied, and it also contained a bunch of social climbers and status seekers. Quite frankly I do not see the need for a tattoo, or nor do I know what purpose it would have in praising or bringing someone closer to God. I do not know how getting a tattoo uplifts Jesus Christ.
Even putting a tattoo depicting cross or the Name of God … that is sketchy territory because God says no graven images (and yes tattooing is engraving in your skin, trust me I have one and I know!) and not to take His Name in vain. So even if it technically is not a sin, it is foolishness that serves no good purpose and reflects badly on someone’s judgment. After all, why even get a tattoo? Because a person see someone else with it and it looks cool. Chances are that cool looking person with the tattoo is a secular celebrity: a rock or rap musician, an actor, or an athlete. Or in this instance a famous preacher! I feel safe to say that not very many people can claim to have gotten their desire to get a tattoo from what they received during their intensive Bible study, for if they did that person would have to deal with Leviticus 19:28!
So, if the case against Todd Bentley was his tattoos (and his pierced lip … and I do not have any piercings, just the one tattoo!), I would not be the one to make it. As it is, I do not have to judge him by those external standards, but rather by spiritual standards. Which spiritual standards? The doctrine that he preaches, which is incontrovertibly false, and the people that he associates with, which are those known to not only preach false doctrines but also have dishonest financial dealings and histories of sexual immorality. To sum it all up, the case against Todd Bentley can be made by comparing this YouTube clip of him preaching against the contents of the Bible. Please watch the YouTube clip below to understand that no matter what the man’s appearance is, he preaches dangerous heresies and Christians should denounce rather than follow him.
In addition, here are the views of some other Christians on this topic:
Paul Cain stirred controversy last week when he made comments before thousands of worshippers in Lakeland, Fla., that seemed to deny his past moral failings.
[05.13.08] Paul Cain stirred controversy last week when he made comments before thousands of worshippers in Lakeland, Fla., that seemed to deny his past moral failings. The prominent 78-year-old prophetic minister told a crowd at a revival meeting in Lakeland that “allegations” and rumors circulating about him were not true.
The comments made many wonder whether, in alluding to his past, Cain was withdrawing his confession from three years ago, when he publicly acknowledged his failings involving alcoholism and homosexuality. But a senior spokesperson affiliated with what’s dubbed the Florida Outpouring told Charisma that Cain was not denying his sins, but instead was attempting to refute any perception that he had not repented of them.
“It was unfortunate that Paul said something [May 4] that has now been misunderstood,” said Stephen Strader, senior pastor at Ignited Church, a converted storefront on the north side of Lakeland that traveling evangelist Todd Bentley quickly outgrew after revival broke out on April 2. “Initial reaction to Cain’s statements caused many to believe he was denying [his past sin],” Strader said. “But Paul was referring to the rumors that he had not been restored and had not gone through a restoration process. It was just totally misunderstood.”
Three prominent Spirit-filled leaders—Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner and Jack Deere—urged Cain to submit to a specific process of restoration and healing after his dramatic public confession in 2005. But Cain eventually refused their recommendations and was deemed “fully restored” by a somewhat unknown ministry in California. Because the three men were not familiar with the process Cain underwent, Bickle, Joyner and Deere released a statement last year saying: “We cannot say with confidence that this is a genuine restoration.”
Strader believes Cain’s restoration could be genuine. “Whether or not we agree with the group that restored him is irrelevant. He feels he’s been restored. Many people feel he’s been restored. We simply invited Paul to be present for when we replayed his prophecy from 1999.” That prophecy, according to Cain’s Web site, involved a vision he had in 1999 where he saw “stadiums being filled in the last days” in Florida. Cain said astonishing miracles would take place and that the impact would eventually be felt globally.
“It would be presumptuous for us to say that this is it, but there is every indication that this is it,” Strader said of the prophecy. More than 10,000 people attended meetings each evening last weekend in Lakeland. Venues have included an arena, an open field and a stadium.“This is day 41 and we are now fulfilling that prophecy, not because we wanted to, but because we’ve had to,” he said. “We did not plan to go to a stadium. It never even crossed our mind to go to a stadium. We were forced into a stadium because there wasn’t a large enough facility available to us.
“The only thing Paul was invited for was to honor him, honor the gift. We love Paul. He was not invited as a speaker. We honored the man, honored his years of service, and that was it. We did not restore him to ministry or anything.” Though he did not respond to Charisma’s attempt to seek further clarification, the following statement was posted on Cain’s Web site: “The allegations that Paul was referring to on Sunday in Florida as being untrue were simply allegations that he was unrepentant. Paul has repented of any wrongdoing publicly and has been fully forgiven and restored.”
Strader told Charisma Cain had a stroke shortly after the incident last week, but is reportedly stable and recovering. Now in its sixth consecutive week, the Florida Outpouring is an ongoing phenomenon of twice-daily revival meetings conducted by Bentley in large venues throughout Lakeland. In addition to reports of miraculous healings and euphoric worship, millions worldwide watching the meetings on GOD TV or the Internet have fueled the revival. Bentley has characterized it as possibly the first “21st century revival.” —PAUL STEVEN GHIRINGHELLI