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Posts Tagged ‘covenant theology’
Posted by Job on December 26, 2011
Posted by Job on July 18, 2010
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!
Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: 7 Mountain Theology, Amillennialism, Bob Jones, C. Peter Wagner, Christianity, corporate solidarity, covenant theology, Dispensationalism, dominionism, dual covenant theology, harry jackson, Israel, Kansas City Prophets, NAR, new apostolic reformation, paul cain, religious right, replacement theology, Rick Joyner, sarah palin, seven mountains, Thomas Muthee | 3 Comments »
Posted by Job on July 4, 2010
Upon reading chapter 12 of the Gospel of John, I encountered John 12:31, which reads “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” As “the prince of this world” is a reference to Satan, immediately, I had the notion to cross reference that text in Revelation because it sounded familiar. Thinking that I may have found scriptural support for amillennialism in the words of Jesus Christ, I checked Revelation 20:1-3, which speaks of Satan being bound for 1000 years. However, the two passages did not appear to have anything to do with each other. Then I recalled that the reference to Satan being thrust from heaven was in the “there was a war in heaven” passage, which is contained within Revelation 12.
1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried , travailing in birth , and pained to be delivered.
The identity of this woman has been a subject of some debate. Roman Catholics assert that this is “Mary, queen of heaven.” Some assert that the woman is the church. However, this woman obviously represents national or Old Testament Israel. The 12 stars are the twelve tribes of Israel. Please recall that in Joseph’s dream of Genesis 37:9, his brothers were represented by stars. And the child that Israel was carrying was Jesus Christ. God’s purpose was to create Israel as an elect people, give Israel the law, and have Jesus Christ born to Israel as a human and member of their nation and people under the law so that Jesus Christ would fulfill the law perfectly and then surrender His life as payment for the sins of others. And Israel suffered many things (i.e. bondage in Egypt, destruction and captivity by Babylon, brutal subjugation by the Greeks) before Jesus Christ was born to the Jew Miriam (Mary).
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
The dragon is Satan. The significance of the 7 heads, 7 crowns and 10 horns I do not know at this time. It is interesting that Revelation 13:1, which some manuscripts assert as being the final verse of Revelation 12, describes the beast as having 7 heads, 7 crowns and 10 horns. However, Revelation 13 identifies the beast (popularly referred to as the anti-Christ) and the dragon (Satan) separately. The reference to the 1/3 of the stars of heaven that were thrown to the earth is that to the angels who were not elect (see 1 Timothy 5:21) and therefore joined Satan in His rebellion against God, becoming demons or evil spirits.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
This man child is obviously Jesus Christ. The references to Satan’s attempting to devour the man child can refer to the various attempts of Satan to tempt, kill or otherwise thwart Jesus Christ, with an example being Herod’s genocide after the visit from the wise men. It can also refer to Satan’s many attempts to destroy national Israel – either by killing them or seducing them into idolatry – prior to Jesus Christ’s advent. The child’s being caught up to God’s throne refers to Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven after His passion and resurrection.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
This is a reference to the dispersion of national Israel and the end of the Jewish age after the destruction of the temple and nation by the Roman Empire in 70 AD. The times of the Gentiles, or the last days, began. The phrase “where she hath a place prepared of God” seems to refer to national Israel still being under God’s protection though the eyes of the Jews are blinded during the church age. This confirms Romans 11. As far as the time period of 3.5 years, to me that remains a mystery.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out , that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down , which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This would be the portion that correlates with John 12:31. “That old serpent” is better rendered “that serpent of old”, which identifies the Satan that deceived the whole world as being the same that deceived Eve and successfully caused the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Not only was the entire world deceived and sent into a fallen state of original sin as a result of Satan’s dealings with Adam, but Satan has been deceiving the world – those not reconciled to God – ever since. Also, we know from the book of Job that Satan had access to heaven and accused the righteous of sin before God. After Jesus Christ atoned for sin with His death and obtained justification for believers at His resurrection, Satan’s access to heaven and his accusations against believers could no longer continue. Because of the work and victory of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and His being resurrected from the dead, Satan was defeated. Glory be to Jesus Christ, who reigns and is blessed forever!
12 Therefore rejoice , ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time , and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
After being cast from heaven, this Satan who in his madness thought that he could somehow exalt himself over the One who created him and sustains his existence was forced to give up any delusions that he might have harbored concerning his battle with God. Knowing his fate – and that time is rapidly ticking towards it – Satan turns his full malicious destructive intentions to humans living on the earth, and especially national (or ethnic) Israel, who despite her current apostasy is still God’s chosen and beloved, and was used by God in the incarnation of the Jesus Christ who defeated Satan through His death and resurrection. From this, one may conjecture that the many calamities that have befallen Israel since her dispersion (including but not limited to the Holocaust) is not – or is not solely – due to her rejection of Jesus Christ; that it is the result of some national sin or curse that Israel bears. Indeed, Jesus Christ prayed and interceded for the forgiveness of Israel as He died on the cross (Luke 23:34). Instead, Israel’s misfortunes are the result of Satan’s concentrated and determined efforts against her. (Please note that while Satan has taken special efforts of cruel malice against Israel, he has not neglected his steal, kill and destroy mission against everyone else either.) Yet despite Satan’s best efforts, Israel endures as a people because of God’s protection. This protection – as well as the 3.5 year time period – is a repeat of what was given in verse 6. God is a faithful God. Though national Israel suffers many things, God has not cast her aside, and one day Israel will be saved.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
This could be a reference to the nations and peoples of the earth whom God has raised up and used to protect and defend ethnic Israel. From the nations that accepted Jews when they were expelled from Spain to the people who shielded Jews from Hitler’s holocaust, God has used various people and nations to preserve a remnant of the natural descendants of Abraham.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Now the woman is national Israel. (By this I mean ethnic Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, not the current nation of Israel, or necessarily the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.) Descendants of Abraham who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ excepted, national Israel does not keep the commandments of God or have the testimony of Jesus Christ. So, the “remnants of Israel’s seed” referred to in verse 17 is the church, spiritual Israel, the true descendants of Abraham because of the faith of Abraham. Abraham had faith in the revelation of Jesus Christ just as does the church. It is the church that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is carrying out the mission of God. And just as Satan is at war with national/ethnic Israel, he is at war with spiritual Israel, the church. Note that this passage does not refer to the church having the protection of God during this time, only the woman (Israel). In this, we are reminded that the servant is not greater than his Master, therefore the church must suffer many things just as Jesus Christ did.
This interpretation would appear to be at odds with some points of both dispensationalism and covenant theology. Regarding covenant theology, a clear distinction between Israel and the church is made and maintained, and Israel is still under God’s protection, in blindness until the day that it joins the church (though the church was grafted in) in salvation through Jesus Christ. So, the attempts by John Calvin and others to assert that “all Israel will be saved” and other points in Romans 11 actually refers to the church cannot be supported in Revelation 12. As far as dispensationalism goes in general and the rapture doctrine specifically, you have often heard the allegation that no reference to the church appears in Revelation after chapter 3. Not only does Revelation 7:9-17 refer to martyred Christians “who have come out of great tribulation” (and hence the 144,000 also refers to the church), but Revelation 12:17 can only refer to the church, and Satan’s wrath against it.
And as noted earlier, the reference to Satan’s wrath against the church in Revelation 12:17 leads directly to the passages concerning the beast, popularly referred to as the anti-Christ, in Revelation 13. The agent of Satan’s wrath against the church mentioned in Revelation 12:17 will be this beast, and it will be given to this beast to make war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:7). And recall what was stated earlier: Revelation 12 does not mention the church as having the same protection as does national Israel. So, do not be deceived into thinking that these saints will be Jews, or people somehow converted during the great tribulation. (How can these conversions be possible if – according to dispensational doctrines – the indwelling Holy Spirit is gone?)
So during the end of the last days, the great tribulation, both Israel and the church will be present and figure prominently in it. The church during this time will glorify God through its suffering after the manner of Jesus Christ. Israel will glorify God through her continuing to exist despite all efforts to destroy her and the ultimate joining of national Israel with spiritual Israel in salvation through Jesus Christ.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, great tribulation, harpagesometha, prophecy, rapio, rapture, replacement theology | Tagged: 1 Timothy 5:21, Amillennialism, anti - Semitism, covenant theology, Dispensationalism, Genesis 37:9, Israel, jews, John 12, John 12:31, Revelation 12, Revelation 13:7, Revelation 20:1-3, Revelation 7, The Church | 3 Comments »
A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers: Explain The Fifth Seal In Revelation!
Posted by Job on September 25, 2009
Revelation 6:9-11 reads
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The Word of God for the elect people of God. Glory be to God.
For my premillennial dispensational brethren who believe in a pretribulation (or prewrath) rapture that spares the church from the time of sorrow, please explain this text. Who are those slain for the Word of God? Are they Christians? And when will these Christians be slain for their testimony? Does it refer to those believers slain in times past, whether in the Old Testament or at the time that Revelation was written? Or does it refer to believers slain during the great tribulation? (If so, how can any Christian stand under persecution, even martyrdom, without being emboldened by the Holy Spirit, which according to premillennial dispensational doctrine has to be taken from the earth along with the church? Please recall the difference between Peter and the apostles before the Comforter – cowering and fearful and running from their lives – and afterwards – bold and brave witnesses even unto death. As a matter of fact Peter himself went from being the worst – the one who denied Christ three times – to being the boldest. And how can anyone even be saved during the great tribulation without the work of the Holy Spirit? Recall: the Holy Spirit was indeed present during the time of the Old Testament saints. Indeed, the Bible states that the earth’s very existence cannot so much as even be sustained without the Spirit of God.) Or does it refer to believers slain during all ages, from the first (Abel) until the last before the return of Jesus Christ?
To interpret this passage with scripture, let us go to another one in Revelation that touches the martyrdom of the saints, which is Revelation 18:24. Please recall that this chapter refers to the fall of Babylon, which since the Tower of Babel incident and particularly since the destruction of the temple in 586 has been used to symbolize people and systems that rebel against and oppose God and persecute His elect covenant people, and that Revelation extends this symbolism with personification, describing all that opposes God as a harlot (prostitute), which in this verse is called “her”: And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Now as much as I love my King James Version, allow me to quibble with their translation of “kai” to “and” in the phrase “and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Many times, “kai” is just used for emphasis, as an amplifier of degree or a focus of attention. This text should probably read:
“And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints, indeed all [prophets and saints] that were slain upon the earth.”
However, if you go with the King James Version, which granted carries much more weight and authority than my own, and all which follow its tradition on that text, then “and of all that were slain upon the earth” simply means that in Babylon was the blood of every person that has been murdered, all innocent blood that has been shed. This means that the prior clause “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints” means that “the prophets and saints” (a New Testament idiom which refers to old covenant and new covenant believers) which means that the blood of Stephen and all other Christian martyrs ever since is contained in Babylon. So with reference to the elect the meaning is the same: the blood of everyone killed because of their faith in God is in Babylon.
So, if we interpret Revelation 6:9-11 with Revelation 18:24, when the fifth seal was opened the martyred souls viewed under the altar should very likely be interpreted to include every Christian martyr since Stephen. This would support the idea of a church that has always been under continuous tribulation. Such an interpretation would be consistent with, indeed fulfill the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:18-20.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.
Now one can hardly claim that those words were only aimed at the apostles. Those words are for all Christians for all time. So what basis is there for believing that there will be a rapture to save the church from a persecution that A) Jesus Christ said that we would face and B) Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to withstand? Now this is not an endorsement of the historicist, preterist or amillennial position that there will be no seven year literal great tribulation. Instead, it is to say that if there will be such a seven year literal great tribulation, the church will be present for it just as it has been present for all other tribulations, the “lesser” tribulations.
Now the prewrath (and mid-wrath) rapture adherent does have Revelation 3:10, which reads “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”, in his favor. However, that could be fulfilled in a number of ways, including 1) a place of refuge (which ironically rapture believers commonly propose will exist for those who will saved during the great tribulation … again these people will have to be saved despite the absence of a church to preach the gospel or a Holy Spirit to perform regeneration) or 2) death. Do not let the “death” option astonish you, but instead study the scriptures, especially the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. It is a consistent theme that death is a way of being preserved, saved, spared from times of great evil … to be absent from the troubles of this world and present with God! Perhaps the best example of this is the death of Abijah, son of the wicked king Jeroboam, who died according to God’s will so that he would not be corrupted by Jeroboam and also not share in their judgment in 1 Kings 14. A New Testament example: at the time that he wrote Philippians 1:20-26, Paul viewed death as being removed from the extremely trying circumstances that he was living and exchanging it for a better fate. In that passage Paul stated “to die is gain”, but it appears that the rapture adherents have transformed it into “to be raptured is gain.”
So, the idea that there must be a rapture in order for Christians to be spared martyrdom seems to be inconsistent with Biblical revelation. It is also an idea that only makes sense for Christians living in the west. Practically everywhere else in the world, Christians face persecution: marginalization, poverty, disease, imprisonment, death. There are two doctrinal systems that have the effect of promoting the idea western Christians should have no part in what Christians in Indonesia, China, Iran, Palestine (and Israel!), India and Mexico (where Roman Catholic/pagan syncretists are persecuting Protestants) by simple right of geography of birth: pretribulation rapture and covenant theology. Pretribulation rapture teaches that Christians not currently under persecution now will never have to face it, because persecution will only come to “the good parts of the world” (i.e. “Christian nations” or “western nations” or “non-socialist nations” … you know, what Glenn Beck was referring to) when the anti-Christ (which 8% of New Jersey residents regard Obama to be) takes over it.
Now ask yourselves … why is it that Christians can be persecuted in some places (including Israel … and read this too!) now without the anti-Christ, but it requires the anti-Christ to happen in others (especially America)? Or that the saints in other places (and times, including in the west … remember the 30 Years War and the Anabaptists?) are not spared persecution, but only the modern American saints are? Only the idea that contemporary western (especially American and possibly British!) Christians are somehow better than Christians living in other times and places, and this fact would be due to America having some special status before God as a unique elect covenant nation, giving us special status within the Body of Christ. Of course, the Bible makes it clear in the Roman and Corinthian epistles that there is no special group or people with a special status, special favor, or special standing before God in the Body of Christ, but instead that we are one Body. Further, the Bible makes it clear that those who are accounted greater according to rank or authority (not standing or value) demonstrate this through being servant roles that cause us to A) serve those who are of lesser rank and authority and B) endure even greater persecution than those who are of lesser rank and authority. So, even if America did have some special standing before God, instead of our being wealthy decadent privileged Laodiceans, we would be poor, oppressed and serving everybody else! If you deny this, read the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ!
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Keep in mind, the version in Luke reads “Blessed are the POOR!”)
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.
Now earlier I mentioned the covenant theologians, from whom the modern concept of the “Christian nation” originated. Covenant theologians believe – or at least believed – that people in “Christian nations” would or should be spared persecution only because in a church-state Christians would control the government, economy, military, police, and religion in a theocracy after the manner of Old Testament Israel. That is why such extreme theonomists and reconstructionists as Gary North and Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony deny that the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount apply to Christians, instead stating that it only applied to Jews living in that time. (Curiously, hyperdispensationalists believe the same.) While I believe the covenant theology position to be in error, this statement is aimed primarily at premillennnial dispensationalists.
So if America were this special, Christian nation, it would be marked by our poverty and service, not by our decadent delusions of religious nobility which makes us believe that we are somehow exempt from the sufferings of Christians living in Belarus or Namibia, or for that matter the Christians of the early church. After all, when Paul wrote his statement insisting that those in the Body of Christ were equals, the statements were direct AGAINST two groups of people: the Jewish Christians in the Roman church and the wealthy Christians in the Corinthian church. The Jewish Christians regarded themselves to be superior to the Gentile Christians because of nationality, and the wealthy Corinthian Christians regarded themselves as superior to the poorer believers because of their riches. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell both groups that they were wrong. So, then, how can we justify believing that a rapture will come and rescue us from the type of persecutions and deaths at the hands of Muslims that are going on all over the Middle East, Asia and Africa right now, such as the two million Christians that were killed in Sudan, many of whom were tortured, raped, doused with gasoline and set on fire, had their limbs chopped off, or were sold as slaves because they refused to renounce Christianity?
Ironically, the world, including the media, the activists, and the government of our own “Christian nation”, did their level best to ignore this genocide, choosing instead to focus on Muslims murdering other Muslims in Darfur. And let us not forget that the term for which the word genocide was originally invented and applied to, that of the Armenians by the Turks, is still not recognized as such by the U.N. or by the government of our “Christian nation.” It is still more ironic when you consider that the Armenian genocide happened in the same general area that the letters in Revelation were sent, in the Turkey region. That persecution kicked off what was the bloodiest period of Christian persecution in history, the 20th century, that saw 45.5 million Christians killed!
So if there were any geographical or political entity within the Body of Christ that had special status, it would be those Christians because of their poverty and persecution who would come first, not us . It is those to whom the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ were addressed, and premillennial dispensationalism completely rejects that truth for the belief that the rapture will save Christians not yet under persecution from ever having to experience it because the saints who have it easier are the ones who fulfill Revelation 3:10! Never mind that the rich church that was not facing persecution was Laodicea, and the church that Revelation 3:10 was addressed to was Philadelphia. Why was the promise of Revelation 3:10 given to the Philadelphians? It is in Revelation 3:8, which reads “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” The Philadelphia Christians were being persecuted, and similar to the Sudanese Christians, they refused to yield to the persecution by denying Jesus Christ. In other words, they refused to do the same as the apostle Peter did THREE TIMES before he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, yet dispensationalism teaches that this Holy Spirit will be taken away, and those converted during the great tribulation will have to face the greatest time of sorrows ever without it, and will yet somehow stand? How? Why? Because of their free will? Or because of their inherently good human nature untainted by original sin? Followers of Reformed/Calvinist believers in the rapture like John MacArthur and Albert Pendarvis (the latter’s bookstore sells the Scofield Reference Bible) have to answer these questions! In any event, those who claim that Revelation 3:10 refers to Christians being raptured to escape persecution have to deal with the fact that the text was in reference to a Philadelphia church that was enduring it!
Make no mistake. I believe in a bodily literal return of Jesus Christ which I believe will occur after a literal great tribulation which will include a literal and personal anti-Christ. However, I also believe that the church will endure this tribulation, and that we need to be preparing ourselves and those who will follow us in the faith for it in a manner that is consistent with scripture as opposed to believing that we – or our WESTERN descendants – will have an experience of escaping it that will be unique to Christians living in other times and places. At the very least, someone must explain why western Christians alone should enjoy this pleasure!
Posted in Christian Persecution, Christian persecution America, Christian Zionism, Christianity, Christians United For Israel, church hypocrisy, church state, church worldliness, Jesus Christ | Tagged: 1 Kings 14, 20th century christian persecution, Abijah, Albert Pendarvis, america, Amillennialism, anti - Christ, apocalypse, Armenia, armenian genocide, babylon, Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Obama, beatitudes, beatitudes and persecution, c.i. scofield, chiliasm, covenant theology, Cyrus Scofield, Dispensationalism, dominionism, endtimes, eschatology, Exegesis, fifth seal, Gary North, great tribulation, Historic Premillennialism, historicism, Islam, John MacArthur, John Nelson Darby, Muslim, persecution, Plymouth Brethren, postmillennialism, preterism, pretribulation, pretribulation rapture, prewrath, prophecy, R. J. Rushdoony, rapture, reconstructionism, Revelation, Revelation 18, Revelation 18:24, Revelation 3:10, Revelation 6:10, Revelation 6:9-11, Rousas John Rushdoony, Scofield Reference Bible, theonomy, turkey, twentieth century christian persecution | 10 Comments »
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.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: Amillennialism, covenant theology, Dispensationalism, endtimes, eschatology, Israel, Judaism, Matthew 21:33-43, Matthew 21:33-44, Matthew 21:33-46, Messianic Judaism, Millennium, Parable of the Tenants, Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard, Premillennial Dispensationalism, prophecy, rapture, replacement theology, Revelation | 1 Comment »
Posted by Job on July 29, 2009
by Greg Welty, Westminster Theological Seminary from founders.org
Posted by Job on July 29, 2009
Please read article:
by Tony Warren
Posted by Job on January 25, 2009
Posted by Job on January 5, 2009
To the post Do Evangelical Christians Consider The Plight Of The Palestinians? I received an excellent reply which asked to justify my comments in light of Jeremiah 31:35-36:
I don’t have time to write a long comment, but one bit struck me:
Even if we accept the Old Testament version of events as history (which of course the Palestinians, being neither Jews or Christians, are not obliged to), that version tells us that the nation of Israel ceased to exist in 586 BC.
Contrast this to Jeremiah 31:35-36:
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.”
Are these two statement compatible?”
My reply: the modern definition of “nation” and what the Bible means when it uses the term are not always one and the same. Further, there seems to be a common occurrence of merging the related but not identical promises to Abraham given in Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 15:18-21. Jeremiah 31:35-36 references one but not the other.
So here is my response to the very legitimate question of the promise of Israel’s always being a nation made by God, and I would appreciate responses. When making them, please note two things:
1. I do not oppose the existence of the modern nation – state Israel and I am fully aware of modern Israel’s obligation to defend itself from many enemies (including but certainly not limited to Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, the PLO, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc.) that are committed to its destruction.
2. Though I reject premillennial dispensationalism, I acknowledge the historical legitimacy of other forms of premillennialism, and I do not subscribe to amillennialism, preterism, covenant theology, nor do I subscribe to replacement theology in its classic sense..
Well, statement two is incompatible with history. Israel lost control of their land in 586 BC, not long after its writer Jeremiah urged the southern kingdom to submit to Babylon. And about 700 years later Jerusalem was burned to the ground and the Jews were scattered into a diaspora. So, statement two would have to be “never except for a huge gap between 586 BC and 1948 AD, and especially between 132 AD and 1948 AD.”
So the only way to reconcile Jeremiah 31:35-36 with the rest of Biblical revelation and of history is to conclude that it did not refer to the physical nation or land of Israel, but the people of Israel. And to confirm that, go to Exodus. The Exodus account is clear: Israel became a nation when God brought them out of Egypt. Yet they did not possess the land of Israel until after 40 years in the wilderness. Again, they were a nation, but wandering in the wilderness and not in Israel.
So Jeremiah 31:35-36 was a promise that the natural seed of Abraham would always exist as a people. That promise is true, and evidence of that is the discovery of Jews who can trace their bloodline in such exotic places as Ethiopia and India. But making the claim that it refers to Jews always living in and controlling the land of Israel would be hard to reconcile with the facts of history.
This is more so when you consider the nature of the Sinai covenant, especially as spelled out in Deuteronomy. The Sinai covenant was not unconditional as was the covenant that God made with Abraham or the Davidic Messianic covenant. The Sinai covenant was conditional. Which meant that for the nation of Israel to remain in the land of Israel (for the people of Shem to dwell in the tents of Canaan, remember Noah’s famous curse against the son of Ham, as the land of Israel is actually the land of Canaan, the Jebusites built Jerusalem if I am correct) and to continue to control Israel, it had to keep the Sinai covenant.
We know that Israel did not keep the terms of the covenant, and that is why 586 BC happened. Make no mistake, and the Old Testament prophets declared, that the falling of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians and the southern kingdom to the Babylonians was the result of Israel’s breaking of the old covenant. And this same Jeremiah that you quote spoke of a new covenant.
Israel’s living in and controlling the land of Israel was tied to the Sinai covenant. Again, the book that best spells this out is Deuteronomy, written by the leader of the nation of Israel at the time, Moses, who himself never set foot in the land of Israel.
Premillennial dispensationalism tries to get around the fact that Israel broke the terms of the conditionial Sinai covenant by claiming that it was the unconditional covenant with Abraham that gave Abraham’s descendants eternal control of the land of Israel. However, http://www.gotquestions.org/Abrahamic-covenant.html does an outstanding job of exposing this false belief. It is based on inappropriately joining Genesis 15:18-21 and Genesis 12:1-3 together. Genesis 15:18-21 simply promises land to Abraham and his descendants. We know that this promise was fulfilled, as Abraham’s descendants were given the land of Israel. That was not what Jeremiah 31:35-36 was referencing.
Genesis 12:1-3 is the unconditional covenant that makes promises to make Israel into a nation. That was what Jeremiah 31:35-36 was speaking of. And why did Jeremiah write Jeremiah 31:35-36? To address people who claimed that the fall of Judah to Babylon meant that God was breaking the Abrahamic covenant. Jeremiah was reminding Israel that the Abrahamic covenant meant that the natural children of Israel through Isaac would always exist as a people, not that they would always live in and have control of the nation of Israel. Again, continued living in and controlling the nation of Israel was conditioned on keeping the Sinai covenant.
Now interpreting scripture with scripture is a legitimate way to interpret the Bible, so adding Genesis 15:18-21 to Genesis 12:1-3 or even using one to interpret the other would appear, in isoloation, to be valid. The problem is that Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 15:18-21 do not appear in isolation. We have to consider those two statements in the context of the rest of the Bible. The issue with modern premillennialism (which, yes, does differ from historic premillennialism) is not so much that people add those two promises to Abraham together, but rather that in doing so they reinterpret or outright ignore/reject other parts of the Bible, especially the Sinai covenant, its conditional nature, and basically everything that happened after 721 BC when the northern kingdom destroyed Assyria. Interesting thing about the northern kingdom’s tribe of Dan … they never at any time kept the Sinai covenant. The book of Judges reveals that the tribe of Dan fell into apostasy immediately after Israel possessed the land. Do you know the result of that? The tribe of Dan is not listed among the 144,400 in Revelation. They are replaced by elevating the half tribes of Joseph to two full tribes. If that doesn’t prove that God was serious about the Sinai covenant, I do not know what does.
But dispensational premillennialism teaches that 721 BC was the start of Israel merely being punished for breaking the Sinai covenant, and in 1948 the punishment was over. As a matter of fact, Paul Meier, who wrote “The Millennium” series of books that – among other things – promotes Bible codes, claimed that the punishment for breaking the Sinai covenant was only the 60 year captivity in Babylon, and what happened to Israel thereafter was actually Israel being punished because most of them refused to return to Israel but stayed in Babylon. Well, Meier’s argument breaks down when you consider that A) not all of Israel was sent to Babylon, but that the poor was left behind and B) it completely ignores the northern kingdom.
And that is yet another problem. Dispensationalism starts by referring to all of Israel, then it shrinks to just the two tribes that made up Judah, then it enlarges to include all of Israel again. Why? Because if you don’t shrink it to include Judah, then you will have to deal with the fact that the 10 northern tribes were not restored to all of Israel, only the two southern tribes were. The land formerly occupied by the 10 northern tribes basically went to the SAMARITANS. (Of course, the later books of the Old Testament reveal that the Samaritans included natural descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that is why they figured so prominently in the gospels and Acts, to the point of Jesus Christ making the special effort to reveal Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well. But they were not Jews or considered to be part of the nation of Israel in any sense.) But now, it has to be expanded to all of Israel so that the descendants of those who returned from Babylon can stake a modern claim to the land given to all 12 tribes.
So we have to points of contention that are critical to premillennial dispensationalism. First is the combination of Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 15:18-21 when later Biblical revelation (not to mention historical events) doesn’t support it. Second is willfully misusing the term “nation” in Genesis 12:1-3 and in other relevant places to be the modern meaning of “nation – state”, a combination of a land and a government. Genesis 12:1-3, Jeremiah 31:35-36, Exodus, etc. do not use that definition, which is western. When the relevant Bible passages say “nation”, they are referring to a PEOPLE, such as a tribe (or confederation of tribes) or ethnic group, people united by common lineage. Now the epitome of the modern definition of “nation” is America, which is not defined by a single ethnic group, people group, or lineage but is an amalgamation, and indeed the people who are actually indigenous to our nation – state are a tiny part of the population and have very little – if any – power in it. So, the “nation” of America (out of many, one, e pluribus unum, tons of different races, nationalities, ethnic groups etc. combining to make one entity that is defined by a political entity and a land mass) and the “nation” of Israel (which literally means the natural genetic descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel and exists no matter which political entity they reside under or where they live whether it be in Egypt/Alexandria, Canaan, Babylon, the Greek Empire, New York City/Miami, Mumbai) are direct contrasts with each other. It is one of the classic divergences between what the Bible meant to its original hearers when it was written and what it means to contemporary audiences (especially those in the west, who are completely influenced by the western – Roman! – notions of nation – state and city – state and empire – state that often contain many races and ethnic groups as opposed to the east and other parts of the world where tribes and such still very much exist and influence thinking, even in the cases of tribes that are in the same basic ethnic or racial group … if you doubt that do an Internet search on “Rwanda genocide”).
Now I should point out that I disagree with some of the older fashioned amillennialist sorts, the line of thinking in a lot of conservative Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant circles that opposes the existence of the state of Israel. I have no problem with Israel’s existence, especially when you consider that Jews do in fact need a place of last resort that they can flee to because of persecution and other crises, and no other country on the world want that place to be their own country. (I personally wouldn’t mind that country being America, but I am not a democratic majority.) And if you look at current events in Europe, its allowing itself to be Islamized and assent to sharia law, it does appear that many Jews may have to leave that continent for Israel in the near future. So yes, I can say in a very real way that I do support Israel and the Jews. I am merely pointing out that the existence of Israel is a very bad deal for the Palestinians, who are in a tough spot that cannot be resolved with either politics or military force. People who use questionable premillennial dispensational assumptions to support Israel’s simply crushing the Palestinians beyond doing what is necessary to defend themselves (and I do agree by the way that Israel’s bombing and invading Gaza is a legitimate and perhaps necessary measure to stop being pelted with rockets) are ignoring that fact.
Bottom line: it was the Sinai covenant that allowed Israel to live in Canaan under God’s protection, not the Abrahamic or Davidic covenants. And the Sinai covenant was broken by Israel. If it hadn’t been, then Israel wouldn’t have fallen to Assyria and Judah wouldn’t have fallen to Babylon. That was precisely what the Old Testament prophets and the Chronicler addressed … people who were claiming that God had forsaken His promise to Israel. They replied “God didn’t forsake us, but we forsook God” and then took them right back to Exodus, Leviticus, and especially Deuteronomy (which is precisely why liberal scholarship denies that Deuteronomy was written by Moses, but was instead written during the exile, and the rest of the Old Testament edited to reflect it as a way of Judaism’s “covering its bases” to account for its defeat by Babylon).
Posted in Christianity | Tagged: Amillennialism, covenant theology, Dispensationalism, Israel, Judaism, nation, palestine, Premillennial Dispensationalism, preterism, replacement theology, Zionism | 9 Comments »
Posted by Job on April 26, 2008
Wholesale lifted from Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Covenant Theology is the apex of calvinistic theology. You cannot have a view of Calvinism that excludes a covenantal understanding of redemptive history. But what is a covenant? The most helpful definition of covenant theology comes from the uniqueness of Trinitarian relationship. Van Til himself acknowledged this relationship when he wrote: