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Posts Tagged ‘replacement theology’

Do Jews Bear Responsibility For The Death Of Jesus Christ?

Posted by Job on March 4, 2011

The answer to this question is yes. This is a fact plainly given in the Bible. That the Jews killed Jesus Christ is explicitly described by the unanimous testimony of all four gospels. Moreover, this event was recounted in various New Testament epistles. Also, the death of the Moshiach (or Messiah, or Christ) at the hands of His own people was prophesied in several places in the Old Testament. So, to deny this truth is akin to denying the truth of the Bible itself. Thus, the primary reason and motivation for denying this fact is to deny the truth and authority of the holy scriptures.

Now even though this is a fact plainly recorded and described in the Bible, it is not without a degree of nuance. For instance, there is the fact that Jesus Christ was killed on a Roman cross by Roman soldiers acting under orders by Pontius Pilate. Well, the Bible does not absolve the Roman Empire of guilt either! Quite the contrary, not only does it record the Romans’ mocking, torturing and killing Jesus Christ despite knowing of His innocence and mighty works, but Jesus Christ Himself told Pilate that he only had power over Christ because such power (meaning civil authority) was given to Jesus Christ by God. The fact that human rulers and governments derive their power from God and are used to do God’s bidding (whether they know of it or not) is a consistent theme of the Bible, given from Exodus in the Old Testament to Romans in the New Testament at minimum.

Still, it is impossible to blame entirely or mostly the Romans, because the Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ was handed over to the Romans to be executed by the Jewish leaders. The gospel record states that the Jewish leaders initially handed Jesus Christ over because of the crime of blasphemy – which the gospels tell us that they actually sincerely thought Christ to be guilty of, though they could not legitimately prove it – and that Pilate and Herod were disinterested in using the Roman justice system to settle an internal Jewish matter. Pilate instructed the Jewish leaders to deal with them according to their own system, and the Jewish leaders refused, cagily claiming that execution was against their law. While that was technically true according to the Jewish statutes of the time (for reasons too complex to be enumerated here), Pilate knew full well that the Jews did execute people by stoning for blasphemy and other crimes, with Stephen in Acts being an example. Instead, the real reason why the Jewish leaders deferred stoning Jesus Christ themselves was the fear of provoking a popular revolt. A massive Jerusalem revolt over the stoning of Jesus Christ would have likely meant the end of the Jewish leaders, either at the hands of the people or at the Roman Empire (who would have held the Jewish leaders responsible for inciting the revolt by killing an innocent man very popular with the people in the first place).

So, then the Jewish leaders used the charge that Jesus Christ was a political subversive among the Jews attempting to challenge, defy and subvert their authority over the Jewish people. While they did not accuse Jesus Christ of being a threat to Rome itself, the Jews did enjoy a status of self-government under the Roman Empire because of their being a distinct people with a unique religion, and Rome had the obligation to protect this autonomy from internal and external threats, in addition to their policy against rebellions and disturbances in general (pax Romana). Violating Jewish blasphemy laws was not a Roman official matter, but attempting to rival or overthrow a local government was. So against this charge, Pilate had little recourse but to take it seriously, especially when Jesus Christ did not deny being King of the Jews (and Pilate knew that Christ had a large band of devoted followers), other than simply release Jesus Christ in complete rejection of the charges, which he was not willing to do. So, Jesus Christ was officially accepted as a prisoner of the Roman Empire. Pilate then made one last attempt to save Jesus Christ by having Him released in accordance with the Passover tradition – even rigging it by making the only choice Jesus Christ and the murderer Barabbas – and then ordered the execution.

So yes, the actual murder of Jesus Christ was committed by Romans. However, consider under our own laws, the person that hires a “hit man” to kill someone. Both the “hit man” who actually performs the deed and the person who hired the “hit man” are equally guilty of murder under our laws. In this case, the Roman Empire was the hired assassin, and the Jewish leaders were the ones that hired the Empire to commit the deed on their behalf. In another example, the Old Testament provides a comparison where the Jewish leaders were to be held responsible: that of David in the case of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah the Hittite was not killed by David’s hand, but rather on the battlefield by enemy soldiers. David instructed his generals to put Uriah “on the front line”, have Uriah’s company engage the enemy in battle, and then withdraw, leaving Uriah isolated, outnumbered and surrounded. So, though Uriah the Hittite was killed by Philistines, the Bible explicitly tells us that God held David personally responsible for the murder. So, in the murder of Jesus Christ, the Jewish leaders acted as King David, and the Roman Empire acted as the Philistines. Thus, giving the Roman Empire all or even most of the responsibility for this deed requires rejecting the truth of the gospels, the epistles that speak of the gospels, and the Old Testament scriptures that predict the gospels. The idea that Jesus Christ was killed by the Romans because He was – or the Romans erroneously thought Him to be – a political subversive cannot be reconciled with what the Bible actually says, and one must deny the Bible’s contents in order to adhere to and advance that position.

This brings us to the most difficult issue of all: the Jewish leaders living in that time versus the Jewish nation at that time and since. How can all the Jewish people be held accountable for the actions of a few Jewish religious leaders? Answering that question adequately requires that one challenge the modern mindset and adopt a way of thinking that was prevailing at the time when the Bible was written. The Bible was not written in modern times by people with contemporary ways of viewing the world. Often, we accidentally interpret the Bible as if it was. Or more dangerously, we consider our times to be better, more moral, more civilized, more intellectual, and more advanced than was the times of the Bible, so we see interpreting the Bible according to modern constructs as an improvement that provides a better, deeper, more spiritual interpretation and application.

So, yes, it is true that according to Enlightenment thinking and Bible interpretations from the worldview of Enlightenment thinking, only the Jewish leaders directly involved in the plot to hand Jesus Christ over to the Roman Empire with a demand to execute Him based on a judgment of theirs that He had committed a capital crime (whether blasphemy or indirectly threatening pax Romana) were guilty. However, the rub is that the Bible’s worldview does not reflect that of the Enlightenment, and in some instances to understand the Bible’s contents, one must reject Enlightenment thought.

The reason is that whether by accident or design, a major product of the Enlightenment is the enhanced – almost singular – focus on the individual. Above all else, the Enlightenment exalts an individual’s having the ability to possess and exercise his intellectual and moral free agency. As a matter of fact, according to the Enlightenment, the very purpose of civilization – community, culture, government etc. – is to empower this individual free agency to the maximum extent possible. Anything that puts unnecessary limitations on the individual is repressive and oppressive tyranny, and every institution should be designed to promote the most individual power and influence. Democracy, for example, is the ideal because it provides the maximum amount of individual influence over government, which we are told is illegitimate unless it derives from the consent of the governed.

Needless to say, this is incompatible with a book which starts with “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth” and therefore establishes from the very beginning that not only the individual but all creation is unconditionally owned and governed by an absolute Sovereign. An example: the people who founded this country by organizing a seditious sinful rebellion against this nation’s rightful ruler (yes, that is true whether it is in your history book or not) justified it based in part on the idea that the fact that the ruler was taxing them autocratically with no say in how high the tax rates were, how the tax money would be spent, and without asking their opinion or consent on the passage of laws governing the property and behavior of those being taxed. While that idea seems to be “gospel truth” in the minds of many western – and especially American – Christians NOW, in the worldview of the Bible, where the absolute rule of monarchs was not only unquestioned but was considered a virtue, it was madness. In the Bible, kings did not ask for permission, nor did they govern according to conditions imposed on them by their subjects. Instead, they governed by conquering – or the threat thereof – and their charges either accepted their edicts or perished. The purpose of governance in the Bible’s time was not to empower the individual to seek his own destiny to the greatest extent possible, but rather to maximize the ability of the monarch to govern. The monarch in turn was to use his power to provide as much order, peace, stability, protection and prosperity as possible. Naturally, a bunch of individuals living according to their own whims, fancies and self-centered passions – whatever the consequences to their families, tribes, communities and kingdom – acted against the ability of a monarch to protect and provide for his people and keep the peace.

Of course, with individualism comes the concept of individual responsibility. Now of course, modern thinking rejects true individual responsibility, which holds that each person must bear the responsibility for his actions, whether positive or negative. Instead, current modern thinking holds that each person must receive the maximum amount of benefit for positive actions, should receive as little ill effects for negative actions as is possible (that “society” should step in and bear as much cost as possible) and that above all receiving negative consequences that are not the result of something that individual did consciously and directly is perhaps the greatest of evils (on a par with depriving a person of the liberty to exercise his free agency). Now though a great many conservatives (theological and otherwise) propose that true individual responsibility is Biblical, the truth is that with respect to things that truly matter – the big picture where the Bible is concerned – the Bible does not deal with individual personal responsibility at all. Instead, the Bible deals with groups of people that have an individual – or a smaller body comprised of members of the group – acting in representative fashion. According to the Bible, no one stands alone. Everyone is part of the group, represents the group, and is represented by the group. Where the modern mindset is individualistic, the Bible’s mindset is tribalistic and nationalistic. The modern mindset, therefore, exalts itself against the Biblical mindset, and to understand the Bible, the modern mindset must be rejected.

Consider two core doctrines: original sin and Jesus Christ’s atonement. A Bible-based Christian with a modern mindset will know why he is a sinner because of what Adam did, but will not be able to truly understand why this is so. As a result, this fact is a truth in his mind only because the Bible says so, and to him it is a mystery that he accepts by faith without asking very many probing questions. Or, such a person may see it in the context of something that is still relevant to the modern world … something received by inheritance (i.e. a child inheriting a parent’s assets upon that parent’s death) or perhaps genetics. In a similar fashion, a person might simplify the atonement with a “Jesus Christ took my individual sins and died in my individual place and that one act did it for every other individual sinner on an individual basis” mindset. That is because the modern mind has real issues with such concepts as “federal headship”, “covenant representative”, “corporate solidarity.” Because the Bible has no concept of respect for the individual as we would recognize it today, it is taken for granted that we are all sinners because God appointed Adam as the representative of the human race, and as a result we are automatically, legally declared sinners because our representative sinned. It is in the same manner how in Bible times a king would literally commit genocide against and totally wipe out another kingdom because an offense made against him by that country’s monarch. In the time that the Bible was written, it was absolutely proper to hold all the people in the kingdom responsible for the deeds and misdeeds of their representative the king.

And that brings us to the Jewish leaders in the time of Jesus Christ. Make no mistake: they were the legitimate representatives of the Jewish people in both a religious and civil capacity. So, just as Adam’s eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil plunged all mankind into sin, the high priest Caiaphas and his collaborators’ sending of Jesus Christ to His execution was an action borne by all the Jewish people with consequences for all Jewish people. Again, let us use King David as an example. One might protest that the nation of Israel was not punished for David’s murder of Bathsheba. That is true, but David’s murder of Uriah was David’s acting in a private capacity in a private matter. By contrast, the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah and King was done by the Jewish religious leaders as a public matter – both civil and religious – on behalf of the whole nation. So instead, this can be considered akin to David’s sinning in his public capacity of ruler and commander of the military by ordering a census. The result of this act was the death of 70,000 people. These people did not sin and had no role in that act whatsoever, but rather died because of the actions of their representative David. For another example, many Egyptians, including the firstborn in every house, died because of the official actions of the representative of that nation, the pharoah. While the death that came upon Egypt was at least in partial response to the murder of the Hebrew male babies, virtually none of the Egyptians who died were directly connected to or personally responsible for that official decree of an Egyptian ruler some 80 years prior, or its execution thereof.

We should also remember that Jesus Christ spoke of the collective guilt of the Jewish people and nation when He pronounced woe upon Jerusalem and predicted the destruction of the temple and the end of the Jewish age in 70 A.D. We should also remember that the apostle Peter explicitly assigned responsibility to the Jews – and not merely the Jewish leaders, but Jews who may not have even been in Jerusalem at all when Jesus Christ was crucified nearly two months earlier – in his sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:14-36. Those Jews – again those who may not have even been present and possibly may have had no knowledge of the act – did not deny their responsibility for killing Jesus Christ, but instead fell under conviction and instead asked how they could repent in Acts 2:37. So, Jews at the time of Pentecost were fully aware of their shared responsibility due to the actions of their leaders. Such a thing was not questioned, because it was a truth, a mindset that was a core part of Jewish culture and belief of the day. The Jews at the time of Pentecost were not influenced by Enlightenment thinking! And neither should we be.

Now there is the perfectly legitimate question as to whether this guilt for the death of Christ shared by the Jews ended at some point, such as when Jesus Christ prayed for their forgiveness when He said “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”, or in 70 A.D. when “this generation” ended, and then there is also the issue that according to certain Old Testament texts, sins only extended to the third, fourth or tenth generation (unless specifically stated otherwise). In that light, it is a legitimate question whether Jews living today are responsible through their national representatives at the time of Jesus Christ. The best answer that I can propose would be in the affirmative, for the passages that appear to time-limit to “third and fourth generation” only refer to punishment for the guilt, and not the legal status or judgment of guilt itself. This legal status or judgment of removal of guilt for the Jewish people for the murder of Jesus Christ appears nowhere in the Bible. As a result, only Jews who have all of their sins forgiven by having Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior can be considered innocent at this present time.

So then, what does this mean? In many practical respects, absolutely nothing. For instance, the guilt of the Jewish people over the death of Jesus Christ is no more or no different from the guilt of all men over the sin of Adam. So, reviling, slurring or persecuting Jews as “Christ-killers” as if Jews are unique among mankind bearing imputed sin is absurdly anti-Jewish (or anti-Semitic as it is called in modern times) because sin imputed to mankind is universal. And the folly is even greater when one considers that it was Adam’s sin that necessitated Jesus Christ’s death in the first place. So what is the theological justification for singling out Jews for Christ’s death when you yourself bear equal responsibility for the very event that required Jesus Christ to be rejected and killed by His people?

Further still, Christian persecutors of Jews throughout the centuries have done so in spite of the commandments in the New Testament text itself. First of all, the New Testament does not command or in any way endorse the resentment or mistreatment, whether on a systematic or an individual basis, any Jew because of the Jewish guilt over the murder of Jesus Christ (or for any other reason for that matter). So, because the New Testament does not tell Christians to mistreat Jews, then the moral and ethical instructions and restriction of the New Testament on Christian behavior applies to our behavior with and among Jews. So, with Jews just as everyone else, we are to commit no obvious sins or crimes against them (i.e. murder, theft, slander), we are to love our neighbors, love our enemies, turn the other cheek, do unto others as we would have them to do unto us, refrain from spreading malicious gossip and rumors (blood libels, conspiracies about Jews controlling the government/media/banks and similar) and also obey the civil laws designed to protect all. Obviously, Christian mistreatment of Jews over the centuries required the sinful reinterpretation or nullification of these texts to justify it. The Bible makes it clear that those who do not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ whether with respect to Jews or in general are not Christians at all; they are not sheep but goats.

More specific theological reasons are spelled out in the outstanding and pivotal work of the Jew Sha’ul, the Book of Romans, the same Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin that is called Paul. Ironically, Paul is considered by those who despise scripture as the greatest of anti-Semites and the originator of the replacement theology that was allegedly used to justify persecuting Jews. Of course, such statements are lies against Paul, against the Bible, and against the Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible. The truth is that Paul dedicates a large portion of the book of Romans not to denounce Jews as Christ-killers and demand that they receive ill thoughts and treatment as a result, but instead demanding that Gentile Christians accept and respect the Jewish Christians’ lineage and their adherence to their religious, cultural and national traditions, including circumcision and observing the Jewish feasts and the Jewish sabbaths. Unfortunately, the Gentile Christians quickly cast aside Romans and began to drive Jewish Christians out of churches over their refusal to abandon their heritage for Hellenism as early as the 2nd century, less than 100 years after Romans was penned.

In the course of defending Jewish Christians, Paul made the shocking statement that both exists in tension with legitimate replacement theology (though not paradoxical or in contradiction with or nullification of it!): that Jews are still God’s people, and moreover the original God’s people. Believing Gentile Christians are “grafted in” to the original branch of Jews who believe in their Moshiach. (It is very difficult not to come to the conclusion that believing Jews are therefore “first among equals” based on Please recall that the Bible is not an Enlightenment document, and therefore lacks our notions of total egalitarianism.) Now, it is tempting to state that Romans 11 only applies to believing Jews’ still retaining something of their chosen or special status. Romans 11:28-29 specifically rejects this by saying “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes, but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father’s sakes for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” That verse explicitly means that the original status of Israel set forth when they were first called out of Egypt and made into God’s unique people is unchanged, either by their breaking of the Sinai covenant (that is now of none effect, the ark which signifies that covenant was lost in 586 B.C.) or by their rejection of their Moshiach, an event that was necessary for the new covenant.

Further, Romans 11:28-29 precedes this amazing thought: “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.” So, if the Jews are still God’s chosen people according to God’s election, and if all Israel shall be saved, what kind of a madman who professes to believe and love the Bible and take it seriously would persecute or hate any Jew? It makes no sense. It is the sort of sin that makes no sense, is utterly counterproductive, entirely without rational basis, and can only be described as being the work of demons. And it goes without saying that the people claiming to be Christians who persecuted and murdered Jews totally ignore Romans 11, and in the course of doing so did nothing but bring God’s curse upon themselves. It is particularly amazing that no small amount of Christians that adhere to covenant theology completely suppressed the truth of God within themselves with regards to Romans 11:28-29’s clear statement regarding God’s not repenting Himself of electing Israel, including those who do not believe.

Another vital theological reason: Christians are not God. A core fact of the New Testament is that the Old Testament Israel system of priests, sacrifices and civil judgments for religious laws is gone forever. Now under that old system, it was necessary and proper to give various punishments, including death, for sins. But now, Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and as we are in Jesus Christ, we are a priesthood of believers. And further, despite what was taught and practiced for centuries, the New Testament does not command, provide for or desire the establishment of Christian civil governments – as those contradict Christian doctrine inherently – but rather only governs churches and the lives of individual Christians. So, the only punishment for sins in the church age is church discipline of believers. As unbelieving Jews are not in Christian churches, they are not subject to any Christian punishment or sanction of any kind for any sin against Jesus Christ or anybody else. So, in the absence of a human official priesthood or theocratic state (which again, the New Testament forbids in both cases), Christians have no authority to judge or make any punishment for any sin apart from discipline in an ecclesiastic context (i.e. excommunication), and even those are sins that a believer individually personally committed (churches cannot punish anyone for being “in Adam”). So, any Jewish guilt related to the death of Jesus Christ is for God to judge and God to punish. Any man who takes this duty upon himself is presumptuously and sinfully laying claim to Divine duties and privileges, and is therefore bringing God’s wrath upon himself. Also, as stated earlier, one cannot punish a Jew for the actions of Caiaphas without also punishing a Gentile for the actions of Adam.

In summary, the Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ is attested in the Bible. However, the same Bible makes it clear that this guilt on the part of the Jews is God’s business alone. God alone judges sin, and God alone punishes sin. So, the person that attempts to act in God’s place does nothing but sin himself. Therefore, beyond mere bearing witness to the truth of the Bible, the issue of Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ is not an issue, and further dwelling on or making too much of the issue only serves as a temptation to invite the influence of what apparently are extremely powerful evil spirits that provoke thoughts and actions related to anti-Judaism (commonly referred to in these times as anti-Semitism).

This means that the real issue is not whether Jews living today bear responsibility for the actions of Caiaphas and other Jewish leaders in death of Jesus Christ. Instead, it is the sin guilt that all bear, Jew and Gentile, for the actions of Adam. Be not deceived … whether Jew or Gentile, if you are not reconciled with God through His Unique Son Jesus Christ, because chiefly of the actions of Adam, and also because of your own sin – for all do sin – you are considered to be a sinner by God. The Bible says that the soul that sins will surely die, and the Bible declares this death to be eternity in a lake of fire. The good news – the gospel – is that because of the actions of Jesus Christ, you can be declared free of all sin, whether your own individual actions, the actions of Caiaphas if you are a Jew, and the actions of Adam for all. So whether Jew or Gentile, please urgently:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

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An Important Distinction Between Israel And The Church

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!

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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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Whither The Promise of God That Israel Would Always Be A Nation?

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).

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Third Temple preparations: Rabbis Bring Out Priestly Garments For First Time Since 70 AD

Posted by Job on July 2, 2008

Third Temple preparations begin with priestly garb

Wearing a turban and a light blue tunic threaded with silver, a man stands in a workshop in Jerusalem’s Old City beside spools of white thread affixed to sewing machines. A painting of high priests performing an animal sacrifice beside the First Temple illustrates the function of the room.

A workshop for making... 

A workshop for making priestly garments is inaugurated in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday.  Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

On Monday, the Temple Institute started preparing to build a Third Temple on Jerusalem’s Mount Moriah, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Aksa mosque, by inaugurating a workshop that manufactures priestly garments.

After Efrat Chief Rabbi Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a Kohen himself, gets measured for his own set of Kohanim garments, Aviad Jeruffi, the clothing’s designer, strums “To Ascend to the Temple Mount” on his guitar in celebration.

Priestly garments have not been worn since the destruction of the Second Temple by Rome in 70 AD and cannot be functional until a Third Temple is constructed.

Kohanim, priests directly descended from Moses’s brother Aaron, are recognized by the Institute as such if their paternal grandfather observed the tradition. Today, they have special religious responsibilities; in days of yore they performed the most significant duties within the Temple.

Approximately one-third of the commandments in the Torah cannot be accomplished without a temple, including the obligations of the Kohanim.

But a Third Temple seems a flighty dream with nightmarish political implications to many, as both a shrine, the Dome of the Rock, and the Aksa mosque, Islam’s third holiest structure, currently stand on the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, director of the Temple Institute, says he assumes Muslims will be supportive when the Temple is ready to be built: “We already have some Muslims who are secretly in touch with us,” he says.

When the Temple is rebuilt, Kohanim must wear the proper outfit to perform their obligations, Glick continues. Each set has a turban, tunic pants and belt and is individually tailored at a cost of NIS 2,500.

“If it were a bathrobe for watching SNL [Saturday Night Live], it would not be worth it. But we’re talking about people who have a very strong yearning for working in the Beit Hamikdash [Temple],” says Glick.

Years of diligent research was needed to create the garments in conformance with Jewish law.

Special flaxen thread was imported from India and overseas travel was necessary to obtain the correct colors for the clothes, including to Istanbul, to purchase mountain worms from which the correct shade of crimson is derived.

The secret of the correct shade of blue has been lost since the destruction of the Second Temple, as the identity of chilazon, the snail from which it was extracted, was uncertain until the Ptil Tekhelet nonprofit organization identified it as the murex trunculus, aka hexaplex trunculus, the banded dye-murex found near the Mediterranean Sea.

“The Temple is not a message [just for] the Jewish people. It reunites the world all around one central prayer house. All the prophets say that at the End Times all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem and take part of building [the Temple],” Glick says.

(I wonder if Messianic Jews are going to participate in this, especially if they are of the dispensational pre – tribulation rapture sort? We already know that dispensational pre – tribulation rapture Gentile Christians are doing things like trying to breed red heifers to use in sacrifices as well as providing these people with a ton of financial and organizational support. So, they may as well be bringing burnt offerings and burning bullock and goat kidneys and liver cauls themselves. So what justification is there for supporting this if you are not also going to participate? I will grant you: Paul, who should be considered a Messianic Jew in certain contexts, continued to worship at the temple, as did Peter and many of the other Jerusalem Jewish Christians, and they did so despite the fact that the high priesthood was being held by and the temple was being run by Roman – appointed Sadducees that rejected most of the Old Testament in order to accommodate their embrace of Greek paganism. So my personal opinion of MESSIANIC JEWS STAY AWAY is not as cut – and – dried as I would like it to be. But still: my position is MESSIANIC JEWS AND GENTILE CHRISTIANS, STAY AWAY. Please recall: God told the Jews, whom He was still dealing with to accomplish His purposes in the world through His prophets, to build the second temple. God told them to build it, so that made it appropriate and proper for a person of God to worship there. Now did God tell Jews to build a third temple? If so, when? Instructions to do so were not in the Old Testament. Even better … HOW? Do Jews still have prophets? If so … then why do they need to convert to Christianity? Even more to the point … why does Christianity exist t all? Do not assume that it was the unconditional will of God for there to always be a Jewish temple. Keep in mind: God did not even tell the Jews to build THE FIRST TEMPLE. God merely blessed the decision of DAVID to build it. For more general information on this topic, please see A Better Replacement Theology For Christians And Jews)

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Will There Be Temple Sacrifices During The Millennium? If So, Why?

Posted by Job on June 10, 2008

Now Scofield rapture dispensationalists claim that the sacrificial system will be re – instituted during the millennium. Why, pray tell? What purpose would those sacrifices serve? I will granted that some offerings were for worship. But the sin offerings and consecration offerings … what of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross? Now dispensationalists believe in a literal reign of Jesus Christ physically on the earth for 1000 years. (So, for the record, do I.) So because Jesus Christ is on the earth we are going to return to Judaism? When the purpose of Judaism was to create a straight path for the coming of Jesus Christ in the first place? Consider the ACTUAL CONTEXT AND MEANING of the “new wineskins” passage of Luke 5:33-39, which (almost always dispensational!) Pentecostals and charismatics claim means the prior Christianity being replaced with Christianity based on the lesser gifts (the sign gifts) of the Holy Spirit: tongues, healing, prophecy. But looking at the text itself, the Pharisees were questioning Jesus Christ as to why they were not keeping things pertaining to the law, specifically fasting. Jesus Christ told the Pharisees – in the parabolic fashion – that the reason why the Jewish religion and its attendant rituals existed in the first place was to point to and prepare the way for Him. Now that He was present, they did not need those things, because having the genuine article was BETTER than having the things that pointed to the article. Now when Jesus Christ left, we again needed religious doctrines, beliefs, and practices: CHRISTIAN ones that are BETTER than the Jewish ones that Christianity REPLACED. But during the millennium, Jesus Christ will again be physically present. So, if the disciples did not need to fast while in the presence of Jesus Christ, why will CHRISTIANS need to kill doves, sheep, and cows during the millennium? Yes, that is right. I said CHRISTIANS. Please realize that GENTILE CHRISTIANS NEVER PARTICIPATED IN THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM. (For that matter, the overwhelming majority of ancient Jewish Christians never did either.) Why? BECAUSE THERE WAS NEVER A NEED TO! So if we do not need to do sacrifices NOW, who will be doing the sacrifices during the millennium? The only answer: THE JEWS! So … Christians and Jews are still going to be separate during the millennium? There will still be two religions? Why just Jews? Why not Muslims? Hindus? Buddhists? Atheists? Witches? Now I made it clear in A Better Replacement Theology For Christians And Jews that Jesus Christ and the apostles never started a new religion, but a new Jewish sect which Gentiles could join as God – fearers (an opportunity already available to Gentiles in the prior Jewish sects) and that Christianity did not become a separate religion until it the Jewish Christians were expelled from the church and the Gentile Christians began to combine Christianity with various pagan and mystery religions and practice, which incidentally happened long before Constantine. So as for Judaism … Christianity, properly practiced, is Judaism proper. The return of Jesus Christ will confirm that fact to Jews, and during the millennium Christians and Jews – or more accurately Gentile God fearers and Messianic Jews – will be one body worshiping Jesus Christ together in the presence of that same Jesus Christ physically present and ruling the earth. Now this is where the “new wineskins” applies to this context. Claiming that the sacrifices will be restored in the millennium explicitly means that what the Jews had under the old covenant was better than what we Christians have today! It is claiming that the old covenant/testament of Jesus Christ concealed is better than the new covenant/testament of Jesus Christ revealed, one based on better promises by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the Holy Spirit. Borrowing (again) from Hebrews, it is claiming that what was given to man to Moses on Sinai by the mediation of angels is better than what was given to man directly by God the Son Jesus Christ! So I urge you to click on the link below to see a more Biblical explanation of what will happen, specifically regarding to the status of Israel and the Jews. 

 www.spurgeon.org/misc/eschat2.htm

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A Better Replacement Theology For Christians And Jews

Posted by Job on April 26, 2008

In response to Soli Deo Gloria’s THE ISRAEL OF GOD: a consideration of so-called “Replacement Theology”

I think that we have to come up with a “better replacement theology” than that of the anti – Semitic Gentile church which seems to have had more sympathy for Greek paganism than for their Jewish brothers in Christ Jesus. We have to look at Body of Christ in terms of A) Old Testament Judaism and B) national Israel.

A). Christianity incontrovertibly fulfilled Old Testament Judaism. Romans and Hebrews makes that fact clear. We should point out further that the apostles – which includes Paul – never imagined themselves to having created a new religion. Instead, they considered themselves to be following Judaism as it had been fulfilled, revealed, completed, etc. in Christ. For them, there was no “Jews on one hand, the church on the other.” Quite the contrary, the church WAS the Jews, and the Jews WERE the church, and both the Jews AND the church were practicing the Judaism of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), called “the way.” Realize that in those days, Jewish Christians even continued going to the synagogues with the other Jews until the creation of the abomination rabbinic Judaism, which led to the expulsion of Jewish Christians the synagogues. So actually, there was never a “Gentile church”, but rather the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 and the teachings of Paul in Romans and Galatians were established to create accommodations for Gentiles WITHIN JUDAISM. That is right, at that stage, Gentile Christians were considered to be practicioners of Judaism, followers of “the way”, which was considered to be a Jewish sect akin to the Essenes and the Pharisees, and the Bible records that Pharisees had Gentile adherents known as “God – fearers.”

Realizing this places some of the disputes of the New Testament concerning Gentiles into context. The Pharisees had already been allowing Gentiles to practice a limited set of their religion without having to be circumcised or follow the 613, and telling them that they would receive eternal life based on it. So, it was absolutely ridiculous for the Jewish Christians to tell Gentiles that they had to fully convert to Judaism in order to join their sect and be saved, because when they were Pharisees – which the vast majority of early Jewish Christians either were or generally followed – they did not require those things of Gentiles. Basically, all the Jerusalem council and Paul did was to tell Gentile Christians that pretty much the same regulations that Pharisees had given to their God – fearers was fine for Gentile Christians!

So initially, the Christians – both Jewish and Gentile – were considered to be followers of the Jewish sect the Nazarenes. Nazarenes were first called Christians at Antioch, and it took quite awhile for the name to spread from there. The whole notion that Christianity was a separate entity from Judaism that required Jews to leave their old religion to join a new one was a totally unscriptural development that came about when the movement was dominated by Gentiles, and more importantly after the apostles departed the scene and  their authority with it. Immediately thereafter the church started to reflect Hellenistic thought, and that includes the HUGE ANTI – SEMITISM inherent to Hellenism.

So, in religious terms, we are not Christians but Jews. If you are a Messianic Jew, you are practicing the Judaism of Peter and Paul, if you are a Gentile you are practicing the Judaism that the Jerusalem Council and the letters of Paul stated was suitable for Gentile believers. But you are still a Jew. But make no mistake, Messianic Judaism, GENTILE JUDAISM, incontrovertibly replaced Old Testament or old covenant Judaism. The best evidence of this is the fact that Old Testament Judaism is no longer being practiced. What purports to be Judaism today was the creation of a single rabbi who created what actually was a new religion in response to the destruction of the temple and nation at 70 AD. So, when the rabbinic expelled the Messianic Jews from their synagogues, it was the people that were following the new religion expelling those that insisted on remaining faithful to the old one.

And yes, the Gentile Christians slowly over time created a new religion. The takeover of Christianity within the Roman Empire by Constantine merely served to make it official, but the religion had long become syncretized with pagan philosophy, local myths and mystery religions, etc. The Gentile Christians wanted to claim a new religion while still preserving some of their prior pagan abominations and go on a completely new direction, and kicking the Messianic Jews out facilitated it. So, the origins of doctrines and practices like veneration and perpetual virginity of Mary, sainthood, praying to the dead, purgatory, etc. actually preceded Roman Catholicism. The resulting truth is that “modern Christianity” did not replace “rabbinic Judaism” because both paradoxically have nothing to do with each other while also being strangely similar. It is no accident that modern Christians and rabbinic Jews work so well together to promote common political, economic, religious, and social agendas, whether the “Christians” and “Jews” in question are liberal, secular, conservative, or pietist. “Judeo – Christianity”, then, is a combination of the false Christianity of the Hellenists and false rabbinic Judaism. In reality, there was nothing to replace because they are one and the same: both reject the true Jesus Christ. But did true, or rather apostolic, biblical Christianity replace true, Sinaitic Judaism? Of course. Although I suppose that saying that Sinai Judaism BECAME Nazarene Judaism is more accurate. So if you are a “born again Christian, what you truthfully are is either a Nazarene Jew if you are a Messianic Jew or Nazarene God – fearer if you are Gentile. And if you are “Judeo – Christian”, you are an apostate, and there will be no profit to being on the “Judeo” side or the “Christian” side on judgment day. 

B) Did the church replace national Israel, the nation and people? As far as the people go, Jesus Christ Himself stated that Jews should not think so much of themselves for being the children – meaning genetic seed – of Abraham, because God could raise up children of Abraham (and by direct inference children of God) from stones. Well, if you are Gentile God – fearing Nazarene Jew, then you are one of the stones of which Jesus Christ spoke. If you are a Messianic Jew, then you are what you were before: a member of the people of Israel. If you are a genetic descendant of Abraham that rejects Jesus Christ, then you are what Paul says you are: someone that God has not cast aside but is still involved with on account of your lineage and the covenant with Abraham, but your eyes are blinded to the truth until the fulness of the Gentiles have come in. When the fulness of the Gentiles come in, you (if it happens in this day) or your progeny (if it happens in the future) will acknowledge Jesus Christ and mourn bitterly for whom you rejected and pierced. So the benefits of being a natural child of Abraham after the flesh is having a future for your people and your city Jerusalem explicitly given in scripture, but apart from that you are no different from and no better off than a Gentile that has rejected Jesus Christ. So did the church replace Abraham’s genetic stock? No. But did they replace Abraham’s genetic stock’s role of being God’s elect people used to carry out His purposes in the world? Declaring otherwise is tantamount to denying that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead. If the church – Nazarene Jews – are not the people of God doing God’s Will, then why did Jesus Christ come? Why did He die? Why did He rise from the dead? Why is there a New Testament? Why is there a gospel? I know people have hang – ups acknowledging this for some legitimate reasons, but at some point we have to deal with the fact that the alleged Judaism being practiced by the natural seed of Abraham that has rejected Jesus Christ is not Old Testament old covenant Sinai Judaism as given to Moses, but was the creation of Yochanan ben Zakkai after the destruction of the Temple. Evangelical dispensationalists from John Hagee on down operate on the presumption that there is any difference between ben Zakkai’s religion – which wrongly and illegitimately usurped the name of Judaism – and Islam, Hinduism, Scientology, Mormonism, or anything else that was never given by God. They do so by withholding from their charges the huge differences in mindset and purpose of rabbinic Judaism and Sinai Judaism, and also the fact that where most Bible – believing Christians have always been trying to return to and recapture the early church, the overwhelming majority of rabbinic Jews despise Sinai Judaism, viewing it is backwards, barbaric, and an embarrassment. 

And please do not take the truth that God is honoring His Abrahamic covenant with Abraham’s natural descendants too far, to claim some basis of spiritual importance or significance on the part of Jews that have rejected Jesus Christ. Why? Because doing so ignores the inconvenient fact that God told Hagar that He would bless the seed of Ishmael for Abraham’s sake as well! That is right: the Ishmaelites are the natural seed of Abraham just like rabbinic Jews. This proves that possessing genetic material from Abraham does not automatically place you in covenant relationship with God as a member of God’s people fulfilling God’s purpose in this world.

So then, did the church replace national Israel? That only makes sense if you view Judaism and Christianity as two separate religions with two different bodies of people, and particularly if you draw a hard line of demarcation between yourself and old covenant Sinai Judaism. If that is your worldview, then fine, but just know that the Bible does not support it. Virtually everything in the New Testament – from Matthew to Revelation – is a restatement, clarification, or fulfillment of material previously given in the Old Testament, and this certainly includes the very Jesus Christ and church that the law, prophets, and writings spoke of. A specific example: the so – called Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11. Realize that God’s Hall of Fame CONTAINS NOT A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. So, if you are drawing that line, you are drawing a line between yourself and the universal covenant people of God that cannot be supported by scripture. What does that mean for national Israel?

I answer that question with a question: does national Israel exist truly? Some say Israel ceased to exist as a nation in 70 AD with the destruction of the second temple. I say that Israel ceased to exist as a nation in 586 AD with the destruction of the FIRST TEMPLE. Why? The key issue of sovereignty. It is stated in Exodus and reflected in scripture and in Jewish thought thereafter that Israel became a nation when God, in an act of the national salvation of His elect people, brought them out of Egypt. Even though they had huge numbers in Egypt, they were not a nation. Why? Because they were not free. They were in bondage. As such, they had no freedom to serve God as God saw fit, which at that time included creating the priesthood, the tabernacle (whose function was transferred to the temple), the sacrifices, and observances. As a matter of fact, Egypt would not so much as allow Israel to go into the wilderness to sacrifice to YHWH. Why were those things required by God of His people at that time but have not been required of God’s people since? BECAUSE THOSE THINGS PREFIGURED AND POINTED TO JESUS CHRIST, AND CHRISTIANS – again Nazarene Jews – HAVE THOSE THINGS IN HIM. So if you have Jesus Christ, then you are national Israel, a sovereign spiritual nation. But of Israel, when they were in bondage to the Babylonians, Medo – Persians, Greeks, and Romans, there were only brief periods where they were actually allowed to practice Sinai Judaism to the best of their ability. The Romans, for instance, appointed both the high priest (always Sadducees) and the secular rulers of the area (the Herods) just as Constantine and other Roman emperors would go on to appoint bishops in the Roman imperial church. 

So then, what of the recreated state of Israel in 1948 that fueled so much speculation that Jesus Christ would return “within this generation”, which caused evangelical Christians to discard the centuries of endtimes doctrines created before then in favor of things like “The Late Great Planet Earth” (whose author is currently on his fourth wife) and “Left Behind” (whose author is allied with cult leader Sun Myung Moon)? Well I am going to let you in on a little secret: this “independent free state of Israel whose re – establishment is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy” is not sovereign. It is true that they are not practicing Sinai Judaism as well, but that is not the key fact, for there were long periods of apostasy in national Israel when they did not practice Sinai Judaism. As a matter of fact, Judges tells us that the tribe of Dan was ALWAYS apostate – which explains why it is not listed among the 144,000 in Revelation – and the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Ephraim – had only wicked kings and practiced idolatry and the bull worship of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12) until they were destroyed by the Assyrians. But the point is that they were free to do as they choose, and the fact that they continually chose wrong in the northern kingdom and chose wrong over half the time in the southern kingdom of Judah is a fact to ponder.

But modern Israel does not have any such right. Modern Israel is nothing more than a vassal state of the global imperialists – led by the United Nations and the United States – just as was Judaea of Rome. As such, Israel is ruled by a western parliamentary democracy – a form of government given to the world by the Greek and Roman pagans, which means that it may not even be “secular – just as are the other nations in this thing called “the west” that includes Muslim Kosovo and will soon include Muslim Turkey, what we went to war to establish another in Iraq (with the support of so many Christians who value Greco – Roman pagan governmental institutions over the gospel of Jesus Christ … how many Christians have joined in the government’s claim that “we are constructing a free democratic Iraq and that makes the war worthwhile”!), and if either Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack HUSSEIN Obama become president is a form of government that will spread even further in the Muslim and third world one way or another. Please keep in mind that even the Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist group started by a homosexual Muslim Yasser Arafat, has been given many millions of dollars by America and the globalists merely for making the pretense of forming itself into a Greco – Roman pagan parliamentary organization. Were Hamas, the rival of the PLO, now called the Palestinian Authority, to do the same, they would receive the same. It looks like good old Jimmy Carter, the former Southern Baptist peanut farmer from rural Georgia, has just about convinced Hamas of the benefits of going in that direction. So, were this “free sovereign Israel” to dump their Greco – Roman pagan government in favor of either a monarchy after the manner of King David or a theocracy after the Judges – Samuel period, what would the globalist rulers do? Well, as even now Israel does not even have the right to determine its own borders or even make major internal political, economic, legal, or military actions without international approval, one can guess: the globalist pharaohs would not so much as suffer them to go into the wilderness to sacrifice.

The end result is that the church could not have replaced national Israel, because a sovereign national Israel has not existed since 586 BC, which incidentally was when the ark of the covenant that represented the covenant between God and national Israel was either destroyed or lost, never to be found or replaced on this earth save how it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The true people of God, hence, are a diaspora. Just as there is no such thing as a Christian nation, there is no such thing as a Jewish nation in this time, whether it be of true Nazarene Judaism, or false rabbinic Judaism. Instead, we are a people with no homeland wandering, sojourning in our booths in this life waiting until the Messiah returns to restore us, to ingather us, into New Jerusalem. Ronald Reagan deceived a lot of Christians into viewing America as the new “shining city on a hill”, and Reagan was just one deceiver among many. 

Some legitimate Christian ministries out there are discussing the implications of the Feast of Booths, or the Feast of Tabernacles, to Christianity; I urge you to research them. But the covenant people of God are in the world, not of it, and awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. In that respect, we are to be no different from Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, or the apostles wandering the highways and byways of the Roman Empire spreading the gospel. Understand that and know that we did not so much replace national Israel and Judaism, but rather that we are true diaspora Israel and true Judaism: the mystery that the prophets spoke of. But know that when the seventh angel begins to sound, this mystery of God shall be finished (Revelation 10:7)!

When shall this happen? My current theory is that one day, maybe very soon or maybe not, Israel is going to be offered true sovereignty, and take it. However, the one making that offer will be the beast, the man of sin, commonly called the anti – Christ. At that point the time of sorrows, the great tribulation, will be upon the world, and soon after Jesus Christ will return, and the church will be caught up in the air to meet Him. That will be the day that the whole world, including the remnant of the natural seed of Abraham, will acknowledge that replacement theology was true after all.  

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PLEASE READ! More Evidence That The Religious Right Is Part Of The Anti – Christ System!

Posted by Job on March 17, 2008

Awana’s Rorheim Institute and the terms “Vision Casting” and “Biblical Worldview” Part 1

Awana’s Rorheim Institute and the terms “Vision Casting” and “Biblical Worldview” Part 2

“Just the BOOK” End of the Year Update

AWANA—Where is it headed?

Posted in anti - Christ, antichrist, beast, Christianity, church state, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, GOP, politics, religion, religious right, Republican, the beast | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Time To Face Reality: Replacement Theology Is True!

Posted by Job on September 29, 2007

I am concerned with the full – throated denunciations of replacement theology by evangelical and liberal Christians. The reason is that doing so almost inevitably leads down the path that starts with de – emphasizing important and fundamental Christian doctrine and ends with dual covenant theology. Why are we so afraid of causing offense to our Jewish friends on this matter? We should respect their feelings, but we cannot allow our doctrines to be governed by said feelings. And moreover, why are do we give any more considerations to the feelings of Jews than we do Muslims, Hindus, wiccans, etc.? Do we feel that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and eternal life or don’t we? Thus, if Judaism will not result in the salvation of a person from an eternity in the lake of fire, then what profit is there in it? In what way is it superior to satanism or witchcraft?

There is a point to my absurd reductionism here. One of the things that began to turn me away from the ministry of John Hagee was when he started having Orthodox rabbis on his show, and they would actually discuss things concerning God and scripture. Of course, Jesus Christ was never mentioned. Hagee knew perfectly well that the rabbis that he was putting on his TV show will go to the lake of fire for eternity unless he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. Would Hagee have put a Muslim or Mormon on his show and talk about scripture with them? After all, you can talk about Jesus Christ in front of a Mormon or Muslim all you want and they won’t get the least bit offended! Of course not! Now as it was from Hagee that I first learned of the term “replacement theology” and how awful it was – responsible for the Holocaust he claims – and now I am wondering if it is all a scam. After all, has Hagee had Messianic Jewish rabbis on his show? Gary Hedrick, one of the most prominent Messianic Jews in this country, is right in Hagee’s San Antonio. If he has, I never saw them, and the answer is almost certainly no because affiliating with Messianic Jews would end Hagee’s political relationships with AIPAC and similar concerns in America and Israel that he has used to become quite influential.

But wait, you say, Jews and Christians worship the same God, so my comparison with Muslims, Mormons, and certainly satanists is wrong. No we don’t. The only way that you worship God is in spirit and in truth (John 4:22-24), which means that God can only be worshiped in the manner that He tells us to. When Christ spoke those words to the Samaritan woman, he was summarizing the commandments given to the Jews in the Torah where God commanded that their worship of Him not emulate the practices of pagan religions, so Christ did not give a new revelation in this regards: it is integral to Judaism (Christians, regrettably, have been more than willing to syncretize our worship with pagan and humanistic beliefs and practices unfortunately). So what did God say in John 14:6? “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” In this dispensation, the only way to worship God is to acknowledge Jesus Christ as God and worship the Father through Him with the Holy Spirit as the Intercessor. Now of course, the Jews were doing this in the Old Testament, but had no knowledge of it. But when that knowledge was revealed to them, they rejected it. As such, since they refuse to worship Jesus Christ as God, then they are not worshiping the true God. Christians that pretend otherwise, quite frankly, are either dual covenant theologists or are giving silent assent to what they know to be a lie. The New Testament, especially Hebrews and Romans, states repeatedly that there is no profit to the religion of the Jews without Christ.

Ah, but Christianity came from Judaism so we have to respect it, they say! As a matter of fact, it is becoming quite fashionable in recent times to say that Jesus Christ never intended to start a new religion. Well, that line of thinking actually helps replacement theology, because Jesus Christ explicitly stated that His purpose was to fulfill the law and that the Jews should forsake what they were practicing before and to follow Him, for He alone was the way. Even after the term “Christian” was first applied to the largely Gentile church at Antioch, it was not applied to Jews that believed upon the resurrection of Yeshua HaMashiach. Rather, they were called “the way” or “Nazarenes.” During the early part of Christ’s ministry, He tried to convince the Jews that the kingdom at heaven was at hand and to follow Him. It was only after He was rejected by Jews that He laid the foundation for the church (Himself) by intensively training and teaching the apostles.

Christ obviously tried to replace the Judaism of the day with worship that acknowledged Him as the Son of God but was rejected, see John 5:18Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” After the Jews rejected the Stone, Christ built the church to take on the role that the Jews rejected. By virtue of the church doing what the Jews would not do, their entering the Promised Land when the Jews forbeared as their forefathers did when they left Egypt and as a result all save Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness (a remnant that pretty much represents the Messianic Jews of today), clearly the church assumed the role that was originally intended for Israel, and in real spiritual terms replaced Israel. The church is now the vehicle by which God’s Will is done and His Presence made known upon the earth. Claiming otherwise is to deny the entirety of the New Testament.

Now this is where I part ways with Hank Hanegraaf and a great many other Christians that deeply resent Jews and in particular the nation of Israel, and as such have to basically declare Revelation to be mere political resistance literature to justify their antipathy (completely ignoring that Revelation expounds upon Matthew 24 and the endtimes teachings of Paul, Jude, and the other epistles from John). First, you have Romans 11:1-2a. “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” And even more so, you have what makes my comparisons with Judaism and other religions extremely problematic superficially. Romans 3:1-4 reads “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

Yes, the Mosaic covenant is broken and done away with. Not that you would ever know that from listening to John Hagee, who not only preaches the false prosperity doctrine based on it, but actually claims that Christians will be cursed under the terms of the old covenant for not tithing. But the covenant with Abraham is still in effect! Genesis 12:1-3 reads “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Now please realize that the portion in bold has already been fulfilled by way of Jesus Christ, the one who brought salvation to every nation, was a descendant of Abraham. But the rest? It is still very much in effect.

So, did I bring a curse upon myself by saying that Jews do not worship the same God as we do and there is no difference between being a Jew and a satanist? How did I avoid transgressing Romans 3:1-4? Simple. My former statement was confirmed in Romans 2:16-29. Please notice such excerpts from that passage as “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written” and “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” As for my latter statement, I limited its terms to eternal salvation only.

But even as the church is incontrovertibly the spiritual and true descendants of Abraham, it is equally incontrovertible that because of God’s unconditional covenant with that same Abraham that in a natural sense his descendants are God’s chosen, elect people. This was demonstrated by the fact that God, even after their breaking the covenant and taking away the natural monarchy (the spiritual Davidic monarch, the true monarch, is Jesus Christ), God still restored them to their land. Some would say that the chosen status was entirely transferred to Jesus Christ, who became the personification of Israel. As such, those who are saved are in Christ and therefore are spiritually “living in Israel.” I do not disagree. But the problem is that a spiritual single reference interpretation does not solve the problem of Romans 3:1-4. There has to be a dual reference interpretation: one that applies naturally to the Jews and spiritually to the church. That certain Christians are unwilling to do that and in the course of doing so reject Revelation (and with it not only the long line of prior prophetic and eschatological passages that serve as the foundation of Revelation, but also the warnings to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 and virtually everything straightforward that we know about the final resurrection and judgment) is not replacement theology. Rather, it is simply rejecting parts of scripture that they find disagreeable. The re – establishment of Israel proves that Romans 3:1-4 is true and that Genesis 12:1-3 is still in effect.

That isn’t a problem with me, because if Romans 3:1-4 and Genesis 12:1-3 are true, then it means that John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10 are true too, and therefore that I am going to be with God for eternity rather than in the lake of fire. But it is a problem for a great many professed Christians who root for the collapse of the state of Israel (starting with its self – immolation by way of making a peace deal with Palestine) because to them that would prove that Genesis 12:1-3 has been transferred away from the Jews and to them. Why? Simple jealousy. They cannot stand being second place in any context. It doesn’t matter that their being second place is only for a time so that the very same God that they are trusting for their salvation based on His Word can keep the promise that He made with Abraham and thereby be true to that very same Word. But regardless of what they tell themselves in their rebellious hearts, Genesis 12:1-3 is still true. Because of Genesis 12:1-3, God is not through dealing with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Because of the promise to Abraham, the Jews and Israel are still going to be the central characters and have the leading role as the last days of history play out.

What will that role be? The end will not come until Israel, as a nation, undoes the wrong that they committed about 2000 years ago by accepting Jesus Christ as their Messiah and their God. Revelation 1:7Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Messianic Jew Randy Weiss of Crosstalk.org theorizes that this will happen when the entire nation of Israel in unison cries out to God in to save them from the armies that come against them during Armaggeddon. According to Weiss, the whole nation will be screaming “God save us!”, at which time Jesus Christ will return and do just that. At that time will be impossible to deny, for the Hebrew Name of Jesus, Y’shua, means “God saves.” How will they be forced to acknowledge that it is the Christian Jesus Christ rather than the Messiah that rabbinic Judaism teaches that they are still awaiting? Well, “and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him” would tend to mean that the wounds in His side and hands, the same ones that doubting Thomas said that he had to see and touch before he would believe, will still be there. In that respect, just as Judas Iscariot was the prototype for the members of his nation that rejected Christ and will eternally perish up until that day, Thomas was the prototype for the members of the Jewish nation that have been predestined by God to survive the great tribulation, see Jesus Christ on that day, repent, and be saved: those that will never believe unless they see (John 4:48) what the church believed without seeing and are called blessed because of it.

Why must history play out in this fashion? Think not of it in terms of the Jews being so special. (Which is not to say that the Jews AREN’T special; they just are, OK, so you just have to accept that and if you cannot well then it is on your head.) Instead, it is all about GOD. It is all about GOD being glorified for His Great Name’s sake. Please recall when Moses made his intercession for the children of Israel after they sinned in the desert. What did Moses say? Think of destroying Your nation would mean for YOUR NAME; how it would be viewed by Egypt and the other nations of the world. Does God need vindication, acknowledgment, and glorification from whom He desires to seek it? No. But does He WANT and DESERVE it? Of course He does. So for the sake of His Own Name and His Own Son, God is not going to countenance corporate rejection by His own elect nation, the very nation that He chose to bear His Name (1 Kings 8:29). If you want to say “Well now the church is God’s nation that carries His Name” … well OK then why didn’t God just destroy Israel in the desert? After all, He would have still had Moses to carry on the promise to Abraham through.

Whether their number will be great or small, Israel will as a nation accept Jesus Christ before the nations of the world so that God will be glorified. And it is because of that, the Will and Glory of God, that the church HAD to replace Israel spiritually but CANNOT replace Israel naturally.

Posted in anti - Semitism, Christian Zionism, Christianity, dual covenant theology, John Hagee, Judaism, Messianic Judaism, prosperity doctrine | Tagged: | 22 Comments »

 
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