Brickner, Piper, and the Pickle Jar

The issue here is if Israel as a State is a reflection of divine election and mercy, or whether the NT promises annul that national election. Brickner says Yes the State is the result of divine mercy/election because he believes the NT does not annul the promises to ethnic/physical Israel but thinks they continue right through the New Covenant era.

Question: Do you think God’s election and promises to Israel are extended into the church, expanded by including Gentiles, replaced by the church, or what?

Christians often have a great depth of theological understanding regarding Israel in the past. Many also have a keen interest and firm convictions regarding Israel in the future. Yet when it comes to present-day Israel it seems biblical thinking often takes a back seat to political expedience on both sides of the current conflict.

Christians today desperately need an informed theology concerning present-day Israel. I don’t see where your recent response addressed my point concerning the remnant today and the implications of the growing number of Israeli believers in Jesus. Although I know you didn’t intend this, your quote from Ryle that “they are reserved and preserved” makes it sound like we are in a pickle jar kept on a shelf somewhere! No. The apostle Paul insisted, “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” “Not rejected” does not mean he has shunted them off to the side for use at a later time. Israel today is marvelous evidence of God’s continuing covenant faithfulness, his amazing sovereignty over world affairs, and the great power of his mercy despite human disobedience. The remnant in existence today is also “chosen by grace.”

The birth of the modern state of Israel did not occur in a vacuum but sprang from the ashes of the Holocaust, where one third of the Jewish people were systematically annihilated simply because they were Jews. Evangelicals need to think more deeply about the implications of the Holocaust and its connection to Israel today. I believe Israel is in possession of the Land today by divine mercy, a mercy flowing out of the horrors of the Holocaust and to the ultimate defeat of all other efforts at Jewish genocide past and present. This can only be the hand of God in history despite Israel’s current unbelief. Present day anti-Semitism is proof that Israel remains at the nexus of the cosmic conflict between God, who keeps his promises, and Satan, who wants to make God a liar. We shouldn’t allow history to interpret the Bible, but we must allow the Bible to speak to recent and current history, not just ancient history and the future.

Unfortunately, the current posture of many evangelicals has been to jettison the overarching biblical picture of God’s love for both Israel and the nations and to choose sides between Palestinians and Israelis, further fueling the present passions of pain and conflict. This is wrong.

Beginning with the household of faith, Christians must implore the people of the Land on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God and then to one another. Christians need to formulate a full-orbed theology of reconciliation and Israel/Palestine can be the laboratory. As we apply biblical truth to the conflict today, the world will truly see the power of the gospel. To this end I know we both remain deeply committed. May our dialogue help encourage Christians to retake this biblical and gospel-centered middle ground. Let us believe in the ongoing promises of God to the Jewish people and re-double our efforts to proclaim this Good News to Israelis, Palestinians, and all humanity.

 

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • NW

    The promise of Israel’s restoration in the prophetic literature of the OT exclusively belongs to the new Israel that Yahweh would enter into covenant relationship with as part of the eschatological new covenant. Moreover, just as the character of David in the OT prefigures the eschatological David that we as Christians identify as Jesus (Ezek 37:24-25; Hos 3:5) so also the nation of Israel in the OT prefigures this new Israel over which we believe Jesus is king.

  • Scot McKnight

    NW, you are writing anonymously and your e-mail is bogus, which makes me nervous. Why not use your name? Let me say it stronger now: it is dishonest to sign in with an e-mail address that does not exist. Why do this as a Christian?

  • CGC

    Hi Scot,
    Brickner gives a very balanced and helpful perspective when people are so used to taking sides against one another. Brickner suggests if we all got on God’s side, we could possibly quit being against one another in a kind of tribalistic warfare. And his argument for how do we deal with present Israel is spot on.

  • adam

    Biblically-theologically, it is poor to jump from Law and Prophets into Church Letter and then begin swapping propositions or verses. The covenants find fulfillment in Christ (person, work, resurrection). Thus, Biblically-theologically we must move from Law, Prophets, Writings, unto Gospels, then Letters (canonically). If this is done then it certainly seems clear that the function or meaning of the Land was “presence of God/relationship to his presence as his people.” Moses knew this dynamic thus he didn’t even want to inherit or go in to the Land if God did not go. There was no inherent meaning or significance in the geographic locale (Psalmists speak the same way).
    The Land’s physical and spiritual dynamics came to climax in Jesus (God incarnate-presence and relationship fulfillment-John 1). He expressly defined this fulfillment to the women at the well (Jn.4:21ff) Paul then concludes that there is no significance to an earthly Jerusalem rather b/c of Jesus (God acting in, through and as Jesus Christ) “Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Gal 4:26).
    The discussion to this point has related the covenant promises of God very little to God in, through, and as Jesus Christ. This is the problem.

  • PJ

    The OT and NT seem to clearly point out that the covenantal promises for Israel only extend to those Israelites who have been faithful to God.

    Clearly the Abrahamic covenant doesn’t apply to all of Abraham progeny. It worked great for Isaac but not so great for Ishmael. In Isaac’s family it worked great from Jacob but not so great for Esau. Throughout the OT there is a constant refrain that if you are faithful to God the covenant is maintained. However there are texts that clearly show wayward Israelites are to be cut-off from the promises of God (cf. Number 15:30f.) Faithful believers in OT times (prior to Christ) remain secured in salvation, unfaithful person in OT times do not have that salvation.

    In Israel’s action of crucifying their Messiah they have been cut off from their promises and can only be restored by faith in Jesus Christ. In explaining this I am more in the lines of Wright and Barth that economic suppersessionism is the NT teaching. The OT covenants have been fulfilled and the New Covenant is brought in through Christ’s death.

    I respectfully disagree that the current state of Israel is the reconstituted biblical image. As it exists today, this political Israel is in contradistinction to the biblical image and only exists as a twist of history. One of the challenges in this conversation is that for those of us who seek out a differentiation of spiritual Israel from political Israel we are often accused of anti-Semitism when, in fact, we are not anti-Semites. If the Jews in Israel have the land so be it, but we also need to recognize that what the UN unilaterally did in the 1940s was take away a land from Palestinians, dispossess them of their generational claims, and give it to a new group.

    Theologically the only way of salvation in this current age is faithfulness to and belief in Jesus Christ. While salvation is still accorded to the faithful of Israel prior to Jesus, now faithfulness must be explicitly voiced in Jesus.

  • NW

    Scot,

    Alright, I am giving you a real e-mail address this time, if you want to know more about me you’ll have to contact me that way (I am a great guy, promise). I am sorry but as an older millennial with a computer science degree (among others) and friends who work for the NSA I don’t believe in commenting under my real name on the internet. The alternative is to filter everything I say with the understanding that it could get back to my employer (prospective or otherwise), at which point it’s not worth it to share my thoughts on the internet. Before my current foray in academia I worked for a company where the HR department disqualified someone from a senior scientist position we were trying to fill because of random comments they made on the internet, that could be me one day so this isn’t an abstract point with me. I suppose if I was more established in my career and/or retired and/or filthy rich and/or living as a bum in someone’s basement then it wouldn’t matter to me any longer.

    “Let me say it stronger now: it is dishonest to sign in with an e-mail address that does not exist.”

    How so? Surely no one around here thinks my real name is NW so I don’t think I am representing myself as someone I am not in the comments here, which would be dishonest. I would love to see you develop this point further.

    Let me be blunt, I grew up in an America in which whatever social trust might have existed a generation or two ago either no longer exists today or cannot be relied on, and when it comes to social trust there’s no difference between the two in our mobile society. It’s one of the many tragedies that we don’t talk about (kind of like revolutionary socialism in the 20th century). I have my theories about how this happened but it seems improper to get into them on this blog.

  • Wyatt

    Adam,

    Not so. You say, “Moses knew this dynamic thus he didn’t even want to inherit or go in to the Land if God did not go”. Moses perhaps knew this dynamic. Moses was prohobited from going to The Land by God whether God went or not.

    But Moses did enter The Land at the Transfiguration. What do you do with that?

    Not so. You say, “There was no inherent meaning or significance in the geographic locale (Psalmists speak the same way).” The Lord would disagree with you. Why didn’t He setup camp in Jacksonville FL? He didn’t!! The Psalmists don’t talk this way and they seem to almost always connect God’s heart with The Land in some fashion which includes Jerusalem, Zion, Judah (Ps. 79:1,3; 128:5; 135:21; 147:2; 48:1,2; 50:2; 69:35; 87:2 and on and on it goes). God clearly connected Himself with The Land and still does and will in the future when the Messiah will set up shop when He returns to JERUSALEM! Can I be clearer?

  • Rob Watt

    PJ… Thanks for your thoughts…processing!

  • http://shanescottonline.com Shane Scott

    Hi Scot and all
    Cutting to the chase, Paul’s salvation-history argument in Galatians seems to me to unavoidably point to the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel in Christ, and the expansion of the people of God to include all who have faith in Christ. This same expansion it seems to me would apply to the “promised land,” which through Christ becomes the new heavens and earth. This also seems to me to be the way Paul’s covenant argument about Deut 30 has to be understood in Rom. 10:5f.
    The other observation I wanted to make is that this post was interesting to read in juxtaposition with the post on the Heresy of American Nationalism. Because of the reconciling work of Jesus on the cross, making “the two into one new man” according to Eph. 2, isn’t it heresy for ANY nation to claim to be God’s chosen people today? The obvious difference between Israel and America is that America never had this status or served a purpose in God’s salvation history, whereas Israel according to the flesh did. But now that Jesus has come and expanded God’s people on the basis of grace and not race, just as God envisioned in the promise to Abraham, isn’t it wrong for any geopolitical entity to claim status that is available only through Christ?

  • adam

    Wyatt,
    As to Moses, I obviously agree that he was prohibited from going into the Land (Dt. 34:4ff). And yes, your right, Moses knew this dynamic that I am speaking of.
    As to “the Land of Transfiguration.” I am not sure what you mean exactly? Are you suggesting that the transfiguration moment was about fulfillment of the Land promises? If so I am not sure I follow?

    As to the Psalter, I would suggest once again, Jerusalem and its significance is what it embodied-peace, presence, security and prosperity. In other words, God caused his name to dwell there, thus Israel wanted to be there. Without God being there, the meaning, there was none of the above stated blessings. Thus, no real significance.
    Notice this is the argument or lament of Psalm 79 which you cited (v10)-”Why should the nations say, ‘WHERE (presence) is their God?” PRESENCE-RELATIONSHIP-SIGNIFICANCE
    Consider also the eternality of Jerusalem. It is established “forever” BECAUSE God dwells there (Ez 43:7). That is to say, once again, God’s dwelling (presence) and the attendant blessings (relationship to his dwelling presence-fulfilled in Christ) is the significance and meaning of Jerusalem.

    With that said, you proved my point from earlier, “Biblically-theologically, it is poor to jump from Law and Prophets into Church Letter and then begin swapping propositions or verses. The covenants find fulfillment in Christ (person, work, resurrection). Thus, Biblically-theologically we must move from Law, Prophets, Writings, unto Gospels, then Letters (canonically).”
    If we followed canonically, through Christ, we see that indeed, God has “set up camp in Jacksonville FL. Praise the LORD!

  • Wyatt

    Adam,

    Typo on the Land of Transfiguration. I meant The Land at the mount of Transfugration which was a fulfillment for Moses even though the Scriptures don’t directly state it.

    My point is God did not choose any land. He was very specific in his call to Abraham. He was very specfic in brining the people out of Egypt to The Land. He was present with them in the pillars of cloud and fire and yet He directed the to The Land. Place is important to us and God. He is also specfic about the Messiah’s bodily return because it will be in a specific place at some future time. We cannot escape the specificity of God’s intention. The point is God established the place, not Abraham, not Moses, not the Prophets. If place wasn’t so important, why did God partition the Land among the tribes? God could have established any land for his presence but He didn’t.

    The covenants may find their fulfillment in Messiah but they do not find their eradication and a violation of God’s own promises to the Jews from whom the whole world receives a blessing. Fulfillment does not mean a breaking of the promises God made about The Land.

    The Land remains central to God’s redemptive plan.

  • adam

    Blessings Wyatt,
    I appreciate what your saying, but we obviously disagree over promise-fulfillment (even its definition-I don’t see fulfillment in terms of God “breaking” his promises).
    Also, we obviously disagree eschatologically, which seems to reflect the heart of the matter here for you, namely, the millennium. Your language seems to indicate pre-millennialism as your eschatological outworking. Thus, there is a drive theologically, which then leads to certain practices hermeneutically, with the intended outcome being the centrality of the physical Land geographically.
    I still would contend that as long as one’s hermeneutic eclipses the work of Christ in this (or any other for that matter) discussion error is sure to follow.
    Finally, on the more political side of the debate, emotions based upon overseas (WWII) historical realities or political policies seems to be more forceful than biblical theology. I am not certain that that is best.

    Blessings

  • John Inglis

    I’m with NW. Having friends that practice employment law has made me aware of how often people get fired or pushed out or stymied because of internet related materials. This is especially so in states that have little worker protection. If it weren’t for the fact that Scots have historically exercised little imagination when naming their kids (“John Inglis” occurs far too often given the number of male “Inglis-es” that exist), I wouldn’t use my real name either (and for a long time didn’t). Also, since I’m now my own boss, I can’t get fired.

  • Andy Halpin

    While I wholeheartedly agree with Brickner that “Christians need to formulate a full-orbed theology of reconciliation”, I have very serious doubts about whether the existence of the modern state of Israel has anything to do with divine election. As I understand it, this is a position I share with a large proportion of Orthodox Jews.

    The idea that modern developments in Israel have any connection with Romans 9-11 simply does not compute at all. When Paul says that “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”, he is talking about their salvation and their reconciliation to God. It has nothing to do with land. As Stephen Sizer points out in ‘Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church’:

    “The Scriptures repeatedly insist that the land belongs to God and that residence is always conditional. For example, God said to his people, “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers” (Leviticus 25:23) … Residence was open to all God’s people on the basis of faith not race. Indeed, the writer to Hebrews explains that the land was never their ultimate desire or inheritance any way but a temporary residence until the coming of Jesus Christ. Our shared eternal inheritance is heavenly not earthly … Here is the clue to understanding Romans 9-11. Of course God has not rejected the Jewish people. His covenant purpose for them, as with every other race, has always been ‘that they may be saved’ (Romans 10:1), to create one people for himself, made of both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 11:26). God’s covenant purposes are fulfilled only in and through Jesus Christ. This is most fully explained in Ephesians 2”.

  • Wyatt

    Adam,

    Thanks for the dialog.

    But why do seemingly want to pidgeon-hole me and my theology and eschatology? Do you mean you don’t have a theological or eschatological framework? Do you mean to imply the hermeneutic you think I am using eclispses the work of Christ but yours is incapable of doing the same?

    And then you go here without any inference from me, “…on the more political side of the debate, emotions based upon overseas (WWII) historical realities or political policies seems to be more forceful than biblical theology. I am not certain that that is best.”

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Yes, we do disagree and that is okay. But to take it in a personal direction not warranted by my content strikes me as disingenuous.

  • adam

    Wyatt,
    I am sorry. I didn’t reference the end comments to you strictly rather I was simply acknowledging the broader context of this thread in my closing remark. I am sorry for upsetting you and seeming to make an unnecessary address or perhaps even personal attack. Again, sorry.

    As to the pidgeon-holing I did not realize that my putting together your comments was pidgeon-holing you? Every theological comment one makes has implications and import for other constructs and texts. Certainly in this discussion all are able to see the more obvious connections-implications of statements being made. Your last statement was the most obvious to me, “The Land remains central to God’s redemptive plan.” I hear in that, physical millennium.

    As to the hermeneutics, I would contend that eclipsing the significance of the person and work of Christ in theological understanding is much more difficult to do (but not impossible) in a purposefully Christ-centered hermeneutical method.

    Blessings

  • EricW

    While Matthew 19:28/Luke 22:30 and Matthew 25:31ff. seem to have Jesus as King enthroned over a restored/regenerated land and people of Israel, the rest of the NT seems to point to Christ himself being all that the land, the covenant, the Temple, etc., were only types and foreshadowings of. He is the New Human and the Head of a Body in which there is not Jew versus Gentile, circumcised versus uncircumcised, etc. One covenant, one people, one church, one Head, one body, one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one hope, etc. Yes, I believe in supersessionism: Christ has nullified and superseded the old Adam, from which both Jew and Gentile came, and replaced him as the New Man, in whom both Jew and Gentile can find their place and their “dwelling place.”

  • http://www.dualravens.com/ravens Patrick O

    If Israel is no longer Israel as a people, what happens to the church when and if God decides to change his mind again?

    Which isn’t to make a conclusion about this issue, only to think that God made a covenant with a particular people, and while this has expanded I can’t think that it would then undermine the particular promise to that particular people. Why should the promise of Christ for our salvation persist? Maybe we too might just fade away for someone younger and prettier, with covenant language adapted yet again for whoever enjoys the current favor.

  • http://shanescottonline.com Shane Scott

    @Patrick- it seems to me that there is a flaw in your question when you ask what happens “if God decides to change his mind AGAIN.” Your question assumes that the expansion of the people of God is a change of God’s mind, when from my point of view this is what God all along intended to do, based on the promise given in Gen 12 for instance.
    Indeed, embedded in the very fabric of God’s promises to Israel was that when the nation was restored, one result would be the ingathering of Gentiles (Amos 9:11-12; cf. Acts 15:16-18, for instance).

  • http://DerekLeman.com/Musings Derek Leman

    In case anyone is interested, I have been answering NW on Scot’s earlier post about the Brickner-Piper debate. On that thread he has made the statement: “Israel brought about the annulment of the covenant they had with Yahweh when they crucified Jesus.”

    I responded (and we have had a few exchanges): “You said of my people, the Jewish people, that we crucified Jesus? When did I crucify Jesus, NW? When did any of the 15 million Jews in the world today crucify Jesus? That deicide claim you are making is classic anti-Semitism.”

    He then said he meant only that generation of Jews. But first, if all Jews for all time lost status as the chosen people as a punishment for “crucifying Jesus” then it isn’t just for that generation, is it? And if a few hundred Jews, out of the millions who lived then, could cost all Israel everything promised in 2/3 of the Bible, what hope do Christians have? Of course I know pretty much none of you reading this agree with NW. I simply wanted to highlight the dangers of careless thinking. It has led to much bloodshed.

    Oh, and the earlier post by Scot is found here:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/06/24/cts-discussion-betw-brickner-and-piper/

  • http://www.beyondcreationscience.com/ Norman

    Derek,

    I responded to your assertions on the other post and I think it is highly out of line of you to use your ad hominem approach to discredit a line of discussion that you have framed contextually away from how I interpreted his response. Your trying to play the trump card and I think you can do better.

    I’m not going to speak for NW as I don’t know the guy but the first century Jewish people were presented a clear decision to make for their lives and were warned by Christ that if they trusted him they would know to get out of Jeruseleum when Roman armies started surrounding it. The OT and NT stipulate that only a remnant would be faithful to the messiah when He arrived and that is what occured. We know from Josephus account that perhaps a million Jews died from Titus surrounding the City and had not left when previously warned. They paid with their lives much like happened at the First Temple razing by King NEB in 600BC but even worse. No matter how difficult that scene is to fathom it is part of Christ prophecy that illustrated that He came in Judgment as God had previously and verified His deity. Covenant life that depended upon the Temple, priesthood and sacrifical and genealogical records were dealt a crushing blow and in OT language it meant that way of life was not going to be accepted by God anymore. There was a better way of covenant life through Christ and the Spirit and I’m afraid if we reject that story then we are attempting to rewrite history for some personal reason.

    Jews and Gentiles all have a fresh start and God alone is the Judge, however it makes a mockery of Christ accomplishments to say that he didn’t finish the work because some people way in the future are due some physcial real estate and He has to come and give that to them somehow. God comes down to man now because of what Christ has fully accomplished once and for all not to give some a parcel of land.

    Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

  • http://DerekLeman.com/Musings Derek Leman

    Norman:

    Was I arguing with you? But since you are defending the Jews-crucified-Jesus statement, I guess you agree with NW. Interesting. A couple hundred Jewish people plot against Jesus. A million die. God has an interesting sense of justice in your theology. Can you please tell me the prophecy that said: when Jews reject Jesus, a million Jews will die? I don’t know that one. So the prophets were pretty clear that God would become a man and all who encountered him must believe in him? Not only is that view inaccurate as regards the Hebrew Bible, it suggests a lack of understanding of the gospels also. Tell me one person who found it easy to believe in Jesus in the gospels. The disciples and even the women abandoned him when he died, Norman. Mark 14:50. And the women went cover his (they thought) decaying corpse with anointing oil and spices on Sunday morning. I guess they should have taken your “Messiah in the OT” class. Or maybe you’re just wrong and it was not easy to believe in Jesus. And maybe you have misunderstood why Jesus died. Maybe he died to save Israel, not condemn Israel.

    Anyone else:

    Am I alone here?

  • EricW

    A couple questions:

    Why do Jews need the land of Israel?

    A. To rebuild the Temple? If so, what does that say about the New Covenant and Christ’s incarnation, life, deeds, death, resurrection, ascension, giving of the Spirit, etc.?

    B. And if it’s not have a place to rebuild the Temple, then why the need for the land of Israel?

  • NW

    “And if a few hundred Jews, out of the millions who lived then, could cost all Israel everything promised in 2/3 of the Bible, what hope do Christians have?”

    Again, the promises are available for everyone who believes and follows Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. It is a gross misrepresentation of my position to suggest that it entails that the Jewish people are permanently cutoff from the promised restoration of Israel, they are most certainly not cutoff as the invitation to participate in that restoration extends to them as well as to every other nation.

    What I am saying is that the Israel to whom those promises apply is not the Israel formed by the descendants of Jacob but the new Israel that enters into a covenant relationship with Yahweh in the context of the eschatological new covenant and includes people from every nation (see Isa 66:18-21 where Yahweh takes people from every nation to be his Levitical priests), this means that the Israel that is the descendants of Jacob do not automatically belong to the new eschatological Israel simply by virtue of their physical birth but become part of the new Israel by becoming followers of Jesus like everyone else.

  • http://DerekLeman.com/Musings Derek Leman

    Eric #23:

    Um, we needed Israel because we had no home. Our home in Europe was a place of death. And now 5 million of us live there. Let’s assume you live in Cincinatti, Eric. Why do you need Cincinatti?

  • EricW

    The topic for discussion:

    The issue here is if Israel as a State is a reflection of divine election and mercy, or whether the NT promises annul that national election. Brickner says Yes the State is the result of divine mercy/election because he believes the NT does not annul the promises to ethnic/physical Israel but thinks they continue right through the New Covenant era.

    Question: Do you think God’s election and promises to Israel are extended into the church, expanded by including Gentiles, replaced by the church, or what?

  • Tim

    I interpret the scriptures through a Christ lens.

    All land belongs to God.

    The Canaanites who were to be destroyed in the OT are healed and fed by Jesus in the NT.

    Greatness is defined by humble, life giving service, not domination.

    Being chosen is for the purpose of blessing others, not for exclusive privilege.

    Jesus read the scripture in a pro human being, pro neighbor way. He read the Bible in a “Jesus Creed” fashion.

    The original biblical context is both similar to and different from ours. We still face anti shalom forces. The manner of nation states and the WMDs they possess mean we have an even more dangerous, deadly context.

    Given a horrendous, genocidic history, we need to exercise extreme caution in our theology so that it is pro Palestine and pro Israel and pro peace and pro justice. We need the facts on the ground. Who is not receiving his/her daily bread? Who needs an advocate? Who will work to bring reconciliation across national, economic, faith, and racial divisions?

    We need a robust theology where everyone wins, where God’s kingdom and will are done, where everyone receives manna, and everyone receives mercy, where we resist the temptation to fight evil with evil.

  • http://DerekLeman.com/Musings Derek Leman

    NW #24:

    When God made the promises to Israel, did he say: not really forever. I will change my mind one day and start a new religion with a new people. If you don’t believe it, forget it.

    Maybe what you struggle to grasp about the Sinai Covenant (and the Israel-specific part of the Abrahamic covenant) is that they did not promise individuals justification with God. They promised the people as a whole a status as the chosen people. And FWIW, God is among my people who do not share my faith in Yeshua. And Messiah is all through our tradition. Jesus is in exile with us. Paul got it. He said to my people belong the adoption and the Glory.

  • NW

    Derek,

    “They promised the people as a whole a status as the chosen people.”

    Agreed.

    “And Messiah is all through our tradition.”

    Yup.

    “Jesus is in exile with us. Paul got it.”

    Nope, exile is over. Paul understood that it’s too bad you don’t.

  • EricW

    Well, if the reason the Jews need Israel is because they had no home, then there is no reason to try to connect the land to some divine promise. Rather, it’s simply a pragmatic and survival issue. I think arguing that the reason they need the land of Israel is because they need a home weakens the argument of a right to the Land because of a divine promise.

  • Patrick

    The promises were never to ethnic Jews and they were not to Abraham’s genetic seed.

    Paul I thought made that clear. They were to Abraham’s believing heirs.

    In Jeremiah( force me to and I’ll find the verse) he quotes Yahweh as saying the people of circumcision are NOT circumcised in their hearts and at one point Yahweh states the entire house of Israel is uncircumcised in their hearts. That’s what Paul repeats over and over throughout his letters.

    We’re Abraham’s heirs through faith in Christ, not ethnic Jews(unless they believe). Romans 11:25-26 explains how this works. All Israel is saved because God blinds the unbelieving Jews and brings in the Gentiles to fill up His big house of ISRAEL. Believers are authentic Jews and always were.

    I can even find a verse in Exodus where Yahweh told the Jews a believing Gentile was to be called “the congregation of Israel”. The Israel of Yahweh has always been believers only.

    We don’t supercede unbelieving Israel, we simply are authentic Israel and believers always were, such as Uriah the Hittite or King David.

    There are clearly 2 separate biblical Israel’s and the one that belongs to Yahweh believes Jesus is His Son. The other one frankly is a fraud and the bible uses more harsh language than this if that makes anyone upset. Paul in Philippians 3 makes this case and uses a vulgar term to juxtapose ethnic Jewish first birth assets to authentic Jewish assets gained via faith and for the Greek scholars the word is skubila.

  • EricW

    skubalon :) σκύβαλον

  • Graham I

    As an Australian it is interesting to see from the outside the influence that Israel has on the US. my observation would be that there is considerable political muscle tied to the idea of Israel’s significance in the coming kingdom of God.

    On another path when Jesus spoke of kingdom he did so with only one kingdom in mind, the kingdom of God. It seems to me that he did not look to earthly kingdoms of any sort, God ordained or otherwise, but made it clear through Paul that our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God not in any human kingdom. The message then is no matter what the nationality we are part of the Kingdom of God through our relationship with Jesus not because we were born an ethnic ‘anything’.

  • Rob Henderson

    Tim #27- Exactly how I feel and believe. I couldn’t have said it better.

  • http://jmsmith.org JM Smith

    The danger of “standing with Israel” or any other political modern state is that none of them are extensions of the Biblical nations that bear the names. We don’t treat modern Egypt as if it is the Egypt spoken of in Scripture. Nor modern Ethiopia. Nor modern Greece. So why modern Israel? http://jmsmith.org/blog/stand-with-Israel

    And in light of the ‘apartheid’ charges by international critics, Israel certainly doesn’t do itself a service by allowing Interior Minister Eli Yishai to say things like most of the “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that **this country belongs to us, to the white man.**” (that sounds eerily like something you’d have heard in pre-holocaust Europe, does it not?)
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-enacts-law-allowing-authorities-to-detain-illegal-migrants-for-up-to-3-years-1.434127

  • PJ

    Its troubling that questioning the status of Israel can lead to someone accusing others of being “Anti-Semitic.” That kind of argumentation is of no help in these conversations.

    Patrick #31 said this:
    “The promises were never to ethnic Jews and they were not to Abraham’s genetic seed.

    Paul I thought made that clear. They were to Abraham’s believing heirs.”

    This is pretty much where I am and is articulated well. God’s covenantal promises have been for those who are faithful to His ways and faith. There has never been a blind ethnic salvation of the Israelite/Jewish people. Eschatologically there never will be a total ethnic salvation for all the Israelites/Jews who are/have lived. To believe this is bad theology and bad hermeneutics.

    Finally, it should be noted that putting Jesus on the cross did not remove the Jewish people from God’s covenantal promises. The continued rejection of Jesus as Messiah prior to His crucifixion, during His earthly ministry, is what removed Israel from their covenantal promise in the plan of God.

  • CGC

    HI PJ,
    I understand your points here but I have one question, what about the Gentiles being grafted into Israel in Romans 11? Isn’t the New covenant a covenant with Israel that finally opens up to Gentiles and all people of the world through faith like Abraham?

  • Chris White

    Why are we categorizing Israel as a monolithic group? When it comes to faith in Jesus, each person has to come individually, not as part of a Jewish or non-Jewish group. Besides, now is the time of the Gentiles (non-Jews). That time will end, then the veil over the Jews, yes, ethnic Jews will be lifted, and they can be grafted back into the trunk, by their faith in their Messiah Jesus. We gentiles did not replace them; we were grafted into their lineage, as unnatural branches. The Jews, being natural branches (still–think about that), can be grafted back into their own lineage.

    Stop trying to assign blame for the death of the Messiah. He died willingly for the atonement of the sins of the whole world (1 Jn.2). In that sense, we are all to blame. He asked for forgiveness of those who crucified him, whether it was the Gentile Roman soldiers and leaders or the Jewish leaders who brought the whole thing to a head. All we like sheep have gone astray and turn every one of us to our own ways. yes the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    If God has a special plan in the last days for those Jews that return to Him via the Messiah–so be it. Remember, we don’t support the trunk, but the trunk supports us. Be humble. God will display His glory in the way he sees fit. Continue to be a part of that display even now.

    I as a Gentile, will be happy to serve my Lord through whatever means He desires, including through Jewish ways. For I have been bought with a price and now belong to His body–one body, one church–not two groups, ONE. Just as He is One!

  • CGC

    Well said Chris W. Well-said!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X