Israel, the Jews and Evangelicals

The rise of Islam and anti-semitic attitudes in Europe and around the world will surely oblige Bible-believing Christians to come to a view on God's present and future purposes for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

 


First published 23/03/12

 
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. (Zech 12:2-3)

And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people... (1 Chron 17:21)


Israel and the BibleWITHIN the past three weeks three incidents (Note 1.) have typified the extent to which individuals and organisations are moving towards creating a climate similar to that in 1930s Germany which lead to Kristallnacht and ultimately the Holocaust.

Islamists, followers of other religions, secular humanists and atheists will come to a view based on their own creeds, perceptions and understandings. It will not be much different - and indeed it is already the case - that those within the ambit of the Christian church who pay scant heed to the Word of God will behave in similar fashion.

However, there is one group of people around the whole world which marches, or should at least, to a different drumbeat. That group is Bible-believing Christians who believe that God is sovereign, and that His Word is unchanging, complete and authoritative.

Yet even within the evangelical community there is most likely four sub-groups:
  • those who believe that God has yet a special place in His present and future purposes for the Jews and the nation of Israel (even though presently mainly in unbelief regarding the Jewish Messiah) (Note 2.)
  • those who have been taught (or at least teach) Replacement Theology which runs counter to the above position (Note 3.)
  • those who have not been taught (i.e. those who have had no clear teaching or none at all on the prophetic scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments) (Note 4.)
  • sadly there is probably a group which 'will not be taught' (i.e. minds have been made up and views are fixed) (Note 5.)

 

As the world moves inexorably towards the second coming of Jesus Christ, and for those who believe the Bible's teaching that 'his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives' (Zech 14:4) the question of attitudes towards and beliefs regarding the Jews and Israel will increasingly oblige believers to sort out their thinking and take a position.

The issue could well become one of, if not the, most controversial subjects within evangelical circles between now and Kingdom come.

The video to the right is an extract from a video by Derek Prince where he says: "If you don't understand Israel, you don't understand the Bible."
Note: The video is set to autorun, but may take a short period to load.
Get the Flash Player or an HTML 5 compatible browser to see this player.

Derek Prince outlines some Bible facts
Click here for full video message

 


Note 1. The three recent incidents – typical but certainly not unique – together sum up what is happening in the world and in the church: they are

Note 2. To see what Christian leaders of this and an earlier age have taught and believed see quotations from Yachad flier.

See also comment by J.C. Ryle and a summary from God's word.

Note 3. The Replacement Theology view has existed from the 3rd century onwards but has come to the fore especially following the recreation of the state of Israel in 1948. The national Church of Scotland spent the best part of an afternoon at its General Assembly in May 2011 discussing how the Church might call for a boycott on Israeli products without breaching the law. In 2007 one of its most senior ministers wrote to the Church following the May 2007 General Assembly. However the Church of Scotland is not the only denomination which has taken, or is moving towards, towards a hostile view.

 

Note 4. There is a vast swathe of members in the evangelical churches that has not had any teaching on these subjects and are consequently unaware of the issue(s).

 

Note 5. The media and organisations like the United Nations have been extremely influential in shaping views. The BBC is continuing to resist efforts to force the publication of an internal report which accuses the broadcaster of institutional anit-semitism. University campuses are also become fertile grounds for Islamic and anti-Israel activism. In the final analysis (on any topic) the will of God trumps all human thoughts, prejudices and/or  teachings of other religions, political bodies and public opinion.


Christians Together, 22/07/2013

Feedback:
(page   1   2)
Brian Ross 24/03/2012 21:36
Thanks, Ed. :-)
Seumas, Tobermory (Guest) 25/03/2012 10:12
Derek Prince is being disingenuous in that video. Her refers to the word "Christian" only occurring 3 times in the Bible. So? The word is a label to describe a follower of Christ. IF every follower of Christ in the NT was , ipso facto, a Christian, then there are a lot more references than 3, although not explicitly labeled as such.

And if you want to take a word count approach to your theology, then the word "sacrament" is of no value at all as it appears nowhere in the bible (try a search on biblegateway) And similarly, neither does the word "Trinity". In fact the only explicit passage in the bible that refers to it, the so called Johannine Comma, is highly dubious in its authenticity

This sort of approach by DP appears persuasive in its pseudo-scientific use of numbers / data. Frequency of occurence is only one factor in the synthesis of data towards developing an understanding of what it means.

A passer by (Guest) 25/03/2012 17:02
The above message speaks of the spirit of Matthew 23 verse 24
Editor 26/03/2012 09:17
Seumas, You might wish to watch the whole video which would allow you to put the 'clip' into context -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7ElSmiEC14

Regarding the 'word count' approach, you are right inasmuch as some words are 'inventions' - as you have pointed out. Others are transliterations rather than translations (Easter and baptism). And on a 'word count' basis there is more justification for snake handling (2 mentions)than there is for the role of 'pastor' (1 mention).

But the main thrust of Derek Prince's talk (the whole of it) is to illustrate the importance of understanding (and mis-understanding) 'Israel' if one is to understand the Bible.

So you might also wish to say what you DO believe regarding the subject of the article.
Seumas , Tobemory (Guest) 27/03/2012 17:57
"So you might also wish to say what you DO believe.." Actually, to be honest, I am really not sure. For every Christian Zionist, there is a Supersessionist. For every Prince there is a Sizer.

Its one of those "polar opposite" things which depending on where you are coming from, you can make the Bible "prove" your point of view. A bit like the old calvinism / arminianism thing. Or if you want a tri-polar example, try pre, post or a-milennialism. And then there is charisma / cessationism.

In all these debates, where views are held passionately, and people get all worked up about the "truth", somebody MUST be wrong. Very wrong. They simply cannot all be right.

Yet, when this obvious truism is mentioned, it just gets ignored.

Too much absolutist certainty - makes the world a dangerous place. And the certainty that seems to underpin a lot of Christian Zionist thinking and which in turn seems to influence American foreign policy is perhaps the most dangerous of all.

As Paul Tillich pointed out, "Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith" Or as Richard Holloway has put it: "The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty."
Editor 27/03/2012 19:25
Well Seumas, you can certainly wax philosophical. ;-) But your first sentence is very clear and upfront. You said: "Actually, to be honest, I am not really sure."

Indeed there are some mysteries in God's purposes which only their fulfillment will reveal. At Pentecost with a whoop of realisation Peter exclaimed: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16). He joined up the dots of what the Scriptures taught with the situation being manifested before his eyes.

Meanwhile there are others which will not be revealed until Kingdom come (1 Cor 9:12).

However there are many things which believers are obliged to know. Jesus rebuked his travelling companions on the road to Emmaaus: " And he said unto them, O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:25)
They were deficient in their understanding and loathe in their attitudes to believe what they should have been clear to them. It is not much different today.

And the Pharisees:"You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?" (Luke 12:56)

And to the Sadducees: "Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God" (Matt 22:29.

On the subject of the Jews and Israel I tend to avoid the term Christian Zionism (it has become too much aligned and tainted with secular politics with a 'Christian' rationale).
In fact I tend to resist 'badging' whenever I can because it invites the manufacture of carictures and straw men.

If you are wishing to look at the subject in any depth, I would invite to read the (2 sides of A4) by clicking on the link in the article entitled: 'J.C.Ryle and a summary from God's word'.

For a comprehensive list of Bible passages on the Jews and Israel travel to 'A Covenant-keeping God'. (Go straight to the Appendix.)

http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/176014/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/A_Covenant_keeping.aspx

But at the end of the day the Bible says that Jesus will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (Zech 12:9) open the Jewish eyes (Zech 12:10 and his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4)

Of that we (with the exception of many theologians) can be absolutely sure.
(Guest) 05/04/2012 14:07
1. God promises to bless those who bless Israel and curses those who curse Israel

This popular if misguided assumption is based on Genesis 12:3. It shows how vital it is we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. First, the original promise was made to Abram (that is Abraham) and no one else. Second, there is nothing in the promise to indicate God intended it be applied to Abraham’s physical descendants unconditionally, or in perpetuity. Third, in the New Testament we are told explicitly that the promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and in those who acknowledge Him as their Lord and Saviour. God’s blessings come by grace through faith, not by works or race (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Promise Fulfilment
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3). The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ… There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:16, 28-29)
“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore… and through your seed all nations on earth will be blessed…” (Genesis 22:17-18)
2. The Jewish people are God’s “chosen people”

The assumption that the Jewish people are God’s “chosen people” is so deeply ingrained, to question it sounds heretical or anti-Semitic. Yet both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures insist membership of God’s people is open to all races on the basis of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 56, we see the Lord anticipate and repudiate the rise of an exclusive Israeli nationalism. In the New Testament the term “chosen” is used exclusively of the followers of Jesus, irrespective of race (See also Ephesians 2:14-16 and Colossians 3:11-12 concerning the unity of God’s people).

Old Testament New Testament
“Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country. The third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 23:7-8) “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)
“I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush— and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”
(Psalm 87:4-6) “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”
(Romans 9:6-8)
“Let no foreigners who have bound themselves to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.” … And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants … who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain… for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”” (Isaiah 56:3, 6-7) “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:11-12 – see also 1 Peter 2:9-10)
3. The “Promised Land” was given by God to the Jewish people as an everlasting inheritance

Contrary to popular assumption, 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). In Ezekiel, it seems the Lord anticipated the reasoning of those who arrogantly claimed rights to the land because of the covenant made originally to Abraham.

“Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’ Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land? You rely on your sword, you do detestable things… Should you then possess the land?’ … I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end.’ (Ezekiel 33:24-26,28-29)

The scriptures insist, 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. The land was only ever intended as a temporary residence until the coming of Jesus Christ. Our shared eternal inheritance is heavenly not earthly.

Old Testament Command New Testament Explanation
“You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 47:21-23) “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God… These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
(Hebrews 11:9-10; 39-40)
“…the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
(Ephesians 3:4-6)
4. Jerusalem is the exclusive and undivided, eternal capital of the Jewish people

The Christian Zionist assertion that God intended Jerusalem to be the exclusive and undivided eternal capital of the Jewish people has no basis whatsoever in Scripture. As we have already seen, God insists in Psalm 87 that Jerusalem must be a shared and inclusive city. Nations specifically mentioned as having residence rights include those living in what is today, Egypt, Iran and Lebanon. Even the hated Philistines are mentioned as “…born in Zion” on the basis of faith not race. Likewise, the vision of Isaiah 2 associates Jerusalem with the end of war, with peace and reconciliation between the nations.

“In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:2-3)

The Old Testament vision of Jerusalem is of an international, shared, inclusive city of faith, hope and love. But what of Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”? Many Zionists like to think this prophecy came true in 1967. This is problematic since, Revelation 11:2 says the Gentile ‘trampling’ of Jerusalem would last only ’42 months’. The context of Luke 21 shows Jesus was referring to the events of 70AD and God’s sovereign use of foreign tyrants to fulfil his purposes (see Isaiah 63:3-6 for the meaning of ‘trampling’). It is more likely Jesus means deliverance will come at his return and not before. The focus of the New Testament instead moves away from the earthly Jerusalem toward the new, heavenly Jerusalem as the home of all who trust in Jesus (Hebrews 12:22-23; Revelation 21:2; 22-27).

5. The Jewish Temple must be rebuilt before Jesus returns

Prophecy pundits like to quote Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 to suggest a future temple will be built and desecrated by the anti-Christ, before Jesus returns to Jerusalem in order to set up his kingdom.

The only problem is, Christian Zionists require a 2,000 year gap between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27 and between Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:1-2 and 24:15-16 in order to explain why, after the destruction of the temple in 70AD, another temple is needed. But there is absolutely nothing in either text, or anywhere else in Scripture, to suggest a gap of 2,000 years, or that a future temple is predicted, let alone needed. Just the reverse – the old temple was declared redundant the moment Jesus died on the cross when the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom (Hebrews 1:3; 10:1-3, 11). The true and lasting temple is revealed to be the Lord Jesus himself and his followers.

John 2:19-21 Ephesians 2:19-21
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body.” “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”
The true temple, therefore, is under construction. Quoting Old Testament temple imagery, the Apostle Peter writes, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5-7)

6. Believers will soon be ‘raptured’ to heaven before the ‘end-time’ battle of Armageddon

The rapture is a popular idea that Jesus will actually return twice: first of all secretly, to rescue true believers out of the world, then later visibly with his saints to judge the world. There is, again, no basis in Scripture for this novel idea. The Bible is emphatic: the return of Jesus will be personal, sudden, public, visible and glorious.

Matthew 24:30-31 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the peoples of the earth[a] will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The idea of a secret rapture is actually based on a misreading of Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-35 where Jesus warns that one person will be taken and the other left behind. Rapture proponents insist it is the believers who will be taken and that unbelievers left behind. However, in the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13, Jesus provides the key to interpreting the later parable, “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:30).
So it will be unbelievers who are ‘taken’ first and believers who are ‘left behind’ to be with Christ.

However we understand the ambiguous apocalyptic language of Matthew 24, or Revelation, about the future, we must hold on to the clear promises of Jesus. He will never leave us nor forsake us (John 10:27-30; 14:14-27). The biblical vision of the future is of paradise restored and healing of the nations.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)

Our mandate is to be peacemakers not widow makers (Matthew 5:3-10). We are ‘God’s co-workers’ entrusted as ambassadors with a ministry of reconciliation not speculation (2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2).

7. God has a separate plan for the Jewish people apart from the Church

Christian Zionists typically believe that God has a continuing covenant with Israel, separate from the Church. They usually base this on passages like Romans 9-11, although they invariably ignore the context. In Romans 2:28-29, for example, the Apostle Paul defines the word ‘Jew’.

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)

That is why in Romans 9, the term ‘Israel’ is limited to those who acknowledge the Lord Jesus.

“It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” (Romans 9:6-8)

In the letter to the Philippians, Paul explicitly identifies the church as the true ‘circumcision’ (Philippians 3:3). This is entirely consistent with the Old Testament, where, as we have already seen, citizenship of Israel was open to all ‘those who acknowledge me’ (Psalm 87:4). And 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.

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” … remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2: 11-16)

The following passages show that there is a harmony between God’s purposes for his Old Testament saints and for his New Testament saints – a clear continuity between Israel and the Church.

Israel: The Church in the Old Testament The Body of Christ: The Church in the New Testament
Righteous live by faithfulness (Habakkuk 2:4) Righteous live by faith (Romans 1:17)
Holy people (Deuteronomy 7:6; 33:3; Numbers 16:3) Holy people (Ephesians 1:1; Romans 1:7)
Chosen (Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2) Chosen (Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1)
Called (Isaiah 41:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14) Called (Romans 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 1:2)
Assembly (Psalm 1:5; 89:5; 149:1) Assembly (Acts 7:38; 20:28; Hebrews 2:12)
‘Church’ = Assembly in Greek (Micah 2:5) Church (Matthew 16:18; 18:17; Ephesians 2:20)
Flock (Ezekiel 34:2, 7; Psalm 77:20) Flock (Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28)
Holy nation (Exodus 19:6) Holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)
Treasured possession (Exodus 19:5) Special possession (1 Peter 2:9)
Kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6) Royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)
Children of God (Hosea 1:10) Children of God (John 1:12)
People of God (Hosea 2:23) People of God ( 1 Peter 2:10)
People of his inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20) Glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18)
My dwelling place = tabernacle (Lev. 26:11; Ezekiel 37:27) Dwelling among us = tabernacle (John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 6:16)
I will walk among you (Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38) I will… walk among them (2 Corinthians 6:16-17)
God is a husband betrothed ( Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:14; Hos. 2:19) Christ is a husband betrothed (2 Cor. 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-30)
Twelve tribes (Genesis 49:28; Revelation 21:12) Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:14; Revelation 21:14)

The most important question to reflect on is this: Does the New Testament teach that the coming of the Lord Jesus was the fulfilment or the postponement of God’s purposes for the Jewish people?
Editor 05/04/2012 21:53
Guest, It is not often (if ever) I do this, but could you please identify yourself as being the author of this work and then we can have a debate about it.

Even if you are not the author and have 'copied and pasted' we can have a debate about it, but please don't do your text a dis-service by remaining anonymous if you want to have a serious Bible-based discussion.

Many thanks in anticipation.

Could I also point you to 'A Covenant-Keeping God' (of which I have identified myself as the author) -
http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/176014/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/A_Covenant_keeping.aspx

The appendix is as copied below and there are also (appended) questions and responses with might have relevance to any further discussion.

------------------

I would like to make seven assertions regarding the Abramic Covenant and Scripture references to Israel.


1. The ten northern tribes which were overrun and taken away into captivity in 722BC have not disappeared (Isa 11:12-13; Ezek 37:21-22; James 1:1).
It is therefore wrong to say that the joining of the two sticks (Ezek 37:16-17) is an allegorical reference to a then-future uniting of Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ. The twelve tribes will be and are being re-gathered into one nation. This is the primary message spoken to the Jewish people in that day. And this is how it would clearly have been understood by those for whom it was first spoken.

2. The twelve-tribed nation still exists spiritually (Jer 31:33; Jer 32:39; Ezek 37:5), ethnically (Hos 1:11; James 1:1) and geo-politically (Isa 43:5-6; Jer 32:37). Though the majority are still separated from God spiritually He will not reject them utterly (Lev 26:44-45; Isa 49:15-16; Jer 31:35-37). There will be a great ingathering of a remnant (Jer 31:33; Ezek 37:19-22; Ezek 37:26-28; Zech 12:10; 13:9) to the glory of God (Ezek 36:23; 37:28) and the blessing of the whole world (Zech 14:16-21; Rom 11:12,15).

3. The land promise to Abraham’s chosen natural seed (the Jews) is everlasting (Gen 17:8; Ps 105:9-11).
See also - Gen 24:7; Gen 26:3; Gen 50:24; Exod 6:8; Exod 13:5; Exod 13:11; Exod 32:13; Exod 33:1; Num 11:12; Num 14:16; Num 14:23; Num 32:11; Deut 1:8; Deut 1:35; Deut 6:10; Deut 6:18; Deut 6:23; Deut 7:13; Deut 8:1; Deut 9:5; Deut 10:11; Deut 11:9; Deut 11:21; Deut 19:8; Deut 26:3; Deut 26:15; Deut 28:11; Deut 30:20; Deut 31:7; Deut 31:20; Deut 31:21; Deut 31:23; Deut 34:4; Jos 1:6; Jos 5:6; Jos 21:43; Judges 2:1; 1 Chron 16:15-18; Neh 9:15; Ps 105:8-11; Jer 11:5; Jer 32:22; Ezek 20:6; Ezek 20:28; Ezek 20:42; Ezek 47:14.

4. The return from the Babylonian captivity was not the second and comprehensive re-gathering outlined in Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 11:11-12).
The passages concerned make it quite clear that the re-gathering – still far-future in Isaiah’s day (cf Jer 30:18-24) – will be from the four corners of the earth (Isa 11:11-12; Jer 31:5-8). The prophet Jeremiah foretold: ‘Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.’ (Jer 31:5).
This was never fulfilled in the return from Babylon. Indeed the Jews spurned the initial offers of help from the Samaritans regarding re-building the temple (Ezra 4:1-3) and that sealed the enmity between the Jews and their adversaries in Samaria (Ezra 4:4-5; Neh 4:1-4).
Right up until the time of Jesus, Samaria was normally a no-go area for the Jews (Matt 10:5; John 4:4,9). The Jews didn't live in Samaria and planting vineyards there in those days would have been inconceivable. It is only in the latter days that the comprehensive re-gathering of the Jewish people to the re-born land of Israel has been and is being fulfilled.
[Note: Samaria is today referred to as the West Bank or more often as the so-called 'occupied territories'. The Jews call the area Yesha (an acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza). However God speaks of the 'Mountains of Israel' (Ezek 38:8) as part of what He calls 'My land' (Isa 14:25; Ezek 36:5; Joel 3:2). ]

5. All the promises to and prophesies regarding the Jewish people still stand (Num 23:19; Rom 11:29).
There are 16 major prophesies regarding the Israelites (Israelis in modern parlance). And twelve of these have been fulfilled since the nation was first established. Two are presently outworking themselves before our eyes. All these things will come to pass and the final two will surely come to pass as the consummation of God's purposes in this present age.

Already fulfilled –

1. Enslavement in Egypt (Gen 15:14)
2. Deliverance from Egypt (Gen 15:14)
3. Possession of the land of Canaan (Gen 15:18-20)
4. Turning to idolatry there (Deut. 32:15-21)
5. Centre of worship in Jerusalem (Deut. 12:5-6; Ezra 6:12; Psalm 102:21; 132:13-14)
6. Assyrian captivity (Amos 5:27; 6:14; 7:17)
7. Babylonian captivity (Jer16:13; 21:10)
8. Destruction of the first temple (2 Chron. 7:19-22)
9. Return from Babylon (Isa 6:11-13; Isa 48:20)
10. Destruction of the second temple (Matt. 24:2; Luke 19:43-44)
11. Scattering among all nations (Lev 26:33-34; Ezek. 12:15)
12. Persecution and oppression among all nation (Lev 26:36-39)

Being fulfilled in modern times –

13. Regathering from all nations (Isa 11:11-12; Ezek 38:8; Zech 10:9-10) and increasingly -
14. All nations gathered against Jerusalem (Zech 12:2-3; 14:1-2; Joel 3:2)

Yet to be fulfilled –

15. Supernatural revelation of Jesus the Messiah (Yeshua Ha Mashiach) (Zech 12:10-14)
16. Jesus Christ comes in glory (Zech 14:3-9)

It is inconceivable that just as God literally fulfilled the twelve of the above prophesies that He will not literally fulfil the remainder. Indeed He already is.
If we cannot trust God to honour His ancient covenants to the Jews then we cannot trust in the promise of the New Covenant for our salvation.

'And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! "' Luke 24:25

6. Every mention of Israel in the Old Testament is primarily addressed to Israel and the Jews.
It seems trite and superflous having to make and emphasise this point, but such is the embedded hold of Replacement Theology that it needs to be re-stated.
Whilst in many respects the church may be regarded as a 'type' of Israel and vice versa, that is most certainly not the same thing as saying that they are one and the same entity. The courageous pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi might be described as 'Burma's Nelson Mandela'. But self-evidently that does not mean that she is Nelson Mandela; she is but a 'type'.

7. Every mention of Israel in the New Testament refers to 'Israel' and not 'the church'.
Matt 2:6; Matt 2:20; Matt 2:21; Matt 8:10; Matt 9:33; Matt 10:6; Matt 10:23; Matt 15:24; Matt 15:31; Matt 19:28; Matt 27:9; Matt 27:42; Mark 12:29; Mark 15:32; Luke 1:16; Luke 1:54; Luke 1:68; Luke 1:80; Luke 2:25; Luke 2:32; Luke 2:34; Luke 4:25; Luke 4:27; Luke 7:9; Luke 22:30; Luke 24:21; John 1:31; John 1:47; John 1:49; John 3:10; John 12:13; Acts 1:6; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:27; Acts 5:21; Acts 5:31; Acts 5:35; Acts 7:23; Acts 7:37; Acts 7:42; Acts 9:15; Acts 10:36; Acts 13:16; Acts 13:17; Acts 13:23; Acts 13:24; Acts 21:28; Acts 28:20; Rom 9:4; Rom 9:6 (Note 1); Rom 9:27; Rom 9:27; Rom 9:31; Rom 10:1; Rom 10:19; Rom 10:21; Rom 11:1; Rom 11:2; Rom 11:7; Rom 11:11; Rom 11:25; Rom 11:26; 1 Cor 10:18; 2 Cor 3:7; 2 Cor 3:13; Gal 6:16 (Note 2); Eph 2:12; Eph 3:6; Phil 3:5; Heb 8:8; Heb 8:10; Heb 11:22; Heb 11:28; Rev 2:14; Rev 7:4; Rev 21:12.

Note 1: 'Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel'. (Rom 9:6).

This verse is often interpreted to mean that the term 'Israel' refers to more than just the Jews i.e. to include Gentile believers also. However, as the succeeding verse (Rom 9:7) shows, what Paul is saying is that not all who are physical descendants of (Abraham, Isaac and) Jacob can be classed as being heirs to the promise of God i.e. Paul is restricting the meaning of 'Israel' rather than (as many commentators suggest) expanding the scope of the term. A similar dynamic was seen when John the Baptist addressed the self-righteous and complacent Pharisees who had placed their status and security in their geneological line (Matt 3:9).

Note 2: Galatians 6:16 is differently translated in the NIV (and other modern paraphrases) to that found in the KJV viz.

And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (KJV)

Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. (NIV)

The Greek word kai (translated as 'and' in the KJV, and 'even' in the NIV) appears over 9,250 times in the NT and is translated 'and' or 'also' on 8,687 occasions. It is translated 'even' on 108 occurences.
The word is used in a copulative (joining together) or cumulative (adding to) sense rather than affirming or reinforcing something that has already been said. Within the one verse itself (KJV) the two other uses of 'kai' have been rendered as 'and'.

Paul was writing to address a Judaising influence which was forcing circumcision on Gentile believers (Gal 6:12) and reassuring his readers that their standing was neither helped by circumcision nor hindered by remaining uncircumcised. He proclaimed peace upon those abiding by this principal – on the Gentiles AND on Jewish believers also.

Based on the above, it therefore would seem that the change in translation from 'and' to 'even' has been made on theological rather than linguistic grounds i.e. in order to class all believers – Gentile and Jewish – as the 'Israel of God'.

Anon (Guest) 28/05/2012 15:45
There is, of course, a fifth position - Christians who believe that jews are saved simply by being born as Jews. This is one of the most common evangelical positions.
R Burns (Guest) 28/05/2012 17:26
If there are Christians who beleive that Jews are saved because they are Jews then they haven't read their Bibles. The New Testament clearly states that there is no otherr name than that of Jesus Christ by which Jew and Gentile are saved. And there are multitudes of Jews who do not believe that Jesus was and is the promised Messaiah.
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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Esther 4-14 > Israel, the Jews and Evangelicals