post

KISS THE SON, NOT ISRAEL!

Most people are not aware that the views about “end times” that they have learned from Bible teachers originated with Irishman John Nelson Darby around 1830. No one in the history of the church had ever held to the view that Darby began to propagate, yet his ideas took root in America by 1870 as a result of his seven visits to this country. His novel doctrine was this: God has two purposes in history – an earthly one for Israel and a heavenly one for the church. This system of thought gave rise to the notion that the church had to be “raptured” out of history so that God could resume his earthly purpose for Israel in the “seven-year great tribulation” (cf. Jon Zens, Dispensationalism: An Inquiry Into Its Leading Figures & Features, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1978, 56 PP.)

The Lord teaches, however, that there is only one supreme purpose – God’s eternal purpose in Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:11). Jesus Christ, not Israel or anything else, is at the center of creation, history and everything else! It is a trick of the evil one to get people worked up about “the prophetic timetable being fulfilled in Israel.” While prophecy books sell like pancakes, Jesus must take a backseat.

So many people have fallen into the trap of measuring what goes on in world history by how earthly Israel is treated. One Bible teacher in March, 2008, made this remark: “I started to get really strongly to preach about Israel, about the pact.  Also, this would probably be the perfect timing to explain why Argentina is under such a curse and that they need to ask Israel for forgiveness on behalf of Argentina.”

Israel is not the benchmark for God’s judgments. Argentina needs to ask Jesus for forgiveness. Argentina does not need to ask Israel for forgiveness!  Psalm 2 says, “Kiss the Son,” not “kiss Israel.”  No nation is cursed in relationship to physical Israel; they are condemned for not following the Son of God.

Another person connected Japan’s recent calamitous misfortunes to their failure to support Israel: “…if we take God’s jealousy about Israel his love seriously, Japan is in trouble: Japan does not recognize any unilateral measures that prejudge the final resolution on pre-1967 borders, nor does Japan recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel, and is constantly bickering about various decisions of the Israeli government, a situation that God does not take lightly” (Wolfgang Simson, March 24, 2011, email).

When the Lord said to Abraham, “those who bless you will be blessed, and those who curse you will be cursed,” this was not a mandate for the nation of Israel to be the yardstick of whether or not a nation will prosper or disintegrate. The promise, “in you all nations will be blessed,” was fulfilled by Jesus – the “seed” of Abraham (Gal. 3:8, 16). The Son guides and directs all things with reference to his ekklesia, the apple of his eye on earth, not out of consideration for a piece of geography in Palestine (Eph. 1:22, 23).

The point is, right now the people in Israel for the most part are not submitting to Christ’s righteousness — so it is way out of line to view them as they currently exist to be “God’s chosen people,” as if they can do no wrong (as John Hagee teaches).  The only “chosen nation” right now is the “royal priesthood” of believers all over the world.

The primary person in all issues is Jesus. The Book of Revelation is a “revelation of Jesus Christ” – it’s not about Israel or anybody’s pet views about end times. Back in 1980 Adrio Koenig wrote The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology, and he showed how every major view of “last times” ends up pushing Jesus to the periphery. Also in 1980 Charles Feinberg wrote Israel: At the Center of History & Revelation. His view relegates Jesus to backstage and places an earthly nation on front stage. Again, Psalm 2 says, “Kiss the Son” – not kiss Israel, or America, or any nation.

Those who embrace an Israel-centered theology basically see the Old Testament as relevant to God’s alleged earthly purpose with Israel. However, Jesus emphatically affirmed that the Old Testament was about him. “Moses wrote of Me.” “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, he explained to them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.”  In light of the fact that the Old Testament is Christ-centered, we should note that certain common evangelical approaches to the O.T are skewed and misleading:

The O.T. Is not Israel-centered.  Contrary to this, many since 1830 have seen the Old Testament as primarily focusing on the future restoration of national Israel after the church is raptured.

The O.T. Is not commandment-centered.   The foundation of the Old Covenant was “do this and live.”  The focus was on obedience to some 613 commandments.  This is how the Scribes and Pharisees saw the Old Covenant writings — as statutes and decrees.  Today, there are those who view Moses’ writings as the law-book for magistrates and suggest that homosexuals, and others, should be stoned.  Such views miss the clear words of Jesus which transformed the O.T. into a collection of books about a Messiah to be loved, not precepts to be kept.

The O.T is not principle-centered.  Many people see the O.T as a well from which to draw good principles to live a godly life.  They tend to use the Old Testament moralistically instead of in a Christ-centered manner.

Most theological errors flow out of a misuse of the Old Testament and a wrong understanding of Israel’s place in the history of redemption. Jesus Christ is at the center of Scripture and history. Jesus is the heart of God’s purpose. The only “chosen, holy nation” on earth now is the ekklesia of Christ. When Paul addressed the predominantly Gentile Galatian ekklesia, he called them “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). Jesus Christ is the benchmark, the yardstick, and the standard of everything – “of him, and to him and for him are all things.” If believers were captured by the love of Christ and God’s eternal purpose in the Son, all the prophecy books would remain on the shelves collecting dust as they should.

By Jon Zens

Share

Comments

  1. Alan Rees says:

    Hello Jon! I thank you for your comments. Have you ever visited Israel, may I ask?
    This is not a flippant question. Nor a trick question. I have a reason for asking it…a kinda theory of mine.

    • No, I have not been to Israel, but my wife was there back in the ’90s. What’s your theory?

      • Alan Rees says:

        Thanks for your kind reply. I must say that I was sceptical of ‘Israel Enthusiasm’ even though I was brought up in a dispensational denomination. My wife, 20 years ago, wanted to visit Israel and I (like we do!) was happy to take her. There is no doubt that my life was changed as the Holy Spirit broke my heart as I stood and surveyed Jerusalem from Mt of Olives. I have never been the same since.
        I agree entirely that Jesus is the only way to salvation and He is central to all things. I am not particularly focussed on end times..except I am looking forward with increasing excitement to the coming of the Lord.
        My theory is this: If we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit …and visit the land of Israel…the Lord will reveal something to us. I have not yet met a Spirit filled Christian who has not been ministered to as they have walked the land with a Bible in their hands.
        You can trace the rise and fall of nations and businesses with their attitude towards Israel…and currently I believe the UK and the US are suffering economically as their support for Israel declines. It IS a matter of opinion…and the spectacles you wear (we often see what we want to see!)..but I would respectfully suggest 2 things. Please try and visit the land foryourself with a good guide. And also ‘keep one eye on Israel’…some amazing things are happening there as there is a turning to Jesus being seen in ‘multiplication’ numbers. Thanks for reading!

        • Brother Allen,

          I say this with all due respect: I do not believe one needs to visit Israel in order for the Lord to reveal anything to you that He would not reveal clearly through His word, the Bible, while being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as you read it right where you are at home, wherever you live on the planet.

          I do not believe there to be anything else God has made available to us, nor anywhere we need to go, to be made aware of anything we need to know (aside from what He sovereignly keeps from us) that is not in His book already.

          God bless you.

          • I think I understand what Alan is saying. Sometimes being in a physical location can effect us in ways that words can not. It can teach us things we can never get a complete sense of in any other way.

            And I must respectfully disagree with Paul that all we need is the Bible to get all the revelation we will ever need. Such an idea is, forgive me, not a view of reality that can be supported through Scripture.

          • Alan Rees says:

            Thanks, Paul. I agree wholeheartedly. But God does things His way, and for me a change of heart needed a change in geographical location! That often happens in the Bible, and also in Christian Life. I am simply saying that in my experience, believers who are filled with Holy Spirit who visit Israel often (if not always) have a fresh understanding of what God wants to do. That’s my experience…if you don’t share that, or don’t want that, never mind…God bless you anyway!

          • Rukudzo Wazara says:

            These comments are very enlightening. For one who goes to visit Israel, God will reveal great things by His Spirit, while still for the one who never gets the opportunity God reveals Himself by the Same Spirit. Surely, the matter is neither about location nor ethnicity , but the urgency with which God is revealing Himself to the Church for the equipping of the saints for the salvation and discipling of the nations by His Grace in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. Thanks for this post. I was consumed at one point in time with end times from a dispensational perspective. I think it was John Piper who first brought me to realize that Israel was not the center of God’s purpose when he said that there were more professing Christians in Palestine than there were in Israel. That was an eye opener for me. Then along came T. Austin-Sparks who’s writings have “sparked” a hunger and thirst for Christ in me that causes all the end times debates to fade into obscurity. Paul said not all Israel is Israel. In the beginning there was Christ and in the end there will be Christ and it is Christ alone that matters.

    • Amen, brother! The first two years of my life in Christ I heard Dispensationalism from the pulpit almost every week. I remember once the preacher was dealing with 1 Thess. 4:14-18. He was talking about the rapture, the tribulation, and the millennium. I was scratching my head, even as a new believer, because I couldn’t see any of that in the text!

    • Alan Rees says:

      There are also more professing Christians in Russia, China, India, and many other countries. Mainly because they are bigger! 20 years ago in Israel there were 1 or2 small struggling fellowships. Now there are dozens. No-one half sensible suggests that Israel is central to the purposes of God..that’s silly. What I am saying is that God is well able to hold the church in His purposes and Israel in His purposes at the same time….both inparallel and together! I have one peice of advice to all…watch Israel. Love the Jew…and God will bless you. Turn your back on Israel, and curse the Jew (and the UK and US are indanger of doing this), and chastisement will ensue. Economic suffering is already upon these 2 nations and there is more to come…just watch!

      • Alan, thanks for your comments. I was suggesting that the Lord’s purposes with Israel & the Church are not two separate parallel purposes, but part of the one purpose of God in Jesus Christ revealed in the New Testament. The Lord does the same thing with both believing Jews & Gentiles — he brings them both into the “new humanity” created by Jesus’ cross, where there is no longer “Jew or Greek,” etc. “Anathama” comes to those who do not love Jesus Christ, not on those who allegedly turn their backs on Jews. The Benchmark for everything — both curse & blessing — is Jesus. To make a piece of geography the measuring stick is too low a standard, and tends to peripheralize the Lord Jesus. We are commanded in the OT to “kiss the Son,” not Israel.

      • Alan:

        Respectfully, I’ve never understood the prosperity tied to Israel thing – especially since most of the oil producing countries HATE Israel and would do anything to destroy Israel – yet they have great wealth. You would think they’d be on (economic) par with Haiti if your doctrine were all together. (Actually you’ll find Haiti has more support for Israel than any of the Arab League). It would be interesting to rank the support for Israel against GDP for every country and see how the stats come out – or maybe some other measure.

        I do believe that God blesses His people but that the U.S. and U.K. are in a post-Christ era. Post-Christ means you’re making some very bad decisions because you’re not relying on “Providence” (what many of our founders called God’s intervention). America’s biggest sin is self-reliance – and “the arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own” as the hymnist wrote. The big, strong “arm of flesh” is failing America.

        I believe that China is in a massive revival (to the tune of 50 years) – and that the largest transfer of wealth the world has ever seen is moving from U.S. and U.K. to China. I know this baffles many pro-democratic natural-Israel Christians because China is not a huge supporter of Israel as far as I can tell and they are communist – yet those wonderful believers have found the Ekklesia (the Bride of Christ). Would that America would find what China has found :) Would that America would return again to trusting in the Lord instead of in her own righteousness.

  3. Anthony Kasper says:

    I can’t count the times that the subject of the end times has come up over the years. I have learned that the subject itself can distract people from coming to know Jesus. From the beginning of time He’s known what is going to take place and I am sure He will continue to stay on top of things. :) God is the author of the past, present and future. Knowing,loving, and following the author brings peace about what is to come. I’m exicted to continually discover my part in Him. I look forward to rereading Revelation, and the Old Testament with new eyes.
    Thanks Jon

    • Excellent points, brother! I believe the evil one uses many things to derail people, and get them distracted from the Lord Jesus. “End Times” related issues, in my lifetime, has certainly ranked very high in taking people’s focus off of Jesus, and putting it on an unhealthy curiosity about the future.

  4. Becky Solomon says:

    I have never been able to get my teeth into end time teachings. Never felt comfortable with any of what I was hearing – and so many different views. So I’ve managed to successfully side-step these issues for the bulk of my Christian life.

    The whole “natural / spiritual” Israel area is another one that I’ve always felt uncomfortable with. God has no favourites. It is the same Cross for ALL who come to Him – and there is no back-door for the natural Jew. To suggest that there is, is to place God on an infantile level – & is highly inappropriate. What matters is Christ and those who name His Name are in Him & part of the Bride of Christ, be they Jew or Greek.

    Thank you for boldly presenting this, and God bless the ministry that you have in destroying sacred cows and rightfully bringing attention back to Jesus.

    Bec.

    • Any viewpoint that gives people a “second chance” after the “rapture,” or suggests that Jewish people have a safe status with God apart from Jesus, is patently bogus.

  5. Jon,

    Thx for writing this post. It is interesting how easy it is for the focus to get off of Christ and on just about anything else. This is a great post.

    I am curious to hear your thoughts about Romans 11:25-27. I have heard this passage presented in such a way that promotes an eventual restoration of national Israel. What are your thoughts about this passage?

    • Whatever “all Israel will be saved” means, we can know this much for sure — when they are “saved” they become part of the body of Christ. Their salvation is not separate from Christ’s bride, as if their redemption takes place within the scope of a second “earthly” plan that God allegedly has for Israel. I have come to take “all Israel will be saved” distributively, meaning that throughout the gospel age redemption in Christ will come to a remnant of Jewish people. Paul used himself as an example of this remnant according to the election of grace. In the end, the Lord will have a people from all over the earth, a number which nobody can count — which was promised to Abraham — descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the shores.

  6. awesome post brother! Seeing Christ as the center and the interpretation of Scripture instead of Israel or some pet doctrine makes so much sense, amazing how easily we get side tracked by the “craftinesses of the devil.” Thanks for the article, much needed brother!

  7. Doug Townsdin says:

    I have recently wondered if the Pharisees were saved when Jesus harped on them as a way to let people know that being saved should not be the sole focus but living a fulfilled life of loving God and loving others.

  8. I am learning all over again. It is disheartening to learn that the last 20 years I was taught wrong. I came out of the institutional church about 3 or 4 years ago. I feel like I have to learn a lot all over again. But I have found freedom in Christ and Christ alone and don’t belong “to the club house” any more.
    Thanks..
    Melody

  9. That explains a lot. When I first became a Christian (before I began to understand the supremacy of Jesus Christ and His purpose through the ekklesia) I listened to many preachers and teachers speak of certain countries and such being judged based upon their relationship to Israel. I’ve heard a few talk about if the U.S. was to quit supporting them, we too would be under judgement.
    Perhaps this is why so many fall into the mindset of a “political messiah” and so many Christians think it is godly to be patriotic and view their service to country as a service to God. The reason I know this is because I once thought that way! lol.
    There are even some who see the U.S. as the new Israel….now that is a stretch!

    Great post, brother!

  10. I’m totally with you on the centrality of Christ and how some of these issues can distract from that. However, I think we have to be careful not to dismiss God’s heart toward Israel. History, even current events, seems to show that the nation still has a significant part to play in what God is doing in the earth. To ignore this and dismiss the role of Israel in how God is interacting with human history may be taking things to another extreme altogether. In fact, it may very well be a trap of sorts.

    • stravo lukos says:

      indeed, roy,

      israel has stirred up strife ever since its inception (based on atheistic zionism– a euphemism for plain old nationalism). the only trap has been the deception that Christian zionism (a la dispensationalist heresy) has incurred over the last 150 years. israel was a type for us in this end age. every covenant made can be fulfilled only in Christ. try it. i think you’ll like it. jon has done a splendid job and i’ve posted this blog everywhere i can think of where it’ll do some good. fear God, roy, not any nation.

  11. Thanks for this timely post, Jon. It has been a help to me.

  12. Joseph Black’s comments were accidently posted under the “Empty Jug” article. So here they are in the correct thread!

    FROM JOSEPH BLACK:
    Here is the reference article for share to read.
    http://joeblackblogs.blogspot.com/2007/02/israel-dispensationalism-truth-and-news_8420.html

    Jon, the above is an article I wrote on this same subject back in 2007. I am a history fanatic as well as church history. It is the life of Christ within, that led me to find all these things out in my continual seeking the truth of the TRUTH. God begin to show me these things, when I was but yet majoring in Bible way back in 1973. I caused quite a stir with my Baptist Dispensationalist brothers, who were very unhappy with what God had revealed to me in my personal time of allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me, rather then man. I share with you and others as well. God bless you, and keep the word spoken forth. The Good News of Jesus Christ.

    FROM JON ZENS:
    Thank you for this article, Joseph!
    I read your long piece quickly. I really, really enjoyed it! I don’t think you mentioned the specific date in the article, but the influential Scofield Reference Bible appeared in 1912, I believe. This work embedded Dispensational distinctives below the Biblical text via Scofield’s notes.

    Toward the end of your article you cited “the Kingdom of God is within you.” Contextually, it is better to see that as referring to Christ, who was the Kingdom in their midst. These words were directed to Pharisees, and the KOG was not within them redemptively, but the KOG was in their presence in the person of Christ!

  13. Great post, Jon! Thanks for sharing. It is Christ and Christ alone who stands at the center of God’s will and purpose in the earth!

  14. Great stuff, Jon. I did something along a similar line, but yours is more thorough. -http://wp.me/pPFqI-f0

  15. Jon, can I repost this on my site . . . full acknowledgement to you . . ?

  16. Looks like I’m late to this party, but Jon, my friend, you’ve done it again! Excellent article. Thanks for the voice of sanity and reason.

    I recently taught a Bible Study on Daniel and when we got to the 70 weeks prophecy and I explained all of it in light of fulfillment by the Messiah, they (surprisingly) all agreed with the concept – in spite of the fact that they all attend a mega church locally and had never heard anyone explain prophecy outside of a Dispensational framework.

    There is hope! People just haven’t ever heard the other side of the more popular and yet more recent story of Dispensationalism.

    Thanks for speaking the truth, my friend.

    -kg

  17. Jon, thanks for the article. I sometimes teach seminars that give an overview of end time views. I agree with some of what you said but not with all of it. People that hold to pre millenial, post millenial, or amillenial vuew points all have their Scriptural reasons of why they believe what they do. It does not all come from Darby. Actually, for the first three centuries of the early church, the church fathers believed in what is called the historic pre-millenial veiw. That means that we go through the tribulation, then rapture / Jesus coming happens at the same time, and then the thousand years as prophecied in Rev. 20 occurs. So, Darby’s ideas were based somewhat upon historic ideas. The difference with Darby is that he separated the plan of God for Israel and for Christians (the church). When he lived, Israel had not become a nation again. Today, we see the miraculous nation of Israel re-emerge as was prophesied by Moses. I think that you will find this in Deuteronomy, chapters 4 and 30, though I do not have a Bible with me right now. He actually gave a ten point prophecy regarding “Israel”.. People who follow this actually have scriptural reasons for believing what hey do. The point that I disagree with you on is this: yes, the Bible is definitely about the Lord Jesus and how we respond to Him. However, God made a convenant with the people called Israel, and God keeps His own promises. That is what the real debate is about. That is why Romans 11 is in the middle of the debate. Personally, I think that Israel is an important issue in God’s time table, but in the end we must all come to the Father through Jesus Christ, His Son. Thanks.

    Dr. Stan Fleming

    • Thank you for pointing this out. It is so aggravating when people blindly accept “Darby did it” and lump the Rapture teaching in with every crackpot theory out there. I have great respect for Zens and Viola, but this (and “contemplative prayer”) are two major points I disagree with. It was Jesus Himself who said “keep watch”, and “when you see all these things happen, look up”, and the apostle John who said there is a blessing for those who study the prophecy. In addition, it was the apostle Paul who said that there is a special crown awaiting those who “long for his appearing”. But today it is popular to trash those who see the Rapture taught in scripture, to slander them by inferring that they don’t care about the here and now.

      Zens and Viola, and all of us who understand from scripture that “churchianity” is not what the Christian faith was meant to be, are grieved at how many reject this truth and revile us for what they consider an attempt to tear down the Body of Christ when in fact we seek to do the opposite. But so it is with the Rapture, that “blessed hope” which motivates us to spread the gospel; we are grieved at how many reject this hope and revile us for what they consider a lack of compassion for the lost and a mere distraction, when in fact it is because we care and want to build up that we hold this view.

    • I think you make some good points, Dr. Fleming.

      If G-d is unfaithful in His covenant to Israel, then we cannot count upon Him to be faithful to His covenant with us through Yeshua. There are prophecies in Scripture that deal with Israel that are yet to be fulfilled. It is my understanding that the idea of the “church” replacing Israel came about fairly recently in history due to the fact that there was no Israel in existence. But now she does exist again. And what is even more exciting is that there are many Jews, both in Israel and out, who are accepting Yeshua as Messiah.

      Zola Levitt did a study years ago on the rate of Jews accepting Yeshua. I am not sure how it was conducted, but I remember him rejoicing as he realized that Jewish people are being saved at the same rate as Gentiles. The reason you don’t see it as much is because there are many people who are Jewish by blood who are in Gentile congregations…not in synagogues.

      We are told that we are grafted in to Israel…not that we replace her. I think it is important to remember that.

      Regarding the end times, I am not a dispensationalist. I am a pan millenialist who believes that everything will pan out in the end…acording to our Abba’s will. I do not focus on end times things, but on what my calling is in the here and now.

      I see the judgment of G-d falling upon those who reject Him…as our nation has surely done! I also see the judgment of G-d falling upon those who try to hurt Israel. Personally, I think that those who are truly seeking the heart of G-d will, at some point, see His love for Israel and will love those He loves.

      Just my two cents added in. :-)

  18. Sybiljean says:

    Thanks Jon for this timely understanding. I recently lost a christian friend over her zeal for “end time” events – and not our friendship.
    Could you please help me understand now the “who/when/why” of the book of Revelation? Are Jesus’ words on-going/futuristic/something else???
    I used to belong to Armstrongism and not Christ and I was taught that God’s people would be spared “the trumpet plagues” and be taken to a physical place of safety (and that the rapture was just “bunk”!).
    So what is the complete, Christ-centered way of viewing the B. of Rev.?

    • Sybil, your questions are excellent, but obviously I have to give you the short-form response!
      IS THE BOOK OF REVELATION ABOUT THINGS “NEAR” OR WAY FAR AWAY?

      A recent book has come out by Velyn Cooper called Biblical Journeys. She finds the recent BP oil spill coincidental to page 177 of her book when she discusses the Second Trumpet in Revelation 8:8-9. “One third of the creatures in the seas died and one third of the ships were destroyed. Imagine the pollution in the sea from the sea creatures that have died plus all of the oil and gas from ships that will be destroyed. This will result in a contamination so severe that in most areas, seafood will be a thing of the past…”
      This illustrates a very typical, but very wrong use of the Book of Revelation. Most people think that the Book of Revelation is about “future” events, most of which have still not taken place after 2000+ years of history. They have learned this perspective from misguided and misinformed Bible teachers who have written many fanciful “prophecy” books. Such an understanding, however, flies in the face of the stated purpose of the book by the author. What do the opening words of Revelation indicate about the time-frame in view? “Which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place . . . . blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (Rev.1:1,3).
      I invite you to find a concordance and look up “soon” (Greek, taxei) and “near” (Greek, eggus). You will discover that these words mean “imminent,” “on the horizon,” “quickly,” “right around the corner.” Try substituting “2000 + years” for “soon” in the verses where these words are used, and you will see it makes no sense at all. These meanings of these words are twisted, perverted and altered beyond belief if it is suggested that they envision events that are 2000 years + away.
      Why, then, do so many Bible teachers – who stress that the Bible should be taken literally as long as there is no reason not to – suddenly do a switcheroo and posit that these verses must be taken to mean a very, very long period of time? It is because they have to, or their whole intricate system falls apart.
      We have choice in front of us. Either we allow the Word of the Lord to guide our thinking, or we let the traditions of men nullify God’s Word. Either John’s stated purpose is true – “things which must soon take place” – or the notions of men initiated around 1830 will continue to rule, asking us to believe that most of Revelation is about things that have not occurred yet after 2000+ years.

      To give an example of how these writers misuse Scripture, Evans quoted from Matthew, “pray that your fleeing is not on a Sabbath day,” as if that referred to something in our yet future. But that Scripture clearly refers to 70AD when Jerusalem & the Temple were destroyed. Why would Jesus say to his disciples, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies”? The Lord was referring to something that would occur in their lifetime.

      The Book of Revelation is not primarily about things that will happen 2000+ years after it was written. It is mostly dealing with events in the first century. For example, in Rev.11:1-2 John is told by the Lord to measure the temple, and says that it will be trampled on by the Gentiles for 3 1/2 years. This would indicate that the Temple is still standing when Revelation was written. This means it was written before 70AD (not in 95AD as is usually suggested). The Temple was indeed trampled on by the Gentiles for 3 1/2 years, 66AD – 70AD.
      Thus the whole emphasis of Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, John Hagee, etc., etc., is mistaken, off-base, and has misled untold millions of people. People have short memories. Look at all the ideas Lindsey promoted in 1972 when “The Late Great Planet Earth” came out. He basically said that Jesus would return by 1988, 40 years after Israel was declared a nation in 1948. Did this happen? No! All the “predictions” these writers make turn out to be mistaken, yet people keep buying their books!
      John’s book is “a revelation of Jesus Christ.” It’s about The Lord, not about prophetic details focusing on Israel 2000+ years later.

  19. Hey Jon, Great post. About 6 years ago I sabbatical-ed in a end time centered (Post-Trib) community that is still is some what of a heavy hitter in the Charismatic world. Needless to say I walked away knowing that these brothers and sisters truly loved our Lord but that it is so easy to be “led astray from our pure and simple devotion to Jesus.” Especially when “devotion to Jesus” is viewed as a individual pursuit.

    Your post inspired me to consider another issue. I figure that since brother Paul penned this honest plea to a Ekklesia that was planted on Christ alone and equipped to live by Him then though saddening, it makes sense why the traditional structure, (regardless of genre) will encourage and facilitate this kind of distraction. It appears that this is something we all will face especially as we pursue His eternal purpose.

    I look forward to discovering Him with you all!

  20. It seems to me, to be more excited about Jesus’ second coming than our oneness with Him in the here and now, misses the purpose of the resurrection – That doesn’t mean His second coming shouldn’t hold great anticipation, but it should do so because of our intimacy in the present.

    • Great point! Even the glorious coming of the Lord can become an “it” that distracts us from His presence in our life now. In this age we have the “first fruits,” and with His return, our resurrection, and the new heaven/new earth we will experience the full harvest!

  21. Well said, great points….I like y’all 😉

  22. In Matt 25:31-46, which clearly speaks of the judgement of the nations at the second coming of our Lord, doesn’t the door remain open for the possibility that treatment of one particular ethnic group or nation, will have bearing on how the nations will be judged?

    “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did [it] to one of the least of these My brethren, you did [it] to Me.’ So the question hinges on who are the “My Bretheren”?

    Matt 24:16 (then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains) strongly suggests that Matt 24-25 in it’s entirety is being addressed to Jewish people. If kept in the context of the 2 chapters the “My Bretheren” is a reference to the people group to whom our Lord belonged to in his earthly and human sojourn. That is unless you want to divorce it entirely from the context, which even the “evangelical dispensationalist” often do when they quote this scripture before visiting a prison or passing out food to the homeless.

    Given that we see through a glass darkly and know only in part, I for one would be cautious in dogmatically dismissing the modern day nation of our Lords jewish bretheren known as Israel as being entirely irrelevant.

    I attempted as hard as I could to read this article and the comments as objectively as possible. I sensed that in brother Jon Zens zeal to refute the “sacred cow” of dispensationalism and it’s logical concern over a piece of real estate at the expense of the Jesus and his Ekklesia, that he may inadvertently be erecting his own sacred cow of preterism or whatever ism that dogmatically asserts that Israel is a non-issue in God’s time table. I like what EV Hill said. ” Jesus turned all my ‘isms’ into ‘wasms’ ”

    We seem to have a tendency as humans and believers in our either/or mentality to throw the baby out with the bathwater :>).

    OK go ahead and correct me with your dogma but do so with a charitable and humble heart!

  23. Hi Jon-

    Hope you are doing well. I read your blog post and you seem to be making a straw man argument to equate believing that God still has a plan/promise with Israel with NOT making Christ central. In fact, he is the most central figure in the OT, NT, and the age to come – even in a millennial kingdom, national Israel mindset. He is the Jewish Messiah in this view, something you didn’t mention or reconcile in your article. It is all about HIM, although I would agree that there are some that go too far in putting Israel in the spotlight.

    Rather than debating this issue, I did want to point out that I often scratch my head at those that claim to be all about making Christ central but they tend to isolate those who may disagree with them on an area of theology by bringing attention to it or advertising their stance. Instead of coming out and saying that “Christ is All, but dispensationalism is wrong”, or “Christ is All, but predestination is incorrect”, etc., shouldn’t we really just come out and say that “Christ is All” and talk about Him and not the peripheral issues that many folks may not agree with? In the end, if our efforts to make Christ “All” require us to get into doctrinal weeds or stances, how are we any different than any other denomination?

    • You make some good points that one must take into consideration. It is difficult, however, to “just” discuss Christ without running into things that muddy the waters. For example, we can assert that Jesus is the Leader of his ekklesia. However, in working that out, one would encounter practices/traditions that obscure Jesus’ leadership. Such matters would have to be evaluated and dealt with.

      As I made clear in a past reply to this post, I have no problem with the Lord dealing with Israel, but the shape that may take will be (1) salvation in Christ, which is the same for Gentiles and (2) it will bring believing Jews into the body of Christ with the nations. In other words, their future in the gospel age has always been part of the one purpose of God in Jesus Christ, not the outworking of an alleged separate “earthly purpose” for Israel.

  24. Javier Pais says:

    The Bible teacher who made this remark: “Also, this would probably be the perfect timing to explain why Argentina is under such a curse and that they need to ask Israel for forgiveness on behalf of Argentina.” does not know anything about my country. Argentina is a friend to the nation of Israel. She has one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. Jews have never been persecuted here the way they have been persecuted in other places.
    On the other side, I don’t know what kind of “curse” is my country under. Since 2003 our economy has been continously improving (even in the midst of the world’s greatest finnancial crisis). We left behind the 90’s astronomical unemployment and recesion (which were the result of the IMF adjustment plan’s). We are living peaceful timesand the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is been preached all across the Nation.
    The candid preacher should consider leaving that Chosen Nation’s Manifest Destiny Right Wing Republican mentality,and rightly divide the word of truth. I would recomend to him Frank Viola’s article “The Bible is not a Jigsaw Puzzle”

    • The point I see, Javier, is that Jesus is the person by which all will be judged, not a country like Israel (Acts 17:31). For people to connect a calamity that comes upon a nation with how they treat Israel is arbitrary and arrogant. You noted the arbitrariness with reference to Argentina. I noted it with reference to Japan in my post. It is arrogant on our parts to claim to know “why” the working of providence unfolds as it does among the nations. The truth is, we don’t have a clue why calamities happen — except that we know everything — every bird that falls to the ground — is an outworking of the Lord’s purposes in Jesus Christ his Son.

  25. The assumption that America began it’s decline since taking a negative stance toward Israel is completely false. America has been on a spiritual decline for decades and an economic decline for probably about 10 years more or less. The enormous debt it has taken on has nothing to do with Israel. The to good to be true lending practices of the banks that caused the sub-prime housing bust had nothing to do with Israel. The TRILLIONS of dollars rolling off the printing presses completely wrecking the value of the dollar have nothing to do with Israel. The hundreds of billions being spent on wars around the world have nothing to do with supporting or not supporting Israel. Instead, America’s economic decline has been more about our greed, materialism, living beyond our means and what I would suggest is a plan to destroy the dollar in order to create a new currency. Either way, America’s support or non-support of Israel have nothing to do with these issues so any connection attempted to be made is simply speculation. The facts seem quite evident. America’s economic down turn started years ago and continued through Bush. Bush was a huge Israel supporter so wouldn’t that contradict the original conclusion anyway? Shouldn’t America have been supernaturally blessed because of Bush’s support of Israel and his pro-life stance?

  26. Jon, I have a question concernng Gal 6:16., I realize this verse is disputed, but doesn’t the Greek say και επί τον Ισραηλ του θεού which could mean both “and also on the Israel of God”, which is your translation which would make it mean ‘all who obey AND Israel” but couldn’t it ALSO mean “even on the Israel of God” which would include both groups?
    It seems that you may be replacing Israel with the church, thus Christ isn’t the center. From my view (correct me if I’m wrong) the Church is not divorced from the Commonwealth of Israel but has joined it. This has been something that has been bugging me for years, and I think it’s important. I believe Darby had a similar view as you, but the Christ centered purpose of God is not fulfilled until after the Millennial reign of Christ. Let me know what you think.
    Thanks
    Ant
    BTW, your newest “searching together” was superb. I devoured it the day it came. I’m going to reread some articles though :)

    • Paul is writing to a predominantly Gentile ekklesia, so his phrase “the Israel of God” would be inclusive — all believing Jews and Gentiles. Jesus by removing the Law by the cross made the two (J & G) into “one new person.” It doesn’t seem to me that referring to the body of Christ as “the Israel of God” detracts from Christ being the center, for he dwells in the ekklesia, and she is his expression now on the earth. In Galatians 6:15-16, Paul refers to the “new creation,” and this “new humanity” follows the “rule” (Greek, “canon”) of the new creation which Paul then designates as “the Israel of God.”

  27. Heather Goodman says:

    Jon,
    I am in essential agreement with your blog post here, but I find some irony on this level:

    Psalm 2, in it’s original contextual meaning, is not talking about Jesus. Surely it does foreshadow Jesus, but the irony here, is that all throughout the Old Testament, whenever God talks about His Son, He is usually refering to the nation of Israel. Exodus 4, for instance: “Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn Son…..” Psalm 2 is discussing either how other kings must kiss Israel, or probably more directly, the king of Israel.

    But even though this is true, the overall POINT of God calling the nation of Israel His “Son” all over the OT, is because Israel is a figure, foreshadowing Jesus the “true” Son of God. So, while I would agree with many of your larger points, I just couldn’t resist pointing out that the verse you are using here as your title is a bit ironic (forgive me?)

    I also understand where the brother is coming from who talked about visiting Israel. While I was in Israel, I was surprised when I felt the Lord’s jealousy over Jerusalem in a way I totally did not expect considering my theology on the matter. The conclusion I have come to is that God is very much doing something of huge importance to Him with the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, even if it is not the huge end times thing that people think it is – I say this as someone who leans towards preterism in my overall outlook on end times.

    I just learned that there are twice as many Jewish refugees in the world who have been driven out of Middle Eastern countries as there are Palestinian refugees. Israel is the only middle eastern expression of indigenous middle eastern Jews that are a ready home for these refugees. God does have a purpose for this nation. I think this topic overall is one that requires a great deal of careful balancing of ideas, and a delicate attempt at weighing and measuring all of the Biblical values and truths involved.

    • Heather, thanks for your good points to consider! In Matthew the Exodus theme is cited with reference to an event in Jesus’ life — “out of Egypt have I called my Son.” Since earthly Israel, then, is ultimately pointing to Jesus, it seems very appropriate to see “Kiss the Son” in Psalm 2 as a reference to Jesus. As I have noted before, whatever the Lord does with what calls itself “Israel” will be salvation into the body of Christ, not an alleged destiny in a separate earthly purpose. Paul expressly stated his concern for them: “My heart’s desire is that they be saved” through Christ.

  28. Sean Steckbeck says:

    John,

    I read your stuff every so often and as a simple church guy myself love your writings. However, on this subject I would encourage you to reconsider. I would agree with my friend Wolfgang Simson that God judges nations according to how they treat physical modern Israel.

    Here are some things to consider:

    1.) Romans 9-11 is Paul’s masterpiece in how we deal with physical Israel and the Jewish people and his conclusions were this:

    a.) God’s heart for Israel is their salvation.
    b.) God isn’t finished with His calling to the Jewish people yet as His gifts and callings to His people are irrevocable.

    2.) The salvation of the Jewish people to Yeshua will bring “life from the dead” and “greater blessings” for those of the nations who are believers.

    3.) Israel’s rejection blessed these same nations.

    4.) The Jewish people have stumbled, but not forever.

    5.) God has a remnant of Jewish people who are fulfilling the calling of the nation of Israel by faith in Yeshua, but one day all Israel will be saved.

    6.) Most important, God’s heart and calling for the Jewish people is faith in their Messiah, so many Christian Zionists are unfortunately wrong when they concentrate only on the physical restoration to the detriment of their national salvation. We do not need to forget that the gospel is to the “Jew first”, as well as the blessings and judgements are to the “Jew first” and also the nations.

    God has a family (Abraham and the Jewish people) who is called to be a blessing to all the families on the earth, and the physical restoration and continuation of the spiritual restoration (through Jewish people coming to know Yeshua as Messiah) is God keeping his promise faithfully to an ancient friend (Abraham). If we don’t understand Israel, we don’t understand God’s heart for family and God’s heart as a father, expressed in the physical nation of Israel. I would guess that many in the house church movement who do not understand Israel tend to move towards postmodern individualism, and those who understand families would tend to understand Israel.

    I would also like to say last of all……please do not put all biblical Zionists in a dispensationalist box…..this is wrong!

    There are many biblical pro-Israel Zionists who believe the Jewish people are chosen who are NOT dispensationalists and do not believe in a pre-trib rapture.

    Some of those are Asher Intrater, Mike Bickle, Pat Robertson, Dan Juster, Spurgeon, The old Puritans spoke many times about the restoration of physical Israel and the Jewish people and they did not believe in dispensationalism or pre-trib rapture, Don Finto, Bill McCartney, etc… and many more….. none of the above mentioned are dispensationalists and none believe in a pre-trib rapture, but all are radical for the physical and spiritual restoration of the Jewish people in Israel. SO please, stop with putting us all in Darby’s box! The belief in the restoration of Israel started before Darby and before the false pre-trib rapture doctrine. I hate being put in that box…and you did it again!
    Sean Steckbeck
    Bet Shemesh, Israel
    simple church planter in Israel

    • Sean – Thanks for your comments! It would seem to me that the several statements in the NT that God is not partial to people based on their ethnic roots (Acts 10:34-35) would call into question the idea that “God judges nations according to how they treat physical modern Israel.” Jesus Christ is the benchmark of all things. People and nations are viewed by the Lord in the light of His Son, not Israel.

      As I believe I said to you on another blog, in 1993 I wrote an article, “How Should Disciples View Israel?” and it shows that I do not spiritualize physical Israel out of Romans 11.

      Below are some snippets from my comments to others in response to “Kiss the Son, Not Israel.” I think you would agree with much of what I say, and you may have a different take in a few areas, and that is fine! Are you in basic agreement with the essence of what I’m advocating?

      **Whatever “all Israel will be saved” means, we can know this much for sure — when they are “saved” they become part of the body of Christ. Their salvation is not separate from Christ’s bride, as if their redemption takes place within the scope of a second “earthly” plan that God allegedly has for Israel. I have come to take “all Israel will be saved” distributively, meaning that throughout the gospel age redemption in Christ will come to a remnant of Jewish people. Paul used himself as an example of this remnant according to the election of grace. In the end, the Lord will have a people from all over the earth, a number which nobody can count — which was promised to Abraham — descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the shores.

      **As I made clear in a past reply to this post, I have no problem with the Lord dealing with Israel, but the shape that may take will be (1) salvation in Christ, which is the same for Gentiles and (2) it will bring believing Jews into the body of Christ with the nations. In other words, their future in the gospel age has always been part of the one purpose of God in Jesus Christ, not the outworking of an alleged separate “earthly purpose” for Israel.

      **The point I see, Javier, is that Jesus is the person by which all will be judged, not a country like Israel (Acts 17:31). For people to connect a calamity that comes upon a nation with how they treat Israel is arbitrary and arrogant. You noted the arbitrariness with reference to Argentina. I noted it with reference to Japan in my post. It is arrogant on our parts to claim to know “why” the working of providence unfolds as it does among the nations. The truth is, we don’t have a clue why calamities happen — except that we know everything — every bird that falls to the ground — is an outworking of the Lord’s purposes in Jesus Christ his Son.

      **Heather, thanks for your good points to consider! In Matthew the Exodus theme is cited with reference to an event in Jesus’ life — “out of Egypt have I called my Son.” Since earthly Israel, then, is ultimately pointing to Jesus, it seems very appropriate to see “Kiss the Son” in Psalm 2 as a reference to Jesus. As I have noted before, whatever the Lord does with what calls itself “Israel” will be salvation into the body of Christ, not an alleged destiny in a separate earthly purpose. Paul expressly stated his concern for them: “My heart’s desire is that they be saved” through Christ.

      **[In response to John 4:19-24] Well, this is a pivotal passage in many ways, and it is interesting how the Lord carried on this deep conversation with a woman — a Samaritan woman! Certainly one central feature of this section is the reality that under the New Covenant the whole religious emphasis on “proper places” for worship is finished! Think about it. Just about every religion on the earth directs its adherents to a certain “special” place to be with God and go through various rituals. The Samaritans had their special mountain and the Jews had Jerusalem. Jesus tells the woman that all of this is over. It is finished. In Jesus’ “new humanity,” and “new creation” we seek the Father in Spirit and Truth, with no need for designated, prescribed physical places. Of course, the saints gather as “an ekklesia” (1 Cor 11:18). Believers occupy space — but such coming together is fluid, not rooted in fixed religious buildings and the like. In light of John 4:19-24 I think it is a distraction for people to make a big issue of how we are somehow obliged to pray “for the peace of Jerusalem,” as a piece of geography. Jesus indicated to the woman that in His economy such emphasis on the “right” place is a thing of the past. We are part of the “Jerusalem above” (Gal 4:25-26).

      Sean, it does not appear that national Israel was the conduit for blessing to the nations. Rather, the blessing of Abraham to all nations came through his “seed,” who is Christ. Whereas Israel utterly failed to be a blessing to the nations, Jesus fulfilled Israel’s history as an obedient Son, and thereby secured the Abrahamic blessing – “in you all the nations will be blessed.”

  29. Jon, I think your time to shine is starting to come, and the work you have done over the years to speak up for a true ekklesia is to be commended, but I’m surprised you would somehow deride Darby for proposing what he felt the scriptures truly taught. He was absolutely a forerunner in speaking for the type of church economy you seek for the body of Christ! The “Plymouth Brethren” were influential, in part, because they held the clergy/laity distinction in the church to be a hindrance to the cause of Christ! Darby loved the King James Bible, but he also felt that it contained some translations that give the reader the wrong impression, and thus he wrote the Darby Bible in order to give a more literal translation for scripture study.

    Besides that, the backbone of dispensationalism is the fact that Israel “rejected” Jesus as Christ. It is not a theology merely concerned with Israel, but about the Messiah’s death being a blessing to all despite the actions of unbelieving Israel. This blessing is accomplished by means of a mystery, or a thing previously unknown (Romans 16:25-27, Colossians 1:25-27, Ephesians 3:2-7).

    I submit that the strongest books ever written on understanding the book of Acts are the dispensational works of Cornelius Stam. “Things that Differ” and “Acts Dispensationally Considered” will open up the eyes of any student of the scriptures to some undeniable truths about what was preached by the apostles at the beginning the of the book and what happened throughout the book. The nature of the church’s genesis is the foundation for understanding dispensationalism, not arguments about whether Hagee is right about Israel or how various nations shall be judged in the future. We do not yet understand all of the truths contained in the OT promises to the physical seed of Abraham, but we do know that the “gifts and calling of God are without repentence.” God bless you in your studies.

    • Andrew — Thanks for your kind words! My concern about J.N. Darby related to his novel notion that God had two purposes — an earthly one for Israel & a heavenly one for the church — instead of one eternal purpose in Jesus Christ. Regarding how church functions, the Plymouth Brethren started with some good practices, but soon began to fight among themselves. I can’t identify with the PB vision of the church for several reasons, but the biggest is that women were silenced, thus turning alleged “open” gatherings into “men’s meetings.” Milt Rodriguez has written well about some aspects of PB that are problematic @ http://miltrodriguez.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-dominion-of-opinion/

      According to the united testimony of leading Dispensational scholars like Charles Ryrie the essence of this -ism (system) is that God has two purposes, not one. These two purposes are separate, they can never come together. The “church age” becomes a parenthesis. Only after the heavenly church has been removed via “the rapture” can the earthly purpose with Israel resume once again. This two-separate-purposes idea was unknown before 1830. At this time, Darby began to develop this theory. It was generally rejected in Darby’s homeland (Ireland) and the UK, but via his seven trips to America it took root and took off in the States.

      As with all systems, Jesus Christ gets pushed to the periphery and the human agenda dominates. In the case of Cornelius Stam, “Dispensational Truth” takes over at the helm. He injected even more discontinuity than traditional Dispensationalists propagated. My conviction would be that Cornelius Stam perpetrated more confusion than light.

      Whatever is in store for earthly Israel in the future is rooted in Christ’s redemption — “my prayer for Israel is that they might be saved” (Romans 10:1) — and being part of the “new humanity” where there is neither Jew nor Greek (Galatians 3:28). It will never be found in a separate earthly purpose, but only in the eternal purpose of God in Christ.

  30. Well, I think I can agree with you entirely that the words “two purposes” mis-characterize God’s plans. Again, God had a purpose in Christ to convert Israel and bless the nations of the earth with the righteous reign by our God-King from the throne of David. (Matthew 19:28, Acts 1:6,7). The church is not truly a “purpose” of God (though the substitutionary atonement on the cross was), because it was God’s will to send Jesus Christ back to Israel if they had repented and confessed their sin of rejecting Jesus as Christ (Acts 3:19-21 in context of the message). God foreknew that they, collectively, would not repent. Thus, the church is the revelation of a mystery that arose as God’s channel of blessing to the world despite Israel’s obstinacy. I suppose I will not convert you to this view, as you are well-versed in the scriptures, having no need that any man teach you. However, I would submit that these truths, though admittedly “systematic” and analytical of the scriptures, have lead to many blessings of understanding and knowledge in my life.

    Here are some verses to consider in light of the two-thousand year division between Israel, the Church, and Christ’s return prior to the one-thousand year millenium. I can honestly attest that no man showed me these verses, but they stuck out to me as revelations of God’s economy. Some have been commented upon, some have not.

    I Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

    Genesis 1: 6 days, 7th day of rest.
    Joshua 6:13-16
    Isaiah 61:1,2 with Luke 4:17-20
    Hosea 6:2
    Matthew 17:1-8
    John 4:39-43, two days with the Samaritans, who could typify the church being Jew and Gentile in one body.
    “Day of the Lord” all throughout the OT, and mentioned in II Peter 3:10.

    Thanks for your response, and I assure you I will read the link you posted about the PB’s problems. I don’t propose the Brethren are necessarily a perfect model, only that Darby was clearly a forerunner of those dissatisfied with Churchianity and its structures that were contrary to spirituality.

  31. Pieter Pretorius says:

    Jon,
    Earl Wesley Morey wrote an inductive approach to the book of Revelation, “Our God Reigns” which I think you will also find fascinating. He does not refer to Darby, but does say that Revelation is about Jesus Christ. I thought you may be interested in it. It was published in 1992 by Agape Ministry Inc., Virginia.
    Thank you for your insightful blogs.

  32. brian scully says:

    Dear Jon
    Absolutely The Bible is Gods word to us – but He can also speak to us in other ways,as He did to Saul on the road to Damascus .I used to be a ‘Jew hater,’ but one day God touched my heart regarding His people. I did go to Israel and worked with a Messianic group in Haifa . I had the joy of praying with a group of young Arab and Jewish converts (recent believers ), who had come off drugs. I prayed on Mount Carmel with these two sons of Abraham (Ishmael & Issac) – brothers again – only Jesus can do that…… Read Isaiah 19

    • Brian, God’s eternal purpose in Christ is bringing salvation to people all over the earth from every tribe, kindred and tongue. God’s has one purpose in Christ, not two. Christ is everything, not Israel. Feinberg’s 1980 book — Israel: At the Center of History & Revelation — reflects the thinking of many unfortunately, and only contributes to the present day preoccupation, sometimes obsession, with a physical nation like Israel instead of Christ. Jesus made it clear that the OT was about Him not Israel. “Moses wrote of Me.” “These are the writings that testify of Me.”

  33. brian scully says:

    Jon —I agree 100 % ; it’s all about Jesus . But the Bible also makes it clear that He has not finished with Israel -they are a disobedient people ,but one day ‘they will look on the one they have pierced ‘Zech. 12:10 and ‘all Israel will be saved’ Roms.11:26
    You see the whole Bible centres around that nation -every author (except pehaps Luke),
    was a Jew. Also read Roms. 11 -We the wild olive tree (gentiles),were grafted into the original olive tree (Israel). But both owe salvation to Jesus -who by the way shared our humanity through a Jewish mother.
    I would just like to say I am not fixiated on Israel -I work for an organisation that smuggles bibles and aid to suffering Christians. I’ve recently made trips to North Korea and Egypt; and during communism I smuggled bibles behind the ‘iron curtain’ . However the bible makes it clear that God will never abandon Israel read Jeremiah 31 ( whole chapter ,but especially verses35-37). So I recognise the debt I owe simply because my beloved Saviour came from this nation – indeed He had to.
    Why God chose this nation ,I don’t know;I would have loved it if he chose the Irish- but He did choose them (Israel) and we have to let God be God.
    God bless you
    Brian

    • Brian, thanks for your comments. You didn’t speak to this, but most people that see today’s Israel as special base that notion on the conviction that God has two purposes, not one. They say one of God’s purposes is earthly and applies to Israel, while the other is heavenly and applies to the church. The New Testament makes it clear that the Lord only has one purpose — His eternal purpose which He carries out concerning Christ. This purpose involves Israel and all the nations — to the Jew first and then the nations. An excellent source for an unfolding of the eternal purpose in Christ is Frank Viola’s “From Eternity to Here.”

  34. Daryl McNabb says:

    How much is the booklet by John Zens on “Israel, a reformed inquiry into its leading figures and features, church.”

Speak Your Mind

*