I have finally come to the exciting part “Israel”, and it is not without reason that we must address Israel, for Israel have to do with the promises to Israel through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the hope, the kingdom of God and salvation. But not only that, I have receive many questions after the series of “Matthew 24” and “Revelation” regarding Israel today, God’s promise to Abraham, “the promised land” and how we should relate to Jews and Israel today.
Well, let me deal a little bit about how we should relate to Jews and Israel today immediately. These two series does not suggest or teach anti-Semitism. The series looks at what scripture says in these letters and we can’t find any kind of teaching that speaks of us to hate, look different or treating Jews badly. That which appears in the series is how God dealt a fair judgment of those who crucified Jesus, killed the prophets that were sent to her (Israel) and the persecution of Christians. We must also remember that he used the Romans, who were of all peoples of the ancient world, and it went not any better with them. I will come back later and deal with anti-Semitism and the Bible but now first start with the Bible speaks about regarding the promise of a land to Abraham and his descendants.
It is very important to understand this right to view Israel today and at least our task as Christians in the right view. I’m going to mention the word “Christian Zionists” during his theme, when I see these as the current Crusaders, without comparison, and get a glimpse into the twisted teaching held by Christian Zionists when we deal with the Biblical Israel.
I do not deny a new convert to study the Old Testament, but I would like to see they have gone through the cross first. The danger is that one adopts the old and not developing the new creature that he is. You can’t stay and look look at a shadow and try to guess who or how the original looks like. It is only when you know how the original looks that you can tell who the shadow belongs (Heb. 8:4-6). When I wrote “belonges”, I mean that reality can not be closed up for so shade again, for God’s will and purpose does not exist in shadows anymore. The light has come in Jesus Christ:
“In that he says, “A new covenant,” he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.” (Heb. 8:13)
In the New Testament, we find the converted Jews, especially Paul, explaining the prophecies in the Old Testament regarding Israel for us. He explains the shadows we see in the Old Testament. As we know, Paul spread the gospel (the good news) and this gospel was the promise which was given by God to the Jews’ ancestors (Acts 26:6), so let’s look closer at the example what he says in his defense before King Agrippa.
“Now I stand here to be judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, which our twelve tribes, earnestly serving night and day, hope to attain. Concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa!” (Act. 26:6-7).
Follow what I have underlined. The Paul preach and preached everywhere, – that “Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead” and he said, “This Jesus whom I preach unto you, He is Christ” (Acts 17:3. See also v. 7, 19:8 and 20:25) – was a proclamation to the people of Israel the fulfillment of God’s promise to the people. Not only through Moses and the prophets was this promise given (as we shall see later), but directly to the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Furthermore, it shows that this salvation gospel was precisely the hope every Israelite had when he says, “that our twelve tribes hope to attain.” The true hope of Israel, neither was or is a future earthly kingdom as future Jews will inherit, as some think. Jews at that time believed that Jesus would establish the kingdom on earth at that time, like Emmaus wanderers (Luke 24:13-27), or even the disciples (Acts 1:6). It seems that Christian Zionists also stuck firmly in the foolish, a slow hearted and a “hope” in the flesh. Then they also need an explanation, “from Moses and from all the prophets,” “in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27). But I will not bring all the prophets and Moses. It’s too much.
Today Christian Zionists and other dispensationists who hold the “millennial” theory need a persuasion, and an indication of God’s Spirit as well, to see what Moses and the prophets had foretold was a spiritual kingdom that would be established through the suffering and death of an expected Messiah of Israel. This has been clearly taught in the New Testament writings and understood by subsequent generations for over 1900 years, but have been thwarted in the past 180-200 years of a teaching that makes the same error that affected the hope of Israel and the citizens who turned their backs toward Paul.
It is then clear to see why Paul takes up Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah. 6:9-10 by their unbelief.
“The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah, the prophet, to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people, and say, In hearing, you will hear, But will in no way understand. In seeing, you will see, But will in no way perceive. For this people’s heart has grown callous. Their ears are dull of hearing. Their eyes they have closed. Lest they should see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their heart, And would turn again, And I would heal them.’“(Act. 28:25-27).
As we see was this already prophesied, but how can it be that the same mistake that Paul here accuses them have found their way to the Christians in these days?
Hope of Israel, God’s kingdom and God’s salvation are three names for the same thing. Israel’s hope and expectation was a kingdom which lay hidden in the resurrection of Christ in the same way that we normally see the salvation from sin. Christ had to suffer and then die and rise from the dead. He sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19) and are King of kings and have now his kingdom. He is the first ascended and then coming those who belong to Him (1 Cor. 15:23).
There is no other hope for Israel, and have never been. If God’s promise to Israel had been an earthly dominion, is it strange that Paul did not mention this in any of the verses we have already seen, or talked about it in Ephesians or especially Romans.
Jews at that time were taught a doctrine which was based on the carnal interpretation “because they didn ‘t know him,
nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath” (Acts 13:27). This was fatal for them and the nation as a whole and it should be a cause for serious misgivings of the teaching that is among Christian Zionists today.
When God beforehand knew of the rejection of Messiah, God saw it fit to hide this for a time, in other words, in the form of a mystery (Eph. 3:1-12). These secrets were hidden in parables and in the shadows (Mark 4:11-12), an allegory (image speaking) as in Gal. 4:22-26. The historic and prophetic linked to Israel after the flesh, that the earthly land of Israel, was no other than time limited shadows (Heb. 10:1) of the eternal and spiritual things. “This secret was not made known to the children of previous generations, so it now by the Spirit is revealed to His holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:5).
The question Christian Zionists must answer, I believe, is: What difference did the comming of Jesus Christ in the Jewish hopes and expectations of a Land? I mean they can not interpret the Old Covenant as if the coming of Jesus made little or no difference at all to the nationalist aspirations of the first-century Judaism. Do Christian Zionists read the Old Testament with glasses like the first disciples wore before Pentecost? They believe the coming kingdom of Jesus was intended as an extension of the Jewish hopes for restoration, rather than the fulfillment of this hope in the Messiah and the new messianic community.
What do you think?
Bible verses was taken from WEB (World English Bible) and KJV.