Skip to comments.An Eschatological Question: Is God Finished With Israel?
Posted on 05/17/2018 8:58:15 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Is God finished with Israel? Is He done with the Jewish people as a people? Heaven forbid. All of Scripture and history shouts a loud "No" to this question.
Paul addressed this directly, asking, "So I ask, did they [speaking of the Jewish people as a whole] stumble in order that they might fall? By no means!" (Romans 11:11). Or, in the words of the King James Version, "God forbid."
So, despite Israel's rejection of Jesus as Messiah, Israel has not fallen beyond the point of recovery. Rather, as Paul writes in Romans 9:4 (speaking, again, of non-believing Jews), "They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises."
Notice carefully those words, all in the present tense in Greek: the divine promises still belong to Israel. And one of those promises is that, whatever Israel does as a nation, even falling under divine discipline, God will preserve them as a nation.
As written in Jeremiah 31:35-37, "Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar the Lord of hosts is his name: 'If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.' Thus says the Lord: 'If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.'"
That's why the Jewish people still exist today: We have been miraculously preserved by God, not because of our goodness, but because of His goodness. Thank God that He keeps His promises! Thank God for His grace and mercy and longsuffering! (To all of my non-Jewish, Jesus-loving friends, remember: The Church does not have a monopoly on grace.)
What about the fact that the vast majority of Jews do not believe in Jesus? What about the fact that some militantly oppose faith in Jesus?
That is tragic, and that is why Paul mourned in Romans 9:1-3. Jews without Jesus are lost, just as Gentiles without Jesus are lost (see Romans 2:6-11).
Yet, despite my people's rejection of our Messiah, we remain loved and chosen by God. As Paul stated so clearly, "As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:28-29).
Some would argue that when Paul said "Israel" in these verses, he meant only the believing remnant, the Israel within Israel, Jews who believe in Jesus (see Romans 9:6-8). But to argue for this is to do violence to the Word of God.
First, after making this point about the Israel within Israel (the believing remnant) in Romans 9:6, Paul used the word "Israel" 10 more times, culminating in Romans 11:26. In every case, he meant the nation as a whole, not just the believing remnant.
Second, as New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce pointed out in his commentary to Romans 11:26, ". . . it is impossible to entertain an exegesis which takes 'Israel' here in a different sense from 'Israel' in v 25 ('blindness in part is happened to Israel')." In other words, the Israel that has been temporarily blinded is the Israel that will be saved.
As Bruce explained, "Temporarily alienated for the advantage of the Gentiles, they are eternally the object of God's electing love because his promises, once made to the patriarchs, will never be revoked."
That's why Jesus spoke about the time of future "regeneration," with the twelve tribes of Israel playing a central role (Matthew 19:28).
That's why Peter spoke about the time of the restoration of all things, in accordance with the words of the Old Testament prophets (see Acts 3:19-21).
And what did those prophets speak about? They spoke of the time when the Messiah would reign from Jerusalem, when Israel would be exalted, and when the nations would stream to Jerusalem to learn from Israel's God (see, for example, Isaiah 2:1-4).
The idea that a New Testament writer could reverse all these promises with a single stroke of his pen as some claim Paul or others did is to deny the inspiration and authority of the Old Testament. After all, Jesus the Messiah came to fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures, not abolish them (see Matthew 5:17-20). He came to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, not cancel them (see Romans 15:8-9).
And, as Paul also wrote, the Sinai covenant, which came 430 years after the promises to Abraham, cannot annual those promises (Galatians 3:17-18; this includes the promises to the Land of Israel; see also Psalm 105:7-11).
That alone explains the history of the Jewish people. Without a homeland for many centuries, scattered around the earth, yet preserved through generations of unspeakable suffering, only to be regathered to our ancient homeland. Nothing even remotely close to this has happened to any other people. It is only because of the Lord!
And so, both history and Scripture demolish the idea that God is finished with Israel. Not a chance!
(For those wanting to do further study, I recommend the following titles: Brock David Hollett, Debunking Preterism: How Over-Realized Eschatology Misses the 'Not Yet' of Bible Prophecy; Gerald R. McDermott, ed., The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land; by the same author, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land; Barry E. Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challengedand Eternal Israel; Michael Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel;David Harwood, For the Sake of the Fathers: A New Testament View of God's Love for the Jewish People; Michael L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the 'Church' and the Jewish People.)
Yes, there are still things to come with a huge focus on Israel.
Things that will shake the world. Especially the unbelieving world.
God is not finished with Israel. Most are still in unbelief, but not always. He still blesses those who bless her and curses those who curse her as well. You see this throughout history. Every Christian should have a warm spot in their hearts for Israel - because such is the mind of Christ ultimately. Sadly, she will go through horrific times before she comes to belief. Zechariah says 2/3rds of the city of Jerusalem will be wiped out. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!
The answer to the question, according to the Word of God, is NO, GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH ISRAEL.
Many verses could be cited, but the first that came to my mind is in Jeremiah 31:35-37.
Be sure to check the context of these verses to verify that God is speaking through Jeremiah about the New Covenant with “the house of Israel & the house of Judah” (V. 27-34). This is the ONE & ONLY New Covenant that is written in the blood and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ—it is the Covenant of the forgiveness of sins. It is through FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
35 Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for light by day,
And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
The LORD of hosts is His name:
36 “If this fixed order departs
From before Me,” declares the LORD,
“Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease
from being a nation before Me forever.”
37 Thus says the LORD,
“If the heavens above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out below,
Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel
For all that they have done,” declares the LORD.
The Jews conduct God’s Word, The Torah, Though His invention, Time. Time began when the Torah was upon the earth.
No, he is definitely not finished with Israel. The old testament predicts re-gathering of Israel over and over and over. It’s a constant theme through the old testament.
True Israel is the Christian church.
RE: True Israel is the Christian church.
Yes, that is the other view, it is called COVENANT THEOLOGY. This view states that the True Christian Church ( which of course includes people from Israel) is now God’s chosen people. Jews may still be saved on an individual basis by coming to Christ, but the nation of Israel and the Jews as a people no longer have any part to play in redemptive history.
The traditional dispensationalist view maintains that God has not replaced Israel with the church but that God has two programs in history, one for the church and one for Israel.
Traditional dispensationalism also maintains that the church consists only of believers saved between Pentecost and the rapture. The church as the body of Christ does not include Old Testament believers.
Progressive dispensationalism on the other hand, has modified some of these views, but the traditional dispensationalist view remains very popular.
Some COVENANT THEOLOGIANS have adopted a view that many dispensationalists describe as replacement theology. This is the idea that the church has completely replaced Israel.
In my humble opinion ( which I am open to correction), a careful study of the New Testament reveals that both of these interpretations of the relationship between Israel and the church are wanting. The relationship between the people of God in the Old Testament and the people of God in the New Testament is better described in terms of an organic development rather than either separation or replacement.
During most of the Old Testament era, there were essentially three groups of people: the Gentile nations, national Israel, and true Israel (the faithful remnant). Although the nation of Israel was often involved in idolatry, apostasy, and rebellion, God always kept for Himself a faithful remnantthose who trusted in Him and who would not bow the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). This remnant, this true Israel, included men such as David, Joash, Isaiah, and Daniel, as well as women such as Sarah, Deborah, and Hannah. There were those who were circumcised in the flesh and a smaller number who had their hearts circumcised as well. So, even in the Old Testament, not all were Israel who were descended from Israel.
So, if we are talking about true Israel, there really is no distinction. The true Israel of the Old Testament became the nucleus of the true church on the day of Pentecost. Here the analogy of the olive tree that Paul uses in Romans 11 is instructive. The tree represents the covenant people of GodIsrael. Paul compares unbelieving Israel to branches that have been broken off from the olive tree (v. 17a). Believing Gentiles are compared to branches from a wild olive tree that have been grafted in to the cultivated olive tree (vv. 17b19). The important point to notice is that God does not cut the old tree down and plant a new one (replacement theology). Neither does God plant a second new tree alongside the old tree and then graft branches from the old tree into the new tree (traditional dispensationalism). Instead, the same tree exists across the divide between Old and New Testaments. That which remains after the dead branches are removed is the true Israel. Gentile believers are now grafted into this already existing old tree (true Israel/the true church). There is only one good olive tree, and the same olive tree exists across the covenantal divide.
So, is God going to dump the church, and break His promises to the church, when the church has disappointed Him enough?
True, the church is recipient of the promises (”and through thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”); but that does not abrogate God’s intense, eternal promises to physical descendants of Abraham. It’s not either/or, but both, as I read the Word of God. Opinions vary, I know.
Israel is to the church as the caterpillar is to the butterfly.
I do not understand why it is that so many people (mainly Christians) cannot themselves understand that God can have one covenant with the Jews, and another one with them (and it is really part of the same, original covenant).
First, what IS a covenant? It is, simplified, a Holy contract. It is between God and people. The people involved, being people (which is to say, very imperfect) will oftentimes violate that covenant. God, being literally the only perfect being in existence, will never break His word and will, in fact, show mercy to us mere humans in certain circumstances.
Now, since a covenant is a contract (albeit a special type of contract), how is it that ANYONE can say that God is only permitted one such contract at a time. After all, we humans oftentimes have more than one contract in operation at a time...and we’re just humans. We can have a contract with the mortgage company, the car finance company, the company for which we work, the lawn care company, the life insurance company, etc., etc. So why can’t God? I see no reason, and I defy anyone to produce actual evidence - from God, Himself - that such is impossible.
Now, assuming that God can enter into more than one contract/covenant at a time, why is it so farfetched of an idea that He could have one eternal covenant with the Jewish People (and there is very ample evidence that He not only entered into it, but that it is beyond revocation based on His words), and another with some group of non-Jews (let’s pick some group at random, say those who believe that the Jew named Jesus (in Greek) who was born in Bethlehem circa 7 B.C. to a mother named Mary (much more likely Miriam) is the Messiah). Well, there you go - two covenants for two peoples.
FWIW, I believe that it is all part of the SAME covenant - the series of promises that God made throughout the Hebrew Tanach (the Five Books of Moses). In the chapter in Genesis dealing with Noah and the Flood, God promises that anyone who followed 7 basic rules would have a place in the world to come (i.e. Heaven). There were no Jews at the time (Abraham was 10 generations after Noah), and those who are not Jews are not obligated to abide by those extra duties that Jews have - so the Noahide Laws and the covenant that goes with them are STILL OPERABLE. The advent of Christianity, as created by Paul and other followers of Jesus over time, can very easily be seen as a means to teach large numbers of non-Jews how to abide by the 7 Noahide Laws, and thereby gain a place in Heaven.
Just my $0.02 - anyone is, of course, free to disagree. But just keep in mind that God is merciful, and wants to give His children every chance to earn a place beside Him...and that because we are all different from each other, He likely gave us many ways of getting there.
If God is finished with Israel then He is a liar. There are promises He made to Israel yet to be fulfilled. The one thing I am certain of is God is not a liar....
Seventy weeks are required. Only 69 are completed. Not done yet!
Fortunately, if my eschatology is messed up, I'm sure Jesus has that covered too.
Replacement theology is the most heinous error the Roman Church has propagated on Christianity. The Church is the Bride, they are not Israel
Actually, it’s best referred to as fulfillment theology.
You have your term I have mine. Replacement theology has born much bitter fruit including anti semitism. You can dress something up with a new name but it is still the same old error.
The world mocks.
For the record, COVENANT THEOLOGY is not replacement theology, especially for those who take the historic premillennial view of eschatology.
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