KingJimmy, I guess it all comes down to how you view the following question:
"Is the church God's "backup plan" since the Jews rejected Jesus or is the church God's original plan from the beginning?"
Indeed, a good question to ask. However, I think before we ask what the church is, and what purpose it serves, the first question that we need to ask is what is the Jew and what purpose does this people serve? I don't have time right now to grab all the Scriptures (which are many) needed to support all that I have to say on this topic. But I will try to offer a synopsis, and make allusions to some verses. Hopefully you all know your Old Testament well enough to follow. Lord willing and time permitting, if somebody really needs all the chapters and verses, I'll try to look up those for you.
Basically I understand things as follows. God promised Abraham, Issac, and Jacob that He would greatly multiply their seed, and make of them a great nation. He then promised them that their offspring would one day fully inherit a certain piece of real estate in Palestine. And He also promised them that through their descendants all of the nations of the earth would be blessed.
However, to inherit the land promised to them, and to be a blessing to all the earth, God said that His people would have to be in proper relationship with Him. Otherwise, if they were not in proper relationship with Him, then the descendants of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob could only expect to be expelled from the land that God had promised to the patriarchs.
The children of Israel frequently rebelled against God, and acted as anything but the people God had called them to be. For God had called them to be a holy nation, a peculiar people, and a royal priesthood. And I think this is the one thing that many people fail to realize when talking about the Jews. And it is a crucial concept to realize: Physical Israel was always to be spiritual! For unless they circumcised their hearts through the Holy Spirit, they would never be the people that God had called them to be. And it is their failure (even to date) to circumcise their hearts that has caused them to be anything but the people of God, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, and blessing to all nations.
Generation of prophet after prophet rose up, calling the nation of Israel to remember the covenant God had made with them, and to be the people He called them to be. But generation after generation failed to heed these words. However, in every generation there was always a remnant amongst the people of God who refused to bow their knee to Baal. And this theme continues throughout all of Scripture, in both Old and New testaments. This remnant people are those who through all generations have always constituted the church. It is the remnant that is the "Israel of God." And it is the remnant people of God that the prophets saw as the hope of the nation, of inheriting the promises made by God to the fathers.
And what were those promises? That God would greatly multiply the seed of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. And that their multiplied seed would one day inherit the land that was promised to them, and that they would dwell in that land undisturbed. And that through their seed, namely through the Messiah, that all the nations of the earth would be blessed. But this could not happen unless the people were in right covenant relationship with God.
And this is where the church, the remnant people of God, composed of both Jew and Gentile, comes into play. For the church, far from being a separate distinct entity and program from the nation of Israel, is actually identified WITH the nation of Israel (see Ephesians 2 specifically) itself. And the purpose of the church, which is primarily Gentile in nature, is to provoke the rest of the nation of Israel to jealousy, so that they might be the people that God has called them to be.
For God still has a purpose that has yet to be fulfilled regarding the nation of Israel. And He will give no rest until Jerusalem be established as the praise of the nations. For as the prophets saw, one day Zion will be lifted up above all nations, and the law of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem, and the nations of the earth will bring their glory into it. And they shall hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and never again shall the nations learn war.
These are the things that the prophets spoke about, and will literally be fulfilled during the Millennium.
| 2007/3/29 23:08||Profile|
Thank you KingJimmy for sharing that about the Jews.
I agree with some of it and disagree with some. I will try to make this brief (key word is Try) On second thought, it is long but please take the time to read it.
Let me explain:
God created ManMale and Femalein His own image.
In Genesis 1:26-27 we read: Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Man rebelled and God first revealed a promised Savior for Man
Genesis 3:14-15, And the LORD God said unto the serpent
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God chose certain men for Himself in which to bring the promised Savior to man
Genesis 5 tells us of these men whom God chose for Himself. Adam through Noah This is backed up by Luke 3:23-38.
God made a covenant with Noah and his seed
Genesis 9:8-9, And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
Abram was a descendant of Noah and part of the chosen line through Seth (as mentioned in Luke 3). God made a covenant with Abram
Genesis 12:1-3, Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
and Abrams Seed
Genesis 15:1-5, After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 17:1-7, And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Paul tells us that God preached the gospel to Abraham through this covenant
Galatians 3:7-9, Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Paul also tells us that the Seed of Abraham is Christ. Christ is the promised Seed that would justify all the nations.
Galatians 3:6Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Paul also explains why the Mosaic Law was given and that it does not disannul the promise made to Abraham to justify all nations.
Galatians 3:17-21, And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Paul explains the purpose of the Mosaic Law
Galatians 3:22-25, But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Paul then explains to us that the promise to Abraham was to Jesus and all who have faith in Jesus.
Galatians 3:26-29, For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The function of the Jewish nation was to bring the promised Savior into the world. Galatians 4:4-5 says, But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. God chose the Jewish people as the people He would use to bring Jesus into the world at the fullness of time. Once Jesus came, the chosen people of God became those who are in Christ (believers), not those to whom Christ would come through (Jews).
Look back at the promises made to Abraham. Yes, God promised a small portion of land to Abrahams immediate descendants, but the fullness of the promise was the gospel presentation that all nations would be blessed through Abrahams Seed.
This is why I said that the church is God's original plan and He worked through the Jewish nation to see that plan come to fruition.
Having said all that, Hath God cast away his people (the Jews)? God forbid. (Romans 11:1) Romans 11:5-8 says, Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
Romans 11:11-12 says, I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Romans 11:25-26 says, For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
God used the Jews to bring Jesus into the world. Now, that Jesus has come there is no special distinction for the Jewish people. We even see that God blinded the majority of the Jewish people so that they would reject Jesus and thus bring salvation to the Gentiles. This was Gods plan as He told Abraham. There is still a remnant of believing Jews according to grace, but most are hardened. This hardening will last until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. The elect Gentiles are part of the elect mentioned in 2 Peter 3:9. (The fullness of the elect Gentiles and the removal of the Jewish hardening is the reason for Gods patience in delaying His coming). But, even though the Jews have no special distinction, God has not rejected them. By no means, for God used many Jews to spread the Gospel in the early days. Almost all of our New Testament was written by Jews.
God has not rejected the Jews, but once the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, God will remove the blindness upon the Jews and they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
I say all that to say this. In all of what I said, is there any mention of a 7 year tribulation, or a rebuilt Temple, or an antichrist in this rebuilt Temple? No, God will not allow the Jewish people to resort back to Temple worship
Jesus has come! He has abolished all those laws. The law was the schoolmaster to lead us to Christ, now that Christ has come there is no more need for the Temple sacrifices. This is also why I lean more towards the Amillenial position and away from a literal millennium for the Jews only. Gods chosen people is the Church
not the Jews.
| 2007/3/30 9:48||Profile|
Now, that Jesus has come there is no special distinction for the Jewish people.
Forgive me for not having time to reply to the rest of your post as of this moment. However, I thought this particular quote from your post is important to address.
I would strongly disagree with this, that the Jewish people have lost their special distinction. Quite the opposite, they are all the more distinct since the work of Christ on the cross. For as Paul says in Romans, Christ came to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Romans 15:8). And what were those promises? That their descendants would inherit the land promised to them, and that through them (chiefly through Christ who is "the seed" or promise), all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
And it is because Israel has not lost her distinction as the people of God that Paul still looks forward to a time in which all the Jews will be saved. And he sees this as eschatologically important, for if the temporary stumbling of the Jews has resulted in the salvation of many amongst the Gentiles, then what will their conversion mean but life from the dead? Paul sees the conversion of the Jewish people at the end of the age as releasing a blessing that hereto has yet to be seen in this age. Their conversion is so eschatologically important that it ushers in the "not yet" aspect of the "already" aspect of the kingdom of God!
| 2007/3/31 10:33||Profile|
Thank you. I need to clarify that statement. What I should have said was that since Jesus has come, the Jews no longer have the exclusive distinction they had before.
I was simply stating that since Christ came, the Jews are no longer 'exclusively' referred to as God's chosen people. I had hoped I had made it clear in my posts that God still dealt with the Jewish people and had not forgotten them.
| 2007/3/31 10:52||Profile|
What I should have said was that since Jesus has come, the Jews no longer have the exclusive distinction they had before.
Thanks for the clarification.
I would say they actually still do have the lone distinction that they had before. For God says of them: "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth..." (Amos 3:2) For they are the only nation God has chosen and designated as His inheritance amongst the nations. Though other nations will join themselves to the Lord and be numbered as part of His people (Zech 2:11), Israel will still remain distinct, and thus, be exalted above all other nations during the Millennium (Isaiah 2). Thus, those of us who are Gentiles, while we are identified WITH Israel and are part of the elect people of God (Ephesians 2, 1 Peter 2), this doesn't change the unique distinction and election the nation of Israel has as the people of God, over against the rest of the nations.
| 2007/3/31 11:19||Profile|
I am not well studied on this issue. I have not taught a class on it or anything, but this is what I currently believe. I believe that Christ's life, death, resurrection life, and ascension are the literal "firstfruits" of what is going to happen to us.
I believe that all who die in Christ are present with the Lord in spirit, but will be resurrected bodily, and walk on earth just as Jesus did for fourty days. Since I don't know anything deeper or symbolic, I believe we will live and reign with Christ for 1000 years. After that I believe we will all be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
I think that makes me pre-. Not sure. Someone please tell me. Feel free to point our any errors.
| 2007/4/1 13:32||Profile|