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lwpray
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 Katz, Israel and the Church



Israel and the Church
Art Katz

Preface
We are going to be taxed to the uttermost in order to stay with God in the extraordinary complexity and richness of the subject of the mystery of Israel and the Church, and we need to ask the Lord to escort us on a journey, by the Spirit of the Lord. Can we safely trust Him? Even if He will bewilder us before we have an understanding?
The Church needs to have a proper attitude toward the mysteries of God, a sense of reverence and appreciation for them, and a desire that they be revealed, because that revelation should influence everything that we are about in God. God is jealous over His mysteries, and He is not going to allow them to be mishandled, trifled with, or rudely examined by those who do not have a right disposition of spirit toward them. Paul is not interested in promulgating a mystery in order that we should have our curiosity aroused, but in order that the mystery might be effectually fulfilled and administered through the Church. We need to have a revelation of the mysteries of God, to embrace and experience them, or we will be unfitted to be the Church in its full apostolic constituency that alone is able to fulfill these mysteries. Mysteries are reserved for holy apostles and prophets, and they must come to us through them; then the teachers can follow to sift, refine and show the application.
With the introduction of this subject of the Church’s role in the mystery of the restoration of Israel, the whole faith comes into a new and intensive focus. That is what it did for me. I had been a believer for twenty-five years, and I am Jewish, but that did not automatically give me any necessary insight into the mystery of Israel. When the insight came, in a moment of God’s choosing, in a season of death and humiliation, all of my cherished pieces of knowledge and understanding of apostolic and prophetic things came together, bringing coherence and cohesiveness to my understanding of the faith. When God inserted this key, it all came together.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/4 3:53Profile
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 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church



In Amos 9:14, and elsewhere in Scripture, God says,
I will restore the captivity of My people Israel[1], and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them...
For a long time I used to think that these Scriptures referred to the cities of antiquity, the ancient cities, but now I believe that God is referring to the present-day cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, etc. Jerusalem itself shall be built upon its own rubble ‘as unto the Lord,’ which its present building programs are not doing. But future, millennial Israel will be built ‘as unto the Lord.’ He will call them by a new name; He will give them a crown, and they will be a diadem in His hand, and they will be called the ministers of the Lord:
In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23).
It will be a nation of “Pauls” released to the nations, fulfilling what Paul said:
For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead (Rom. 11:15).

They will be a nation of priests, finally coming into their irrevocable call, and being to the nations what God intended for them from the first. It is the function of priests to teach the people the difference between the sacred and the profane. We need priests who will plead, teach and persuade, under the anointing of God, to save men from the wisdom of this world, and the things that disfigure mankind and rob them of reflecting God’s image. We have no idea how the world will be transfigured by the release of a nation of priests, and as we shall see, the Church is at the heart of that release in the wisdom and mystery of God.

The author is sensibly aware that the contents of this book are not conducive to an easy, systematic exegesis of this mystery. The subject matter has been compiled and collated from spoken messages on a theme that is so all-encompassing and so interwoven with the great doctrines of the faith that one has rather to be apprehended by its message than to seek to rationally understand the divine intention. It is with this in view that I commend this first attempt at expressing this most holy mystery.
Art Katz
Laporte, MN
USA
December 2003

[1] The present, political state of Israel is indeed, and in every way, the nation of prophecy, but not yet the nation of promise. This text anticipates the millennial restoration of Israel, and we need to understand the distinction.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/4 6:30Profile
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 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church


Quote:
" ... we need to understand the distinction."


“There may be very serious differences in the exposition of the promises of His coming. To one it is plain as day that He is coming very speedily in person to reign on earth, and that speedy coming is his hope and his stay. To another, loving his Bible and his Saviour not less, the coming can mean nothing but the judgment day-the solemn transition from time to eternity, the close of history on earth, the beginning of heaven; and the thought of that manifestation of his Saviour's glory is no less his joy and his strength. It is Jesus, Jesus coming again, Jesus taking us to Himself, Jesus adored as Lord of all, that is to the whole Church the sum and the centre of its hope.

"It is by abiding in Christ the Glorified One that the believer will be quickened to that truly spiritual looking for His coming, which alone brings true blessing to the soul. There is an interest in the study of the things which are to be, in which the discipleship of a school is often more marked than the discipleship of Christ the meek; in which contendings for opinions and condemnation of brethren are more striking than any signs of the coming glory. It is only the humility that is willing to learn from those who may have other gifts and deeper revelations of the truth than we, and the love that always speaks gently and tenderly of those who see not as we do, and the heavenliness that shows that the Coming One is indeed already our life, that will persuade either the Church or the world that this our faith is not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. To testify of the Saviour as the Coming One, we must be abiding in and bearing the image of Him as the Glorified One. Not the correctness of the views we hold, nor the earnestness with which we advocate them, will prepare us for meeting Him, but only the abiding in Him. Then only can our being manifested in glory with Him be what it is meant to be-a transfiguration, a breaking out and shining forth of the indwelling glory that had been waiting for the day of revelation.”

--Andrew Murray




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Roger P.

 2004/9/4 8:02Profile
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 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church



Introduction
If the Church, particularly the Church of the Last Days, is indifferent to the theme and mystery of Israel, or rejects it, and chooses not to be an agent in its fulfillment, it loses its validity as Church. The issue of Israel and the Jew is the foremost and central factor of God’s end-time activity in the earth. The scriptures are full of references to this; for example, in Romans 11:25, the apostle Paul writes, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation [conceits],” and we need, therefore, to be alerted that there is something intended here for our consideration, the absence of which will condemn us to a much less glorious place in our earthly sojourn. That is the nature of the mystery in God’s own wisdom. We are not saying that the Church would cease to hold services and conferences, but it would disqualify itself as an apostolic[1] entity, and it is only as an apostolic entity that the predominantly Gentile Church can succeed in moving the Jew to jealousy in the Last Days.
We need to understand that there is a controversy over Israel and the Church, where many say that the Church today is Israel, thereby dissolving the unique difference between the Church and Israel. This misconception robs God, therefore, of the glory that comes from the reciprocal relationship between the two. We need to be watchful of this tendency. In a sense, it is true that the Church has been grafted into Israel’s tree, and we have become, so to speak, the Israel of God. And yes, we have come into their commonwealth, but that does not mean that the Church is Israel. There is yet a distinct, national destiny for that nation, obtained primarily through the instrumentality of the Church at the end of the age, the obtaining of which, we believe, ushers in the Lord’s own Kingdom. If we blur these distinctions, we lose the glory of the reciprocal relationship between Israel and the Church. We have to be jealous over this unique God-given difference, or we will find ourselves, ironically, in opposition to God.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/5 3:38Profile
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 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church



God’s jealousy for the Church does not eliminate the distinctiveness of Israel as a special nation. She has a yet unfulfilled and God-given call for a unique ministry in the world as a nation among nations. A promise was made to Abraham that “…in you [your seed] all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3f.). Israel has a purpose that yet remains to be fulfilled as a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19:6) and a ‘light to the nations’ (Isaiah 42:6). Her strategic position is not confined to her past; nor has the Church absorbed it. It is a vast conceit and mistake of the Church to see Israel only as a ‘type’ or a ‘shadow,’ and itself exclusively as the substance. That is one of the conceits about which Paul warned us in Romans 11:25. We may often find rich sermon illustrations in Israel’s history, but that is not the primary purpose in God’s giving of those scriptures; we rob God of His literal meaning, and that is what many have blindly done. Many see God’s dealings with Israel only as instruction, and yet completely ignore the fact that she still has a future destiny as a nation.
The Church desperately needs to see Israel and the Jew as God Himself perceives them, and not as we would desire to see them, which is too often from a sentimental perspective. We need to see the nation as the prophet Ezekiel had to see her, namely, in the ‘valley of dry bones’ (Ezek. 37). Every valley, as we know, is a place of depression, and if we do not have a stomach for the depressing, or unhappy aspect of truth, we will find ourselves necessarily cut off from any kind of redemptive use in God. We have got to see as God sees before we can speak as He speaks. In fact, as we shall see from the same Ezekiel 37 passage, our corporate speaking as the prophetic ‘son of man’ company, in the mystery of God, at the end of the age, is the whole issue of Israel’s salvation and her resurrection from the ‘dead.’ The nation, Israel, is moving toward that death even now, and does not understand the scenario that they themselves are fulfilling in their own apostasy and alienation from God.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/5 13:46Profile
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 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church



The subject of Israel calls for everything we are in God: mind, body, spirit and soul, as Paul concludes in Romans 12:1-2,
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
If we are not yet persuaded that we are living in the Last Days, then this remarkable drama will persuade us. God’s dealing with Israel is the focus of His Last Days’ attention. It becomes, therefore, the issue of the Church, and actually separates, in a sense, the true Church from that which is essentially false. In other words, Israel becomes God’s ‘litmus test’ for the Church. The Church that is authentically true takes a stand for the Jew, for whom a Gentile should ordinarily have no natural affinity, especially in the face of peril and death. In fact, the mandate to the Jew cannot be performed on the basis of natural affinity, and that is the whole point. Sentimental and religious obligation, or whatever else presently motivates us to come to the aid of the Jew, will not suffice here, only the uttermost spiritual authenticity. Overflowing, true faith and true love of an abounding kind by the Church will be the requisite of God in our role toward that people. It will require an uttermost preparation because we are confronted with a mandate that is demanding to the uttermost.

The outworking of this mystery is the concluding, historical act of God by which human history itself ends and the millennial age commences. Everything, as we see it, hinges on the whole issue of Israel’s restoration. And the remarkable thing is that the Church, which is God’s agent to restore them to their God, is predominantly a Gentile Church. That is to say, there is no natural reason why a Gentile should have any interest in this people, who, in their stubbornness, have given God all kinds of fits, and even to this day deport themselves in a way that does not honor God, but defames His name, even in the land of Israel. Yet their redemption is central to the purposes and wisdom of God! That is why Paul uses the word ‘mystery.’ It is something that has been concealed in times past, but is now being revealed, and which defies all rational understanding. It is as if God had gone out of His way to choose the most unlikely factors to succeed in His own coming as a King. He will first be King over that restored nation before the “law can go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3) to all nations. And He will do it in a way that seems impossibly hopeless with an Israel who has no willingness to be chosen, a nation which has no apparent interest in fulfilling its own destiny; in fact, she does not even care to consider it (Is. 1:3 and Is. 42:24-25)! And the principal agent, in the wisdom of God, in bringing this about is a predominantly Gentile Church!


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/6 0:45Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
In Amos 9:14, and elsewhere in Scripture, God says,
I will restore the captivity of My people Israel[1], and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them...
For a long time I used to think that these Scriptures referred to the cities of antiquity, the ancient cities, but now I believe that God is referring to the present-day cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, etc. Jerusalem itself shall be built upon its own rubble ‘as unto the Lord,’ which its present building programs are not doing. But future, millennial Israel will be built ‘as unto the Lord.’ He will call them by a new name; He will give them a crown, and they will be a diadem in His hand, and they will be called the ministers of the Lord:
In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23).
It will be a nation of “Pauls” released to the nations, fulfilling what Paul said:
For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead (Rom. 11:15).


Hi Lars
Can you clarify what Art is saying here? If the rebuilt cities of Haifa etc are to be a 'nation of Paul's released to the nations' during the millennium, what will their gospel be? If the pretrib/premill dispensationalists are right and the church is raptured before this what will the 'evangelised' nations of the millennium be added to if the church has already been removed?

As you know I am not this kind of dispensationalist but I am curious as to how Art fits all this into his eschatology.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/6 10:57Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
God’s jealousy for the Church does not eliminate the distinctiveness of Israel as a special nation. She has a yet unfulfilled and God-given call for a unique ministry in the world as a nation among nations. A promise was made to Abraham that “…in you [your seed] all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3f.). Israel has a purpose that yet remains to be fulfilled as a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19:6) and a ‘light to the nations’ (Isaiah 42:6).


But Abraham's Seed is Christ and it is through Him that blessing has already spread to the nations.

And the Covenant that made Israel a nation of priests was finalised at Calvary. The church is now the priestly nation. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1Pe 2:9-10 KJV)

and lest any should think this is restored Israel... this has to be a people that was not a people but are now the people of God...


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/6 11:02Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
It becomes, therefore, the issue of the Church, and actually separates, in a sense, the true Church from that which is essentially false. In other words, Israel becomes God’s ‘litmus test’ for the Church.



Art, I love and respect you but this is outrageous; Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2Ti 2:19 KJV)

Do you have any idea how many people you are excluding from the 'true church' by this litmus test?


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/6 11:07Profile
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 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church



It is a remarkable divine strategy of God; and in order for it to succeed, the Church itself will become transfigured. The crisis of Israel constitutes the Church’s ultimate challenge, and compels the Church to a place of ultimacy in a way it would never otherwise have considered Him. The centrality of the Cross needs necessarily to be restored, along with the primacy of the Holy Spirit, the issue of true relationship of the saints, as also the issue of truth itself. The only explanation of a Church willing to embrace a calling so demanding as this is that the issue is not Israel alone, per se, but the glory of God that is obtained only through Israel’s redemption.
Of all the things God could have chosen to promote His glory in the Last Days, He chooses the most untoward and difficult things, things that are so contrary to success, and He makes that His choice. The issue of Israel is really a great moral issue; it is a struggle between the Powers of darkness and God. Both reflect two diametrically opposed ‘wisdoms.’ God wants to exhibit something as a demonstration to the powers of the air for which He has “created all things in order that the manifold wisdom [reflecting the moral character] of God might now be made known through the Church to the rulers and the authorities [Principalities and Powers] in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9f-11).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/6 11:50Profile





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