Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Christ, Israel, and the Church

by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D., Director, NiceneCouncil.com

Dispensationalism has two key commandments that call its followers to true obedience:

“First, thou shalt always, forever, and without fail hold, maintain, defend, promote, and even suffer martyrdom for a distinct and dominant future for geo-political Israel — thou and thy house after thee.”

Indeed, the distinction between Israel and the Church embodied in this commandment is a sine qua non of the whole system. For dispensationalists, everything rises or falls on the question of Israel. Which being interpreted means that the whole system ultimately falls. (That is why their frequent calls for the Rapture always fail: it is not due to their lame excuse that they hit some dense clouds and dropped back down to earth.)

In this regard dispensationalism differs from the teaching of Jesus — and of the whole New Testament. But not to worry, for this is only the first and great commandment. But there is a second commandment that is like unto it:

“Second, thou shalt surely interpret the Old Testament without reference to Jesus or his tiny band of Apostles — for what do they know, since they ante-date Scofield? Yea, and thou shalt be satisfied no matter what Jesus saith.”

On these two commandments hang the whole system and the mass-market paperback industry — and its publishing houses.

In this blog I will select some insightful quotations from an important older article that absolutely demolishes the dispensational view of Israel by demonstrating that this was not Christ’s view: R. T. France, “Old Testament Prophecy and the Future of Israel” published in the Tyndale Bulletin (vol. 26: 1975). I highly recommend your reading, studying, memorizing, copying, distributing, and promoting this article to erstwhile dispensationalists. It is a marvelous exposition of Christ’s teaching about Israel, and the Church’s replacement of Israel as drawn from Christ’s teaching in the Synoptic Gospels. I keep a copy of this article beside my bed for devotional study, world without end. Amen.

By the way, you can find and download this article in pdf format at:

Now, let’s get to work.


France opens by noting the large use to which Israel is put in modern evangelical circles. He laments: “Anyone who dares to question the relevance of Old Testament prophecy to the Jewish people of today and the political state of Israel is quickly, and often quite unfairly, charged with anti-Semitism (a strangely inappropriate word when applied to a political conflict in which both sides are overwhelmingly Semitic!).” You have probably been tarred-and-feathered on this very charge. He then warns that “our theology should not be based on sentiment or on political expediency, but, as far as possible, on objective exegesis.”

As he turns to the exegesis of this question he notes that “the attitude of Christianity’s founder is surely crucial to the debate.” Of course, that is a no-no in dispensational thinking because of their Second Great Commandment cited above. The nerve of letting Jesus direct our understanding of the Old Testament and Israel! This will not stand!

France’s article provides six key observations regarding Jesus’ teaching on Israel. I will clip some of his observations from his article while using his own headings to organize them. These ought to arouse your appetite and bed her back down.

1. The Note of Fulfillment
“Mark introduces Jesus’ ministry with the declaration, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand.’ (Mark 1:15) Luke, makes the same theme even more prominent by opening his account of the ministry with the dramatic episode of Jesus’ manifesto in the synagogue at Nazareth, focused on the declaration, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’. (Luke 4:21) At the other end of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus sums up his ministry by expounding ‘in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.’ (Luke 24:27, 44-47).”

. . .

“While other Jews looked forward to the fulfilment of Old Testament hopes, the New Testament
writers looked back and saw them already fulfilled in Christ.”

. . .

“Two conclusions relevant to this paper therefore suggest themselves. (a) Jesus saw in his own coming the age of fulfilment of the messianic hopes of the Old Testament; the emphasis is on present, not future, fulfilment. (b) His conception of Messiahship had as little as possible to do
with the political future of the Jewish nation.”

. . .

“There are, of course, some cases where Jesus looks to the future for a fulfilment of certain Old Testament prophecies. But it is a remarkable fact that these are apparently entirely prophecies of judgment.... But I have found no instance where Jesus expects a fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy other than through his own ministry, and certainly no suggestion of a future restoration of the Jewish nation independent of himself. He himself is the fulfilment to which Old Testament prophecy points, the ultimate horizon of the prophetic vision.”

. . .

2. The Note of Warning

“The rather unexpected popular identification of Jesus with Jeremiah in Matthew 16: 14 is to be accounted for by the reputation of Jeremiah as a prophet of doom. In contrast with the fierce optimism of the apocalyptic hopes of Qumran, Jesus, with his constant warnings and threats of both personal and national disaster, must have seemed to his contemporaries a second Jeremiah, a one man opposition to the nationalist hopes of his fellow-citizens.”

. . .

“There is a note of urgency about his mission to Israel, seen most strikingly in the instructions to the Twelve to travel light, not to waste time in greetings, and to keep moving on without staying to plead with the unresponsive (Mark 6:8-12 and parr.; Matthew 10:23).9 This is the last chance to repent; if it is refused now it will be too late (Luke 19:42-44).”

. . .

“In all it is no wonder that Jesus could be compared with Jeremiah, as a prophet of doom. Of course he did not gloat over the coming disaster: it was his own people whose downfall he predicted, and he did it in grief not in triumph. But the verdict, however unpalatable, is clear: the rebellion of God’s people has culminated in their rejection of his last call to repentance, and they are on the edge of disaster.”

. . .

3. The Rejection of the Jewish Nation?

Jesus “foresees nothing less than the total destruction of the Temple, of Jerusalem as a whole, and even of country towns like Bethsaida and Capernaum. And there is in his warnings an inescapable note of finality. The blood of all the prophets from the beginning will be required of this generation: it is the final reckoning. The Lucan version of the prediction of the fall of Jerusalem contains the solemn words, ‘These are the days of vengeance, to fulfil all that is written’ (Luke 21:22). The note of climax we have seen in Jesus’ declaration that in him all the hopes of the Old Testament were finding fulfilment is paralleled by this idea of the coming disaster as the culmination of all Israel’s rebellion. Matters have come to a head, for good and evil.”
. . .

“The note of finality is even stronger in the metaphors used in Mark 13:24-25 in connection with the fall of Jerusalem.14 The words of these two verses are drawn from two Old Testament passages, Isaiah 13:10 and 34:4, which are predictions respectively of the fall of Babylon and of Edom. Here, as in many prophetic oracles, astronomical metaphors are used to depict catastrophic changes in the life of nations, and in both it is apparently the final destruction of the nations concerned that is in view. Jesus’ application of this prophetic imagery to the coming destruction of Jerusalem suggests a similar prediction of its final eclipse.”

4. Jesus as the True Israel

“Christian claims to be the true Israel often contain the assertion that it was in Jesus, the one true servant of God in contrast with the disobedience of the rest of the nation, that Israel’s ideal was realized and its destiny achieved, that the people of God became focused in this one true Son of God, so that Jesus is Israel, and it is to this fact that the Christian church, the body of those who are ‘in Christ’, owes its status as the people of God.”

“The Synoptic Gospels give some evidence of a tendency by Jesus to apply to himself, without further explanation, Old Testament texts which originally referred to Israel.”

. . .

5. The Church as the True Israel

“A common Old Testament metaphor for Israel is the flock of God. Jesus frequently takes this up, picturing himself as the shepherd, and his followers as the flock. In Luke 12:32 he addresses them as the ‘little flock’ to whom the Father will give the kingdom. He takes up Zechariah’s picture of the smitten shepherd, and applies it to himself and to his disciples as ‘the scattered sheep (Mark 14:27, quoting Zechariah 13:7). Thus an Old Testament figure for Israel is applied specifically and exclusively to the disciples.”

. . .

The “‘radicalism’ in Jesus’ view of the impact of his ministry is focused in one of his most deliberately significant acts, the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Variation in the wording of the different records does not affect the central point, that he presented the wine as his ‘blood of the covenant’. Whether or not the actual phrase ‘new covenant’ is taken to be original (with 1 Cor 11:25 and the longer text of Luke 22:20), Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy (31:31-34) was undoubtedly in his mind. The phrase ‘blood of the covenant’ (in Mark and Matthew) alludes to Moses’ words in Exodus 24:8, the covenant ceremony from which Israel’s status as the people of God stemmed. It is this covenant that Jeremiah said would have to be replaced, and this Jesus is doing, sealing it with the sacrifice of his own death. It is his people, redeemed by his death, who ‘do this in remembrance of him’, who are the beneficiaries of this new covenant. It is they who are now the true people of God.”

. . .

“Two elements in the teaching of Jesus must therefore be held in balance, Israel, as represented by the Jewish nation of his day, can no longer be called the people of God, and a new covenant community is taking its place. Yet there is not a complete break, for this new community is the godly remnant of Israel, in whom all Israel’s hopes and ideals are coming to fulfilment. ‘The new community is still Israel; there is continuity through the discontinuity. It is not a matter of replacement but of resurrection.’”

. . .

“It seems, therefore, that, far from looking for some future regathering of the Jewish people to Palestine, Jesus actually took Old Testament passages which originally had that connotation, and applied them instead to the gathering of the Christian community from all nations, even, in one case, to the exclusion of some Jews! This is a graphic illustration of the conclusion towards which this section has been leading, that Jesus ‘saw in the circle of those who received his message the sons of the Kingdom, the true Israel, the people of God . . . who, having received the messianic salvation, were to take the place of the rebellious nation as the true Israel.”

. . .

6. Israel and the Jews

“Their rejection of Jesus’ appeal is the climax of their continued acts of rebellion, and their last chance to repent has been lost. They now face not only a temporary punishment such as they often received in the Old Testament period, but the final loss of their privileged status.”
. . .

His final words in this article well-capture his point: “A Christian use of the prophecies of the Old Testament can hardly ignore the hermeneutical lead given by Jesus and his disciples.” Amen!


This article only presents a selection of important conclusions stated by R. T. France. You really need to read his article to get his actual exegesis. Hopefully this has whetted your appetite. You perhaps can see why I always buy commentaries by R. T. France!

But now, are you hungry for more evidence about the error of dispensationalism’s view of Israel? Stay tuned. I will soon begin work on a new NiceneCouncil.com “Made Easy Series” book: “Israel Made Easy.”


Anonymous said...

Although I don't share France's beliefs about the Jews and the nation of Israel, I would like to ask these questions.

What is to become of the nation of Israel that exists today, according to your understanding of scripture?

What does the Bible say about that specific land and who will eventually occupy it?

Does Christ return to the land of Israel at His Second Coming and does this involve a great literal war involving invading nations?

If you have stated your opinions on this elsewhere in your blogs, please direct me to those articles.


NiceneCouncil.com said...


Thanks for your questions. Just quickly I would answer them, thus:

1. Israel is an ethnic people with a glorious heritage. But Israel is lost in unbelief. Like any other ethnic people, Jews need the gospel. We must offer the gospel to Jews on the same terms as we do any other people. Although we "have a foot in the door" with Israel, because we deal with her Scriptures (the OT).

Since I am postmillennial, I believe that eventually the Jews will be converted to Christ as we witness the fulfilling of the "Great Commission" that was given for discipling "all the nations." I discuss this in-depth in my book He Shall Have Dominion (published by NiceneCouncil.com). Jesus promised that if he was lifted up, he would draw all men to himself (Jn 12:32). This includes the Jews.

2. The NT has nothing prophetic to say about the future role of the Land. It has served its purpose as part of the typological old covenant system. Christ is the fulfillment of all the old covenant promises, including the Land promises. I highly recommend your reading Gary Burge, Jesus and the Land (Baker, 2010). I review this in an earlier AgainstDispensationalism blog.

3. The NT pictures Christ returning in the sky to resurrect all men. It doesn't specify where he will geographically appear in that that issue is inconsequential. When he comes, then comes the end (not another 1000 years of earth history): 1 Cor 15:20-24 (cp. 1 Thess 4:17). The Zech 14 passage (re: Mount of Olives) is not dealing with the Second Coming (see: He Shall Have Dominion).

You may want also to consult a book that NiceneCouncil will be publishing within the year: I am writing a book (tentatively) titled: Israel in Prophecy Made Easy.

Len said...

While there is no New Testament prophesy about a future nation of Israel, I wonder if Leviticys 18:28 & 20:22 might still apply. The Jews in Israel today are certainly not worshiping Yahweh since they reject Christ. Might they not be driven from the land again as they were in the past for their failure to worship the true God?


NiceneCouncil.com said...

I believe Israel's distinctive role in redemptive-history and biblical prophecy have been fulfilled in her AD 70 judgment. The only thing that remains for her is her conversion. Her being in the land today is irrelevant to biblical prophecy -- so her expulsion would not be significant. Her geo-political existence is irrelvant.

Anonymous said...

It's my personal belief that the Jews WILL be thrust out of that land. This involves believing in a literal interpretation of prophecy, which anti-dispensationalists reject.

I see two more great struggles for Israel spoken about in the Bible. Both will be more severe than what occurred under Hitler. The next major incident (there could be more minor incidents) will be so bad, only God could save them. And He will. They will get the land back under miraculous circumstances, when those who survive repent. I'm NOT stating that this is Ezekiel 38 and 39. So please don't misunderstand me. There are other scriptures that describe what I'm talking about.

Len, if you have the desire to go back and read some semi-dispensational books, read Arthur Bloomfield's "A Survey of Bible Prophecy" and "How to Recognize the Antichrist". He quite excellently quotes scriptures that show there are two more terrible situations that will lead the Jews eventually to Christ.

Hitler actually fulfilled one aspect of "literal" prophecy. His persecution gave many Jews the desire to go back to Palestine and they got back their love of the land. That was Act 1. The next persecution, when the Jews lose the land, will turn them to God (temporarily), and God rescues and restores the survivors to Israel. This is Act 2. The last persecution will bring them to Christ (at His literal return) and is known as Armageddon, Act 3.

Arthur Bloomfield, though he takes a very literal and future view of much of prophecy, is very different from the well-known dispensationalists. What makes him better is he doesn't contradict himself or butcher, or place prophecies in all the wrong places or order. Which guys like Lindsey, Walvoord and LaHaye do all the time. Bloomfield also sees in the Bible pictures of the puzzle that almost everyone else has missed. Dr. Gentry will likely dismiss Bloomfield's writings, I'm sure. Every author isn't 100% correct and I'm sure Bloomfield has his possible misinterpretations. But for me, and I'm always looking into all possible views on eschatology, and my opinion is Bloomfield has the best overall understanding of anyone I've ever read.

I hope Dr. Gentry reads Arthur Bloomfield too. He might leave his anti-dispensational stance and become a semi-dispensationalist like Bloomfield was. At least I can hope!


Anonymous said...

"I see two more great struggles for Israel spoken about in the Bible. Both will be more severe than what occurred under Hitler. The next major incident (there could be more minor incidents) will be so bad, only God could save them. And He will. They will get the land back under miraculous circumstances, when those who survive repent. I'm NOT stating that this is Ezekiel 38 and 39. So please don't misunderstand me. There are other scriptures that describe what I'm talking about. "

Would you care to identify some of these other scriptures? If Zechariah 14:1-5 are among them (which they usually are), please see Deciphering Zechariah 14:5. The traditional Western interpretation of these verses just doesn't hold water anymore.

Anonymous said...


Many dispensationalists interpret prophecies (such as Obadiah and Habakkuk) as past history. I believe these dispensationalists are in error as well as the interpretation of anti-dispensationalists. Here are examples of the "2nd Act" I referred to in my prior post. None of the following texts refer to the Second Coming of Christ or Armageddon. But these refer to a time many years before that, but are yet still to come. I'll comment about the final Act 3 at some other time.

DEUT 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

DEUT 28:64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

DEUT 28:65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

DEUT 28:66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:

DEUT 28:67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

DEUT 28:68 And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.

Notice that God says in verse 63 that..." ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess." Then, by verse 68, the Jews will be rounded up and "the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships." Has any past history of the Jews matched these events? No. Only if we want to warp these passages into saying something else.

Ezekiel 20:33-38 also applies to this same future situation. Notice this is Ezekiel's writings, which are well past the time of Moses and the Exodus.

EZEK 20:33 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:

EZEK 20:34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.

EZEK 20:35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.

EZEK 20:36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.

EZEK 20:37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:

EZEK 20:38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

See my next comment for more of Act 2


Anonymous said...

The following texts show the results of the Arabs who participate in this future calamity of the Jews in the land of Israel...

OBAD 1:10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

OBAD 1:11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.

OBAD 1:12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

OBAD 1:13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;

OBAD 1:14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

OBAD 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

OBAD 1:16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

OBAD 1:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

OBAD 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

OBAD 1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

OBAD 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.

OBAD 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.

Many place these events described by Obadiah into the past. But, this is stated as a time when "The day of the Lord IS NEAR on ALL the Heathen." -Verse 15.

I place the Day of the Lord into the future. You anti-dispensationalists place it around A.D. 70. Did God judge the people of "ESAU" in the way described here in A.D. 70? I don't think so.

My comments are too long, so I have to divide them up into another comment. Hopefully they'll show up in order.


Anonymous said...

This next and last passage also applies to these coming events (Act 2). This time it is Isaiah speaking, again, well after the events of the Exodus under Moses.

IS 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

IS 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

IS 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

IS 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.

IS 11:15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.

IS 11:16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.

So, again, God will rescue the Jews in a similar miraculous manner as He did under Moses. Even the drying up of the "Egyptian Sea and the Seven Streams" are mentioned.


Anonymous said...

You said:
"Notice that God says in verse 63 that..." ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess." Then, by verse 68, the Jews will be rounded up and "the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships." Has any past history of the Jews matched these events? No."

Actually, yes for both instances. The Assyrians removed the inhabitants of Israel from the land, and the Romans removed the inhabitants of Judah from the land. Read Josephus to discover that a portion of Judean captives after the fall of Jerusalem were shipped off to work in Eygptian mines.

"So this Fronto slew all those that had been seditious and robbers, who were impeached one by another; but of the young men he chose out the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude that were above seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines." The Wars of the Jews, 6.9.417-418

You said:
"Ezekiel 20:33-38 also applies to this same future situation. Notice this is Ezekiel's writings, which are well past the time of Moses and the Exodus."

Yes, Ezekiel prophesied after Moses, but before the restoration of Israel at Pentecost when the holy spirit created a new thing in the land, the pure and holy spiritual nation of Israel that no rebel can enter into. That is what his prophecy is referring to.

You said:
"Many place these events described by Obadiah into the past. But, this is stated as a time when "The day of the Lord IS NEAR on ALL the Heathen.
I place the Day of the Lord into the future. You anti-dispensationalists place it around A.D. 70.""

Scripture many times mentions "day of the Lord" in prophecies that cannot realistically refer to the final day. Context is everything. In Hebrew, Obadiah 1:15 does not say "THE day of the Lord". It says "a day of YHWH". You are unnecessarily stumbling over a non-existent THE.

It would be beneficial for you to do a word study regarding the bible's usage of the word "all". It's not always used in ways that meet modern man's needs and expectations. In other words, "all" dosen't always refer to "every". Sometimes it is used quantitatively, sometimes qualitatively.

The Isaiah prophecy you referenced mentions YHWH setting his hand a SECOND time to restore his people, not a third time. The second time is the cross, where the enmity between Judah and Ephraim disappeared and they were joined together as one Israel in YHWH's hand. This restoration is a historical fact that I hope you don't deny. That means your imagined scenario would have to be the THIRD time, which I can't find mentioned in scripture. The fact that Isaiah used highly figurative language to describe an endtime judgment together with language describing the redemptive work of Christ doesn't in and of itself mean that the two occur concurrently. The prophets many times paint these kinds of composite pictures containing past and future events together that we must place into the proper context through available historical evidence.

I think if you do a more thorough anaylisis, instead of taking everything at face value, you will begin to realize that you're indulging in apocalyptic fantasy to reach the scenarios you've mentioned.

Anonymous said...

First, I agree that the word ALL is often not to be taken ultra-literally. There are many verses where it is obvious that ALL must be understood to be a limited number. So we agree there.

I believe the Exodus under Moses was a literal and supernatural "rescue" of the Jews performed by God. The other language I quoted in Ezekiel, Isaiah, Obadiah etc, is also to be understood literally, and speaks of another supernatural rescue of the Jews by God. This is the "second time" that God will rescue them supernaturally. This is not describing the second time or third time they are plucked from the land, which you mentioned as having occurred by the Assyrians and the Romans. But this is the second time that it will be a miraculous rescue where God will return them to the land. There was no miraculous rescue of the Jews where they again walked through water on dry ground in Egypt after the Romans or Babylonians dispersed them. So I still see this as a future event.

What you see as "highly figurative language" is, in my opinion, plain speech that describes literal events. Sometimes a certain poetic license is used, but I still read it as God revealing His plan to bring the world and the Jews into the Kingdom and the removal of those who will fight it and be judged for it.


Anonymous said...

I also would like to point out that it was not my own "apocalyptic fantasy" that caused the suffering the Jews experienced under Hitler. Was that not literal?

There is a spiritual reason why Hitler felt it necessary to exterminate the Jews. Satan wants to exterminate them because he knows the promises of the land to the Jews is still God's promise. The science of Geopolitics developed early in the 20th Century has placed Palestine as the center of the world. There was a geopolitical reason God called Abram to go to that specific piece of land. It is the heart of the earth, so to speak. Everyone interested in dominating the world recognizes the importance of Palestine. Even in World War One Germany desired to infiltrate the Middle East. This obviously continued under Hitler and there were some Jews, though not many at the time, who wanted to return to Palestine. Instead of insuring the Jews not getting that land, Hitler's persecution was the main reason they got it. But it was not in God's power that they took the land. But God did reveal in His word that there would be a partial return to the land and that it would be mostly in unbelief. Thus, the next part of their suffering is necessary.

Portions of Ezekiel 35, 36 and 37 (which I did not quote before) also speak of the Jews suffering and being almost wiped out in the future. Hitler was the Part One of these literal prophecies. The next event will actually cause the Jews to really believe that they will indeed be wiped out completely. It is mentioned in Ezekiel as being almost a resurrection from the dead when God acts to save them. You may be familiar with the Dry Bones and "can these dry bones live?"

The Bible also describes the incredible revival of the land of Palestine when God Himself delivers the Jews from their enemies. Israel is destined to become very prosperous and rich when God brings them back. I can believe this because of the literal events that have been happening to the Jews since WWI and WWII and the threats of the Arabs around Palestine who have vowed to "Drive the Jews into the Sea." The Bible mentions these literal threats from "Mt Seir" and the "descendants of Esau" and the Bible shows what God is going to do about it.


Anonymous said...

I see a lot of opinion, but little realistic analysis based on the witness of scripture and history. For example, you made no comment regarding my statement that Judah was shipped off to Egypt, even though that reality remarkably fulfilled Moses' prophecy. I have to ask myself why people ignore a historical event that realistically fulfills a biblical prophecy, to project that prophecy's fulfillment into the future. An answer that comes to mind is that they are seduced by an apocalyptic mindset that is more interested in Old Testament types and shadows than the present realities of eternal righteousness and holiness.

Anonymous said...

A portion of Jews being sent to Egypt after their dispersion by the Romans does not match the prophecies as written. Just because there are similarities does not make a fulfillment. Where was the judgment of Edom/Esau/Mt Seir who (supposedly) attempted to take the land? When did those Jews who were sent to the mines of Egypt by the Romans rescued supernaturally by God and brought back to the land in triumph? Did it turn the Jews back to God, at least temporarily, when it was over? None of what is predicted happened exactly as written.

What you consider a fulfillment of prophecy in no way matches the details of those scriptures, unless you so water it down as to be basically useless language.

Regarding your other comment on Obadiah...I checked Obadiah 15 in many translations and not one that I personally checked stated "A" Day of the Lord. All the ones I checked said "THE Day of the Lord". Why you say the word THE is "non-existent" in that passage, as if I invented it, I don't understand.

Jesus said the Day of the Lord would be a time like no other in its severity. There is not more than one Day of the Lord. There are multiple judgments of God, absolutely. But only one great and final Day of the Lord when the whole world recognizes and admits that God's judgment has come. This recognition did not occur in A.D. 70. This is still future. A.D. 70 was not the final judgement on Israel. What about the Roman Emperor Hadrian's invasion of Israel somewhere around A.D. 130 which killed almost 600,000 Jews still living there and ruined hundreds of towns? Is this my own apocalyptic fantasy again?

I don't understand how some people, such as the anti-dispensationalists, can read the horrifying history of the Jews that is documented, and at the same time deny the unfulfilled scriptures regarding them as being "too apocalyptic."