Recently, I watched a TV program entitled, On the Wings Of Eagles. The show was about the migration of Jews out of Russia, back to the land of Israel, and was soliciting funds to finance this exodus. Repeatedly, the host claimed that the current movement of Jews back to Israel is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, especially Ezekiel 37.
As the show progressed, the host urged viewers to "show to the world that God’s chosen people, the Jews, are loved by the church." The host was addressing one of the vital issues in theology. Was the host correct? Is Israel still the chosen people of God? The answer is actually simple, but greatly ignored by most believers. Modern Israel is not the chosen people of God.
Let it be clearly understood that I am not anti-Semitic. I affirm that Israel had a distinctive purpose in God’s Scheme of Redemption, a purpose that was fulfilled, and thus, Old Covenant Israel ceased to be God’s exclusive chosen people. Modern "Israel" is not under the curse of God, and the pogroms against the Jews throughout history are a blight on humanity. There is absolutely no excuse, from either a Biblical or humanitarian perspective, for "anti-Semitism."
What needs to be understood is that modern Israel is not the Israel of scripture, they are not the descendants of Abraham. There is no race of Jews today! The Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 12, p. 1054) 1973 says, "The findings of physical anthropology show that, contrary to the popular view, there is no Jewish race."Jewish author, Camille Honig, editor of The Jewish Voice, wrote (Nov, 1953),"It is sheer nonsense, as well as unscientific, to speak of a Jewish race. Jews do not belong to a single homogeneous group."
This is acknowledged by historians of all stripes who know that the Ashkenaz Jews of today were, in fact, Gentiles in origin. Ashkenaz Jews, who comprise the vast majority of those calling themselves Jews today, trace their lineage back to Gomer, who in turn was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah (Genesis 10:3; 1 Chronicles 1:4f). However, the lineage of Abraham came through Noah’s son Shem, not Japheth. This is incredibly important, and yet, is being essentially ignored by most Bible students today.
Thus, for modern prophecy teachers to proclaim that Israel remains the chosen people of God, is a falsehood, for Biblical Israel does not exist today. There is no nation of Israel, descended from Abraham, today.
But, it is not only wrong from a purely ethnic/racialperspective, to speak of the restoration of Israel today, it is also wrong from a Biblical perspective. The nation of Israel was never intended to be God’s ultimate "People." He had something else in mind, something which even the nation of Israel typified. Yet, programs like Wings of Eagles, by claiming that Israel remains the chosen people, whom the modern church must support at all costs, are tacitly guilty of rejecting what God had in mind as the actual goal of Israel’s destiny.
The idea of a restored Israel is a modern myth, for Biblical Israel, physically descended from Abraham, simply does not exist. She ceased to exist in A.D. 70. The "Jews" in Israel today are Ashkenaz, and are Gentiles by race. Even Jewish anthropologists admit that there is no ethnic race of Israel to day.
It is a tragedy of major proportions that so many believers today believe that Israel remains God’s chosen people. To suggest that the modern church needs to show to the world that "the church loves Israel, God’s chosen people" speaks disparagingly of the church! It suggests that despite the fact that Jesus died to purchase and establish the church, that Israel after all is the focus of God’s special love.
Make no mistake, Israel was God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:4f). He raised her up for a special purpose, to be the means by which the savior would come. However, Israel was a type or shadow of what God had in mind. Paul and the New Testament writers teach emphatically that Israel’s purpose in God’s plan was temporary, and was intended to give way to "better things." Israel was the shadow, the church is the body (Colossians 2:16). Which is better, the shadow of something, or the actual body?
Paul said that in his ministry he preached nothing except the "hope of Israel" (Acts 24; 25; 26; 28). Yet, Paul never preached a nationalistic restoration of Israel!! If Paul preached the "hope of Israel," and yet, never preached a nationalistic restoration of Israel, then a nationalistic restoration of Israel was not the hope of Israel! As a matter of fact, he said he had gladly forsaken all of the distinctive elements of Old Covenant Israel in order to know Jesus (Philippians 3:1f). He said Israel’s Old Covenant laws, the New Moons, Feast Days and Sabbaths, were mere shadows of the good things in Christ (Colossians 2:14-16). He also declared that those laws, the "elements" of the world of Israel, were about to perish (Colossians 2:20f).
Israel was an exclusive people. However, it was God’s plan, called the mystery by Paul, that the time would come when the exclusive nation would give way to an inclusive nation. The physical nation would find fulfillment, not in continued exclusiveness, but in universal inclusiveness. Jew and Gentile would come together in one body in Christ (Ephesians 1:10f). This was the message of Paul, the faithful Jew, who preached only the fulfillment of the hope of Israel.
To suggest that Israel will one day be restored is to suggest, as a debate opponent of mine once did, that in the millennium, when Israel and the Temple is supposedly restored, that the barriers between Jew and Gentiles will be reestablished. Yet, these distinctions are the very thing that Paul fought to destroy by preaching the one body of Christ.
We are told constantly that in the millennium, the Temple, the priesthood, and sacrificial system will be restored. However, nowhere in the New Testament is there a prophecy of the restoration of national, ethnic Israel. As a matter of fact, the implications of a restored national Israel and her Temple cultus are profound. The following are just some of the implications of a restored Old Covenant Israel, and her Temple system.
It would mean going from the reality back to the shadow (Hebrews 8:1-3; 9:24; 10:1f). That old system pointed forward to the new, and was intended to endure only until the New Covenant of Christ came (Galatians 3:22-25). The New Covenant is endless (Ephesians 3:20-21), and it will never be replaced (Matthew 24:35).
The Old Covenant Temple was only a shadow of the greater Heavenly Temple (Hebrews 9:6-25). That Heavenly Temple is the church of the Living God. The Old Temple was the shadow, the New Temple is the reality. Will God set aside the reality to return to the shadow?
It would mean turning from the true worship of God who is not worshipped in buildings made with hands (Acts 17:24-25; John 4:20-24), to an obsolete worship in an imperfect Temple, made by man (Hebrews 8:2).
It would mean the reestablishment of a priesthood that could not bring perfection (Hebrews 7:11), and that was superceded by Christ’s (Hebrews 7). It would reestablish a priesthood that offered ineffective, physical sacrifices vs. Christ’s perfect sacrifice.
It would mean the end of Christ’s priesthood.Jesus cannot be a priest on earth under the Old Law (Hebrews 8:4). If Jesus comes to earth, therefore, either he won’t be a priest or, the Old Testament system won’t be reestablished. Jesus is a priest forever (Ps. 110:4; Hebrews 7:15-17). This precludes any reestablishment of the Old Testament system.
For God to once again accept Judaism and its sacrifices would be to reject Jesus’ sacrifice. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, a
nd looked forward to Christ (Hebrews 10:1-2). Jesus’ sacrifice offers remission of sins (Hebrews 10:15).Will God reject His own Son’s blood, to return to the blood of bulls and goats? (See Hebrews 10:1-4 with 10:10-12) God never had pleasure in the Old Covenant sacrifices (Hebrews 10:5-10). Are we to believe He will reestablish the entire system that He said was never intended to endure?
There are many more implications associated with the idea of a restored nationalistic Israel. The book of Hebrews, in no uncertain terms, shows that the work of Christ supersedes and replaces the Old Covenant cultus. The Old System had served its purpose, and was even then being replaced by the "better" things of Christ (Hebrews 8:13).
The idea of a restored Israel is a misguided doctrine. It mistakenly believes that there is still an ethnic nation of Israel. It mistakenly believes that the Old Covenant World must be restored. It disparages the blood bought church of the Lord. Biblically, there is no support for such a doctrine.
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