THE BIBLE STUDY PROJECT

Topically arranged messianic Bible studies
covering the broad range of Bible knowledge


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~ Matthew 24:35 ~


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A KEY DOCTRINAL OVERVIEW
AND EXEGESIS

A Compendium of Messianic Bible Studies

By Norman Manzon

PAGE 2 OF 5

MAJOR TOPICS IN SYSTEMATIC PROGRESSION:
PAGE 1:
The Scriptures; God the Triunity; Angels; Satan and Demons; The Doctrine of Man; Salvation
PAGE 2: Israel; The True Roots of Anti-Semitism; The Christian and the Law of Moses
PAGE 3: The Church; The Ministries and Gifts of the Holy Spirit; Divine Healing: Another Perspective
PAGE 4: The Future, the Afterworld and Eternity
PAGE 5: ADDENDUM STUDIES, Page 1

16. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17. so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ~

CONTENTS: PAGE 2 OF 5

ISRAEL
1. WHO IS ISRAEL? WHO ARE THE JEWS?
2. THE CHOSENNESS OF ISRAEL
3. REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
4. THE EPHRAIMITE OR TWO-HOUSE DOCTRINE
5. WHERE ARE THE PROMISED PROMISED-LAND BLESSINGS?
6. THE FAITHFUL REMNANT OF ISRAEL

THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
1. THE DIVINE ASPECT
2. THE SATANIC AND HUMAN ASPECTS
3. REFUTATION OF ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE JEWS AND ISRAEL
4. THE FUTILITY OF ANTI-SEMITISM

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW OF MOSES
1. THE ABOLITION OF THE LAW
2. THE ABOLITION OF THE LAW: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CHRISTIAN

All Pages of A Key Doctrinal Exegesis:
Page 1; Page 2; Page 3; Page 4; Page 5

CONTACT, DONATE, SOCIAL MEDIA, ETC.


~ ISRAEL ~

1. WHO IS ISRAEL? WHO ARE THE JEWS?

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.

~
Deuteronomy 32:8 ~

CONTENTS

FORWARD
THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL
PART 1: WHO IS ISRAEL? WHO ARE THE JEWS?
I. INTRODUCTION
Ii. WHO IS israel?
A. HOW IS A NATION IS DETERMINED?
B. HOW IS THE NATION OF ISRAEL DETERMINED?
C. DURING WHAT HISTORICAL SPAN IS ISRAEL FORMED?
1. When Did Israel Begin to Form?
2. When Will Its Formation Cease?
III. WHO ARE THE JEWS?
1. Defining "Jew"
2. Could A Jew Forfeit His Jewish Identity?
a. Jews Who Live Outside the Land
b. Idolatrous Jews
3. "The Jews" as Used by Jesus and His Disciples
a. Passages in Question
b. Clarifications
c. Other Evidence and Usages
d. Summing Up
4. Were Gentiles Who Joined Themselves to Israel Called Jews?
5. Were Gentile Converts to Judaism Called Jews?

6. Esther 8:17
IV. WHO ARE THE HEBREWS?
V. ISRAEL, JEWS, HEBREWS: SUMMATION AND RAMIFICATIONS
A. BIBLICAL DEFINITIONS
B. "I WAS BORN A JEW, AND I'LL DIE A JEW!"

VI. WHAT IS THE BODY OF MESSIAH?

A. INTRODUCTION
B. IDENTIFYING THE BODY OF MESSIAH

Israel is part of an extensive and detailed biblical exposition of the doctrinal statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. It has been adapted here for broader readership.

FOREWORD

Tiny Israel is the central nation of history and prophecy. It is the focus and hub of the world's news. Its contributions to civilization and world history are far out of proportion to its size. How it relates to God has a direct effect on eschatological (end-time) events. How nations and individuals relate to her affects their destinies. It is therefore of great importance for all to study what Scripture has to say about Israel, particularly those who hold the Bible to be the Word of God. God promised Israel's patriarch, Abraham, I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse (Genesis 12:3. Cf. Matthew 25:40,45; Romans 1:16): He holds us accountable for our actions, words and witness in regard to her, and toward her. This is especially true of the Jewish believer as he has a particular responsibility to those of his own household (1 Timothy 5:8).

We will therefore undertake a careful study of Israel. May God give us grace and insight as we do, and bear fruit through our lives because of it! We'll begin with the AMC's Statement on Israel, and then cover every point in it, though not in the same order.

THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. Jewish believers in Yeshua have a unique twofold identity. They are the spiritual remnant of physical Israel and at the same time are part of the body of Messiah. We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. We believe that Israel's eternal covenant relationship with God does not grant atonement to individual Jewish people. Therefore, it is the believer's privilege and duty to tell the Good News of Messiah Yeshua to the Jewish people. (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21, 17:1-21; Romans 11:1-29; Galatians 3:14-17)

PART 1: WHO IS ISRAEL? WHO ARE THE JEWS?

I. INTRODUCTION

We must begin by identifying the subject of our study, especially because many ideas abound on the matter. Who is Israel? Who are the Jews? Who are the Hebrews?

Ii. WHO IS israel?

A. HOW IS A NATION DETERMINED?

In Scripture, nations are determined by natural descent through male lineage. Every genealogy in Scripture reflects this. For example, Genesis 10:5 says, From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations; and the verse is preceded and followed by passages designating nations by male descent. For example, verse 6: The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan.

Cush. He and his line most likely lived in the land of Nubia and Ethiopia. . . . Mizraim is the well known Hebrew name for. . . . Upper and Lower Egypt. . . . Put. . . . they were located in North Africa. . . . Canaan [was] the father of the Canaanites.1

The sons of Ham were the patriarchs of the aforementioned nations, all of which are named by the names of their patriarchs elsewhere in Scripture as well as here.

Though "nation" is often used in reference to a country, in this study it will primarily be used with the meaning of a people descended from a common patriarch.

B. HOW IS THE NATION OF ISRAEL DETERMINED?

The nation of Israel is likewise determined by male descent. God singled out Abraham and covenanted to form a great nation through him (Genesis 12:1-2). Out of all of Abraham's sons, God passed on the covenant solely through Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5); and out of Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau, God passed on the covenant solely to Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). Subsequently, Jacob's name became Israel (Genesis 32:28), and all of the descendants of the man Israel by male lineage became known as Israelites, which is reflected in one of the designations of the nation: b'nei Yisrael, sons of Israel (Genesis 42:5, 45:21, 46:5, Exodus 1:1, Deuteronomy 23:17, 1 Chronicles 2:1); and the nation became known as "Israel" even in the man Israel's lifetime (Genesis 34:7).

But what of the one whose mother is an Israelite and whose father is a Gentile? Normally, that person would be reckoned as part of the father's nation. However, if such a person properly identifies with the nation Israel, then that person is considered an Israelite in God's eyes. Timothy was such a one.

1: Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2. and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3. Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

~ Acts 16:1-3 ~

Paul freely circumcised Timothy because Timothy had a Jewish mother, and circumcision was a requirement of the covenant that God made with Abraham.

12. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations. . . . 14. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

~ Genesis 17:12-14 ~

(The Mosaic Covenant, rendered inoperative at the cross, did not come into play here. The Abrahamic Covenant, still standing today, did.) In contradistinction, Paul refused to circumcise Titus, a man who did not have a Jewish parent (Galatians 2:1-5, esp. v. 3). Thus, if one has a Jewish mother and a Gentile father, he or she may join their hearts with the Israelite nation as the one nation they identify with more than any other, and thereby be considered an Israelite in God's eyes. In the case of the male, that joining must be confirmed by circumcision. If he or she does not so join themselves, then he or she is considered a Gentile by virtue of the male parent.

To bring it all home, one is an Israelite if he or she is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through male lineage; and if one has a Gentile father and a Jewish mother, then that person is also an Israelite in God's eyes if proper identification is made. These are the sole requirements that Scripture presents for being considered an Israelite.

To help clarify matters, there is another valid definition of Jewishness which must be distinguished from the biblical one. It is the sociological one, and it defines Jewishness as an ethnicity. Jewishness as an ethnicity includes all who identify with the Jewish people so closely as to consider themselves part of the Jewish nation and culture. This identification may be the result of conversion to Judaism, marrying into a Jewish family, adoption as a child into a Jewish family, and the like. An important distinction between the two is that the biblical definition is a sharply defined one, whereas the sociological definition is not. According to Scripture, one who is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a Jew. As to the sociological definition: Suppose a man of Irish descent marries into a Jewish family, converts to Judaism, and identifies equally with his Irish heritage and culture and the Jewish heritage and culture he married and converted into. Is he, sociologically, an Irishman or a Jew? Well, that depends on who you ask!

The key point that must be noted here is that, whereas the sociological definition of Jewishness is valid in sociological studies, biblical studies of Jewishness must be based on the biblical definition, and it is the biblical definition that will be adhered here. There are things that God says is true of bloodline Jews that do not apply to anyone else, even to sociological Jews who do not carry the bloodline of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

C. DURING WHAT HISTORICAL SPAN IS ISRAEL FORMED?

1. When Did Israel Begin to Form?
Israel began its formation approximately 2000 B.C. through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2. When Will Its Formation Cease?
This will be shown in two points:
1) Many passages indicate that Jews will be present on earth during the future Messianic Age or Millennium. One example is Zechariah 8:23: Thus says the LORD of hosts, '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."'
2) Isaiah 65:20 indicates that children will be born during the Millennium: No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days.

From these points we can conclude that Israelites will be born until the very end of the Messianic Age.

The nation of Israel began to form about 2000 B.C., and will continue to form through the end of the Millennium.

III. WHO ARE THE JEWS?

I have been using "Israelite" and "Jew" interchangeably. Is this biblically valid?

1. Defining "Jew"
John 4:9: Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) In this passage, a Gentile identified Jesus as a Jew, and He did not deny it; and John, an Israelite, refers to Jesus' nation as "Jews."

John 18:35: Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?" Here again a Gentile identifies Jesus' nation as Jews, and He does not deny it.

In Acts 21:27-28, Luke identifies Jews as Israelites: 27. Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, 28. crying out, "Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people. . . .

In an attempt to gain the ear of that hostile crowd, Paul identified himself as one of the men of Israel by crying out, I am a Jew; (verse 39); and in Philippians 3:5, he described himself as circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel. . . .

It is clear from these passages that Jews were identical to Israelites in the minds of Gentiles, unbelieving Jews, Jesus' disciples, and Jesus Himself. It is noteworthy that Paul, a post-cross believer and apostle to the Gentiles, identified himself as a Jew and an Israelite to Jews and Gentiles alike.

A Jew is a member of the nation of Israel, and "the Jews," used in its broadest biblical sense, is identical to the nation of Israel.

2. Could A Jew Forfeit His Jewish Identity?
a. Jews Who Live Outside the Land
Among those who were present on the Day of Pentecost were visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (Acts 2:10).

Jews who lived outside the Land were still considered Jews.

b. Idolatrous Jews
Judges 8:33-34: 33. Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. 34. Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the LORD their God. . . .

Israelites who worshiped Baal were still considered Israelites. This is one of many such passages that bring this out.

Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching or example of the national identity of one born of Israelite parents forfeit for any reason.

3. "The Jews" as Used by Jesus and His Disciples
a. Passages in Question
There are quite a few times in the New Testament, particularly in John and Acts, when "the Jews" is used in such a way as to cause some to wonder whether Jesus, John and other disciples were distancing themselves from the Jewish nation. Here are four such passages:

John 2:18,20: 18. The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?" . . . . 20. The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"

John 5:16,18: 16. For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. . . . 18: For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him. . . .

John 11:55: Now the Passover of the Jews was near. . . .

In John 13:33, Jesus said, Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, "Where I am going, you cannot come."

b. Clarifications
We've seen from the "Defining 'Jew'" passages that Jesus and His disciples did not deny their Jewishness nor distance themselves from their Jewish brethren; yet passages like these need clarification.

What did Jesus mean by the Jews in John 13:33 where He said, I said to the Jews? John 7:32-34 shows that he was referring to the Pharisees and chief priests, the latter group of whom were Sadducees. The Pharisees and Sadducees constituted the highest religious and judicial authorities among the Jews. In other words, by the Jews, Jesus was referring to the Jewish authorities in Israel. This also clarifies what John meant by the Jews in 2:18,20 and 5:16,18.

What did John mean by the Jews in 11:55, where he used the phrase, the Passover of the Jews?
1. It was
the Passover of the Jews simply because God enjoined the keeping of the Passover upon the Jewish nation (Exodus 12); and
2. Prior to the cross, Jesus and His disciples recognized themselves as Jews under the Law of Moses and kept the Passover
.

17. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" 18. And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.'"

~ Matthew 26:17-18 ~

John was simply referring to the Jewish nation.

c. Other Evidence and Usages
In Philippians 3:5, Paul identified himself as an Israelite in four different ways: (1) Circumcised the eighth day, (2) of the stock of Israel, (3) of the tribe of Benjamin, (4) an Hebrew of the Hebrews (a Hebrew-speaking Hebrew). . . .

In Galatians 2:11-13, Paul contrasts Peter with Gentiles, thereby declaring Peter to be a Jew. He also refers to the other Jewish believers present as the rest of the Jews, and to Barnabas as a Jew.

In the very next verse, Paul addresses Peter directly as a Jew: If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

John 11:31: Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her [Martha]. . . . In this passage, John uses the Jews to identify the nationality of everyday Israelites.

d. Summing Up
1) Jesus and His Jewish disciples did not deny their Jewishness, but declared it.
2) At times, they used "the Jews" in reference to:
a] the nation as a whole,
b] the nation's Jewish authorities, and
c] everyday Israelites.
3) In no case did they or any writer of Scripture use "the Jews" or "Israel" to refer to anyone other than descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

4. Were Gentiles Who Joined Themselves to Israel Called Jews?
In Ruth 1:16, Ruth said, Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

Ruth was a Moabitess, but moved into the Land and placed herself under the government of Israelite judges; yet, she is never called an Israelitess or Jewess, but a Moabitess, even just six verses later (Ruth 1:22; 2:2, 21; 4:5; 4:10).

5. Were Gentile Converts to Judaism Called Jews?
In the Ruth passage, not only did Ruth say, Your people shall be my people, but your God, my God. She not only moved from Moab to live in the Land, but also joined herself to the God of Israel, requiring her to come under the Law of Moses. Still she was not called an Israelitess or a Jewess, but a Moabitess.

Biblically, Gentiles who converted to Mosaic, Pharisaic or any other form of Judaism were called proselytes. Ruth was simultaneously a Moabitess by birth, and a proselyte to Mosaic Judaism.

Matthew 23:15: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Jesus did not call Gentile converts to Pharisaic Judaism Jews, but proselytes.

In Acts 13:43, God-fearing Gentile synagogue attendees were not called Jews, but proselytes: Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas. Note how the God-fearing proselytes are differentiated from the Jews.

Acts 2:10 names different groups who kept the Mosaic injunction to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost (cf. Exodus 34:18-23), and the same distinction is made: and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes.

In Acts 6:5, a Gentile who had previously converted to Judaism and subsequently became a believer in Jesus was not called a Jew, but a proselyte: The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose. . . Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.

6. Esther 8:17
There is one instance, however, where proselytes were called Jews in most translations, including many very good translations, such as the New American Standard: And many among the peoples of the land became Jews. . . (Esther 8:17). The same is also true of commentators of the caliber of Keil and Delitzsch: "to confess oneself a Jew, to become a Jew." Some translations, though, do use such expressions as: accepted the Jewish religion (Contemporary English Version), and declared themselves Jews (English Standard Version). The same is true of commentators such as Dr. Charles Ryrie: "embraced the religion of Judaism as proselytes" (Ryrie Study Bible), and Keil and Delitzsch, as above: "to confess oneself a Jew." It is also noteworthy that even in the days of the authorship of Esther (shortly after 465 B.C., when the events take place), "Jew" also referred to a descendant of the man Israel: Now there was at the citadel in Susa a Jew whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite (Esther 2:5).

Which is the best translation? There are two classes of considerations that pull in opposite directions:
1. The root of the Hebrew word in the original, mityahadim, is yhd, the same root as yehudi or yehudim, which are translated "Jew" and "Jews" respectively. This, of course, pulls in the direction of translating mityahadim as "Jews."

2. However, several considerations pull in the direction of translating mityahadim as "became proselytes to Judaism":
a. The plain meaning of the passage is that Gentiles converted to Judaism.
b. This philological explanation by Dr. Fruchtenbaum:

The verb lehityaheid [the infinitive form of mityahadim, which is a participle] has the same connotation as lehitnatzer. Neither word focuses on a change of ethnic identity, but of religious identity. Lehitnatzer means to convert to Christianity, and lehityaheid means to convert to Judaism. Thus a more correct translation is to convert to Judaism to become proselytes, but it does not mean to become Jews in the sense of an ethnic identity change.3

c. Among the two hundred and fifty-six times in which "Jew" or "Jews" appear in the New American Standard translation, Esther 8:17 is the only instance in which the concept of proselytes is translated "Jews." (New Testament passages that appear to say otherwise at first glance actually do not. These passages are examined in Replacement Theology, a subsequent study in this series.)
d. All of the prior considerations in this study, including the exclusive use of "Jews" by Jesus, His disciples and their contemporaries in the sense of bloodline Jews.

Above all other considerations, the identical construction of lehityaheid and lehitnatzer carries the day. In consideration of that and of all the rest of the above, the only reasonable translation is one that focuses on the religious conversion: "converted to Judaism," "became proselytes to Judaism," or a similar rendering. Consistent with that, "Jew" and "Jews" will be used in this series solely in reference to the bloodline descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the way Yeshua used it and the way it is used in every other instant in Scripture. In the broader perspective, to be consistent with Scripture, "Jew" ought not to be used in reference to a Gentile convert to Judaism, a Gentile believer who identifies with the messianic community, or a Gentile believer in general,2 but solely in reference to a bloodline descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

IV. WHO ARE THE HEBREWS?

The first biblical use of the word "Hebrew" is in Genesis 14:13, where Abram was called a Hebrew. The next number of times "Hebrew" was used was by Egyptians in reference to Israelites (Genesis 39:14, Exodus 1:16, etc.). Joseph said that he was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews (Genesis 40:15); Jonah called himself a Hebrew (Jonah 1:9); and God called the Israelites Hebrews (e.g., Exodus 21:2). In Acts 6:1, two Israelite groups are named: Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews. In 2 Corinthians 11:22, Paul declares, Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. In Philippians 3:5, Paul called himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews.

All those and only those in the covenant line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by natural descent are called Hebrews.

V. ISRAEL, JEWS, HEBREWS: SUMMATION AND RAMIFICATIONS

A. BIBLICAL DEFINITIONS

Notwithstanding extrabiblical definitions, every man and woman who is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by male lineage is an Israelite, a Jew and a Hebrew; and if a person has a Gentile father and Jewish mother, that person may choose to make a genuine, heart-felt identification with Israel, confirmed by circumcision if male, and then be considered an Israelite. Inversely, no one who does not fit into these categories is an Israelite, Jew or Hebrew even if he be circumcised, a Chassid (adherent to Ultra-Orthodox Judaism) or an adherent to Messianic Judaism. Also, the Jewish nation began forming by natural generation in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and will continue to so form until the end of the Millennium.

B. "I WAS BORN A JEW, AND I'LL DIE A JEW!"

"I was born a Jew and I'll die a Jew" is a declaration that is sometimes heard from the lips of Jews when the Gospel is presented to them; yet it is impossible for one who is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to lose one's Jewishness. Thus, when Messianic Jews are accused of rejecting their Jewishness or are said to have somehow been magically transformed into a non-Jew, they, along with every other descendant of the man Israel may say, "I was born a Jew and I'll die a Jew!" - with the understanding, of course, that they will not die at all if the Rapture intervenes while they are alive! Furthermore, if an Israelite Baal worshiper retained his Jewish identity, then surely the Jewish believer in the Jewish Messiah and King of the Jews retains his! Though others consider his identity forfeit, God does not.

VI. WHAT IS THE BODY OF MESSIAH?2

A. INTRODUCTION

Our Statement reads, "Israel. . . is distinct from the body of Messiah."

There are many who believe that the church, the body of Messiah or Christ, has become Israel, or has been joined to Israel, or has replaced Israel, or is Israel spiritually or figuratively. It is therefore essential that we examine the substance, parameters and relevant designations of the church just as we have of Israel, and this we will do.

B. IDENTIFYING THE BODY OF MESSIAH

1. "The Body of Messiah"
"T
he body of Messiah" is a biblical designation for the church. Colossians 1:18: And He is the head of the body, the church. . . .

2. The Body of Messiah Differs from Local Congregations
There have been countless local congregations or churches through the centuries, and any of them might have been comprised solely of believers, solely of non-believers, or a combination of both; but the body of Messiah is different. There is only one body, and it is composed solely of believers, and of all believers, from Pentecost to the Rapture (Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4: 4-6,12). Thus, the body of Messiah is also referred to as the universal church. It is also called the invisible church because its total and exact membership, though visible to God, is invisible to men.

3. The Composition of the Body
1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks,4 whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The body is composed of Jews and Gentiles made one in Messiah.

4. The Body Is a "New Man"

11. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands - 12. remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.

~ Ephesians 2:11-15 ~

According to the passage, believing Jews and believing Gentiles have been brought together in Christ Jesus to form one new man.

5. The Body Is Neither Israel Nor the Gentiles
The merging of Jewish and Gentile believers by the blood of Christ into one new man cannot result in that new man's being either Israel or the Gentiles because each of those groups is composed of both unregenerate and regenerate people. The new man is quantitatively and qualitatively different from either Israel or the Gentiles. It is a completely new and different entity as is brought out unmistakably in 1 Corinthians 10:32: Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God. Three distinct groups: Jews, Greeks and the church of God.

6. How Were the Gentiles, Who Were Excluded From the Commonwealth of Israel, Brought Near?
The Ephesians 2 passage says that the Gentiles were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, but were brought near by the blood of Christ. What does it mean?

This needs to be viewed in the broader context:

12. remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

~ Ephesians 2:12-13 ~

The central issue of the passage is not that the Gentiles were excluded from the commonwealth [theocratic community] of Israel, but that they were separate from Christ.

In every age, salvation is only by faith, and this was true in the Dispensation of the Law. It was under the Law that Habakkuk wrote, the righteous will live by his faith (2:4); yet, God provided a code of laws to be followed: the Law of Moses. If a Gentile had genuine faith in the God of Israel, he would become a proselyte to Mosaic Judaism and take upon himself the full burden of the Law, which would require him to live as a Jew would in the commonwealth of Israel: He would worship in Jerusalem on Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, bring sacrifices to the temple, et al. Taking on the burden of the Law without faith would not save him (nor would it save an Israelite); but if he had true faith, he would take upon himself the burden of the Law. In the context of the Christian life, James said, But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works" (2:18). The same principle applied in the days of the Law. The Gentile with true faith in the God of Israel would take upon himself the burden of the Law; but since the cross, joining in the Mosaic activities of the commonwealth of Israel is a dead issue because the Mosaic Law, which constituted the barrier of the dividing wall, was rendered inoperative at the cross. This is the seed thought in what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:21,23: 21. "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. . . . 23. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.

What Paul is saying is that, since the cross, Gentile believers are brought near to the blessings of salvation - not in the commonwealth of Israel - but in Christ Jesus and in His body, by virtue of the new birth, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks (1 Corinthians 12:13).

To summarize:
1. The new man is neither Israel nor the Gentiles.
2. Gentile believers are not brought near to the blessings of salvation in the commonwealth of Israel, but in Christ Jesus and in the one new man, the body of Christ, the universal or invisible church.

7. Members of the Body Retain Their National Identities
This was addressed above as regards the Jew, but needs to be addressed here more fully.

The new man is distinct from Israel and the Gentiles, but becoming a member of the new man does not obliterate one's Jewish or Gentile identity. Membership in Israel or in a Gentile nation is based on natural generation. Membership in the new man is based on regeneration, which is of the Spirit. There is no conflict between membership in the two, nor mutual exclusion. The apostle Paul identified himself as being of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews (Philippians 3:5), and he addressed Roman believers as you Gentiles (Romans 11:13).

When passages that seem to say otherwise are scrutinized in their contexts, it is seen that they do not contradict this. For example, when Galatians 3:28 says that there is neither Jew nor Greek, it is simply saying that national distinctions have no bearing on, and do not constitute a fissure within, the unity inherent in the body. Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. All one in Christ is the context in which the passage must be understood. In fact, all indicates that there is more than one kind among whom the unity exists.

The body of Messiah is one new man composed of Jews and Gentiles who remain Jews and Gentiles forever (Revelation 21:24,26). Even the ascended Messiah in His glorified, spiritual, heavenly body (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:43,44,48) is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).

8. During What Historical Span Is the Body Formed?
a. When Did Its Formation Begin?

The Body of Messiah Began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), as this sequence of points demonstrates:

1) Previous to Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension, He declared that His church was still future: I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). According to Dr. Fruchtenbaum, the statement is constructed in "a tense that cannot be interpreted as referring to a church already in existence."5

2) 1 Corinthians 12:13 indicates that the body was formed when the first believers were baptized by the Holy Spirit: For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.

By combining the above points we see that Spirit baptism, which initiated the formation of the body of Christ, was future to Jesus' declaration prior to His death, resurrection and ascension.

3) After Jesus' ascension, He commanded His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were baptized by the Spirit:

1. Truly, O Theophilus, I made the first report as to all things that Jesus began both to do and teach 2. until the day He was taken up, having given directions to the apostles whom He chose, through the Holy Spirit; 3. to whom He also presented Himself living after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them through forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4. And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me. 5. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

~ Acts 1:1-5 ~

Spirit baptism had not yet occurred even at this point in time after Jesus' ascension. The formation of the body was still future.

John 7:38-39 also declares the futurity of Spirit baptism after Jesus' ascension. Though Spirit baptism is not specifically mentioned here, it should be clear after our sequence of points that it is included in the giving of the Spirit spoken of here:

38. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." 39. (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

4) The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

1. And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. 2. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. 4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

~ Acts 2:1-4 ~

The Spirit filled the believers on this first Day of Pentecost after Jesus' ascension - but were they baptized by the Spirit? The terms are not synonymous. Let's look further.

5) About twelve years subsequent to that Day of Pentecost, the believers in Cornelius' household were baptized by the Spirit.

In Acts 10, Peter was summoned to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, at which time the Spirit fell on all those hearing the word (v. 44). In Acts 11:15-16, Peter described his experience to the church council in Jerusalem: 15. And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16. And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Peter's declaration shows that what Cornelius and his household experienced was Spirit baptism.

6) Peter identified the Spirit baptism of Cornelius' household with that which occurred on the first Day of Pentecost after Jesus' ascension. He said that what happened to them, the Gentiles, was what happened to us [Jews] at the beginning, which he identified with the event prophesied by the Word of the Lord in Acts 1:5: John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. As Acts 1 is preparatory to Acts 2, we can conclude that the beginning was the events of Acts 2. What happened to Cornelius' household was Spirit baptism. Thus, what happened to the Jews on the first Pentecost after Jesus' ascension was Spirit baptism.

The body of Messiah, the universal or invisible church, began to form on the first Day of Pentecost after Jesus' ascension, for that is when believers were first baptized by the Holy Spirit.

b. When Will Its Formation Cease?
Beginning with the Gentile proselytes to Judaism who were baptized by the Spirit along with Jews on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10), God has been calling Gentiles out of the world and adding them to Messiah's body to be a people for His Name (Acts 15:14). This will continue until the fullness of the Gentiles has comes in (Romans 11:25). God will continue adding Jews and Gentiles to the body until the full number of Gentiles that He had foreordained has been reached. When the last Gentile has been added, the body of Messiah will be fully formed.

The body began to be formed on Pentecost, and its formation will cease when the fullness of the Gentiles has comes in.

c. Until When Will the Body Remain On Earth?
Once Messiah's body is fully formed, God will resurrect all deceased members of the body and remove them and all living members from the earth in an event known as the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:12-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18); and so shall [they] ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Only those in Christ will be included (1 Corinthians 15:18,19,22; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). "In Christ" is a designation that is used exclusively of believers in Messiah's or Christ's body. Old Testament saints (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2) and deceased Tribulation saints (Revelation 20:4) will be resurrected immediately or very shortly after the Great Tribulation.

VII. ISRAEL IS DISTINCT FROM THE BODY OF MESSIAH

Having identified Israel and the body of Messiah, we are now in a position to see that they are distinct entities.

A. DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE BODY

It can readily be seen that the body of Messiah, the universal church, is distinct from Israel for these reasons, and more:

  • Israel has been increasing in numbers from the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and will continue to do so until the end of the Millennium. In contrast, the body of Messiah began to form on the Day of Pentecost, and will increase in number only until the Rapture, which is prior to the Millennium. (Those who believe that there is no literal Millennium or that the Rapture will take place subsequent to it still need to reckon with the fact that the beginnings of Israel and the church are separated by 2000 years.)

  • The body is not identical with Israel any more than it is identical with the Gentiles. It is quantitatively and qualitatively a new and different entity pictured figuratively as a new man.

  • Israel is a nation by natural generation, whereas the body of Messiah is a new man by regeneration, which is of the Spirit.

  • No Gentile who joined himself to Israel was ever called an Israelite, but all Jews and Gentiles who join the body of Messiah are called by the same designations: believers, Christians, saints, etc.

  • There were Israelite believers in the promised Messiah before the Day of Pentecost, and there will be new Israelite believers during the Great Tribulation and Millennium. They will all experience the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom (Millennium) and the eternal ages to follow, but they did not or will not live during the Church Age, and cannot be considered part of the church.

  • Israel is pictured as the married, then divorced, and yet to be remarried Wife of Jehovah (Jeremiah 3:1,20; Ezekiel 16:15), whereas the body of Christ is pictured as the betrothed and yet to be married Bride of Christ. There is no way to join the two metaphors into one.

  • Only a small handful of Israelites under the Dispensation of the Law had the Spirit with them (rare exceptions had Him in them, as well), whereas all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture have the Spirit in them. Furthermore, the Spirit did not always rest on those few Israelites permanently (e.g., 1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11), whereas the Spirit is said to remain with all members of the body of Messiah forever. The contrasts are three: a few - all; with - in; temporarily - forever. (John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Numbers 11:17-25; 27:18; 2 Kings 2:9-12; 1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11).

  • The commonwealth of Israel was destroyed by Rome in the mighty military blows of 70 and 135 A.D., and the modern State of Israel has existed only since 1948, leaving a gap in Israel's political existence of over eighteen hundred years. The church, however, has had an unbroken existence since the Day of Pentecost in 29 A.D.

  • The ancient commonwealth was under Mosaic Law, and the modern State of Israel is not governed by the Mosaic Law, the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), or any other rule of Law for the believer. The church is distinct from the ancient commonwealth in that is not under the Mosaic Law, and is distinct from modern Israel because it is under the Law of Christ. The body of Messiah, the church, is distinct from both ancient and modern Israel.

  • The deceased in the body will be resurrected at the Rapture, which will take place before the Great Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:2-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-13, etc.), whereas all Old Testament Israelite and other saints will be resurrected after the Great Tribulation (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2).

  • The entire body of Christ will be with the Lord in Heaven during the Great Tribulation (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), but only those Israelites saved between Pentecost and the Rapture will be in Heaven during the Great Tribulation.

  • The entire body of Messiah will spend an eternity in the blessed presence of the Lord, but only a minority from among Israel, a remnant (Isaiah 1:9, 10:22; Romans 9:27), will be saved.

B. THE "CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS"

Acts 7:38 refers to Israel under Moses as the church in the wilderness, and 1 Corinthians 10:2 describes it as being baptized (immersed) unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. If Israel is distinct from the church, why is it called a church here?

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, "Ecclesia, the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority."

The Greek word translated church simply means an assembly. The "legitimate authority" that called out Israel from among the nations, and the body of believers from the world system, is the same: the Lord. However, the Israelites in the wilderness were an assembly by virtue of natural birth and physical location, and the body of Messiah is an assembly by virtue of the Spirit's call and organization. Sharing the word assembly in no way indicates that they are part of the same group any more than Jehovah's Witnesses and the Jewish Defense League can be considered part of the same group because they can each be called a group. Furthermore, the idea behind baptism is identification. No Israelite needed to be immersed to be identified with Israel or Moses, and they weren't. They were Israelites by birth, and became distinctly identified with the leadership of Moses when they made a clean break from Egypt by passing through the Red Sea. They were not immersed in the Red Sea. They passed through the Red Sea on dry ground. It was the Egyptians who were immersed in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16-29). The pillar of cloud also identified the Israelites with Moses as it was only they whom the cloud guided and protected, which is illustrated beautifully when the cloud guided the Israelites to the Red Sea, and then moved from in front of them to behind them to shield them from Pharaoh's army (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19).

Israel and the body of Christ or body of Messiah are on two different tracks in the plan of God with a multitude of differences in the details. They are not one and the same, though there is some overlap. Jewish believers from Pentecost to the Rapture are simultaneously members of Israel and the body of Messiah.

C. ISRAEL AND THE BODY: SUMMING UP

1. The body of Messiah, the church, is not Israel, nor has it been added to Israel. It is distinct from it.
2. Membership in the body does not obliterate one's national identity. Jews remains Jews, Gentiles remain Gentiles.

Like Israel, the church is a chosen, elect people, a people of God, but it is on a different track from Israel in the plan of God. To confound the two identities is to confound the two tracks and make it impossible to rightly divide the Word of truth, breeding confusion upon confusion.

VIII. IS THE VISIBLE CHURCH DISTINCT FROM ISRAEL?

We have seen that the invisible church is distinct from Israel, but what about the visible church?

A. WHAT IS THE VISIBLE CHURCH?

The visible church is the visible counterpart of the invisible church, and contains it. Whereas the invisible church is composed solely of believers, the visible church is composed of believers and unbelievers. Whereas only God can see the heart and know with perfect accuracy who the members of the invisible church are, even unsaved people can see and hear who attends church and claims to be a believer. Hence, the designation "visible church." Also, as the invisible church had its beginnings on the Day of Pentecost, so did the visible church.

B. DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE VISIBLE CHURCH

It can be seen that the visible church is distinct from Israel for some of the same or similar reasons that the invisible church is:

  • Israel began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the visible church began two thousand years later at Pentecost.

  • Israel is made up solely of Israelites, but the invisible church is made up of Jews and Gentiles.

  • The Gentile who joined the commonwealth of Israel was never called an Israelite because he wasn't one. Similarly, the visible church, which contains Gentiles, cannot be called Israel or a part of Israel.

  • There has been a gap in Israel's political existence of over eighteen hundred years. The visible church, however, has had an unbroken existence since the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 29.

  • Whereas the ancient commonwealth was under Mosaic Law and the modern State of Israel is not governed by any such system of Law, the visible church differs from both in that it professes to be under of the Law of Christ.

C. CONCLUSION

Scripture does not say that the visible church is identical to Israel or has been united to Israel, and indeed it cannot be for the reasons given. Just as the invisible church and Israel are distinct entities, so the visible church and Israel are distinct entities.

*
In a future study in this series, we will examine whether the church has replaced Israel, or may be considered Israel in any spiritual or figurative sense. We'll also discuss the unique case of those who are Jews and members of the body simultaneously.

1. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Genesis, pdf, (ariel.org: Ariel Ministries Digital Press, 2008), 241.
2. Much of the material contained herein has been adapted from the author's study, The Universal Church, above. The Universal Church also contains relevant information that does not appear here that may further clarify matters.
3. In an email to the author of 11/28/10.
4. Grecians. The term "is, in general, equivalent to. . . Gentiles," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
5. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 097: The Universal Church, pdf, 9.

Concerning Israel:
Who Is Israel? Who Are the Jews?
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2010
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ ISRAEL ~

2. THE CHOSENNESS OF ISRAEL

For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples
who are on the face of the earth.

~ Deuteronomy 7:6 ~


CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION
II. THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL
III. THE GOLDEN RULE OF INTERPRETATION
IV. THE FACT OF ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS
V. GOD'S PURPOSES FOR ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS
VI. THE PROVISIONS FOR ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS
VII. THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
VIII. THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
A. THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
B. THE UNCONDITIONALITY OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
C. FOUNDATION TO THE OTHER COVENANTS
IX. THE LAND COVENANT
X. THE DAVIDIC COVENANT
XI. THE NEW COVENANT
XII. THE MOSAIC COVENANT
A. THE NATURE OF THE MOSAIC COVENANT
B. THE BREAKING OF THE COVENANT AND ITS RESULTS
C. THE BREAKING OF THE MOST CRITICAL COMMANDMENT
D. WHY DID GOD INSTITUTE THE COVENANT?
E. THE BARRIER OF THE DIVIDING WALL
XIII. THE IRREVOCABILITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL COVENANTS
XIV. "The election of Israel is irrevocable"
XV. THE COVENANTS STILL BELONG TO ISRAEL
XVI. THE APPLICABILITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL ISRAELI COVENANTS TO GENTILES AND THE CHURCH
XVII. THE CHOSENNESS OF ISRAEL IN THE CHURCH AGE
A. JEWS ESTABLISHED, INSTRUCTED AND LED THE CHURCH
B. THE GOSPEL IS TO GO TO THE JEW FIRST
XVIII. THE CHOSENNESS OF ISRAEL IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION
a. israel blesses the nations
B. GOD BLESSES ISRAEL
XIX. "God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual"
XX. A RECAPITULATION OF THE OUTWORKINGS OF ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS
XXI. AFTERWORD
ENDNOTES

I. INTRODUCTION

We have seen in Who Is Israel, above, that literal Israel and the literal church are not one and the same, that the church has not been joined to Israel, and that neither Jews nor Gentiles ever forfeit or lose their national identities for any reason. We have also noted, with plenty of support, that "Jew" will be used in this series in the sense of bloodline Jews, the way Jesus, His disciples and all their contemporaries in Scripture used it.

There are certain relevant claims made by significant portions of the church which raise the following questions: Are Gentile believers really Israelites who are members of the ten "lost tribes"? Has the church replaced Israel? May it be considered spiritual Israel? May it be considered the new Israel in any sense? May it be regarded as Israel in a figurative sense? May believing Gentiles be regarded as spiritual Jews? We will examine these claims in our next issue; but before we do, it would be wise for us to address key passages of Scriptures that have to do with Israel's chosenness and the purposes for it in the outworking of God's divine agenda.

What is herein presented is not intended to negate or downplay the chosenness of the church, but is intended to examine and affirm the ongoing chosenness of the nation of Israel, and to examine the interplay between the two.

Many of the points in our Statement will be addressed either as major headings or as points under major headings.

II. THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. Jewish believers in Yeshua have a unique twofold identity. They are the spiritual remnant of physical Israel and at the same time are part of the body of Messiah. We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. We believe that Israel's eternal covenant relationship with God does not grant atonement to individual Jewish people. Therefore, it is the believer's privilege and duty to tell the Good News of Messiah Yeshua to the Jewish people. (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21, 17:1-21; Romans 11:1-29; Galatians 3:14-17)

III. THE GOLDEN RULE OF INTERPRETATION

One fundamental principle of biblical interpretation needs to be considered at the outset: The Golden Rule of Interpretation.

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.1

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. As an example, when the Bible says "Israel," it should be presumed that what is meant is literal national Israel unless there is clearly a good and valid reason to interpret it otherwise.

IV. THE FACT OF ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS

In Deuteronomy 7:6, Moses said, For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Our Statement contains the phrase special people. What is here translated a people for His own possession is rendered differently in other translations, but the key Hebrew word is סְגֻלָּה, se-goo-lah'. One of the definitions that Strong's gives it is special.

Other verses that straightforwardly declare Israel's chosenness are Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Chronicles 16:13; Psalm 33:12; 105:6,43; 106:5; 135:4; Isaiah 41:8-9; 43:10,20; 44:1-2; 45:4; Amos 3:2; 1 Peter 2:9-10. 1 Peter 2:9-10 will be discussed.

In various translations, "chosen" is rendered "elect," both of which mean sovereignly chosen by God for divine purpose and blessing.

V. GOD'S PURPOSES FOR ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS

The presupposition for chosenness is that there are reasons for it. Gleaning from the above passages and others, these points summarize the purposes for which God chose Israel:

  • to be a holy people unto Him. Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; etc.
    In reference to Israel, holiness carries the meanings of being set apart, dedicated, consecrated, hallowed, sacred, which is seen in Exodus 19:6: You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

  • to be His own possession, His special treasure. Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 4:20; 7:6; 14:2; Psalm 135:4.
    The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it (Psalm 24:1). Yet, of all the nations, God chose Israel to be His own possession among all the peoples (NASB), His peculiar [special] treasure (KJV) (Exodus 19:5).

  • to be His servant. Isaiah 41:8,9; 44:1,2,21; 65:9,15; Jeremiah 30:10; 46:27,28.

  • to be His inheritance. Deuteronomy 9:26, 32:9; Psalm 33:12, 74:2, 78:62,71, 94:6, 106:5; Jeremiah 12:7,9.

    One meaning that "inheritance" has in the Hebrew Scriptures is a valuable possession that is given to, or set aside for, a particular person or group (e.g., Joshua 14:1-15, esp. v. 13). A narrower meaning is something of value that one gains possession of after the death of its present owner (e.g., Numbers 27:7). Israel is already God's possession and inheritance according to the first meaning; but will eventually become His inheritance in a special way as a result of the death of her Messiah when, in the future, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).

This summary is fleshed out by a massive amount of Scripture, but Peter sums it up in 1 Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Much evidence indicates that Peter was addressing Jewish believers as representative of their chosen nation. The verse itself contains references to Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6, 10:15; Isaiah 42:16, 43:20, and 61:6. Other points of evidence are listed in the Footnotes.2

VI. THE PROVISIONS FOR ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS

The provisions that God made for the establishment and fulfillment of Israel's chosenness and the purposes for it reside in the five covenants that He made with them. There are some who believe that the covenants were made with the church. Let us follow a simple line of reasoning to clear up the matter:

1. 1 Corinthians 10:32 shows that Israel, the Gentiles and the church are three distinct groups: Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.

2. Paul affirms in both a positive and a negative manner that the covenants were made solely with Israel. In Romans 9:3-4, he states positively that the covenants were made with the people of the literal nation of Israel: 3. my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4. who are Israelites, to whom belong . . . the covenants and the giving of the Law; and in Ephesians 2:11-12, he emphasizes the negative aspect concerning the Gentiles, that they were strangers to the covenants of promise.

In the sequence in which the covenants were announced, they are the Abrahamic (1900 B.C.), Mosaic (1450 B.C.), Land (1400 B.C.), Davidic (1000 B.C.) and New covenants (600 B.C.). The covenants are of two types: conditional and unconditional. The Abrahamic, Land, Davidic and New covenants are unconditional, and the Mosaic Covenant was conditioned upon Israel's faithfulness and obedience to God.

The two types are kept distinct in each of two passages. In Romans 9:4, the unconditional covenants are referred to as the covenants, and the conditional Mosaic Covenant as the giving of the law. In Ephesians 2:11-16, the unconditional covenants are referred to as the covenants of promise (v. 12), and the Mosaic Covenant as the barrier of the dividing wall. . . the Law of commandments contained in ordinances (vv. 14-15).

The Abrahamic Covenant is the first covenant that God made with Israel, and is foundational to the other four.

VII. THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world.

VIII. THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

God made the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3,7; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:15-18), passed it on to Abraham's son, Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5,24), then to Isaac's son, Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15), whose name became Israel (Genesis 32:28); and finally, to the twelve sons of Israel and to all of Israel through them (Genesis 49:1-28). The foundational declaration and promises of the covenant, and of all of the covenants, are contained in the first passage, Genesis 12:1-3:

1. Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2. And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3. And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

A. THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

These are the key provisions. God promised:

  • to make of Abraham a great and numerous nation (Genesis 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 17:1-2,7; 22:17);

  • to give the land of Canaan to him and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, and spelled out its borders (Genesis 12:1,7; 13:14-17; 15:17-21; 17:8);

  • that Abraham's descendants will be enslaved by Egypt and be delivered after four hundred years (Genesis 15:13-14);

  • that all the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 22:18);

  • to bless those who bless Abraham, and curse those who curse him (Genesis 12:3).

    The wording of the last promise may cause some to wonder whether it was meant to apply to Abraham specifically or to the whole nation. Scripture makes it clear that it not only applied to Abraham personally as in Genesis 12:10-17; 20:1-3,18, but to all in his chosen line. It is implied in the fact that God passed the covenant through Isaac and Jacob to all Israel, and in His intention to bless all the families of the earth through them, and may be observed at work in the lives of those who blessed or cursed Israelites other than Abraham: e.g., Potiphar, who blessed Joseph (Genesis 39:1-5); Haman, who cursed Mordechai (Esther 9:25); in the life of the nation in biblical history (e.g., Zechariah 2:8; Matthew 25:31-46, esp. 40,45) and in post-biblical history.

  • Circumcision was to be the sign of the covenant. Genesis 17:9-14.

B. THE UNCONDITIONALITY OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

God placed no condition upon any individual or on the nation for the covenant's fulfillment. He emphasized the covenant's unconditionality when He ratified it in Genesis 15.

According to the custom of the day, the most serious of covenants were ratified when the parties to it passed between the sections of animals that they had slaughtered, establishing a solemnity and seriousness in the parties' minds by the shedding of blood. When God ratified His covenant with Abraham, only one party passed between the pieces: God Himself, Who appeared as a flaming torch,3 (v. 17) indicating that the fulfillment of the covenant's promises depended solely upon His own faithfulness and divine attributes.

C. FOUNDATION TO THE OTHER COVENANTS

The Abrahamic Covenant is the basis for the three other unconditional covenants and for the conditional Mosaic Covenant though the two types served the Abrahamic Covenant differently. The unconditional covenants elaborated on the Abrahamic Covenant, and the Mosaic Covenant set Israel apart unto God and served as a fortress to protect them from ungodly external influence. We'll first examine the unconditional covenants, and then the Mosaic.

IX. THE LAND COVENANT

The Land Covenant is found in Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20. It has commonly been called the Palestinian Covenant because, until Israeli independence in 1948, the Land was known as Palestine (Philistia, land of the Philistines), so named by the Roman Emperor Hadrian after the Romans crushed the Bar Cochba revolt in 135 A.D. However, Palestine was never a biblical name for the Land, and "Palestinians" is currently being used of a people who seek to dispossess the Jews of their divinely promised Land. Therefore, to curtail misunderstanding, we will take the lead of Dr. Fruchtenbaum and call it the Land Covenant.4

The provisions of the Land Covenant are as follows:

  • Israel will disobey the Law of Moses and be scattered. Deuteronomy 29:2-30:1, esp. 29:20-28, 30:1.

  • Israel will turn their hearts to God. Deuteronomy 30:2,6,8.

  • Messiah will then return. Deuteronomy 30:3,

  • God will curse Israel's enemies (Deuteronomy 30:7), and

  • Regather her to the Land and bless her there. Deuteronomy 30:3-5,8-9.

The highlight of the Land Covenant is the regathering of Israel to the Land after their turning to the Lord on a national scale. It elaborates on the promise of the Land to Abraham by reaffirming Israel's title deed to it by divine fiat irregardless of her subsequent disobedience and repeated scattering.

Inasmuch as this is an unconditional covenant, God will surely bring it to pass.

X. THE DAVIDIC COVENANT

The words of the Davidic Covenant, spoken to King David by the prophet Nathan, are found in 2 Samuel 7:11-16 and 1 Chronicles 17:10-14.

The key provisions of the covenant are as follows. God promised the King:

  • an eternal dynasty (2 Samuel 7:11,16; 1 Chronicles 17:10-14). The House of David, the king's royal line of descendants, will never come to an end;

  • that David's throne would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:13, 16);

  • that Messiah will be born of David's line (1 Chronicles 17:11); and

  • that Messiah's house. . . kingdom. . . and his throne shall be established forever (1 Chronicles 17:14).

In other words, God promised David an eternal dynasty, throne, Descendant and kingdom.

Implicit in God's promise to Abraham, in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3) is the coming of a Messiah through Abraham's line; nevertheless, Abraham said to God resignedly, You have given me no descendant (Genesis 15:3). God did eventually give him the promised descendant in Isaac. Isaac begat Israel, and Israel had twelve sons who became the twelve tribes. In Genesis 49:10, the Messianic line was narrowed to the tribe of Judah. Now, a thousand years later with the Davidic Covenant, the Messianic line was further narrowed to David's line. In so doing, the Davidic Covenant reaffirmed and elaborated on God's covenant to Abraham by declaring that Messiah will be brought forth of David, a descendant of Abraham.

The Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional, and the Davidic covenant reaffirmed relevant aspects of it unconditionally.

XI. THE NEW COVENANT

The centerpiece of the New Covenant is Jeremiah 31:31-34:

31. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

Please note:

1. No condition was placed on any individual or on the nation for its fulfillment. It is unconditional, and will come to pass fully in all of its aspects.

2. It is an ongoing, eternal covenant, making possible the promises of verse 34.

3. I will make (v. 31) - future tense. The covenant was first announced here and provisions of the covenant were given here, but it was not made here. It was signed by God at the cross with the blood of His Son. As Jesus said, This cup is the new testament [New Covenant] in my blood, which is shed for you (Luke 22:20). Also, Hebrews 8:1-10:18, esp. 9:14-16.

4. Though the signing of the covenant opened the door for the creation of the church just fifty days later, it was not made with the church. It was made with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (v. 31), that is, the whole literal nation of Israel.

Aspects of the Jeremiah 31 passage are further affirmed in Isaiah 53:3; 59:21; 61:8-9; 66:22; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 16:60; 34:25-31; 37:26-28; and Romans 11:26-27.

The key provisions of the New Covenant are as follows:

  • Its chief provision is the assurance of the salvation of all Israel, which Paul reiterated in Romans 11:26: all Israel will be saved. This refers to every Jew that is alive at the end of the Great Tribulation (Isaiah 59:1-21; Ezekiel 20:38; Zechariah 12:9-10; 13:1,8-9).

  • Whereas the Mosaic Covenant provided for the covering of sins through the sacrifices of animals offered in faith, this covenant provided for the forgiveness of sins (v. 34).

  • God promised to indwell all Israeli hearts by the Holy Spirit (v. 33), empowering them to do the will of the Lord, which the Mosaic Covenant did not provide for (Romans 1:8-4).

  • Israel will be blessed with great material blessings. Isaiah 61:8; Jeremiah 32:41; Ezekiel 34:25-27.

  • Just as the Mosaic Covenant constituted a code of conduct for believers, so the New Covenant contains a code, written in the pages of the New Testament. This code of conduct is called the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus in Romans 8:2, and the Law of Christ in Galatians 6:2. It replaced the Mosaic Code, including the Ten Commandments, and covers all issues of morality, ethics and practice that are of concern to God in the present Church Age.

It is through the salvation of all Israel that God's promise to Abraham, in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3), will finally be fulfilled (Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23; Romans 11:15). Indeed, its fulfillment has already begun (Matthew 28:19). While it is true that the crucified and risen Messiah has already touched the lives of numerous families of the earth, He has not yet touched all. At the time of this writing, the Joshua Project of the U.S. Center for World Mission holds that there are 6,760 unreached people groups out of 16,467 people groups in the world, about 41%.5

All teachers and commentators that I am aware of see the New Covenant promises of Jeremiah 31 as extending from verses 31 through 34. I do not understand that. It seems to me that they extend at least through verse 37.

Verses 35-37:

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 will 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.

What God promises here is that He will never turn His back on Israel as His people no matter what. Consistent with all previous unconditional covenants, as well as with verses 31-34, it is an unconditional promise of Israel's physical survival and state of chosenness; and the promise to bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse him is the chief means by which God insures its fulfillment in the realm of Israel's relations with people and nations. For example, in Genesis 12:1-17, God cursed Pharaoh, and in Genesis 12:1-2, He cursed Abimelech, for taking Abraham's wife Sarah into their harems. If either of these situations had continued, Isaac, Abraham's child of promise, would never have been born, the nation of Israel would never have been born, and all of God's plans to bless Israel and the nations through Israel would have been cut off.

Isaiah gives the same assurance of national continuance: "For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "so your offspring and your name will endure" (66:22).

XII. THE MOSAIC COVENANT

We've just considered the four unconditional covenants. Now we'll consider the conditional Mosaic Covenant.

A. THE NATURE OF THE MOSAIC COVENANT

The Mosaic Covenant extends between Exodus 20:1 and Deuteronomy 28:68. It consists of six hundred and thirteen commandments, ten of which God gave to Moses at Sinai, and six hundred and three of which He imparted to him during the subsequent wilderness wanderings, all of which comprise a single code of Law (James 2:10). It was a conditional covenant, conditioned on Israel's obedience to God's commands, its conditionality being expressed in promises of blessings for obedience and judgments for disobedience (Exodus 15:26; 19:3-6).

B. THE BREAKING OF THE COVENANT AND ITS RESULTS

Israel broke the Mosaic Covenant (Jeremiah 31:32). It is instructive to note the various definitions of the Hebrew word translated they broke. The word is הֵפ֣רוּ, he-phe-ru'. According to Strong, it is based on the verb parar, "A primitive root; to break up (usually figuratively, that is, to violate, frustrate): - any ways, break (asunder), cast off, cause to cease, clean, defeat, disannul, disappoint, dissolve, divide, make of none effect, fail, frustrate, bring (come) to nought, utterly, make void." In other words, Israel violated the covenant and thereby caused it to cease, disannulled it, dissolved it, voided it. From the time that they broke it, it became inoperative.

Four things are to be noted:

1. The Mosaic Covenant was rendered inoperative at the cross (Romans 10:4, Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:13-14, Hebrews 7:18, Hebrews 10:19), including the Ten Commandments (2 Corinthians 3:2-11). This means that not one of its commands needed to be obeyed from that time forward. The substance of a particular command may appear in some other form in one of the covenants that are still operative, but would need to be obeyed as a commandment of that covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant. The command for a Jew to circumcise is a good example. It appears in the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. A Jew today is under no obligation to circumcise because it is a Mosaic command, but is under obligation to circumcise because it is an Abrahamic command as the Abrahamic Covenant is still operative. Nine commandments of the Ten Commandments (the Sabbath commandment being the exception) appear in different forms in the New Covenant, and must be heeded as New Covenant "commandments" whether implied, exhorted or commanded.

A great number of Mosaic commandments do not appear in any form in any of the other covenants, and do not need to be obeyed.

2. God replaced the Mosaic Covenant with the New Covenant: 31. I will make a new covenant . . . 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke (Jeremiah 31:31-32).

When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear (Hebrews 8:13). Now this is a "replacement theology" many would do well to adopt!

3. In keeping with Deuteronomy 28-29, Israel's breaking of the covenant resulted in the worldwide scattering of virtually the entire nation, and in all the troubles she's experienced for the last 1900 years in the Diaspora (Dispersion) and in the Land.

4. Though many of the promises of the unconditional covenants were also promised in the Mosaic Covenant, those promises that have not yet been fulfilled cannot be mediated through the Mosaic Covenant as it is no longer operative.

C. THE BREAKING OF THE MOST CRITICAL COMMANDMENT

Without a doubt, the most critical Mosaic commandment that Israel broke is stated in Deuteronomy 18:15. Moses said to the people, 15. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

There are many parallels between the lives of Moses and Jesus, but what makes Jesus the only possible prophet like [Moses] is that, of all humanity, only Moses and Jesus spoke with God face to face (Moses: Exodus 33:10-11; Deuteronomy 34:10. Jesus: Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; John 5:19; 6:46; 8:38; 10:15,30; 14:10). Indeed, the scattering of the nation to the four corners of the earth did not take place until Israel rejected their Messiah though he proved Himself in accordance with detailed prophecies and Pharisaic benchmarks. After His rejection, He declared in the hearing of the Pharisaic and scribal leaders of Israel,

37. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39. For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!"

~ Matthew 23:37-39 ~
Verse 39b is quoted from Psalm 118:26

Instead of being gathered by Him as He longed to do, they were scattered; and their house (Temple, בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, Beit HaMikdash, "House of the Holy") was indeed left to [them] desolate when the Romans destroyed it in 70 A.D., and crushed the First Jewish Revolt, slaughtering, enslaving and scattered multitudes out of the Land. The second and final wave of the worldwide scattering took place when the Romans crushed the Second Jewish Revolt in 135 A.D.

Why was this the most critical commandment? The chief purpose of the Law was to drive Israelites to Messiah (Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 3:24-25). When Israel rejected their Messiah, they broke the very purpose of the Law.

D. WHY DID GOD INSTITUTE THE COVENANT?

God, in His foreknowledge, knew that the covenant would become inoperative. Why, then, did He institute it?

The reasons may be summarized as follows:

  • to provide a code of conduct for the nation and the individuals in it.

  • to serve as the barrier of the dividing wall between Israel and the other nations. (Ephesians 2:14-15)

  • to keep Israel distinct from the other nations (Leviticus 11:44-45; Deuteronomy 7:6;
    14:1-2);

  • to sequester them for ministry to the world; passively through God's actions on their behalf, and actively through prophesying to other nations (as Jonah to Nineveh), writing the Hebrew Scriptures and bringing forth Messiah.

  • to reveal His holiness.

  • to train them in holiness.

  • to provide occasions for corporate worship.

  • to drive Israelites to saving faith in Messiah (Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 3:24-25).

God's holiness was revealed when He delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses with "terrible" preparations and signs and wonders; when He judged Israel for their idolatry and licentiousness at the foot of the Mount; by the Levitical blood sacrifices for sin, worship and thanksgiving; when He spoke with Moses from the Tent of Meeting and the Tabernacle; by His miraculous provision for Israel in the wilderness; when He judged Israel at other times in the wilderness for their unbelief and rebellion; when He judged them by Canaanite nations when they turned from Him; when He delivered them from those nations when they returned to Him; when the Shechinah glory filled the Temple in the days of Solomon; when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among them, and other ways.

E. THE BARRIER OF THE DIVIDING WALL

The barrier of the dividing wall was subservient to some of the other reasons. Israel was kept distinct from the other nations not only by the Code of Law that she had to follow, but also because the Gentiles needed to climb the barrier if they wanted to partake of Israel's covenantal spiritual blessings.

The nations surrounding Israel were idolatrous and practiced child sacrifice, temple prostitution and other abominations; but God chose Israel to be a people holy in heart and practice and to serve as His channel of blessing to the nations. To bring about that holy state, God maximized their set-apartness by erecting the barrier of the dividing wall (Ephesians 2:14-15), which minimized the influx of idolatrous Gentiles.

The entire Law was the barrier of the dividing wall, and constituted a burden that a Gentile would not bear without good reason: laws of Sabbath observance, sacrifice and giving, dietary laws, proscriptions against cutting the corners of the beard and of mixing linen and wool in the same garment, the necessities of wearing fringes on garments and the putting on of phylacteries, and numerous other such laws: 613 in total. If a Gentile truly believed in the God of Israel, his faith would move him to observe the Lord's commandments (per James 2:18). He would renounce his idolatrous ways, be circumcised and take on the burden of the Law on pain of the (sometimes severe) penalty of the Law. In this manner, the barrier of the dividing wall maximized the likelihood of his leaving his idolatrous ways and detestable practices on the other side of the wall.

The barrier
was like monastery walls in the Dark Ages which, in the best of cases, isolated monks for prayer, the copying and study of the Scriptures, and as a base of operations for good works and evangelism; like modern immigration laws and oaths of allegiance that insure a country's integrity; like fences and walls around military training camps that isolate soldiers for training in the winning of battles and wars.

For fifteen hundred years, God used the barrier of the dividing wall as a means of preserving and consecrating the nation; but because it lacked the power to cleanse their hearts and transform them into a nation after His own heart, He could not fulfill His promises by means of the Law (Romans 8:3). By virtue of the barrier, Israel has had periods of turning to the Lord, but they were brief and did not include all Israel; has blessed many families of the earth through her production of the Scriptures and the bringing forth of Messiah, but not all families. What is yet lacking cannot and will not be fulfilled on the basis of an inoperative covenant, but on the basis of the four unconditional covenants that will remain operative until the end of time. In the same vein, the status of Israel's chosenness cannot, did not, does not and will not stand on the platform of the Mosaic Covenant, but does stand solidly and solely on the rock of the unconditional covenants.

XIII. THE IRREVOCABILITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL COVENANTS

The Abrahamic, Land, Davidic and New covenants are unconditional, and are therefore irrevocable. Context makes it plain that Paul was speaking of national Israel when he said, the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). When God was about to effect His mighty deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage as promised in Genesis 15:13-14, He announced Himself as the Maker of the Covenants with their fathers: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6,15,16; 4:5). As surely as He fulfilled His promise to deliver Israel, He will also perform that which is as yet covenantally undone for the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes (2 Corinthians 1:20).

XIV. "The election of Israel is irrevocable"

Romans 9:3-4: 3. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Messiah for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh 4. who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons.

To Israel belongs - present tense - the adoption as sons. God still calls Himself Israel's Father (Jeremiah 31:9), and calls Israel His children (Deuteronomy 14:1), His son (Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1), His first-born (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9).

Paul declared,

1. I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. . . . 28. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are - present tense - beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29. for the gifts and the calling of God - on Israel - are irrevocable.

~ Romans 11:1,27-29 ~

Israel's status as an elect, chosen people is irrevocable. They are no less chosen today in their unbelief than they were in the days of the judges and kings when they fell into idolatry so often; and as He dealt with them then, so is He dealing with them today for the purpose of completing the work that He started in them. What Paul said to the church in Philippians 1:6 is also true of Israel: He who began a good work in you will perfect it . . . .

3. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4. May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "That You may be justified in your words, and prevail when You are judged."

~ Romans 3:3-4 ~

God's promises to Israel are unconditional. He will keep His promises despite her unbelief. God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! The election of Israel is irrevocable.

XV. THE COVENANTS STILL BELONG TO ISRAEL


3. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated
from Messiah for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh 4. who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5. whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Messiah according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

~ Romans 9:3-4 ~

Paul did not say that the covenants . . . and the giving of the Law belonged - past tense - to Israel, but belongs to them - present tense. The covenants refer to the four unconditional covenants, and the giving of the Law to the Mosaic Covenant.

Romans 11:27: "This is - present tense - My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." The quotation is actually a summarization of Isaiah 59:21 and Jeremiah 31:34, each of which declares the eternality of the New Covenant. Not only does the context of the Romans passage reveal the current operative state of God's New Covenant with Israel, but also that it is still uniquely Israel's.

None of the five covenants have been transferred out of Israel. They still belong to her.

XVI. THE APPLICABILITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL ISRAELI
COVENANTS
TO GENTILES AND THE CHURCH

Our Statement reads, "The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations."

Even before God divided mankind between Israel and the Gentiles (Genesis 12:1-3), the salvation of believers of all of earth's ages was assured when, in the days of Adam and Eve, God promised that the woman (Miriam or Mary) will bear a Seed or Descendant (Jesus) (Genesis 3:15); but once there was an Israel, the covenants that God made with them contained soteriological provisions for the Gentiles both for their sakes and for Israel's. Paul labored to provide an accurate understanding of this interplay. We must therefore labor to understand.

The applicability of the Jewish covenants to Gentiles during the Church Age, and to the church, is fourfold:
1. Ephesians 3:6: The Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

13. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.

~ Ephesians 2:13-15 ~

13. Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" 14. in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

~ Galatians 3:13-14 ~

Now that the barrier of the dividing wall has been broken down, Gentiles may be partakers along with Israel of the salvation that was promised to Israel without first coming under the Law (Acts 15:1-19; Galatians 5:1-6), but simply by faith in Messiah. In addition, just as God promised Israel that, upon their national salvation, the Spirit will dwell permanently within all of their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), in our present Church Age saved Gentiles may be partakers along with saved Jews of the permanent indwelling of the Spirit. By the blood of Christ, Jews and Gentiles are now equally fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, and are also on an equal footing with one another in the body of Christ, being fellow heirs and fellow members of the body.

2. God opened the covenants to the Gentiles so that, as a result of their salvation, individual Jews might be saved, and that His covenantal promise to save all of Israel might be accomplished.

Romans 11:11: I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Surely God did not bring salvation to the Gentiles merely to gain leverage with Israel! He brought them salvation because He loved them (John 3:16) and to take from among the Gentiles a people for His name (Acts 15:4); yet, what is ignored in virtually every church is that God also brought salvation unto the Gentiles, for to provoke [Israel] to jealousy. This denial must be repented of, and instruction from the pulpit must follow. What the verse means in practical terms is that saved Gentiles must be godly examples to Jews, bless them in practical ways, and share their faith with them in a loving way so that they would fervently desire the salvation and blessedness of spirit that these godly Gentiles have. Could it be that the great kindnesses shown by the Sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25:31-40 to the persecuted Israel of the Great Tribulation (My brethren, v. 40) will prepare their hearts to receive their Messiah when He reveals Himself to them? According to Romans 11:11, I cannot conclude otherwise.

3. Romans 11:25-26: 25. a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved.

When God has brought the full number of Gentiles that He has preordained into the body of Messiah, the Rapture will occur, and He will set the stage for the salvation of all Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation.

4. All that God has promised to the church will surely come to pass for them by virtue of the unconditional covenants of which she is now partaker because The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). Though Paul declared that true specifically of Israel, the principle applies to the church, as well. All of Romans 9-11 emphasizes that point, and the passage must be viewed in the context of the promises of Romans 8 and the exhortations of Romans12 to be understood. Just as God will bring about the full blessings that He promised to a disobedient people in the unconditional covenants that He made with them (Romans 9-11), so will He bring about the full blessings and promises that He promised to His sinning church in Romans 8 and elsewhere.

XVII. THE CHOSENNESS OF ISRAEL IN THE CHURCH AGE

The chosenness of Israel during the Church Age may be seen in the following aspects:

A. JEWS ESTABLISHED, INSTRUCTED, AND LED THE CHURCH

It was a Jew, Peter, who was given the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19) to open the door of the church to the world's three people groups as categorized by religious content:
1. Jews and proselytes, who had the Scriptures (Acts 2);
2. Samaritans, a mixed Jewish-Gentile race who excised and edited the Torah to their taste, held to an eclectic Mosaic-pagan belief system, and worshiped in an unauthorized Temple that they built on Mt. Gerizim, (Acts 8:14-17); and
3. Gentiles, generally pagans who did not have or hold to the Hebrew Scriptures (Acts 10).

It was also Jews who instructed and led the church until the scattering of Israel out of the Land (Acts 15:1-31; Romans 3:22; Ephesians 2:22).

B. THE GOSPEL IS TO GO TO THE JEW FIRST

Just as the Lord brought the Gospel to Israel before He sent it to the nations (Matthew 10:6; 15:24; 28:19), even so during the present Church Age the Gospel is to be brought to the Jew first (Romans 1:16), which commission Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13), carried out wherever he went, and again when he returned, which commission we ought to follow, as well, because it is necessary (Acts 13:46).

XVIII. THE CHOSENNESS OF ISRAEL IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION

a. israel blesses the nations

During the Great Tribulation just prior the Kingdom, Israel will bless all the families of the earth when 144,000 Israelite men will complete the evangelization of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (Revelation 7:1-9, esp. v. 9).

B. GOD BLESSES ISRAEL

As the Great Tribulation draws to a close, God's promise to Abraham, I will bless you, will likewise be fulfilled in a major way when all Israel will be saved (Zechariah 13:1; Romans 11:26).

The salvation of all Israel will be the climax of the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 13:1): It will lead to the Lord's return (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39; Revelation 19), the binding of Satan (Revelation 20:2), and the establishment of the millennial Messianic Kingdom (Psalm 2:6-8; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 20:4).

XIX. "God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant
in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual"

Inasmuch as the foundational Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional, all promises in it and its subservient Land, Davidic and New covenants that have not yet been fulfilled will meet their complete fulfillment in the Kingdom.

They may be summed up as follows:

1. Messiah Yeshua will reign as King over the whole earth (Psalm 2:6,11-12; Isaiah 2:2-4), and the church, having returned with Messiah in their glorified bodies, and the resurrected Tribulation saints in their natural bodies, will reign with Him (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:4-6); resurrected King David will reign over Israel (Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24); and the twelve apostles will rule under David over the twelve tribes (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:28-30).

2. The Earth of the Kingdom will be a marvelous renovated planet (Isaiah 2:4; 11:6-9; 65:17-25).

3. Israel, still God's chosen, will be preeminent among the nations (Deuteronomy 15:6; 28:1,13; Isaiah 14:1-2).

4. As to spiritual blessings, all Israelites that will be born to those who entered the Kingdom in their natural bodies will be saved. These include the children of the all Israel that was saved and of the resurrected Old Testament saints (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). The children of the Sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25:31-40 will have the opportunity to receive salvation (Isaiah 49:6) and worship in the Millennial Temple (Isaiah 66:18-24).

5. As to special spiritual service, King Messiah will minister from Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6,11-12; Isaiah 2:2-4), and Israel will be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), the priests of Jehovah . . . the ministers of our God (Isaiah 61:6), Messiah's first wave of ministry to the world (Zechariah 8:20-23).

6. Church saints in their glorified bodies will soar far above physical concerns, and all the saved in their natural bodies will enjoy abundant physical blessings.

7. All physical blessings promised to Israel will be fulfilled in that nation. Jesus will already have vanquished her enemies (Zechariah 12:2-9); and now, at the beginning of the Millennium, He will gather them from the four corners of the earth to their promised Land (Isaiah 11:11-12; 43:5-7; Jeremiah 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18; 37:15-23; Mark 13:27) where they will live within its full promised borders in peace and complete, unharassed, unworried enjoyment of it (Deuteronomy 30:5; Isaiah 27:12; 30:23-26; 35:1-2; 65:21-24, etc.). They will erect a new Holy Temple in the Holy City in which they and the saved of all earth's ages will worship the Lord under a new code of Law: Kingdom Law (Ezekiel 40:1-43:27; 44:1-46:24).

XX. A RECAPITULATION OF THE OUTWORKINGS
OF ISRAEL'S CHOSENNESS

To summarize and highlight, God chose Israel:

  • to show forth His holiness and glory to the nations;

  • to be the first recipients of God's Word in all ages since Abraham;

  • to prophesy to other nations;

  • to bring forth the Scriptures;

  • to bring forth Messiah;

  • to establish, instruct and lead the early church;

  • to complete the evangelization of the world;

  • to be the only nation to be blessed with total national salvation at any point or span of history;

  • to be Messiah's first wave of ministers to the world in all ages since Abraham.

XXI. AFTERWORD

Numerous prophecies containing hundreds, if not thousands, of details have already come to pass literally and in detail from Israeli enslavement to Egypt (prophesied in Genesis 15:13-14) to the first worldwide regathering of Israel to the Land in 1948 (Ezekiel 20:33-38; 36:22-24) to the conquest of the Temple Mount in 1967 (necessary for certain Tribulation events to occur). Of insurmountable note is the coming of a literal Messiah in fulfillment of at least thirty detailed prophecies.

In light of such fulfillments, it is a certainty that all prophecies and covenantal promises that are not yet fulfilled will also be fulfilled literally and in detail. There is no ground for treating them as poetic fantasies or as language to be interpreted any way other than literally. Israel means Israel, Gentiles means Gentiles, the church means the church, the promised Land means the geography promised to literal Israel, and so on.

Let us remember the Golden Rule:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.1

Amen.

1. Cooper, Dr. David. Biblical Research Society. http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page7.html.

2. There is much evidential support that 1 and 2 Peter were written to Jewish believers.

  • Peter was the apostle to the Jews, not the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8), who were Paul's field of ministry (Romans 11:13).

  • He wrote to the dispersion (1 Peter 1:1. Young's Literal Translation). Israel was scattered into the Gentile world. The Greek term for the dispersion is diaspora, "the Diaspora" being the technical term for the Jews outside the Land that is still in common use today.

  • In 1 Peter 2:12 and 4:3-4, he contrasts the recipients of the letter with the Gentiles.

  • 1 Peter 2:9 addresses a nation. Many other passages call Israel a nation, but there is no evidence from other passages that the church is a nation.

  • Peter quotes the Old Testament copiously. For example, 1 Peter 2:9 contains references to Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6, 10:15; Isaiah 42:16, 43:20, and 61:6. Matthew and the author of Hebrews did the same because they wrote specifically to Jews.

  • 1 Peter was written in 63 AD, just before the Roman siege of Jerusalem. 4:17-18 is consistent with the Book of Hebrews, which warns Jewish believers to get out of Jerusalem and be physically saved.

3. Fire and smoke were forms in which God appeared in His Shechinah glory in Old Testament times (Exodus 3:2; 13:21; 19:18; Isaiah 4:5; 6:4, etc.).

4. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 021: The Eight Covenants of the Bible, pdf, 4.

5. The Joshua Project, http://www.joshuaproject.net.

Concerning Israel:
The Chosenness of Israel
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2010
All rights reserved
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ ISRAEL ~

3. REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

1. I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. . . . 28. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29. for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

~ Romans 11:1, 27-29 ~

CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION
II. RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL

III. CONTRARY CLAIMS
A. SUPERSESSIONISM OR REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
1. GOD HAS REJECTED ISRAEL
a. "May It Never Be!"
b. Romans 11:1-5
c. Romans 11:11-15
2. THE CHURCH HAS REPLACED ISRAEL AS GOD'S COVENANT PEOPLE
3. DANGERS OF SUPERSESSIONISM OR REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
B. CONCEPTS AND SCRIPTURES IN QUESTION
1. "SPIRITUAL ISRAEL," "SPIRITUAL JEW"
2. ROMANS 2:23-29
3. ROMANS 4:11-17
4. ROMANS 9:1-8
5. ROMANS 11:15-29
6. GALATIANS 3:6-9,29
7. GALATIANS 6:15-16
8. PHILIPPIANS 3:3
9. HEBREWS 12:22-24
10. 1 PETER 2:9-10
C. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
D. TWO COROLLARY QUESTIONS

1. "DO YOU BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE YOU'RE JEWISH?"
2. THE POETIC USE OF "ISRAEL" AS THE CHURCH
ENDNOTES


I. INTRODUCTION

The burden of these studies is to provide scriptural support for the claims in our doctrinal statement and to respond to contrary claims.

We have seen in Who Is Israel? Who Are the Jews?, that literal Israel and the literal church are not one and the same, that the church has not been joined to Israel, and that neither Jews nor Gentiles ever forfeit or lose their national identities for any reason. We have also seen that the overwhelming Bible-based definition of "Jew" is one who is a bloodline descendant of the Israeli patriarchs, and that that is the meaning of "Jew" that we will retain in this series - the meaning that Jesus held to when He used the term. In The Chosenness of Israel we have seen that, among the nations of the Earth, God has chosen Israel for divinely ordained purposes and privileges, and that her chosenness remains until the end of time. The materials contained in those studies constitute an essential foundation for consideration of the material in our present study, and it is respectfully urged that they be studied or reviewed before proceeding.

Part 3, which we are now engaged in, is of an apologetic nature: It is a defense against contrary claims. The chief arbiter will be the Word of God and, when called for, documented extrabiblical facts.

II. RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL

We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a Kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . .

III. CONTRARY CLAIMS

We will be addressing two classes of claims. The first is found perhaps exclusively in non-messianic Christian circles and has to do with Israel's being replaced by the church, or the church being Israel in some sense, and comes under the heading of Replacement Theology or Supersessionism, the latter of which means that the church has superseded Israel. The second is found perhaps exclusively in messianic circles and has to do with the claim that all believers are actually descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whether they know it or not, and comes under the heading of the The Two-House or Ephraimite Doctrine.

The biblical identity of a Jew has been examined in Who Is Israel?, and the fact that God has not rejected Israel as His covenant nation has been addressed in The Chosenness of Israel; yet, the claims of Replacement Theology and Two-House need to be responded to directly. We will address Replacement Theology in this study, and The Two-House or Ephraimite Doctrine in an accompanying study.

A. SUPERSESSIONISM OR REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

The meaning of this doctrine is that the church superseded or replaced Israel as God's covenant people. The three claims presented under this heading are:
1. God has rejected Israel,
2. the church has replaced Israel as God's covenant people, and
3. the church is therefore spiritual Israel.

If God has rejected Israel, then that clears the way for a replacement people; and if that people is the church, then the church may be considered spiritual Israel. It is also conceivable that some who believe that Israel is still God's covenant people would consider the church spiritual Israel because it is composed of people whose spirits have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We will now hold the light of Scripture to these claims and possibilities.

1. GOD HAS REJECTED ISRAEL

The meaning of this claim is that God rejected Israel as His covenant people when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah and delivered Him up to Pilate to be crucified.

a. "May It Never Be!"
Has God rejected Israel? Paul responded to this question four times by declaring emphatically, May it never be! Did he mean, "I hope that it will never happen!"? If he did, then that would mean that Israel had not been rejected when he said it. But what exactly did he mean?

The first two times are in Romans 3:4,6:

1. Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2. Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4. May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED." 5. But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) 6. May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?

The point that Paul was making was that, despite the fact that some Jews didn't believe in God, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God in the matter of keeping the promises He made with Israel that are contained in the unconditional covenants that He made with them. The unbelief of some Israelites will not nullify the faithfulness of God. May it never be! In plain English, "Absolutely not!" God is not unrighteous so as to break His word, is He? May it never be! Absolutely not!

The next two times it was used are in Romans 11:1,11:
Romans 11:1: I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!
Romans 11:11: I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be!
These two verses will be examined more closely; but for now, note that in all four instances Paul worded his question in such a way as to call for a negative response.

Paul used the expression in other contexts that show exactly what he meant. Some examples:
Romans 6:15: What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Absolutely not!
Romans 7:7: What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! [Absolutely not!] On the contrary. . . .
Romans 9:14: What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! Absolutely not!
Galatians 2:17: Is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! Absolutely not!

In these examples, also, Paul's question is rhetorical and calls for a negative answer; but just in case his readers would have any doubt, he supplies the answer: May it never be! Absolutely not!

Paul follows his May it never be! in Romans 11:1 with, for I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. . . . What is his point? His answer is in verses 2-5, which begins, God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. God did not reject Israel as His covenant people even during the terrible time of Israel's idolatry in the days of Elijah, which God knew about ahead of time; and the proof of it is the fact that God saved seven thousand Israelites who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Similarly, even after Israel's rejection of Messiah, which God also foreknew, God did not reject Israel as His covenant people, and the proof of it is the fact that God had reserved a faithful remnant unto Himself in Paul's day, of which Paul presents himself as an example.

To sum up, we have noticed two proofs that God has not rejected Israel as His covenant people:
1. By the very meaning of May it never be! in the way that Paul used it in different contexts.
2. By the fact that Paul was a saved Israelite.

Nevertheless, we'll address several passages that need clarification.

b. Romans 11:1-5

1. I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3. "Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE." 4. But what is the divine response to him? "I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL." 5. In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.

Paul is comparing the situation of his day with that of Elijah's. Just as God had reserved seven thousand men to be faithful to Him in Elijah's day, so He reserved for Himself a remnant, a minority of Israelites in Paul's day, of which Paul identifies himself as a member. Paul's logic is thus: If Israel was not rejected in Elijah's day though believers among them were in the minority, so she is not rejected in Paul's day though believers among them were in the minority. Paul's conclusion applies today, as well, for both Paul and we are in the same Church Age.

c. Romans 11:11-15

11. I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! 13. But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14. if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. 15. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

If Israel has not been rejected, then what is meant by Israel's stumbling in verse 11, fall in verse 11, and their rejection in verse 15?

Just preceding this passage, it is recorded, David says, "LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM (verse 9), and the nature of the stumbling block can be determined from 9:31-33:

31. but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.32. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33. just as it is written, "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

The stumbling block that was laid in Zion, that is, Israel, was Jesus. Israelites generally attempted to attain righteousness through the works of the Law and, on a national level, stumbled over the message that what was required for righteousness was faith in Jesus. They stumbled over the message of faith in Him, but they did not fall: They did not become rejected by God.

But what of their rejection in verse 15? They were rejected from seeing the Messianic Kingdom established in their day. This cleared the way for the Church Age during which God is taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name (Acts 15:14). As Paul said of Israel in 11:12, their transgression is riches for the world.

Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!

What will their fulfillment be based on? Their acceptance by God: 15. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Their acceptance by God will be based on their national reception of Jesus as their Messiah, as Jesus Himself said, For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!" (Matthew 23:39). Israel will receive Him as their Messiah, all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26), and He will then return and establish the Kingdom.

To restate it in sequence, Israel stumbled over the fact that faith in Messiah was required for righteousness, not the works of the Law. Her rejection of Christ led to their rejection from seeing the Kingdom established at that time, not to their being rejected as God's covenant people. This cleared the way for the Church Age after which they will receive Christ and be accepted by God. On the basis of their salvation Christ will return and establish His Kingdom on Earth.

They did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! Absolutely not! This is further developed just ten verses later: 25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery - so that you will not be wise in your own estimation - that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved.

The fact that God has not rejected Israel cuts the legs out from under the claim that the church has replaced Israel. Replacement Theology, then, really does not have a leg to stand on.

2. THE CHURCH HAS REPLACED ISRAEL AS GOD'S COVENANT PEOPLE

Supersessionism or Replacement Theology holds that God rejected Israel because of their rejection of Christ and then received the church as His covenant people in place of Israel because of its reception of Christ. As God's sole covenant people, the church is now the sole possessor of the covenant promises that God transferred over to it from Israel.

This matter has been dealt with at length in The Chosenness of Israel, and will be dealt with only summarily here:
1. God has not rejected His people [Israel] (Romans 3:4,6; 11:1,11)
2. to whom - still - belong - present tense - the covenants (Romans 9:4)
3. which are unconditional,
4. which renders
a. the covenants non-transferable, and also renders
b. the gifts and the calling of God on Israel irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

Because of these things, the church could not possibly have replaced Israel as God's covenant people.

The church is a people of God, but it has not replaced Israel, which is also a people of God. Since the Day of Pentecost God has been orchestrating an interplay between the two for the benefit of both, the outworking of His divine purposes, and the glorification of His Name. All of this is explained in The Chosenness of Israel.

3. DANGERS OF SUPERSESSIONISM
OR REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

1. It misrepresents God as one who breaks His promises. If God breaks His promises, then how is one to know his salvation is secure (which is the whole point of Romans 9-11)? How may the church know that God will not find a people to replace it for the great sins it has committed?

2. Interpretation of Scripture based on bias. Notwithstanding those who honestly misunderstand passages of Scripture, huge portions of Scripture have been consciously misinterpreted by some who cannot countenance the thought of the Jews still being God's chosen people among the nations.

3. From at least as early as the second century, anti-Semitic statement have been made by church leaders, and virulent anti-Semitic policies and campaigns have been launched on the basis of the claim that God had rejected Israel because of her rejection of Jesus. Even today, major denominations that hold to this belief promote economic divestiture from Israel and find fault with her every move despite the fact that she is surrounded by implacable and voracious wolves.

4. Instead of provoking Israel to jealousy for the Messiah that the church is meant to do (cf. Romans 11:11), the anti-Semitism that has resulted from Replacement Theology has provoked Israel to revulsion at the thought of Jesus being their Messiah.

5. Because of the anti-Semitism that this doctrine has engendered through the centuries, only a very small number of Jews have joined the church. This has resulted in a lack of understanding or misunderstanding of much of Scripture because Jews, who are generally more familiar with the Hebrew language, Mosaic and rabbinic law and Jewish culture than are Gentiles, were not present to explain.

6. Two Covenant theology was formulated by Franz Rosenzweig after World War I, but Replacement Theology prepared the way for its broad adoption after World War II:

[Two Covenant theology] was put forward by "Christian" theologians, Protestant and Catholic, in place of and as a critique of the traditional supersessionism in the post-Holocaust era. In their view, supersessionist thinking contributed to the Holocaust and two covenant theology was a necessary adjustment. . . . [T]hey adopted the concept and promoted it in the post Holocaust era.1

The key feature is the belief that Jews and Christians are related to God separately by distinct covenants. Christianity offers a covenant relationship to God for Gentiles through Jesus The Christ. Judaism offers a covenant relationship to God for Jewish people through Torah. . . . Quite consistent with this, those who take this dual-covenant view of Judaism and Christianity have repudiated Christian evangelism and mission to Jewish people not just as an affront, but as a theological violation of God's covenant with Israel.2

Here is a classic case of error begetting error with the offspring being more insidious than the parent. Contrary to Replacement Theology, Two Covenant holds that Israel is in a favored relationship with God and therefore repudiates the evangelism of Jews!3

B. CONCEPTS AND SCRIPTURES IN QUESTION

There are perhaps a dozen key passages that are used to support the various claims of Replacement Theology. We will examine them one at a time in the sequence in which they appear in Scripture, and then draw conclusions. The nature of the issues at hand compel me as a Jew to declare to you that I continually appeal to God to empower me in such a way that my analysis of Scripture will never be driven by an outcome that would be favorable to Jews, but on the basis of fair and reasonable analysis applied in an objective manner. I humbly appeal to my readers - Jew and Gentile alike - to take the same approach.

1. "SPIRITUAL ISRAEL," "SPIRITUAL JEW"

Following on the heels of believing that the church has replaced Israel as God's covenant people are the beliefs that the church is spiritual Israel and its members are spiritual Jews. The reasoning is thus: Since Israel is a people by natural generation, then the church, which is a people by regeneration of human spirits by the Holy Spirit, it may validly be referred to as spiritual Israel, the true Israel, the New Israel, the Israel of God, or some similar title, and its members as inward Jews, spiritual Jews, Israelites of God, or some similar title.

Since, according to Paul, the church has absolutely not replaced Israel, then none of these designations are valid. Nevertheless, scriptures that are used to support this contrary claim must be examined.

As a preliminary concern, let us see whether or not Scripture uses the word "spiritual" in reference to a believing Gentile being a spiritual Jew.

We will examine all the phrases in the entire Bible in which "spiritual" is used, and then draw some observations: spiritual gift or spiritual gifts (Romans 1:11; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 14:1,12; 1 Timothy 4:14); the Law is spiritual (Romans 7:14); spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1); spiritual things (Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 19:11); spiritual thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:13); spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:13); he who is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:15); spiritual men (1 Corinthians 3:1); spiritual food (1 Corinthians 10:3); spiritual rock, spiritual drink (1 Corinthians 10:4); if anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual (1 Corinthians 14:37); spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44); the spiritual [body] is not first (1 Corinthians 15:46); you who are spiritual (Galatians 6:1); every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3); spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16); spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12); spiritual wisdom (Colossians 1:9); spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5).

OBSERVATIONS:
1. "Spiritual" is never used in conjunction with one's race.
2. "Spiritual" is never used in reference to a believing Gentile being a spiritual Jew.
3. In reference to people, "spiritual" is used only of one who has a mature walk in the Lord irregardless of whether he or she is a Jew or Gentile: he who is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:15); spiritual men (1 Corinthians 3:1); if anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual (1 Corinthians 14:37); you who are spiritual (Galatians 6:1).

According to scriptural usage, even a believing Jew whose walk is not mature should be not called a spiritual Jew. How then can the church be called spiritual Israel and all of its members spiritual Jews?

We are dealing with terms here, but the concepts underlying the terms will be examined further.

2. ROMANS 2:23-29

23. You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24. For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. 25. For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26. So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27. And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

29. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly. Does the passage indicate that a believing Gentile is an inward Jew?

There are three keys to understanding verses 23-29:
1. The passage is a continuation of a major theme in the chapter, that blessings and cursing from God fall upon people irregardless of whether they are Jew or Gentile, but are contingent upon the state of their hearts before God.
2.
Verses 23-25 show that Paul is addressing Jews who did not believe.
3. According to Pharisaic Judaism, the dominant Judaism of the day, all Jews who were circumcised would enter the prophesied Messianic Kingdom, and those who were not would not.

Verses 25-27 is a refutation of that Pharisaic belief. What Paul is saying is that Jews and Gentiles who conform to God's requirements will enter the Kingdom, and Jews as well as Gentiles who do not conform to God's requirements will not, because it is inner circumcision, the circumcision of the heart, that determines entry, not outward.

What he is saying in verses 28 and 29 is, "Jews were called out by God to be a people circumcised in heart; but though you are Jews by birth, you are not Jews who are true to your calling because you are not circumcised in heart. To be a true Jew, you must be one inwardly."

Verses 23-29 may be summed up as follows:
1. It is the inward circumcision that counts, not the outward, for entry into God's Kingdom.
2. Neither Jew nor Gentile whose heart is not circumcised will enter God's Kingdom.
3. Both Jews and Gentiles whose hearts are circumcised will enter God's Kingdom.
4. To be a Jew who is true to his calling as a Jew he must be circumcised inwardly.

There is no reference in the passage to Gentile believers being inward Jews. The circumcision of the heart renders one inwardly righteous, not inwardly Jewish. This is consistent with what we've already seen in Part 1: Nicolas, who was a proselyte to Judaism and was outwardly circumcised, and had come to believe and was inwardly circumcised, was still not called a Jew in any sense, but a proselyte (Acts 6:5).

3. ROMANS 4:11-17

11. and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12. and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. 13. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15. for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16. For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17. (as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

As has been shown, it was the covenant that God made with Abraham that laid the foundation for the New Covenant, which is applicable today and by which all who have faith in Christ are counted righteous before God: So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham (Galatians 3:9). In this sense Abraham is the father of all Jews and Gentiles who have faith in Christ; but verse 12 says that Abraham was the father of circumcision to both Jews and Gentiles who follow in the steps of Abraham's faith, and also contains the phrase our father Abraham. This again raises the question: Does a Gentile's faith make him an inward Jew?

The passage is addressing the matter of Abraham's being the father of all who have faith, an inward matter, and is summed up by the quote, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU." Now, if Paul was concerned about a matter of the heart, why did he refer to MANY NATIONS if he was trying to convey that all who are of faith are inward Jews: one nation? The only way his reference could make sense is if he meant that Abraham was the father of faithful Jews, Arabs, Chinese, etc. He was not even thinking of a believing Gentile being an inward Jew.

Paul explained that Abraham's outward circumcision was a sign and a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised. He didn't say that it changed Abraham's race inwardly or outwardly. To be the father of circumcision, then, means to be the fountainhead of those who bear the sign and seal of the righteousness of. . . faith, which is the circumcision of the heart, which Paul didn't say changes one's race inwardly or outwardly. Americans say, "George Washington is the father of our country," but I'm an American and my name is not Washington. As Americans are recipients of the heritage of which Washington is considered the fountainhead, so all those who are of the faith of Abraham are recipients of the heritage of the faith of which Abraham, humanly speaking, is considered the fountainhead. This is the sense in which the passage uses father, and it is still a commonly used expression in the Hebrew language today. There is therefore no basis in the passage for referring to a believing Gentile as an inward Jew.

Again we'll draw a parallel from the natural realm: Abraham was the father of eight sons (Genesis 16:1-16; 21:1-3; 25:1-2), but only one, Isaac, was in the covenant line. Furthermore, Isaac fathered two sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-26), but only one was in the covenant line: Jacob, whose name became Israel; and none of the sons of Abraham's other seven sons were in the covenant line. It's plain to see, then, that not all whom Abraham fathered physically are Israelites or Jews. In a parallel manner, not all whom Abraham fathered by virtue of the faith of Abraham are inward Jews. Paul makes just this kind of comparison in Romans 9:7, as we'll see right now.

4. ROMANS 9:1-8

1. I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2. that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4. who are Israelites. . . . 6. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7. nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED." 8. That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

Such translations as For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel (New American Standard) and For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel (American Standard Version) seem to say that those who are of the nation of Israel do not constitute the entire nation, but that there are those who are not of the nation who are also part of the nation. But consider these literal translations: all the [ones] of Israel, these [are] not Israel (Analytical-Literal Translation); not all those of Israel are Israel (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible); not all who are of Israel are these Israel (Young's Literal Translation). They start out with the entire nation then eliminate some. They speak of subtraction, not of addition or replacement. Well, is Paul saying that Israel is added to, or subtracted from? If one needed to judge on the basis of translations, he should lean toward literal ones; yet, this is not conclusive. Another thing that needs to be considered is this: Is the statement speaking of people being added or subtracted physically or inwardly?

Paul's dissertation begins with verse 1, and verses 1-5 show that Paul's focus is on the salvation of literal Israelites. His dissertation continues on through the end of the chapter where he reiterates the same concern, and then carries it over to chapter 10. Paul's overriding concern in 9:1-8 is the salvation of Israelites.

In verse 7, Paul tells us that not all of Abraham's physical descendants will be in the covenant line, and uses that as a parallel to the situation within Israel, that not all Israelites are children of God by means of salvation (verse 8). The point is strengthened by verse 31-33:

31. but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33. just as it is written, "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

In verse 31, Paul is speaking of literal Israel, which Mt. Zion in Jerusalem represents. HE in Israel WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED, and he in Israel who does not believe in Him will be disappointed. Again, he is distinguishing between Jews who believe and Jews who do not. They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel means that not all who are physical Israelites are true to the nation's call to have faith in God.

The unbroken focus since verse 1 has been on Israelites, and it continues unbroken through verse 13. Gentiles who are saved are not brought into the picture until verse 23. They are called MY PEOPLE in verse 25, but no mention is made of their being Israelites in any sense. We know that the church is a people of God: for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). They are MY PEOPLE as members of the church, not as members of Israel.

There is no support in the passage for thinking that believing Gentiles are inward Jews or that the church is the new Israel.

5. ROMANS 11:15-29

We've covered the relevant points of Romans 11:1-5 and 11-15, and we'll begin with verse 15 here so we can see the flow of Paul's thoughts in an unbroken manner:

15. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16. If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. 17. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18. do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." 20. Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21. for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? 25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." 28. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29. for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Many hold that believing Gentiles, being the wild olive branches, are grafted into Israel, being the olive tree. Based on that premise, they also hold that believing Gentiles are joined to Israel on the basis of their faith and are therefore inward Jews; and extrapolated to the church, the church is Israel inwardly, the New Israel, etc. Can these claims validly be derived from the passage?

The key question we need to answer is, Is the tree Israel?

Let us consider:
1. Paul is speaking to Gentiles: But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles (verse 13).
2. He is speaking
about literal Israel (verses 15, 25-27).
3. He identifies his Gentile audience as being cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and [being] grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree (verse 24).
4. Israel is the owner of the cultivated olive tree. Verse 24: their own olive tree.
5. Believing Jews (verse 17) and believing Gentiles (verse 20) are presently attached to the cultivated olive tree. (Per verse 17, some Jewish branches were broken off, not all.)
6. Gentile believers are partaker with believing Jews of the rich root of the olive tree (verse 17).
7. The tree is a place of blessing, providing nourishment to those who are attached (verse 17).

Is the tree Israel?

It cannot be for the simple reason that Israel owns the tree, and Israel is not owned by itself in any sense.
a. If Israel is taken to be physical Israel as the passage calls for it to be taken, Israel does not own physical Israel; God owns physical Israel: My people and My inheritance, Israel (Joel 3:2).
b. If Israel is taken to represent believers as some take it, Israel does not own believers; God owns believers: 1 Peter 1:18-19. 18. knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19. but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless,
the blood of Christ. (Also 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:22-23.)

Since the tree is not Israel in any sense, the passage does not state or imply that believing Gentiles are grafted into Israel in any sense, and it cannot be said on the basis of the passage that they have been added to Israel in any sense, or that they are physical or inward Jews, or that the church is Israel physically or inwardly, or the New Israel, or some similar entity, or that it has replaced Israel.

Not only can the tree not be Israel, it cannot be Christ, the Gospel, or the church either, because Israel does not own any of them either. What, then, is the cultivated olive tree?

It is something that Israel owns that can bring great blessing to Jews and Gentiles alike. Now, Israel owns the unconditional covenants that God has made with them: to whom belongs. . . the covenants (Romans 9:4); yet, it cannot be the covenants per se because Israelites cannot be broken off from the covenants as the covenants are unconditional. God's covenants with Israel as a nation are still in effect though blessings are presently withheld from the nation as a whole until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and. . . all Israel will be saved (verses 25-26). What can be derived from the passage without contradicting any Bible fact is that the cultivated olive tree is the place of spiritual blessing of which both Jewish and Gentile believers are partaker on the basis of their faith (Ephesians 3:6), and which is rooted in the unconditional covenants that God has made with Israel.

Another element in the passage also refutes the idea that the church has replaced Israel. Consider verse 26, All Israel will be saved. If Israel is taken literally as context calls for it to be taken, then God has not rejected Israel and the church could not have replaced her; but if Israel is taken as the church, then the statement could read, "All the church will be saved," which would be an absurdity because the church is composed solely of people who are already saved, and Paul had gotten writer's cramp over a three chapter span to climax with an absurdity.

6. GALATIANS 3:6-9,29

6. Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU." 9. So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. . . 29. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.

And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham's descendants. With this passage, Replacement theologians visit a line of thinking that we have addressed before, that believing Gentiles are inward Jews by virtue of their faith; but as we have pointed out,
1. In the physical realm, a believing Gentile was never called a Jew except in the single instance of Esther 8:17, and never by Jesus or His apostles.
2. Not even all of Abraham's physical descendants are Jews.
3. "Descendant" never carries the meaning of a change of race of one's body or spirit.
4. As in other languages, "descendant" or "son" is often used in Hebrew to designate a follower of someone or some cause, or of one who bears the characteristics of someone or something. In Mark 3:17, Jesus called James and John "Sons of Thunder." He didn't mean that thunder had fathered their bodies or their temperaments, but that their temperaments were like thunder. In Matthew 23:31, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees, You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. He was not saying that they were direct physical descendants of those who murdered the prophets, but that they had the unbelieving and murderous attitude of those who murdered the prophets. Some other instances in which Scripture uses "sons" in like manner are: the sons of the Kingdom (Matthew 8:12);the sons of this age (Luke 20:34); sons of Light (John 12:36); sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2); sons of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:5).In none of these instances was "sons" used to denote an outward or inward change of race.
5. In Romans 4:16-17, which deals with the centrality of the believer's faith in salvation, Paul's quotation of A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU militates against the claim that all believers are inward Jews, which would make them one nation inwardly.

In light of these observations, it cannot rationally be concluded that the passage supports the idea that all who are Abraham's descendants by virtue of faith are inward Jews.

7. GALATIANS 6:15-16

15. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The claim that we are addressing here is that the believing church is the Israel of God, which claim is based on the presupposition that them and the Israel of God refer to the same group, the church. Is the claim valid?

A reading of the letter shows that the issue that Paul was addressing is that some Galatian Gentiles were being influenced by certain Jewish teachers who taught that placing oneself under the Law of Moses, which was accomplished by the rite of circumcision, was a necessary prerequisite for salvation by faith in Jesus. Paul's response in verse 15 may therefore be paraphrased, "Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, or whether or not you put yourself under the Law, is irrelevant. What counts for salvation is being made a new creation" which, he says repeatedly in the same letter, is by faith apart from the Law (2:16; 3:2,5,11, etc.). 2:16: knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus. He then follows 6:15 by saying, 16. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and [kai] upon the Israel of God.

Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes:4

Covenant Theologians1 must ignore the primary meaning of kai which separates the two groups in the verse in order to make them both the same group. . . .

In a recent work, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, former professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, . . . makes the following observation: "[T]he least likely view among several alternatives is the view that the Israel of God is the church."2

Johnson rejects [that view] on three grounds. The first is for grammatical and syntactical reasons for which there are two.3 The first is that this view must resort to a secondary or lesser meaning of kai. . . .

An extremely rare usage has been made to replace the common usage, even in spite of the fact that the common and frequent usage of and makes perfectly good sense in Galatians 6:16.4

Second, Johnson points out that if Paul’s intention was to identify the them as being the Israel of God, then the best way of showing this was to eliminate the kai altogether. . . . The very presence of the kai argues against the them being the Israel of God. As Johnson notes, “Paul, however, did not eliminate the kai.”5

The second ground for rejecting this view is for exegetical considerations, which deals with context and usage. Concerning usage, Johnson states:

There is no instance in biblical literature of the term Israel being used in the sense of the church, or the people of God as composed of both believing ethnic Jews and Gentiles. Nor, on the other hand, as one might expect if there were such usage, does the phrase ta ethné (KJV, “the Gentiles”) ever mean the non-Christian world specifically, but only the non-Jewish peoples, although such are generally non-Christians. Thus, the usage of the term Israel stands overwhelmingly opposed to the [view that the Israel of God is the church].

The usage of the terms Israel and the church in the early chapters of the book of Acts is in complete harmony, for Israel exists there alongside the newly formed church, and the two entities are kept separate in terminology.6

. . . . As for context, Johnson observes:

[In Galatians,] the apostle makes no attempt whatsoever to deny that there is a legitimate distinction of race between Gentile and Jewish believers in the church. . . . There is a remnant of Jewish believers in the church according to the election of grace. . . . Paul does not say there is neither Jew nor Greek within the church. He speaks of those who are “in Christ." . . . Paul also says there is neither male nor female, nor slave nor free man in Christ. Would he then deny sexual differences within the church? Or the social differences in Paul’s day? Is it not plain that Paul is not speaking of national or ethnic difference in Christ, but of spiritual status? In that sense there is no difference in Christ.7

The third ground for rejecting this view is theological:

. . . there is no historical evidence that the term Israel was identified with the church before A.D. 160. Further, at that date there was no characterization of the church as “the Israel of God.” In other words, for more than a century after Paul there was no evidence of the identification.8

Johnson’s summary concerning the rejection of the view [that the Israel of God is the church] is:

. . . it seems clear that there is little evidence - grammatical, exegetical, or theological - that supports it. On the other hand, there is sound historical evidence against the identification of Israel with believing or unbelieving Gentiles. The grammatical usage of kai is not favorable to the view, nor is the Pauline or New Testament usage of Israel. Finally, . . . the Pauline teaching in Galatians contains a recognition of national distinctions in the one people of God.9

1. Covenant theologians. "The Covenant theory does retain Israel as such to the time of Christ's death. The church is thought to be a spiritual remnant within Israel to whom all Old Testament blessings are granted and the nation as such is allowed to inherit the cursings." (Chafer, Dr. Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology, [Kregel Publications, 1976], 4:311.)

2. Toussaint and Dyer, Pentecost Essays, "Paul and 'The Israel of God': An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study" by S. Lewis Johnson, pp. 181-182. Quoting William Hendriksen, Exposition of Galatians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1868), p. 247, and D. W. B. Robinson, "The Distinction Between Jewish and Gentile Believers in Galatians," Australian Biblical Review 13 (1965): 29-48.
3. Ibid., p. 187-188.
4. Ibid., p. 188.
5. Ibid., p. 188.
6. Ibid., p. 189.
7. Ibid., p. 190.
8. Ibid., p. 191.
9. Ibid., p. 191.

Another significant point: In Galatians 2:7-9, the circumcision and the uncircumcision are twice identified as the Jews and the Gentiles respectively, and verse 15 of Galatians 6 uses exactly the same terms, providing rather strong evidence that the blessing pronounced is upon two groups: them, being believing Gentiles, and the Israel of God, being believing Jews.

Conclusion:
1. The church is not the Israel of God.
2. Them refers to believing Gentiles.
3. [T]he Israel of God refers to believing Jews.

8. PHILIPPIANS 3:3

3. for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

Here again we are faced with the question: Since the circumcision refers to the Jews (Romans 15:8, Galatians 2:12, etc.), and the true circumcision is said to glory in Messiah, can we not conclude that, since the church glories in Messiah, she is the true Israel?

As always, we need to look at the verse in context:

2. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 3. for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

A reading of the chapter shows that the evil workers are the same group that troubled the Galatians: Judaizers, Jewish teachers who taught that adherence to the Law was a necessary prerequisite to salvation. They are the false circumcision, which does not mean that they are not Jews, but means "mutilators,"5 whose end is destruction (v. 19).

Writing to Gentiles, Paul says, we are the true circumcision. All Jews and Gentiles who have undergone that circumcision. . . which is of the heart (Romans 2:29), a circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:11), that is, have been crucified with Messiah (Galatians 2:20), regenerated, are the true circumcision.

Consistent with what we have seen in part 1 of Part 3, being circumcised in heart does not render a Gentile an inward Jew, nor the church the new Israel. It renders such individuals and the church inwardly righteous, that is, in standing before God, as it says in Colossians 1:30: But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

Philippians 3:3 lends no support to the idea that the true circumcision refers to the church.

9. HEBREWS 12:22-24

22. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23. to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24. and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

By equating Mount Zion with the church in verse 23, this passage has been used by at least one influential theologian6 to conclude that the church is Israel. In other words,

you = Mount Zion = Israel = the church.

Is his conclusion valid? Both context and syntax demand that it is not.

As to context:
1. You have come to would have to mean, "You have become." That's quite a leap linguistically, and context demonstrates that it is groundless. The writer was telling his readers not to return to the bondage of the Law because they had come to the glorious liberty and present and future blessing of being in Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
2. You does not refer to the entire church, but to the writer's audience, Jewish believers. (Note the continuous and concentrated references to the Hebrew Scriptures throughout the letter.)

As to syntax: Note how the passage is cleanly divided between place names and persons or groups of persons. The first division contains place names only: Mount Zion, the city of the living God, and the heavenly Jerusalem, and they are one and the same: the holy city, new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from God to rest upon the new Earth (Revelation 21:1-22:5). Then comes the second division, which contains the names of persons or groups of persons only: the church, God, the spirits of the righteous made perfect (the Old Testament saints), and Jesus.

The first division names the place, the second division names the persons or groups of persons who will dwell in the place. This makes three things clear:
1. [They] have come, figuratively speaking, to the place where the named persons will dwell, the new Jerusalem that is still in Heaven and will not touch down to Earth for at least for another thousand years.
2. Mount Zion cannot be a metaphor for the church because the church will be among those who will dwell in it.
3. If one equates Mount Zion with the church, then he must also equate it with God, the Judge of all - which would equate the church with God!

The notion that the church has become Israel cannot be squeezed out of the passage.

10. 1 PETER 2:9-10

9. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10. for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

Many who read this passage conclude that Peter is saying that the church is now Israel. Their conclusion is based on this line of thinking:
1. In Deuteronomy 7:6 and other Old Testament passages, God referred to Israel as chosen, a people for His own possession, and similar terms.
2. Peter is now referring to the church in the same terms.
3. Therefore, the church is now the true Israel or the new Israel.

Is this line of thinking valid?

To begin with, there is overwhelming evidence that Peters letters are not addressed to the church, but to Jewish believers:

  • Peter was the apostle to the Jews, not the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8), who were Paul's field of ministry (Romans 11:13).

  • He wrote to the dispersion (1 Peter 1:1. Young's Literal Translation). Israel was scattered into the Gentile world. The Greek term for the dispersion is diaspora, "the Diaspora" being the technical term for the Jews outside the Land that is still in common use today.

  • In 1 Peter 2:12 and 4:3-4, he contrasts the recipients of the letter with the Gentiles.

  • 1 Peter 2:9 addresses a nation. Many other passages call Israel a nation, but no passage refers to the church is a nation. The church is a people called out from many nations.

  • Peter quotes the Old Testament copiously as in the passage at hand, which contains references to Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6, 10:15; Isaiah 42:16, 43:20, and 61:6. Matthew and the author of Hebrews did the same because they wrote specifically to Jews.

  • 1 Peter was written in 63 AD, just before the Roman siege of Jerusalem. 4:17-18 is consistent with the Book of Hebrews, which warns Jewish believers to get out of Jerusalem and be physically saved.

1 Peter was not written to the church, but to Jewish believers. Therefore, the passage does not teach that the church is Israel in any sense.

C. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Of the fourteen key passages that we have examined that are used by many to conclude that the church has replaced Israel as God's covenant people, or is Israel in some sense, or that all believers are Jews in some sense, we have not found one that passes the test of careful scrutiny. None provide any justification for believing that God has rejected Israel as His covenant nation, or that the church has replaced or been added to Israel in any sense. Therefore, the church cannot validly be called inward Israel, spiritual Israel, New Israel or any such entity, nor can its members be considered inward Jews or some similar entity. Nor can any of its members be called a spiritual Jew unless that member is a physical Jew who has a mature walk in the Lord.

D. TWO COROLLARY QUESTIONS

1. "DO YOU BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE YOU'RE JEWISH?"

A pastor asked me that question. It is not uncommon for such suspicions or accusations to be hurled at Jewish believers. To assuage such suspicions, let it be noted that there are many highly credentialed true blue Gentiles who also believe it, such as:

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary:

A vital distinction is drawn by the Apostle between Israel after the flesh and that portion of Israel within Israel who are saved. Those who are saved are styled "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16), and the statement that "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6) is a reference to the same distinction. The use of these passages to prove Israel and the Church to be the same is deplored in the light of the truth which these Scriptures declare.7

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, whose credentials are noted above: "In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there remains persistent support for the contention that the term Israel may refer properly to Gentile believers in the present age. . . ."8

2. THE POETIC USE OF "ISRAEL" AS THE CHURCH

May "Israel" be used poetically of the church in the writing of a song, the fashioning of a colorful sermon, or the like, as has often been the case? Linguistically, anything may be used metaphorically for anything else. Someone may refer to me as a tube of toothpaste: Squeeze me hard enough, and everything that's inside will come out. But when one is dealing with biblical terminology, one must be extremely careful to not inadvertently undermine Bible truth. Speaking of the church as Israel will do exactly that.

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me,
in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

~ 2 Timothy 1:3 ~

ENDNOTES

1. Quoted from an email of August 19, 2010 to the author by Dr. Craig A. Blaising, Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
2. From "The Future of Israel as a Theological Question," by Dr. Craig A. Blaising. Presented to The National Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 19, 2000, Nashville, Tennessee.
3. For a plain and simple refutation of this doctrine from Hell, see Contemporary Doctrinal Issues in Jewish Salvation, above
4. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Israelology (Tustin: Ariel Ministries Press, 2001), 691-696.
5. Dr. Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978).
6. Loraine Boettner. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit., 34.
7. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Dr. Systematic Theology (Kregel Publications, 1976) 4:48.
8. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit., 692.


Replacement Theology
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2010
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ ISRAEL ~

4. THE EPHRAIMITE
OR TWO-HOUSE DOCTRINE

7. For the overseer must. . . 9. [hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

~ Titus 1:7,9 ~

CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

The Ephraimite or Two-House doctrine contradicts truths we've studied regarding the salvation of Gentiles and the nature of the church as well as this excerpt from the Statement:

We believe the Abrahamic Covenant. . . promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would. . . bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations.

According to much attestation1 a major belief in the Two-House or Ephraimite movement is that every member of the body of Messiah is actually a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whether they know it or not, Jewish believers being descendants of the southern kingdom of Judah, and Gentile believers being descendants of the northern kingdom of Israel, also referred to in Scripture as Ephraim (Isaiah 7:2:5,9,17; Hosea 9:3-16). Hence, the designations Ephraimite and Two-House. What this means is that God is NOT saving Gentiles (as the term is commonly understood)!

It is not the goal of this writer to parse every aspect of Two-House. I will simply refute what appears to be this most dangerous aspect of its doctrine.

Preliminarily, that Christ's purpose in coming was to offer salvation to all people of all nations without exception is a plain biblical truth. It was declared by God to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed, and is being fulfilled in our Church Age in the train of Jesus' command, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). It commenced in our Church Age on the Day of Pentecost with the salvation of proselytes (Gentile adherents to Judaism) as well as Jews (Acts 2), and broke into the non-proselyte Gentile world with the salvation of Cornelius in Acts 10. The plain and obvious teaching of Scripture is that the Gospel has been sent out to all people - including those without a drop of Jewish blood in their veins - and that multitudes of them have and will be saved. Revelation 5:9: And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

To put any doubt to rest as to whether or not there are true, bona fide "non-Jewish" Gentiles in Messiah, this writer will offer evidence to the affirmative in addition to the preceding paragraph; but first, a look at some of the dangers of Two-House as expressed by Steve Shermett, former president of the AMC:2

II. DANGERS OF THE DOCTRINE OVERALL

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
Six Reasons I Believe the Movement is Unhealthy

1. It is a new type of "replacement theology". If everyone is Jewish, no one is Jewish. Replacement theology holds that the church has replaced Israel spiritually. The Two House movement holds that the church has replaced Israel physically: The ten "lost tribes" are the Gentile believers of today! It seems that they think (erroneously) that Jewish believers are descendants of Judah; yet they don't realize that Jewish believers themselves have no clue as to which tribe they are descended from.
2. All mistranslation or misinterpretation of Scripture is cause for concern: . . . as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2Pe 3:16, MKJV).
3. The Two House movement diminishes the uniqueness of the nation which God has called, namely, Israel.
4. Two House doctrine adds further difficulty and confusion within the Messianic movement.
5. Two House harms the perception of our authenticity as Jews, and therefore, our witness among the Jewish people.
6. It violates the principles of 1 Cor. 7:17-20, ISV:

Nevertheless, everyone should live the life that the Lord gave him and to which God called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone circumcised when he was called? He should not try to change that. Was anyone uncircumcised when he was called? He should not get circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but obeying God's commandments is everything. Everyone should stay in the calling in which he was called.

I would add two more:
7. By virtue of association, it makes all in the messianic movement look like idiots. (Some might think that's not a bad idea, but I think that God sees things differently!)
8. It reduces the credibility of that which is true in our doctrinal distinctives and acceptable to God in our practices.

III. REFUTATION

In addition to passages already cited, the author offers the following as refutation of the belief that all believers in Messiah are descendants of Ephraim or Judah:

a. Gentiles Were Saved Before the Cross

Melchisedec was contemporary with Abraham, Rahab was a Canaanite, and Ruth was a Moabites. All were Gentiles who were saved prior to the cross and prior to the formation of the northern kingdom called Ephraim.

b. Evidences from Zechariah 8

Zechariah spoke the word of the LORD in Jerusalem to the returnees of both houses of Israel from Medo-Persian captivity:

8. Oh house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. . . . 22. So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. 23. 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."

The house of Israel was addressed as well as the house of Judah. Though, as with any nation, some of its members lost their identities among the foreign nations in which they resided, no tribe was "lost." Peter wrote to the dispersion, (1 Peter 1:1. Young's Literal Translation), "the Diaspora (the Dispersion)" being the technical term for Jews outside the Land, still in use today. James wrote to the Twelve Tribes who are in the dispersion (James 1:1. Young's Literal Translation); and in Luke 2:36 we meet Anna of the tribe of Asher praying in the temple in Jerusalem.

Also, by comparing verses 8 and 23, we see that the LORD recognized members of both houses as Jews, and distinguished them from the nations. While the prophesied event takes place in an age subsequent to the Church Age, this distinction alone destroys the notion that the saved Gentiles of today are Ephraimites. The same distinction is made in Revelation 7:1-9: Israelites are the preachers, and a great multitude. . . from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues are the Gentiles who will be saved by the Israelite preachers.

So, Gentiles without a drop of Jewish blood were saved prior to the Church Age, and will be saved subsequent to the Church Age: during the Tribulation period, as shown by Revelation 7:1-9, and during the Millennium, as shown by Zechariah 8:22-23. Why would God cut them off from the possibility of salvation in the intervening Church Age - right after Jesus died for the sin of the world (John 1:29)!

c. No Apostolic Mention or Explanation

If God did cut off Church Age Gentiles from salvation, why would He not have one of His apostles explain such a dreadful departure in writing? Why does the New Testament never explain that Gentile believers are of the ten northern tribes, or call them Ephraimites? If Paul was the apostle to the Ephraimites, why didn't he say so? What he did say was that he was an apostle of Gentiles (Romans 11:13. Also Romans 15:16, 1 Timothy, 2:7, etc.)

d. The New Testament Distinguishes
Between Church Age Jewish and Gentile Believers

Just a few examples: Nicholas, a Gentile convert to Judaism who came to believe in Messiah, was not called an Ephraimite or Israelite, but a proselyte (Acts 6:5). Paul refused to circumcise Titus, a Greek, but circumcised Timothy, who had a Jewish parent (Acts 16:1-3; Galatians 2:3). Gentile believers were called wild olive branches, and Jewish believers were called natural branches (Romans 11:17,24).

e. Key Terms in the Greek

In Matthew 28:19. Jesus said, Make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). According to Strong's, the Greek for nation is ethnos, and it means "a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): - Gentile, heathen, nation, people."

Revelation 5:9: You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. The word for nation here is also ethnos. Also, the word for tribe means "an offshoot, that is, race or clan: - kindred, tribe."

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). The word for world is kosmos, and, according to Strong, it means ". . . the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants. . . .)" - and that includes more than just the descendants of the man Israel!

f. James' Application of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15

To resolve the Acts 15 controversy over the necessity of circumcision for Gentile salvation, James quoted the Septuagint version of Amos 9:11-12:

16. After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17. so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name. - Acts 15:16-17

James applied the passage to the issue of Gentile salvation in his day and age. The point he was making to his Jewish listeners was that God had made a way so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name. How could anyone interpret this as referring solely to Ephraimites in the Diaspora!

IV. CONCLUSION AND COMMENT

Gentile believers without a drop of Jewish blood in their veins are being saved in this day and age. It is pathetic to have to prove it! The foolishness of teaching that God has excluded Gentiles from salvation in the Church Age belies either a profound incompetence in biblical exegesis or a willingness to sacrifice the plain teaching of Scripture on the altar of some unholy spirit.

V. THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE
TWO-HOUSE/EPHRAIMITE DOCTRINE

To summarize the AMC position on Two-House overall, I herein present the addendum to our doctrinal statement:

One More Item: Two House/Ephraimite Doctrine

We have been asked our position regarding the new/old Two House/Ephraimite doctrine and the related speculation about the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel supposedly getting 'lost' and then showing up in the USA. At both recent AMC Conferences our President Steve Shermett presented seminars on these new twists on old false doctrines. Here is our [AMC website] Editor's quick summary of what was presented:

1. The Ten Northern Tribes were taken captive by Assyria. After a hundred years Babylon defeated Judah with it's 2 Tribes and defeated Assyria and took all their captives, including the Hebrews of the Ten Tribes. So there was a reunion of sorts, albeit in captivity, of all the 12 Tribes. After more years, Persia defeated Babylon and guess what they did? They let everyone go home, including the members of all 12 Tribes, together. The New Testament records members of several of the Northern Tribes back in Israel in the First Century. So, they weren't "lost", they were reunited with the rest of the Hebrew people, and the myth of "10 Lost Tribes" is the product of poor Bible exegesis or an intentional effort to invent a scenario that names some group or church as descendants of a tribe.

2. Scripture uses the terms Jewish and Israel interchangeably, trying to invent some difference between the terms is really "reading back" into the Scriptures a recent false teaching. A good example of the interchangeability is Romans 11:1, where Rabbi Sh'aul (known generally as Paul) calls himself an "Israelite" of "the Tribe of Benjamin". Of course, Benjamin was part of Judah.

3. Gentile Believers in Messiah Yeshua are beloved of God and do not need to invent, imagine or make up a false Jewish/Hebrew/Israel lineage to be top-ranked "players" in the family of God. God loves Gentiles who love the Messiah. Selah.
3

ENDNOTES

1. Samples: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Two_House/two_house.html, http://www.mashiyach.com/Misc/twohouse.htm, www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm, http://www.messianicassociation.org/ezine03shermett.htm, http://www.mjaa.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctrl=1022&page=NewsArticle&id=5143&security=1. An online search for "Two-House Ephraimite" will turn up much more material.
2. Steve Shermett, "The Two House or Ephraimite Movement," Shofar 3 of the Association of Messianic Congregations, May, 2006, http://www.messianicassociation.org/ezine03shermett.htm.
3. Board of Directors of the Association of Messianic Congregations, "One More Item: Two House/Ephraimite Doctrine," http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.


The Ephraimite or Two House Doctrine: A Critique
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2010
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ ISRAEL ~

5. WHERE ARE THE PROMISED
PROMISED-LAND BLESSINGS?

Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover
the second time with His hand The remnant of His people.

~ Isaiah 11:11 ~

CONTENTS

I. A GATHERING FOR JUDGMENT
II. A GATHERING FOR MESSIANIC BLESSING
III. SUMMARY

The world was stunned when the modern State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 after eighteen hundred years of Jewish dispersion and persecution around the world and after Satan's most successful bid at annihilating them. No such thing had ever been heard of. Historians were baffled. The phenomenon broke every principle of history pertaining to such things. "Surely, this was the return of Israel to the Land as prophesied in Scripture," mused many, and many still do - yet, there is this puzzlement: Where are the Messianic blessings so lavishly and copiously promised in the Hebrew Scriptures in such passages as these?

1. And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. 2. Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. 4. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

~ Micah 4:1-4 ~

1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

~ Isaiah 11:1-10~

1. The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus. 2. It will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. . . . 10. And the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

~ Isaiah 35:1-10 ~

Where are these blessings? Where is Messiah? Where is the peace?

The key to the mystery is in the very next two verses:

11. Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12. And He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

~ Isaiah 11:11-12 ~

The Lord will again recover the second time . . . the remnant of His people . . . from the four corners of the earth.

The second time. There will be two worldwide gatherings of Israel - not one - and two distinct classes of Scriptures attest to this. One speaks of a gathering for judgment, and the other of a gathering for Messianic blessing.

I. A GATHERING FOR JUDGMENT

Various passages prophesy a worldwide gathering of Israel in unbelief for the purpose of judgment, among which are Ezekiel 20:33-33; 22:17-22; 36:22-24 and Zephaniah 2:1-2.

33. "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. 34. "I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; 35. and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36. "As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you," declares the Lord GOD. 37. "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38. and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.

~ Ezekiel 20:33-38 ~

Verse 34 indicates a worldwide gathering of Jews. The only worldwide gathering of Jews to date culminated in the modern State of Israel, born on May 14,1948. In verses 34-35, God says that He will gather Israel with wrath poured out and enter into judgment with [them]. First, the wrath poured out; then, another judgment. The wrath poured out had to have been the Holocaust, if not the centuries of persecution that preceded it, as well; but a more severe judgment awaits Israel, namely, the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) in the second half of the Great Tribulation. During this period, two-thirds of the world's Jews will be killed (Zechariah 13:8) as opposed to the "piddling" one-third during the Holocaust.

But there is a divine purpose in this:

And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, "The LORD is my God."

~ Zechariah 13:9 ~

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

~ Zechariah 12:10 ~

And their lament will be,

3. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

~ Isaiah 53:3-6 ~

Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. (Hosea 6:1)

And thus, All Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).

The first worldwide gathering in 1948 was in preparation for the future judgment of unbelieving Israel, which will result in the universal salvation of her survivors, which is the climactic fulfillment of God's New Covenant that He made with Israel:

33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

~ Jeremiah 31:33-34 ~

Now comes the worldwide gathering for blessing.

II. A GATHERING FOR MESSIANIC BLESSING

8. "I will whistle for them to gather them together, for I have redeemed them; and they will be as numerous as they were before. 9. When I scatter them among the peoples, they will remember Me in far countries, and they with their children will live and come back. . . . 12. and I will strengthen them in the LORD, and in His name they will walk," declares the LORD.

~ Zechariah 10:8-12 ~

17. Therefore say, Thus says the Lord GOD, "I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." 18. When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it. 19. And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20. that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.

~ Ezekiel 11:17-20 ~

And Messiah will dwell among them and be their King, as is declared in the Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 11:1-10 passages, above.

Some other prophesies of a worldwide gathering in faith for Messianic blessing are Jeremiah 23:3; 31:8-10; Ezekiel 20:40-41 and Zephaniah 3:20.

III. SUMMARY

Much of Israel is now gathered in the Land in preparation for judgment during the Great Tribulation, which will result in the purging of the world's Jews of its rebels and the salvation of all the rest. The Lord will then gather the entire saved nation to the Land, where they will enjoy the prophesied Messianic blessings for the thousand year reign of Messiah, and Israel will suffer no more; for after the thousand years comes the eternal ages when the saints of all ages and all the holy angels will live in the blessed presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever.

Lord, hasten that day!

Where Are the Promised
Promised-Land Blessings?
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2011
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

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~ ISRAEL ~

6. THE FAITHFUL REMNANT OF ISRAEL

1. I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite . . . . 5. In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time
a remnant according to
God's gracious choice.

~ Romans 11:1,5 ~

CONTENTS

AMC STATEMENT
I. "REMNANT" IN SCRIPTURE
II. WHY "THE FAITHFUL REMNANT OF ISRAEL"?
III. KEY POINTS ALREADY COVERED
IV. KEY PASSAGES
A. ISAIAH 7:3
B. ISAIAH 65:6-9
C. ROMANS 9:27-29
D. ROMANS 11:1-5
E. REVELATION 7:2-8
V. THE ENTIRE FAITHFUL REMNANT SINCE ABRAHAM
WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM

VI. THE REMNANT IN THE KINGDOM
VII. SUMMARY
VIII. AN APPLICATION

AMC STATEMENT

Jewish believers in Yeshua have a unique twofold identity. They are the spiritual Remnant of physical Israel and at the same time are part of the body of Messiah.

I. "REMNANT" IN SCRIPTURE

A remnant is a remainder or part left over from the whole. Though different words are used from translation to translation and often within the same translation to convey the concept of the faithful remnant within Israel, "remnant" is the word most often used in the King James, the American Standard, the New American Standard, and perhaps other translations, and that is the word we will use here.

"Remnant" is used in Scripture in various contexts. For example, it is used in reference to:

  • inanimate objects: The remnant that remains of the curtains of the tent. . . .(Exodus 26:12, NKJV);

  • families: And death will be chosen rather than life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family. . . . (Jeremiah 8:3, NAS);

  • Gentile nations: They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped. . . . (1 Chronicles 4:43, NAS);

  • Israel: They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach. . . . (Nehemiah 1:3, NAS).

When it is used in reference to Israel, it is not always used in reference to the faithful remnant. It is also be used in contexts of faithlessness and judgment and in neutral contexts. Its use in Nehemiah 1:3, just referenced, simply refers to the descendants of those left in Judea after the rest had been taken captive. This study will focus on the faithful remnant of believers within Israel.

Before we proceed, one aspect of the Statement needs to be addressed. It declares that Jewish believers, who are the spiritual remnant of physical Israel, are members of the body of Messiah, or Christ. The Statement was written with today's Jewish believers in mind; and in that frame of reference it is absolutely true. However, one cannot apply the Statement to all Jews of all times because whereas the body of Christ began to form at Pentecost and will cease to form at the Rapture, Jewish believers span the ages from Abraham until the end of the Millennium. Therefore, the Statement does not apply to the great number of pre-Pentecost and post-Rapture believers who are also part of the remnant. All Jewish believers from Abraham until the end of the Millennium are members of the faithful remnant of Israel, but not all members of the remnant are or will be members of the body.

II. WHY "THE FAITHFUL REMNANT OF ISRAEL"?

Revelation 5:9 informs us that every nation will eventually have its remnant of believers:

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Yet, God has ordained that the faithful remnant within His chosen nation be unique. Believers within Israel share much common ground with believers of every nation; but because of the uniqueness of Israel's remnant it warrants special focus. In fact, "the remnant of Israel" is the exact designation for God's faithful Israelites in Isaiah 10:20, Jeremiah 31:7, Micah 2:12 and Zephaniah 3:13. There were Gentile believers in ancient times, such as Melchisedec, Rahab and Ruth (Genesis 14:18; Ruth 1:16; Hebrews 11:31), yet God specifically speaks of the faithful remnant within Israel. The big picture is this: God has ordained that the faithful remnant of Israel take center stage in the outworking of His purposes for Israel's chosenness - which are not only for the blessing of Israel, but of the world.

III. KEY POINTS ALREADY COVERED

Much has been covered concerning the faithful remnant within Israel (though it has not always been named as such in our discussions), particularly in our Salvation series, the Church series, and in various studies to date in our Israel series. We will list key points already covered, and then move on to new territory. Discussions relative to the following points may be found via links to the aforementioned series in our Site Map or Home Page..

Key points already covered:

  • The faithful remnant within Israel is composed solely of bloodline Israelites.

  • Entry into the remnant was never guaranteed to any Israelite. It always came by faith in Messiah, and always will. (John 1:11-13; 3:3-7; Romans 10:11-15)

  • Since there has been an Israel, it has always been the remnant whom God has first used to bring forth His Word and the knowledge of Christ to Israel and the world:
    * It was a member of the remnant whom God sent to preach His Word to Nineveh. (Jonah 1:1-2; 3:2-4)
    * It was members of the remnant who wrote the sixty-six books of the Scriptures. (Romans 3:1-2)
    * It was a member of the remnant whom God used to give birth to the baby Jesus. (Luke 1:28-30)
    * It was members of the remnant whom Jesus commissioned to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19).
    * It was members of the remnant whom God used to call people to faith and to organize the church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and in the decades following.

  • The present existence of the faithful remnant is testimony to the entire body that God is faithful to His promises. Romans 9-11 is a tour de force by Paul to prove that the entire church can count on the categorical promises of Romans 8 by virtue of the fact that God had not rejected Israel, but remains faithful to fulfill all the promises He made with her.

  • As is declared in our Statement, during our present Church Age the members of the remnant are also members of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

  • Though the remnant is composed of people of faith, and all in the body are people of faith, the church and the remnant of Israel are distinct. The remnant is composed solely of Israelites, whereas the church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles. (1 Corinthians 12:13. See also our examination of Replacement Theology above.)

  • Membership in the body does not obliterate the remnant's identity as Jews. (Romans 11:13; Philippians 3:5)

  • Members of the remnant are accorded no priority for positions of leadership in the body. Neither 1 Timothy 3 nor Titus 1 make any reference to race in their detailed lists of qualifications for deaconship or eldership, or for headship within those groups.

  • The remnant of Israel will be Messiah's central wave of ministers during the Millennium. (Zechariah 8:23)

We will now move on to new material.

IV. KEY PASSAGES

A. ISAIAH 7:3

Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub. . . .

Isaiah 10:20-23 speaks of the final return of Israel to the Lord, and verse 21 reads, A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. That final return was of such significance to Isaiah that he named his son She'ar Yashuv, A Remnant Will Return.

These passages inform us that:
1. There will be a final return of Israel to the Lord.
2. It will be a remnant of the nation, a portion, who will return.
3. This return of the remnant was of singular significance to the great prophet.

B. ISAIAH 65:6-9

6. "Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom, 7. Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together," says the LORD. "Because they have burned incense on the mountains and scorned Me on the hills, therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom." 8. Thus says the LORD, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, 'Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,' so I will act on behalf of My servants in order not to destroy all of them. 9. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and an heir of My mountains from Judah; even My chosen ones shall inherit it, and My servants will dwell there."

This passage likewise refers to the period of the final return of Israel to the Lord. Although Israel as a whole will be filled with iniquity, both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together, and the nation will be judged during the Great Tribulation (I will repay), nevertheless, just as one does not destroy a bad vine if there are good grapes on it from which new wine can be derived, God
1. will not destroy the nation because of the existence of believers, My servants, within it,
2. but will bring forth offspring from Jacob, that is, will continue to preserve Israel from generation to generation,
3. will bring forth . . . an heir of My mountains from Judah, that is, will cause Christ to return to take possession of the Land of Israel as its rightful heir, and
4. even My chosen ones shall inherit it, and My servants will dwell there. The faithful remnant of Israel will also inherit the Land and will dwell in it.

It is the existence of believers within the nation, though they be but a remnant, even a minority, that keeps God from destroying the nation and causes Him to preserve it even unto the day of the national salvation of Israel, the coming of Christ to take rightful possession of the Land, and the future blessing of Israel's faithful remnant in the Land.

We see in the case of Sodom that the existence of believers may, at times, be a factor in the survival of a people (Genesis 18:23-32); but there is no nation besides the covenant nation Israel for which God has declared that He will not destroy it so long as He finds a faithful remnant within it. That He will not destroy Israel because of the presence of a faithful remnant is corroborated by other passages, such as Roman 9:27-29, which make other points, as well.

C. ROMANS 9:27-29

27. Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED; 28. for the Lord will execute his word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short. 29. And just as Isaiah foretold, "UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH."

This passage is in the general context of the salvation of Israel (Romans 9:1 - 10:1), and verse 28 places verse 27 in the time of her future national salvation. Paul says here that the remnant of Israelites alive at that time will be spiritually saved. This is corroborated by Ezekiel 20:37-38 and Zechariah 13:8-9, which show that the remnant at that time will constitute one-third of the nation, whereas the other two-thirds, the rebels, will be slain. In verse 29, he applies Isaiah 1:9 to show that if God ever allowed there to be a period in which there were no believing remnant, then the entire nation would be destroyed. At that time in the future, those saved spiritually will also be those who are saved physically, and so the nation will be preserved. THE LORD OF SABAOTH Himself will see to it; and it is implied, of course, that He always has and always will preserve a remnant of believers until that time so that He might carry out the prophesied spiritual and physical salvation of Israel.

To list the points,
1. God has preserved a remnant of believers in Israel from the time of Abraham, and will continue to preserve a remnant until the national salvation of Israel (which will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation).
2. The believing remnant will constitute national Israel at that time as all other Israelites will have been killed.
3. The remnant who will survive the Great Tribulation will continue on into the Millennium as the core of the preserved nation.
4. If ever there were a period of time in which there were no believing remnant, then God would allow the entire nation to be destroyed.
5. It is the existence of a believing remnant that always has, and always will, assure the preservation of Israel.
6. Inasmuch as the continued existence of the remnant preserves Israel, it lays the groundwork for the Lord's fulfillment of all the covenant promises that He made with her.

It should also be noted both here and in Isaiah 65:6-9 that, just as Israel is the only nation which God promised not to destroy if He found a remnant of believers in it, she is also the only nation for which He has promised to preserve a remnant. So what we see is that God will not only preserve a remnant, but will also preserve Israel's existence because of that remnant! God leaves no base uncovered!

D. ROMANS 11:1-5

1. I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3. "Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE." 4. But what is the divine response to him? "I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL." 5. In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.

Paul is comparing the situation of his day with that of Elijah's (1 Kings 19:1-18) to prove that God had not rejected Israel in his day. Just as God had reserved to Himself a remnant of seven thousand faithful men in Elijah's day, so He reserved for Himself at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice (verse 5), for which point Paul presents himself as Exhibit A: a saved Israelite (verse 1). Paul's logic is thus: If Israel was not rejected in Elijah's day though believers among them were but a small minority, so she is not rejected in his day though believers among them were a small minority. Paul's conclusion that God had not rejected Israel applies today, for there are hundreds of thousands of Exhibit A's alive today.

To sum up,
1. There was but a small remnant of believers in Elijah's day, and God had not rejected Israel at that time.
2. Paul presents himself, a saved Israelite, as proof that there was a remnant in his day.
3. The fact that there was a remnant in Paul's day was proof that God had not rejected Israel, just as He had not rejected her in Elijah's day when there was but a remnant of believers in her. (Indeed, if there were no remnant, there would be no nation: It would have been destroyed, and there would have been no Paul!)

E. REVELATION 7:2-8

2. And I saw another angel ascend from the sunrising, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a great voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3. saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we shall have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads. 4. And I heard the number of them that were sealed, a hundred and forty and four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel: 5. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand: Of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand; 6. Of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand; 7. Of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand; 8. Of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand; Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

The believing remnant of Israel in the Church Age will be removed from the Earth at the Rapture of the church; but here we see that God preserves a remnant of Israelite believers for Himself on Earth even during the Great Tribulation. They are sealed for service, which means that their lives will be preserved so that they can evangelize throughout the first half of the Tribulation, as is brought out in verses 9-14 and Matthew 24:14.

Also ministering during the first half of the Tribulation are the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3). Verses 11:7-13 describes the killing of the Two Witnesses by Antichrist in Jerusalem, their resurrection after three and a half days, their ascension, the subsequent killing of seven thousand Jerusalemites in an earthquake, and the giving of glory to God by the rest (verse 13). The rest must certainly have received salvation in order to give glory to God, and will be from around the world as the Two Witnesses' message and the entire spectacle will be known throughout the world (verse 10). The rest will therefore likely contain a good number of saved Jews from around the world; and since the Two Witnesses ministered in Jerusalem, it is likely that a good number of Jews from within Israel itself will be among the rest. This worldwide group of saved Jews should constitute a sizeable faithful remnant who will live into the second half of the Great Tribulation.

What we've seen thus far is that plain declarations of Scripture corroborated by examples from various periods of history past and future show that from the time of Israel's inception until the very end of the Tribulation when all Israel will come to know the Lord, Israel has always had, and always will have, a faithful remnant, no matter how faithless and idolatrous the nation as a whole might be at any given time.

V. THE ENTIRE FAITHFUL REMNANT SINCE
ABRAHAM WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM

This is shown piecemeal in Scripture. All Old Testament and deceased Tribulation saints, containing a great Israeli remnant in their midst, will be resurrected immediately or very shortly after the Great Tribulation and dwell in the Kingdom (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:4). The remnant within the church, having been Raptured before the Tribulation with the rest of the church, will return, as will the entire church, with Christ, who will then set up His Kingdom (Jude 1:14). The surviving Jewish remnant at the end of the Tribulation will remain on Earth and watch the Kingdom being established and the Earth being restored right around them (Isaiah 65:17-18). These groups of believing Israelites make up the sum of the entire remnant of Israel from the time of Abraham until the beginning of the Kingdom, and they will all enjoy the blessings of the Kingdom as will all Gentile saints of all previous ages.

VI. THE REMNANT IN THE KINGDOM

The Israelites in the Kingdom will all know [the LORD], from the least of them to the greatest of them (Jeremiah 31:34) whether they enter the Kingdom from previous ages or are born into it, and will constitute the entire nation at that time. Nevertheless, God still views them as His faithful remnant because they are still only a remnant of the nation since Abraham. That God views them as His remnant even in the Kingdom is revealed by the following passages:

Isaiah 10:20:

Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 11:16:

And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people who will be left, just as there was for Israel in the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.

Micah 5:7:

Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation which do not wait for man or delay for the sons of men.

Zephaniah 2:7:

And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they will pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening; for the LORD their God will care for them and restore their fortune.

Zephaniah 3:13:

The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; for they will feed and lie down with no one to make them tremble.

Zechariah 8:11-12:

11. "But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days," declares the LORD of hosts. 12. "For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things."

Let us summarize the main points of this study:

1. It is the believers within Israel whom Scripture identifies as God's faithful "remnant."
2. As the word "remnant" implies, the faithful are only a portion of the nation.
3. As was true in the days of Elijah and Paul and is true in our day, the remnant was always a minority, at times a very small minority except, perhaps, for very brief periods.
4. No matter how wicked and unbelieving the nation may have been at any point in time, God has preserved a remnant within her from the time of Abraham, and will continue to do so.
5. It is the continued existence of the remnant that keeps God from destroying the nation. To put it positively, it is the continued existence of the remnant that moves God to sustain the nation.
6. Paul presented himself as proof that there was a faithful remnant in his day.
7. The existence of a faithful remnant in the Church Age proves that God has not rejected His people Israel as His covenant nation.
8. The existence of the faithful remnant in the Church Age is testimony to the entire Church that God can be counted on to keep His promises.
9. Inasmuch as the continued existence of the faithful remnant preserves Israel, it lays the groundwork for the Lord's fulfillment of all the covenant promises that He made with her, the climax of which will include her national salvation (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26), the Lord's return (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:37-39), and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
10. The all Israel that will be saved (Romans 11:26) will be the remnant of the nation that survives the judgment of the Great Tribulation.
11. Though the all Israel that will be saved will be the entire nation at that point, they are still viewed by God as His remnant.
12. The entire remnant of Israel from the time of Abraham will enter the Kingdom.
13. Though the entire nation of Israelites in the Kingdom will be saved, they are still viewed by God as His remnant because they are still only a portion of the nation since Abraham.
14. There is no nation besides the covenant nation Israel for which God has indicated that He will preserve a remnant.

VIII. AN APPLICATION

The believing remnant of Jews today are a minority in Israel, and believers in general are a minority in the world. Nevertheless, no matter how misunderstood or isolated a believer may feel or persecuted he or she may be, in light of the encouragement that God gave to Elijah and the blessings that He has promised and will surely fulfill for all of His believing children, let him or her take heart. Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:3).

We who believe are a minority, but our Savior was a superminority, a minority of one: Only He would hang before the world and bear our sins. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised (Isaiah 53:3); yet, for the joy set before Him (He) endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

1. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2. fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

~ Hebrews 12:1-2 ~

13. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

~ Hebrews 13:13-14 ~

The Faithful Remnant of Israel
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2011.
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM ~

1. THE DIVINE ASPECT

Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us,
but He will heal us; He has wounded us,
but He will bandage us.


~ Hosea 6:1 ~

CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION
A. "WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE HATE THE JEWS?"
B. WHAT IS ANTI-SEMITISM?
1. Definition
2. A Peculiar Racial Hatred
3. Characterized by Unusual Irrationality
C. ALIVE AND WELL
II. THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM ARE SPIRITUAL
III. SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
A. THE DIVINE ASPECT
1. Foundational Premises about God
2. God Judges Israel
3. By What Principles Does God Judge Israel?
4. God's Judgments upon Israel in the Tanach (Old Testament)
a. Israel in Egypt
b. Israel Under the Judges

c. The Assyrian Captivity
d. The Babylonian Captivity
4. Considering 70 and 135 C.E.
a. Insights from the Tanach
1) Consequences for Obedience and Disobedience
2) Conclusion and Consideration
b. Insights from the New Testament
c. Insights from the Talmud and Josephus
d. What Reasonable Conclusion Can We Draw?
AFTERWORD
ENDNOTES
OTHER RESOURCES

I. INTRODUCTION

A. "WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE HATE THE JEWS?"

This question was asked of me by a Tahitian man. Indeed, it has been asked across the world for centuries by multitudes of Jews and Gentiles alike, and presupposes a recognition that the hatred of Jews is unusual among the legion of international and interracial hatreds in the world.

Answers to the question have been posited by psychologists, sociologists and historians from a secular frame of reference, but no secular answer has proven thoroughly satisfactory. This study seeks to answer the question from a biblical perspective in an effort to get to the roots of the matter.

B. WHAT IS ANTI-SEMITISM?

1. Definition
If a person feels or acts negatively toward a Jew, even to the point of violence, it does not mean that he is anti-Semitic. His feelings or actions may have their basis in any of the perceived offenses common to the human race.

What, then, is anti-Semitism? It is a visceral animosity towards Jews simply because they are Jews. Yet, it is more than that. It is unique among racial hatreds.

2. A Peculiar Racial Hatred
From noted historian, Paul Johnson:

But if anti-Semitism is a variety of racism, it is a most peculiar variety, with many unique characteristics. In my view as a historian, it is so peculiar that it deserves to be placed in a quite different category. I would call it an intellectual disease, a disease of the mind, extremely infectious and massively destructive. It is a disease to which both human individuals and entire human societies are prone. . . .

By contrast [with other historical interracial hatreds], anti-Semitism is very ancient, has never been associated with frontiers, and, although it has had its ups and downs, seems impervious to change.1

3. Characterized by Unusual Irrationality
From Yaakov Katz, a current member of Israel's Knesset (Parliament):

No one, not even today, has a rational explanation for the continued existence of anti-Semitism. We only know that it is there, kicking and screaming. It began with our becoming a nation, in Egypt, and continued all through the years of exile during which period most of our nation was systematically murdered. That is how we find ourselves, after 1900 years and after the Holocaust, approximately the same population size as we were when the long exile began.2

Paul Johnson:

What strikes the historian surveying anti-Semitism worldwide over more than two millennia is its fundamental irrationality. It seems to make no sense. . . . In the whole of history, it is hard to point to a single occasion when a wave of anti-Semitism was provoked by a real Jewish threat (as opposed to an imaginary one). In Japan, anti-Semitism was and remains common even though there has never been a Jewish community there of any size.

Asked to explain why they hate Jews, anti-Semites contradict themselves. Jews are always showing off; they are hermetic and secretive. They will not assimilate; they assimilate only too well. They are too religious; they are too materialistic, and a threat to religion. They are uncultured; they have too much culture. They avoid manual work; they work too hard. They are miserly; they are ostentatious spenders. They are inveterate capitalists; they are born Communists. And so on. In all its myriad manifestations, the language of anti-Semitism through the ages is a dictionary of non-sequiturs3 and antonyms, a thesaurus of illogic and inconsistency. . . .

In the meantime, by allowing their diseased obsession to dominate all their aspirations, the Arabs have wasted trillions in oil royalties on weapons of war and propaganda. . . . Despite all their advantages, they are now being overtaken decisively by the Indians and the Chinese, who have few natural resources but are inspired by reason, not hatred.4

Paul Johnson again:

Irrational thinking is common enough in each of us; when anti-Semitism is added in, irrational thinking becomes not only instinctual but systemic. An experienced anti-Semite constantly looks for “evidence” to confirm his idée fixe, and invariably finds it - just as a Marxist, looking for “proof,” constantly uncovers events that confirm his diagnosis of how the world works."5

Some of the crazy things that Jews have been accused of, and for which rivers of Jewish blood have been shed, have been blood libels of many sorts, including the draining of the blood of Gentile children for use in the baking of Passover matzohs (unleavened bread); the desecration of the host (communion wafer), usually by piercing or stabbing it, to recrucify Jesus; the poisoning of the wells in Europe to bring about the bubonic plague; and of being the "Christ-killers." (This last accusation will be addressed in Part 2). They have been accused of plotting to rule the world. They were victims of the Spanish Inquisition for refusal to accept Catholicism, and of Luther's venomous instigation to riots and bloodshed for refusing to receive salvation; and, of course, "the Jews" - all of them, mind you, and no one else - were responsible for Germany's post World War I poverty. So what was the sensible solution? The "final solution": kill them all. Indeed, Scripture prophesies that venom will build against the Jew until all nations gather against them in a final attempt to finish the job that Hitler started (Zechariah 14:2; Matthew 24:22; Revelation 12:1-17).

Certainly, in this fallen world, Jews could expect their "fair share" of prejudice and violence. Yet, when one considers such incredible accusations and the sheer volume of violence done to them, one must conclude that anti-Semitism is truly an unusual specie of hatred.

C. ALIVE AND WELL

As Mr. Katz and Mr. Johnson noted, anti-Semitism is alive and well in the world today. Its chief contemporary form is based on Israel's alleged atrocities against her Palestinian victims, which has led to the legitimacy of the State of Israel's very existence being challenged in the halls of power. This, too, is characterized by irrationality. The world knows that Israel is a tiny nation in the midst of a sea of nations and other political-military powers that relentlessly seek her annihilation - the same forces that brought down the Twin Towers, blew up trains in Spain, a hotel in Mumbai and other such atrocities - the same forces that are ruled by tyrants, keep women in subjection, and refuse citizenship and freedom of worship to any Jew. On the other hand, Israel has hostile Arabs in its Knesset; and the sounds of muezzin calling the faithful to worship may be heard from the minarets of hundreds of mosques throughout Israel, even by Jews as they pray at the Western Wall! This subspecie of anti-Semitism has earned the title, "the new anti-Semitism."

Dr. Phyllis Chesler:

As I first wrote in 2001-2002, the new anti-Semitism also consists of a rather frightening, genocidal anti-Zionism. The global demonization of Israel has gathered such speed and force that it could, potentially - it is certainly meant to - delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state. . . .

The [Western] campuses have become increasingly and aggressively anti-Israel and pro-Islam. Today, anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. “Brownshirt” behavior rules the day. Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents are met with menace, if they are invited to speak at all, and pro-Israel truth tellers are not even invited to speak.

Israel is not an apartheid nation. Muslim countries persecute non-Muslim minorities, Israel doesn't persecute non-Jews. The Arab Middle East is “judenrein,”6 Arab Christians are under siege there. Say this on most campuses, as I have, and you will be jeered, booed, possibly physically menaced, certainly demonized afterwards as a “racist” and “Islamophobe.” You will lose your publishing contacts and your former feminist political world. You will not be invited to speak by Women’s Studies programs.

My work on Islamic gender apartheid has been attacked in these quarters. . . .

The politically correct line is that Israel, tiny Israel, is the “Nazi, Apartheid state.” Only Orwell would understand this misuse of language, this reversal of logic, which is meant to confuse and brainwash people. Such brainwashing has worked. Sixty years of Soviet and Arab League activism and Saudi monies have accomplished the unbelievable. Israel is not only the “bad guy,” it is the “very worst bad guy” in the entire universe.7

The purpose of this lengthy introduction is twofold: that the reader may grasp the breadth and depth of anti-Semitic activity with a focus on the last two thousand years, and to lay a foundation for the claim that the true roots of anti-Semitism are not natural, but spiritual.

II. THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM ARE SPIRITUAL

Jewish history began when God called Abram to separate himself from his native people to become the father of the Jewish nation (Genesis 12:1-3). In His concluding statement, God declared, And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse (verse 3). With this statement, God intimated what He, in His foreknowledge, already knew: that there will be those who curse Abraham and the Jewish nation because of their chosenness to bring His Word and Messiah into the world. Ultimately, then, anti-Semitism has its roots in spiritual matters. Catholic scholar Edward H. Flannery said it well:

It was Judaism that brought the concept of a God-given universal moral law into the world...the Jew carries the burden of God in history and for this he has never been forgiven.8

III. SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM

In this section, we will examine anti-Semitism from the perspectives of God, Satan and human persecutors, and the interplay between them. Let it be known that I write as a Jew, and know how sensitive some of the forthcoming material will be for some readers. My grandmother, who lived in the home I was raised in for the first twenty years of my life, lost thirteen siblings in the Holocaust, and my wife's mother was in hiding three years from the Nazis. I therefore appeal for forbearance and a withholding of judgment until the entire section is considered thoughtfully.

A. THE DIVINE ASPECT

The purpose of this section is to determine whether or not the anti-Semitism of the last two thousand years might conceivably be a judgment of God upon Israel; and if so, what the cause might be.

1. Foundational Premises about God
Three foundational premises must be laid:

a. God cannot and does not sin.
His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He (Deuteronomy 32:4. Also Job 8:3; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; James 1:13). It was on this basis that Abraham appealed to God, Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly? (Genesis 18:25).

b. God hates anti-Semitism.
He told Abram, And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse (Genesis 12:3).

c. God is in control of the nations and of Israel.
Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:6. Also Job 12:23, Psalm 2:1-6, 108:8-9; Proverbs 21:1 and Daniel 2:21.)

2. God Judges Israel
By "judgment" here is meant the execution of penalty for sin. Biblically, God has brought judgments upon Israel. In Jeremiah 30:15, He chides both houses of Israel, Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you.

3. By What Principles Does God Judge Israel?
All principles listed apply to Israel. 1-10 and probably 11 apply to Gentile nations, as well.

1) A curse without a cause does not alight (Proverbs 26:2). God never curses without a cause.
Jeremiah 30:15, just quoted, is an example.

2) God may judge a nation to inflict punishment for sin.
Amalek: Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt" (1 Samuel 15:2).

The northern kingdom of Israel: For on the day that I punish Israel's transgressions, I will also punish the altars of Bethel; The horns of the altar will be cut off and they will fall to the ground (Amos 3:14).
In some cases, as with Amalek, judgment upon a Gentile nation is a national capital punishment (1 Samuel 15:3,18). For Israel, it is always for the purpose of leading her to repentance.

3) God may judge nations that they may turn from ungodliness unto righteousness.
Nineveh is an example. (Jonah 1:1-2; 3:10)

4) God relents from judgment upon repentance.
Again, Nineveh. (Jonah 1:1-2; 3:10)

5) Accountability is proportional to knowledge: From everyone who has been given much, much will be required (Luke 12:48). To whom much is given in divine revelation, much is required in obedience to God's laws.
(Matthew 10:14-15; John 3:19; 19:11; Romans 2:9; James 4:17; 2 Peter 2:21)

6) Accountability is proportional to nearness in relationship.
(Obadiah 1:10,12. Also Exodus 21:15; Ezekiel 18:18; Micah 7:2; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 10:14-15; John 19:11; Romans 2:9; 1 Timothy 5:8.)

7) I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse (Genesis 12:3).
This principle is in reference to how individuals as well as nations relate to Israel. (Compounded with the principles of nearness and knowledge, woe be to Jewish anti-Semites!).
In Genesis 39:1-5, Potiphar, an Egyptian, initially treated Joseph well, and the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD'S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field (verse 5). However, when Egypt enslaved Israel, God brought upon them devastating and grievous plagues and the destruction of their army (Exodus 6-14).

8) God may judge by giving what is insisted upon, even if it is contrary to His will or Law.
The Israelites in the wilderness grumbled because of the manna that God had given them, desiring meat. He therefore declared that He would give them meat [quail (Numbers 11:31-32)] until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you because you have rejected the LORD (Numbers 11:4-6,18-20. Also 1 Samuel 8:5-22; Romans 1:28-32; Luke15:11-17).

9) God may judge Israel directly, without intermediaries.
He judged them in the wilderness with serpent bites and forty years of unnecessary wandering (Numbers 21:6; 32:13).

10) God may judge Israel through the intermediary use of Gentile nations though they may not even recognize that they are being used as rods of God's judgment.
This is why God called Nebuchadnezzar, My servant (Jeremiah 25:9), though he burned Solomon's temple and led Judah captive.

11) When Israel worships the gods of her neighbors or makes ungodly covenants or alliances with them, He may use those very nations to judge her.
(Judges 2:2,13-14; 3:7-9; Daniel 9:27 with Isaiah 28:14-22)

12) The presence of a remnant of believers in Israel who are faithful to God, even a very small remnant, moves God to prevent the nation's destruction. To put it positively, it moves Him to preserve its existence against forces that would seek to destroy it.
(Isaiah 65:8-9; Romans 9:27-29 with 1 Kings 19:1-18)

4. God's Judgments upon Israel in the Tanach (Old Testament)
Four major periods of calamity will be considered: Israel in Egypt, Israel under the Judges, the Assyrians captivity, the Babylonian captivity.

a. Israel in Egypt
During Israel's sojourn in Egypt, she suffered the casting of her newborn sons into the Nile and centuries of slavery. (Exodus 1:22; 12:40-41; Acts 7:6). Was this a judgment of God?

God gave Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the Land that extended from the Wadi El Arish, a watercourse that empties into the southeast corner of the Mediterranean9, eastward to the Euphrates (Genesis 12:1,7; 15:17-18). However, because of famine, Abraham left the Land for Egypt and got into trouble with Pharaoh (Genesis 12:10-20). In Genesis 26, also because of famine, Isaac considered going to Egypt; yet, God told him plainly, 2. Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you.3. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you. Note: God instructed him not to go to Egypt even to avoid starvation, but to trust Him in the Land. Likewise because of famine, Jacob sent Joseph's brothers to Egypt to buy grain (Genesis 41:57 - 42:3). Not only that, but the brothers had previously sold Joseph to Midianites headed for Egypt, where Joseph was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:28).The dye had been cast: Jacob and ten of his sons trusted in the provision of Egypt rather than the provision of the Lord in the Land. Therefore, God judged them by giving them what they wanted. He encouraged Jacob to take his family to Egypt, and oppression and bondage followed (Genesis 46:2-3).

b. Israel Under the Judges

7. The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8. Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. 9. When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.

~ Judges 3:7-9 ~

Israel worshiped the gods of the heathen nations and suffered divine judgment by the hand of those nations; but when they cried out to the true God, He delivered them.

More than six such cycles appear in Judges, but six times we find the phrase, the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD to mark the beginning of a new cycle (3:7; 3:12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1). The Book of Judges is a catalog of ghastly evils committed within Israel; but the one mentioned specifically in the book's overview is idolatry (2:11,13). When Israel engaged in this root evil, all other evils followed in its train, and judgment ensued.

c. The Assyrian Captivity
When the northern kingdom of Israel engaged in idolatry and the evil practices of her neighbors, the Lord judged them by the hand of Assyria, who destroyed their capital city, Samaria, in 722 B.C.E.10, and dispersed most of Israel's population to various locations in the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 15:29; 17:3-12; 18:11-12; 1 Chronicles 5:26; Isaiah 10:5-6).

d. The Babylonian Captivity
The southern kingdom, Judah, also sank into idolatry (Jeremiah 3:6-10). Also, for four hundred and ninety years they ignored the Mosaic command to give its agricultural lands the required seventh-year Sabbath rests (Leviticus 25:1-8), which amounted to seventy neglected years. For these reasons, the Lord raised up the Babylonians to destroy Solomon's Temple in 587 B.C.E. and led Judah into captivity for seventy years (Leviticus 26:34-35,43; 2 Kings 25; II Chronicles 36:20-21; Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10).

4. Considering 70 and 135 C.E.
There were two dispersions of the nation out of the Land before the Common Era, the Egyptian and Assyrian-Babylonian, and both were judgments. The Common Era has seen only one: the two-stage dispersion of 70 and 135 C.E. at the hand of the Romans. Until the early decades of the twentieth century, that dispersion was virtually complete. Today, more than half the world's Jews are still in the Diaspora (Dispersion). Could this dispersion and its ensuing tragedies have been a judgment as were the first two?

The combined tragedies that have befallen Israel in the last two thousand years are at least equal in severity to the Egyptian and Assyrian-Babylonian captivities. Based on this comparison alone, the only reasonable conclusion is that the present dispersion is likewise a judgment of God; but let us consider insights from the Tanach, the New Testament, the Talmud and Josephus.

a. Insights from the Tanach
1) Consequences for Obedience and Disobedience

Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 promise blessings in the Land when Israel is obedient to God:

Deuteronomy 28: 1. Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. . . . 3. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. . . . 13. The LORD will make you the head and not the tail. . . .

Leviticus 26:6: I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. . . . and no sword will pass through your land.

Inversely, when Israel is disobedient, such ghastly disasters are promised as can easily describe the lot of the nation since 70 C.E. They can be summed up thusly:

Leviticus 26: 14. But if you do not obey Me. . . . 17. I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.

Deuteronomy 28: 15. But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God. . . 16. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. . . . 20: The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do. . . because you have forsaken Me. 43. The alien who is among you . . . . 44. shall be the head, and you will be the tail.

2) Conclusion and Consideration
On the basis of the above passages, the general lot of Israel since 70 C.E. can reasonably be seen as judgment for disobedience. Indeed, God Himself declared that Israel had broken the Law, and that He would establish a new and different covenant:

31. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

~ Jeremiah 31:31-33 ~

Israel broke the Mosaic Covenant on numerous occasions; but was there one event in particular that brought about the 70 C.E. and 135 C.E. judgment?

In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses told the people, 15. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. Not just any prophet, but one like Moses, towering above the rest. We know that God judged Israel severely in the wilderness when she rebelled against Moses (Numbers 21:5-6, 32:13, etc.). Surely, if Israel would rebel against this new prophet, severe judgment could be expected, as well. Who could this prophet be?

b. Insights from the New Testament
There are dozens of parallels between the lives of Moses and Jesus, but one parallel stands above the rest: They each spoke with God face to face. (Moses: Exodus 33:10-11; Numbers 12:6-8; Deuteronomy 34:10. Jesus: Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; John 5:19; 6:46; 8:38; 10:15,30; 14:10). Indeed, the scattering of the nation to the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:12) did not take place until Israel rejected Jesus though he proved Himself repeatedly in accordance with detailed prophecies and Pharisaic benchmarks.

Now consider His words after His rejection:

37. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39. For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD (quoted from Psalm 118:26)! "

~ Matthew 23:37-39 ~

c. Insights from the Talmud and Josephus

A number of Jewish legends originate from this period, all in conjunction with the Temple, and all dated the same way: forty years before the Temple was destroyed. The Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 and subtracting forty years gives the date of A.D. 30: the year of the crucifixion.

Of the many Jewish legends originating in A.D. 30 in conjunction with the Temple, four things should be mentioned.

First, Josephus mentions that there was a mysterious extinction of the chief light of the golden lampstand. This lampstand had seven lamps, with the chief lamp being the middle one. Suddenly the light of that lamp went out inexplicably forty years before the Temple was destroyed.

Secondly, another event recorded by both Josephus and the Talmud is that the very heavy Temple gates suddenly swung open of their own accord forty years before the Temple was destroyed, although they had been closed until then.

A third legend says that the lintel of the Temple broke and fell in the year A.D. 30, forty years before the Temple was destroyed.

The fourth and by far the most interesting legend is recorded in the Talmud and is called “The Legend of Azazel.” The Hebrew word Azazel means “removal.” It is the official name for the scapegoat.

According to Leviticus 16, on the Day of Atonement two goats were presented before the High Priest. The High Priest would cast lots to decide which goat would die and which one would live. The goat chosen to die would be slaughtered and the blood taken into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat. The High Priest would come out, lay his hands upon the second live goat and confess the sins of Israel. The goat was then sent out into the wilderness. The point was that after the shedding of blood there comes the removal of Israel’s sins into the wilderness.

Because of a statement made in Isaiah 1:18: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool, it became a Jewish custom to tie a red ribbon around the live goat before it was sent out into the wilderness. As the goat went out, that red ribbon turned white, symbolizing that God had forgiven the sins of Israel. The legend of Azazel claims that the red ribbon stopped turning white forty years before the Temple was destroyed. As of A.D. 30, God was no longer forgiving the sins of Israel by means of the two goats of the Day of Atonement. The reason was that the final sacrifice for sin had been made that very year by the death of the Messiah.11

d. What Reasonable Conclusion Can We Draw?
Surely, if Jesus were the heretic of the magnitude He is purported to be in some Jewish circles, Israel should have been blessed for rejecting Him. Yet, just forty years after His rejection, His prophecy came true: Instead of being gathered to Him as He longed to do, Israel was scattered; and their house (Temple, בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, Beit HaMikdash, "House of the Holy") was indeed left to [them] desolate. The Romans destroyed it in 70 C.E. when they crushed the First Jewish Revolt, slaughtered or enslaved many thousands, and scattered multitudes out of the Land. In 135 C.E. they completed the job when they crushed the Second Jewish Revolt. Surely Jesus must have been who He claimed to be: the Messiah of Israel (Isaiah 61:1-2 with Luke 4:16-21). Is not the rejection of the long-prophesied Messiah at least as great a sin as idolatry, for which God had previously judged Israel so severely on multiple occasions?

If Israel had received Jesus there would be no anti-Semitism today. He would have gather[ed His] children together, established His earthly Kingdom, the olam haba12, and Israel today would be the head, and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:1,13). Now, we must wait for His return to see that glorious day, which we will see when Israel receives Him as Messiah.

I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and
seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

~ Hosea 5:15 ~

You will not see Me until you say, "Blessed is He
who comes in the name of the LORD!"

~ Matthew 23:39 ~

Then He will establish His Kingdom:

1. Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

~ Isaiah 60:1-3 ~

At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.

~ Zephaniah 3:20 ~

Thus says the LORD of hosts, 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."

~ Zechariah 8:23 ~


AFTERWORD

Viewing anti-Semitism from God's perspective provides the most important part of the picture, but not the full picture. As we conclude this study in Part 2, we will attempt to fill in the picture as we examine the Satanic and human aspects of anti-Semitism. We will also examine the oft-repeated allegation that the New Testament promotes anti-Semitism, and address major contemporary accusations and justifications for anti-Semitic activities. For now, suffice it to say that although God uses Gentile nations as His rod of correction against Israel, both the Tanach and the New Testament make it plain that God seeks no volunteers! He warns against such "volunteering," and declares judgment upon them. God uses the wickedness of the human race as a tool for the accomplishment of holy purposes while yet holding all men accountable for their freely chosen offenses. This, too, we will examine.

Shalom

ENDNOTES

1. Paul Johnson, "The Anti-Semitic Disease," Commentary Magazine, June 2005.
2. Yaakov "Ketzele" Katz, "What Will Prime Minister Netanyahu Say to the US Congress?" Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 5/20/11.
3. Non-sequitur. A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.
4. Johnson, op. cit.
5. Ibid.
6. Judenrein. Free of Jews. A German term used by the Nazis to designate an area free or cleansed of Jewish presence.
7. Phyllis Chesler, Dr., "Interview with Phyllis Chesler: 'Israel Under Existential Siege'" Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 2/21/11.
8. Flannery, Edward H. Judaism-now Blogspot, http://judaism-now.blogspot.com/2010/12/pagan-influance-of-christmas.html. Judaism-now.
9. The river of Egypt (Genesis 15:18). Not the Nile, but the Wadi El Arish, a seasonal watercourse that empties into the southeast corner of the Mediterranean.
10. Out of respect for Jews who do not recognize Jesus as Messiah or Lord, C.E. (Common Era) is used in place of A.D. (Anno Domini, the year of our Lord), and B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) is used in place of B.C. (Before Christ) except where B.C. and A.D. appear in quotes.
11. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 070: The Death and Burial of the Messiah, pdf, 18.
12. Olam haba. Hebrew. Literally, the world (or age) to come. A rabbinic designation for the Messianic Kingdom.


OTHER RESOURCES

Flannery, Edward H. The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, first published 1965; latest edition: Mahwah, Paulist Press, 2004.

For general facts on anti-Semitism and daily news updates from an Israeli point of view, the author recommends sources in the "Modern Israel and World Jewry" and "News of Israel and World Jewry" sections of our Messianic Resources page.

The True Roots of Anti-Semitism,
Part 1: The Divine Aspect
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2011
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM ~

2. THE SATANIC AND HUMAN ASPECTS

INTRODUCTION

In Part 1: The Divine Aspect, above, we saw that the true roots of anti-Semitism are not to be discovered in the natural realm, but in the spiritual. Having concluded our examination of anti-Semitism from the divine aspect, we will continue our study in this edition with an examination of the same in its satanic and human aspects.

Inasmuch as God is in control of Israel (Jeremiah 18:6) and all other nations (Job 12:23, Psalm 2:1-6, 108:8-9; Proverbs 21:1 and Daniel 2:21), the divine aspect is the most important one to understand. I therefore suggest a study or review of Part 1: The Divine Aspect before proceeding on. In the case of readers who do not believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, I respectfully urge a careful study of it as it is impossible to understand the suffering of Israel for the last two thousand years without grasping what has been presented, nor would much of what will be presented herein make much sense.

III. THE SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM


B. THE SATANIC ASPECT
12. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." 13. And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.

~ Revelation 12:12-13 ~

Perhaps more than any other, this passage reveals the hand of Satan in the persecution of Israel. We will therefore examine its symbolism and restate it in literal language.

We will first look at Revelation 12:1-5, which begins the chapter:

1. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2. and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. 3. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

Who is the woman clothed with the sun in verse 1? This harks back to Genesis 37:9-10, an examination of which will show that the sun and the moon are the man Israel and Rachel, and the twelve stars are the twelve sons of Israel, the patriarchs of the twelve tribes. Clearly, then, the woman represents the nation of Israel.

Who is the male child of verse 5? This can be none other than Messiah Yeshua, born of the nation of Israel, ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, and presently seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

And who is the dragon of verses 3 and 4? Verse 9 identifies him: And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth . . . .

Now, to restate verse 13 in literal terms: And when [Satan] saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted [Israel] who gave birth to [Messiah Yeshua]. Here we see that Satan is the spiritual source of anti-Semitism, and that the reason for his anti-Semitism has to do with the fact that Israel gave birth to Messiah.

Satan's anti-Semitism is part of a much bigger "anti": He is anti-God, and Messiah is the second Person of the Godhead. He attempted to dethrone God even before creation (Isaiah 14:12-14). Despite his condemnation and sentencing in verses 12 and 15, he has never ceased to work for the overthrow of God. He seduced our first parents away from obedience to God, and thereby rendered the entire human race subject to his powerful influence (Genesis 3:1-13, Romans 5:12). God immediately informed him that He would raise up a Descendant of the woman who would bring him to utter defeat (Genesis 3:15). Still resisting defeat and longing to gain the ascendancy, as soon as God raised up the nation of Israel to bring forth that Descendant in Messiah (Genesis 12:1-3) he began doing everything in his power to keep Messiah from being born. Hence, the beginning of anti-Semitism.

The primary objective of Satan's anti-Semitic acts has always been the thwarting of the ascendancy of Messiah. If Pharaoh would have been successful in killing all newborn Israelite males for a protracted period of time, the nation of Israel would have been stopped dead in its tracks long before Messiah would be born (Exodus 1:15-16, 22). If Herod would have been successful in killing Yeshua in his slaughter of the babes in Bethlehem, Yeshua would never have died for the sins of the world (Matthew 2:16). And what of the massive attack against Israel prophesied in Revelation 12, above? According to Hosea 5:15 and Matthew 23:39, the return of Messiah is predicated upon the return of Israel to her Messiah on a national scale. If Satan could destroy the nation before she turns to her Messiah, he would prevent Messiah's return, his own being bound in the abyss for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2-3) and then being cast into the Lake of Fire which burns forever (Revelation 20:10). Indeed, anti-Semitism's peculiar irrationality and ferocity (discussed in Part 1, above) is driven not only by Satan's protracted effort to usurp the throne of God, but by his desperate effort to prevent his own demise and eternal damnation. His final assault on Israel will be carried out with such determination and ferocity that God will need to intervene to bring those days to an end to prevent the destruction of the entire nation: Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short (Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20 with Zechariah 13:8). Context shows that the elect here refers to Israel.

Visible and Behind the Scenes Persecution
Satan's persecution of Israel is often by means of stirring up direct physical violence. That will be the nature of the persecution of the woman in Revelation 12:13. We know that because of verse 15: And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. When Scripture uses the figure of a flood symbolically, it refers to a military invasion. This is seen in Daniel 9:26, where the prophesied Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 B.C. is pictured as a flood. It is also seen in Nahum 1:8, in which the prophesied destruction of Nineveh was prefigured as a flood; and Nineveh was destroyed in 612 B.C. by the military invasion of the allied forces of the Medes and Babylonians.

Historians tend to date the beginning of anti-Semitism from some such act of massive physical violence. Some date it as far back as Pharaoh's edict to cast all male Israelite newborns into the Nile. Of course, visible means of persecution other than physical violence have been employed, such as exile, being confined to ghettos, and being disallowed from entering certain professions or educational institutions; but Satan's anti-Semitism often takes forms that are very subtle, and escape the notice of historians:

  • Sarai (Sarah) was taken into Pharaoh's harem, an act which God actively undid (Genesis 12:10-20). If the situation had been allowed to continue, Isaac would never have been born, the covenant line would have been cut off, and Messiah would never have been born.

  • Sarah was taken into Abimelech's harem (Genesis 20:1-2), an act which God likewise undid. Similarly, if the situation had been allowed to continue, Isaac would never have been born, the covenant line would have been cut off, and Messiah would never have been born.

Surely, Satan was the behind the scenes manipulator of these events which would have permanently separated Sarah from Abraham - six hundred years prior to the drowning of the Israelite babes.

Can these attempts of Satan to thwart the purposes of God through Israel truly be considered anti-Semitic? Seeking to render the nation impotent to fulfill the purpose for which she was called is as anti-Semitic as any attempt to destroy her physically.

Another tactic employed by Satan is to weaken Israel by bringing her into disfavor with God. In proportion to the extent he could accomplish that, to that proportion is God likely to bring judgment upon Israel and less likely to accomplish His purposes through her.

  • And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1). What David did here was to assess his military strength (verse 5) either to glory in his forces or to engage in wars that God did not authorize, or both. This sin of David brought the judgment of God upon Israel in the form of a plague that claimed 70,000 Israelite lives (verses 7-14).

  • And [an angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary (Zechariah 3:1). Whereas in 1 Chronicles 21 Satan brought Israel's king into disfavor with God, here we see him attempting to bring Israel's spiritual leader into disfavor with the preincarnate Son of God.

All of Israel's idolatry and disobedience in the wilderness and in the Promised Land, and all of her rejections of Messiah right up to the present time have their origin in Satan's efforts to bring Israel into disfavor with God (1 Samuel 15:23; John 8:44, 17:12; Revelation 12:9). Indeed, in Exodus 32:1-14, after Israel worshiped the golden calf at Sinai, God bid Moses, let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them (verse 10); and verse 14 emphasizes that He would have done it had not Moses interceded.

The great volume of visible attacks that the church has launched against the Jews through the centuries, whether physical, theological or social, have a satanic aspect to them that is hidden. A major call of the church is to provoke [Israel] to jealousy (Romans 11:11) by demonstrating the blessings of knowing Israel's Messiah. Instead, the church's horrific persecution of the Jews for nearly the entire Church Age has instead provoked Israel to revulsion at the thought of the church's Jesus being their Messiah! So, from Satan's point of view, if he could not destroy the Jews physically, then the least he could do is use the church's repugnant anti-Semitic record to keep Israel from being saved, and thereby prevent Messiah's return and his own demise.

IV. THE HUMAN ASPECT

1. Now the LORD said to Abram . . . . 3. "And I will bless those who
bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse."

~ Genesis 12:1-3a ~

I included "The Divine Aspect" and "The Satanic Aspect" under "The Spiritual Aspects of Anti-Semitism," but assigned a separate heading for "The Human Aspect" for two reasons:

1. The purposes and influences of God and Satan are invisible, but anti-Semitism in its human aspect is visible (though not always recognizable as anti-Semitic at its root, as with Pharaoh and Abimelech).

2. God and Satan have their agendas concerning the Jews and exert their influence accordingly; but realize it or not, each person and nation is in the pivotal position of deciding whether they will choose between the ways of God and the ways of Satan in their treatment of the Jews. God desires for them to bless, and Satan desires for them to curse. (Genesis 12:1-3; Matthew 25:31-46)

The human aspect of anti-Semitism will be addressed in two categories: "Individuals" and "Nations."

A. INDIVIDUALS

1. The Vulnerability of Mankind to Sin in General
Even before they became corrupted by sin, Adam and Eve proved vulnerable to the temptations of Satan. Mankind is now even more vulnerable because, in addition to having a free will as did our first parents, he now has an inner propensity toward sin, which traditional Judaism calls the yetzer hara (Hebrew), the evil inclination, and which believers in Yeshua call the sin nature (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:23; Ephesians 2:3; Galatians 5:19-21).

2. The Vulnerability of Mankind to the Sin of Anti-Semitism
Many people succumb to anti-Semitic temptation because they, having the sin nature, are opposed to God, and it is the Jews who have been raised up by God to deliver His Word and Messiah to the world. I again bring this quote to your attention:

It was Judaism that brought the concept of a God-given universal moral law into the world... the Jew carries the burden of God in history and for this he has never been forgiven.1

Even so, as uncanny as it is, there are anti-Semites among Jews and true believers as well.2 How can this be? They, too, have the sin nature and are tempted by the Devil. They, too, are subject to being weakened or deceived by unhealthy sociological, psychological and physiological influences. As concerns believers, much anti-Semitism could have been, and could be, preempted by means of proper biblical instruction and study concerning Israel - let alone the more fundamental principle of loving your neighbor, and even your enemies (Matthew 5:44; 22:39, etc.)!

B. THE NATIONS IN GENERAL

Nations, of course, are made up of individuals, and are therefore likewise vulnerable to anti-Semitic attitudes and acts, but on a national scale, whether they be by informal grassroots agreement or by authoritative encouragement, edict, or military organization and attack.

C. THE ARABS IN PARTICULAR

Among nations, the Arabs must be given special focus in the context of anti-Semitism as Scripture reveals relevant specifics about them.

The chief patriarchs of the Arabs are Ishmael and Esau. We'll address them in chronological order: first Ishmael, then Esau, and then we'll make a few comments about the Arabs overall.

1. Ishmael
The origins and nature of the Ishmaelites and their attitude towards Israel are detailed in Genesis 16:1-16; 21:20-21; 25:12-18.

The salient points concerning Ishmael are:

a. Abram had been promised a covenant son by God in Genesis 15:1-4, but after perhaps only a year, he took the fulfillment of the Lord's promise into his own hands by having relations with Sarai's Egyptian handmaid Hagar, and Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:1-4,11). We know that Ishmael was not the covenant son because God promised that the covenant son would be born through Sarah (17:15-19).

b. Ishmael, then, may be considered the son of Abram's unbelief or impatience - and the Jews live with the consequences of Abram's lack of trust to this very day. (Let that be a lesson to all of us!)

c. Ishmael's conception in Hagar immediately caused animosity in Sarai's heart toward Hagar:

4. [Abram] went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when [Sarai] saw that [Hagar] had conceived, her mistress [Hagar] was despised in her sight. . . . 6. So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.

~ Genesis 16:4,6 ~

According to the custom of the day, Sarai, being barren, gave her handmaid to her husband so that an heir might be born through her. However, as the passage makes clear, her despisement of Hagar rose up because of Hagar's becoming pregnant, the direct result of the relationship to which Sarai had been matchmaker. Therefore, Sarai cannot be held guiltless in her treatment of Hagar. Having said that, it is almost certain that anti-Semitism already resided in the heart of Hagar: "It is known from Egyptian records of this period that Egyptians were all full haters of anyone of Semitic origin."3 Note the absolutes "all" and "full." If that was the case with Hagar - and it almost certainly was - it is likely that her anti-Semitism had already primed Sarai's despisement of her.

d. The Angel of Jehovah intercepted Hagar in the midst of her flight, and promised,

10. I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count. . . . 12. [Ishmael] will be a wild donkey [wanderer] of a man, his hand will be against everyone, and everyone's hand will be against him; and he will live to the east of all his brothers.

~ In Genesis 16:10,12 ~

Indeed, these things are the case today:

  • The Arabs are a very numerous people, numbering about 300 million. (Also Genesis 25:16.)

  • Though more so in the past, many Arabs are still nomadic.

  • There is continual military conflict within their own ranks and with Israel. One example in Scripture of protracted Ishmaelite harassment of Israel is seen in Judges 6:1 - 8:28, especially 6:1-6, 7:7-8 and 8:24. (Genesis 37:27-28 and Judges 8:24 identify the Midianites as Ishmaelites.)

  • Keil and Delitzsch maintain that the translation, to the east of all his brothers, is accurate4, but also indicates the Ishmaelites' independence of all other descendants of Abraham. As the passage prophesied, they live to the east of Israel for the most part, and are independent of them to the point where they are in a state of "incessant feud" with them, as Keil and Delitzsch put it, as well as among themselves. The phrase is translated over against all his brethren in the ASV, and this comment of Dr. Fruchtenbaum corroborates the extent of the Arabs' independence of Israel: "The expression to dwell over against is a Hebrew idiom meaning, to dwell in a state of hostility.”5

e. When Ishmael was a teenager he mocked Isaac at the celebration of Isaac's weaning, which again caused Hagar to be driven out from Sarah's presence, this time with her teenage son. (Genesis 21:8-12; Galatians 4:29)

f. Hagar ultimately took an Egyptian wife for Ishmael (Genesis 21:21). Whatever anti-Semitism was instilled in Ishmael by his Egyptian mother was almost certainly reinforced by the same in his Egyptian wife.

To review the origins of anti-Semitism in Ishmael:

  • His mother and wife were almost certainly "fully" anti-Semitic.

  • His mother was driven out twice by Sarah, and so was he: once as a preborn and once as a teenager.

  • Isaac was the covenant son, not he.

Significantly, the ongoing anti-Semitism of the nations proceeding from him was prophesied (Genesis 16:12, above), indicating that an unbroken thread of anti-Semitism was to pass from Ishmael to his descendants throughout his generations; and other passages show that it will last until great revivals take place among some of the Arab nations at or near the beginning of the Millennium (e.g., Isaiah 19:22-25; Jeremiah 48:47; 49:6).

2. Esau
Esau (that is, Edom), who became the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:1,9), was born the fraternal twin of Jacob (Genesis 25:19-26). As the firstborn, the birthright, which consisted of a double portion of Isaac's physical estate, would normally go to him (Deuteronomy 21:17). Nevertheless, on an occasion in which he was particularly hungry, Esau despised his birthright and sold it to Jacob for a pittance: some bread and lentil stew (Genesis 25:34). To what degree did he despise his birthright? His father, Isaac, was a wealthy man (Genesis 12:16; 20:14; 24:1; Genesis 25:5). He could easily have gone to a neighboring tent in Isaac's well to do camp, gotten something to eat there, and retained his birthright, but it wasn't worth it to him to make the effort. (The Chronological Bible6 places this event thirty-seven years prior to the famine spoken of in Genesis 26:1.)

To put a matter in perspective, Jacob did not take advantage of a brother under duress. If he did, then the text would not say that Esau despised his birthright. Jacob took advantage of a brother who despised his birthright, which is far different. Esau did not have to sell, but he did. The sale was above board, and the purchase by Jacob was legitimate.

The birthright was now Jacob's, but it still remained for Isaac to pronounce the patriarchal blessing upon the son of his choice. Whereas the birthright consisted of a double portion of the physical estate, the blessing conferred the leadership of the family upon the son so blessed; and in Isaac's case, it also determined the son through whom the covenantal blessings of Abraham would be conveyed.

As in the case of the birthright, the blessing would normally go to the firstborn, but that was not always the case. Jumping ahead a generation, we see that Israel (Jacob) conferred the birthright upon his seventh son, Joseph - I give you one portion more than your brothers (Genesis 48:21-22) - and the patriarchal blessing upon his fourth son, Judah (Genesis 49:9-10). Reuben, the first of Jacob's twelve sons, would normally have received the blessing, but Jacob did not confer it upon him because you went up to your father's bed; Then you defiled it (Genesis 49:4). Similarly with Simeon and Levi, the second and third in line, because their swords are implements of violence (49:5). With the first three sons passed over, it was the fourth in line, Judah, who received the patriarchal blessing (49:9-10); and indeed, Yeshua was born of Judah's line (Hebrews 7:14).

Before the twins were born of Rebekah, the LORD said to her, the older shall serve the younger (Genesis 25:23), indicating that it was foreordained that the blessing would be Jacob's, the younger. Nevertheless, when Isaac was about to die, he intended to confer it upon firstborn Esau; but Jacob, through deception, got his father to confer it upon him (Genesis 27:1-29).

What shall we say about this? Jacob's deception was unnecessary. God had already determined that the blessing would be his, and He would have arranged for it to be so. Therefore, despite Jacob's machinations, God honored Isaac's blessing of Jacob - and He dealt with Jacob's deceptive tendencies later (Genesis 27:41 - 33:30, esp. chap. 32)!

How worthy was Esau to become the covenant son? Hebrews 12:16 tells us that Esau was an immoral and godless person. He married two Hittite women who brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:35), no doubt because they rejected the God who covenanted with Abraham and Isaac, and worshiped false gods, instead. What Esau did was exactly what Isaac told Jacob not to do after he blessed him: You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan (Genesis 28:1).

Though Esau had despised his birthright and sold it to Jacob, and was unworthy to become the covenant son, yet, after Isaac had blessed Jacob, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry (27:34) and lifted his voice and wept (27:38) at not having received either the birthright or the blessing. Being an immoral and godless person, his grief over not having received the blessing had nothing to do with his not becoming the covenant son: It had everything to do with his not becoming leader of the clan.

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

~ Genesis 27:41 ~

Now, Esau was Ishmael's nephew, his father Isaac being Ishmael's half-brother. Although Ishmael had been cast out of the camp the second and final time long before Esau was born, and lived in the wilderness of Paran (Genesis 21:21) deep in the Sinai at least several days journey from Isaac's camp, it is possible that Esau had some contact with his uncle or, at the least, had heard the story of his banishment. If either or both were the case, then Ishmael's anti-Semitism and/or the story of his banishment may have had a negative influence on Esau concerning the covenant line of Abraham, his father Isaac, and after Jacob was blessed, Jacob. We cannot be dogmatic about this as Scripture is silent. Nevertheless, whatever influence Ishmael or the story of his banishment may have had on Esau, subsequent to Esau's resolve to kill Jacob he married Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son (Genesis 28:9). Thus, the enmity that he already bore toward Jacob was exacerbated by his wife, who was raised in the household of her anti-Semitic father.

About twenty years after his resolve to kill Jacob, a great and emotional reconciliation took place between the two, and Esau exhibited great kindness toward his brother. Yet, we can be certain that latent animosity still existed in Esau's heart toward Jacob because Ezekiel 35:5 says that the Edomites bore everlasting enmity toward Israel. If it's everlasting, then it had to have had no complete respite, even in the heart of Esau during his reconciliation with Jacob. Thus we see that the animosity in Esau's heart toward Jacob passed in an unbroken manner to his descendants from generation to generation; and though it may have been latent for some periods as it was in Esau, it was always there, ready to erupt at any time in violent acts.

Edom demonstrated this readiness for violence against Israel when Moses sought permission for Israel to pass through Edom (presently southern Jordan) on their way to Canaan (Numbers 20:14-21; Judges 11:17), and Edom refused them passage on pain of attack. Numbers 20:18: You shall not pass through us, or I will come out with the sword against you; and they backed up their refusal with a show of force: And Edom came out against [Moses] with a heavy force and with a strong hand (verse 20). Other passages demonstrate actual, ongoing attacks, such as 1 Kings 11:14, in which Edom was adversary to Solomon, and 2 Chronicles 28:17: again the Edomites had come and attacked Judah and carried away captives.

1. By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. . . . 7. Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, "Raze it, raze it to its very foundation."

~ Psalm 137:1,7 ~

When did Edom say, "Raze [Jerusalem], raze it to its very foundation"? In 586 B.C.E., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, and carried most of her population captive into Babylon. The plea for the LORD to remember Edom was made by those very captives. As Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem, Edom cheered him on. This is corroborated in Obadiah 1:11-12; and verses 13 and 14 indicate that they may have actively supported Nebuchadnezzar by attacking escapees and imprisoning survivors.

The captivity of the southern Kingdom of Judah into Babylon followed the captivity of the northern Kingdom of Israel into the Assyrian Empire by 135 years. Edom rejoiced over the devastation of the two kingdoms because they desired the entire Land for themselves: These two nations and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them (Ezekiel 35:10).

It is worthy of note that whereas only one of Ishmael's parents was a member of the covenant nation, both of Esau's parents were, and he and Jacob were twins. Obadiah 1:10 makes it clear that the national closeness of Edom to Israel will work against her in the day of her national judgment: Because of violence to your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever. Edom's offenses against Israel were so odious to God that He declared that, while virtually the rest of the planet would be restored to pristine beauty in the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom, Edom would remain a desolation (Isaiah 34:8-15, Jeremiah 49:17-18, Ezekiel 35:10-15, Joel 3:19). At least two specific reasons were given: their everlasting enmity toward Israel, and their desire to possess the Land that God had given to His people and which they lost in such a grievous, calamitous manner (Ezekiel 35:10-14).

Herod the Great, the cruel Roman puppet king of Judah who slaughtered the Bethlehem babes in a mad attempt to kill Messiah (Matthew 2:16-18), was a full-blooded Idumean (Edomite).

Esau became a great nation (Genesis 36:8-43), and the land which they originally occupied (Seir, Genesis 32:3; 36:8) before their geographical expansion is, today, southern Jordan, solidly within the Arab camp.

3. The Arabs Overall
To sum up, the deepest taproots of anti-Semitism in the Arabic peoples are found in Ishmael and Esau, and we know that their anti-Semitism was perpetuated from them throughout their generations because of predictive prophecy, and has, to this day, been demonstrated by repeated acts of hostility.

Other ethnicities besides Ishmaelites and Edomites also became part of that mix of peoples known today as the Arabs, such as the Ammonites and Moabites (origins: Genesis 19:35-38). According to Nehemiah 2:19, three Arabs (as we would call them all today) opposed Nehemiah in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem: Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab. (Also Nehemiah 6:1-2.) As for Sanballat's nationality, Horonaim was a city in Moab.

In Psalm 83:1-8, the Psalmist Asaph laments the ongoing animosity of neighboring nations toward Israel. Note how closely verse 6 juxtaposes the Ishmaelites and the Edomites: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites. They are also the first ones mentioned of the nations named in verses 6-8, several of which are Arabic. Verse four is worthy of note: They have said, "Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more" - a refrain repeated daily today within those very nations! Also Ezekiel 35:1-5 and Obadiah 10-14.

In 1941, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem met with Hitler, Himmler and Von Ribbentrop "to persuade them to extend the Nazis’ anti-Jewish program to the Arab world".7

4. Arab Anti-Semitism and Islam
Islam was founded on the visions of an Arab, Mohammed, and were written down and eventually compiled into the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an. In light of the prophecies that [Ishmael's] hand shall be against every man, . . . and he shall dwell over against all his brethren (Genesis 16:12, ASV), and that the enmity of the Edomites toward Israel is an everlasting enmity (Ezekiel 35:5), it flows naturally that the Qur'an encourages anti-Semitic sentiment and violence. Some examples:

  • [The Jews] knowingly perverted [the word of Allah], know of nothing except lies ... commit evil and become engrossed in sin.8

The first clause of the statement is consistent with the fact that most Arabs believe that Ishmael was the covenant son of Abraham, not Isaac.

  • [The Jews] are the heirs of Hell.... They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is clear from what they say ... When evil befalls you they rejoice.9

  • Fight against such of those [Jews and Christians] ... until they pay for the tribute readily, being brought low.10

    "This Hadith11 of the Prophet Mohammad appeared in Egyptian publications in the 1930s and 1940s:

    The resurrection of the dead will not come until the Muslims will war with the Jews and the Muslims will kill them; ... the trees and rocks will say, 'O Muslim, O Abdullah12, here is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"13

5. Caveat
Without a doubt, what Scripture prophesied of the Arabs as a whole in regards to anti-Semitism has been borne out over thousands of years of history. However, as in our relations with any people, judgment of intent and character of individuals must be carried out on an individual basis. Indeed, there are Arab individuals and groups today who, at the risk of life and limb, openly support the State of Israel and the fair treatment of Jewish people. Links to some of their websites may be found in the Modern Israel and World Jewry section of our Messianic Resources page.

*

We have just concluded the heart of "The Spiritual Roots of Anti-Semitism." In our next study, we will add an examination of key accusations against the Jew to which the Bible speaks, a Bible based examination of the futility of anti-Semitism, a fuller look at the attitude of God concerning those who bless or curse the Jews, an examination of the consequences of the same in biblical and postbiblical times, and what can be done within biblical limits to battle anti-Semitism. We may also address the common claim that the New Testament promotes anti-Semitism, and refute a handful of contemporary accusations made against the Jews.

Shalom.

ENDNOTES

1. Flannery, Edward H. Judaism-now Blogspot, http://judaism-now.blogspot.com/2010/12/pagan-influance-of-christmas.html. Judaism-now.
2. Lest anyone doubt that a true believer could be anti-Semitic, let him read Martin Luther's On the Jews and Their Lies. Caution: Strong stomach required. Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543, from Luther’s Works Volume 47, translated by Martin H. Bertram, (Fortress Press & Augsburg Fortress, 1971). Also online at http://www.humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/documents/luther-jews.htm.
3. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 008: Arab States in Prophecy (www.ariel.org), pdf, p. 7.
4. C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Keil and Delitzsch Commentary of the Old Testament (Hendrickson Publishers, 1996). 5. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit., p. 7.
6. Smith, F. LaGard, The Chronological Bible (Nashville, E.E. Gaddy & Associates, Inc., 1977).
7. Richard Bard, "The Mufti and the Fuhrer." http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/muftihit.html.
8. Sura II, v. 71-85.
9. Sura CXI, v. 117-120.
10. Sura IX, v. 29.
11. "The Hadith is the record of the sayings of Prophet Mohammad. . . . The Hadith has come to supplement the Holy Quran as a source of the Islamic religious law. The Hadith is the second pillar after the Quran upon which every Muslim rests his faith." (http://www.al-islam.org/short/alhadith/Pages/Page1.html.)
12. The name Abdullah means Servant of Allah.
13. http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/koran.html.

The True Roots of Anti-Semitism,
Part 2: The Satanic and Human Aspects
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2011
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM ~

3. REFUTATION OF ACCUSATIONS
AGAINST THE JEWS AND ISRAEL

For thus says the LORD of hosts, "After glory He has sent Me against the nations
which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye."

~ Zechariah 2:8 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
I. ACCUSATIONS AGAINST JEWS IN GENERAL
A. "THEY THINK THEY'RE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE"
B. "THE JEWS ARE CHRIST-KILLERS"
1. The Facts
2. Determining the Key Fact: Who Was Guilty of the Death of Jesus?
a. Examining Jewish Culpability
b. Examining the Culpability of All Mankind
3. Proper Responses to the Facts
C. "THE JEWS ARE CONSPIRING TO RULE THE WORLD"
1. The Financial Perspective
2. The Political Perspective
a. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
b. Muslim Irony
3. Summing Up
II. ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE COUNTRY OF ISRAEL
A. "THE JEWS HAVE NO HISTORICAL CONNECTION WITH THE LAND"
1. "They Never Resided in the Land Until Recently"
a. The Qur'an
b. Archaeology
1) King Nebuchadnezzar's Chronicle

2) Solomon's City Wall

3) The Arch of Titus
c. The Bible
1) The Old Testament
2) The New Testament
2. "They Are Europeans"
a. "The Israelis Are Recent Immigrants from Europe"
b. "They Are Not Bloodline Jews"
b. "The Jews Took the Land from the ArabS"
1. The Divine Perspective
2. The Demographic Perspective
3. The Political Perspective
C. "THE ISRAELIS CAUSED THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM"
D. "THE JEWS ARE OCCUPIERS OF THE WEST BANK"
ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING AND WATCHING

INTRODUCTION

When criticisms or hurtful actions arise because of a bias against Jews or Israel, they are anti-Semitic. (The nature of anti-Semitism is discussed at length in Part 1: The Divine Aspect, above.) But whether or not anti-Semitism is a factor in any given case, many accusations against Jews and Israel are simply not true, and need to be refuted. This study, then, is an apologetic against a few key accusations against Jews. Scripture and evidence of a nature more common to human argumentation will be provided as appropriate.

On what basis does a Bible study series engage in apologetics that are not lifted from Scripture? In the context of Israel, the answer is that God requires us to bless Israel (Genesis 12:3) - not just by introducing them to Messiah, but by blessing them in the daily affairs of life. Note how Messiah will bless the sheep Gentiles who, at the risk of their lives, will offer succor to the persecuted Jews of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-40). Note also how Paul, on two occasions, declared his Roman citizenship to force his persecutors to walk in civic truth (In Acts 16:37-39; 22:5).

Only a few bare comments can be offered in this brief study. It is hoped that the reader will do his own research, which may include some of the sources recommended below as well as resources offered on our Messianic Resources page.

No individual is blameless; but in matters in which it is adjudged that some Jews do engage in offensive practices, it is hoped that the one who so judges will realize that that fact is no justification for wholesale exile, confinement in ghettos, mass slaughter, or the like, but of reasonable and fair treatment of the individuals so adjudged. The same applies for the country of Israel.

I will first address accusations against Jews in general, and then accusations against the country of Israel.

I. ACCUSATIONS AGAINST JEWS IN GENERAL

A. "THEY THINK THEY'RE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE"

Well, the Bible says they are.

In Deuteronomy 7:6, Moses said, For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

In Isaiah 41:8-9, God said, 8. But you, Israel . . . . are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Also Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Chronicles 16:13; Psalm 33:12; 105:6,43; 106:5; 135:4; Isaiah 43:10,20; 44:1-2,21; 45:4; 65:9,15; Jeremiah 30:10; 46:27,28; Amos 3:2 and 1 Peter 2:9-10.

God chose Israel primarily to bring the Scriptures and Messiah into the world. The chosenness of Israel may be studied in detail in The Chosenness of Israel, above.

It is a fact that some Jews are prideful of their Jewishness and of their nation's chosenness, whether they understand what that means or not. Such pride is found in perhaps all people groups. Shouldn't prideful Jews be dealt with fairly and reasonably as individuals, just as one should deal with prideful individuals of any nationality, including one's own?

B. "THE JEWS ARE CHRIST-KILLERS"

This accusation lays the responsibility for the death of Christ on the doorstep of the Jews, and has been responsible for the shedding of rivers of Jewish blood - primarily by those who call themselves Christians!

An early documented accusation that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus came in a sermon in 167 AD. . . . The author does not attribute particular blame to Pontius Pilate, but only mentions that Pilate washed his hands of guilt.1

The Jews bore the brunt of the accusation, and Pilate, who ordered the execution, was attributed no "particular blame."

The accusation is still alive and well in circles great and small. The Holy Thursday liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches speaks of "the murderers of God, the lawless nation of the Jews," and includes the prayer, "But give them, Lord, their reward, because they devised vain things against Thee."2

This writer recalls an online cartoon of a year or two ago of baby Jesus about to be run over by an Israeli tank.

On the basis of this accusation, people and nations have taken the punishment of the Jews into their own hands. A balanced refutation of this accusation is a delicate issue, and the following points are proffered with Jews and Gentiles of every persuasion in mind. I therefore respectfully ask that all readers hear me out. First the facts, then proper responses to the facts.

1. The Facts
a. The accusation that the Jews are the Christ-killers has often been couched in terms of "deicide." That term is misleading as it sounds as if the Jews killed what Christians would call the divinity of the second Person of the Godhead. Scripture never states or implies that any portion of divinity was or can be killed. Jesus in His human aspect was killed, not His divine aspect. It was His body that was nailed to the cross - not His Spirit. It is impossible for the divinity of the second Person to be killed. The Trinity was always intact, and always will be!

b. Jews who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah will understandably deny the charge of deicide (invalid as it is, anyway) or of killing the Messiah because they do not believe that Jesus is divine or the Messiah. This is not a matter to be debated here, but appreciated.

2. Determining the Key Fact: Who Was Guilty of the Death of Jesus?
First we'll examine Jewish culpability, then we'll look beyond the Jews.

a. Examining Jewish Culpability
1) The Jewish leaders did deliver Yeshua to be crucified.

From the Babylonian Talmud:

On the eve of the Passover Yeshu3 was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!4

~ Sanhedrin 43a ~

The Talmud agrees with the New Testament in that both record that the Jews initiated Yeshua's execution:

1. Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; 2 and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor. . . . 20. But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.

~ Matthew 27:1-2, 20 ~

2) Not all Jews delivered Jesus to be crucified. Those who did not call for His execution included His great number of disciples (Luke 6:17), the great number of people who looked on Him favorably without having committed themselves to Him (Luke 2:52) (at least not openly by that time, such as Joseph of Arimathea [John 19:38] and Nicodemus [John 7:50-52]), and the great number of women, and perhaps men, who were not in Jerusalem at that time. Matthew does report that crowds of adult males were persuaded by the chief priests and elders to request Barabbas and put Jesus to death (Matthew 27:20 with Deuteronomy 16:16-17); yet, all things considered, it is impossible to know what percentage of adult Jews, or even just male Jews, actually called for His execution. Perhaps a significant percentage, even a majority, did not.

3) Matthew 27:25 records that a mob of Israelites cried out, His blood shall be on us and on our children! The fact that this has been recorded has been the rallying cry of many an anti-Semitic mob. Yet, it is a mere recording of fact, and constitutes absolutely no biblical ground for humanly initiated punitive action, as will be shown.

4) God does judge and bless nations on a national basis. He judged the northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. by the hand of Assyria for idolatry (2 Kings 15:29; 17:3-12; 18:11-12; 1 Chronicles 5:26; Isaiah 10:5-6), and the southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C. by the hand of Babylon for idolatry and not giving the land its required Sabbath year rests (Leviticus 26:34-35,43; 2 Kings 25; II Chronicles 36:20-21; Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10). It should not seem unusual, then, that if Yeshua was the Messiah, and Israel's spiritual leaders and judicial authorities delivered Him to be crucified, that they should be judged nationally by God for that, as well. Even so, as has been mentioned, that constitutes no biblical ground for humanly initiated punitive action, as will be shown.

b. Examining the Culpability of All Mankind
First we'll consider Rome, then the Jews again.

22. Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Crucify Him!" 23. And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!" 24. When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves."

~ Matthew 27:22-23 ~

Pilate condemned a man to death in order to prevent a riot, a man who, in his judgment, was innocent: "Why, what evil has He done?" Also, Luke 23:4: Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no guilt in this man;" and John 19:4: Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him; and 19:6: I find no guilt in Him.

Pilate was guilty, and he was an arm of Rome. Therefore, Rome was guilty.

According to the Talmud quote, Jewish officials initiated the charges against Jesus and carried them forward until he was "hanged." The Talmud assumes Jewish responsibility - but were the Jewish leaders and, by extension, the Jewish nation, guilty of any conscious miscarriage of justice?

Caiaphas, who was high priest and the chief priests and the Pharisees agreed that it was expedient that Yeshua die because all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation (John 11:46-50. Also 18:14-15). In other words, they agreed to scapegoat Him. They arrested Him, judged Him in their courts, and finally delivered Him to Pilate (Mark 15:1). They were guilty.5

Thus far, we've seen that both Israel and Rome were guilty, which is also stated plainly in the prayer of Peter, John and their companions in Acts 4:27-28:

27. For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28. to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

Let us not miss the point that God was involved, too, though by no means can He be held "guilty"! So, if we're not going to persecute God, then the least we can do is persecute Romans as well as Jews, right? As Word of Messiah Ministries' Sam Nadler says, "Why not anti-Italianism?" Well, let's see what Scripture says in the broader view.

John 1:29: Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Romans 3:9b: we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin.

Galatians 3:22: But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Messiah Yeshua might be given to those who believe.

We all are responsible and guilty of the death of Messiah because we all put Him on that cross by our sinfulness and our sins. It is as if we, ourselves, hammered in the nails. So - who shall accuse and persecute whom? Shall we persecute ourselves and shed our own blood? No, as a matter of fact, blood has already been shed on our behalf whether we be Jew or Gentile, and need be shed no more. He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30). To punitively shed any more blood for the death of Messiah, be it Jewish or Gentile, is to declare that God's punitive justice was not fulfilled at the cross - which would mean that none of us can be forgiven!

3. Proper Responses to the Facts
a. Facts need to be acknowledged, not denied.
b. Since we are all guilty of the death of Jesus, the proper response is not to point fingers, but to deal with our own sinfulness before God, which the sinfulness of those Jews and Gentiles who were guilty in the immediate situation reflect. Jesus said, First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye (Matthew 7:5).
c. When focusing on Jewish culpability, Christians need to understand two things:
1) It is God's business alone to initiate judgment on Israel - and He alone knows when and how is best. He brought the Assyrians and Babylonians upon Israel, and the Assyrians and Babylonians had no idea that they were instruments in God's hands. It was in reference to Israel that God declared through Moses, Vengeance is Mine, and retribution (Deuteronomy 32:35). This is not to be missed: Paul quoted that same passage in application to general Christian behavior: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord (Romans 12:19).
2) Those who would take the punishment of Israel into their own hands do so at their own peril. The preincarnate Son of God declared, For thus says the LORD of hosts, "After glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you [Israel], for he who touches you, touches the apple [pupil] of His eye" (Zechariah 2:8).

C. "THE JEWS ARE CONSPIRING TO RULE THE WORLD"

We'll look at this accusation from financial and political perspectives.

1. The Financial Perspective
A common accusation is that the Jews control the world's finances. A Forbes Magazine article of March 11, 2011, entitled "The World's Billionaires," lists the world's billionaires.6 There is not one distinctly Jewish name in the top fifteen. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the world's richest Jew is Sheldon Adelson, only sixteenth on the Forbes list.7 As you continue through the first hundred, the names that are distinctly Jewish are slim, indeed.

Jews control Wall Street? No. It is accurate to say that there are many Jews in key positions on Wall Street. But where's the conspiracy? There are many Jews in New York City. Guess what? There are many Japanese in the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Chinese in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Where's the conspiracy there? If there's no proof of conspiracy, individuals should be judged on an individual basis irregardless of their nationality, and on an even-handed basis. But why start with the Jews or any other nationality? Why not start with the Forbes list? They're the big boys - but even here one must be careful. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a "big boy"! Many "big boys," Jewish and Gentile, have risen to levels of success by honest, hard work! Careful how you judge!

2. The Political Perspective
a. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

Probably the most pernicious attempt to accuse the Jews of plotting to rule the world was the writing of a spurious document entitled The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

In an article entitled "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: Plagiarism at its Best," Prof. Jose Delacruz of The University of California at Santa Barbara, declares,

The protocols are a document that purports to represent the ideas of a secret society of Jewish elders and was published by Sergyei Nilus in Russia in 1905. These ideas are the blueprint for conquering the world. . . . Adolf Hitler was influenced by the protocols and therefore helps explain why Hitler believed that Jews were planning to conquer the world.8

Prof. Delacruz demonstrates that the Protocols are a forgery of portions of an imagined conversation between Montesquieu and Napoleon III - who were neither contemporary nor Jewish! Prof. Delacruz concludes, as did the original researchers, that which has been commonly accepted since the forgery was revealed publicly in 1921:

In sum, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are a false documentation that has no credibility and its sole purpose is to spread anti-Semitism throughout the world.

Nonetheless, untroubled by facts, the Protocols is still employed as a handy tool by anti-Semites.

The [10th-grade history] schoolbook, published in 2004, by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, teaches that among the foundations of Zionism, agreed upon at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, “there is a group of confidential resolutions adopted by the Congress and known by the name ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ the goal of which was world domination.”9

b. Muslim Irony
The very Muslims who accuse the Jews of plotting to take over the world adhere to the Qur'an, which exhorts world domination by Muslims - even by the sword - which method Muhammed employed until his death, and has been the chief means by which Muslims have gained, and are continuing to gain, control over vast areas of the Earth!

Fight those who . . . [do not] acknowledge the religion of Truth . . . until they pay the tribute and have been humbled. (Sura 9:29)

Whether unarmed or well-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of Allah, with your wealth and your persons. (Sura 9:41)

To be fair to the Palestinian Authority, a web search for the Protocols shows that not only they, but other endarkened people like them, claim that the document is genuine. But for those who care about the truth, be they Palestinian or otherwise, let them consider the evidence summarized in Prof. Delacruz' article.

3. Summing Up
There is simply no evidence that Jews are conspiring to rule the world. If they are, they're doing a very poor job of it. The only Jewish head of state at this time that I am aware of is the prime minister of tiny Israel - so why pick on the Jews? People of Spanish descent not only control Spain, but almost every country from Mexico to the southern tip of South America - and no one's accusing the Spanish of plotting to rule the world - nor should they without proof.

Are Jews trying to influence the politics of the countries in which they reside where they have that liberty? Yes, just as countless other groups are trying to do, whether they be of a particular ethnicity or political persuasion or banking network or corporate conglomerate or labor union or other entity. For better and for worse, lobbying is an established practice. It makes no sense to single out a lobby for particular scrutiny and opprobrium simply because they represent Jewish interests, such as the safety of Israel, as is done by some.

II. ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE COUNTRY OF ISRAEL

"When approached by a student who attacked Zionism, Dr. [Martin Luther] King responded: 'When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism.'"10

Zionism is the belief that Jews ought to have their own homeland; also that movement which initiated and promotes the return to the Land and seeks the Land's well being. Of course, no political movement is flawless, nor is any nation; but Dr. King apparently sensed the spirit that motivated that student.

Consider these claims, and the refutations, and judge for yourself.

A. "THE JEWS HAVE NO HISTORICAL CONNECTION WITH THE LAND"

There are two major prongs to this claim: 1. They never resided in the land until recently, and 2. They are Europeans.

1. "They Never Resided in the Land Until Recently"
This ludicrous claim is heard regularly from Arab sources, but not exclusively.

Refutations from:
a. The Qur'an

Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: "Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel]."

~ Qur'an, "Night Journey," chapter 17:100-104 ~

The bracketed clarifications are present in the passage on the web page.11 An accompanying quote by Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi reads as follows: "God wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael's descendents should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac's in Canaan."

b. Archaeology
1) King Nebuchadnezzar's Chronicle

Year 7 In the month of Kislimu (Hebrew Kislev) The King of Akkad [Nebuchadnezzar] assembled his army to march to and besiege the city of Judah [Jerusalem] and on the second day of Addaru (Hebrew Addar) captured the city and seized its king [Jehoiachin]. He appointed in it a new king of his liking [Zedekiah/Mattaniah] and took heavy booty from it, and brought it to Babylon.12

King Nebuchadnezzar's Chronicle proves that Judah, whose capitol was Jerusalem, was a kingdom in the land as far back as 589 B.C. ("He captured the city" in 587, but his siege began thirty months earlier.13)

2) Solomon's City Wall
1 Kings 3:1: reads, Then Solomon . . . finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem.

In 2009-2010, Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar made a very significant discovery that most of the media was deafeningly silent about. According to Dr. Mazar,

A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall is that which was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the 10th century BCE.

The writer of the article states,

The section of the city wall revealed, 70 meters long and six meters high, is located in the area known as the Ophel, between the City of David and the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

Uncovered in the city wall complex are: an inner gatehouse for access into the royal quarter of the city, a royal structure adjacent to the gatehouse, and a corner tower that overlooks a substantial section of the adjacent Kidron valley.14

The discovery of this massive wall and complex demonstrates that the Jews had a very stable and strong presence in Jerusalem three hundred years prior to Nebuchadnezzar's siege, in total agreement with 1 Kings 3:1.

3) The Arch of Titus
A traveler in Rome today may view the Arch of Titus, which commemorates the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D. The south panel of the arch depicts the spoiling of the Temple in Jerusalem, the central feature of which is the carrying off of the Temple's Menorah, or Golden Lampstand.

c. The Bible
Hugh historical portions of both testaments take place in the land now called Israel, and the key players are Israelites.

1) The Old Testament:

Joshua 20:7: So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.

Galilee is in the far north of modern Israel, and the hill countries of Ephraim and Judah are now basically the West Bank.

2) The New Testament

9. according to the custom of the priestly office, he [Joseph] was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.

~ Luke 1:9-10 ~

Two thousand years ago, the Levitical priesthood was intact and functioning, and multitudes of Jews worshipped in the Temple in Jerusalem.

2. "They Are Europeans"
This claim is itself two-pronged: 1. The Israelis are recent immigrants from Europe, and 2. They are not bloodline Jews.

a. "The Israelis Are Recent Immigrants from Europe"
Consider this comment by a Middle Eastern political and religious history analyst:

More than half of the people in Israel today are not "foreigners" to the Middle East, they are Jews or offspring of Jews who lived in Arab countries and have fled from Arab brutality; Israel's present population consists mainly of refugees and their descendants from two oppressions, European-Nazi and Arab. As the Arab writer Sabri Jiryis has acknowledged, either by official edict or by the Arab's own harsh mistreatment of the Jews among them, the Arab world has expelled or has caused Jews to flee to Israel. Were the facts popularly recognized, the Arab propaganda claim of a "European" Israel would long ago have been refuted. The Arabs through persecution and anti-Semitism have long helped to make the Jewish state predominantly an "Oriental" Israel of Jews from Arab lands.15

b. "They Are Not Bloodline Jews"
Consider the results of these genetic studies:

Study 1:

Until now, it had been widely assumed by geneticists that the Ashkenazi communities of Northern and Central Europe were founded by men who came from the Middle East, perhaps as traders, and by the women from each local population whom they took as wives and converted to Judaism. But the new study, published online this week in The American Journal of Human Genetics, suggests that the men and their wives migrated to Europe together.16

"The men and their wives migrated to Europe together" - from the Middle East.

Study 2:

The main ethnic element of Ashkenazim (German and Eastern European Jews), Sephardim (Spanish and Portuguese Jews), Mizrakhim (Middle Eastern Jews), Juhurim (Mountain Jews of the Caucasus), Italqim (Italian Jews), and most other modern Jewish populations of the world is Israelite.17

The ancestors of most Jews in Israel today never left the Middle East, and "the main ethnic element" of those who migrated from Europe "and most other modern Jewish populations of the world is Israelite."

To sum up, the genetic connection of modern Jews in Israel to the ancient Israelites is very strong.

b. "The Jews Took the Land from the ArabS"

This claim is based on the migrations of Jews to the Land since the last two decades of the nineteenth century. We will examine this claim from the divine, demographic and political perspectives.

1. The Divine Perspective
Numerous scriptures show that God gave the land now called Israel to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and their descendants.

In Genesis 17:8, God said to Abram, I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. This was four thousand years ago.

As God was preparing to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage, He declared, I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD (Exodus 6:8). This was 3,400 years ago.

Ezekiel 39:28 and many other passages show that the Land will still be their own land, even in the future Millennial kingdom, and Genesis 17:8 says that the land is an everlasting possession - which includes right now.

A few other passages to the same effect are: Genesis 12:1; 15:18; Leviticus 25:38; Numbers 34:1-15; Deuteronomy 1:8; 29:10 - 30:10; Ezekiel 36-37.

Jews literally have a God-given right to live and govern in the land of Israel in peace.

2. The Demographic Perspective

The Palestine to which the European Jews of the First Aliyah18 immigrated was vastly unpopulated, and the land onto which the Jews moved was, in fact, bought primarily from absentee landlords and real estate speculators. . . .

Mark Twain, who visited Palestine in 1867, offered this description:

. . . in the valley [Jezreel] . . . . There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent - not for thirty miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents. . . . Come to Galilee . . . that melancholy ruin of Capernaum: this stupid village of Tiberias. . . . We never saw a human being on the whole route.

Nazareth is forlorn. . . . Jericho the accursed lies in a moldering ruin today. . . . [and similarly about Bethlehem and Bethany]. Bethsaida and Chorzin have vanished from the earth [and are] inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.19

Other such reports are reported in Professor Dershowitz's book, The Case for Israel, the source of the quote, and in From Time Immemorial20 by Joan Peters.

Consider this assessment by Malcolm MacDonald, British Secretary of State, in 1938:

The Arabs cannot say that the Jews are driving them out of their country. If not a single Jew had come to Palestine after 1918, I believe that the Arab population of [Western] Palestine today . . . would still have been around the . . . figure at which it had been stable under Turkish rule.21

And by Winston Churchill in 1939:

So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased even more than all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.22

What was the reason for the Arab influx? Jewish development of the land.

Dawood Barakat, editor of the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, wrote:

It is absolutely necessary that an entente be made between the Zionists and Arabs, because the war of words can only do evil. The Zionists are necessary for the country: The money which they will bring, their knowledge and intelligence, and the industriousness which characterizes them will contribute without doubt to the regeneration of the country.23

Mr. Barakat's assessment was made in 1914, and is still applicable today:

In fact, an estimated 40,000 Jordanians who entered Israel on tourist visas in 2000 have stayed on after their visas expired to take advantage of the higher-paying employment opportunities afforded them in Israel.24

Don't miss that. 40,000 Jordanians immigrated to Israel in just one recent year to avail themselves of economic activity provided by Israel. That's from just one Arab country in just one year!

3. The Political Perspective
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations overwhelmingly voted to partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs (33 to 13, with 10 abstentions). In other words, the world, by representative vote, recognized the validity and legitimacy of Israel's existence. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence on the land allotted to them by the U.N.25

C. "THE ISRAELIS CAUSED THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PROBLEM"

One day after Israel declared its independence, they were attacked by Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq in an attempt to crush it and annihilate its Jewish inhabitants. "Very few [Arabs] were kicked out or driven out by the Zionists,"26 and many fled of their own accord in anticipation of, and during, the invasion; but the overwhelming majority were enticed to leave by the leaders of the invading Arab nations, and forced to leave by their armies, to keep them from being caught in the crossfire.

In his 1972 memoirs, the former prime minister of Syria, Khalid al-Azm, placed the entire blame for the refugee problem on the Arabs:

Since 1948 it is we who demanded the return of the refugees . . . while it is we who made them leave. . . . We have rendered them dispossessed. . . . We have accustomed them to begging. . . . We have participated in lowering their social and moral level. . . . Then we exploited them in crimes of murder, arson, and throwing bombs upon . . . men, women and children - all this in the service of political purposes.

Even Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the [present] prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, has accused the Arab armies of having abandoned the Palestinians after they "forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live."27

"To this day [2012],28 Jordan was the only Arab country to welcome the Palestinians and grant them citizenship (to this day Jordan is the only Arab country where Palestinians as a group can become citizens)." Contrast this to the fate of the "800,000 - 1,000,000 Jews [who] left, fled or were expelled from their homes in Arab countries" between 1948 and 1970.29 All such Jews who desired to come to Israel were thoroughly absorbed, while not even vast Saudi Arabia or other oil-rich Arab countries have opened their doors to their brethren to this day.

Sir Alexander Galloway, UNRWA official from 1951-1952, said this in August, 1958:


The Arab States do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die.30

As of this writing, it is still true.

D. "THE JEWS ARE OCCUPIERS OF THE WEST BANK"

Proof has already been presented that the Jews have a well established connection with the Land, that the great influx of Arabs followed on the heels of Jewish development and, for those who believe the Bible, that God gave the Jews the Land. All this is germane to the accusation that the Jews are illegal occupiers of the West Bank. The focus of the accusation, however, has to do with Jewish occupation of the West Bank since 1967.

What's the story?

“From 1948 until 1967, the West Bank was part of Jordan, and Gaza was part of Egypt,” Prosor stated. “The Arab world did not lift a finger to create a Palestinian state. And it sought Israel's annihilation when not a single settlement stood anywhere in the West Bank or Gaza.”31

In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan attacked Israel in a third attempt in Israel's nineteen year history to annihilate her. In the course of this Six Day War, which Israel won, Israel drove the Jordanians back across the Jordan River, and occupied the West Bank. Subsequent to the war, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 242, which called for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied . . . and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries."

The Israelis have proven their willingness to withdraw from the West Bank on several occasions - but the Palestinian Authority has been adamant in its refusal to grant Israel "the right . . . to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." They do not recognize her existence as legitimate. Their maps do not show a country called Israel, but include all of Israel's territory in what their maps call Palestine; and they relentlessly seek to annihilate Israel so on-the-ground reality will conform to their maps. Should the Israelis make a one-sided withdrawal under such circumstances? To do so would be to withdraw to what has been called "Auschwitz borders": It would be just eleven miles across the entire width of the country from the West Bank to Tel Aviv, and twenty-five to Gaza - which the Israelis withdrew from in 2005 only to be blessed by over ten thousand rockets launched at their towns and cities from Gaza since then, right up to the present.

Let the reader stand up for truth and fairness!

For a much fuller picture with much documentation,
please review RECOMMENDED READING AND WATCHING, below.

ENDNOTES

1. "Jewish Deicide." Wikipedia. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_deicide.
2. Ibid.
3. Yeshu. A pejorative shortening of Yeshua, Jesus' Hebrew name. The Y-SH-U of the Hebrew relates to yimach shemo. "The Hebrew phrase yimakh shemo ימח שמו 'May his name be obliterated' is a curse placed after the name of particular enemies of the Jewish people. A variant is yimakh shemo ve zikhro ימח שמו וזכרו 'Obliterate his name and his memory.' Yimakh shemo is one of the strongest curses in the in the Hebrew language." "Yimakh shemo." Wikipedia. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yimach_shemo.
4. "Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 43a." Halakhah. n.d. http://halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_43.html.
5. For a list of twenty-two Mosaic and rabbinic laws that the Jewish leaders broke in their trials of Yeshua, see the section entitled, "Laws of the Sanhedrin Regarding Trials" in Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum's Life of Messiah Outline: The Life of Messiah from a Jewish Perspective. Available at Ariel Ministries.
6. "The World's Billionaires." Forbes. 9 March 2011. http://www.forbes.com/wealth/billionaires
7. "The World's Richest Jew." Jewish Virtual Library. 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/richest.html.
8. De La Cruz, Jose. "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: Plagiarism at its Best." Nov. 2003. http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/protzion/DelaCruzProtocolsMain.htm.
9. Marcus, Itamar and Crook, Barbara. "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Palestinian Media Watch. n.d. http://palwatch.org/STORAGE/OpEd/Protocols_of_the_Elders.pdf.
10. "Martin Luther King on Anti-Zionism." Jewish Virtual Library. 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Quote/king.html. Source: Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Socialism of Fools—The Left, the Jews and Israel,” Encounter, (December 1969), p. 24.
11. Palazzi, Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi. "What the Qur'an Really Says." Templemount. n.d. http://www.templemount.org/quranland.html.
12. "Nebuchadnezzar's Chronicle." Jewish History. n.d. http://www.cojs.org/jh.php?id=Babylonian&content=content/nebuchadnezzar# with http://www.cojs.org/content/nebuchadnezzar_trans.html.

13. "Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC." Wikipedia. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(587_BC).
14. "Archaeologist Discovers Jerusalem City Wall from Tenth Century B.C.E." Science Daily. 22 Feb. 2010. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222094757.htm.
15. Katz, Joseph E. "The Koran & institutionalized Anti-Semitism." EretzYisroel.org. n.d. http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/koran.html. Jews from Arab lands.
16. Wade, Nicholas. "New Light on Origins of Ashkenazi in Europe." The New York Times. 14 Jan. 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/14/science/14gene.html.
17. "Jewish Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries." Khazaria InfoCenter. n.d. http://www.khazaria.com/genetics/abstracts.html.
18. Aliyah. Migration to Israel. Literally, going up. The First Aliyah was from 1881-1903.
19. Alan Dershowitz, Prof., The Case for Israel (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003), 23-24.
20. Joan Peters.
From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine (Chicago: JKAP Publications, 1984), 157-161, etc.
21. Ibid., p. 234. Turkish rule ended in 1917.
22. Ibid., p. 230.
23. Mandel, Neville. "Attempts at an Arab-Zionist Entente: 1913-1914," Middle Eastern Studies, April 1965, p. 243). Quoted from http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=41895.
24. Gottheil, Fred. M. "The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931." Middle East Quarterly. Winter 2003, pp. 53-64. http://www.meforum.org/522/the-smoking-gun-arab-immigration-into-palestine.
25. "Israeli Declaration of Independence." Wikipedia. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Declaration_of_Independence.
26. Baehr, Richard. "Chris Wallace Says Israel 'Kicked Out' Palestinians." American Thinker.
24 May 2011. http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/chris_wallace_says_israel_kick.html.
27. Dershowitz, op. cit., p.84.
28. “The Palestinian Refugees.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2012. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/refugees.html.
29. "Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_and_Muslim_countries.
30. Ibid., with Romirowsky, Asaf. "A Tale of Two Galloways." Romirowsky. Sept. 2010. http://www.romirowsky.com/7948/a-tale-of-two-galloways.
31. Gedalyahu, Zvi Ben. "Israel's UN Ambassador Separates Lies from the Truth." Arutz Sheva Israel National News. 25 Oct. 2011. http://trailer.web-view.net/Show/0XBDDF3792386F36E1350F4B50DDB55AFF211C1C39B9126A2DB056B0C882B44C4E.htm.

RECOMMENDED READING AND WATCHING

Though already cited above, I would highly recommend:
1. Alan Dershowitz. The Case for Israel (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003). Mr. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has been called, “Israel’s single most visible defender – the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion." http://www.alandershowitz.com/biography.php.”
2. Joan Peters.
From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine (Chicago: JKAP Publications, 1984). A groundbreaking book containing much research and documentation.

Also,
3. Abba Eban. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, which contains an examination of anti-Semitism from a sociological perspective by a scholar and former Israeli statesman. Available in a 4-disk boxed set of the 9-part PBS TV series, and as a book. Though the series itself is no longer available at PBS, it is readily available elsewhere, and the guide to the series may be downloaded freely from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/heritage/HeritageGuide.pdf.
4. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 005: How to Destroy the Jews. Available in different formats at www.Ariel.org.
5. Arutz Sheva Israel Daily News. Subscribe for free online news reports from Israel. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Subscribe/.
6. Edward H. Flannery. The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, first published 1965, latest edition: (Mahwah, Paulist Press, 2004).
7. "Myths & Facts Online: Index of Myths." Jewish Virtual Library. n.d. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths2/.
8. Zuckerman, Mortimer B. "Graffiti on History's Walls." Jewish World Review. 29 Oct. 2003. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/mort/zuckerman_new_anti_sem.php3.

The True Roots of Anti-Semitism,
Part 3: Refutation of Accusations
against the Jews and Israel
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2011
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM ~

4. THE FUTILITY OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

~ Psalm 121:4 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
I. THE FUTILITY OF ANTI-SEMITISM
A. IT IS FUTILE TO ATTEMPT TO DESTROY THE JEWISH PEOPLE
B. IT IS FUTILE TO TRY TO PREVENT THE SALVATION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
C. THE CERTAINTY OF GOD'S DECREES ON THE MATTER
II. GOD'S DECREES CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITES
III. GOD'S DECREES APPLIED
A. APPLICATION TO SATAN AND HIS DEMONS
B. APPLICATION TO INDIVIDUALS
C. APPLICATION TO NATIONS
IV. MOVING FROM ANTI-SEMITISM TO PRO-SEMITISM
V. GOD'S DECREES CONCERNING PRO-SEMITES

A. APPLICATION TO HOLY ANGELS
B. APPLICATION TO INDIVIDUALS
C. APPLICATION TO NATIONS
VI. AN APPEAL TO MY JEWISH BRETHREN

ENDNOTES
RECOMMENDED READING

INTRODUCTION

As has been shown, the true roots of anti-Semitism are found in the spiritual realm, not the natural. Specifically, they are found in Satan's desire to thwart the ascendancy of Messiah - firstly, because it his long-time desire to usurp the throne and authority of God (Isaiah 14:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and secondarily, to prevent his final and permanent demise and confinement in the Lake of Fire (Isaiah 14:15; Revelation 19:20, 20:1-3,10).

If Satan were able to destroy the Jewish people before the cross, prophecies concerning the first coming could never have been fulfilled. What this means is that Christ would never have been born, die for sin, defeat Satan, or be resurrected and seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Having failed to destroy the Jews before the cross, Satan has been unceasingly attempting to prevent Israel's national salvation. If he could do that, second coming prophecies could never be fulfilled. What this means is that Christ could not return, cast him into the Abyss for a thousand years, and then into the Lake of Fire for eternity (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39; Revelation 20:2-3,10).

This study will demonstrate the futility of Satan's attempt to achieve his goals through anti-Semitic means whether applied directly, as in his provocation of David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1), or through the agency of people and nations. Inasmuch as Satan often employs people and nations as his agents, the human goals of anti-Semitism will also necessarily be thwarted; and inasmuch as human anti-Semitic acts are motivated by Satan, the human goals of anti-Semitism are ultimately the same as his: They do not want God in their lives, but desire to be god of their own destinies and avoid accountability for their actions. Edward H. Flannery's assessment, presented previously, captures it in a nutshell:

It was Judaism that brought the concept of a God-given universal moral law into the world...the Jew carries the burden of God in history and for this he has never been forgiven.1

The ultimate conjunction of satanic and human goals is seen in the rise of the anti-Christ, the worship of him by the masses, and their combined effort to destroy Israel once and for all. (Revelation 12:1-17; 13:3-8)

I. THE FUTILITY OF ANTI-SEMITISM

A. IT IS FUTILE TO ATTEMPT TO DESTROY THE JEWISH PEOPLE

Plainly and simply, Scripture declares that Israel will never be destroyed.

"For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "so your offspring and your name will endure." (Isaiah 66:22)

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 will 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.

~ Jeremiah 31:35-37 ~

25. Thus says the LORD, "If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established, 26. then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them."

~ Jeremiah 33:25-26 ~

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, o sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)

With these passages, God has made it known unequivocally that He will never ever allow Israel to cease from being a nation before [Him] forever.

For this purpose and for every other purpose and plan that He has for her, God will be ever vigilant: Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4). The Hebrew for keeps is shamar, which means to guard, to protect. With a Guardian like God, and with such promises as these, we can be assured that Israel will never be destroyed.

To illustrate the guardianship of God over Israel, let us view the unique phenomenon of Jewish survival by considering these observations, all by non-Jews:

If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?2

~ Mark Twain, 1897 ~

By all reckoning, the Jews should have died out long ago. Their survival as a distinct people is a miracle of history. . . .

You cannot talk to a Babylonian today, nor a Hittite. You will not meet a Moabite or a Phoenecian on the street. But you can converse with a Jew.

By every measuring stick of history there should not be even one identifiable Jew alive today. For 4,000 years they have endured unbelievable hardships: exile from their land more than 60 per cent of the time; organized efforts to destroy them; the crumbling of the civilizations in which they sought refuge; the sophisticated brutality of the 20th century. Yet the Jews are alive and flourishing. They survive every effort to destroy them.3

~ David Egner, The Radio Bible Class ~

The Jews have played an all-important role in history. They are pre-eminently an historical people and their destiny reflects the indestructibility of the divine decrees. Their destiny is too imbued with the 'metaphysical' to be explained either in material or positive-historical terms.

I remember how the materialist interpretation of history, when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destiny of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jews, where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint. And indeed, according to the materialistic and positive criterion, this people ought long ago to have perished.

It's survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of that people is governed by a special predetermination, transcending the process of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history.

The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history; all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny.4

~ Nicolai Berdyaev ~

"By every measuring stick of history there should not be even one identifiable Jew alive today." "What is the secret of his immortality?" Berdyaev answered correctly: "Their destiny reflects the indestructibility of the divine decrees." Specifically, I might add, God's unequivocal and unbreakable promises to sustain them.

B. IT IS FUTILE TO TRY TO PREVENT THE SALVATION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

The multitude of ways that Satan has tried to prevent the salvation of Israel include:

  • pre-cross attempts to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:16; 26:3-4; Luke 4:28-30; John 8:59; 10:31);

  • the rejection of Jesus' messiahship by Jewish leaders from the time of Jesus until today;

  • the denial of the Jewish identity of believing Jews by rabbis;

  • the denial of the Jewish identity of non-believing Jews by Christian theologians;

  • the claim by Christian theologians that believing Gentiles are Jews;

  • the teaching that Israel has been rejected by God and that the church has replaced Israel as God's covenant people;

  • the claim that the church is the true Israel, the New Israel, or the Israel of God;

  • making the Gospel odious to them by means of persecution by professing Christians;

  • attempts to annihilate them;

  • the repudiation of evangelism to the Jews so as not to offend them; or because they are spiritually blind (on the basis of 2 Corinthians 3:13-16, though the passage itself says that whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away); or because they have fallen out of favor with God and He has rejected them; or because they already are in a favored position before God.

Notwithstanding all of Satan's schemes, preventing the national salvation of Israel is likewise impossible, as God has covenanted with Israel that He will save her.

31. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

~ Jeremiah 31:31-34 ~

The fulfillment of this new covenant will take place at the end of the Tribulation period:

8. "It will come about in all the land," declares the LORD, "that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; but the third will be left in it. 9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

~ Zechariah 13:8-9 ~

In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. (Zechariah 13:1)

Thus the words of Paul will come to pass:

26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

~ Romans 11:26-27 ~

Also Isaiah 19:24-25; 59:20-21; 61:8-9; 66:21-22; Jeremiah 32:37-41; Ezekiel 16:60-62; 34:22-31; 37:26-28.

C. THE CERTAINTY OF GOD'S DECREES ON THE MATTER

God will surely uphold His decrees on the matter of Israel's survival and salvation:

Numbers 23:19: God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Judges 2:1: I will never break My covenant with you.

1 Samuel 15:29: Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.

Luke 21:33: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Romans 11:29:The gifts and the calling of God [on Israel] are irrevocable.

2 Corinthians 1:20: For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

Hebrews 6:18: It is impossible for God to lie.

James 1:17: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

II. GOD'S DECREES CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITES

We have seen that Satan's pursuit of his anti-Semitic goals is futile. In this section, it will be shown that people who are anti-Semitic will experience futility as well, not only as regards the goals of their anti-Semitism, but in very personal ways.

God has issued decrees concerning those who practice anti-Semitism, but they fall within a more inclusive principle, that of sowing and reaping:

7. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

~ Galatians 6:7-8 ~

David sowed adultery and premeditated murder, and reaped a harvest of each in his own household (2 Samuel 11-20, especially 12:9-12; 13:28-29; 16:22). Surely, those who sow anti-Semitic acts, be they Jew or Gentile, saved or unsaved, can expect similar harvests in their own lives.

Four key passages:
1. Genesis 12:3: And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

The blessing/cursing aspect of the covenant that God made with Abraham applied to Abraham personally (Genesis 15:1: Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you); but not only to him, but to all in his chosen line:

a. It is implied in God's stated intention to bless all the families of the earth, which He did through the descendants of Abraham in the writing of Scripture, the bringing forth of Messiah, and the establishment of the church; and which He will continue to do during the Great Tribulation in the completion of the evangelization of the world by 144,000 Israelites (Revelation 7:1-10), and through the Millennial Kingdom as saved Israel ministers to the nations of the world (Zechariah 8:23).

b. God stated it forthrightly to Abraham in Genesis 17:7: I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

c. It is implied in the fact that God passed the covenant on to Abraham's son Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5,24), to Isaac's son Jacob whose name became Israel (Genesis 28:13-15; 32:28), and finally, to the twelve sons of Israel and all their descendants (Genesis 49:1-28).

d. It is made as plain as day as Isaac repeats the blessing/cursing provision in his blessing of Jacob: Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you. (Genesis 27:29),

e. and in Balaam's prophecy concerning the entire nation: He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him? Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you. (Numbers 24:9)

f. It is seen in Romans 11:27, where Paul reiterated God’s promise concerning Israel for a time yet future: This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins (Isaiah 59:19-21).

g. It is also implied in the fact that the blessing/cursing principle may be observed at work in the lives of those who blessed or cursed Israelites other than Abraham, as will be shown.

In His foreknowledge, God knew that the satanic attacks on Abraham and his covenant nation would be numerous and great. It is in this context that He declared the blessing/cursing provision. Without a doubt, the blessing/cursing provision is a regularly used tool that God employs to insure the fulfillment of His divine purposes through Israel. This is exemplified in God's destruction of the armies that will gather to destroy Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:1-9; 14:1-2; Revelation 12:15-17).

According to Strong, the Hebrew for curses in the one who curses you can mean to "treat lightly" or "bring into contempt," and the word for curse in I will curse is based on a root that means "to execrate, to bitterly curse."5 The English Standard Version renders the clause, him who dishonors you I will curse. Holman's Christian Standard Bible: I will curse those who treat you with contempt; and Young's Literal Translation: him who is disesteeming thee I curse. The passage may very well indicate that God will "bitterly curse" those who even dishonor or disesteem the covenant nation; and if that is the case, then what will the magnitude of the curse be on those who treat the nation with severity!

2. Zechariah 2:8: For thus says the LORD of hosts, "After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple [pupil] of His eye."

It is rather clear that this passage will have its fulfillment in connection with the Lord's second coming:

a. He has sent me, that is, the LORD of hosts.

b. The Lord was not sent the first time to judge nations, but to die for sin. He will be sent the second time to judge nations (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 12:1-9; 14:1-2; Revelation 12:15-17).

c. Verses 10-12 are clearly set at the time of the Lord's return.

d. The passage speaks of the Lord being sent after glory, and Matthew 25:31 speaks of the Son of Man com[ing] in His glory, and . . . then He will sit on His glorious throne.

3. Matthew 25:40,45: 40. Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. . . . 45. Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

These brothers of Mine are generally identified as the poor and needy, or as Tribulation believers; but there is powerful evidence that it refers to the Jews of the Tribulation, who will be singled out by Satan for annihilation during this time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).

Consider:
a. In Matthew 24:3, Jesus' Jewish disciples asked Him,
Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? In the course of His reply, He tells them, Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name (verse 9).

Strong defines ethnos, the Greek word for nations, as "a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): - Gentile, heathen, nation, people." Jesus is telling His Jewish listeners that their descendants will be subject to extreme tribulation at the hand of all [Gentiles]. This is consistent with God's pronunciation of end-time judgment on Israel in Zechariah 14:2: For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle; with Satan's ferocious persecution of Israel during the Tribulation in Revelation 12:1-17; and with God's pronunciation of subsequent judgment on all the nations . . . on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land (Joel 3:2).

b. Jesus continues,
15. Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16. then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

Those who reside in Judea are to flee to the mountains. He could not mean that all Tribulation believers are to flee, for they will not be residing just in Judea, but throughout the world! He said that those who are in Judea, the land of the Jews, must flee.

c. In verse 20, He says,
But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. Who else would care about fleeing on a Sabbath, but Jews?!

d. Following through in the same discourse, He speaks of gathering the sheep and goat nations for judgment in Matthew 25:32. The word He uses for nations in this verse is again ethnos, Gentile nations.

To conclude, these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, refers to Jesus' brothers, the Jews. Lest there be a question about His referring to multitudes of unsaved Jews as His brothers, let's remember what Paul called the unsaved among his nation: my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites (Romans 9:3-4).

To get back to the point, Matthew 25:40 and 45 again state the principle brought out in Zechariah 2:8, that the manner in which people treat Israel is tantamount to the manner in which they treat God and His Son. It is the Lord Himself who speaks in both passages.

4. Romans 12:19: Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.

Though Paul used the verse as an exhortation to believers to not take revenge for offenses (as can be seen by verse 17: Never pay back evil for evil to anyone), it has general application. It is a restatement of Deuteronomy 32:35, Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in which God declares His impending judgment upon Israel because of her evil ways. It also harks back to Psalm 94:1, O LORD, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth!, where the psalmist calls upon God to take revenge upon those who crush Thy people [Israel] (verse 5).

Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord. God will take revenge on those who crush His people Israel.

III. GOD'S DECREES APPLIED

God's decrees concerning those who stir up and commit anti-Semitic acts apply to Satan, his demon host, nations and individuals. Historian Paul Johnson notes, "What is in any case clear is that anti-Semitism, besides being self-inflicted, is also self-destructive, and of societies and governments as much as of individuals."6 History bears out what God has decreed!

Some observations, all of which may be seen in examples that will follow:
1. God may judge those whose actions harm Israel even if they do so unknowingly and without bias against the nation.

2. God may use Israel's enemies to judge her, yet He holds them accountable because of their free will decisions to harm her.

3. Dr. Fruchtenbaum observes, "When God operates on the cursing aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant, he works on the sub-principle of curse for curse in kind."7 In other words, God applies such curses in an "eye for eye" manner: Therefore all who devour you will be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity; And those who plunder you will be for plunder, And all who prey upon you I will give for prey (Jeremiah 30:16).

In Revelation 13:10, God applies the same principle to those who persecute the saints in the Tribulation.

4. God's decrees apply to the saved and the unsaved.

5. God will apply His decrees in this life and in the afterlife.

6. God may delay the application of His decrees in this life for a long time, but they will be applied.

A. APPLICATION TO SATAN AND HIS DEMONS

2. And [an angel] laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3. and he threw him into the Abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

~ Revelation 20:2-3 ~

Immediately after Satan's most successful attempt at annihilating the Jews (Zechariah 13:8; 14:1-2; Revelation 12:15-17), God commands an angel to cast him into the Abyss for a thousand years.

Will his demons be bound with him? Perhaps some, but certainly not all. We can derive this from two groups of passages that reveal there will be demons in two locations on earth during the Millenniums. Isaiah 13:20-22; Jeremiah 50:39-40, 51:41-43; Revelation 18:1-2 and 19:3, when studied together, show that during the Millennium, Babylon (modern southern Iraq), will be a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit (Revelation 18:2); and Isaiah 34:8-15, which indicates that during the Millennium, Edom (modern southern Jordan) will likewise be inhabited by demons. According to Dr. Fruchtenbaum, hairy goat in verse 14, actually refers to a demon in goat form; and according to Keil and Delitszch, night monster [screech owl, KJV], also in verse 14, refers to a female demon.

As concerns eternal punishment, because of their pre-Adamic rebellion against God, the eternal punishment of Satan and his demons was decreed millennia before the birth of Abraham (Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 12:4). Nevertheless, their rebellion has never ceased, and the focus of their rebellion since the birth of Abraham has been the destruction of Israel and the prevention of their salvation. Their eternal destiny will be the Lake of Fire:

Revelation 20:10: And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Matthew 25:41: Then He will also say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

B. APPLICATION TO INDIVIDUALS

The law of sowing and reaping may work passively, as by the affliction of the conscience leading to migraines, insanity or other ailments, or it may work by active chastisements and judgments of God. This includes sins against Israel. However, it must be noted that whatever passive reaping may be experienced by anti-Semites, the cursing provision of the Abrahamic covenant guarantees active cursing by God above and beyond passive reaping: And the one who curses you I will curse.

Let us examine how these laws apply to those who engage in anti-Semitic activities.

1. Application to the Saved
a. Chastisement on Earth
Hebrews 12:6: For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives. (Also Proverbs 3:12.) One way or another, God will chasten those of His children who engage in anti-Semitic practices.

b. At the Judgment Seat of Christ
While dwellers on Earth will endure the tests and judgments of the Great Tribulation, the deeds of the members of the church will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven, at which time anti-Semitic acts and sinful acts of all kinds committed on Earth will bring the suffering of loss: 14. If any man's work which he has built on [the foundation of Jesus Christ (verse 11)] remains, he will receive a reward. 15. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).

Note that even believers who engage in horrible anti-Semitic acts will not lose their salvation. They will suffer loss, yet [they] will be saved.8

2. The Unsaved
a. Chastisement on Earth
In Genesis 12:10-17, Pharaoh took Abram's wife Sarai into his harem. Pharaoh had no idea that Abram would be the progenitor of the covenant nation, and could not possibly have desired to hurt him because of it. All he was interested in was Abram's good-looking wife, fair game for any self-respecting Pharaoh. But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife (verse 17). If he had retained Sarai in his harem permanently, the covenant line would have been cut off right there, and Christ would never have been born.

In Genesis 20:1-3, Abimelech, king of Gerar, exercised his royal prerogative in exactly the same way, and took Sarah into his harem. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married (verse 3)." As with Pharaoh, if Abimelech were able to follow through on his desire, Sarai's womb would have been closed in regard to Isaac. Therefore, the Lord followed through with a plainly observable "curse for curse in kind." Verse 18: the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

Another example is Haman, who schemed to have Mordecai hung, yet ended up being hung on the same gallows he erected for Mordecai. (Esther 6:4; 9:25)

b. At the Great White Throne Judgment
Revelation 20:15: And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Some sins are greater than others (John 19:11); and the greater the sin, the more severe the punishment (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 12:47-48). Surely, God will factor in sins against His people when degrees of judgment are pronounced for the eternally condemned.

C. APPLICATION TO NATIONS

Three points:
1. Only individuals - not nations - are adjudged fit for the Lake of Fire. This includes the goat nations, which are judged at the end of the Tribulation (Matthew 25:41-46). Those individuals among the Dutch, for example, who will not offer succor to the persecuted Jews of the Great Tribulation, are viewed corporately as the Dutch goat nation, but will be adjudged fit for entry into the Lake of Fire on an individual basis. They will be condemned corporately to the Lake of Fire only because every individual among them will be unsaved; and whatever degrees of punishment may be due them will also be determined on an individual basis. The same is true of the rest of the unsaved, who will be judged at the Great White Throne after the Millennium.

2. No one's salvation or condemnation is ever decided on the basis of their deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9). The deeds of the goat individuals are indicative of their unsaved state, as faith is demonstrated by godly works, per James 2:14-26. Therefore, the fate of the goat nations is to be viewed as the fate of unsaved individuals, addressed above.

3. Entire nations, though they may contain saved as well as unsaved individuals, do suffer earthly judgments for wickedness. There were many saved Jews in Israel during the judgment of 70 A.D., yet they had to endure the judgment along with the unsaved Israelites.

Here are examples of nations who have suffered for their oppressive actions against Israel:

Egypt
Pharaoh decreed that all Jewish male newborns be drowned (Exodus 1:15-16). Egypt was eventually judged by the slaying of their own firstborn sons, and by the drowning of their army in the Red Sea (Exodus 11:4-5; 12:12,29; 14:21-28; 15:4).

Amalek
When the Israelites were passing through the wilderness, then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8). In verse 14, the LORD said to Moses, "Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." God carried out His vow some four hundred years later. Samuel announced to Saul,

2. Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. 3. Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."

~ 1 Samuel 15:2-3 ~

The sentence was carried out later in the chapter. What Saul nearly completed was completed by Samuel.

The Edomites
The everlasting enmity (Ezekiel 35:5) of Edom toward Israel is detailed in our second anti-Semitism study, The Satanic and Human Aspects, above. God pronounced judgment on Edom in Jeremiah 49:9-22 and Obadiah 1:5-6,10,18.

Obadiah 1:18: Then the house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau.

There will be no survivor of the house of Esau. God also declared that during the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom, while virtually the rest of the planet will be restored to pristine beauty, Edom will remain a desolation (Isaiah 34:8-15, Jeremiah 49:17-18, Ezekiel 35:10-15, Joel 3:19).

The Nations of Anti-Christ's Army
All the nations of the world, whose armies anti-Christ will gather in his final attempt to destroy Israel, will suffer the loss of their armies.


I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.

~ Joel 3:2 ~

19. So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

~ Revelation 14:19-20 ~

IV. MOVING FROM ANTI-SEMITISM TO PRO-SEMITISM

Historian Paul Johnson, again: "Anti-Semitism is self-inflicted, which means that, by an act of will and reason, the infection can be repelled. But this is not easy to do, especially in societies where anti-Semitism has become common or the norm."9

If one who is engaged in anti-Semitic attitudes, words or actions is a believer, the biblical cure is confession and repentance (1 John 1:9; Revelation 2:5). If such a one is not a believer, repentance from anti-Semitism would best begin with belief in the Gospel, for being anti-Semitic is being anti-God, and Jesus said, He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). True repentance from anti-Semitism will lead to pro-Semitism in attitude, word and action.

Pro-Semitism is not blinding oneself to the faults of individual Jews or Israel. Minimally, it is supporting fair treatment of Jews and Israel. The very least one can do is to speak up when one hears an anti-Semitic comment. Self-preserving silence and inaction in the face of anti-Semitism is odious to the Lord: Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17). Not every individual among the condemned goat nations will necessarily be an active persecutor of Jews; they will simply not get involved in the dangerous business of offering them succor.

For those who believe the Bible, pro-Semitism is an inclination to bless the Jews because God has chosen them to bless the world. For this reason, pro-Semitism ought to be a hallmark of every believer and local church or congregation. Believers' pro-Semitism must include bringing the Gospel to the Jews per Matthew 28:18-20, and doing so as a priority over other peoples per Romans 1:16. It should also include extending ministries of mercy to them as a priority. This is seen in Matthew 25:34-40, where the Lord is shown blessing those who so minister to Israel, and in Romans 15:27: For if the Gentiles have shared in their [the Jews'] spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. Another Gentile obligation is implied in Romans 11:11: I say then, [the Jews] did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. If Jews see the joy of salvation in the lives of Gentile believers, then many will desire to enter into the joy of their Jewish Messiah - and what better way to display this joy to Jews than in joyous ministry to them!

To be most effective in pro-Semitic activities, one ought to pray for Israel regularly according to Psalm 122:6, 137:5-6 and Isaiah 62:1,6-7, and become familiar with at least the basics of Jewish history and prophecy and what Scripture says about their unique call in God. One way to begin is by studying the ten studies in the Israel series via links on our Home Page or Site Map.

It is obvious from the weight that Scripture gives to these matters that pastors and teachers should teach them in their churches and take the lead in pro-Semitic activities. Will you carry the torch?

V. GOD'S DECREES CONCERNING PRO-SEMITES

There's a flip side to the cursing aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant: and I will bless those who bless you (Genesis 12:3a).

God promises to bless those who bless Israel. Here are some examples.

A. APPLICATION TO HOLY ANGELS

Just as Satan and his demons are anti-Semitic because they are anti-God, the holy angels are pro-Semitic because they are pro-God. An example of this is in 2 Kings 6:8-17, where a host of holy angels gather to protect Israel against the Aramean army.

The holy angels will be rewarded with an eternity in the presence of God in Heaven:

22. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23. to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24. and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

~ Hebrews 12:22-24 ~

B. APPLICATION TO INDIVIDUALS

In Genesis 39:1-5, Potiphar, an Egyptian, initially treated Joseph well, and the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD'S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field (verse 5).

Another example is Ruth, the Moabitess, whose dedication to Naomi was rewarded by her marriage to Naomi's relative, Boaz: So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son (Ruth 4:13. See also Ruth 2:10-12). That, in turn, enabled her to be a maternal progenitor of Jesus, a blessing she will enjoy forever (Matthew 1:5-16)!

Note that the unsaved, such as Potiphar, as well as the saved, such as Ruth, experience earthly blessings for blessing Jews.

Two examples from the New Testament are the centurion with the sick slave (Luke 7:2-10, esp. v. 5) and Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48, esp. v. 2).

In addition to earthly blessings, believers who bless Israel will also receive rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven. If any man's work which he has built on [the foundation of Jesus Christ] remains, he will receive a reward (1 Corinthians 3:14).

C. APPLICATION TO NATIONS

Three points:
1. Only individuals - not nations - are adjudged worthy of entry into Heaven. This includes the sheep nations, which are judged at the end of the Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-40). Those individuals among the Dutch, for example, who will offer succor to the persecuted Jews of the Great Tribulation, are viewed corporately as the Dutch sheep nation, but will be adjudged worthy of entry into Heaven on an individual basis. They will be welcomed corporately into the Messianic Kingdom and, by implication, into Heaven, only because every individual among them will be saved; and whatever rewards may be due them will also be determined on an individual basis. This principle can be seen at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where the degrees of the rewards of the church saints are determined on an individual basis (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

2. No one's salvation or condemnation is ever decided on the basis of their deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9). The deeds of the sheep individuals are indicative of their saved state, as faith is demonstrated by godly works, per James 2:14-26. Only saved Gentiles will have the conviction and courage to offer aid to the persecuted Jews. Therefore, the fate of the sheep nations is to be viewed as the fate of saved individuals, addressed above.

3. Entire nations, though they may contain unsaved as well as saved individuals, are blessed because of kindnesses to Israel.

Pharaoh believed Joseph's interpretation of his dreams, elevated him to the highest position in Egypt save himself, and entrusted to him the project of storing up grain for the years of famine that Joseph predicted. As a result, Egypt was blessed: and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said, then there was famine in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread (Genesis 41:54). As for Pharaoh himself, Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh's (Genesis 47:20).

VI. AN APPEAL TO MY JEWISH BRETHREN

Few things make this author cringe more than to hear a Jewish name associated with a misdeed that causes people injury. If you are contemplating, or are engaged in, any such activity, please consider your responsibility to your people. The last thing we need is another excuse for an anti-Semitic outburst. If you do not believe in Messiah, may I respectfully appeal to you to reconsider. Your belief in Jesus will not only open up the blessings of God to you personally, but will plant seeds of salvation in Israel that will ultimately come to fruition in her national salvation, the return of Messiah, the end of anti-Semitism, and the dawning of the Olam Haba, the Messianic Age. These truths and promises may be looked into through a reading of HaB'rit HaChadashah (The New Testament) and consideration of studies on Salvation and Israel that may be accessed via links on our Home Page or Site Map.

Shalom.

ENDNOTES

1. Edward H. Flannery. Judaism-now Blogspot, http://judaism-now.blogspot.com/2010/12/pagan-influance-of-christmas.html. Judaism-now.
2. "Concerning the Jews" from the March 1898 issue of Harper's by Mark Twain. Quoted from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Quote/TwainJews.html.
3. David C. Egner, Those Irrepressible Jews!, Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1983, back cover.
4. "The Meaning of History," London (1936) pp. 86-87, by Professor Nicolai Berdyaev, Moscow Academy of Spiritual Culture. Quoted from http://www.createforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?mforum=mepe&p=2729.
5. James Strong. The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996), Hebrew Dictionary words 779, 7043.
6. Paul Johnson, "The Anti-Semitic Disease," Commentary Magazine, June 2005.
7. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Hebrew Christianity (Tustin, Ariel Ministries Press, 1983), p. 63.
8. For an extensive discussion of the eternal security of the believers, see the author's study, Eternal Security, in the Salvation series on Page 1 of this compendium.
9. Johnson, op. cit.

RECOMMENDED READING

1. Edward H. Flannery. The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, first published 1965, latest edition: (Mahwah, Paulist Press, 2004).

By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum*
2. The examples given in this study of the blessing and cursing aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant are drawn from Scripture. Yet, the principle may be seen to apply in extrabiblical history, as well. Dr. Fruchtenbaum has done a study on the matter, and his findings may be considered in his Hebrew Christianity. Tustin: Ariel Ministries Press, 1983.
3. The Footsteps of Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events.
4. Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.
5. Messianic Bible Study 005: How to Destroy the Jews.
6. Messianic Bible Study 191: The Remnant of Israel: Past, Present and Future. (Available for free reading and listening.)

By Mottel Baleston*
7. Publications on Jewish history and various aspect of it.

*Publications by Dr. Fruchtenbaum and Mottel Baleston are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats.


The True Roots of Anti-Semitism
Part 4: The Futility of Anti-Semitism
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2012
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW OF MOSES ~

1. THE ABOLITION OF THE LAW

[He abolished] in His flesh the enmity, which is
the Law of commandments contained in ordinances
.

~ Ephesians 2:14-15 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT
I. ORIGIN OF THE LAW
II. NATURE AND CONTENT OF THE LAW
III. PURPOSES FOR THE LAW
IV. ISRAEL BROKE THE LAW
V. THE LAW BECAME INOPERATIVE

A. THE LAW WAS TO BECOME INOPERATIVE
1. Mosaic Law vs. Millennial Kingdom Law
2. Jeremiah 31:31-34
3. Hebrews 8:13
B. WHEN, EXACTLY, DID THE LAW BECOME INOPERATIVE?
VI. THE ISSUE: SUPERIMPOSITION OR REPLACEMENT?
A. WHEN, EXACTLY, DID THE NEW COVENANT BECOME OPERATIVE?
B. IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES
C. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
VII. THE "OPERATIVE" PASSAGES
A. DECLARATIONS MADE BY JESUS
B. THE "FOREVER" PASSAGES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. Ledorot, Olam, Tamid: "Forever" Passages of the Law in Question
2. Olam: Literally "Forever"
3. Ledorot, Olam, Tamid: Until the End of a Period of Time
4. Resolving the "Forever" Passages of the Law
VIII. CONCLUSION
ENDNOTES

INTRODUCTION

This study was originally written as part of an exposition of the doctrinal statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations, and follows a series of articles on Israel. No study on Israel is complete without addressing the Law, and we did address it in that series. You may review it, if you wish, in section XII of The Chosenness of Israel, above. With this present study, however, we will focus on the Law with the emphasis given it in the next section of the AMC statement, the relationship between the believer and the Law.

AMC STATEMENT

The Believer and the Law of Moses

We believe the Law of Moses as a rule of life has been fulfilled in the Messiah and therefore believers are no longer under its obligation or condemnation. While the Law of Moses is no longer obligatory for believers, the Law has much to teach us regarding a joyfully Jewish way of life. Both Jewish and non-Jewish believers have the freedom in Messiah to maintain any aspects of the Law of Moses which do not violate the entirety of the rest of scripture. (Acts 21:24-26; Romans 6:14;8:2;10:4;14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 2 Corinthians 3:1-11; Galatians 3:3,3:10-13;6:2; Ephesians 2:14 )


I. ORIGIN OF THE LAW

While enslaved in Egypt, the Israelites were under two bodies of law. The most obvious consisted of the laws of the Egyptians, particularly those concerning slaves. Less obvious was that body of law that had been provided them by God, and it consisted of those provisions that survived the changes in the dispensational requirements, penalties, rewards and promises of the unconditional covenants that had been established up to that time: the Adamic, Noahic and Abrahamic. Having been liberated from Egypt, they were no longer under Egyptian law, but they were still obligated to the covenants.

As concerns what survived of the provisions of the Adamic and Noahic covenants, they were still required or permitted by God to observe the following:

  • They were obligated to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. . . . [B]e fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it. (Genesis 9:1,7)

  • Men, especially, were obligated to provide for their families by the sweat of [their] face. (Genesis 3:19)

  • Wives were to respect the leadership and authority of their husbands in the marriage. (Genesis 3:16)

  • They were permitted to eat meat and vegetables, but were prohibited from eating blood. (Genesis 9:3-4)

  • They were obligated to execute murderers (Genesis 9:6), which implied the necessity for police, judiciary and penal arms of government, and an individual or body of individuals to oversee all three.

  • They were required to offer up blood sacrifices for sin. This can be seen in Genesis 3:21, where God demonstrated the necessity for the shedding of innocent blood for the sins of Adam and Eve; and in Genesis 4:4, where God required Cain and Abel to offer up proper blood sacrifices.

The faithful among them also had the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant to hold on to. Key among them were the following:

  • God was going to make of them a great and numerous nation. (Genesis 12:2; 22:7)

  • He would give them all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8) whose borders would extend from the river of Egypt (the Wadi El Arish, a seasonal watercourse flowing into the southeast corner of the Mediterranean) as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, in the north. (Genesis 15:18)

  • God would bless those who blessed them, and curse those who cursed them. (Genesis 12:3)

  • All the families of the Earth would be blessed through them. (Genesis 12:3; 22:18)

  • I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. (Genesis 17:7)

  • They were obligated to circumcise their sons on the eighth day to serve as the token of the Abrahamic Covenant. (Genesis 17:9-14)

Furthermore, judging by the fact that Moses later incorporated pre-existing records into the Book of Genesis,1 the Israelites also had within their corporate memory the sacrifices and offerings offered up by Noah (Genesis 8:20), Abraham (Genesis 12:7; 13:4,18; 15:4; 21:33; 22:1-18), Job and his friends (Job 1:5; 42:7-9), Isaac (Genesis 26:25) and Jacob (Genesis 28:18; 31:54; 33:20; 35:7; 46:1): sacrifices and offerings of atonement, obedience, dedication, thanksgiving and worship. They also had fresh within their memory the blood sacrifice of the Passover, which protected their firstborn sons from the tenth plague, the death of firstborn sons (Exodus 12:1-13). Also, between the Exodus and the giving of the Law, God commanded them to keep every seventh day as a Sabbath rest (Exodus 16:23-30).

That's it. Two to three million ex-slaves turned loose into a great and terrible wilderness (Deuteronomy 1:19) headed for a Promised Land to fulfill some divine, but vague, destiny, with a small handful of laws to observe, some ancient promises to count on, and fresh memories of miraculous deliverance to encourage them; but obviously, God knew they needed more - much more! The much more consisted of divine guidance and provision in the wilderness and the giving of the Law.

II. NATURE AND CONTENT OF THE LAW

It was at Sinai that God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments on the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18), which outlined Israel's basic responsibilities to Him and to those created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). These ten were followed by six hundred and three others that God imparted to Moses during the subsequent wilderness wanderings, which Moses transcribed to scrolls of parchment: six hundred and thirteen commandments (Heb. mitzvot) comprising a single body of Law (James 2:10). This body of Law, the Law of Moses, was the central feature of the Mosaic Covenant, which is spelled out from Exodus 20:1 through Deuteronomy 28:68. The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant, conditioned on Israel's obedience to God's commands, its conditionality expressed in terms of promises of blessings for obedience, and judgments for disobedience (Exodus 15:26; 19:3-6).

The Law contains two hundred forty-eight "You shalls" and three hundred sixty-five "You shall nots." The Judaism 101 website,2 categorizes the Law under the following headings: God; Torah; Signs and Symbols; Prayer and Blessings; Love and Brotherhood; the Poor and Unfortunate; Treatment of Gentiles; Marriage, Divorce and Family; Forbidden Sexual Relations; Times and Seasons; Dietary Laws; Business Practices; Employees, Servants and Slaves; Vows, Oaths and Swearing; the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years; the Court and Judicial Procedure; Injuries and Damages; Property and Property Rights; Criminal Laws; Punishments and Restitution; Prophecy; Idolatry, Idolaters and Idolatrous Practices; Agriculture and Animal Husbandry; Clothing; the Firstborn; Kohanim (Priests) and Levites; T'rumah (the Heave Offering), Tithes and Taxes; the Temple, the Sanctuary and Sacred Objects; Sacrifices and Offerings; Ritual Purity and Impurity; Lepers and Leprosy; the King; Nazirites; Wars. There was hardly an aspect of an Israelite's life that was not governed by one or more of these laws - a far cry from the small handful of laws they exited Egypt with.

They now had the structure with which to function as a nation; but there was more to it than that. God had used Egypt as the greenhouse for the formation of a numerous people: Seventy entered Egypt, two to three million left. Now He was preparing to carry them forth in a great quantum leap toward the fulfillment of their call in Abraham. To see this more clearly, let us view in summary the reasons that God gave the Law to Israel.

III. PURPOSES FOR THE LAW

  • to provide a code of conduct for the nation and the individuals in it;

  • to reveal His holiness to them;

  • to train them in holy living;

  • to provide occasions for corporate worship;

  • to serve as the barrier of the dividing wall between Israel and the other nations (Ephesians 2:14-15);

  • to keep them distinct from the other nations (Leviticus 11:44-45; Deuteronomy 7:6;
    14:1-2);

  • to sequester them for ministry to the world: passively through God's actions on their behalf, and actively through prophesying to other nations (as Jonah to Nineveh), writing the Scriptures and bringing forth Messiah;

  • to drive them to saving faith in Messiah (Deuteronomy 18:15; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 3:17,24-25).

If they would keep His commandments, they would be exceedingly blessed (Deuteronomy 28:1-14): He would make them the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13), and a kingdom of priests to the nations.

5. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6. and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

~ Exodus 19:5-6 ~

IV. ISRAEL BROKE THE LAW

Israel broke the Law on countless occasions. Among their offenses were the desecration of the Sabbath, repeated rebellions against Moses, and refusal to enter Canaan because of unbelief. Once in the Land, they practiced idolatry on a broad and protracted scale and failed to give the land its sabbatical year rests; but the most critical commandment that they broke is that which Moses declared in Deuteronomy 18:15: The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

Many parallels exist between the lives of Moses and Jesus, but what makes Jesus the only possible prophet like [Moses] is that, of all humanity, only Moses and Jesus spoke with God face to face (Moses: Exodus 33:10-11; Deuteronomy 34:10. Jesus: Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; John 5:19; 6:46; 8:38; 10:15,30; 14:10). Indeed, the scattering of the nation to the four corners of the earth did not take place until Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah though He proved Himself in accordance with detailed prophecies and Pharisaic benchmarks. After His rejection, He declared in the hearing of the Pharisaic and scribal leaders,

37. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39. For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! (Psalm 118:26)"

~ Matthew 23:37-39 ~

Instead of being gathered by Him as He longed to do, they were scattered in keeping with the consequences for disobedience, which included all of the attendant miseries that they've experienced from that time until today (Deuteronomy 28-29); and their house (Temple, בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, Beit HaMikdash, "House of the Holy") was indeed left to [them] desolate when the Romans destroyed it in 70 A.D. as they crushed the First Jewish Revolt and slaughtered, enslaved and scattered multitudes out of the Land. The second and final wave of the worldwide scattering took place when the Romans crushed the Second Jewish Revolt in 135 A.D.

Why was listening to the prophet like Moses the most critical commandment? The chief purpose of the Law was to drive Israel to their Messiah (Deuteronomy 18:15; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 3:24-25). When they rejected Jesus they broke the central purpose of the Law, and the Law became inoperative upon His death. At that moment, it ceased to exist as a rule of life, and no point of it needed to be heeded from that moment on. This claim will be addressed.

V. THE LAW BECAME INOPERATIVE

Quite a few passages declare that the Law became inoperative. Yet, there are also quite a few that appear to declare that the Law is still operative and needs to be followed today. First, we will see that the Law actually did become inoperative; then we'll examine those passages that appear to say that it is still operative.

A. THE LAW WAS TO BECOME INOPERATIVE

1. Mosaic Law vs. Millennial Kingdom Law
There is a class of passages that proves that the Mosaic Law needed come to an end at some point before the establishment of the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom because of irreconcilable differences between Mosaic Law and Kingdom Law. Two examples of such differences are:

1) Under Mosaic Law, observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was mandatory for Jews only (Leviticus 23:33-43); but under Kingdom Law it will be mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles (Zechariah 14:16-21).

2) Under Mosaic Law, only Jews could be priests (Leviticus 1:5; 21:1); but under Kingdom Law, Gentiles as well as Jews will serve as priests (Isaiah 66:18-21).

In order for Kingdom Law to operate, Mosaic Law must be inoperative.

2. Jeremiah 31:31-34
Perhaps the most familiar passage in the Tanach (Hebrew Scriptures) that indicates that the Law was to become inoperative is the declaration of the coming New Covenant:

31. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

~ Jeremiah 31:31-34 ~

God declared that He will make a new covenant with Israel unlike the Mosaic Covenant which they broke; and on the basis of that new covenant, He will cause the entire nation to be faithful to Him. The provisions of the Mosaic Covenant did not cause Israel to be faithful to Him, but the provisions of the New Covenant will.

Israel broke the Mosaic Covenant. It is instructive to note the various definitions of the Hebrew word translated they broke. The word is הֵפ֣רוּ, he-phe-ru'. According to Strong, it is based on the verb parar, "A primitive root; to break up (usually figuratively, that is, to violate, frustrate): - any ways, break (asunder), cast off, cause to cease, clean, defeat, disannul, disappoint, dissolve, divide, make of none effect, fail, frustrate, bring (come) to nought, utterly, make void."

When Israel violated the covenant they caused it to cease, disannulled it, dissolved it, made it of none effect, brought it to nought, voided it. This is brought out again in Hebrew 8:13.

3. Hebrews 8:13
Hebrews 8:13: When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. When God announced the coming New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34, He made the Mosaic Covenant's coming obsolescence known.

B. WHEN, EXACTLY, DID THE LAW BECOME INOPERATIVE?

That the New Covenant is currently operative and the Mosaic Covenant is not is stated in these passages:

Romans 10:4: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes. The Greek word for end is telos. Strong renders its primary meaning as "(by implication) the conclusion of an act or state"; and Thayer, "termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be."

7. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was. . . . 11. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:7,11 ~

The Greek word translated fading and fades away is katargeo, which means "to render inoperative." The letters engraved on stones refers to the Ten Commandments.

Galatians 3:19: Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions . . . until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Christ was that Seed, and the Law was in effect until the seed would come. Clearly, then, the Law is no longer in effect.

Ephesians 2:14-15: 14. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances.

13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He [God the Father] has made alive together with Him [ Jesus], having forgiven you all trespasses, 14. blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14

Hebrews 7:18: For truly there is a putting away of the commandment which went before, because of the weakness and unprofitableness of it.

Hebrews 10:9: Then He said, "Lo, I come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first so that He may establish the second.

To sum up, the Law was operative only until the Seed would come (Galatians 3:19). When Jesus died, He became the end of the Law (Romans 10:4), the Law faded away (2 Corinthians 3:7,11), broke down (Ephesians 2:14), was abolished in His flesh (Ephesians 2:15), blotted out (Colossians 2:14), nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), taken out of the way (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9), set aside (Hebrews 7:18), made obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), rendered inoperative (katargeo, 2 Corinthians 3:7,11; Ephesians 2:15).

It was when Jesus died that the Law became inoperative. It is important to note that God views the Law as a unit, as has been brought out. James 2:10: For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. What this means is that when the Law became inoperative, the entire Law became inoperative, and that no part of it remained standing - not the Ten Commandments, not the Sabbath commandment included in it, not the kosher laws - none of it. Not a single Mosaic law is operative today as a rule of life for anyone.

It is hard to shake ingrained beliefs. Therefore, for the sake of those who are not ready to give up belief that at least some of the Law is still operative as a rule of life, we will carry our examination further.

The issue, now, is this: Did God replace the Mosaic Covenant (with its Law) with the New Covenant, or did He superimpose the New Covenant over the Mosaic? If God replaced the Mosaic Covenant with the New, then the Law is no longer operative. If He superimposed the New Covenant over the Mosaic, then the Law is still operative.

To resolve the issue, we'll consider two things: exactly when the New Covenant became operative, and the irreconcilability between the Law and the New Covenant.

A. WHEN, EXACTLY, DID THE NEW COVENANT BECOME OPERATIVE?

Luke 22:20: This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

25. In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

~ 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 ~

We have seen that the Law became inoperative upon the death of Jesus. Here we see that at exactly the same moment, the New Covenant became operative. The New Covenant was never superimposed over the Old. It replaced it.

Nor could the New Covenant possibly be superimposed over the Mosaic. Conflicting liberties and requirements exist between the two. Some examples:

  • Believers in Jesus are written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3) - which is consistent with Jeremiah 31:33: I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people; and with Jeremiah 36:26: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Also with Jeremiah 11:19.)

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, Israelites were required to worship in the place where [God] chooses (Deuteronomy 16:16). First, it was Shiloh (Joshua 18:1 with Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 1:3); later, the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 2:4). But under the New Covenant, the only "place" where believers are required to worship is in spirit and truth (John 4:20-24).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, all priests needed to be men of the tribe of Levi and a descendant of Aaron; but under the New Covenant, all believers - Jews of any tribe, and Gentiles, and men and women - are priests (1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6, 5:10); and Jesus, our High Priest, is of the tribe of Judah (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, only the high priest could come into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, and only one day of the Year, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) (Leviticus 16:18, Hebrews 9:6-8); but under the New Covenant, all believers can draw near with confidence to the throne of grace at any time (Hebrews 4:16).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, execution was the penalty for breaking quite a few of the laws irrespective of repentance (Exodus 21:12-17,22-23; 31:14-15; Leviticus 22:2,9-16,27, Hebrews 10:26, etc.); but the New Covenant does not authorize the death penalty for any offense.3 The most severe penalty authorized by the New Covenant is excommunication, which may result in death at the hand of Satan (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:5), but is to be withdrawn upon repentance (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, one incurred the death penalty by profaning the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14-15), but under the New Covenant, there is no Sabbath day commandment, nor is there a commandment to observe the feasts of Leviticus 23 (Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:16-17).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, strict dietary laws were prescribed (Leviticus 11:1-11); but under the New Covenant, all foods are clean (Acts 10:9-16; 1 Timothy 4:1-5).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, in order for a saved Gentile to partake of physical blessings of the Covenant (e.g., Temple worship, celebration of the Passover) he needed to become a part of the commonwealth of Israel by being circumcised if male, and by taking upon himself the entire burden of the Law (Exodus 12:48-49); but under the New Covenant, all that is required for a Gentile to partake of every spiritual blessing that a believing Jew partakes of is belief in the Gospel (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) whereupon he is instantly brought into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:11-22).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, the sins of the believer were merely "covered." (In Leviticus 17:11, the word for "atonement" is kaphar, the primary meaning of which is "to cover.") Under the New Covenant, the sins of all believers of all time are removed (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 10:1-18).

  • The Law did not serve as a means of salvation, but the New Covenant does. (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 3:20, 28; Galatians 2:16; 3:11-12, 21)

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, only a small handful of Israelites had the Spirit "with" them (rare exceptions had Him "in" them, as well), but under the New Covenant, all believers have the Spirit "in" them. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the Spirit did not always rest on those few Israelites permanently, but under the New Covenant, the Spirit indwells all believers forever. The contrasts are: a few, all; with, in; temporarily, forever: (John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Numbers 11:17-25; 27:18; 2 Kings 2:9-12; 1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11).

  • Under the Mosaic Covenant, power was not given to the believer to obey the requirements of God, but under the New Covenant, such power is given (Romans 7:14 - 8:4).

These irreconcilable differences render the two covenants mutually exclusive. They cannot be operative simultaneously.

Was the New Testament superimposed over the Law, or did it replace it?

1. Jeremiah declared that Israel broke, disannulled, the Mosaic Covenant, and that God would make a new covenant with them unlike the Mosaic.

2. At the death of Jesus, the Mosaic Covenant became inoperative, and the New Covenant became operative.

3. Irreconcilable differences exist between the two covenants.

The New Covenant was not superimposed over the Mosaic. It replaced it. If one believes that the New Covenant is presently operative,4 he cannot logically hold that the Mosaic Covenant nor any of its six hundred and thirteen commandments still is. Particulars will be addressed in Part 2: The Abolition of the Law: What It Means for the Believer, below.

VII. THE "OPERATIVE" PASSAGES

What about those passages that seem to declare that the Law is still operative?

Two categories of passages may give that impression: certain declarations made by Jesus, and those passages in the Old Testament that speak of the Law as "everlasting" or a similar term. We'll address them each.

A. DECLARATIONS MADE BY JESUS

Among the declarations of Jesus that give people cause to believe that the Law is still operative, Matthew 5:17-19 is probably the most prominent.

17. Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Law was operative until the cross, and Jesus made these comments before the cross. Therefore, the Law was operative when He made these comments, and everything He said in the passage regarding the Law applied when He said it.

Another is Luke 16:17: But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fall. Every last little bit (tittle, the smallest stroke of a letter) of the Law - every requirement and purpose - will be accomplished. Context seems to allow two possible meanings in the immediate situation: 1. The condemnatory aspect of the Law will be applied to the unrighteous Law-breaking Pharisees, and 2. Jesus Himself will fulfill the messianic prophesies of the Law. Whatever the case, Jesus' declaration could have meaning only if the Law was still operative, and it was operative because He had not yet been crucified.

Matthew 23:2-3: 2. The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3. therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. The Geneva Bible Translation Notes seems to capture the meaning: "We ought to listen to whatever we are truly taught from the word of God, even by wicked teachers, but in a way so that we abstain from their evil behaviour."5 Here again the presupposition in Jesus' comment is that the Law was still operative, and it was so because He had not yet gone to the cross.

What Does it Mean that Jesus "fulfilled" the Law? He fulfilled it in two ways:
1. He kept the Law perfectly:

John 8:46: Which one of you convicts Me of sin?

Hebrews 7:26: For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

Hebrews 9:14: who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God.

1 Peter 2:22: who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth.

2. He fulfilled all prophecies regarding His first coming:

44. Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46. and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47. and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

~ Luke 24:44-47 ~

Once the blemishless Lamb of God came and took away the sin of the world (John 1:29), the central purpose of the Law was fulfilled and the Age (or Dispensation) of the Law could now pass the baton to the Age of Grace.

B. THE "FOREVER" PASSAGES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

There are passages in the Old Testament that use certain words and phrases in regard to the Law that are translated forever, perpetual, permanent, continual, everlasting, eternal, unending, throughout your generations, or similar renderings, which give the impression that the Law is still operative. On the other hand, there are passages that use some of the same words in contexts where they can only mean "until the end of a period of time." We will look at examples of both. Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out that these words and phrases are all forms of ledorot, olam (which may be used in the form of le-olam or ad-olam), chok6 olam, and tamid.7

1. Ledorot, Olam, Tamid: "Forever" Passages of the Law in Question
These passages give the impression that the Law is to literally last forever:

On Sabbath observance: But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations (ledorot), that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (Exodus 31:13)

On Passover observance: Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations (ledorot) you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance (Exodus 12:14). Permanent ordinance is chukat olam. Chukat is a form of chok, which means statute or ordinance.

On the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Sabbath observance:

31. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute (chok olam) throughout your generations in all your dwelling places 32. It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.

~ Leviticus 23:31-32 ~

On the Tabernacle lampstand: You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually (tamid). (Exodus 27:20).

2. Olam: Literally "Forever"
Other passages not having to do with the Law lend strength to the impression that the Law is still operative:

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God (El Olam) (Genesis 21:33). No one doubts that God is literally everlasting!

No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting (olam) covenant for his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:19). The covenant referred to is the Abrahamic, and it is, indeed, literally everlasting and still operative.

3. Ledorot, Olam, Tamid: Until the End of a Period of Time
However, the following passages use the same words in contexts where they can only mean "until the end of a period of time":

And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently (le-olam) (Exodus 21:6). This is a specific Mosaic law; and le-olam here cannot mean for eternity, but until the end of the servant's life.

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 89:1). To all generations is ledor vador, twice containing dor, "generation," the same root found in ledorot. Obviously, the psalmist did not mean that his mouth would literally make the LORD's faithfulness known to all generations; his mouth could only make it known until the end of his life.

But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever (ad-olam) (1 Samuel 1:22). Ad-olam here can only mean until the end of Samuel's life.

As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always (tamid) with her love (Proverbs 5:19). Tamid cannot mean for eternity here, but as the traditional marriage vow says, "for as long as you both shall live."

4. Resolving the "Forever" Passages of the Law
Though we've seen two passages in which olam literally means forever, we've also seen cases in which ledorot, olam, and tamid can only refer to a limited period of time. So which is it? Do these terms mean that the Law as a unit will literally be operative forever, or that it will be operative only until the end of a period of time, as the passage about piercing a servant's ear clearly did?

When the meaning of a word or passage is equivocal (can mean one of two things), one must search for passages on the matter that are unequivocal for clarification. Such are the New Testament passages quoted above: When Jesus died, He became the end of the Law (Romans 10:4), the Law faded away (2 Corinthians 3:7,11), broke down (Ephesians 2:14), was abolished in His flesh (Ephesians 2:15), blotted out (Colossians 2:14), nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), taken out of the way (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9), set aside (Hebrews 7:18), made obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), rendered inoperative (katargeo, 2 Corinthians 3:7,11; Ephesians 2:15). The Law was operative only until the Seed would come (Galatians 3:19).

These passages resolve the matter. The "forever" passages of the Law must be taken to mean "until the end of a period of time," that period of time which began at Sinai and ended at the cross.

VIII. CONCLUSION

The Law of Moses was abolished at the cross, and it, and each of its individual commandments, is inoperative today as a rule of life for the believer, and for everyone else, for that matter. This will be examined further in Part 2: The Abolition of the Law: What It Means for the Christian.

Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.


ENDNOTES

1. Indicated by the Hebrew word toledot in Genesis 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10,27; 25:19; 36:1,9 and 37:2, and translated as These are the generations of, This is the account of, This is the book of, etc.
2. "A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments)." Judaism 101. http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm.
3. This is not to be confused with the rights of civil governments (Romans 13:1-5).
4. The New Covenant's promises of blessing are not dependent upon Israel's meeting any conditions, but solely upon the sure promises of God. This makes it an eternal covenant; and once it is operative - and it already is - it will remain operative for eternity.
5. Geneva Bible Translation Notes. E-sword download at http://www.BibleSupport.com.
6. Chok rhymes with choke, but the ch is pronounced as in Bach.
7. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 176: The Sabbath, pp. 31-33, pdf.


The Believer and the Law of Moses,
Part 1: The Abolition of the Law
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon 2012
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

~ THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW OF MOSES ~

2. THE ABOLITION OF THE LAW:
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CHRISTIAN

It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and
do not be subject again
to a yoke of slavery
.

~ Galatians 5:1 ~

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
AMC STATEMENT
CONCLUSION OF OUR PART 1 STUDY
I. THE LAW IS A UNIT
A. GENERAL DEVELOPMENT
B. ALL CATEGORIES INOPERATIVE
C. THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT: A SPECIAL CASE
II. ABOLITION: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE BELIEVER
A. THE BELIEVER IS NOT UNDER THE LAW
B. NO OBLIGATION
C. NO BONDAGE
D. NO CONDEMNATION
E. "NO" SUMMARY
IV. TWO IMPORTANT "NO'S" FOR NOT PLACING ONESELF UNDER THE LAW
A. NO JUSTIFICATION
B. NO SANCTIFICATION
C. FINAL WORDS FROM PAUL
V. THE LAW OF CHRIST
A. HUNDREDS OF EXHORTATIONS OR LAWS
B. NINE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS RESURRECTED
C. THE SABBATH AND OTHER MOSAIC LAWS
1. The Sabbath Commandment
2. Further Considerations
VI. BLESSINGS OF THE LAW FOR TODAY
A. STUDYING THE LAW
1. Types and Prophetically Illustrative Content
2. Principles
3. Understanding Israelite Culture and Scripture
4. Preparation for Keeping Parts of the Law
B. KEEPING THE LAW
1. To Affirm Our Love for Our Heritage
2. Conscience
3. To Avoid Causing a Weaker Brother to Sin
4. Celebration
5. Fellowship, Teaching, Learning and Jewish Evangelism
C. CAVEATS TO KEEPING THE LAW
1. Kinds of Laws
2. Reasons and Motives
VII. RABBINIC LAW
A. WHAT IS RABBINIC LAW?
1. Mixture of Mosaic and Rabbinic
2. Drastic Contradictions
B. OBSERVANCE OF RABBINIC LAW AND CUSTOM
1. Keeping Rabbinic Law in General
2. Praying the Liturgy
3. Who May Pray?
4. Distinguishing the Mosaic from the Rabbinic or Cultural
VIII. ONE LAST WORD
ENDNOTES

We'll begin again with a presentation of the Association of Messianic Congregation's Statement on the believer and the Law, for which this series was originally written, followed by the conclusion of our Part 1 study.

AMC STATEMENT

The Believer and the Law of Moses

We believe the Law of Moses as a rule of life has been fulfilled in the Messiah and therefore believers are no longer under its obligation or condemnation. While the Law of Moses is no longer obligatory for believers, the Law has much to teach us regarding a joyfully Jewish way of life. Both Jewish and non-Jewish believers have the freedom in Messiah to maintain any aspects of the Law of Moses which do not violate the entirety of the rest of scripture. (Acts 21:24-26; Romans 6:14;8:2;10:4;14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 2 Corinthians 3:1-11; Galatians 3:3,3:10-13;6:2; Ephesians 2:14 )

CONCLUSION OF OUR PART 1 STUDY

The Law was operative only until the Seed would come (Galatians 3:19). When Jesus died, He became the end of the Law (Romans 10:4), the Law faded away (2 Corinthians 3:7,11), broke down (Ephesians 2:14), was abolished in His flesh (Ephesians 2:15), blotted out (Colossians 2:14), nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), taken out of the way (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9), set aside (Hebrews 7:18), made obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), rendered inoperative (katargeo, 2 Corinthians 3:7,11; Ephesians 2:15).

I. THE LAW IS A UNIT

A. GENERAL DEVELOPMENT

In numerous places in the Hebrew scriptures, the Law is referred to as Torah. In the New American Standard translation, "Law of Moses" appears fourteen times, and in each case, the word for Law is Torah. In the New Testament, the Greek word used for Law is nomos. "The word Torah, meaning 'law,' is always singular when applied to the Law of Moses, even though it contains 613 commandments. The same is true of the Greek word nomos in the New Testament."1 Therefore, when the Scripture says that the Law came to an end with the death of Christ - Galatians 3:19 and Ephesians 2:15, above, specifically use "Law" - it means that every single Mosaic Law without exception became inoperative at that time.

James 2:10-11 also makes the point. 10: For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. Puncture any part of a balloon, and the whole balloon explodes!

Galatians 3:10 also makes the point.

B. ALL CATEGORIES INOPERATIVE

The Law has been categorized in various helpful ways. The distinction between the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law is made clear in Scripture: The former was given to Moses at Sinai and was written by the finger of God on stone (Exodus 31:18), and the rest of the Law was given to Moses subsequent to Sinai, and was written by the hand of Moses on parchment (Exodus 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Numbers 33:2; Deuteronomy 31:9-13,22,24-26). Other categorizations have been made by virtue of purely human reasoning, such as the division of the law into the moral, civil and ceremonial, or into laws concerning the priesthood, property, diet, etc.; but no matter how the laws may be distinguished or categorized, not a single category - not a single law - is operative today. In 2 Corinthians 3:7,11 letters engraved on stones specifically refers to the Ten Commandments:

7. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was. . . . 11. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:7,11 ~

Again, the word translated fading and fades away is katargeo, which means "to render inoperative."

C. THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT: A SPECIAL CASE

The Mosaic command to circumcise became inoperative when the entire Law became inoperative; yet, circumcision is still enjoined upon Jewish males because it is the token of the prior Abrahamic Covenant, which still stands. A parallel situation exists with the Sabbath command as it was enjoined upon Israel before it was incorporated into the Ten Commandments (Exodus 16:4-5,23-30; Exodus 20). It would be logical to conclude that the abolition of the Law has no bearing on the prior Sabbath commandment, and that it should still be obeyed; yet, this is not the case. New Testament teaching to the contrary will be explored below.

II. ABOLITION: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE BELIEVER

The abolition of the Law has various ramifications for the believer.

A. THE BELIEVER IS NOT UNDER THE LAW

Since the Law has been abolished, no believer is under the Law.

Romans 6:14b. You are not under law but under grace.

23. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

~ Galatians 3:23-25 ~

It must be emphasized that the Law was in effect only from Moses to the cross; that it was given solely to Israel (Exodus 19:3-8; Deuteronomy 4:8; Psalm 147:19-20; Malachi 4:4; Romans 9:4);* that Gentiles who were not proselytes to the Law were never under the Law; that Gentiles who formally took upon themselves the burden of the Law were never called Jews or Israelites, but proselytes;* that the church is never considered Israel in any sense;* and that Gentile believers are never called Jews or Israelites in the New Testament.* So whether the church as a whole or individual Jewish or Gentile members within it are considered, no valid argument can be raised to show that the church or any of its members is under obligation to any Mosaic law. (To follow-up on items with asterisks, see footnote 2.) This does not mean that the believer is not under a biblical system of law, and this, too, will be addressed.

B. NO OBLIGATION

Because the Law has been abolished and the believer is not under the Law, he has no obligation to obey any of the laws of the Mosaic system.

Romans 7:6: But now we have been released (Gr. katargeo, to render inoperative) from the Law.

Romans 8:2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Acts 15:8-10 makes it clear that neither Jewish nor Gentile believers are obligated to the Law:

8. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9. and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

Also, in Galatians 2:3, Paul resisted pressure to circumcise the Gentile believer Titus.

C. NO BONDAGE

Believers are free from the bondage of the Law.

What, exactly, is the bondage of the Law? Let us observe some contrasts and then draw our conclusions.

Romans 8:15 contrasts the spirit of slavery to the Law with a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

1 Corinthians 15:56-57: 56. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:4 contrasts the liberty which we have in Christ Jesus with the bondage of the Law.

Galatians 4:3-6 contrasts bondage under the elemental things of the world (the Law) with the adoption as sons in whom God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

Galatians 5:1 contrasts freedom in Christ with the yoke of slavery of the Law.

Romans 6:14: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 8:2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Galatians 4:22-26 contrasts Sarah, the free woman, the mother of the children of promise, with Hagar, her bondwoman, who represents Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves.

Galatians 5:18: But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

In Hebrews 2:14-15, Christ died that He might . . . free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Bondage to the Law, then, may be defined as required obedience to the Law while in a state of powerlessness to keep it. This bondage resulted in, and included, bondage to sin, eternal condemnation and fear of death. (Though God provided the sacrificial system by means of which Israelite and proselyte transgressions could be "covered" until Christ would die to forgive the faithful among them, none had yet entered into that state of forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life because Christ had not yet died and risen.)

The bondage of the Law is set in contrast to the liberty of the believer who is forgiven of sin, is able to be led by the Spirit in power over sin, and live in the blessed hope of eternal life. It is the difference between being a beloved son of an "Abba! Father!" and being a slave under a taskmaster.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has
set you free from the law of sin and of death.

~ Romans 8:2 ~

11. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12. instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,13. looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14. who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

~ Titus 2:11-14 ~

D. NO CONDEMNATION

Condemnation is the judicial pronouncement of guilt, and may be human or divine. It is the opposite of justification, which, in the divine context, is the declaration of being in right standing with God. Divine condemnation may be temporal or eternal.3 One who dies in unbelief is eternally condemned, and must spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15), but the believer is never eternally condemned. The Law brought condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9; Galatians 3:10); but now that the Law has been abolished, no believer can be condemned by the Law.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE." (Galatians 3:13)

He [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

1.Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

~ Romans 8:1-2 ~

E. "NO" SUMMARY

So, here's "no" summary of what not being under the Law means for the believer: no obligation, no bondage, no condemnation. To expand a bit, no obligation, no bondage, no powerlessness, no unforgiveness, no condemnation, no fear of death. No kidding!

IV. TWO IMPORTANT "NO'S" FOR NOT
PLACING ONESELF UNDER THE LAW

Two more no's may be added to the above, but they are in a different category. The above no's were yeses under the Law, but the no's of justification and sanctification were not.

Justification. Justification has to do with one's legal standing before God. The believer has sinned; but because he is "in Christ" he is declared righteous or justified by God because the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to him: It has been placed on his account. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which God gradually conforms the believer's walk to the holiness of Christ's. (Romans 6:19; 8:29; 12:2; Philippians 1:6; 1 Timothy 4:3)

Despite the fact that the Law had become inoperative, some early believers were under the notion that they needed to combine obedience to the Law with faith in Christ for justification and sanctification. Some today are under the same notion. However, the following passages attest that the Law never contributed to either:

1 Corinthians 1:30: But by [God's] doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. Old Testament saints were called righteous or just, but only in the sense that their sins were "covered." It took the death of Christ to confirm their justification in actuality.

18. For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19. (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

~ Hebrews 7:18-19 ~

The Law made nothing perfect. It did not justify, nor did it sanctify the believer in the sense of transform[ing] him to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29; 12:2).

1. You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2. This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3. Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

~ Galatians 3:1-3 ~

The above passages apply to both justification and sanctification. We will now view passages that apply to one or the other.

A. NO JUSTIFICATION

Romans 3:20: by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.

Roman 3:28: For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

16. nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. 21. . . for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.

~ Galatians 2:16,21 ~

Galatians 3:11: Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

B. NO SANCTIFICATION

Before the Lord's ascension, the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39), and the following passages show that it is only by the Spirit that the believer is sanctified. Therefore, since the Spirit was not yet given under the Law, the Law did not sanctify.

Romans 8:13: if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body

25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26. so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . . 32. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

~ Ephesians 5:25-26,32 ~

1 Peter 1:1-2: 1. Peter . . . to those . . . who are chosen 2. . . by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ.

The above passages show that sanctification takes place in Christ by the agency of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, in Colossians 2:20-23, Paul teaches that placing oneself under a set of rules for the sake of sanctification is futile: 20. The elementary principles of the world . . . such as, 21. "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" . . . . 23. . . . are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

To review,
1. It is the Spirit that sanctifies.
2. There was no sanctification during the Age or Dispensation of the Law because the Spirit had not yet been given.
3. Even now, while we have the Spirit, placing oneself under the Law, or any law, contributes nothing to sanctification.

C. FINAL WORDS FROM PAUL

9. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10. You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

~ Galatians 4:9-11 ~

It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and
do not be subject again
to a yoke of slavery
.

~ Galatians 5:1 ~

There are valid, though not obligatory, reasons for observing certain Mosaic laws, and these will be discussed; but it is never valid to observe any Mosaic law for justification or sanctification.

V. THE LAW OF CHRIST

Though the believer is not under the Law of Moses, he is not in an antinomian (lawless) state. He is under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), also called the law of liberty (James 1:25; 2:12).

A. HUNDREDS OF EXHORTATIONS OR LAWS

According to Finis Dake, "There are 1050 commands in the N.T. for Christians to obey. Due to repetitions we can classify them under about 800 headings."4 - and heeding them is as serious a matter as heeding the commandments of the Law was because transgressions under both bodies of law contributed to Christ's death.

B. NINE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS RESURRECTED

Nine of the ten Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) have been resurrected in the Law of Christ. It would be misleading to say that they appear in the Law of Christ as they have been abolished, nailed to the cross. They have died with Christ and have been resurrected in glorified form.

The following study is courtesy of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.5 The wording and scripture references are his, but I have added the scripture texts.

  • The first commandment, which is against having other gods, is found in the Law of the Messiah in Acts 14:15: [Paul and Barnabas said] We . . . preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God.
  • The second commandment, which is against images made to be worshipped, is found in 1 John 5:21: Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
  • The third commandment, which is against taking the name of the Lord your God in vain, is taught in James 5:12: But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
  • The fourth commandment was: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. This commandment is nowhere repeated in the Law of the Messiah. That is why the believer has no obligation to keep the Sabbath today.
  • The fifth commandment was to honor your parents, and this is also taught in Ephesians 6:1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. [I would add that verses 2-3 refer back to, and quote, the fifth commandment - NM.]
  • The sixth commandment, which is against murder, is taught in 1 John 3:15: Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
  • The seventh commandment, which is against adultery, is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: 9. Do not be deceived; . . .nor adulterers. . . 10. . . will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • The eighth commandment, which is against stealing, is found in Ephesians 4:28: He who steals must steal no longer.
  • The ninth commandment, which is against bearing false witness, is found in Colossians 3:9: Do not lie to one another.
  • The tenth commandment, which is against coveting, is found in Ephesians 5:3: But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

    Nine of the original Ten Commandments are found in the Law of the Messiah, and that is why we must obey them. But the commandment relating to the Sabbath is not found anywhere in the Law of the Messiah.

C. THE SABBATH AND OTHER MOSAIC LAWS

1. The Sabbath Commandment
Let us follow up on the "truant" Sabbath commandment.

Hebrews 4:9 reads, So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. This verse is often misinterpreted to mean that the believer is required to rest physically on the seventh day of the week - but verse 10 interprets it as enter[ing] His rest, the rest that comes through obedience to Christ as opposed to one's own works, that is, to any other course of action. This is brought out by verse 4, which quotes Psalm 95:11 and refers to the general disobedience of the Israelites in the wilderness (Psalm 95:10).

In the following passages, which apply to the Sabbath commandment in the Law - and the Sabbath commandment prior to the Law - Paul affirms that the Sabbath rest for the people of God does not refer to physical rest on the seventh day of the week:

Romans 14:5: One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Colossians 2:16-17: 16. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - 17. things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

In Matthew 11:29-30, Jesus disclosed the nature of the rest that is in Him: 29. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

The Sabbath rest for the people of God refers to a rest of the soul, not of the body.

2. Further Considerations
Sabbath worship was never enjoined in the Law. Sabbath rest was: complete rest. . . in all your dwellings (Leviticus 23:3). Families were to rest in their own homes. Required corporate Sabbath worship was a non-Mosaic development. (The corporate Sabbath worship enjoined in Ezekiel 46:3 is part of Millennial Law that will take effect in the future Millennial or Messianic Kingdom.) In addition, no biblical command carried the Sabbath over to the Age of Grace in which we live, nor switched it to Sundays.

Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16-17, cited above, likewise make it clear that the believer is not required to observe any of the Leviticus 23 feasts. Neither is he required to keep the kosher (dietary) laws (Matthew 15:11; Acts 10:9-15; Romans 14:14,20; 1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Timothy 4:3-5; Hebrews 9:10), nor the laws concerning tithing. Tithing is mentioned in the New Testament only in reference to giving under the Mosaic Law.

The key passage for New Testament giving is 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NKJV): 6. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. The key principle is Let each one give as he purposes in his heart. We are encouraged to give bountifully, but not to the point of doing so grudgingly or of necessity, which obligatory tithing often engenders. Giving according to these New Testament principles guarantees that one will be a cheerful giver, which God loves.

VI. BLESSINGS OF THE LAW FOR TODAY

The Law was abolished - but what, exactly, was abolished? The Law of commandments contained in ordinances (Ephesians 2:15). The Law was abolished as a rule of life. It was not obliterated from the pages of Scripture. We can still read it, study it, and be blessed by it in various ways (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Many blessings can be reaped from the entire Old Testament, but our focus will be strictly on the commandments of the Mosaic code.

A. STUDYING THE LAW

The chief value of the Law today is its capacity for instruction.

1. Types and Prophetically Illustrative Content
The sacrificial system foreshadowed the once for all the sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:13; 10:10); Deuteronomy 18:15-18, identifies the coming Messiah and commands obedience to Him; the weekly Sabbath rest is a "type" of the rest that believers have in Messiah (Hebrews 4:9-10); the seven annual feasts enjoined upon Israel in Leviticus 23 are prophetic of seven landmark events from the death of Messiah to the Messianic Age; Hebrews 8:4-5 tells us that the tabernacle and the Levitical service were a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.

2. Principles
We can glean countless principles from the Law. Fundamentally, the undergirding of the Law, love of God and neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40; 23:23), are now to be written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26). Other principles are: the need for reverence of God and the exclusive worship of Him with clean hearts; the necessity of obedience toward Him; the need for physical rest and spiritual reflection; the need for times of celebration because of God's love for us and the works He performs on our behalf; the sanctity of appropriate sexual relationships and of marriage and the family; the need for exercising justice and kindness toward one's fellow man, including the poor and the stranger; the need for righteousness in business and judicial proceedings; the severity of sin in general and of specific sins in particular; the fact that innocent blood was always required for the atonement of sin (Leviticus 17:11).

3. Understanding Israelite Culture and Scripture
The Law was a foundational element in the culture and mindset of all Bible writers and Israeli personages from Moses through the first century. Jesus was born under the law (Galatians 4:4), and major portions of the New Testament deal with issues concerning the Law. Understanding the Law contributes much to understanding not only the Old Testament, but the New.

4. Preparation for Keeping Parts of the Law
There are valid reasons for choosing to keep some laws.

B. KEEPING THE LAW

Though no one is required to keep any part of the Law today, one may validly choose to keep certain parts of it for various reasons, among which are:

1. To Affirm Our Love for Our Heritage
In Acts 21:21-24,26, Paul kept the law of Nazirites (Number 6:1-21) to falsify the rumor that he taught Jews that they needed to reject the Law and Jewish customs, lock, stock and barrel.

When I became a believer, my Orthodox Jewish mother almost lit a memorial candle. Almost twenty years later, I flew from Hawaii to Florida with my wife and two daughters, wore a yarmulke (a skullcap, a custom that has gained the force of Orthodox law) and celebrated the Passover with my parents and a brother. My brother later told me that my mother said, "I can see how Christianity is good for him." There was more to it than that! but she saw that I loved and respected my Jewish upbringing, and that blessed and honored her.

2. Conscience
Romans 14:23 says, Whatever is not of faith is sin. If a Jewish believer grew up eating only kosher foods, his conscience might strike him if he ate non-kosher foods, such as pork or shellfish. Scripture allows him the liberty to restrict his diet to his satisfaction. He must, however, not judge those who do have the liberty in themselves to eat non-kosher (Romans 14). To use an example apart from Jewishness and the Law, converts from Islam may restrict their corporate worship to Fridays, and to make sure that they pray personally five times a day.

3. To Avoid Causing a Weaker Brother to Sin
To use the same example, if a believer has the faith to eat non-kosher, and does so in the presence of one who does not, that might encourage the one without that faith to stumble, as it says in some versions (Romans 14:13), which, in light of verse 23, means to cause him to go against his conscience and thereby sin. The freer brother is required to observe the kosher laws in such a case, and to not sit in judgment of his weaker brother. (Romans 14).

4. Celebration
Our AMC Statement reads, "The Law has much to teach us regarding a joyfully Jewish way of life." Every culture has its own way of celebrating, and these are all fine as long as spirit and content are acceptable to the Lord. Many Jewish and non-Jewish believers alike like to celebrate in traditionally Jewish ways, such as, by celebrating the Passover and Tabernacles, and this is perfectly acceptable.

5. Fellowship, Teaching, Learning and Jewish Evangelism
Such occasions as celebrating the feasts are valuable for fellowship, teaching, learning and Jewish evangelism. Concerning evangelism, Paul said, To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law (1 Corinthians 9:20).

C. CAVEATS TO KEEPING THE LAW

1. Kinds of Laws
One must avoid observing any Mosaic law that contradicts or negates the New Covenant. For example, Leviticus 4 mandates that animal sacrifices be made for various sins. A believer must never offer a sacrifice for sin as that would negate the sacrifice of Christ, who, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD (Hebrews 10:12). The New Testament prescription for a believer's dealing with his sin is confession (1 John 1:9).

2. Reasons and Motives
One must never keep Mosaic laws out of a sense of legal obligation or for justification or sanctification. Nor may he keep any law so he could look Jewish or pious or to promote godliness or religiosity via Jewishness, as Jewishness never drew anyone closer to God. Scripture never called anyone to Jewishness, but to a holy walk. This matter was settled in the Acts 15 council and is exemplified by Paul's refusal to circumcise the Gentile believer Titus (Galatians 2:3). Jesus decried such Pharisaical attitudes (Matthew 6:5; 23:5). If Jesus proved to be a Chinaman, what a shock that would be for those who are puffed up because of their Jewishness or appearance as Jews! Paul said, We recognize no one according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16); and 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

VII. RABBINIC LAW

This section is really an addendum; but since many confound the rabbinic with the Mosaic, and much messianic practice is rabbinic, it would be helpful to distinguish between the two and draw some applications.

A. WHAT IS RABBINIC LAW?

1. Mixture of Mosaic and Rabbinic
Rabbinic law is an encyclopedic body of legal debates and opinions written by numerous rabbis over the course of many centuries. It is said to include the "Oral Law" given to Moses on Sinai at the same time he received the Written Law. However, Exodus 24:4 leaves no room for an Oral Law. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Also Deuteronomy 31:9-13: So Moses wrote this law . . . . that they may . . . carefully observe all the words of this law . . . . If Moses wanted Israel to obey God fully, why would he allow the supposed Oral Law to remain unwritten? With these things in mind, it would be good to remember what Moses exhorted Israel: You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you (Deuteronomy 4:2). Also Revelation 22:18-19.

Rabbinic law has its roots in the Written Law, and some of it is Mosaic; but far more has been added. For example, the Mosaic Law commands, You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother

(Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21), an ancient Egyptian rite. The command is very specific: boil, not roast; not just any animal, but a goat; not just any goat, but a young goat; not just any milk, but the milk of its mother. Nevertheless, out of this command has grown the rabbinic need for two sets of dishes to keep even the tiniest specks of any kind of meat and dairy from being consumed together, the need to wait a half hour (or hour with some) after eating dairy before eating meat, six hours after eating meat before eating dairy, and much more.

2. Drastic Contradictions
Some rabbinic law drastically contradicts the Mosaic. Jesus spoke of this (e.g., Mark 7:9-13). From the perspective of the believer, the most significant thing about rabbinic law is the universal rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and the rejection by many rabbis of the Jewish identity of Jewish believers. This is in stark contradiction to Deuteronomy 18:15-18, which is in reference to Messiah. In verse 15, Moses commanded on behalf of the LORD, The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. Yet, to the Shemonah Esrei, the Eighteen Blessings that observant Jews pray three times every weekday as the central prayer of the liturgy (with abbreviated forms on Sabbath and other occasions), the following "blessing" was added at the end of the first century, making it nineteen:

For the apostates let there be no hope. And let the arrogant government be speedily uprooted in our days. Let the nozerim [Nazarenes] and the minim [heretics] be destroyed in a moment. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant.6

B. OBSERVANCE OF RABBINIC LAW AND CUSTOM

1. Keeping Rabbinic Law in General
Many believers desire to keeps parts of the Mosaic Law, but do not realize that much of today's Jewish observances are of rabbinic or cultural origin. Many elements of the modern Passover ceremony are nowhere found in the Law of Moses, and none of the Friday night Sabbath ceremony elements - standardized prayers, candles, challah bread, wine - are found in Mosaic Sabbath law. Certainly, if believers ought not to keep Mosaic law under a sense of obligation or for justification or sanctification, neither ought they to keep rabbinic law or cultural custom for the same! Paul had these words to say about observing the commandments and teachings of men for such reasons:

20. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21. "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" 22. (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23. These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

~ Colossians 2:20-23 ~

However, they may be observed for the same reasons noted above for keeping Mosaic laws, and with the same caveats.

2. Praying the Liturgy
One matter that needs to be thought through by messianic synagogues, and churches in general, is that of liturgical worship, the repetition of standardized prayers, which was the dominant feature in synagogue worship in Jesus' day, and is today. It is the standard practice in major sections of the church, and it is common for messianic believers to hold Friday night Sabbath services and celebrate Passover and other such events that invariably contain standardized prayers.

In Matthew 7:6, Jesus instructed, And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. The Greek for meaningless repetition is battologeo. One definition that Thayer gives is "to repeat the same things over and over." Strong defines it as ". . . to prate tediously: - use vain repetitions."

Having just spoken these words, the Lord could not possibly have meant that "the Lord's prayer" immediately following in verses 9-13 was to be such a prayer. He said, Pray, then, in this way. He presented it as a pattern for prayer that contains particular elements in a particular sequence. Nowhere is it recorded that He or any other believer repeated it. All recorded prayers of believers were extemporaneous.

I would therefore say that, at the very least, if there is no strong rationale for instituting or retaining liturgical praying, then it ought to be avoided or eliminated and replaced by extemporaneous praying. Such rationale may conceivably include accommodating a significant number of new Orthodox or Conservative Jewish believers until they are weaned away from liturgical prayer, or when working with similar groups in Gentile populations such as Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox, where liturgy has the force of law.

Theologizing is easy. Application is, at times, difficult, especially for pastors, who know that bringing their flocks to maturity is a process.

These point are certain:
1. Keeping congregants mesmerized by that which is unbiblical, or because "that's the way we've always done it," is not a good rationale.
2. Those who are prisoner to liturgy need to be weaned away from it.
3. Many entire congregations need to be weaned away from it.
4. There comes a point, after adequate instruction from the pulpit, when appropriate changes need to be made no matter how congregants may respond. Jesus drew such a line with the truth that He brought, and leaders must follow suit (Matthew 10:34-36).
5. In any case where liturgy is retained, adequate time must be provided for extemporaneous prayer even if it means scaling the liturgy way back.

3. Who May Pray?
One thing that rabbinic synagogues get right, and many churches where even extemporaneous prayer takes place do not, is the fact that everybody prays, not just the rabbi or selected elders or deacons. Acts 2:41-42 speaks of repeated corporate New Testament prayer that included everyone:

41. So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

~ Acts 2:41-42 ~

Based on verse 42, it is likely that many of these meetings were called and overseen by some whom the Lord was raising up as leaders. Certainly, the apostles led some of them. In other words, such meetings functioned as incipient local congregations where everyone had the liberty to pray.

4. Distinguishing the Mosaic from the Rabbinic or Cultural
Within the limits of the caveats, a believer may observe modern Jewish observances; but he must be careful not to assume that any particular aspect of the observance is of biblical origin. What is required for such discernment is the study of the Scriptures.

VIII. ONE LAST WORD

It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and
do not be subject again
to a yoke of slavery
.

~ Galatians 5:1 ~


Scriptures chosen by the author are in the New American Standard version unless otherwise noted. Scriptures in quotes by others may be in different translations. Names, titles and other terms within quoted scriptures and elsewhere may have been changed from the English to the Hebrew form for the sake of cultural sensitivity.


ENDNOTES

1. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 021: The Eight Covenants of the Bible, p. 24, pdf.
2.
See former studies "Contrary Claims" Part 1 and Part 2, and The Gentile "Jews" of Esther.
3. The believer falls into temporary condemnation when he sins (1 Timothy 3:6; 5:12), but, in the eternal context, his justified position remains intact. His condemnation brings discipline upon him, and this discipline is evidence of his sonship, not of disownment, and his condemnation is rescinded upon repentance or death. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5 with 2 Corinthians 2:5-8; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:5-9; 1 John 1:9)
4. Dake, Finis. Dake's Annotated Reference Bible: Old and New Testaments Compact Edition (Dake Publishing, Inc., 2001) "New Testament Commands," pp. 544-548.
5. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Messianic Bible Study 137: The Spiritual Life and the Believer's Rule of Life, p. 15., pdf.
6. Ehrlich, Uri. "Birkat Ha-Minim." Jewish Virtual Library. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0003_0_02999.html.


The Christian and the Law of Moses,
Part 2: Abolition and the Law:
What It Means for the Christian
~ a messianic Bible study ~
© Norman Manzon, 2012
All rights reserved.
Copying and Republication Guidelines

~

All Pages of A Key Doctrinal Exegesis
 

Major Topics in Systematic Progression

Page 1

* THE SCRIPTURES
* GOD THE TRIUNITY
* ANGELS
* SATAN AND DEMONS
* THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
*
SALVATION

Page 2

* ISRAEL
*
THE TRUE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
* THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW OF MOSES

Page 3

* THE CHURCH
* THE MINISTRIES AND GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
* DIVINE HEALING: ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

Page 4

* THE FUTURE, THE AFTERWORLD AND ETERNITY

Page 5

ADDENDUM STUDIES,
Page 1

* THE AMBASSADORIAL BAND

~

A Key Doctrinal Overview and Exegesis
~ messianic Bible studies ~
© Norman Manzon 2005 - 2017.
All rights reserved.
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