Before continuing with the 4th part of this essay I wanted to go back to part one and a specific point brought up by the author:
That most of the Jews “returning” to Palestine never came from Palestine in the first place; that they are not even of the lineage of Shem. They are Gentile converts. This throws a massive curved ball from an eschatolgical standpoint at the idea of Jews returning to the modern State of Israel under divine sanction. In reality, upwards of 85% of today’s Jews are descended from the Khazars, according to the respected Encyclopaedia Judaica, Princeton Professor D.M. Dunlop’s The History of the Jewish Khazars, and Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe (Random House, N.Y., 1967)…..
Adam, at Pursuing Truth Blog posted a very informative article on this very topic back in August of this year and I want to share the link with any readers who are following this series: Who Are the Jews in Israel?
What makes this interesting is the fact of all genealogical records being destroyed in 70AD when the city of Jerusalem and Temple both were destroyed by fire. We know from biblical accounts of our Lord’s very words, (and even OT prophecy) what occurred in 70AD was an act of God’s judgment. In light of this knowledge, the complete destruction of ALL genealogical records can be said to have been an “act of God” as well. I believe both historically and theologically, that this is an important fact; God saw to it no records survived.
What are we to take away from this? Would like to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. WHY would God have ensured no genealogical records survived?
Continuing with part (4)
3. THE REAL HOPE FOR ISRAEL IS NOT A RESTORATION TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL BUT TO JESUS CHRIST AT HIS FIRST COMING
The O.T. prophecies which appear to speak of the restoration of the nation Israel to a land inheritance were either fulfilled at the end of the exile in Babylon or are to be understood to refer figuratively to the gathering under the Messiah at His first coming. This is where the real point of resistance to Bible teaching occurs. The failure to accept that the Lord can speak figuratively when uttering prophecies in the Old Testament about the future restoration of Israel is one of the main causes of confusion concerning its proper inheritance.
One of the main problems here is that it is assumed by so many professing Christians today — especially those who believe that there is still a place for the theocratic nation Israel in God’s purposes today — that if one interprets an O.T. prophecy figuratively rather than literally then it implies a liberal, even apostate, approach to Scripture. However this is a false deduction. It is certainly true that liberal theologians allegorise the Word of God in the places at which it should be taken literally. But that does not mean that one should never under- stand any Scripture figuratively, for fear of being a liberal theologian! For example, when we read that an angel came down from heaven, “having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand” (Rev.20:1), are we to take that literally? Is it an actual material chain with metal links which is being spoken of here? And if one takes that chain figuratively does that make one apostate? Surely not! Is it not true that every single Christian has taken that chain to be figurative — interpreting it figuratively rather than literally?
However, when it comes to O.T. prophecies about Israel, so many folk are suddenly overcome with a fit of hyper-literalism and begin to denounce anyone who dares to spiritualise a text in any way. While it is obviously true that there are dangers in consistent allegorisation and that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet.1:20), there are sound rules which we can follow which have even been laid down for us in the Word of God. Let us demonstrate with a classic example. Take Amos 9:11-15, which says:
“On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its dam- ages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the LORD who does this thing. Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the moun- tains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them, Says the LORD your God”.
On the face of it, if one was to take this passage absolutely literally, it appears to be a prophecy of the rebuilding of the earthly temple in Jerusalem, and the restoration of God’s people Israel to the land. However, although that may be the way it looks to the casual reader, if we want to be true to the Word, we have to take into account the fact that this passage is interpreted for us very differently elsewhere in Scripture. For when some Judaisers were causing problems in the early Church by saying that converted Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be saved, a council was called to make a ruling on the matter. After the debate had taken place, everyone present fell silent and James issued his wisdom:
“Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things’. Known to God from eternity are all His works”. (Acts 15:13-18)
Do you see what James is saying? He quotes here the precise text from Amos 9 which many have taken literally as being a reference to a future earthly restoration of the nation Israel to the land. However, we are here being furnished with a model of correct exegesis when- ever we are confronted with Old Testament texts which seem to imply an earthly restoration of the Davidic kingdom and the bringing back under its dominion of the neighbouring non-Israelite nations over which David had once ruled.
The unbelieving Jew of today, with a veil over his eyes when he reads the Bible, will only ever see an earthly kingdom and an earthly dominion, just as did unenlightened Jewry at the time of Christ (Jn.6.15; 18:36; Lk.17:20; Acts 1:6).
AND to his support will come the over-literalistic, fundamentalist Christians of today who have failed to follow James’s lead in sound Bible interpretation.
For James, here in Acts 15:13-18, is plainly revealing that the rebuilding of “the tabernacle of David” referred to in Amos 9 is a figurative reference to the building of the Church of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, into which would come the Gentiles. In fact, James is here showing that the Bible certainly does teach a form of “replacement theology”. The New Tes- tament Church has replaced the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, which was the heart and soul of the theocratic nation of Israel (cf. 2 Cor.6:16; Eph.2:21). The Church is the Israel of God today! That is precisely what James reveals and that is precisely what the neo-judaisers refuse to accept.
This is why we say — in answer to the claim that the Middle-Eastern nation-state of Israel today is a fulfilment of Bible prophecy — that the real hope for Israel is not a restoration to an earthly territory but to Jesus Christ at His first coming.
We can adduce further proof of this mighty fact from the words of the Apostles. For example, when Paul arrived in Rome, he called a meeting of the leaders of the Jews to present his case before them. During his discourse, Paul tells them why he was a prisoner:
“For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain”. (Acts 28:20)
What was this “hope of Israel” for which Paul had been indicted? What message of hope for Israel had Paul been preaching that was so offensive to the Jews? Was it a future restoration of Israel to the land under an earthly king like David? Not at all, for that would have been perfectly acceptable. In his great commentary, Matthew Henry gives an illustrative paraphrase of Paul’s words to the Jewish leaders here, which plainly reveals the identity of the true “hope of Israel”:
“They would have you still expect a Messiah that would free you from the Roman yoke, and make you great and prosperous upon earth, and it is this that occupies their thoughts; and they are angry at me for directing their expectations to the great things of another world, and persuading them to embrace a Messiah who will secure those to them, and not external power and grandeur. I am for bringing you to the spiritual and eternal bless- edness upon which our fathers by faith had their eye, and this is what they hate me for,— because I would take you off from that which is the cheat of Israel, and will be its shame and ruin, the notion of a temporal Messiah, and lead you to that which is the true and real hope of Israel, and the genuine sense of all the promises made to the fathers, a spiritual kingdom of holiness and love set up in the hearts of men, to be the pledge of, and preparative for, the joyful resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.’’
What a masterly summary this is by Matthew Henry of the meaning behind Paul’s words. The “cheat of Israel” has always been the continued notion of a temporal Messiah and an earthly kingdom in the land. But the “true and real hope of Israel” is the spiritual kingdom which has its roots in the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ and which finds its only earthly expression in the Church which is called out by His name. The true hope of Israel is
“The Deliverer” (who) “will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” (Rom.11:25- 26).
Sins can only be taken away by the blood of Christ in His New Covenant; and it is this which is the real hope of Israel.
This is why we find that all the godly, pious Jews such as Simeon, who were alive around the time of the Incarnation, were “waiting for the Consolation of Israel” (Lk.2:25). So for people like Simeon, Anna, Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and all the rest of the godly remnant of Israel who were alive when the Son of God came in the flesh, the fulfilment of the Jewish kingdom centred not on any restoration to the land but on belief in and union with the Lord Jesus Christ as the “Hope of Israel” and the “Consolation of Israel”. There is never the remotest hint in the gospels — nor in the rest of the New Testament — that the hope of Israel lies in a restoration to the land. Indeed, we see clearly from the Scriptures that the eye of faith enabled even the godly believers of the Old Testament to focus on something beyond a piece of real estate in the Middle East! For example, we are told that
“by faith Abraham dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. (Heb.11:9-10)
Those Patriarchs knew that there was something beyond the promised territory on earth. Indeed, rather than revel in any territorial rights to land they
“confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heav- enly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb.11:13-16)
That was the knowledge that all godly believers held dear in the Old Testament times. Their hope was in a heavenly country, a city prepared by God. What city is that? The answer lies in the next chapter of this letter:
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusa- lem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel”. (Heb.12:22-24)
The city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, is none other than the Church of the New Covenant mediated by Jesus Christ, the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham that in his descendants all nations of the earth would be blessed. And we find this heavenly Jerusalem referred to by Paul in his extraordinary allegory in Gal.4:24-26, where he speaks of the difference between the Old and New Covenants.
First there is “the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage…and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is [i.e. the earthly nation of Israel]”, and then there is “the Jerusalem above [the New Covenant community]” which “is free, which is the mother of us all”, that is, all of us who are the people of God in the Gospel Age.
So the “heavenly city” to which the patriarchs looked forward was the Church of Jesus Christ made up of both Jews and Gentiles. This is why the Lord Jesus said that Abraham “rejoiced” to see His day (Jn.8:56). A transition in redemptive history has occurred which any godly Jew would have expected:
The transition from an earthly nation (Ex.19:5-6) to a spiritual nation (1 Pet.2:9-10), from an earthly Jerusalem to a heavenly one, from incessant corporeal sacrifices of lambs, goats and bulls, to a once for all time spiritual sacrifice of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of Jews and those from every nation of the world, if they believe (Jn.10:14-16; 11:49-52).
For four hundred years there had been an awesome silence of divine revelation. Just as the whole creation groans now, as it awaits the full revealing of those who are sons of God by adoption, so the world was then filled with pregnant longing for the appearance of the expected One who is the Son of God by nature. And as the time approached it must almost have been possible to cut the spiritual air in Israel with a knife.
At that time Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon and Anna and all the rest of the remnant were waiting for their Hope, their Consolation (Lk.2:25). They were not looking for an earthly king to lead a revolt against the Roman occupiers (although Judas might have been). They were not waiting for a restoration to the land. Theirs was a spiritual hope. As Simeon said:
“LORD, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have pre- pared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel”. (Lk.2:29-32)
The hope of Israel was also the hope of the Gentiles. And that hope did not rest on a mere piece of land in the Middle East. It was the hope of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ. And when the Incarnate Son of God grew and called out disciples from the godly remnant of the Jews, these became the firstfruits of the New Covenant people — a spiritual nation which would consist of both Jews and Gentiles together.
Therefore, for all the above reasons we believe that the Middle-Eastern nation-state of Israel today cannot possibly be a fulfilment of the Bible prophecies which speak of a restoration of Israel.
To be continued…
This is an incredible eye-opener. All the bible teaching I received was from the traditional idea of Israel’s birth in 1948, the return of Jews from around the world to their homeland in these last days, the miraculous protection from their border enemies, the verse of the fig tree blooming (meaning Israel has become a nation) and the generation that would see this would see the return of the Lord……these things we were taught, giving us a possibly false idea of where we stood, gentiles, and Jewish people, in the last days.
What it boils down to, is, is JESUS the focal point in how we (modern Church) in how we interpret what Israel’s purpose is in the last days. Did our generation’s bible teachers look into physical Israel too much? Were we only supposed to interpret the events as spiritual only? Israel, after Jesus’ arrival and resurrection…..”.men and brethren, what must we do to be saved?”, they asked in Acts 2, and Peter answered them what they must do. And these were Jews.
Peter didn’t tell them they would disperse and return, as Jews, and that they should depend on the support of other christians across the world for protection……he quoted Joel’s prophecy, which was for them, for us (gentiles) and our children and children’s children. Peter nor the apostles nor NT scripture ever taught us to look for a remnant of Jews, who would stay Jews, to replace Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. If Jesus is not the focal point of the Jews return, how does affect the Body of Christ in the last days? Seems like it should have absolutely no influence on what we are commanded to do. We should be about the Father’s business until He comes. Just my 2 cents worth here.
Good job so far, an excellent bit of information. This is truly what I believe in all these recent common posts. I believe that Israel today is not of God, nor did God set Israel back up. Where are the prophets or priests that God would communicate with like in the past? In the past, God would have taken care of the enemy by destroying them and then God would restore His people to the land without conflict. Today, there has been constant wars, Israel barely occupies any of the land as compared to the Old Testament days. Even the temple is not in their control free and clear. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD for good. Jesus is our Temple! There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, circumcision or uncircumcision nor any individuality, for we all are one in Christ, and Christ is all, and in all.
Here is the verse of Joel. I’m adding this, hoping to hear what you think? When Peter spoke the words of Joel “in the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people”, to the Jews in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, was this the beginning of the ‘last days’? Could this be the time that Israel was finally given the fulfillment of all their prophecies and they had to choose? Is it possible that these last 2000 years we, christians, have railroaded them into thinking they don’t need Jesus and that they look to a homeland instead? It sounds like John Hagee and his crowd are telling them they don’t need the Savior, but that they should follow Netanyahu and political leaders and all will be fine. What motive did the churches these last 2000 years have? Were they always political? Did christian religious leaders have a bigoted view towards Jews? If they had been their true friends, they would have done everything to help lead them to Jesus. And some were. But not by the ecclesiastical churches. Even some claims are that Luther was anti-semite.
Are today’s christian leaders anti-semite? Are they hiding behind a mask? Do they really want all Jews to know the true Savior, or do they secretly want to use them for their own political and financial purposes?
When the Holy Spirit was poured on the crowd on the day of Pentecost, and some thought they were filled with wine, Peter addressed them and reminded them of their prophet Joel’s prophecy concerning them and the world. “In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters wil prophecy, your young men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophecy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkenss and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and gorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
So sorry this is so long. One more thing. These Jews on Pentecost were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesapotamians, from Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Isia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya, Rome, Crete, and Arabs.
Yes, yes, and yes. 🙂 I believe you are correct Marie. We have been in the “last days” for 2000 years. Though many see them beginning at different (exact) points, the fact is we’re in them now. Some scholars believe they began when Jesus died on the cross and the veil was rent, others, as you mentioned, see Pentecost as the beginning. Irregardless of the exact moment, we’re in the last days.
There are many verses in the NT which point to our being in the last days.
This fact alone is why i say Christian Zionism was born in the very pit of hell.
I believe part (little or great?) of Israel’s blindness today has been confirmed or brought about by Christians who follow dispensationalism: and most certainly Christian Zionists. These two groups have confirmed the idea (to Jews) that they do not need Jesus. Their beliefs (Christian Zionists) have conformed exactly to those of Jewish Zionism, which believes they are still God’s chosen people and the possession of the land is their goal.It’s really quite astounding that the same reason Jews 2000 years ago, “missed their Messiah”, (wrongly believing the Messiah would come to set up a literal kingdom for them) has been the goal of Israeli Jews AND CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS, today! Those like Hagee (and millions of evangelical CZ and dispensationalists) have worked hard to confirm and convince Jews today, of this lie. To the degree, many CZ organizations, actually withhold the Gospel from Jews. Also, by defending (and supporting) immoral-inhumane policies perpetrated by the Israeli government against Palestinians (and other minority groups) they have taken part in the evil themselves.
I do not believe the Israel we see today, was either prophesied of, nor does it have anything to do with OT Israel. 1948, and the creation of modern day Israel was a work of Man, not the hand of God bringing the Jews back (restoration). God does not change Marie, and there were certain conditions to their returning to the land, as we read in the OT: none of these conditions were met. Israel tody is a political State—exactly what Jesus DID NOT come to set-up.
I asked a question at the beginning of this post. Do you have any thoughts on it? Jerusalem and the Temple were completely destroyed in 70AD, along with ALL genealogical records.Todays Jews (or those who claim to be descendants of Abraham) cannot prove their claim by records. Why do you believe God destroyed these genealogical records prior to the survivors being dispersed? What was God saying to the survivors…and to the Church, by not leaving any record of their very existence?
The last days technically started when John the Baptist started preparing the way of the Lord. And when Jesus arrived, it too marked the ongoing last days as the prophets had prophesied the coming of the Messiah in the last days. Perhaps even officially we can look at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell, as Joel prophesied what would happen in the last days. That was the last days. every day after that day has been the last days. the last days have simply continued on through all these centuries since. people in world war I thought they were in the last days and thinking Jesus was coming. same for WWII, the Korean War, Viet Nam, etc. Any generation at any given time could have been the last days. we of course are just another generation living in these ongoing last days. If Jesus tarries for another one hundred years, all the generations after us will continue to be in the last days. We are in one long continuing last days. Israel today has absolutely nothing to do with Biblical prophecy. People have wrongly interpreted the Word of God. For instance, Matthew 24 has been wrongly interpreted. Revelation has been wrongly interpreted. First of all, the Bible, the Word of the Living God is NOT to be interpreted.
2Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Peter 1:21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
People have wrongly interpreted prophecy from the Old Testament regarding the second building of the Temple which took place 70 years after bondage in Babylon. Jesus came on the scene and talked about that temple regarding no stone left upon another. That was when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. There is no other mention of a third temple being rebuilt. Only restoring the original temple again and that would be after being released from Babylon. That’s why when Jesus came, he prophesied that the temple would be destroyed and He would raise up another one in three days, which of course was Him being resurrected. Jesus is the New Temple. Jesus is the New Covenant. Jesus is the only way to salvation. Prophecy of Jesus has been fulfilled. the old Testament was about Him coming as the Messiah to give salvation to the Jew first then the gentile. Any Jew that rejected Jesus needed to repent just like everyone else.
What about all the Jews since 70 AD? Where do you think they will be? If they didn’t repent and be baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit, then they would be lost just like everyone else if they don’t become born again. People for the most part just took what man said, and really didn’t read and search the Word of God for themselves to know the truth. We all must read the Bible, the Word of God for ourselves, we cannot depend on man! We are accountable for ourselves and anyone else that we mislead by preaching false doctrine and not preaching the truth.
Good comment aagrove9. I agree with all you wrote.
Exactly. And there is no mention of another regathering after the judgment of 70AD.
I believe there is a very important reason for God destroying the genealogical records at the same time the City and Temple were destroyed: To the Jews, genealogies were critical.
Today, no proof of ownership can be offered because the records were destroyed. This was God’s will, for Israel, after 70AD was no longer a theocracy….no longer God’s chosen, and/or elect. This title being taken from from as part of the judgment and passed on to what we know as ‘Spiritual Israel’ (the Church).
Peter when writing to the Church, said,
The judgment of 70AD meant a lot more then just the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and “a” dispersion. For one thing, the “old” had to be removed to make room for the “new”. I have spent the past year studying and searching for any indication of a prophesied regathering or (another) restoration after God’s judgment 2000 years ago, and have found nothing to support it happening. I’ve only been able to conclude that the era of Israel (and the Jews) being the elect, God’s special chosen people, passed away in 70AD….never to return. This places lost Jews on the same ground as lost Gentiles: in need of salvation through belief in Jesus Christ. As far as the modern State of Israel? It is no more special to God then any-other nation. This also nullifies any false claims which Zionist (Jews) and Christian Zionist (make on Israel’s behalf) that they are entitled to the land.
Frankly, i think the importance dispensationalists and Christian Zionists have place upon Israel’s so-called 1948 “restoration” has been one of satan’s biggest hoaxes ever. It has caused Christians to elevate the importance of a piece of land (Israel) and the people (Jews) who lay claim to it, to a “god-like stature”. They have replaced Jesus with a hoax.
This is so interesting. I always thought that every one of the 12 tribes of Israel knew who they were. I assumed they kept personal records after 70 AD, (despite the destruction) of those of any survivors, if there were survivors. Wouldn’t they continue the tradition down the line of keeping a family tree?
So many questions. I remember preachers teaching about the ashes of the red hefer needed to resume the sacrifice for the temple. Don’t the planners and builders of the third temple have Levitical (of Levi) (Cohenites) high priests ready and trained and on stand-by? While it’s true that we are the new temple of the Holy Spirit, and that the physical temple might not be necessary, how do the Rabbi’s know who is who? If they don’t place the rightful priest in the Holy of Holies, they know it would be bad. They must believe they have the right lineage, or are they being deceived?
Millions were killed in 70AD Marie, and the remainder were sold off to many nations. No, according to their own experts (Jewish scholars) no one knows their tribal lineage. I can understand why as the small remnant which was broken up and scattered abroad, would not have been concerned with keeping a record, only staying alive.
Yes there is a group, the Temple Institute, which has been making plans (and collecting millions of dollars from fundamental Christians) in hopes of rebuilding a temple. Because God himself destroyed the last Temple in judgment against Israel, i cannot see it ever happening.
Aagrove9; so interesting what you write about the ‘last days’. It’s true, how long can they last?
Funny, I remember one time we learned about how one day to the Lord (in heaven) was like a thousand years to us. If 2,000 years have passed in our world, that means it’s only been two days to the Lord. Maybe when he spoke of the last days, it meant days in His realm.
We were taught that Adam to Jesus was 4,000 years, Jesus to now, 2,000, and the last millenium, the 7th millenium will be the one when Jesus reigns on earth for a thousand years. It was theorized that perhaps God spent 7 full days for His plan, starting with Adam and creation, to the present time, 6,000 years, or 6 days to the Lord, and that He required us to rest on the 7th day, and that He rested from his creation on the 7th day, and that Jesus’ thousand year earth reign will be the true Sabbath.
Maybe we are approaching the 7th day and it’s before midnight.