Saturday, April 28, 2012

Christians Must Bless Israel

Bless Israel
John R. Houk
April 28, 2012

One of the greatest Biblical errors committed by Christians in history is to call the Jews Christ-killers. And then use the “Christ-killer” appellation as an excuse to persecute Jews to the point of death. The “Christ-killer” thinking then led to Replacement Theology in which Christians are viewed as a replacement of Jews as God’s Chosen People.

Question: "What is replacement theology / supersessionism?"
Answer: Replacement theology (also known as supersessionism) essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. All the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel can be divided into two camps: either the church is a continuation of Israel (replacement/covenant theology), or the church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism/premillennialism).

Replacement theology teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in Israel. So, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” or “allegorized” into promises of God's blessing for the church. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years? (What is replacement theology/supersessionism?

The Church does not replace the Jews or Israel! In reality the Church is engrafted into Israel in adoption because of the Blood of Christ. The Blood of Christ enables Jews and Gentiles jointly to be a New Creation in Christ Jesus. Even in the engrafting the Jews still have a special place in the mind of God because of the Promise to Abraham. The Twelve Apostles of the Lamb are promised to be the eternal heads of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22: 28-30 NKJV)

The Twelve Apostles of the Lamb are Jews before the Resurrection and as Jewish-Christians still celebrated Jewish festivals and I have no doubt were dedicated to the Law at least as much as Christ was the fulfillment of the Law. In my mind then there is still a special place for the sons of Abraham through Isaac the child of Promise in the flesh through Jacob who is also Israel. God’s Word there is no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles who are believers in Christ, but still the Promises and Covenants of God came through the Jews first and enables the Gentiles as the sons of Promise by faith like Abraham to be engrafted spiritually into Israel by adoption through faith in the Blood of Christ.

So knowing the Jews will always be an apple in God’s eye let’s get some understanding about Jews and Gentiles in the Christian perspective as laid out by revelation by the Apostle Paul.

Israel’s Rejection of Christ

9 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen[a] according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Israel’s Rejection and God’s Purpose

6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”[b] 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”[c]

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”[d] 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”[e]

Israel’s Rejection and God’s Justice

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[f] 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As He says also in Hosea:

“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”[
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”[

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:[j]

“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”[

29 And as Isaiah said before:

“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth[l] had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”[

Present Condition of Israel

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.[n] 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.[o] For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[
p] (Romans Chapter 9 NKJV)

Paul tells in Romans 9 the Jews are in trouble for rejecting Christ as Savior; however he also tells us that the Jews will be restored when the time arises that Jesus is no longer a stumbling block to their faith. Paul also warns the Gentiles that have become Christians that if there is a rejection of Christ and the Christ-life the Resurrection brings to Gentile believers God will have no difficulty in removing their stature in the Kingdom of God as well.

In my view it is Paul’s sadness that so many Jews rejected the Gospel of Jesus yet Paul also warns that Gentile Christians need to view the Jews with the respect that the Covenants of Promise that has come to believing Gentiles should not disdain the Jews. Do not disdain the Jews because there is a time that a full restoration of their place as the Chosen People will happen because that is as much a Promise as it is that the Gentile nations of the world have Deliverance by faith in Christ from the Kingdom of darkness.

Therefore the historical path that Christian leaders pursued as labeling Jews as Christ-killers is a huge error. It was the same error Jewish leaders did to the Early Church in the persecution of Christians. Paul’s pre-Christian job was to persecute Christians that often resulted in the death of Christians. God took the Executive manager placed in charge by Jewish authorities to exterminate Christians and opened his blind eyes. The Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to Paul and gave Paul an understanding of Scriptures that point toward Jesus as the Messiah (the Christ). The Lord Jesus got Paul’s attention supernaturally on the road to Damascus and made His point by blinding Paul. Jesus drove the point home for Paul by leading him to the person Jesus assigned to pray for Paul that his eyes should be opened. And Bam! Paul went from a persecutor of Christians to an Apostle to Gentiles bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Jew first and then the Gentiles.

You should note that the Romans chapters 10 – 12 should be read in the context of following chapter nine. In Chapter Ten Christians find the Roman Road to Salvation in Romans 10: 9-10. The context is Salvation by faith in Christ and to lead a Christ-like life and so do not be as Jews persecuting Christians by reversing that by being Christians persecuting Jews. I am ashamed to write that history shows that Christian leadership failed that lesson in Europe where Christianity took hold mightily. Jews were persecuted from the time that Constantine the Great established Christianity as the religion of the State in which Christianity had a political foundation to depend on to send out missionaries that Christianized polytheistic Europeans that eventually resulted in the Christianizing of Europe from the Atlantic in the West to Russia in the East and the Nordic nations of in the North to North Africa along the Mediterranean in the South.

The tormenting of Jews in European areas last from their expulsion from Israel between 70 – 135 AD through the Holocaust that killed SIX MILLION Jews until 1948 when Jews re-found their homeland in an independent Israel.

Now the Promise was given to Abraham. The beginning of that Promise begins with Isaac for through Isaac the seed of Promise begins that leads to Israel, an Israel nation and the Messiah in Jesus Christ the son of Mary in the flesh and the Son of God from the Spirit. Thus making the perfect man that is sinless because of being fully human and fully God. The sinlessness of Jesus made Him the Blood Sacrifice that Redeems humanity from the authority given to Satan through Adam’s rebellion. Isaac was the first child of Promise and Jesus became the ultimate seed of Abraham as the promise that brings blessings to all nations and people that believe Jesus is the Risen Savior from death to life sitting at the right Hand of the Father ever interceding for the Saints (Believers) in Christ.

Jesus is and will be the fulfillment that in Abraham’s seed the families of the earth will be blessed. When people curse Israel then they are cursing God in Jesus who is the Promise of Abraham to bless the families of the earth. Christians should especially no better than to do anything that is a curse to Israel!

12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh.[a] And the Canaanites were then in the land.

7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12: 1-7 NKJV Bold Emphasis Mine)

I believe one of the reasons the USA has become such a powerful nation in the 20th and 21st century is that as a nation we have blessed Israel. Frankly I can’t see forcing Israel to allow the creation of Jew-hating Muslims on their border as a blessing. Furthermore I cannot see allowing nations to have the capacity to destroy Israel as a blessing either (e.g. a nuclear Iran). These are policies that must be reversed to continue to receive blessing for blessing Israel.

13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed 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 made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, 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, “I have made you a father of many nations”[a]) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”[b] (Romans 4: 13-18 NKJV Bold Emphasis Mine)

JRH 4/28/12

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