The puritans and the restoration of the promise land and the Jews

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Mayflower

Puritan Board Junior
Did any of you every read the puritan hope from Ian Murray ?
What i read the most time on the puritansboard, is that there is not much interest in the future hope of the Jews.

Ian murray writes in his book, that the alot of puritans were very interested in the future of the Jews and the land Israel.

Forexample :
Wilhelmus Brakel (believed in Land promise), Thomas Goodwin(believed in Land promise), , Robert Wodrow, William Gouge (who plublished a book from Henry Flinc :the calling of the Jews, believed in Land promise), Increase Mather (The mystery of Isreal, explained and applied, (believed in Land promise), Also R.M M'Cheyne, JC Ryle, Adoph Saphir, John Duncan (they alsobelieved in Land promise), They all hath a missions heart for the jews, and believe that National Israel would have an import role for the future. Even though Perkins and Sibbes were amillianist, they believed in a restoration of jewisch Israel.
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
I think most reformed and calvinistic folks outside of the premill camp dismiss a future for Israel as a kneejerk reaction to dispensationalism's emphasis on it.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have found that EVERY perspective (Dispensational, post-mil, pre-mil, RC, etc, etc) on Christ's return has a strong expectation of the restoration of the Jews just prior to the 2nd advent somewhere in their teaching -due to the portions in Romans 9-11 regarding the Jews.

I agree with Kerry's observation about the "kneejerk reaction" against dispensational emphasis.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by SmokingFlax
I have found that EVERY perspective (Dispensational, post-mil, pre-mil, RC, etc, etc) on Christ's return has a strong expectation of the restoration of the Jews just prior to the 2nd advent somewhere in their teaching -due to the portions in Romans 9-11 regarding the Jews.

I agree with Kerry's observation about the "kneejerk reaction" against dispensational emphasis.

There's no confessional requirement for a "restoration of the Jews" to the land. E.g., the WLC speaks of "the Jews called" (Q 191), but this appears in the general context of the advancement of the gospel in history.

I question whether there is a biblical requirement for a restoration of the Jews prior to Christ's return.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Be careful to distinguish between a "zionist hope for Israel" and the conversion of Israel. Most Dispensationalists are more concerned on Israel's political success than they are for their conversion.

We can hope for the mass conversion of the Jews (Romans 11) whithout the zionist nonsense.
 

ANT

Puritan Board Junior
Gary DeMar emphasizes in his booklet ... 'The Legacy of Hatred Continues' - A response to Hal Lindsey's 'The Road to Holocost ..... on page 6 he says ...

" ... Postmillennialism is the only millennial view that has a plan for Israel before the rapture, a view that has a long history in the church. Postmillennialism is dependant upon the conversion of the Jews."
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
Did any of you every read the puritan hope from Ian Murray ?
What i read the most time on the puritansboard, is that there is not much interest in the future hope of the Jews.

Ian murray writes in his book, that the alot of puritans were very interested in the future of the Jews and the land Israel.

Forexample :
Wilhelmus Brakel (believed in Land promise), Thomas Goodwin(believed in Land promise), , Robert Wodrow, William Gouge (who plublished a book from Henry Flinc :the calling of the Jews, believed in Land promise), Increase Mather (The mystery of Isreal, explained and applied, (believed in Land promise), Also R.M M'Cheyne, JC Ryle, Adoph Saphir, John Duncan (they alsobelieved in Land promise), They all hath a missions heart for the jews, and believe that National Israel would have an import role for the future. Even though Perkins and Sibbes were amillianist, they believed in a restoration of jewisch Israel.


I think most reformed and calvinistic folks outside of the premill camp dismiss a future for Israel as a kneejerk reaction to dispensationalism's emphasis on it.

Thanks for those edifying posts!

Let's see, the Jews were scattered throughout the world for centuries, and then returned to the land, and God had nothing to do with it?

They won against all expectation in 1948 and in 1967 (that victory was a big surprise then) and God had nothing to do with it?

What shall we say of a theology which says God has nothing to do with major events in world history?

[Edited on 1-6-2005 by Joe Keysor]

[Edited on 1-6-2005 by Joe Keysor]
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
The Jews in Israel could care less about God's hand in history. They are secular Jews who are amused (to put in VERY nicely) with Evangelicals support for people who are polar opposite in their theology. Even the Orthodox Jewish rabbis say that the modern state of Israel was not founded by God (that last quote is from dated sources, I recall, I will retract if solid evidence to the contrary is shown). Even more, it is against the law in Israel to convert Jews. So, what do we aim for: Jewish political success or their conversion? This hearkens back to my first post on this thread: many evangelicals are more concerned with their political success than with their conversion from bondage.

BTW: Iain Murray's book is one of my favorites.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Joe Keysor

Thanks for those edifying posts!

Let's see, the Jews were scattered throughout the world for centuries, and then returned to the land, and God had nothing to do with it?

They won against all expectation in 1948 and in 1967 (that victory was a big surprise then) and God had nothing to do with it?

What shall we say of a theology which says God has nothing to do with major events in world history?

[Edited on 1-6-2005 by Joe Keysor]

[Edited on 1-6-2005 by Joe Keysor]

I think you are missing the point. Of course every thing that happens does so according to the predetermined plan of God. "God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence" (WCF V:1). This is the essence of God's secret will.

The issue is whether what has happened in modern times ala 1948 was divinely predicted in the Scriptures, and thus part of God revealed will. This is a uniquely dispensational idea.
 

ANT

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Joe Keysor

Let's see, the Jews were scattered throughout the world for centuries, and then returned to the land, and God had nothing to do with it?

They won against all expectation in 1948 and in 1967 (that victory was a big surprise then) and God had nothing to do with it?

What shall we say of a theology which says God has nothing to do with major events in world history?

[Edited on 1-6-2005 by Joe Keysor]

[Edited on 1-6-2005 by Joe Keysor]

Of course God's providential decrees had everything to do with it. The question is .... Is this fulfillment of prophecy? No, It is not. (The dispensationalists believe that it is, at least a good portion of them.) But the scriptures teach that when the jews will inherit the land they will be BELIEVING Jews.




Then comes the timing aspect. Did it already happen (the Jews inheriting the land) that God promised to them? Again, I believe that Scripture shows us the affirmative.

Jos 21:43 -
And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.

Jos 21:45 -
There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

Jos 23:14 -
And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

1Ki 8:56 -
Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

[Edited on 1-7-2005 by ANT]
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
I have found that EVERY perspective (Dispensational, post-mil, pre-mil, RC, etc, etc) on Christ's return has a strong expectation of the restoration of the Jews just prior to the 2nd advent somewhere in their teaching -due to the portions in Romans 9-11 regarding the Jews.

I still don't understand why Romans 9-11 can't be seen preteristically.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
I believe in the restoration of the Jews (and im not a premill of any sort). Though not necessarily to their land, and if so, definiately NOT as unbelievers. The idea that Israel's creation in 1948 is the act of God fulfilling prophecy is sickening. The Judaists occupying Palestine are among the worst persecutors of the church in the world. Not to mention the sordid methods they used to obtain the land and their reprehensible human rights record.
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by houseparent
I have found that EVERY perspective (Dispensational, post-mil, pre-mil, RC, etc, etc) on Christ's return has a strong expectation of the restoration of the Jews just prior to the 2nd advent somewhere in their teaching -due to the portions in Romans 9-11 regarding the Jews.

I still don't understand why Romans 9-11 can't be seen preteristically.

Because it goes against a clear reading of the text. In Romans 9, Paul is agonizing over the fate of his brethren according to the flesh - the Jews. In Romans 10, we read that it is because the Jews have sought righteousness by works and not by faith and that is why they stumble. In the beginning verses of Romans 11, we see that the existing remnant of believing Jews are the current 'true Israel' (and God has ALWAYS only worked with a remnant), but that later (v. 25-26) through the preaching of the Word, ALL of Israel will be saved. Not simply 'a few Jews in 70 A.D.', but ALL of Israel.

It may be my dispensational background, but I see no problem with Israel being restored as a state being seen as a portion of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. I don't believe in unqualified political support for Israel, though.

I believe, that as Zech. 13:8 states, the entire nation of Israel will be attacked by the Anti-Christ at a future time and he will slay 2/3 of the population and the last third will be brought to faith in Christ, though they will go through much sorrow and problems on their way to that.

Dispensational arguments for Israel having some preservation by God are pretty strong, in my opinion. All other nations down through time have been simply subsumed into the neighboring or host culture to fade off the face of the planet except the Jews. The land promises, which were unconditional in the OT, have yet to be fulfilled.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
Very interesting responses. Living as I do in a foreign country, I am glad to have an opportunity for conversation on these edifying topics.

If anyone should care to read my responses, please consider only what I say, and do not respond to many dispensationalist arguments in which I may or may not believe. I do not consider myself a thorough dispensationalist and have real problems with some things I have read.

The Jews in Israel could care less about God's hand in history. They are secular Jews who are amused (to put in VERY nicely) with Evangelicals support for people who are polar opposite in their theology. Even the Orthodox Jewish rabbis say that the modern state of Israel was not founded by God (that last quote is from dated sources, I recall, I will retract if solid evidence to the contrary is shown). Even more, it is against the law in Israel to convert Jews. So, what do we aim for: Jewish political success or their conversion? This hearkens back to my first post on this thread: many evangelicals are more concerned with their political success than with their conversion from bondage.
Many Jews are secular, of course, but many are not, and they believe God has brought them back to the land. The strongest opponents of a peace process say the land is their because the bible says so. They also say there is no peace process anyway and the Arabs only use it as a maneuver to attack Israel.

They are not all amused by the evangelical support. Some of them are hostile and suspicious, others say they value the support of the best friends they have in the world (there have been columns to this effect in the Jerusalem Post - www.jerusalempost.com). Whether unbelievers of any kind are amused by sincere Christian attempts to help them or take it wrongly is immaterial anyway.

It is true, some of the extreme Jewish sects are deeply opposed to the state of Israel. They say that Israel will be founded by the Messiah when he comes, not before by human means.

It is against the law in Israel to offer material inducements to convert. There are a growing number of Israeli Jewish Christians and Christian missionaries do work there. It is against the law in America to do some things - I read where one judge forbade the name of Jesus to be used in a high school graduation ceremony. A teacher is forbidden to refer to the bible in school. How godless and evil is that?

What do we aim for? Their conversion - and this requires an understanding of their situation. Their political success or otherwise? God will take care of that - he did ok in '48, '67, and '73.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
I think you are missing the point. Of course every thing that happens does so according to the predetermined plan of God. "God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence" (WCF V:1). This is the essence of God's secret will.

The issue is whether what has happened in modern times ala 1948 was divinely predicted in the Scriptures, and thus part of God revealed will. This is a uniquely dispensational idea.
We agree that the return of the Jews and their victories (which in 1948 and 1967 were unexpected and surprised the world) are part of God's plan and are his will. By the way, I do not think that God's providence extends only to the Jews, but that his hand governs all of the nations. Thus not only Israel but the rise of America, the fall of the Soviet Union, all of the events of world history are part of the master plan.

As to whether or not this is a fulfilment of prophecy, that is another question that has been much debated. But, if you agree that God has brought the Jews back to the land and established them there according to his will, I am satisfied with that.

Personally, I believe it is a fulfilment of prophecy, but this is not an essential of the faith and I have never quarrelled with anyone over it.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
But the scriptures teach that when the Jews will inherit the land they will be BELIEVING Jews.


Can you give me a verse or two on that? Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones indicates that first the bones will be assembled, and after the assembly is complete life will be breathed into them. I believe the Jews are being gathered back in unbelief, and when the process of ingathering is complete, then Zechariah 12:10 will be fulfilled.

This is a secondary matter and there should be no bad feelings among Christians over it.


Then comes the timing aspect. Did it already happen (the Jews inheriting the land) that God promised to them? Again, I believe that Scripture shows us the affirmative. Jos 21:43, Jos 21:45, Jos 23:14, 1Ki 8:56.

Yes, God did fulfill his promises and established the Jews in the land. But they disobeyed him and were cast out in his wrath, scattered abroad, delivered into the hands of their enemies, and are now being returned. God's prophecies do not end with I Kings and Joshua.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
I believe in the restoration of the Jews (and im not a premill of any sort). Though not necessarily to their land, and if so, definiately NOT as unbelievers. The idea that Israel's creation in 1948 is the act of God fulfilling prophecy is sickening. The Judaists occupying Palestine are among the worst persecutors of the church in the world. Not to mention the sordid methods they used to obtain the land and their reprehensible human rights record.

Why could God not work with unbelieving Jews? They were full of unbelief in the Old testament but he continued his work with them. We all know God does not only work with believers and leave the unbelievers to their own devices. His providence extends to the entire world. I don't have to explain prevenient grace. Someone can go to medical school in unbelief, intending only to make money and have a nice life for himself, then get converted and find that the decisions he made in unbelief were part of God's will for him all along.

Do you find the first Jewish taking of the land sickening? I am sure you do not find the book of Joshua sickening. Did God have that power then, but not today? Could he give a land to one people by war then, and not today? For those outside of Christ, the Old Testament God is still on the throne.

Saying the Israelis are among the worst persecutors of the church is completely false. There is more freedom for Christians in Israel than in many other nations. And Palestinian Christians had more peace and freedom and full religious rights to worship under Israeli occupation than they do now.

As to their reprehensible human rights record, if the Israelis were like the Chinese or the Syrians or the Sudanese the intifada would have been over a long time ago. King Hussein felt threatened by the Palestinians and he crushed them mercilessly in 1970 (Black September). He killed more Palestinians in a couple of days than the Israelis have in years, but who cares about that. The Lebanese Christians were severly persecuted by the PLO during the Lebanese civil war, but who cares about that? The Israelis have been bending over backward to use a minimum of force. The Brits and the Americans killed more civilians in WWII in one single night, civilians, non-combatants, than the Israelis have killed in their entire history.

About the means they used to obtain the land, they were aggressively attacked in 1948 and in 1967. After the six day war they offered to negotiate concerning the territory they had captured and were met with the famous three no's of the Arab League: no peace, no recognition, no negotiation. The destruction of Israel is the Arab goal and they do not want peace. The Israelis have three choices only: 1) leave, 2) allow themselves to be killed, and 3) fight.

This does not mean unqualified support for Israel. God established the Jews in the land in bible times but they had plenty of wicked rulers and sin problems.

But, I have debated this before and it never gets anywhere - people have made up their minds and don't want to change. But, there is no need to be concerned. God is accomplishing his purposes in the world (the whole world, not just Israel) and will accomplish them whether anyone likes it or not.

I am aware the moderators have decided to limit political topics and I do not know exactly where to draw the line. If the Israelis are vicious cruel brutal and evil, that would be a strong argument against a prophetic fulfilment. But, if using the legitimate God ordained power of the sword to resist those who want to destroy them they use a minimum of force, that is part of this discussion.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
Dispensational arguments for Israel having some preservation by God are pretty strong, in my opinion. All other nations down through time have been simply subsumed into the neighboring or host culture to fade off the face of the planet except the Jews. The land promises, which were unconditional in the OT, have yet to be fulfilled.

All dispensational arguments aside, the fact remains that the Jews were expelled from the land (does anyone deny God did that in his anger, and that Moses said this would happen if the Jews turned too far away from God?); they survived over the centuries; they returned to the land against great odds (Israel is now a great regional power but that was not the case in 1948 and of course earlier) - and it is agreed that God's providence controls the fate of the nations. So, God has done this great work. For what purpose? We will see.

I once debated this with a guy who denied God had brought the Jews back to the land. He quoted a lot of scriptures and seemed to have a deep knowledge of theology. I asked him did God determine the outcome of WWII? He said he didn't know. Here's a guy who has a deep knowledge of theology but it is all theoretical. WWII? That's the real world we are talking about here!!!
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by OS_X
Originally posted by houseparent

I still don't understand why Romans 9-11 can't be seen preteristically.

Because it goes against a clear reading of the text. In Romans 9, Paul is agonizing over the fate of his brethren according to the flesh - the Jews. In Romans 10, we read that it is because the Jews have sought righteousness by works and not by faith and that is why they stumble. In the beginning verses of Romans 11, we see that the existing remnant of believing Jews are the current 'true Israel' (and God has ALWAYS only worked with a remnant), but that later (v. 25-26) through the preaching of the Word, ALL of Israel will be saved. Not simply 'a few Jews in 70 A.D.', but ALL of Israel.

"All" obviously does not mean every last Jew. It has context. The context must be "every last Jew that God has predestined to save." It says nothing about where these Jews will be when they are saved. It says nothing about the relative number of Jews vis-a-vis unbelieving Jews. And it says nothing about the timing of their conversion.

How would Paul recognize his "brethren" today? I think a strong argument can be made that "all Israel" in this context must be understood in terms of the older covenant. A Jew of Paul's day could be identified by the requirements of the older covenant, which included the sacrament of circumcision as a mark of inclusion in the old covenant community, as well as family/tribal identification.

But something obviously changed during the time period up to in AD70. The older covenant passed away. Therefore it follows that those who once could be identified by the older covenant also "passed away" in the sense that they became covenantally unrecognizable. Only those who transitioned into the new covenant remain religiously recognizable.

At the risk of appearing "anti-semitic", the question of "who is a Jew" today is a real one that few people can answer with certainty, at leat from a biblical perspective.

As an aside, I think a futurist interpretation of Zech. 13:8 is incorrect given the context.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Joe Keysor
We agree that the return of the Jews and their victories (which in 1948 and 1967 were unexpected and surprised the world) are part of God's plan and are his will. By the way, I do not think that God's providence extends only to the Jews, but that his hand governs all of the nations. Thus not only Israel but the rise of America, the fall of the Soviet Union, all of the events of world history are part of the master plan.

But you evidently place Israel and America in different categories as far as God's providence is concerned.

I do not see any specific prophecy in the Bible that is related to Israel and 1948/1967/make up a date.

Modern Israel is a secular state that bears little resemblance to biblical Israel. They share a name (kinda) and they share a plot of ground (kinda). That's about where the similarities end.

Dispensationalism has done an excellent job of erradicating the historic faith regarding the relationship between Israel and the Church, at least among "evangelicals" and "fundamentalists". Folks today are placed on a sort of guilt trip for not agreeing with the thesis that modern Israel is as the dispensationlist claim; a fulfillment of specifc biblical prophecies. They drag out Luther's anti-semitic statements, play up the "Augustine was an allegorizing amillennialist" line, to basically bash anyone that does not toe the Scofield party line.

Today you have this thing called "Messianic Judaism" that plays off the idea that the early church fathers were essentially a bunch of anti-semites that suppressed the "true religion" of modified Judiasm. What we practice they like to call "gentile Christianity". They are dispensationalists-lite, lacking the hard-line on the Israel/Church distinction.

We end up with a collective guilt trip about the "Jewish question".

Odd.

[Edited on 7-1-2005 by tcalbrecht]
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Joe Keysor
I believe in the restoration of the Jews (and im not a premill of any sort). Though not necessarily to their land, and if so, definiately NOT as unbelievers. The idea that Israel's creation in 1948 is the act of God fulfilling prophecy is sickening. The Judaists occupying Palestine are among the worst persecutors of the church in the world. Not to mention the sordid methods they used to obtain the land and their reprehensible human rights record.

Why could God not work with unbelieving Jews? They were full of unbelief in the Old testament but he continued his work with them. We all know God does not only work with believers and leave the unbelievers to their own devices. His providence extends to the entire world. I don't have to explain prevenient grace. Someone can go to medical school in unbelief, intending only to make money and have a nice life for himself, then get converted and find that the decisions he made in unbelief were part of God's will for him all along.

Do you find the first Jewish taking of the land sickening? I am sure you do not find the book of Joshua sickening. Did God have that power then, but not today? Could he give a land to one people by war then, and not today? For those outside of Christ, the Old Testament God is still on the throne.

Saying the Israelis are among the worst persecutors of the church is completely false. There is more freedom for Christians in Israel than in many other nations. And Palestinian Christians had more peace and freedom and full religious rights to worship under Israeli occupation than they do now.

As to their reprehensible human rights record, if the Israelis were like the Chinese or the Syrians or the Sudanese the intifada would have been over a long time ago. King Hussein felt threatened by the Palestinians and he crushed them mercilessly in 1970 (Black September). He killed more Palestinians in a couple of days than the Israelis have in years, but who cares about that. The Lebanese Christians were severly persecuted by the PLO during the Lebanese civil war, but who cares about that? The Israelis have been bending over backward to use a minimum of force. The Brits and the Americans killed more civilians in WWII in one single night, civilians, non-combatants, than the Israelis have killed in their entire history.

About the means they used to obtain the land, they were aggressively attacked in 1948 and in 1967. After the six day war they offered to negotiate concerning the territory they had captured and were met with the famous three no's of the Arab League: no peace, no recognition, no negotiation. The destruction of Israel is the Arab goal and they do not want peace. The Israelis have three choices only: 1) leave, 2) allow themselves to be killed, and 3) fight.

This does not mean unqualified support for Israel. God established the Jews in the land in bible times but they had plenty of wicked rulers and sin problems.

But, I have debated this before and it never gets anywhere - people have made up their minds and don't want to change. But, there is no need to be concerned. God is accomplishing his purposes in the world (the whole world, not just Israel) and will accomplish them whether anyone likes it or not.

I am aware the moderators have decided to limit political topics and I do not know exactly where to draw the line. If the Israelis are vicious cruel brutal and evil, that would be a strong argument against a prophetic fulfilment. But, if using the legitimate God ordained power of the sword to resist those who want to destroy them they use a minimum of force, that is part of this discussion.

The unbelief of Israel in the OT, when the nation constituded the whole of the church, was never final (until the time of Christ) and was always graciously forgiven by God and Israel restored (until their final apostacy). That was because Israel enjoyed all the benefits of being God's people, ie the church. But when the natural branches fell off and the unnatural ones were grafted on, physical Israel ceased to have access to the privileges of the church. The unbelief of Israel in the OT may be equated to a declension in the NT church or the advance of a particular error (Dispensationalism for example). The unbelief of Israel today is on par with the unbelief of any other heathen nation. Of course God works through unbelievers and the creation of Israel is the work of His providence. The thing I take issue with is when people say it is God's revealed will and He is pleased with the fact a bunch of Jews invaded Palestine. I have no problem with Israel's invasion of Canaan (1) b/c God directly told them to take the land and to kill the Canaanites, and we know God cannot sin. The Jews in the 19th & 20th centuries had no such command. (2) b/c the Canaanities were terribly wicked people and there sins were intolerably abominable. The Palestinians werent so bad, infact the Jews are probably worse than the Arabs.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
There's a great bok if you can find it called Fairbairn vs. Fairbairn. Patrick Fairbairn was an outstanding Scottish Presbyterian scholar who began his career believing in a mass conversion of the Jews. He wrote a treatise about it (I can't recall the name at the moment) which was supposedly irrefutable. Later on in life he came to the conclusion that he was wrong about the mass conversion and refuted his own treatise with the above mentioned book. It's out of print now but you may be able to find it used somewhere for those interested on this topic.

Personally I believe the exegesis behind the mass conversion theory is faulty. Paul is describing two parallel streams, the work of the gospel on the Gentiles, and the simultaneous response and work of the gospel on the Jews. Both are being saved throughout the time of the Gentiles. The context is not one of eschatology but of soteriology, answering the question as to how the remnant of Jews shall be saved.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
The unbelief of Israel in the OT may be equated to a declension in the NT church or the advance of a particular error (Dispensationalism for example). The unbelief of Israel today is on par with the unbelief of any other heathen nation. Of course God works through unbelievers and the creation of Israel is the work of His providence. The thing I take issue with is when people say it is God's revealed will and He is pleased with the fact a bunch of Jews invaded Palestine. I have no problem with Israel's invasion of Canaan (1) b/c God directly told them to take the land and to kill the Canaanites, and we know God cannot sin. The Jews in the 19th & 20th centuries had no such command. (2) b/c the Canaanities were terribly wicked people and there sins were intolerably abominable. The Palestinians werent so bad, infact the Jews are probably worse than the Arabs.

As is agreed here, God can and does work with unbelievers.

The Jews openly rejected God and worshipped the golden calf, yet God's plan for them continued. It depends on his will, not their righteousness.

If the creation of the state of Israel is his providence, we might wonder what his purpose is.

As to Jews being worse than Arabs, it is an incontestable fact that large numbers of Arabs live in Israeli territory, but any Jews who tried to live in Palestinian territory would not survive a week without the IDF.

True, God was directly operative in the first conquest, but may he not command a land to be taken in a different way? Was it God's will for the Europeans to come and settle America and take it from the Indians? God does have the right to remove a people if he chooses, not always with the same degree of direct manifestation.

By the way, I do not advocate this, but if the Israelis treated the Palestinians the way the colonists and settlers treated the Indians, their problems would soon be over - just kill them all, or almost all, you can leave a few on the reservation. The only good Indian is a dead Indian, shoot them on sight...

Too much time on the compuyer has led to a return of my double vision so I will reluctantly have to bow out of this thread.
 

Joe Keysor

Puritan Board Freshman
All" obviously does not mean every last Jew. It has context. The context must be "every last Jew that God has predestined to save." It says nothing about where these Jews will be when they are saved. It says nothing about the relative number of Jews vis-a-vis unbelieving Jews. And it says nothing about the timing of their conversion.

Agreed.


But something obviously changed during the time period up to in AD70. The older covenant passed away. Therefore it follows that those who once could be identified by the older covenant also "passed away" in the sense that they became covenantally unrecognizable. Only those who transitioned into the new covenant remain religiously recognizable.

At the risk of appearing "anti-semitic", the question of "who is a Jew" today is a real one that few people can answer with certainty, at leat from a biblical perspective.

I feel that the present day Jews are direct descendants and in fact are Jews in the flesh, but this cannot be proven from scripture and is not an issue Christians should quarrel over. Not that anyone is quarrelling here, but if Zola Levitt believes in the basics of the faith, what if he has different end times views, so what? I am more interested in perosnal holiness and evidence of the Spirit than end times theories - not that anyone on this thread said otherwise.



But you evidently place Israel and America in different categories as far as God's providence is concerned.

I do not see any specific prophecy in the Bible that is related to Israel and 1948/1967/make up a date.

Modern Israel is a secular state that bears little resemblance to biblical Israel. They share a name (kinda) and they share a plot of ground (kinda). That's about where the similarities end.

I do place Israel in a unique category as far as God's providence is concerned. Notice that Paul in Romans, after the resurrection and after Pentecost, still says there are glory and honor to the Jew first, but also to the Greek, and tribulation and anguish to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. The Jews are a unique people, they were in the OT times and they are now - of course when it comes to the salvation of individuals there is no respect of persons with God.


Dispensationalism has done an excellent job of erradicating the historic faith regarding the relationship between Israel and the Church, at least among "evangelicals" and "fundamentalists". Folks today are placed on a sort of guilt trip for not agreeing with the thesis that modern Israel is as the dispensationlist claim; a fulfillment of specifc biblical prophecies. They drag out Luther's anti-semitic statements, play up the "Augustine was an allegorizing amillennialist" line, to basically bash anyone that does not toe the Scofield party line.

Today you have this thing called "Messianic Judaism" that plays off the idea that the early church fathers were essentially a bunch of anti-semites that suppressed the "true religion" of modified Judiasm. What we practice they like to call "gentile Christianity". They are dispensationalists-lite, lacking the hard-line on the Israel/Church distinction.

We end up with a collective guilt trip about the "Jewish question".

Odd.

As to dispensationalism, messianic Judaism, there are all sorts of strange things going around nowadays - if you look at those who feel that 1948 Israel is not prophetic israel, you can find a lot of strange ideas too. The whole church today, all across the board, is full of many strange things now.

Sorry I have to bow out of this stimulating conversation, my eyes have been bothering me again (double vision).
 
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