“This is God’s consummation of human and earthly history: we are now in the End-Times. Our times are being soaked with eschatological significance (and fire) if the blandishments of our religion do not blind us to what God is doing.” His covenant promises (which He made to Israel) to the whole world by faith in Messiah. The formation of modern Israel was an immediate event, a nation formed in a day, 15 May 1948 (Isaiah 66:8). This sets in motion a sequence of Biblical events. This is God’s consummation of human and earthly history: we are now in the End-Times. Our times are being soaked with eschatological significance (and fire) if the blandishments of our religion do not blind us to what God is doing. Christianity and Judaism are two systems of religion both derived from revelation given through Israel. Religion is man-made; revelation is God-made. A religion (faithful to its revelation base) is a man-devised way of preserving the revelation by its liturgies, architectures, language, theologies and song. This is a culture and it is fine if it keeps the believer in the fold. But religions develop their own human momentum, hierarchies and investments, which become inertial when the revelation moves on. God is moving in history to confirm His Word. Judaism is based on the truth of the application of the Law and on the desire for a Messiah. Christianity is based on the truth of the Gospel and on the naming of the Messiah (Jesus of Nazareth). Unfortunately, Christianity as the dominant culture has grievously mishandled and misread the significance of the Jews. The Church has arrogated to itself the promises made to Israel and despised the Jews in the process. Of this we must repent. Jews and Christians worship the same God based on the same Biblical origins. The revelation is moving on in the
sense that history is dragging us out of our religious torpor. Religions can remain static with the intention of preserving their spiritual deposit. This in itself is not wrong but it can suffer from increasing irrelevance and loss of human appetite for it. People will just walk away. Israel (as I am using the term) invokes the prophetic. We have to be prepared to move with the divine action as it is focussed through history in Israel. The Jews (the ‘sons of Israel’) are the chosen people of God whether they like it or not. God’s covenant with Israel will stand whether Israel has been faithful or not. God reveals Himself in the history of His dealings with Israel and by the truth of His Messiah. Israel (as holding the covenant promises of God) is intended to be light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). Based upon the promises to Abraham (the father of faith Romans 4:11), Israel is the olive tree (Romans 11:17) from which some Jews have been removed because of unbelief. But those who believe are re-grafted in by believing (Romans 11:23). Christians (gentiles – a wild olive tree) are grafted in by believing and become partakers of the root and fatness of the olive tree. Some Christians believe that the church has taken over from Israel. Israel has failed, rejected their Messiah and the church redeems the situation for revelation and faith. The church (as the Body of Christ) is the witness to Messiah to the nations. Jesus wept over Jerusalem for she knew not the time of her visitation (Luke 19:41-44). But the promises are made to Israel not to the church (Romans 9:4). They are only made available to us through the Jewish Messiah who is God’s
promise to Israel (Luke 2:25-32). The Jews may have rejected their Messiah (as prophesised, see Isaiah 53) but the intention of God is to redeem Israel (Romans 11:26). The point about this is not that Christians become Jews: that is just swapping one religion for another. Believers are not grafted into Judaism; they are grafted into Israel, which is the vehicle of God’s revelation and purpose in history. God, by events, is awakening both Jew and Christian to what He is about to do through Israel according to His Holy Scriptures. So we have the theory of salvation meeting the events of history. God is getting our attention. There are always different interpretations of events and what is supposed to be happening. To say God works in history always has rival interpretations but the guarantee is the fulfilment of prophecy. God tells His prophets what He is doing (Amos 3:7). The decline of religion in the West is matched by the activation of prophetic events (that is, events with God significance). This is unchurching the believer to release the prophet. In my opinion, the student of the Bible sees apocalyptic energies at work in the heightened hostilities in the Middle East. We are being made to look at Jerusalem whether we want to or not. Israel (the land) is morphing into Israel, the visible purpose of God.
Jim Douglass www.arrowchristianlearning.com
God’s covenant with Israel will stand whether Israel has been faithful or not. God reveals Himself in the history of His dealings with Israel and by the truth of His Messiah. www.mychristiandaily.com.au | 21
Published on Aug 21, 2015
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