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Note to reader: It’s the hopes of this poster that viewers understand and apply the truths of Israel’s eschatology to their faith; and it is also acknowledged concerning the suspicion that most will find this doctrine unfamiliar, and so, initially difficult to understand or lacking interest. God bless us to know and receive all the truths of His Word!
It’s becoming more obvious all the time that Christendom in general has yet to understand God’s permanent union with His people Israel. No doubt there will be confusion when thinking that believers of God among the Israelites are “cast away” when Scripture states otherwise. Some may, and understandably so due to its reading, direct attention to Romans 11:15 and see a contradiction to verse 2, but as it is often used, this is merely a hyperbolic expression giving the sense that “what if they were cast away,” or “even if they were cast away.” The reply in verse 15 is that the “receiving of them” would be “but life from the dead”; but verse 26 is the strongest proponent of this doctrine, unless one is bereft of conceiving the errant teaching (which some have) that all Christians now represent Israel. The most important instruction here concerns the truth that in the time of God’s rejection concerning fellowship with Israel, there is a copious presence of Scripture attesting to His promise that He “will not forsake His people” (1Sa 12:22).
Even Protestantism has not understood this all important truth that concerns Jewish believers in God (but not yet in Christ - Jn 14:1); of which faith that can never be said concerning the majority of the world). Many within Christendom have gone as far as to devise an erroneous name for an erroneous system—Judeo-Christian! This also parallels the false concept that Israel is now all who are Christian, which greatly confuses the truths within God’s Word concerning Israel’s eschatology.
“Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel” (Wikipedia). This is the first Covenant between God and the nation of Israel through Moses, the man of God. I say “first” because there will be a last and “New Covenant” with them, which when established will be eternal and solely between them and God; and which will be separate from the present and eternal Covenant between God and His Son (Christianity, which is nowhere written or said to be between God and man, but for man).
This doctrine of the two eternal peoples of God was revealed (which is seemingly the most discrete doctrine in the Word of God) after Christ’s coming through the Apostle Paul’s writings in unison with OT prophecies concerning it. Of course, what one may conclude concerning these teachings has no bearing on any essential doctrine of salvation; and myself, I believe its teachings will be mostly unknown and difficult to understand until the Millennium.
Judaism or Christianity?
The Lord Jesus Christ is the center of the counsels of God, and hence of prophecy, which treats of the earth and His government of it for His own glory. Such is the importance of Israel, from whom, as according to the flesh, came Christ who is over all, God blessed forever! They are His people by a choice and calling which cannot fail in the end, though there may be and has been a fall and a long continued disowning of them in God’s righteous judgment of their apostasy (which I think is not an apostasy of Israel because they never have accepted the truths concerning Christ to depart from it—NC). But mercy will restore them ere long, humbly, joyfully, welcoming the Messiah they have long rejected.
This has been feebly seen, nay, generally denied, throughout Christendom for ages. Scarcely any error is more patent throughout the Fathers (so called—NC) than the substitution of the Church for Israel in all their system of thought. Every Father, whose writings have come down to us, is a witness of the same allegorizing interpretations, not only the Alexandrian school of Clement and Origen, but Justin Martyr, Iranaeus and Pseudo-Barnabas. The Latins followed in the same wake, not Augustine and Ruffinus and Jerome only, but Tertullian, Cyprian and Lactantius.
Not one held the restoration of Israel to their land, converted nationally (Isa 45:17; Rom 11:26—NC); the millenarian portion expected that the risen saints would reign with Christ in Jerusalem rebuilt, adorned and enlarged, not that the Jews should be restored and blessed in the land. The medieval writers naturally adopted the same view. So did the Reformers without exception, as far as I am aware. All fell into the error of putting the Church into the place of Israel, and so of leaving no room for His earthly people, besides His heavenly saints and glorified Bride.
They neglected the warning of the Apostle Paul, and assumed that the Jewish branches were broken off that the Gentiles might be grafted in, and forever (not into the earthly place but the “heavenly places - Eph 2:6”—NC). They did not take heed to the prophetic word, as Peter exhorts (2Pe 1:19), but applied systematically the predictions of Israel’s blessings in the last days to the Christian Church. Still less did they appreciate the day dawning or the day star rising in their heart. Catholics, Protestants, had no real light, no spiritual intelligence, as to the hopes of Israel (Act 28:20 – God’s eternal earthly representatives—NC) as distinct from those of Christians (heavenly representatives—NC).
Is it not as solemn as it is startling to see thus beyond just question the immediate, universal and lasting departure of the Christian profession from prophetic truth? The divine glory in Christ for all things in heaven and on earth being the blessed and revealed purpose of God (Eph 1:10); and when this is forgotten, false hopes spring up. Man, self, becomes the end, instead of the Lord Jesus; the true light is lost, and darkness ensues in the just retribution of God. The effort to make the Church all, instead of preserving the true dignity of the Church as the heavenly spouse of the Lord Jesus, lowers her to the position of earthly Israel, a people reigned over, not reigning with Him, His inheritance, not heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (it’s been said that Israel has a priesthood, but Christians are a priesthood - 1Pe 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10).
The future acts of God as revealed in the prophetic Word are the expressions of the principles on which He will govern the world; and so His Word is the means by which alone we learn these principles fully. If we fail to ascertain them thus, we form our own thoughts of that which God gave us, prophecy whereby we know His mind. Our business is to gather of what and whom God speaks; and no greater delusion can befall us than to imagine that, because all Scripture is for our profit all must be about ourselves.
The purpose of God as to the Jews is in its place as truly the object of faith as His counsels concerning the Church (God knowing Israel’s future unbelief concerning Christ ordained them to be under heaven, and the believer’s place in Christ with Him in heaven—NC). Thus, the apprehension of His various ways for glorifying His Son is essential to real understanding of His Word. Here, as everywhere, a single eye is essential. With the Lord Jesus before us, the whole body will not fail to be full of light (Mat 6:22).
Is not this to take away Scripture from the Christian? Quite the contrary! To understand it according to God is the truest and richest gain; to misapply it to ourselves in Gentile conceit is ruinous (concerning our understanding—NC). Yet there is no instruction in the past or future history of Israel as revealed in the Bible which is not for, though not about, the Church (because the entirety of Scripture “is profitable” - 2Ti 3:1—NC). That such scriptures concerning the Jew may have been written so as to bear an analogous application to the Gentiles is not denied (e.g. God bringing both peoples to Himself—NC); but the application calls for the utmost caution and a “right dividing of the “Word of Truth” (2Ti 2:15), because each economy or dispensation has its own peculiarities, and in not a few things there are confessedly decided and intended contrasts.
It is an error therefore to read the Church in Judah and Israel, Zion and Jerusalem; and the effect of this alchemy which the Fathers originated (as I believe most were Gnostics, which number well more than those listed in the second paragraph of this article—NC) and handed down to both popery and Protestantism alike have been not only to rob Israel of their proper hope, but to lower that of the Church incalculably.
Yet no maxim of interpretation can compare with this most misleading identification for importance, antiquity, or widespread reception. Since the Apostles, perhaps beyond every other tradition, has this been accepted always, everywhere, and by all. Fathers, Romanists, Reformers, have alike applied it habitually in their comments, as well as practice.
But these are points of detail, all of which together are a trifle compared with the one grand principle which effaces Israel from prophecy and instills the Church in their stead. What can be thought of the judgment that could overlook an error so transcendent, vitiating all sound exposition of both Old Testament and New from Genesis to Revelation?
One can account for it by two considerations: first, a quite superficial estimate of the evil involved in this old and general error; secondly, a very exaggerated feeling against those who looked for a personal Antichrist among the Jews and a future revival of the Roman Empire before the age ends, lest it should weaken Protestantism in the face of the popish reawakening in our day.
There is no adequate sense of wrong which has been already done the truth for nearly eighteen centuries (this article written circa 1830’s) and the darkening influence which Judaizing the Church has wrought far and wide in Christendom, among the Orientals, Greeks, Latins, as well as Protestants more recently, throughout all its history save the first century.
The feverish doubt caused by a few fanciful essayists like Drs. Maitland, Todd, Burgh, Messrs, Tyso, Dodsworth and the like, were slight indeed compared with the original paralysis in the distinct perception of the Christian’s heavenly privileges in union with the Lord Jesus Christ on high, or in the just recognition of God’s fidelity to Israel. What an indignity religion puts on every person of the Godhead alike, on the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, when it drags souls back to the dread distance of Judaism (the Law was a great “veil” between God and Israel, due to its right to condemn via revealing Israel’s sins to them—NC).
— Wm Kelly (1821 – 1906)