Israel-Centered Theology

It is nearly impossible to ignore Israel in our day. The nation of Israel seems to be in the headlines everyday. For many Christians this is a fulfillment of their eschatalogical conclusions. In fact, these conclusions have caused many Christians to devote much time and energy in sending Jewish people to Israel. Pulpits everywhere are proclaiming the seemingly unanimous hatred for Israel to be “signs of the end,” using Old Testament Scripture to back their claims. We are told that a new temple will be rebuilt as men are currently being trained for temple priesthood, and that Israel will war with Russia. Israel’s every move is being watched by many a Christian.

Christianity, at least here in America (as this is my vantage point), appears to be very Israel-centered. The overall hatred toward Israel is viewed by many to be perfect evidence that Israel is the chosen nation/people of God. But, is this the case? Although the Old Testament speaks of a rebuilt temple, and a restoration to the people of God, the New Testament appears to be silent on these issues. Paul speaks of a great salvation of the Jews, but after the time of these Old Testament prophecies, a new temple was rebuilt. God’s people were restored as the Spirit was poured out on them.

It seems that for many, the center of the Old and New Testaments is Israel.

What do you think?

Before answering, consider the following Scripture:

Mark 11:13-14
13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, forit was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

John 2:19;21
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

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15 thoughts on “Israel-Centered Theology”

  1. Whether it be a fulfillment of eschatalogical conclusions or pure coincidence will be determined shortly. Personally, I believe that it is a fulfillment of scriptures and living proof to a dying world that the Word is alive and true.

    I think that like all things prophecy is cyclical all we have to do is look at the world around us for proof of this.

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  2. I don’t know, man. I’m just coming around to holding an Amil position on End Times stuff, but I wonder…

    I think the OT is all about Christ, and that’s where the beef is for me: The Left Behind Guys invert the proper hermeneutic…

    -h.

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  3. Dispensationalism makes the Old Testament Israel-centric when it is Christi-centric. Although I do not agree with his SDA beliefs, the book The Israel of God in Prophecy is most excellent.

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  4. Is it possible that national Israel is stricken this way not because they are still God’s chosen people, but because national Israel is accursed?
    _
    Mark 11:13-14
    13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

    I’m not saying God has forgotten Jews, but let’s not place them on a higher platform than anyone else. In fact, Jews are soooo far gone from anything Biblical, I almost hesitate in calling them Jews. What seperates them from Brazilians, Chinese, Norwegians, etc? Their history?

    What was the function of Israel?

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  5. Christ is the True Israel, is He not? And as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, in His active and passive obedience, has performed all that the Law required of Israel and suffered all that the Law promised those who broke the Law, did He not?

    I think it’s just that simple.

    The Israel of God has always been not a particular lineage but those of the lineage of Abraham, i.e. the children of promise, or those who placed their faith in Christ.

    -h.

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  6. It never had to do with a particular lineage, the Messiah has gentiles in His lineage… it’s always been about those who are grafted into the vine by faith and obedience to the Father’s will.

    There are natural branches that are cut off and burned and wild branches that are grafted in by faith. Of course Israel is still relevant, that nation is fulfilling prophecy by the day (I’m not talking about the “Left Behind” nonsense.)

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    1. Well, a lineage was important as the “seed” of Abraham, being Christ, was necessary. Especially with the perfection of His coming as seen in Matthew and Luke.

      But, I do agree with what you have said concerning the grafting, etc. Although, we disagree on Israel fulfilling prophecy as I see that Christ (in Luke 24) tells His disciples that all things written by the prophets, Psalms, and Law must be fulfilled. He then opens their minds and gives them the gospel. He is saying that what the prophets, law, and psalms were fulfilled in the gospel.

      In the same chapter of Luke (24), Jesus tells the two men on the road to Emmaus that they were foolish to not know of “all that the prophets had written.” Because they were sad that Christ was “gone.”

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  7. Chris,

    In regard to your question, “Is it possible that national Israel is stricken this way not because they are still God’s chosen people, but because national Israel is accursed?”

    I would answer it like this… are all that claim to be Israel really Israel? Are all that claim to be Jews really Jews? Most importantly are all that really claim to be “the Church” really “the Church”?

    There has always been a small remnant people of YHWH… and they are Israel. Israel is NOT the secular government in the middle east, it never was.

    The Holy Spirit put something on my heart regarding Mark 11:13-14.
    And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

    It is this, “I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”

    An interesting sidenote, Israel is not ever depicted as being a figtree, it is represented in Scriptures as an Olive Tree… could it be that there was another meaning behind this miracle… just a thought.

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    1. I make the same distinction between national Israel, and spiritual. My point is that some people don’t. If national Israel is not real Israel, then why do so many people watch national Israel for the fulfillment of prophecies?

      The fig tree is most certainly used for Israel too, when Jeremiah is speaking about the apostasy of Judah and their being taken into captivity. In Jeremiah 24, he has a vision of good and bad figs. God tells him in verse 5 that like good figs, he will save the remnant from those in captivity.

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    2. One last thing, it’s interesting that Christ would use the imagery of Israel as the figs bc what Jeremiah dealt with was the same thing Christ did – an apostate people of God who were about to be handed over to a wicked nation. The Babylonians in Jeremiah’s day, and the Romans for the generation in Christ’s day.

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      1. Yeah bro. That is interesting!

        It’s my belief that Israel is going to be the place where Messiah reigns on Earth. Some people (like the Jehovas Witnesses) assume that it’s all going to be spiritual, but they are forgetting that Yeshua ascended in His flesh and He said He would be coming back the same way!

        The one thing about the parable is that the fig tree (if symbolic for Israel) doesn’t make sense because Israel IS still is producing fruit through those who keep the commandments of the Father and have the testimony of Yeshua. His disciples were most definitely a part of Israel and they went out and preached the Truth and the Holy Spirit multiplied their seeds and brought forth much fruit.

        I’m not totally sold on the concept that the fig tree is Israel… I’m not saying your totally off base, just that in my heart more prayer and meditation needs to be done on this idea.

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      2. I agree that Christ will return bodily, but He reigns now spiritually from Mt. Zion, the spiritual Jerusalem, the city of the living God (Hebrews 12). The writer in Hebrews explained that we aren’t going to Sinai anymore, but to Mount Zion. The angels did tell the disciples He would come back the same way, but didn’t say He would come back to begin His reign on earth. Psalm 110 is clear that Christ reigns at the right hand of the Father, destroying His enemies. Christ, Peter, and Paul perpetuate this truth throughout their ministries.

        I do believe that Israel as the fig tree makes sense because Christ was making a statement that there was a new order coming. As Christ told the woman at the well, they would no longer go to Israel, or any specific place to pray or worship God. They could now go anywhere and everywhere. If the fig tree was not representative of Israel, then Christ simply just cursed a tree for no reason. But it is consistent with the parables that Christ told concerning the judgment about to befall Israel. The role of Israel was complete when Christ came, because Christ was the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (being the blessing to all nations).

        At times I even hesitate to say that there are still Jews on this planet, because the state of Judaism is so far removed from anything Biblical.

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  8. “What separates them from Brazilians, Chinese, Norwegians, etc? Their history?”

    Correct. Imagine if all Chinese were expelled from China and absorbed into other nations, with considerable genetic intermingling. What is the chance that there would be any distinct Chinese people, language, culture or religion within a few centuries?

    What is the chance that thousands of years later, their descendants (if they could even identify themselves) would return to former China, form a successful nation surrounded by enemies, and speak the forgotten Chinese language?

    Yet, the Jews have been speaking Hebrew and keeping the Passover all this time, as the Bible said they would (Exodus 12:14) (even by secular Jews).

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    1. And that Passover was a shadow pointing to Christ, and they missed it. Just as Christ rebuked some of the Jews in the New Testament for diligently searching the Scriptures for thinking they had life in them, but it was those Scriptures that spoke about Him. They keep the Passover year after year, but year after year they remain in unbelief.

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