Latest Entries »

Dominoes Falling (4)

Debate 4 – Tumbling

A Response to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

DEBATE 4: Which View of the Rapture Is Correct?

The Rapture

Firstly, when it comes to the Rapture, though Rhodes considers a case for Pretribulationism, Midtribulationism, Posttribulationism, the Pre-wrath view and the Partial Rapture view, these don’t reflect of what many believe. He apparently only sees those that somehow relate to his futuristic concepts as relevant to the debate. As a result, he has failed to include the most fundamentally basic and Biblically obvious view, which is simply that when Jesus returns He will rapture the believers from the earth immediately before destroying it with fire and beginning His final judgment.

For example, Wiki – Rapture says: ‘Many Christians do not subscribe to rapture-oriented theological views… but do believe in the phenomenon—primarily in the sense of the elects’ gathering with Christ in Heaven after his Second Coming. These denominations do not believe that a group of people is left behind on earth for an extended Tribulation period after the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.’

That brings me to my second issue that I have with Rhodes’ partiality. Each of the views that he has put forward assumes that there is a 7 year period called “The Great Tribulation” that occurs around the time of the Rapture. However, this is simply futurist eisegesis imposed on Daniel 9:27 and on certain texts where the term “great tribulation” is used in the Bible. By connecting the notion of a 7 year Great Tribulation to the Rapture, futurists have complicated what is quite simple and have created what is actually an unnecessary in-house debate. However, by removing the false interpretations around the texts that refer to “great tribulation” we can quickly dismantle this.

Tribulation, The Tribulation, Great Tribulation and The Great Tribulation

As we all know, as in all literature, terms in the Bible are interpreted in context. For example, though the term ‘lion’ is used in connection with the Devil, it is also used in reference to Jesus. Therefore, context informs our interpretation so that the ‘lion of the tribe of Judah’ is not understood to be the Devil, and ‘the Devil… prowling like a roaring lion’ is not likening him to Jesus.

Similarly, the term ‘tribulation,’ whether used simply as ‘tribulation,’ ‘the tribulation,’ ‘great tribulation,’ or ‘the great tribulation,’ needs to be considered in context. In understanding their contexts we will find that they are not necessarily always synonymous periods of tribulation. Consider the following:

The Church Age – An Age of Tribulation

In John 16:33 Jesus says to his disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Though this was specifically spoken to his immediate disciples, we understand these words to be applicable to all believers throughout the Church Age.

In fact, throughout the Bible and the book of Revelation in particular we see the Church experiencing tribulation in the world in which it finds itself. This is no doubt the main reason for God giving The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Church as an encouragement to her, revealing Jesus Christ’s promises, proximity and power in relation to all her troubles.

Revelation 7:14 specifically refers to a “great tribulation” or “the great tribulation” where it reads; “These are the ones coming out of great tribulation/the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This too refers the tribulation over the broader Church Age rather than their specific period of trouble, because the words “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” are true of all believers and not a specific few.

With this in mind, the term “great” in “the great tribulation” in this passage refers to the extent of the tribulation. It is the sum magnitude of tribulation experienced during the Church Age in a world called Babylon that is hostile to her, whose citizens are under Satan’s power, and where the Beast reincarnates itself, along with the False Prophet.

The Early Church – Tribulation

In Revelation 1:9, John describes the time that he was already living in as ‘the tribulation.’ He was no doubt referring to the persecution that he and the Church were under, however, he certainly would have understood that to be part of the general “tribulation” that Jesus had promised in John 16:33. Regardless of whether John was referring to their current troubles and/or to the general tribulation that Jesus had promised, the occasion warranted the use of the term.

The Destruction of Jerusalem – A Time of Tribulation

The term “great tribulation” is used in Matthew 24:21 where Jesus says, “For then shall be great tribulation”. The context is found in the preceding verses. He says, “…let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.”

Clearly, “on housetop” describes an ancient home and custom, not a modern scene that one would expect in a futurist tribulation. Also, to “flee to the mountains” is hardly a strategy that will help anyone in the future. Furthermore, being in a “field” and wearing a “cloak” is a common description for 1st century Judea, not modern Israel. And, why would “winter” be a problem in the modern world?

From the description, this prophecy was to be fulfilled in that era and not some end-time futurist one. Jesus is describing the looming scenario and associated possibilities around the destruction of the temple. Corroborating this are Jesus’ words in relation to this passage: “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

It had to do with the Jewish War of 66-70 AD and Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem. More than a million Jews were killed and the temple, which their lives revolved around, was destroyed. It was gruesome, with in-fighting, starvation, cannibalism, slaughter and destruction. The nature of it was so horrendous that Jesus said of it, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Christ’s Threat – A Threat of Tribulation

Finally, the term “great tribulation” in Revelation 2:22 is used in an admonition by Jesus to members of the church of Thyatira. He says, “Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works”. This was a warning of impending troubles, to people in a church who were contemporary to the apostle John, if they would not repent.

Bizarre Outcomes

Clearly this threat of “great tribulation” had nothing to do with the “tribulation” of John 16:33 that describes the troubles in this life that Jesus said the disciples would face as their part in “the great tribulation” of Revelation 7:14. Neither does it concern the Roman period of persecution that John referred to as “the tribulation” in Revelation 1:9. Nor has it anything to do with the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:21 that describes what the unbelieving Jews in 1st century Judea faced during the Jewish war.

You can only imagine what concoctions people come up when they simply assume that the word “tribulation” implies the same event. Bizarrely, there are some who will try and connect most if not all of the above into one event. I’m not sure that Rhodes has taken it that far, but he does connect at least two of the above tribulations. However, sadder is that he gives neither their proper interpretation to start off with.

Firstly, he sees the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:21 and “the great tribulation” of Revelation 7:14 as the same period. Secondly, he places this period in an end-time future. He then further distorts this by linking this end-time “great tribulation” period to a prophecy in Daniel 9:27 that speaks of a 7-year period in which an abomination that causes desolation occurs. Instead of seeing this in relation to Jesus prophecies regarding 1st century Jerusalem, he interprets ‘The Great Tribulation’ as a 7 year period in the future when the desolation will occur. It is with this futurist mind that he asks when the rapture is to occur.

Debate Answer

The Rapture will happen at the end of this Church Age at the second coming of Christ when every Jew and Gentile who has ever believed in the Messiah will receive their glorified bodies and be caught up in the air (raptured) with Jesus to forever be with Him. Immediately thereafter the earth and all who are in it will be judged with fire and all will face final judgment.

So, in conclusion, there is no Rapture in relation to a 7-year period called ‘The Great Tribulation’. However, there is one that ends ‘the great tribulation’ that the Church has always existed in and in which the church experiences “tribulation” upon “tribulation”.

My Responses So Far To the ‘8 Debates’:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  8. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
  9. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 2 – Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?

Rob Morley

Advertisements
Dominoes Falling (3)
Debate 3 Falls

A Response to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 3: Ron Rhodes asks, “What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

(My response is also to Rhodes’ teachings in his book, “The Popular Dictionary of Bible Prophecy”.)

 

***********

 

In this post I answer, with PART 2, the 3rd of the following questions put forward by Rhodes:

    1. Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?
    2. Is America in Bible Prophecy?
    3. Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

 

***********

Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

Obviously, Rhodes’ question implies that he believes that this prophecy is still to be fulfilled. The particular passages regarding the re-gathering of Jews and the invasion of Israel that Rhodes refers to are found in Ezekiel 36-38. He argues that the contemporary re-gathering of Jews from many nations back to Israel “appears” to be setting the stage for the inevitable prophesied invasion. Though, he covers his back saying “Of course, it is always possible for things to reverse course, in which case the invasion could still be a long way off.”

In terms of the invasion forces, Rhodes says that Ezekiel refers to Russia heading up a coalition from the north of Muslim states including Iran, Sudan, Libya and Turkey. Firstly, though arguably possible, it seems highly unlikely that Libya to Israel’s west and Sudan to their South would form part of a “northern assault force.” Secondly, consider how the account of the armies in Ezekiel 38:4-5 don’t describe a modern army: ‘And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet…’ Rhodes wants us to believe that ‘…horses… horsemen…in full armor… with buckler and shield, wielding swords…shield and helmet.’

Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?

Using Rhodes’ literal method of interpretation, we end up with Russians and Muslims in an army fighting on horseback against Israel sometime in the future, which is most improbable. However, rather than acknowledge that the description of the armies is obviously historical and not futuristic, Rhodes instead goes against his anti-allegory dispensational stance by using an allegorical interpretation of these armies. This is most unusual coming from someone who is adamant that prophecies are to be literally understood. Yet, in order to make his end-time view work, Rhodes is forced to dismantle his dispensational view by either having a ridiculous notion that these armies are a literal description of the future or by acknowledging the armies as allegorical, thereby undermining the literal interpretation method that he demands.

Which is it, dispensationalism with an improbable future of armies on horseback, or an admission to the use of non-literal interpretation? (See my response to Ron Rhodes’ question, “Should Bible Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Allegorically?” in Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical).

Rob Morley

Other posts in this series so far:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  8. The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3 Falls

A Response to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 3: Ron Rhodes asks, “What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

(My response is also to Rhodes’ teachings in his book, “The Popular Dictionary of Bible Prophecy”.)

***********

In this post I answer, with PART 1, the 3rd of the following questions put forward by Rhodes:

    1. Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?
    2. Is America in Bible Prophecy?
    3. Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

 

***********

Israel regathered from Many Nations

Firstly, Rhodes says that the re-gathering of Jews from “many nations” that precedes the invasion in Ezekiel hasn’t happened before. This, however, is not true. After Solomon’s sin, Israel had been divided into the two Kingdoms of Israel in the North, consisting of 10 tribes, and Judah in the South along with Benjamin. The Northern Kingdom, called the House of Israel, constantly displeased God and was eventually overrun by the Assyrians who spread the Israelites from the 10 tribes all over the Assyrian conquered territories. Mixing the various conquered tribes was the Assyrian way of keeping resistance in check.

Then, several generations later, Judah had their turn in experiencing God’s judgment as they too failed to keep the covenant wholeheartedly. By this time Babylon had overtaken the Assyrians as the world power and Judah was taken as a unit into Babylon. At the end of 70 years, as God had prophesied through Jeremiah and confirmed through Daniel, the people of Judah were allowed to return. By then Babylon had fallen to the Medes and Persians who granted Judah’s right to return.

Prophetic Return of Judah and Israel

Among the returnees were not only those of Judah, but also remnants of those from the Northern Israelite kingdom whose families had previously migrated to Judah because of their own kingdom’s apostasy. Also, God’s providence toward Judah had created opportunity for all Israelites to return. This is clear because in Acts 26:6-7 Paul refers to the existence of the 12 tribes in the land. He says, “And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day.”

Furthermore, in Acts 2:5-11 Luke says, ‘Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”’

Surely these texts are evidence of the re-gathering from many nations!

Further Confirmation

According to Barnes: ‘There were dwelling at Jerusalem – The word rendered “dwelling” – κατοικοῦντες katoikountes – properly means to have a fixed and permanent habitation, in distinction from another word – παροικοῦντες paroikeountes – which means to have a temporary and transient residence in a place. But it is not always confined to this signification; and it is not improbable that many wealthy foreign Jews had a permanent residence in Jerusalem for the convenience of being near the temple.’

Clarke says: ‘Devout men, out of every nation – Either by these we are simply to understand Jews who were born in different countries, and had now come up to Jerusalem to be present at the passover, and for purposes of traffic, or proselytes to Judaism, who had come up for the same purpose: for I cannot suppose that the term ανδρες ευλαβεις, devout men, can be applied to any other. At this time there was scarcely a commercial nation under heaven where the Jews had not been scattered for the purpose of trade, merchandize, etc., and from all these nations, it is said, there were persons now present at Jerusalem.’

Finally, Ellicott says : ‘There were dwelling at Jerusalem.—The phrase is one of frequent occurrence in St. Luke’s writings (Luke 13:4Acts 1:19Acts 4:16). As a word, it implied a more settled residence than the “sojourning” of Luke 24:18 (see Note), Hebrews 11:9, but was probably sufficiently wide in its range to include the worshippers who had come up to keep the feast.’

It is evident that Israel has already experienced the literal re-gathering referred to in the passages in Ezekiel 36-38. It is not something of the future. And, more significant are the references in these passages to a second and more significant regathering. This is their spiritual regathering into Christ that began at Pentecost.

To further dismantle dispensationalism as presented by Ron Rhodes, I will show in my next post that just as the regathering of Israel from ‘many nations’ is a past event, so too is the corresponding so-called ‘Ezekiel invasion’. Can you imagine Russians and Muslims fighting Israel in the future on horseback? Probably not! However, if not, the texts are either allegory, or history (and not with Russians), but certainly not an end-time event as Rhodes would have you believe.

Rob Morley

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
  7. The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3 Falls

A Response to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 3: Ron Rhodes asks, “What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

(My response is also to Rhodes’ teachings in his book, “The Popular Dictionary of Bible Prophecy”.)

***********

In this post I answer the 2nd of the following questions put forward by Rhodes:

  1. Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?
  2. Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  3. Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

***********

Is America in Bible Prophecy?

Rhodes and other futurists interpret several prophecies in the Bible in relation to Israel’s current existence. Because of that, Rhodes admits surprise at America not being mentioned in the Bible considering the role that they have and continue to play in Israel’s existence.

Given that the Bible typically mentions the nations that are allied to or who are against Israel, it should surprise dispensationalists that America isn’t mentioned in any of them. Needless to say, instead of this notable omission being a red flag to Rhodes’ futurist theology, he chooses to explain it away. He goes against his own good reason that expects a nation of such significance as America to Israel to have been mentioned, and against the precedent found in the Bible to do just that, and instead waxes eloquent with all sorts of probable reasons as to why America isn’t mentioned.

The omission of America is an obvious red flag that should have directed Rhodes and other dispensationalists to reconsider how the texts that they subscribe to Israel today might have already been fulfilled centuries ago. Sadly, though, he and other dispensationalists plunder forward investing way too much time and speculation around modern Israel and beyond using a false prophetic narrative.

Instead of focusing on the central message of the Bible that concerns what Christ has already done for Israel and the Gentiles, dispensationalists consume people’s time and money speculating about the future using prophecies that have already been fulfilled.

Rob Morley

Other posts in this series so far:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
  6. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3 Falls

I’m Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 3: Ron Rhodes asks, “What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

(My response is also to Rhodes’ teachings that are found in his other “end-time” dispensationalist literature.)

 ***********

 In this post I continue to answer, with PART 3, the 1st of the following 3 questions put forward by Rhodes:

  1. Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?
  2. Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  3. Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

***********

The Craving for Peace in the Middle East

This is another issue speculated on by Rhodes. He links this with the idea of ‘a revived Roman Empire’ from which supposedly the anti-Christ will come with peace solutions for the Middle East.

A Revived Roman Empire

This is another contrived notion from the misinterpretation of texts in the books of Daniel and Revelation. For example, regarding visions in Daniel 2 and 7, Rhodes says that ‘many modern biblical interpreters see the European Union as a primary prospect for the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy.’

Rhodes comments on Daniel 7:24-25 saying that ‘Rome never consisted of a-ten nation confederacy with ten co-rulers.’ But, is that even what the imagery is representing?

The text reads,

‘Thus he said: “As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.”’

What is this passage really about? Has it already been fulfilled?

Firstly, the context of this passage is of four beasts that represent four empires that follow on the heels of one another, each having an impact on the people of God. It is a parallel vision with the one in chapter two of a statue representing these same kingdoms. The kingdoms are generally understood to be Babylon followed by the Medo-Persians, Greece and finally Rome.

Furthermore, these kingdoms are each pictured as a single unit and therefore each have a single period of time. Therefore we ought to expect the fulfillments of the visions in the same way as they are structured. The four kingdoms follow consecutively. Also, when it comes to the detailed description of the fourth beast, we expect the horns to be immediately related to that beasts’ period of time.

Any idea of a great separation of time between the kingdoms or within a kingdom would be disingenuous to the imagery. Yet, this is precisely what dispensationalists would have us do with the text. They suggest that part of the imagery points to an end-time future. However, in order for that to be possible, the image of the statue would have been pictured with severed toes and the image of the fourth beast would have had the horns somehow disconnected from it, floating at a distance, but they aren’t.

The ‘ten horns’ and the ‘little one’ or ‘another horn’, represent a series of 10 emperors and a significant emperor that reigned after the establishment of the Roman Empire. ‘Another horn, a little one’ that ‘came up among’ the others speaks of the period that Domitian was stand-in Emperor. As the child of the Emperor, he fits with the term ‘little’ and, as the stand in Emperor, he fits with the term ‘horn’ (see Daniel 7:8 that parallels 7:24).

Furthermore, there is a ‘king’ that follows the ‘ten kings’. This would be Domitian who he later becomes Emperor in his own right. The ‘little’ ‘horn’ thus later became a ‘horn’. To ‘the saints’ he ‘seemed greater than his companions’ because he, in particular, ‘made war with the saints’, i.e. the people of God (see Daniel 7:21). In his time, ‘the saints’ were the Jewish and Gentile Christians who he severely persecuted.

He is the ‘another’ who is said to ‘put down three kings’. Domitian reigned in his father’s stead while his father was on a campaign, however, immediately before his stand-in reign, three other emperors followed in quick succession. They are referenced in Daniel 7:8, 20 and 24.

Interestingly, a case has been made for Domitian’s father Vespasian or his brother Titus being the horn; nevertheless, I believe Domitian fits best. Regardless of which one it is, these options are a far better than what Rhodes and other dispensational premillennialists speculate. Their idea is that these visions refer to a future outcome through a resurrected Roman Empire in the form of a European Union. This disjoins the vision, which is otherwise a single sequence of events, by almost 2 thousand years. Not only is this interpretively implausible, it’s laughable!

Globalism

Here Rhodes speculates around Rev 13:3-13 and the idea of a single world government under a single leader. However, the prophecy in Revelation is speaking about the Roman Empire that was just such a controlling government. Also, through the use of numerology, Emperor Nero is clearly linked with the number 666. At the time of the prophecy he was dead, however, the ‘beast, whose fatal wound had been healed’ meant that someone like Nero would reappear. Domitian was like Nero. He brutally persecuted the church just as Nero had. (Incidentally, it is clear that the ‘beast, whose fatal wound had been healed’ of Revelation and the ‘little’ ‘horn’ in Daniel are the same person. I personally believe that Domitian fits best.)

I have shown over several posts that the prophecies that dispensationalists place in the end-times have actually been adequately fulfilled in the past. Therefore, the burden of proof lies with them. However, according to Rhodes, this would be impossible for them to do because, according to him no signs precede the Second Coming and so the best that he can give as evidence are shadows of signs. And, shadows, as I have shown, are unauthorized speculations at best.

It comes down to using standard rules of interpretation and clear corresponding historical evidence vs. dispensationalist eisegesis that sees ‘shadows of signs’ in a future speculated using prophecy that has already been fulfilled.

Rob Morley

Other posts in this series so far:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
  5. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3 Falls

I’m Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 3: Ron Rhodes asks, “What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?”

(My response is also to Rhodes’ teachings found in his other “end-time” dispensationalist literature.)

***********

In this post I continue to answer, with PART 2, the 1st of the following 3 questions put forward by Rhodes:

  1. Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?
  2. Is America in Bible Prophecy?
  3. Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

***********

The Rebirth of Israel

Before I begin, let me point out that according to dispensationalist Ron Rhodes, no signs precede the Second Coming. Therefore, by this reasoning the modern rebirth of Israel cannot be a sign, but only a shadow of a sign, which is how he describes something that resembles a sign in this ‘dispensation’. However, surely such a phenomenal contemporary happening in our time constitutes much more than just a shadow of a sign, but the sign itself.

So, is the modern rebirth of Israel a prophesied sign, or even a shadow of a prophesied sign? And, as significant as the modern rebirth of Israel is, to what extent does it match the prophecies concerning Israel being gathered again? Also, is there any evidence that these prophecies have already been fulfilled?

Firstly, the modern rebirth of Israel cannot possibly be a shadow of a sign. It’s far too dramatic an event for that. Therefore, it is either a sign, which messes up Rhodes’ dispensationalist theology, or it’s a phenomenal occurrence like many others that have happened and weren’t prophesied about. Take for instance the Holocaust where 6 million Jews lost their lives. This awful tragedy to the Jews, astonishingly wasn’t prophesied about.

Gathered to Christ

I believe the modern rebirth of Israel that we are witnessing is a sign. However, it’s not a sign in relation to some or other end-time event, but of God’s faithfulness to the promise of the land of Israel to Abraham’s natural posterity. Abraham was promised this land for his descendant s. Later, under Moses, they were brought into a covenant with God and were given the land. Subsequently, according to the covenant, they punished for their idolatry by being ejected from the land. Nevertheless, prophecies concerning their return to the land were given. Significantly, along with such prophecies, the prophets also spoke of a promise of another regathering too. However, this isn’t related to the modern regathering of Jews to their land. Instead, it relates to the Jews regathering in Christ, regardless of where they are found.

When Christ came, the Jews for the most part rejected Him. In fact, before His crucifixion He said, ‘I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.’ Yet, it did not remain all doom and gloom, because after Pentecost thousands received Christ. Nevertheless, because Israel on the whole would reject Christ, He prophesied that they would once again be ejected from the land, which happened in AD70. Note, that by this time the second gathering had begun to take place, only this time Jews were being gathered to Christ rather than to the land.

Jewish Salvation

Ezekiel was a prophet who prophesied concerning the salvation of the house of Israel and the gift of the Spirit saying, ‘I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules’ (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

Oddly, Rhodes cites this prophecy in relation to the ‘international regathering of Jews in unbelief’ since 1948. Yet, though the previous verse reads, ‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land,’ in context, Ezekiel was prophesying to the ten northern tribes known as the ‘house of Israel’.

The house of Israel was scattered over the then known world by the Assyrians. Afterward, some of these providentially returned on the wake of Judah’s return from Babylon. Centuries later, at Pentecost, the Spirit was given to many of them who turned to Christ and has continued to be given to those who repent, regardless of where they are.

Gathered Again

Consider Acts 2:5 where Luke writes ‘Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.’ Here the term “dwelling” is more than just visiting. Centuries before Christ came, Judah had returned from captivity in Babylon. However, Acts 2:5 clearly indicates that a significant number of Israelites from the ten tribes had returned too. This is corroborated further in Acts 2:36 when Peter said, “let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” By using the terms “all” and “Israel” together, Peter clearly addressed those of Judah along with those of the ten tribes that had previously been scattered over the known world by the Assyrians.

There are a number of Old Testament prophecies that are aligned to a second regathering and which are clearly fulfilled in Christ. He came to gather, to Himself, the remnant of Judah and Israel regardless of whether they were in the Land or not, along with people from all nations. For example, Isaiah 11:10-12 reads: ‘In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.’ The second recovery is not to a land, but to the root of Jesse, who is Christ, the ‘signal for the nations’.

Israel Gathered to Christ

Dispensationalists like Rhodes believe that God’s purposes for Israel and the Church are separate. They thereby detract from the union that Jews and Gentiles, who have come to faith in Christ, have in Him. They believe that the Jews missed their moment and, as a result, a delay has set in before God will work with them again. However, did they miss their moment?

Clearly Peter’s message to “all the House of Israel” (Acts 2:36) was that, though they had crucified Jesus by handing Him over to the Gentiles, they could repent and be part of their Messiah’s Church. After all, it was to Israel that the promises had been given, especially the promise of their Messiah. The result of Peter’s message was that ‘three thousand souls’ were added to the church. These were all Jews who believed and who were given the promise of the Holy Spirit, which had long before been prophesied to them. Clearly, God’s purposes for Israel and the Church are not separate. In fact, those of “all the House of Israel” who believed comprised the very early church!

Furthermore, in order to explain the outpouring of God’s Spirit that was evidenced in the disciples speaking in other languages, Peter quoted Joel 2:28 saying, ‘And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’ Sadly, Rhodes places this prophecy for future fulfillment thereby missing the obvious application that Peter was making to his own day and beyond.

Besides those three thousand Jews who were saved, the text goes on to say, ‘And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved’ (Acts 2:47). Then, thousands more were seen to be added in Acts 4:4 where it says, ‘But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.’

A careful examination of Scripture shows that many Jews came to faith. Consider also these texts that speak of Jews being saved in the early church: ‘Yet more and more believers were brought to the Lord–large numbers of both men and women’ (Acts 5:14). ‘In those days when the disciples were increasing in number’ (Acts 6:1). ‘So the word of God continued to spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem grew rapidly, and a great number of priests became obedient to the faith’ (Acts 6:7). ‘Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced a time of peace. It grew in strength and numbers, living in the fear of the Lord and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 9:31).

This church growth by Jews who had returned to their land was phenomenal by any standards. Even on Paul’s missionary journeys, though many Jews rejected the message, countless came to faith too. In fact, percentage wise, the number of Jews who have come to Christ even up to our era is comparable to many other nations.

The Scriptures and the last 2000 years are clear testimony that God’s purposes for Israel and the Church are not separate. Many Jews are being gathered into the Church, just as many Gentiles are. If anything, the nature of Israel’s regathering into Christ is a sign that not all will be saved and that God resists the proud, regardless of nationality.

In John 11:51-52, the high priest ‘prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.’ God’s plan for the Jews is clearly to gather them to Christ.

Rob Morley

Other posts in this series so far:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
  4. The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3 Falls

This post is PART 1 to the 1st of the following 3 questions put forward by Rhodes:

1. Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?

2. Is America in Bible Prophecy?

3. Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur?

***********

I’m Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 3: Ron Rhodes asks, “What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

(My response is also to Rhodes’ teachings found in his other dispensationalist literature.)

***********

Dispensationalist Double-talk

When it comes to signs, Rhodes has created his own dispensationalist double-talk. On the one hand he encourages the discernment of the signs of our times, which he says ‘Jesus desires us to do’, sadly misappropriating Jesus’ words in Matt 16:1-3 and Luke 21:29-33. (This I’ll let slide as Rhodes’ has bigger problems). Then, on the other hand he says that no signs precede the rapture and that they have to do with the Second Coming of Christ. This is obviously illogical, because how can one discern the signs of our times when none precede the rapture?

Chasing Shadows

His explanation around this is that what is seen as signs of our times are not signs, but are the shadows of the signs, or the stage being set for the signs that are only to appear after the rapture. Of course we are told nowhere in the Bible to look for shadows of signs or for the stage setting for signs and so he fosters Christians busying themselves with unauthorized speculation around supposed shadows. If, however, he says that the shadows are not speculation, then they must be signs. However, if they’re signs, he then refutes his own theology that doesn’t expect to see signs before the rapture.

Biblical Signs

Rhodes says ‘a sign of the times is a prophetic event that points to the end times’. Here he hijacks terminology used by Jesus in relation to His visitation (see Matt 16:3) and redefines it in relation to the “end-times”. So, he is clearly off to a bad start.

In the manner that he approaches some signs, Rhodes appears to, at times, go against his own ‘qualification’ that no signs precede the rapture. Related to these “end-time” signs, Rhodes goes on to say, ‘Scripture specifies quite a few signs (for example, see Matthew 24-25, 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 2 Timothy 4:3-4)’.

Now, before we consider these, it should be noted that signs in the Bible, whether seen or prophesied, are related to a context in space and time and are very clear evidences that point to an associated reality in the same or a later space and time context. Therefore, signs are clearly seen in their contexts and they are clear about what they are pointing to, which is in huge contrast to speculating around signs, let alone around shadows of signs.

Now, whether he considers them to be signs or shadows of signs, let’s first consider whether any clear evidence exists of these signs having already occurred. If they have, it will save a lot of time speculating about shadows of signs and we will have been kept from false end-time narratives.

To Which Generation Do These Prophecies Belong?

Within Matthew 24-25 Jesus says, “…when you see all these things, you know that he/it is near, at the very gates.” In context, Jesus immediately goes on to say, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Some futurists say that because “this generation” is in relation to “all these things”, i.e. the prophecies in Matthew 24, they cannot see how it is possible to ascribe this to the “generation” of the apostles. They suggest that Jesus is referring to an end-time “generation” in which “all these things” must take place. But is this true?

Note that the context has Jesus talking to his disciples and so when he says “when you see all these things, you know…” the pronoun “you” clearly indicates that his message was specifically for the disciples. This is immediately corroborated by Jesus saying to them “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” If Jesus meant otherwise, then “they” and “that generation” would have been used.

The Escalation of Apostasy

Rhodes fosters the typical futurist hype around terms like ‘latter times’ found in 1Timothy 4:1-2. But, does this refer to our days and beyond? When Paul writes, ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…’, the context is that he is instructing Timothy and the church on how they should behave in the household of God. He is therefore not dropping some random future “end times” prophecy, but he is instead writing to keep Timothy and the church from going astray at a time already considered ‘the latter times’.

Similarly, Rhodes misinterprets ‘for the time will come’ in 2 Tim 4:3-4. Here Paul says, ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.’ Context shows that he was referring to a time on their doorstep rather than some distant future. In fact, in Acts 20:29-30, Paul refers to this imminent falling away when he addresses the elders from this very church that Timothy was leading. He says, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

Knock-on Effect

Misinterpretation of the events prophesied and of their timing has a knock-on effect on many other Scriptures. Exasperating this is the blind bias that gets formed around these beliefs. The result is that many passages are simply squeezed and accepted in mistaken contexts without alarm or question. The end result is a theology and eschatology based on dubious inferences from Scripture, insertions of ideas into Scripture and rhetoric full of holes to explain it all.

Rob Morley

Other posts in this series so far:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
  2. Toppling Dispensationalism
  3. Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
Dominoes Falling (2)

Debate 2 Falls

Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great h of Bible Prophecy

Debate 2: Ron Rhodes asks, “Are Israel and the Church Distinct in Bible Prophecy?”

Absurdity Hides the Truth

Ron Rhodes puts forward the question “Are Israel and the Church distinct in Bible prophecy?” The fact that this question can even be asked without its absurdity being immediately apparent, not only shows Dispensationalists’ brazen misunderstanding of Scripture, but also the inroads that their false teaching has had on Christendom.

Besides, Rhodes’ intent with the question is to disprove a straw-man case of the Church replacing Israel and establish the Dispensationalist case for the Church and Israel remaining distinct. However, a simple study of the Bible, free from affiliated doctrinal bias, shows that there is no case for either position.

Israel not Replaced, but Saved

Scripture teaches that Jews (those of Israel) who accept Jesus as their prophesied Messiah are automatically made a part of His Church. Consequently, those of Israel who believe, are not replaced by the Church, but are saved into her and are therefore not distinct from the Church but are of her. Conversely, those of Israel (Jews) who don’t accept Jesus remain under the judgment of God.

Though not a majority, over the millennia many Jews have received Jesus as their Messiah and have formed a part of His Church. This is the Church that Jesus, a Jew, told His Jewish apostles He would build. And, though countless believing Jews have been rejected by the mainstream of Jews and their leadership over the years, their believing didn’t stop them from being Jews or a part of Israel.

Not Rejected nor Postponed

At a time when it may have appeared to some that God had rejected Israel (the Jews), Paul said that they were not rejected, citing himself as an example. So, salvation for Israel (the Jews) is not postponed either. He explained that a partial hardening of Israel was in effect until the fullness of the Gentiles had come in. Paul said that he desired in this life to make his fellow Jews jealous. As such, the Jews who reject Jesus and miss the purpose of the covenants and promises are not rejected as a people, but are still able to receive Him if they repent and believe on Him in this life.

It is only in so far as the majority of Jews rejected Jesus that God said that another people would replace them (see Matt 21:43). This judgment came upon them as a nation on the whole as an outcome of their general unbelief. However, Paul teaches in Romans 11 that God had not rejected Israel (the Jews). Consequently, like Paul, and many other Jews who initially rejected Jesus, Jews could still be saved. However, God had a new people in mind. But what people? The new Israel, the Church, comprising of a multitude of believing Gentiles along with the believing Jews.

Engrafted Gentiles

Romans chapter 11 clearly teaches “engrafted theology” rather than dispensationalism or replacement theology. Paul teaches that believing Gentiles are grafted into the promises and covenants given to Israel. Also, in Ephesians 3:4-6 Paul writes that the mystery in Christ is that the Gentiles have been made co-heirs with believing Jews, comprising one Body.

The Jews were given the covenants and promises and Paul therefore calls them the natural branches. When they believe in Jesus, they receive the promised Messiah as the chief outcome of the covenants and promises. They co-inherit all that Christ has inherited. They, along with Gentiles who have been grafted in as unnatural branches, are the true Israel of God.

Israel Fulfills Prophecy

Failure by unbelieving Israel to receive Jesus is a failure to receive the blessings of salvation promised through the prophets. The result is, just as in the Old Testament, calamity upon calamity, rejection by outsiders, being a byword on people’s lips, and experiencing a continued lack of peace – all the curses promised by the prophets. In this sense, unbelieving Israel is distinct from believing Israel and the engrafted Gentiles who together comprise the Church. Those who remain unrepentant have no further prophecy to look forward to except of judgment.

Believing Israel fulfills prophecy by being saved, receiving their Messiah (Christ) in a promised New Covenant. They become co-inheritors with Christ and a part of His Church. Therefore, though Gentiles are by far the majority in the Church, they have been engrafted into what is Israel’s. Conversely, unbelieving Israel fulfills prophecy by either being saved through believing in Jesus their Messiah and included in the Church or by being judged both in this life and at His coming.

Deadly Doctrines of Dispensationalism and Replacement Theology

Clearly, Dispensationalists are unable to see that their own option is flawed. They then have become further trapped, and have become a trap to the undiscerning, by arguing against a straw-man of replacement theology. Neither is true! Both are false doctrines with unfortunate outcomes. Replacement theology can lead to and foster anti-Semitism while Dispensationalism can lead to a misdirected hope for the Jews. Both have deadly outcomes!

The Rightful Heirs

Therefore, though unbelieving Jews and Gentiles still occupy much of what is Christ’s, they do so as His enemies only until they have been made His footstool or have been saved. So, though believing Jews don’t occupy or rule the land of Israel, they, along with all believers, are the true heirs of more than just Israel, but the whole world. And, this will certainly be theirs in the promised new heavens and new earth.

Rob Morley

Toppling Dispensationalism

Dominoes Falling (1)

Toppling Dispensationalism

Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy

Debate 1: Part 2. Covenant Theology Versus Dispensationalism?

By comparing dispensationalism and the Bible, dispensationalism is evidently a lie in that it…

…focuses on the unbelieving Jews (the synagogue of Satan) and on the modern State of Israel, instead of on God’s chief goal in this final dispensation, that is, on His household, His Church, His Temple, His dwelling place comprising both Jews and Gentiles in unity, in one body, a new race, holy nation and a royal priesthood in Christ.

  • Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, … That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ (Eph 1:9-10).
  • So then you (Gentiles) are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints(believing Jews) and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).
  • But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

…distracts people from Christ’s singular purpose of building His Church. It belittles the purpose of the Church and the enormity of its duties, which is God’s only program for both Jews and Gentiles.

  • “…And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat 16:18).
    • Peter: Jew
    • Church: His ecclesia
    • gates of hell: real enemy
  • Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).
  • that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

…robs people of the truth that Christ is already reigning.

  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
  • Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass (Zech 9:9).
  • Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me…” (Mat 28:18).
  • “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one” (Zech. 14:9).
  • Then the high priest said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus answered. “But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven (Mat 26:63-64).
    • From now on = imminently and continually
    • Right hand of the Mighty One = having God’s authority and power
    • Coming on the clouds of heaven = bringing judgments
  • For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col 1:13).
  • For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor 15:25).
  • For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” (1 Cor 15:27).

…misunderstands rebellion in the world as evidence of Christ not yet reigning, not realizing that Christ already reigns while awaiting for His enemies to become His footstool.

  • But when this Priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time, He waits for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet (Heb 10:12-13).
    • Right hand of God = having God’s authority and power

 …fails to see that Jews and Gentiles have no other time than now to enter into Christ’s kingdom.

  • And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Heb 9:27).
  • What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin (Rom 3:9).
  • but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24).

 …fails to see God’s preordained unity being manifest between Jews and Gentiles in Christ.

  • even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles (Rom 9:24).
  • The marvel was not that Jews were accepting Christ, but that Gentiles were.
  • For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility… that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace (Eph 2:14-15).
  • For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13).
  • … fails to see that the kingdom is not outwardly observed.
  • Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (luke 17:20-21).

… focusses on earthly inheritance, failing to magnify the need of both Jew and Gentile of deliverance from death, trespasses and sin, this world and from Satan. This failure is exactly why the Jews lost the land.

  • And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Eph 2:1-3).

…fails to see that the land promise has already been fulfilled in the Old Testament and again in Christ who has all authority in Heaven and on Earth. Though occupied by others, the land belongs to Christ and all who are joined to him, whether Jew or Gentile.

  • “But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt” (Acts 7:17).
  • Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt (1 Kings 4:21).
  • “Thou art the LORD the GOD, who didst choose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name Abraham; and foundeth his heart faithful before Thee, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed Thy Words; for Thou art righteous” (Neh 9:7-8).
  • Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me…” (Mat 28:18).

…fails to see the conditionality of the promise. Because of unbelief, not all who were promised the land entered in.

  • And I will bring you (Israelite slaves who, because of unbelief, did not all enter) to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD (Ex 6:8).
  • not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected (Num 14:30-31).

…fails to see that the land is a type linked to Abraham’s greater understanding of being heir of the whole world and beyond; that Christ is heir of the world and beyond and that Christians, both Jew and Gentile, are co-heirs in Him.

  • For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith (Rom 4:13).
  • “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5).
  • Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ (1 Cor 15:23).

…gives a land prophecy intended for an ancient generation of Jews to today’s unbelieving unrepentant Jews and then interprets the opposite of what it meant.

  • “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezek 20:33-38).
    • This is an act done in wrath
    • This is done outside the land
    • This is done to purge out the rebels and keep them from entering the land
    • This is not about today. Are modern day Jews who enter the land purged of their rebellion?

…falsely proclaims a hope beyond this present time for unbelieving Jews and the State of Israel. It’s a false hope outside of Christ that gets told to the church regarding the Jews whom God has, is and will continue to judge as long as they reject Him and His Anointed One, their Messiah.

  • Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits (Mat 21:43).
  • And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation (Luke 19:41-44).

Covenant Theology

Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology both teach that God has made a covenant in Christ by which all men, whether Jew or Gentile, can be saved.

The Jews who believed that Christ was the Mediator of a New Covenant, not only for Israel, but for the sin of the world, shared this Gospel with unbelieving Gentiles, of whom I am one. Surely the least we can do is reciprocate and share the Gospel with unbelieving Jews.

For more on God’s love and plan of salvation for the Jews read please read Jewish Salvation.

Rob Morley

Other posts in this series so far:

  1. Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical

Who You Were to Who You Are

The Old Testament exodus narrative helps us to understand our own past and, more importantly, our purpose as believers today.

Old Testament Type

The Old Testament contains many types of our own reality. Consider these scriptures:

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (Ex 19:5-6).

But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are (having been obedient?) this day (Deut 4:20).

The ‘if’ shows that obedience was conditional to being God’s people in the Old Testament.

New Testament Reality

Consider how these New Testament scriptures use the imagery and terms of the Old Testament to help us understand our own reality in Christ:

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ ( 1 Pet 2:5).

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9).

Faith in Christ, that produces obedience, is the only condition to being God’s people. Have you come out of spiritual darkness and become one of God’s own? Have you discovered your profound purpose? Do you need a Reorientation Miracle to help you see the light?

Rob Morley

%d bloggers like this: