Tag Archive: Israel


Responses to ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’

Herewith are my responses to a series of debates put forward by Dispensationalist Ron Rhodes in his book, ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.’ I trust that my posts will help toward establishing God’s truth and dismantling the wayward doctrine of Dispensationalism.


Dominoes Falling (1)

Debate 1

Should Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Allegorically?

Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical

Toppling Dispensationalism


Dominoes Falling (2)

Debate 2

Are Israel and the Church Distinct in Bible Prophecy?

Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct


Dominoes Falling (3)

Debate 3

What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times?

Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment?

Israel

Middle East, European Union, Globalism?

Is America in Bible Prophecy?

Israel regathered from Many Nations

Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?


Dominoes Falling (4)

Debate 4

Which View of the Rapture Is Correct?

When Will The Rapture Occur?


Dominoes Falling (5)

Debate 5

How Are We to Understand the Book of Revelation?

Taking Issue with Futurism

Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation

Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses


Dominoes Falling (6)

Debate 6

How Are We to Understand the Antichrist?

The Antichrist – Conundrum and Distraction

Who is the Antichrist?

Who Restrains Him? What Nation is He from? What is the Mark of the Beast?

Timing of the Antichrist


Dominoes Falling (7)

Debate 7

Which View of the Millennium Is Correct?

The Millennium


Dominoes Falling (8)

Debate 8

Is It Okay to Set Dates on Prophetic Events?

Prophetic Events and Their Timing


Other posts referenced:

Numerology in Revelation

Jewish Salvation

Restoring the Kingdom to Israel – The Christian Researcher

Rob Morley

Dominoes Falling (8)

Debate 8

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

Debate 8: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘Is It Okay to Set Dates on Prophetic Events?’

Dispensationalist, Ron Rhodes looks at both the case for ‘Yes, Set Dates’ and ‘No, Don’t Set Dates’. In response, I discuss interpreting the timing and dates of key prophecies in the Bible.

Timing of Prophetic Events

Firstly, ‘Is It Okay to Set Dates on Prophetic Events?’ is unfortunately a poorly constructed question, because we don’t set dates on prophetic events, God does. Secondly, it is evident that, when it comes to the prophetic events foretold in the Scriptures, details concerning their timing are not always given. For example, with regard to the Second Coming, Jesus made it clear that no one knew that date except the Father. On the other hand, there are many prophecies that were made by the prophets and Jesus Himself that include timing with their predictions.

Problems

Problems arise when timing has not been indicated and folk still try to determine it. In this regard, many have made fools of themselves by predicting dates for Christ’s return. Furthermore, problems occur when assumptions about the timing in other texts affect the texts at hand. In this regard, certain postmillennialists have tried to indicate the start of a literal 1000 year millennium. However, by having knowledge of the start of a literal millennium would mean that one could determine the timing of Christ’s return, which He said no one knows. So, not only do they waste their time with a literal understanding of the millennium, their view also clearly disproves itself.

In this regard, though Premillennialists (including Dispensationalists) have their own versions of a literal Millennium, they escape this problem because they believe that the second coming occurs before the Millennium. For more on this you can read my post, The Millennium.

Next, where timing has been indicated in the Scriptures, often incorrect assumptions and expectations that arise from false doctrine cause many to ascribe wrong or false eras to events in certain texts. This is a common mistake Dispensationalists make with several scriptures. For example, their misinterpretation of the timing of the events in Daniel’s prophecy concerning the 70th Week is the cause of, or results in, their false view of the timing of events in other Scriptures. I say more on this topic earlier in the series, see Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2.

As a result of their misinterpretation of the timing of the texts, they separate what God has joined in Christ, that is to say, the simultaneous salvation of both Jews and Gentiles into His Church. As a result, they sever the Scriptures and falsely align some to a supposed post rapture Jewish period beyond the Church era. Incidentally, another text that has its timing incorrectly assumed by Dispensationalists is Romans 11:25-27, which concerns Jewish Salvation.

Timing vs. Dating

Also of note is that often only general timing is given rather than exact dates. This is done by correlating certain persons and or events with other persons and or events. For example, the exact date of Jesus’ ministry wasn’t predicted in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, it is evident from the Scriptures that His ministry correlates with and follows John the Baptist’s. In this way the timing acts as one of the many proofs that Jesus is the Messiah.

Significant Prophetic Events

Here are examples of prophecies from Scripture with and without time frames:

  1. 70 Years Captivity

Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be in captivity in Babylon for 70 years:

‘And this whole land will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years’ (Jer 25:11).

Clearly Daniel understood the timing in Jeremiah’s prophecy before it was fulfilled:

‘In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the sacred books, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years’ (Dan 9:2).

  1. Seventy Weeks

Daniel was given a detailed time frame concerning the times that Israel would go through after captivity until the destruction of the temple.

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator” (Dan 9:24-27).

Daniel was given other prophecies with details that fit within the seventy weeks. For example, specifics are prophesied concerning the ongoing conflict between the Seleucid and the Ptolemy kingdoms referred to by Daniel as the ‘the king of the north’ and ‘the king of the south’.

  1. Three Days And Three Nights In The Heart Of The Earth

Jesus clearly gave a time frame concerning His death and resurrection. Consider the following verses:

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).

‘From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matt. 16:21).

  1. Destruction of the Temple

Jesus told His disciples that the temple would be destroyed. This prompted His disciples to ask, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Bear in mind that the discussion was, initially, in relation to one event, namely the destruction of the temple. As such, it is not clear whether the disciples were referring to Jesus’ ‘coming’ with reference to Him destroying the temple or to His Second Coming, or whether they had conflated these. Similarly, ‘the end of the age’ could be with reference to the end of the Temple Age or the end of the Church Age and of the world at Christ’s Second Coming.

Nevertheless, Jesus gives clarity by answering the questions asked by the disciples in connection with the end of both ages. He separates what the disciples may have conflated, i.e. the end of the Temple Age and Christ’s return at the end of the world.

Here is how He answers the questions with regard to the temple:

Q: “When will this happen?” i.e. when will the temple be destroyed?

A: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

Q: “…what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” i.e. what sign will you give that you are coming to destroy the temple?

A: The sign he gives is “‘So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains …’ (Matt 24:15-16)

Bear in mind that Jesus also spoke of His imminent “coming on the clouds,” which clearly had to do with Him bringing judgment upon Israel. He said, “But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the Son of sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:64).

  1. Christ’s Return and the End of the World

Though Jesus new in which generation the temple would be destroyed, He was not yet privy to the timing of His return at the very end. He avoids combining the end of the Temple Age with His return at the end of the world by answering the latter in this way:

Q: “When will this happen?” i.e. when will Jesus return to judge the world?

A: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left”(Matt. 24:36).

Having emptied Himself of His Divine ability and having not yet ascended, Jesus was at this point uninformed concerning the timing of His Second Coming.

Q: “…what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” i.e. what sign will indicate that Jesus is going to return?

A: Jesus does not give a ‘sign’ for this event. Instead He answered them saying, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt 23:4-8).

Having said, “concerning that day and hour no one knows”, Jesus said, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt 24:36-44). In this case Jesus’ coming has to do with Him returning to judge the believers’ works, as their sins have already been judged at the cross, and unbelievers for their sin.

Furthermore, the idea that Jesus is referring to two distinct periods, i.e. the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, is evidenced by Jesus indicating that their generation would experience the temple being destroyed and by Him also speaking of prolonged troubles as “the beginning of the birth pains.”

  1. Restoring the Kingdom to Israel

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority…” (Acts 1:6-7).

Concerning the timing of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7). Jesus had willingly told them about the timing of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple as it was already revealed in Daniel, but said nothing concerning the timing of restoring the kingdom to Israel and His Second Coming, because God had said nothing about the timing of these in Scripture.

The restoration of the kingdom to Israel had to do with the giving of the Holy Spirit to believing Israelites, which is Christ’s Church, initially comprising only believing Jews. In this way alone, Israel is restored to her role of being God’s kingdom of priests (see Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Rev 1:6,10). Gentiles were only later engrafted as part of God’s restored Israel.

Paul said, not all Israel is Israel, therefore do not confuse God’s restoration of the kingdom to Israel, i.e. the Holy Spirit given to the Messiah’s Church, with Him providentially allowing for a modern state of Israel to exist. For more on this, may I recommend a PDF article that I discovered on the internet, Restoring the Kingdom to Israel – The Christian Researcher.

  1. Things That Were Soon To Take Place

‘The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place’ (Rev 1:1). The phrase ‘what must shortly (or soon) take place’ goes hand in hand with the phrase “for the time is near (at hand)” (Rev 1:3). These verses establish the very imminent nature of what was prophesied. For more on this please see my post Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1.

Conclusion

The main thing we need to know concerning timing is that we are to be about God’s business of reconciliation until Christ’s return, and that each day is a day closer to that incredible day. Until then, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Hallelujah!

Finally, I would like to close with a link to my post Toppling Dispensationalism. In it I warn of the outcomes of this false doctrine that is taught and believed by thousands of my brothers and sisters in Christ. May God keep our eyes on Jesus as we proclaim His salvation for all in this the only ‘dispensation’ before His return and the final judgment.

Rob Morley

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
Dominoes Falling (5)

Dispensationalism Goes Down

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

Debate 5: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘How Are We to Understand the Book of Revelation?’

 

Rhodes specifically asks: Can We Identify Babylon? Who Are the 144,000, and What Is Their Ministry? Who Are the Two Witnesses?

Firstly, for those who are new to this series, in my previous post, Interpreting Revelation Part 1 – Taking Issue with Futurism, I explained that once the genre of Revelation is identified then the correct method of interpretation can be applied and the original meaning can be established. The questions in this post that Rhodes has put forward are therefore to be considered in the light of Revelation having been determined to be apocalyptic literature, which is filled with figurative language.

Can We Identify Babylon?

Futurists suggest that this will be either a rebuilt Rome or a rebuilt Babylon. However, having determined that Revelation is full of figurative language, why should it be referring to a specific literal place at all? And, furthermore, consider that the text doesn’t speak of it being rebuilt, but of its existence.

When we consider that this book was written to a 1st century audience using apocalyptic terms like dragon, beast, etc., we should ask what they would have understood by the term Babylon in a figurative context. And, in order to understand the figurative meaning behind the term, we need to first understand the literal significance of the term in their minds.

Babylon had been an empire in the Old Testament that had exercised dominion over other nations. They had enforced their worldview, created unfair trade and exploited people. Among those affected were God’s people. In the first century, Rome was doing exactly the same and so it was figuratively referred to as Babylon. It appears in 1 Peter 5:13 where Peter speaks of the church in Rome by calling it the ‘church in Babylon’.

Now, though there’s little doubt that the term Babylon referred to Rome in the book of Revelation, it clearly went beyond Rome too, because this Babylon goes on to exist until it is judged at the end of time. Therefore Babylon should be seen as an continuing world system that was merely being represented by Rome in the 1st Century and that continually exists through various governments and economic systems throughout the ages until it gets destroyed.

Babylon in Revelation is therefore not literally a rebuilt place sometime in the distant future, but an ongoing worldly system manifest in power, wealth and abuse. It’s one of the constant enemies that the Church faces. However, she faces Babylon in the light of the revelation of Jesus Christ, who guides His church in the context of it being allowed to exist.

Essentially Jesus tells the Church to “Come out of her”, echoing His words elsewhere in the New Testament like “love not this world” and “where your heart is there your treasure will be also”. Such an interpretation would have been meaningful to a 1st century audience and has been to the Church ever since.

Who Are the 144,000, and What Is Their Ministry?

‘And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the people of Israel’ (Revelation 7:4).

Because Revelation is comprised of figurative language throughout, we should consider that the numbers are being used symbolically too. In my post, Numerology in The Revelation, I argue that numbers should be considered figuratively if –

  • the literature is apocalyptic (a genre that uses symbolic and allegorical language)
  • there is clear use of numerology
  • numerology is used at the outset
  • numbers associated with Biblical numerology are used
  • numbers associated with Biblical numerology are used throughout
  • only numbers associated with Biblical numerology are used throughout
  • credible Biblical meaning is consistently the outcome of interpretation
  • multiple cases make chance meaning an impossible explanation

Revelation ticks all of the above, therefore we ought to consider the figurative meaning behind the number 144 000:

12 x 12 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 144, 000

12 = covenant people

10 = quantitative fullness

3 = God

2 = both Old and New Testament eras

‘one hundred forty-four thousand’ – 10 x 10 x 10 (or 103) x 12 x 12 (or 122) depicts the fullness (10) of God’s (3) people of both (2) the Old (12) and New (12) Covenant eras.

‘sealed’ – this is not a literal sealing, but is figurative of a spiritual truth.

‘tribe’ – note that this isn’t the traditional tribal list. This suggests meaning behind why some are listed and others omitted. Also of significance is the order in which they appear. Obviously Judah being listed first has meaning. Furthermore, the exact number from each tribe suggests meaning outside of the literal, as some tribes were much larger.

‘Israel’ – figuratively, Israel represents the true people of faith of both Testaments, not the literal people of whom Paul said ‘not all Israel are Israel.’

The 144000 are therefore the people of God of both Testament eras. The original audience would have recognized that they were being included and referred to by this symbolism. And, such an interpretation would have encouraged not only them, but the Church throughout history. This is in contrast to a literal interpretation of 144000 Jews after the Rapture, which clearly is a total misrepresentation that comes from applying a literal method of interpretation to what is clearly figurative language.

Who Are the Two Witnesses?

‘And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth’ (Revelation 11:3-4).

2 = Double witness

Context:

  • Witnesses = Lampstands = Olive Trees
  • Lampstands = Churches

Some allusions to consider:

  • Olive Trees = Kingly & Priestly authority (Zerubbabel – governer, Joshua – high priest
  • Elijah and Moses at the transfiguration
  • Jesus sent disciples out in 2’s
  • 2 Churches = Old & New Testament churches
  • 2 Churches = Smyrna & Philadelphia as ideal churches
  • Two witnesses required to establish truth
  • God’s house on foundation of the apostles and prophets

The two witnesses with authority to prophesy are “those who worship in the temple” (Revelation 11:1), i.e. God’s people of both Old and New Testament eras.

This is a far cry from the Futurist view of an actual two persons well beyond the first century church and after the church era, who will be literally killed in Jerusalem and their bodies left in the middle of the street, and the whole world will look upon them via a video gone viral over the Internet. Who then, three days later, will stand up and be taken up to Heaven.

Such a view is based on a wooden literal interpretation in the face of the clear need for figurative interpretation. Its outcome has no relevance to the 7 churches, the audience of the prophecy, or to the Church throughout time.

In contrast, however, the Church in the 1st century would have received comfort from the vision if they saw the slaying and resurrection of the Two Witnesses as a figurative depiction of the Church of the Old and New Testament eras who lay down their lives (not necessarily literally) in service to God. And, we too should receive this comfort and encouragement in our service of the Lord.

Rob Morley

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
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 doesn’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…’ Can you imagine an army in the future army with ‘…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

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
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

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
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

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
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

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing
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

Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:

  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?
  10. When Will The Rapture Occur?
  11. Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
  12. Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
  13. Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
  14. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
  15. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
  16. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
  17. Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
  18. The Millennium
  19. Prophetic Events and Their Timing

Jewish Salvation

Photo: Alex Bruda

Photo: Alex Bruda

Continued Conjecture and Confusion over the Jews

Conjecture over the timing and process of Jewish salvation has brought about much confusion and sadly false teaching in the church. This has happened to the point that, if some of us really knew what Paul was saying, he would probably be considered by them to be “anti-Semitic”.

In chapters 9-11 of his letter to the Romans, Paul addressed certain questions and speculation over the future of the Jewish people and their salvation in the light of what appeared to be a huge disconnect between Jews in general and their Messiah. He addressed questions like, why were Jews not embracing the gospel? And, had God rejected them?

Unfortunately, Paul’s attempts to do this have sadly also been misconstrued by those who wildly speculate over the process of Jewish salvation or who have been taught the theologies of such speculators. Perhaps Peter’s words are true of some of these people too, where he wrote, “Paul … wrote … some things … that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist … as they do the other Scriptures” (2Peter 3:15-16).

Separate Plan for Israel after the Gentiles is False

A twisting of Paul’s writing on this issue of the future of the Jews in God’s plans is the common misinterpretation that AFTER the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” THEN Israel will experience salvation. People read this idea into Romans 11:25-27 when it isn’t there, especially if they have been taught this idea. Yet, a simple reading of the passage will show this to be untrue.

Read it for yourself:-

A PARTIAL HARDENING has come upon Israel, UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”

Note:

A PARTIAL HARDENING” speaks of the NATURE of Israel.

UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” speaks of the duration of this partial hardening.

“And IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved speaks of the MANNER of the salvation of “all Israel” and NOT THE TIMING of it.

“as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins” speaks of salvation through the promised deliverer and the promised new covenant, i.e. through the gospel of Jesus and the new covenant.

Nothing here speaks of Gentiles coming in “BEFORE Israel will be saved”.  This idea gets accidently read into the passage by readers who expect the passage to be saying this, when it doesn’t.

Explaining the Passage

At this point in this passage, Paul, whose heart is to “somehow…save SOME of them (fellow Israelites),” is addressing the Gentiles in order to give them a sober and accurate understanding of what is happening to the Jews.

He is saying, something like, “Gentiles …In case you get the wrong idea of what is happening through your own evaluation of what you see, let me explain a mystery. A PARTIAL (not complete) hardening has come upon Israel as a people. And, this will be the case UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And, in this way, despite their condition of partial hardening, all Israel will be saved, as it is written, through a Savior who will remove their ungodliness with God’s new covenant!”

Drips and Drabs and Spurts

Essentially, as far as the Jews are concerned, while the Gentiles are coming in, and until the end of that time, they too will be coming in, however, because of a partial hardening, it will be in drips and drabs with occasional spurts.

At the time of Paul’s writing it was more like drips and drabs, while the Gentiles were coming into the kingdom in spurts. This was something that drew attention and caused possible speculation and pride among the Gentiles in the church in Rome, which Paul addressed here.

He addresses any idea that the Jews are LARGELY or COMPLETELY hardened as a people and as a result ABANDONED, by explaining that a PARTIAL hardening has come upon them, hence their lack of receiving of the gospel en masse.

So, just as the fullness of the Gentiles come in with drips and drabs and with occasional spurts, so too, will the fullness of the Jews. And, together they comprise Messiah’s “all Israel,” a Holy Nation and a Kingdom of priests.

A Duty to Tell the Jews about Jesus

Like Paul, we have a gospel to preach to a hard world, including to the Jews who have experienced ONLY a PARTIAL hardening.  And, although, at times, it may appear that the Jews are abandoned by God, this is not the case. They, too, must have their ungodliness banished through the Savior with His new covenant. Quite frankly, reaching Jews with the gospel is not harder than reaching atheists in the West or Japanese in Japan.

The time for Jewish salvation, like for everyone else, is NOW. And, it’s through their Messiah, Jesus, with God’s New Covenant.

Just as a missionary in Japan doesn’t stop sharing the gospel at the rejection of it by countless Japanese, we shouldn’t let the rejection of the gospel by many Jews keep us from sharing it with them.

Rob Morley

Photo by Alex Bruda

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