Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Israel...: Dissecting Dispensationalism pt 3& 4

The Nation of Israel

Dissecting Dispensationalism pt 3 & 4

My original plan for this series had Ezekiel 37 and the Jewish opinion of the nation of Israel as separate articles, but I think they may be more intertwined, so they're being combined. I suppose that's sort of cheap, but who doesn't love a bargain?

I have touched on Ezekiel 37 in this article:

My opinion, more or less, is that it takes place after the Millenial rule of Jesus Christ, but I am more than willing to move that position if I'm wrong. I am reading through Ezekiel again right now just to make sure.

It's relevant to mention, because some people believe that Ezekiel 37 has been fulfilled as evidenced by the existence of the current nation of Israel and Jews living there. Netanyahu (the great theological expert, oh right, prime minister) has been quoted as saying this is fulfilled because there is a nation of Israel. There are also some within the body of Christ who believe this as well.

Ezekiel 37 outlines how the children of Israel have been recovered from being "dry bones" (a dead nation?) And have been restored, presumably as a nation.

But 1) is this true, and 2) is the current nation of Israel "legit"?

Verse 14, God tells Israel that He will put His Spirit in them and while God's Holy Spirit was given to those who believed in Christ at Pentecost and believers ever since, the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people as a whole have not yet received the Spirit. Just like anyone else who has not repented and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they won't be able to receive the Spirit until they do.

As you read on in chapter 37, there are indications of a full restoration even to the point of the two kingdoms (Judah and Israel) being re-joined into one. They will have a king (a resurrected David,or will it be Jesus as Gabriel told Mary? I have to do more study. My money's on Jesus) on the throne. Ezekiel 37 ends with the Lord telling us that the nations will know He is the Lord.

While people from many nations know and acknowlege the Lord, the collective nations and people of Earth seem to reject this at present. Those things together
(and other things in that chapter) tell me that Ezekiel 37 has not been completely fulfilled YET.

Notice that as Ezekiel is prophesying, the bones are restored sequentially. First, the bones come together (Jews coming to the land), then they get muscle (military victory, 1948, 1967?), then they get flesh (comments on that?), and after having flesh, they sort of come alive. Then they realize they lack God's Spirit and ask Him for it.

My opinion is that the nation we know as Israel is partially (even a good deal) through this process and God is working with the nation of Israel (or the devout Jews within the nation) and will ultimately fulfill His promises. But they are not there yet. The bones have perhaps been gathered together, perhaps they have some muscle now, maybe they're getting skin, I don't know. But i do know they are not done with this process. I don't think they're yet crying out for the Spirit. I don't know for sure though.

Another thing that makes me believe this, are rumors i have heard that Israel is a secular state. Perhaps some do claim Israel to be a "Jewish" state, perhaps their government claims this too. But do they mean Jewish as in an ethnic identity? Or do they mean this as a spiritual identity? Is Israel a Jewish state in the same way that "C&E" Catholics are Catholics? Or the same way there is a Polish state, or a Japanese state?

Future Quake has often referred to Israel as a secular state, which is how I came to that conclusion as well, and i haven't been able to find anything to "officially" to corroborate or refute that position.

This article indicates that Israel seeks to become recognized as a Jewish state, impying that they really aren't yet.

This article states that a certain sect of Jews (Satmar Jews) reject the current nation of Israel as it is secular.

"The Satmar oppose the modern State of Israel because it is a “secular state” and not one endorsed or established by God. They believe that only the Messiah can restore the nation to the Jewish people, and that in this nation all Jews will practice Torah and follow the Lord."

Reflecting on this Jewish opinion for a second, the fact that some Jews believe that only the Messiah can restore Israel is interesting. It certainly isn't unbiblical. Peter expected Jesus was going to set up the Kingdom after He was resurrected (Acts 1:6) and Jesus (as Chuck Missler says) told Peter to mind his own business about when He will do it.

It certainly raises some questions about the "legitimacy" of secular Israel. (People using the Star of David to argue Israel's legitimacy should rather look to this theory instead) This also sets up Israel and the Jews to accept the Antichrist as Messiah should someone reestablish a "completely restored" Israel in the near future. Afterall, he will counterfeit Jesus.

On the flipside of course, the "book of knowledge," (as the Gilberts say) wikipedia considers them a "Jewish and democratic state."

Anyone who can clarify the official position, and what the definition of Jewish state actually is, please do so.

My bias, speculation and opinion (again not a solid opinion) is that for Israel to be considered a "Jewish nation" (at least on a superficial level, in the eyes of Jews and the Bible), they would have to reestablish the Mosaic covenant as the law of the land. This would require a third temple, or as some speculate a new tabernacle.

This view raises some questions though, as God no longer requires animal sacrifice on account of what His Son Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection. But then again, there will likely be sacrifices offered in the Millenial Kingdom.

To be a truly reestablished Jewish nation of Israel, the Jews (and Israel) would also have to be living in a kingdom of Israel reestablished by Jesus Christ after He returns. The kingdom won't truly be reestablished until the return of Jesus Christ.

Regardless of the current "Jewish-ness" and legitimacy of the nation of Israel, or whether or not its counterfeit as some claim, it has a right to exist as a country (by virtue of the fact that they have filled out the right UN paperwork that other countries have to do) but I also believe it is there because God allowed it to be there.

And the only reason I can think of that God would do so is because it suits His plan to have a nation called Israel there. So for anyone in the counterfeit Israel camp, don't get too bent out of shape even. Whether you are right or wrong, God is still in control and has ordained that this Israel exist, and there's nothing you or i can do or say on the matter outside of engaging in friendly scholarly debate.

Psalm 22:28

28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

Psalm 47:7-8

7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. 8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

Regarding Israel, Ezekiel 37 seems to only be partially fulfilled, rather than completely as some say. Accordingly, some Jews, some Christians and the world in general think that present day Israel may not be legit for a number of reasons and some think it should go away. Rest assured, God is working and will fulfill His plan for Israel and the Jews and will restore the kingdom of Israel at the proper time, when the rightful king, Jesus Christ, comes to claim His throne.

The Messiah came once to fulfill the scriptures regarding God's plan for salvation and forgiveness of sins, initiating the time of grace for you and I-the gentiles. He will come again to restore the kingdom of Israel for 1,000 years before finally doing away with Satan and ruling the world forever! (Revelation 19-22)

Until that time, we still have a small window of time to repent of our sins, ask God forgiveness by accepting His gift of salvation and taking Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives.

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