Promises to Israel: We Should Expect Literal Fulfillment

If Israel has been chosen to perform a special role in the divine plan, what promises have been given to Israel that will enable that ancient people to fulfill that role?

The Apostle Paul is clear on the great privileges that God has granted Israel. He wrote in Romans 9:4: “who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises.” Paul nowhere intimates that these great privileges have been annulled, forfeited, or cancelled. As a matter of fact the three chapters of which this verse is a part (Rom. 9-11) have as one of their purposes to emphasize that God has not cancelled His promises to Israel or transferred them to some other people! What says Paul in Romans 11:1?: “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”

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The Preservation of the Jewish People, Part 1

Some time ago in my Sojourners class I spoke on “The Greatest Reason That the Bible is True” from Deut. 29-30, which deals with the promises of punishment for Israel’s disobedience (fulfilled) and the promises of blessing for them (beginning to be fulfilled in their return to the Land). One of the greatest evidences that the promises are true is that God has preserved the Jewish people through their trials. Here are some further thoughts on that subject—in three parts.

A visiting preacher opened his message with the following provocative statement, “Today I want to tell you how to destroy the Jewish people,” which was the title of the sermon in the Church Bulletin: “How to Destroy the Jewish People.” That rather inflammatory title had also appeared in the local newspaper that week as part of an advertisement for the special meetings the church was conducting with their guest. In a short time, the announced sermon title had resulted in no small commotion in the small town. So significant was the brouhaha that the local rabbi had taken notice and was actually sitting in a pew that morning! Needless to say, the atmosphere in the 11:00 a.m. service at was more than a little charged with emotional electricity.

The preacher then continued his opening remarks with the announcement of his text for the sermon. Has asked his hearers to listen to the words of Jer. 31:31-33. “Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

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Fidelity-to-Jacob Theology

When it comes to interpreting Scripture, there are a number of common paradigms in use within the evangelical world. Traditional Dispensationalism, Progressive Dispensationalism, Olive Tree Theology, Covenant Theology, New Covenant Theology, Replacement Theology, and Supersessionism are among them.

Some of us fall in between the cracks. For example, I am somewhere between Traditional Dispensationalism, Progressive Dispensationalism, and Olive Tree Theology (developed by Messianic Jew David Stern in Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel).

I am suggesting we need a new, broader term to help make the major division between these viewpoints clear. So I am proposing that those of us who believe that God will fulfill the promises he made to ethnic Israel embrace the clear-cut label, “Fidelity-to-Jacob Theology.” This grouping should include many traditional and progressive dispensationalists, those who embrace olive tree theology, and some others.

This dividing line is an important one and significantly influences how we interpret Scripture. The points of this broad hermeneutic are:

1. The promises God made to Israel (Jacob) will stand.

Since replacement theologians and others sometimes refer to the church as “spiritual Israel” or “the new Israel,” I have chosen the term “Jacob” to emphasize the national and ethnic nature of these promises. God will faithfully keep the promises to the people with whom he made the promises—with the terms understood as they would have been understood at the time. There is no slight of hand, no change of definition, no alterations or added conditions, no “drop-in” coded replacement of words. Instead, God’s promises are completely transparent and God’s integrity certain. Because He is sovereign, even human unbelief cannot inhibit His determinations.

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New Book, Good Book


Regular Baptist Books has released a new volume, Dispensational Understandings of the New Covenant, edited by Mike Stallard of Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Titles need to be manageable in length, and this one labels the book nicely. It would have been more precise, however, if it had specified that the book contains traditional dispensational understandings of the New Covenant, and actually only some of them.

The limitation is deliberate. The book results from collaboration between traditional dispensationalists in the Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics. This council, which meets annually for the exchange and examination of ideas related to dispensational theology, includes only traditional dispensationalists. From the time that it first met in 2008, one of the goals of the council was to foster the publication of current, traditionally-dispensational thinking. Dispensational Understandings of the New Covenant is its first major release.

The book is necessary because dispensationalists have never agreed about how the church is related to the New Covenant. Some think that the church has no legal relationship to the New Covenant. Others believe that the church is not a party to the covenant, but nevertheless stands in some relationship to it. Still others have believed in the existence of two New Covenants, one for Israel and another, different one for the church. Some have argued that the church is directly related to the New Covenant and has been brought in as a participant alongside Israel.

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People of God: Eternity

NickImageRead the series so far.

As previous essays have shown, a biblical people is a nation, and a biblical nation is an ethnic unit. A people of God is a nation devoted to the worship of Jehovah. Until the constitution of Israel, no people of God existed anywhere. From the moment of its creation as a nation, however, Israel was called out from among the nations to be a chosen people, a peculiar treasure to the Lord, a kingdom of priests. Israel was the first, and for many centuries the only, people of God.

Nevertheless, even within the Old Testament, God revealed a purpose that extended to other peoples. Passages such as Psalm 67 and the miniature Psalm 117 made it clear that God wanted many nations to devote themselves to His worship. In what has to be a millennial reference, Isaiah 19:18-25 indicates that both Egypt and Assyria will someday join Israel, standing side-by-side as peoples of God. Every indication is that God always meant to have multiple peoples to call His own. And why not? If, in individual salvation, God displays the abundance of His grace by extending salvation to many (Rom. 5:15), then why, in national calling, should God’s exhibition of grace be restricted to one?

During the millennium, the pluriform grace of God will be exhibited through the calling of many peoples. Many nations will offer their worship to God through Israel’s messiah. While Israel will retain a unique position (Zech. 8:20-23), many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek Jehovah Tsabaoth and to entreat His favor.

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Daniel and the Antichrist (Part 1)

What will the world be like just before the second coming of Christ? Our Lord emphasized the enormous potential of global deception at that time.

In answer to the disciples’ urgent question: “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (NKJV, Matt. 24:3), our Lord warned them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many…. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:4-5, 11 22). Note the emphasis on the words “false” and “deceive” in our Lord’s answer.

One moment after the rapture of the church, every surviving religious leader in the world will be a false one. Yes, millions of good gospel tracts, books and recorded messages will still be here—but all born-again Christians will be gone. Human reflectors of the light of the world will be in heaven with their Savior. Suddenly, the worst person the world has even seen will introduce himself to the people of Israel, and will offer to them hope for security and military victory in the midst of a world that hates them. That person is the Antichrist. He is the one of whom the Lord Jesus spoke: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive” (John 5:43).

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