The Coming Kingdom 083

The Coming Kingdom 083
Deuteronomy 28:13 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 4, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom


The Coming Kingdom #83


Deuteronomy 28:13

Dr. Andy M Woods

All right, y’all. Come on in. Should be a handout in the back. Let’s open our Bibles to the book of Isaiah 2:2-3. I’m hoping and praying that we’re going to finish the kingdom study tonight.  What do you guys think about that— 83 lessons is probably enough to get the point across. I said probably. Yeah, it’s no guarantee.

But here we are in this book, The Coming Kingdom is, as I’ve tried to explain, the book I wrote is not the important book. The important book is God’s book, The Bible.  My book just sort of topically organizes material on the Kingdom. So we’ve gone through Genesis to Revelation.

  1. What does the Bible say about the Kingdom? And we’ve taught the model that the Kingdom is not canceled presently, but is in a state of postponement.  That took a long time to go through that. And then we moved to part 2, which is:
  2. Why do so many people believe we’re in the Kingdom? We looked at all of the passages that they use to argue that we’re in the Kingdom, and showed that really none of them teach what they think they teach and what they advocate that they teach. None of them teach kingdom now theology.  And then from there, we’re hopefully completing part 3 tonight, which is:
  3. Who cares? which is probably the part I should have taught first.  In other words, if the church sees itself as the Kingdom of God on the earth, why does it really matter?

So the point we’ve tried to communicate here is that kingdom now theology furnishes the soil, the proper soil, for a myriad of false doctrines. And in fact, the more I have looked into this, the more convinced I am that almost every false doctrine that we wrestle with today in 21st century evangelical Christianity, some way, somehow has its roots in kingdom now theology. In other words, if you don’t have kingdom now theology, you don’t have the soil necessary for these false doctrines to emerge.  So those are:

  1. Loss of pilgrim status
  2. Social gospel
  3. Ecumenical and interfaith alliances
  4. Rejection or marginalization of Bible prophecy
  5. Building the wrong kingdom
  6. Charismatic theology
  7. Prosperity gospel
  8. Anti-Israelism
  9. Lordship Salvation

And then the one we left off last time is what’s called anti-Israelism, or sometimes Christian Palestinianism. (See slide on Abrahamic Covenant)  Anti-Israelism basically is the idea that the Church is the new Israel and all of Israel’s promises have been spiritually transferred to the Church. It’s called replacement theology.  It sometimes goes by the name super-secessionism, meaning the church has superseded Israel, and through a kind of  symbolical, allegorical method of interpretation, all of Israel’s blessings are transferred to the Church. And we’ve made the point that they never transfer Israel’s curses to the Church; they leave those behind for the Jewish people, but we get all her blessings in a non-literal way.

So we believe going to the correct view, that God has a future for Israel because of the covenants that He has made to Israel in the Old Testament, the language of which has never been exhausted.  So there has to be a future for Israel when you understand those covenants.  And we’ve used this quote from Thomas Ice, who says, “Every Old Testament prophet, except Jonah, speaks of a permanent return to the land of Israel by the Jews.”

So it’s hard to read the Old Testament without thinking that if this is literal, God must have a future for Israel beyond the present age.

We have also made the point that God is pretty good at bringing Israel back into her land. He’s done it twice in biblical history. (See slide on Reliability of the “Divine Regathering” Predictions) So if he’s done it twice, once in the days of Joshua, a second time in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, I think we ought to believe His promises that he’s going to do it a third time.  Amen?  And I would argue that that return to the land is already happening before our very eyes.  So the problem, though, is kingdom now theology cuts Israel’s cord. Alva J. McClain says this concerning kingdom now theology, ”The confusion of our…Lord’s rule…leads to serious consequences… [I]t makes the present age the period of the Mediatorial Kingdom.” [And then, he says], “[I]t dissolves the divinely covenanted purpose in the nation of Israel.”

So if we are the Kingdom, and if we are the new Israel, then who cares about a future kingdom through the real Israel? You see that? And so the more kingdom now theology is absorbed by Christians and Christian leaders, the less talk you hear from pulpits about God’s future for the nation of Israel.

So it’s sort of shocking that you could spend decades in a church and never hear anything about the future of Israel.  And that’s sort of a clue that you’re in a church that’s teaching kingdom now, theology.  So I’ve given you some quotes from people.  I’m going through these sort of fast here at the beginning, because we covered some of these last week, of folks like Gary DeMar who teach kingdom now theology with one hand, and then in the next hand, they dismiss Israel’s future.

Gary North does the exact same thing.  He basically talks here about how the Church is the visible kingdom of God on the earth with one hand, and then with the next hand, it’s almost like clockwork, he says that he has a book already in his computer for when Israel gets pushed into the sea or converted to Christ, and when he says converted to Christ, he’s talking about Israel being absorbed into the Church.  So he says ‘One of those two is going to happen any day now, and I’ve got a book in my computer that’s going to come out once it happens to say, I told you so.’

So it’s just a lot of, and  you see this all the time, one hand kingdom now theology, next hand, dismissal of Israel. When I say dismissal of Israel, what I’m talking about is the dismissal of Israel as a distinct nation.

We have also many, many groups trying to argue that the Church is the new Israel.  So here is the late R.C. Sproul, and he says, “…We deny that the church is God’s ’plan B.’ [Now, we’ve gone through that—it is a false argument.  We’re not plan B.  God has no plan Bs]. “We deny that the church is God’s plan B.  We deny that we are living in the redemptive parenthesis.” [And He says], “…we are all together, the Israel of God...“ [So he asked this question], ‘What about the Jews?’  We believe that the answer to the question, What about the Jews?isHere we are.’ So that’s basically the belief of R.C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries, reformed theology, replacement theology: ‘We’re Israel; we’re the new Israel.’  So if that’s true, why would you care about the real Israel in the Middle East?

This is a book that I had to read as a student at Dallas Seminary, and when one of our interns was going through Dallas seminary, he reported back to me that it’s the exact same book he had to read.  And here’s what it says; it’s a book called The Church, by Edmond Clowney.  And I just want to show you how much this ‘The-church-is-new- Israel’ thinking is being transmitted to modern-day seminary students.  This particular book, this author says, “The story of the church begins with Israel, the Old Testament people of God…The identity of the church is necessary for the mission of the church.  Only as a holy nation, called out of darkness into the light of God’s presence, can the church discharge its mission…Peter affirms that the church’s right to the titles of Israel, then describes the church’s witness of praise  (1 Peter 2:9-10)… This understanding of the church as the new and true Israel of Christ must inspire our mission in the contemporary world.”

So, and we’ve been through the Peter passage, haven’t we?  That passage is not teaching that.  But his reading of 1 Peter is that, every title that God gave to Israel is now available to the Church.  I mean, this is in spite of the fact that the name Israel in the New Testament is used about 73 times.  And guess what it always means every single time?  Israel.  Meaning the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The title Israel, never, not a single time, is ever used to describe the Church.  The title Israel is never used to describe even a mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles.  But that fact doesn’t deter people.  The Church today feels very comfortable looking at Israel and her titles and just transferring them over to the Church.  And we have, at Dallas Seminary, what’s called progressive dispensationalism, which to my mind, is flirting with replacement theology.  They haven’t gone completely over the cliff yet, but they’re certainly moving that direction.  And you can see that in a lot of their writings as they will call the Church the new Israel.

So David Turner, a progressive dispensationalist, says, ”It is clear that all the above are connected with the number twelve (cf. Rev 7:5-8; 12:1,12). This number is perhaps the most familiar number of the Bible, most frequently associated with the sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the ‘new Israel,’ the church.”

You see that?  So you notice how he’s connecting the word ‘Israel’ with church there. This is progressive dispensationalists doing this.  And that’s why I thank God for people like Stanley Toussaint, who is now with the Lord.  And this is one of the reasons I dedicated my book, The Coming Kingdom, to Stanley Toussaint.  He, in writing, called those guys out on that:  Of this designation, normative dispensationalist Stanley Tousssaint appropriately comments, [he’s commenting on what David Turner says here].  “This is precariously close to replacement theology.” So you’re starting to see a pattern here, hopefully, of progressive dispensationalists arguing that the Church is the Kingdom.  So they’re kind of flirting with the idea that the church is the new Israel.

Other more full-blown systems arguing that the Church is the Kingdom, have no problem calling the Church the new Israel.  And as that mindset takes hold, why would you be concerned about, why would you care about a future for ethnic Israel in the Middle East?

Another trend, and I don’t have any quotes here on the screen for you, but you’ll find them in the book.  We’re in chapter 25 of my book, The Coming Kingdom.  A lot of people are saying that Israel has a future. And I don’t think that really captures what God is communicating concerning Israel. Israel doesn’t have a future. Israel is the future.  The whole hope for planet earth is riding on the response of Israel to her Messiah.

So again, it was Stanley Toussaint in class one time who made a point.  He said, ’Look, you can have the whole world come to Christ, but if tiny Israel remains in unbelief, the Kingdom will stay in postponement.  Conversely, you can have the whole world reject Christ.  And if tiny Israel comes to faith in Christ, which prophetically we know will happen in the events of the tribulation period. That, in fact, is God’s purpose for the tribulation period—if tiny Israel does come to Christ, then the Kingdom will come.  And so, to say Israel has a future, as I think I quote Darrell Bock in the book saying that over and over again, ‘Israel has a future’ that statement in and of itself is a marginalization of truth.  I mean, what the Bible presents is that Israel is the future.

So, Paul, and you can follow me over to these scriptures if you want.  I know I had you open to Isaiah, but over in Romans 11:12-15, the apostle Paul says concerning Israel, “Now, if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!  But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles.  Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen, and save them.“

So what is God doing at the present time in the Church?  He’s not replacing; He hasn’t replaced Israel.  What he’s doing is he’s provoking Israel to jealousy.  And as the Israelis are watching God pour out His blessings of grace upon the Church, there’s jealousy stirred up in her heart, saying, ‘Wait a minute, we used to be the people of God, and we want that place of position back.’  So God is actually using his work in the Church to plant seeds of spiritual envy, in this sense, in the hearts of the Jews.  And of course, those seeds will be watered and brought to fulfillment in the tribulation period.

So Paul writes Romans 11:12-15, “…15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead.“  So in other words, God is pretty good at taking lemons and turning them into lemonade.  So what did God do through the Jewish rejection of their Messiah?  He attached, upon Christ, the sins of the world, which resulted in whose salvation?  Our salvation as Gentiles.  So God took a bad thing, a tragedy, because Christ was rejected by His own people.  And when you go through the gospels, and if you understand the legal rules that the Jews had in place at the time, both from Hebrew Bible and from Jewish tradition, the Jews violated basically every rule they could violate to rush Christ through the court system and get Him dead as fast as possible.

So we like those stories today—we don’t like them.  We like to study those stories today of trials, legal trials that go awry, runaway jury and all these kinds of movies that are out there.  I mean, you go through the gospels, particularly The Passion Week, it’s a total runaway judicial system.  I mean, they broke every rule they could possibly break to to run Him through their system and then turn Him over to the Romans and get Him dead as fast as possible.  And yet God took that tragic event in history, and He turned a lemon into lemonade because, through what happened, Jesus paid the sin debt for the whole world, which means I can be saved and you can be saved.

So Paul says he sees arguing from the lesser to the greater.  See that?  Basically what he’s saying is that if the Jewish rejection of the Messiah resulted in something good—our salvation, what do you think is going to happen when they’re in faith?  I mean, if God can take a negative decision and turn it around for good, how much better off will the world be once the Jews are in faith?  And I think what he’s talking about there is the Kingdom. The Kingdom will come to planet earth. And of course, Jesus, over in Matthew 23:37-39 made this statement: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,… [So who’s He speaking to there? The nation of Israel] …who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling…” [So He is using this beautiful metaphor to describe what He wanted to do through the Jewish people in His first advent, but the problem wasn’t Christ. The problem was Israel. Israel was unwilling to receive Him. And it’s interesting there: the verb ‘gathers’ is episunago. Anybody recognize a Jewish word that we get from that word, sunago?  Synagogue, which is a Jewish gathering.  He is saying, ‘When I came to you 2000 years ago, (First Coming), I wanted to have synagogue with you, but you wouldn’t have Me]… So then He says, …“38Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”  [The house would be the Temple.  Now, He typically called the Temple ‘My Father’s House.’  My Father’s House is a house of prayer.  He kept calling it My Father’s House.  Now He is calling it ‘your house’ because ‘you kicked Me out’]… “38Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” [Speaking of the covenant curses that would come as a result of Israel’s rejection of their King in A.D. 70]. …“39For I say to you [Israel]… ”from now on, you will not see Me until …” [Now, your kingdom now theologian or your replacement theologian stops the sentence right there.  They just act like Jesus is done with the Jewish people, but the sentence doesn’t stop there. You see the word ‘until’ that’s a very important word.  In other words, Israel’s rejection of her King is not a forever thing]. “39For I say to you, from now on, you will not see Me until you say ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!” [which is Psalm 118:26, a Messianic Psalm. And what He is saying there is ‘I’m not coming back to this earth for this nation until you acknowledge Me as your Messiah.‘  So until Israel is in faith, you can’t expect the second advent of Christ and the subsequent Kingdom].

Now, I’m not talking here about the rapture. This has nothing to do with the rapture. The rapture is part of God’s program for the Church.  That could happen at any moment.  What I’m talking about is the Second Advent where His feet touch the Mount of Olives, and it splits, and then the thousand-year kingdom is established.  That will never happen until Israel acknowledges Jesus as her Messiah.

So put these passages together with the Romans 11 passage, and it’s very clear that to say Israel has a future is a marginalization of what God is communicating.  Israel doesn’t have a future.  Israel is the future.  Israel is the whole future of this planet.  And yet a lot of these things get marginalized in kingdom now theology.

So I’m noticing a lot of evangelicals are sort of saying, yeah, ’Israel has a future’ but that’s not what the Bible communicates.  Israel is the future.  And when some of these guys say Israel has a future, they kind of view Israel as sort of one of many nations in the millennial kingdom. You know, she’s going to be over there like the Virgin Islands or Japan or Canada, but it really doesn’t matter because we’re all going to be there.  So Israel is there, but she doesn’t really stand out.  She’s just one of many nations.  That is not what the Bible teaches either.

The Bible is very clear that Israel will be elevated to a place of preeminence over the rest of the nations in the millennial kingdom.  How do I know that?  Well, notice Isaiah 2:2-3, “Now it will come about in the last days [This is the millennial passage]… “The mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it,…” [not to Washington, DC.  Who would want to go there anyway except on a tour?  Not to Brussels.  Not to some famous Gentile city, but will stream to it, in other words, to Zion or Jerusalem]… ”And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths. For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

So it’s very clear that Israel is not one of many nations in the millennial kingdom.  She’s preeminent over the nations.  You might want to jot down Isaiah 49:22,23.  We don’t have time to read it.  There’s other verses there that are mentioned in the book, but I will read this one.  Zechariah 14:16-18:  “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague that which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.“

So it’s very clear, Jesus, in the millennium, is ruling and reigning the planet from the elevated and restored and preeminent city of Jerusalem.  So, it’s sort of like people want to throw a bone our direction and say, ‘Well, I believe that I believe in a future for Israel.’ And I’m trying to communicate that it’s a marginalization of what God says.  God says the whole future of planet earth rests upon the shoulders of Israel’s conversion.  This is why Satan is always in history, even up to the present hour, trying to wipe out the Jewish race.  And God says that once the kingdom starts, Israel is going to be preeminent again.  And when Satan, at the end of the millennial kingdom, and we’re getting there Sunday mornings in our study of the book of Revelation, when Satan is let out of the abyss at the end of the 1000-year kingdom, what city does he immediately attack?  He immediately attacks the beloved city, which is the city of Jerusalem.  Now, why would Satan, after being in incarceration for 1000 years, why would he wage war against the city of Jerusalem?  Because even Satan recognizes that Jerusalem is the headquarters of the whole world during that 1000-year time period.

So Robert Thomas, commenting on that passage, says “At the end of the Millennium that city, [Jerusalem] will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader [again] among the nations.“

And so there’s a lot of different ways people are sort of marginalizing Israel.  None of which are really in accord with biblical truth.  Either they say there’s no future for Israel, or they kind of cough up Israel has a future, or they kind of cough up that Israel is going to be one among many in the millennium.  And none of those options are biblical.

And sadly, what you find an awful lot of people doing today is they don’t even think the Jews in the land right now, beginning in 1948, has any biblical significance at all.  I can’t tell you how many Christian pastors and theologians I run into that say, ’Well, I’m sort of agnostic about the Jewish nation in the land again, I’m not really sure what it means.’ And that is a precipitous decline from what dispensationalists used to teach.

John Walvoord, around I think this was late 1960s, I think, this was even before the Six-Day War, when the nation of Israel got back Judea and Samaria in a war of self-defense, said this… John Walvoord, of course, as you probably know, is probably what many call the Dean of all prophecy students.  He writes this, “Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land.  It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His Church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic destiny.“

In other words, what dispensationalists used to teach is ‘My goodness, you see Israel in the land right now, after she’s been out of that land for 2000 years? You better pay attention to that. That’s a big deal. God is doing something on this earth that He has never done before in fulfillment of a plethora of prophecies. And although we’re not in the kingdom yet, and we’re still in the church age, clearly God is setting the stage for something big.’  And that’s how you look at the nation of Israel. You see it as a modern-day miracle, the miracle on the Mediterranean.  This is not a time to be agnostic, or to say ‘I just don’t know what that means over there.’  That’s not the way John Walvoord talked about it around 1964.

So I very much like this chart that Randall Price put together [see slide on Israel’s Two Regatherings]. He basically says there’s two regatherings.  There’s a present regathering that’s happening now or first, and then there’s going to be a permanent, second regathering that’s going to happen later.  So in the present regathering, Israel returns to part of the land by the end of the tribulation period, and once the kingdom starts, she will be in all the land.  Now, she’s returned in unbelief.  But the day will come where she will actually be in faith in her own land.  Presently, she’s restored to the land only.  But once the events of the tribulation period happen, she’ll be restored to the land and the Lord.  What’s happening now is setting the stage for discipline where Israel is going to go into the 70th week of Daniel and be brought to faith.  And once the final restoration takes place at the end of the tribulation period, Israel, the stage is going to be set for millennial blessing in the millennial kingdom.  So do you want to know where we are?  We’re right in between those two columns [reference slide].  I mean, if there’s ever a time to be alive, this would be it, because the first part of this has already started happening.  We’re waiting for the second part to happen.  And we’re living right in between the two.  And what’s frustrating to me is as these things are happening before our eyes, the Church is getting more and more apathetic to these things.  You are hearing less and less teaching or enthusiasm about this issue when our generation ought to be yelling about it the loudest.

So what is happening with kingdom now theology is all of these things I’ve been talking about here is basically being denied.  Lynne Hybels, the wife of Bill Hybels of Willow Creek fame, I think I read some somewhere recently that Bill Hybels, I guess, is not the pastor anymore of Willow Creek, do I have that right?  There was some kind of moral problem or something, but this is what Lynne Hybels, his wife, said a few years ago. You know, she’s as replacement theology-oriented as you could get.  And she says this, ”It is true: I am not a Christian Zionist. I do not hold to a theology asserting that the modern state of Israel represents a divinely mandated return of ancient Israel to the Promised Land… At the same time, I wholeheartedly support justice for the Palestinians.” And that’s what I mean by, and it’s not my term, it was coined by Dr. Paul Wilkinson:  Christian Palestinianism, where the focus is not on the Jews in the land anymore, but on all of the people that Israel is supposedly oppressed over there to get that land back.  Despite the fact that the nation of Israel is about the size of Vermont.  I’ve shown you the map.  Israel represents less than 1% of Middle East territory.  She’s surrounded by a sea of hostile Islamic theocracies, that in their charters, obligate themselves to drive Israel into the Mediterranean Sea.

But you see, the narrative is being changed by people like Lynne Hybels and others, where I call it the transforming David into Goliath strategy.  So, David is no longer the good guy. It’s Goliath who is the good guy that David supposedly oppressed.  That’s what’s happening with the Israel narrative.  And the church tragically through a lot of younger preachers, and I don’t mind mentioning names: people like Andy Stanley, Anthony Campolo.  I’ll give you his quote in just a minute.  The church is becoming less and less interested in Israel because of this transforming David into Goliath strategy.

To me, people always want to talk about miracles. Why doesn’t God do miracles?  To me, the Middle East is a miracle for the simple reason that, and I’ve shared this with you before, when a people group is outside of their land for a generation or two, they lose their cultural identity. So they kind of assimilate into the host culture.  So as I like to joke, in the Bible, we’ve got the Amelekites, the Jebusites, the Canaanites, the Gergeshites, the mosquito bites, the electric lights, the termites, the out of sites, etc.  And then we ask, ‘Well, what happened to all those groups?  I mean, we don’t say ‘So-and-so and moved in down the street. They’re a very lovely Jebusite couple.’ Why don’t we see Jebushites today? For the simple reason that they got absorbed into host cultures so they don’t exist anymore.  And yet, here’s the nation of Israel outside of its land for 2000 years!  And they go right back into the same land that they were evicted from just like God said would happen in the last days.  And they have their same language revived, Hebrew?  They have their same religion.  How come Israel never lost its cultural identity like all of the “ites“?  Because God has done a miracle.  God has his hand on the Jewish people because of a covenant that He made with them in the Old Testament called the Abrahamic Covenant.  So to me, seeing the Jerusalem Post in Hebrew is a miracle.  It’s inexplicable other than the hand of God.

And yet, here Anthony Campolo describes Israel as “…a little nation that has survived primarily because of the wealth and war materials supplied by the US government.”  So what he’s saying is that there’s absolutely nothing miraculous about it at all.  The only reason Israel exists is because the United States props her up.  And I believe I shared with you before that Anne and I were at a church in the Dallas area.  This is one of the reasons we decided to leave the church because they brought in a missionary speaker who basically told everybody that the nation of Israel is not Isaac but Ishmael.  Now you know the difference between Isaac and Ishmael, right? Isaac is the child born miraculously through waiting on God by way of faith.  Ishmael was the child born out of works and human manipulation and scheming.  So when this person was given the pulpit, and basically told everybody that Israel is Ishmael, not Isaac, what he was saying is that Israel in the Middle East, is a Zionist, humanistic plan; a Zionist conspiracy.  It’s got nothing to do with God’s hand at all, which is the very thing Tony Campolo is saying.  He’s saying that there wouldn’t be an Israel if it wasn’t for the United States, her wealth and her war materials propping Israel up.  So he’s denying here the miracle on the Mediterranean.  And this is the type of thinking that comes into the Church when the Church starts to see itself as the inheritor of Israel’s promises.  You get a mindset where you’re either apathetic or belligerent towards the modern state of Israel.

Now one of the biggest proponents of this, and somebody asked me about this a week or two ago, is John Piper. In fact, he was here recently in the Houston area doing something. And so some folks asked me, what do you think about John Piper?  And I don’t really value John Piper very highly at all, quite frankly, on a number of issues, not the least of which is his attitude towards Israel.

John Piper, around 2002, penned an article for US News and World Report, I think it was, where his basic premise was that Israel in the Middle East doesn’t mean anything. It’s got nothing to do with God.  It’s got nothing to do with the Bible.  It’s got nothing to do with prophecy because Israel is in unbelief.

Well, let me ask you a question. What has to happen before you can be a believer? You have to be an unbeliever first.  Was God at work in your life before you were a believer?  Of course, he was.  Why can’t God be at work in the Jewish nation before faith?  So Piper’s whole argument, I think, collapses on that basis.  Beyond that, when you study the valley of the dry bones very carefully, Ezekiel 37:1-11, it’s very clear in verse 11, “…these bones are the whole house of Israel.” It’s not the First Baptist Church of whatever, “…these bones are the whole house of Israel.“ And it’s very clear that Ezekiel saw the bones come together to form a skeleton.  He saw the sinews and the muscles appear forming a human body. But he saw no breath in the body. Now the Hebrew word for breath is I think you pronounce it ‘ruah,’ which is the spirit.  And then he was told to prophesy again, and then he saw breath come into the body.  So the bones coming together is Israel’s physical restoration.  That’s that left column [on the Two Regathering slide] on the screen there.  The breath coming into the body is the completed work of God, which is in the right hand column.  So it’s very clear that first, Israel will come back in unbelief.  That’s what the chronology of Ezekiel 37:1-11, reveals.  Don’t take my word for it.  Go home tonight, and read it, and you’ll see it just as clearly as it can be seen.

So when John Piper says that Israel in the land today doesn’t mean anything because Israel is not in faith, he’s totally ignoring the chronology given in Ezekiel 37, which, by the way, is simply illustrating what’s described in Ezekiel 36:24-28, where Ezekiel 36 talks about the same thing:  Israel coming back into the land.  And then it says, ‘Then I will sprinkle them with clean water.’ So God gives an order.  First, they’re coming back in unbelief, then they’re going to be restored in faith. But you see these replacement, kingdom now theology-type theologians all trying to argue that Israel in the Middle East means nothing.  So Piper kind of gets around it by saying, ‘You know what? I still believe in a future for Israel, because Paul in the olive tree analogy talks about the natural branches being cut off’—that would be the Jews in unbelief, right?  Then he talks about the wild olive branches being grafted in.  Who do you think those wild olive branches are, by the way?  That’s us.  And then, Paul makes the point that if God can bring in the unnatural branch, He can bring back the natural branch.

That’s how Piper interprets Romans 11.  So John Piper says, “[God] has a saving purpose for Israel. All Israel will someday turn to the Lord Christ as a group. This is my deep understanding in belief of Romans 11. The broken off branches will be grafted in one day.” [Watch this now.  Watch the language very carefully]. “The broken off branches will be grafted in one day to the people of God, the bride of Christ, His…” [What’s the last word?] “…church.” 

Piper’s interpretation of Romans 11, the natural branches coming back in is a bunch of Jews are going to get converted at the end of the church age, and they’re going to become part of the Church.  Now, your average Christian looks at that and says, ‘Well, Piper’s okay; he doesn’t teach replacement theology.  He still believes in a future for Israel.’

That’s why I very much appreciate the response to Piper’s assertion by Dr. Paul Wilkinson, who has it right.  He says, of Piper‘s statement, “On the basis of this kind of statement, many in the church are being misled into believing that Piper stands with Israel, but he does not. What Piper said is not what Paul taught.  Israel’s destiny as a nation is not one of spiritual incorporation into the church, which is the classic Reformed, Calvinistic teaching. The Church comprises individual Jews and Gentiles today, not ‘Israel,’ which is a distinct national entity. The appointed destiny for Israel is for her to remain a nation in the sight of God and in the midst of all of the nations, for as long as God’s ‘fixed order’ of creation endures (Jer 31:36).

Jeremiah 31:35-37, where God says, ’As long as there’s sun, moon and stars, Israel will always be a nation before Me.’  So this is very important to understand.  When somebody like John Piper says, ’Yeah, a bunch of Jews are going to get saved and become part of the Church,’ he is marginalizing what God said.  God never made a prediction that Israel is just going to become part of the Church.  What God said is [that] Israel is going to remain a distinct nation forever, as long as there’s sun, moon and stars.  And that nation, after the Church has already been removed from the earth via the rapture, is going to be converted.  And through that believing nation, God is going to fulfill every single promise He ever made to them, including elevating them over the nations in the thousand-year kingdom.  And anything less than that is a marginalization of what God said.

And your average Christian would look at John Piper’s statement and see really no problem with it.  But Paul Wilkinson properly and appropriately calls it out.  But this is the kind of marginalization that you get when the Church starts to see itself as the new Israel.

And tragically, one of the things that can happen is anti-Semitism could rear its ugly head again, not from the world, but from the Church.  Now, I’ve given you this quote from Luther, haven’t I?  So I don’t know if I need to read it all again.  It’s a terrible quote where Luther, a man that contributed greatly to Christianity, at the end of his life, got very frustrated with the Jews, wrote an 80-page tract called “The Jews and Their Lies”, where he said things like this: ”First their synagogues should be set on fire…Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed….Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmuds…” See the dot, dot, dot between the sentences?  That’s called an ellipsis, which means I left out a lot of stuff. And you can find this for free and download it to your Kindle and read it for yourself.  It’s available.  It’s just called “The Jews and Their Lies.”  It’s a statement that’s so out of control that in my book, Ever Reforming, I quote the Lutheran Church in 1985, I think it was, apologizing for Luther’s remarks.

So even Luther’s spiritual progeny recognize that what he said was way over the top.  So there’s one slide on his anti-Semitic diatribe.  There’s a second slide.  There’s a third slide.  There’s a fourth slide.

And so consequently, in “The Encyclopedia Judaica...” [a writer says there],…”Short of the Auschwitz oven and the extermination, the whole Nazi holocaust is pre-outlined here.“ Of course, Luther made those statements in Germany.  Where did the Third Reich arise from?  Germany.

Now, I found this very interesting quote from Rabbi Joseph, and I’m going to butcher the last name here, Telushkin. And he writes a book called Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, and this is what he says; he’s a rabbi; he’s Jewish, and he’s commenting on Luther. ”Telushkin likens Luther to Mohammed, because both men initially had a love for the Jews, but later turned in hate against the Jews when the Jews would not convert. Here are some of Rabbi Telushkin’s shocking quotes:”… [These are direct quotes from the rabbi]…

  1. “Luther was to pen the most anti-Semitic writings produced in Germany until the time of Hitler.”
  1. ”On one occasion, this earlier exponent of Christian love…” [I guess he’s being facetious there]. ”[He] said, ‘I would threaten to cut their tongues out from their throats if they refuse to acknowledge the truth that God is a trinity and not a plain unity.’”
  1. ”At the Nuremberg trials,….” [You know what those are, where the Nazis were exposed for what they had done]… “Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher defended himself with the claim that he had not said anything worse about the Jews than had Martin Luther.” So there he is defending himself at the Nuremberg trials, this Nazi propagandist saying, ‘Well, I just said what Luther said.’
  2. Hitler proudly claimed Luther as an ally: ‘He saw the Jew as we are only beginning to see him today.’”

So Luther Luther gave impetus to Adolf Hitler and his final solution.  So the reason I’m sharing this with you is that I want to show you that the church not only has a history of anti-Semitism, and by the way, when you witness to a Jewish person, that’s why it’s so difficult. Because you could have complete purity in your heart and disavow everything that’s gone on in church history.  But as my friend, Olivier Melnik says, ‘When the Jew looks at you, he looks at you as if you’ve you’re walking around with suitcases; one of those suitcases is Martin Luther, another suitcase is John Calvin and some of the anti-Semitic remarks he made.’ And so that’s why it’s so hard to break the barrier with a Jewish person. They know Christian history better than we know it. And so they look at Christianity, to a large extent, through the eyes of anti-Semitism, when you could be the nicest person in the world to a Jewish person, just want to see him get saved, and  have complete love in your heart towards them, they don’t interpret your remarks that way because of this history that’s gone before.

John Calvin was a little bit more circumspect and moderated in his comments than Luther was, but I’m convinced that you still see that bristling hatred towards the Jews in the writings of John Calvin.  By the way, Lutheran Calvin did not invent anti-Semitism. That goes all the way through the Middle Ages.  But Lutheran Calvin never corrected the problem. And when the Protestant movement started, they just absorbed that teaching into the new Protestant movement.

Calvin says in his commentary on Daniel, “But here he [the rabbi] not only betrays his ignorance, but his utter stupidity, since God so blinded the whole people that they were like restive dogs.”… [Now, could you imagine today if you called a race of people restive dogs?  Could you imagine the backlash you’d go through?  And that’s what John Calvin is doing on his commentary here in Daniel],… “I have had much conversation with Jews: I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuineness—nay, I have never found common sense in any Jew. But this fellow, who seems so sharp and ingenious” [talking about this rabbi],…“displays his own impudence to his great disgrace.”

So we’re living in the Logos software time period where we can fish up every single quote these guys had, and it’s not hard to find these types of quotes by Luther and Calvin.

Now, Rick Wiles, I don’t know if you know who he is, has a news outlet called True News. And it’s probably one of the most misnamed news outlets I can think of. He comes from sort of a Christian conservative angle, but he goes on perpetual diatribes against pre-tribulationism and pre-millennialism.  So he says this:

Rick Wilder: “The secret pre-Tribulation rapture story and Christian Zionism that is a two-headed—

Doc Burkhart:  Monster. [And the guy that’s on there with him says Monster].

Rick Wiles:monster.  It’s a two headed freak monster. Okay. They come together, both of them come together because they were started by the same people.  The Christian Zionists started the Pre-Trib rapture doctrine.

Doc Burkhart: [Interviewer] “And this was seed planted decades ago, but it came to full fruition within the last 30 years.”

Rick Wiles:  “That’s right. They had to create the Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine to justify Christian Zionism. That’s where it all came from. But isn’t it interesting that in the recent decades where the American Evangelical Church has been taken over by Christian Zionism, that the American Evangelical Church has lost its flavor?”

Doc Burkhart: [Interviewer], “Yes.”

Rick Wiles: ”They are strong words, and I mean it. They took control of the churches in America, the Christian Zionists. They changed the gospel. They took Jesus off the cross. They replaced the cross with the Star of David.“  [Have we done that, by the way, in this church? I don’t think so]… “They took the focus off God, and holiness.  They put it all on a piece of land in the Middle East.  And America has gone to hell.  America has gone to hell.” [That’s kind of like saying, ‘You know, when the rooster crows, the sun comes up. So therefore, the rooster crowing must cause the sun to come up.’  Yes, America is going to hell.  I mean, our country is not going the right way.  Can I get an amen on that?  Okay, in general.  Not going the right way.  But that’s not our fault, is it?  I mean, can’t we give the unbelievers a little credit on it?  But he wants to blame it all on the advent of Christian Zionism]. “They took the focus off God and holiness. They put it on a piece of land in the Middle East.  And America has gone to hell.  America has gone to hell.  We’ve become a pagan, heathen nation because the Christian Zionists have taken our eyes off Jesus.”

So you can see what he’s doing here. He’s haranguing against pre-millennialism, a future kingdom idea, arguing that we’re in the kingdom now.  He’s haranguing against the pre-trib rapture. And so, that mindset, and that’s what I’m trying to demonstrate through these quotes, leads to an anti-Israel mentality.

So it was just last week, I think it was, that this tweet went up and this concerns the impeachment of Donald Trump, which I think most of us in here would be against.  I mean, I generally think it’s unfair what they’re doing to our President.  Rick Wiles is arguing for that.  But watch what he’s doing here.  He’s blaming it all on the Jews.  So if there’s anything wrong in America, it’s the fault of the Jews.  You see that?  “Unreal antisemitism [or this person tweeting about it],… Unreal antisemitism from Rick Wiles, at ”True News” as he calls the Trump impeachment process a “Jew Coup.” [That’s what he calls the impeachment process. It’s a “Jew Coup.” And if you watch the video, he keeps saying it over and over again, a “Jew Coup.” It’s the Jews that are causing all the problems in America. And then he goes on and says],… “Jews will take over America and, “kill millions of Christians.”

So what am I trying to get at?  I’m trying to get at the fact that this anti-Israel sentiment becomes fertile soil in a climate where people are attacking pre-millennialism and also the pre-trib rapture.

So what’s one of the false teachings that comes into the church as the church moves kingdom now?  It becomes anti-Israel, and you see that in history, and you see that even happening today through some of these quotations.

Now, look at this.  I told you I was going to finish the kingdom study tonight, didn’t I? I’m not going to do that.  So what does that mean?  What that means is I won’t be here next week because I’ll be at the Pre-Trib conference, but brother Jim is going to be leading a fantastic study on Dispensationalism, continuing on with his series.  That’s going to be our last Wednesday night study of this quarter. Then the following Wednesday, gingerbread houses, and then we’re off for a few weeks and then we reconvene in January.  And I told you I was going to finish this study by the end of this quarter.  So I’m going to need one more lesson in January.  Can you guys hang with this study for one more lesson? Because I can’t rush through Lordship salvation in 15 seconds.  It’s too important of a doctrine.  But Pastor Jim and I, Jim doesn’t know this yet, we’re going to be handling this issue this Friday on Pastors Point of View.  So all the slides you worked on, Jim, they’re going to still be of use the day after tomorrow. Amen.  No pressure.  All right.