Friday, 16 December 2016

Isaiah 11 Aliyah

That was really nice seeing those Ethiopian Jews feeling so at home, arriving in Israel! 

(I also heard some black Jews think non-black Jews aren't real Jews at all. 

And I heard a report which claimed Israel some time back may have been wanting to discourage certain other blacks from staying in Israel at all.)

But about Isaiah's prophecy. When Isaiah prophesied that "the Lord shall set his hand again the second time" to bring Israelites out from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11), wasn't Isaiah comparing it with the first time God brought them out "as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt" (verse 16)?

Just as God had previously brought Israel out of Egypt - God would soon bring them out again, this time from many nations. And it happened! 

If so, then the primary application of Isaiah's prophecy was to the Jews' return from captivity - not to today's Aliyah.

Certain details in the chapter seem to place the timeframe in the past, rather than the present, if we take the details literally. For example:

If it was about the present, it would have to say "the third time" God will bring them out, not "the second time" (verse 11);

It mentioned nations which existed then, but no longer exist, such as "Assyria, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar and Hamath" (verse 11);

It distinguished between "Israel" and "Judah" (verse 12) - but that distinction ceased to exist after the return from captivity (as verse 13 said it would);

It mentioned the names of the nations which the Jews would defeat in their return, nations such as "the Philistines...Edom and Moab; and...Ammon" (verse 14) - each nations which no longer exist but which existed then;

It specifically mentioned the return from the Assyrian captivity (verse 16) - but it's impossible to prove the current Jewish Diaspora were descended from the Assyrian dispersion, it's more likely they descended from the later Roman dispersion, but we don't know.

If it's still future, then God's "holy mountain" in Jerusalem must once again become the required place of worship (verse 9). That would imply a return to Levitical worship in future - but Jesus pronounced that the time was coming and had already come when the true worshipers would no longer be required to worship in Jerusalem but in spirit and in truth. 

Each of those details was still relevant at the time of Israel's and Judah's return from Assyrian and Babylonian captivity - therefore the primary application of Isaiah's prophecy must have been to that return, not to today, because those details can't apply anymore, if we take the details literally.

But the most important detail of all, which seems to place the fulfilment in history past rather than in the future, Enoch could be:

"AND THERE shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots" (verse 1) -

JESUS. He was to come in that historical setting - "in that day" (verses 10 & 11). If the primary timeframe therefore of Isaiah's prophecy is still future, then so is the stem of Jesse, the Branch - it would mean Jesus was too early in history to be Messiah.

Those might be the Orthodox Jewish view of Prophecy, but it wasn't the Apostles' view. The Apostles' view was that God had faithfully fulfilled all of His promises to Israel, and now (in their day) God had also fulfilled His Promise to send Israel's Saviour - just like the Prophets said He would - in the precise setting and timeframe spoken by the Prophets).

The Apostles were eyewitnesses! God had brought Israel's (and the world's) salvation. It's called the GOSPEL. 

Of course there are also themes in Isaiah's prophecies which extend beyond generations, even into eternity. But we mustn't confuse those themes with details in the Prophecies which had a primary application in history and are therefore now dated. 

Objective events of history therefore serve to establish Isaiah's Prophecy as a case for the historical Jesus of Nazareth being Lord and Messiah. 

If so, how can we explain modern Israel? If Prophecy has already seen its primary fulfilment, that places modern Israel in the best possible position, potentially - because God never explicitly subsequently revoked His promises!

God can be trusted to continue to act faithfully towards modern Israel, seeing both Scripture and history have demonstrated His faithfulness to them by fulfilling Prophecy and promise in the past. 

So of course God is still happy for Jews to be settled in a homeland prospering within secured borders, same as He wishes that for all. 

We can use past actions of God as precedents, in a sense - but that's different to primary fulfilment. 

Israel is on this side of promise and prophecy, not still back on the other side. And it's never been revoked.

Therefore the door has always ever since and still is wide open to Jews...

...salvation through faith in Jesus, without the deeds of the Law (and certainly not through modern Judaism). 

Apostles' Doctrine 1.0.1 !


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