Sunday, 23 July 2017

Joint-Heirs of the Kingdom

The main thing I'm asserting about Old Testament Prophecy, is that God isn't planning any regression back to Levitical worship - not for anyone, anywhere, ever. To me, that's New Testament theology 1.0.1

And of course, Jesus is Israel's prophesied Messiah. (Orthodox Jews argue about that point, but believers in Jesus don't.)

Those two truths might not easily answer every question about Bible Prophecy, but it does eliminate a lot of out-there ideas about the future. When we re-read Old Testament prophecies in light of those two truths, it means we can divide certain themes in the prophecies into their right time in history: either the past, present or maybe the future. So that helps unpack a lot of it quite well. 

A main problem with the idea that God has a people outside of His bride; and that people will be admitted into the Kingdom of God who weren't saved; and that some of them can get saved once they've already seen the Kingdom (especially if they're Jews), is that that idea is not in the Bible - not in the Epistles, Gospels, not even in the Old Testament. The whole Bible always warned of the importance of being prepared in advance of His coming.

The nature of a parable is that not every detail in it is meant to establish a doctrine. Unlike prophetic visions, in which every symbol has a meaning. Parables are not visions. Most of Jesus' parables were told to drive home some simple points. Some details were there to reinforce a single point, not to make a point of their own.

Like the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow. The detail that the judge happened to be unjust, was not meant to make a point that God is somehow unjust. It just reinforced the point that persistent prayer can really win-out in the end - if towards an unjust judge, how much more towards our just God. 

A simple point of the parables of the kingdom, is that only those who are prepared in advance of Messiah's coming will be able to see it and enter it. 
And far from Jews having some special concession in that regard, the parables were first of all warnings to Jews. 

Jesus' warning that unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God, was a warning to a Jewish ruler. 

A problem with making a doctrine out of the fourth cup of some Jewish ceremony, is that the Bible says nothing about any fourth cup. If Jews have such a custom, it didn't originate in the Torah, because the Torah didn't even mention it. So we can't very well establish a doctrine on something the Bible doesn't even say.

As for God's covenant faithfulness to Israel, the Apostles didn't teach that God had made the Church the object of His faithfulness instead of ever faithfully carrying out His promise to Israel; nor did they teach that God had delayed performing His faithfulness to Israel until some future time and that the Gospel is something else which doesn't really have much to do with it. No, they proclaimed that the Gospel 'is' God's covenant faithfulness to Israel. Jesus indeed is Israel's promised Messiah. They explained that the Gospel is the very manner in which Prophecy and Promise was always going to see its fulfilment. 

Certainly there are themes in Bible Prophecy which are still future. The Apostles said so themselves: like the Second Coming. But the whole purpose of Messiah's first coming, was to prepare the Jews for that day, and also all nations. 

So any plans God has for modern Israelis, can only be with full regard to the fact that He has already performed His covenant faithfulness to them, in the Person of His Son Messiah. To require anything else would be regression, not progress. Regressing to a system which could only disqualify them.

The Gospel didn't lower Israel to the same low-level of the Gentiles - rather, it raised Israel up to a higher level than their previous covenant could - and then it invited Gentiles up onto the same platform. 

In other words the covenant faithfulness which God had demonstrated to Israel, is now a blessing which even Gentiles get to be part of.

That didn't take anything away from Israel. It lifted them up - and then offered a hand up to Gentiles as well. 

Now together we await what's left to be fulfilled of Prophecy - which is His coming and Kingdom, of which we all are coheirs.

That's the Gospel.

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