Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm not the only one--really!

As I comment on various blogs around the universe (or, for the time being at least, simply around this globe), I've noticed that for some reason the idea that Jesus is the "true" Israel seems, at best, to be a novel but unbiblical concept or, at worst, downright heresy that borders on anathema! Sometimes people respond to me as if I've just arrived from another planet! (Of course, many people who know me in person have accused me of that as well!)

I never really wanted to appeal to others to make my case, but Kim Riddlebarger over at The Riddleblog has a series going on "Amillennialism 101" in which his latest topic is 
"Jesus Christ, the True Israel". Previous audio messages in this series have been posted and I encourage you to make use of this free resource (along with many posts at The Vossed World) to help understand Biblical Eschatology.

If you are interested at all in how the Bible understands "Israel" in relation to Jesus Christ...well...just read my material! :-) Or even better, listen to a trained Theologian/Pastor/Author/Seminarian, etc., and get a better understanding. Of course, you can also get a thorough Biblical Theological understanding of Jesus as the True Israel by going to SGCC's SermonAudio site where you'll find this concept in many sermons dealing with the nation of Israel.


thekingpin68 said...

Well, controversy does increase blog traffic...shhh...don't tell nobody.


Great Googly Moogly! said...

It's a little weird; I'm getting plenty of "traffic", but few "comments". Oh well, no biggie. This just frees me up to visit and comment on other blogs! :-)

Greg said...

Can you give me a 2-sentence explanation of what you mean by "Jesus is Israel"? Or maybe point to one of your posts that explains your view? Thanks!

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Greg,

Thanks for the interest. I haven't figured out how to show "tags" yet, but if you go to August you'll see a post entitled, "Israel and Christ: a Brief Excursion" (or something like that). I've been meaning to get back to this subject on my own blog, but I've commented on other blogs about this in the meantime.

As I say in my post, I haven't gone into great detail; it's just a brief overview. But here is the link for my post:


(I guess you'll have to cut & paste)

But I also encourage you to listen to the audio from Kim Riddlebarger. I don't always agree with everything he says, but his eschatology is very good. He doesn't go into detail about Jesus as the true Israel either, but he lays out a good eschatological foundation (which is more detailed in his previous messages in this series) and builds his case well. I think it is well worth the time.

If I can find some specific messages from our own services (SGCC Denver on SermonAudio--which is on my sidebar), I'll post another summary with links to those.

I don't "argue" with my dispensational friends about this; it's not worth dividing over. But I do like to discuss this issue because I believe this is how the Bible speaks of our Lord. And I believe that we honor and glorify our God the more we "know" Him and His great Gospel.

I feel that the emphasis on "ethnic" Israel misses the point of who Jesus is and the fulness of what He came to do as the fulfillment of all the Scripture. The message of God in the Bible is singular in it's meaning and purpose--the "summing up of all things in Christ." The message of the Bible is about the Kingdom of God and His people. God is redeeming "a" people for His own possession--not "two" peoples. And this "one" Body is the Body of Christ. And the entire created order will share in this redemption at the second coming of our Lord and Savior.

Whew! There I go again! Sorry about that. I've written about this in my earlier posts dealing with Sacred Space and Shalom. I wish I knew how to have my "tags" listed.... But if you're interested, just find my earlier posts and you'll know by the titles where to go.

Happy hunting! Feel free to disagree and discuss--or not! :-)

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Oh...I totally missed it!

"Can you give me a 2-sentence explanation of what you mean by "Jesus is Israel"?

Are you kidding me? You obviously haven't been around Great Googly Moogly much! I can't even say that I CAN'T give you a 2-sentence explanation (of anything) in 2 sentences.

Why say in 2 sentences what I can say in 4 or 5 paragraphs? :-)


Greg said...

GGM, I read your post from August, but I fail to see anything controversial in anything you wrote. From what I gather, you're saying that God's true people are those who follow Jesus Christ, and that the Israel of the OT carries no weight with God. Am I interpreting your view correctly?

A year or so ago, the Lord showed me something really neat about Jesus and the Kingdom of Israel. Maybe it would be a good idea if I posted on that next.

I may listen to the audio in your current post, but I generally prefer written articles, because I can skim past the fluff and go straight to the meat. And although I'm no speed reader, I can usually read faster than a speaker will read his speech.

Oh! To include an HTML tag in your comments, you type this:
<a href="http://mylink.com">click here</a>
where the URL is in the double quotes and the text "click here" is the text that you want the reader to see and click on (which can be the URL itself, or something more readable.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"GGM, I read your post from August, but I fail to see anything controversial in anything you wrote."

I'm happy to hear that! Most people that I talk to cringe when I say that the Bible speaks of Jesus as the "true" Israel even as they (sometimes grudgingly) agree that Jesus is the fulfillment of ALL the Scripture, including Israel itself.

For premillennial dispensationalists, "Israel" must mean the literal, ethnic people descended from Abraham. Since for them there will be a literal 1000 year reign of Christ as the King of Israel where the OT economy of animal sacrifices and Law are re-instituted, the nation of Israel must still be God's chosen people and must rule over the physical land in the literal way that the OT portrays.

They fail to see, in my opinion, that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of Israel in full. As with all the Scripture (including the Law), Israel was TYPOLOGICAL, and as such, it was, as with all the Scripture (including the Law), PROPHETIC. The dynamic of Promise / Fulfillment is how God moves redemptive history along; and, as with all the Scripture, "Israel" as "promise" has found its fulfillment in Christ. When the fulfillment comes, there is no longer any need for promise.

Israel as a nation and Israel as a "land" are no longer operating in the same way as before the coming of Christ. As with an hour glass (picture it laying on its side), everything to the left of the "neck" (the neck being the "Christ Event") is promissory and passes through the "neck" of the Christ event; when it comes back out it has been "Christofied" (to use a term from Hughes) as it has found its fulfillment in Christ.

There is no "Israel" apart from its fulfillment! All of the people of God (Jew and Gentile) are considered the true "Israel" only because they are joined by the Spirit to the True Israel--Jesus Christ.

Most people that I've spoken with just cannot accept this way of thinking. That's why I'm beginning to add links to other ministries that understand the Scripture in a similar fashion. This way, my friends have the opportunity to hear it put in other ways that may lead them to at the very least conclude that it is a viable interpretation. In my opinion, it is the most Biblical interpretation and does the most justice to the message of the Bible and the purpose of God in Christ.

And the only reason I continue to press the issue, as I've said many times before, is because I think this understanding helps us to "know" our Lord as He is (as the Bible declares Him to be) and to therefore love Him and His people more. And that's the goal of our ministry to one another as Christians, right? To know and to love our Lord and one another?

Anyway, thanks for the comments!

p.s. thanks for the info on "tags". I don't know anything about HTML, so I'll have to start learning this stuff. As you can tell, I also don't know how to do "italics" so I either use "quotation marks" or ALL CAPS. I'm not YELLING when I use ALL CAPS, I just don't know how to use italics for emphasis...yet!

Greg said...

GGM, first it was the 6 days of creation (you didn't start that one, though) and now the 1000-year reign! This is getting fun!

I take Paul's interpretation of Israel, in that there is no longer Jew or Gentile, because all are under Christ, "and there is no respect of persons" with God. I love it when Jesus was talking to the Jewish leaders, and they protested that they were the children of Abraham. Jesus had a great response, "Of a truth, I tell you that I can of these stones raise children unto Abraham." In other words, He was saying, "What do I care? You don't love God, you don't love me, so you have no part in His Kingdom."

Regarding the millenial reign, I think there is enough scripture (mainly in Revelation) to justify belief in it, although it does not make total sense to me. In my mind, God can do whatever He wants. If He wants to have a 1000-year reign, that's fine with me. If not, that's OK, too. I really don't see where it affects anyone's salvation or my witnessing. Jehovah's Witnesses are really hung up on that, and I think it has weakened their ministry.

I've started that post on Jesus, Our King. It's coming soon, and I think it will be right up your alley. Be on the lookout for it.

P.S. Italics and bold face are pretty easy. The code for the prior sentence is:
<i>Italics</i> and <b>bold</b> face....

Great Googly Moogly! said...


I agree that whether people agree about a literal millennial reign or not really doesn't matter in the big scheme of things. I used to be a Premil. Dispensationalist for a long time...before I knew that there was any other way of looking at these things. I had no idea that there were actually Christians who didn't agree with the "Left Behind" scenario because this is all that I had been taught--and if you didn't believe in the "rapture", the "Great Tribulatin" and the literal "1000 year reign" of Christ, then you really weren't a Christian.

I've since embraced Amillennialism and the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic. So even though I believe differently than most "Westernized Christians" about "Israel" and the whole "end times" stuff, I still count as Brothers and Sisters all of those who embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord.

And as I've mentioned many times, if I'm wrong on this and I end up getting "raptured" and reign with Christ for a thousand years...well...I won't complain! :-) And I won't mind my dispensational friends saying, "I told you so" for 999 years!

However (and you knew this was coming didn't you?), I do believe that Dispensationalism does harm to the Gospel in the sense that it teaches a return to the shadows for a time. Christ has finished His work; all that awaits is the consummation. He is the fulfillment of the Scripture (the Law and the Prophets), the promises of God are all "yeah and amen" in Christ for He has come! The author of the book of Hebrews takes great pains to show that Jesus has accomplished all the work of God and has fulfilled the Law completely so that to revert back into the Judaism of the Old Covenant is to trample under foot the blood of Christ. And this is exactly what Dispensationalism teaches when it says that the Temple will be rebuilt and the sacrifices re-instituted for Israel. This is tatamount to saying that Christ hasn't accomplished full atonement and that there must be time when people must sacrifice animals to God again.

This may not seem like a huge point (and as far as "Christian fellowship" I suppose it really isn't), but I think we do a diservice to Christ and His Gospel when we teach that the Old Covenant will be re-instituted at some future time. These are points that Christians can discuss and dialogue about (and even, gasp, debate?) all the while showing the love of Christ--and that's a good thing! :-)

I look forward to reading your next post. I promise (as I did with Russ) that I will not be an "instigator"; but I also don't mind "facilitating" discussion if people are up for it! :-)

Thanks Greg!

Greg said...

GGM, I agree with everything you've said, except I was a bit surprised by the concept that the old sacrificial system would be reinstated during the "millenial reign." What scriptures are used to back that up? If that's true, then it would totally nullify Christ's atonement and reduce us back to the Law, instead of Grace. As Paul said, if righteusness comes by the Law, then Christ died in vain.

I think the majority of scriptures implying the millenial reign are in Revelation, which is a highly symbolic book; one of my favorites, in fact. But there's a lot of stuff in there that doesn't make much sense, if taken literally. I'm still studying, though. :)

I always welcome your comments. They're insightful and respectful of the Word and others. :)

Great Googly Moogly! said...


From a literal reading of Eze. 40-48, Dispensationalists conclude that with the so-called rebuilt Temple, the Jews will once again perform all service of the Levitical Priesthood. Obviously they don't believe "Christians" will participate. But the problem still remains: According to Dispensationlists, Jesus Himself will be presiding over the nation of Israel as King, yet the nation will be operating as if their Christ never came. This, in my opinion, is blasphemous and "anti-Christ". And it violates the Scriptual principle of the One Body that now exists "in Christ". There are not two separate "plans" of God.

Anyway, this is how the thinking goes. And obvioulsy, I do not agree with it! :-)

BTW-I've stated in a comment either on my blog or on another blog that I think John Hagee and his group is the most dangerous movement in "Christianity" today.

How's that for stirring controversy! :-)

Greg said...

Ah, yes, the measuring of the tabernacle, the gates, and the river. I can't say I've figured out all the symbolism in those chapters, but I agree that it doesn't make much sense to take them literally. Visions are rarely (if ever) taken literally; there is always an interpretation.

I just read some stuff on John Hagee in Wikipedia. I think the guy's too extreme to be taken seriously by very many.

IMHO, what's more dangerous is the watering down of the Word, that is becoming so prevalent. There is the teaching that Jesus is all too happy to leave us in the mud of sin that He found us in, and we don't have to actually turn from our sins. This erodes the boundary betweed right and wrong, to the point where behaviors that were once reviled by society are now found to be acceptable and even encouraged. No need for any examples, is there?

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"I just read some stuff on John Hagee in Wikipedia. I think the guy's too extreme to be taken seriously by very many."

I wish this was the case, Greg, but he is deceiving countless of good-intentioned but misinformed Christians (not to mention unbelievers who think he's teaching them the Gospel) down the road of a false gospel. I think I'll post on this shortly.

As for your other comment, I agree with you...with a point of clarification, of course (would you expect anything less from me?). :-)

I was beginning to explain my "clarification", but I thought I'd just go ahead and post on this instead. Thanks for the idea!

Greg said...

Looking forward to reading it!