Thursday, April 10, 2014

Israel, Zion, Jerusalem and the World...or

...How Zechariah Dispels the Myth of Christian Zionism and Dispensationalism.

In this excellent teaching (here) from SGCC Denver, we see how God’s promised restoration of Zion is actually God’s restoration of the world. God isn’t interested in preserving a particular piece of geography—He wants to recover and restore the whole of His creation. God isn’t interested in the redemption of one particular nation—He wants all people of every tribe, tongue and nation to enjoy the redemption and restoration He has secured in His Son. God’s interest in His “chosen” nation was for Israel to be the light of God’s presence to the whole world so that every nation would come to know Him and live with Him as “children of the heavenly Father”. And in Christ, God has accomplished His goal! In God’s eyes there is no more Jew and Gentile—there is only humanity. God has fulfilled His purpose through His “Servant” and has called all humanity to Himself.

God’s purpose to bless all the families of the earth in Abraham and His promise to make Abraham the father of a multitude of nations has been fulfilled in Israel—in the true “Israel”, Jesus the Christ, the One in whom the nation of Israel has found its fulfillment, its destiny. Israel is not first and foremost an ethnic nation; it is a concept, an idea. “Israel” is a people, to be sure—the people of God, even the (religious) Assembly of God (Hulst). As the Assembly of God, Israel is “…the religious community which finds its unity in the word and law of Yahweh, and therefore ultimately in Yahweh Himself” (A. Hulst, quoted in Larondelle, pg. 84). But more specifically, “Israel” connotes “son” of God, as I’ve written about before.
In other words, God’s promise to Abraham (and thus to Israel) was fulfilled in the one “seed” of Abraham, the true Israel, Jesus the Christ. The New Testament (even Romans 9-11 and the book of Revelation) know nothing of a fulfillment of “Israel” apart from the Church. There is no separate “dispensation” for the nation of Israel. The Temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed and God never intended it to be rebuilt. If it is rebuilt it will be an affront to God who sent His Son into the world as the true Temple, as Immanuel—God with us! There will be no Temple in the New Jerusalem because “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” God has accomplished His goal to “sum up everything in the heavens and earth in His Son.” When the curtain of separation between God and man was ripped in two (from the top to the bottom) upon the crucifixion of our Lord, God attested/confirmed with unmistakable clarity what Jesus proclaimed on the cross: “It is finished”! God’s purpose to recover and redeem His people—the “Israel” of God— and the whole creation has been accomplished. “Israel” has been fulfilled (not replaced) in Christ as the Spirit builds the “assembly of God” in Him from every tongue, tribe and nation.

Zionism (Christian or otherwise) is blasphemy. It is a return to the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. It is a denial of the meaning and purpose of Israel. It is a denial of the truth that God has accomplished His purpose in the world and for creation. It is a rejection of the Gospel because it is a rejection of the once and for all completed work of Christ. Jesus said, “It is finished!” Do we believe Him?

God has returned to Zion. Immanuel has come. God is with us. Amen and Halleluiah!

p.s. For further reading, one of my favorite books that completely dismantles the myth of Dispensationalism is, "The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation" by Hans K. LaRondelle. Another book that accomplishes the same goal is, "The Bible and the Future" by Anthony A. Hoekema. O. Palmer Roberston has written a very helpful book called, "The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", that helps us to understand prophetic and typological aspects of "Israel".

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