Today’s guest post comes from brother Jon Zens of SearchingTogether.org. Jon is an author, speaker, scholar, theologian on Christian topics, and all-around awesome brother.
With all the global shaking going on right now we all have a lot to pray for and to stand in the gap for and over this shabbat.
Will we stand in prayer for those who have gone through the storms and about to face this coming storm in the Atlantic and the USA?
Mexico faces a 8.1 earthquake and reports are only coming in today of the impact.
Also North Korea is scheduled to test yet another missile system. Will a preemptive strike take place by the USA?
Another prayer point for the Shalom of YHVH over the nations.
Finally, Israel bombs Syria missile plant where chemical weapons are being made and Hezbollah and Iran are working in connection with Syria.
This is the most significant attack against Syria since 2007.
A whole lot of shaking is going on?
Will this shaking drive people to the light of YHVH and get the nations back on track to with our eyes on Israel?
Is our theology right concerning Israel and our part in the restoration of Israel?
No, your starting point is a million miles off course. We must start and finish with Christ, not Israel! Psalm 2 said “Kiss the Son,” not “keep your eyes on Israel.”
It distresses me that in the practical outworking of things among many believers, the limelight falls on Israel instead of Christ. This is illustrated in Charles Feinberg’s book, Israel: At the Center of History & Revelation (Multnomah, 1980). The Lord does not have two separate purposes, one for Israel and one for the church. He has one eternal purpose which He purposed in Jesus Christ (Eph.3:11). Adrio Konig’s book, The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology (Eerdmans, 1980) is a wonderful corrective to the popular Israel-centered mentality. Steve Temple’s message at our 2003 Searching Together Conference, Christ: The Center of Eschatology, was a glorious presentation of how Adam failed, how Israel failed, but how in Christ all the Father’s promises in the gospel are “Yes” and “Amen.”
The Scripture does not say, “Kiss Israel,” but “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way” (Ps.2:12). The Lord may indeed have future purposes for the Jews, but they will be in connection with gospel-grafting into the olive tree, not in regard to some alleged separate earthly purpose (after the church is removed from history) that results in another Temple being built and the re-institution of animal sacrifices.
Few realize that this particular view of the future began in the 1830’s in Ireland/England through the Irvingites and J.N. Darby. This outlook had never before been suggested in the history of Christian thinking. Yet, because of seven trips that Darby made to America in the 19th century, his views ultimately came to dominate among Bible-believers in the States.
The essence of Darby’s position is that God has two purposes in history, an earthly one with Israel and a heavenly one with the church. From this vantage point what happens in the world is Israel-centered. Hence, Charles Feinberg’s 1980 book, Israel: At the Center of History & Revelation. As a result, the literature on “prophecy” that fills the bookstores gives readers the following opinion, represented by Wim Malgo in 1972, “What is God’s will for today? This can be put into one word: Israel. Israel is the final chord of a scriptural age and at the same time she is the prelude to a new age, the millennium.”
It seems to me that the prophetic dogmatism since 1948 that Christ will return in our times is a built-in set-up for letdown and disillusionment (cf. L. Festinger, et al., When Prophecy Fails: A Social-Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World, Harper, 1964, 253pp). L. Maier, in his novel, More Than A Skeleton (Thomas Nelson, 2003), shows the fallacies of end-times predictions. He notes, “I believe that the heart of the Gospel is being replaced by an overemphasis on prophecy, which turns away serious seekers of faith. I fear that their over-literalizing of what is obviously symbolic material in the Bible could send people into a panic and disillusion others when such ‘prophecies’ fail.”
God’s one “eternal purpose” is in Christ, not in Israel or any thing else. This purpose secures a Bride for the Son, a house for the Father, a temple-dwelling of living stones for the Spirit, and a Third Race — a New Humanity — where there is no Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female, clergy or laity, or Republican or Democrat. If our lives are not fed and directed by the Lord’s “eternal purpose” in His Son we are just spinning our wheels in deep religious mud.