Illumination #10

The Orange Mailman is NOT a Dispensationalist
The following was my response to Dr. Waldron’s post.

Dr. Waldron-

Thank you for the response, and an official blog post at that. You appreciate the irenic tone? (Looks up in dictionary.) Of course, irenic, yes, yes. I like the term Historic PreMillennialist being a student of Nathaniel West, B.W. Newton, and S.P. Tregelles. But I really can’t see me being a dispenstionalist. If you only have two categories for the theology of the relationship between the church and Israel, then I guess you would put everyone into one of those two categories. But there are many more, or at least there should be.

One problem is that dispensationalists don’t want me. The best that I can hope for (as one person suggested) is that I’m a Progressive Dispensationalist with most of the emphasis on Progressive and almost no emphasis on the Dispensationalist part. I’m pointing out things I disagree with in Bock and Blaising’s book as we speak. Too centered on the nation of Israel and not enough centered on Genesis 3:15, I say. But who listens to me?

I have more of an IN-placement theology. Gentiles are inplaced within elect Israel. The disciples constituted the true Israel, the spiritual remnant through whom God had been working all along. Gentiles are allowed to participate in the New Covenant which was inaugurated in the presence of the believing remnant of Israelites. Gentile participation in the body of Israel’s Messiah forms the nation which isn’t really a nation designed to provoke national Israel to jealousy as prophesied in Deuteronomy 32. Israel’s destiny is to be restored, raised up, and regathered, to be the people that are willing in the day of His power, Psalm 110. Gentile nations will be judged, but to save them, not to destroy them. Currently, Gentiles are full participants in the commonwealth of Israel without losing their identity as Gentiles as per Romans 15:8-12.

But on to your response. I am not claiming that a reinstitution of the sacrificial system will bring forgiveness of sins. So I don’t understand how your first paragraph deals with seeing Ezekiel’s temple as being future. As for the shadow to substance, would you answer a question? Do you believe Jesus came to do away with the Old Covenant?

The mention of Hebrews 8:1-6 is interesting. I think what you are getting at is that it states that Jesus is currently interceding in the heavens and not on earth. If Jesus were to come to the earthly temple, He couldn’t be a priest in that earthly temple since that earthly temple is a shadow of the true temple in the heavens. He is currently mediating (priesting) in a more excellent priesthood. Is that the main idea you are getting at?

Psalm 110 is the text from whence we get this teaching that Jesus is the priest after the order of Melchizedek. Peter tells us in Acts 2:34-35 that Psalm 110:1 refers to the ascension until such time as the Father determines to make Messiah’s enemies His footstool. This means Messiah will return, pour out His wrath, and judge the nations – all while being both priest and king, as Psalm 110 teaches. So for the present, Messiah’s ministry is strictly heavenly. The temple that was erected in the days of the writer to the Hebrews was only a type of the heavenly temple. At some future point in time when Messiah comes to make His enemies a footstool, He will be completely qualified to enter any temple that the LORD may lead to be erected. Zechariah 6:12-13 I see as having the same application. Does that answer the question? Would you like to clarify any issue there?

I appreciate your honesty of being unmoved by my arguments. The reigning paradigm which you will unwaveringly point to, I see from a bit different perspective. I see Christ as a King after the order of David and a prophet after the order of Moses. David was rejected by His own people, lived in exile, wrote of death and rejection in the psalms. He then returned to his people to be crowned as King. The nations gathered against Him, but He triumphed over them. The nations learned to embrace David’s kingdom as being from God, even into the days of Solomon. David wrote of His enthronement in the psalms as well.

Moses was mighty in words, deeds, and wisdom. When he was forty, he visited his people, but was rejected by them because they didn’t understand that he was to be their saviour. "Who made you a ruler over us?" He fled into exile until the LORD sent him back with the sign of a flame of fire. He returned to his people and this time they believed. The LORD led His people out with signs and wonders like the world has never seen. The same prophet which they rejected, the same was their deliverer after the time of rejection.

Messiah came, but was rejected according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God that we Gentiles may come to the light of the God of Israel. Messiah will come again and fulfill the prophecies to Israel according to the pattern of David and Moses.

Thank you very much for the two posts. I didn’t expect to alter the course of your blogging with my response. Hopefully I will get a chance to respond to the other post as well.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

One thing I would point out, in case the readers of my blog haven’t caught on to this yet, when it comes to New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, I always go back and study what the original context of those prophecies were.  Psalm 110 is a great example.  Those who are studying Hebrews which quotes Psalm 110:4, should familiarize themselves with the entire context of Psalm 110 before developing theories about what it means to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.  Because Psalm 110 has an entire series of events that will happen, you cannot take that one verse out of context and say that the entire extent of Messiah’s priesthood is heavenly.  The Psalm is clear that this Messianic figure comes to earth to turn His enemies into His footstool.  He strikes through kings in the day of His wrath.  His priesthood which is contemporaneous with His kingly reign will be established here on earth.

P.S.  Dr. Waldron never responded to these comments.

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19 Responses to Illumination #10

  1. Chris W says:

    See, here is where I am confused. You say that checking the context is important, but here is the context of Ezekiel 40-48:

    Ezekiel 25-32 is all about Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of the nations. Many times the invader is explicitly identified as him (26:7, 29:18-19, 30:10), or as the “king of Babylon” (30:24-26, 32:11).

    Chapters 33-37 are specifically about the judgement of Israel. The “shepherds” are probably the priests, since they were the ones who were put in charge of healing the sick (34:4) through the cleansing rituals that God gave them in Leviticus. This would make “my servant David” the High priest Joshua, since he is a ruling priest and has the same name as the messianic priest king to come. In the restoration, God made a new covenant with Israel and Judah when he brought them back into the land and poured out his Spirit upon them.

    Chapters 38-39 depict perhaps one of the various battles that Israel had to fight whilst rebuilding the city walls. Though it is not recorded in Ezra-Nehemiah, God acted supernaturally to protect them and rained down fire and brimstone upon their enemies.

    Chapters 40-48 then, must relate to the restoration community prior to the coming of Christ, if there is to be any consistency in the book as a whole. The new laws outlined there are to govern the restoration people who are regathered into the land. The temple does not match the one found in the other accounts of the restoration, so it may be depicting the heavenly counterpart to the earthly temple, as the earthly temple was always known to be a copy of the heavenly one and because the heavenly and earthly sanctuaries were united, since God dwelt in both. After all, the city that Ezekiel sees is on top of a mountain, a heavenly city to be imitated on earth. The measurements of the temple are not prescriptive, but descripture, unlike many of the instructions given. The heavenly glory of the temple is much greater than it’s earthly appearance. This is still a literal fulfilment, since heaven is a literal place.

    Given this context, how can you have another rebuilt temple way off in the future? Would the Israelites still in exile have consisered that this was what God had in mind?

    I appreciate that there can be multiple fulfilments of a prophecy, but we must begin by looking at the passage in its original context.

    Please feel free to come back to me on this one, I do hope you consider the interaction from me better than that of the amils!

    • Hi Chris-

      I think you are missing an element in Ezekiel’s prophecies. There is the idea of the everlasting covenant which the nation of Israel would become a part of, Ezekiel 37:26. At that point in time, Israel nationally becomes the people of God, not just because they are descendants of Jacob (Israel), but because they belong to Him in heart. This was foretold back in Deuteronomy 30:1-10. Now Ezekiel is giving a fuller revelation of what will occur. In Ezekiel 39:27-29, there are several elements which have not been fulfilled. There is the second exodus (another regathering which would eclipse the first exodus, see Jeremiah 23:5-8). There is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the nation of Israel. At Pentecost, only a remnant received the Holy Spirit because the majority of the nation was still in unbelief. But this was a foretaste of what the entire nation will experience after the battle spoken of in Ezekiel 39 which matches up with the language of Armageddon in Revelation 19:19-21.

      So when we get to Ezekiel 40-48, I believe we are seeing a temple which will exist after the national repentance of Israel, and after God acts on their behalf in the way Ezekiel saw in the previous visions leading up to this. Remember that one purpose of the church age or arrangement or whatever you want to say, is for Gentiles to provoke the nation of Israel to jealousy so that all Israel might be saved, see Romans 11:25-28 with Isaiah 59:20-21. So I agree that “The new laws outlined there are to govern the restoration people who are regathered into the land,” but I see this occurring after the second exodus which is yet to come at the end of the age when the church provokes the nation of Israel to jealousy.

      Yes, much of Ezekiel’s prophecies were speaking of things fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar. However, there were some things that were clearly not fulfilled at that time. I disagree that “my servant David” would refer to the priestly side of things. The Aaronic priesthood was a picture of Christ as was the kingly lineage of David. Each picture was incomplete in itself, unable to fully explain the glory of Christ. These two pictures will be combined in some way in Christ as He is both King and Priest, but for the most part, the pictures were separate in the old testament. For instance, in Jeremiah 33, verses 14-16 parallel 23:5-8 which I referenced earlier, but verses 17-26 speaks of the covenant with David and also the covenant with the Levitical priesthood. Jeremiah states “the two families” meaning the Davidic family and the Levitical family separately. So I see no reason to combine them in this case. My servant David would be a future Messiah ruling from the Davidic throne. Haggai had prophesied that even though God had thrown away the signet ring with Jeconiah (Jer. 22:24), that signet ring was placed back on God’s finger (figuratively speaking) with Zerubbabel, see Haggai 2:23.

      I’m not entirely sure if my comments will hit the mark, but hopefully you can get a better idea of where I am coming from as a whole. Thanks for the comments and the interaction.

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

  2. Chris W says:

    Hi Orange,

    Sorry for such a delayed response!

    You’re probably right actually, “my servant David” is more likely to be Zerubbabel. While there was a degree to which the two offices were conflated in the person of Joshua (he sits on a throne and is called “branch” in Zech 6), Joshua is not messianic, unlike Zerubbabel. Plus, the greater fulfilment found in Jesus points away from Joshua, since he is Melchizedekan, not Levitical.

    When Israel was called out of Babylon and returned to the promised land during the reign of Cyrus, that was ‘it’. That was the restoration era. The restoration covenant had already begun in a now-and-not-yet sense whilst the people were in exile, as is made clear in the book of Daniel. Jeremiah 33, which you cited, answers the problem posed by Jeremiah 32, the exile and desolation brought about by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The people living just before the exile and hearing this prophecy would have not have directly understood this prophecy as referring to a “greater restoration” per se. Inserting a wedge between the two chapters is completely unwarranted. Amillennialistis get a lot of slack for doing this with Revelation 19-20 (and rightly so), but you’re doing exactly the same with Jeremiah 32-33!

    Ezekiel 40-48 is also part of this earlier restoration. Why else would God say specifically to Ezekiel “This is the land which YOU shall divide by lot to the tribes of Israel for an inheritance, and these are their several portions…” (Ezekiel 48:29), unless Ezekiel were the person intended to do it? I understand that you would probably get around this by having a resurrected Ezekiel presiding over a future restoration, but there is nothing in the text to warrant this.

    I do believe that with the first (not the second) coming of Christ we have a greater exile and restoration, as Jesus the true Israel goes into exile for the sins of humanity and then the true seed of Abraham (the Church – Galatians 3) ‘come out’ of a heretical, talmudic Judaism which placed the traditions of men above the word of God. There is a greater “new” covenant (every covenant except the first one is a newer covenant than the one before!) in the coming of Christ and just because Revelation 19 borrows language from Ezekiel 38-39, that doesn’t mean that they are the same. Revelation frequently borrows familiar Old Testament themes and it uses similar language to describe the battle after the millennium in chapter 20, clearly not the same battle if they are separated by at least 1000 years!

    Again, please come back to me on this, I enjoy the interaction. It seems to me that what we have is a disagreement over hermeneutical method. When it comes to prophecy, I generally see the first fulfilment as primary, the ‘real deal’, but allow for other, greater fulfilments later on in Christ and the Church. You see the first fulfilment as a kind of ‘pledge’, with the ‘real deal’ yet to pass in a predominantly literalistic fashion. Would you agree with this assessment of our methodologies?

  3. Hi Chris-

    I’m glad you see at least part of my viewpoint. I agree in part with your viewpoint as well. But instead of stating “That was the restoration era.” I would contend, “That was A restoration era.” This is one reason why Ezekiel 37:15-28 has A fulfillment in that era. When they returned after the 70 year exile, there were no longer two governmental structures. I think you are on target with my methodology. The primary reason, as I pointed out above, is that the entire nation of Israel did not repent and receive that circumcised heart as Deuteronomy 30:1-10 had foretold. Ezekiel is just expanding on this prophecy and did not see the entire nation repent and become participants in the new covenant. Which leads me to my next point.

    I don’t (as far as I am aware) separate Jeremiah 32 from 33. In fact, I did a series on Jeremiah’s Covenant Revelation which includes Jeremiah 30-33. This would take some time on your part, but I can briefly summarize. Jeremiah’s book is not entirely chronological. It sort of skips around. So in the placement of Jeremiah 30-31 which contains the New Covenant, Jeremiah 32 which contains the Everlasting Covenant, and Jeremiah 33 which contains the Davidic Covenant, they cannot be separated because they are thematically complementary to each other. (In short, someone placed them together there at the heart of the book on purpose even though they may not have been given at the same time.) The Everlasting Covenant of Jeremiah 32:40 is the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:33. The one heart and one way of Jeremiah 32:39 is the circumcised heart of Deuteronomy 30:6.

    Really the heart of what we are discussing will have to eventually come to Romans 11. The current arrangement consists of believing Gentiles and Israelites in one body, until such a time as national Israel comes to repentance. The goal of that repentance is that ALL Israel might be saved. This will lead into another arrangement after this one as indicated by Paul’s language in Romans 11:13-24 in relation to the olive tree. So for now, we have a nation of Israel that is not completely participant in the New Covenant. They have not received that one heart and one way. They have not had their heart circumcised in a national way. But there is a future time when they will be provoked to jealousy by the current arrangement. At that time will come the fulfillment of Isaiah 59:20-21 (and a host of other OT prophecies in my view).

    Like I wrote, it would take you some time, but here is a link to the master page of my series.

    Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

    -The Orange Mailman

  4. Chris W says:

    Hi Orange,

    I agree with you regarding Romans 11, and I do see the link between that and the OT prophecies regarding the restoration (though I still view this as a secondary, albeit greater fulfilment). I take issue with the idea that the temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices offered under a Christian Israel. I say this not because there is anything ‘wrong’ with sacrifices in the New Covenant, after all, the apostle Paul himself offered sacrifices at the temple (Acts 21:26). Rather, my issue is that a restored, Christian Israel can never again be bound by Torah as she was before.

    Galatians 3 says that Israel-in-Christ (“we” – believing Jews) is no longer under the tutor (the law). The wise old tutor is still useful and still teaches us (believing Jews and Gentiles) many things, but even Israel-in-Christ is not under his condemning authority anymore. Whilst there is nothing wrong with sacrifices (becoming a Jew to win Jews), they would have to be completely optional in the millennial temple, or else they would contradict Paul’s teaching that both Jews and Gentiles are free from the law in Christ. But the temple instructions outlined in Ezekiel 40-48 is full of rather non-optional instructions from the Mosaic Law for the Priests, Levites and even the lay Israelites. This is a serious problem for your position.

    Circumcision is still of value (Rom 3:1-2). This is because it predates the law, Israel being “beloved on account of the Patriarchs” (Rom 11:28). The law, the “dividing wall” is taken out of the way in Christ (Ephesians 2:14-15), but circumcision, although it is often spoken of in the NT as something connected to the law, is as old as father Abraham. Paul consistently sidesteps Moses and goes back to Abraham when he wants to justify inclusion of the gentiles. I am not claiming that the Mosaic law was a parenthesis though. It was a useful and necessary thing which served a key function in bringing about God’s covenant purposes.

    • Hello again. You see both sides of the issue, but (in my humble opinion) you lean too far in one direction. For instance, the original promise of the New Covenant was such that the law would be written on the hearts of His people, see Jeremiah 31:33. So the idea is that they would obey the law because it was written on their very hearts. II Corinthians 3 highlights this idea that New Covenant believers (New Testament believers) now have the writing of God on their very hearts. We are free from the law in the sense that it has brought us to freedom in Christ. There is no longer a need for conviction of sin which leads to repentance now that the administration of the Holy Spirit has come it. Remember that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was something non-existent under the Mosaic Covenant.

      So when you write “Christian Israel can never again be bound by Torah as she was before.”, certainly not bound by the Torah (law), but with the law written on their hearts they offer up sacrifices willingly, not under compulsion. So I see no serious problem for Mosaic “non-optional instructions” in Ezekiel 40-48. If you were to argue that this temple already had its administration, you would have to prove that the Dead Sea was released from the curse pronounced when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, see Genesis 14:2-3, 19:24-25, Jeremiah 50:40, Ezekiel 47:8. This renewal is yet future lining up with the river of the water of life flowing out from the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.

      You have some good points about Abraham predating Moses. I strive to point to Covenant continuity, the idea that all the covenants are linked. The Mosaic Covenant is based on the Abrahamic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant is based upon the Noahic Covenant. And of course, the New Covenant is built upon the foundation of the Mosaic Covenant.

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

  5. Chris W says:

    Hi Orange,

    Totally agree with the Covenant continuity thing. From the sounds of it, you’re basically a Covenant theologian like myself. I’d be interested to know if you believe in a Covenant with Adam? I don’t buy into certain conceptions of the ‘covenant of works’ as I think it was primarily a Gracious covenant in which Adam enjoyed life in fellowship with God. Would you be comfortable using the term “covenant” to describe God’s overall plan to unite all things in Christ? I think you can be a covenant theologian and still put Israel central, as it is a very broad movement and you clearly only believe in one people of God. Sadly, you very often only hear about a very strict, puritan-esque amillennial form of covenant theology and that is certainly not the only kind on offer.

    I see your point with the “obeying the law in the spirit” malarkey. But I think the point of Galatians 3 is stronger than you have anticipated. Paul is using a redemptive-historical argument to prove that Jews and Gentiles now belong to one family in Christ and are all legitimate sons of Abraham. Being a son of Abraham was always a matter of covenant (the “great multitude” which came from Egypt and subsequently became Jews testifies to this!), not birth. Not only is Abraham now my father, but the whole history of Israel is my history (1 Cor 10:1-13). The law can no longer distinguish between Jew and Gentile (Eph 2:13-16). Only circumcision can, and even then only in a ‘fleshly’ way. The only circumcision of eternal significance is the ‘cutting off’ of Christ on the cross (Colossians 2).

    How do you get around the dual city problem? The river of life flows out of the New Jerusalem but there is no temple in it. The temple must therefore be in another Jerusalem. But the city of Ezek 40-48 is one city, not two.

    • Hi Chris- I’m not a Covenant Theologian, just because I don’t like labels. If there were a specific brand of Covenant Theology that came out and gave a doctrinal statement that I could agree with, maybe. But it’s just too broad as you point out and I don’t want to be misunderstood. I understand where you are coming from though. I have written extensively debunking dispensationalism and establishing premillennialism apart from that paradigm. So a lot of what I say sounds like Covenant Theology, but I do believe in a restored, raised up, and redeemed nation of Israel as a whole based on Isaiah 49:1-7.

      True that we are all sons of Abraham, but that doesn’t equate to being sons of Israel. Abraham was a pagan Gentile who learned to walk by faith. Israel still maintains a distinct ethnic identity even though believing Israelites are true sons of Abraham. Circumcision does not profit anything as far as salvation, but there is still scriptural support for value in circumcision even within the bounds of the new covenant, see Romans 3:1-2. There is also Romans 9 which speaks of physical Israel for which Paul had a special burden to reach. He knew that the goal of the church was to provoke national Israel to jealousy, see Romans 11:11. The final result is believing Gentiles rejoicing alongside the nation of Israel for God’s covenant faithfulness to them, see Romans 15:8-12.

      Dual city problem? I don’t get around that problem very well I’m afraid. But the New Jerusalem has no temple within its city walls. Ezekiel’s temple is not stated to be located inside the city of Jerusalem as far as I can tell. The New Jerusalem will descend which will be the home, or home base so to speak, of all the resurrected throughout the millennium. Outside of that city is another story. There is a temple which the prince (messianic) will visit from some other location, Ezekiel 46:1-10. But you raise a good point about the source of the river of life. It flows out from the New Jerusalem and it flows out from the temple. Could both be true? I’m not for certain.

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

    • In regards to a covenant with Adam, I would hold to Sung Wook Chung’s line of thought as presented in A Case For Historic Premillennialism. I blogged through that book and here is a link to my thoughts on that particular subject.

  6. Chris W says:

    Hi Orange,

    I think that even gentile believers are sons of Israel.

    “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that OUR fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea… Now these things happened as examples for US, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” (! Cor 10:1, 6)

    In other words, the Israelites are the ‘fathers’ of the gentile believers. This drastically affects our reading of the Old Testament. Though I am a gentile, the history of the Old Covenant people is my family history. And whilst I am sure that converting Israel is one of the goals of the Church (as per Romans 11), converting all of the other nations (as per the great commission) is also pretty crucial!

    Covenant theology is about maintaining the continuity of God’s purposes and covenants under his one covenant (or covenant plan) of summing all things up in Christ. I think I agree with everything that Chung guy wrote about the creation covenant. I’m fine with you being a closet Covenant Theologian 😉

    On a side note, I can see why Amils equate the temple of Ezekiel 40-48 with Jesus based on Rev 21-22. I would suggest (based on the fact that the river of life/tree(s) of life flow out from the lamb who is called a temple, that John is probably using typology, suggesting a greater fulfilment of Ezekiel’s temple rather than a first fulfilment.

    • Hey Chris-

      There is some truth to what you are saying. There is continuity between the stories of Israel and the working of the church. But this is in an overall sense. It does not mean that Gentiles become Israelites. For instance, see Hebrews 11. The writer opens up by pointing to the elders. He then begins with Abel and continues with a number of elders which preceded the nation of Israel. In fact, Hebrews 11:1-19 all are occupied with examining the elders before the man Israel was even born. Certainly they are our elders, and elders of the nation of Israel. The I Cor. 10 passage points out that all of those happenings were for our benefit. Those who passed through the Red Sea were our ancestors. That doesn’t mean that we are now Israelites. This post here should help you see where I am coming from.

      Circumcision is not necessary for Gentiles to participate since Gentiles do not become Israelites when they enter the church, see Acts 15. But some carry this too far. Some say the apostles were doing away with circumcision altogether which was not the case at all. To the contrary, immediately after this, Paul had Timothy circumcised, see Acts 16:3. This was to maintain his testimony as an Israelite Christian. The false accusations were such that Paul was teaching Israelites to stop circumcising their children, but that was a lie, see Acts 21:21. Paul still maintained the importance of circumcision for Israelites.

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

  7. Chris W says:

    Hi Orange,

    I agree with most of what you have said. Here is where I sit on the issue:

    Galatians 3 teaches that Christ is the seed of Abraham (v16). Since Israel is the seed of Abraham, this makes Jesus the true Israel. This is also clear from the fact that just like Israel, he is described as the servant of the Lord in Isaiah 53. It naturally follows from this, that those who are united to Christ (whether Jew or Gentile) through faith and baptism are also the seed of Abraham (v26-29). And therefore, we become members of the true Israel (Christ).

    Remember that when Jesus died on the cross, not only the law was abolished/died (Col 2:14) and implicitly rose again as the law of Christ, but creation itself died and rose again in him (Col 2:15). I think you need to wrestle with the significance of what happened on the cross. Israel has died and risen again in Christ, just like everything else. There is still an ‘Israel according to the flesh’, but the spiritual Israel includes Jews and Gentiles. If Jesus is a Melchizedekan priest-king from the tribe of Judah, then I am too. And so are you.

    • Chris, there’s one issue that I think is important and overlooked by many. The promises made to Abraham were such that multiple nations would be blessed in him. In fact, all nations would be blessed because of Abraham. So while Israel became a mighty nation because of blessings to Abraham, there is another facet contained in Genesis 17:5 and 22:18. This facet is brought out in Galatians 3:8-9. So Galatians 3:8-9 is stating that the promises made to Abraham for all nations to be blessed are being fulfilled through Christ and the church as Gentiles are being saved. So while it is true that there is only one people of God, they don’t all become one nation, instead it’s a multi-national blessing through Abraham. Romans 4:16-18 brings out this same truth in relation to Abraham being the father of us all. Instead of accounting us all as the seed of Israel, Paul states that we are all of many nations thereby fulfilling the promises made to Abraham that he would be a father of many nations, not just the father of one nation. So there is another side to this issue that needs to be examined.

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

  8. Hi Orange,

    You are quite right and Genesis 17 expands on Genesis 15, suggesting that the seed would not always be confined to one nation but would ultimately inherit the earth. Being a ‘father’ of many nations means of course that the seed of Abraham would ultimately become many nations – the many nations are not a lesser seed with regard to the promises.

    Notice also that right from the beginning, the ‘seed’ is not confined to his literal offspring. Every male born in his house is circumcised, including his male slaves and his private army of 300 or so.

    • I’m glad you see my point. I also was going to point out something else but forgot. The twelve disciples are twelve Israelites that will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel at some future point in time, Luke 22:29-30. This shows the preservation of the nation of Israel, which I know you don’t necessarily disagree with but I wanted to bring that point out.

      Also, in our other conversation you made a comment which actually pertains to this conversation. >>>Quote>>>They are now no longer viewed primarily through a Jew/Gentile divide, but through a Christian/non-Christian divide>>>

      I personally don’t see that there was ever a strict Jew/Gentile divide. Jesus brought this out and infuriated the Israelites of His hometown. In Luke 4:24-27 Jesus basically states that one Gentile widow put the whole nation of Israel to shame by her faith during the days of Elijah. Then during the days of Elisha, one Gentile leper showed more faith than all the lepers in Israel. My current study (The Tax Collector’s Guide to Fulfilled Prophecy) is attempting to focus on this aspect of Matthew’s gospel. I keep getting distracted though. I’m overdue for my next post. Throughout Matthew’s gospel, he treats outcasts like tax collectors and Gentiles with great respect. My study on the magi brought this out. Anyway…

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

  9. Chris W says:

    On Luke 22:29-30, it’s actually part of the reason why I believe that the apostles were raptured in AD70, so that they could be enthroned in heaven and judge (condemn as guilty) the twelve tribes of Israel who were being punished for their sins. During the siege of Jerusalem, representatives from all twelve tribes had gathered there for passover and so when they were destroyed, it was not only Christ, but his apostles who were casting judgement upon them from heaven. Although I appreciate that this is quite a minority view.

    On the Jew/Gentile divide, I think it was less about salvation and more about a priestly role for leading the nations into righteousness. Especially prominent in the restoration era was Israel’s commisioning as a holy people, set apart to minister to the world at large. I am sure that you probably agree with all of this.

    Would you agree with me that being Abraham’s ‘seed’ was always about covenant and never limited to physical offspring? Especially given that it was a household thing and not a babies thing (despite the paedobaptistic insistence otherwise). Dispensationalists seem obsessed with the idea that being a Jew is all about race. The pharisees of Jesus’s day certainly saw it that way, but I’m not sure he did! Circumcision and race are not the same thing.

    • Abraham’s seed was about promise and covenant. It was also multi-national yet singular as in “one seed” which is Christ. So there are aspects of both. But it certainly was not limited to one nation, although having one nation dedicated to the LORD was one part of it.

      But the twelve apostles would rule here on earth in His kingdom. They would eat and drink in His kingdom when He comes again, that is, comes from heaven to earth. The physical reign is upon the earth where the introduction to the kingdom is as well. Kingdom continuity should lead us to the LORD coming to and perfecting the earth, not sitting up in heaven. Why would we have a different view for the apostles which contradicts Revelation 5:10?

      Poke, Poke. I thought you were a post-millennialist? (Just kidding around of course).

      • Chris W says:

        You have a valid point! From one perspective I am premillennial. Weird huh! O_o

        The twelve apostles rule from heaven. Abraham and the OT saints are in heaven feasting with them right now. And I bet they are having a whale of a time. Rev 5:10 I suppose could refer to the Church’s dominion over the earth which is being gradually accomplished through her faithful witness unto death.

        But you are right, Christ eventually intends for heaven and earth to be united when he returns. I do believe in that. I just separate the rapture/parousia and the second coming by an unspecified period of thousands of years.

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