The New Testament does not merely portray the coming of Israel’s Messiah. That would be far too small and insignificant a picture to paint. Instead, the New Testament paints a picture of the Savior of all of mankind. This Savior of all mankind is also Israel’s Messiah, but that pales in comparison to the task of redeeming humanity from the curse of sin. Both are true. Jesus is both Savior/Redeemer of humanity and He is Israel’s Messiah. But those who try to focus on the NT aspect of Jesus coming to Israel fail to see that He came to Israel in order to redeem all of humanity.
In order for the NT to portray the coming of the Savior/Redeemer, we must find the foundation for our beliefs in Genesis 1-4. Since there are so many references to Israel, David (and David’s throne), and Abraham in the New Testament, my work here is simply to point out that there are New Testament references which predate the plan of God for the nation of Israel. In short, God had a plan for humanity before the nation of Israel was birthed, or even before God promised to Abraham that there would be a special nation brought from his loins.
The lineage of Jesus: While Matthew records the lineage of Joseph, Luke records the lineage of Mary. It is quite fitting that Joseph would be a descendant of David through Zerubabbel, in order to bequeath the throne of David upon his son, Jesus. While Mary traces her lineage back to David as well, why does Luke spend another 7 verses tracing the lineage of Mary all the way back to Adam? If Jesus were the Messiah to inherit David’s throne, what is the point of recounting a lineage back to the first man? Without the Seed Promise, we wouldn’t have much of a reason.
For those who would try to say there is room for evolution in the Bible, Luke 3:23-38 is pretty solid evidence against it. There is a specific lineage to be traced back to the first man who ever lived, and also that his life came directly from God. Luke 3 assumes the Genesis 1-4 account to be accurate in a very literal sense. Luke makes the connection to prove that the long awaited Seed Promise had been fulfilled in the life of the One whom he was writing about.
The blood of righteous Abel, Matthew 23:35: Jesus’ use of this phrase in the Pharisaical smackdown destroys those who would place a dispensational barrier between Abel and Zacharias the son of Barachias (most likely Zechariah the son of Jehoiada). Jesus does not separate between the martyr of the nation of Israel and the martyr at the beginning of creation. Jesus speaks of Abel’s martyrdom as just as real an event as Zechariah’s. Abel was the first real martyr of the faith. Again, it is God’s people versus the people of the devil. All who are God’s people are in one category. Abel was the first martyr with many more to follow. Also note that John and Jude see Cain as a real, evil man who lived and killed his brother, I John 3:12, Jude 11.
The law of marriage in creation, Matthew 19:3-9: Jesus quotes the creation story in response to questions about marriage. Here Jesus gives the laws established at creation a prominent position over the laws given to Israel. Jesus speaks of the first marriage in the garden of Eden as a real event with real present-day implications. Note that Paul also saw the creation story as a literal event with present day implications, I Timothy 2:13. This also relates to my post on concomitance. This is why marriage is such an important issue to God. It is the one, true picture of Christ’s relationship to His people. Christ and Christ’s people are so intertwined that they cannot be separated. Adam and his wife are the first picture of two becoming one. Every marriage after that is part of the pattern that points to Christ’s relationship to His people. Two become one by God joining them and cannot be separated, otherwise the picture is ruined.
Life after death predates the nation of Israel: While I cannot deny that Jesus is the Messiah who intends to bring Israel to Himself, there was a far grander plan when Jesus came to earth. He proclaimed Himself to be the Resurrection, John 11:25. Let me point out something interesting concerning the resurrection from Matthew 22:31-33. Notice that God proclaimed to Moses (long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were dead) His present tense relationship with them. “I AM the God of Abraham” because he is right here with me. This is how the blood of Abel could still speak even after his death. Luke 20:37-40 is worded quite uniquely in that respect. All live unto Him, that is, unto the God of the living. Remember also, that Abraham was a pagan Gentile who lived by faith, not a member of the nation of Israel. Hope of the resurrection was long before the nation of Israel.
The throne of David versus the kingdom of God/heaven: If I were to ask you whose throne Jesus will sit on, you would have a quick answer: the throne of David. But if I were to ask you whose kingdom Jesus will come to establish at His second coming, I hope you will think twice. The preaching of John the Baptist and the preaching of Jesus do not constitute a proclamation of the kingdom of David or the kingdom of Israel. Can you imagine how different the NT would be if John the Baptist had came preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of David is at hand”? Or what if Jesus had taught, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Israel”? The fact that John and Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, the universality of the beatitudes, and the all encompassing nature of the great commission; should cause us to adjust our theology.
The throne of David will be established at Christ’s second coming. The nation of Israel will repent and enter the kingdom of God. Yet these events must take an inferior position in importance to Jesus’ purpose of saving humanity as a whole. If this is the primary purpose that Christ has come and will come, why should it seem a strange thing that another step in the progression of the kingdom of God would be to establish a kingdom here on earth that would show the nations the way to the God of Israel?
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman