Friday, April 20, 2018

The Abrahamic Covenant, by Dr. George B. Fletcher, Ch. 11, Part 6

    
Chapter XI
    
THE BENEFITS TO ABRAHAM AND HIS FLESHLY SEED
    
OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL UNDER THE
    
COVENANT OF CIRCUMCISION
    
Part 6
    
Other Considerations
    
     The utter impossibility of the present or any f'uture Israeli nation in Palestine being a ful.fillment of Bible prophecy is seen when one considers that after Israel's captivity in Babylon, they were to return to the land according to their original family heritage as divided by Joshua:. Jeremiah 12: 15 -- "And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, EVERY MAN TO HIS HERITAGE, and every man to his land." The Jews kept their family pedigree intact and unbroken even while in captivity, and both Ezra and Nehemiah recognized the principle of dividing the land according to the family heritage (Ezra 2:61, 62; Neb. 7:5). Even in Christ's time, the Jews had kept their lineage so that they knew definitely . of what tribe they were (Luke 2: 3, 4). .The last register of the Jews was destroyed when Jerusalem was burned by the Roman general, Titus, in A.O. 70. Since that time it has been a physical impossibility for a Jew to prove what tribe he belonged to or that he belongs to any tribe. This was the "endless genealogies" Paul, in his day forbade the Christian Jews to contend for. (Titus 3:9; l Tim. 1:3, 4). He knew they could not establish them with validity and that it was useless to establish them at all. So, there was no need :for contention. Now we raise the question, How can modern Jewry establish their claim to Palestine according to tribes and families since their registers are destroyed and no one can prove he is a Jew, a Syrian, or a mixture o:f Jew and Gentile? Who is going to say who has a right to share in the "restored Israel" since nobody can prove his lineage? Cecil J. Lowry in Whither Israeli? writes:
    
     "Scholars agree that 'family records', or chronology, were
     absolutely essential for the perpetuation of Leviticalism
     under the Old Covenant. An investiga­tion of facts will show
     that Bible chronology was brought to its final completion
     under the New Cov­enant, in the person of Jesus Christ -- the
     end of the Law and the end of Bible chronology. This is
     absolute evidence that Levitical Israel had served its time.
     The Old economies were absolutely dependent upon a
     Divinely recorded chronology of Israel's priestly and kingly
     families. Tribal records of the family of Aaron, the tribe of
     Levi, the tribe of Judah and the house of David were funda-
     mental to Israel's Levitical existence. If the Messiah was to
     sound the death knell of the 'old carcass,' then we would
     expect Him to complete Bible chronology; Matthew and
     Luke show Christ to be the end of inspired chronology.
     Christ came not to destroy but to fulfill the Law and the
     Prophets. Under the New, or Everlasting Covenant, Jesus
     is the final heir to David's throne; Aaron is superseded by
     Christ, the everlasting High Priest of the order of
     Melchizedeck; Levi by the New Testament priest­hood ...
     Since it is manifest that typical Israel's existence was as de-
     pendent upon inspired chronology as a fish is dependent
     upon water, sensible minds should see that God's purpose
     for Israel as a dis­tinct, typical nation was accomplished
     under the Old Covenant; the Bible offers no example of a
     re­version from the antitype to the type in God's pro­phetic
     plan."
    
     The claim that Israel's occupation of Palestine today is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy can be shown to be a fallacy by the simple fact that their national restoration was promised on condition that they KEEP THE LAW OF MOSES (Deu. 30:1-10). Nehemiah saw that it was proper and fitting to restore the law with a restoration of fleshly Israel under the Old Covenant {Neb. 1:7-9), and Ezra did this very thing when they returned from Babylon (Neh. 3:1, 2). But the New Testament emphatically de­clares that the MOSAIC LAW with all its ceremonies, rituals, ordinances has been fulfilled in Christ and was NAILED TO THE CROSS, and is abolished, nevermore to be restored! God's people WILL NEVER AGAIN BY DIVINE COMMANDMENT GO BACK TO THE LAW OF MOSES ( Eph. 2 : 14-16 ; Heb. 7 : 17 -19 ; 2 Cor. 3:7-11; Col. 2:13-17; Gal. 4:22-31). To do so would be to leave Christianity and go back to Judaism. This would reverse the natural and proper order of events, and carry us backward from the antitypes to the types, from Jesus Christ to Moses, from the Church to the nation of fleshly Israel, from the blood of Christ to the blood of bulls and goats, from the Melchisedec priesthood to the Aaronic priesthood, from the New Covenant to the Old Covenant, from the Lord's Day to the Jewish Sabbath and from the Lord' s Supper to the Jewish Passover!
    
     The promise of the land to Abraham was a type and pledge of the real thing intended, namely, that he should be "HEIR OF THE WORLD" (Rom. 4:13), not just the little land of Canaan, and that "world" is the "New Heavens and the New Earth" of 2 Peter 3: 13. Nowhere are we told in the New Testament to look for a millennium of Jewish supremacy after the Second Advent still within the frame­work of time, but rather to look for "that blessed hope and appearing of the· great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit. 2:13, R.V.) and for "the New Heavens and New Earth" ACCORDING TO PROMISE (Isa. 65:17-25). When Jew or Gentile embraces the gospel promise by faith, he is Christ's and Abraham's spiritual seed, and an heir according to the promise (Gal. 3:29), and blessed WITH faithful Abraham (Gal. 3:7, 9). It is not a case of the Old Testament saints being but friends of the Bridegroom, but rather that we poor, lost, hell-deserving Gentiles, "strangers from the covenants of promise" (Eph. 2:12) should ever be made Abraham's spiritual seed by Divine grace in salvation, and heirs WTH him of all that God promised (Eph. 3:6; Rom. 4:11, 12). Hallelujah!
    
     Modern Zionism is only another house built upon "sand" (Matt. 7 :26), and therefore must fall. It is "Israel after the flesh" going about to establish their own righteousness, without any desire to submit themselves to the righteousness of God. It is important to observe that there are two Israels. One is called "Israel after the flesh" (1 Cor. 10:18), and the other "The Israel of God" (Gal. 6: 16). The fig tree is a symbol of the former, and the good olive tree a symbol of the latter. The one is natural and the other is spiritual Israel. And that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46). If the fig tree is a symbol of natural Israel, we must remember that it came under the curse of' the Lord; indeed it appears to have been the only thing He cursed during His ministry on earth! This is very significant and solemn, and reminds one of Deut. 23:15-68. The plain teaching of God's Word is that Israel after the flesh must die like all flesh which is "profitable for nothing" (Jer. 13:7-10). Does not Ezekiel 16:53, 55 show that there is no more hope of Israel being restored to her former state than Sodom and Samaria? Natural Israel is a marred vessel "that cannot be made \'!hole again," so the Lord has to make it "ANOTHER vessel" (Jer. 19:11; 18:3). Instead of trying to mend and restore the old marred vessel, God is making a NEW ISRAEL. This is "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6: 16), a crown of glory and a royal diadem in His hand (Isa. 62:3). Dr. T. T. Shields bore testimony to these truths as is evident from these excerpts from one of his sermons:
    
     "The New Testament is silent as to the setting up of an earthly
     Jewish kingdom, the return of the Jews as a people to Palestine,
     the rebuilding of the Temple, and the whole millennial program,
     as allegedly, prophetically described -- the whole thing is utterly
     devoid of Hew Testament authority. It is not to be found
     explicitly or implicitly in the teaching of our Lord, or of his
     apostles, and I venture to assert, indeed, that the teaching of the
     entire New Testament is to the contrary. I am convinced the
     teaching of Scripture is absolutely to the contrary. I think it
     would not be unkind to say that that is a dangerous heresy ... I
     fear the eschatological teaching which has been current the last
     few years, the putting of these blessings and promises of the
     Word into some distant millennial age, instead of teaching us
     that even now God is among his people, has had a deadening and
     carnaliz­ing effect upon the religious life in general."

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