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  • « The Sufficiency of Christ's Obedience in His Life and Death by John Piper | Main | "I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue I »

    Who is Israel?

    Interesting article by Michael Horton found here.

    Posted by John Samson on May 22, 2007 11:44 PM


    Thanks for posting this. This article is one of the soundest I have read on the question of True and Spiritual Israel.

    I appreciated it so much that I made copies for members of my congregation.

    IN Christ,
    Pastor Biggs

    I like Mike Horton but he doesn't convince me that the New Testament church is the "true Israel" in such a way that ethnic distinctions are gone and specific land promises are fulfilled in non-literal ways.

    Hi Brian

    Greetings in the name of our Savior, dear brother.

    Christ does not have two brides, but one. He does not have two bodies, but one body which includes the church from the time of Adam. The New Testament church did not replace Israel, it simply expanded upon it. Jesus repeats the land promise in Matt 5 but it is not only for Israel, but for the poor in spirit who will inherit the earth. The inheritance is literal, it has just been expanded to include more than simply the boundaries of ethinic Israel. When Jesus returns He will gather all his people to himself, which wil include both Jews and gentiles, but they will all serve under one Christ. Galatians plainly says that we all are the seed of Abraham and Ephesians says that we Gentiles in Christ now partake of the same promises and covenant. (See Eph 2, 3) The promises to Israel are fulfilled in Christ and we are all partakers of Christ. But I would argue that there is no warrant to bifurcate.

    Hello JWH:

    I understand your position my brother. I just don't see that fully developed in the scriptures.

    Jesus said "I will build my church". Paul spoke of one tree and two kinds of branches being grafted in. The apostles asked Christ "will you now restore the kingdom?" in Acts 1. Jesus' didn't answer with talk of a spiritual kingdom; He told them it wasn't for them to know the times when the restoration would happen. Revelation 21:12-15 describe the New Jerusalem with 12 gates for the 12 tribes of Israel and 12 for the apostles.

    We are all saved into one Body of Christ and He is the Savior of the world, but the scriptures indicate a future for God's chosen people, Israel.



    What you wrote actually helped my case when you affirmed that "Jesus said "I will build my church". Paul spoke of one tree and two kinds of branches being grafted in."

    Indeed ONE TREE with Gentiles now being grafted into the same tree. The Gentiles do not replace Israel but organically expand upon them in one body partaking of the same promises. God's promises now are not only to Jews but to Gentiles in Christ as well. Using the analogy of ingrafting, we organically grow out from the same root as the Jews because we are partaker in the same promises in Christ. It is fully developed in the Scriptures. God's covenant promise to Abraham is that all the nations would blessed through him and his seed.

    Next you said>>>> The apostles asked Christ "will you now restore the kingdom?" in Acts 1. Jesus' didn't answer with talk of a spiritual kingdom; He told them it wasn't for them to know the times when the restoration would happen.

    Dear sir, what is the kingdom but the reign of Jesus Christ. We all agree that the eschatological kingdom has not been consumated, but this does not mean that the eschaton has not broken in for believers. If the kingdom has not broken in at all there would be no believers. But all who yeild to the Lordship of Christ are part of the kingdom now and it is advancing in the world to gather all of the elect. The exchaton is breaking into the present every time a person yeilds to Christ. Are you saying that the regenerate are not pataking of kingdom blessings now? We both agree that the fullness of the kingdom has not arrived where the new heaven and earth converge and we will live in glorified bodies without sin and death. That is the culmination but this does not mean that the kingdom is not already among us in some sense.

    The dispensationalist instead believes that only the righteous will be resurrected when Christ comes so that glorified pesons who are sinless and cannot die will live alongside those who are mortal and sinful, even though there is no biblical basis for believing this. In fact, John 5 and elsewhere state plainly that the resurrection of the wicked and the righteous will happen simultaneously. As a dispensationalist I would challenge you to show from the bulk of Scripture that the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked happen 1000 years apart. This alone puts premillennialism to rest because you cannot read all the other scriptures in light of Revelation 20 ... but Rv 20 must be read along with all the other Scriptures. You cannot derive your doctrine from this text alone but must view the whole counsel of Scripture.

    Next, we have always believed in a future for the physical decendents of Abraham. Most of the Covenantal Reformers through history have always believed this. Why do we have to go over this again and again? It is a false charge. According to the Scripturee, the Lord will gather Israelites in greater numbers to himself, but not after some rapture. When the full number of the Gentiles come in the elect ethnic Jews will be gathered in.

    However, unlike dispensationalists, we see no evidence whatsoever for Jews to reinstitute the levitical sacrifice, which would be blasphemy going backwards in redemptive history and would be subject to the warnings in Hebrews 6 & 10 which explicitly appeal to Hebrews not to go back to worthless things which only pointed to Christ, who fulfills them.

    So I would challenge you, in light of John chapter five and many other like passages, how can you say the resurrection takes place 1000 years apart for the wicked and righteous.



    What Do Calvin, Hodge, Murray, Vos, Edwards and Henry Say about the Jews


    Thank you for the thorough response. We are at the point where any further response would be quite lengthy and beyond the bounds of a blog comment. I know the arguments and am not hiding from your position. I just think we would have to take it "offline" at this point. If you will allow me to email you, I'll respond later.

    Meanwhile, here are some quotes to counter your quotes, just for fun:


    Grace and peace to you. Hmmm ... as for going offline, thanks but no thanks. It is not necessary to take it offline. Online is for the benefit of everyone. My interest is not so much convincing you individually, since you appear to have already made up your mind, but rather, those who read the posts. Battling back and forth with you alone privately would likely not really benefit you or me, right?

    Plus there are more important debates to be had and bigger problems than this that we face in the church to speand my waking hours with.

    Regardless of quotes, most if not all covenantal persons I know have no difficulty in embracing the idea of a future for the ethnic Jews. And really, that is not the issue at all and is quite a distraction, if you ask me. The issue is whether it is true or not that the Jews and Gentiles will all receive redemptive blessings from the same head, Christ, and all partake of the same promises. Or, does Christ have two seperate plans for two people's, that is, two wives.

    Any honest look at the text must answer when the righteous and the unrighteous will be resurrected. If you can answer that adequately and post it here for all to see then you have convinced the masses, and we will all yeild to your understanding. But since it is not there, it is philosophicaly driven, not out of the text. :) The text plainly teaches that there is one resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous at the same time (for example John 5:29)

    This is not something that should not take a lot of time. Just show us the verses apart from Revelation 20 which indicate seperate resurrections for the elect and non-elect....

    If you have not read Beale on Revelation, I recommend it heartily.

    Hello again:

    I am leaving for a busy evening and I have to work some this weekend - but I am interested in continuing this discussion. I'll post a reply when I can.

    I am familiar with Beale but I have quite a stack I'm working through at the's not on my short list to read.

    I'll look forward to further discussion as soon as possible, Lord willing.

    Thanks and blessings to you.

    Hello again.

    I had posted something - or so I thought - but it never appeared.

    I am familiar with Beale but have quite a stack of things I'm reading and it isn't on the short list (plus I don't have the $70 for a single book at the moment!).

    As for continuing this discussion, I am open to that but I am very limited in the time I can devote at the moment. This is an involved topic and it can go in many different directions quickly. I would say if we limited this to one scripture or issue at a time, it would be possible. However, so far you (and I) have raised several passages and issues in each post. Where do you propose we start? The resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous?


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