Thursday, February 11, 2010

Christians, National Israel, and Overkill

We human beings are born with simple minds and only gradually become wiser with time and experience. This is why Christians so often go above and beyond the words of the Scriptures with regard to “Replacement Theology” or the like, and fail to see the forest for some of the trees. To be sure, the apostle Paul does say:

24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.
(Romans 2.24-29)

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;
5 Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel:
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
(Romans 9.3-8)

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3.1-6)
People take the boldface words above to mean that ethnic Jews are not special in God’s sight. Yet these people forget two things: 1) In the process of the composition of the Scriptures, God used a man who in a number of instances spoke in a manner which was easy to misunderstand; the apostle Peter actually expresses a similar sentiment about Paul in 2 Peter 3.15-16; 2) This same person named Paul also wrote the following:

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11.25-32)
But every Christian already knows this, right? I’m not saying anything new or that anyone needs to hear, right? To the contrary: I ran into someone just recently who asserted that Jews qua Jews are not special in God’s sight. He forgot that Jews are beloved for the fathers’ sakes and that God’s gifts and calling are without repentance. The apostle Paul may not necessarily be an apologist for Zionism as are many Christians who lean toward dispensationalism, but Paul would frown upon various Christians’ attempts to treat Jewish heritage as nothing.


That leads to another point worth making. In ages past, the sum of the Hebrew people was composed in part of idolaters, murderers, rapists and other bad people according to the biblical record. If Jews were capable of sinning then, they they are capable of doing so today. This means that Christians should not be quick to condone every action of the state of Israel or to dismiss out of hand any Palestinian claims that the state of Israel has done them wrong.

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