Crisis In 21st Century Bible Prophecy Teachings - Page 1 - Is the Church the Israel of God?Summary - Title: Crisis In 21st Century Christian Prophecy Teachings - Challenging the False Teachings of Many End-Times PreachersThe Crisis In 21st Century Prophecy Teachings in The Christian Church -Page 1 - Revelation and The End of The World
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Is There A Crisis In 21st Century Christian Prophecy Teachings?
Answering the Question - Who Is God's Chosen People?
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Within the past several decades TV-influenced Christianity has often been presided over by teachers and self-enthroned "leaders" who have misled the Christian community regarding its true identity.
This online Bible study presents the Biblical evidence that challenges the more recent false teaching that modern (non-Christian) Jews are the "chosen" people of God in spite of the teachings within the New Testament that Jesus Christ instituted the New Covenant.
If you stay with this examination of Bible prophecy, you will be able to compare the ideas of Hal Lindsey to the actual words of Jesus Christ and His apostles and see the evidence of Mr. Lindsey's misunderstanding of scripture.
The logical consequences of Mr. Lindsey's misleading teachings is that the viewpoint (and teachings) of Jesus and His apostles,- that only the faithful of God are God's chosen people, - is denied, and people who are not believers in Jesus Christ have been redefined as the “chosen” people of God.
The New Testament book, I Thessalonians Chapter 5, verse 21, caution all of us to, "...examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;"
This Bible study will first look at the question, "Who is the Israel of God?"
Note: Page 2 Will take a look at present-day Israel in the light of the teachings of Hal Lindsey, et al - This page is important to establish Biblical teachings regarding who IS the Israel of God.
The New Covenant With Israel
God tells us the reason He made a New Covenant (He had divorced unfaithful Israel).
In speaking of the New Covenant that He would bring into existence, He said ".. NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD. - Hebrews 8:9
We are told that God divorced the Israel of the Old Covenant.
The Bible tells the reader, that God divorced the Israel under the Old Covenant because they had become unfaithful to Him...(i.e., the unbelieving Jews committed adultery against God).
Jeremiah 3:8 “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”
Because God loved His faithful followers, He made a New Covenant with the faithful of God so that God would be married forever to a FAITHFUL Bride....(The Body of Christ).
The Bible tells us that Jesus taught that He was the mediator of the New Covenant and His apostles accepted the many proofs of His Divine Nature and became His messengers to the world)
The apostles of Jesus saw themselves as servants of the New Covenant --
"...who [God] also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."- 2 Corinthians 3:6 (A book in the New Testament)
This study examines the apostles' reasoning and references to the Hebrew religious documents (the Hebrew documents are known to Christians as the Old Testament) within their understanding of the prophecies (given them by the biblical God they worshiped) regarding the promised New Covenant.
THE OLD TESTMENT PROMISE (Hebrew scriptures)
Jeremiah (an Old Testament book), Chapter 31, verses 27-32 "'BEHOLD THE DAYS ARE COMING,' DECLARES THE LORD, 'WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant whichthey broke, although I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD...."
God Divorced The Unfaithful And ReMarried Only The Faithful
The Author of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, taught his readers that all those who had been faithful to God ( he was speaking of the time BEFORE Jesus Christ came to mediate a better covenant), had been approved of God through their obedient FAITH:
Hebrews 11:39-40 -- "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, DID NOT RECEIVE WHAT WAS PROMISED, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect."
"...so that apart from us they should not be made perfect." - presents the apostles understanding that the Israel of God is made up of ONE people."
Hebrews 11:39 ALSO TELLS US THAT -- THEY HAD NOT RECEIVED THE PROMISED NEW COVENANT ALTHOUGH THEY HAD BEEN APPROVED OF BY GOD BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS.
The Covenant God had given to Abraham included the promise that in Abraham ALL the world would be blessed:
Genesis 18:17-18 - "And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him ALL the nations of the earth will be blessed?"
God in His Mercy determined that ALL the faithful-to-God (throughout time) would be included in the New Covenant as He had promised Abraham that in him (Abraham) ALL the world would be blessed --
The writer of Romans 4:13 brings to memory for his readers that - "...the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith."
We can understand why Abraham and the earlier faithful to God people had not received the promised New Covenant as the writer stated in Hebrews 11.
The apostles of Jesus taught that Abraham and others of God's faithful(before Christ entered the world) had not received the promised New Covenant because God wanted to include US in the New Covenant ( those who would come to God, when the Messiah would enter the world, to establish the New Covenant).
The credentials of the promised Messiah (The Savior of the world, Who the God of Abraham promised to send into the world, whereby the New Covenant would be established) were the prophecies regarding Him and -- which in Him -- would be fulfilled).
The apostles tell us that God WAITED before establishing the New Covenant, so that OUR faith would be founded on a sure footing: "And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." 2 Peter 1:19
Because of God's desire that All nations would be blessed (as He had promised Abraham ) through providing ALL the world the opportunity to become a descendent of Abraham and enter into the Israel of God. -- God waited before sending His Son to establish the New Covenant ~~ until the fulness of Time - Galatians 4:4 " But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,..."
The scriptures tell us that God waited so that He could ensure that, "..our faith would be founded on a sure footing..." See 2 Peter 1:19 (above) ~ through the visible proof of hundreds of years old prophecies being fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth.
Romans 4:16 For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,..."
It is through the New Covenant by which He united all those who had been accepted by faith under the Old Covenant and those who had been accepted through Faith into the New Covenant by which He made them ONE body of believers in the Israel of God.
"...even US, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
The author of Romans reminds his readers that God's intentions had always been that the New Covenant would rescue ALL those UNDER THE LAW.
Romans 2:12 - "For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the law [the eternally lawless, who refuse any law ] and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;..."
Galatians 4:4-5- "But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that WE might receive the adoption as sons.
Romans 9:25 -- "As He says also in Hosea, "I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, 'MY PEOPLE,' AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, 'BELOVED.'"
Romans 9:26 "AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, 'YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,' THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD."
Romans 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE AS THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;
The early prophecy in Jeremiah 31:27-32, pointed in our direction - "'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the LORD, 'I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'" - In the New Testament book of Hebrews 8:10 refers to Jeremiah's prophecy (see below).
In the New Testament, the apostles, in referring to the promised New Covenant, stated that Jesus came to establish the New Covenant:
Book of Hebrews, chapter 8, verse 6 -- "But now He [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
Hebrews 8:7 -- For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
Hebrews 8:8 -- For finding fault with them, He says [ referring to the Hebrew scriptures - the Old Testament], 'BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;
Hebrews 8:9 -- NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
Hebrews 8:10 -- FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM UPON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
The apostles of Jesus understood that the CHURCH (the Body of Christ) is the Israel of God because God had stated that ALL those in the New Covenant were His people, "...AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE..."
Hebrews 8:11 -- AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
Hebrews 8:12 FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.
The author of Hebrews, explains more fully:
"When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.'" Hebrews 8:13
The apostles of Jesus taught that the Israel of God is entered through obedient Faith:
Galatians 6:14 --" But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the ISRAEL OF GOD."
NOW IN CHRIST - ALL FAITHFUL BELIEVERS ARE IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL
Ephesians 2:12-13 - (a New Testament communication written to the Christians in Ephesus - a city in Asia Minor ) "... remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
Matthew 2:5-6 -- "And they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet,'AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER, WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'"
The Bible Teaches that Only Those Who Are Faithful to the God of the Bible (throughout time) Are His Chosen People.
Being accepted by God into the New Covenant has nothing to do with genetics or as members of an ancient religion or where the faithful live.
The apostles of Jesus taught that the Body of Jesus Christ is the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16 - New Testament)
To teach today that the chosen people of God is defined by genetics ("children of the flesh") is to deny the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.
This false teaching is not a small error. The reality is, that to accept it as true, the only conclusion a person can logically reach (if this teaching is true), is that Jesus Christ and His apostles deceived those they taught (because THEY taught the opposite of this modern teaching regarding who is the chosen people of God).
The apostle Paul claimed that the chosen people of God are descendants of faithful Abraham (to whom God made the promise of the New Covenant).
The apostle Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, wrote these words: "That is, it is NOT the children of the FLESH who are children of God, but the children of the PROMISE are regarded as descendants." Romans 9:8
The apostle Paul taught that many of the children of the flesh had lost their place with God because of unbelief (they were not counted among the faithful): Paul, referring back to the Hebrew scriptures [the Old Testament], reminded his readers of the limitations of the old Covenant:
"... NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD." Hebrews 8:9
No person who claims to be a Christian has any authority to teach that the Old Covenant remains in effect today. Jesus Christ made the Old Covenant obsolete. "It is finished!"
Hebrews 8:13 "When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear."
The apostle John wrote, (John 19:30) - " When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, 'IT IS FINISHED!' And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit."
It was not an accident that at the time of Jesus Christ' death (for the sins of ALL the approved of by God), the Temple veil was torn in two parts - Matthew records what took place:
Matthew 27:50-51 "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,..."
AT THAT MOMENT THE OLD COVENANT WAS MADE OBSOLETE.
Hebrews 9:12 -- "... and NOT through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place , having obtained eternal redemption.
For any Christian to support or applaud an animal sacrifice to God as an atonement for sins is to deny the efficacy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sins.
To believe, today, that an animal sacrifice is able to atone for our sins is to deny that Christ has come in the flesh to pay for sins -- ONCE FOR ALL.
2 John 1:7 "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist."
Every Christian (whether he/she is of Jewish heritage or non-Jewish heritage) owes a debt to Abraham and those faithful Jews who accepted Jesus Christ.
For out of the Jews, came the world's opportunity for salvation.
When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well, He taught her this truth:
John 4:22-24 - "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Jesus taught that if you are not worshiping God in spirit and in TRUTH, you are not worshiping the Creator.
Hal Lindsey and those who have followed him in error have misunderstood the Old and New Testaments so thoroughly they have become the instigators of a radical departure from historic Christianity within the modern world.
These radical ideas have produced the false teaching that modern Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. That the old system of animal sacrifice will be restored. The Temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifices will begin again. It is taught that this has been prophesied by God (and that it is being brought about by God) as directly connected to modern Israel.
This false teaching further teaches that the New Covenant is NOT made up of "My People Israel."
These false teachings state that God will save an entire generation of non-believing (in Christ) Jews in a special and unique manner.
On the Day of Pentecost (in the First Century), God presented the New Covenant to the Jews assembled there: -- Acts 2:5 - " Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven." During that first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, 3000 of these devout Jews became Christians (they were not called Christian at that time), were baptized into Christ and were counted among the other believers.
Peter had been able to persuade 3000 fellow devout Jews (through his sermon-the Word of God), to join them in the New Covenant, yet there were many there that day who were not convinced.
The scriptures teach that it is God's WILL how faith comes: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."- Romans 10:17
The Lindsey-oriented false teaching, redefines the very NATURE OF GOD, and slanders God by bearing false witness of Him, teaching that God is, and has been, a respecter of persons.
Many devout Jews were not saved on that day or in that generation (yet, Lindsey teaches that an entire generation of Jews [ALL], will be saved in modern Israel).
It is Lindsey's or Lindsey-like false teaching that claims God will respect some people more than other people. A thing, that God denies!
Romans 2:11 - " For there is no partiality with God."
The truth is that when a false teaching begins to spread out from the center of what was the original source of its truth, it ends up disconnected from truth, itself, through the loss of the original connection and the end result is mere confusion and contradiction.
Thus, the conclusion of this false teaching results in challenging the Nature of God because it began with a false premise.
At this point, Lindsey teaches that God will, in modern Israel, (remember Lindsey claims that modern Israel is a fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecies) save an entire generation of non-believing (in Christ), Jews.
A thing God never said or would ever say.
It is a slander to God to challenge His affirmation that He is NOT a respecter of persons. NO apostle ever taught this false concept of God's morality.
The profane view that God would deny salvation to millions of unbelieving (in Christ) Jews within all the generations of the past, WHILE promising a special and unique method of salvation ONLY to the last generation of unbelieving (in Christ) Jews during the end-time (Lindsey’s false teaching) makes God out a liar, who teaches that He is NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS.
Jesus and the apostles taught that in every generation, no person is saved in any other manner or in any other way than through obeying the conditions of the New Covenant, presented by the Lord Jesus Christ (the Gospel of the New Covenant has always been open to all peoples regardless of race or national status):
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; 'THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.'" - Romans 10:17-18
The "THEY" Paul was talking about were his kinsmen according to the flesh and he stated that every Jew of his day had heard the gospel and there WAS a Jewish remnant who believed, providing himself and the other Jewish believers as the proof.
"I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Romans 11:1
GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS. The last generation of those who are Jewish, but who have not accepted Jesus as the Christ are NOT respected more by God than all the past generations of Jewish persons who lived as unbelieving in Christ.
GOD’S ISRAEL (ARE ALL THOSE IN THE NEW COVENANT) - REGARDLESS OF RACE OR ANY OTHER EXTERNAL FACTOR - ARE THE PARTAKERS OF THE NEW COVENANT WHERE CHRIST TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE OBEDIENT REPENTANT, JUST AS THE WRITER OF ROMANS TEACHES!
Ephesians 1:13 "In Him, you also, after listeningto the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory."
Ephesians 2:12 -- “… remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world…... But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, WHO MADE BOTH GROUPS INTO ONE... [ all faithful believers throughout time are ONE], and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in ONE BODY to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
As the scriptures affirm, there is ONE Israel of God, and they, who are members of the Israel of God are those who enter through obedient faith during all periods of time.
"For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. " - Galatians 6:15-16
The apostle Paul, taught that All faithful believer's in Christ have come to MOUNT ZION (They are considered in the heavenly Jerusalem right now):
Hebrews 12:22- "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,"
The Church of Jesus Christ is the ~ Israel of God ~ now and forever!