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The True Israel

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Iconoclast, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Mar 25, 2010
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  2. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Notice in this passage that Paul speaks to Gentiles as having been previously separate and alienated from Israel and the covenants, but in Christ, Gentiles have become citizens of Israel. Being "brought near" was their modern day parlance for Jewish proselytes. Because verse 12 and verse 19 are separated by some text (which speaks of benefits in Christ) many do not pay attention to their close connection. Let's have a look then: Verse 12 "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel" is joined to (vr. 19) "you are no longer strangers and aliens". No longer aliens to what? No longer aliens to the commonwealth of Israel. That means that Gentiles who are in Christ are now "citizens" (v. 19) of Israel built as a house with Christ as the chief cornerstone. In other words, Jesus Christ is the True Israel of God (1) (its fulfillment and foundation) as are all who are joined in union to Him. To say it another way, both OT and NT saints who are in union with Christ are citizens of Israel according to this passage. Likewise we are partakers of its promises, according to another nearby passage:
  3. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Notes on sacred space >K. Culver

    This global salvation was to be effected through the Servant’s work of vicarious
    atonement (53:1-12) and, as a result of it, Zion (symbolizing Yahweh’s covenant wife
    who bears children for him – ref. 50:1; also Hosea 2:1-23) would be restored from her
    desolation. In her restoration she would then gather in the innumerable “children” of the
    covenant Lord secured for Him by the atoning work of His Servant (54:1-17).

    The focal point of the Servant’s work in Isaiah’s prophecy is the recovery to God of
    estranged mankind. But, in keeping with the fact that the curse extended to the whole
    creation, Isaiah showed that work of recovery to reach beyond man to embrace the entire
    created order. Through His Servant, Yahweh would vanquish the curse and usher in a
    new creation(cf. 65:1-25, 66:5-24 with 11:1-10).

    a. Thus Yahweh’s message through Isaiah was one of comfort. Desolation and
    destruction had been decreed, but that wasn’t to bethe last word: Judgment and
    wrath would one day yield to renewal and recovery when the Lord rose up on
    behalf of His estranged creation to deliver it from its bondage and restore it to
    Himself. This message and the proclamation of its impending fulfillment had been
    entrusted to the forerunner – now present in John –and he was to prepare the sons
    of Israel to receive the Servant coming to accomplish that work (40:1-11).

    b. As the Isaianic forerunner, John’s mission was one of preparation; the Lord raised
    him up to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of their Messiah and the
    inauguration of His kingdom. He was to “make smoothin the desert a highway
    for Israel’s God,” and there were two components ofhis preparatory work, both
    of which focused on the matter of repentance.

    The first was John’s baptism, which the Scripture calls a “baptism of repentance”
    (cf. Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; also Acts 13:23-24); Johncalled the sons of Israel to
    undergo this ritual washing in connection with the confession of their sins
    (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5). Some have wrongly concluded that John’s baptism
    itself secured the forgiveness of sins, but it actually symbolized the purification
    from uncleanness that was the goal of a person’s repentance. It wasn’t a baptism
    unto repentance and forgiveness, but a baptism because of the repentance that
    brings forgiveness of sin. For this reason it was universal in scope (Luke 3:14),
    though it primarily targeted the unfaithful house of Israel. All men were in need
    of repentance, even as the forerunner was appointed to announce Yahweh’s
    salvation that would extend to the ends of the earth (John 1:29).
    An even worse conclusion is that John was preparing the people for the coming of
    the messianic kingdom by calling them away from their bad behavior. Luke’s
    account especially has been used to support this understanding (ref. 3:10-14). But
    a closer examination shows that John was revealing to the multitudes that the
    emerging kingdom calls for an entirely new way of thinking about and
    approaching life. The kingdom of God, soon to be inaugurated in the messianic
    Servant, is an otherworldly kingdom that operates according to a radically
    different set of principles. It is a heavenlykingdom rather than an earthly one.

    This is the reason that the matter of repentance was the marrow of John’s
    preparatory work. Repentance speaks of a change in one’s thinking, and if the
    sons of Israel (and the Gentiles among them) were going to be able to correctly
    perceive and thereby embrace the King and His kingdom when they arrived, their
    natural and historical way of conceiving those promised realities would have to be
    drastically altered. In effect, Israel would have to become a new Israel. S.
    McKnight, in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, comments: “While John
    may have baptized in the Jordan simply because it was close to the desert, it is far
    more likely that he did so to evoke the ancient Jewish tradition of entry into the
    land as the new people of God. Having been baptizedin the Jordan, the people
    came out of the water, re-entered the land and sought once again to take it for
    God as the now pure Israel.”
    John’s second preparatory work was his proclamation of the kingdom and its
    king, and that proclamation reinforces the sort of repentance he sought. For at the
    heart of John’s proclamation was his rebuke of Israel’s unfounded confidence
    before God. He warned those who came out to him about finding their
    righteousness in their Abrahamic descent and place in the covenant household.
    The Jews’ ethnic pride lulled them into thinking that they enjoyed a special
    standing with God, while their natural self-righteousness fostered the notion that
    righteousness under the law was achieved by external, “legal” conformity to it. If
    they were to recognize and receive their Messiah and enter His kingdom they
    would need to repent of all such thinking (cf. Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-9).
    2. The Coming Elijah
    John’s role as Isaiah’s forerunner is further elucidated by his being the Elijah promised
    by Malachi (4:5-6; cf. Matthew 11:7-14, 17:1-13). John’s appearance mirrored Elijah’s,
    but the real issue was his coming in the spirit and power of Elijah
  4. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Mar 25, 2010
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    pt 2 ibid
    The Emergent Kingdom – The Coming of Immanuel
    John was appointed by the Lord to prepare Israel for the coming of the long-awaited kingdom.
    And at the heart of that kingdom was the profound reality of theophany: The uniform prophetic
    message was that Yahweh Himself would inaugurate His kingdom in connection with His own
    personal presence in the world. The promise of the kingdom was the promise of Immanuel –
    “God with us” – and this theme is most prevalent inIsaiah’s prophecy (cf. 7:1-12:6, 19:18-25,
    25:1-27:13, 32:1-20, 40:1-11, 42:1-9, 49:1-13, 59:1-20, etc.).
    In particular, Isaiah associated the eschatological coming of Yahweh with the coming of His
    Servant. Importantly, this Servant is presented in unique terms as both the fulfillment of Israel
    (Isaiah 49:1ff) and the presence of Yahweh (cf. Isaiah 40:1-11 with 42:1-16; also Zechariah
    2:10-11). In this way the text indirectly indicatesthat, in this one individual, there is some sort of
    conjoining of the covenant Father and son; both parties to the covenant are represented in him.
    While Christians commonly recognize that the Isaianic “Servant of the Lord” represents Yahweh
    Himself in His coming to inaugurate His kingdom, it is far less common for them to find in this
    individual the fulfillment of Israel, Yahweh’s covenant son. The result is that they miss a crucial
    aspect of Christ’s identity and role as the God-Man.
  5. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    But another stream of Old Testament messianism also converged with the promise to
    David of a royal “Branch”: The coming Davidic ruler was to be a king-priest– a priest
    according to the order of Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God
    (cf. Psalm 110 with Zechariah 6:9-15; cf. also Genesis 14:18 with Hebrews 5-7).
    The royal aspect of prophetic messianism associated with David enjoys an obvious and
    intimate connection with the Isaianic servant motif and the principle of Immanuel (along
    with the Isaiah contexts, consider Jeremiah 30-33).The focal point of that connection is
    the matter of dominion: The Branch of David is shown to be the Servant of Yahweh in
    whom the Lord establishes His kingdom and executes His dominion over His creation.
    But the Scripture is concerned with a corollary issue, namely how the divine dominion is
    secured and carried out. It is in that regard that the priestly aspect of messianism comes to
    the forefront. The Davidic Branch is the Melchizedekian Priest.
  6. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    It is in relation to the concept of a redemptive kingdom that the doctrine of the
    Day of the Lord emerged in the prophets. Yahweh would indeed come and
    establish His kingdom through a great redemptive act, but, consistent with the
    meaning of redemption, that act would involve judgment and deliverance. The
    Lord was going to usher in His kingdom by defeating the enemies who had taken
    His sons captive, thereby liberating them and taking them to Himself to be with
    Him in His dwelling place. The first Exodus was to find its own fulfillment in a
    second Exodus (Isaiah 51:1-11; cf. 11:1-16).
  7. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    In history and in prophecy, God’s kingdom has been shown to be a redemptive kingdom,
    but the principle of redemption always had a temporal quality. Now, in the time of
    fulfillment, the Lord was revealing through His inspired witnesses that the kingdom
    principle of redemption – like the kingdom itself –was taking on a spiritual character.
    Deliverance from enemies had now, in the fullness of the times, become deliverance from
    the spiritual enemies of sin and death; temporal deliverance had become salvation(ref.
    Luke 1:39-55, 67-79). This transposition is the keyto understanding the priestly aspect of
    Old Testament messianism. Like its Israelite predecessor, Yahweh’s true kingdom was to
    be a redemptive kingdom, but redemption in relationto it would involve deliverance from
    sin, and this spotlighted its priestly dynamic.

    The priestly aspect of the eschatological kingdom was itself nothing new, for the Israelite
    kingdom had also been a priestly one (Exodus 19:5-6). Even as the kingdom of Israel was
    founded on the Sinai Covenant, the covenant was founded on the priesthood. The
    covenant at Sinai established formal relationship between Father and son, but that
    relationship – set in the context of human estrangement – depended upon a system of
    mediation by which the unrighteousness (that is, the relational unfaithfulness) of the son
    could be addressed (Hebrews 7:11).

    And at the heart of that mediation was the principle of sacrifice. The son’s violation of
    the covenant demanded satisfaction, but, more than that, the continuance of the covenant
    relationship required that the son’s obligation of perfect righteousness under the
    covenant be met on his behalf. Violation of the covenant by either party meant the end of
    the covenant; thus, in a context in which the son was capable only of unceasing violation,
    the continuation of the Israelite kingdom depended upon the son’s appropriation of an
    alien righteousness.
    The covenant Father provided such a substitute for His son, but that provision was only
    symbolic; the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. While Israel’s
    sacrificial system spoke of righteousness by portraying how the problem of estrangement
    was to be resolved, it didn’t procure it. In God’s infinite wisdom, what was portrayed by
    priest and sacrifice would be fulfilled through the merging of the two. The problem of
    human unrighteousness – that is, the curse of divine-human estrangement – would be
    resolved by a priest who would offer Himself as substitutionary atoning sacrifice.
    This, too, was not a new idea; in their witness to the kingdom the prophets insisted that
    Yahweh’s deliverance and restoration – which were to come through His Servant –
    would be effected by the Servant’s self-offering. Zion’s perpetual unfaithfulness had
    brought desolation to David’s kingdom, but the Servant’s work would secure restoration
    and a profusion of offspring for Yahweh (Isaiah 53-54). The Branch of David – the
    Servant of Yahweh – would rule as a priest upon His throne: Not only would the
    promised kingdom be inaugurated through a work of priestly triumph over the true
    enemies of God and man, namely sin and death, it would be perpetuated through priestly
    intercession. The One heralded by the forerunner as the winnowing Judge who would
    burn the chaff with unquenchable fire was also the Savior of whom He declared, “Behold
    the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Luke 3:15-17; John 1:19-30).