Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Fifth Great Prophecy of Scripture

Our fifth major prophecy concerns the nation Israel. The Abrahamic covenant involved a land, a seed, and a blessing. It is through this covenant that one finds not only the promise of a Savior of Israel, but the nation Israel will live in the land with a righteous King in peace.  Jehovah-Tsideqenu (The Lord our Righteousness; Jer.23:6) will be Jehovah-shalomenu (The Lord our peace; Eph. 2:14) because He originated ‘eth-berity shalom (“the covenant of peace”; Num. 25:12).  Here we find Dr. Walvoord’s next major prophecy – the “Prophecy of the Future of Israel as a Nation.”

As Dr. Walvoord wrote, “For a gentile believer of the twentieth century, prophecy concerning the future of Israel may seem unimportant. However, from a prophetic perspective, the future of Israel is very important. In fact, the prophecies about Israel form the background of understanding prophecy as a whole. One of the main causes for current confusion in understanding prophecy is the failure to take Israel-related prophecies literally. Attempts to transfer the promises relating to Israel to the church have been a major obstacle to understanding God’s prophetic purposes as a whole. Once prophecies about Israel are distinguished from prophesies concerning the church or the Gentiles, the main programs of God as outlined in prophecy begin to be clear.”

When God gives us prophecy and it is fulfilled one finds it fulfilled literally! That should be the main statement of fact the we hold when we approach Scripture. However, that is not the central point that those who interpret the Bible from an amillennial point of view. That is, for those who interpret Scripture from an historical, grammatical, THEOLOGICAL perspective. What is the problem with adding theological to our method? It corrupts the historical, grammatical, turning the plain meaning into a meaning that is has a many interpretations as there are theological perspectives. We are responsible moral agents, and as such, we are responsible for how we handle and transfer God’s Word. We interpret Scripture like we interpret any other writing – we interpret Scripture like our elementary school teacher taught us – we interpret by the historical, grammatical method!

When we approach Scripture like the following:  

5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jer. 23:5-6 NKJ)

We are not to approach this Scripture, take it out of context, and proclaim Jesus as our King reigning on His throne today in heaven. That is how the amillennial interprets it. Ignoring “executing judgment and righteousness in the earth,” and “Israel will dwell safely.” Even, if one were to replace Israel with the church as they do, how is it that the church dwells safely today.” This should be interpreted in context, Israel is national Israel, not the church, and execute judgment and righteousness on the each means Jesus’ second coming not His first coming, when Christ comes in judgment, not when Christ came as the Suffering Servant.

 Pattern of literal fulfillment. Dr. Walvoord points out that prophecy has a fundamental pattern throughout Scripture of a literal fulfillment of prophecy.  He wrote, “the prediction that from the line of Abraham would come One who would be a blessing to the entire world has already been fulfilled in Christ. Additional fulfillment is found in the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament as they contributed to the spiritual blessing God has bestowed on his people… Throughout history it has become obvious that the descendants of Abraham have emerged as a nation with millions of people. In Egypt the family of seventy may have become a people of two million or more at the time of the Exodus. Though for many generations they were persecuted and reduced in number, the people of Israel today are estimated to number from 15 to 25 million inhabitants In various parts of the world.”

The Scriptures testify of a future Israel that will exist in Israel proper with the Messiah ruling as King in a land blessed by fruitfulness. Indeed starting in Deuteronomy chapter six, one finds the Messianic kingdom is prophesied in great detail. So it is a question of the character of God that one must come to the conclusion that His Word be true and prophecy be interpreted in its plan sense and a literal, not some spiritualized interpretation applied to Israel’s future with their Messiah who will dwell on mount Zion! Dr. Walvoord observes, “Though some extremists of one kind or another attempt to explain away any literal fulfillment of the existence of Israel today, the fact is that the world as a whole has recognized Israel as a political state and has assigned her certain territories in the Middle East… The question of a future of Israel is important becauseit determines the interpretation of so many passages of the Bible. To some, the theological arguments may seem technical, but the question simply put is whether the prophecies about Israel should be taken in their plain and natural meaning as revealing Israe’s future.  The debate is between the amillennial view, which claims that there is no literal Millennium after the second coming of Christ, and the premillennial position, which believes Isreal has a future Millennium after this event.” 

What is at stake here, is the very character of God Himself! Did God not author the Scriptures by His Spirit? If God is just and unchangeable, why then would God change the interpretative technique for mankind when it comes to some Scriptures than others and different rules from basic interpretation of any document? He does not.  Everywhere Israel is used in the Bible means Israel, everywhere Jew is used in the Bible it describes those who are Israelite not Gentiles. This can be seen in Paul's letter to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 10:32, where a threefold division of mankind is defined today to be (1) Gentiles, (2) Jews, and (3) The church of God.   And Paul’s clear teaching concerning Israel’s future in Romans chapter eleven. 

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;  27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins."
 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.  29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,
 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.  32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  34 "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?"  35 "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?"  36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.  (Rom 11:25-36 NKJ)   

One finds that both Testaments, the Old and New, testify to the future of the Messianic Millennial Kingdom reserved for the Jew first, so that Paul can say with clarity and certainty that all Israel will be saved.