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THE CHURCH IS NOT ISRAEL

 

 There is a lot of confusion going around these days about God's
promises, even among our own ranks here at (unnamed organization).
I'd like to take this opportunity to dispel a little of the confusion.

There is a powerful movement afoot called Replacement Theology
which states that the church is Israel and the promises given to
Israel were primarily for the church. This movement is
incurring the wrath of God, as it increasingly condemns the
nation of Israel as illegitimate, which is natural for folks who
believe the church has replaced Israel.

Even among those who
still hold to Israel to one degree or another, there seems to be
a propensity for yanking Old Testament promises out of the Bible
-- and, I might add, out of context -- and indiscriminately
applying them to modern church situations. The tendency is to
select those promises which fit church theology (like healing,
prosperity, victory) and ignore those which do not (like
punishment for rebellion, keeping of feasts, sacrifices). To
set the record straight: the church did not yet exist when
those promises were given, and they were not given to Israel as
a "type" of the church until the church should inherit them.
The Old Testament promises were given to Israel, and they apply
to Israel. Many of them ALSO apply to the church in a general
way, and many of them apply to all nations in a general way, and
many of them apply only to Israel. We have got to quit assuming
that just because some teacher of the Word says the Bible says
something is ours, that it is. We must understand the situation
and context in which the promises were given -- promises of
blessing and/or cursing, of redemption, et-cetera -- before we
can understand the promises themselves.

Let's take as an example 2 Chronicles 7:14. Most people today
are familiar with that verse, but unfortunately the vast
majority of the church in America/Australia seems to have gotten the idea
somewhere -- not from God -- that the promise is to America/Australia. It
most assuredly is not. Let us read the passage in its context
(2 Chronicles 7:11-20):

Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the
king's palace, and successfully completed all that
he had planned on doing in the house of the Lord and
in his palace. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at
night and said to him, "I have heard your prayer,
and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of
sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there
is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the
land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and
My people who are called by My Name [over whom My
Name is called] humble themselves and pray, and seek
My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will
hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open and
My ears attentive the prayer of this place. For now
I have chosen and consecrated this house that My
Name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart
will be there perpetually."


The context here is the completion and dedication of the temple
in Israel. Note God's promise concerning "this house".
Speaking to Israel, the Lord promised to forgive the nation and
heal the land if the nation would repent. The entire nation is
called "My people". Israel is called by God's Name. This
promise was NOT given to Australia, Japan, Albania, or the United States,
none of which is a nation "called by My Name". Unfortunately,
we in western society have twisted the meaning for our own
supposed benefit to allegedly say, "If My people which are
called by My Name (the Christians within the country) ..." But
it does not say that. Now the promise CAN apply to a nation
other than Israel in a general way: certainly if any nation
(Australia included) will repent, God will restore the nation and
forgive the sin and heal the land. The key is the distinction
between who is Israel and who is not. If the church is Israel,
then one can truly say, "If the believers will repent and pray,
I'll restore their land." But believers have already repented,
or else they wouldn't be believers! The confusion comes from
erroneously assuming the church is modern "spiritual Israel",
having replaced national Israel.
It does not say "If the
Christians will pray and intercede and repent". Repent of what?
The believers are already the righteousness of God in Jesus, and
it's not for the righteousness of the believing 1% that Australia/America
will be judged, but for the sin of the wicked 99% who refuse to
repent. The promise concerns a NATION repenting, not God's
people WITHIN A NATION repenting and praying. We are the temple
of the Holy Spirit, it is true, but our repentance does not
nullify the justice and righteousness of God. He cannot leave
a nation un-judged and remain a righteous judge!

Elsewhere in the Bible we find the answer to how God deals with
a wicked nation where a few people are righteous. This is one
of those passages the modern Word of Faith and Kingdom Now
people like to avoid, because it pretty well debunks their
misinterpretation of 2 Chronicles 7:14. This is found in
Ezekiel 14:13-20, and it is one of those places which speaks of
all nations in general (starting with verse 21 -- not quoted
here -- the Lord starts to apply it directly to Israel):

"Son of man, if a country sins against Me by
committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand
against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine
against it, and cut off from it both man and beast,
even though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job
were in its midst, by their own righteousness they
could only deliver themselves," declares the Lord
God. "If I were to cause wild beasts to pass
through the land, and they bereave of children, and
it became desolate so that no one would pass through
it because of the beasts, though these three men
were in its midst, as I live," declares the Lord
God, "they could not deliver either their sons or
their daughters. They alone would be delivered, but
the country would be desolate.
Or if I should bring
a sword on that country and say, 'Let the sword pass
through the country and cut off man and beast from
it,' even though these three men were in its midst,
as I live," declares the Lord God, "they could not
deliver either their sons or their daughters, but
they alone would be delivered. Or if I should send
a plague against that country and pour out My wrath
in blood on it, to cut off man and beast from it,
even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst,
as I live," declares the Lord God, "they could not
deliver either their son or their daughter. They
would deliver only themselves by their
righteousness."

Can our righteousness deliver Australia/America? What does God say about
it? The only people who will be delivered are the righteous,
and we've got to quit praying out of God's will and asking Him
to deliver the wicked, because He is a righteous and just God
and He will judge sin. The smart thing is to get your sin
judged on the cross so you're free of it and you don't get
judged yourself.
We need to pray for people to get saved, and
for wisdom for our leaders, and whatever else the Word tells us
to do. But know this: God is about to judge this nation. It
is His will to do so, indeed, He MUST do so. It is NOT His will
that any perish, but that all be saved. Nevertheless, Scripture
is clear that God hates sin, and He will destroy the nation that
continues to sin. He will also leave a righteous remnant.

The next time you hear someone quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 over
Australia/America and admonishing you to pray for restoration of our country,
just remember God isn't going to restore our nation. God is
restoring Israel now, and human government is coming to an end,
because the Messiah is about to return as King of kings and Lord
of lords; and soon the Word will be fulfilled which says, "The
kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and
He shall reign forever and ever."
Why should God put off the
Messiah's return so Australians/Americans can enjoy a few more years of
materialism and debauchery? We need to get in on what God is
doing, not try to make Him conform to our Christianity.


 

 

 

THE CHURCH IS NOT ISRAEL

(  ....... take  2  )

( courtesy  www.gotquestions.org )

 

Replacement theology essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. All the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel can be divided into two camps: either the Church is a continuation of Israel (replacement theology / covenant theology), or the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism / premillennialism).

Replacement theology teaches that the Church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian Church, not in Israel. So, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are "spiritualized" or “allegorized” into promises of God's blessing for the Church. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years?

The view that Israel and the Church are different is clearly taught in the New Testament. In this view, the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two are never to be confused or used interchangeably. We are taught from Scripture that the Church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the Day of Pentecost and will continue until it is translated to heaven at the Rapture (Ephesians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). The Church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises, and warnings are valid only for Israel. Israel has been temporarily set aside in God's program during these past 2,000 years of dispersion.

After the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God will restore Israel as the primary focus of His plan. The first event at this time is the Great Tribulation (Revelation chapters 6-19). The world will be judged for rejecting Christ, while Israel is prepared through the trials of the Great Tribulation for the Second Coming of the Messiah. Then, when Christ does return to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, Israel will be ready to receive Him. The remnant of Israel which survives the Tribulation will be saved, and the Lord will establish His kingdom on this earth with Jerusalem as its capital. With Christ reigning as King, Israel will be the leading nation, and representatives from all nations will come to Jerusalem to honor and worship the King—Jesus Christ. The Church will return with Christ and will reign with Him for a literal thousand years (Revelation 20:1-5).

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament support a pre-millennial, dispensational understanding of God's plan for Israel. The strongest support for pre-millennialism is found in the clear teaching of Revelation 20:1-7, where it says, six times, that Christ's kingdom will last 1,000 years. The Church has not replaced Israel in God's plan. While God may be focusing His attention primarily on the church in this dispensation of grace, God has not forgotten Israel and will one day restore Israel to His intended role for the nation He has chosen (Romans chapter 11).

 

 

 

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