POSITIONS IN THIS ARTICLE:
SOME DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF SYSTEMATIZED
It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines
full preterism appeals to - such as the complete end of the Old
Covenant world in AD70 - are by no means distinctive to that view.
Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper
Preterist system in order to endorse this view. Following
are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I've seen, are only taught by
adherents of Hyper Preterism.:
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD
All Bible Prophecy was Fulfilled By AD70
Atonement Incomplete at Cross ;
Complete at AD70
The Supernatural Power of Evil
Ended in AD70
The Spirit of Antichrist was
Destroyed in AD70
"The Consummation of the Ages"
Came in AD70
"The Millennium" is in the Past, From
AD30 to AD70
Nothing to be Resurrected From
in Post AD70 World ; Hades Destroyed
The Christian Age Began in AD70
; Earth Will Never End
"The Day of the Lord" was Israel's
Destruction ending in AD70
The "Second Coming" of Jesus
Christ Took Place in AD70-ish
The Great Judgment took place
in AD70 ; No Future Judgment
The Law, Death, Sin, Devil,
Hades, etc. Utterly Defeated in AD70
of the Dead and Living is Past, Having Taken
Place in AD70
The Context of the Entire Bible
is Pre-AD70 ; Not Written To Post AD70 World
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
Baptism was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)
The Lord's Prayer was for Pre-AD70
The Lord's Supper was for Pre-AD70
The Holy Spirit's Paraclete Work
Ceased in AD70 (Cessationism)
The Consummation in AD70 Caused
Church Offices to Cease (Cessationism)
The Resurrection in AD70 Changed
the "Constitutional Principle" of Marriage (Noyesism)
Israel and Humanity Delivered into
Ultimate Liberty in AD70 (TransmillennialismTM)
The Judgment in AD70 Reconciled All
of Mankind to God ; All Saved (Preterist Universalism)
Adam's Sin No Longer Imputed in
Post AD70 World ; No Need to be Born Again (Preterist Universalism)
When Jesus Delivered the Kingdom to
the Father in AD70, He Ceased Being The Intermediary (Pantelism/Comprehensive
The Book of Genesis is an
Apocalypse; is About Creation of First Covenant Man, not First Historical
Man (Covenantal Preterism)
The Hope of Israel
By Jim Gunter
It’s very interesting that this is not the only passage where we see a connection between the “end of the old covenant age“ and “the resurrection.” In the epistle of 1 Corinthians, which Paul wrote in about 57 A.D., he spent the entire 15th Chapter addressing the matter of “The Resurrection.” Among the many things he had to say about “the resurrection,” he spoke of the fact that Christ came to restore the life [spiritual life] which was forfeited in the Garden by Adam [vss. 21, 22].. In the last few verses [vss. 51-58], we learn about the “when” of the resurrection, and also it’s “covenantal connection.”
The subject of The hope of Israel is indeed one of utmost importance as well as one of varied understanding. I would imagine, should every Christian be asked what they considered the hope of Israel to be, that a majority would declare it to be:
“A future time when God restores national, fleshly Israel to its former place of grandeur and pre-eminence over all the nations of the earth; that it will be a day when Jesus will come back to earth, physically, at which time, He will take his place upon David’s literal throne as King, in the earthly city of Jerusalem, where He will reign for a thousand years etc..”
The root of all the elements of this understanding go back as far as Abraham in Gen. 12:3 and God’s promise to him. God told him that because of his implicit faith: “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you, and make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse…“ However, perhaps the most often cited passage in support of this belief is God’s promise to him in Gen. 13:14-17 where the Lord said: “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.” Certainly, upon just a cursory reading of these passages, it’s not difficult at all to come away with the understanding that God did in fact give to Abraham and his fleshly descendants all of that land for an eternal or everlasting possession. And this is why so many Christians, today, are convinced that the Jews will assuredly possess this land forever; that it belongs to them; that by Divine right it is theirs by way of an everlasting promise from Jehovah. And consequently, that is why many precious brethren reason that this is truly “The Hope of Israel!”
Beloved, it’s quite possible that this may also be your understanding of “The Hope of Israel” as well. And if it is, then you may have arrived at that understanding as a result of intense, in-depth Bible study. Or, it may be for the same reason that I once believed a number of the things I did in my younger days viz., because it was how my dear godly parents understood them, and their parents before them.. And thirdly, it may also be because it’s part of the belief system of the church of which one is affiliated. But regardless of the reason, it certainly doesn’t hurt for us to investigate any teaching, whether it’s something we already believe, or even something contrary to what we already believe, no matter what the subject is. As for myself, I pray that our Father will give me the grace, wisdom, and humility of mind, to be always open to the possibility that I could be mistaken about things which I believe at any point in my life. Truthfully, at one time in my spiritual journey, I would have thought that to be such minded, was to be wishy-washy, indecisive, or weak in the faith. Some would even say “double minded.” But today, beloved, as I reflect on those days gone by, I now see that it was spiritual growth. Dear ones, just try to imagine, if you can, what our present spiritual condition would be if we, over the course of our lifetime, never altered our thinking each time we learned we were mistaken about something in matters of faith. Beloved, I ask you, “Could a person such as that, have realized any spiritual growth whatsoever?” Why, of course not! Oh yes, folks, we need to remember that we all have need of spiritual growth. Not even one of us began our spiritual walk fully grown; not even one of us has arrived at all the truth! Yes, dear friends, we are all ignorant--but simply about different things.
Now, as to the understanding mentioned above regarding “The hope of Israel,” it’s remarkable just how that understanding has flourished over the past hundred and fifty years or so, and especially in the past one hundred years! It seems that it got its greatest boost from the advent of the Scofield Bible by Mr. Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield in 1908, an avid Zionist, and also a zealous promoter of the dispensational pre-millennial view. Quite effective in this endeavor, were his copious pre-millennial dispensational notes and commentary right along with, and in many cases, even inserted into the text of the King James Bible. Sadly enough, it seems that many disciples accepted his notes and commentary almost to equal degree to which they did of the inspired text. Because of this factor, this teaching spread rapidly among disciples of the 20th century. An enormous number of these Bibles have been sold over the years, evidenced by the fact that it is now in its 7th or 8th edition. Incorporated into this dispensational pre-millennial view was Mr. Scofield’s belief of a future “rapture” of the saints; a teaching based on John N. Darby’s interpretation of 1 Thes. 4:13-18, back around the year 1830. Consequently, this view of a future “rapture,” being now a part of Mr. Scofield’s bible, has garnered the support of many in Christendom, where such had not been the case before.
Beloved, at this point, let’s go back to the question regarding “the hope of Israel,” and the view that we put forth in the first paragraph of this thesis. What about that understanding? Is it the correct one? Well, if you would be so kind as to indulge me just a few lines, there are some things that I believe, when carefully examined, would be useful toward our determining whether or not this belief also enjoys the support of Scripture. We won’t go into an extensive study of it because of time and space constraints, albeit, we will examine it enough so as to reach a fair and informed conclusion as to its validity! From the outset, I want to say that I believe the Scriptures do serve as their own best commentary as well as their own best interpreter. I think you will agree with me, that it really doesn’t matter what I may think about any particular bible matter, because if it doesn’t measure up to the standard---our Father’s Word---then it counts for nothing. As Paul said in Rom. 3:4, “…let God be found true, though every man be found a liar…” In other words, if I say one thing about some matter, but our Father’s Word says something different; well, let’s just say it‘s “strike three“ for me! Alright?
Good folks, there is considerable ground to cover in this most marvelous topic, and I sincerely hope that you will stay with me in this because, unless I’m badly mistaken, before we finish with this little essay, some of you may indeed be surprised by what our Father declares this hope of Israel to be.
In dealing with old testament passages, let me say that I make no claim of being a Hebrew scholar or linguist, but I have taken the time to examine the things that those who are scholars have to say about the meaning of the words “everlasting” and “forever” as used in our old testament English translation of these passages. And, what I have learned is that these two English words [everlasting and forever] both come from the Hebrew root word “olam,” which they say literally means: “a long period of time or, age,” but almost always, does not express “endlessness.” These scholars offer the Greek word “aion” in the new testament scriptures as the counterpart to “olam,” which also means “age or age lasting.” So, then, let’s now solicit the services of some of the other old testament passages which employ this word “olam,” to see if we can get a better grasp on its meaning. For example, when The Lord gave to Abraham, the “covenant of circumcision“ in Gen. 17:13, He said: “…thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting [olam] covenant.” Now, with passages like that, I’m beginning to get a sense of what The Lord is really saying in such verses where He used this Hebrew word “olam.” Now, for certain, none of us would conclude that the covenant of circumcision is still around today. To the contrary; we understand that it was to last until the end of Israel’s old covenant age. Now, let’s look at another example. In Num. 10:8, God spoke to Moses regarding the assembling of the people. He said: “And the sons of Aaron, the priests shall blow with trumpets, and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever [olam], throughout your generations“ Here we see very plain language stating that this ordinance of the priests blowing the trumpets, would be an ordinance for those priests “forever.” However, as we read on, we see that Jehovah had no plans for it to be an “eternal” ordinance. Beloved, He allows the language to simply explain itself for us; He says, “throughout your generations.” This suggests to me, dear friends, that God is saying that the ordinance would continue on till the consummation, or completion of the old covenant age; that age in which they lived. As we read through the old covenant scriptures, we find them to be replete with such examples as this.
Now, concerning the “land promise” that God had made to Abraham and his descendants; many today are told that God has not yet given Israel all of the land that was promised. They say that they received ”part” of it, but not “all” of it. But my dear brothers and sisters, our Father’s Word tells us different. In Josh. 21:43, 44, Joshua declared: “So, the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them ‘rest’ on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers etc…” Folks, I believe that this passage speaks for itself. Yahweh, did, in fact, give Israel all the land He had promised them. But does that mean that the “physical” land of Canaan was to be an “eternal” possession of old covenant Israel? Beloved, I must confess to you, that I really don’t believe that’s the case. I believe that we will shortly see that The Lord had in mind for Israel, something far more precious than a plot of ground or real estate!
I believe that one important fact which is being missed, and that is central to our understanding God’s ultimate purpose, is the fact that The Law consisted of mere “types and shadows,” which were symbols or signs of the better things which were to come later under the glorious New Covenant of Jesus Christ [see Heb. 10:1]! Please consider this: In the Josh. 21:43, 44 passage earlier, Joshua speaks of “the rest” which Israel was given of the Lord upon entering the land of Canaan. However, that “physical” rest, mentioned by Joshua here, was a type, symbol, or sign, that signified something else. Furthermore, we understand that a sign does not signify itself, but rather something of greater value than itself. And, such is the case with the “physical” rest given to old covenant Israel. To illustrate this, let’s look at Heb. 4:8,9, where the Hebrew scribe says: “For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another day after that. There remains therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God.“ Folks, can you see from this that the “rest” that was given old covenant Israel, was merely a type of the “spiritual rest” which the Hebrew writer says was then soon to be enjoyed by Yahweh’s people [spiritual Israel] under the New Covenant; that same covenant of which he spoke in Heb. 8:8-13? The writer there intimates that this “new” covenant was to come as soon as the old covenant [which was becoming old and ready to disappear--v-13] was completely fulfilled and removed. Beloved, I’m so confident that these passages clearly show a transition from the “physical” of the old covenant law to the “spiritual” of the New Covenant. If we miss that, I believe that we are missing the high purpose which God has for those who are of the faith of Abraham!
Speaking of Abraham, I am made to wonder in his case: If the “physical” land of Canaan was to be the ultimate prize for Abraham and his descendants, then why o why did the Hebrew scribe say that, “he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”? [Heb. 11:10] My dear ones, would we suppose even for one moment, that Abraham had in mind, the “earthly” city of Jerusalem and the “earthly” land of Canaan? Well, actually we’re not left to wonder because the writer answers that question for us. Watch carefully what he says, not only of Abraham, but of all the giants of faith mentioned in Heb. 11. Here’s what the writer says: “But, as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.” [v-16] Folks, when one reads and pays close attention to detail, one finds, beautifully woven through the marvelous tapestry of the new covenant scriptures, a fine linen thread of fulfillment of the “natural and temporal,” and a transition to the “spiritual and eternal.” But this is no accident, because our Father’s concern is not for “the flesh,” but for “the spirit.” For example, one cannot read the book of Hebrews and not see this principle applied time, after time, after time. But sadly enough, it is the case that, when we read those things from the old covenant scriptures, it seems to escape our notice, those marvelous “spiritual” realities that our Father had in store for His people. Yes, and we, in so many ways, are not unlike the Jews of old., for most of them, too, missed the “spiritual” significance of God’s message. Just listen to what our Master said to them [1st century Jews] in Jn. 18:36. He said: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews, but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Folks, do you see what I’m getting at here? So many disciples are still waiting for Jesus to come back to earth and set up His kingdom in Jerusalem as though He is interested in an earthly, physical kingdom. But, my dear beloved brethren, don’t you see that such an idea flies right into the face of our Father’s Word? O Dear God, please help us to see the great “spiritual” lessons in the words of your dear Son.! Good people, if our Master clearly declared that His kingdom was not “of this realm” [physical or natural realm], wouldn’t that, of necessity, mean that it is of the “spiritual realm?” Please consider that. Please think for a moment about Nicodemus, a man who was a Pharisee and a teacher of the people. Let us not forget that he was already a citizen of the earthly, fleshly kingdom of Judah. But didn’t Jesus let him know, unequivocally, that his physical or fleshly pedigree was not sufficient for him to gain entrance into The Kingdom of God? Did not He tell him plainly that he had to be “born again.?” And didn’t Jesus make it clear that it was not Nicodemus‘ “flesh” which had to be born again, but rather it was his “spirit?” You may recall that Jesus told him: “…that which is born of the flesh is flesh; but that which is born of The Spirit [Holy Spirit] is spirit [man‘s spirit].” Yes, Jesus said that he had to be “born of water and The Spirit.” Please read Jn. 3:3-6. Now, if it was Nicodemus’ “spirit,” and not his “flesh” that had to be born again in order for him to enter the Kingdom of God, wouldn’t we be compelled to reason that The Kingdom would have to be a “spiritual” kingdom? Good folks, this is why I am fully persuaded, that God’s Kingdom was not to be “physical” but rather “spiritual.” Does that make sense? As Paul told the saints in the province of Galatia: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by The Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh.” [Gal.3:3]“ Jesus blistered the chief priests and elders of the Jews in Mt. 21:43, with regard to this matter of a “fleshly, national kingdom” vs. The Kingdom of Heaven. He said: “Therefore, I say to you [1st century fleshly, national Israel], the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation producing the fruit of it.” Did you catch that? Jesus is so very clear here in speaking to those 1st century Jews. Now listen to what He told His little band of disciples [the remnant] in Lk. 12:32: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” O what a beautiful and marvelous declaration! Do you see the connection between these two passages? In Mt. 21:43, Jesus says that His Father is going to take the Kingdom from the unbelieving, or apostate Jews [those who rejected Christ esp. their religious leaders]. and then turn right around and give it to “the little flock“ [those Jews who did accept Christ i.e., the remnant]. And, this would all culminate in the new “spiritual Israel,” when Jesus would establish a new covenant for this coming Kingdom, bringing together the remnants from both, the house of Judah and the house of Israel, the fullness of the gentiles. [see Ezek. 37:16-25; Hos. 1:9-11; Heb. 8:10-13; Rom. 2:27, 28; 9:6-8; 11:25-28]
My dear brothers and sisters, O please let me have your attention here for a most urgent message! Folks, I do understand that one of the great tenets of the futurist view is, that the Kingdom of Christ was put on hold because of the Jews rejection of Jesus as their King and Messiah, and so Yahweh then established “the church” as a substitute until the time would come, in which Jesus would come again [second-coming], and then, supposedly, the Jews would all then at that time turn to Jesus and accept Him as their King and Messiah. Of course, more than 20 centuries have come and gone since that perceived substitution. But folks I would like for you to examine with me, very closely, a parable that speaks to both, Christ’s receiving His Kingdom, and His second-coming, as King, in His Kingdom. In Lk. 19:11-27, Jesus responds to the idea held by some of the Jews that the kingdom of God was going to immediately appear. His response was by way of a parable of Him, as the “nobleman“ going to a far country to receive His Kingdom, and to then return, which, of course, was the fulfillment of Dan. 7:13, 14, where Jesus, upon His ascension, came with the clouds, before the Ancient of Days (The Father), to receive of Him, a Kingdom. In Jesus’ parable, when the nobleman departed, he called his slaves [His servants] to Him, and gave to them the responsibilities of doing His business until He came back. However, as we see in the parable, those servants, whom He left to do His business, were anything but well-received or respected by the citizens [the unbelieving Jews]. These wicked citizens [the Jews], according to v-14, literally hated the nobleman [Jesus], sending a delegation saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us.” Now, my dear friends, I don’t believe that there is any serious student of the Word, who would disagree with the things that we have established in this parable up to this point. I say that because I believe that the facts speak for themselves. The parable is self-explanatory But beloved, what I want us to clearly understand here, is the fact that nowhere in this parable, does it ever say, imply, or even give the slightest hint to, the notion that our Father put the Kingdom on hold because of the unbelieving Jews rejection of The Christ as King. No, no, dear ones, please notice here that even though the unbelieving Jews did literally hate our Lord, rejected Him, and clearly declared that they did not want Him to reign over them [v-14], it still did not, in any way whatsoever, deter or thwart God’s plans regarding the coming of The Kingdom of His Son! Good folks, these are not just words of speculation. And, I don’t want you to just simply take my word for this, but I would implore you to please read this account again for yourselves. As you read the rest of this parable, you will notice that in the very next verse [v-15] Jesus states that the nobleman [Jesus], in fact did receive the Kingdom “and returned.” And, notice that upon His return, there was the Judgment. Now my dear brothers and sisters, please look at v-27 and read it and just see if you get any sense that God put the Kingdom on hold because of the rejection of His Son by the unbelieving Jews. No, no, dear friends, but to the contrary; Jesus said, “But of these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” Yes, it just seems so clear to me from vss. 14 and 27, that God carried out His promise regarding His Son’s Kingdom, and He destroyed those, whose desire it was, to preclude it from coming to pass. And, beloved, I sincerely believe that it did come to pass in 70 A.D.
Those mentioned as the “little flock,” to whom it was given, would be those of whom Paul speaks in Rom. 2:28, 29; 9:6-8 as “true Jews” and “true Israelites,” not those who were simply the “fleshly descendants” of Jacob or Abraham, but rather those who were of “the faith” of Abraham; those who sought salvation by grace through faith as opposed to works of law. Folks, doesn’t this, again, evidence the fact that God’s coming Kingdom was going to be “spiritual” in nature and not “physical?“ And isn’t it also a beautiful thing how that God saw fit in His “mystery,” that you and I, as Gentiles, would also be grafted into the same good olive tree, and made to be fellow-heirs and fellow-citizens of that same Kingdom? Yes, folks, both Jew and Gentile of the faith of Abraham, coming together into one as the true “Israel of God”; that nation to whom Jesus said the Kingdom would be given and who would “bring forth the fruit of it.”
Now, as mentioned earlier, there are many folks out there who understand the Kingdom as not yet having come, and that when it would come, that it would do so with great fanfare and with great pomp and circumstance. But, do you remember what Jesus told the Pharisees in Lk. 17:20, 21? They had asked Him, “…when the kingdom of God was coming?” He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, Look, here it is! or There it is! For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” I ask, dear friends, could language be any more transparent? Would you please read Col. 1:13; Heb. 12:18-28; Mt. 16:27, 28; Mk. 8:38-9-1; Rev. 1:9, and just see if you don’t also conclude that The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is here, presently, and that every person of any nation on earth who is a Christian, is in that Kingdom! And also, doesn’t the Lk. 17 passage clearly indicate that this Kingdom is “spiritual” in nature and not “physical?”
There is another old testament account, which, from my perspective, renders it impossible for the “kingdom of The Lord Jesus Christ” to be a “physical” kingdom. Would you please turn to Jer. 22:28 and read what God’s prophet, Jeremiah, prophesied about a King of Judah named “Coniah.” He was the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. He was also a man who bears 3 names in the Scriptures:  Coniah--Jer. 22:28; Jer. 22:24,  Jehoiachin--2Ki. 24:6; 2 Chr. 36:8, 9, and  Jeconiah--1 Chr. 3:16; Jer. 24:1. Coniah was the last of David’s lineage to be rightful king to reign in Judah. He was eighteen years old when he began to reign [2 Ki. 24:8], and was evil, even as a lad, and reigned only 3 months and 10 days until he was taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, who then, himself, made Zedekiah [Coniah’s kinsman], his vassal king. However, Zedekiah was not rightful heir to the throne in Judah; Nebuchadnezzar made him king. That’s why Coniah was the last of David’s lineage to reign in Judah, for Zedekiah was not Coniah’s son. We‘ll see the great significance of that fact momentarily. Now here’s what Jeremiah said: “Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? Or is he an undesirable vessel? Why have he and his descendants been hurled out and cast into a land that they had not known? O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord, ‘Write this man down childless; a man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah.’” [Jer. 22:28-30] Upon first reading this passage, one might sense a seeming contradiction by Jeremiah because he first speaks of Coniah as “childless,” but then he immediately follows that by speaking of “his descendants.“ But actually there is a simple explanation for Jeremiah’s prophecy. First of all, Coniah was not childless, biologically speaking, for both he and his son Shealtiel [Salathiel] are found in the genealogical record of Messiah Yahshua [see Mt. 1:12]. How then, could he be considered “childless,” someone asks? Well, I believe that Jeremiah explains that for us. Notice that he first says in v-30b, “For,” which indicates that what is about to follow will explain his afore-mentioned remark of Coniah’s “being written down childless.” And so, he intimates that “Coniah” would be childless, in the sense that “no man of his descendants will prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah.“
Now good brothers and sisters, the fact that Jeremiah declares that Coniah would be the “last” to reign on David’s throne in Judah speaks volumes about the “nature” of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ as to whether it was to be a “physical” kingdom or a “spiritual” kingdom. Please look at those words of Jeremiah again! Notice that he says of Coniah, that, “No man of his descendants will prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah.” Did you catch that? Folks, this is huge! Do you see what this verse tells us about the Kingdom of Christ? Well, first of all, let us not forget the fact that Jesus was of the lineage of Coniah. But then, Jeremiah said that no man of Coniah’s descendants would prosper sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah!’ Did Jeremiah tell the truth here? Good folks, let’s reason together for a moment: If Jesus, who is a descendant of both David and Coniah, is to someday come back “physically” and reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem for a thousand years, [as many of today’s disciples understand], wouldn’t that make Jeremiah a false prophet? Remember now, Jeremiah said that no man of Coniah’s descendants would prosper and sit upon the throne of David and rule again in Judah [Jerusalem]! Therefore, one would be forced to conclude that, if Jesus did come back and reign “physically,” in Jerusalem, then that would nullify Jeremiah’s prophecy and show him in a bad light as a prophet! However, if the Kingdom of God, the throne of David, and the rule or reign of Jesus are all “spiritual” in nature, then there is no conflict with Jeremiah’s prophecy whatsoever, but rather, perfect harmony, and o what beautiful harmony it is, beloved! And it would also show Jeremiah as the true prophet of God he is. My dear brethren, this is just one more example of why I believe the Scriptures to be their own best interpreter and commentary.
Continuing with the thought of the Kingdom of Christ as being spiritual in nature, do you remember, from Acts 2, what Peter said in his discourse on the day of Pentecost? In that discourse, he declares Jesus to thousands of Jews who were there in Jerusalem for this great annual feast [v-22]. Even though the Jews had had Jesus put to death, Peter said in v-24 that God had raised Him up. And, he begins to quote David’s prophecy concerning Jesus, where David, in v-30, spoke of the oath which God had sworn to him; that one of his descendants would “sit upon his [David’s] throne.“ In vss. 31-36, Peter assures his audience that this was a prophecy about Jesus’ being raised from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of God the Father as His anointed King. This comports perfectly with the prophecy of Daniel in Dan. 7:13, 14, regarding the ascension of our Lord into heaven and appearing before the Father, where He was given the Kingdom. Daniel said, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of Heaven, one like the Son of Man was coming. And He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His Kingdom in one which will not be destroyed.” Beloved, if Daniel’s prophecy is true, and Jesus did receive the Kingdom when He ascended to heaven and was brought before The Father 2,000 years ago, why then, would we, today, still be waiting for Jesus to come and set up a physical Kingdom here on earth? I must say, folks, that I believe that Jesus was indeed given the Kingdom by His Father 2,000 years ago, at which time, He sat upon David’s throne, and continues to reign even today, and will continue to reign eternally [Lk. 1:23]. And I believe that Kingdom is spiritual in nature and not physical.
At this point, even though I have not, as yet, expressed just what I understand The Hope of Israel to be, I’m sure you have already ascertained that it is something other than the widely accepted view which we have examined. So, at this time, I would like to explain from Heaven’s Message, clearly and succinctly, just what I understand this hope to be. We will not have gone very far at all before my understanding of this hope will become unmistakably clear. For this explanation, I would like to go to Luke’s account of Paul’s arrival in the city of Rome, near the close of his life and ministry.
It was not merely by chance that Paul ultimately comes to Rome, for he had been personally instructed of the Lord, that he would indeed bear Him witness in Rome before his earthly pilgrimage was ended [Acts 23:11]. It was by no means a pleasant journey for the apostle, who by this time had been a prisoner for more than two years. Bound with chains, he is now sent on his way to Rome, where he will stand before the Roman Emperor. The journey for Paul was arduous at best, fraught with many difficulties, not the least of which was shipwreck. His appeal to stand before Nero Caesar is found in Acts 25:10, 11. His actual arrival at the imperial city is recorded in Acts 28:14. Three days after his arrival, and with his Roman guard at his side, he is allowed to call together the leading men among the Jews. Beginning with V-17b, Paul begins his address to these Jewish religious leaders [Sanhedrin] saying, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans And, when they had examined me, they were willing to release me, because there was no ground for putting me to death. But when the Jews objected [the wanted him dead--JG], I was forced to appeal to Caesar [Acts 25:8-12] ; not that I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.” [Acts 28:17b-20] So, from these words, we learn the reason for which Paul had been arrested by the authorities and brought to Rome. Here he says that it was because he preached “The Hope of Israel.” Now, brothers and sisters, let’s think back for just a moment and revisit that notion accepted by so many in Christendom today viz., that the hope of Israel is the restoration of “national, fleshly” Israel to its former place of pre-eminence over all the other nations of the earth. I do this only to make, what I believe, is a very salient point. And, my point, brethren, is: If that is indeed what Paul was preaching as the hope of Israel, then why, o why, would there be such a blood-lust among the Jews against Paul? If Paul was preaching that this was the hope of Israel, wouldn’t that be exactly what the Jews would have wanted to hear? Why, I would think that the Jews would have been ecstatic and elated over such preaching if that was what Paul was preaching! Yes, one would think that the Jews would have been lauding Paul and singing his praises instead! If this was what Paul was preaching as the hope of Israel, why would they have wanted him dead? And, O did they want him dead! Why, the Jewish Sanhedrin wanted him dead so badly, that they formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink “until they had killed Paul.” [Acts 23:12] So, beloved, it just seems to me, in light of these facts, that this view would not have been what Paul was preaching as “The Hope of Israel.”
But now let’s go back to the beginning of this drama and watch the progression of events which culminated in Paul’s trek to Rome, at which time we will also learn just what this hope of Israel was. It all began in Acts 21:27, 28, when Jews from Asia stirred up the multitude, making false charges against Paul crying out, “Men of Israel come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people, and the Law, and this place [the temple--JG]; and besides, he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” Shortly thereafter in Acts 22:1, we find Paul, in Jerusalem, making his first defense, as he addresses the people, the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. And, in 23:6, as he stands before the High Priest Ananias, he makes this declaration: “…Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead. Here in this statement, it surely seems that the answer to our question is beginning to come into focus, for Paul is certainly pointing in the direction of “the resurrection” as being that hope. However, let’s not stop there because there’s more. After this appearance before the High Priest, Paul is then sent, under Roman guard, from Jerusalem on to Caesarea to appear there before Governor Felix. To Felix, he first proclaims his innocence of all the charges which the Jews had brought against him. And in 24:13, he insists that the Jews cannot prove those things of which they had accused him. But then, suddenly and unabashedly, Paul makes this statement to Felix: “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the prophets, having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” [vss. 14, 15] So, now we have Paul declaring for a second time, and declaring quite definitively, “this hope.” Now isn’t that remarkable? It surely seems clear to me now, that this “hope” was indeed “The Resurrrection.” And please, take careful note of the fact that Paul says this hope was a “promise” made by God, to the fathers and, that this promise was also “written in The Prophets.” Beloved, this is very important, and we will see, momentarily, just where in the prophets, the resurrection was promised to the fathers.
But before going to the prophets, I would ask you to please consider just one more piece of evidence that persuades me that is was indeed “The Resurrection” that constituted The Hope of Israel. After his appearance before the governor, Paul continued to remain a prisoner in Caesarea for at least two more years. When the time came that Felix would step down from the governor‘s seat, Portius Festus became governor in his stead. After only a few days, King Agrippa and his wife Bernice came to visit the new governor, to pay their respects. Upon learning of the matter concerning Paul, King Agrippa expressed his desire to hear Paul himself. And so, consequently, Paul now makes his appeal before the king [Acts 26:6-8]: He said, And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, o King, I am being accused by the Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?”
My beloved brethren, in light of all the evidence now, should there really be any question that “the resurrection” was indeed “the hope of Israel?” Folks, for so many years, I never really gave any thought to just how very important the coming of “The Resurrection” was to “the faithful” of “the twelve tribes of old covenant Israel! Perhaps the reason for that would have been because I personally understood the Resurrection as an event so far away; yes, even into our own distant future! But in the past few years, I believe that I have begun to understand a little better why those twelve tribes looked forward to it with such great anticipation. Yes, beloved, as I consider the above passage, along with a plethora of others, I get a real sense that in the 1st century, Paul and the twelve tribes were eagerly awaiting this hope of Israel. I also get the sense that they understood it as something that was “imminent!” Obviously, Gentile Christians were eagerly awaiting also, because in their being “in Christ,” they likewise had been made “fellow heirs” with Israel [see Eph. 2:11-22]. At this point, I would like to make a personal statement: In my former days, when I viewed eschatology [study of last things, or last days] from a “futurist” perspective, it was my understanding that all of the prophecies which God had ever made to Israel were all completely fulfilled by the time of “the cross”; that the cross was the point of reference for the complete end of the old covenant and old covenant age. But I would like to make a tender appeal to all of us, to observe very closely, what we see in that passage we just cited [Acts 26:6-8]. Good folks, Paul spoke these words to King Agrippa some 34 years after the cross. Now notice in those words, what he says of this hope [The Resurrection]. He says that it was a promise made to the fathers, and furthermore, it was a promise to which all the twelve tribes [old covenant Israel) were, at that present time, hoping to soon attain. Paul had also said as much in Phil. 3:10-14. And, we have already read in Acts 24:14, 15, that this promise was written in The Law and The Prophets. In that passage, Paul said four very pertinent things about this hope of Israel:  it was a promise made by God to the fathers [old covenant Israel],”  This hope was written in The Law and The Prophets “to” old covenant Israel,  This hope was something all twelve tribes [old covenant Israel] hoped to attain, and  This hope was something for which all the twelve tribes [old covenant Israel] were, at that present time, earnestly serving God night and day to attain.” So, with these indisputable facts before us, consider this with me, please: In Mt. 5:17,18, Jesus said to those early disciples in His sermon on the Mount, that He did not come to destroy “the law and the Prophets,” but rather, He came to fulfill them. He further said that until He “did” accomplish, or fulfill all things in The Law and The Prophets, that not the smallest letter or stroke could pass from The Law [See also Lk. 24:44]. Beloved, do you know of any Christian today who does not believe that the old covenant law has passed away since the time Jesus spoke these words? I don’t. Please consider this also: In light of the words of Paul in the afore mentioned passages, wouldn’t we agree that the “the resurrection” was an integral element, yea, even the crown jewel of the many promises God made to old covenant Israel in The Law and The Prophets? But, if the resurrection, as an integral part of God’s promises to Israel, has still not yet come, wouldn’t that mean that God has not yet fulfilled all His promises to old covenant Israel? And furthermore, if, as Jesus said, the law of Moses could not pass away until all is accomplished [Lk. 24:44], wouldn’t that be the same as conceding that the Law of Moses is still in effect today? O beloved, do you see the point I’m making here? Listen carefully to what Paul said of these promises in Rom. 15:8 “For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision [old covenant Israel--JG], on behalf of the truth of God, to confirm the promises given to the fathers.” Folks, this passage was written to the Roman brethren in about 60 A.D.. So that would mean, then, that neither by 60 A.D., nor by 64 A.D. [the time when Paul arrived in Rome], had God finished fulfilling all of His promises to Israel! Surely, we all believe that God has never gone back on His promises, for Paul also declared: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” [Rom. 11:29]
So, dear ones, I understand from all the passages that we have studied up to this point, that God had not yet fully consummated or completed the fulfilling of all the promises He had made to the fathers [Israel]. We saw that He had not done so by the time of “the cross” [30 A.D.]. He had not done so by the time of Paul’s writing of the Roman epistle [60 A.D.]. And, He had not done so by the time Paul arrived in Rome in 64 A.D.. So then, just when would that time come, when God’s dealings with fleshly, national Israel, and all His promises to them [which included the resurrection], would all be completely fulfilled? Because, as we have learned from Jesus‘ own words, the law of Moses absolutely could not pass away until every one of these things was accomplished! Well, it would certainly seem to me, in light of all that we have just studied, that it would have to be after The Resurrection! However, rather than relying on logic or our feelings about it, let us once again, allow the Scriptures themselves to give us the answer. To learn that answer, let us now go to The Prophets as we promised earlier, and of whom Paul spoke in his defense. We see this promise of “resurrection,” for example, in Ezek. 37:11-14 and Dan. 12:1-3, some 600 years B.C.. In the account by Daniel, we read of this promise in 12:1-3, as he prophesies concerning the promise of “the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked,” along with mention of “the great tribulation,” of which Jesus had spoken in Mt. 24:21.“. Yes, Daniel speaks of them both as occurring in the same time-frame. But then, in v-4, he is told by the angel, to seal up the book until “the end time [not end of time].” Then, beginning with v-6, we hear one angel ask of the other angel, “…How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” And the second angel answered: “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people [fleshly, national Israel--JG], all these events will be completed.” [v-7] Now Daniel was very perplexed by this, for he did not understand, but the angel told him in v-9, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.” Again, please notice that the angel did not say, “until the end of time,” as I once understood, but rather, “the end time.” And then, in v-13, we read the angel’s final words to Daniel. He said, “But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again [resurrection--JG] for you allotted portion at the end of the age [or end time--JG].” O beloved, did you notice all the precious nuggets of truth scattered throughout those remarks by the angel? In my estimation, the language here could not be more transparent or more enlightening! Is there really even any question now as to the time at which the hope of Israel i.e., the resurrection, was to occur? The angel said that Daniel would “rise again” at “the end of the age.” And just what “age” would that be? Well, wouldn’t it have to be the only age that Daniel knew of---the age in which he was living---the old covenant age? The angel, then, gives us even more precious gems of information as to when the resurrection would occur. In addition to the fact that it would be at the end of the old covenant age, he also said that it would be, “when they would finish shattering the power of the holy people.” A good question now is: Who are the “they” of v-7 and, also, who are “the holy people?” Well wouldn’t “the holy people” be the same as the “your [Daniel’s] people of v-1? Wouldn’t it have to be Israel? And, they continued to be the holy people until the time at which their power would be totally and completely shattered at “the fall of Jerusalem.” And who would be the “they,” the ones after Daniel’s prophecy, who would shatter the power of the holy people, Israel? Well, obviously, it had to be Rome, God’s instrument, whom He used in the Judgment on Jerusalem and the Jews from April 66 A.D. to September 70 A.D. [for a time; times; and half a time i.e., 42 months; 3-½ years; 1260 days--v-7]
Brothers and sisters, I see three very important facts learned in Dan. 12:  The resurrection mentioned in vss. 2, 3, would take place when the power of the holy people [old covenant Israel] would be shattered [v-7],  The resurrection would also take place at the end of the age [vss. 9, 13], and  Daniel would be resurrected at the end of the age. Good folks, in light of these indisputable facts, I am fully persuaded that it was at the end of the old covenant age i.e., the Mosaic age, that The Hope of Israel [The Resurrection] occurred; just as the angel told Daniel.
It’s very interesting that this is not the only passage where we see a connection between the “end of the old covenant age“ and “the resurrection.” In the epistle of 1 Corinthians, which Paul wrote in about 57 A.D., he spent the entire 15th Chapter addressing the matter of “The Resurrection.” Among the many things he had to say about “the resurrection,” he spoke of the fact that Christ came to restore the life [spiritual life] which was forfeited in the Garden by Adam [vss. 21, 22]. In vss. 35, 36, Paul begins answering the supposed question that someone in Corinth would inevitably raise viz., “…How are the dead raised, and with what kind of body do they come?” And so, in vss. 37-49, he assured the Corinthian brethren that it would not be the body which was planted: He said it would be an “imperishable body” as opposed to the “perishable body” planted [v-42]; it would be a “spiritual body,” not the “natural or physical body” that was planted [v-44]; it would be a “heavenly body“ and not an “earthy body [v-49] as the one planted. Then in v-50, he explains why it would not be a “physical, earthy, natural body.” And, it was all because “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God“; that “the perishable [the fleshly]” does not inherit “the imperishable [the spiritual].”
In the last few verses [vss. 51-58], we learn about the “when” of the resurrection, and also it’s “covenantal connection.” Notice the intrigue of v-51. Here, Paul speaks to the brethren at Corinth about what was soon to happen regarding them, and himself; and he speaks of it as “a mystery.” This, of course is in the context of the righteous “living and dead” at Christ‘s parousia; it does not include the “wicked, It was “a mystery,” in that God had not before revealed the deeper and more intimate details of the Resurrection. But Paul says that when Christ would come, that not all of them would “sleep” [be physically dead], but all would “be changed,“ and that it would all be in the “twinkling of an eye, and at the last trumpet call.” (v-52]
But beloved, it’s in vss. 54-56, where we will learn of the “covenantal connection” between The Resurrection and the passing of the old covenant, which allowed for the passing of The Law which Jesus said could not pass away until all was accomplished, or fulfilled. In these verses, Paul indicates that the time of The Resurrection would also be the time of the fulfillment of a specific prophecy by Hosea. Notice Paul’s words in v-54b, where he says, “then will come about, the saying that is written,” and then Paul proceeds to quote Hosea 13:14. Now let’s stop there momentarily! As you look at this statement by Paul, to what time or event do you understand the “then” to be referring? Well, actually Paul goes on to answer that for us. He said that it would be the time when, “the perishable would put on the imperishable and the mortal put on immortality,” which, of course, would be at the time of “the resurrection.” Now here’s that prophecy from Hosea, which Paul declares would be fulfilled by The Resurrection! Hosea said, “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol [Hades]; I will redeem them from death. O death, where are your thorns? O sheol, where is your sting?” To which Paul then adds: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [v-56] Now then, beloved, when we connect the dots, we see that death [spiritual death] got its sting from “sin,” and the source of sin‘s power, was “The Law.” My dear friends, isn’t this in itself, evidence that the old covenant law had not completely passed away at the time of Paul’s writing this epistle? Beloved, I understand that at Jesus’ coming, He brought, perfected salvation, eternal life, and immortality, all of which were elements of His glorious eternal Kingdom. Yes, He defeated sin death and Sheol/Hades, upon His removal of all those obstacles which still stood in the way of that perfection; things such as the old earthly temple with its old temporal, typical holy of holies, its fleshly, earthly priesthood with its animal sacrifices etc., allowing then for the complete passing of that from which sin received its power viz., the old covenant law. [See also Heb. 8:13; Heb. 9:8-10; Heb. 9: 8-10; Heb. 9:27, 28; Heb. 12:18-30; Heb. 10:37, 38].
Yes, my dear friends, this would be the end of that old age; the end of that same age about which Jesus’ apostles asked Him of its “end” in Mt. 24:3. Upon examination of Mt. 24:1-3, one learns from the questions they asked Jesus, that they associated “His Coming [parousia] to destroy the temple.” with “the end of the age.”“ Please read it for yourself, and see what you think. Jesus said that, “this generation [His generation] would not pass away till all these things take place.” [Mt. 24:34] Folks, these things bring to mind, Mt. 16:27, 28, where Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is going to [Greek ‘mello‘ literally---about to] come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here, who will not taste of death until they see the son of Man coming in His Kingdom.” Therefore, in light of all the Scriptures which we have brought to bear upon this most intriguing subject, “The Hope of Israel [The Resurrection],” I’m compelled to remember that it was one of those great promises to old covenant Israel. And as such, I understand it as one of those promises which God would have fulfilled for them before that old covenant Age could finally pass away, Yes, the time of Christ’s coming in 70 A.D. was more, much more, that just the destruction of Jerusalem, it was also the time of “covenantal change; the old covenant now, not destroyed, but completely fulfilled, giving way to that marvelous New Covenant of Grace now completed and perfected with the glorious coming of The Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ.
I truly hope that this little study has, is some small way, been useful for those of you who were willing to endure me. May the Lord richly bless you all with His grace and peace.
What do YOU think ?
Submit Your Comments For Posting Here
Comment Box Disabled For Security
Date: 16 Mar 2006
Very good indeed,thanks for the information.
Date: 01 Feb 2007