Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Israel "of Israel"

I have become fixated on this verse in the last two days:

For they are not all Israel who are of Israel (Romans 9:6)
Say a fellow named John moved to US 5 generations ago. No one could understand his last name, but he was very smiley - that was a charactersitsic of him, so the immigration officials called him "John Smiley" - they changed his last name to "Smiley" based upon a charcteristic of his. All his descendants are "Smileys." Not all of them have proved to possess that same characteristic, though. I could say, "Not all Smileys are smiley." I think this verse is like that! What do you think?

It seems to be saying that there is a part of Israel that is special. The bigger group - physical Israel, has a special group - "Spritual Israel" within it. Some of "Spritual Israel" are OT saints and some are those who are responding to the Messiah at present. All of this group "Spiritual Israel" have faith. Not all of physical Israel have faith, they are not all "prince of God."

This drawing so far has nothing to do with gentiles, but only with "Israel." I have an expanded version of this drawing that I will post tomorrow. But this is how I see the specific pharse "For they are not all Israel who are of Israel."

43 Comments:

  • I agree.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/27/2007 3:33 PM  

  • Rose--

    These are good thought.

    I do think Paul's meaning goes a bit further than this, though. He isn't simply saying that not all Smiley's are smiley, just because they have the last name "Smiley," nor even because they have the original "Smiley" as their progenitor. Rather, Paul is striking at the heart of the Judaizer's belief by advocating that not only are not all Smiley's smiley, but even more offensively, simply being smiley does not make you a Smiley!

    This goes back to what I have said from the beginning. The Judaizers believed that they were reconciled to God because of their national/cultural identity to be sure, but also because of their participation within the cultus of Hebrew worship (e.g., "smiling"). However, Paul--in the polemics typical of his Romans argument--denies such an idea, insisting that physical identification with Abraham, cultural/religious heritage, and participation within the worship cult of the Hebrews is not that upon which reconciliation with God is based. Because of this, Paul sees it to be perfectly, as well as necessarily, appropriate to further expand the argument by saying that the Gentiles are included in the promises of Abraham explicitly apart from all the things upon which the Judaizers had built their hegemonic ideals of reconciliation with God. In other words, the Gentiles are made "Smileys" without ever smiling at all...

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 8/27/2007 5:09 PM  

  • BTW--hi!

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 8/27/2007 5:10 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose! My understanding is as Exist describes. He explained far better than I did, though. :)

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/28/2007 8:11 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Bless you, brother!

    Exist~Dissolve,
    Interesting thoughts. I don't think I follow, though. To me "of Israel" pretty much limits this saying to being about 'Israel.' The church is definitely made up of gentile and Jew, but that is the church. I think this verse is about the Jews (Israel.) I think it is about the difference between Jews with faith and Jews without faith. Maybe you are jumping ahead?

    Missy,
    :~) Thanks for chiming in.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/28/2007 9:44 AM  

  • IOW, Exist~Dissolve, I am not a Smiley and there is no need to be a Smiley, I am part of a new and better group.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/28/2007 9:49 AM  

  • "Paul is striking at the heart of the Judaizer's belief by advocating that not only are not all Smiley's smiley, but even more offensively, simply being smiley does not make you a Smiley!"

    This is the part of Exist dialogue I am most in agreement with. Furthermore, I agree with you that this passage is about the difference between Jews with and Jews without faith and that it is jumping ahead when bringing in Gentile faith. I think I am understanding now the specific point you are making.

    Abraham had faith and God made a covenant with him. The law given to Abraham and his descendents were not given for salvation in the spiritual sense, but to preserve their race for fulfillment of that promise. Following this law and/or being a physical descendant of Abraham - or Isaac specifically - made one a part of the larger Israel, but having a faith that trusted God even when the law made no sense made one a part of that "spiritual" Israel.

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/28/2007 10:09 AM  

  • Interesting thoughts. I don't think I follow, though. To me "of Israel" pretty much limits this saying to being about 'Israel.'
    The church is definitely made up of gentile and Jew, but that is the church. I think this verse is about the Jews (Israel.) I think it is about the difference between Jews with faith and Jews without faith. Maybe you are jumping ahead?


    Hey Rose--

    I would have to disagree. While Paul is using the delimiter "Israel" to make his point contra the Judaizers, it is clear the the "jumping ahead" (e.g., the inclusion of the Gentiles into the reconciled community of believers) is, in fact, the primary reason for this movement in his thought. To Paul, the delineation of "Israel" here is only meaningful in that it provides a juxtaposition for his polemical presentation of the errant beliefs of the Judaizers. That is, Paul is not saying that the bifurcation between "Israel" and "the church" is substantival; quite to the contrary, the entire thrust of his argument is to argue that precisely nothing has changed from Abraham to the present. To be included in the promises of Abraham (reconciliation with God), Paul argues, is not about belonging or not belonging to "Israel" vs. "the church". To think of the discussion in these terms, according to Paul, is definitively the error of the Judaizers, for once the categorization of the "insiders" and "outsiders" begins, so does the manipulation of the same by those in power. No, Paul's entire impetus in bringing up the differentiation between "true Israel" and the "false Israel" is that he believes incorporation into the promises of Abraham has nothing to do with one's religious, ethnic or cultic location, as if some (Hebrews) are born into it while others (Gentiles) must be incorporated from without. Rather, the very fact that one can be of Israel while not being "Israel" substantiates Paul's point that the reconciliation which God offers in Christ is something into which BOTH those "of Israel" and those "not of Israel" must be incorporated. Neither has primacy, and neither is incorporated by default.

    Obviously, such a line of thinking is drastically antithetical to Paul's antagonists, for they believed that they were privileged by virtue of their religious, ethnic and cultic heritage to such an extent that they believed themselves to occupy an appropriate position to delineate the parameters by which those exterior to their hegemony could be appropriated into the stranglehold which they wielded over reconciliation with God. Paul, however, vehemently contradicts their position, arguing that they are as alien to Christ as those they would burden with their unnecessary and oppressively wicked requirements, and can only be reconciled on the very same basis as those they would prevent from entering into the community of believers, that is, on the basis of faith.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 8/28/2007 10:41 AM  

  • I was wrong.
    I don't think I will be posting the other drawing today. I have to work on it a little more.

    ED,
    A lot of what you are saying resonates with me, but not all. Paul is not jettisoning the concept of national Israel and that things belong to them that are exclusively for them. Look at the first few verses of this chapter.

    my brethren, my *countrymen* *according to the flesh*, 4 who are Israelites, to *whom pertain* the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises etc...

    Check Romans 3 too.

    1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way.

    I can't carry on a long debate on this, but think on this: if Paul is focusing on the incorporation of Jews and Gentiles in God's people, why does he not mention the church in the earlier chapters of Romans? The thematic difference between Ephesians and Romans is enormous. If Paul was saying what you say, then I think his language would be more like Ephesians or even like Galatians.

    Hi Matthew!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/28/2007 2:47 PM  

  • God is making a new man - not a smiley or a Smiley.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/28/2007 2:48 PM  

  • Ok Rose, you are really going to have to outdo yourself next time. I expect great things ;-)

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 8/28/2007 5:26 PM  

  • Paul is not jettisoning the concept of national Israel and that things belong to them that are exclusively for them. Look at the first few verses of this chapter.

    While I see your point, I don't think you are following Paul's logic far enough on this. While Paul does, indubitably, conjure the notion of the "national" benefits of Israel (and the accompanying benefits thereof), one must not lose sight of the reason that Paul does this.

    As I have argued, the complex of Paul's argument through this entire section is to dismantle the arguments of the Judaizers, particularly the devious notion inherent to it that it is the nature of "national" Israel (with its physical, cultural and cultic identity) which is that which obtains reconciliation with God. Paul, of course, rejects this notion, arguing strenuously that reconciliation is only through faith in Christ.

    So then what of Paul's invocation of the example of national Israel? As I see it, Paul does this to merely juxtapose the nature of reconciliation by faith with the assumptions of Israel. After all, as soon as Paul conjures the image of nation Israel, he immediately and permanently dismantles the Judaizer's position by showing the benefits inherent to "Israel" are extended to the Gentiles as well, not on the basis of inclusion into the cultural and cultic nature of "Israel," but rather by faith.

    So what does this mean? In short, Paul is getting to the point that from Abraham to the present, the benefits of "Israel" are to be understood as the reconciliation through faith which has been revealed in Christ. In other words, Paul's argument is the great equalizer, for both those who are by the flesh "of Israel", as well as those who are not, are made equally into "Israel" (reconciled with God) through precisely the same means--faith in Christ. As I mentioned before, Paul is undermining the notion that the Jews are somehow "privileged" or have a leg up on reconciliation with God by association with the Jewish cultus of worship. Quite to the contrary, he argues quite strenuously that both those "of Israel" as well as the Gentiles must each be incorporated into the true Israel, the reconciliation of God revealed in the person and work of Christ.

    my brethren, my *countrymen* *according to the flesh*, 4 who are Israelites, to *whom pertain* the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises etc...

    Check Romans 3 too.

    1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way.

    I can't carry on a long debate on this, but think on this: if Paul is focusing on the incorporation of Jews and Gentiles in God's people, why does he not mention the church in the earlier chapters of Romans? The thematic difference between Ephesians and Romans is enormous. If Paul was saying what you say, then I think his language would be more like Ephesians or even like Galatians.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 8/29/2007 12:19 AM  

  • Sorry, I posted to soon on my last one.

    if Paul is focusing on the incorporation of Jews and Gentiles in God's people, why does he not mention the church in the earlier chapters of Romans?

    But Paul is talking about the church throughout all of Romans! His entire polemic against the Judaizers herein could be subtitled, "A Definition of the Church contra the Judaizers". Paul's conjuring of the nationalistic symbols of "Israel", as I pointed out in my last post, are merely tools in his dismantling of their arguments, a discussion of common, shared images that serve to substantiate in re: his arguments about the exclusivity of reconciliation with God being realized only through faith in Christ, not nationalistic/cultic identity.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 8/29/2007 12:22 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Paul being cursed for his brethren was not a real possibility but it did show that the apostle Paul had a heart of compassion much like the heart of his Master who was cursed so that those He loved and were under God's condemnation would be saved.

    There is no doubt that the Jews as a nation enjoyed many of God’s choice blessings. The expected heirs of God's Kingdom (humanly speaking) were the Jews who had been given every spiritual advantage-- the word of God in the Law and the Prophets, the tabernacle, sacrifices and all the outward forms of worship. These were all types and shadows which were meant to point the worshiper to the realities that are found in Christ. The surprising thing is that even though they were given the most spiritual light of all people on earth, they did not make good use of those blessings. They did not recognize the day of God’s visitation. Their hearts were far from God. Instead they rejected and crucified the Messiah.

    Jesus tells the Centurion in Matthew 8: 11
    ------------
    "I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom (unbelieving Jews) will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
    -----------------------
    Notice too that the saved gentiles in the Kingdom are included with Abraham, Issac and Jacob. They are not in a separate Kingdom.

    This idea goes along with the illustration in Romans 11 of the Olive Tree. The wild olive branches (gentiles) are grafted into the natural olive tree that has Jewish roots while the unbelieving Jews (the apostate church of Israel) are broken off from the olive tree and burned. There is only one tree.
    ------------------
    Matthew 21: 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you (apostate Jews) and given to a people producing its fruits (gentiles and saved Jews). 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."
    --------------------
    All those benefits did no good to the Jews without saving faith, the very same way that growing up in a Christian home does a child no good unless he embraces Christ by faith as His Savior.

    If the church is not part of Spiritual Israel, then we have another problem. The promise for a New Covenant in Jeremiah 31 would be restricted to the believing Jews from ethnic Israel and the gentiles would be excluded from the New Covenant.
    Jeremiah 31: 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 8/29/2007 11:37 PM  

  • VA-Susan, maybe the New Covenant is for Israel not for Christians?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/30/2007 4:18 AM  

  • Have a nice day, Rose~.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/30/2007 5:52 AM  

  • Exist,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I do appreciate your different "perspective" :~) but I think we are on different wavelengths. I do concur with some of your thoughts and I do appreciate them. Thanks again.

    Jonathan,
    I get it. Yes, I should try better. Maybe you will enjoy my new graphic, although I am not sure that you would see it as I do as a PD. Tell me what you think, please.

    VA Susan,
    I am getting my kids to school, but I will visit your comment in a little while. I have some definite thoughts on your contribution here. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/30/2007 8:00 AM  

  • [ VA-Susan, maybe the New Covenant is for Israel not for Christians?]
    Hi DF,
    I'm not sure if you meant this seriously or not. If so, do you partake in Communion?

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 8/30/2007 8:55 PM  

  • Yes.

    We are redeemed through Christ's blood, the blood of the New Covenant.

    However, we are not a party to the New Covenant itself. That is for Israel.

    We benefit from the blood by which the New Covenant is to be established, but that New Covenant is to be inaugurated in the future in relation to Israel.

    The Bible says nothing to indicate that Gentile believers are party to the New Covenant, which is a covenant of law.

    The law has no place in the Christian life.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/31/2007 3:17 AM  

  • Are you feeling Dispensational today, Rose~?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/31/2007 3:17 AM  

  • Interesting thoughts Matthew!

    I like what you are saying, but what about the grafting in?

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 8/31/2007 6:17 AM  

  • We are grafted into the olive tree, the sphere of blessing and privilege.

    There is nothing in Scripture about being grafted into the New Covenant.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/31/2007 7:50 AM  

  • VA Susan,
    Wow, that bus was forever coming! hahaha
    I am so busy these days, I get lost in so many things to do.

    Susan, you say:
    There is no doubt that the Jews as a nation enjoyed many of God’s choice blessings. The expected heirs of God's Kingdom (humanly speaking) were the Jews who had been given every spiritual advantage-- the word of God in the Law and the Prophets, the tabernacle, sacrifices and all the outward forms of worship.

    Might I add, they were given the
    adoption,
    the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God,
    and the promises;
    and from them came the fathers and the Christ.
    (Romans 9:4)

    Matthew 8:11 Notice too that the saved gentiles in the Kingdom are included with Abraham, Issac and Jacob. They are not in a separate Kingdom.

    I think this is talking about the eternal order and the everlasting kingdom, not the millenial kingdom on this earth, but I agree, Jews and gentiles are welcome to both.

    the apostate church of Israel

    never heard of that, Susan.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/01/2007 11:47 AM  

  • Susan, I was thinking about "grafting in." When you graft a peach branch on an apple tree - does the peach branch become and apple branch or does the apple tree become a peach tree? Do either change because of the grafting process?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/01/2007 11:59 AM  

  • Susan,
    just look again at Jer:
    “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

    not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt

    This cannot be talking about the church. How can it possibly be? This is clearly the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

    I agree with Matthew. It sounds like it is a covenant that has something to do with law - something future.

    This is the age of grace.

    Hey, thanks for visiting and thanks for making me think!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/01/2007 12:11 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    I am very curious about your idea that the New Covenant is "a Covenant of law".
    Could you please explain what you mean by that? What specific scriptures support this view?

    Theologians speak of there being two basic covenants--the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Works. The New Covenant is entirely gracious. It is the fullest expression of God’s gracious promises to save His people.

    The Covenent of works or "the law" can never save us because we cannot keep it. It is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. We can only be saved when we are united to Christ and receive all the blessings of the New Covenant.
    ------------
    Hebrews 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, [5] then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify [6] for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our [7] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

    15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. [8]
    -------------------
    You have only two options. If we are not in the Covenant of Grace (or in the NC) we are in the Covenant of Works (or under the law) and there is no hope for us.
    ---------
    Paul, "the apostle to the gentiles" calls himself a minister of the New Covenant which would make no sense at all if what you say is true--that gentiles are outside the New Covenant and the NC is a covenant of law and is meant for the Jews in the future!
    -----------------------------------------
    2 Corinthians 3:4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent [3] to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
    -----------
    This passage shows we are either children of the promise or children after the flesh.
    ----------------
    Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; [5] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,
    “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
    break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
    For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than those of the one who has a husband.”
    28 Now you, [6] brothers,{speaking to gentile believers here} like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
    --------
    This passage says that Paul as well as the Galatian gentile believers are considered children of the promise and inheritors of the eternal blessings in Christ.


    ~Susan

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/02/2007 9:36 PM  

  • Susan,
    Hey, I don't mean to speak for Matthew, but the reason I said I agreed with him about the New Covenant being a covenant of law is because of the verbiage of Jeremiah 31:

    33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/02/2007 9:43 PM  

  • [ Susan,
    Hey, I don't mean to speak for Matthew, but the reason I said I agreed with him about the New Covenant being a covenant of law is because of the verbiage of Jeremiah 31:]
    Rose,
    Oh, thanks so much!
    Now I understand how you took it. God gives the believer a new heart that treasures God's word and loves His commandments. That does not mean trying to keep the law to earn salvation, but the law shows us God's righteous and holy standards. We are also convicted by the Holy Spirit when we sin. Because Christ has kept the Law in our place, we want to obey Him from grateful hearts.
    ---------------

    2 Corinthians 3:3
    And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[1]
    A

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/02/2007 10:46 PM  

  • Susan, I do not believe in either a Covenant of Works or a Covenant of Grace. These are concepts that have been developed by theologians abstract from Scriptural teaching.

    "Theologians speak of there being two basic covenants--the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Works."

    You forgot the fact that most Covenant theologians also speak about a Covenant of Redemption which took place in eternity. There is some basis for such a covenant, but the Scripture never applies covenant language to this arrangment.

    "I am very curious about your idea that the New Covenant is "a Covenant of law"."

    The New Covenant will be fulfilled when the remnant of Israel repents and believes Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. At this point they will be regenerated spiritually and will be given the ability to faithfully keep the law of Moses.

    There are similarities between the New Covenant and the Christian experience and both are accomplished on the basis of the shed blood of Christ. However, the New Covenant is a promise to Israel and not too the Christian.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/03/2007 4:02 AM  

  • [The New Covenant will be fulfilled when the remnant of Israel repents and believes Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. At this point they will be regenerated spiritually and will be given the ability to faithfully keep the law of Moses.]

    Hi Matthew,
    If the new Covenant is not yet in effect and we are excluded from it as gentiles, we would have no right to believe that our sins are forgiven or to take part in the bread and wine, which represents The Lord's body and his blood of the New Covenant. When the Lord Jesus shed His blood and died, the New Covenant was inaugurated by his sacrifice, the same way that covenants were ratified in OT times by the death of an animal.
    --------------------
    Hebrews 8:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. [8] 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
    --------------------
    It would make no sense to delay the time for the NC to take effect. We would still be under the Law.
    But the New Covenant has taken effect and is applied to all those who are "the called of God", all those who have the faith of Abraham.

    The writer of Hebrews speaks to the Christian Jews in the present tense as being partakers of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is not for future Jews who will live in a state of sinless perfection in another age. Christ is the mediator of this Covenant right now.
    ----------------
    Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly [1] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
    -----------------------
    If you are outside the NC, you are a stranger to the Covenants of promise, without hope and without God!
    ----------
    Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
    ---------------
    Paul quoted many promises to the gentile Corinthians which were a blend of OT quotes, some of which had been taken from the very passages that speak of the New Covenant.
    --------------------
    2 Corinthians 6:16b
    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
    17 Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
    and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
    18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
    says the Lord Almighty.”
    7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body [1] and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
    ------------
    I am wondering what theologian teaches this about the NC excluding Gentile believers and being only for Jews in a future golden age? John Mac Arthur does not teach anything like that and he is dispensational.

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/04/2007 10:46 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose.

    Va-Susan

    "When the Lord Jesus shed His blood and died, the New Covenant was inaugurated by his sacrifice, the same way that covenants were ratified in OT times by the death of an animal."

    Our Lord speaks of the blood of the New Covenant, but where does He say the New Covenant has been inauguarated or that Gentiles partake of it?

    Where do the Scriptures say that Gentiles receive forgiveness through the New Covenant?

    Our forgiveness is through the blood of Christ, the same blood which ratifies the New Covenant.

    The sins forgiven by the New Covenant is the apostasy of Israel in transgressing God's covenants with them. There is nothing of the Gentiles sin here.

    "The writer of Hebrews speaks to the Christian Jews in the present tense as being partakers of the New Covenant."

    No, he does not. He says nothing of them being partakers of the New Covenant.

    The writer of Hebrews refers to the New Covenant, but he says nothing of it being in force at present. He refers to it in order to show the insufficency of the Mosaic Covenant and that the Mosaic Covenant would pass away.

    "If you are outside the NC, you are a stranger to the Covenants of promise, without hope and without God!"

    Does God's sovereignty not allow Him to act in grace towards the Gentiles without a covenant?

    Does God need a covenant to do anything?

    The Christian is saved not through a covenant, but through being identified with the risen and glorified Christ in heaven.

    "John Mac Arthur does not teach anything like that and he is dispensational."

    The majority of modern day Dispensationalists today are inconsistent in their approach.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/05/2007 3:30 AM  

  • [Does God's sovereignty not allow Him to act in grace towards the Gentiles without a covenant?]

    Hello Matthew,
    Evidently not since Paul told the Ephesians that before they were saved they were "separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world."

    It sounds like a package deal to me. To be saved is to have the circumcision made without hands {of the heart}, to be in Christ from whom all blessings flow, being a part of the spiritual Israel, receiving the eternal blessings of the Covenants of promise {in the New Covenant}, having hope and having God as our God.

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/05/2007 6:14 PM  

  • "Evidently not since Paul told the Ephesians that before they were saved they were "separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.""

    Paul is giving the bad news about how they were before their conversion, not telling them where they are now.

    Read Ephesians 1,2 and 3. The things Paul describes are far more wonderful and magnificent than the beggarly prvilege of being part of the commonwealth and covenants of Israel!

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/06/2007 3:28 AM  

  • Are you feeling heavenly today Rose?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/06/2007 3:29 AM  

  • Yes, I am Matthew.
    Thank you for reminding me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/06/2007 10:44 AM  

  • [Matthew: Paul is giving the bad news about how they were before their conversion, not telling them where they are now. Read Ephesians 1,2 and 3. ]

    I did. You are right that Paul did tell them what they were previously, but then he goes on to tell them "where they are now".
    ----------
    Ephesians 2
    ... 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, [3] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by [4] the Spirit...
    ------------------
    He goes on to tell them they are a part of the mystery which is the church--the assembly of Saints in the New and better Covenant.
    ------------------
    Ephesiand 3:4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is [1] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
    7 Of this gospel I {Paul previouly identified as a minister of the New Covenant} was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in [2] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
    ------------------
    [Matthew said: Read Ephesians 1,2 and 3. The things Paul describes are far more wonderful and magnificent than the beggarly prvilege of being part of the commonwealth and covenants of Israel!]
    That is not what I was saying. You totally misunderstood my point. It's about being part of God's New Covenant which is the fulfillment of all the Covenants of Promise in the OT {also called the "Covenant of Grace"} and being one of God's
    children. The New Covenant is not about an earthly inheritance unless you want to count the new heaven and the new earth as "earthly". The NC is not about becoming a part of ethnic Israel either but is about having God as our God, having our sins forgiven, knowing God and inheriting eternal life. The NC is heavenly and eternal. There is nothing beggarly about the New Covenant.

    The Abrahamic Covenant had similarities to the NC in that it was gracious and promised future blessings through the Seed {Jesus} who was to come. The Abrahamic Covenant included the promise that all nations would be blessed through this Seed, hinting of the inclusion of gentiles when the church would be born. Those promises were fulfilled in the New Covenant.

    The term "Old Covenant" does not refer to the Covenants of Promise {or the Covenant of Grace} which I previously mentioned in my last post. The OC is the Covenant of Law (or the Sinaitic Covenant) and is what is contrasted with the NC in Hebrews. The Old Covenant was weak and beggerly because it could not save, but it served its purpose for a time until the time of reformation came.

    God showed by the ceremonial law that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. God told the OT worshipers how they must approach Him as their holy God. The outward ceremonial forms of worship were only temporary. The forms represented eternal realities in heaven. The animal sacrifices could not remove sin but pointed to the Lamb of God who later would die for sinners.
    ---------
    Hebrews 8:5 They {priests on earth} serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ [2] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
    ------------------------

    Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
    -------------
    Also your idea of sinless Jews of a future golden age being in the NC makes no sense since one of the New Covenant blessings is that God will remember our sins no more, something a sinless person would have no need for.

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/07/2007 12:37 AM  

  • Va-Susan, I do wish you would write shorter comments.

    "19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, [3] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,"

    Are you suggesting this is a reference to spiritual Israel? I have no idea how you can pull that out of that verse.

    "He goes on to tell them they are a part of the mystery which is the church--the assembly of Saints in the New and better Covenant."

    Paul does not mention the New Covenant. It is true that he refers to it in the second letter to thr Corinthians.

    The church is founded on Christ, who is the mediator and guarantor of the New Covenant. However, the church is not itself an outworking of fulfillment of the New Covenant.

    "6 This mystery is [1] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."

    The Gentile believers are brought into a new body, the church which was formed at Pentecost by the Holy Spirit.

    "It's about being part of God's New Covenant which is the fulfillment of all the Covenants of Promise in the OT {also called the "Covenant of Grace"} and being one of God's
    children. "

    Firstly, there is no Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Grace, along with the Covenant of Works exists only in the idle dreams of Reformed theologians.

    Again, your assertion about being part of the New Covenant has no scriptural basis. Not a verse of Scripture identifies Gentile believers as members of the New Covenant.

    "The New Covenant is not about an earthly inheritance unless you want to count the new heaven and the new earth as "earthly"."

    You sure about that?

    Look at what it says in Jeremiah 31:

    23 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.

    24 And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks.

    25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.

    26 Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.

    27 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

    The New Covenant is fulfilled within the context of a national restoration of the Jews to their land. It is about earthly, not heavenly life.

    Would you agree with me that Ezekiel also refers to the New Covenant?

    25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

    26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

    27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.


    But look what he says in the previous verse:

    24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

    Ezekiel goes on:

    28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

    29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.

    30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.

    31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.

    32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

    33 ¶ Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

    34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.

    35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

    It is utterly false to separate the New Covenant from the land promises to which it is attached.

    "[2] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises."

    Indeed, the New Covenant is far better than the old covenant. But the author does not say that the Hebrew believers are now walking under the New Covenant.

    "Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf."

    Yes, Christ fulfills the types of the Levitical priesthood. But this has nothing to do with the New Covenant.

    "Also your idea of sinless Jews of a future golden age being in the NC makes no sense since one of the New Covenant blessings is that God will remember our sins no more, something a sinless person would have no need for."

    I do not necessarilly see the Jews as sinless during the Millennium, though some have argued this.

    I think the remembering of sins is not so much individual sins as the past apostasy of the nation of Israel. Remeber, this is a national covenant that deals with the people of Israel as a nation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/08/2007 5:59 AM  

  • Are you feeling wordy today, Rose?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/08/2007 5:59 AM  

  • Hello Matthew,
    I appreciate your gracious exchanges and ask forgiveness for my wordiness. I think your posts have been just as long as mine, but I will make an effort to be more to the point here.

    My point in posting all those verses was to demonstrate that Paul did tell the Ephesians their present as well as their past position, {contrary to your assertion}. He was saying they are no longer in this position of being outside the blessings of His covenant people, but are now fellow heirs of the eternal blessings of his chosen nation (meaning his remnant within National Israel). Paul was given the understanding of the mystery of the church including gentiles. This accounts for why the gentile inclusion was not clearly spelled out in those references to the NC given in the OT. I agree that the Ezekiel passages also refer to the NC.

    It was a shock to the Jewish Christians to realize that those uncircumcised gentiles had been given the same gifts and blessings as the faithful remnant within Israel and were made citizens with them in God's Kingdom. Peter had to be given a vision and even then he did not quite "get it" that the gentiles are fellow heirs of the promises and did not need to become Jews first.

    I don't see how you can get rid of the idea of two Covenants since it seems to be the plain teaching in Galatians. How do you understand that text about Hagar and Sarah since you reject this idea of two Covenants? What about Paul saying he and the galatians are 'children of promise' as Isaac was?


    God has already fulfilled all the land promises to Israel.
    --------------
    Joshua 21:43 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
    -------------------
    Abraham did not inherit any of the land in the Middle East, but lived as a stranger and pilgrim. His inheritance was an eternal and heavenly one, just as ours is. This sin cursed earth will be destroyed by fire one day.
    Hebrews 11
    8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God...
    13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
    --------------------
    Thanks for the thoughtful exchanges. I hope this was not too long. I thank you for causing me to study my Bible and this subject more diligently. It has caused me to be more thankful for the privileges that are mine in Christ because of the NC.
    Every Blessing in Christ,
    Susan

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/08/2007 12:39 PM  

  • [Again, your assertion about being part of the New Covenant has no scriptural basis. Not a verse of Scripture identifies Gentile believers as members of the New Covenant.]

    Matthew,
    I wanted to add this PS then I'm done.

    In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul is identified as a "minister of the New Covenant". He tells the Corinthians about God writing on their hearts, using obvious NC terminology, then contrasts the NC with the Old.
    So why would Paul identify himself as a minister of the NC if the NC is a far off future thing which excludes the gentiles?


    http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=2+Corinthians+3


    I'll let you have the last word.
    Thanks again for an interesting discussion.

    Susan

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at 9/08/2007 5:07 PM  

  • Susan

    "I think your posts have been just as long as mine, but I will make an effort to be more to the point here."

    Thanks. But if you write a long comment, that commits me to writing a long reply.

    "So why would Paul identify himself as a minister of the NC if the NC is a far off future thing which excludes the gentiles?"

    Paul was a minister of Christ , who is the mediator and guarantor of the New Covenant. Through the Gospel, the spiritual benefits in heavenly form are mediated to Gentile believers in Christ.


    "It was a shock to the Jewish Christians to realize that those uncircumcised gentiles had been given the same gifts and blessings as the faithful remnant within Israel and were made citizens with them in God's Kingdom. Peter had to be given a vision and even then he did not quite "get it" that the gentiles are fellow heirs of the promises and did not need to become Jews first."

    No doubt. But I think you would have a hard time proving that the privileges enjoyed by believers in this dispensation were predicted in the OT. There is justification and forgiveness of sins in the OT, but nothing of incorporation into the body of Christ, permanent indwelling by the Holy Ghost, being seated and blessed with Christ in heaven and having an entirely new position in Christ.

    "I don't see how you can get rid of the idea of two Covenants since it seems to be the plain teaching in Galatians. How do you understand that text about Hagar and Sarah since you reject this idea of two Covenants? What about Paul saying he and the galatians are 'children of promise' as Isaac was?"

    There are more than two covenants in Scripture. We have the Adamic, Noahide, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic and New Covenants.

    There is nothing which corresponds exactly to what Reformed theologians call a 'Covenant of Works' and a 'Covenant of Grace.' These are theological constructions.

    The old covenant refers to the Mosaic Covenant.

    The key to the passage about Hagar and Isaac is the fact that the Gentile believers are justified by faith as Abraham was.

    "God has already fulfilled all the land promises to Israel."

    I think this is probably beyind the scope of our discussion.

    I would point out that if the land promises are fulfilled under the old covenant, why are they connected with the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31 and in Ezekiel?

    "This sin cursed earth will be destroyed by fire one day."

    Reformed theologians tend to speak of the earth being transformed and renewed rather than destroyed. See Berkhof or Grudem. For once I am in agreement with Reformed theology. Israel will have an eternal inheritance in a renewed earth. Though as you say, the resurrected Abraham has an heavenly inheritance.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/09/2007 11:29 AM  

  • Rose, are you feeling like taking on a fresh subject today?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/09/2007 11:30 AM  

  • Matthew,
    I intend to keep going through Romans 9 when I get a chance. Thanks for asking. ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/10/2007 12:23 PM  

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