Friday, December 19, 2003

The Jews and the Gospel

Romans 11 is full of future promise for the Jews. How then does preterism say that the Jewish Age ended at 70 A.D. and that the destruction of Jerusalem marks a time unlike any since the world began nor ever will be?

This is essay #6 in this series. To start at the beginning click here.

Paul continues, in Romans 11, to both proclaim faith based righteousness, God's sovereign choice, and his Jew and Gentile theme. Note how he advances each theme in these next verses:

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, 

"God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day." 

And David says, 

"Let their table become a snare and a trap, And a stumbling block and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened to see not, And bend their backs forever." 

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! (Romans 11:7-12)

Who does Paul mean by "those who were chosen" and "the rest were hardened?" The context of hardening is the Jews and so the choosing must be among the Jews also. The hardening of the Jews was not a new problem. Moses and David both bemoaned it. Both prophesied that it would happen. But Moses also prophesied that the hardening would not be permanent:

So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 

If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. “The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 

Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:1-6)

Can you see how Moses prophecy lines up with Paul's hope, "Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!" This is also why the Zionist movement, which began in the 1800's, might be a significant move of God in our day. Have the Jews not been scattered across the globe? Have they not been hit with the curses by their disobedience according to the Law of Moses?

The Jews have not fallen, they have stumbled. Salvation has gone to the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous so that they will return to the Lord their God. When preterism says that the Age of the Jews has ended, it seems to be saying that the Jews did stumble so as to fall. There is no longer a national salvation for them. The Great Tribulation was "Great" because the blessings and promises were yanked from them and given to the Gentile Church. As I continue in Romans 11, you will see that Paul warns the Gentiles not to think this way.

Monday: Branches

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>


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