On the Church and Israel
One needs only a cursory understanding of the Scriptures to see four prominent covenants, namely, the Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic and New covenants. These covenants form the very infrastructure of biblical revelation and the plan of God; they are repeated and emphasized from Genesis to Revelation and develop God’s redemptive program for the world. However, their distinctive elements have generally been amalgamated into an ecclesiocentric (church-fixated) theological grid that excludes Israel from God’s plan. Clear teaching regarding these biblical covenants has suffered at the hands of theologians dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries beginning with the powerful influence of Origen and Augustine. The many passages describing these covenants have since then, not enjoyed a consistently literal interpretation. The interpretations of these fundamental promises (that God made to His chosen people Israel) have been allegorized, explained away, distorted, spiritualized and changed with such a result that the future hope of Israel has historically, been under continual attack throughout almost the entire Church age.iii
The substance of these covenants has typically been interpreted as being fulfilled generally in, through and by the Church. This has resulted in the false understanding that the church has replaced Israel as far as the plan and purpose of God is concerned in history. In many cases, this “replacement theology” has translated into anti-Semitism even within the church. This kind of theological move, historically has certainly lent itself to anti-Semitism.iv Also, in recent history, a political or theological move marginalizing Israel has typically been a move to the left, acquiescing to pressure from the mainstream. Regardless of the motive for a move away from premillennialism, the result is the same ultimately resulting in an open door for anti-Semitism.
Premillennialism is distinct in that it interprets these biblical covenants at their face-value, maintaining a clear distinction between God’s plan for Israel and God’s plan for the Church. This distinction preserves a very clear and literal fulfillment of all God’s covenant promises to His chosen people Israel in the promised-land; it also holds a plethora of information as to the future state of both the church and the Gentile nations in relation to Israel. It’s our conviction that premillennialism holds the key to Israel’s future hope which is in fact the future hope of the world – including the Church. To remove this essential element of our theological paradigm would be to undermine a huge portion of the Scriptures, our theology, and exegesis.
Since the dawn of time, the fallen angelic realm has been vying for a beachhead of power in a world that was bequeathed to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Man was created by God to rule the earth (Gen. 1:28; Psalm 8), but he forfeited that rule to Satan when he sinned. Satan set out to build his kingdom and he achieved near complete dominion on this earth for 4000 years from Adam to Christ. During the wilderness temptations of Christ, Satan offered rulership over the kingdom(s) of the earth to Christ in exchange of Jesus’ submission (Luke 4:5-8). Of course, Jesus rejected the offer and chose the Cross before the Crown.
Jesus knew the Father had a kingdom plan that included redemption; Jesus’ will was to accomplish the Father’s will. And yes, in God’s plan Jesus will come again as the Sovereign-King of kings and save the day, but only in the Father’s time (Acts 1:7). But, here we are, 2000 after Jesus died and rose again; and it appears the god of this age (II Cor. 4:4) is gaining an insane momentum toward world-wide dominion…. To the rational mind’s eye, it seems like the wheels of the geopolitical realm are coming off. Don’t you think it’s time for some sovereign justice here?! God’s Word has the answers and contains the perfect and only solution.
However, if we want to know the answer, we’ve got to move past the physical and temporal realm into the spiritual war that rages. To find the solution, one must uncover and pinpoint this spiritual problem. Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Human history melees because of a spiritual war in the heavenly places. That there’s always been conflict and that we can connect the human tumult of history to the spiritual war makes sense, but what’s the motive behind the war or rebellion?