In my last part of this 3-part series, I want to finalize the point of the ‘transition period’ we see going on in the New Testament. As I pointed out in part 2- as we reviewed Don Preston’s book, Torah to Telos, the end was to be the “end of the Law”.
So…the debate with Sam Frost was centered on some of these details. It appears that Sam Frost is using the “transition period” as a factor today instead of allowing the transition period to be the time in which God was dealing with “national Israel”, otherwise known as Israel of the flesh. I believe this is where the biggest issue is.
Jesus Christ came to confirm and fulfill the promises that were given to the Jews (Israel):
“For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy…. (Romans 15:8-9)”.
It was to ‘Israel of the flesh’ that the ‘Old Covenant’ promises were made thus is why Paul speaks about being “anguished for them”, since the promises were made to ‘fleshly Israel’ but were being reckoned according to the Seed (Jesus Christ). Go ahead and read Romans chapter 9.
As I seek to understand the “big picture”, which admittedly is a detailed topic, I cannot for the life of me see how this detached eschatology holds any weight. When I say “detached eschatology”, I simply mean an end times period removed from the context of God fulfilling His promises of the Messiah, judgment, and resurrection to national Israel. Yes, the promise of national Israel’s restoration would be realized SPIRITUALLY. For example, all throughout the New Testament, namely the writings of the apostle Paul, he speaks about the “the promises given to our fathers”.
To make things more complicated you now have Dispensationalism which completely dichotomizes the promises to Israel and the Church. I noticed in my debate with Sam Frost that he wants to have ‘Israel of the flesh’ under the Law done away with at the cross and the promise of judgment and resurrection to a Spiritually reckoned Israel. But….in Acts, Romans, Galatians, etc..we have the apostle Paul still speaking about a “hope of Israel” and acknowledging ‘Israel of the flesh’. A great example would be Acts chapter 13.
As a ‘full preterist’ the reason I dwell on AD 70 so much is because that was the judgment upon ‘Israel of the flesh’, one can’t help but be reminded of passages like Matthew chapter 23 (which “ironically, leads into Matthew 24). It was the complete doing away of their system and makes ‘judgment’ of works- make a lot more sense. Yes, as Romans 2 is speaking about. If you put yourself under the Law, when judgment comes, you will be judged according to the Law. Imagine how that looked in AD 70. There would have been a clear contrast between those who put their trust in the ‘flesh’, otherwise known as the Law, and those who put their trust in Christ. I sure would have hated to be a Gentile who put my trust in the Law, when the Temple was destroyed. Especially since as the historian Josephus notes when physical Jerusalem and the Temple was being destroyed:
“I cannot but think that it was because God had doomed this city to destruction, as a polluted city, and was resolved to purge his sanctuary by fire, that he cut off those who clung to them with such tender affection.”
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Galatians 4:4-5)”.
“For you know that is was not with perishable things such as gold and silver that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake (1 Peter 1:18-20)”.
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea…These things happen to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:1, 11)”.
Pay attention to the pronouns above. What exactly is being said to the primary person being addressed? Check it out.
In Galatians 4:4-5, Paul specifically says that Christ was born under the Law to redeem who? Those under the Law! That we (those under the Law) might receive the full rights of sons. Interesting insight when you read Romans 8 and the manifestation of sons (ironically a ‘resurrection passage’ as well).
In 1 Peter 1:18-20, Paul is speaking to the “elect” about their redemption from the “empty way of life”- some have tried to make this in reference to the Gentiles, but Romans 8:1-4 give us a better understanding of the context and contrast- the law of sin and death versus the law of the Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 10 verses 1 and 11- (of course I would urge reading the whole chapter, the whole book of 1 Corinthians, ok fine- read the whole Bible)- who do you suppose “our forefathers” are? Ahhh…the patriarchs, the same who are mentioned in Hebrews 11 for example. So the lineage of Israel, might be a working definition. Happen to them as examples for US (not you and me) but those who were undergoing that “transition period” (although we can definitely glean insight as well).
SEE HOW CLEAR IT IS?
You cannot read the Old Testament without noticing that Israel was the people whom God was displaying His kingdom through (For example read Exodus 19). Yesterday, I sought to answer my concern of “What did the ‘original audience’ think of when Jesus said “The kingdom of God…”. As I read through passages of the Old Testament such as Psalm chapter 22, Psalm 45:6, Psalm chapter 103, Psalm chapter 105, Psalm 145:10-13, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 60:10-12,Ezekiel 16, and most of the book of Daniel, I noticed the “hope” of Israel was very “nationalistic”. No wonder that when Jesus met with the apostles prior to ascension and told them about the “gift the Father promises (Acts 1:4-5) they asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel”.
It is the “hope of Israel” that is being dealt with during the New Testament “transition period” of Already/Not Yet. The apostle Paul equates this “hope of Israel” with resurrection in the book of Acts. Look at Acts 24:14-15; Acts 26:6-8, 19-23; Acts 28:20-23). Looking at “resurrection passages” as would have been understood by the original audience begins to diminish the “physical body” hope that so many carry. Granted, a metaphoric speech is used, as so many other places, but contextual this is speaking about restoration. The individual mindset has forced this to be about individual bodies, which goes contrary to the corporate understanding so clearly espoused through the Old and New Testament. Here read for yourself passages such as:
Isaiah chapter 25 (which is quoted in 1 Corinthians 15)
Hosea chapter 6:1-2 7 & chapter 13
Ezekiel chapter 37
Daniel chapter 12
Philippians chapter 3
2 Corinthians chapters 3-5
The “transition period” we see happening within the New Testament is the “hope of Israel”. In Hebrews 8:13 it says:
“By calling this covenant “new” he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear”.
The “old covenant” being contrasted to the “new” throughout the book of Hebrews was still very present. As one can read in Galatians 4:21-31, there was a persecution being done by the carnal still present “Jerusalem” to the “free woman”- i.e., heavenly Jerusalem. It was upon this “slave woman”, the carnal Jerusalem that judgment was coming- READ MATTHEW 23. It was those who were being set free during the “transition period” that would “flee from the wrath to come”, which happened in AD 70 both literally (the flight to Pella) and Spiritually. I term this “remnant theology”, a remnant of fleshly Israel became Spiritual Israel along with the Gentiles who came to the knowledge of God through Christ thus forming ONE MAN in the body of Christ, which was the goal from the beginning (Read Ephesians chapters 1-3).
Simply put… the hope of Israel went from natural to spiritual which is exactly what 1 Corinthians 15 is speaking about! There was a natural kingdom, covenant, creation, and “heaven and earth” that was coming under judgment, thus revealing the Spiritual realities of all those aspects. What we see happening is the ‘body of humiliation’, otherwise known as the ‘veiled experience’ resurrecting into the ‘body of glory’ which is from above and free (Read Philippians chapter 3 along with 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5).
This is the gospel! At one time, relationship with the true God (God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was done by undergoing circumcision and through the Law- the kingdom of Israel. Through Jesus Christ, the circumcision of the heart, and the Law of Christ which was fully revealed (resurrected) at the judgment and doing away of the old! This is the “new” way of coming into covenant relationship with God. Tried, tested, and true!
More pertaining to the gospel “hope of Israel” coming soon…
Blessings in Christ,