13 April 2011

Islam Today Part 2: Assimilation Countdown

Though often viewed as a rising threat it must be remembered that about a century ago, the Ottoman Empire was on its knees, the Persians were subjugated, the Arabs long subject to the Turks had lost their former Abbasid and Umayyad glory. The sumptuous and cosmopolitan Mughal Empire of the Subcontinent had been vanquished by Victorian armies. Not long before that the Mamluks had been crushed by Napoleon and though the French walked away from Egypt the British would not until well into the 20th century.

We haven't even touched the Islamic culture of the southern Sahara where Islam stretches toward the frontiers of the Sub-Saharan plains and jungles. It was in Sudan that the Mahdi (another protest against Western Imperialism) was defeated by the English.

Nor have we discussed the complex forms of Islam that appear in South-East Asia as it interacts with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other traditional religions throughout the Subcontinent and the great archipelago that stretches from China to Australia.

I could go on and on. It's complicated. There are many groups, and just like in Europe they've all been at each other's throats and they all have their own cultures and ideas. They all have their own nationalisms and cultural biases. To understand Islam today, these things must be taken into account as well as their complex historical relations with the West, especially during the Colonial and post-Colonial period.

I have just scratched the surface. I can go much deeper, but I wouldn't dare consider myself some kind of expert. Yet, I'm confident that most readers of these posts are already lost. I don't say that to belittle anyone, rather to make a point. The point is that Islam is every bit as complicated as Western Christendom. There are many interpretations, and most have some merit. But to take one interpretation and run with it is a mistake.

Don't throw your hands up in the air. Try and learn something. But don’t listen to Hal Lindsey, Joel Rosenberg and Pat Robertson as they sit on the television and attempt to explain it all for you in five minutes. The best thing to do is not to read just them or me, but read a lot of different sources. If you don't have the interest or the time, I understand.

But don't just accept what these commentators and prophecy experts say! Often their statements are patently wrong if not ridiculous to anyone who has bothered to read even a basic history.

In their case, their theological commitments to Dispensationalism drive the interpretation. And as adherents and proponents of American Conservatism this too shapes their thinking.

I know they would say they're just giving you the Biblical view of things, but don't be fooled. If their theology is wrong then their whole way of thinking about these issues is wrong.

For them it's America (the Holy Christian Nation) and Israel (the Holy Jewish Nation) against the world. They start there and it is through that lens that they see everything. Any attempt to make peace in the Middle East will harm Israel's claims by binding them to treaties that stop short of Dispensationalism's expectations for the Jews. Any attempt by an American leader or diplomat to try and resolve the issue means they're selling out Israel and thus are immediately suspect.

What's the Biblical view of Islam? They're lost people trying to build the Tower of Babel, just like everyone. The whole notion that they're the Global Religion of the End is driven more by Dispensational error and American agendas than Scripture.

It's a false religion to be sure, but so is Judaism. Don't be fooled, there are next to no examples of true Old Testament Judaism. The small sect that attempts to do this is reckoned non-Jewish by most Jews today. In fact the Hasidic and Orthodox Jews that many find to be so interesting are often more influenced by the Gnostic Kabbalah than Moses. Nevertheless, they are interesting and their history is more than a little moving…but they're not God's people. They are not in any way the theological children of Moses.

Americanism is another false religion mixing New Testament Christianity with Enlightenment ideals, and pagan notions of government, economics, and goods that cannot be found in Scripture. This religion looks as much to Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith and often Abraham Lincoln as it does to Christ. Nowadays the level of adherence to the ideas of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan practically determines one's orthodoxy.

How should we as Christians respond to Islam? Learn the truth about it and understand they're lost and that like all people they have good and bad aspects to their culture.

There are aspects to certain forms of Islam that are wretched. Sometimes they result directly from Islam, sometimes they result from Islam interacting with a particular culture. Many seem to think that burqas where some sort of Taliban invention. Hardly. You can't understand the Taliban without first looking to Pashtun culture. And long before and after the Taliban lost power, women in that part of the world, especially Pashtun women were wearing burqas.

Some Kurdish groups practice female circumcision as do many groups Islamic and non-Islamic peoples in Africa. It has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with their culture. Of course they think in doing so they're being good Muslims…just like Americans believe certain aspects of their culture are Christian, much to the surprise of Christians living in other parts of the world!

But they're conquering Europe, soon they'll conquer the world!

First of all, I don't agree with this. I'm well aware of the silly propaganda videos floating around the Internet that are meant to make white conservatives tremble. There's no doubt that Europe has demographic problems. Of course, these things have never happened before right? There's never been a decline in population? There have never been population shifts and nations changing their composition?

Has anyone ever read a history book?

What's the concern here? Will the Church be conquered? Let's assume their argument for a moment. Let's say Islam will outbreed and take over Europe by 2050 or so. Will the Church fail or disappear? Will the Gospel be stopped?

Christendom will disappear. While I enjoy the history as much as anyone, in light of eternity does it somehow harm the Church? Will the legacy of 1700 years of Sacralism being lost somehow mean that God has been defeated?

As I've said before, Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries found it better to live under a Turk than a Habsburg. The Turks left them alone if they paid their tax. The Catholic Habsburgs took their children, burned their pastors and destroyed their lands. And as I've also mentioned before when the Turks besieged Vienna in 1683, there were Protestants standing with them as allies. I'm not saying it was right, not at all, but it demonstrates that not everyone was thrilled with Christendom. Of course as I've also written earlier, the Hungarians learned nothing from this and like every other people in history, once they had power they didn't hesitate to put their boot in the face of others. No one learns from history, not even their own experience. Look at the nation of Israel today. You would think with their history they might treat the Palestinians with more humanity? Think again.

So what if Islam wins? I'm not sure what someone would mean by that, that is, I'm not sure if they understand the nature of the Gospel and the Kingdom. But all I can say is…So what?

Will God's plan be somehow thwarted? What God do these people worship that they think His plans go astray and His people will someone be stricken from the earth? Is the Church about steeples in Devonshire, monastic buildings in Burgundy, relics in Thuringia, or a university in the Veneto? These things are all interesting because they're part of history and I can appreciate the history, architecture and all that as much as anyone.

But these things have nothing to do with Christ's Kingdom. If they're gone has Christianity been defeated? Hardly. Some history has been lost. I can lament that, but as far as I'm concerned the Church for centuries lived underground and the steeple, monastery, relics, and university all represented the system of antichrist. The medieval heretic (often a Bible Christian) would not have lamented the passing of these symbols or institutions. They were the tokens of the enemy.

The reality is this generation growing up right now is a critical one. If these Muslim immigrants don't assimilate there will be violence…on both sides.

What sometimes looks like appeasement is in reality a desperate attempt by the architects of Europe to try and assimilate these people before there's a complete outbreak of Right-Wing politics and the violence that will bring to the European street. The storm hasn't arrived, but you can hear the thunder. It certainly is on the horizon.

Sometimes like in Britain the societal architects have gone too far, they've stretched themselves in a self-sure confidence that I think will blow up in their face. Not from the Muslim population but the English natives. I fear that someday David Cameron might look like a tolerant liberal, an appeaser. Not that I would recommend the movie to a Christian audience, but V for Vendetta in a semi-serious dystopian way looked at some of these ideas…what the Right-wing backlash might look like.

Europe is turning more racist and consequently the Muslim youth are in a hole they cannot escape. They can't get jobs, they have no future and they watch in frustration as their relatives, friends, and themselves become Westernized. Some turn away and embrace political Islam. Others turn to crime and despair. And thus the native populations grow more angry, bitter, and soon violent. They start looking to the British National Party, the Le Pen's in France, Wilders in the Netherlands, and we've also seen the rise of the Right in Sweden and other countries as well. It's not quite the 1930's, but this decade may prove as critical for Europe's future. I'm not suggesting another World War, but I am suggesting a cultural watershed.

First generation immigrants rarely assimilate very well, but if their grandchildren haven't blended in pretty well, then something is wrong and it will lead to trouble.

We're pretty much there or soon will be. By now (from the standpoint of the architects) the Muslim youth should be apathetic or at least moderate in religion and having a pint while they watch the football match. Their wives should be hitting the shops.

Instead, they are increasingly living in ghettos and growing angry and/or despondent. In desperation the powers that be are trying to bring them along before the Geert Wilders types get into power. I'm afraid they're running out of time.

Greed and a certain type of lifestyle have its consequences. White Europe doesn't want to get their hands dirty anymore, they want to live a certain way. They have cultural expectations about parenting, childrearing, education, and normalcy. It's harder to live the good life and enjoy holidays on the Greek Isles when you've got three or four kids. It was easier to import NATO member Turks and Kurds, or former colonials like the Pakistanis and Indians.

You want them to leave? Then quit destabilizing their countries and regions and perhaps their countries will improve and they'll go home. Of course in the case of Pakistan and India as well as many other places, some of the contemporary tensions find their origin in the Age of Empire, the colonial age which in reality never quite ended. Instead the nature of colonialism changed.

Importing immigrants for work, that's been the plan for about forty years now. It won't help Europe though. The post-War miracle is over. The costs and consequences have caught up.

America is having to deal with this as well with the influx of Mexicans and Central Americans. Here the greed has led to a Roman-reminiscent decadence and White Anglo-Saxon Protestant kids can't do math or read, let alone work or grow up. American corporations are looking outside for new talent, but much of Middle America is racist and they don't like people who come here and don't speak 'American' as one put it to me the other day.

Japan has been dealing with this as well. They've long been anti-immigration, because they know it will change your society. It will be interesting to see if this changes at all in light of the recent devastation.

It's no surprise that Christians are increasingly turning to the Right, to Nationalism for answers. Wilders is something of a hero here among Conservative Protestant circles. Most Christians being complete ignorant of history would be utterly baffled that many find Wilders to be the equivalent of a modern day Hitler. American Christians think he's standing for Christian values.

History repeats itself. I heard that somewhere.

Christians should be the last people buying into Right-wing fear mongering, but sadly generations of Sacralism have blunted the Christian mind, and prevented both a historical and Christian perspective from governing their thoughts. And the Church of our day is doing its best to create a vibrant new generation of brainwashed Constantinians who just like the Roman Catholics of the Middle Ages believe God is on their side.

52 comments:

ianvincent said...

John, What do you think about the Jews returning to the land of Israel since 1948, do you see it as the fulfilling of prophecy?

Protoprotestant said...

No, I'm not a Dispensationalist. I grew up in that system, but I believe Ephesians 2, Galatians 3, Romans 11 and several other passages teach the only future for the Jews is to join the Church.

I think the land of Israel was a type fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Genesis 12 passage about Abraham's seed is fulfilled in Christ and thus in the Church. In the OT, it was Israel in part, but in the NT Israel isn't the Jews.

That's why if you're a non Dispensationalist the whole geo-political spectrum looks very different. Israel of 1948 doesn't have anything to do with prophecy...in fact it could be argued their continued claim to that land is just a further rejection of Christ.

Probably not what you wanted to hear. I wrote some posts awhile back on Replacement Theology. Not the term I would choose, but that's what it is often called. You might find it helpful, even if you don't agree...at least helpful in understanding why others just as committed to Scripture are convinced the Dispensational 2 People/2 Plans structure is a mistake.

Hope that helps.

ianvincent said...

I just recently came to know what the label "Dispensationalist" means, thanks to you, John.

I've come to learn it could mean a number of things.

But it would be a shame if you let the labelling get out of hand and prevent you from accepting the Scriptures at face value.

E.g. How could you read Romans 9 thru 11 and conclude there is no plan for the Jewish people?

The same with numerous OT prophecies.

(yes, it is all consumated in Christ, at the end)

ianvincent said...

P.S. Oh yes, they do eventually join the church, but the issue is what are God's dealings with them as a nation to bring them to that place? Scripture has much to say about what He will do with the Jewish people to prepare them and bring them to Messiah, and you just discard all that, saying it's all irrelevant?

Protoprotestant said...

not irrelevant...fulfilled.

Ephesians 2 makes it pretty clear. It's the whole message of Galatians 3 and virtually the entire book of Hebrews.

Yes there's a remnant that will join the Church, but the land, temple, priesthood, the whole Mosaic system is gone. There aren't two people of God anymore. We're all part of the Commonwealth of Israel as Paul puts it.

There's one tree not two.

We need to read the OT in light of the New, and understand OT prophecy the way the Apostles did. Acts 2 and 15 are great places to start. The Apostles treat the Joel and Amos passages in an entirely different manner than the Dispensational hermeneutic. The Scriptures are literal but the language often employs types, signs, symbols and metaphors that are not fulfilled literalistically.

For example the Tabernacle of David in Amos is about the Gentile/Jewish Church.

The cosmic events of Joel 2 were symbolic and fulfilled in the death and resurrection and enthronment of Christ.

The prophecy concerning Elijah was fulfilled by John the Baptist, not the literal Elijah.

The Kingdom itself is spiritual in nature, a present reality in Christ.

The problem is both the Dispensationa system as well as the Postmil system are looking for those literal fulfillments of Kingdom promises that the NT interprets quite differently.

It's not labeling. It's basically hermeneutics derived from the relationship between the OT/NT and divergent understandings of what is the Kingdom. I'm not looking for a future literal Kingdom with Christ reigning physically in Jerusalem. He's already reigning on the heavenly Mt. Zion and when he comes again it's not to establish a political kingdom, it's to Judge the World and usher in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Kingdom and Hermeneutics...huge questions.

ianvincent said...

But God's plan for the Jewish nation is not yet fulfilled, that's the whole point.

So, when we see it in the process of being fulfilled, today, and then to say it is irrelevant, it's all fulfilled - it just doesn't stand up.

I agree with most of what you're saying, but it is irrelevant to the point i made, that Scripture describes HOW God will deal with the Jewish people in order to ultimately bring them to Messiah.

Protoprotestant said...

Well, 2 Cor 1.20 says that all the promises are affirmed and confirmed in Christ.

It would seem to suggest that somehow the land or something to do with the Jewish people fulfills prophecy comes into conflict with what Paul is saying.

As far as the how...Hebrews tell us that the Levitical law has been disanulled, put aside, we're under the order of Melchisidec. So to return to that system...which included the land, the Jewish idenity etc... is highly problematic.

A large amount of the 1948 notion rests on the passage in Matthew 24 which has always struck me as odd considering if you literally read the passage about the fig tree you wouldn't come up with that at all.

BTW, just a quick note. We're obviously disagreeing but I just want to say please don't think my tone to be unpleasant. I don't mean it to be in the least. Sometimes when you shoot back and forth like we're doing it can seem like we're getting mad at each other. I just wanted to say, I'm enjoying the exchange.

David said...

Good exchange. This is something I am truly passionate about. Hermeneutic considerations are so vitally important when it comes to considering how one interprets the scriptures, yet it is something the average man in the pew rarely wrestles with. It often seems that one simply brings to the text some prior decision on what it must mean based on something they heard somewhere or how they were raised and then force the text to fit their presuppositions (fyi, I am not accusing you of this, vincent). Recognizing our prior commitments, and allowing the content of the scriptures to override them when necessary is a difficult but necessary step in growing to maturity in the Christian faith. Ultimately, it is not what we want to be true that matters, but what is true. We must be like the Bereans and examine the scripture to determine if what we are being taught is really true.

All that being said, I heartily agree with John on this one. The dispensational system is entirely predicated upon the notion that a clear distinction/separation be made between Israel and the Church at all times. There are two peoples, and two plans: one for national, ethnic Israel, and one for the Gentiles who are saved by faith (which is considered to be an unforeseen intercalation within God's plan for Israel). The foremost dispensational scholars refer to it as the sine qua non ("without which nothing"), and consider it the proper litmus test as to whether or not one may be legitimately considered a dispensationalist. This is the basis of the system; it is the foundation upon which it is built. If it falls the whole thing falls. And simply put, it cannot hold up under the weight of scripture. When you combine Galatians 3 (those of faith are the true descendants of Abraham), the singular olive tree of Romans 12, Eph 2 (Gentiles are no longer aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, for God has made one new humanity reconciling Jews and Gentiles into one body, the church), Hebrews (the abolition of the Mosaic covenant and the mediation of a better covenant), and the way that the NT authors (especially in the gospels and Acts) understand and explain OT quotes, it sounds the death knell of the dispensationalist hermeneutic.

David said...

"The Isreal of God in Prophecy" is a fantastic book on the hermeneutic issues involved in understanding OT prophecy in terms of the revelation of Christ and the NT authors' perspectives. Fair warning, it is written by a 7th Day Adventist (whose general theology I disagree with heartily). Yet somehow, this is a thoroughly biblical explication of this topic, and a solid and scholarly refutation of dispensationalism. It doesn't begin with forgone conclusions, but focuses in on the issues of interpretive method. It looks to the NT itself to discern the proper hermeneutic principles, and discovers in the NT authors a Christocentric hermeneutic that understands the unity between testaments in terms prophecy/type/shadow and fulfillment in Christ. Other than the occasional quote from Ellen G. White (which can be ignored without detriment to the text) it is a gem.

ianvincent said...

Re:

"Well, 2 Cor 1.20 says that all the promises are affirmed and confirmed in Christ."
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Of course. If you had read my previous comment you would see i affirmed that.

My point is exactly that: The Jewish people have not yet believed the promises of God and have not yet received or entered the New Covenant.

Scripture says God will bring them back from all nations where He has scattered them, and only after that, at the LORD's coming, will they believe and then "all Israel will be saved".

So, John, are you are saying, then, that every prophecy concerning Israel returning to the land of Israel is a spiritual metaphor of the Church returning to the New Jerusalem?

You believe every prophetic reference to Israel in both Testaments is to be interpreted as the Church?

Like in Romans 9-11, when Paul mentions Israel and her destiny, there he really means the Church?

Isn't that called spiritualizing?

Btw, even liberal theologians are professors in hermeneutics; they are hermeneutical experts, and still they twist the Scriptures.

It's just a conceited way of saying interpretation.

ianvincent said...

Just another example:

In Matthew 24 our LORD Jesus speaks long about the last days.

Now, at the end of that discourse, if you are right, He SHOULD have included this disclaimer or waiver:

"BUT, none of this applies to you, the Jewish people. Nothing i've prophesied to you applies to you, the Jewish nation. It only applies to the Gentile believers in me."
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That's what you're saying, John, if i read you right, that nothing Jesus or anyone else in the NT prophesied has any reference to natural Israel, it all refers to the Church.
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I would agree with your distaste concerning the way that some Christians (people like John Hagee) fawn over the nation of Israel to the point of believing they are saved just bcos they are Jewish.

David said...

"It's just a conceited way of saying interpretation."
I don't know if I'd call it conceited so much as theological jargon. But it is not simply interpretation. Specifically, hermeneutics are one's method of interpretation. It is the presuppositions that drive the way they will interpret. Everyone interprets, but the interpretational philosophy of a liberal theologian will be different from a conservative one. A covenant theologian will approach the scriptures in a different way than a dispensationalist. Our prior commitments and presuppositions (unfortunately) shape the way we see things. Essentially, it seeks to answer questions such as do we interpret the OT in light of the NT, or vice versa. Do we interpret ambiguous passages in light of the clear ones (scripture interprets scripture) or do we begin with our interpretations of difficult books like Daniel and Revelation, and then work outward from there.

"You believe every prophetic reference to Israel in both Testaments is to be interpreted as the Church?"
I can't speak for John, but I too have often encountered this charge of being a replacement theologian, or of having spiritualized away the promises of God. My answer to your question is, "certainly not...but context is everything." There are many promises in the OT of God indicating a coming exile and a return from exile. These are not to be spiritualized to the church, but there were fulfilled historically - not in 1948. The Babylonians carried the Israelites into captivity beginning around 605 BC as God had promised, and eventually destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. And as Jeremiah had predicted, following 70 years of exile they were returned to the land by the Persians and able to rebuild to Jerusalem and the temple. These promises are not spiritualized away, but are recognized as being historically fulfilled. Some wrest these prophecies out of their context and teach to their congregants, "look, God said that He would return Israel to the land...and He did it in 1948." This is a disingenuous use of these scriptures. God fulfilled those particular prophecies in 538 BC, not 1948 AD.

David said...

Regarding Romans 9-11, this is one of those places where presuppositions and hermenutical commitments shape interpretation. I would appeal to this text to prove my point, and a Dispensationalist would point to this same text to prove his. In my view Paul makes several things very clear in these chapters. First, his Jewish bretheren are not saved (contra Hagee) by their ethnicity. His heart aches for his kinsmen (see 10:1) because despite their glorious history, because by rejecting Christ they have been cut off from God (Rom 9:1-5). As John says, "No one who denies the Son has the Father" (1 John 2:23). He goes on to make an important distinction - not all those descended from Israel (ethnically) are Israel (spiritually). It is not the children of the flesh, but of the promise (faith) that are the true descendents of Israel and Abraham (Rom 9:6-8; see Gal 3:29). He talks about God's sovereign right to elect some and not others - God has saved a remnant of the faithful. In fact he answers the charge that God has rejected the Jews by pointing to his own salvation (11:1-2). In effect he says: Has God rejected his people - no, I am an Israelite who has been saved by his faith in Christ, so not all Israelites have been lost. There is a remnant saved by faith. And then finally the olive tree. Paul depicts a single olive tree in which the faithful Jews are natural branches, the unfaithful Jews are broken off due to their unbeleif, and the faithful Gentiles are grafted in. There is a promise that if the Jews come to faith they too will be grafted back in. Following this, it does mention that "all Israel will be saved," but there is dispute as to exactly what that means. One view recognizes that the greek word in v.26 is houtos, a logical connective meaning "in this way." Thus it could mean all Israel will be saved "in this way," pointing back to the argument he had just made. In otherwords, in what way will they be saved - as a remnant of those that God elects to be saved by faith. So the passage doesn't necessitate a universal future conversion. I haven't come to a strong conclusion as of yet, but even if I did view that as a promise for a mass conversion of Jews in the future prior to the return of Christ this does not require nor speak of any connection to the land. The land is not mentioned, only their unbeleif and the potential for them to be saved by their faith in Christ. The land is absent from this discussion.

"You believe every prophetic reference to Israel in both Testaments is to be interpreted as the Church?"
- This is moving into the realm of hyperbole and mud slinging. It is certainly and clearly not the case that every reference to "Israel" means the church.

"BUT, none of this applies to you, the Jewish people. Nothing i've prophesied to you applies to you, the Jewish nation. It only applies to the Gentile believers in me."
- You are viewing things in terms of ethnic distinctions, but this is a category I reject. You seem to be asking, "Is it for the Jews or for the Gentiles? Which one?" Neither is correct. The kingdom of God isn't built on ethnic distinctions but on the distinction of faith. It is not for all the Jews nor for all the Gentiles. Faithful Jews AND Gentiles will be on the side of blessing, and the unfaithful (both Jews AND Gentiles) will receive judgment.

Protoprotestant said...

I just got home from work...it's supper time in Appalachia.

This is a good interaction that I hope some readers are finding to be informative. I have plenty to say, but I might not get to it until a little later tonight or tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know I wasn't ignoring you.

This is a pretty important topic...all the more because it affects how we understand current events, Israel the United States, and what we expect for tomorrow.

Back soon....

ianvincent said...

RE:

"- You are viewing things in terms of ethnic distinctions,

[No. You haven't understood a thing yet]

but this is a category I reject. You seem to be asking, "Is it for the Jews or for the Gentiles? Which one?" Neither is correct. The kingdom of God isn't built on ethnic distinctions but on the distinction of faith. It is not for all the Jews nor for all the Gentiles. Faithful Jews AND Gentiles will be on the side of blessing, and the unfaithful (both Jews AND Gentiles) will receive judgment. "
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You're not aware of it, but you're actually supporting my case, which is, that God indeed does have dealings today with the Jewish nation (as per prophecy) just as He deals with every nation and all people, for He is Sovereign over all nations and peoples.

Therefore, the notion, which John has put forth, that God has no dealings with the Jewish people today, except that in the end they get saved, is wrong.

He deals with them as a nation in order to bring them to salvation, as He does with all people He saves, with you and i.

Protoprotestant said...

Regarding 2 Corinthians 1.20
No you don’t affirm that. You’re saying that somehow there are promises fulfilled outside of Jesus Christ. We’re in the New Covenant age, Jesus made that abundantly clear as he instituted the Lord’s Supper. Again, in the NT, the wall of division is broken down…the curtain in the temple was rent. You’re suggesting that we sew it up and that there is still a distinction between Jew and Gentile in direct contradiction to Ephesians 2 and Galatians 3.
Deals with the nation? Again there’s a remnant that joins The Church. The Church is the only holy nation in the New Covenant. All other nations including 1948 Israel are just common and have no claim to covenant blessings. You’re saying when they enter the NC, they will do it as a physical nation-state? Don’t you see the land, temple, priesthood, all of it was pointing to Jesus Christ? Why would we want to go back to shadow and type? That’s like saying the Messiah hasn’t come yet.
I never said every prophetic reference was about the Church per se. Every prophetic reference finds it ultimate expression in Christ and in the NC, Christ’s people, Christ’s Nation is the Church.
In Romans 9-11, he’s primarily but not exclusively talking about the Jews, but what does that have to do with the land? Spiritualizing? You mean like James’ treatment of Amos in Acts 15 or Peter’s treatment of Joel in Acts 2? No I’m sorry hermeneutics is very important, because Dispensationalism claims to be literal but isn’t and the key issue like I said is the fact that it reads the NT in light of the OT rather the OT in light of the NT.
As far Matthew 24, again hermeneutics comes into play. Prophetic lingo often employs concepts like prophetic perspective and idiom. This can be proved by how the NT deals with OT texts. Dispensationalism often rejects the interpretation the Apostles give and continues to insist certain passages have not been fulfilled.
In the last post you mention Jews and Gentiles in the Kingdom….where do you get the distinction from the NT? What do you do with the passages I’ve mentioned in Ephesians and Galatians? In light of Hebrews how could we go back to the OT? By suggesting the Jews are still God’s people…that’s exactly what you’re suggesting. Bring them to salvation? That’s tied to the land? If so, that’s pure OT.

ianvincent said...

Also, David, i was happy to read what you said about context, relating to OT references to Israel.

As far as i'm aware, every OT reference to "Israel", and eschatological prophecy concerning "Israel", refers/applies to the Jewish people, and never to the Church.

Gentiles are surely referred to in OT prophecy, as coming and joining themselves with Israel (which was Paul's understanding, that the wild olive tree is grafted in to the true olive tree).

Then, in the NT, Paul introduces the concept of "the Israel of God", both Jew and Gentile as "one man" in Christ.

ianvincent said...

When i said God "deals with a nation" i didn't say "blessings".

You are reading into what i said and going off on tangents.

God severely judged the Jewish nation, particularly with the Holocaust, but that was not a "covenant blessing". But blessing will be the ultimate outcome.

But, the simple fact was that is was a dealing, by God, with the Jewish nation.

John, i think you've evaded the simple issue i've raised, in answer to your initial proposition.

Protoprotestant said...

Okay, the plan in Romans 9-11 is that the Jews enter the Church. I keep saying it. What else do you mean? Blessings? Yes, Jews will become Christians. You obviously mean something beyond that....

Perhaps if you explained what you mean or refer us to something. I'm not sure if you're advocating the mainstream Dispensational position or something else.

Of course you haven't dealt with any of the issues I've raised. Does God have two people in the New Covenant?

ianvincent said...

Just the fact that the whole world will be against the Jewish people (it's nearly there) speaks of a covenant, the OT.

Otherwise, is this fact merely coincidence? Global antisemitism a mere coincidence, and of no relation to Bible prophecy?

The Bible silent on this, and why it is happening to the Jewish nation?

ianvincent said...

RE:

"Does God have two people in the New Covenant? "
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No, of course not. I never suggested that was the case. That was never the issue, and you know that.


God bless you brother.

Protoprotestant said...

David,

Great comments especially on Romans 9-11. I agree with you and that famously tough v. 26 is often misread to mean 'and then' as in this will all be done in the future.

The old King James says 'and so' or as you said, 'in this way'

He seems to either be referring to the remnant of Jews or he's hearkening back to the discussion in Romans 10, tying the whole thing together in a grand conclusion...All Israel, meaning the entirety of the New Covenant people. And then he launches into doxology. Then deep breath....and part 2/Chapters 12-16 and application.

Can't be dogmatic, but it's plausible. Or....he's wrapping up the 9-11 argument concering the Jews and concludes with doxology...the wonder and seeming irony of it all that the Chosen People didn't believe and missed what it was all about.

Ian- I could also point to Matthew 21.43. He tells the plainly the Kingdom is taken away from them.

It has nothing to with the Scrituralness of the argument, but are you aware of the history of Dispensationalism...if that's what you're advocating? Just curious. Again, that doesn't mean it's wrong, but it is interesting that these ideas only popped up in the 19th century. Were you raised in this system as I was or did you come to it post-conversion? Like I said, I'm not sure that's exactly what you're setting forth........

Protoprotestant said...

I don't see that antisemitism has anything to do with it.

European antisemitism is rooted in Constantinianism.

Muslim antisemitism is rooted in history but it's modern hyper-version is rooted in opposition to Zionism and its conquests.

Two people in the NC...that is the issue. That's what I'm saying though....I'm not sure you're actually advocating Dispensationalism. Could you maybe briefly lay out where you're coming from?

ianvincent said...

If you've understood nothing i've said so far, will more explanation help?

Interesting you mention the Muslims, didn't God make a covenant with Ishmael (the Arab nation) ?

Isn't the rise of the Arab nation a fulfilment of this promise?

Which, again, supports my thesis, that God does indeed have dealings with nations, and specifically/chiefly the Jewish nation.

That is ALL i'm saying about Israel. Nothing more.

Protoprotestant said...

Yes more explanation will help.

No there's no covenant with the Arabs.

So does God have a covenant with America, Australia, India?

I'm serious. I'm trying to give you a fair shake, but you're not making a whole lot of sense to me. You won't really explain what you mean by 'dealings' and you won't respond to the fact that I'm arguing the NT teaches that God is quite finished with the Jewish people as a Covenanted nation.

Somebody help me out here. Am I missing something? Are you understanding where Ian is coming from?

Your statements regarding 1948 and the modern Zionist state of Israel seem to imply a bit more than mere 'dealings'...but I'm not sure what you mean by that.

ianvincent said...

RE:

"No there's no covenant with the Arabs."
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Gen 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
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I didn't say God was IN covenant with Ishmael. Covenant means a promise.

So God never promised to make Ishmael a great nation? This never happened, and this promise has nothing to do with the rise of the Arab nation?

ianvincent said...

Re: Zionism.

In the same way, or same light, you could view the Crucifixion as an "evil Jewish plot", OR, you could look at it as the "eternal plan of God from before the foundation of the world" ??

Yes?

What you see as evil, is actually the Sovereign plan of God for the Jewish people.

That doesn't make the Jews innocent, any more than they were innocent of having Jesus put to death.

You simply can't see the Biblical prophetic perspective of these great events in the world's history.

ianvincent said...

RE: "So does God have a covenant with America, Australia, India?"
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Ahhhh, no. But a good try.

Protoprotestant said...

As far as the Arabs...it's all part of God's plan. Okay, they were a great nation for a centuries...they aren't right now. They might be again...I fail to see what your point is.

As far as the Crucifixion......it's both. They with wicked hands crucified him...according to Scripture.

Judas wickedly betrayed him...according to Scripture/His plan from before the foundations of the world.

The Soviet Union, the Nazis, 9/11 were all part of God's plan too. That doesn't mean it was right.

We're still not addressing the issues. What do you believe is the Biblical Prophetic perspective?

Your understanding of that, which I'm still not clear on...is derived from your hermeneutics.

If your hermeneutics are wrong, then you may very well be understanding Zionist Israel, the Arab nations, anti-semitism, Russia and China in an incorrect light.

You see from my perspective I could say that you've missed the significant of the greatest prophetic events in history.

ianvincent said...

Re: "As far as the Crucifixion......it's both. They with wicked hands crucified him...according to Scripture."
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Isn't that exactly what i said??

Isn't that the whole point as regards God's dealings with the Jewish nation?

ianvincent said...

The Crucifixion was both WICKED and RIGHT.

The state of Israel is also both WICKED (as fallen humans are all wicked) and RIGHT (as far as God's Sovereign prophetic plan goes).

Protoprotestant said...

Yes, that's what you said...kind of.

But that's not the point with regard to God's dealings with the Jewish nation.

Could you elaborate on that parallel? How does that tie in with Zionist Israel? I see a prophecy/providence dynamic but that doesn't mean you're right on how you're reading prophecy.

We don't seem to be connecting here. Could you explain...just a basic outline your understanding of Israel in light of the NT and prophecy etc....?

We could start there, otherwise we're spinning our wheels.

Protoprotestant said...

No. The state of Israel is 'wicked' as are all nations.

It is not 'right' because as far as God's Sovereign plan goes He tells in the NT that the OT is fulfilled and gone.

The Scriptures often use this type of dynamic but how it is applied is based on hermeneutical presuppositions.

You're assuming the continuing validity of the OT people......I'm not.

That's the crux of the discussion. To solve it, you have to dive into the nuts and bolts of how we're reading the Bible. It's a foundational question, we're arguing up on the fifth floor shouting across the alley at our respective buildings. There's no point to it. From my vantage point, you're in the wrong building, and you would say I'm in the wrong one. We have to go back down to the street level to figure out who made the wrong turn.

Protoprotestant said...

But we did agree on something! (smile)

Many stumble at the notion that men do wicked things and yet it was all part of God's plan. I rejoice that we can agree on that. It is a profound wonder. Isaiah 10 demonstrates the same thing with regard to Assyria. The rod of His anger and yet wicked.

Not exactly the popular notion of God's character is it?

ianvincent said...

Another point regards God's current dealings with the Jewish nation:


Rom 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which it seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Rom 11:8 (According as it is written, God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.


Rom 11:32 For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

2Co 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil not taken away in the reading of the old covenant; which veil is done away in Christ.
2Co 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts.
2Co 3:16 Nevertheless when one shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

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This all CURRENT, as regards the Jewish people.

Is this not God's dealings with them, as a nation, that He has blinded them?

That's all i'm saying, that it's ridiculous to say God currently has no dealings with the Jewish nation.

Protoprotestant said...

Right. Romans 11.7-8 are Judgment on the Jews...their Covenant is taken away as per the passage in Matthew, the rending of the veil etc...
There's still a remnant to join the church.

v. 32 they're in unbelief that the Gentiles might be saved.

2 Cor. 3.14-16-----they're blinded not understanding what the whole OT was about, when they turn to the Lord they become Christians, where there is no Jew or Greek.

So he has blinded them. We agree.

Protoprotestant said...

Ian,
I guess you’ve decided to not address the issues I’ve raised. Though you mock the notion of hermeneutics, this is exactly the issue at stake in this whole matter. Dispensationalism, if that’s what you hold to, you refuse to say, is at best inconsistent in its supposedly literal reading of Scripture.
What’s at stake here is the issue of Authority as well as the issue of Method. What is the Bible and how do we read it? Is it just a group of texts or is there a story, a flow, a development? Is about a bunch of concepts and ideas (to some extent) or is it really ultimately about the person of Jesus Christ.
In addition to the texts I’ve mentioned there are many more which overthrow the Dispensational notion that the Jews are still a ‘valid’ people (in Redemptive-Historical terms) and that the land (and thus some or all of the Old Covenant) is still a valid and active consideration.
Revelation mentions those that call themselves Jews…and are not. Paul tells is Romans 2 that the real Jew is the one who is? Inward, born again. In Galatians he tells us that those who are united to Christ…THEY are the Seed of Abraham.
That’s the point Dispensationalists don’t get…the Zionists in Israel are not Jews. They are the left overs of the Old Covenant people but they are no longer in any covenant. God has preserved a remnant who will by His Grace become what? True Jews…Christians. In the meantime, they are the Synagogue of Satan. We aren’t to hate them, boasting against the branches, nor are we to revere them.
Not all who are of Israel are of Israel. There’s another dynamic I think you’ve missed.
I urge you to consider these issues. I was going to just leave things as they were, but in re-reading the comment thread I was struck by the fact that at least nine times I either asked you to address the NT texts I cited, the issue of how the Apostles deal with the OT, or for you to lay out a basic outline of what you’re saying. You refuse to do it. If you cannot, that’s fine, but then maybe you had better pause and re-think these things. This theology has led to American support of Middle Eastern policies, war and death. Is it any wonder that this theology in principal and application has only further antagonized the Muslim world? If it’s the offense of the gospel that’s one thing, but that’s not what is happening here. That’s why I get pretty passionate about this school of thought I was rescued from. It’s not just an error in terms of the Bible, it has pretty profound ‘physical’ implications as well.
I’m afraid in the end we may have very different notions of what Christianity entails. I was on your site a bit last night and I was pretty shocked by some of the things you endorse. I’m happy to keep going, but as I said earlier in the thread unless some basic issues are resolved we won’t get anywhere.

ianvincent said...

I've been away for the weekend. Had a great time in a remote jungle village preaching and teaching the Word.

Re:

"So he has blinded them. We agree. "

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Great, brother. You agree then that God's dealings with the Jewish people are unique. There is no other nation or ethnic group on the planet whom God has blinded. Only one nation He has blinded. And only one nation to whom God has promised heal their blindness and to bring them back into their land and there save them.

There is no such promise to any other ethnic group.

That's all.

They will be saved thru believing the Gospel, like everyone else.

Protoprotestant said...

"You agree that God's dealings with the Jewish people are unique......."

Not anymore.

"There is no other nation or ethnic group on the planet whom God has blinded. Only one nation he has blinded."

Don't know that, neither do you.

"And only one nation to whom God has promised...heal their blindness and to bring them back into their land and there save them."

No way. Prove it.

"They will be saved thru believing the Gospel like everyone else."

Amen, the Jewish remnant will....but that's NOT what you just said. You just said they're going to be brought back into the land which I read as brought back through and/or saved under the mechanisms of the Old Covenant...definitely NOT like everyone else.

Can't have it both ways.

ianvincent said...

"There is no other nation or ethnic group on the planet whom God has blinded. Only one nation he has blinded."



RE: "Don't know that, neither do you."
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Yeah, it's probably one of those issues on which Scripture is silent.

Maybe we'll never know!

Crack me up.

ianvincent said...

RE:
"Amen, the Jewish remnant will....but that's NOT what you just said. You just said they're going to be brought back into the land which I read as brought back through and/or saved under the mechanisms of the Old Covenant...definitely NOT like everyone else."

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I never said that. And the more you draw these silly conclusions the more your character and integrity comes under the spotlight.

The problem is that you are thinking with a bias against me, as someone you've labelled a "Dispensationalist", and when you read what i write you think "Dispensationalist".

Protoprotestant said...

Okay.....I've been curteous and I've tried to be patient with you.

I've asked you repeatedly to lay out your case on even the most basic level.

I've asked you interact with NT texts that contradict what you're saying. If you disagree fine, but you refuse to address them

Now you say I'm drawing silly conclusions and you attack my character and integrity.

Ian, if anyone bothers to read this thread it's pretty clear that either

a. you're in way over your head and don't know how to answer

or

b. you're being deceitful and playing games.


But somehow out of all this my character is impugned? I sincerely ask anyone reading this to tell me if I've demonstrated a dubious character or lacked integrity.

Ian I think you need to go a rethink some things.

Either way, this is turning into a colossal waste of time. I am happy to discuss these things, but this isn't a discussion. You're treating it like a game...I have to guess from your clues or something.

If you can't answer then fine, but please quit making a fool of yourself and wasting my time.

I don't say that to mean....I mean it in all sincerity.

ianvincent said...

Oh, i don't mock interpretation, i mock a man-made paradigm where you don't even have to be born-again and be regenerated in order to be an expert and speak authoritatively, and be respected within it.

So, if i simply believe in the correct interpretation of Scripture, using the natural, simple laws of logic given to every human being, but i don't subscribe to theological jargon, then you can't understand what i'm saying?

Protoprotestant said...

Thank you Ian, you've answered all my questions. I understand you perfectly now.

ianvincent said...

So, if one doesn't subscribe to theological jargon, then they can't understand the Scriptures?

Or, perhaps people like me do understand a little, but until we subscribe to and use the jargon, our understanding will ne inferior to people like you?

Oh, i do understand the lingo. I've studied Theology enough to learn the code language shared among the initiated.

ianvincent said...

John,

I think i've identified the specific point of disagreement:

I am saying that God brings the Jewish people back into their land, and protects them and causes them to be the most advanced nation in the world

(despite the incredible odds against the possibility of such a thing happening)



EVEN THOUGH they are yet outside the New Covenant.

So, the basis for God doing this is simply that He decreed He will do it, PRIOR to and leading to them receiving their sight at the coming of Messiah.

Presently, a remnant is saved. Ultimately, all Israel shall be saved.

Protoprotestant said...

What jargon Ian?

I'm asking you to explain your position...however you can. I don't think you can. I don't think you've thought about it very much. You've just assumed a lot of things. You're also assuming you read the Scriptures literally and I assure you that you don't.

Sure Ian, I'm really standing with the theological establisment. Yeah, that's what this website is all about.

Correct Interpretation....what's that? You don't think you might be assuming some things?

natural simple laws of logic? Oh really? We might mean very different things by that. It might mean from my standpoint that you place system-thought over and above the flow of Scripture. We might not even agree with how logic and revelation interact.

What you think plain of obvious is not. Your assuming vast amounts of information and you bring this baggage with you to the text. I've written about this extensively at this website.

How can I not understand what you're saying? Good night man, you've not said anything. Mostly little riddles or something.

At this point all you're doing is your best to insult me...because you apparently have nothing to say. What else am I to think?

It's getting to the point now where all I can do is literally copy-paste my previous comments. You've already written me off as initiated, unregenerate or whatever...it's fine really...think whatever you want.

Over the years these types of exchanges only further strengthen my convictions concerning the doctrines you hold to.

A couple of posts back I mentioned Arthur Pink. I guess you'd have to say the same about him. He too made the exodus from your theology ....which you refuse to explain but is self evident...and then spent the rest of his life denouncing it. I guess he was initiated too?

Ian, what do you want? You make empty points, won't back them, and won't answer my questions, but then you keep commenting. Do you have some goal here? What are you doing? If you're trying to convince anyone of your position, I guarantee you're failing....and miserably.

If you just want to have the last word...just say so, and I'll happily let you have it.

If you want to talk...then engage. 40-something comments and you have yet to do that.

Otherwise, just move along. I have better things to do with my time. If it was productive, then fine I'll talk until the sun comes up...otherwise I'm going to bed.

Protoprotestant said...

I don't agree with your statement regarding the Jews and the land. It contradicts the New Testament teaching that I've pointed to about a dozen times now.

You're starting with the Old Testament and reading the NT in light of the OT.

Show me your point from the NT. Show me how the Apostles dealt with Israel in the manner you are?

Protecting them, advanced nation...that has nothing to do with it, that's your historical interpretation. I'm saying show me this from the NT. I've given you evidence to the contrary.

Where did God decree it prior to their coming in the New Covenant? Where does it say ultimately all Israel will be saved? Romans 11? Read a little closer. As so, or And in this manner all Israel......

It doesn't say And 'then' as if it were something in a future chronology.

Protoprotestant said...

And...All Israel....

All what? All the remnant. There's nothing about land, nothing about returning to the Old Covenant.

The specific point of disagreement is:

one of us is misreading the Bible on a massive scale. We're not agreeing on the simple questions:

What is the Bible? What is it about?

And out of that flow a myriad of disagreements.

I'm say from cover to cover, every thing is pointing to Jesus Christ.

The land, the Jews themselves, the entire OT structure pointed to and was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

You don't agree. You'll say you do, but you don't. You continue to hold onto OT typology and look for it to find fulfillment outside of Christ.

Ultimately you're saying God has two plans for two peoples. Fine you may hold to some revised version of...you refuse to say or cannot.... but that's ultimately what you're saying.

You accuse me of spiritualizing...sounds like you've got some hermeneutic presuppositions yourself but I can say the same with regard to you. You must spiritualize the clear didactic passages from the NT epistles in order to reconcile it with your notions from the OT.

Dispensationalism on this point is making the same error found in Postmilliennialism...you're Judaizing the NT.

Protoprotestant said...

Okay, since in the 17Ap. 10.49pm comment you seem to want to keep going...you want to find the point of disagreement....I'll keep going.

See my comments after and then I put a long comment up as a blog post. If you're interested...fine. If not, then maybe some of the readers will benefit.

Anonymous said...

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female , for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


Notably , the unity in Christ is a present tense reality, and not a future event as surmised by dispensationalists.My other comment on this passage is why do dispensationalists insist on an ethnic seperation between Jew/ Gentile when the scripture clearly disbars such a notion .
Thanks for the post , have enjoyed reading through this.

John A. (Protoprotestant) said...

The only reason I can think of is they miss what the Apostles and Christ teach about the Old Testament.

They don't set out to...but practically speaking they end up rejecting the New Testament teaching concerning the Old Testament and thus how the New defines Israel, Jews, the Kingdom and much else.

Glad you enjoyed it. I hope and pray some others do as well.