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Scriptural Assumptions with Conclusions that are unwise to disregard
IF it is true that Yeshua/Jesus must be kept in heaven "until the time of restoration of all things, which God spoke by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began,"
), we may wonder at what Peter had in mind with that sweeping statement "all things". The subject of the action is left open: it could be God, it could be man. There are some things only God can do. Yet God does not do what He has declared that man must do. Therefore the question for us is: What does He expect us to do - collectively, individually, as Jews, and as Gentiles?
It certainly seems as though Peter's sermon was providentially interrupted at the point where he began to expound his sermon . . .
His first point was that "all things" included the promise given through Moses that the Messiah would come and that whoever would NOT accept the Gospel would be cut off. This shocking fact had been confirmed by all the prophets. The blessing promised through Abraham for the whole earth, the Gospel, implied repentance for the Jews in the first place. When the Holy Spirit fell upon 3000 Jews at Pentecost, the church was born and that first church of Jerusalem was Jewish. Up till that time everything was Jewish. Then the Gentiles were added. They were supposed to be grafted into their Jewish olivetree to fulfill Jesus Prayer of John 17: 23
that they should be one so that the world would believe that the Father had sent the Son.
If that blessing of Abraham had been the only thing that Peter meant, there would have been no point in making that sweeping statement "all things". The church grew, the gentiles were added and have outnumbered ever since. They ousted the Jews out and have ensured that the Jews would remain expatriated to this day - unless the Jews were willing to abandon their Jewishness and to conform to Western Christian traditions like Christmas and Easter (a conformity to paganism and idolatry in disguise). They were pressed to forget the cycle of the seven prophetic feasts of Judaism that God had commanded them to observe forever.
The prophets predicted that at the end of times the Jews would return to their homeland from all the four corners of the earth. Now that this predicted return from exile has begun to be fulfilled and that increasing numbers of Jews are turning to Yeshua, the Church has a chance to repent from 1) her historically anti-Jewish attitude, and from 2) her silence and passivity when she should have spoken up for and defended the Jew when they were under duress. The Church also has a chance to truly complete the Reformation, for historically the Reformation has excluded the teachings of Israel in prophecy. The Church had decided that Israel was not supposed to exist any longer and that there was no such thing as a dispersion (Diaspora). In any case, the Jews were not to be taken seriously before they would be judged in a final tribulation before Christ's return.
These views have become so distorted that a "paradigm shift" is needed to make the Church initiate the many changes to correct the mistakes of the past.
- If God does not change - because He is a covenant keeping God, and
- if prophecy is being fulfilled and the day of His own Return is signalled by all that is happening in this world of ours,
- how will we able to excuse our deliberate choice to close our eyes to the truth of His prophecy, which comprises a third of His word? He will certainly hold us responsible for what we knew.
- God does not change.
- He is a holy God. He is a loving and forgiving God.
- But He is also a God of righteousness and judgement. He is also a jealous God, and a God of wrath and war.
- He shows his wrath wherever His perfect judgment demands it.
Had we not better examine what "all things" mean that God has spoken through the mouths of all His prophets? Can Christians conveniently ignore or devalue the prophets because they belong to the Old Testament? Can Christians conveniently bury their heads in the sand and just long for the Rapture thinking that tribulation is only for the Jews and for the wicked? Is it accurate and right for Christians to selectively interpret Scripture so that all the scriptural blessings belong to the Church, whereas all the leftover curses to the Jews? Is it intellectually prudent to catapult the question of Israel into the Millennium when the UN spends half of its effort on passing resolutions against the Jewish state? Can Christians afford to just shrug their shoulders and ignore the consequences of the Jewishness of the Gospel?
It is certainly true that the value of prophecy is to demonstrate the Glory of God, to vindicate the true prophets, to prove divine inspiration, to comfort and to edify, to motivate to holiness in living, to invigorate our witness, to raise the level of expectation for things to come, and above all to give assurance that the promised Redeemer had to come as the Lamb of God before he can come as the Lion of Judah. All these things have always been true and will remain true until He returns.
Yet consider this: Peter said that since the world is going to end up in flames, we should think of how we are going to live. His question needs to be asked afresh by every generation - especially now that the nations are preparing to be brought to Israel for the judgment to come as the prophets predicted.
It is our sincere belief that believing Jews and Gentiles ought to return to the prophets together in order to rediscover and restore the parts that they shared, as well as restore those parts that were separate to each group's God-declared identity. Let us listen to what the Spirit may be saying to the Churches. Check out your Bible and see if He is not saying: "Did you ever notice that the Jews are back on the scene? They won't disappear again! I am not playing cat and mouse with them. I am pursuing the plan that the prophets announced. Jerusalem is about to become the cup of trembling for all nations. Get rid of your theological hang-ups; get rid of your quarrels over how to interpret prophecy when it is so clear that a child can understand it! Change your priorities! Jews, do t'shuvah: turn your hearts towards ME, and learn from your Christian brothers! Christians, acknowledge at last that the Jews have their God-given identity. They are your older brothers and their calling cannot be revoked - just like yours cannot be revoked. Make them jealous with your love for them and stop playing your semantic games. The Church does not and will not replace Israel.
"Behold (i.e. pay attention!) - I am about to restore all things according to all that the prophets have spoken."
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