Category Archives: Israel

DISPENSATIONALISM, JERUSALEM, AND SACRIFICES

Lamb sacrificePMW 2021-040 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I try to keep up with correspondence as best I can. So in this posting, I am answering a question sent to me from a reader.

Reader question:

I have two questions on how you might respond to some Dispensational explanations of Ezekiel 40-48. (1) Some dispensationalists argue that the dimensions of Ezekiel’s temple are not a problem because the topography of the land will be radically changed in the millennium. They cite Zechariah 14 in defense of this topographical reconfiguration. They also cite the following passages to argue that Jerusalem will be much larger than what it is today: Jer. 31:38-40; Ezk. 48:30-35; Zech. 14;10-11. (2) The other thing relates to Ezekiel’s sacrificial system. They state that since the apostles did not have a problem with sacrifice in the New Testament, then why should we see it as problematic in the millennium? They cite Acts 21:17-26 in support of the idea that the apostles did not have a problem with sacrifice as a memorial and that Ezekiel’s sacrifices will have some efficacy for the unregenerate who are present in the millennium.

I have noticed that recently many Dispensationalists have felt the pressure of Covenant Theologians and have started an attempt to go on the offensive with their system via the internet and find ways to get around Covenant objections. Continue reading

NEW COVENANT CHURCH & OLD ISRAEL

New Covenant IsraelPMW 2021-039 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

As noted on various occasions, I do try to answer questions sent in by my readers. I hope that these answers will be be helpful not only for the individuals who asked them, but for anyone who is interested in studying biblical eschatology. So, here goes today’s question:

Reader’s question:

Dispensationalists point out that God promises the new covenant to Israel only. The Jeremiah 31 text clearly mentions only “the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” How can we say that the new covenant finds fulfillment in the Church?

My response:

Thanks for your question. I hope the following brief answer will be helpful. First, please note that Jesus and Paul both apply the new covenant to the Church. Continue reading

REVELATION’S DATE: INTERNAL EVIDENCE (3)

PMW 2020-107 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The final evidence from Revelation’s self-witness that I will mention focuses on the relationship of the Jew to Christianity in Revelation. And although there are several aspects of this evidence, I will just briefly introduce it. We may illustratively refer to two important passages and their implications regarding:

Christianity and Israel

First, when John writes Revelation, by all appearances Christianity is in its early, formative, “Jewish” stage. Initially Christians tended to mingle with the Jews (since most of them were Jewish), considering themselves members of the true Israel, the “continuing Israel,” as it were. Continue reading

SUBTLE PRETERIST ANALYSIS IN LUKE

PMW 2020-085 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

God judged Israel in the first century because of her rejection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The preterist analysis of the Gospels highlights indisputable evidence of Jewish rejection in numerous places, as do most evangelical readings of Scripture. However, preterism goes a step further by also pointing out several more subtle indicators of Israel’s rejection of Christ — even where such are not expected. A case in point in Luke 4:22–30.

As I will show, reading this passage surprises us. However, a Narrative Critical reading can highlight important subtleties that are both helpful for interpretation and significant for a preterist analysis. The point of Narrative Criticism i(NC) s to read a passage in its full context, i.e., here the whole Gospel of Luke. In Luke, for instance, NC recognizes that Luke is telling a full, unfolding story of Jesus and his earthly ministry. Thus, NC presses us to notice what is going on in the whole Gospel in order to better understand its various pericopes. These are not random collections of stories that are loosely strung together. Rather they are developing parts of the whole unfolding narrative.

Let’s see how a Narrative Critical reading impacts our preterist understanding of Luke 4. Continue reading

THE TEMPLE AS A TOOL OF EMPEROR WORSHIP (8)

StoningPMW 2020-084 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this eighth entry in an 8-part series I am concluding my argument that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, in that it was under the control of Roman-controlled priests. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.

Conclusion

We must recall that Jesus called first century Israel under its unbelieving authorities an “adulterous generation” (Mt 12:39//; 16:4//). That charge harkens back to OT Israel’s unfaithfulness through idolatry. Thus, the first century temple system about which John is writing, is controlled by a corrupt, Messiah-denying high priesthood and has now become an idol linked with and likened to emperor worship. For this reason, Christ begins moving his people away from the temple because with his coming it no longer serves any God-approved purpose. As Wright (Jesus and the Victory of God, 182) observes: Jesus “prophesies that God will destroy the temple . . , not only because it was becoming obsolete but because of its flawed use and Israel’s rejection of Jesus.” Continue reading

THE TEMPLE AS A TOOL OF EMPEROR WORSHIP (7)

PMW 2020-083 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Stephen stoned

In this seventh entry in an 8-part series I am arguing that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, being run by a corrupt priesthood in collusion with the Roman authorities. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.

Wiens (62) argues regarding Stephen’s sermon that “idolatry is not so much an initial phase [of Israel’s national experience beginning with Moses] as a continuing reality, and that one of Stephen’s main points here is to contrast false and true worship at every stage of Israel’s cult.” Stephen speaks of the golden calf (Ac 7:39-41), Moloch worship (v 43), and finally mentions the Jewish temple which was “made with hands” (v 48). Wiens points out that Israel apparently believed that when they made an idol, they made the god itself, for they requested that Aaron “make for us gods” (v 40; Ex 32:1), whereupon we read that “they made a calf” and “were rejoicing in the works of their hands” (v 41). Thus, “that is what the authors of Exodus and Acts apparently wanted their readers to understand. People create their own gods if they do not worship the God who created the heavens and ‘all these things’” (Wiens 62). Continue reading

THE TEMPLE AS A TOOL OF EMPEROR WORSHIP (6)

Building templePMW 2020-082 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this sixth entry in an 8-part series I am arguing that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship because of its corrupt high-priestly aristocracy. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.

Gaston (75-76) argues for “a definite anti-cultic polemic in the tradition behind the gospel according to Mark.” Thus, in Mk 14:58 the Lord himself alludes to the temple as an idol for Israel. There we read witnesses against him declaring: “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands [cheirpoiēton] and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” We see cheirpoiēton frequently used of idols in the LXX in the place of eidōlon or tupos. In the LXX the term “almost always” (TDNT 9:436) refers to pagan idols: Lev 26:1; Dt 4:28; 2Ki 19:18; 2Ch 32:19; 27:15; Psa 115:4; 135:15; Isa 2:8; 10:11; 16:12; 19:1; 21:9; 31:7; 46:6; Hab 2:18. Beale states that it “always” refers to idols (Beale, Temple 224n). Simon (133) notes that “chiropoiēton is the technical term, so to say, by which the Septuagint and the Greek-speaking Jews describe the idols.” We also find it in Philo (Vit. Mos. 1:303; 2:51, 88, 165, 168) and the Sibylline Oracles (3:650ff; 4:8-12). Consequently, Evans notes that “made with hands” is a “hint at [the temple’s] idolatrous status”; Lightfoot agrees. Therefore, Walker (10) calls this phrase “potentially incendiary.” Continue reading