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Love – Covenants & Kingdom _TEST

1 January 1970

For many years we all have seen the miracle happen – the return of the Jewish people from all over the world to the Promised Land of Israel. We are the generation that is seeing Biblical prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. Many prophecies in the Old Testament speak about this. To quote just one, where God speaks to Israel: “…Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ – and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made. Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf…” (Isaiah 43:5-8).nnGod loves Israel as a father loves his son, and Israel is God’s firstborn son. The prophet Hosea describes God’s emotions about His child Israel as being the normal ones in a father-son relationship. They vary between compassionate love and consuming rage. Despite the repeated demonstration of God’s love for His son Israel, His people often went astray. Then they had to bear the consequences, and still do today.nnIn our own experiences of bringing up children, we love them but sometimes they can make our blood boil! At that point, the angry father sometimes declares that the child must face the consequences. All who have children will, undoubtedly, recognize this! But you will never reject your children, because they are, and will remain, your children. This is a moving picture of God’s relationship with Israel. God loves His son very much, but at times it is necessary to speak some harsh words, or even to take some disciplinary actions. But God never rejected Israel. Israel is the apple of God’s eye. One day the nations will be judged by God for their incredibly cruel actions against Israel. God sometimes was angry with His people, but that never justified the cruelty of the nations against them.nnGod’s relationship with Israel is based on love. He has chosen Israel to bless the other nations of the world through Israel, and thereby to reveal Himself to the world. Leviticus 20:22-24 and 26: “…Keep all My decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them… But I said to you, ‘You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations…You are to be holy to Me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be My own…”nnIsrael is God’s firstborn son; Jesus is God’s only begotten Son. The analogies between the life and suffering of Jesus and that of Israel are striking and many. Although some theologians claim that all the prophecies of the Bible have been fulfilled in Jesus, it is obvious that many prophecies about Israel await future fulfilment. God keeps His promises, and today He is causing His firstborn son to return to the Promised Land. Next on His agenda is the removal of Israel’s sin, and the cleansing of His people. He will remove their blindness and deafness, and give them a new heart and a new spirit. God does not do all of this in the first place because of Israel, but because He is faithful to Himself and to the promises He gave to Israel. The Promised Land is His land, and He gave it to Israel. On seeing what the God of Israel is doing for His people, the world will one day acknowledge Him to be the One and Only God.nnEzekiel 36:22-28: “…Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My holy Name… Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be My people, and I will be your God’…”nnnIMAGES OF GODnnThe love of God extends to Israel, His firstborn son, and also to Jesus, His only begotten Son. Jesus is a Jew, and therefore one of God’s people Israel. How is it possible for some Christian theologians to say that you love God and Jesus, but that you do not love Israel and the Jewish people? God loves them and Jesus loves them. What kind of a God, or what kind of a Jesus, do you love, if you don’t love Israel? In the Ten Commandments, the LORD forbids men to make images of Himself and worship them. Exodus 20:4-7: “…You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not misuse the Name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name…”nnAlthough images of stone, wood or gold are unwarranted, we can also make ‘think-images’ of Him by building theological concepts and dogmatic systems. These might even use logically-connected Bible verses to build our concept of God. Then we start to ‘worship’ it, and defend it against all attacks, because we believe it is ‘Biblical Truth’. But if that theological concept of God does not involve a love for Israel or the Jewish people, we can be sure that such a concept is not of God, because God loves Israel.nnWe as Christians must not try to make God fit into our theological images of Him, but instead  should correct our points of view with regard to Israel, and look at the Jewish people in the way God looks at them. We must learn to look through God’s eyes. And one can only look through God’s eyes if one looks through the ‘glasses’ of the everlasting Word of God, the Bible. The bond between God, Israel and the Jewish people is everlasting. He has never stopped loving the Jews, and He will always remain faithful to His Word. God will fulfil all His promises to Israel, in the same way He will fulfil all the promises He made to the Church. But we should not try make a kind of unholy mix of the two, as so often has been done by theologians in the history of the Church. Israel is Israel, and the Church is the Church.nnnREPLACEMENTnnFor many centuries the Church at large has denied this Biblical truth, and the Church started to hate Israel and the Jewish people. Replacement Theology became rampant in Christianity. With its companion today called Fulfilment Theology. What is Replacement Theology? The theory of Replacement Theology goes like this: Theologians in the Church said: Once upon a time the Jews were the people chosen by God. But when they said no to Jesus, God said no to the Jews. His anger and His judgment came upon them. He removed them out of their Promised Land, Israel, and spread them around the globe. Over the centuries they suffered a lot – especially in the lands of Christianity – and you may pity these poor people, but let us face it, didn’t they ask for it? Did not they shout in front of Pontius Pilate: “…Let His blood be on us and on our children…”? (Matthew 27:25). So this is a warning to us of what will happen to people who say no to the Lord, and no to His Anointed One! Consequently the Church often watched in silence when the Jews were persecuted, or was even actively involved in these persecutions during the last two thousand years.nnAnd the theologians of the Church said that they, the Church, have said yes to Jesus, and so now they are the new chosen people of God, the new Israel. Thus Christians are the spiritual Israel, and the Church has replaced the Jews as the chosen people of God. Now if you say such a thing, you are making God into a liar. You make God into one that can break an oath and say, “I give everlasting promises to Israel and will make everlasting Covenants with them”, but then halfway along the line He apparently can change His mind. And break His given word. Thu becoming a liar. A God who cannot be trusted. A God who one day can say something – and even pledges a solemn oath, swearing by His own Name – and next day change His mind and do something completey different.nnGod made Covenants with Israel, all of them covered by an oath, all unconditional and everlasting. If God does not keep His promises to Israel, how can we be sure that He will keep His promises to us? Replacement Theology is a sin before God with incredible consequences in the history of Christianity. As a result, rivers of Jewish blood have been  spilled in the last two thousand years in the lands of Christendom.nnIt is time to shatter these old theological images of God in Christianity, change our mind and start acting upon it.

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