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Monday, January 5, 2015

The New Exodus: Part 5


Some ideas and information for this article were taken from a post by Peter Goodgame entitled:   A “New Exodus” Synthesis of Covenant Views

The New Exodus is the final gathering of Israel (new Israel or spiritual Israel) out of the wilderness called Mystery, Babylon.  New Israel will be settled into the Promised Land or the Millennium Kingdom of Christ.  This New Exodus is the framework of so-called second Isaiah where the leader of this new exodus movement is called the “Servant of the Lord” who is Jesus Christ.  All the New Testament gospels quote from Isaiah testifying that Jesus is that leader or Servant of the Lord.  The early church believed that they were the faithful remnant of Israel, re-constituted by Jesus who was the "Prophet like Moses" sent to lead the New Exodus.

The end-times events can be viewed two ways.  One is the last seven years or the 70th week of Daniel and the second is the time period from the Pentecost of Acts chapter 2 and the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ.  Next will be a discussion of two theological viewpoints that guide most people in their end-times Biblical studies and thoughts, dispensational and covenantal.  Many factors for each view can be found online.  Only the views pertaining to the Church, Israel, and eschatology are presented at this time.  This is not an argument of right and wrong between viewpoints.

Dispensational theology teaches that the Church and literal Israel are two separate entities, with two separate theologies, and anytime the word “Israel” appears in scripture, it is to mean a literal Israel.  The Church is viewed as a parenthesis in Biblical scripture and history:  the Bible, particularly prophecy, is all about literal Israel both nationally and ethnically.  Many modern writers and commentators claim little or no firsthand knowledge of the dispensational framework.  Actually, it is not necessary to have actual knowledge of the basic theology to follow its tenets.  The study and influence of dispensational writers may be all the stimulus needed to affect one’s thinking and attitudes:  including, but not limited to – the Dallas Theological Seminary, both professors and graduates; John Walvoord; David Jeremiah; Grant Jeffrey; Hal Lindsey; Lewis Schafer; Tim LaHaye; Charles Ryrie; and many others.

The pre-tribulation rapture is extremely important to dispensationalism.  Without it, the framework becomes shaky.  For this view to extend its basic work as predicted, the Church must be taken out of the way before the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel so that the entire book of the Revelation, and related Old Testament prophecy, can be played out by literal Israel and the pagans of the world.  In connection with this rapture view, they also insist the Holy Spirit is the “he” that will “be taken out of the way” as stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:7.  In their structure, it there is no Church present, there is no Holy Spirit.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  (2 Thessalonians 2:7 KJV)

This view is highly prone to use current events as circumstantial or near proof to bolster their theology.  I was guilty of this error until I realized the backing proof scriptures must be twisted; with words, sentences, and even paragraphs omitted to arrive at somewhat viable evidence that modern events were fulfilling prophecies.  Events such as:  the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948; the 1967 Israel war; the return of Jews to Israel; and the preparations for the building of a temple.  This also creates a tendency for Church groups and various religious people to support Israel and Jews as special people protected by God (more than others are protected) regardless of their actions or beliefs. The following verse, or some rendition, has been repeated by:  people in the news, either television or newspaper; or a blog post along the lines that the USA is being punished (hurricane, fire, earthquakes, many others) because the country did not support Israel in some particular situation.

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  (Gen 12:3)

According to the Guzik Commentary, the Talmud specifies seven blessings of Abraham’s call.
1. Abram would be the father of a great nation.
2. He would be blessed in his lifetime.
3. His name would be renowned.
4. He would be a blessing to others.
5. Those who honor him would be blessed
6. Those who rejected him would be cursed.
7. His influence would be universal.

As you will notice, only Abraham is involved in the curses and blessings, and all families of the earth were blessed, and continue being blessed, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham’s linage.

Unlike dispensationalism the beginning statements of covenant theology does not teach the principle of the Church and Israel as two separate entities.  Both groups are considered the same group throughout the life and ministry of the apostles.  The New Covenant was established by Jesus with a righteous remnant of Israel and quickly became mostly Gentile or non-Israelite, through the ministry of the apostles, with no distinction between the two groups.  This assembly known as the Church is viewed as the New Israel or the true Israel of God.  In other words, the New Israel consisted of any Church members (followers of Jesus) whether Jew or Gentile.  So far, this theology agrees with the New Exodus and the Kingdom of God frameworks.

The second phase (or articles of faith) of this view teaches that because the Church is now the New Israel of God and the vast majority of its members are Gentiles (nations/non-Israelite), then physical or ethnic Israel no longer has a future Biblical role.  A Jew may become a Christian when they individually repent and join.  An argument of Covenant theology is the Church has replaced physical and/or ethnic Israel and this transformation is now termed “Replacement Theology.”

Anything concerning modern Israel is dismissed by this view:  Israel established as a nation in 1948; Jews returning to Israel; the idea of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.  All these concepts are rejected as having any role in last-days prophecy.  The strict adherents of this view only allow individual Jewish participation in the New Israel or Church, and foresee no future national Israeli role in last-days prophecy.

It appears that a new or revised theological framework must be mentally adopted to accommodate the New Testament doctrine of a spiritual Israel and the Kingdom of God.  It may be necessary to view Old and New Testament aspects of the word “Israel” as symbolic rather than literal in many instances.  I consider words such as Judah, Jacob, David, house of David, and Ephraim to refer to ethnic Israelites, although I could be wrong. Other aspects may perhaps be viewed as last-days or millennial rather than having a 1948 beginning or afterwards.  Here is a quote from Peter Goodgame concerning this issue:

In reading Isaiah it becomes clear to me that dispensationalists are taking a lot of prophecies about the New Exodus and erroneously interpreting them literally.  Yes, Isaiah does predict a "last days" gathering of "Israel" back to the promised land, but when these passages are read in light of the New Testament we find that ALL OF THESE PROPHECIES are fulfilled in Christ and the Church, with Jesus inaugurating the New Exodus at His death (or rather at Pentecost), to be consummated at the Second Coming when "true Israel" enters into the heavenly Jerusalem. 

I no longer believe that Scripture predicts a Spirit-led or God-led Exodus of modern day ethnic Jews back to their ancient home in the Middle East. The only Exodus that God is directing is the spiritual New Exodus that includes all nations, out from "Babylon" with the ultimate destination of the New Earth and New Jerusalem.

Jeremiah very clearly predicted that the New Covenant would originate with “Israel” in 31:31-34.  All of the Apostles, including Paul, recognized that their movement was a continuation and fulfillment of what the OT prophets had predicted for “Israel.” (Peter Goodgame)

The Covenant Theology is correct with their initial frameworks (in my opinion).  The kingdom of God, initiated by Jesus, began with a handful of Judean people.  At Pentecost, from the beginning of Acts, the group added over three thousand members.  At this stage all members of the Church (assembly, the Way) are Israelites.  Peter is later given a vision of unclean animals and is told to eat.  He refuses and God says to him, “"What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!"   Gentiles (non-Israelites) received the Holy Spirit and became members of the Church.

However, there is still a place for Israel in the prophetic eschatological plan of God.  The literal nation of Israel has a purpose, not that of the dispensationalist theology, but it will figure in the last-days scheme of events.  The temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem; the beast (antichrist) will establish his headquarters there; the daily sacrifices will be restarted; and Jerusalem will be the capitol of the world empire.  Many of the Old Testament prophecies will be semi-fulfilled but in a negative manner as opposed to their complete positive fulfillment in the Millennium.

Jesus, Himself, validated this prophecy when He made the statement below as written in Matthew 25:15:

"So when you see the abomination of desolation -- spoken about by Daniel the prophet -- standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16 NET)

This is not referring to Gentile Church members – it is proclaiming to ethnic Jews who have come to understand the truth concerning the false beast messiah as opposed to the true Messiah, Jesus, of two thousand years ago.

Are Jews cut off from spiritual Israel and prophetic scripture as viewed in the Replacement Theology of the Covenant theologians?  According to Romans chapter 11 they are not cut off, but exactly how this unfolds is uncertain.  In verse 1 Paul asserts, “God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not”. 

When Elijah believed he was the only one left, God replied, “I have kept for myself seven thousand people who have not bent the knee to Baal."  Later, Paul adds they can be grafted in if they do not continue in their unbelief.  Covenant Theology claims that individual belief is the only way in the Kingdom of God, and I completely agree.  No one is above or beyond the saving grace of Christ if they believe.  However, what about the end of the 70th week of Daniel?

And even they -if they do not continue in their unbelief- will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  (Romans 11:23 NET)

It is scripturally certain two groups will be delivered:  the 144,000 from the 12 tribes (and no, they are not Jehovah Witnesses); and the remnant who escapes Jerusalem when the abomination of desolation is presented, as Jesus warned in Matthew 24.  Will there be any remaining Jews after the destruction of Mystery Babylon and the conflict of Armageddon?  Although not certain, there most likely will be.  If so, this will be the group of ethnic Jews who will view the return of the pierced Jesus and be filled with the spirit of grace.

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
(Zechariah 12:10 KJV)

Below is the statement from Paul that all ethnic Israel will be saved and the Isaiah passage which his quote originated.

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins."  (Romans 11:26-27 NET)

"A protector comes to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds," says the LORD. "As for me, this is my promise to them," says the LORD. "My spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward," says the LORD.  (Isaiah 59:20-21 NET)

Peter Goodgame quote:  One of the best descriptions in the New Testament of the New Exodus, comparing the journey of salvation led by Jesus to the Exodus journey led by Moses.

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come.  (1 Corinthians 10:1-11 NET)

A quote from bible scholar Richard Hayes concerning 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, as found in his book, The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, 2005, Kindle version, location 227-236:


In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul sets forth an extended typological correspondence between Israel in the wilderness and the situation of the Corinthian church as it confronts the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols. Even though Paul quotes just one biblical verse (Exod 32:6, in 1 Cor 10:7), his argument alludes to several episodes narrated in Exodus and Numbers and presupposes that his Corinthian readers are familiar with the story… …Paul is arguing from the story, not narrating it as something new to his audience. The thing that is new here is the way he brings the narrative of Israel into metaphorical conjunction with the issues the Corinthians face.

Paul’s first important hermeneutical move is to introduce the Israel of the wilderness generation as “our fathers” (hoi pateres hemon, 10:1). For the predominantly Gentile Corinthian church, this is already an important gesture. Israel’s story is not somebody else’s history; rather, Paul addresses the Gentile Corinthians as though they have become part of Israel. They are invited to understand themselves now as descendants of the characters who appear in the pages of Scripture.

This interpretation is confirmed by Paul’s passing reference to the Cornithians’ past life as idol worshipers in 1 Cor 12:2, “You know,” he writes, “that when you used to be Gentiles (hote ethne ete), you were carried away to dumb idols.” This formulation implies that he considers them ethne [Gentiles] no longer. Within Paul’s symbolic world, they are no longer among the goyim, because they have been taken up into the story of Israel. It should be noted that Paul is not trying to convince his Gentile readers to accept this identity description as a novel claim; rather, he assumes their identification with Israel as a given and tries to reshape their behavior in light of this identification.  (END QUOTE)

According to several sources, the glory of God was never present in the rebuilt temple of Herod and the Ark of the Covenant was not present either.  It had been lost, stolen, or hidden during the Babylonian invasion (some claim it was hidden by Jeremiah).  From the time of the return of the Babylonian refugees, through the life of Jesus, and ending at the destruction of the Herod temple by the Romans in 70 AD, temple sacrifices were practiced with no Ark of God and no Shekinah Glory of God.  At the death of Christ the temple curtain separating God from man was torn in half signifying that a priest was no longer needed between God and man, although the Glory of God was not present in the temple.  Each believer in Christ becomes his or her own priest with direct access to God.  Jesus was the ultimate sacrificial lamb showing that sacrifices were no longer needed or wanted, whether in a temple or a pile of rocks.

Some have objected to the concept of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.  They claim that God does not desire a temple and His glory will not be there, and they are correct.  They claim the death and resurrection of Jesus nullifies the need for sacrifices, and they are again correct.  However, there are several scriptures that mention or hint of another temple in the future. 

Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.   (2 Thessalonians 2:4 KJV)

In Matthew 24 Jesus personally stated the abomination of desolation, described by Daniel the prophet, would be placed in the HOLY PLACE, which is the temple or a reasonable facsimile in my opinion.  There was no abomination of desolation standing in the holy place prior to the temple’s destruction in 70 AD.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
(Matthew 24:15 KJV)

The temple will be rebuilt as a fulfillment of the prophetic and planned will of God for the last days.  There are rumors the Ark of God has been found and will be placed in the new temple, but it will not be honored by the Glory of God.  God is currently being Glorified by and through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

God has no use for the Mosaic Law – every law and ritual was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
God has no use for sacrifices – they were all fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
God has no use for priests – every believer is a priest before God.
God has no use for temples – every believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

What will be the purpose of a rebuilt temple? 

·         It will be necessary for the 70th week of Daniel to be enacted. 
·         It will be required so that the beast can sit inside it as self-declared  “god”
·         The abomination of desolation will be placed there.
·         It may be part of the “great deception” and the falling away.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
(2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV)

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:4 KJV)

This could also be the source of strong delusion, where many will believe a lie.  A functioning temple and a false Jewish messiah will be the final acts of idolatry.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  (2 Thessalonians 2:11 KJV)

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