Friday, October 25, 2013

Driving Off the Road

You are driving down a deserted road and decide to tune in your car radio. You begin to pay more attention to the radio than the road, and soon a rumbling sound and jerking of the wheel tell you that you're going off the road. Though there are dangerous places ahead--rivers and rocky cliffs--your stretch of the highway is level and grassy, and soon you correct the error. No harm done.

There are two ways your car can go off the road, left or right. Either could be fatal. But you had a nice gentle warning, just in time to remind you to be careful from now on.

This is like our beliefs about the nation of Israel. If we are wrong in our understanding, let's get things straight. Perilous times are ahead.

I was once a member of a large, prestigious church that taught that Israel was over, never to be seen again. Except of course as it was morphed into the church. We could now eat bacon, and long, untrimmed beards were out.

A large branch of traditional Christianity teaches that Israel as a a nation will never be restored. The very idea is an affront to them. Much of this is an inheritance from earlier days and Reformation theology. This is one side of the road churches can drive off of.

Then there is a rapidly growing faction who believe that Israel is being restored right now. Kill enough Palestinians, bulldoze their homes, and build the new, United Nations brand of Israel. These are churches caught up in Zionism, or "Why wait for God? Let's do it now!" But we don't want to go off this side of the road either.

Is there another view, plainly taught in the Bible, that is the road we want to stay on?

Both Old and New Testaments reveal that Isreal will be in abeyance " for many days", then be restored to greater glory than she had previously had. While Israel sleeps, God calls out a people who are not Israel, though some Israelis are in it. People of every nation and tribe are included in it. These people are the church, being formed up now and almost complete in number.

Do we have proof? Abundantly! But let me site just one place--a very important place--where Old and New Testaments are brought together to illustrate and prove that the days we are living in now and the future of Israel are in the plan of God. Acts chapter 15 to the rescue.

Here we find the first church council, and a contentious one it was. Jews and Gentiles argued over the composition of the church, and the future of Israel. It is all brought together and solved by none other than James, brother of our Lord.

Verses 15 through 17 cite the Old Testament. But the whole chapter is so important for us to read. It is our map of the future. If we follow it, we will not go off the road.

And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Acts 15:15-17

No comments:

Post a Comment