Doctrine of Israel

What do you believe about Israel? Given current world events I believe this is a very relevant point of theology. Yes, world events and theology should and do affect one another. In fact, they must interact in order for theology to be either true or relevant.

So here goes.

I believe God chose a man named Abraham to begin His kingdom restoration work on earth. I don’t say it was the start of His kingdom building, since God always had one intent and therefore it started with Adam. However at the time in history when Abraham was alive, the world needed a restoration work, we had fallen so far away from the God that created us, that we needed a God who would reach out to us.

He chose Abraham to start this work and several promises were made to Abraham which are still important today.

He promised Abraham to make a nation out of his descendants. This is the Jewish people. Many of the promises made to Abraham were to include the nation descended from him. It is true Abraham fathered another nation through Ishmael, and that specific promises were given to this son, but those promises were given separately and Ishmael did not inherit the promises passed down to the Hebrews.

One of the promises is that God would bless the entire world through the Jews. I believe this promise was fulfilled by the coming of Jesus Christ. In God’s plan the kingdom restoring work suddenly expanded beyond the Jews and a few converts to be available to all the earth.

I do not believe that Christianity on earth constitutes a new Israel. We have been grafted into the Israel that existed, and have not replaced it. Nor do I believe that every Jewish person is saved automatically. They must find their salvation, just as we do, in Jesus Christ.

Another promises is God would bless those that bless Israel and curse those who treat Israel with contempt. I believe this promise is still in effect and applies to the modern nation of Israel.

This is why I believe the topic is currently relevant. The United States has been backing away from every action which God previously blessed us for taking. We no longer honor Him, we are quickly losing our missionary power, we are no longer standing against tyranny, and now as a final straw we are no longer supporting Israel.

You can expect God to bring about some changes as a result.

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The Political Antichrist

Recently it has been stated by Barbara Walters in an interview on CNN in reference to President Obama, “We thought he was going to be . . . the next messiah.”

I believe this is about the scariest condemnation of our culture I have ever heard. I am aware Barbara Walters was not attempting to speak to culture, but instead to politics. But never the less she did encapsulate the perspective of millions of people in America today.

She said essentially, they are looking for a messiah. Someone to seize political control and radically change the world toward their views and away from the views of the past. Please note her use of the word messiah was not strictly political, but it was predominantly political. Choosing the word messiah opened the possibility for a spiritual component to this leader, secondary to his politics.

Her expectations of this leader included unifying people. The greater the scope of this unity the better, even to the point where unifying the whole world will be seen as the ultimate ideal. There is no acknowledgement within this hope that such an action would have to include violent suppression of opposition.

In other words, she was saying, she herself and people like her, are primed and ready for the antichrist.

Jesus and Joseph

Joseph raised Jesus. He provided for Him, taught Him a trade, and he loved Him. All the time he knew Jesus was not his son. Joseph set aside his rights as patriarch of the family and placed his own concerns secondary to the calling of his wife and the saving purpose of the child Messiah.

Joseph probably died before Jesus started His public ministry. Joseph was likely watching from heaven as Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, healed the sick, walked on water, and died on the cross. And then breathlessly, he waited and cheered with the excitement of a proud father as Jesus’s victory was sealed by the resurrection.

Only he wasn’t His father. This he could never allow himself to forget. Jesus has an eternal Father. Joseph was merely a steward. A proud guardian. He was privileged just to be a part of it.

So in heaven after the ascension, when everyone was pressing to see Jesus return to the throne. Joseph went with all the others, but with a different perspective.  That was the boy he raised coming home to take his glorious place.

But it’s easy to imagine that Jesus had something He wanted to do first. Instead of walking down the corridor of heaven to His eternal and righteous place beside the Father, He pressed through the crowd, found the man who had done so much for Him, and threw His arms around him.

Jesus reuniting with Joseph. Embracing the man who walked him through childhood. Jesus thanking Joseph.

And Joseph thanking Jesus.