Peace in Jesus for the New Humanity

I have set out to, by God’s grace and mercy, publish a daily devotional article on The New Humanity web site’s blog page. This was not an easy article to write and will serve as yesterday’s and today’s post.

I receive regular emails from a Christian ministry in Israel which focuses very much upon Israel and Zionism, (I think, more so upon Israel than upon Jesus the Messiah.)

In one of the recent emails, the writer described the hostility between Iran and the US, but his emails are written with a Zionist bias which assumes that Iran alone is the aggressor and that God is on the side of the Zionist cause – but God is not on the side of any nation or people. He requires that all people be reconciled to him and to one another only through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village (Luke 9:51-56).

The Zionist ideology is to establish a “Jewish” state, but based upon what definition or classification as to who is a Jew?

Surely when we focus upon Jesus the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, we should have absolutely no desire “to train and participate in war any longer”. 

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:3-4).

It is not according to the fulfilment of prophecy, nor is it according to God’s purpose in Jesus the Messiah, to establish an exclusively Jewish nation. The Jewish believers in Jesus were told to flee from Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago – and by God’s providence, they went as ambassadors among all the nations with the good news of the kingdom of God. The good news is that in Jesus the Messiah, God is reconciling all of humanity who believe in him – to God and to one another with no former racial barriers or dividing walls of hostility in the flesh. Political Zionism inevitably continues to build such barriers. It is not a case of being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, it is being opposed to an ideology that is not compatible with the new humanity which God is building through the gospel of the kingdom of God and through faith in Jesus the Messiah. 

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22). 

I have written a number of times to this Christian ministry in Israel and they have replied by saying that we should “agree to disagree”. 

The apostle Paul never suggested that Christians should be divided or that they should “agree to disagree”, particularly on issues that threaten peace and the establishing of one new humanity in Jesus the Messiah. Jesus prayed that his church would be completely united in love and in the truth. We have no solidarity with people who claim to be Jews but who are not – because they are not circumcised in their hearts through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:10-12).

We should proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God with one united voice and that united voice will increasingly become compromised when professing Christians give their allegiance to a cause which is set upon establishing an unfounded distinction and classification between Jews and Gentiles in the flesh.

At first, having been raised as Jews with a passion for Israel, the disciples thought that it would somehow be appropriate to to call down fire upon their perceived enemies. However, instead of suspecting hostility from those who oppose Zionism, I would challenge Zionists to perhaps consider if they are not perceived to be hostile towards local populations groups by their determination to make Israel a strictly “Jewish”nation.

As Christians, we should oppose political Zionism because it is an ideology that sets those who call themselves “Jews”, but who are not (see Romans 2:28 and Revelation 3 :9), against a perceived gentile enemy. Jesus broke down those former racial barriers of hostility and woe to those who build them up again in the name of Zionist propaganda and Jewish myth.

The misdirected “Christian” support of Zionism only comes about through a complete misapplication of Bible prophecy. It should be the responsibility and motivation of those who are faithful to Jesus the King of kings, to correct that misapplication of prophecy and to demolish the lie upon which Zionist ideology is propagated – and that is no easy task. 

Zionists appeal to the Bible for justification and approval of their ideology on the premise that God promised the Land in the Middle East to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac. Upon this premise, they also suggest that those who oppose Zionism, thereby also oppose God and his prophetic purpose – which is an outright lie and deliberate deception.

The Land in the Middle East was certainly not promised to the Jews unconditionally. On the contrary, the Lord sternly warned the descendants of Israel that if they disobeyed God’s Law and became sinful and rebellion like the other pagan nations, they too, would be exiled from the Land.

Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people (Leviticus 18:24-29). 

One of the strictest requirements of the Law, which was given at Mount Sinai through the prophet Moses, was that the LORD would eventually send the promised Messiah and Redeemer, who, as far as his humanity was concerned, would be a Jew and a descendant from the tribe of Judah. The LORD also said in the Law that whoever did not listen to the Word of God spoken through the Messiah, would be completely cut off from among his people, thereby forfeiting all inheritance rights.

It is an historical fact that Jerusalem fell under the Roman siege, that the Temple was destroyed so that not one single one of the huge stones remained upon the other, that the Jewish people were scattered among the nations – all because they failed to recognise the time of God’s coming to them in the person of Jesus the Messiah through whom God also made the New Covenant.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).

History testifies to the scattering of the Jewish people because of their treason and rebellion against God’s Anointed King, Jesus, who is none other than the prophet like Moses. Most Christians would not deny this historical fact. So we may ask, why, then, would professing Christians now encourage unbelieving Jews to return to the Land in spite of their continued unbelief in Jesus the Messiah? The answer is because they have believed a distortion of Bible prophecy which they have wrongly interpreted to suggest that it is “according to prophecy”that Jews will indeed – and must – return to the Promised Land in rebellion and unbelief as a prophetic precursor before Jesus will again appear as Saviour.

Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Luke 13:34-35).

About five-hundred-and-fifty-six years before the coming of Jesus the Messiah (when he started his earthly ministry), in the time of the prophet Jeremiah and King Nebuchadnezzar, the Jewish people were exiled from the Land for a period of seventy years. The Lord spoke to the Jewish exiles in the time of the Babylonian exile. He spoke through the various prophets, including Ezekiel, through whom the LORD delivered the following prophecy:

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord ’” (Ezekiel 37:1-14).

This prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 37 was indeed completely and accurately fulfilled. The LORD revealed through the prophet Daniel, that when the seventy-year period of their exile in Babylon was about to draw to an end, that the Jewish people would return to the Land, they would, through the decree of King Cyrus and in accord with prophecy, rebuild the City walls of Jerusalem and the Temple, but that their return would be as dry bones for a further period of 483 years until the coming of the Messiah. The glory never returned to the Temple as they waited for the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus came at the precisely appointed, prophetic time in history, he carried out his earthly ministry from the four-hundred-and-eighty-third year since the issuing of decree of King Cyrus. In the middle of the four-hundred-and-eighty-fourth year, Jesus made the New Covenant with Israel which also made the Mount Sinai covenant obsolete and void, (as was foretold through the prophet Daniel).

He will confirm a covenant with many in the one (remaining) ‘seven’ (of the seventy ‘sevens’). In the middle of the (last) ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Daniel 9:27).

Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20).

Prophecy, of course including that which foretold the return of the Jewish exiles from the Babylonian captivity (as dry bones), to the rebuilding of the temple, to the coming of Jesus the Messiah and his making of the New Covenant and the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit, even that of people coming forth from their graves, has been fulfilled with Jesus’ first coming.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people (Matthew 27:50-53).

God’s purpose for Israel was that the Saviour of humanity would come forth from the tribe of Judah so that through faithful obedience to him, all people, whether formerly Jew or Gentile, would be reconciled to God and to one another. Furthermore, just as was typified with the restoration of the Jewish people to the Promised Land through the redemption of God, the way back to the Garden of Eden, from which Adam and Eve were banished, had now been opened through Jesus’ death on the cross.

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

Through the redemption in Jesus the Messiah, there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile. As far as the former Old Covenant is concerned, Jews have been bound over to disobedience that only through faith and together as one body with Gentiles, would they be reconciled to God. There is now no difference between Jew or Gentile (Romans 3:22).

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all (Romans 11:28-32).

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified (Galatians 2:15-16).

There remains no prophetic purpose in God’s purpose of redeeming humanity through Jesus the Messiah, to set Jew apart from Gentiles, on the contrary, God’s purpose is now to create a new humanity in which no such racial, tribal, national or religious distinction continues to exist which once gave way to hostility and division. This is how God has, through Jesus the Messiah, brought about the way of peace for humanity. It is upon this truth that Zionism must be opposed because its very ideology is to try set Jew apart from Gentiles while falsely professing to be in accord with the Scriptures.

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22).

The Christian ministry based in Israel which I mentioned in the opening of this article, is called “Behold Israel” and its founder, Amir Tsarfati, evidently believes that if people oppose Zionism, then so too are they opposing God’s prophetic purpose of restoration of Israel. In other words, he is an ambassador of Zionism, urging the nations to approve of Israel as a Jewish nations as the means of being properly reconciled to God and his purpose for humanity. I completely oppose such a view as being utterly false.

God does not require that the nations approve of Zionism. On the contrary, God requires that Jew and Gentile be reconciled to him and created as a new humanity through faith in Jesus the Messiah in whom no distinction between Jew and Gentile continues to exist. So, in opposing Zionism, we are not anti-Semitic nor anti Israel, rather we are for Christ and the new humanity and our purpose is to demolish every lie which attempts to separate humanity, either by racial classification, or by nationality, or by religious pretence, including any religious teaching which obscures or contradicts that Jesus is the Messiah and that faith in him is the only way to be reconciled to God.

We are no longer required to go up to the earthly city of Jerusalem to worship the Lord. The earthly city was only a shadow and type of Zion, the heavenly City to which the redeemed in Christ are being gathered.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? (Hebrews 12:22-25).

Zionism makes much of the return of Jewish exiles to the “promised Land”, however, the writer to the Hebrews taught:

All these people (all the faithful, from Abel to John the Baptist), were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16). 

The true ideology of Scriptural Zionism which is approved by God and according to his prophetic purpose in Jesus the Messiah, is not to return to the earthly city, nor rebuild its dividing walls, nor rebuild the temple, on the contrary, it is to become citizens of heaven and await the heavenly country which is the home of the righteous.

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).

So, we may then ask, Is there any prophetic reason for political Zionism and the founding of a Jewish state? Yes, there is indeed. Those who rejected Jesus the Messiah and who have tried to cling to their unique and exclusive “Jewish” identity, are expecting the Messiah to come and vindicate Israel as a nation and to punish all the nations who oppose them. Such a “messiah” will indeed come to Israel and be accepted – but he will not come in the Name of God, nor with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, he will come in the power of Satan who has always tried to imitate what God has done and to be worshipped by humanity.

Jesus said to the Jews who would not believe in him as the Messiah, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:39-47).

There are professing Christians who, having suggested that the Jews are expected to return to the Promised Land in spite of their unbelief, also suggest that they will all believe in Jesus when he appears from heaven as the glorious and exalted King of kings. However, the apostle Paul taught the opposite. Paul taught that there would be one last and final rebellion. Paul taught that a deceiver would come with the power of Satan, according to God’s sovereign purpose, to deceive all who refused to believe the truth of the gospel of the kingdom of God – and that this final deception will ultimately lead to their destruction! This is what unbelieving Israel is being set up for – the coming of a false messiah!

Jesus will not appear again in his heavenly power and glory to save or vindicate any who have not believed in him. He is coming to save those who have put their trust in him and who wait patiently for his coming in power.

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:27-28).

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). 

The vindication will not be for those who call themselves Jews and who try to set themselves apart from the other nations even while they reject Jesus the Messiah. On the contrary, all who put their hope in Jesus the Messiah are created as a new humanity with no distinction between Jew or gentile, they have come to the heavenly City and will be vindicated by Jesus when he appears in his glory.

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:7-13).

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