The Pope, the Salvation of the Jews, and Calvinism, Part 15 (A Theory)

abraham god calling him

(Rom. 11:25-26 ESV)  25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon [ethnic] Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;

It’s a mistake, I think, to assume that the fullness of the Gentiles’ salvation (Rom 11:25) is the Second Coming. It’s far more likely that it happened fairly early in the church’s history. After all, if Paul is right, God only needed enough time to make the Jews jealous of the Gentiles’ salvation (Rom 10:19-21). And why delay the entry of the Jews until the end of the age? This wouldn’t do much good for most Jews.

The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 is a possible time, and may be exactly when this happened. It’s possible that many Jews converted to Christianity in the wake of God’s obvious rejection of the Jews when the Temple was pulled down by Roman grappling hooks. But history doesn’t speak either way. It’s a good possibility and would fit well with Paul’s anticipation that it could happen as quickly as during his own life.

But there’s another possibility that interesting to consider. Little studied in American history classes, much less in Sunday school, and even not in most theological courses, is the very important Bar Kochba (or Kokhba) rebellion. Around 132 AD, the Jews rebelled a second time, this time under Emperor Hadrian.

Many Jews considered a Judean the messiah — the son of the star (Shimon Bar Kochba). Even the great rabbi Akiva (or Akiba) was persuaded. The rebellion was widespread. Jews across the Empire rebelled, and the Romans put the rebellion down ruthlessly.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library,

The turning point of the war came when Hadrian sent into Judea one of his best generals from Britain, Julius Severus, along with former governor of Germania, Hadrianus Quintus Lollius Urbicus. By that time, there were 12 army legions from Egypt, Britain, Syria and other areas in Judea. Due to the large number of Jewish rebels, instead of waging open war, Severus besieged Jewish fortresses and held back food until the Jews grew weak. Only then did his attack escalate into outright war. The Romans demolished all 50 Jewish fortresses and 985 villages. The main conflicts took place in Judea, the Shephela, the mountains and the Judean desert, though fighting also spread to Northern Israel. The Romans suffered heavy casualties as well and Hadrian did not send his usual message to the Senate that “I and my army are well.”

The final battle of the war took place in Bethar, Bar-Kokhba’s headquarters, which housed both the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) and the home of the Nasi (leader). Bethar was a vital military stronghold because of its strategic location on a mountain ridge overlooking both the Valley of Sorek and the important Jerusalem-Bet Guvrin Road. Thousands of Jewish refugees fled to Bethar during the war. In 135 C.E., Hadrian’s army besieged Bethar and on the 9th of Av, the Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples, the walls of Bethar fell. After a fierce battle, every Jew in Bethar was killed. Six days passed before the Romans allowed the Jews to bury their dead.

Following the battle of Bethar, there were a few small skirmishes in the Judean Desert Caves, but the war was essentially over and Judean independence was lost. The Romans plowed Jerusalem with a yoke of oxen. Jews were sold into slavery and many were transported to Egypt. Judean settlements were not rebuilt. Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina and the Jews were forbidden to live there. They were permitted to enter only on the 9th of Av to mourn their losses in the revolt. Hadrian changed the country’s name from Judea to Syria Palestina.

The key point is the following (emphasis added):

In the years following the revolt, Hadrian discriminated against all Judeo-Christian sects, but the worst persecution was directed against religious Jews. He made anti-religious decrees forbidding Torah study, Sabbath observance, circumcision, Jewish courts, meeting in synagogues and other ritual practices. Many Jews assimilated and many sages and prominent men were martyred including Rabbi Akiva and the rest of the Asara Harugei Malchut (ten martyrs). This age of persecution lasted throughout the remainder of Hadrian’s reign, until 138 C.E.

Sounds like a moment in history when the Jews might have become jealous of the salvation of the Gentiles, reconsidered their unbelief, and converted in large numbers.

According to Jewish History,

[Hadrian] realized that the final solution to the Jewish problem lay not only in killing Jews but in destroying Judaism. As long as the Jews had their religion no one would ever really be able to eradicate them entirely. Therefore, he issued decrees that outlawed Judaism on the pain of death. The decrees of Hadrian were the most fearsome in history against the Jewish people.

Teaching Torah was the worst “crime” a Jew could commit under these circumstances. Jewish tradition is rich with stories about the “10 Martyrs Murdered by the [Roman] Government.” It is during Hadrian’s reign that this happened. He was not content merely killing these great rabbis, but doing it in public display of brutality and torture, hoping to crush the spirit of the Jewish people. Foremost among the martyrs was Rabbi Akiva.

Hadrian did not stop there. He forbade mention of the name Jerusalem and renamed the holy city, Aelia Capitolina. He also forbade Jews from living there. Most notable of all, he employed an army of slaves to plow over the Temple Mount. He simply lowered it almost 1,000 feet. When one goes to Jerusalem today, the mountains around the Temple Mount (such as the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus) are taller. Before Hadrian, however, Mount Moriah (the mountain upon with the Temple stood) was the highest mountain there. Hadrian literally reconstructed the landscape in order to prove to the Jews that it would never be rebuilt again.

Overall, Hadrian unleashed an[] eight to ten year reign of persecution after the defeat of Bar Kochba almost unmatched in Jewish history. It did not end until Hadrian died. His successor, Antoninus Pious, not only overturned his decrees but was very benevolent toward the Jews. Even so, the Jewish people after Hadrian were crushed almost beyond recognition. Bar Kochba’s defeat marked the end of any sort of Jewish autonomy in the Jewish homeland until the twentieth century.

The Wikipedia advises,

Modern historians view the Bar-Kokhba Revolt as being of decisive historic importance. The massive destruction and loss of life occasioned by the revolt has led some scholars such as Bernard Lewis to date the beginning of the Jewish diaspora from this date. They note that, unlike the aftermath of the First Jewish–Roman War chronicled by Josephus, the majority of the Jewish population of Judea was either killed, exiled, or sold into slavery after the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, and Jewish religious and political authority was suppressed far more brutally. After the revolt, the Jewish religious center shifted to the Babylonian Jewish community and its scholars. Judea would not be a center of Jewish religious, cultural, or political life again until the modern era, although Jews continued to sporadically populate it and important religious developments have still taken place. The Galilee became a more important center for Rabbinic Judaism, where the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled in 4th-5th centuries CE.

After the Bar Kochba rebellion, the Romans developed a distinct hatred for the Jews as disloyal and traitorous. The Jewish institutions were severely suppressed, and Christianity came to be perceived as something distinct from Judaism. Indeed, the roots of European Jewish discrimination start here. It’s easy to imagine many of the Jews that survived becoming jealous of the salvation of the Gentiles and converting.

(Rom. 10:19-21 ESV)  19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”  20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”  21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

To me, this sounds very much like the aftermath of the Bar Kochba rebellion. The Christians were not a nation at this time. During the Fourth Century, shortly after Constantine, Christianity became the official religion of Rome and all but mandatory. The Christians in fact became a nation. Hence, we might take Paul to say that “those who are not a nation” are the Christians in the aftermath of the Bar Kochba rebellion. The “foolish nation” was Rome (hardly a term the Spirit would use to refer to Christians). And the Jews who’d just rebelled yet again against Rome, following a false messiah, only to suffer severe persecution at the hands of the Romans, certainly fit the definition of “a disobedient and contrary people.”

This seems a far preferable interpretation to assuming that God is going to bring the Jews into the Kingdom in the distant future. After all, by the time of the Bar Kochba rebellion, the gospel had been taken to the entire Empire and to many surrounding nations — to the entire known world (cf. Rom 10:18; Col 1:6, 23) — and was rapidly growing.

I’m speculating, of course. The records from this period of history are very scanty. The Romans made a point of destroying as much Jewish literature as they could manage, and the Christian church was not yet in the habit of writing its own history. Or it could be the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. That may well fit Paul’s words as well, if not better.

I don’t think Paul meant to say that every single Jew would be saved, only that the hardening of their hearts would end so that, having been shown to be a disobedient people, they could be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Messiah.

As a matter of history, we don’t know how many Jews converted to Christianity at this time, but we know that many did and that they had every reason to compare the kingdom brought by Messiah Jesus, a spiritual kingdom, with the kingdom brought by false messiah Bar Kochba, a worldly kingdom — and surely by then it was obvious that —

(Matt. 26:52 ESV)  52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

(Jn. 18:36 ESV)  36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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19 Responses to The Pope, the Salvation of the Jews, and Calvinism, Part 15 (A Theory)

  1. Pingback: The Pope, the Salvation of the Jews, and Calvinism, Part 15 (A Theory) | One In Jesus – matsobab's Blog

  2. Ray Downen says:

    I had never read of or heard of the later rebellion by Jewish citizens of Rome. It makes interesting reading!

  3. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ray,

    Glad you enjoyed it. I learned about it from NT Wright, who frequently references it to demonstrate the kind of Messiah the Jews were looking for in contrast to the One God sent. I was always taught that the Jews were looking for an earthly king — and it’s true.

    And it also explains why there was such prejudice against the Jews. The Romans saw them as disloyal. The Christians didn’t want to be confused with the Jews for fear of suffering for a rebellion they didn’t participate in. It drove a wedge between Jews and Christians and between Jews and Romans — starting a truly vicious cycle.

    Meanwhile, the Jews had to figure how to be Jews with no Temple and while evicted from Jerusalem — forcing a major change in Judaism. Ironically, in many ways, they become more like the Christians, with Torah study substituting for the Temple service — meaning that the synagogue moved to become central to Judaism, rather as the assembly was becoming central to Christianity.

    In other words, it’s an event that explains a lot of how things came to be as they are.

  4. Dwight says:

    Question: considering that many of the later ECF were anti-Semitic is there any evidence to correlate this time period with when they became that way? In other words did the influence of the Roman empire influence the thought of them towards a hatred of all things Jewish or was it a coincidence. It almost seems as though the majority of the hatred picked up after the revolt happened.

  5. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    Without a doubt, the church was strongly Jewish up to the Bar Kochba rebellion. Things began to change afterwards — and the church began moving away from its Jewish roots. On the other hand, we now know that the move was slower than many historians have taught. In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity is the book to read.

    By 200 AD, the Roman Empire worldview was shifted heavily toward Neo-Platonic thought, and we begin to see more and more Greek/Platonic thought in the ECFs and less and less Judaic thought. Justin Martyr (late 2nd century), a Gentile convert, was very studied in Judaism. But it wouldn’t be long before Greek asceticism and dualism influence views on sexuality and marriage, instruments, heaven and hell, etc.

    In fact, after 200 AD we read ECFs seeking to contrast Christian practices with Jewish — as though being Jewish is necessarily to be wrong. Thus, they argue that Sunday replaces the Sabbath, or that Christians must not attend synagogue (meaning that some were).

    There is something about the second half of the second century that moved the church away from its Jewish roots and into the arms Greek thought. And I think the Bar Kochba rebellion was a huge reason. As the Roman’s adopted a revised worldview, the church was open to a new worldview as its Jewish roots had become extremely unpopular.

    The extreme is found in the contemporary Churches of Christ, of course, where we treat the OT as “repealed” and “nailed to the cross” (based on a mistranslation in the KJV) and so we’re “New Testament Christians” as though the “denominations” were filled “Old Testament Christians.” And while I’ve not heard much if any outright anti-Semitism in the Churches of Christ, there is a tendency to treat all OT studies as a waste of time. Therefore, we misunderstand Jesus and Paul because we ignore their constant stream of OT references.

    But while we’re extreme, we’re not really more extreme that the Reformation leaders. Luther was a harsh, vulgar anti-Semite, esp. in his late years. Calvin ignored the OT roots of election, predestination, etc., finding his theology in Augustine and Medieval Scholasticism rather than Isaiah and Joel and Moses. The history of Christianity would be very different if our Reformation leaders had honored the OT more.

    We are truly blessed to live in an age when the OT is being re-discovered and serious theology is being rethought top to bottom in light of the Law and the Prophets.

  6. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    If it was God who was orchestrating this Bar Kochba (or Kokhba) rebellion. Just as he allowed many nations to overpower and place in bondage the Jews (Israelite Nation) to bring them into seeing a need for their dependence and obedience to God’s instructions. It could be that your statement is not what God is desiring for Christianity. God could very easily not have allowed these atrocities to be inflicted upon the Jews in the same manner as he had as he fought for the Israelite Nation winning their battles for them in the past. The Law and the Prophets seem to be by some people replacing The Son, as the authority. That concept appears to be embedded within your statements.
    “The history of Christianity would be very different if our Reformation leaders had honored the OT more.”
    “We are truly blessed to live in an age when the OT is being re-discovered and serious theology is being rethought top to bottom in light of the Law and the Prophets.”

    Heb 8:6-13 ESV But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. (8) For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, (9) not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. (10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (11) And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. (12) For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (13) In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    Verse 13 God could have fulfilling in the actions provided in this rebellion described above.

    Gal 3:9-16 ESV So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (10) For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” (11) Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (12) But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” (13) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— (14) so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (15) To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. (16) Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

    Men today want to use the Promises which were given to Abraham in an application to mankind today, but I see that verse 16 above displays a total different concept. Is Paul wrong? As he states the promise to Abraham was only to Christ not us.

  7. Dwight says:

    Larry, I think Jay is right in that we need to pay more attention to the OT as that is the format that Jesus and the apostles worked from. It provides context that many within the early church and many within the coC reject. In fact the argument against IM was largely based upon a rejection of the Jews and what they did and many use the same material today in our arguments without using scripture as they didn’t.
    In fact the Regulation Principle is based on worship in the Temple, but if the reformers would have paid attention, they would have realized that the RP didn’t work outside of the Temple for the common man. The Temple was God’s house and so God only allowed certain things to happen at certain times nd only those things could happen in the Temple, but outside of the Temple God gave man some commands and freedom to worship within the context of those commands unhindered. It is thus unfortunate that we today also use the RP in how we do things even while admitting that the Temple was done away with.
    It is unfortunate that we think the OT is the history of the Jews, but rather it is the history of God and man, which also includes the Jews. “Salvation is of the Jews” is not wrong, because Jesus and the promise came through the Jews, which was inspired by God.

  8. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote,

    The Law and the Prophets seem to be by some people replacing The Son, as the authority. That concept appears to be embedded within your statements.

    Both Jesus and Paul spoke and wrote based on the entire narrative of God’s dealing with his people, which includes the OT. 20th Century Christianity largely ignored this fact. The Churches of Christ have been particularly in error in treating the OT as “nailed to the cross” and so irrelevant to modern Christians, and yet Jesus himself said,

    (Matt. 5:17-19 ESV) 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    Paul wrote,

    (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    At this time in church history, “Scripture” referred to the OLD Testament.

    So I’m just saying what Jesus and Paul said about the OT. I know of no one who remotely suggests that the Law and the Prophets replace Jesus as authority — but I know many who deny that Jesus spoke the truth when he spoke the words of Matt 5:17-19. If Jesus has been given “all authority,” then when he tells us to honor the Law and the Prophets, well, we should honor the Law and the Prophets. How complicated is that?

    The trick, of course, is studying the words of Jesus and the apostles well enough to learn how the Law and the Prophets apply to us today.

    In Acts 15, when the question came up as to how to treat Gentile converts, what did the Jerusalem elders and apostles do? They turned to the OLD TESTAMENT for answers because they believed that God inspired the OT and that its words are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.

    (Acts 15:13-19 ESV) 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’ 19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,

    James quotes from AMOS to determine how Gentiles should be admitted to the church! Does that mean that James was also guilty of “The Law and the Prophets seem to be by some people replacing The Son, as the authority.” I think not. I think James and the elders and apostles were honoring Jesus’ very specific instructions not to divorce Christianity from the Law and the Prophets, but to understand the new covenant (a concept from JEREMIAH) in scriptural (OT) terms.

    So if your argument is that the OT is irrelevant, you are contradicting Jesus, James, and Paul (among others). If your argument is that the OT has no authority today, the fact is that some (not all) of the OT remains very much authoritative — as part of the narrative in which the NT was written. For example, you really can’t follow Paul’s teachings on the Spirit unless you first study the OT passages prophesying the coming of the Spirit. Paul assumes that you’ve done your homework.

    Where most in the CoC get confused is they falsely assume that the question of “authority” is about the OT as LAW and the NT as LAW — assuming that we’re only accountable for the LAWS and that the Bible is all about LAWS. In fact, the scriptures are mainly narrative. And so arguments that made maybe a little sense in a legalistic system are nonsense when applied to the scriptures as they really are. When we read Romans, for example, within the narrative of all of scripture, we get a very different outcome and very different questions and answers.

    Paul tells us how to discern the application of the Law and the Prophets to the church (and we’re hardly finished with Paul’s lessons on that point). But surely we can agree that we should read the OT as Paul read the OT. And Romans is FILLED with references to the OT as proving his points — as authority for his points — even though he wrote as an apostle of Jesus.

  9. Larry Cheek says:

    Dwight,
    Jay is right as long as he does not attempt to use the OT to modify the NT, it is a schoolmaster (a teacher) of how God and man interacted with each other under the Old Covenant. It shows what God commanded and how man either obeyed or rejected what God said and described the consequences. It was a law binding on those before the NT or NC, Christ is the mediator of a better covenant. That does not mean that the OT or Torah is still as binding as it was and the NC just expanded it into a culmination of both. Yes, the OT scriptures are valuable but not applicable as Law for today. The major point that I constantly attempt to make visible is that the NT does not require any authority from the OT writers to make the NT authoritative. It is the authority because of Christ. Exactly how much of the OT rules and regulations can we assert into the NC better promises before we destroy what Christ relieved us from? The old was a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. It was not only the sins of mankind that Christ forgave he modified the then existent laws. Old Covenant for a New better Covenant.

    Heb 8:5-10 ESV They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” (6) But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. (8) For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, (9) not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. (10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    Col 2:13-17 ESV And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (14) by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (15) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (16) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

    Col 2:13-17 ASV And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; (14) having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; (15) having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: (17) which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s.

  10. Dwight says:

    Yes, there should not be a thought that the OT can be equal to the NT, any more than the thought that an animal sacrifice can equal the sacrifice of Jesus. There is no comparison.

    Unfortunately we in the coC have abused the OT and still do. We argue that it has no relevance and then when we need a scripture on creation, where do we run? The OT.
    We need a scripture on sin and where do we run? The OT.
    We argue that the things of the Temple have been done away with and all things Jewishness. And then we create and hold to things like the Regulation Principle that is pure Temple worship in thought.
    And then we build a building for worship to God that was never commanded, think of David, and have to use it for worship to God and not anything else.
    We don’t listen to the OT very well and strangely wish to recreate it.
    We argue against ceremonial worship and yet look at how we do worship and the Lord’s Supper as opposed to what was done by Jesus and the apostles, which was more relaxed and communal.
    There is actually much to learn in the OT and relearn in the NT because of it.

  11. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    This is exactly where we have a disagreement.
    “And Romans is FILLED with references to the OT as proving his points — as authority for his points — even though he wrote as an apostle of Jesus.”
    It is the concept as,”proving his points” and “as authority for his points”, proving his points and authority for his points, is placing the messages there in superiority above the NT message. The concept of “examples” for his points does not portray that superiority, but as supportive. The concept of without the OT narrative then his points would be invalid I believe is an incorrect concept of Christ’s Covenant.

  12. Dwight says:

    “Proving his points” is a bit much for me. Now creates a basis for His points makes more sense. It is strange that I have friends that will argue that we must follow only what Jesus says, but if you look closer you will see that Jesus is either stating or restating the OT. We need to follow that Jesus is God and God wrote the OT, so Jesus can use His own law. Now did Jesus create some new laws, yes, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another”, but this was one out of many that were from the OT and was really Jesus inserting himself into the second greatest command.
    The OT leads us to Christ and it is Christ we must follow, but the OT gives us a solid ground for everything Christ is.

  13. Alabama John says:

    Pauls letter to the Romans is the greatest letter ever written.

  14. Larry Cheek says:

    Dwight,
    Evidently, we have been (possibly grown up in) a different version of coC. I cannot remember ever being taught that the OT was not relevant. Yes, the focus was based in NT but we also studied from the OT. There was much to learn from the OT, as you mention, do we find a record of the creation, the fall of man, the worship experience of Cain, Noah and the flood, it goes on and on, in the NT? But, what I don’t see is, that the OT redirects what we see in the NT. By that I mean that promises in the OT for the Israelites were all fulfilled, they were given the promised land documented by God, Moses, Joshua and even Paul. There is not a land promised in the NT, it tells of a better promise and an eternal inheritance but never mentions land.

    Deu 27:2-3 ESV And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster. (3) And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you.
    Deu 31:7 ESV Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it.
    Deu 31:23 ESV And the LORD commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.”
    Jos 1:2-3 ESV “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. (3) Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
    Jos 22:4 ESV And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.
    Jos 23:5 ESV The LORD your God will push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, just as the LORD your God promised you.
    Jos 23:14-16 ESV “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. (15) But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, (16) if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”
    1Ki 8:56 ESV “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.
    Neh 9:15 ESV You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
    Jer 32:21-23 ESV You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror. (22) And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. (23) And they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing of all you commanded them to do. Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them.

    Act 13:16-19 ESV So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. (17) The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. (18) And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. (19) And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance.

    Yet, men today are still expecting a promised land, a piece of earth, not understanding that land or earth is not the ultimate possession.

  15. Dwight says:

    Larry, there are pockets in the coC that teach this, although as I said they constantly mine the OT for information. Mainly they teach that the OT is irrelevant for salvation, which is kind of true, as you can’t get there through the Law (works of the Law), but you can reach Jesus through the OT, which is what was taught in Acts 2, etc., as the OT directs us to Jesus. Not backwards. But the NT is much more direct and efficient, but the OT adds an amazing amount of depth to God. I believe it is hidden depth that most bristle at, after all we know all we need to.

    The main problem is that many look at the OT as the Law of Moses, when in reality it was the Law of God and thus Jesus. It was holy and spiritual and Godly. Make no mistake. But it didn’t self-fulfill itself, but was fulfilled in Christ, the savior.
    It comes down to certain things where we will see scripture and say, “Well it is now in affect because Jesus said it.”, but don’t recognize that it was a quote from the OT. Jesus didn’t totally erase the OT law and then reinstate it, but as certain physical things (i.e the Temple) disappeared in Christ, they reemerged in the perfect and spiritual. But many of the laws remained, like adultery, but Jesus just simply argued that you must not only not commit adultery, but you must walk in the Spirit and thus control the heart. In fact Jesus comment on the adultery in Matthew 5 and 19 is simply a restatement of the law in Deut.24 and it is shame that many try to comment on one without the other.

    I believe what you say is true, “But, what I don’t see is, that the OT redirects what we see in the NT. By that I mean that promises in the OT for the Israelites were all fulfilled, they were given the promised land documented by God, Moses, Joshua and even Paul. There is not a land promised in the NT, it tells of a better promise and an eternal inheritance but never mentions land.”
    I believe just as we are to be spiritual, that our reward is such.

  16. Monty says:

    We are truly blessed to have a Bible to be able to read. One which contains the Old and New Covenants. We get to slice and dice it every-which-a-way. However, the average person did not have access to scripture of any sort except what he was verbally taught by his priest for hundreds of years. If the commoner was saved during this time(and I believe they were) then it was through oral teaching about Jesus and faith in him(the person) and not because the average Joe could discern the book of Romans or even understand the Prophets. But they could believe the message about God sending his Son to die for their sins.

  17. Larry Cheek says:

    Dwight and Monty,
    I believe that we are on the same page in our understandings. Some of what we have read from the posted materials authored by Mr. Wright are several pages foreign from what I see being expressed in the English Bible versions that I have available. I haven’t found the time to contest all the concepts that are problematic to me and sometimes those that I can, have multiple roots which I cannot address in the same posting. This creates a problem connecting all the dots. But, bit by bit we make some progress. It sure is good to have people here whom we can discuss such complicated positions with, for there is no one near my locality which is capable of such in depth discussions.

  18. Dwight says:

    I am trying to make an effort not to be too harsh on Wright, simply because I haven’t read Wright’s stuff, but have been reading Jay’s commentary on and understanding of Wright’s stuff and some of his thought’s as well. While some of the stuff may be foreign to my understanding, it may not be foreign to the scriptures. We have a tendency to read other people’s work looking for error, which we should, but sometimes that blinds us to the good things written as well.
    I don’t see the NHNE as well stated as heaven with God is in the scriptures. The visuals of Revelations seem to make us understand that we will dwell in the glory of God, but perhaps this is the red carpet roll out. And yet still God seems to be driving us towards a spiritual goal back to Him who is in Spirit, but having said that there is the possibility that the NHNE will be recreated just as Jesus was after he arose from the grave, physical, but not and still able to go to God His Father.
    There is so much we don’t know about the nature of the resurrection and there is much I don’t think we need to know. The Jews had visions of the savior coming very differently from how he came, so perhaps we will be surprised as well.
    In agree Larry, this site allows discussion that I cannot get where I live. Sometimes I think we make things more complicated than they really are simply because, although we have hindsight, we do not real time living in it context. This is one of the benefits of studying the OT…context in how they would have seen and understood the NT. Our Western understanding has done much damage when we try to force the scriptures into our way of thinking, instead of thinking like it.

  19. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    The NHNE teaching of Paul becomes much more clear when we get to chapter 8. Lord willing and if my heart holds out, we’ll get there.

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