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Maranatha! - Reaffirmation, Not Replacement - Part 7



On Sundays, we have been sharing with you some excerpts from my new book When Kingdoms Collide. I am doing this because I believe it's so vital that the Body of Yeshua hears this message. It will change how you view the days we are living in and the age to come. To order the book, please visit our bookstore.


Over the last several weeks, we have covered how the New Testament clearly reaffirms Israel's place in God's heart. Israel is not replaced by the Church. Both are key players in God's plans for mankind.


Today, we share some concluding thoughts on this truth.


The Orthodox Jewish theologian Michael Wyschogrod, who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938 (just months before Kristallnacht), talks about the “carnal election of Israel”[1] in his book Abraham’s Promise. By that, he makes a connection between the incarnation of Jesus and the Jewish people.


“[T]he Christian teaching of the incarnation of God in Jesus is the intensification of the teaching of the indwelling of God in Israel by concentrating that indwelling in one Jew rather than leaving it diffused in the people of Jesus as a whole.”[2]


Interesting, coming from an Orthodox Jew! To be clear, Wyschogrod is not saying that the Jewish people are divine in the way that we see Yeshua as the divine Son. He is saying that God has embodied himself in Israel in a way that a lover would be the object of his love. And Wyschogrod is right. God said to Israel, “For I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.” (Num. 35:34) The word for among is b‘toch, and it means inside. There is a different Hebrew word closer to among (b’kerev). The idea here is God dwells in His people.


And God had a plan for wooing Israel to Himself. It was in order to reveal Himself to the whole world (Is. 49:6), first through the witness of the Jewish people, then through Yeshua, and now through the Ecclesia of Jewish and Gentile followers of the Messiah. But God is still living through the Jewish people, even in unbelief (Rom. 3:1-4), because of the Abrahamic covenant, within the kingdom of earth or man. God still uses Israel as a ‘witness nation’ (not in the antisemitic way that Augustine taught), revealing His reality and His faithfulness to His covenant.


He lives through the Ecclesia in the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not somewhere else. Heaven is not up, so to speak. Heaven—the Kingdom of God—is in the spirit. It is all around you.


Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:20-21)

“In your midst,” just like God said to the Israelites in the quote above, “for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.” But there are two separate realms: flesh and spirit.

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (1 Cor 15:50).


You will remember that we talked about how the Nazis revered Luther as a German. They quoted Luther, “I was born for my beloved Germans; it is them I want to serve.”[3] They turned German blood into a race cult. But you see, while ethnicity is important regarding calling (after all, God created the nations), blood credentials cannot get one into the kingdom of God. There is only one blood type in the kingdom, and it belongs to Jesus.


This goes for my Jewish people too. We don’t get a pass because of Abraham. It is only through the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb without spot or wrinkle (1 Pet. 1:19), that one can participate in the kingdom of heaven. His blood transcended from this kingdom into the heavenly one when He was killed because of its purity. And it was not pure because of His earthly ancestry; it was pure because He was pure.


For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval (Rom. 14:17–18).

Eating and drinking are connected to this earthly kingdom. Without it, earthly bodies die. But righteousness, peace, and joy are in the kingdom of God. Yeshua told Nicodemus that it would take an actual new birth in the spirit to participate in the kingdom of God.


Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3:3, 5-6)

Flesh and spirit belong to two different kingdoms. And they will only coexist in the millennial kingdom, as there will be survivors from the Second Coming.


Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. (Zech. 14:16)


Follow me here. In Abraham were two peoples, two kingdoms, two spheres. One was physical, and one was spiritual. One was one nation, the other, the elect from many nations. The bridge between these two kingdoms was Yeshua.


The gospel has prospered in the nations, while Israel rejected the gospel. But as we see these two kingdoms coming closer and closer together, we are heading toward critical mass. That is why more and more Jewish people are coming to faith. It is time. The blinders are removed from Israel at the fullness of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25). As the gospel gets closer and closer to reaching all nations, we draw closer and closer to this critical mass—The Parousia, The Second Coming.


When these two kingdoms collide, we will see the blinders fully removed. As kingdom one, “the kingdom [singular] of this earth” (Rev. 11:15), collides into kingdom two, the Kingdom of God, there will be clarity about who this Messiah is. At that time:


“I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look to me, whom they pierced.” They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son. (Zech. 12:10 CJB)

John sees the same thing in Rev. 1:7.


“Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all tribes of the land earth will mourn because of Him” (Rev. 1:7). So shall it be! Amen.

As we wait for this critical mass, the job of the Ecclesia is to pray for Israel’s salvation. Israel is back in the land, Jerusalem is her capital, and her inhabitants have returned from all over the world. Now we are just waiting for the fullness of the nations and the blinders on Israel's eyes to be fully opened as these two kingdoms collide and Emperor Yeshua takes over.


Maranatha.


[1] Michael Wyschogrod, Abraham’s Promise: Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2004), 99. [2] Wyschogrod, 178 [3] Stroud, 34.


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