Saturday, February 16, 2013

The hope of Israel pert 1.

The hope of Israel part 1.   I often hear if everything has been fulfilled what is our hope today?   My answer to that question is? What does the bible say about the "Hope of Israel"?  After all, the bible is about the hope of Israel’s patriarchs.   If the Bible shows their hope was fulfilled, then we need to move behind their hope into the full assurance of God’s promises to them.   Jesus said salvation was of the Jews/Israel. ( John 4:2)

To obtain a full answer to this question it is necessary that we search the Scriptures from beginning to end.   We turn back now to the Old Testament scriptures for the purpose of ascertaining what is foretold therein concerning the future of the Israel people.

First, we direct our attention to the patriarchal era, in order to learn what it was that the prophets of Israel foretold.  This is the proper place to begin our inquiry.   One of the two major passages on the hope of Israel in the Old Testament is found in Hosea.   Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.    Here God explicitly associates ransom and redemption in the very same passage.   The people of I Israel made this association as well.   Paul writes,  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,  who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,  1Ti 2:3 6)    Mark writes,"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)     have we, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, been ransomed and redeemed? The answer to this question is a big yes.   

Consider another prophecy of redemption of the people of God: Isaiah declares.  And it will be said in that day: "Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."   (Isaiah 25:9)    Paul declares that God has already blessed them with redemption.  Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

Lets see what else Isaiah declares on this subject:  Isaiah 62:11-12  Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. {12} And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Hebrews cannot be separated from Isaiah 62:11-12.    The phrase "not forsaken" can be related to Hebrews 13:5  where God says "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and then a few verses later declares that they were about to come to this city vs 14.    The theme of reward and  stood out in the minds of Jews.   Luke 6:23     Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.   

While the word resurrection does not appear anywhere in the Old Testament the understanding of the resurrection did by the Jewish patriarchies.   David demonstrated his faith and trust in God to deliver me from the depths of the grave.  For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.  Psalm 86:13 (NIV)  

Moving to the Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)  David, is contemplating total fellowship and joy in the  presence of the God.    You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.   Total fellowship to David was to be in the presence of God in the forevermore.

The same illustration of resurrection continues in Job 19:23-27 where Job says, I know that my Redeemer  lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet  in  my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!  When we looked at the Hebrew, we discovered that a more appropriate translation was "Yet out of my flesh I shall see God."

Prior to Jesus' Messianic work, no one went to Heaven-- where did people go when they died? They went to a holding place of the dead and waited for the atoning work of Christ and the resurrection from the dead.  In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for where they were prior to the resurrection is Sheol.   In the New Testament the Greek word is Hades.

Now that the Old Testament doctrine of the hope of Israel is clearly ...The message is the same throughout the apostolic history.  There is no uncertainty therefore regarding what Paul preached as the hope of Israel.    Paul was sent to Rome, and while under examination of Agrippa, he testified, saying:  "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. "To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.  Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?  (Act 26:6-8)     The hope of Israel in the Old Testament and New Testament never wavers.

Paul and all the apostles preached what God had promised afore hand totally out of the Old Testament.   It was their Bible.  Paul said he only taught what Moses and the prophets said would come concerting Christ. Acts 26:22-23 The whole of Scripture is a revelation of the one God, disclosing one single scheme of redemption and one covenant of grace that was promised to the Jewish patriarchies.  Jesus came to confirm those promises made to the Jewish patriarchies.   Romans 15:8  Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers. (Romans 15:8)  Our Bible is a Jewish book.

 Now, the question remains, are the dead raised? What exactly did Paul mean by "the resurrection"? The traditional gentile idea is at the end of time the Lord returns, the decayed bodies of the dead saints, are put back together, and their physically resurrected bodies are changed into spiritual immortal bodies like Christ's.    Does that sound like what you have been taught?   Problem Paul never says the dead are changed only the living..  (1 Corinthians 15:51)

I believe that this is probably the best description of resurrection is found in Romans 6:3-4 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. The coming life was of the same nature as the death; but the death was not physical, therefore the coming life was not physical.

In Baptism they participated in Jesus' death. (Verse 3)  In Baptism they participated in Jesus life. (Verse 4) 

 Paul believed resurrection was deliverance from sin; sin-death;    Ephesians 2:1-5 (NKJV) And you (He made alive), who were (dead in trespasses and sins), 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when (we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ) (by grace you have been saved).   Emphasis added. 

Can Paul be speaking of physical death and life?   Obviously, physical death is not the death, they had experienced.   Christ has "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."   What is the difference between “ made alive by God" and "God gives everlasting life"?
In Romans 11:7 the apostle Paul spoke of Israel's hope " What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened,
Here Paul said while the majority, of Israel had not obtained that hope, "the elect remnant of Israel had obtained it."  Therefore the elect, the remnant of Israel, had obtained the resurrection. “Past event.”

The writer of Hebrews gives us a list of Old Testament patriarchs who desired the heavenly country (Hebrews11:11:16). They did not accept deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35) Having died in faith, not receiving the promise, they were awaiting the promise of resurrection (Hebrews11:39-40). Although the time was then future, it was not in the far distant future for the city for which they looked was about to come. (Hebrews13:14)  New Testament evidence it is abundantly evident that there definitely was an "already-but-not- yet" aspect of the resurrection.

But wait one minute. Notice what the writer of Hebrews tells us about these patriarchs. He says they desired a better resurrection. Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

In the book of 2 Kings, we learned of a Shunammite woman whose son complained of a pain in his head. Within a few hours, he lay dead in his mother's lap. By faith, the woman went to Elisha the prophet. Elisha raised the boy from the dead. (2Kings 4:25-37)

Shunammite received her son raised/resurrected from physical death back to physical life again. Most Christians today who insist physical resurrection is the point of the Bible would say it doesn’t get any better than that! But hold on one more minute rather than accepting deliverance Israel’s patriarchs desired a better resurrection than a physical one. That speaks volumes about their understanding of resurrection.  This cannot be over-emphasized.

The Holy Spirit was showing the way into the Most Holy Place (Heaven) had not yet been made open as long as the first tabernacle (Temple) was still standing. (Hebrews 9:8)   With the destruction of the Temple in A.D70 the way into heaven itself was now open and therefore the time of the resurrection of Israel’s  patriarchs.

In his prediction of the resurrection, Jesus was not predicting something new — he was speaking of the hope of Israel. (Daniel 12:1-3) It must be kept in mind that Jesus came "minister to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers." (Romans 15:8)   In his ministry, Jesus did not minister to the Gentiles, but to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)  Until Israel's promises were fulfilled salvation could not come to the world because "salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22).  This is extremely important but often overlooked in the modern gentile religious world.  For if the Hope of Israel was not a physical resurrection, much more was it not a nationalistic restoration.