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A Four-Fold Prophetic Reconciliation

Dr. Howard Morgan

The great promise of the Bible from both Old and New Testaments is the coming of Messiah. For millennia, Jews have diligently prayed for the coming of their Messiah, and for centuries, Christians have maintained their blessed hope of the return of Messiah Yeshua. There are, however, four reconciliations which the scriptures require before the coming of the Messianickingdom, and there are opportunities for believers as God's fellow workers (I Corinthians 3:9; II Corinthians 6:1) to help bring these things to pass.

The first reconciliation is that of the church to her Jewish roots; the second is the church to the Jewish people; the third is the Jewish people to their Messiah; and the fourth is the Messiah to planet earth. According to Acts 3:21, the heavens must literally restrain the Lord Jesus until the times of restoration of all things that the prophets have declared. In addition to this precondition, Jesus, himself, declared that he will not return to reign upon the earth until the Jewish people call him back from heaven: "You will not see me again until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). It is important to note that the saying precedes the seeing.

These passages teach the literal physical return of the Lord Jesus to earth. As we study the Old Testament we read many things that the prophets declared. Central to all of their visions and prophetic utterances was the unwavering commitment of God to restore Israel ultimately both to her land and to "David" her king, a symbol of the Messiah.

Diabolical Devices Against Israel

Since Satan knows that the return of Jesus spells his doom, he has worked throughout history to prevent the words of the prophets from being fulfilled. He has sought either to effect the genocide of the entire Jewish population of the earth or to force them to lose their national identity and distinctiveness by assimilation or conversion. In either case, if the Jews should cease to be a nation before the Lord, the words of the prophets would fail to be fulfilled (cf.Jeremiah 31:35-37). Adolf Hitler was not the first and unfortunately will not be the last instrument Satan will use.

Satan obviously believes that he can succeed in these attempts and that the Lord Jesus can be prevented from returning forever. This is why anti-Semitism, in whatever form it manifests itself, is so very evil and pervasive. It is the demonic spirit that seeks to prevent the coming of the Messiah by destroying the Jewish people.

Since the Lord Jesus must also wait for the Jews to say, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," we must consider God's plan for rovoking such a response from a people who have been temporarily and partially blinded to the spiritual truth that Jesus is the Messiah. As we study the scriptures, we will see that God has always intended to use the church as an instrument by which he will provoke Israel to jealousy (Deuteronomy 32:21; Romans 10:19; 11:11). Satan was also aware of this plan; therefore, he launched his own counter attack to seek to prevent it from succeeding. His work was subtle and up to now very effective. By gaining entrance to the church in her earliest stages, Satan was able to divert the church from the scriptural pattern and distort it into a caricature of what it was called to be (II Corinthians 11:2,3).

Greco-Roman Influences

The church became a hierarchical organization built around doctrines that were influenced by the surrounding Greco-Romanculture. The scriptures were effectively hidden from the common man, and the church, rather than the Lord Jesus, became the source of salvation. In essence a new non-Biblical (and therefore non-Jewish) religion emerged and took the place of the authentic Biblical church. Both Paul (Acts 20:29, 30) and Jude (3, 4) foresaw this tragedy and warned the church against it.

Since Satan was aware of God's plan to use the authentic church to provoke Israel to jealousy and eventually to faith in her rejected Messiah (Romans 11:11, 26), he cunningly devised a strategy to distort, change, and corrupt the once biblically based church into a non-Biblical organization that carried the name church and proclaimed itself the worshippers and representatives of Jesus. He used this structure to deprive the newly-emerging Christian religion of its Biblical relationship with the Jewish people.

Judgment on the Church

By depriving the church of its relationship with the Jewish people, Satan effectively did the following three things: First, Satan was able to bring the church under God's judgment by having it disobey the scriptural injunction not to become arrogant and boastful against its own Jewish roots (Romans 11:18-22). God said that the consequence for such an attitude would be that he could cut the church off. As we study the history of the church, we can see that such a judgment was inflicted upon it. Instead of growing as a faith-filled organism, it descended into spiritual darkness where it remained until the time of reformation. It is most interesting that the progressive loss of spirituality in the church exactly paralleled the contemporaneous rejection of its Jewish roots.

Second, by effectively destroying the church's relationship with the Jewish people, Satan was able to prevent the church from experiencing the "rich root of the olive tree" (Romans 11:17) that the history, scriptures, traditions, and heritage of the Jewish people represent. This "root-rejecting" church made it almost impossible for Jews to come to faith in Messiah Jesus and still maintain their Jewish identity. This destruction of the church's relationship with the Jewish people has resulted in great tragedy; for if individual Jews had had the opportunity to hear the true "Jewish" gospel of their own Messiah, uncorrupted by Gentile traditions, untold numbers of them would have come to faith. Then, the Jews would also have continually brought the rich root of their own cultivated olive tree, via their own heritage and background, into the church, and this would have greatly enriched the lives of the Gentile believers who throughout history have been grafted from a wild olive tree into the cultivated one (Romans 11:17,24).

Because the church's relationship with the Jews has been destroyed, it has been deprived of the "rich root of the olive tree."

Third, because the judgment of God came upon the church for her denial and rejection of Romans 11:11-32, Satan was allowed access to the church and was able to turn it into his agent of persecution and death rather than God's agent of power and witness. No one can deny the tragic, bloodstained history of the church's systematic and unrelenting persecution of the Jewish people. By perverting the church and making it an agent of death, Satan virtually destroyed the church's testimony to the Jewish people of the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. The Jews would never believe in the "founder" of this murderous religion and would obviously never call upon him to return from heaven.

As the "times of the Gentiles" are ending, God is not only restoring apostolic truth that has been lost to the church for centuries, but he is also restoring to the church a consciousness of its Jewish roots. It is extremely important for us to understand that the ultimate purpose of this new awareness is reconciliation between the church and the Jewish people, so that a "jealousy-provoking" testimony can come from the church.

More Than Academics

Mere academic understanding about the historical roots of the Christian church or "Jewish" flavorings for church services are not the reason for the Holy Spirit's move to restore the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. God's desire is that the church return to its first century Jewish mindset so that the scriptural purposes for the church can be accomplished. The apostolic truths that are being recovered in many churches, including the great overarching truth of the unity of the church, are essential ingredients in the restoration of the church. Unless the church once again becomes the powerful witness that it was at its birth, it will not be able to provoke Israel, or anyone else for that matter, to jealousy.

When the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:11-22 about his revelation of the church, he taught us that it is composed of Jews and Gentiles who are no longer separated by any walls of partition. The church is, in fact, one new man. He also went on to reveal that this new man is now brought into fellowship with God and made part of the commonwealth of Israel and fellow citizens with the saints of the Old Testament. He was giving complementary revelation to that which he wrote in Romans 11 - that is, he was teaching the church about its inheritance in, with, and among the Jewish people.

Gentiles Grafted Into Israel

For too long, the church has taught the Jewish people that they had to be "converted" to a Gentile religion, when the exact opposite is the truth. It is the Gentiles who have been, and must yet be, converted to a "Jewish" religion. Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah, who sealed with his own blood the New Covenant that was promised to the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31). The book of Acts records how God opened the Jewish New Covenant, the true Judaism of God, to all the Gentiles who believe.

This true Judaism of God touches all areas of life. It gives us a view of heaven and instruction for successful living in this life. The New Covenant scriptures were written from a first century Jewish perspective, not from a second or third century Greek or Roman per-spective. We cannot allow those pagan societies to influence how we interpret the scriptures or the realities of everyday life. Too many of our church traditions have come under the influences of an Hellenic, rather than a Biblical world view, and the church is still influenced by Greek and Roman philosophers more than by Jewish prophets and apostles.

Believers are grafted into the olive tree, the commonwealth of Israel, and are considered by God to to be "Jewish."

Christians must more and more come to see themselves as "spiritual Jews." This simply means that when a believer is grafted into the olive tree, he is made a partaker of the commonwealth of Israel and is considered by God to be "Jewish." This does not mean that one rejects or renounces his own natural culture or heritage. It means that spiritually he has joined himself to the God of Israel and, like Ruth (1:16), has become one of his own people. As spiritual Jews, believers should allow the Holy Spirit to show them the kind of relationships he would want them to have with their "spiritual cousins," the natural Jewish people.

The church must reach out in love and support to the "natural branches" of God's olive tree. As profound love, commitment, and support for Jewish people flow from Christians who have finally recognized the inherent Jewishness of their own faith, perhaps they will be provoked to study the Hebrew scriptures for themselves to see if the things prophesied about the Messiah are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

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