Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth


``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


 
Dispensationalism,
Israel, & the Church

The Destruction of the Temple

  

 
There are millions who see eretz Israel (the political State known as "Israel") as a veritable sacred cow that must be supported at any cost -- even at the cost of human life, peace, and the security of their own country. People who claim to be Christian are even collaborating with plans to rebuild the "Third Temple" (there've already been three, actually, if one counts Herod's rebuilding of the second Temple) in Jerusalem and restore animal sacrifices, all with no qualms about the mosque that is there and the human carnage that would ensue after tearing it down, and not realizing, apparently, that what they are doing is a direct insult to Christ's sacrifice.

This phenomenon springs from a theology called "dispensationalism," the idea that God has one plan for "ethnic Jews" and another plan for the Church. The view of history held by adherents of this theology is some variation of the following:

  • God promises Jewish people an earthly kingdom to be ruled by Messiah
     

  • The Messiah comes to offer Jews their earthly kingdom that would establish Jewish law throughout the land, but Jews reject Him, so the promise is postponed
     

  • But the Church develops, an unforseen consequence of the Messiah's Coming, and the Church Age, or the "Parenthesis Period" as far as God's plan for "Israel" goes, begins (i.e., the "parenthesis" is the "pause" in God's "real" plan, which is for ethnic Jews)
     

  • At some point, out of the clear blue, with no warnings, the Christ will come to rapture up the Church
     

  • The Rapture will be followed by the Tribulation and appearance of the Antichrist
     

  • Then 144,000 Jews preach the Gospel
     
  • After things heat up, the Battle of Armageddon will occur
     
  • Christ will come a third time, which will bring on an instant conversion of "all Israel"
     

  • God will set up His Millenial Kingdom and bind Satan. For ethnic Jews, this Kindgom will be on earth, in the natural order and with a restoration of Temple sacrifices; for the Church, its members and the resurrected Saints go to the Heavenly Jerusalem, suspended over the earthly city
     

  • Satan is loosed for a season and a revolt by some will follow
     
  • Christ comes again (a fourth time!) for the final judgement, more resurrections, and a new Heaven and a new earth

There are so many problems -- out and out heresies -- involved with this mode of thought that it's hard to know where to begin. The theological and political implications of believing that a certain ethnic group (a literal matter of either DNA or socialization such that one grows up calling one's self "a Jew") has been chosen by God, to the exclusion of other human beings, are simply morally revolting and dangerous to the goal of peace. Obviously God entered into History and did so through the Hebrews, but this Covenant was not only an honor, but a moral obligation, and one which, I will show, was open to all human beings. It had to begin somewhere, but it was not restricted to its familial origins. Families were, and are now, an integral part of the Covenants as children are included in the Covenental promises (see Genesis 17:7-13 and Acts 2:38-39, which help explain why the Hebrews circumcized and Catholics-Orthodox baptize their children), but a child who is part of these Covenants can grow up to leave it.

Let's start, though, with the idea that the Messiah came, offered to the Jews an earthly kingdom, but was killed by them instead. Jesus said in John 18:36

"My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

... and in the second parable of Matthew 25:34:

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"

His Kingdom is not an earthly one, it is spiritual -- and it has been thus from the foundations of the world! To say that Christ came to offer the genetic Jews an earthly kingdom which they refused is not only racist, but it is to call our Lord a failure and a liar. He did not come to set up an earthly Kingdom; He came to redeem us with His Passion and Blood. Just before His crucifixion, He said:

John 12:25-27
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. [NLT: "But that is the very reason why I came"!]

That some Jews misunderstood the nature of the Kingdom as revealed by the ancient Prophets is made clear by Paul in Acts 13:27:

"For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him."

Some of the Jews like Paul, Peter, Matthew, Stephen, etc., -- the remnant -- understood, said yes to Christ, and remained as Israel. Others rejected Him:

Matthew 21:33-46
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

Apparently, however, many Christians today can't read plain Scripture.
 

The Church is Israel

How much more clear does Paul have to be to show that the Church is Israel, the very seed of Abraham? Galatians 3:7-29:

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

(See more here: The Church is Israel and here: God's Promises Fulfilled)

God's Covenants never were and are not now based on race to the exclusion of those who are not biologically descended from Abraham. From the very first Book of Sacred Scripture, when God made a Covenant with Abraham, there were included people who were not the literal, physical descendants of Abraham. Exodus 12:48 reads:

"And when a stranger [ie, a non-Hebrew] shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof."

Though proselytizing the Nations was not the goal of Old Testament Israel, all were welcome to the Covenant, as all are welcome to Christ today (in fact, at the time of Christ, corrupted Judaism was a proselytizing religion as a matter of historical fact, though not as a part of the intrinsic nature of the Old Covenant 1). The literal bloodline of Abraham was important for the hereditary Aaronic priesthood and for prophetic reasons -- the prophecies of the Messiah (this is why all those boring Old Testament list of "begats" are so important!).

After Christ came, He spoke, over and over, of those who claim to be Jews but are not:

Revelation 2:9
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."

Revelation 3:9
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Foreshadowing the New Covenant, John the Baptist, too, said that the children of Abraham are not necessarily genetic descendants:

Matthew 3:7
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

What does St. Paul say about the fleshly sons of Abraham versus those sons of the promise of Abraham?

Galatians 4:21-31
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Those self-proclaimed "sons of Abraham" were the same ones whose Temple was destroyed by His judgement in A.D. 70. (see Apocalypse: The Whore of Babylon, The Beast, & the Rapture).

The Truth then is the same as it is now: Jesus Christ, prefigured in the Old Testament and predicted by the Prophets, is Lord. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Romans 11:16-21
...if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Branches were grafted in, branches were broken off, but the tree remains the same tree, and the "root" is Christ!

Isaiah 11:1, 10-12
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit... In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.

And how do those broken-off branches get grafted on again?

Romans 11:23
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

The same way as anyone else. Nonetheless, a good number of Protestant groups have come to believe that God has one plan for genetic Jews and another for Christians, thus denying some of the basic tenets of the Christian faith -- the inefficacy of the Old Testament sacrifices (though they point forward to the New Covenant) and the necessity of Christ's sacrifice for salvation!

If Jeremiah 31:31-34 isn't clear enough, I don't know what is:

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

... one more time: who is this New Covenant with? ISRAEL.

"Israel after the flesh" (i.e., modern Jews) may be grafted in again in the same way Gentiles are grafted in to the tree of spiritual Israel: repentance, faith, and baptism.

 

The Politics of this Heretical Theology

I have just now, as I am writing this, finished listening to a Real Audio file of Gershon Salomon, founder of the group "Temple Mount Faithful" whose mission it is to rebuild the "Third Temple" in Jerusalem (i.e., to rebuild the Mother of all Harlots -- see Apocalypse: The Whore of Babylon, The Beast, & the Rapture). In the recording, he is pleading, in a mournful voice, for us Christians to assist in the re-building of the "Third Temple." Here's a direct quote:

"Please, be with Israel in this exciting time. This is a test, not only for Israel, but for all the world. When you will be today with Israel, when you will be today with the Temple Mount Faithful movement, in our struggle, in our campaign to rebuild the house of God, you will be with God, you will be redeemed, together with Israel."

"We have been told that 5,000 Arabs have left Beersheba, an Israeli city, and that perhaps eventually more from all over Israel will leave. Room must be made for the ten or fifteen thousand Jewish immigrants arriving every month. We not only hope, but judging from the attitude of the Jews in the land, feel certain that the exit of more Arabs will not cause too great a hardship and loss to them." The Unholy Holy Land, by Coulson Shepherd, Moody Monthly, July, 1951  

Christians are spiritual Israel so can't be redeemed "together with" Israel -- and Christians are redeemed -- by the Blood of Christ! Any animal sacrifices that are re-instituted there will do us no good and will amount to slapping the Lord Jesus Christ in His Face! God Himself, through the Roman armies, tore that Temple down in A.D. 70. Why, in the name of all that is holy, would a Christian want to help rebuild it? What would Jesus say to His Apostles if they were together in the flesh now on earth? Would He say, "Yes, go forth and kill the Muslims that are there, starting a world war in the process. Rebuild the Temple that I warned would be destroyed and that I, in fact, did destroy. Re-institute animal sacrifices, for they have always had redemptive power. I lied when I was here the first time; my Kingdom really is of this world"? Do you believe God expects Christians to co-operate with evil in order to facilitate His return? Since when do the ends justify the means? Since when do Christians do evil so that good might come of it? This is sheer and utter madness! And while the Protestant Zionists, so courted by Gershon Salomon, bow down to the idol of eretz Israel, the security of my country, the United States of America, and of the entire world is being threatened by their "Eretz Israel can do no wrong" approach to international politics. I will not sit silently while they mock God and His Scriptures and threaten my country. No! The insanity of dispensationalism must end.
 

What does the Torah say?

I will let self-described Torah-true2 orthodox Rabbis speak for themselves. From Neturei Karta:

Today unfortunately there are many Jews who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of, and fail to, practice the basics of their faith. This is a great tragedy for many reasons. Perhaps paramount among them is the falsification of Judaism that results when those unaware of its basic assumptions speak to the general public.

It behooves all Jews loyal to their faith to proclaim to the world the truths of Judaism in as lucid a manner as possible...

...we are opposed to the ideology of Zionism, a recent innovation, which seeks to force the end of exile. Our banishment from the Holy Land will end miraculously at a time when all mankind will unite in the brotherly service of the Creator.

In addition to condemning the central heresy of Zionism, we also reject its policy of aggression against all peoples. Today this cruelty manifests itself primarily in the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. We proclaim that this inhuman policy is in violation of the Torah.

Please visit these websites: Jews Against Zionism, Jews Not Zionists, Neturei Karta, and Not In My Name: Taking Action for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (all will open in new browser windows).

 
But God PROMISED Land to the Israelites!

And He delivered on those promises:

Joshua 21:43-45
And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

1 Kings 8:56
Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

Nehemiah 9:7-8
Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before Thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed Thy words; for Thou art righteous.

God's already gave the land to the Israelites; but their keeping it was a matter of their obedience.

Deuteronomy 28:58...64
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book... the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

They failed, and the irrevocable Covenant which brought blessings through obedience, brings curses through disobedience. An analogy is marriage, which to the Church is a permanent covenant bond, completely irrevocable. A wife who commits adultery doesn't bring about the end of that marriage; she merely puts herself in the position of breaking its terms and suffering the curses that go along with violating the terms of a covenant in such a way. The marriage still exists though she won't experience its blessings. It is the same situation with modern Judaism: Jews were and are called to be faithful to their Covenant which is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Infidelity to Christ is infidelity to their irrevocable Covenant.

God's Kingdom, as shown before, is a Heavenly one. The Old Testament physical land -- promised and delivered by God, lost by the disobedient Israelites -- was but a shadow of much greater things: the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God that we are to reflect here on earth in our social order by recognizing Christ as King.

 
But -- the return of the Jews to Palestine is so miraculous! The very existence of the Jews is miraculous!

I've heard some say that the very existence of the Jews, with their language and culture, preserved even during the Diaspora, is proof that they are God's "Chosen People." But by this test, the Rom (the "Gypsies") are just as miraculous. From Russia to the United States to Spain to Canada to Mexico to India to Australia, and throughout the centuries marked by expulsions, persecutions, and Nazi concentration camps, the Rom have spoken the same language, kept their own court systems, and preserved their ancient, complex customs (which are, by the way, quite similar to that of the Jews in many ways, even down to their purity laws and concept of "marimé.") Even now, in the America of 2005, many Rom parents arrange their daughters' marriages, complete with bride prices - right in big places like New York City or Los Angeles.

The return of Jews to Palestine? No miracle of God, but the fruits of Lionel Rothschild's arrangements with England's Lord Balfour -- an arrangement ultimately paid for by the blood of German-Jewish innocents sold out by their Zionist leaders (see "Jews Not Zionists" and "Neturei Kartei" links above).

Might the return of Palestine to Jewish hands be a sign nonetheless? Of course. But the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is an evil that no Christian can wish for or assist in bringing about. God, though, can use evil for good, and what He might do in the future, if a remnant of physical Israel is saved as many Church Fathers predict and as St. Paul seems to intimate, is up to Him and Him alone. Meanwhile, we must carry on as Christians, resist evil (even if good may come from it!), and preach the Gospel to all men.

 

But isn't this -- anti-semitic?

  "No, no I say to you, it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible! Through Christ and in Christ we are spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we are all Semites." Pius XI speaking to a group of German pilgrims, September 20, 1938, quoted in Robert Martin "Spiritual Semites: Catholics and Jews during World War II", p. 18.  

If it's "anti-semitic" to say that God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all that is visible and invisible, isn't concerned with ethnic groups qua ethnic groups and doesn't condone genocide, the stealing of lands from the innocent, and re-instituting animal sacrifices after His Son gave us the ultimate Sacrifice, then so be it. All are welcome to the Father through the Son -- "red and yellow, black and white" as the song goes, Hebrews or Italians, Arabs3 or Koreans, Africans or Native Americans. God loves us all. Amen.

And to be extra-clear that the easy charge of "anti-semitism" has nothing to do with this page: Catholics worship a Semite. 4

 

See also: Notes on the terms "Jew" and "Judaism"

See also: So, you think God wants the Temple rebuilt?

See also the series: On Jewish-Catholic Relations

 
 
Footnotes

1 For evidence that Judaism was a proselytizing religion, see the writings of Cicero, Horace, Juvenal, Seneca, Tacitus, Josephus, Epictetus, Dio Cassius, and the New Testament (ex., Matthew 23:15). More evidence of Jewish proselytism are the existence of the Ethiopian Jews, the conversion of the Khazar kingdom (whence most modern Jews come; they are not genetically Semitic), the forced conversions of the Idumeans conquered by the Jewish Maccabean Kings and of slaves owned by Jews, and rabbinical writings that indicate Marcus Aurelius and Nero were converts to Judaism. Other prominent converts include: Poppaea, the second wife of Nero; Aquila of Pontus; Consul Flavius Clemens, nephew of Roman Emperor Vespasian and his wife, Domitilla, the cousin of Titus; King Monobaz of Abiabene, his wife, Helena; and King Dhu Nuwas of Yemen. In the Roman Empire, proselytism was such a huge phenomenon, that Septimius Severus issued an edict forbidding conversion of Gentiles to Judaism.
 
2 While these orthodox rabbis rightfully reject Zionism based on their interpretation of Sacred Scripture, they still accept the anti-Christ Talmud as "sacred" so are not truly "Torah-true."
 
3 Arabs are also "Semites"

 
4 Jesus also had Gentile roots, too, as a quick glance at His genealogy will show. His forebears include, for example: Tamar, a Gentile Canaanite prostitute; Rahab, another Gentile prostitute; Ruth, a Moabite; Bathsheba, who may have been Gentile, etc.


Further Reading

Apocalypse Now
The Unannounced Reason Behind American Fundamentalism's Support for the State of Israel
Zionists Made Deal With the Devil fascinating article written by a self-described "assimilated Jew" (check out his entire website!)
Book Link: Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour. Presents an eyewitness account of a Christian who lived in Palestine during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948
Book Link: Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture--And Destruction of Planet Earth, by Grace Halsell. Exposes the roots and implications of dispensationalist theology
Book Link: Judaism's Strange Gods by Michael A. Hoffman. Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament, but the formalized belief system of the Pharisees, which arose in Babylon with the commitment of the formerly oral “tradition of the elders."



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