Quest for Truth 129 God’s Promises: Not for You! Wait! What?

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On a solo episode for this week’s quest, not even a brave Retrobot to lend a servo motor, Keith goes it alone to examine the reality of God’s promises, and why they aren’t intended for everybody. In some cases, even the people who claim them are mistaken. First we need to determine who God makes his promises to, and who he doesn’t. Then we need to see how he has different things in store for his favored people groups. The following notes are extracted from the public domain book by C.I. Scofield, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.

The Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God

“Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:32

Over half the Bible pertains to the Israelites. They have a distinct place with God. They have a unique covenant, and promises not given to anyone else. If obedient, the nation is promised earthly greatness, riches, and power;

The church also has a special relationship to God. It has also received specific promises. Similarity ends there, and a striking contrast begins.

the Gentiles are distinct from either the Jew, or the church.

Comparisons:

the Jew (Romans 9:4-5; John 4:22; Romans 3:1-2);

  • To the Jew belongs glory, covenant, promises, and from them Messiah comes.
  • Salvation from the Jews.
  • Entrusted with God’s word.

the Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-12; Ephesians 4:17-18; Mark 7:27-28);

  • Without Christ, excluded from Israel, foreign to covenant of promise, without hope, without God.
  • They have futile thoughts, dark understanding. Excluded from God due to ignorance, and stubbornness.
  • Even dogs get crumbs.

the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 5:29-33; 1 Peter 2:9).

  • Head and body, comparing relationship between Christ and the church.
  • One flesh, marriage relationship used in comparing Christ and the church.
  • A race, priesthood, nation, a possession to proclaim His glory.

The only real promises of hope along with Israel and the Church. All points contrast

Origins are different.

Israel began with the call of Abram. (Genesis 12:1)

The church doesn’t begin with Adam or the patriarchs. It doesn’t even begin during the time of Christ.

(Matt. 16:18), “Upon this rock I will build my church.”

Not, have built, not am building, but will build.

the church is not once mentioned in Old Testament prophecy, but was, in those ages, a mystery “hid in God.”

Ephesians 3:5-10,

Verses 5,6 (ESV)
5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Differences in calling and promise. (Mission and Vision)
Differences in worship and principles of conduct. (Strategy and Tactics. Dependant on the degree of obedience.)
Differences in future destiny

Calling of ISRAEL

Summary:

  • To be separate from the rest of the world, given a promised land. (Genesis 12:1)
  • Earthly abundance. (Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Genesis 24:34-35)
  • Protection from enemies. (Deuterronomy 28:7)
  • To be a privileged race. (Deuteronomy 28:13)

Calling of the CHURCH

  • Are partakers of heaven. Have citizenship in heaven. (Hebrews 3:1; Phillipians 3:20)
  • No promise of earthly home or comfort. (Matthew 8:20)
  • Enduring hunger, thirst, nakedness, homelessness, and persecution (John 16:2).
  • Poor in wealth, strong in faith. Difficult for the wealthy to inherit. ((James 2:5; Mark 10:23)
  • The least are great. Humble faith as a child. (Matthew 18:4)

Of course it is not meant that a godly Jew did not, at death, go to heaven. The distinction for the Jew is that the incentive to godliness in his case was earthly blessings, not heavenly. n this dispensation, neither Jew nor Gentile can be saved except by the exercise of faith on the Lord Jesus Christ whereby both are born again (John 3:3,16) and are baptized into the “one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13) which is “the church” (Ephesians 1:22-23).
–C.I. Scofield

In the church the distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears.

Rules of Conduct for ISRAEL

Summary:

  • Strike, cast out, no covenant, no mercy. (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)
  • Equatible justice. Harm for harm. (Exodus 21:24-25)

Rules of Conduct for the CHURCH

Summary:

  • Love, bless, and pray for those doing harm. (Matthew 5:44)
  • Endure suffering and abuse. (1 Corinthians4:12-13; Matthew 5:39)

See also:

  • Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (A rebellious son to be stoned)
  • Luke 15:20-23 (Prodigal son restored).

Contrasts in Worship

Compare

  • Leviticus 17:8-9. Can only sacrifice at the temple, or be cut off. From the gathering
  • Matthew 18:20. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (ESV)
  • Luke 1:10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. (ESV)
  • Hebrews 10:19-20. Can enter in to pray, due to the blood of Jesus.
    • Numbers 3:10. And you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall guard their priesthood. But if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death.” (ESV)
    • 1 Peter 2:5. you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (ESV)

    Future of ISRAEL

    Promises of Messiah:

    “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:31-33). (

    Of these seven promises to Mary five have already been fulfilled. By what rule of interpretation are we authorized to say the remaining two will not be also fulfilled?)
    –C.I. Scofield

    Promises of Restoration to their land:

    • Temple to be rebuilt. (Acts 15;14-16). ”
    • The outcast, and stumbling, grafted back in. The gentile, wild branch grafted in. (Romans 11:1,11, 24-26)
    • Remnant recovered from 4 corners of the globe. (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
    • Israel and gentiles returned to the land. (Isaiah 14:1).
    • Messiah rules in justice and safety. (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 32:37,38)
    • Celebrate, no judgement, no enemy, God lives among you. (Zephaniah 3:14-15)

    Future of THE CHURCH

    • A place in heaven. Prepared by Jesus. (John 14: 2, 3)
    • Both those who have died, and those alive at his return will rise, and be gathered to him in heaven. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
    • Citizens of heaven, bodies will be changed. (Philippeans 3:20, 21)
    • We will be like Jesus. (1 John 3:2)
    • Celebrate the marriage supper of the lamb. (Revelation. 19:7-9)
    • Resurrection, death has no power. Will be priests. (Revelation 20:6)

    The dangers of failing to understand which [promises don’t belong to you.

    >The Judaizing of the church has done more to hinder her progress, pervert her mission, and destroy her spiritually than all other causes combined.
    –C.I. Scofield

    The calling and promises to Israel are firmly based in this world. The church has no right to claim them. The Church has the promise of eternity in heaven. When the church has used promises intended only to Israel, it lowers, and devalues its purpose. It trades the heavenly for an earthly reward.

    Does the church try to civilize the world? Our mission is to spread the seed of the Gospel. To love, show kindness, even in the push back of hate. If the world ends up more civil, then great.

    The church has been accused of striving to acquire wealth. Earthly gain and comfort has never been promised. If God blesses us in the course of showing love and kindness, enjoy it, but it’s not a promise we have a right to claim.

    The church is criticized for the use of an imposing ritual, (or making religion itself the main thing, not God. Ever heard of people who reject “organized religion?” Or ;you get push back, with the accusation of imposing your morality on someone? The church is called to first spread the Gospel, then make disciples. In other words, first tell them about Jesus, then the morals to live as he taught. To do it the other way round is not the right way.

    Other areas Scofield claims that the church gets wrong is in the areas of: The building of magnificent churches, The invocation of God’s blessing upon the conflicts of wars, andThe dividing of an equal priesthood into “clergy” and “laity.”

    Again, stay out of worldly gain, or politics. If in the course of being kind, comfort comes your way, enjoy it, and continue using it to God’s glory, not yours alone. If kindness gives way to a growing ethic, based on the church, the body of christ, and a body of people gains the attention of a government body, that’s a nice side blessing, not the goal.

    What does it mean to have a divided group into cleric and laity? Isn’t that how it works? Within the meeting of believers, certainly some are Called to lead, or preach, or teach, and some are not. But that’s in administering the word. The mission of each believer is to be a priest. When you share the Gospel, show kindness, love, even in the response to hate, you are serving in your priesthood duty. Service of the priesthood in the church starts when you walk out the door, not when you walk inn.
    To sign off, Keith shares a weekly thought from a Twitter follower.

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