Critic’s Call in Day

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Dr. Brown opens the phones to all who disagree with him from any perspective on any subject, encouraging those who differ with him on social media and elsewhere to air their differences publicly. He’ll also stay on top of on any major, breaking news. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

 

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: If your positions can’t take criticism and scrutiny then you need to be more sure about what you believe.

 

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: As believers, we can differ on all kinds of secondary, minor points, but let us hold fast to the fundamental truths of the gospel.

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Other Resources:

Dr. Brown Responds to the Critics, the Crazies, and the Jew Haters

The Danger of Exaggerated End-Time Mentality and a Question for Israel’s Critics

Dr. Brown and Pastor Gino Geraci Discuss Myths and Facts About Bible Translations and Bible Interpretation

102 Comments
  1. Of course Israel is still in the betrothal period and the wedding feast is yet to come. If we have been grafted in, we are also a part of the bride.

  2. Bo,
    This is somewhat difficult, and not necessarily so straightforward, because, “The hour is coming, and now is.” [Jn 5:25]: although we are aware that we are waiting for a future union with Messiah [1 Th 4:17; 2 Th 2:1; 1 Jn 3:2], we know we are already unified with Messiah [Ro 7:1-6; 1 Co 6:17] and bearing fruit to God [Ro 7:4; Gal 4:19].

    Along the same lines, the same ones who HAVE (past-tense) overcome [1 Jn 5:4], are still under a requirement TO (future-tense) overcome [Rv 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21].

    We HAVE (past-tense) shared in His resurrection, and yet we have a HOPE (future) of resurrection.

    We WERE (past-tense) saved [Ep 2:8,9], and yet we WILL BE (future-tense) saved [Ro 5:9].

  3. And we are the Lammb’s wife, but we are not married yet…just betrothed and it would be adultery for us to go in unto another.

  4. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Not that I’m keen on continuing the discussion (even though I’m convinced I am correct, I rather wish we weren’t even having the discussion, as it is a bother), I wanted to share something: I had said that the TaNaK (the literature Paul is influenced by) has many instances of “reiteration” about singular subjects (yes, even using “and”); here is one example (in case you wanted one):

    Psalm 66
    13. I will enter Your House with burnt-offerings, I will pay to You my vows, 14. which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke in my distress.

    Are the “lips” and the “mouth” referring to two different things? No. Does the mouth speak without the lips or the lips without the mouth? No. They are one and the same: he wasn’t trying to convey that his lips vowed things which his mouth did not vow, or that his mouth had vowed things which his lips did not vow. That simply wasn’t his point.

    Peace and mercy are on “those who walk by this rule”–and they are the Israel of God. Paul is, in Galatians, turning them away from people who are purporting to offer them this exclusive entrance into the special “people of God”–and Paul is villifying them in the letter, and mocking their “specialness” and responding by saying those who obey the Truth (as opposed to those who disobey the Truth and cause others to disobey the Truth [Gal 1:6-9, 3:1-5, 5:7]) are the “exclusive people of God: Israel”. The subject of the salvation of the Jews never comes about in the entire letter. He would be shifting gears, and bringing in a brand topic (all the way at the end of his letter, by the way) if he had been doing so. No, Israel’s salvation is completely off-topic in Galatians; the topic is “who are qualified as ‘connecting to God’, and what are the bases for ‘connecting to God'”.

  5. Benjamin Warkentin,
    I think it important to make it clear that I am not saying “the Land was not promised, nor belong, to physical Israel”.

    Even if someone could persuasively argue that it was only because it was the type of Christianity I have received (it’s not as if I’ve studied the issue in depth, or heard all of the arguments), I lean toward the idea “that the Land was promised, and belongs, to physical Israel”.

    In other words, it’s not as if I have some ulterior motive (i.e., anti-Zionism) for reading the texts as though they taught that there was a spiritual Israel that included physical Gentiles; I’m just reading them in what I am convinced is the most straightfoward sensible way possible.

  6. Hi Daniel,

    Just started catching up on the posts over the last couple days. Hope you had a refreshing weekend.

    You asked, “(btw, where can the name for that “separate and distinct entity” be found in Scripture)” -Which entity are you referring to? Israel the Remnant (Israel of God) or the entity that the Gentiles belong to? Let’s take Dr. Brown for example. He, being a Jew, belongs to both the Remnant of Israel and the Church. As for me, being a Gentile, I also belong to the Church, but not the Remnant of Israel seeing that I am not Jewish. The Remnant today and the believing Gentiles of the nations are in the Church, there is no distinction when it comes to salvation regarding the Remnant and the Gentiles. Both are united into a singular entity called the Church, or body of Christ. The Remnant, the Israel of God, is only a descriptive term for believing Jews (Israel) since Israel means Israel and is never applied to the church in general, or to Gentiles in particular.

    Regarding Abraham’s seed and the commonwealth of Israel in Ephesians 2; since Gentiles become part of the seed of Abraham, does this mean they become spiritual Jews? The answer is negative; there are members of the physical seed of Abraham who are not Jews, the same is true in the spiritual realm. By comparing Galatians 3:29 with Ephesians 2:11-13 and 3:6 we can understand this best.

    2:11 “Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;

    2:12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

    2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.

    3:6 to wit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

    These Ephesians passages clarify what is meant by the Galatians statement of becoming heir to the promise. It does not mean that Gentile believers become Jews in a mystical way, but rather that they become partakers in the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants and receive this privilege by faith. This act does not make them spiritual Jews, but spiritual Gentiles. Even by being partakers, they do not share in all the facets of the covenants, but only in the spiritual blessings contained in them. Things such as inheritance of the land and circumcision, among others, are not appropriated by believing Gentiles. These elements are exclusively for the Jew.

    Also, the term seed of Abraham is used in four different senses in the Scriptures. First: it is a reference to physical seed of Abraham, both Jew and Arab. Second: It refers to Messiah who is the unique individual seed. Third: the believers today, the Church is the spiritual seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29). This seed includes Jews who are physical seed of Abraham and Gentiles who are not physical seed of Abraham who have Abraham’s faith. The question is: Is the spiritual seed of Abraham ever called Israel? The answer is: No. The spiritual seed are partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings, but are never said to become partakers of the physical, material, or national promises. And the term seed of Abraham is sometimes synonymous with the Remnant of Israel and is a reference to Jewish believers (Isa. 41:8; Rom. 9:6; Heb. 2:16). Only some of the spiritual seed are truly Israel: the Jewish believers who are also part of ethnic Israel and the Israel of God. But the spiritual seed of Abraham as a unit is never referred to as Israel.

    The case would be different if there was a statement that all believers are of “the seed of Jacob”; this would go a long way to prove that the Church is spiritual Israel or that Gentiles are spiritual Jews.

    Regarding the Olive Tree:

    “i. The “tree” into which the Gentiles were grafted (the entity with which they were unified [Jn 10:16, 11:52]) had physical Jews for roots (the believing Gentiles did not become a second tree sitting near the first; but became integrated into, and made one with, the previously-existing entity: “Israel”),
    ii. The Gentiles were sharing in the Promises belonging only to Israel [ep 2].”

    It’s true that there are not two trees. No one has expressed such. But let’s look at the Romans 11 passage regarding the Olive Tree.

    Verse 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

    The illustration is that of the firstfruit and the root, which refer to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Abrahamic covenant. They are holy because they were separated and consecrated by God for a divine purpose. Israel as a nation is the lump and the branches. The principle is based on Numbers 15:17-21: the holiness or consecration of the firstfruit and the root is passed onto the lump and the branches. Just as the firstfruit sanctifies the whole harvest, the lump, even some day all Israel will also be sanctified. The Abrahamic Covenant made with the Patriarchs is the basis for the expectation of Israel’s future national salvation.

    The natural branches are Israel and the wild olive branches are the Gentiles in verse 17:

    17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree;

    The Olive Tree in this passage does not represent Israel or the Church; it represents the place of spiritual blessing. Israel is the owner of the Olive Tree, but Israel is not the tree itself. The root of this place of blessing is the Abrahamic covenant, not physical Jews as you mentioned above. Paul is making the same point he made in Ephesians 2:11-16 and 3:5-6. Gentiles, by their faith, have now become partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings as contained in the Abrahamic Covenant. This Olive Tree represents the place of blessing and now Gentiles have been grafted into this place of blessing and are partaking of its sap. It is unnatural for Gentiles to be grafted into this place of blessing that comes out of the Abrahamic Covenant. In verse 24, Paul states that this is contrary to nature. The point that he is making is that God is doing something that is unnatural: He is bringing Gentiles into the place of blessing based on the Jewish covenants. Later Paul also gives the Gentiles a warning. The Jews were in the place of blessing as a nationality, but because of their unbelief they were broken off. Now Gentiles are to be found in the place of blessing; but if they fail in faith, they will also be broken off from the place of blessing. This section by Paul deals with nationalities, Jews and Gentiles. Then Paul points to the fact of Israel’s eventual restoration.

    In an effort to keep posts shorter, I will end this one here and take it back up with more points you mentioned above here in a bit.

  7. Benjamin,

    Are you sure that you are not just paraphrasing Fructenbaum now instead of quoting him? …or maybe somewhat quoting him without giving him credit to some extent?

    It is a total artificial construct to claim that the root is just the place of spiritual blessing but not Israel. If the root is the patriarchs, then it is Israel. Jacob is the third patriarch and his name was changed to Israel.

    The branches are individuals. Some of the natural branches have been broken off because of unbelief and we have be grafted into their places through faith. We are adopted Israelites. You talk much of Jews and Gentiles, but there is no such thing in Messiah. We are all Israel.

    We were once gentiles and strangers and foreigners. We are not anymore. Being made part of the commonwealth of Israel is to be made full citizens of Israel. And if we want to get really technical, we have been adopted into the tribe of Judah by the king of Israel who is also the Everlasting Father.

    The fact is that the name of the place of blessing is Israel. The place of blessing does not belong to Israel. It is Israel. The individuals belong to the tree.

    Verse 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

    The firstfruit and the lump is speaking of a meal offering. This is a parallel to the root and the branches. There is only the root and the branches. The whole of the tree is called Israel…the branches being the individual members.

    Shalom

  8. “What does “church” mean? From what I understand, it just means “an assembly” or “congregation”; God already had “an assembly” or “congregation” (“Israel”) in the era leading up to Messiah.
    Who were the first “members” of the “church”–to whom did the Jewish disciples of Jesus think “church” referred to [Mt 18:17]? They could not have thought He referred to anyone other than the “Jewish remnant”, or the “true Israel” (they didn’t even know Gentiles could be saved until Acts 10)–who, in faithfulness to God’s Truth (in their imperfectly justified state [Hb 11:40, 12:23]), received Messiah.
    What it seems to me is that the entity we call “the church” had its beginnings within the borders of “national Israel” (when it had the name “the Israel within national Israel–the remnant”), but that it was not intended to remain tucked away within national Israel, thus it has begun “inheriting the nations” [Ps 2].”

    – You are correct that it only means “assembly” or “congregation”. And throughout the Scriptures it is used in various ways. In the New Testament it is even used of an assembly of Pagans (Acts 19:32, 39). In classical Greek the word means only an “assembly” without any implication of it being an “assembly of the people of God”. The Septuagent reflects the classical usage as well. Its use of ekklesia to translate the Hebrew qahal when used of the assembly of Israel in the Old Testament when that assembly contained a majority of unbelievers also shows that it is not always used to represent believers in God. So ekklesia does not always mean “church”.

    Regarding Matthew 18:17, Christ had already introduced the concept of the Church (ekklesia) in Matthew 16:18 and, in that introduction it was still future. The statement in Matthew 18:17 is not stating that the Church was already here. It is simply explaining what one of the functions of the Church will be, that of Church discipline. And regarding the Remnant of Israel today, indeed they are in the ekklesia of believers.

    But from studying the book of Acts we learn that the Church does not exist until Acts 2 and Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell (one of the mysteries of the Church). Which I can unfold if you like. So the church did not exist in the OT, but had its birth in the book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, which consisted of the creation of a new man, comprised of both Believing Jews and Gentiles.

    “BTW I’ve read a little bit of it so far and it wasn’t persuasive; in fact, I already gave a response to one of his points (just because there is a “kai” there means nothing:…”

    – Fair enough. Often times reading the first bit isn’t very persuasive, it’s usually toward the end that the explanations and applications are given. I would content that kai means something, and indeed indicates a distinction. Not in salvation, but in nationality, otherwise Paul would not have included kai which would have better represented his sentiment if he was making zero distinction.

    “i. Would you agree that Jews are called “inwardly Gentile” [Hs 1:9,10; Ro 2]? If not, what do you make of them NOT being “inwardly Jewish”? If they’re NOT “inwardly Jewish” then what are they?”

    -I would disagree. If they are not inwardly Jewish, then they are outwardly Jewish, members of the non-Remnant, not belonging to the Israel of God, or what God wants them to be. Paul is talking about salvation, not nationality. He’s talking about obeying, versus disobeying. The difference is between belief and unbelief.

    “iv. Before Messiah, when a Gentile converted to Judaism, were they considered part of Israel or some separate , satellite, entity? If they became a satellite entity, what was its name?”

    -The proselyte who converted to Judaism had to join themselves to Israel since only Israel had the covenants and the law mandated they convert to Judaism. He took upon himself circumcision and the Law of Moses. In the OT Israel was the nation that was in the place of blessing and one had to join Israel as a proselyte in order to benefit from the blessings. Christ tore down that requirement and sent the Gospel to the nations. We no longer have to convert to Judaism, and indeed the Church is called a “no nation” by Paul since the Gospel was to go out to all the nations.

    “ “election” simply has nothing to do with being considered “God’s people” (as evinced by the fact that no less than God says they are “Not God’s People”, while all the time knowing they are “elect”).

    -You defeated your contention. I spoke about Israel’s position, versus their experience. As long as they are faithful and obedient they will experience the blessing of their unconditional covenants. But if they fail to believe and obey, they would experience loss of blessing. It’s the same as when God said that as long as the Sun and Stars remained, the Children of Israel would not be cast off as a nation before Him. They went into disobedience and God scattered them, but because of His love for them and the promises of the Covenants made to the fathers, he would regather them into their own land. The same is true with being God’s people. Positionally they are always God’s people, but experientially for a time they would lose the blessings of that position. God would discipline them and one day bring them back into that place of blessing because of his love for them and His promises to the fathers. Also notice that while they (Israel) “were His people”, most were not believers as evidenced by their rebellions recorded in the Scriptures. So being God’s people does not always guarantee salvation of the individual during the time of the OT.

    I’ll end this one here and pick it up again later on.

  9. Bo, I did not claim that the root was the place of blessing, the root in the Jewish Covenants.

    “You talk much of Jews and Gentiles, but there is no such thing in Messiah. We are all Israel.”

    What does it mean that there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Messiah? It means that there is no difference in how a Jew gets save and how a Gentile gets saved. There is no difference, no respect of persons. It does not matter to God if you are a Jew or a Gentile, the way of salvation is not determined on such. But Scripture does constantly and always call believing Gentiles Gentiles, and believing Jews, Jews.

  10. Benjamin Warkentin,
    “Hope you had a refreshing weekend.”
    You too.

    1. “You asked, ‘(btw, where can the name for that ‘separate and distinct entity’ be found in Scripture)’ -Which entity are you referring to? Israel the Remnant (Israel of God) or the entity that the Gentiles belong to? Let’s take Dr. Brown for example. He, being a Jew, belongs to both the Remnant of Israel and the Church.”

    -I asked whether Gentiles who joined themselves to the Jewish people UNDER THE OLD COVENANT became a separate satellite entity—and, if they did, what the name of that separate satellite entity was.

    2. “As for me, being a Gentile, I also belong to the Church, but not the Remnant of Israel seeing that I am not Jewish. The Remnant today and the believing Gentiles of the nations are in the Church, there is no distinction when it comes to salvation regarding the Remnant and the Gentiles. Both are united into a singular entity called the Church, or body of Christ.”

    -Right, we are actually the “bone and flesh” [Gen 2] of Messiah: “I have been crucified with Messiah, and it is no longer I who live but Messiah.”

    3. “The Remnant, the Israel of God, is only a descriptive term for believing Jews (Israel) since Israel means Israel and is never applied to the church in general, or to Gentiles in particular.”

    -You keep insisting that “the Israel of God” is only a descriptive term for the physical Jews, but I see no hard evidence; in fact, I see exactly the opposite: as I said before, “the remnant” is not even a topic in Galatians; Paul isn’t going to open a whole new can of worms all the way at the end of his letter, and then leave it untreated! It is far more reasonable to view “the Israel of God” as a mere encapsulation of all that which came before it (I’ve explained this in another post), as he is bringing the communication to a close—and would not wish to bring any new subject into focus. This is the logical way of viewing it. Come to think of it, he even mentions a “heavenly Jerusalem” in the same letter [Gal 4]!

    4. “since Gentiles become part of the seed of Abraham, does this mean they become spiritual Jews? The answer is negative; there are members of the physical seed of Abraham who are not Jews, the same is true in the spiritual realm.”

    -That would be a good point if it were not for the fact that we have clear reasons (which I will reiterate) to buffer us (as sands the ocean) from being led in that direction.
    First, my defense against this (would-be excellent) point is that a person teaching a metaphor does not always intend for us to draw “one-for-one” correlations—or else, for example, when Jesus says He is like the copper serpent [Jn 3:14], He is teaching that He will be destroyed because people worship Him [2 Ki 18:4]. Are you sure you want to force that?
    To extend this point, I would argue that Paul only wants to touch upon two general aspects of Abrahamic descent: those qualifying as “God’s People” and those qualifying as “Not God’s People” [Hs 1:9]. Paul’s point is that the nature of God’s objection to some of Abraham’s seed is that they can only claim PHYSICAL descent, but not SPIRITUAL (i.e., they’re “outwardly Jewish” but “inwardly Gentile”: their “circumcision is regarded as uncircumcision” [Ro 2:25], which signifies that they are “cut off from” God’s people [Gn 17:14] or “Not God’s People” [Hs 1:9] / “Gentile”); on the other hand, we God accepts believing Gentiles (they’re “outwardly Gentile” but “inwardly Jewish”: their “uncircumcision is regarded as circumcision” [Ro 2:26], which signifies they are God’s People / “Jewish”). What we see going on, here, is something of a “role-reversal” (that is a sort of mini-“theme” that is going on in Ro 2). Another aspect of this “role-reversal” (just to make the argument for “reversal of roles”—Jews being “inwardly Gentile”, Gentiles being “inwardly Jewish”; first being made last, and last first; uncircumcision being circumcision, and circumcision being uncircumcision—that much more tighter) the Jews, who had presumptuously arrogated themselves as judges (among other things [Ro 2:17-24]) presiding over Gentiles [Ro 2:1-5] will themselves be subject Gentile judges [Ro 2:27].
    Second, would you agree that Paul identifies “circumcision made in the heart [i.e., “inwardly”] by the Spirit” (which the believing Gentiles possess) with being “inwardly Jewish” [Ro 2:29]—isn’t it true that “circumcision in the heart by the Spirit” is nothing less than one of the defining traits of someone who is “inwardly Jewish”? In case you want to say that “inwardly Jewish” refers only to “physically Jewish”, isn’t it true that Paul had been comparing Jews and Gentiles throughout the entire chapter (even in the very verses nipping at the heels of v29)? Yes, I believe I’ve already proven that this was the case. Then how has the subject changed—without any signal? It hasn’t! The “inwardly Jewish” are none other than the believing Gentiles!

    5. “By comparing Galatians 3:29 with Ephesians 2:11-13 and 3:6 we can understand this best.

    These Ephesians passages clarify what is meant by the Galatians statement of becoming heir to the promise.”

    -Firstly, what I argue is that the Galatians who “obey the Truth” are called the “the Israel of God”. Here’s something interesting: “Abraham’s seed” is identified as physical “Israel” [Gn 15:5; Dt 1:10]—and, in turn, both “Abraham’s seed” [Gal 3:16] and “Israel” (in Isaiah’s Servant Songs) as “Messiah”. If believing Gentiles are identified as “Abraham’s seed” [Gal 3:29], and have “put on Messiah” (the very One identified as “Israel”), and are “unified with Messiah” [Ro 6:5; 1 Co 6:17], on what grounds are you keeping them from being included in “spiritual Israel”? What else could you want from them?
    Secondly, in that these Gentiles “were once” “alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel” and “strangers to Israel Covenants of Promise”, they are “no longer” either of these things. What are they if they are no longer “alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel”? Why are they partaking of “Covenants of Promise” which pertain only to “Israel”?
    Thirdly, these verses raise another great point (for me): the Body of Christ is the place where God “dwells”. What was it that marked the Jews as a special people on earth? The fact that God dwelt among them [Ex 33:16]. Later, Jerusalem became the more specific place God “dwelt”. Well, guess what the Body of Christ is. We (Jews and Gentiles) are that very dwelling place: New Jerusalem [Rv 21:2]! Why are you denying that Gentiles are part of a definition of spiritual Israel?

    6. “It does not mean that Gentile believers become Jews in a mystical way, but rather that they become partakers in the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants and receive this privilege by faith.”

    -The Covenants they are partaking of pertain only to the entity named “Israel”!

    7. “This act does not make them spiritual Jews, but spiritual Gentiles.”

    -Firstly, you’re conflating and confusing terms. When I say “spiritual”, I don’t mean what new-agers mean (“I’m a spiritual person”). I’m saying “spiritual Gentile” to mean “not God’s people” but you’re saying “spiritual Gentile” means “a Gentile who is a spiritual person”. I’m saying that, since “Gentile” meant “not God’s People”, a “spiritual Gentile” is someone who is “not marked by God’s presence—not God’s People—which can include both physical Jews and Gentiles”. So why would you be saying that Gentiles ascended to “spiritual Gentileness” when that would mean they were cut off from God? You’re just confusing terms.
    Secondly, on this issue of “inward Jewishness” vs “inward Gentileness”, again I ask: if the Jews in Romans 2 are NOT “inwardly Jewish” then what is left? Physically-speaking, there is no “neutral ground”—you’re EITHER Jewish OR Gentile (there’s no third option). If they are not “inwardly Jewish”, they “break God’s Law”, and their “circumcision is counted as uncircumcision”, what else could Paul have meant? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck it’s a duck! Paul is the one who raises this idea of “inwardly Jewish”, not me; if they are not “inwardly Jewish”, the only option left is that they are “inwardly Gentile—not God’s People, marked by God’s presence.”

    8. “Even by being partakers, they do not share in all the facets of the covenants, but only in the spiritual blessings contained in them. Things such as inheritance of the land and circumcision, among others, are not appropriated by believing Gentiles. These elements are exclusively for the Jew.”

    -I’ve already answered this a couple times in this post already (they are partaking in Covenants pertaining only to Israel).

    9. “Also, the term seed of Abraham is used in four different senses in the Scriptures. First: it is a reference to physical seed of Abraham, both Jew and Arab. Second: It refers to Messiah who is the unique individual seed. Third: the believers today, the Church is the spiritual seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29). This seed includes Jews who are physical seed of Abraham and Gentiles who are not physical seed of Abraham who have Abraham’s faith. The question is: Is the spiritual seed of Abraham ever called Israel? The answer is: No.”

    -Actually, as I’d already mentioned, Christian apologists are banking on Messiah being identified as “Israel” (i.e., in Isaiah’s Servant Songs)—or else Isaiah 53 does not refer to Messiah!

    10. “The spiritual seed are partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings, but are never said to become partakers of the physical, material, or national promises.”

    -Firstly, along these lines, doesn’t it say that Abraham was given a promise of inheriting the world [Ro 4:13]? Aren’t Gentile offspring of Abraham going to inherit the earth [Mt 5:5; Ro 8:32]?
    Secondly, I never argued that physical Gentiles were physical Jews—and it is a moot point if we’re talking about Gentiles becoming part of spiritual Israel. That being said, I am not 100% convinced that Gentiles are NOT going to live with Jesus in Israel in the 1,000-yr reign. I just haven’t studied that.

    11. “And the term seed of Abraham is sometimes synonymous with the Remnant of Israel and is a reference to Jewish believers (Isa. 41:8; Rom. 9:6; Heb. 2:16). Only some of the spiritual seed are truly Israel: the Jewish believers who are also part of ethnic Israel and the Israel of God. But the spiritual seed of Abraham as a unit is never referred to as Israel.”

    -If you’re saying “seed of Abraham” is synonymous with “true Israel”, since believing Gentiles are “seed of Abraham” [Ro 4, 9; Gal 3:29] how are believing Gentiles not also “true Israel”?
    You know, you keep insisting “seed of Abraham” means “remnant of Israel (Jews and no one else)” but I honestly don’t see any hard evidence.

    12. “The case would be different if there was a statement that all believers are of “the seed of Jacob”; this would go a long way to prove that the Church is spiritual Israel or that Gentiles are spiritual Jews.”

    -Well, in the absence of such a statement we have other statements (many of which I’ve already shared).

    13. “The Olive Tree in this passage does not represent Israel or the Church; it represents the place of spiritual blessing. Israel is the owner of the Olive Tree, but Israel is not the tree itself. The root of this place of blessing is the Abrahamic covenant, not physical Jews as you mentioned above. Paul is making the same point he made in Ephesians 2:11-16 and 3:5-6. Gentiles, by their faith, have now become partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings as contained in the Abrahamic Covenant. This Olive Tree represents the place of blessing and now Gentiles have been grafted into this place of blessing and are partaking of its sap. It is unnatural for Gentiles to be grafted into this place of blessing that comes out of the Abrahamic Covenant. In verse 24, Paul states that this is contrary to nature. The point that he is making is that God is doing something that is unnatural: He is bringing Gentiles into the place of blessing based on the Jewish covenants. Later Paul also gives the Gentiles a warning. The Jews were in the place of blessing as a nationality, but because of their unbelief they were broken off. Now Gentiles are to be found in the place of blessing; but if they fail in faith, they will also be broken off from the place of blessing. This section by Paul deals with nationalities, Jews and Gentiles. Then Paul points to the fact of Israel’s eventual restoration.”

    -Where did you get this term “place of spiritual blessing”? Not from Scripture: you just invented it. There is no “place of spiritual blessing” that is not also “Israel”: “Israel” is that “place” (“in you all families of the earth will be blessed”).
    Furthermore, what Paul said was that this “olive tree” represented people (i.e., physically Jewish roots and branches, and physically Gentile branches), not merely a (nameless, shapeless) “place of spiritual blessing”. The question is the common denominator for those included in the tree and for those excluded from the tree. The answer is “faith”. How did some branches get “cut off”—told, “no longer His children” [Dt 32:5] (“at one time, ‘His children’, but no longer”)? They rejected God’s Words [Jn 5:38]. The conclusion the facts lead me to is that this tree is none other than those who are accounted “God’s children”, “God’s bride” and “God’s People” (thus, that the definition for those who are excluded is “Not My People”)—i.e., “Israel”. Are the Jews in the tree somehow NOT Israel? If they ARE accounted “spiritual Israel”, then why is the tree no longer “spiritual Israel” when the Gentiles are unified with that entity?
    One last note: “Israel” is NOT the “owner” of the “tree”; rather, as I believe I’ve proven, “Israel” IS ITSELF the “tree”.

  11. Benjamin Warkentin,
    1. “You are correct that it only means ‘assembly’ or ‘congregation’. … The Septuagent reflects the classical usage as well. Its use of ekklesia to translate the Hebrew qahal when used of the assembly of Israel in the Old Testament when that assembly contained a majority of unbelievers also shows that it is not always used to represent believers in God. So ekklesia does not always mean “church”.

    -The point I was making was that what you call “the church” is nothing less than the continuation of God’s plan—which plan already had an “assembly” or “church” (irrespective whether there were times the Septuagint’s “ekklesia”, referring to “Israel”, consisted of “unbelievers”). In fact, I believe this “assembly” (which had begun before, and was continuing under, the NT) is nothing other than the “olive tree” of Romans 11.

    2. “Regarding Matthew 18:17, Christ had already introduced the concept of the Church (ekklesia) in Matthew 16:18 and, in that introduction it was still future. The statement in Matthew 18:17 is not stating that the Church was already here. It is simply explaining what one of the functions of the Church will be, that of Church discipline. And regarding the Remnant of Israel today, indeed they are in the ekklesia of believers.”

    -Yeah, this is another sort of mystery along the lines of the fact that “the Spirit had not yet been given” [Jn 7]. To what did that refer? The Spirit had obviously been given. And in what way did Abraham keep God’s Commandments? I thought it was only those who were crucified with Christ who were set free from the Law of Sin in the flesh and able to do that [Ro 7:1-8:4]—that that was a future reality? In the same way, “the church” was future and yet it was going to be comprised of those who were already a part of it.

    3. “But from studying the book of Acts we learn that the Church does not exist until Acts 2 and Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell (one of the mysteries of the Church). Which I can unfold if you like. So the church did not exist in the OT, but had its birth in the book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, which consisted of the creation of a new man, comprised of both Believing Jews and Gentiles.”

    -That’s just an arbitrary delineation. How do I know the church didn’t exist until then? Are you saying people who don’t get baptized in the Spirit are not part of the Church? The Church did not consist of Gentiles until Acts 10.

    4. “Fair enough. Often times reading the first bit isn’t very persuasive, it’s usually toward the end that the explanations and applications are given. I would content that kai means something, and indeed indicates a distinction. Not in salvation, but in nationality, otherwise Paul would not have included kai which would have better represented his sentiment if he was making zero distinction.”

    -I’ve already responded to this (post #55).

    5. “I would disagree. If they are not inwardly Jewish, then they are outwardly Jewish, members of the non-Remnant, not belonging to the Israel of God, or what God wants them to be.”

    -LOL But what are those “outwardly Jewish” people “inwardly”? Do they have no “innards” anymore? LOL

    6. “The proselyte who converted to Judaism had to join themselves to Israel since only Israel had the covenants and the law mandated they convert to Judaism. He took upon himself circumcision and the Law of Moses.”

    -Don’t you think that that reality has any bearing on the current reality—i.e., that just as they did not become a physical “satellite entity”, but were absorbed into physical Israel; Gentiles do not become part of a spiritual “satellite entity” but are absorbed into spiritual Israel?

    7. “the Church is called a ‘no nation’ by Paul since the Gospel was to go out to all the nations.”

    -No, “the Church” (Jews and Gentiles) is “the Body of Christ”, Who is “Israel”; they WERE a ‘no nation’ [Dt 32:21]; but now they are ‘God’s People’ [Hs 1:9,10].

    8. “You defeated your contention. I spoke about Israel’s position, versus their experience. As long as they are faithful and obedient they will experience the blessing of their unconditional covenants.”

    -Firstly, I don’t see the proof for how I’ve defeated my contention.
    Secondly, it is actually you who has “defeated your contention”: by definition, an “unconditional Covenant” cannot consist in blessings that can be experienced only upon satisfaction of “conditions”! LOL

    9. “…but because of His love for them and the promises of the Covenants made to the fathers, he would regather them into their own land.”

    -Didn’t God already do that 2,000 years ago?

    10. “The same is true with being God’s people. Positionally they are always God’s people, but experientially for a time they would lose the blessings of that position.”

    -You’re just plain wrong—that’s all there is to it. God says they’re not His people [Hs 1:9]; therefore (as much as I hate it when other people say it, I think I’m sort of allowed to say it because I’ve spent a lot of time making my case) “your disagreement is not with me but with God’s Word”.

    11. “God would discipline them and one day bring them back into that place of blessing because of his love for them and His promises to the fathers. Also notice that while they (Israel) ‘were His people’, most were not believers as evidenced by their rebellions recorded in the Scriptures. So being God’s people does not always guarantee salvation of the individual during the time of the OT.”

    -Actually, there was a point in time when all you had to be to be was “physically Jewish” to be considered “God’s People” (as evinced by the fact that the Jewish branches were automatically part of ‘God’s People’, but were ‘cut off’, and the fact that it says ‘they are NO LONGER HIS CHILDREN’ [Dt 32:5]—i.e., they used to be, but are no longer); somewhere along the lines (definitely, we see this principle active under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant) that was no longer sufficient.

  12. Post #63
    #7 “…they WERE a ‘no nation’ [Dt 32:21]…”

    -“Gentile believers” that is (not necessarily the entire church).

    #9 “Didn’t God already do that 2,000 years ago?”

    -Sorry, that was part of an argument that I had against rabbis believing that their return to Israel would be based on their fulfilling the Covenant at Sinai; in this case, it may have made it sound like I didn’t think the Land belongs to physical Jews.

  13. Daniel,

    1. Gotcha, thank you. Gentiles who joined themselves to Israel are referred to as ‘proselytes’. They did not become Jews but adherents of Judaism, fellow partakers of the blessings of the covenants. The New Testament also makes this distinction between Jews and proselytes in several places. Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5; Acts 13:43. In each of these passages there is a distinction between Jews and proselytes. From the Old Testament we have Ruth who converted to Judaism, and she is consistently called a Moabitess even after her conversion as seen in Ruth 1:22; 2:2; 6, 21; 4:5, 10. And again, this is dealing with physical classifications, not salvific. Salvationally, both Jews and proselytes who had faith in the God of Israel were saints.

    3. “You keep insisting that “the Israel of God” is only a descriptive term for the physical Jews, but I see no hard evidence; in fact, I see exactly the opposite:”

    – Physical Jews belonging to the Remnant. The Greek construction is the clear evidence; the inclusion of ‘kai’ indicates the descriptive difference. That is why I posted the article at the start concerning this particular. Paul stresses in multiple places that there is always a Remnant of Israel which is the ‘Israel of God’ in Galatians 6. That is also his point in Romans 11:1-10, that there is still a Remnant of Israel today. He opens no can of worms. Nowhere does Scripture call Gentiles Israel, but always calls Israel Israel, so at face value they would understand this basic meaning.

    4. This goes to show Dr. Brown’s and my point that Jews are always called Jews and Gentiles called Gentiles in the argument you provided. i.e Gentiles judging the Jews, etc. The passages are speaking of the heart, speaking of salvation. Uncircumcised Gentiles are now obtaining salvation while circumcised Jews are not, unless they are also circumcised of the heart.

    5. “on what grounds are you keeping them from being included in “spiritual Israel”? What else could you want from them?”

    – The fact that they are never called thus, but instead are always called Gentiles. There are a multitude of passages which I could cite, but here are two:

    Acts 15:17
    17 That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,

    Romans 11:13
    13 But I speak to you that are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry;

    You will not find one passage which states that Gentiles are spiritual Israel.

    – “We (Jews and Gentiles) are that very dwelling place: New Jerusalem [Rv 21:2]! Why are you denying that Gentiles are part of a definition of spiritual Israel?”

    -It is simply because Scripture never calls Gentiles, spiritual Israel. Scripture also does not say that we are the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21 tells us that the old order must pass away, and a new heavens and new earth will be created. The New Jerusalem will not need to be created though since it currently exists in the third heaven. The New Jerusalem will come down from heaven and settle on the earth adorned in beauty as a bride is adorned. Paul described this New Jerusalem as that which is free in Galatians 4:26. It was this city which Abraham was seeking according to Hebrews 11:9-10. We are not that dwelling place, but we will dwell there.

    6. “The Covenants they are partaking of pertain only to the entity named “Israel”!”

    -Correct, they were made with the nation Israel, and through Messiah’s death and resurrection, and the gospel going to the Gentiles, the Gentiles have been made to partake of the spiritual blessings. Gentiles have become part of the commonwealth of Israel, much like New Zealand is a member of the commonwealth of Great Britain. They are New Zealand, but are in the commonwealth of Britain. There is also a distinction in the branches of the Olive Tree, some are natural and others are unnatural.

    7. “So why would you be saying that Gentiles ascended to “spiritual Gentileness” when that would mean they were cut off from God?”

    -What scripture states this? And if they are cut-off from God, why does Paul constantly call believing Gentiles, Gentiles as I mentioned above? In the OT, a Gentile was cut off from God unless he became a proselyte, but the NT tells us that this barrier has been torn down and that salvation is now available to the nations.

    8. -I’ve already answered this a couple times in this post already (they are partaking in Covenants pertaining only to Israel).

    -True, but you avoided the main part about the physical blessings pertaining only to the Jews.

    9. I agree with you.

    10. “-Firstly, along these lines, doesn’t it say that Abraham was given a promise of inheriting the world [Ro 4:13]? Aren’t Gentile offspring of Abraham going to inherit the earth [Mt 5:5; Ro 8:32]?”

    – I agree. This is Paul expanding on the fact that the saints will inherit the earth once this age is over, which is true, and the Abrahamic covenant promised Abraham the land of Canaan, etc. (Gen. 17:8 etc.) Abraham and the Remnant of Israel will one day inherit the land of Israel (Canaan) as promised.

    11. “-If you’re saying “seed of Abraham” is synonymous with “true Israel”, since believing Gentiles are “seed of Abraham” [Ro 4, 9; Gal 3:29] how are believing Gentiles not also “true Israel”?”

    – I gave explanation of this. Gentiles are never called “true Israel”, though the Remnant of Israel qualifies as “the Israel of God” since they are the Israelites that have faith in Him. If we were called the seed of Jacob, or Israel, then we would be “true Israel”.

    12. “Well, in the absence of such a statement we have other statements (many of which I’ve already shared)”

    -And which I have gone into to show that never are Gentiles called Israel.

    13. “-Where did you get this term “place of spiritual blessing”? Not from Scripture: you just invented it.”

    -And where do you get that the tree is Israel? Not from Scripture, or if so, give the reference. Whereas the latter half of Romans 11 speaks strongly that Israel are the natural branches, and through national hardening they were broken off, though through faith the Remnant of Israel has stayed connected to the covenants and the Gentiles through faith have been grafted alongside them to partake of the blessings.

    “Are the Jews in the tree somehow NOT Israel? If they ARE accounted “spiritual Israel”, then why is the tree no longer “spiritual Israel” when the Gentiles are unified with that entity?”

    -The Jews connected to the Tree are the Israel of God. The Gentiles are never called spiritual Israel, but they are fellow partakers of the blessings of the covenants, which are the roots of the Tree, bringing blessings to the branches, whether they be the Remnant of Israel, or the faithful Gentiles. Again, Gentiles are always called Gentiles.

  14. 1. “Gentiles who joined themselves to Israel are referred to as ‘proselytes’. They did not become Jews but adherents of Judaism, fellow partakers of the blessings of the covenants.”

    -Please get this straight so I can stop having to repeat it: I’m not arguing that physical Gentiles became physical Jews; what I said was that those people did not become part of a satellite entity but were unified with God’s people.

    2. “The Greek construction is the clear evidence…”

    -I’ve already responded to this in a couple different ways; you have respond to the responses I’ve made.

    3. “Gentiles judging the Jews, etc. The passages are speaking of the heart, speaking of salvation. Uncircumcised Gentiles are now obtaining salvation while circumcised Jews are not, unless they are also circumcised of the heart.”

    -Please, Benjamin. Please. I never said Gentiles become Jews.

    4. “The fact that they are never called thus, but instead are always called Gentiles … Scripture never calls Gentiles, spiritual Israel.”

    -You’ve yet to respond to my points proving otherwise.

    5. “Scripture also does not say that we are the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21 tells us that the old order must pass away, and a new heavens and new earth will be created. The New Jerusalem will not need to be created though since it currently exists in the third heaven. The New Jerusalem will come down from heaven and settle on the earth adorned in beauty as a bride is adorned.”

    -New Jerusalem IS the Bride of the Lamb!

    Rev 21:9 “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

    This is what the Scripture means when it says we are being built into a dwelling place for God.

    6. “Paul described this New Jerusalem as that which is free in Galatians 4:26. It was this city which Abraham was seeking according to Hebrews 11:9-10. We are not that dwelling place, but we will dwell there.”

    -This is actually just a sort of mystery: Scripture says BOTH (we are the Temple of God [1 Co 13:5] and God and the Lamb are the Temple [Jn 2:19-21; Rev 21:22])! We are the place God lives, and God is the place we live. It kind of reminds me of the verse, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” [Jn 14:20].

    7. “Correct, they were made with the nation Israel, and through Messiah’s death and resurrection, and the gospel going to the Gentiles, the Gentiles have been made to partake of the spiritual blessings. Gentiles have become part of the commonwealth of Israel, much like New Zealand is a member of the commonwealth of Great Britain. They are New Zealand, but are in the commonwealth of Britain. There is also a distinction in the branches of the Olive Tree, some are natural and others are unnatural.”

    -Unless you know how commonwealths worked in the ancient world, you cannot just say that our commonwealths are the same as the commonwealth he referred to; what ever aspect of a commonwealth he referred to, it worked along these lines: branches were taken and unified with an already-existing entity.

    8. “What scripture states this? And if they are cut-off from God, why does Paul constantly call believing Gentiles, Gentiles as I mentioned above? In the OT, a Gentile was cut off from God unless he became a proselyte, but the NT tells us that this barrier has been torn down and that salvation is now available to the nations.”

    -Why do I have to go through this hardship? Why is this so difficult? A “spiritual” is not a “physical”!!!!!!!!! By Paul saying some Jews were not “inwardly Jewish” and that their “circumcision” was counted as “uncircumcision” he meant that they were cut off from God’s people–and IF IF IF the Gentiles were being called “SPIRITUALLY NOT PHYSICALLY Gentile” they would not be part of God’s people.

    9. “True, but you avoided the main part about the physical blessings pertaining only to the Jews.”

    -Actually, I didn’t avoid anything; I just reiterated the fact that they partook in Covenants pertaining only to the entity known as Israel–and that they did not need to partake in certain of the Covenants since partaking in some was all that was needed to show they were partaking in Covenants pertaining only to the entity known as Israel.

    10. “This is Paul expanding on the fact that the saints will inherit the earth once this age is over, which is true, and the Abrahamic covenant promised Abraham the land of Canaan, etc. (Gen. 17:8 etc.) Abraham and the Remnant of Israel will one day inherit the land of Israel (Canaan) as promised.”

    -Every other nation will be brought to an end, leaving only Israel [Jer 30:11]: if you’re not part of Israel you’re not going to inherit the world.

    11. “I gave explanation of this. Gentiles are never called ‘true Israel’, though the Remnant of Israel qualifies as “the Israel of God” since they are the Israelites that have faith in Him. If we were called the seed of Jacob, or Israel, then we would be “true Israel”

    -And I’ve already rejected your argument and given my points. You have to actually respond to those points–so far you have not done so.

    12. “And which I have gone into to show that never are Gentiles called Israel.”

    -Again, you’ve actually shown nothing since you haven’t responded to any of my responses.

    13. “And where do you get that the tree is Israel? Not from Scripture, or if so, give the reference.”

    -I’ve already given my argument for it. You have chosen not to respond. See, this pretending you are doing is why I don’t to be in this discussion. You skip over points you don’t want to answer, and you pretend that points are not made, and then you pretend you have made a point when you simply haven’t. You haven’t made any point at all if all you’ve done is pretended there was nothing to respond to. It really pains me to have to go in circles and play these games with you. Please please please stop or just end the conversation. I don’t want to have to keep repeating and re-repeating and re-clarifying and reiterating. PLEASE! I’ve had enough!

    14. “The Jews connected to the Tree are the Israel of God.”

    -There, now you rightly call the tree israel! LOL

    15. “The Gentiles are never called spiritual Israel, but they are fellow partakers of the blessings of the covenants, which are the roots of the Tree, bringing blessings to the branches, whether they be the Remnant of Israel, or the faithful Gentiles. Again, Gentiles are always called Gentiles.”

    -You can pretend that you have made a point but you’ve answered nothing.

  15. Benjamin Warkentin,
    3. “Gentiles judging the Jews, etc. The passages are speaking of the heart, speaking of salvation. Uncircumcised Gentiles are now obtaining salvation while circumcised Jews are not, unless they are also circumcised of the heart.”

    Let me give a better response. I thought you were saying that the fact that the Gentiles were being called Gentiles, and recognized as uncircumcised, was the proof they were not inwardly Jewish–I didn’t carefully read, because I was honestly sick and tired of reading the same point over and over.

    It is not “Jews who are inwardly Jewish” the Jews in Ro 2 are being compared with over and over and over; rather, it is the Gentiles (who have all the marks of Jewishness) they have been being compared against throughout the entire chapter who are the “inward Jews”. I’ve already given arguments for this, but you haven’t responded.

    Ro 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    A Jew is one inwardly:
    i. Circumcision of the heart by the Spirit
    ii. Seeking and obtaining praise from God

    What else marked Jews?

    Ro 2:17But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law … 18and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—

    THE LAW AND BEING A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS!

    Tell me whether you think the believing Gentiles lack any of the distinguishing traits of a Jew (inwardly):
    i. the Law (written on their heart) [Ro 2:12-15], and being a light to the nations [Mt 5:14-16; Pp 2:15]
    ii. circumcision of the heart [Col 2:11; Pp 3:3]
    iii. praise from God (“praise” has to do with “approval” thus “acceptance”–the opposite of “condemnation” thus “rejection” [Jn 6:37, 9:34; Ro 8:1, 35, 37])

    Isn’t the ENTIRE case Paul is making that these believing Gentiles are inwardly Jewish??? “Written on the heart”, “counted as circumcision… [circumcised in the heart–the inward person] by the Spirit”? My God! Benjamin, how could you be missing this? It’s staring at you right in the face!

  16. Benjamin Warkentin,
    13. “And where do you get that the tree is Israel? Not from Scripture, or if so, give the reference.”

    -I already gave the argument.

    It is really frustrating that you either don’t read what say (when I spend my time and energy making the argument), read it and skip over it, or just plain to understand it. Don’t expect me to stay in a conversation where you are doing this.

  17. Daniel,

    1. “-Please get this straight so I can stop having to repeat it: I’m not arguing that physical Gentiles became physical Jews; what I said was that those people did not become part of a satellite entity but were unified with God’s people.”

    -Which I also agree with. I have always said that Jews and Gentiles today are unified into one body. And I have always said that the Israel of God is also part of that one body, along with the Gentiles. We are connected to the same Tree. And just like there is unity in the Godhead, yet there is distinction, so it is among the saints.

    2. “I’ve already responded to this in a couple different ways;”

    -But in no way that dealt with the argument, which was a Greek argument. And even though scholars have spent many years studying Greek, that does not mean that we don’t have to interact with it if we ourselves have not spent the time. It means we should all the more take to consideration what they say.

    3. “-Please, Benjamin. Please. I never said Gentiles become Jews.”

    -My point was that they are never called Israel spiritually either.

    4. “-You’ve yet to respond to my points proving otherwise.”

    -This is indeed a debate involving many circles since I have been saying that as of yet, no evidence has been provided. Not one passage stating that Gentiles are spiritual Israel. Yet you will say that you have.

    5. “New Jerusalem IS the Bride of the Lamb!”

    – New Jerusalem is a city which comes down. The bride dwells in that city. You will notice in Revelation 21:10-22:5, that there is a very picturesque graphic description of the eternal abode of the wife of Messiah in the New Jerusalem on the new earth. The bride dwells in the New Jerusalem.

    6. Point 6 harkens back to point 5.

    7. I used an analogy, which are never perfect, nor exact. That is a given and the point stands.

    8. Again, never are Gentiles called spiritual Israel. And I was not the one that gave the definition of Gentile as meaning “cut-off”. In fact, Adam and Noah and all before Abraham Isaac and Jacob who were faithful to God, were Gentiles.

    9. “-Actually, I didn’t avoid anything; I just reiterated the fact that they partook in Covenants pertaining only to the entity known as Israel–and that they did not need to partake in certain of the Covenants since partaking in some was all that was needed to show they were partaking in Covenants pertaining only to the entity known as Israel.”

    – And which covenant(s) are they partaking off? The main root is the Abrahamic, which consists of many physical blessings, as well as spiritual. Though the Gentiles are not partaking of the Physical, those are promised to the nation Israel.

    10. Scripture also states the nations will still be there, such as Zechariah 14:16-19. There are passages which speak of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Assyria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and two desolate spots, Babylon and Edom in the Messianic Kingdom. Though we then come to the Eternal Order, in which believers will inherit the New Heavens and New Earth and the New Jerusalem being described in the closing chapters of Revelation.

    11. Then I guess we both are disappointed with each other’s explanations. It may be time to shake hands and move on.

    12. Same here since I feel I have overwhelmingly responded. Though you feel unsatisfied.

    13. “I’ve already given my argument for it. You have chosen not to respond. See, this pretending you are doing is why I don’t to be in this discussion. You skip over points you don’t want to answer, and you pretend that points are not made, and then you pretend you have made a point when you simply haven’t. You haven’t made any point at all if all you’ve done is pretended there was nothing to respond to. It really pains me to have to go in circles and play these games with you. Please please please stop or just end the conversation. I don’t want to have to keep repeating and re-repeating and re-clarifying and reiterating. PLEASE! I’ve had enough!”

    -I feel the same Daniel. I am not pretending. We can sit here and point the finger at each other since I too feel that you have not addressed many of my points, which you claim don’t exist. Or we can agree to drop it and move on. It would be tiring to go back and re-quote them.

    14. -There, now you rightly call the tree israel! LOL

    -Oh Daniel, now you’re being silly. I said that “the Jews” connected to the Tree “are the Israel of God”, I did not say that the Tree was the Israel of God, but that the Israel of God was connected to the Tree. You also did not address where Scripture says that the Tree is Israel. Unless your referring to where you said that the Jews are the roots, in which I responded and said that the Covenants are the roots.

    15. “-You can pretend that you have made a point but you’ve answered nothing.”

    -This stated right after you quoted the answer. Daniel, this is going nowhere. It’s come down to a finger pointing match where you say that you have already addressed a point I made, when I certainly feel that you have not. And visa verse. Let us embrace and promise each other to continue to seek and draw near the Lord and to seek His wisdom in this matter.

    I must leave and head home for an extended weekend. I may find some time this weekend to check the forums, but it may not be till Monday. Have a great weekend.

  18. Benjamin Warkentin,
    1. I said: “what I said was that those people did not become part of a satellite entity but were unified with God’s people.”

    You responded: “I have always said that Jews and Gentiles today are unified into one body. And I have always said that the Israel of God is also part of that one body, along with the Gentiles. We are connected to the same Tree. And just like there is unity in the Godhead, yet there is distinction, so it is among the saints.”

    -The problem with your explanation is that the tree is, at the same time as being comprised of physical people, a spiritual entity. Was it that “national Israel” was physically removed–and that “spiritual Israel” physically remained–with respect to some physical location? No.
    Then the tree simply represents those who are accounted “God’s child / bride / people” (as I said before); since the Gentiles were grafted in / unified with them, they are members of “God’s child / bride / people”. The believing Gentiles did not become a part of a separate spiritual entity but were made one with that spiritual entity which existed before they ever heard about Jesus: Israel.

    2. “But in no way that dealt with the argument, which was a Greek argument.”

    -Again, I’ve already responded to this as much as I am going to, and have asked you to share EXACTLY WHAT POINTS (from the documents which other men worked on that you are citing as your answers) you wanted me to respond to. I already told you I wasn’t going to allow you to give me large articles I’d have to rifle through to find what ever points you thought were persuasive and answer to them. I asked you to provide me with a brief summary of the points you thought were strong.
    As far as the “Greek” argument goes, if you’re talking about “kai” I’ve already responded and it is moot.

    3. “And even though scholars have spent many years studying Greek, that does not mean that we don’t have to interact with it if we ourselves have not spent the time. It means we should all the more take to consideration what they say.”

    -As you have proven you are wont to do, you misunderstood me. This really is frustrating. What I said was that you can’t presume to answer me by citing work other men have done and then expect me to waste my time going through it to find what you thought was persuasive and wanted me to respond to. To remedy this, I simply asked you to share with me exactly what it was you thought was so persuasive. You’ve yet to do that. I’m becoming convinced you don’t even read what I write.

    4. “…since I have been saying that as of yet, no evidence has been provided. Not one passage stating that Gentiles are spiritual Israel.”

    -I don’t believe you’re going to find an exact formula that says “the remnant of the Jews are accounted as the spiritual Israel”, either: both of these must be deduced (one slightly more than the other). I have provided many proofs–to which you, as you are wont, have seen fit not to respond.

    5. “New Jerusalem is a city which comes down. The bride dwells in that city. You will notice in Revelation 21:10-22:5, that there is a very picturesque graphic description of the eternal abode of the wife of Messiah in the New Jerusalem on the new earth. The bride dwells in the New Jerusalem.”

    -First, the problem you that makes your response lacking is self-evident: after John is told he would see the bride of the Lamb, nothing but a city is described!
    Secondly, did you notice that city is described as “the dwelling place of God”? Guess who else is the “dwelling place of God”. The church. The reason it is called “Jerusalem” is because that was the place where (during the times leading up to Messiah) God lived; the “new placed God lives” is the church.
    You know, it’s all relatively straightforward.
    Thirdly, both our physical and spiritual bodies are referred to as “dwelling places” (the physical body a “tent” and the spiritual body “dwelling” [1 Co 5:1,2]; “cities” consist of such “homes”.
    We are ourselves that city.

    How many different ways did you want this point proven before you admitted your error? LOL

    6. “Again, never are Gentiles called spiritual Israel.”

    -You haven’t responded to Gal 6 argument (that “Israel of God” makes no sense as “the Jews” and total sense as a summation of all the points which he had brought up before), the Ro 2 argument (Gentiles have all the marks of Jewishness inside themselves–and it was they who Paul had in mind as as “inwardly Jewish”, being that there was an ongoing comparison in the chapter between the two groups), and the Jer 33:11 (irrespective your bringing up a 1,000 yr time period) argument still stands (I don’t need to understand how it works; I trust God’s Word that says all nations but Israel will be brought to an end)–and your Ro 11 argument has been rebuffed.

    7. “And I was not the one that gave the definition of Gentile as meaning ‘cut-off’. In fact, Adam and Noah and all before Abraham Isaac and Jacob who were faithful to God, were Gentiles.”

    -Paul is not speaking of 100% of the “Gentiles”, but with respect to a worldview which came into being with the birth of the nation of Israel (perhaps even with Abraham?): “Israel” was regarded as a nation distinct from all the other “Nations” / “Goyim”, in that they were “God’s People” (marked by God’s presence) and the rest of the “Nations” / “Goyim” were “Not God’s People” (and not marked by God’s presence).

    8. “And which covenant(s) are they partaking off?”

    -It is irrelevant which they are partaking in: the reality is that if they they are “no longer strangers”, and are partaking of Israeli “Covenants of Promise”, this is proof that they qualify as partakers of Israeli Covenants of Promise which they did not when they were “strangers” (not part of Israel).

    9. “Scripture also states the nations will still be there, such as Zechariah 14:16-19.”

    -Firstly, I believe the verses you’re referring to are the 1,000-year reign (not the very end).
    Secondly, if it is the case that every nation except “the Israel of God” is going to be brought to an end, there is no need to explain the specifics: the fact remains that if someone is not part of that eternal nation they will not exist in the future. Only those who are part of it will exist.
    Don’t you believe that? I do.

    10. “It may be time to shake hands and move on.”

    -That would actually be ideal.

    11. “the Covenants are the roots.”

    -The Covenants are not the roots; never once is the tree said to consist in anything but physical humans–some of whom have been cut off, and others who’d been grafted in–and this tree is none other than those considered “God’s child / bride / people”, which is “Israel”, and includes the believing Gentiles so that they are not accounted among “the nations” who will be wiped off of the face of the planet in the future.

    14. “Daniel, this is going nowhere.”

    -We didn’t end up “nowhere” for lack of my trying; this has been dragging on for me for quite some time.

    15. “Have a great weekend.”

    -You too.

  19. Benjamin Warkentin,
    2. “…I already told you I wasn’t going to allow you to give me large articles I’d have to rifle through to find what ever points you thought were persuasive and answer to them.”

    How am I supposed to know what points you thought were persuasive? Am I supposed to treat ENTIRE WRITINGS of every man you cite? This is what I’d said before: I’m not going to give thorough responses to other men’s work (though I will responses to a BRIEF SUMMARY).

  20. Benjamin Warkentin,
    re: post #71
    #1. I said:
    “The problem with your explanation is that the tree is, at the same time as being comprised of physical people, a spiritual entity. Was it that ‘national Israel’ was physically removed–and that ‘spiritual Israel’ physically remained–with respect to some physical location? No.
    Then the tree simply represents those who are accounted ‘God’s child / bride / people’ (as I said before); since the Gentiles were grafted in / unified with them, they are members of ‘God’s child / bride / people’. The believing Gentiles did not become a part of a separate spiritual entity but were made one with that spiritual entity which existed before they ever heard about Jesus: Israel.”

    The thing is that I have Scripture proving the Gentiles are unified with “the Israel of God, which is God’s child / bride / people”, and that they are “inwardly Jewish”; but you don’t have any Scriptural for grounds for drawing this arbitrary line of distinction between “spiritual Israel” and (what you call) “spiritual Gentiles” (again, someone who is “spiritually Gentile” is not part of “spiritual Israel”–they are “Not God’s People”, as He said about the nation when He put them on the level with all other Gentile nations [i.e., in that Paul interprets this as having direct application and reference to Gentiles–in that they were literally “Not God’s People”–being saved]).

  21. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Along the lines of #73:

    Ep 2:15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself ONE NEW MAN IN PLACE OF THE TWO, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

    What is the “one new man”? The “NT recasting” of God’s People, Israel! Anyone familiar with Scripture knows that Israel was treated as a corporate “individual” (e.g., God tells Pharaoh “Israel is My son” [Ex 4:22]); now Gentiles are part of “Israel… My son”.

  22. Dan1el,

    You make some very good points above. If you could just see that once we are grafted/adopted into Israel, and are now partakers of the covenants that we should be holy to YHWH by keeping His every word. There is one law for the stranger and the homeborn Isrealite. The new covenant puts within us a love for YHWH’s law and thus His commandments are not grievous. YHWH’s seventh day Sabbath should be a delight to us. We should want to only eat what He tells us is clean to eat. Messiah died to produce a people that were zealous for the good works that were before ordained in YHWH’s word that we should walk in.

    Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

    Ro 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
    2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

    Paul tells us that YHWH before ordained good works for us to walk in. He Tells us that the OT scripture thoroughly supplies us with what those good works are, not to mention true doctrine, instruction in righteousness, etc. He tells us that Messiah died to produce in us an extreme desire to do those good works. He also tells us that the Jew has an advantage because he has had generation after generation of knowing YHWH’s law. Now we have the same advantage, and even more than the Jews of the first century, because we have it in print in our homes and search engines and concordances, etc.

    Nu 15:28 And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
    29 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
    30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
    31 Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

    Ac 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

    1Jo 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
    5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
    6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
    7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

    1Jo 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    The law of Moses only provided for the covering of unintentional sin. It also tells us what things are sin. We still sin if we transgress the law and are not walking in righteousness and holiness when we break the Sabbath or eat unclean animals or refuse to keep YHWH’s feasts or sleep with our wives during their periods or steal or covet or fail to teach our children YHWH’s commandments or dishonor our parents, etc. Messiah’s sacrifice covers our intentional sins when we repent and trust in Him. The sins are still sins and we should see them as such and stop doing them else we prove that we are lying about knowing YHWH.

    De 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
    11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
    12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
    13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
    14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

    1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
    3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    It is not only possible, but proof of our love for YHWH and our neighbors and our brothers that we keep YHWH’s commandments. It is only possible if we have YHWH’s law in our hearts and in our minds. We must know it and love it. The latter is made possible by the new covenant which writes it on our hearts. Having it written on our hearts is an idiom that means that we love it or want to do it. When we want to do it, we want to know it. When we want to know it, we are diligent to read/learn it. Then it is not too difficult for us. Then it is not grievous to keep YHWH’s commandments and we thus keep them and prove our love.

    De 29:12 That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:
    13 That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
    14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
    15 But with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:

    We are some that did stand there that day. The covenant is made with us. We are no longer gentiles that are strangers from this covenant. We are part of YHWH’s people. Part of Israel…grafted in strangers that are no longer strangers. There is one law for the homeborn and us that have been grafted in. The law for the homeborn has not changed.

    De 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
    2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
    3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
    4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
    5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
    6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
    7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
    8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
    9 And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
    10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
    11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

    Those that YHWH returns to the land must apply themselves to keeping His commandments. Specifically the ones that are contained in Torah and especially Deuteronomy. He does not say that they can just believe in Y’shua and enter some new kind of new covenant that changes the law. The new covenant changes our hearts not the law. A circumcised heart keeps YHWH’s law. If we are grafted in to Israel, all this applies to us. If we say it does not apply to us, we have separated ourselves from Israel.

    Isa 56:3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree…
    6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
    7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

    If we want to be allowed access to YHWH’s house of prayer, we must take hold of His covenant and keep His sabbath and love His name. We must become His servants by obeying His every word. For we are the servants to whom we yield our members servants to obey. If we do not, we are servants of sin unto death.

    Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    Re 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

    Re 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    Shalom

  23. Bo,
    LOL Trust me I am biting at the bit but I have to control myself and not get into that debate.

    Benjamin Warkentin,
    I came here because I believed I had another good point, but Bo’s message distracted me and I forgot LOL

  24. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Post #71
    #5

    Rev 21:2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    The city is the bride.

  25. Benjamin Warkentin,
    I think I remembered what I wanted to say the other day when I was distracted by Bo’s post.

    Though I know we rely on knowledge to read the Bible, and that scholars of Greek are supposed to possess a great deal of this knowledge we depend on, there are times when I think even the best scholars just get things wrong–when they, as it were, “miss the forest for the trees”.

    Take, for instance, the way Bruce Metzger (“From 1977 to 1990, he chaired the Committee on Translators for the New Revised Standard Version” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_M._Metzger) translates Romans 4:1.

    Romans 4:1 NRSV What then are we to say was GAINED BY ABRAHAM, OUR ANCESTOR ACCORDING TO THE FLESH?

    In terms of the knowledge of Greek, I have no grounds to contradict anything he says; in terms of reading a Bible in context (and with prayer), however, I think I may have grounds to side with another interpretation.

    Romans 4:1 NKJV What then shall we say that ABRAHAM OUR FATHER HAS FOUND ACCORDING TO THE FLESH?

    Is the question Paul asks specifically about what “Abraham *their ancestor* had found”, or about “Abraham, their forefather *had found* according to the flesh”?

    *Ancestor* according to the flesh
    vs.
    *Found* according to the flesh:

    Insisting that the phrase “according to the flesh” belongs to “forefather” is redundant (since the point that “Abraham” is their “forefather” has already been made with “our forefather”)
    Insisting that the phrase “according to the flesh” belongs to “forefather”, I think, does injustice to the larger context: an argument about methods of justification! Paul, making the same argument (sorting out the the true Gospel of “justification by faith” from a false one of “reliance on the works of the Law” [Ro 2:17; Gal 1:6, 3:1-6, 5:2-4,7]), equates “works of the Law” with “the flesh”!

    Gal 3
    3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected bya the flesh? … 5Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—6just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

    There is a solid basis for why a person may insist on reading Romans 4:1 as “has found according to the flesh”: “finding according to the flesh” means “finding JUSTIFICATION according to the flesh” (since that is the context of Ro 4:1–whether “flesh” will be “justified before God” “by the works of the Law” [Ro 3:19,20] or not)! It is evident that *what* Abraham had “found” was “justification”, and we know that the method he “found” it was not “according to the flesh”–not “by the works of the Law”–and the entire argument that follows [vv2-5] mirrors this reality:

    Ro 2
    2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
    3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
    4Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
    5And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…

    The method whereby Abraham “found” (justification) was “faith” (equated with “God being the justifier of the ungodly” or “the Spirit”) and not “works of the Law” (equated with “flesh”)!

    We all know there are textual variants, and that this may have been one of the reasons for the way Bruce Metzger translated Ro 4:1 the way he did; but, if I remember correctly, one of the Revelation manuscripts that is relied on “heavily” (the words of one of the “scholars”, not myself) has “616” for its “number of [the beast’s] name” (there go everyone’s contrived-gematria-based conspiracy theories! LOL)–though much of the rest of that manuscript has apparently made it into the mainstream, the “616” hasn’t has had no such luck: apparently, people choose which parts of which manuscripts they want to show up in their version of the Bible!

    Romans 4:1 1894 TR
    Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν Ἀβραὰμ τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν εὑρηκέναι κατὰ σάρκα;

    Romans 4:1 NA 28
    Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν εὑρηκέναι Ἀβραὰμ τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα;

    Apparently, there’ve been some updates to made to the text; knowing only the context, I would say that this one is a mistake.

    In other words, I don’t necessarily have to agree with someone just because they know, or are a scholar of, Biblical Greek. No one is beyond questioning except God.

  26. I believe it was far more important for Paul, in this context (an argument about methods or grounds of “justification”), to stress the connection between “thinking you will find justification by works of the law” and “the flesh” than it is for him to stress the connection between “Abraham our forefather” and “the flesh”: we NEED to hear that seeking to “find” justification by the “works of the law” is indeed “the flesh” [Ga 3:1-5], and a trap to keep you enslaved to the sin of boasting [Lk 18:11; Ro 4:2]; we DO NOT NEED to hear that Abraham is the forefather of the Jews.

  27. Aside from this, Dr. Brown has said, himself (post #7 at http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2015/04/17/dr-brown-answers-your-questions-77/), that (though N.T. Wright’s Greek is “light years beyond” his own) he disagrees with Wright’s replacement theology (note: I also disagree with his replacement theology).

    In other words, here we have scholars of the Biblical languages (Drs. Brown & Wright) differing with one another: even scholars can disagree with one another–and a scholar whose grasp of a language in which a text is found can be certain that he has a more accurate appraisal of the text than someone more knowledgeable than he is in that language based on the fact that he is convinced that he has a better grasp of the greater context of the whole of Scripture.

    In other words, your citing a person who differs with me and knows Greek is not “unassailable proof” for the veracity of your claims–far from it! Even scholars disagree with scholars–and even scholars who know less than other scholars can disagree with their more knowledgeable counterparts!

  28. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Come to think of it, Jer 33 may not be directly applicable to “spiritual Israel” (into which entity Gentiles are grafted, and with which entity they are unified), though “spiritual Israel” was exiled from “the physical land of Israel” (e.g., Daniel in Babylon) just as “national Israel” was exiled from “the physical land of Israel”.

  29. Benjamin Warkentin,
    As much as I hate my name appearing so many times on LOF’s homepage, I have something else thing to add.

    There is another verse I recently read (chabad.org’s mailings have me reading a lot more Psalms) that I thought might reflect my position:

    Ps 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

    Isn’t this qualifying those “pure in heart” as an “Israel”? But what kind of an “Israel”–any person who is a member of Israel? In that case, would it cover the Jewish crowd Jesus prophetically rebuked as being idol / demon-worshippers [Jn 8; 1 Co 10:20]? Are THEY the “pure in heart”? Even though they are irrevocably part of an “Israel” they do not qualify; therefore, I have reason to believe this is a *general* (“those”) condition set forth for being qualified “Israel”.

    The Jews, despite their Jewishness, are not all Israel; the Gentiles, despite their Gentileness, are not all Gentile (the believers are inwardly Jewish).
    This is the same thing that happens with other facets of this issue:
    i. the Jews, despite their possessing knowledge of the Law, are not all lawkeepers; the Gentiles, despite their ignorance of the Law, are not all lawbreakers (the believers have the Law written inwardly).
    ii. the Jews, despite their possessing circumcision in the flesh, are not all inwardly circumcised; the Gentiles, despite their lack of circumcision in the flesh, are not all inwardly uncircumcised.

  30. Benjamin Warkentin,
    re: Post #62, Response #4
    It is important to see that Ro 2 sets forth a DICHOTOMY:

    [7,8] Eternal Life OR Wrath
    [8] Obey Truth OR Obey Unrighteousness
    [12] Without Law OR Under Law
    [12,13] Justified OR Condemned
    [13,14] Hearers of Law OR Ignorant of Law
    [19] A Light OR In Darkness
    [25,26] Circumcised OR Uncircumcised
    [27] Law-keeper OR Law-breaker

    (Of Particular Import:)
    [1-29] Jewish OR Gentile

    …there is no “third option” presented in Ro 2 (again, it is so clear that it is a dichotomy that is being set forth); thus, to claim that these Gentiles (who have all the marks of Jewishness–only “INWARDLY” even if not “OUTWARDLY”) are not Jews but should be compared with an Ishmael or an Esau does not at follow.

    Come to think of it, besides the points I’ve made, these “members of the physical seed of Abraham who are not Jews” you speak about (e.g., Ishmael, Esau) do not really have good things said about them. Why would you want them to be types believing Gentiles fulfilled? Makes no sense.

  31. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Actually, these other physical descendants of Abraham (“Ishmael” and “Esau”) are exactly what unbelieving Jews correlate to–and are exactly what believing Gentiles are not (rather, they correlate to Isaac) [Ro 9:6-13; Gal 4:21-31]!

  32. Dan1el,

    You wrote:
    “LOL Trust me I am biting at the bit but I have to control myself and not get into that debate.”

    I didn’t want a debate. We have done that many times. I was hoping that you would see that your correct stance on being grafted into Israel is at odds with your stance on not keeping YHWH’s torah. Benjamin’s stance is consistent but wrong on both counts.

    Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
    13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ…
    19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

    Nu 1529 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
    30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

    Doing persumptuously is disobeying YHWH’s law after knowing what it says. We can be forgiven through Messiah’s sacrifice for this, but it is still a sin and we are supposed to refrain from sin.

    Jer 31:31 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:
    33 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.

    The new covenant is only with Israel and Judah. We must be grafted in to partake. The new covenant does not replace any of YHWH’s covenants that we were strangers from before we were grafted into Israel. The new covenant does not replace YHWH’s law, it is supposed to cause us to love (write on our hearts) YHWH’s law and thus cause us to keep it. There is only one law for the native born Israelite and the stranger that is part of Israel. That law is YHWH’s torah. We will receive our position in Messiah’s kingdom according to how well we keep it and teach others to keep it.

    Mt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Shalom

  33. Bo,
    There will be no discussion on this here: I disagree with your interpretation of the Scriptures and I’ve given my reasons why. You are free to do with that information as you will (reject, object, disregard–what ever).

  34. Daniel,

    In response to post #71

    1. “Then the tree simply represents those who are accounted “God’s child / bride / people” (as I said before); since the Gentiles were grafted in / unified with them, they are members of “God’s child / bride / people”. The believing Gentiles did not become a part of a separate spiritual entity but were made one with that spiritual entity which existed before they ever heard about Jesus: Israel.”

    – I agree that “God’s Children, Bride, People” are connected to the Tree. I also agree that Gentiles do not become a separate entity, I have never stated otherwise as you noted in your #1 quote. I merely showed that there is diversity within unity (men/women, Jew/Gentile, etc. Rom. 3:29-30)

    2. Regarding the ‘Israel of God’ being the Church and the use of ‘kai’ I will try to condense some of the points requested, I have cut out everything not dealing with Kai;

    “Johnson rejects this view on three grounds. The first is for grammatical and syntactical reasons [Ibid., pp. 187-188]. The first is that this view must resort to a secondary or lesser meaning of kai:

    “It is necessary to begin this part of the discussion with a reminder of a basic, but often neglected, hermeneutical principle. It is this: in the absence of compelling exegetical and theological considerations, we should avoid the rarer grammatical usages when the common ones make good sense” [Ibid., p. 187].

    “Because the latter usage serves well the view that the term “the Israel of God” is the church, the dogmatic concern overcame grammatical usage. An extremely rare usage has been made to replace the common usage, even in spite of the fact that the common and frequent usage of and (kai) makes perfectly good sense in Galatians 6:16” [Ibid., p. 188].

    Second, Johnson points out that if Paul’s intention was to identify the “them” as being the “Israel of God,” then the best way of showing this was to eliminate the kai altogether. As shown earlier, this was exactly what Hendriksen wanted to do by leaving kai untranslated. The very presence of the kai argues against the “them” being “the Israel of God.” As Johnson notes, “Paul, however, did not eliminate the kai” [Ibid., p. 188].

    The second ground for rejecting this view is for exegetical considerations, which deals with context and usage. Concerning usage, Johnson states:

    “From the standpoint of biblical usage this view stands condemned. There is no instance in biblical literature of the term Israel being used in the sense of the church, or the people of God as composed of both believing ethnic Jews and Gentiles. Nor, on the other hand, as one might expect if there were such usage, does the phrase to ethne (KJV, “the Gentiles”) ever mean the non-Christian world specifically, but only the non-Jewish peoples, although such are generally non-Christians. Thus, the usage of the term Israel stands overwhelmingly opposed to the first view.

    The usage of the terms Israel and the church in the early chapters of the book of Acts is in complete harmony, for Israel exists there alongside the newly formed church, and the two entities are kept separate in terminology” [Ibid., p. 189].

    The third ground for rejecting this view is theological:

    “. . . there is no historical evidence that the term Israel was identified with the church before A.D. 160. Further, at that date there was no characterization of the church as “the Israel of God.” In other words, for more than a century after Paul there was no evidence of the identification” [Ibid., p. 191].

    Johnson’s summary concerning the rejection of the first view is:

    “To conclude the discussion of the first interpretation, it seems clear that there is little evidence—grammatical, exegetical, or theological—that supports it. On the other hand, there is sound historical evidence against the identification of Israel with believing or unbelieving Gentiles. The grammatical usage of kai is not favorable to the view, nor is the Pauline or New Testament usage of Israel. Finally, . . .the Pauline teaching in Galatians contains a recognition of national distinctions in the one people of God [Ibid., p. 191].”

    3. “To remedy this, I simply asked you to share with me exactly what it was you thought was so persuasive. You’ve yet to do that. I’m becoming convinced you don’t even read what I write.”

    -I read you Daniel, believe me. I take this discussion seriously. I went to the trouble of finding the article I listed, which contains relevant information, and read through it (it’s fairly short) to share the info with you, but you did not read it as per post 33.

    4. “the remnant of the Jews are accounted as the spiritual Israel”, either: both of these must be deduced (one slightly more than the other). I have provided many proofs–to which you, as you are wont, have seen fit not to respond.”

    -Then Daniel, I ask that you point me back to one of your posts and points which you addressed this in and let me know and I will address it.

    5. -The New Jerusalem

    I will not interact with your “LOLs”, but I will speak on the New Jerusalem.

    After the announcement to ‘come up hither’ (v.9) John is given an elaboration of Rev. 21:2 regarding the establishment of the New Jerusalem. He is to be shown more things to come. He will be shown more concerning the Bride of the Messiah (v.9), namely the eternal abode of the Bride, the New Jerusalem (v.10) that will come down to a new heaven and new earth.

    For the remainder of the passage there are ten things of note. 1. The Shechinah Glory (21:11) will have His final abode in the New Jerusalem. 2. The city walls will have twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel (21:12-13), they will be remembered forever. 3. The foundations of the walls will be named after the Twelve Apostles (21:14). 4. The measurements of the city are given emphasizing actuality (21:15-17). 5. The composition of the city if given (21:18-21). 6. In addition to the absence of oceans in the New Earth, there will be no temple since the entire Triune God will inhabit the city along with all the redeemed of all ages (21:22-24), there will also be no Sun nor Moon. Also notice that the Gentiles/nations of the earth shall walk by means of this light. The mention of Gentiles shows that the Jew and Gentile distinction will be maintained for all eternity, but there is no mention of any functional difference. I think the difference here is that you are taking this passage allegorically while I am not. 7. Next is made mention of the gate entrances (21:25-27). Again we have mention of the righteous Gentiles, who bring their honor and glory into the city through gates that never close because there is no night. 8. The river of life will flow from the throne of God and the Messiah through the city (22:1-2a). 9. The Tree of Life which was in the Garden of Eden will return, and it will bring health and refreshing to the nations (we have mention of the Gentiles again). 10. Then we have a description of the occupants of the New Jerusalem (22:3-4). It will include the Triune God and the redeemed of all ages, who will have the name of Jesus on their foreheads. Nowhere are we given indications that the New Jerusalem is the not a literal place, but we are given indicators that it is indeed a literal city.

    6. “You haven’t responded to Gal 6 argument (that “Israel of God” makes no sense as “the Jews””

    -I have, but I will speak more about it. Galatians was written to a primarily Gentile audience who were being harassed and persecuted by the Judaizers who were telling them that they had to convert to Judaism to be saved (undergo circumcision and keep the law of Moses). Paul wrote to them to straighten things out and tell them how it truly was. That one is saved by faith apart from the law. The ones harassing them were Jews who were not following the rule of faith which was Paul’s point. So in his conclusion, it makes perfect sense for Paul to end in such a fashion when he makes mention of the ‘Israel of God’ in Galatians 6:16

    16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

    He is speaking to a majority Gentile audience who has been persecuted by Jews preaching works, so he bestows a blessing upon the believers in Galatia who walk by the rule of faith “peace be upon them”, and also upon the Jews who live by this rule (since not all Jews were contrary to this rule) “and upon the Israel of God”, also indicating that the Judaizers were not of the ‘Israel of God’.

    Regarding Romans 2, “Gentiles have all the marks of Jewishness inside themselves”, but with God there is neither Jew nor Gentile, nor respect of certain persons. Paul is speaking of circumcision of the heart, not Jewishness. In Romans 1 Paul speaks of two types of Gentiles, in the ASV its “Greeks and Barbarians”. When I mention that in Romans 2:17 Paul then takes up the Jewish question, I do not mean that he never mentions Gentiles, it’s just that they are not his topic, the Jews are. The Gentiles were his topic in Romans 1:18-2:16. In verse 2:25 Paul says that if a Jew who is circumcised (which is a work of the law) transgresses the law, then it’s as if he has broken the whole law (James) and his circumcision profits him nothing. The same would be true for Gentiles if they too were under the law. Then he speaks of true circumcision, which is of the heart, or true faith. Outward circumcision counts for nothing among the Jews unless he is circumcised of the heart. If they are circumcised of the heart they are of the Remnant of Israel, or a true Jew inwardly. Romans 4 (any many others) touch on the topic of circumcision as well:

    9 Is this blessing then pronounced upon the circumcision, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say, To Abraham his faith was reckoned for righteousness.

    10 How then was it reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision:

    11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might be reckoned unto them;

    12 and the father of circumcision to them who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham which he had in uncircumcision.

    Inward circumcision doesn’t represent Jewishness, but faith in God.

    7. “Paul is not speaking of 100% of the “Gentiles”, but with respect to a worldview which came into being with the birth of the nation of Israel (perhaps even with Abraham?): “Israel” was regarded as a nation distinct from all the other “Nations” / “Goyim”, in that they were “God’s People” (marked by God’s presence) and the rest of the “Nations” / “Goyim” were “Not God’s People” (and not marked by God’s presence).

    -This is one of the reasons that Israel failed in its mission to be a light to the nations before Messiah came. They felt that salvation was not for the Gentiles, since it was they who had the covenants, etc. They felt superior. But the definition of Gentile does not include ‘cut-off’. If the Scriptures are used as the objective standard, then the definition of a Gentile is anyone who is not a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    8. -I agree that they are no longer strangers, but they have been brought close. They are now partaking of the Covenants made with the forefathers of Israel. They have been grafted in, there is neither Jew nor Gentile when it comes to the blessings of Salvation.

    9. “-Firstly, I believe the verses you’re referring to are the 1,000-year reign (not the very end).
    Secondly, if it is the case that every nation except “the Israel of God” is going to be brought to an end, there is no need to explain the specifics: the fact remains that if someone is not part of that eternal nation they will not exist in the future. Only those who are part of it will exist.
    Don’t you believe that? I do.”

    -Yes, I stated the same concerning the 1000 year reign, and then mentioned that after that the Eternal Order comes in. Earlier in this post I also showed that the nations will also be present in the Eternal Order (Rev. 21:22-27).

    10. No disagreement here. I am always welcoming of shaking hands and moving on.

    11. “The Covenants are not the roots; never once is the tree said to consist in anything but physical humans–some of whom have been cut off, and others who’d been grafted in–and this tree is none other than those considered “God’s child / bride / people”, which is “Israel”, and includes the believing Gentiles so that they are not accounted among “the nations” who will be wiped off of the face of the planet in the future.”

    -Then what are the roots Daniel? Paul makes mention of them in verse 16 of Romans 11:

    16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

    – The root is something other than the branches. I brought this up in post #58 when I said:

    “Israel as a nation is the lump and the branches. The principle is based on Numbers 15:17-21: the holiness or consecration of the firstfruit and the root is passed onto the lump and the branches. Just as the firstfruit sanctifies the whole harvest, the lump, even some day all Israel will also be sanctified. The Abrahamic Covenant made with the Patriarchs is the basis for the expectation of Israel’s future national salvation.”

    This wraps up the response to post #71. You have posted a lot more below that one which I have not gotten to, but seeing the number and size, I doubt I will have time to get to all of it. I would love to, but it will take more time than I can give right now. If you want to draw my attention to a particular point or post, please do.

    Thanks Daniel.

  35. Benjamin Warkentin,
    I have to get ready to die and be judged. I have to focus on pleasing God while I am alive; I cannot afford to invest hours upon hours proving you wrong just to have you ignore points at your convenience, ask me to cite points when you fail to answer them, and then bring more and more points for me to answer (which answers you will just ignore and forget to answer).

    I can’t afford to care what this looks like. I cannot do this anymore. I debated with Bo over the Law for two whole years. There’s no telling when this will end.

    I have to control myself and not engage in this debate anymore. It is eating up my attention and it is paying nothing in return.

  36. Dan1el,

    You wrote:
    “There will be no discussion on this here: I disagree with your interpretation of the Scriptures and I’ve given my reasons why. You are free to do with that information as you will (reject, object, disregard–what ever).”

    I just wanted to give you a chance to reconsider so that you could be consistent in your reasoning. You would do well to think about your inconsistency and either adopt my stance or Benjamin’s.

    Shalom

  37. Dan1el,

    You wrote:
    “I have to get ready to die and be judged. I have to focus on pleasing God while I am alive; I cannot afford to invest hours upon hours ”

    Are you dying with a terminal illness or something?

    Shalom

  38. Bo,
    I don’t know if you’ve noticed the way things have been going in the world, but those who are not abiding in the Lord and walking by the Spirit and doing God’s will (not their own) are going to regret it in the very near future.

  39. I believe every Christian is a part of Israel. We are a part of them as they are a part of us, as we all are a part of the one family of God, though some are in heaven as some are yet on earth. Being part of the one body of Christ, we are yet different from each other and this is to be expected. It’s part of God’s plan. I don’t have to do everything another part of the body does, nor do they need to do all that I do, even though there are things required of us all which are the same.

  40. No worries Daniel,

    I did answer every point you brought up in post #71 and also asked for clarification of which points you thought I missed (aside from the ones you mentioned in post71 and I took up). But your right, its time to bring this to an end. Thanks to everyone who contributed, Daniel, Bo, Jon and Ray. We can hope that some not yet seen fruit will be born from it.

    Grace and peace,

  41. Benjamin Warkentin,
    I am not getting drawn back into the debate, but because I thought it was another would-be “good point”, and so you don’t feel cheated (I saw you said that you’d mentioned it before, but I’d somehow totally missed the point, even though I literally just copy-paste your points and answer them one-by-one):

    Rv 21 says “New Jerusalem” is “the bride” (this much is certain–as I’ve already proven), which “bride” can by no means exclude believing Gentiles; therefore, who ever these “nations” (who walk by the light of “the believing Jews and Gentiles”) might be I do not know–I do not claim full knowledge of God’s future plans for future ages. This is just another mystery (and there are many) in Scripture. Let me also say that a mysterious statement in Revelation (a book which every humble man of God–including Dr. Brown–admits is impenetrable) being the whole of your argument (I believe I’ve satisfactorily answered every other point) says is not a good foundation.

    I honestly cannot comment further.

  42. Benjamin Warkentin,
    As I said before, sometimes I get myself into conversations that just require way too much investment: I’m still earnestly seeking God about the substance of the Gospel, Itself (the real salvific parts–as not a man on earth has been able to satisfactorily answer my questions on it), and I simply cannot afford to invest in discussions such questions as these (i.e., non-salvific, non-Christ-centered–at least, for me, it is non-Christ-centered).

  43. Benjamin Warkentin,
    A little background: after having known God, seen heaven, and having served God, I went to hell in 2003 and was shattered into a billion pieces. I lost my mind in a single evening, was filled with satan and hell, and feared I’d committed the unpardonable sin, and have been struggling ever since then. Because of this, it behooves me to stick to the things I have found draw me nearer to Him–as what the structure I live in needs is more stability (which will only be brought about by a better understanding of the Good News).

  44. Anyone who does not believe me see what I am talking about on the Day of Judgment when God judges the secrets of the hearts of men by Messiah–everything will be revealed (unless that part is erased–because even though “each man will give an account for the life lived”, I do not know if that includes judgment for sin since that is supposed to have been “cast into the sea of forgetting” or atoned by Jesus, and I just don’t know if my going to hell is counted as a sin).

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