“Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God
This essay seeks to address what has become perhaps the most divisive issue of the 21st century for the Christian church1 in the world; that is, the divide that is being systematically affected among its members over the question: whose side should a Christian take in the ongoing and rancorous war raging between Israel and her ancient enemies, the Arab Muslim community?
I submit that the question should rather be: Should a Christian even be taking a side in this ancient conflict? The answer to that question is an unequivocal NO, not if he/she wishes to be within the will of God where this is concerned. That is because God, as it says in the above passage of Scripture, is no respecter of persons.
The reason for this, a reason that no Christian should be ignorant of, is; “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”2
Furthermore, it says we aren’t to make distinctions between people based on their ethnic origin, their societal position, or their gender, for there is now “neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
This is not to say that everyone is “one in Christ Jesus,” but rather that those who are one in Christ, i.e., those who have trusted in him and the sacrifice he made for the payment of their sins,3 aren’t to allow themselves to be provoked into the worldly error of choosing up sides based on these things.
And yet this is precisely what is happening with a large contingent of the Christian community, as many are, indeed, choosing sides in the this issue, and basing their choice on ethnic origin and religious affiliation, and audaciously claiming this to be some sort of “righteous” position.
I submit that this is primarily the result of Christian folk enjoining themselves to and identifying themselves with political factions whose ideology demands they take a certain position in this ethnic/religious war, positions that militate against the very things that characterize their Christianity.
But this isn’t the only reason. Perhaps an even more egregious reason for this error is their ignorance of where we are presently on the Biblical timeline, which I will now address.
Most Christian theology, Catholic and Protestant, teaches that we are now existing in what is referred to in Biblical prophesy as “the New Covenant/Testament. 4 They teach that this began with the first advent of Jesus Christ, as chronicled in what is commonly referred to as the four “gospels,” 5 and that it ends with John’s Revelation. All Bible publications support this by dividing the Bible into the Old and New Testaments.
Bible publications notwithstanding, the Old Covenant did not cease with Christ’s first advent, nor did the New Covenant begin with it. This is so for two reasons. The first one is that Christ did not do away with the law of Moses in his first advent. In fact he magnified it. The second is; none of the conditions of the New Covenant, as set forth in the prophetic Scriptures, have existed for the last 2000 years. For example, consider what it says in the two “major” prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah:
Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-16
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
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:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
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.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 6
Let’s take these as they are written, and compare what they say with the reality of our present day.
I agree with the rest of mainstream Christian theology that the first phrase of Isaiah 9:6 was fulfilled in the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, as depicted in the four gospel accounts of his earthly life and ministry. But that is where I part company with them, as no human government in the last 2000 years–and certainly not any in the 21st century–have been “upon his shoulder,” nor has peace without end or justice ever existed with any government or nation during this time frame. Clearly, to the discerning mind, this part of the prophecy has never been fulfilled.
I also agree that the first five verses of Isaiah 11 are in reference to the Lord and his first advent, but the rest of the chapter refers to the second advent, just as the rest of chapter 9, verse 6 and verse 7 speak of. The depiction of the lamb and the kid and the calf existing in peace with those animals who would otherwise eat them for lunch, is metaphorical language declaring that, under the Lord’s divine kingship in the New Testament/covenant, those nations and ethnic groups who now devour and kill each other, namely Israel and her ancient enemies, will live in peace together.
The passage from Jeremiah is always characterized by orthodox theologians as pertaining to the Christian church under the New Covenant. The fact that the very first verse plainly says it belongs to “the house of Israel, and the house of Judah,” is explained away7 by teaching that this is actually speaking of the Christian church, or “spiritual Israel,” as they call it, not the twelve tribes of Israel and Judah in a future earthly kingdom.
I mention teaching here. Notice what it says about this in verse 34:
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD”
1 John 2:27 confirms this:
“…And ye need not that any man teach you…”
Next time you submit yourself to a “teaching,” dear brother and sister in Christ, ask yourself this: if this is a condition existing in the New Covenant church, why am I submitting myself to a man’s (or now, in many cases, a woman’s) teaching?
One might contend that the Lord Jesus, in his earthly ministry, taught his disciples and others from the scriptures8 Yes. Indeed he did, and this should tell you, in no uncertain terms, that the New Covenant was never instituted by him in his earthly ministry, because, as it is written, those recipients of the NC will not need to be taught.
The dispensation of the grace of God
So, if we are not existing under the New Covenant, and the present church is not the NC church, what are we existing under/in?
We are presently existing in a parenthesis, sandwiched between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, referred to by the Apostle Paul as “the dispensation of the grace of God,”9 which he said was a “mystery, which in other ages was not make known unto the sons of men,”
In other words, this mystery dispensation, of which the current Christian church is a part, was not revealed in the Old Testament prophecies, therefore it cannot be the New Testament church, because, as I have shown, that church is clearly revealed in prophecy.
I submit to you, friends and brethren, that the egregious errors of Christians, past and present, concerning taking sides in age old battles between Christians, Jews and Muslims, a conflict that goes at least as far back as the Crusades, is the singular result of the utter failure to recognize what God’s will for his people has been for at least 2000 years, and where we are in the present scheme of things.
The only people of God in the present world are those who are members of the heavenly body of Christ, which is a part of this mystery–it has nothing to do with religious/political affiliation–who are called to “live peaceably with all men…” and to “recompense to no man evil for evil.”10
For certain, we are to call out and reprove evil,11 no matter who it is doing it, but by no means are we to join forces with it by taking up sides in the age old quarrels between two evil adversaries. neither of which believes or respects our core beliefs. Nor are we to judge or look upon any group of men according to their racial or ethnic origin, as it is written:
“….henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
So the next time, brother or sister in Christ, you feel compelled to condemn either Jews or Muslims on the basis of their ethnic/religious/ideological origin, consider that Christ died on their behalf just as much as he did yours,12 and that God is no respecter of persons, or their political, national, religious affiliation, and therefore neither should you be.
All Scripture references are taken from the King James Bible. Please feel at liberty to freely distribute this essay as you see fit.
Related articles: “What Price Israel?”; “To the Jew first”; “Thy Kingdom come”; “God Bless America”
I speak here of the church the body of Christ, not the visible church organizations who refer to themselves as “christian” churches. ↩
Romans 3:23 ↩
reference 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 1:12-14 ↩
Jer. 31:31; Matt. 26:28; Heb. 8:8 ↩
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ↩
also reference Heb. 8:8-13 ↩
aka, “spiritualizing” the passage ↩
Ref. Luke 4:15-20, et. al. ↩
Eph. 3:2 ↩
Romans 12:17,18 ↩
Is 5:18-23; ↩
“Christ…gave himself a ransom for all,” ! Tim. 2:6 ↩