The New Testament authors understood Jesus to be the culmination of the Old Testament. He is the Last Adam, true Israel, the suffering servant, the son of David, the faithful remnant, the ultimate prophet, the reigning king, the final priest.

Here is a good, concise summary of the Israel/remnant theme from a New Testament perspective:

. . . Jesus had become a remnant of one. He was the embodiment of faithful Israel, the truly righteous and suffering servant.

Unlike the remnant of the restoration period, he committed no sin (Isa. 53:9; 1 Pet. 2:22).

As the embodiment of the faithful remnant, he would undergo divine judgment for sin (on the cross), endure an exile (three days forsaken by God in the grave), and experience a restoration (resurrection) to life as the foundation of a new Israel, inheriting the promises of God afresh.

As the remnant restored to life, he becomes the focus of the hopes for the continued existence of the people of God in a new kingdom, a new Israel of Jew and Gentile alike.

As the nucleus of a renewed Israel, Christ summons the “little flock” that will receive the kingdom (Dan. 7:22, 27; Luke 12:32) and appoints judges for the twelve tribes of Israel in the new age (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30).

The church is viewed as the Israel of that new age (Gal. 6:16), the twelve tribes (James 1:1), “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:9).

A sinful nation, Israel could not suffer vicariously to atone for the sins of the world. The sinfulness of the nation made it unacceptable for this role, just as flaws would disqualify any other offering. Only a truly righteous servant could bear this awful load.

—Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard, “Isaiah,” An Introduction to the Old Testament, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 315.

The two best books I’ve read on this fulfillment theme are Hans LaRondelle’s The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation and David Holwerda’s Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Keith Mathison has a good review of Holwerda’s volume here.)

Jesus is the true Israel, and the church becomes the Israel of God as it unites to True Israel. The same is true for ethnic Israel, whom God has not abandoned. But their only hope is to be united with Jesus, the ultimate suffering servant.

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Comments:


49 thoughts on “Jesus As the New Israel”

  1. Mrs. D says:

    Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is the true Israel and the faithful remnant? I’d like to look up verses that support this. Thanks.

  2. Dean Davis says:

    Thank you for this. Here’s something I wrote in the same vein. d

    Jesus taught that he had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17). However, in fulfilling the various institutions of the Mosaic Law, he was indeed replacing them with new ones, once and for all. The anti-type (the New Covenant) fulfills the type (the Old Covenant), and so replaces it. The greater fulfills the lesser, and so supplants it. The heavenly body, shaped in eternity past, fulfills the earthly shadow, and so floods the room with a light that expels all shadows. There is no going back (Heb. 8:13).

    In order to understand the idea of fulfillment and replacement better, let us consider a few examples, drawn more or less exclusively from the teaching of the Herald of the Kingdom himself.

    Jesus presented himself as the supreme Mediator, a greater than Moses, bringing in a new and greater covenant. Christ and his covenant are therefore replacing Moses and his.

    Jesus is also the supreme Prophet, a greater than Moses, Elijah, or John the Baptist, and so replaces all former prophets as the authoritative spokesman of God and teacher of his people (Mt. 17:1f, Mt. 23:10, Mark 8:28, John 9:17, Acts 3:22).

    He is the supreme Priest, a greater than Levi, and so replaces Levi as the one who intercedes for God’s people (Luke 23:34, John 17), offers sacrifice for their sin (John 10:11, 17:19), and assures the penitent of God’s mercy and forgiveness (Mt. 9:2, Luke 7:48, 24:43, John 20:23).

    He is the supreme Sacrifice, a greater than all the animal sacrifices offered under the Law, and so replaces them as the one Lamb of God who gives his life a ransom for many, thereby taking away the sin of the world (Mk. 10:45, John 1:29).

    He is the true Temple, a greater than Herod’s, and so replaces Herod’s with his own Body, which is the true Tabernacle of God (Mt. 12:6, John 2:19, John 10:38, Eph. 2, 5).

    Moreover, because of this, his people no longer worship the Father on earthly Zion, but on the Zion above, in spirit and in truth, whenever they wish and wherever their physical bodies happen to be. In short, NT worship in spirit and truth replaces OT worship in Jerusalem (John 4:21f, 14:20, 17:23, Gal. 4:26, Heb. 12:22, Rev. 14:1f).

    He is the true Sabbath, a greater than the Israelite Sabbath, and Lord over it, with authority from God to give his people true spiritual rest, as well as the Spirit-led worship and work that properly arise from it (Mt. 11:28, 12:48, John 6:29, 15:1f, 19:30).

    He is the true Passover Lamb—and his death the true Passover sacrifice—so that henceforth the Passover Feast is replaced with the Lord’s Supper, wherein Christ’s people remember, celebrate, and re-appropriate their great deliverance from the world, the flesh, and the devil (Mt. 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-23, John 5:24, 1 Cor. 11:17f).

    Very importantly, his is the true nation (Mt. 21:43), the true flock (John 10:16), the true household (Mark 13:34, Luke 14:23, John 8:35), and the true city (Mt. 5:14) of God, so that Christ’s Church of called out Jews and Gentiles replaces ethnic Israel (who are still beloved for the sake of the fathers, Romans 11:28)—as the true people of God (Mt. 16:18).

    And over this nation he rules as the supreme King, a greater than David (Mt. 22:41-46) and Solomon (Mt. 12:24), and so replaces Israel’s many earthly kings with a single heavenly: the High King of Heaven and Earth, the divine Lord of the “Israel of God” (Mt. 28:18f, Luke 19:12, John 18:36, Gal. 6:16).

    Much more could be said on this point, and in their letters to the early Christian churches the apostles say it. However, from what we have seen so far, it is quite clear that the Lord Jesus viewed the institutions of the Mosaic Law as temporary physical “types” pointing forward to the permanent spiritual realities of the New Covenant. This truth is profoundly important for a solid, NT understanding of biblical eschatology.

  3. Thanks, Justin, but are you hesitant to mention NTW in this matter?

  4. Jim Powell says:

    Thanks for this.

    In Matthew’s gospel Jesus refers to Himself—in relatively rapid succession—as the greater temple (12:6), a greater Jonah (12:41), and a greater Solomon (12:42). In other words, He is the greatest Prophet, Priest, and King, and thus “the ultimate” of every institution that comprises the distinct character of Israel. To reiterate the point you make above, He essentially identifies Himself as the New Israel.

    In A House for My Name, Peter Leithart elaborates on this theme: “In Pilate’s Praetorium, the Jews renounce Jesus, choosing death over life. But the Israel of God is never dead for long. Israel has died before. . . . But when Old Israel dies, Yahweh, the Lord of life, brings a New Israel from the grave. The death and resurrection of Jesus, who is the true Jacob and Israel, who is the temple flowing with living water, is the sign that a New Israel will be born. The Jews have rejected their King and destroyed their temple, but out of their dead bones the Spirit brings forth living stones for a holy house, an army that cannot be numbered.” (Peter J. Leithart, A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2000), 262-63)

  5. Marko says:

    Splendid! I grew up in a Dispensational setting where this was not taught. Reading and listen to Reformed sources has enriched my thinking on this area of Christology. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Ken Millington says:

      Has reading the Bible shaped your conclusions on this issue or reading Reformed sources (or dispensational, on the other side)? Woe to us if we put a system ahead of what the Bible teaches. Romans 11 exists whether or not the Reformed sources you read say it does.

      1. Marko says:

        the Book of Hebrews came alive to me after I put away what Dispensationalism told me I was supposed to believe about it.

      2. chris m says:

        So you are sure Romans 11 is talking about the future?

        1. MarkO says:

          I am sure that the Book of Hebrews does not contradict the Book of Romans.

  6. Marko says:

    @Mrs. D – I have found the book of Hebrews very helpful in answering your question. The majority of that letter (sermon) addresses your question. Hope that helps. Also, listening to it recited makes this point clear.
    http://www.esvmedia.org/speeches/ferguson.hebrews.mp3

  7. Peter Jeffcoat says:

    No

  8. Ken Millington says:

    Sad.

    You are doing exactly what Paul specifically warned us not to do. Do not be arrogant towards the Jews and the promises that God made to them. Rejoice that Gentiles are included in salvation; do not get arrogant and assume that the Abrahamic covenant is no longer valid.

    “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.”

    (Romans 11:17-21 ESV)

    —————–

    “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
    “The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;”
    (Romans 11:25-26 ESV)

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Ken, I’m not sure if your comment was directed toward me or not, but I find it hard to reconcile your charge of arrogance toward Jews and charge that we believe the Abrahamic covenant is no longer in force with my statement that God has not abandoned ethnic Israel.

      1. Gary says:

        Justin,given your comments that Jesus and/or the church has become “true Israel”, what role do you see for “ethnic Israel”?

        1. Richard says:

          The same as what is in store for “ethnic Gentiles”

          1. Gary says:

            ethnic Gentiles????
            If there is no difference, then why maintain Israel as a people?

            1. MarkO says:

              @Gary, exactly. there is indeed no difference.
              —> “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
              Romans 10:12 -“no difference”

              1. Randy Cook says:

                So, by that logic there are also no more boys or girls?!

              2. Gary says:

                @Randy: you beat me to that one!
                MarkO, with regard to salvation, you are correct in that the Bible presents only 1 way, and that way is Jesus. I dont think anyone is arguing that. I’m just trying to understand what role Israel has in the future if you say Jesus or the church is Israel; only to follow that up by saying that God has not abandoned ethnic Israel. The 2 positions don’t line up. Thanks for the discussion.

              3. Richard says:

                There are no boys or girls with special promises not garunteed equally to the other. As there are no special promises garunteed to Israel or Gentiles in Christ that are not garuntted to both equally.

                And the 2 positions are not contradictory. God in Romans 11 promises to save(future)a large amout of Israelties after the fullnes of the Gentiles. But they are saved in the same way to the EXACT same promises.

  9. Scott C says:

    That some degree of analogy and continuity exists between Israel and the Church no one disputes. To make no distinctions between the two at all is irresponsible. To make the Church replace ethnic-geo-political Israel is beyond irresponsible – it is arrogant and prejudiced. To say Jesus is the New Israel has no exegetical basis whatsoever. If such a construct was an important theological paradigm we would expect some explicit texts that say so. This is a case where theology has shaped exegesis not the other way around as it should be – unless of course the principle of spiritualizing texts has replaced sound historical-grammatical hermeneutics.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Scott: I know good folks can disagree on this, but I’d encourage you to check out the resources listed above. I think the exegetical evidence is actually overwhelming.

      1. Justin Taylor says:

        I should also clarify that I wouldn’t describe this at all as “replacement theology.”

        1. steve hays says:

          Here’s a good discussion of replacement theology:

          http://thirdmill.org/articles/ric_pratt/PT.Pratt.Jew.First.pdf

      2. Gary says:

        Justin: I knw good folks can (& do!) disagree on this, but I’d encourage you to check out some non-covenental resources (ie, MacArthur, Vlach, Walvoord). I think the exegetical evidence is actually overwhelming.

    2. Marko says:

      Scott and Ken,
      I found Kevin DeYoung’s extended exposition very helpful.
      hope this helps:
      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/12/09/3133/

  10. Justin, when you say, “the church becomes the Israel of God,” are you referring to Galatians 6:16? If so, I’ve found S. Lewis Johnson’s article on the exegesis of that verse very helpful, and I recommend it to you if you’ve not already read it.

    1. MarkO says:

      Interesting article, but Dr. Johnson does not refute that “Jesus as the True Israel” in the list of concepts he wishes to engage. Did he write elsewhere on Jesus NOT being the True Israel?

      1. No, MarkO, he doesn’t (at least not in that article). That’s not the stated purpose of his article. I hope it didn’t sound like I was promising as much.

        I’m not sure of SLJ’s view on whether or not Jesus is the True Israel. But, depending on what you mean by the concept, I as a Dispensationalist do believe that Jesus is the embodiment of the faithful Israelite. In fact, if I understand him correctly, I agree with everything Kevin DeYoung said in his post on Matt 2:15 / Hos 11:1.

        However, such belief does not necessitate that original recipients of the promises (including those that were physical; e.g., regarding land, a reconstituted nation, restoration in the same way they were judged, etc.) be reinterpreted or reapplied in a spiritualized sense. It also doesn’t legitimize the notion that the Church is “the Israel of God” of Galatians 6:16, especially against the preponderance of grammatical, exegetical, and theological evidence SLJ presents in his article.

        Thanks for helping me to clarify.

        1. MarkO says:

          fair enough. I appreciate your consistency in this and your willingness to not reject the value of seeing Jesus as “the emodiment of the faithful Israelite.”

          It seems that the dividing line is that I see Jesus as having so thoroughly and perfectly been that “faithful Israelite” that there is no other Israelite or group of Israelites or nation of Israelites that can top Him. He is the pinnacle. After Him there is no spiritual or physical need for another, individual or group or nation. We look to Him in finality.

          Always enjoy engaging with you in these matters. We don’t always agree in this area, but you make me think. No doubt we are both followers of Jesus which means we agree on alot more things than we don’t. Blessings.

  11. Scott C says:

    I would also recommend “Continuity and Discontinuity” edited by John Feinberg. These are essays from differing perspectives written in honor of S. Lewis Johnson who I think is one of the most under-appreciated exegetical theologians of the 20th century.

    Justin, I was not suggesting that what you described was “replacement theology” – rather that I think it stands within a strain of thought (along with replacement theology) which denigrates the historical distinctiveness of OT Israel as the people of God “entrusted with the oracles of God” and to whom uniquely belongs “the glory and the covenants and… promises” which are part of the “gifts” and sovereign “calling of God” and which subsequently are “irrevocable.” (How do you like that for a run-on sentence?)

  12. Stan Ermshar says:

    Great article Justin!
    I agree completely.
    It is interesting that Hans La Rondelle is one of your favorite authors on this topic. HLR was a Seventh Day Adventist author. I am a former Adventist, but HLR, along with Desmond Ford was considered one of those who tried to keep Adventism evangelical. But now, the Adventist church is drifting back into cultic status with its emphasis on the so called prophetic mission of Ellen G White.

    Stan

  13. Jeff B says:

    Jesus is Israel, the church is Israel, but Israel is not Israel. Yes, Justin, what you quote and what you write concerning the church is supersessionism (“the church becomes the Israel of God as it unites to True Israel”; “The church is viewed as the Israel of that new age.”) You write: “The same is true for ethnic Israel, whom God has not abandoned. But their only hope is to be united with Jesus, the ultimate suffering servant.” Yes, the only hope for individual Jews is to be united with Jesus, but there are land promises and other blessings to Israel which can only be denied by allegorical interpretations. To those commenters who ridicule dispensationalism: At least it attempts to consistently interpret Scripture literally except when it is clear that the writers are employing symbolism or poetic expression.

    “Israel” appears 73 times in the NT. Never is it used of Jesus or the church. Concerning Gal. 6:16, I think the article by Johnson cited by Mike Riccardi is convincing in its argument that “Israel of God” refers to Jewish believers. But let’s say that it DOES say that “the Israel of God” refers to the church. That’s one instance out of 73. Should we ignore the overwhelming evidence of the other 72?

    Likewise “remnant.” In the approx. 90 times it is used in Scripture, it is virtually always used to denote Jewish believers (a few times it refers to Gentile survivors of battle), never Jesus as the “embodiment” of the remnant.

    “A sinful nation, Israel could not suffer vicariously to atone for the sins of the world. The sinfulness of the nation made it unacceptable for this role, just as flaws would disqualify any other offering. Only a truly righteous servant could bear this awful load.”

    This is a remarkable straw man that could only be arrived at if Jesus is assumed to be the “True Israel.” Where in Scripture is it even hinted that “Israel could…suffer vicariously to atone for the sins of the world”?

    It is true, though, that God has not abandoned, and will not abandon Israel:

    “This is what the LORD says:

    The One who gives the sun for light by day,
    the fixed order of moon and stars for light by night,
    who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar—
    Yahweh of Hosts is His name:
    If this fixed order departs from My presence—
    this is the LORD’s declaration—
    then also Israel’s descendants will cease
    to be a nation before Me forever.

    This is what the LORD says:

    If the heavens above can be measured
    and the foundations of the earth below explored,
    I will reject all of Israel’s descendants
    because of all they have done—
    this is the LORD’s declaration. (Jer. 31:35-37)

    FWIW, I hold to a Reformed view of most of Scripture. But I believe its hermeneutic is flawed when it comes to Israel.

    1. MarkO says:

      The problem is that Israel never was able to fulfill its divine mission to be “Israel” – – – – so, Jesus did it. Who you, I or anyone else are genetically does not automatically presume that we are fulfilling what are to be spiritually. Only Jesus was both genetically of Israel and perfect in the duties of Israel.

    2. Mrs. D says:

      @Jeff B~ Thank you. When I read and re-read the Bible this is exactly what I come away with. Like you, I agree with many reformed views of Scripture, but when it comes to Israel, I just don’t get it.

      I desire to understand my Savior so will continue to read from both viewpoints and trust that the Holy Spirit will teach me through the Word of God.

  14. desertmom says:

    I recommend also O. Palmer Robertson’s “The Israel of God”.

  15. MarkO says:

    Q: What is replacement theology?
    A: It is the idea that in the Millennium Israel replaces the finality of the Cross by re-instituting animal sacrifices. It is the idea that direct worship of Messiah is replaced with a 3rd Temple to instead worship God through a revived Mosaic system. It is the idea that Israel replaces the Church in the Millennium as the true people of God. It is the idea that an earthly future Jerusalem limited to 1,000 years replaces the perfect Heavenly Jerusalem as the fulfillment of God’s eternal promises.

  16. Dean Davis says:

    Jeff B. writes: “At least Dispensationalism attempts to consistently interpret Scripture literally except when it is clear that the writers are employing symbolism or poetic expression.”

    I think this mindset–which, broadly speaking, reflects love and loyalty to the Scriptures–is the reason we make so little headway in resolving the Great End Time Debate.

    The solution, I have found, is to see how the apostles actually interpret OT prophecies of the Kingdom. Not OT prophecies of the Messiah, fulfilled before Pentecost (which were indeed more or less literally fulfilled), but OT prophecies of the Kingdom that came on the Day of Pentecost, when the Church was born from above and the New Covenant Era began (Col. 1:13, Rev. 12:10).

    When I studied the NT with this in view, I was amazed. To a prophecy, the apostles interpreted them, not literally, but “covenantally, christologically, typologically, and ecclessiologically.” That is, they saw their sphere of fulfillment as the New Covenant, Christ, and the Church, and understood that in OT times the Spirit was using the types and shadows of the OT to speak of NT spiritual realities.

    If you will study these texts, Jeff, you will see that that this is so. May the Lord bless you in your quest for his eschatological truth; and thanks for your love of his inspired, inerrant word!

    Acts 2:33-5, 7:44-50, 13:46-7, 15:12-21, Romans 9:19-26, 10:12-13, 11:25-27, 2 Cor. 6:1-2, 14-18, Gal. 4:26-27.

  17. Ted Bigelow says:

    Hi Justin,

    One thing for sure we can all agree on: where Israel failed Jesus succeeded.

    The problem with the “Jesus is the true Israel” stuff is how it looks and feels to us dispensationsalists. It seems like the term is an over-spiritualized catch phrase whose hidden intent is to teach there is no future blessing for ethnic Israel apart from the church and to do so in such a way that no lover of Jesus Christ could possibly deny it.

    I mean, to say “Jesus had become the remnant of one” just sounds so…. cool. You know?

    It’s like biblical apple pie… whip cream on top. One bite and it’s gone.

    But for others, the “Jesus is the remnant of one” is more like brocolli. It might be good for you but it’s hard to swallow.

    So let’s put some melted cheese on that brocolli and see if goes down better. Isaiah promises a second return of a second remnant in Isa. 11:11. The first return of the remnant was from exile and is described in Nehemiah and Ezra.

    Meaning this. Based on Isaiah 11:11 we are still await the return of the second remmant.

    Since Jesus is a “remnant of one” we could take that second return to be the Lord returning to us from heaven. Good cheese! Maybe i do like brocolli after all!

    Oops. Then Isaiah goes on to prophesy that the 2nd remnant will return “From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea.” Oh, so the 2nd remnant can’t be Jesus (since He returns from heaven).

    So the “Jesus is the remnant of one” tastes good and everything but goes down hard. More like cold Cheez Whiz than creamy Brie de Meaux.

    And to my covenantal brethren, if Jesus is the remnant of one, who on earth is that 2nd remnant in Isaiah 11:11?

  18. Rob Schouten says:

    A forgotten little treasure to mention in this discussion is “N.T. Development of Old Testament Themes” by F.F. Bruce (1968, Paternoster Press). He has a chapter entitled “The People of God,” in which there is a sub-section “The New Israel.” Bruce has no axe to grind but what he writes lines up with with Holwerda, LaRondelle, Longman and Dillard. For my money, the book by LaRondelle is the best book I’ve read on biblical prophecy.

    1. steve hays says:

      Bruce is always worth reading. However, he came out of the Plymouth Brethren, so he actually has a protodispensational background. And he used to field questions about the Plymouth Brethren.

  19. Glenn Clark says:

    I am not a dispensationalist. But Jesus did not replace Israel. To say this is gnostic and collapses the creation of Israel into Christology. The church is Israel by way of analogy but does not replace the gift and call of Israel which can not be revoked (Romans 9-11). National Israel still has a unique and specific role. The church is a multitude of nations of which the saved remnant of Israel is part. Messianic Jews reveal to us Gentiles that God is not finished with national Israel, but rather God is bringing about the salvation of Israel from which point world redemption will take place.

  20. Jeff B says:

    MarkO – Yes, I believe that the land promises and other blessings (there are curses also) to Israel will be fulfilled in a Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:2-7). It does not replace the heavenly New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2); it merely precedes it. Whatever the sacrificial system in the Fourth Temple represents (probably some type of ceremonial cleansing), it is not exactly like the Mosaic system, and it certainly does not “replace the finality of the Cross.” For one thing, Jesus Himself will be reigning on earth during this period (Rev. 20:4,6).

    Dean Davis – I appreciate your thoroughness and your tone. First of all, I agree with what you write about type and antitype, but it does not nullify God’s specific promises concerning Israel which are contained in the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant.

    I carefully read through all of the verses at the end of your last comment. I see type and antitype; Gentiles being added to the Kingdom; Jew and Greek being saved in the same way; a “partial” hardening of the Jews until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, after which all Israel will be saved; an exhortation to receive salvation; an exhortation to not marry unbelievers and to not worship idols; an allegory (Gal. 4:24) concerning slavery under the law and freedom in the Spirit.

    I truly believe that it is eisegesis to read into these verses anything to do with Jesus or the Church being the “New Israel.” One must start with the context and the plain meaning of words before possibly going beyond this.

    The most extensive treatment of this subject, and other topics related to Israel, that I’ve found is in “Israelology,” by Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

    To conclude: A reminder that, despite Israel’s disobedience, Scripture in many places records that God will not forsake His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In my first comment, I quoted Jer. 31:35-37. In that passage, it says that Israel will not “cease to be a NATION before Me forever,” and that God will not “reject all of Israel’s descendants BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.” (Emphasis mine.)

  21. Marko says:

    @Jeff,
    thanks for engaging me on this topic. this is it for me on this post and I’m off to other things.

    final thots:
    –> The Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus was the last sacrifice so there is no need to believe in a future revival of animal sacrifices.

    –> I can’t find where it says in Rev 20 that Christ is ruling on earth. There is no mention of Him being on earth, or ruling on earth. The thrones are in Heaven. Sam Storms is good on this one.
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/10/07/thrones-in-revelation/

    –> can’t find any explicit mention in the NT which demands, requires and explains that a future Millennial temple be built.

  22. Jeff B says:

    MarkO – Thank you also.

    1) Yes, of course Jesus was the last sacrifice for sin. But we can’t deny that animal sacrifices are mentioned in what appears to be a Fourth Temple. We can only speculate what the reason(s) is. It could be as a memorial, or, as I mentioned earlier, a ceremonial cleansing. After all, the Millennial Kingdom will be a theocracy.

    2) Well, the chapter begins with an angel coming down from heaven. After the thousand years, Satan is released “to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.” (vs. 8) Gog and Magog “came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city…” (vs. 9)

    In the OT: Zech. 14:9,16; Jer. 23:5-8 (note the end of vs. 8); Jer. 33:14-18. There are probably others.

    3) I can’t find any place in the NT which refers to the Millennial Temple. But I don’t think that automatically rules out its future existence. The OT mentions are clear, and Ezekiel goes into exhaustive detail as to how it should be built.

  23. Keith Mathison says:

    For those who are assuming that Reformed theology demands no future for national Israel in any sense, I’d recommend you read the commentaries on Romans 11 by Charles Hodge and John Murray. I argue the same position in my book From Age to Age. Numerous Reformed theologians believe that Romans 11 teaches a future conversion of ethnic Israel to faith in Christ. At that time, a large number of national ethnic Israel will become part of true Israel.

    1. JeffB says:

      Thank you. Am I correct to assume that Hodge and Murray do not believe in the literal fulfillment of land promises given to Israel in God’s Covenant with Abraham?

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Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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