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Thread: Spoke 12

  1. #1
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    Spoke 12

    I haven't done an in depth research with the #12, but this I found that the subject of one body, many members occurs only in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.

    The King James Bible has 5 verses matching
    one body many member
    .

    Romans 12:4
    For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

    Romans 12:5
    So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    1 Corinthians 12:12
    For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

    1 Corinthians 12:14
    For the body is not one member, but many.

    1 Corinthians 12:20
    But now are they many members, yet but one body.
    More on 12:
    http://www.biblewheel.com/Wheel/Spokes/Lamed.asp

    -----

    Matthew 11:1
    And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
    The 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Lamed and it means to teach. The word Talmud, derived from Lamed means disciple.

    The 12th book has an important part, commanded by the king of Assyria himself:
    2 Kings 17:27
    Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.
    The 12th epistle is one of the pastoral epistles:
    Titus 1:11
    Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
    Titus 2:3
    The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; Titus 2:4
    That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
    Titus 2:12
    Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
    Luke 12:12
    For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
    Going back to 1 Corinthians 12, my first posting inthis thread we see teach again:
    1 Corinthians 12:28
    And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    1 Corinthians 12:29
    Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

  2. #2
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    12 in Revelation

    Hi Folks!

    This is a truly minor point, but one worth sharing nonetheless.

    The first time the number 12 appears in the Revelation is at verse 1 of chapter 12. There are 12 uses of 12 preceding this event in the Revelation. These are found at chapter 7, verses 5 to 8. Here, the number being referenced is 12,000 rather than 12. Now the interesting thing is that, in Stephen's 1550 Textus Receptus, all 12 references to the number 12,000 at Revelation 7 are written using Greek gematria to indicate the number 12, i.e. iota - beta, thus iota-beta chiliades for 12,000.
    By way of contrast, the verse at Revelation 12:1 uses the Greek word dodeka for the number 12 in the 1550 Textus Receptus.
    The word dodeka is used for all subsequent references to the number 12 in the 1550 Stephen's Textus Receptus of Revelation. Curiously, this also includes the 12,000 at Revealtion 21:16, which in this place is written dodeka chiliadon.

    Stephen

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    Stephen, very interesting stuff.

    As you presented the initial post, which references the 12th chapter of Romans, and the 12th chapter of I Corinthians, the focus of your observations being body/members; (the functions of the members in Romans 12, and the spiritual endowments/functions in I Corinthians 12),

    and, then, as an aside, a follow-up post;

    The woman in Revelation 12, with the wreath of 12 stars,

    I know from other things that you have presented, that you see the tribes of Israel from a perspective which includes the nations.

    I know from other things that Richard has presented, that he sees Israel as having been supplanted by the "church" (Richard, if I am incorrect in this, please adjust me accordingly).

    And, I, from other things previously posted, see that the "church" is the "body", and Israel is the "bride".

    It is so interesting to me that the woman in Revelation 12 is "pregnant", i.e. preparing to bear a child.

    Even though we haven't even begun to discuss this on the Revelation thread, because you bring it up here, I thought it appropriate to lay this out now.

    The woman, who is threatened by the dragon, is sheltered for a time, while the dragon goes out to threaten the "rest of her seed".

    Maybe you could give some preliminary thoughts on that. Thanks,

    Joel

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    The book of Revelation, being prophetic, can be interpreted in many ways, unless it's something that happens in our time.

    Some assume that the woman is the church, some as Israel.

    Let me give you my opinion. I may be wrong but I find that the woman is the heavenly Jerusalem because at first John sees a sign in the heavens. But later in the chapter the woman is on the earth and two wings are given to her so she could fly in the wilderness. Later her seed is the target of the dragon. And who are the seed? ...which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. In other words - Christians.

    I have a hard time understanding myself. These are my questions. If the seed are the Christians then who's the woman? If the dragon leaves the woman and chases the Christians, what then does the woman represent? Well actually in Galatians' allegory of Sarah and Agar ( or Hagar ), Sarah represented the Heavenly Jerusalem whereas Agar was Jerusalem under bondage. And Paul says that Christians are children of the Heavenly Jerusalem.

    Also the birth of Christ is something that happened long ago, meaning chapter 12 is going through history and is not something that will happen in the future.

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    Hello Joel and Gilgal

    This probably belongs in the Revelation thread, but since it was brought up here I'll briefly present my view of Revelation 12.

    I see verse 1) As the woman representing "Israel", with the 12 stars being the 12 Tribes.

    In verse 2) The woman (Israel) is about to bring forth Messiah Jesus.

    Verse 3 & 4) Satan is waiting to kill Jesus as soon as He is born.
    Matt 2:16
    "Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under,according to the time which he had determined from the wise men."
    Verse 5 & 6) After Jesus is born, establishes who He is, and is crucified and caught up to God and His throne, the Woman (Israel) who now is the fledgling church (the first Christians were Jews), flees to the wilderness for protection from God (because Satan would try to destroy the new church if he could).

    Jumping ahead......

    Verse 17) it talks about Satan going to make war with the offspring of the woman, which would be those that have the testimony of Jesus "Christians".

    This is just a brief overview of chapter 12, there's lots more to talk about
    but maybe I'll wait till it comes up on the other thread.

    Rose

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    Woman

    Morning Joel, Gilgal and All!

    I like that little comment you make, gilgal: "I have a hard time understanding myself". Believe me, you are not alone there, my friend. I also do frequent double-takes on myself, only to find I've been chasing my tail.

    Gilgal makes some relevant observations concerning the woman with reference to the remnant of her seed, which are Christians. Note that there are two objects here: (1) the woman, and (2) the remnant of her seed. They are intimately bound together, which I believe is important.

    I concur that (2), above, are Christians because of the description of them that follows. As for (1), I believe the woman to be Israel, predominantly and preeminently America. There are many reasons for believing this to be so, some of which come to mind even as I write.

    The woman is pregnant at the beginning of the chapter, which represents Israel in the OT context. The crown of 12 stars is without doubt the 12 tribes (Genesis 37:9,10). She then delivers her child, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the seed of the woman.

    Here again we have the two objects: the woman, and the seed. The woman is OT Israel, the 12 tribes. I would go so far as to say that she is predominantly Joseph, for in the verse at Genesis 37:9 from where this symbol originates, it is Joseph who is the 12th - and leading - star. Look to the offspring of Joseph to identify the woman, Israel. The second object, the seed, I believe to be Christians.

    The woman then experiences a 'seven times' period, which is broken into two parts. At verse 6, she flees into the wilderness, where God has a yet future place prepared for her. At verse 14, she receives the two wings of a great eagle, with which she flies to her place in the wilderness. The two verses use 1260 days and 3-and-a-half times to represent the two halves of the 'seven times'. Why two parts? I'm sure it has to do with her removal, and her regeneration.

    I believe the 'seven times' reference comes from Leviticus 26:28, referring to the punishment Israel was to suffer if it rejected God. It is well worth reading Leviticus 26:28-45 to get a grasp on the enormity of what God is doing here. In fact, it is essential reading. Don't bypass it!

    The woman receives the two wings of a great eagle. These, I believe, refer to both God Himself (Exodus 19:4-6), and to America. America is the one nation under God that Manasseh, the son of Joseph, was to become (Genesis 48:19). The fulfillment of this blessing was deferred 'seven times' because Manasseh was unworthy, along with the rest of Israel, to receive it in OT times.

    I believe the 'seven times' to be seven prophetic times of years. Thus, 7 x 360 years, as the prophetic year consists of 360 days, as evidenced by 3-and-a-half times = 1260 days = 42 months in the Revelation. That's 2520 years, which consists of 50 x 50 sabbaths of years, plus a little more. That's how we are to understand the punishment in Leviticus 26.

    East Manasseh was the first tribe to go into exile, being the closest to Assyria. It is a fact that the neo-Assyrian empire began in 745 BC with Tilgath-Pilneser III's accession to the throne. It was he who began the deportation of Israel, which was completed with the fall of Samaria in about 720 BC. Counting forward 2520 years - the 'seven times' of the woman - from the accession of Tilgath-Pilneser III brings us to 1776. The woman arrives at her place in the wilderness of America exactly on cue. For all this time, she was hidden from the dragon's view, because she no more bore the name Israel.

    I believe the woman - who is Israel, predominantly Joseph, particularly Manasseh - is today representative of America. The remnant of the woman's seed represents Christianity, which has its earthly sanctuary today in America. America is the haven of the Christian church. You only need open your own history books to see this written large. Or your wallet, for that matter. All your currency is stamped with In God We Trust. It's written on your Declaration of Independence, "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence". You recite it in your Pledge of Allegiance, "one nation under God". The two symbols - the woman and the seed = Israel and the church - work concurrently. Importantly, the seed does not replace, or supplant, the woman. They complement one another.

    Small wonder the dragon lost sight of the woman, for you Americans don't even know who you really are!!!!!!! It takes a Kiwi, which is a small flightless bird from New Zealand, to try and rouse you, the mighty American Eagle, out of your amnesiac slumber. How fittingly the name Manasseh applies to you, for it means 'causing to forget'.

    This, in brief, is how I interpret the symbols of Revelation 12. I see it as a gradual unfolding of the history of Israel, from OT times right up to the present. Of course, the devil knows who you are now that your 'seven times' punishment has been fulfilled. Note, too, that all of the above views also intersect with the story from Eden, recounted at Genesis 3. As ever, you have to fill in the gaps yourself by meditating upon these verses and these stories. I won't have time to flesh out this argument for quite a while, and shouldn't really have to for now.

    The interpretation I have given flies in the face of what most have probably been taught. That's hardly surprising. Most Christians still think that the Jews are Israel, when the Bible plainly teaches that this is error. I have found that most Christians have this erroneous belief so ingrained in them, that it takes forever to extract it. Even when they recognise that it is error, they invariably fall back into it. This absolutely fundamental error is clearly something that lies at a subconscious level. As you've probably noticed from many of my posts, I constantly attack this thinking error, and will continue to do so whenever I see it in a post. Without a clear and integrated understanding of the different roles of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah, you will never properly understand the OT. That is a sad and undeniable fact!

    A final note. The woman cannot be the heavenly Jerusalem or the church. The woman carried the seed of God, which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ precedes the church, not the other way round, so it can't be the church. Israel carried the promises relating to the seed, so she fits the bill perfectly. Also, the heavenly Jerusalem cannot be the woman, for the reasons gilgal stated, and because the heavenly Jerusalem did not bear the man child, the incarnate Lord. Again, only OT Israel fits the bill.

    Stephen

    PS: Just read Rose's post. Rose, you are confusing your terms, which is a common misunderstanding. You have now conflated two symbols from the verse: the woman, and her seed. The verse doesn't allow you to do this. It maintains the distinction throughout, differentiatiating between the woman, and the remnant of her seed. The church is most definitely not Israel, just as the remnant of the seed of the woman is most definitely not the woman. It is a lot more synergetic than you imagine. The woman, and the remnant of her seed, are complementary, and are to be understood accordingly. But they are not to be confused as being one and the same.
    Last edited by Stephen; 07-21-2007 at 05:15 PM.

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    Though it's true that Jesus was born and come from the tribe of Judah of Israel, I'm more inclined to think that it has something to do with Galatians 4 where Sarah represented the Jerusalem above from whom we are all children. But Jerusalem at the present time is under bondage.

    If the entire chapter is a resume of the church era from the birth of Jesus Christ to the present time, then who does the dragon represent? Who are the 10 horns, 7 heads? Herod tried to kill Christ during his birth. The dragon tried to devour him. Is this referring to the birth or temptation?

    What is the water that comes out of the dragon's mouth? Is it literal or symbolical? The symbolical may be the word of the dragon or propaganda against Christians.

    Then the following chapter Revelation 13, the beast comes out of that water, it seems.

  8. #8
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    Woman

    I don't think so! The woman cannot be heavenly Jerusalem, and she cannot be the allegorical Sara in Galatians. She is clearly on the earth, and is the subject of the dragon's pursuit (verse 13). Heavenly Jerusalem neither fled from anyone, nor had a place in any wilderness.

    The woman can only be Israel. She is crowned with the 12 tribes (Genesis 37:9,10). In her we find not only Joseph's inheritance, but also Jewry. It is surely one of the great wonders of our Christian age that the Jews finally found sanctuary, free from persecution, in none other than America. Jesus prophesied this at Revelation 3:9. Today, Jews enjoy greater freedom and security in America than they have ever had anywhere else. America also has the largest Jewish population of any nation on earth.

    As stated, I believe that the chapter is much more than a resume of the church age. The woman predates the church. In fact, the church was born from her according to the text of chapter 12. The woman is Israel, and exists today as a nation, which the text helps us to identify.

    For ideas of what the flood might represent, check out this early draft of the Great Seal at:

    http://greatseal.com/committees/firstcomm/reverse.html

    For a play on this theme, check out:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/...oc/czars1.html

    Both motifs depend on the crossing of the Red Sea under Moses for their meaning. I think this is also implied in the relevant verse at Revelation 12:15. Note, too, that the flood is meant for the woman rather than for the remnant of her seed. These are the tribes of Israel, most notably Joseph and Judah, as portrayed in the links.

    Stephen
    Last edited by Stephen; 07-21-2007 at 06:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    The woman is pregnant at the beginning of the chapter, which represents Israel in the OT context. The crown of 12 stars is without doubt the 12 tribes (Genesis 37:9,10). She then delivers her child, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the seed of the woman.
    Amen. Complete agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Here again we have the two objects: the woman, and the seed. The woman is OT Israel, the 12 tribes. I would go so far as to say that she is predominantly Joseph, for in the verse at Genesis 37:9 from where this symbol originates, it is Joseph who is the 12th - and leading - star. Look to the offspring of Joseph to identify the woman, Israel. The second object, the seed, I believe to be Christians.
    Now we have a strong disagreement. First, the "woman" is a corporate symbol of faithful Israel regardless of tribe affiliation. If there is one error I have found in your conception of Israel it is that you confuse fleshly Israel with faithful Israel. That's why Paul said "not all that are of Israel are Israel. The people you call "Israel" are not Israel. They are the children of the flesh, not the children of God.

    So a proper understanding of the Woman is that she represents Faithful Israel, not fleshly Israel. She is to be identified with the faithful community of YHVH which is now known as Christians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    The woman then experiences a 'seven times' period, which is broken into two parts. At verse 6, she flees into the wilderness, where God has a yet future place prepared for her. At verse 14, she receives the two wings of a great eagle, with which she flies to her place in the wilderness. The two verses use 1260 days and 3-and-a-half times to represent the two halves of the 'seven times'. Why two parts? I'm sure it has to do with her removal, and her regeneration.

    I believe the 'seven times' reference comes from Leviticus 26:28, referring to the punishment Israel was to suffer if it rejected God. It is well worth reading Leviticus 26:28-45 to get a grasp on the enormity of what God is doing here. In fact, it is essential reading. Don't bypass it!

    The woman receives the two wings of a great eagle. These, I believe, refer to both God Himself (Exodus 19:4-6), and to America. America is the one nation under God that Manasseh, the son of Joseph, was to become (Genesis 48:19). The fulfillment of this blessing was deferred 'seven times' because Manasseh was unworthy, along with the rest of Israel, to receive it in OT times.
    You have said this so many times Stephen, but I still have nothing solid to bite into. No real evidence. Nothing from the Bible that would convince me. I just don't understand why you are convinced on a point that you can not support with real evidence. (Said with full respect for my brother in Christ, of course! )

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Small wonder the dragon lost sight of the woman, for you Americans don't even know who you really are!!!!!!! It takes a Kiwi, which is a small flightless bird from New Zealand, to try and rouse you, the mighty American Eagle, out of your amnesiac slumber. How fittingly the name Manasseh applies to you, for it means 'causing to forget'.
    What evidence are we supposed to use to support this "Manasseh" claim? We are Christians called forth from the Gentiles, just like the Bible says! The Bible never says a word about Paul as an "Apostle to the Ten Lost Tribes!" I think this is a fatal flaw in your system. And besides all that, I just don't understand why you think its important, or why you think its true. Could you please explain these points?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    This, in brief, is how I interpret the symbols of Revelation 12. I see it as a gradual unfolding of the history of Israel, from OT times right up to the present.
    Faithful Israel believed her GOD when He come to Her in the flesh (Jesus Christ.) Thus, Faithful Israel all believe in Jesus Christ. This means that Israel is the Church, and always has been.

    If you disagree, please engage me on this exact point. Faithful Israel did not deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Faithful Israel is the Church.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    The interpretation I have given flies in the face of what most have probably been taught.
    Actually, it flies in the face of what I think the Bible teaches, not what some man or woman has taught.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    That's hardly surprising. Most Christians still think that the Jews are Israel, when the Bible plainly teaches that this is error. I have found that most Christians have this erroneous belief so ingrained in them, that it takes forever to extract it.
    I think you have forgotten that the Apostle Paul uses the terms "Jew" and "Israel" interchangeably, and that you admitted such in an earlier post. So you probably don't want to pick on this point to heavily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Even when they recognise that it is error, they invariably fall back into it. This absolutely fundamental error is clearly something that lies at a subconscious level. As you've probably noticed from many of my posts, I constantly attack this thinking error, and will continue to do so whenever I see it in a post. Without a clear and integrated understanding of the different roles of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah, you will never properly understand the OT. That is a sad and undeniable fact!
    I think you have already committed that very error when you identified the woman with Manasseh, since the Lord sprang from Judah, and Manasseh was nowhere near Jerusalem at the time Christ was born.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    A final note. The woman cannot be the heavenly Jerusalem or the church. The woman carried the seed of God, which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ precedes the church, not the other way round, so it can't be the church.
    This is a false understanding of the Biblical meaning of "church." The Church (qahal in the OT, ecclessia in the NT) has existed since God called forth Abram. The word "church" means "the called ones of God." Israel was the Church before Christ came, and Israel is the Church today. It never changed. The only thing that changed was that membership now is by faith alone, whereas in the OT you could be born into fleshly Israel. That's why God broke of the unbelieving branches after Christ came.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Israel carried the promises relating to the seed, so she fits the bill perfectly. Also, the heavenly Jerusalem cannot be the woman, for the reasons gilgal stated, and because the heavenly Jerusalem did not bear the man child, the incarnate Lord. Again, only OT Israel fits the bill.

    Stephen

    PS: Just read Rose's post. Rose, you are confusing your terms, which is a common misunderstanding. You have now conflated two symbols from the verse: the woman, and her seed. The verse doesn't allow you to do this. It maintains the distinction throughout, differentiatiating between the woman, and the remnant of her seed. The church is most definitely not Israel, just as the remnant of the seed of the woman is most definitely not the woman. It is a lot more synergetic than you imagine. The woman, and the remnant of her seed, are complementary, and are to be understood accordingly. But they are not to be confused as being one and the same.
    Stephen, I believe you have made an invalid distinction between the symbol of the Woman and her Children. The "Mother" can not be a bunch of Christ denying fleshly unbelievers if her children are defined as believers in Christ. The entire Bible mitigates against such a position. The fact that Israel is the Church has been proven a hundred times on this forum, and NO ONE has ever directly challenged me on that point. Why not? If I am wrong, why have you not pointed out my error? Come on, my friend, lets take this one to the mat. I believe I have proven the point. Please show me my error.

    In the Peace and Grace of God,

    Richard

  10. #10
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    Israel and the Church not identical

    Hi Richard!

    Tell you what I'll do. I'll answer your queries, but first I'd like you to show me how the following could ever conceivably be said to be the church, seeing that the church is now Israel.

    (1) Genesis 49. The blessings of the tribes of Israel. You say the church is Israel, therefore the following must be fulfilled in the church, since she is now Israel. Who is Joseph? How are his blessings fulfilled in the church? How is his promise of enormous prosperity fulfilled in the church? Who is Reuben? Who is Simeon? Who is Gad? How do their specific blessings relate to the church? Where are they now? How do we distinguish between these so-called churches? What is the church of Simeon? What is the church of Gad? What is the church of Reuben? Do these distinctions still apply? What is the purpose of even bothering with these blessings to distinct tribes if they're all going to come under the umbrella term 'church'?

    (2) Deuteronomy 33. Who is who today? Who is Reuben? How does the Mosaic blessing apply to him today? What church is he? How about Joseph? When did the church become a pair of global superpowers? When did the church gore the people, pushing them to the ends of the earth? Who is Moses referring to when he pronounces a blessing to the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun? Is it the church, or is it two tribes? Why bother with any specific blessings, if the 'church' is going to obliterate any of these distinctions? In fact, why even bother with Israel? Why even bother with them having a history? What is the purpose of these blessings in relation to the church being Israel?

    (3) You have regularly pushed the point that the words spoken in the Bible must have an immediate meaning to those to whom they were addressed. You are therefore contradicting your own dictum by wresting these blessings from their primary context, which was an address to specific tribes of real people, and then saying that these people no longer matter! This means that God wasted his time giving these blessings, and having them recorded, since they can never be fulfilled at their primary level, since the tribes have been done away with, and God is no longer concerned with them. Where is the sense in that? Were the tribes supposed to understand that these promises were never meant literally? What would Moses say to you if you said that the promises he pronounced are not literal? What would the tribes say to you if you said the promises being given to them are not literal?

    These are just three points which you will need to seriously address. And they are merely the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds more suchlike queries yet to be enounced on this one issue.
    I believe you are wiping out parts of Scripture if you say these prophecies no longer apply, unless you can prove conclusively that the church fulfills them all. You will then need to provide a credible reason for why they are distinguished one from another. Why are distinctive tribes given distinctive blessings if the distinctions themselves are going to be removed by their being fulfilled by an umbrella term called 'the church'? Such a strategy is simply illogical. I would go so far as to say that a huge swathe of the OT might as well be removed from your Bible, because it no longer needs to be there if God has done away with the tribes.

    Please show me conclusively from Scripture that God no longer has any interest in the tribes of Israel. Show me conclusively that He has finished with them forever. The verses you have quoted prove nothing of the sort, that God no longer deals with the twelve tribes. Of course God still deals with them! They are going to be there in the New Jerusalem! God says over and over and over again that He will have mercy on them, after that He has punished them. The OT prophets, in declaring this, did not speak to any church other than to the tribes of Israel. If you say that the church is now these tribes of Israel, prove it from Scripture. If you say that these tribes no longer matter, and have been done away with in the eyes of God, passed over for the church, you negate the prophecies spoken over them.

    I would politely suggest that you need to dust off your OT and start doing some serious study on the twelve tribes. I know you still fall back on the old error that the Jews are physical Israel, which they are, but only in part. This is ingrained in your thinking, as it is with most Christians. I've still seen you referring to OT Israel as the Jews every now and then. This shows me that you haven't engaged with this issue deeply yet.
    All the NT verses you quote in regard to the church now having supplanted Israel must be rethought in light of what God says concerning physical Israel. What happened to physical Israel? What do we mean by physical Israel? What is the difference between Israel and Judah? When did Israel go into exile? Why was she exiled? What did the prophets say of her future, even after she had long gone? What did Hosea say about her? What did Jeremiah say about her? What did Isaiah say about her? What did God say about her in the Law? Did God say He would cast her off forever? Did God say that she would morph into the church? If so, how does this affect all the many prophecies spoken over the tribes, many of them piercingly specific?

    Richard, you are still not seeing the bigger picture, my friend. You are still locked into this thinking error that the church is Israel, and that's all that God uses. Not so. His plan was always a lot bigger than that. Go and dust off your OT and get stuck into it. Learn about the tribes. Learn about why God chose them in the first place. He did it for a reason, one which you are just not seeing yet. Lay your NT aside for a time. Take off your type / antitype hat, and start absorbing the words in the OT afresh, without the narrow theological lens you are accustomed to seeing the tribes through.

    I know I haven't done much of a job as concerns marshalling evidence yet. Don't worry. I've truly only cast bare bones into the ring so far, and that has been a deliberate ploy. I want readers to do their own work first. Go away, think about it, get into the OT, seek God in prayer on the issue. Again I say, seek God in prayer on the issue. I mean it!

    Now, if you can satisfactorily answer for yourself - not for me - all the queries that I posed at the top of the page, then you can rest easy in the position you currently have in regard to God dismissing the twelve tribes from His plan, and dealing only with the church. But be honest with yourself. If you can't find specific answers to those questions - and they are entirely relevant to this issue - then you need to keep digging until you find a satisfactory and convincing answer. Then you can share it with me. And once you've done that, I will work harder to convince you why I am firmly convinced that, at least on this issue, that the Bible clearly distinguishes between the church and Israel.

    I'm glad you are prepared to discuss this issue, my bro. But I want you to do more than just discuss it. That goes for all who might be reading this thread. I would like you to start coming to grips with what Israel was really all about in God's plan, because you clearly don't have much of an idea yet. If you really want to know why God chose the twelve tribes of Israel, you're going to have to get right into your OT. There's no other way around that. No cursory glance will do. All that does is cause one to look for things to buttress one's opinion. No, to get a deeper answer you need to read deeply. Think. Pray. Consider. Reread. Rethink. Pray again.

    I'm not sorry that I'm not offering you any ready-made answers to your questions, Richard. I'm doing you a service by telling you what I believe you need to do. If I give you answers, you are not challenging your position. It will only be me who is challenging your position. I'm only giving you what I think you need, which is a whole bunch of questions to go away and work on. You will learn infinitely more that way, if you keep an open mind. I believe the Lord would do exactly the same thing.

    Please resist the impulse to answer this post with immediacy. I know it's another long post, but that's just the way it is. It probably needed to be. This is the best post I have posted so far. Lately, I've been coming to terms with the realisation that we should each have to put in the effort to get our answers. Spoon-feeding is not for those who have been in Christ a long time. I say all this in love, my brother. The intent on my part to prove that I'm right is minimal. I'm long past that point now. All I really want is for you, and others noseying in on this thread, to go away and do some really thorough research, which means finding satisfactory answers to the hard questions from Scripture.

    Many blessings in Christ's wonderful name,

    Stephen

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