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Thread: True Israel

  1. #1
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    True Israel

    Rather than add to the discussion on whether the 12 tribes are still in existence in a literal way, and as some teach have settled in the UK and US, I want to state what I think the Bible says about who the True Israelites are.

    What I am sharing is not replacement theology, since I believe Israel in its truest and purest form was never "replaced" but continued on! Let me explain.

    Let's start with what Paul wrote in Romans 9:6: "It is not as if the Word of God failed. For they are not are all Israel who descended from Israel."

    Paul explains and illustrates this point in Romans 11 by stating that God did not choose Ishmael, but Isaac, and that God did not elect or choose Esau but Jacob. Here Paul goes back into the Old Testament to prove that "they are not all Israel who descended from Israel". Even though they were direct descendents of Abraham, Ishmael and Esau became enemies of Israel. Being biologically Hebrew did not save them. And that is what we hear John the Baptist and Jesus saying to the Jews in their day. See Matt. 3:9 and John 8 for examples. In essence they preached, 'don't think because you can trace your lineage to Abraham, it will save you.'

    When Jesus came, He came to seek and save the lost sheep of the House of Israel. All true Israelites were gathered to Him. All who believed and received Him were chosen by God to continue on as Israel. Notice these texts:

    Phil. 3:3 "We are the true circumcision."

    Gal. 6:15,16 "Neither circumcision or uncircumcision is anything, but a new creature. And those who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them...and upon the Israel of God."

    Gal.3:29 "And if you belong to Christ THEN you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise."

    Rom. 2:29 "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit and not by the letter..."

    That was from Paul. John teaches the same thing...

    Rev. 2:9 "I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (Reminds me of what Jesus said to the Jews in John 8, that their father was not Abraham but Satan!)

    Rev. 3:9 "Behold, I will cause those of the syhnagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but lie -behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet and to know that I have loved you."

    And Peter agrees with Paul and John...

    1Peter 2:4-10 "4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,


    “ Behold, I lay in Zion
    A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
    And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

    7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,


    “ The stone which the builders rejected
    Has become the chief cornerstone,”

    8 and


    “ A stone of stumbling
    And a rock of offense.”


    They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

    9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

    *************************************

    My conclusion from these texts is that the Jews who came to Jesus and those who were saved at Pentecost were ALL Jews. These Jews who accepted their Messiah became the true Jews, God's chosen people. This became evident when God allowed Jerusalem to be completely destroyed in AD70.

    Jesus called out whosoever would come to continue on as True Israelites. These "called out ones" (ekklesia) continued on as the Israel of God. Notice they were all biologically Jews to begin with. Then God commanded them to go to the gentiles and bring them into the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16). I'll conclude with a passage that sums it up beautifully:

    Ephesians 2:11-22 11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you 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 you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

    14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

    19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

    There are many who believe that God still plans to reconstitute the nation of Israel and rebuild a literal temple. I believe this is a false teaching. God's plan for the Jew is that they come to faith and believe in His Son, for He is able to graft in the original olive branches. The Jews in Palestine today and in the whole world for that matter are not God's chosen people. God's chosen people are those who put their faith in Jesus.

    The unconverted Jew is of course beloved for their fathers sakes and God is doing all He can to save them still. The Messianic movement of our generation is one of the strongest proofs that God is about to end history. His arms are outstretched lovingly and graciously to receive them if they will only come. Our mission is to "call out" the Jew from secular Israel and come to the Jerusalem above (Gal. 4:26 and Hebrews 12:22 "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven...")
    Last edited by Brother Bob; 06-14-2007 at 05:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Bob View Post
    My conclusion from these texts is that the Jews who came to Jesus and those who were saved at Pentecost were ALL Jews. These Jews who accepted their Messiah became the true Jews, God's chosen people. This became evident when God allowed Jerusalem to be completely destroyed in AD70.

    Jesus called out whosoever would come to continue on as True Israelites. These "called out ones" (ekklesia) continued on as the Israel of God. Notice they were all biologically Jews to begin with. Then God commanded them to go to the gentiles and bring them into the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16). I'll conclude with a passage that sums it up beautifully:

    Ephesians 2:11-22 11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you 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 you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

    14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

    19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
    I have nothing to add. I agree with every word you wrote Bob! Thanks for saving me the effort!



    For Joel and Stephen - This is the style of answer that I find very convincing. A minimal amount explanation with just a few highlights added to mounds and mounds of Scriptures that pretty much speak for themselves with a clear and united voice.

    Richard

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    Thanks Bob for the great post on True Israel!

    Especially the part on the rebuilding of the temple, there are so few people that understand why another temple can never be built on the original temple site.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Bob
    There are many who believe that God still plans to reconstitute the nation of Israel and rebuild a literal temple. I believe this is a false teaching. God's plan for the Jew is that they come to faith and believe in His Son, for He is able to graft in the original olive branches. The Jews in Palestine today and in the whole world for that matter are not God's chosen people. God's chosen people are those who put their faith in Jesus.
    The way I see it, God could never allow another temple to be rebuilt, and sacrifices to be reinstated, on the place where His Holy temple stood. In so doing the Jews would think that their sacrifices would be and atonement for their sins as before, when we know the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God has already been given,as an atonement for the sins of the world. That is why the temple had to be destroyed in 70 AD.

    My prayer is that all Israel might be saved
    Rose
    Last edited by Rose; 06-14-2007 at 04:14 PM.

  4. #4
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    How sweet and pleasant when brethren dwell together in unity.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose View Post
    My prayer is that all Israel might be saved
    Rose
    Amen!

  6. #6
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    Temple

    Hi folks!

    I'm gonna jump in here with a curly one. This is something I have no opinion on because I've never ventured to find the meaning, but I know it troubled a Christian friend of mine. Perhaps someone out there has a clear answer that satisfies everyone. Personally, I have no answer to the query I'm about to pose.

    The last eight chapters of Ezekiel speak in detail about a new temple. How are we to understand this, if we say we don't believe God will allow a new temple? It also has animal sacrifice reinstituted.

    As I said, I've never ventured to find an answer to this question. If I was to formulate one off the top of my head, I would have to say that, at some future point, a new temple is going to be built at God's behest and animal sacrifice is going to resume. Of course, this would disrupt the notion of Christ being our sacrifice, once and for all. That's what makes this one so curly. In which case, I guess I would answer that this new temple and reinstituted animal sacrifice will occur after the Christian dispensation has been fulfilled. That's the only way I can make sense of these difficult chapters.

    One thing I would not do is try to 'spiritualise' these chapters, claiming they were merely types of things which have been fulfilled in the church. The text does not give itself to such nebulous interpretation. So what do folks have to say on this difficult issue? It perplexes me, which is why I've left it alone till this time.

    Stephen

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Hi folks!

    I'm gonna jump in here with a curly one. This is something I have no opinion on because I've never ventured to find the meaning, but I know it troubled a Christian friend of mine. Perhaps someone out there has a clear answer that satisfies everyone. Personally, I have no answer to the query I'm about to pose.

    The last eight chapters of Ezekiel speak in detail about a new temple. How are we to understand this, if we say we don't believe God will allow a new temple? It also has animal sacrifice reinstituted.
    I'm really glad you brought this up!

    I am convinced that one function of Ezekiel's Temple is as a prophecy of the structure of the Bible, as I explained in the Bible Wheel book, and in this thread that I posted today after trying to answer your post. I just noticed that you posted there, so I will go and check it out before saying more here. But I plan on coming back here so I can respond to the points you made.

    RAM

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    Jesus as Israel

    In Genesis 32:27 and 28 the angel changes Jacob's name to "Israel". This is the first time the name Israel is used in the Bible. We are all aware of how much importance the Hebrews placed on 'names'. Jacob means 'deceiver' and when the angel asked him what his name was, Jacob no doubt had to feel a little embarrassed to answer with Jacob or deceiver. The angel then told him that he was being given a new name...Israel, meaning 'one who strives or struggles with God'. In the NKJV it renders the meaning as Literally "Prince with God". I'm sure Jacob liked this new name. (Wish I could change my name. Bob is soooo common. )

    Here we see Israel as the name of one man. It was given to Jacob to denote a change of character/nature. He was no longer to see himself as a 'crook'.

    As we know, Jacob had 12 sons who all ended up in Egypt. God called Moses to go to Pharoah and say, "Thus says the Lord, 'Israel is my Firstborn...let My son go.'" -Exodus 4:22-23 Here we see an expansion. NOW the name Israel refers to all of Jacob or Israel's descendents!

    "Israel" was a 'vine' brought out of Egypt. -Psalm 80:8

    "But thou Israel art My servant....the seed of Abraham." -Isaiah 41:8

    "Behold! My servant whom I uphold. My elect one in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon him; He will bring justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench." -Isaiah 42:1-3 God spoke these words about the nation of Israel.

    God spoke through Hosea, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Eygypt I called My son." -Hosea 11:1 (ca. 800 B.C.)

    800 years later Joseph is warned in a dream to take the child to Egypt, for the Child's life was in danger. So the family arose and "departed to Egypt". -Matthew 2:14

    In the next verse, Matthew 2:15, Matthew under divine inspiration writes that the words in Hosea 11:1 was a prophecy of Jesus, God's Son, leaving Egypt: "Out of Egypt, I have called My Son."

    Here we see Jesus REPEATING the history of Israel. Jesus is led out of Egypt and travels to the Promised land of Palestine. As Israel was baptized by going through the Red Sea, Jesus was baptized in the Jordon River. As Israel wondered for 40 years in the desert having to learn to trust their God, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days having to trust His God.

    Here we see Matthew telling us that Jesus was the true "Prince with God", that Jesus was God's Firstborn Son, His Elect, His Servant in whom He delighted. "This is my beloved SON, in whom I delight."

    Matthew 12:16-20 reads: 15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
    18 “ Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
    My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
    I will put My Spirit upon Him,
    And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
    19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
    Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
    20 A bruised reed He will not break,
    And smoking flax He will not quench,
    Till He sends forth justice to victory;
    21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

    Jesus said, "I AM the Vine." He was the "Seed of Abraham." -Galatians 3:16

    Paul said, that Abraham's Seed does not refer to many but to "one...who is Christ." Here we see Jesus as one man, like Jacob, as the New Israel, or Prince with God. But just as with Jacob/Israel so it was with Jesus. All who belong to Him are true Israelites indeed. "And if you are Christ's , then you are Abraham's seed." -Galatians 3:29 "Only those of faith are the sons of Abraham." Galatians 3:6,7

    Go thru the Old Testament and the true Israelites were always those like Father Israel in that they had faith in God. Not all the descendents of Israel/Jacob had faith. "Not all descended from Israel are Israel."

    The conclusion is that Matthew teaches that Jesus is the True Israel succeeding where natural Israel failed. And those who put their faith in Him are true Israelites .....like Nathaniel. -John 1:51

    May God help the church to see this truth.

    John 8:37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with[l] your father.”

    39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

    Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”

    Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

    42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
    Last edited by Brother Bob; 06-20-2007 at 04:54 AM.

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    Sounds like very selective deduction to me, Brother Bob. Don't ever recall Jesus saying that he is true Israel. In fact, don't recall any of the apostles calling him Israel, or even hinting at it. And I have never seen a scripture stating unequivocally that the church alone is Israel. Even Paul, in his discourse on Israel at Romans, chapters 9 to 11 (which you quote a small part of), makes a clear distinction between two different Israels, before admitting of their eventual reconciliation (Romans 11:25-29).

    Let's also not forget the immediate audience Jesus was speaking to. It consisted mainly of Jews - a remnant of only two of Israel's twelve tribes (see Josephus' 'Antiquities' for independent corroboration of this fact). The rest of Israel had gone into exile seven centuries earlier, and were reckoned as Gentiles by this time. God had a plan for these exiles, which we see throughout the prophets. It certainly involved faith in Jesus Christ. Exactly to what extent, however, is the big question.

    I know what you are trying to say with your posting. For me, your argument would be a lot more convincing if you tried to tackle the hundreds of prophecies spoken over Israel in the OT that don't fit your extremely selective form of deduction, and show how they are supposed to be fulfilled in either the church or the person of our Lord. For starters, how do you interpret the blessings given to each of the twelve tribes at Genesis 49? Some of them are very specific blessings. Or how about the promise to Joseph at Deuteronomy 33:17? Moses makes it clear that Joseph's two sons will become global military superpowers. I'm mystified as to how this could remotely refer to the church. And these valid questions are only the tip of the iceberg! I look forward to your clear and unambiguous response to these questions.

    Stephen

    PS: Perhaps a little more caution would be advised when making some of your conclusions. Israel is certainly the servant mentioned at Isaiah 41. But it doesn't necessarily follow that the servant at Isaiah 42:1 is also Israel, because the prophet does not state so!
    Last edited by Stephen; 06-20-2007 at 06:24 AM.

  10. #10
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    Hi Stephen

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Sounds like very selective deduction to me, Brother Bob. Don't ever recall Jesus saying that he is true Israel. In fact, don't recall any of the apostles calling him Israel, or even hinting at it.
    I don't recall Jesus ever literally saying He was Israel either. Then again, He did tell His disciples that He had much to share with them, but they could not bear it. Remember after His resurrection, He gave them a fantasic Bible Study. Luke 24:25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Then actually gave two Bible studies on the Day of His Resurrection. Notice that night in Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."

    So the truth is that the whole truth about Jesus was progressively revealed to His Apostles. (See Acts 10-15 for example.) Maybe Jesus shared these deeper truths then, who knows.

    Furthermore, I just showed in my post how Matthew portrayed Christ as the new Jacob/Israel who came out of Israel and used the titles of Israel and applied them to Christ: "the Vine", "Elect", "Firstborn Son", "Beloved Son" etc.

    And I have never seen a scripture stating unequivocally that the church alone is Israel.
    See my first post where I list several Scriptures where believing Jews are called 'the true circumcision' -Phil. 3:3, 'the Israel of God.' (Gal. 6:16)

    Even Paul, in his discourse on Israel at Romans, chapters 9 to 11 (which you quote a small part of), makes a clear distinction between two different Israels, before admitting of their eventual reconciliation (Romans 11:25-29).
    Yes, there is an Israel of the flesh and an Israel of the Spirit. Those who believed and received their Messiah were the true Jews. Those who didn't were not the true Jews according to Rev. 2:9 and 3:9.

    The only way Israel after the flesh can be reconciled to Israel in the Spirit is to accept Christ. This is Paul's whole point in Romans 11. Those who disbelieved, the natural branches were cut off. Those gentiles who believed were grafted in. Grafted into what? The true root and trunk of Israel. According to Paul, the Jews who rejected Christ are still loved by GOD and He is able to graft them back in....but only under the condition that they repent of their unbelief and accept Christ.


    Let's also not forget the immediate audience Jesus was speaking to. It consisted mainly of Jews - a remnant of only two of Israel's twelve tribes (see Josephus' 'Antiquities' for independent corroboration of this fact). The rest of Israel had gone into exile seven centuries earlier, and were reckoned as Gentiles by this time. God had a plan for these exiles, which we see throughout the prophets. It certainly involved faith in Jesus Christ. Exactly to what extent, however, is the big question.
    I'm familiar with this position called British Identity. I don't buy it. Jesus came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. After He left, He sent out His apostles to go to all the nations and FIRST to the synagogues.

    You'll have to provide me the quote from Josephus that states that there were only two tribes in Palestine at the time of Christ. In the prophets all 12 tribes were called to go back to rebuild Jerusalem. Sadly, only a remnant returned. But God indeed sent out a call for all 12 tribes to retuen.

    Jesus plan to regather lost Israelites was to gather them to Himself. It has always been and will always be.

    I know what you are trying to say with your posting. For me, your argument would be a lot more convincing if you tried to tackle the hundreds of prophecies spoken over Israel in the OT that don't fit your extremely selective form of deduction, and show how they are supposed to be fulfilled in either the church or the person of our Lord. For starters, how do you interpret the blessings given to each of the twelve tribes at Genesis 49? Some of them are very specific blessings. Or how about the promise to Joseph at Deuteronomy 33:17? Moses makes it clear that Joseph's two sons will become global military superpowers. I'm mystified as to how this could remotely refer to the church. And these valid questions are only the tip of the iceberg! I look forward to your clear and unambiguous response to these questions.
    I'll provide you with a clear response Stephen. God's promises to Israel were always CONDITIONAL upon faith and obedience. Deut. 28-30 clearly spells out that if Israel obeyed, God would bless their socks off, but if they disobeyed, they would be cursed and scattered throughout the world.

    The Prophets of God came to call Israel to repent and obey their God in order to be spared the curses of the covenant. It is important to note at this point that the false prophets believed in the UNCONDITIONAL blessings and calling of Israel. For the false prophets repentance and obedience weren't necessary for God's blessing and protection.

    We see the same error today. The false prophets are those who are declaring that the unChristian Jews of our day are UNCONDITIONALLY favored and chosen of God and guaranteed victory and success. No mention of their need to repent and receive Christ is mentioned or necessary to these so-called spokesmen of God. They fail to hold up the conditions of the covenant in Deuteronomy to Israel after the flesh...unfortunately.

    God is no respector of persons. The Jews believed God would never allow Rome to destroy their city and temple. They were dead wrong. Why? What belief did they hold that cost them their lives and city?



    PS: Perhaps a little more caution would be advised when making some of your conclusions. Israel is certainly the servant mentioned at Isaiah 41. But it doesn't necessarily follow that the servant at Isaiah 42:1 is also Israel, because the prophet does not state so!
    My conclusions are based on what Jesus and His apostles say about the Old Testament. They are the final interpreters of the old testament. I believe that both passages are speaking of the nation of Israel. Looking back with new testament eyes we see that both passages while speaking of the physical nation of Israel were applied to Christ! That's the point.

    regards,
    BB
    Last edited by Brother Bob; 06-20-2007 at 08:31 AM.

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