An ancient king once asked a wise man for proof of the Bible's authenticity. "What evidence can you give me that the Bible is true?" he asked. "The Jew, Sire," replied the wise man, "The Jew."
There is a tiny country on the Mediterranean coast, the size of a state on the Atlantic coast named New Jersey. This country - Israel - seems geographically insignificant, but it is the most important piece of real estate in the universe. It is the Promised Land - the focus of God's attention.
Moses, the lawgiver of Israel, in recounting the nation's birth, said, "For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance. In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye" (Deuteronomy 32:9, 10).
Most people think of the Bible as a Christian book that has something to do with church. There is some truth to that, but it's not the entire picture. In fact, there were no Christians for the first millenniums of human history. God's design from eternity past includes the church, but it is not the culmination of His plan. This thinking has led to confusion and contorted comprehensions of Scripture, spawning everything from mystical mists to prosperity gospels to cults to Crusades to pogroms. Teaching that God has forsaken the sons of Jacob forever in favor of the church has inspired peoples and nations to try, at minimum, to consign them to the ghetto of second-class citizenry.
Although considered a Christian compilation, the known authors of the canon were Jews. The central person of the narrative is the Messiah, who is called Christ (John 4:25). From the first prophecy of his coming in Genesis 3:15, through the predictions of his suffering in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, to his life, death, and resurrection in the gospels, and his return in Revelation, the King of Israel is inextricably woven through the sacred text.
A king must have his kingdom; an eternal king must have an eternal kingdom (Daniel 7:14). Despite its humble beginning, its small size, and the irrational hatred from the nations, God has ordained that Israel shall last forever (Jeremiah 31:35-40).
The gospel is normally associated with the church, and rightly so. However, little is made of the fact that it is the "gospel of the kingdom" (Mark 1:14, 15). Although referred to many times as "the kingdom of heaven," we are not to believe that it's an ethereal place where we float around on Cottonelle clouds above the earth. A final kingdom will exist on the new earth, with Jerusalem as its centerpiece (Revelation 21:1, 2). Israel will be "the head and not the tail" (Deuteronomy 28:13).
The Bible is a Jewish book: It belongs to, and speaks of, Israel (Romans 9:4, 5), as well as the church. The church is a temporary institution in God's plan; Gentiles have been graciously allowed to share in Israel's future blessings (Romans 11:17). Once we understand the emphasis on a literal past, present, and future kingdom in Scripture, major world events and difficult Bible teachings fall into place. Without such understanding, controversial subjects like the Law, Sabbath, Millennial Temple and sacrifices, Sermon on the Mount, Charismatic gifts, lordship of Christ, etc., are left to misinterpretation.
God Almighty reads the headlines and says, "Why are the nations in an uproar . . . I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain" (Psalm 2). His kingdom will be established; will you be a part of it?
Alan Allegra is a freelance Christian writer in Pennsylvania. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: www.mcall.com. Available for writing. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alanallegra/
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