WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS JESUS MADE?

Source …

Stephen Sizer, Zion’s Christian Soldiers, The Bible, Israel and The Church

Excerpts …

Clearly, Orthodox Jews who do not yet recognize Jesus as their Messiah, still have their eyes fixed on Moses, adhere to the demands of the Law and cling to the promises of a literal inheritance in the Land. Christians who identify with Zionism and believe the Old Testament promises the Land, Jerusalem and the Temple to the Jewish people in perpetuity, are in danger of doing the same.

What difference has Jesus made?

The fundamental question we have considered in this book is this: What difference did the coming of Jesus Christ make to the traditional Jewish hopes and expectations? Was it the fulfillment or merely the postponement of those hopes?

Remember this is not a new controversy. In the 1st Century, Christians debated the relationship between Israel and the Church. The Book of Hebrews is all about the relationship between the Old and New Covenants and how Jesus fulfilled the first in order to inaugurate the second.

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:1-6)

The writer of Hebrews develops this argument in chapter 4. In an overview of Jewish history, the progressive revelation of God’s ‘rest’ points to, and then beyond, Canaan. It begins with God resting on the seventh day of creation (Hebrews 4:3-4). Because of their rebellion in the desert, God denied the adults access to the Land (4:5). Once in the Land, even the ‘rest’ from their enemies achieved under Joshua was provisional (4:8). Psalm 95 is quoted to indicate a future rest beyond even the zenith of the kingdom achieved under David (4:6-7). Believers are urged to look forward to and enter a more permanent rest than provided in Canaan.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11) …

Clearly, Orthodox Jews who do not yet recognize Jesus as their Messiah, still have their eyes fixed on Moses, adhere to the demands of the Law and cling to the promises of a literal inheritance in the Land. Christians who identify with Zionism and believe the Old Testament promises the Land, Jerusalem and the Temple to the Jewish people in perpetuity, are in danger of doing the same.

Hebrews 6 explains that the progression from the Old to the New Covenant, which was consummated in the death of Jesus – our ransom sacrifice, is irreversible.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

This is because, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20). Faith in Jesus Christ, as the consummation of all the hopes of Israel the highest spiritual mountain top beyond which it is downhill which ever way a person goes. There is nothing greater, nothing higher, and certainly nothing more magnificent than the mountain top of divine revelation found in the Lord Jesus Christ. David Breese describes the alternatives:

To move beyond that mountain top in the pursuit of something better is to lose oneself in the crags and crevices of the slopes that fall away from real Christianity. And beyond the crevices of heresy are the fever swamps of the cults, where the serpents and the scorpions wait. Beyond rationality is insanity, beyond medicine is poison, beyond sex is perversion, beyond fascination is addiction, beyond love is lust, beyond reality is fantasy. Just so, beyond Christianity is death, hopelessness, darkness, and heresy.

As we have already seen, one verse in Hebrews sums up the relationship between the Old and New Covenant. “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13). The destruction of the Temple with its holy of holies and altar, the death of the High Priest, the dispersion of the Levites and the ending of animal sacrifices in 70 AD, fulfilled that prediction. The choice since then has been between two theologies. One based primarily on the fading shadows of the Old Covenant and one based on the reality of the New Covenant.

About Cathy

I am a born again Christian, saved in 1988 at the age of 38. My mother was born again in her old age, in her 80's. Her name is Giannina which means "God is gracious."
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