De Place of the Nation Israel in the
realization of God's purpose
S. Van Mierlo
(Translated from Dutch
Only to read online)
Preface of the publisher. As far as we know this work has never been published before, it was handed to us by a grandson of Mr. Van Mierlo. If other works that have never been published before come into our possession, we will also publish them. When this writing is written is not known.
Uit de Schriften — 2019
1. Israel in the past. ↑ Mat. 25:34 teaches us that since the « foundation » (better: « casting down ») of the world, God's purpose was to establish a Kingdom on the earth. This would be the first step to the restoration of all creation. Humanity would be the means for this and would rule over the sea, the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:26 — 28). Adam received special spiritual faculties to carry out that mission, but he did not determine his election. Making bad use of his freedom, he assumed an attitude of independence towards his Creator. Thus the arrival of the Kingdom was then postponed.
The consequences of the spiritual separation between God and Adam and his children could not fail. After a short period of time an almost general ruin arose (Gen. 6:5 — 12), so that sufficient purification by the flood was necessary to keep the means of restoration. Noah and his sons were chosen as new instruments, and the earth and the sea were delivered into their hands (Gen. 9:1, 2).
Later, the 70 nations that originated from Noah were spread over the earth, and God's special blessing passed to Shem and then to Abraham. A great nation would spring from him, and in him all the generations of the earth would be blessed. After Abraham had provided proof of his obedience to all that God desired from him, he received a more definite promise: « For all this land which thou seest shall I give thee, and to thy seed for ever ». (Gen. 13:15). Let us note that the Hebrew text does not say « forever » , but « for the aion », that is the aion or « world development course » in which that promise will be realized. This earthly promise was related to his seed that is « as the dust of the earth » (Gen. 13:16) and not with the seed that is « as the stars of heaven » (Genesis 15:5), which has a heavenly calling.
The promise of the land is unconditional, and will therefore certainly be fulfilled. As a seal of this covenant with Abraham and his earthly seed, the circumcision of the flesh was instituted. It was noted that God said to Abraham: « My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant » (Gen. 17:13).
Then we read that the promise came to Isaac (Gen. 21:12, 13), Jacob (Gen. 18:3, 4) and Judah (Gen. 49:10). The famine that drove the children of Jacob out of the land and into Egypt, the oppression of Pharaoh, the obstacles in leaving Egypt, the oppression of Pharaoh, the obstacles in leaving Egypt, and the difficulties in the desert could not prevent that the earthly seed continued to exist.
With the view to the formation of a nation that would be the blessing of all mankind, Moses received God's Law, including general commandments and social and ceremonial ordinances. The basis of this law was: love to God and to the neighbor. The complete Law formed a fixed whole: the outer forms were nothing without the general commandments, but on the other hand these commandments alone were not sufficient. The people had a need for visible representations of spiritual truths. The whole Law, including the Sabbath and the sacrifices, would remain in force during the whole of the coming aion (see, for example, Exodus 31:16 and Lev. 6:18, 22).
Thus the children of Israel were thus taught by the Law, knowing God's will. They should have been aware of the fact that they could not possibly do all the things the Lord had asked and thus recognize their sinful state, which they had inherited from Adam. However, they adopted a completely different attitude, claiming to do everything in their own strength and thus to be righteous before God. They made a covenant with God, claiming to be accursed if they would not confirm all the words of the Law (Deu. 27:26), nor do all the commandments. So they were then « under » the Law, as slaves. This covenant was sealed by blood (Exodus 24:8).
It is important to pay attention to:
An important step was now made to the realization of the promises. God's nation was now formed: there was a people, they were in the land, they had a Law and a government. The coming of the kingdom was always kept in mind: when they asked Samuel to give them a king as the other nations had one, the Lord said to them that they thus rejected Him as King (1 Samuel 8:7). David was a type of the coming King, and when he settled in Jerusalem, one step further had come: the nation now had a royal city and a type of the divine King. The reign of Solomon seemed further progress, but the idols were still worshiped and the children of Israel were very seriously warned that they would be driven out of the land and they would cease to be God's people, if they did not turn away from the idols and to turn to the living God.
Then follows a long, sad history, where Satan seems to triumph and succeed in preventing the coming of the Kingdom. After repeated warnings by the prophets, the judgment of Isa. 6:9, 10 came: « And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed ».
The 10 tribes were exiled to Assyria, then the other two to Babylon. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and Israel became « Lo-Ammi » (not-my-people) for a while. Then Esdras and Nehemiah rebuilt the city and the temple and many were in the expectation of their Messiah, who was described to them as:
Jesus, the Son of God, did not came to establish a « new religion », but He and the Apostles were sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:5, 6, 15:24). He was a minister of circumcision to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Rom. 15:8). The nations would be blessed there (Mark 7:27). He did not come to abolish the Law, but to allow the Law to be fulfilled by grace. Even the smallest letter or the slightest sign of the Scriptures was not removed, and the least commandment still had to be observed (Matthew 5:17 — 19).
He chose 12 Apostles, who were to preach the close proximity of the Kingdom to Israel and to invite the people to repentance. As soon as this was obtained, they would govern the nation (Matthew 19:28). Through their repentance and faith, the children could receive Israel's forgiveness, as was said by the prophets, and come to spiritual rebirth (John 3:36). By faith into (Greek: eis) Christ they would have aionic life (John 6:47) on earth, in the future aion (Luke 18:30).
But every covenant had to be sealed by blood (Exo. 24:8, Heb 9:20). For the New Covenant, Christ had to shed his own blood. After the meal of the last Passover (Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25) the Lord took the cup of thanksgiving (1 Cor. 10:15), that is the third cup of this feast (1), and stated that this cup represented the blood of the New Covenant (1 Cor. 11:25), which covenant was made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Shortly after that? Was the true blood on the cross, making atonement (Greek: apolutrosis).
Only a fairly small number of Jews converted. The Messiah was rejected and crucified. But by the resurrection He was declared to be the Son of God with power.
Did Israel then stopped being God's people? No, Christ himself prayed for their forgiveness because they did not know what they were doing (Luke 23:34). The Law declared that those who sinned in ignorance could receive forgiveness (Numbers 15:28). The prayer of Christ could thus be answered.
We therefore see that during the entire period of the Acts, the Kingdom was still « near », and Israel was invited to repentance so that it may begin (Acts 3:19, 20:21). The 12 Apostles could rightfully expect that Kingdom after the cross, but they could not be answered when it would begin (Acts 1:6, 7). They had to proclaim it without knowing whether it would soon begin or not.
At Pentecost there was a beginning of fulfillment of the old promises concerning the outpouring of spiritual gifts on the seed of Jacob (Joel 2:28, 29, Isa 44:3 etc.). And the powers of the coming aion were in abundance until the end of that period (Acts 28:4 — 9).
The Christian Jews were always faithful to the statutes of the Law. Paul also proved this for himself when some false brothers questioned it (Acts 21:21 — 26). (1)
But notwithstanding this new period of grace and the proclamation of the Kingdom in the most special cities (Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Rome), Israel did not come to repentance as a nation and so Isaiah's words were fulfilled (Acts 28:26, 27). Paul added: « Be it known then, that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles ». Then the chosen people became Lo-Ammi, not-my-people. The destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple confirmed this judgment visibly in the year 70 and the Jews were scattered.
From that time on, the present "dispensation" began, which, as it were, constituted an interruption in the normal realization of God's purpose.
(1) See the Mishnah, Pesahim 10:7.
(2) See also the Appendix.
2. Israel in the Future. ↑ Our goal is not to provide a more or less complete overview of Israel's future. A vast number of information about this has been distributed in the scriptures. We just want to mention some special points.
Mat. 24:4 — 31 contains several important events that will take place during the final period of the present aion: verses 15 and 21 refer to Dan. 12 (the abomination of desolation will be in the holy place and Israel will go through a great tribulation); in verses 29, 30 and 31 we find quotations from Isa. 13 and 34; Zach. 12 and Dan. 30 concerning the signs in heaven and the coming of the Son of man in power and great glory, when the inhabitants of Jerusalem will see Him whom they have pierced and will say: « Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord » (Mat. 23:39). With this coming and the first resurrection the present aion ends. The 70th annual week of Dan has been the last seven years. Dan. 9:27.
In the next aion the Son of man is seated on His throne of glory (Matt 19:28; 25:31) and the 12 Apostles of circumcision rule the 12 tribes of Israel. It is the time of the restoration of all things that God has spoken through the mouth of all his holy prophets (Acts 3:21).
The national and religious restoration of Israel is found in numerous Scriptures. We only mention here: Lev. 26:38 — 45; Deut. 30:1 — 5; Isa. 11:11 — 16; Jer. 23:3 — 8; 30:3 — 11; 31:35 — 37; Eze. 11:17 — 20; 16:60 — 63; 36:24 — 29; 37; Zec. 12:1 — 10. The scattered will be gathered from all nations, they will dwell in their own land (Israel) and be God's people. The Lord will dwell in the middle of Jerusalem, shepherds will take care of them, David will be their king. They will receive a circumcised heart and a new spirit. The aionic covenant (Gen. 17:7) will be closed with them.
Jer. 31:35 — 37 says that Israel would only cease to be God's nation if the laws of the cosmos cease to exist, and that the seed of Israel will not be rejected for all that they have done. According to Lev. 26: 38 — 45 the Lord will not break his covenants, and in the New Testament in Rom. 11:29 that the gifts and vocations of God are unrepentant.
In the coming aion, Israel will rule over all the nations and be served by them (Isa. 14:1, 2 etc.). That is, to bless them (Isa. 2:2, 3, Zec. 8:13 — 23). The assignment of Mat. 28:19 will then be executed. Israel will be a priestly kingdom (Exo. 19:6, Isa. 61:6, 66:21, 1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6) and through them the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord ( Isa. 11:9, 29:24).
All the statutes of the Law, adapted to the new circumstances, will be observed (Eze. 40 — 46) in a new spirit of grace, under the New Covenant. The strangers can share in the blessings of this covenant (Isa. 56:6). It will be a government of true peace (Lev. 24:6, Isa. 2:4), and also of abundance (Lev. 24:4, 5, Isa. 30:23 — 25).
Several scriptwriters find it difficult to accept all such indications as literal as possible. This may be due to the fact that the future aion is more or less considered as a further development of the present. However, this is by no means the case. The whole modern civilization and culture have as the center man, and Satan is the god of this aion. One tries to achieve a certain perfection through human means. But fallen man does not possess the spiritual capabilities of a perfect man: he knows nothing directly, but only by means of his senses, and he can only perceive the outward phenomena. He can not get to know the things as they are in their full reality. In order to expand his superficial knowledge, he must always have more complex instruments and laboratories. He remains subject to space and time. His power over nature is limited and not direct.
Furthermore, his body is still in an imperfect and weak state, subject to physical limitations and destruction.
Current scientific and technical developments are an attempt to free themselves from this weakness and limitation. But all such progress becomes a danger in the hands of non-spiritually-regenerated people.
In the coming aion all the physical and spiritual circumstances will be completely different. Satan is then bound and life on earth will have God as center and very simple. People will then not need our current technical developments. It should not be forgotten that on earth only those live, who have the earthly sphere of blessing. Those of the higher vocations (1) then have a spiritual body through resurrection or change and will have a direct knowledge of the essence of all things, without the help of our laboratories. Since they will also have the powers of the coming aion, they will be able to work out all kinds of things that are necessary for those who live on earth, without our present complicated technique. Life on earth will therefore be completely different.
The observation of the statutes of the Law is also a difficulty for many. How would it be possible e.g. going back to the bloody offerings? Here, too, we must not think in terms of our present culture in the civilized nations. The people who then live on earth will, in general, be very « simple ». Most, especially those who belong to the uncivilized nations, will have a need for impressive representations of spiritual realities, just as 3000 years ago, when the Lord gave such shadows to Israel. Many will not need them for themselves, but they will be invited to keep them for the sake of others. Be that as it may, the scriptures clearly teach that the whole Law must be observed. We will show this in more detail in the Appendix, where we will also see that Paul never opposed keeping the Law by the Jews, provided it was not to be so righteous before God.
(1) See further part 3.
3. The present dispensation of the mystery. ↑ The period of Israel's rejection, beginning at the end of Acts and ending with the religious restoration of this people, is as it were an interruption in the « normal » elaboration of God's purpose, where Israel is the chosen nation to bring about the rebirth on earth. The prophets have only spoken about the times during which Israel is God's people. Perhaps they had a vague suspicion of the existence of the present dispensation, where Israel is Lo-Ammi, but this period is beyond their prophetic view. This fact has often been compared with the case where a person, in a mountainous country, sees in the distance a series of mountain peaks which seem to touch each other, and which perhaps presupposes that they are separated by valleys, but which the latter can not see. So the prophets act on events which, without interruption, are in fact separated by the present dispensation. Examples of this are found e.g. in Isa. 9:5, 6; Amos 9:10, 11; Mic. 5:2 — 4; Zef. 3:7, 8; Zach. 9:9, 10. But the most striking case is that of Isa. 61:1, 2. In Luk. 4:18, 19 the Lord arrives at the first part, ending with the words: « To preach the pleasant year of the Lord » and then He closes the Book in the middle of the sentence. Why? Because the further part reads: « and the day of the vengeance of our God », which is still in the future.
So we notice therefore that in the image of Dan. 2 the entire present dispensation must be slid in between the legs of iron (the 4th realm) and the feet of iron and clay (the 5th realm), which is still in the future. However, there was no interruption for the Prophet.
Furthermore, we know that, in the prophecy of the 70 year weeks of Dan. 9:24, the 69 first weeks, which end in the course of the first century of our time account, are separated from the last week, with which the present aion will end. The second half of this 70th week can be found in the 3½ times of Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14, in the 42 months of Rev. 11:2; 13:5 and the 1260 days of Rev. 12:6.
From all this it follows, that we should not expect a true fulfillment of prophecy as long as Israel is not restored as God's people. Of course, much may occur that must serve as a preparation for the predicted events, but the true realization will only come later.
Let us now go back to the year 70, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. For 2000 years, the whole purpose for the coming of the Kingdom on earth, was based on the nation of Israel, which first had to come to being born again. To that nation belonged the adoption, the covenants, the Law, the promises, the Messiah (Romans 9:4, 5). Of what great importance was then the rejection of that people for world history! Was this the end of everything? Had God not succeeded in executing his purpose?
During the last part of the period of the Acts, Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, called after the cross, was used by God to open a new sphere of blessing, already provided for in the promises made to Abraham before the circumcision, and concerning the heavenly seed. Those of Israel and the nations who were born again through repentance could now have part in the atonement and justification through faith in Christ. In a « normal » way, this heavenly sphere would have been accessible first after the coming aion, for humanity in general. But because of Israel's unbelief, and in order to make them jealous, this sphere was already opened to all, individually, by the special message that Paul had received directly from the Lord.
And when Israel was rejected, Paul received other revelations, which he made known in his captivity letters. Thereby access was opened to a third sphere of blessing: that of perfection in Christ. It concerns a new group: the Church of the Mystery, the Body of which Christ Himself is the Head. The members, from Israel and the nations, are placed in Christ « over above » all the heavens, and therefore Paul used a new expression: « in the over-heavenly » (Eph. 1:3, 20, 2:6, 3:10; 6:12).
With this revelation of the Great Mystery, which had been hidden in all aions in God (Eph. 3:9), Paul completed God's written Word (Col. 1:25) and the « way of salvation » . These include the following steps:
Neither were new ceremonies prescribed by God for the present dispensation. There is therefore no good reason for Christians from the nations to suppose that it is in God's will to take over the ceremonies of the Jews and of the Christian-Jews of the time of the Acts. Only pure faith in all that the Lord has revealed must lead us to act according to God's will. Christians who belong to any of the three spheres of blessing that now live on earth can, of course can meet, but God has not prescribed anything regarding a visible organization or Church. The Jews who now believe that Jesus is their Messiah should not be incorporated into an earthly organization, in a Church that would now consist mainly of Christians from the nations.
Let us now return to the time of Israel's rejection. It is a fact that the above-mentioned special revelations that Paul received alone, were only accepted by a few. In Scriptures such as Fil. 2:20, 21; Col. 4:11; 2 Tim. 1:15; 4:15 we read that the Christians generally left Paul. And the writings of the first centuries confirm that his special teaching, rising above the earthly sphere of blessing, was unknown. They only paid attention to what the Lord and the Apostles of circumcision had taught about life on earth. But on earth only Israel was the chosen people, what then if this people was rejected? History teaches us that during the first three centuries there was complete chaos in the Christian world. Only very gradually did more people come to the idea that a new Christian « Church » had begun at Pentecost, or shortly thereafter. This was the « spiritual » Israel. The old people were seen as a shadow, the Church was the reality. All the good promises given to Israel were thus transferred to this Church, all curses were left to Israel. Thus the New Covenant was therefore seen as being closed with that Church.
Then an organization formed, based on that of the Synagogue and the Christian Jews. Most of the feasts and ceremonies instituted by the Lord for Israel, for his earthly people, were « Christianized » and adapted to the Church. The doctrine of the 12 Apostles of circumcision, which goes no further than regeneration, and the earthly sphere of blessing, was accepted as the basis of church theology. The special revelations that Paul received, as Apostle of the Gentiles, were neglected for centuries. However, since such an adaptation to the Church of what was given to Israel could be done in all sorts of ways, since the Lord had not given specific indications concerning organization or ceremonies, there could so far only be separation and strive. For 2000 years it has not been possible to develop a satisfying, Scriptural theology. The idea, derived from the replacement of Israel by the Church, that the Kingdom would gradually spread over the earth through this Church, does not resist the harsh reality. The hope to convert all nations was not realized. On the contrary, most peoples now reject the missionaries. All kinds of difficulties that arose in the interpretation of the Scriptures, as a result of « spiritualizing » and applying to the Church, led to doubt about the value of the Book. The principle of the full inspiration of the Scriptures is now given up by most theologians, and once man criticizes God's written Word, there is no longer any fixed basis for the content of faith. These failures and also the national restoration of Israel has led many Christians in all churches and groups to pay more attention to the prophecy and its literal fulfillment. So there is a tendency to give something back to Israel of what belongs to this people.
However, we should not be too optimistic. The big problem remains for most of the relationship between Israel and the Church. In general, those who believe in a certain restoration of Israel still adhere to the old narration that when a Jew believes in Christ, he ceases to be a Jew and that he must join a Church or congregation. The tradition that arose in the first centuries of confusion, that the Church replaces Israel or that the « natural » Israel, with the « spiritual » Israel (targeting Christians from the nations) now form one complete « Israel », exercises such a strong power over the theologians that it is extremely difficult for them to consider a more scriptural solution. And yet it would be necessary to test all views again against Scriptures only, and to accept that as the only norm.
Indeed, if we let the whole teaching of God's written Word come into its own, most of the difficulties disappear. In particular, let us consider the future aion. The chosen people, the holy nation, will then be at the head of all nations and be able to carry out the commission for which it was chosen: to be a blessing to all nations, by bringing them to Christ and being born again. This nation will form a national and religious organization: Christ's Ekklesia. In this sense there will be a separation between Israel and the other nations. But considered individually, all born-again people can be regarded as constituting a spiritual community.
As already mentioned, those who share in the higher spheres of blessing will not have their normal abode on earth. From the resurrection, they have a spiritual body that frees them from all material boundaries and allows them to fulfill wider assignments. In these spheres there are no nations, no ceremonies. All are one in Christ.
So there is no difficulty in leaving everything to Israel that belongs to them, including the New Covenant and all the visible representations of spiritual things.
As far as the current dispensation is concerned, the situation is more complicated. Israel has not yet been restored as God's people. The construction and initiation of the temple will probably be the sign for this. Christian Jews can now keep old Jewish customs, but they can not keep the Law in all its statutes. It is up to each of them to decide, under the direction of God's Spirit, what to do.
But once the religious restoration has come, it seems to be the normal way for all Christian Jews to walk more fully in the observance of all the Law, not to be so justified before God, but according to the New Covenant, in a new spirit of grace and love. Even the Jews who think they belong to a higher calling will have to keep these statutes, as Paul did. They are still on earth, with a « natural » body, and should not be a stumbling block to their brothers of the earthly calling, who would not understand why they do not perceive these forms.
But for the Christians of the nations there are no ceremonies set by God. They can, of course, perceive a certain ritual in the sense of a venerable human institution, because most people still have a need for visible representations of spiritual realities. But, being merely human practices, they can differ from place to place without causing discord between Christians.
The signs of the times point to the end of the present dispensation. Although there is still no true fulfillment of prophecy today, there is much in the sense of preparation. Israel is now being restored nationally. The nations around Israel are coming back to life. The general world state is a preparation for the end catastrophe of prophecy. And, in our opinion, one of the most impressive events is the formation of a Jewish-Christian community that is aware that a Jew can not cease to be a Jew if he believes in his Messiah. Here we have the first core of true Israel, when it will be Ammi again. This « remnant » will be despised and persecuted, not only by the nations, but by the Jews who do not turn to Christ and by the Christians who do not really listen to God's Word.
We, and others, had the privilege of examining the scriptures and thus coming to the vision described above for more than 25 years. Thus a « theology » has developed that is based on the complete inspiration of the Scriptures and which embraces the whole purpose of the aions, as well as the whole way of salvation. We believe that this « theology » will help the Jewish-Christian community in its struggle and all who wish to listen to God's Word it will help to see that this community is God's will.
Should the Christian-Jews still keep the Law? ↑ We find numerous places in the O.T. that describe the perception of the visible setting of an « aionic » law. Usually the word « olam » (or other words related to it) is used. The versions speak of an « eternal » institution. The Hebrew word « olam » corresponds to the Greek word « aion » and denotes a period of world history of limited duration. This is clear from many passages. The plural (olamim) is used 12 times, « aion » is also used in the plural. Other passages use the expression « from olam to olam » and « during the olam and beyond ».
The classic example to show the meaning of the word « olam » and « aion » is Luke 20:34, 35 where a difference is made between « this aion » and « that aion ».
In the O.T. we then find « aionic » institutions and promises, mainly in connection with the coming aion, those of the Kingdom on earth. So we read in Gen. 17:8: « And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an aionic possession », and in v. 13: « He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an aionic covenant ». In Exodus 12:14 we find that Easter is an aionic institution. In Numbers 25:13 we read about the « aionic covenant » and in 2 Samuel 23:5 about the « aionic kingship » of David. The New Covenant is « aionic » (Isa. 55:3 etc.). The Sanctuary will be in their midst until the end of the aion (Eze. 37:26). This sanctuary and all ceremonies, including the various offerings, are described in detail in Eze. 41 — 47.
The covenant made in Sinai was not aionic, and would be replaced by the New Covenant made with the same house of Israel and the same house of Judah, but the ceremonial institutions of the law are aionic (Exo. 29:28; Lev. 6:18, 22; 7:34 etc. — Sacrifices, Exodus 31:16 — Sabbath, Leviticus 16:29, 34 — Reconciliation, etc.). The difference between the Old and New Covenants does not consist in the presence or absence of ceremonies, but in the spirit with which they are perceived: In Sinai the children of Israel did as if they would do all that the Lord had spoken, in their own strength and to appear as just before God. In the New Covenant they will be able to perceive it, by grace. So Eze. 11:19, 20 expressly states that after repentance, they would obtain a new spirit and a new heart so that: « That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them ... ».
Our Lord confirmed with certainty that the « least commandment » had to be observed (Mat. 5:17 — 19) and all Apostles agree with this. Peter, 10 years after Pentecost, shows his faithfulness to the law in Acts 10, a three-times repeated vision and the intervention of an angel was necessary to make him communicate with an uncircumcised Christian. The concept of « clean » and « unclean » of the Law was not abandoned, but the existence of Christians from the nations was then a new phenomenon, new regulations had to be given. The Law given through angels was completed by an angel. An uncircumcised Christian had been cleansed by his faith in the Messiah (Acts 15:9).
Acts 15 confirms that 20 years after the cross, all Christian Jews followed the Law. The debate about perception by those from the nations would indeed not make sense if the Jews themselves did not keep the Law. On this occasion the difference between the gospel of the circumcision and that of Paul for the uncircumcision is also clearly stated. (Gal. 2)
But what about Paul? Did he learn that the Law no longer applied to the Christian Jews? We want to conduct a concise investigation into a number of statements that are understood in this way.
Romans 6:14 says only that they are not under (hupo) the Law as slaves, or (as in Galatians 3:10 — 15) under the curse. This was the case in Sinai where they observed the Law to be justified.
Rom. 10:4 does not say that the Law has an end, ceases to exist. The word used is « telos » which means that in Christ was the completion of the law. First, in the way that the purpose of the Law was to lead to Christ, and secondly in the manner that through His sacrifice the New Covenant was confirmed, whereby the rightful claim could be fulfilled by grace. Rom. 10:3 shows that the argument was always against the idea that by the works of the law one could be justified before God and not that the Jews would not observe the Law in a new spirit of love and obedience.
Galatians 3:19 does not say that the Law was abolished by the arrival of the Seed, but that it was no longer « on account of transgressions ».
Hebrews 7:18 and 19 teaches us that the Law, the shadows, is only abolished in the « times of reform », that is, after the end of the next aion.
Finally, Hebrews 10:18 does not say that there are no more ceremonial offerings, for this is a quotation from Psalm 40:7 — 9, written when these offerings were made in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. But there is no other true sacrifice than that of Christ.
And if there is any doubt, then there are the testimonies of Paul in Acts 24:17 — 19; 25:8 and 28:17: « Brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers » and his proof in Acts 21:17 — 21 that he himself walked according to the rules and kept the Law.
So we believe that the situation is clear. The Christians of the nations do not have to observe the ceremonies, but all Christian-Jews must do so when they are God's people, until the end of the Kingdom — aion. Not to in this way to be justified before God, but in obedience and love. Before the cross, all shadows moved forward to Christ, in the future these will point back to His gracious sacrifice which is the main event on earth for all time.
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