Beneath the cross of Jesus

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock,
Within a weary land;
A shelter in the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
And burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter!
O refuge tried and sweet!
O trysting-place where heaven’s love
And heaven’s justice meet!
As to the exiled patriarch
That wondrous dream was giv’n,
So seems my Saviour’s cross to me,
A ladder up to heav’n.

There lies beneath its shadow,
But on the farther side,
The darkness of an awful grave
That gapes both deep and wide:
And there between us stands the cross,
Two arms outstretched to save;
A watchman set to guard the way
From that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart, with tears,
Two wonders I confess—
The wonders of His glorious love,
And my own worthlessness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place:
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of his face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss-
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.

Elizabeth C Clephane (1869)
09 Jun 2019

 

Israel Has Not Been Replaced by the Church

Romans 11:25-27

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Main Idea

Much of the church appears to believe that Israel has been replaced by the church, that is superseded it. This erroneous doctrine, termed replacement theology or the doctrine of supersessionism by some (sounds more scientific, but isn’t), states the original promise to Abraham of land, seed and blessing cannot be fulfilled for the people of Israel. This is wrong. The illogical nature of this doctrine, if true, would make the gospel unstable and unreliable.

Paul in verses 25 & 26 states categorically that Israel has not been lost.

Background

Paul, in chapters 9-11 of Romans is answering a great soteriological question: if God is able to save us, as he says he is, what evidence is there that he indeed keeps his promises? Paul proves God is able to because God has not forgotten Israel. God will complete the work he set out to do (Philippians 1:6), and Paul answers emphatically, to the question – has God cast off Israel? “God forbid” (11:1) – the most pronounced negative exclamation a Jew can offer. Chapter 11 sets out the fact that Israel has not been cast off in five parts:

1.       Rejection of Israel is not total – it is partial

2.       Israel’s rejection is to bless the gentiles

3.       Israel’s covenants are guaranteed

4.       Israel is certain of restoration

5.       Doxology

Gentiles are like wild olive branches graphed into the true olive tree (11:16-21)

In Chapter 11 Paul gives the example of the Olive Tree because Israel is represented by the olive tree throughout Scripture. Gentiles certainly have been revealed the mystery of the church in that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). However, he warns gentile believers not to be proud or boastful of the fact they have been grafted into the olive tree. This is because gentiles are aliens to the Kingdom of God, and are like wild olive, and contrary to nature have been grafted into the olive tree (11:17). That is, it is against the gentile nature to want to be partakers of Yeshua, the messiah; however, through the work of the Christ, this is accomplishable by faith in Jesus Christ. And it is this latter point Paul is getting across. The gentiles cannot boast, because it is not the wild grafted in branch that supports the root but the root of the tree that supports the wild grafted branch – Jesus Christ, who is a Jew. And if God is able to graft in branches contrary to nature, how much easier will it be for Him to graft in olive branches – that is Jews. Israel therefore is not lost or forgotten – they have been cut from the root (Jesus Christ), so provoke them to action (11:14-17).

 

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The fact that Israel’s promises are on hold is a mystery, now revealed (11:25)

Why the promises of Israel were withheld was hidden from Israel through their blindness. Jesus clearly stated they would be cast out, but the leaders of Israel did not listen:

“‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Note the underlined portion of the verse. The rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah doomed Israel to being left desolate as outline in Matthew 12:41 when the Jews blasphemed the Holy Spirit, a prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70. Paul speaks of this as being a mystery – where the term mystery is explained in Romans 16:25,26 – as something that has been hidden, like a curtain that hides a precious stone, but is drawn back revealing it. Hence the mystery has been revealed as to why the promises made to Abraham have not been fulfilled.

Promises of God are Irrevocable

Before examining the reason why Israel has not received her promises, we need to state that God’s promises are irrevocable. Paul states: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:29). That is due to God’s unchanging love, grace and the sovereign will; his promises are sure, secure, firm and inviolable. If there were not, as 1 Corinthians 15 points out, we would be people “most miserable” because we could not have hope - for faith in something that is unsure is a false hope. God’s promises therefore are immutable and unalterable.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Romans 11:25 NKJV

Israel seeks not the Messiah because of blindness or hardening

Only a small remnant seeks Yeshua and have found him. These Messianic Jews are very small in number – most Jews reject Yeshua and God. Their hearts are hardened, they are blind to the fact Yeshua has died for their sin as well as those of the gentiles.

The blindness is only in part, that is temporary

There is a time limit on the partial blindness, because the next word indicates that the action continues until something else happens.

The blindness is until

This word is missed by too many. The blindness is temporary – until something else happens.

When the predetermined number of gentiles have been saved, their blindness will be lifted.

The phrase “until fullness of the Gentiles has come in” means that until the last remaining gentile who will be saved is saved, the condition on Israel remains. Only after this, will, Israel will be saved.

If Israel is to be saved (11:26,27), then Israel cannot have been replaced by something else

Paul writes: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

These are quotes from Isaiah 59:20 indicating the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) will be fulfilled – Yeshua, is the deliverer and will occupy Mount Zion; Isaiah 59:21 indicating the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17 etc., Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26) will be fulfilled (Land, Seed and Blessing) and Jeremiah 31:31-34 indicate a new covenant will be established; “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”.

Conclusion

Israel has been knocked down so they look up

It looks as Israel is no longer in view of God, but this is the plan of God! He is using the gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (11:11), meaning salvation has come to the gentiles, forcing Israel to look to God for salvation.

The Church is NOT Israel: National Israel will be restored, and the promises made good after all the time of the gentiles has be fulfilled.

References

Arnold Fruchtenbaum (2010) Replacement Theology and the Epistle of I Peter Ariel Ministries http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Fruchtenbaum-ReplacementTheologya.pdf

David L Simon
02 Jun 2019

 

Would you be free from your burden of sin?

Would you be free from your burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Refrain
There is power, power, wonder-working power,
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder-working power,
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide,
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow,
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Lewis E Jones (1899)
29 Apr 2019

 

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
[ originally, For such a worm as I?]

Refrain

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature's sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
'Tis all that I can do.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
(Ralph E. Hudson refrain 1885)
28 Apr 2019

 

Pride must be dealt with!

Samuel Rutherford writes..

Dear Sir, I always saw nature mighty, lofty, heady and strong in you; and that it was more for you to be mortified and dead to the world than for another common man. You will take a low ebb, and a deep cut, and a long lance, to go to the bottom of your wounds in saving humiliation, to make you a won prey for Christ.  Be humbled; walk softly. Down, down, for God’s sake, my dear and worthy brother, with your topsail.  Stoop, stoop! it is a low entry to go in at heaven’s gate.

Samuel Rutherford
06 Jan 2019

 

Don't make the Bible say what it does not!

Reading the Bible

  • Cleave to the literal sense of Bible words, and beware of departing from it, except in cases of absolute necessity.
  • Beware of the system of allegorizing and spiritualizing, and accommodating, which the school of Origen first brought in, and which has found such an unfortunate degree of favour in the Church.
  • In reading the authorized version of the English Bible, do not put too much confidence in the “headings” of pages and “tables of contents” at beginnings of chapters, which I take leave to consider a most unhappy accompaniment of that admirable translation. Remember that those headings and tables were drawn up by uninspired hands.
  • In reading the Prophets, they are sometimes not helps but real hindrances, and less likely to assist a reader, than to lead him astray. Settle it in your mind, in reading the Psalms and Prophets that Israel means Israel*, and Zion Zion, and Jerusalem Jerusalem.
  • And, finally, whatever edification you derive from applying to your own soul the words which God addresses to His ancient people, never lose sight of the primary sense of the text.[1]

Further words on reading prophecy

It is high time for Christians to interpret unfulfilled prophecy by the light of prophecies already fulfilled.  The curses of the Jews were brought to pass literally; so also will be the blessings.  The scattering was literal; so also will be the gathering.  The pulling down of Zion was literal; so also will be the building up.  The rejection of Israel was literal; so also will be the restoration. [2]

What I protest against is, the habit of allegorizing plain sayings of the Word of God concerning the future history of the nation of Israel, and explaining away the fullness of the contents in order to accommodate them to the Gentile Church. I believe the habit to be unwarranted by anything in Scripture, and to draw after it a long train of evil consequences.[3]

Cultivate the habit of reading prophecy with a single eye to the literal meaning of its proper names.  Cast aside the old traditional idea that Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Jerusalem, and Zion must always mean the Gentile Church, and that predictions about the second Advent are to be taken spiritually, and first Advent predictions literally. Be just, and honest, and fair.  If you expect the Jews to take the 53rd of Isaiah literally, be sure you take the 54th and 60th and 62nd literally also.  The Protestant Reformers were not perfect.  On no point, I venture to say, were they so much in the wrong as in the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy. [4]

 

* My emphases

[1] J.C. Ryle, Prophecy 149

[2] J.C. Ryle, Are You Ready For The End Of Time? p. 49

[3] ibid., p. 107-108.

[4]  . 157-159.

J C Ryle (1816 - 1900) [Various sources]
27 Nov 2018

 

Be Careful; Flee from Evil

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry [evil].

1 Corinthians 10:12-14
15 Dec 2017

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God. His weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this website must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is measruing it against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

11 Feb 2017