Monday, May 04, 2009

Eschatology Matters Too

I am currently half way through Kim Riddlebarger's book, A Case For Amillenialism: Understanding the End Times. The importance of this book could not be more timely and overstated. Although I think Sam Waldron's book on the same subject is a much easier read for the average layman, Riddlebarger's book needs to be read. Although I would suggest listening to his lectures prior to doing so.

The ideas of his book may be new to many today, but as he writes in his book, it was just a few generations ago that Amillenialism was known as the Protestant position. I mentioned that his book is important for modern eschatology. Many Dispensationalists are looking forward to the Millenium and the restoration of the Temple and sacrifices. Many Dispensationalists believe that the sacrifices in the Millennium will be done as a memorial to the work of Christ. Riddlebarger responds on page 79:
Contrary to the view of Dispensationalists, the prescribed New Testament commemoration of the ratification of the new covenant will not be found in a new order of temple worship, which includes a new temple, a new priesthood, and further animal sacrifices, supposedly in an earthly millennial kingdom. At the Last Supper Jesus told his disciples, "This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.... This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you (Luke 22:19-20). He instituted the divinely approved method of commemorating his sacrificial work, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In this way, the people of God feed on the Savior through faith and commemorate his dying on their behalf.
I could not agree more. We are attempting to go backwards in Redemptive-History. So I am sitting here minding my own business going through my mail. I open up a Jews For Jesus newsletter. The main article is titled "How 'Christian' is Christian Zionism?" Although the article's conclusion doesn't go far enough, David Brickner wrote about the direction Zionism has taken since it has abandoned the central theme of proclamation of the Gospel for political expedience.
A new form of Christian Zionism emerged in the mid 1970s and early 1980s; it was more political and actually divorced itself from Jewish evangelism, contending that a Christian's biblical duty to the Jews and Israel was best carried out through providing material comfort, political support and helping fund Jewish immigration to Israel.
Later he wrote,
These newer "Christian Zionist organizations have set themselves against Jewish evangelism in ways that their predecessors did not.
Again, "theology matters". Eschatology matters as well. We live in a day when people are seeking to escape via the rapture. We are willing to leave the Jewish people to some future kingdom while forgetting that Christ is already ruling in His Kingdom. While many are looking to go back to shadows and types, we should be looking forward to the consummation of all things, the New Heavens and Earth, the resurrection of the body, eternal life in the age to come.

Brickner's conclusion states,
When those who stand by Israel are willing to bring the good news of Jesus to the Jew first, the Christian Zionism will once again be fully christian.
In a conversation with a Jew for Jesus that spoke at a local church, I asked him what he thought. He tried to be neutral on the subject but admitted that Dispensationalism causes more confusion than its worth. This conclusion by Brickner does the same. Although he tries to stay out of the eschatological argument, he simply can't avoid it. It is time for a call to Christians to make the Gospel central, and let Zionism be what it will be in the realm of politics. Zionism is no more Christian than the United States. May the church be what it needs to be.


Anonymous said...

Thanks bro. I couldn't agree more. In some circles and in one very popular circle that is on TV the Gospel has been replaced by modern day Israel.



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