Anthony: My answer to most of that would be, That in him (Christ) all the promises of God are yes and amen.
Russ: That means that every single UNCONDITIONAL promise God ever made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and the prophets about the eventual restoration of national Israel MUST be fulfilled literally as God intended to those who first heard the prophecies uttered.
Anthony: Ezekiel 36 is Definitely talking about the New Covenant relationship. Couldn't it be that this promise to true Israel is fulfilled in the New Earth?
Russ: God promised a literal kingdom reign of Messiah on this earth and that will be fulfilled during the Millennium. It is wrong to call the Church “true Israel.” “True Israel” is the real believers within Israel. The fact that Christians are Abraham’s faith-seed merely makes us heirs of the promises made to Abraham long before Jacob (Israel) was born.
Anthony: And now Israel includes Gentile believers.
Russ: Not true. Abraham’s seed includes Gentile believers. Abraham was actually still Abram the uncircumcised Gentile when the promises were first made.
Anthony: Wasn't the promise that every place that your foot steps that land shall be yours. Don't believers walk the whole earth?
Russ: Yes, and then God very specifically outlined the borders of Israel and Abraham did not leave those borders. If the specific promise referred to the whole earth, then the description of the borders makes no sense and was a waste of time.
Anthony: The Meek shall inherit the earth, right? Even if this is not the case the fulfillment of Ezek 36 could be in the New Earth. It is already partially fulfilled in the church.
Russ: Jesus was preaching only to Jews in Matthew 5. The word “earth” is known by all Hebrews as “eretz” and refers to the holy land of Israel. I think you are really stretching here.
Anthony: 2Peter chp 3 says the Day of the Lord shall come as a thief in the night and the heavens and earth shall Pass away, but we look for the new heavens and earth. Clearly, Peter is expecting this to happen in this current age.
Russ: The Day of the Lord is a common phrase throughout the Old Testament. It was ALWAYS followed by God’s Messianic kingdom on earth. The phrase “new heavens and new earth” also occurs in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22. If you read those two chapters you will discover that the two texts are followed by descriptions of life on this earth during the millennium. From the context I must conclude that the phrase “new heavens and new earth” in Isaiah refers to the literal millennium on earth while the same phrase in Revelation 21 refers to eternity –that it the context.
Anthony: Because he says our knowing this should cause us to live righteously. The Lord is reining now at the right hand of the Father 1Cor. 15,Acts 7:55, Rev.1:5 Matt 28:18.
Russ: Jesus is not now sitting on the throne of David and reigning over restored national Israel. Therefore his SCORES of unconditional prophecies must still be in the future.
Anthony: There is no gap he comes and Judges the nations.
Russ: There are many differences between Christ coming FIRST for his bride, the Church, to take it to heaven and SECOND his coming in glory to destroy Israel’s enemies and to set up a literal millennial kingdom on earth. Unless you can reconcile all of those differences, I cannot hear you.
Anthony: The Church is caught up to meet him and the earth and all the unbelieving world is burned up.
Russ: First, the Church is seen in heaven in Revelation 4 and 5 BEFORE the Great Tribulation of chapters 6-18. Second, the second coming of Christ in glory in Revelation 19 is followed by 1000 years of kingdom reign. The sequence if clear in Revelation.
Anthony: Revelation 20 takes place with disembodied saints in Heaven, for they are beheaded for his name (their spirits are under the altar in the temple of Heaven).
Russ: Wrong. The martyred tribulation saints have been raised in the second phase of the first resurrection per Revelation 20:4. They are reigning with Christ on earth along with the other saints and disciples. All saints will reign with Christ on earth during the millennium.
Anthony: Which I would conclude is also the case of Matt 19:28 Bible interprets Bible.
Russ: I disagree.
Anthony: If how you appear to be taking Jer 31: 35-40 is the way it seems, then God has already failed. Seeing that natural Israel wasn't a nation for how many years?
Russ: In the mind of God national Israel never ceased to be a nation. Your interpretation makes God a liar and makes his promises to David a pack of lies. I seriously doubt that Jeremiah’s readers understood him to be referring to Gentile Christians. You have a serious problem with Jeremiah 31:35-37 and only attack my literal understanding rather than offer your own explanation.
Anthony: The true nation of Israel is in the church.
Russ: This is a false doctrine.
Anthony: There are remnants of Jewish believers, But according to Eph. 2 and Gal 2 there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile as far as God is concerned.
Russ: Both Hebrew and Gentile believers are part of the one body of Christ. The Law which set Israel above all others has been broken down. Now all stand on the same ground as far as salvation is concerned. --- Yet black and white are still literally different races AND male and female are still literally different sexes AND Jews and Gentiles are still literally different nationalities. It is horribly WRONG to disannul ALL the scores of unconditional promises made to national Israel with a few verses out of context and act like the entire Old Testament now means absolutely nothing were national Israel is concerned.
Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them (Gentile believers), and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (Hebrew believers).
Anthony: There is the body of Christ and then there is the unbelieving world.
Russ: The unbelieving HEBREWS returned to their land in unbelief in 1948. The unbelieving Hebrews will eventually rebuild the Temple while still in unbelief and suffer the Great Tribulation of Revelation. At that time 144,000 Hebrews will accept Christ and evangelize many more Hebrews and a great multitude of Gentiles. This could begin any day.
Anthony: Galatians and Hebrews are both very clear, Christ fulfilled the old covenant which was only a shadow of what was promised in Christ.
Russ: That is true but it does not apply to those atheistic and agnostic Hebrews who have returned to the land and do not know that truth.
Anthony: Now I don't like the term replacement theology. I think that is a real misrepresentation of this position. The Church didn't replace Israel.
Russ: You teach that the Church is now spiritual Israel. That means that the Church has REPLACED Israel in God’s eyes. How can you deny that?
Anthony: God fulfilled his purpose for Israel as being that shining city on the hill that would shine forth righteousness to the nations(gentiles) by grafting in gentiles. Making Jews and Gentiles one new body of people. In other words gentiles grafted into true Israel equals the church. A city built without hands. It is God's earthly temple too.
Russ: That is NOT what God told the Old Testament prophets. You have completely disregarded the final chapters of almost every Old Covenant prophet! The same God who inspired the New Testament also inspired the Old Testament and God does not contradict Himself.
Anthony: According to 1Cor. 15: 23-24 When Christ comes the end comes also and he will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father. Doesn't say anything about a thousand years here. It also says he must reign (present tense) until all enemies are put under his feet. This obviously is quoting Psalm 110 the Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool. So if at the end Christ delivers the Kingdom then the Kingdom is the Church. And if the end is at his coming, and he is reigning right now, where do you fit in the earthly Kingdom?
Russ: Would you like for me to stop here and post quotations from almost every Old Testament prophet? I have them handy. “When he shall have put down all rule and authority and power” comes after the kingdom rule on earth. The text you quote does not say that this happens at the second coming – it merely gives a general sequence of events.
Anthony: I'm not sure if I have an answer for every promise to national Israel. I do know that we are fellow heirs with Christ to all things.
Russ: No and you dare not try. The final chapters of Amos, Joel, Micah, Isaiah and Ezekiel defy your conclusions. The promise of an earthly kingdom which rules the earth in Daniel 2 and 7 contradicts your theory. And you dare not explain the final chapter of Zechariah which is unconditional.
Anthony: And I believe a proper hermeneutic is interpreting the Old Testament (the shadow) by the New Covenant which is the Revelation of Jesus Christ(The Light).
Russ: The entire Old Testament was not a “shadow of things to come.” Where did you get that from? Only the ritual ceremonial symbols of the Old Covenant Law were shadows. There is absolutely no way you can include the scores of clear plain UNCONDITIONAL promises made about an earthly messianic kingdom as shadows. Such hermeneutic CONTRADICTS scores of God’s promises which were intended to be understood LITERALLY by those who heard them.