And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 15, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
(We continue with material that first appeared in Guardian of Truth, Oct. 19, 1989. It is available online at www.bibleanswer.com/ad70_2.htm. Minor edits have been made, none of which change any meaning.)
5) Ephesians 2:13-18 - Christ made peace between Jews and Gentiles in His death, not in A.D. 70. Again, we find the Bible teaching us that the cross is the focal point of God’s plan for peace and human redemption, not A. D. 70. “He is our peace” (v. 13), thus identifying Christ as the one who accomplished peace between Jews and Gentiles. When and how did He do this? He produced peace between Jews and Gentiles by removing that which stood as a barrier between them, namely, the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” (vs. 14-15). This abolition of the “middle wall of partition,” with its enmity, occurred “in his flesh” (v. 15). Verse 16 confirms this as Christ’s death, by teaching us that reconciliation with God was accomplished “through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” Peace between the Jews and Gentiles, and reconciliation with God, was not achieved only after a 40-year struggle of the two covenants (with the new one finally overcoming the old one!). Salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) was available for all flesh, and preached without distinction to all flesh, long before A.D. 70 (Acts 2:17, 21, 39; 11:12-18; 10:34-35; 15:7-11). Access to God for both Jews and Gentiles is through Christ’s death (v. 18).
Were Christians Given the Place and Inheritance of the Jews?
Realized Eschatology would have you believe that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews. Recall Max King’s quote, given earlier, where he said, “They overlapped a little, but Isaac ‘came on’ when Ishmael ‘went out.’ The son born of the spirit was given the place and inheritance of the son born of the flesh” (The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 239). By redefining the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31, the A.D. 70 doctrine has occasioned its own downfall.
An assumed purpose of Paul’s allegory is used as the basis for contending that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews:
“The purpose of Paul in this allegory was threefold: First, to show that Abraham had two sons which existed side by side for a time in the same household. This is a truth that is vital to the teachings of the New Testament, and will be a key factor in the study and application of prophecy. Much misapplication of scripture can be attributed to a failure to recognize this simple but vital truth. These two sons are typical of the two Israels of God, one born after the flesh (old covenant) and the other born after the Spirit (new covenant)…Ishmael was the first born and, as such, had the right of primogeniture, a right he maintained at the birth of Isaac, and even thereafter UNTIL he was cast out or disinherited” (Ibid., pp. 29-30, emp. mine, jrp).
Realized Eschatology’s redefinition of the allegory concludes that Ishmael was the rightful heir of Abraham “UNTIL” he was “cast out.” Thus, we should believe that the Jews under the old covenant were the rightful heirs of the inheritance, but were “cast out” at A. D. 70 (at which time Christians took their place and received the Jews’ inheritance). However, the Bible declares that Ishmael was never heir of the Abrahamic promises (Gen. 12:1-3). Remember, Ishmael was Sarah’s remedy for Abraham’s lack of an heir (inasmuch as she gave her handmaid Hagar to Abraham, Gen. 16.1-3), not God’s. Even before Isaac was born God made it clear that Ishmael was not heir of the promises He had made, declaring that His covenant would be established with Isaac, not Ishmael (Gen. 17:15-21). Since Ishmael never was heir to these blessings, he could not be “disinherited” of them. Isaac did not take Ishmael’s place as heir. Neither did Christians take the Jews’ place as heirs of God’s inheritance.
The old covenant did not contain the inheritance of God’s Abrahamic promises. Righteousness and justification is not through the law, but through faith in Christ (Gal. 2:16, 21; 3:7-14, 21-23; Rom. 3:20-22). The law gave a knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), but no release from it (Gal. 3:10, 12, 22-23). It produced “children of bondage” (Gal. 4:24). It contained no inheritance (Gal. 3:18-19), only a curse (Gal. 3:10-14). The “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:22) is “apart from the law” (Rom. 3:21). Therefore, the “children of promise” (Christians, Gal. 4:28) did not receive their inheritance from the Jews of the old covenant. It they did, the inheritance would be “no more of promise” (Gal. 3:18). To suggest that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews is to demonstrate a woeful misunderstanding of God’s promise to Abraham and how it is received. Its blessings are received through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16-19, 23-29), not through the law. Our inheritance is “according to promise,” not according to the Law of Moses.
The Allegory of Galatians 4:21-31
Max King’s quote from page 239 of his book says “this simple allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) establishes the ‘Spirit of prophecy.’” Instead, the truth of this allegory destroys the A.D. 70 doctrine. Why was this allegory used by the apostle Paul? What does the allegory teach?
The background of the allegory is found in Galatians 3:23-29, where the inspired teacher makes four needed observations:
1) v. 23 - The Law of Moses was in force, and men were under it, BEFORE faith came.
2) vs. 24-25 - The law was a tutor to bring men to Christ, and now that tutor was no longer needed.
3) v. 25 - Paul says “NOW” faith is here (A.D. 59-60).
4) vs. 26-29 - We are children of God and heirs according to promise through faith in Christ, not through the Law of Moses.
Having used Galatians 3 to teach that Christians are not justified by the law of Moses, but through faith in Christ, Paul now addresses those Christians who “desire to be under the law” (Gal. 4:21), and shows them that the law itself contains an illustration of how their desire was out of place.
The allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) uses Sarah and Hagar as the two covenants (v. 24), and their sons as the product of those covenants. Hagar signifies the Mosaic Law, which produced “children of bondage” (v. 24). Verse 25 emphasizes this point of bondage (cf. Gal. 3:10, 22; Rom. 3:20). Sarah corresponds to the new covenant. Isaac corresponds to Christians, who are the children of promise (vs. 26-28). In verse 29, the children of bondage (Jews) are presented as persecutors of the children of promise (Christians), just as Ishmael was the persecutor of Isaac (not “the firstborn” of Abraham). What should Christians do? Should they desire to be under the Law? Should they turn back to bondage by joining their persecutors? NO! The allegory teaches them (and us) to not go back to the law and live under it, for that would place them (and us) in the bondage of sin. Instead, “cast out the handmaid (old covenant) and her son (Jews with their persecutions),” and live in the freedom of the new covenant (Gal. 4:30-5:4). God says to purge yourself from turning back to the Mosaic law, and to live as the children of promise that you are. Do not live in bondage to the law and its curse, but in freedom from sin and death through faith in Christ.
The allegory does not carry within it the arbitrary definitions and subjective applications which the A.D. 70 doctrine places upon it. We cannot apply the allegory beyond where and how the inspired apostle of Christ applied it. To make of it an “embryonic statement” of the Realized Eschatology theory is a wresting of Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16) by the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 3:18-20; Rom. 1:22).
Such mishandling of the word of truth must be avoided (2 Tim. 2:15) and contended against (Jude 3-4). In our final installment on the A.D. 70 doctrine we will look at some of the grave consequences of its principle tenets.
(Next week, Part 3)
Scripture Reading: Psalms 119:89-93
Memory is important in our lives, Eccl. 3:1.
I. REMEMBER YOUR CREATOR, Eccl. 12:1.
A. God has
Remembered You, Psa. 8:4-9; Acts 17:28; Jas. 1:17; Eph. 1:3-7; 1 Tim. 2:3-4.
II. REMEMBER THE WORDS OF CHRIST, Acts 20:35; Jno. 15:20.
A. Reasons to
Remember Christ’s Word; Jno. 1:1; 14:6; 8:31-32; 15:3; 17:15-17; 12:48.
III. THE GOSPEL THAT WAS PREACHED, 1 Cor. 15:1-4.
A. The Gospel includes All of Christ's Revelation, Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:12-15.
IV. REMEMBER THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
A. As the
Sacrifice for Our Sins, Gal. 1:4; Rom. 5:8 (Isa. 53:5).
V. REMEMBER FROM WHERE YOU HAVE FALLEN, Rev. 2:5.
Examination, 2 Cor. 13:5.
1. Always remember the truth we have received and by which we are
established, 2 Pet. 1:12.
Currently the United Methodist Church gives employment guarantees to its clergy up to the mandatory retirement age of 72. Those guarantees will effectively end soon if the church’s nine-member judicial council upholds new rules passed earlier this year (“Job Security Divides Church”, Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2012). Consider these brief observations based on the Bible:
The laborer is worthy of his hire (Lk. 10:7). “Those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14). God has arranged for the livelihood of gospel preachers. The Scriptures say nothing about tenure or forced retirement. Such decisions are the concern of the preacher and the church with which he labors. Faithful preachers are worthy of support (3 Jno. 5-8).
The problem with clergy. There are no clergy-laity designations in the Lord’s church (Matt. 23:9-11). The seed of apostasy is sown when preachers are elevated above their brethren (1 Cor. 12:14-22; Eph. 4:11-16).
The problem with centralization. The NT reveals independent congregations without denominational alliance or inter-congregational oversight (Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:2). Centralized oversight violates the Bible pattern of local church organization, and it is inefficient. Local churches know their needs and agree with a preacher(s) to work together (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1-2; 19:8-10; 20:28-32).
Truth, not tenure. Tenure does not qualify a man to preach the gospel. His faithfulness to the gospel and a life above reproach does that (1 Tim. 1:3, 12, 18-19; 4:6-16; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; 2 Tim. 4:2-5). An “old soldier of the cross” who turns away from the truth is not above censure and correction (Gal. 2:11-14; Heb. 3:14; 6:11).
Why remove tenure in the UMC? “Church leaders say that as they try to re-energize churches and draw more people into the pews, in part by recruiting new, enthusiastic pastors…” (Ibid) Ah, drawing folks with enthusiasm! Human wisdom at work (1 Cor. 1:18-25).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/28/2012
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA