The Centrality of Israel

Upon This Rock: A New Look

Catholicism, Israel, and the Church

Kenneth J. Morgan

Lightning Bolt

 

The third of the three appendices at the end of the book has the following summary as its concluding section, called "The Centrality of Israel."

The Centrality of Israel

This set of three appendices closes with some comments on the implications of the theological position developed in them.

First and foremost, this position affirms the nation of Israel, the apple of God's eye, as the center of his attention--past, present, and future.

Second, the position taken here, rather than the dispensational position, is the opposite end of the theological spectrum from replacement theology and amillennialism.

Third, it has this position on the theological spectrum because it casts the nation of Israel as the center of God's redemptive plan to bring salvation to the world and as the agency through which it will be accomplished. Israel was the center of this plan during the Old Testament and will be its center during the millennial kingdom. The position taken in this book brings into focus that same centrality during the interadvent period. These are some of the particulars of this period:

  • The focus of God's attention is on national Israel. That is why the gospel must be preached "to the Jew first."
  • In the upper room as part of the Passover just before his atoning sacrifice, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) explained that by his death he would initiate the new covenant that had been made "with the house of Judah and with the house of Israel." It was upon this covenant with Israel that all salvation is based.
  • The Messianic community is the believing remnant within national Israel; it is God's witness to the unbelieving bulk of the nation until "all Israel is saved" at the second advent.
  • Gentiles play a lesser role. They are brought into the Messianic community as a down payment to the future blessing of Gentile nations that will result from "all Israel" being saved. However, God's purpose in this down payment is to make the unbelieving bulk of national Israel jealous. The centerpiece of God's plan of redemption was, is, and always will be the salvation of his chosen people, Israel.
  • The centrality of Israel is center stage in Paul's didactic passages of Romans 11 and Ephesians 2. Gentiles receive their salvation during the interadvent period only by being grafted into Israel and becoming fellow citizens of Israel in the sense defined in this appendix.

Horatius Bonar

Isaiah 44:21: "O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me"

Here is an excerpt from the first of the three appendices at the end of the book.

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) wrote much about the eschatological future of national Israel in The Quarterly Journal of Prophecy. He rejoiced in that future for the chosen people, the covenant nation of God, and penned the following hymn (1882) based on Isaiah 44:21, "O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me":

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   all other names may pass away,
but thine, my Israel, shall remain
   in everlasting memory.

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   inscribed upon my palms thou art;
the name I gave in days of old
   is graven still upon my heart.

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   beloved of thy God art thou,
his crown forever on thy head,
   his name forever on thy brow.

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   he who upon thee named his name
assures thee of eternal love,
   a love for evermore the same.

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   the oath of him that cannot lie
is on thy city and thy land,
   an oath to all eternity.

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   the grace of ages deep and broad
is grace without decay, the grace,
   O Israel, of the Lord thy God.

Forgotten! no; that cannot be:
   sun, moon, and stars may cease to shine,
but thou shalt be remembered still,
   for thou art his, and he is thine.

Forgotten of the Lord thy God!
   No, Israel, no, that cannot be,
He chose thee in the days of old
   And still his favor rests on thee.


Israel: The Apple of God's Eye

Deuteronomy 32:10; Zechariah 2:8

Isaiah 49:13-16

Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.

Jeremiah 31:35-36

Thus says Yahweh,
Who gives the sun for light by day
And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
Yahweh of hosts is His name:
"If this fixed order departs
From before Me," declares Yahweh,
"Then the offspring of Israel also will cease
From being a nation before Me forever."


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