The Covenants of Abraham - Close Up (Incomplete)
The family is fighting over the will. Christianity has laid claim to their fathers blessings. Judaism claims Christianity is a bogus son who has no part in Abraham's will. Who are the legitimate heirs to the covenant of Abraham? That is a question we must answer.
Before we can get to the covenant we must define who each of these groups are. They have so much in common, yet they seem to be worlds apart. What function does Judaism and Christianity serve in this world. And even more important, who speaks and represents God on the earth today. This is a critical question as we enter the end-of-the-age. Who understands the strategic and complex plan that must be fulfilled before the end can come? This may seem like a radical concept in the age of the 'professional' clergy and market smart organizations. But the position of 'earth's priesthood' is still open. No one is disqualified, the positions of leadership will be filled by those who come to God in spirit and in truth.
From within Christianity, there is a growing awareness of Christianity's theological mistreatment of Judaism throughout history. These sympathizers are reevaluating Christian theology in regard to the covenant and find that Christianity has mistakenly appropriated covenant promises that should not be theirs or at least are not theirs exclusively. Typical Christian theology says that Christianity has, through Messiah and the 'new covenant' of Jer 31, inherited the covenant that Israel forfeited when they rejected Messiah. The sympathizers see this as a stolen inheritance, saying, the 'new covenant' is still Israel's, and Christians are simply 'graphed' into Israel's covenant. So even within Christianity there is debate over who has inherited the covenant.
And so the battle continues. Is there a solution to this problem? Yes there is. All three groups mentioned above are wrong (and they are all partly right). The problem stems from an inadequate understanding of the covenant and what the covenant was designed to produce.
God's full prophetic intent was designed to be intentionally vague until the end-of-the-age. Then those who are willing to give up self-interest in favor of God's interest will see and participate in the fulfillment of the final provisions of Abraham's covenant.
As is true with so many theological tug-of-wars, the answer is in rightly 'dividing' a single object into two objects and then appropriately applying Scripture to one object or the other. The secret to solving the covenant question is quite simple - there are really two covenants rather than one. And even more mysterious, how humanity will ultimately and eternally be divided into one or the other of these groups. (a third group (perhaps the largest) - the 'goats' of humanity will be eternally be separated from these 'living' groups)
Some have asked where that is found in Scripture? Here is a biblical reference to the two covenants.
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively,
for the women represent two covenants.
One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (Gal 4:22-26)
As a brief overview of concepts and topics designed especially for Christians the following sections should be useful.
First the definitions
Biblically, Israelites are all descendants of the male blood line of Jacob (and their spouses). Technically, Abraham and Isaac are not Israelites, but all Israelites are descendants of Abraham. The covnenantial rights of a blood-line Israelite is not strictly physical and it is not unconditional. There is a belief and behavior component which requires one to loosely remain in sync with the contractual provisions of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. Failing to do so may endanger a true Israelite to be 'cut off' from the covenantial community of Israel. The covenantial community is not only limited to physical Israelites. There is Biblical precedence for non-Israelites to willfully convert into the Israelite community receiving full rights. The covenant is closely tied to the physical land of Israel and it stipulates guaranteed possession when in right standing with God and exile when not. Today, the term Jew is sometimes used synonymously with Israelite - that is not technically correct. The whole house of Israel is the joining of Jews (Judah) and the as yet unknown 'lost tribes' often referred to as Ephraim or Israel. Judah is the royal line through which King Messiah will come and natural Israel (the whole house) is destined to be the head of the nations of earth.
The Israel of God (The Church):
The church is a 'profound mystery', designed to display the ultimate holiness, glory, wisdom and power of God to the universe. The founder and head is Messiah. Its members are all humans who have responded to God in faith as their generation, even before Messiah, was challenged and tested to do so. They are the 'called out ones' as expressed by Israel in their exodus and wilderness experience. They are the Jewish Apostles and believers in Yeshua 2000 years ago. They are generally the (true) believers in Yeshua of our day. Since Yeshua's day and the day of 'Pentecost' (Feast of weeks) it is those who have been 'sealed' by a 'deposit' of the Holy Spirit, that member of the Deity who is responsible to nurture the church's spiritual children to full maturity and glory in the end-of-the-age. The church is not fundamentally Jewish or Gentile. It is manifested and portrayed as a very real but mystical (or spiritual), 'Body, 'Bride', and 'Temple', as citizens of Heaven, King/Priests in the order of Melchizedek, with no territorial or material claims. It is comprised of a remnant of humanity of are willing to forever deny their human ancestry and accept 'adoption' into the God family. These former 'glorified' humans will serve corporately as co-ruler (Queen) with King Messiah in his service as Priest to the divine Father in heaven. The ultimate 'graduation gift' for 'overcoming' members comes not from the creation, but an imperishable, glorified, eternal body and to 'share her master's happiness'.
There are TWO (not one) groups of eternal peoples that have benefits stipulated in the covenant of Abraham.
----------------------------------- to be completed) -----------------------------------------------------
Citizens of Heaven and Citizens of Earth
Here are some questions that may help clarify the TWO vs. ONE issue:
Are there two priesthoods or one?
Which is the superior priesthood?
Is there a Temple in heaven?
Is there a priesthood in heaven?
Israel has a strict Levitical priesthood, than why is it called a kingdom of priests?
Why does the tribe of Levite have no land inheritance?
What was Abraham's greatest promises - material or spiritual?
Was Yeshua a priest? of what priesthood?
Of what citizenship are believers in Yeshua? heaven or earth?
Who are the citizens of heaven?
Who are the citizens of earth?
Is the word Israel and church synonymous?
Answer the questions below for the church than Israel:
Does it have territorial boundaries?
Where and who are its leadership?
Who are its citizens?
How do you become a citizen.
Were Adam, Able, Noah, Enoch, Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist part of the church?
Were they part of Israel?
Is the Holy City in Revelation the city of Jerusalem in Israel?
Who is the church of the firstborn?
Who are the virgins in the parable of the virgins?
Who are the sheep and goats in the story of the sheep and goats.
Who does unbelieving Thomas represent?
Who are those 'who have not seen yet believed'?
How many main sections are there in the Temple?
In the millennial kingdom who will be in the outer court?
Who will be ministering in the holy place?
Why did Yeshua claim to have a ministry of division? (Luke 12:49)
Who was he dividing?
Is there any prophetic significance to Israel & sons bowing down to Joseph?
If so, who is Israel? who is Joseph?
Who does the church rule over in the millennium?
Here is a table dividing numerous Biblical ideas and concepts into the TWO covenants for TWO peoples:
Category (Natural Israel) (Church)
------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------------------------------
nations (planets) Earth Heaven
Patriarch Abraham/Ishmael Abraham/Isaac
Matriarch Hagar Rabbecca
Citizenship Of Earth Of Heaven
Imagery Sands of the Sea Stars of the Sky
Mountains Mt. Sinai Mt. Zion
Cities Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem, Heaven
Covenants Mosaic/New covenant Abrahamic/'Covenant in my 'blood'
Redeemed by Holy water? drinking 'blood' (communion)
Priesthood Levitical Melchizedek
Eternal body type Flesh & blood Glorified flesh and bone
Eternal food Tree of life Imperishable
Household relationship Servants Sons
Joseph typology Jacob/Rachel & sons Joseph
Disciple typology Thomas Disciples
Israel typology Judah Ephraim (Northern Tribes)
Israel typology Israel (Whole house) Israel of God
Inheritance Sons First born son(double portion)
Spiritual function Sheep/Servants Shepherds/Rulers
Virgin parable Five foolish virgins Five wise virgins
Sonship Son of man Son of God
Reasons for difficult Biblical Interpretation:
Pastoral vs. Prophetic
Childhood vs. Adulthood
Current vs. Future
Personal vs. Corporate
Earthly vs. Heavenly
Two salvation covenants
Two saved grouped
Journey vs. Destination
Literal vs. Figurative
If I look up, I'm a servant, if I look down I'm a ruler, today I'm a servant, tomorrow a ruler, I'm both a child and an heir.
Short term goals always become long term impediments.
Prophetically - evangelism is a short term goal.