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Israel’s Gone Global

Israel’s Gone Global, written from a former dispensationalist framework, traces salvation history from Genesis into eternity. Unlike dispensationalism, it argues that the Christian church was God’s primary covenant since Genesis, and Ethnic Israel the redundant means to that end - as chaff to wheat. It votes against any literal Jewish temple being rebuilt, and for temple prophecy, howbeit in ethnic terms, signifying a spiritual build. It rejects unconditional vs unconditional covenant theory.

Examining marriage examines covenant. Marriage is essentially covenant, not contract. From a biblical and Roman Catholic framework, the two grounds argued by Erasmus for annulment, are considered. This concludes that marriage, a covenant, has no sacerdotal basis, is a paradigm across the globe and across theistic faiths, and has two biblically legitimate grounds for annulment, grounds not requiring the former bridge between parties to be rebuilt. So marriage is soluble, yet described, as other covenants can be, in indissoluble terms. Therefore we may argue that other covenant talk, though spoken in terms of being indissoluble, had likewise an implicit option of dissolubility in cases of gross violation, that God would commit no sin in ending on covenant grounds what he had called permanent.

It maps out the multilayered term, Israel. It applied to the man Jacob, then became his family identity. However, Isaiah introduced the idea of an individual within that solidarity, taking the focus of that name: an Israelite would become Israel. This is identified with Jesus as messiah. Indeed, identifying it through his Twelve Apostles through to the whole Christian church, itself Israel under a new covenant. The Yeshuic Covenant replaced the Sinaitic Covenant which ended at Jesus’ death: tetelestai! The idea is that Israel is a concept of God’s central salvation plan, thus has moved from Jacob through his family, been redefined under Moses, and redefined ultimately by Jesus and his community.

The main NT Israel texts examined are Rm.11:25f.; Gal.6:16; & Rv.7:4. While former uses exist, new uses have been introduced, and ethnic Israel is no longer the true, alēthinos, holder of the title deeds. The definition of holy land is no longer geographical, and politically Christians should side with justice per se, not the State of Israel per se.

Israel's Gone Global differentiates between biblical uses of the term, eternal life. It uses the term ultimate life, for the idea that throughout human history people have always been able to choose God without human evangelism, yet that human evangelism has always been able to open the door to his kingdom (salvation) on earth. Thus Nicodemus saw God’s kingdom in its then and there ethnic level, yet could not see the inbreaking kingdom dimension unless he were born anew (incidentally the term born again was a Nicodemean Jest, repudiated by Jesus’ definition of genēthē anōthen). Had Nicodemus died before the cross, by the power of the cross he would have had ultimate life, heavenly life, in the everlasting age to come, but would never have had eternal life in its here and now fellowship sense (Jhn.17:3), its sense of Christianity. Prior to the new covenant, human beings did not know indwelling, nor regeneration (at least to the new covenant). Various Johannine texts are examined within their historical settings. For instance, those who welcomed messiah incognito before the cross would become children of God (ie Christians) the instant they recognised the resurrection: thus it is hermeneutically naive to inform new converts that they have the right to become children of God (Jhn.1:12). This individualised status is a fruit of the new covenant, but unnecessary for ultimate life. It is the depth-now meaning of salvation.

World Religions, except Christianity (pace Fritz Ridenour), are all incorrect, but some are nearer the correct answer than others. Their adherents can, as within Judaism, have a zeal for God, even if their conception of him is misleading. Islamic persecutors of Christians might have ultimate life, even as Saul of Tarsus already had before his conversion. Evidence of Godwardness within Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, is presented. With an eye on historical theologians such as Augustine and Calvin, it is tentatively suggested that people from conception may have personalities either towards or against God. This position (if idiosyncratic, untrue?) is named Predilectionism. Through its lens evangelism becomes the entrance not to eternal-ultimate life, but to eternal-now life, divine fellowship within the messianic community, God’s kingdom here on earth. The idea of infant regeneration is disparaged - regeneration is entrance into the Yeshuic covenant, and water baptism/immersion is relative to (eis) a prior and conscious individual welcome of the Christian message, of the christ. Predilectionism holds that some who die in infancy will have ultimate life, and some will not, but both according to their individual predispositions, irrespective of outward rites and the faith communities in which they were conceived. As to whether conception trajectories can ultimately change direction (true apostasy either direction), the author cannot say. The holiness children receive through having a Christian parent is merely the holiness a non-Christian spouse has from marriage to a Christian: both are separated towards godliness by a live-in parent/spouse, but receive no ticket to ultimate life from them. Holiness is reflected on – even prostitutes could be holy, dedicated unto so-called deities; family identity should lead to family likeness, ideally christification.

Having differentiated between eternal-now life and eternal-ultimate life, as part of the salvation message this book looks at the glories of Christianity. It picks up on glories adumbrated by ethnic Israel, and sees their fulfilment in the gospel. A key word is individualisation, as identity with God is individualised by the gospel, though the corporate side of church is commended. Each believer is a prophet and priest with royal status. Each has a relationship and potential fellowship with each member of the trinity. After death, life gets even better, though biblical data is very limited. How often do we say that a believer is dead, when we would not dare say that Jesus is dead? Most of us have died, said Aslan. It is mortal life which is the real shadowlands. Parochial ‘reunions’ are disparaged. The book draws upon C S Lewis’ baptised imagination as regards the future, disagreeing with him at times as it presents a picture of exploration to come, the universe perhaps along with hidden dimensions, being our eternal playground in which knowing God is as background as water is to fish.

The book concludes with a guided tour of the history of covenants, noting such as Adam, Noah, Jacob, and Moses. It notes that the scandal of particularism which never hurt anybody, the narrowing of covenant, was the seed for global grace. This part considers a number of issues of interest, importance, or both, such as the rebellion of humanity, the Noahic Flood, the ethics of Abraham’s dealings with Sarah and so-called duplications, the blessed polygamy of Jacob, and the link of Moses to the Pentateuch. Throughout this work ten English Bible versions (consulted and graded), and many a scholar, have been used.