The Christian life is a battle, and battles presuppose enemies. The chief enemy of Christians is Satan (and demonic spirits aligned with him [Eph. 6:12]), but a leading strategy in thwarting God’s earthly kingdom is his enlisting humans to assist him. This diabolical strategy started in Eden.
The Bible assumes that the true Faith will constantly be under attack in the sinful world and in the church. This doesn’t mean that we should invent enemies when there are none. There are enemies aplenty already.
Hi Dr. Sandlin, I hope all is well with you. I have been struggling through Old testament prophecies and I am having a hard time seeing how Jesus fulfilled the office “Conquering King” who would unite the jews who were scattered back to Jerusalem. I can very clearly see the connection of the suffering servant, the one who was pierced, the Messiah who was cut off just before the destruction of the temple, as well as the priest, and in an implied sense the perfect sacrifice. But I’m really struggling to see how Jesus is Messiah if He did not gather the Jews back to Jerusalem/Judah. The NT prophecies don’t seem to speak to a regathering of the Jews either that I have seen so far (though my study is not yet thorough). Would you be able to help me shed some light on this? It has been greatly troubling and I fear worshipping God wrongly. Thanks.
Hi, —-. It’s a great question, and I can understand your perplexity.
It’s important to understand that the NT must interpret the OT. The inspired apostles can interpret the OT much better than you or I can. Peter‘s Pentecostal sermon in Acts 2 plainly applies OT prophecies concerning Messiah’s rule on David’s throne to Christ’s ascension and present session.
The NT in several cases (note Galatians, Hebrews, and Revelation) refers to Jerusalem as now existing in Jesus Christ’s heavenly abode. The true Jerusalem is the heavenly Jerusalem, not the Jerusalem in present-day Israel.
In Ephesians 2 we read that both Jew and Gentile are brought together under the reign of Jesus Christ by means of his atoning death. The church is now the inheritor of the Jewish promises – and it was always intended to be.
Remember that Jesus plainly said that he was the temple to be rebuilt, and his temple was in fact rebuilt 2000 years ago in a borrowed tomb outside old Jerusalem.
Again and again the NT identifies the multiracial, multiethnic church of Jesus Christ as the true Israel. I do believe that according to Romans 11, a glorious future awaits ethnic Israel, but not as a separate, distinct people from the church of Jesus Christ. There will be massive conversions among the Jews one day and among the Gentiles also, and I believe all of this will occur before the Second Advent.