Dec. 27, 2016

Not knowing

 

I don’t know everything about everything. In fact, the older I get the more I realize I never knew as much as I thought I knew when I was younger. I suspect it has something to do with that age-old story of thinking we know everything while we are teenagers only to discover that we know very little by the time we reach our senior adult years.

One thing I don’t know and one thing I find myself constantly trying to figure out is this Israel stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, my dream trip was to the Holy Land. I love Israel. However, I suspect the majority of Christians do not know that the Holy Land is considered holy to many people; not just Christians. I am also not convinced that the majority of Christians understand that the Holy Land is an intersection point for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. But, hey, what do I know?

I think another thing that I find interesting is how many of us decide we know it all when it comes to spiritual matters because we were brought up in church or we sat under the teachings of a really great pastor or we read a lot. Some of us determine we are bible scholars because we can recite the books of the bible in their correct order. I know I thought I knew everything until I went to seminary where I discover that I didn’t know the bible as much as I knew what my denomination wanted me to know about the bible. Who knew?

This issue of Israel remains confusing to me. There is no doubt the Children of Israel were God’s chosen people under the Old Covenant. But, according to my bible they messed up constantly and most of them rejected the very Messiah that was sent to redeem them. Many of them still reject Christ today because He didn’t fit into the neat little package their religious rules decided would prove His existence and affirm His deity. In fact, one thing I do know for sure is that Christ expanded His reach to the Gentiles (those of us who are non-Jew) because His own people denied Him. There is disagreement on just how much the Jewish leaders knew as they plotted Christ’s death. I would try to spell out exactly what the bible says they knew except for the fact I would be compared to Mel Gibson and be labeled anti-Semitic. You know what I mean?

Here’s my question: Do we really think the nation of Israel today is the exact same nation that God referred to in the Old Testament as “His people?” Do we choose to ignore the teaching of God’s inclusion of others once His previously-labeled people rejected, denied, and sentenced Him to death? Do we understand that the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) will be integrated?

Galatians 3:28-29, as well as many other passages in the New Testament (a.k.a. New Covenant), explains that heritage no longer matters once Christ entered the picture. Paul taught us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” Aren't we God's people under God's New Covenant? I think I know....

So, I would suggest that, before we step into a war, we be very clear why we stand up for or stand up against anyone based on mere traditional teachings. I can think of several examples where traditional teachings got people into trouble. An example is the major misinterpretation causing the Jews to reject our Messiah because He stood against tradition and taught transformation. I know…I know….it's confusing, isn't it?