By Dwight A. Pryor, Center for Judaic Christian Studies
SUPERSESSIONISM IS DEEPLY ROOTED in Christian thinking and tradition. This is the notion that because the Jewish people “rejected Christ” God rejected them as His chosen people and replaced Israel with the Church in His redemptive purposes in the earth. As the “New Israel” Christians supersede Jews as God’s elect, covenant people.
This widely held view is not found in the New Testament itself but is an interpretive paradigm imposed on Scripture by Church leaders at least since the time of Justin Martyr and Augustine (2nd-4th centuries). The New Testament in fact is silent about supersessionism, with the salient exception of Romans 9-11, where St. Paul chastens boastful Gentiles for thinking that God has rejected Israel.
Notwithstanding Israel’s stumbling over the Messiah, the Jewish Apostle to the Roman world assures his readers that God’s covenant remains irrevocable – i.e., not contingent upon repentance. Though they may be fickle, God remains faithful to His sovereign election and covenant commitments to the Jewish people as a nation. To assert otherwise is to impugn the integrity and discredit the character of the God of Israel who abounds in hesed (steadfast love and covenant faithfulness).
Fortunately not all Christians through the centuries have held to a “replacement” theological worldview. For them, when the New Testament speaks of “Israel” it refers to the Jewish people as a nation and not the Church as the “New Israel”. Unlike in the Patristic tradition, Israel is more than mere preparation for the Gospel or a prefigurement of the Church.
A nonsupersessionist view takes seriously the Scriptures that speak of God’s love for Abraham’s progeny, of His sovereign and unconditional election of corporate Israel, of His irrevocable covenant with the Jewish people as a people, and the attendant promises to them as a nation that He continues to keep, even unto the Last Days. In this view, a blessing yet awaits all nations through a spiritually renewed national Israel, the apple of the Lord’s eye.
Such a “pro-Zion” stance, by the way, does not require a Dispensational reading of Scripture, which many anti-Zionists delight in denigrating. (In fact the history of “Christian Zionism” well predates the 19th-century development of Dispensationalism.) Nor is a prophecy-driven biblical paradigm (so popular in recent generations) a sine qua non for standing with Israel.
In fact there is a firmer footing, a more sure foundation on which to stand. The witness of Scripture testifies to it: God’s immutable and irresistible love of the Jewish people. Notwithstanding their (mysteriously ordained) opposition to the Gospel, Israel remains “beloved for the sake of the Patriarchs” (Romans 11:28). Indeed the covenant faithfulness of the Fathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – is the very root into which Gentile believers in the “Righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 33:15) are engrafted, and Israel’s spiritual legacy is the “fatness of the olive tree” that is meant to nurture us (Romans 11:17).
The Jewish people are important to Christians, therefore, not because of their projected place in some future biblical dispensation, nor as a prophetic timepiece for an end-time apocalypse. The irreducible truth is this: they are important because of their place in the Father’s heart.
What shall we say then? If God be for Israel shall we oppose Him? In view of the Almighty’s great love and unbounded mercies, renewed each morning, surely Christians should at the very least stand with and pray for the Jewish people. This may be an anguished prayer at times, as it was for the Apostle Paul. But our concerns, like his, should spring from an abiding affection and unconditional affirmation of Israel’s irrevocable covenant, involving Scriptures, Land and Peoplehood.
This is not to idealize Jews or exempt the modern State of Israel from biblical standards of justice and righteousness. Nor is it to assay the place in the world to come of any particular individual, whether Jew or non-Jew. But it is to remind us as followers of Jesus of Nazareth that we are perpetual debtors to Israel – for our Messiah, our Scriptures, even our God!
Christian history, sadly, attests to the fact that when the universal Christ is removed from the Jewish matrix of his incarnate existence and the historical particularity of God’s irrevocable covenant with the Jewish nation, the results are supersessionism, an adversarial relationship with Judaism, and even anti-Semitism toward Jews. Surely the time has come to move beyond this history of contempt and humbly and gratefully acknowledge the indissoluble bond we Christians share with the Jewish people. To do so is to stand on the sure foundation of the love of God.
© 2010 Dwight A. Pryor and The Center for Judaic-Christian Studies. All rights reserved.
(What follows was recently spied on the web!)
PRETRIB RAPTURE SECRECY
by Dave MacPherson
The word “secrecy” when applied to Christ’s return can refer to two different things: time and visibility. Before 1830 the only coming Christians looked for was the “every eye shall see him” second advent to earth – secret only in point of time.
Enter Margaret Macdonald in 1830. She saw “the one taken and the other left” before “THE WICKED” [Antichrist] will “be revealed” – and added that her pretrib rapture would not be “seen by the natural eye” but only by “those who have the light of God within.” Her rapture was doubly secret: at an unknown day and hour and also invisible to “outsiders.”
Desperate to eliminate Margaret as the pretrib originator and the Irvingites as the first public teachers of pretrib, Darby defender Thomas Ice foolishly claims that they taught a secret POSTTRIB coming even though he knows that when Hal Lindsey teaches “one taken” etc. before the Antichrist “is revealed” Lindsey is expressing the kernel of the pretrib view – what MM and the Irvingites clearly taught before Darby did! Google “X-Raying Margaret” and “Edward Irving is Unnerving” to see why they are properly labeled “pretrib.”)
As early as June 1832, Irving’s journal taught that only “to those who are watching and praying…will Christ be manifested…as the morning star. To the rest of the church, and to the world, this first appearance will be…unintelligible.” (“Present State of Prophetic Knowledge” etc., p. 374)
Always trailing and “borrowing” quietly from the Irvingites who in turn had “borrowed” from Margaret, Darby in 1845 finally sounded like them when he wrote that “the bright and morning Star…is the sweet and blessed sign to them that watch…And such is Christ before He appears [at the final advent to earth]. The Sun will arise on the world….The star is before the [Sun], the joy of those who watch. The unwakeful world, who sleep in the night, see it not.” (“Thoughts on the Apocalypse,” p. 167)
And Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth,” p. 143, says that “the second coming is said to be visible to the whole earth (Revelation 1:7). However, in the Rapture. only the Christians see Him – it’s a mystery, a secret.”
My bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (available at online stores including Armageddon Books) has 300 pages of such documentation and proves that Margaret was the first to “see” a secret, pretrib rapture, that the Irvingites soon echoed her in their journal (which Darby admitted he avidly read), and that Darby was last on all of the crucial aspects of dispensationalism.
Shockingly, all of the earliest pretrib development rested solely on unclear OT and NT types and symbols and NOT on clear Biblical statements. Margaret’s rapture was inspired by Rev. 11’s “two witnesses.” And her “secret visibility” rested on the “types” of Stephen, Paul, and John – all of whom saw or heard what others couldn’t see or hear.
For 30 years Darby’s pretrib basis was the rapture of Rev. 12’s “man child” – actually his plagiarism of Irving’s usage of this “pretrib” symbol eight years earlier!
As I said at the start, the “second advent to earth” is secret in point of time with its unknown “day and hour,” as Christ stated. Pretribs assert that if Christ returns for the church after the tribulation, we could count down the days and figure out the actual date of His return – which would contradict Christ’s words.
But pretribs deliberately ignore the fact that Christ said that the tribulation days will be shortened – and He didn’t reveal the length of the shortening!
Our opponents also assume that the “watch” verses prove the “any-moment imminence” of Christ’s return. But do they? II Peter 3:12 says we are to be “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” which all premills claim is at least 1000 years ahead of us and therefore hardly “imminent”! What’s the difference between “watching for” and “looking for”?
Another gimmick has pretribs saying “Would you want Jesus to return at any moment and find out you’re sinning?” But Jesus ALREADY knows all about us! And the Holy Spirit, who’s also God, is ALREADY here (Rom. 8:27)!
You have just learned a few of the many secrets that the Secret Rapture Gang has hidden for a long time. Evidently they have forgotten Luke 12:2’s warning that “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed”!
PS – For the ultimate in uncovered secrets, see engines like Google and type in “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.”
PPS – While evangelicals stay largely asleep while waiting for their 180-year-old rapture, the shmutzy-mouth subversives of the world (e.g., movie moguls at awards ceremonies) invent new ways to create and unite even more tailgating, boombox-blasting, four-headlights-blinding members of the FFA (Future Followers of the Antichrist). For some related insights Yahoo “backstabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard and Kathy Griffin)” which is found in a Letterman item.
Margaret Macdonald Was a Church-Splitter
“church” RAPTURE “church”
(present age) (tribulation)
Pretrib leaders agree. John Walvoord’s “Rapture Question” (1979) says her view resembles the “partial-rapture view” and Hal Lindsey’s “The Rapture” (1983) admits that “she definitely teaches a partial Rapture.” But there’s more. Lindsey (p. 26) says partial rapturists see only “spiritual” Christians in the rapture and “unspiritual” ones left behind to endure Antichrist’s trial. And Walvoord (p. 97) calls partial rapturists “pretribulationists”!
In the spring of 1830 Macdonald was the first person to see a pretrib (pre-Antichrist) rapture in the Bible. It was a partial rapture form of it since only those “filled with the Spirit” would be raptured before the revealing of “THE WICKED” (Antichrist). A few critics, favoring repeating more than researching, have seen “Church” in the tribulation section of her statement, have been unaware that the charts of all partial rapturists show “Church” on earth after their pretrib rapture (like the above chart shows), and have assumed that Margaret was a posttrib!
In Sep. 1830 Edward Irving’s journal “The Morning Watch” (hereafter: TMW) was the first to publicly echo her novel view when it stated that spiritual “Philadelphia” would be raptured before “the great tribulation” and unspiritual “Laodicea” left on earth. In Dec. 1830 John Darby (the so-called “father of dispensationalism” even though he wasn’t first on any crucial aspect of it!) was still defending the historic posttrib rapture (in the “Christian Herald”) which he described as Christ’s coming for “His judging of the nations.”
Pretrib didn’t spring from a “church/Israel” dichotomy, as many have assumed, but from a “church/church” one, as we’ve seen, and was based only on symbols!
But innate anti-Jewishness soon appeared. (As noted, TMW (Sep. 1830) saw only less worthy church members left behind.) Two years later (Sep. 1832) TMW said that less worthy church members and “Jews” would be left behind. But by Mar. 1833 TMW was sure that only “Jews” would face the Antichrist!
As late as 1837 the non-dichotomous Darby saw the church “going in with Him to the marriage, to wit, with Jerusalem and the Jews.” And he didn’t clearly teach pretrib until 1839. His basis then was the Rev. 12:5 “man child…caught up” symbol he’d “borrowed” (without giving credit) from Irving who had been the first to use it for the same purpose in 1831!
For related articles Google “X-Raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Pretrib Rapture’s Missing Lines,” “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived” by D.M., “Pretrib Rapture Pride,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” and “Scholars Weigh My Research.” The most detailed and accurate book on pretrib rapture history is “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books online) – a 300-pager that has hundreds of disarming facts (like the ones above) not found in any other source.
/ The preceding interesting item was uncovered not long ago on the worldwide net. /