The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. Michael Brown, absolutely delighted to be with you, serving as your thoroughly Jewish host. Any Jewish related question you have of any kind, if it relates to Israel today, if it relates to the Hebrew language, if it relates to Jewish tradition, if it relates to messianic prophecy or Jewish background to the New Testament. If you're one of our many Jewish listeners and you differ with my viewpoint about Yeshua being our Messiah, the phone lines are always open to you. 866-342-866-348-7884. I want to bring on immediately one of my dear friends for many decades, co-worker in the Lord, messianic Jewish leader Ron Cantor.
You can find out more about his work in Israel and in the nations at RonKanter.com. Hey Ron, thanks for joining us on the air today. Dr. Brown, it is always a delight to be with you. I'm a little bit jet-lagged, so there might be a two-second delay in my responses, but I think I'll be okay. Just arrived in the U.S. Awesome, but because you're always very quick, a minor delay would just make you sound more human, so it works out.
People will be able to relate to me in a much better way, you're right. Alright, so Ron, how long have you been here? How long have you been living in Israel now? It's coming on 20 years. 20 years, so basically half of your life is a believer. You've been in the Lord, what, next year will be 20 years, right? Roughly?
Yes. Right, amazing, amazing. And we've known each other since, what, around 84?
Yes, that is right. And you know what's funny is, you say half my life I've lived in Israel, is when I go back to the first town that I lived in called Ranana, just outside of Tel Aviv, I never thought that I would live in Israel long enough, because I was 38 when I moved there, I was an adult, I had three children, but I had like these incredibly nostalgic feelings, like when you visit your, you know, the town where you grew up. So it's really interesting now that we're hitting 20 years. Incredible, wow.
I mean, even as I hear it, it's just stunning to realize that, because I knew so much of your life before that, but it's been a whole new life. And hopefully we can get you on, maybe monthly from Israel, you're in the States now, and we can update things on Israel, but as I was just stepping back, I wanted to give a perspective, so let me throw some stats out, and then you give me the on the ground perspective. If somebody asks, just in general, Jewish believers in Jesus worldwide, do you have a guesstimate that you use? You know, I would say it's under a million, it's more than 100,000. I really don't know, nobody knows, we're not big enough to actually quantify, but I know that, you know, in the Messianic Jewish movement in America, there's probably at least 50,000, if not 100,000, I've heard of the higher numbers, but you have a lot of Jewish people that, they became believers, and they go to a normative church. So in the church world, you probably have at least an equal amount of Jewish people, or people with Jewish background, that's just in America, but you know, there's about 15 million Jews worldwide, so we're still a tiny, tiny percentage of our people. So let's just say that we were 300,000 Jewish believers in Yeshua worldwide, right, so that would be 2% of the total Jewish population, if it was as high as a half million, right? So you're talking still what, at this point, 4% or something, you know, still a small percentage of the overall population, but when you get to Israel, things really intensify, so what, there are about 6 million Jews in Israel, is that a little higher than that now?
Yeah, about 6.5, 6.6, I think. Okay, an overall population, 9 something million, alright, so, I've heard estimates, again, we don't know, and you may have secret believers, especially among the very Orthodox, but the estimates I normally hear are 20,000 messianic Jews in Israel on the low side, 30,000 on the high side, what's your opinion? That's about right, I mean, those are the figures I use, between 20 and 30,000, which is less than 1%, it's about a half a percent if we take the high number of 30,000, so it's extremely small, we're a very tiny minority. Got it, got it, right, so people need to appreciate that, because we look at Jewish believers in Israel, so believers around the world, oh, the believers in Israel, and we're all excited and feel the solidarity, but within Israel itself, you may appreciate the solidarity from around the world, but very, very small minority, less than half of a percent of the population, let's contrast that. The ultra-Orthodox Jews, are they 15% of the population now?
I would say a little bit less, but they're a sizable minority, and they're very loud, a very vocal minority. Right, so we're not just talking about religious in general, or even mildly Orthodox, but the very, very Orthodox, if they were as high as 800,000 or a million, so that would put it around 15%, but you're talking about a core of the society, a tremendous influence, power. So maybe for every Jewish believer, there's maybe 30 ultra-Orthodox, so you really are a very small minority, so things have changed over the years, so first, how does it feel today, families, kids growing up, how does it feel today, and then how have things changed over the years? Well, let me start backwards and talk about how things have changed, because while 30,000 seems small, understand it was 25 when Israel became a nation, there was 25 identifiable Messianic Jewish families, or people, rather, Messianic Jews in 1948, and we know that because they were offered visas to go to other countries.
It was actually 29, four left, 25 stayed, so that tiny little seed of 25 has grown into 20 to 30,000 people, and I can tell you that I've heard stories from older believers back in the 70s and early 80s of just how they suffered, how their kids suffered. I don't mean necessarily violently being beaten up, that certainly happens, it's rare to be physically attacked for your faith in Israel, but what their kids went through at school being ostracized, and then I contrast that with my kids. When they went to school in 2003 to say 2010, their friends knew that they were part of a Messianic Jewish home, it was never an issue, nobody cared, and to this day, my daughter Danielle, she runs a volunteer organization, she's actually somewhat famous in Tel Aviv. In COVID, at the beginning, she and two other girls started handing out food, they went to restaurants that were closing down, got all the food, began to give it out on the street, and that turned into a 1,000-member volunteer movement where they gave over 100,000 food packages all over Israel. So she was named in 40 Under 40 for that year, she's been on television interviews, and she always tells people about her Messianic upbringing and about her parents being in ministry, it's just not an issue, nobody cares.
Now, if she was doing that in, say, Bnei Brak or Mea Sherem, those are the two most ultra-orthodox neighborhoods in Israel, they might not react the same, but for the most part, Israelis are very accepting. And again, there's a difference between me sharing what I believe with somebody versus trying to bring them into what I believe. But my experience in 20 years of living there, sharing my faith freely, never being ashamed of it, I've never experienced any significant resistance, the only two times I was really resistant. One was I was at the Western Wall, and I was filming a program for God TV about the Six-Day War, and I got to the end, I was reading from the teleprompter, and I was getting towards the end, and I was just, I mean, Mike, I was hitting it. I was anointed, it was powerful, and the only thing I could think was, please don't mess up reading the teleprompter as happens. And as I finished, I mean, there really was an anointing, as I finished, there was this Orthodox Jewish family watching, and the guy walks up to me and he says, you know, that was wonderful, that was amazing, he felt the presence of God. And he said, can you come to my, no, I was speaking in English, but he said, can you come to our synagogue and give sermons in English? And I was tempted to say, absolutely, sign me up, but I said to him, I would love to do that, but I really don't think you want me, you see, I'm a messianic Jew, I believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, and he said something rude to me and walked away. But he was, and a similar thing happened, about a year later, I was filming in the old city of Jerusalem in what are called the rabbi's tunnels, and there was one of the workers there, like me, American Jew, married to an Israeli, he had heard my story when I was filming, and he came out.
And he started talking to me, he was like, very happy to meet me, until he found out I was a believer in Yeshua, and just ended the conversation and walked away. But, I mean, if that's the worst I have to go through, so when people talk about persecution in Israel, there has been isolated incidents, but it's nothing like our brothers and sisters go through in Muslim nations. You know, we don't have honor killings, we don't have, I mean, we have had isolated incidents where, you know, I remember a young girl was beaten up by Orthodox Jewish thugs at the behest of her family, but I know many, many, many, many other Orthodox Jews who came to faith and did not go through that type of persecution. Yeah, so there is the fact that you're a very small minority, and I remember one mother saying, look, raising the kids, had explained we're not part of a cult, you know, and knowing you're part of an international, massive family is helpful, but there really is freedom of religion in Israel. Again, if you cross certain lines with the ultra-Orthodox, this is going to be an issue, and they will try to shut certain things down, but overall, I mean, how many, between house meetings and congregations, how many messianic groups are there in Israel, roughly?
I would say there's over 200, but let me just jump on what you said about freedom of religion in Israel, because that's interesting, as you'll remember. Stay right here, because we've got a break, alright? Hey friends, this is Ron Cantor on jet lag, so imagine without the jet lag. Alright, we'll be right back, talk about freedom of religion on the other side of the break. Go to Ron Cantor dot com, C-A-N-T-O-R, Ron Cantor dot com, sign up for his newsletters. You don't want to miss his stuff, it's great coming out of Israel on a regular basis. Alright, we'll be right back. Get ready with your Jewish-related questions, alright?
Because when Ron and I are done talking, phone lines are where we go. 866-348-7884, any Jewish-related question of any kind, you're welcome to call. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-344-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks for joining us, friends, on Thoroughly Jewish Thursday, Michael Brown. Here's the number to call with any Jewish-related question of any kind, 866-348-7884. Have you signed up for our next Israel trip, finally going back to Israel after multiple cancellations because of COVID, scheduled for the second half of May of next year? All the details are on our website.
Ask Dr. Brown dot org, A-S-K-D-R Brown dot org. Sign up, it is the trip of a lifetime. In fact, I don't know what Ron's schedule is going to be at that point, but I am really going to do my best, if we can't connect with Ron and another Messianic Jewish leader, to have them come and minister one night to our group. Okay, so Ron, you were about to say something about freedom of religion when we got cut off by our break, so back to you. Yes, so back a little over two years ago, on Independence Day, we went live with the first ever television station, in Hebrew, preaching the good news of Yeshua the Messiah on Israel's largest cable channel. And we don't have time for the whole story, but I was approached about a year before then by our largest cable company, Hot, about coming on the air, bringing God TV on the air, because I work with God TV, our mutual friend, Ward Simpson. And I said, I'm not interested. And they were surprised, because I knew they just wanted money, they didn't want to help promote us.
I said, but here's what I'd love to do, why don't we go on in Hebrew, you know, we'll get Hebrew content together and have our own cable channel. And they said yes. And I said, no, you don't understand what I'm asking. And I explained it again, and they still said, let's do it. Long story short, we raised the money, we got everything together. We went on the air, and a week later, the Orthodox Jewish community went crazy.
Now, I expected this, you know, I'm not naive, I didn't even think we'd ever make it on the air. But at that point, the Israeli government under Netanyahu at the time, tried to shut us down. And we responded with a press release saying, wait a minute, we get it that you don't like our message. And, you know, we get it that you might not want our message on the air. But let's not forget, we are a country that believes in freedom, freedom of religion.
This is not Iran, this is Israel. And so the government realized they were in a no-win situation. They were under tremendous pressure under the Orthodox Jewish community to get us off the air. I mean, we're on this tiny little cable channel.
You know, if anybody was watching, it was because of the press. But they realized, yeah, they're right, they're freedom. So what they did was smart, and I don't have proof of this, but it would appear that they went to the cable company that had stood with us. I mean, God bless them. And they put tremendous pressure on them to take us off the air, which they did, and they apologized.
I mean, God bless them for trying. We moved immediately to the internet. We used all the money they gave us back, because they refunded us a lot of money, and all the funds that came in from all the publicity. And we started an internet channel called Shavana TV that is run primarily by God TV and several other Israeli ministries, local Israeli ministries. But you're right, we do have freedom. You know, sometimes you gotta remind people of that, but we are a country like America, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion. Yeah, so if you, for example, are a Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic, then you can worship freely in the Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic, or if you're Baptist in those churches in Israel. What about Arab Christians in Israel? How is it for them compared to being Arab Christians in a Muslim country or under Palestinian authority or Hamas? Well, again, they have tremendous freedom compared to Arab Christians in other Middle Eastern countries. Now, when you say Arab Christians, there's two types of Arab Christians. There are Orthodox Christians, which is the major majority that would meet in a much more structured Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Greek Orthodox-type experience, probably closer to Coptic Christianity in Egypt. And then you have Evangelical, which is about 2% of Arabs in Israel. And, you know, they have their own congregations as well.
Now, those who are Evangelical, we have good relationships with a lot of them, and we seek them. And some of them are very pro-Israel and grateful to the State of Israel for the freedom. I mean, think about this for a minute. If you are an Arab in Syria or Saudi Arabia, and you walk out your door one day and you just say, you know, the president of this country, the prime minister, dictator, whatever he is, he is an XYZ and a blank, blank, blank. And, you know, you go to jail.
You cannot do that. You can't do that really in the West Bank. You know, if you're in the West Bank and you speak publicly against the Palestinian Authority, you're likely to find yourself in jail. Certainly if you're a reporter and you don't toe the line.
It happens all the time where reporters get arrested. In Israel, you can be an Arab. You can walk outside. You can speak whatever you want, curses or whatever, against the Jewish Israeli government, whoever you want.
And you can go back in, drink tea. Life is good because we do have that type of freedom here. And by here, I mean Israel. I'm actually in Virginia.
No, no, it's amazing. You'll have sometimes an Arab member of the Knesset railing against Israel, you know, in the parliament railing against the nation and against the flag. And they're allowed to do it.
You know, it reminds me of decades ago, probably late 80s, early 90s at the at the latest. And I was in an airport at JFK, so in New York, and talking to a couple, turns out they were from Syria. So here we are in the States, in New York at an airport. So I asked them at that time, Hafez Assad was the leader of the country. I asked them, you know, how do they feel about Assad? He goes, we really don't talk about that.
He looked down. In New York, I mean, maybe I was some kind of agent. So that does give an idea there. And as far as, one last thing, American politics, the way the politicians attack each other as divisive as we can be, how does that compare to Israeli politics? Well, if you go back, it's a little bit hard to answer because normally, if you look at England and you look at how their parliament, I mean, they're constantly yelling at each other in a way that would be shocking to Americans. So it's not all that uncommon for people to be yelling at each other in the parliament.
So we have that as well. Sometimes different ones are having, they're literally taken out by armed guards, and then they come back in, they sneak back in, they're yelling. But what we saw last year, I don't know if you remember when Naftali Bennett became prime minister, and he was giving his acceptance speech. I honestly, Mike, I've never seen anything like that in Israeli politics. That was the worst demonstration of immaturity that I've ever seen in our Knesset. And I felt bad for people who saw that and thought that that's how it is all the time. Can it be, you know, exciting and people speaking at a turn and shouting at each other? Absolutely. But, I mean, that was the worst.
They couldn't get a word in edgewide. And Yerla P, to his credit, when it was his turn to give a speech, he just scrapped his whole speech, spoke for 30 seconds, talked about how his mother, a Holocaust survivor, would be embarrassed to see the Jewish state opiate raiding this way, and he stepped down. Now he's prime minister.
And you know the thing that's still funny, though, with all of that, is that the same people would then die for each other in defending the country. You know, that you'll have people passionately screaming each other on the street and then sitting down for a cup of tea. Hey, Ron, we just got a minute, but your book, When Kingdoms Collide, which I wrote an endorsement for, about to come out. Folks can find out at Ron Cantor, T-O-R, RonCantor.com. Just let our folks know what the book's about. It's real simple.
I was riding my bike one day, and I was listening to N.T. Wright, who is a brilliant theologian. Nobody would deny that.
I mean, he's just brilliant. But when it comes to Israel, he has this idea that all the promises of God, including, I guess, the second coming, the promises of Israel coming back to being a nation, that they were all fulfilled on the cross. And now there's this new entity called the church, which Jews are allowed to join.
But ancient Israel, that's over. It's a new thing. It's a brand new plan. And I'm not smart like N.T. Wright, so I'm riding my bike, and I'm thinking, how do you answer this, God? And it was like a lightning bolt. I mean, I got a revelation, and I was so excited that I turned on the voice recorder on my phone and started writing the book. I literally wrote the entire—I thought it was the entire book by the time I got home.
Then I ended up spending another year developing it. But the idea is that there are two kingdoms at the same time. There is a kingdom on earth, the kingdom of man, Caesar, politics, etc., and that there is the kingdom of heaven. They're going to collide when Yeshua comes back, and then all those kingdoms become the kingdom of God and of his Messiah. But God can keep his promises to Israel, natural, physical Israel, 100%, as we've seen in the restoration of the nation of Israel, and at the same time be completely faithful to his promises to the spiritual seed of Abraham, the ekklesia, the church.
So, you know, one of the things I say in the book is that, you know, I could understand if you believe this theology before 1948, but when, just shockingly, out of nowhere, Israel becomes a political entity, a nation state, once again after 2,000 years, really more than 2,000 years of exile and not having a government, that's when you've got to change your theology, when the world is screaming at you that God has been faithful to his promise to Israel. So I'd encourage people to go to RonKanter.com, and you can learn all about the book. You can pre-order it. It's going to be out very soon.
All right, awesome. I can't wait to get my signed copy in the mail, Ron. Hey, don't get rest now. You know the routine.
Stay up until regular bedtime and then get some rest. Thanks for coming on, Ron. God bless. You got it. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.
Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks, friends, for joining us on Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. I remember when Nancy and I went to Israel the first time in 1986, we went to minister, but the folks that invited us had us come a little early and then paid for us to go on tour for a few days. And I still remember at the end of the first day, as Nancy and I were falling asleep in the hotel at night, we were saying, what did we see today? It was staggering. It was so much of going back to a world that we had read about and knew about, but here it was. It was just something so impacting about it. You know, some have said it's like they were reading the Bible in black and white.
Now it's like reading it in color. Others are impacted in different ways, but everyone that we've been on tour with has been greatly impacted. And as I've often said, but I'll run into some of you years later, you'll say, yeah, never forgot that tour that we took together. So if you can join us, it's a serious investment of time and resources, but one that you'll never regret. Go to AskDrBrown.org. AskDrBrown.org. Right on the home page.
Find out about the trip and register today. All right, we go to the phones, starting with Murray in South Carolina. Welcome to the line of fire. Yes, sir? Yes, go ahead, sir.
You're on the air. Dr. Brown, in the Old Testament, in Genesis, God says, let us make man in our image. Now, I understand what the Christian aspect is, and I want to know what the us is, what the rabbis say, or what the Jewish people say, because I know they're not saying the us is the Trinity.
Exactly. Right, so there are different explanations that are given by the rabbis. The most common is that it's God addressing the angels who now work together with him in creation. That would be the most common explanation that God is saying to them, because human beings are created in the image of the heavenly, so in the image of God and the angels, let us make man.
Now, again, I don't believe that is the case, but that's one common answer. Another is, so the words, let us make man in our image according to our likeness. Another view is that God is speaking to what he has already created, and he's going to work with his physical creation. For example, the first human being, Adam, is given that name because he's taken from the Adamah, taken from the Adamah, so the man taken from the earth, so that God is saying, let us make man, and he is now working with the elements of creation.
Again, I don't accept that either. The first explanation, the rabbis would also say that God is showing humility to consult with his angels and going forth in creation. There are Hebrew scholars who say, no, what it is, is the plural of deliberation, when someone says, all right, let's do it, let's do it. So it's God speaking kind of to himself, right, let's do it.
I find that falling short. There's another explanation that it's the plural of majesty. This is what some Hebrew scholars would say, like when a king or a queen will say, we have decided this day that we will, even though they're speaking for themselves, they speak as we or us. So some have argued for that as well.
You can't definitively say Trinity, but obviously you can make a case for it and say, hey, that at least should be considered because it's let us make and our image and our likeness. So those are some of the answers, though, that are given by others, sir. Fine. Can you take one more question quickly? Yeah, yeah, sure.
Go for it. You bet. Yeshua says, God is a spirit. And what is a spirit?
Right. So a spirit is a being of a different essence. In other words, a spirit does not mean like you think of someone seeing a ghost.
It's just like some nebulous thing or like the wind is just ruined. Spirit. No, it's it is a being, but of a different essence. We are physical beings who also have spirits. God is entirely spirit. So he exists in another realm. The angels are also spirits, but we know that they are they are entities who have power. So God is an invisible entity to our eyes.
Doesn't mean that he is invisible in all settings, but to our natural eyes, he is invisible because we are physical creatures and he is a spiritual being. So a being made of another essence, one that is different from our physical realm. So different from this desk here and different from from my hands that I'm holding up now, but just as real as a being. And we will be resurrected not as physical beings, but as spiritual beings. We will have a spiritual body.
Think of that. So a substance, a body, but made of different material, a spiritual material, something of this other realm. And when we relate to God, we don't relate physically. In other words, I'm not looking to feel something physically when I talk to God or physically shake his hand the way I would if I'm talking to someone in front of me. But we relate spirit to spirit.
So our inner being, which is who we ultimately are, relating to God in his essence. Hey, thank you for these questions. Appreciate it. 86634truth.
Let's go to Paul in Richmond, Virginia. Welcome to the line of fire. Thank you. Are you able to hear me? Yeah, I am.
Go ahead. Yes, my question is relating to Jewish people and Israel being God's chosen nation. And I remember years ago, many, many years ago, when I found out that a lot of Jewish people do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah and they are still looking for him to come the first time. And so if that is the case, unless a person is a messianic Jewish person, then how can Israel be God's chosen nation when they do not believe in Christ as the Messiah? Right.
I appreciate the question. So it's by election. It's by God's will, not by their works. Think of in the Old Testament, Israel was still Israel. God referred to his people and said, You don't believe in me. You don't follow me.
You don't know me. And yet he said, You're my people. So they were his people by calling, for example, the 10 northern tribes were still his people, Israel, and he sent prophets to rebuke them. But they worshiped idols. They worshiped golden calves as gods, and some of the kings were fervent idol worshippers, and the vast majority of the nation didn't believe in the days of Elijah. God tells them in 1 Kings 19 that there's 7,000 in the land who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
So that means overwhelmingly the rest of the nation worshiped idols, but they were still his people. And in Jeremiah 31 verses 35 to 37, God says there that no matter what you do, I'll still preserve you as a people. So he's judged the Jewish people over the centuries. He's disciplined us, but in accordance with his word, he has preserved us and brought us back to the land. What's interesting is if you look in Ezekiel 36, this is originally spoken in the context of the Jewish people returning from Babylonian captivity. And God says, I'm going to bring you back, not for your sake, but for mine, because my name is being blasphemed.
The God of Israel looks bad because the people of Israel are scattered around the world, as if their God wasn't strong enough to keep them from going into exile. In fact, he sent them into exile because he's the sovereign God of the whole world. But he says, I'm going to bring you back for my namesake and then in the land, I'm going to sprinkle clean water on you and give you new hearts. In other words, even without you repenting in my sovereign will, I'm going to bring you back and establish you.
And we're still seeing that being fulfilled in our days. So it's based on God's sovereign choice. That's what Paul taught Romans 9, that when the children were still in their mother's womb, in Rebecca's womb, and they hadn't done anything good or evil, God chose Jacob and rejected Esau, not as in terms of individuals for salvation, as our Calvinist friends would teach, but in terms of service. That God chose Jacob and his offspring to be the chosen people. Now think of this, the 12 tribes of Israel, the sons of Israel, they are born out of Jacob marrying two sisters, which under later Israelite law was forbidden.
But Jacob got duped into doing it, so those two sisters are the handmaids. So the origins of Israel are corrupt based on deception, and yet that's how God brought them into this world. So it was never based on Israel's righteousness or faith. Now to come into the full blessing that God has for Israel, that cannot happen until the Jewish people recognize Yeshua as the Messiah. And obviously a Jewish person who rejects Jesus is as lost as a Gentile person who rejects Jesus. But God sovereignly preserved his Jewish people because of his promises, and sovereignly brought his Jewish people back to the land, established us there, and now he is working to bring us to faith in the Messiah. So Paul, it's always been a matter of election and God's choice, never been a matter of Israel's works. When Israel disobeyed, they were disciplined, but they were still disciplined as his people. Does that help?
Yes. Well great, you are very welcome, and I appreciate the question many have asked the same thing. They'll say, well Israel today, they don't believe in Jesus, and the very, very religious Jews really are hostile to Jews having faith in Jesus. And how can we talk about God's chosen people? Because they're chosen by God's choice, not by their works. And what does Paul say in Galatians 3.17? That the law, the giving of Torah, which comes 400 years after the promise, namely the promise to Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land, it says that the law cannot annul the previous promise. So the promise stands because of the nature and character of God, not because of the nature and character of the Jewish people. And hey, about our salvation, does that depend more on us, or more on the Lord, or we participate?
You better believe our hope is in the Lord to save. We'll be right back, you got a call, great time to call right now, 866-34-TRUTH. It's the Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.
Here again, it's Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks for joining us again on Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. Next year in Jerusalem, yeah, that is the goal, so be sure to check out our Israel trip, askdrbrown.org, askdrbrown.org. At the request of a number of folks that have taken tours with the group that sets everything up for us in Israel, one of my dear colleagues has done this for us now for all of our tours, at the request of a number of people over the years, they just wanted to stay at the best hotels everywhere, five star everywhere. So we agreed, okay, great, we'll do it, costs a little bit more, but once you're there, like, yep, yep, glad I did it. And then for the first time also, we're letting you set up your airfare separately. So as long as you get there at the right time, you can choose how you fly, what airline you fly, as long as you're going to get there at the right time, so you got more liberty with that as well.
And we've got some other features I think that'll really bless you on the tour, but boy, what a joy to be there. Okay, Jeremiah chapter 31, I just referenced this passage a moment ago, but let me give the backdrop. This is spoken in what's called the book of consolation, that's what scholars have called it, Jeremiah chapters 30 to 33, in the midst of the pain and the judgment of the book, there are promises of restoration here, and there's judgment in these chapters as well, but much about restoration. And there's the glorious promise of the new covenant that God will make with the house of Israel and the house of Judah in verses 31 to 34 in the book of Jeremiah. So God will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant he made at Sinai, which covenant they broke, and then God is going to now write his teaching, his laws on his people's heart, and he'll remember their sins no more, he's going to forgive their iniquity, remember their sins no more. So we are the early partakers of the new and better covenant, but the fullness of it will come when the whole nation turns to the Lord. All right, so you might wonder, well, does anything change now with this new covenant? Remember, God's making a new covenant with whom? With the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It's only through Israel, Judah, that the covenant comes to the whole world, that the Gentile world, that the church as a whole can enjoy the benefits of this new and better covenant.
But it's not replacing the people. Well, God knows everything. God knows the future better than we know the past, and he fully knew that people would think, oh, new covenant, that means new people.
No, no, it doesn't say new people. God made the covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, but it's as if the objection is being anticipated, and God says, no, no, no, the people are still my people. So let's look at this beginning in verse 35 of Jeremiah chapter 31.
Thus said the Lord, who established the sun for light by day, the laws of moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea into roaring waves, whose name is Lord of hosts. If these laws should ever be annulled by me, right, the laws of daytime, nighttime, the sea, the tide, right? If these laws should ever be annulled by me, declares the Lord, only then would the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before me for all time. Only if these natural laws cease will the nation of Israel cease to be the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before him. You might say, well, what if Israel sins?
Then what? Verse 37. Thus said the Lord, if the heavens above could be measured, which has not happened yet, and the foundations of the earth below could be fathomed, which has not happened yet, only then would I reject all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord. Only then would I reject all the seed, the offspring of Israel, for all that they have done. So, here, categorically, God is saying, even if Israel sinned, I will not reject them as a nation, I will not reject the entire nation.
Now, here's something outrageous. It is shocking, it is painful even to share, it is beyond impossible exegetically, but there are Christian leaders who say, ah, yeah, yeah, but the church is now Israel. What you just did is completely demolish every word there. What you just did is said that these words that God spoke have no meaning whatsoever because he just changes who the people are.
What do I mean that completely demolishes everything? Look at this as God speaking in a contractual way. He's giving his promise. He's giving this in the clearest ways that he can give it to a physical people who lived at that time and to their offspring.
If you can just change it, you can change anything. For example, it would be like me making a promise. Let's say I was some multi-billionaire like Elon Musk and I make a promise to you. All right, let's say you're the Smith family. And I say, listen, I promise by my own life, I promise that I am going to provide free scholarships for any of your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren to all subsequent generations, free scholarship to their college of choice. I'm putting money in a trust fund now that will grow over the years and it is my promise. Even if you turn on me, even if you reject me, even if you don't recognize my work or legacy, this is my promise. It's my word. All right, so money is put in the bank for the Smith family and then after a couple of years, Mr. Smith has a falling out with Elon Musk and Elon Musk looks at the Jones family and says, you are now the Smith family.
I'm keeping my word, you are now the Smith family. Well, that person would be a liar. That person would be duplicitous. That person would be a liar. That person could not be trusted. And if this was a legal document, have no value whatsoever if the person said, well, I'm just changed.
No, you can't just do that. So it is utterly outrageous, friends, utterly outrageous that Christian interpreters have done this and said, yeah, well, God just changed who Israel is. Well, then God's a liar. Then God can't be trusted.
Here, I'll give you an example. It'd be like saying that we're preaching the gospel. God sends us to preach the gospel and we tell everyone that if you put your trust in Jesus as Savior and by his grace, turn from your sins, you'll be saved and forgiven and have eternal life. And so the Christians know they're saved, forgiven, they have eternal life. And then God says, yeah, I'm keeping my word, but I have now said the Muslims are Christians and you're not.
It's unfathomable. It is completely contrary to everything in terms of who God is, a God of light and a God of truth. And yet that's what some have done with this passage. The Lord could not have made himself any more clear in saying as long as heaven and earth endure, that the seed of Israel, the offspring of Israel will still be a nation.
And what's the context? The context is they're going into exile in Babylon. Some have already gone. The temple's about to be destroyed. The nation's being ravaged and God's saying, I'm going to preserve. In the midst of all this, I'm going to keep you. No matter what happens, I'm going to keep you and the day will come where I'm going to make a new and better covenant with you with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
You know what's interesting? No one ever says the church is spiritual Jacob. You never hear that, do you? The church is spiritual Jacob. But when you go back through the Old Testament, you find interchangeably God makes his promises to Jacob and to Israel. If you're going to say the church is the new Israel, well, you have to also say the church is the new Jacob.
It would be just that utterly and absolutely ludicrous. My book, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood, came out in 1992. I'm reminded about it because someone I saw posted on Twitter a picture of the book, the new edition, and said, based on a number of conversations I've had tonight, that the contents of this book are all the more important.
In Our Hands Are Stained with Blood, which came out in 1992, has been the most translated book I've ever written, has never gone out of print, but in 2019 we put out a new updated and expanded edition. So, all the core material of the initial book that has gone around the world with new additional updated information and some expanded scriptural arguments. But in the book, we show what happened in history when the church began to say, we are the new Israel, and God is done with the old Israel. It would have been one thing if the church said we are the new spiritual Israel, but God continues to keep his promises to physical Israel, and we long for the day when physical Israel will also be spiritual Israel. I would have differed with that, but that would not have been as destructive as saying the church is the new Israel. It has superseded the old Israel, the church which is overwhelmingly from the nations. All the promises that God gave to physical Israel in the Hebrew Bible now apply to the ekklesia, to the church as a whole.
And God is done with Israel as a nation, and the promises given to the Jewish people as a people no longer apply. That is what opened the door to centuries of antisemitism. That is what opened the door that ultimately culminated in the Holocaust, even though the Nazis themselves were anti-Christian. The fact is, the door of antisemitism had been swung open for so long. And European antisemitism was often so deep in the church world that it allowed for an environment in which Hitler's madness could be carried out. Hey friends, this is simple gospel truth. It is simple gospel truth. As a Jewish person, I long for the church to recognize God's calling and purpose on the Jewish people, even in unbelief or disbelief in Jesus the Messiah. And at the same time as a Jewish person, I long for my Jewish people to come to know Jesus, Yeshua, as Messiah and Lord. May God be glorified. We'll be back with you tomorrow. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 02:03:02 / 2023-03-21 02:21:38 / 19