Argh! I just read your nonsense about Israel! You even mixed in man's flawed concept of 'forever' with God's - how could you be so deceptive to your flock? How can you explain what is happening in Israel today...is not Jerusalem, as God said it would be, become a cup of trembling, a burdensome stone...replacement theologists such as yourself cannot possibly understand what is happening in Israel today except allegorically...which is how you must stretch the Scriptures to fit your Romanist view of God's chosen people (by whom He will show the fallen world His power and glory - the Jews).
The defining line between true and false believers in these last days will be the stance that each takes on His people, Israel. Your teaching ignores the unfulfilled prophecy of Zechariah 12 - clearly not yet fulfilled...what about Zechariah 12:10?
Israel is blinded for a time, but Israel will never be relinquished by God (Romans 11), we Christians (thank God) are but grafted in to the vine, the Jews are the natural branches. Yes, they still require salvation by Jesus, but when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, God will concentrate His attention only on Israel. They will look upon Him whom they have pierced...He is THEIR Messiah, although those who die without Christ are still lost. Please don't insult me with quotes of 'neither Jew nor Greek,' or of 'raising sons of Abraham from stones' - clearly, they rejected Jesus the first time, but they will not the second time. He will return to save Israel (real Israel, not your allegorical Israel) from annihalation, although only a third will survive - of these, all will receive Him and be saved.
It seems that you feel that Christians have replaced Israel...if that is the case, your ministry is deeply flawed and we will pray that your error is corrected, in humility. I earnestly ask you to seek God in this, do not be blinded by pride. 'Replacement theology' (God has finished with Israel) is the basis of anti-semitism and a pillar of the protestant error, just as it was a Catholic error. It leads to Kingdom Now and to the belief that all prophesy has now been fulfilled, including the millennial reign of Christ and Satan in chains! Please don't be a part of that lie.
The promises to Israel are to Israel, the promises to the church are quite separate. God is very clear on this. It did not all end for Israel in 70 AD
It seems I was quite wrong about the soundness of your teaching. The promises to Israel are to Israel, the promises to the church are quite separate. God is very clear on this. It did not all end for Israel in 70 AD
[Reference to a web site promoting false doctrine was edited out]
It would have helped if you pointed to a single article instead of an entire web site. I don't mind doing a bit of research when someone presents an opposing doctrine, but I don't have the time or patience to wade through an entire web site devoted to a single issue doctrine. As one wise man put it, "I would rather devote my time to studying for the truth than to become an expert in defeating someone else's doctrine." Also, I am impervious to derogatory generalities that use terms like "nonsense", "flawed", or "deceptive". Those are just inflammatory words that have no meaning in the course of a Bible discussion. They are the kind of words that were used by those that killed the prophets. Therefore, I am more willing to take them to mean that the article that you read on this web site is actually causing you to think and to challenge your beliefs. May they all cause you the same thought-provoking problem.
To your point, Zechariah 12:10-14 says, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives."
John 19:36-37 says that this passage was fulfilled by Jesus dying on the cross. "These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: 'Not one of his bones will be broken,' and, as another scripture says, 'They will look on the one they have pierced.'" If it was fulfilled with Jesus dying on the cross, then no more meaning has to be gleaned from it.
For your generic reference to Romans 11, I would have to assume that you mean Romans 11:17-27 (NIV) where it says, "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.'"
There are several things that have to be determined in order to understand what Paul is talking about. In the analogy of the branches, does he mean that Jews were broken off as a nation or were individual Jews broken off based on their individual refusal to believe? The counterpart is then all so needed. Are the Gentiles grafted in as each one believes or are they all grafted in as a collective unit? I think it should be self-evident that the grafting in or out that is going on in this passage has to be at the individual level. A national or other "body" meaning causes all sorts of irrational conclusions. For example, if the whole nationality of Jews is meant as one branch, then Paul himself would be a part of that nation that was eliminated. However, he does not indicate that he is concerned about his position before God. Also, he speaks of a plurality of branches being eliminated. There is only one Jewish nation, so it would be hard to determine who or what the other branches were also eliminated beyond the Jews.
Given that the passage is talking about individuals being eliminated it therefore follows that the Gentiles are grafted in on the same conditions -- as individuals based on whether or not they believe. There is a stern warning given to the Gentiles that they should not get conceited about having been grafted in. God is willing to eliminate any person from His fellowship that refuses to believe. This is bothersome for some people, because it flies in the face of the popular doctrine of "once saved, always saved." I won't go into the many other passages that would confirm this truth, but leave it open that Paul says it is possible to be removed even though you at one point were grafted in. He also mentions that any Jew that is currently cut off can be grafted in again -- whenever they choose to come back to God. Since we are talking about individuals, it is easy to see how this can occur. If we were talking about nationalities, it would present quite a problem.
By the time we get to "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in," there is far less confusion about what Paul is talking about. The questioner's doctrine, see this as an out-of-context prophecy about some time in the far future (from the perspective that it was written around 60 AD). According to the doctrine, when the preset number of Gentiles have been grafted in, the Jews as a nation will lift their hardheartedness and once again seek God. However that ignores the "hardening in part". A nation can not be hardened "in part" when it is acting and being judged on a national level. However, if some Jews believe and some Jews don't, then it can correctly be said that they are partly hardened. They become less and less hard as more and more people give up their unbelief and choose to believe.
"And so all Israel will be saved." Which Israel is he talking about? Is he now talking about the nation of Israel as a national unit or the nation of Israel as a spiritual collective? Up to this point we have not considered what these individuals have been cut off from or grafted into. The olive tree that is used as the base is not directly identified. Indirectly it is obvious that the olive tree has to represent the spiritual relationship that individuals have with God. All members of Israel start out in that relationship and then are eliminated based on the criteria mentioned above. At the point where the olive tree has some members of Israel and some not, does it cease to be Israel? I would claim that it does not. Once new branches are grafted in, does it become something other than Israel? It can't. An olive tree is an olive tree whether it has natural or wild branches. So, when the full number of Gentiles are grafted in, all of Israel (those natural and wild who are on the olive tree) will be saved. It won't look like what it started out as, because it started as an olive tree full of natural branches. It will end as an olive tree that is a mix of natural and wild branches.
This all matches God's identified plan as spoken from Jeremiah 31:31-34 (KJV) "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. "