A Universal Kingdom: Part 3
May 23, 2007
God showed Moses the pattern to use in building the tabernacle and its furniture. Ex. 25:9 says,
"According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern [tabniyth, "structure, model, resemblance"] of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it."
Earthly things are a manifestation of heavenly things. In Moses' day the Kingdom was small, for it had not yet had time to progress. So the tabernacle of Moses was small, for it was a physical model of the Kingdom of God on earth. Perhaps we might think of this as a heavenly construction project, in which God constructed a heavenly tabernacle, and then showed Moses its pattern by which it could be constructed on earth.
Centuries later, God showed David the pattern for the temple that Solomon was to build. The dimensions of the temple were twice that of the tabernacle of Moses. Instead of 30 x 10 cubits, it was now 60 x 20 cubits. 1 Chron. 28:19 says,
" 'All this,' said David, 'the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern' [tabniyth]."
Hebrews 8:5 comments upon this idea as well, in speaking of the tabernacle,
" who serve a copy and shadow of heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for 'See,' He says, "that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain'."
The point of this is to say that in no place do we find that the pattern included a separate court for foreigners who had joined themselves to the covenant. Physical circumcision, of course, was a requirement for all men, for this was the sign of the Old Covenant. To come under that covenant, all men had to submit to that requirement equally.
I have not found any evidence that the rebuilt temple of Ezra included a dividing wall to separate foreign worshippers from Jewish worshippers. I may simply be uninformed in this, in which case, if you have historical evidence for this, please let me know. All I know is that after Herod rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, there was a dividing wall in the court.
I can find no biblical mandate in the Old Testament that says such a wall must be put in place. It seems to me that this was a tradition of men, rather than a command of God. Regardless, however, it is clear that the New Testament destroyed that wall of separation, as Paul says in Eph. 2:14.
Destroying this wall served to EQUALIZE all men in their approach to God. No longer would foreigners have to stay at a distance, while those who could prove their genealogy in a tribe of Israel or Judah were able to come closer to God to worship Him in the temple.
Paul plainly tells us the result: "that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace."
Now there are some who argue that Paul was talking about the dispersed Israelites who were out there among the nations. Certainly, they are included in this, for they had been divorced from God, had lost their name, and had become foreigners like all the other nations. The status of the house of Israel, from a covenantal standpoint, was the same as any other nation. In breaking down this dividing wall, the dispersed house of Israel was now allowed equal status with those who had not been divorced--i.e., the house of Judah.
Even so, the law is to be applied equally for all men without partiality. And so in allowing the foreigners of Israel's dispersion to draw near to God, that same law also allowed all other foreigners equal access to God. The whole purpose of this new thing was to create "one new man," not many new categories.
Of course, this "one new man" is not based upon genealogy or race. It has nothing to do with racial groupings. Racial groupings were not abolished and still are with us today. But insofar as the New Covenant is concerned, it is of benefit for all men, regardless of race.
Heb. 8:8 and Jeremiah 31:31 both tell us that the New Covenant would be made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. I do not dispute that. I am only saying that God has always made provision for others to join with those nations, join themselves to the Lord, and hold fast the covenant with God (Isaiah 56:6-8).
Being an Israelite, then, has never been purely a matter of genealogy. It was also a matter of law and legal citizenship. In fact, from the divine perspective, as God defines the terms, being an Israelite has never been a matter of genealogy at all, but a matter of relationship with Him. It was presumed, of course, that genealogical Israelites would have such a relationship with God. But it simply did not work out that way. Most of the Israelites from the beginning of their history worshipped false gods and did not know God at all. Because of this, God finally divorced them, cutting them off from the marriage covenant. In essence, God established on earth what was already a spiritual reality.
Remember that Jacob was not born an Israelite. He did not become an Israelite until he was 98 years old on the way home from his time of bondage under Laban (Gen. 32:28). It was not genealogy that made Jacob an Israelite. The original meaning of the term had more to do with the revelation that God was sovereign. Jacob knew this in his mind for 98 years, but only when he truly knew it in his heart by personal experience did God give him the name Israel.
In the end, the New Covenant is also a marriage relationship. God has no intention of marrying a non-believing people just because they have the "right" genealogy. He will not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. He has already done that under the Old Covenant.
In fact, if we break this down further, we find that Abraham had two wives, Sarah and Hagar, who represent the two covenants. Some are surprised to learn that Hagar was more than a concubine, but we read in Gen. 16:3,
"And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his WIFE."
Hagar was Abram's wife as much as Israel was God's wife at the time the Old Covenant was established at Mount Sinai. If Hagar were a mere concubine, then so was Israel. But no, Hagar was a "wife." The Hebrew word is the usual word for wife, and is the same as that found in Gen. 2:24 in regard to Eve being Adam's wife.
The Israelites--who were products of this marriage--were spiritual Ishmaelites. That marriage--even with God as their Father--could not produce children who were heirs of the promise. These genealogical Israelites were spiritual Ishmaelites, born after the flesh. It was impossible for them to be anything other than a manifestation of Ishmael. Hence, Gal. 4:25 says,
"Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children."
The ultimate verdict, both in the time of Abraham as well as in Paul's day, is in verse 30:
"But what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman'."
Now that may sound harsh, and certainly it comes against Christian Zionism today, which is attempting to rebuild the dividing wall and then make the children of Hagar the chosen people!
No, God has a better marriage in mind, one that will not end up in divorce like His first marriage. He will marry only those who are spiritually mature and who are in agreement with Him. This is the "one new man."
Appened by Thom Mills / Highcalling.
You should be aware of a recording related to this topic is available called "What Does it Mean to be an Israelite?" by Stephen Jones as noted below that complements and expands upon this weblog.
DVD - $25
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This is the third part of a series titled "A Universal Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones