The Birthright and Sonship--Part 3
Jul 23, 2009
At the heart of the world problem, from a biblical perspective, is whether or not God has the right to tell mankind what to do, and whether or not He has the right to be the Judge of the world and expect that mankind should submit to His judgments.
I believe so. And when God first called Israel out of Egypt, giving them the first piece of territory (Canaan) that was to function as the model for a later world-wide Kingdom, He gave them the laws of the Kingdom. Then He told them that their inheritance in Canaan was conditional upon their obedience. In Deut. 28 and Leviticus 26, He then told them specifically that if they did NOT comply, God would judge them, rule against them and in favor of other nations, and sell them into captivity.
Such captivity, God said, would not end until its purpose had been fulfilled--to bring them into compliance, where they recognized that God was right and they were wrong. The end of captivity would be conditional upon this, as we read in Lev. 26:40-42,
(40) If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me-- (41) I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies--or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, (42) THEN I will remember My covenant with Jacob . . . Isaac . . . Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.
In Jesus' day the people were "acting with hostility against Me" (Jesus Christ), because Ex. 15:2 says,
"Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yeshua ["salvation"]; This is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will extol Him."
This is quoted in Isaiah 12:2 and 3,
(2) Behold, God is my Yeshua, I will trust and not be afraid for Yah Yahweh is my strength and song; and He has become my Yeshua. (3) Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs [wells] of Yeshua."
Jesus applied this to Himself in John 7:37, 38. Likewise, earlier, when baby Jesus was brought to the temple, Simeon testifies of Him in Luke 2:30, "For my eyes have seen Thy salvation" (written in Greek, but from the Heb. word Yeshua). Simeon knew that Yeshua (or Joshua) was the name of the Messiah/Deliverer, because it had been prophesied in the Old Testament.
And so, when Jesus was rejected, they were "acting with hostility against Me" (Lev. 26:40). This meant that they did not fulfill the lawful conditions necessary to reverse their captivity under Rome. In fact, the "evil fig" mentality indicated that they were more willing to fight Rome. One cannot escape the fact that the people had rejected the divine judgment upon them by refusing to submit to the nations God had chosen to rule Jerusalem.
This problem was prevalent in the days of Jeremiah as well, and for this reason they were placed under the yoke of iron (Jer. 28:13). Not much had changed in 600 years when Jesus was on the scene. The house of Shammai dominated the religious-political scene in the temple by the time of Jesus' ministry. This evil-fig mentality brought destruction upon them once again in 70 A.D., followed by the iron yoke in 135 after the Bar-Kochba revolt failed.
Most of the rabbis then realized their mistake, and they declared that Hillel was right after all. The house of Shammai was discredited--and rightfully so. However, for the most part they still refused to recognize Yeshua as the incarnation of Yahweh.
The captivity continued until this past century, when Zionism created a yearning among some Jews to return to the old land. Mainstream Judaism was still more Hillelite than Shammaite, but the Shammaites among them soon dominated the peaceful ones. Success in 1948 and in 1967 served to embolden them further. Many evangelical Christians, in their excitement about the soon-coming return of Christ, sided with the most radical of the Shammaite school of Zionism.
The problem is that Zionism is NOT a Christian movement, nor is it even "near-Christian." The lawful conditions of Lev. 26 have not been met, and the Zionists are still hostile to Yahweh-Yeshua. Zionism is an unlawful movement, as even a great many Jews recognize. Christian apologists, however, in their scramble to justify Zionism, insist that the Jews, just before disaster, will turn to Jesus Christ.
May it be so! But meanwhile, this does not resolve the problem of Zionism's noncompliance with the conditions for their return, as specified in the law. They are still evil figs, to use Jeremiah's term.
And there is yet the other problem of Jesus' curse on the fig tree in Matt. 21:19, which applied to the nation of Judah itself. Jesus said, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." This means that, AS A NATION, they would NOT bring forth the fruit of the Spirit that God requires, nor the spiritual fruit of the womb--the sons of God. Individual Jews are a different matter, of course, because there have been many individuals from the beginning who came to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
For Christian Zionists to place their faith in the Israeli state is to declare Jesus a false prophet. That is not a trivial issue. It is a betrayal worthy only of Judas. Fortunately, there is still time for Christians to see the truth, repent, stop identifying with Ahithophel, leave Absalom's army, and join with David before He returns to reclaim His throne.
The two works of Christ are distinct, but they are also tied together in a progression of relationship. One must, of course, accept Jesus Christ as the King-Messiah insofar as His first appearance is concerned. In other words, one must follow the King of good figs and follow His example, as did the disciples in the NT.
To accept His first work means to accept Him as the Passover Lamb that redeems us, the first dove that gives us immortality, and the first goat that covers our sin, all by means of the death work of Christ. Having done that, we may now begin our journey to "the adoption of sons" (huiothesia). See Gal. 4:5. This is a term that speaks of a son coming into full maturity, when he receives from his father the right of "power of attorney," so that his signature is binding on the estate of the Kingdom. It is the Birthright.
God does not give power of attorney to babies or to minors, even if they are children and future heirs. Minors are under tutors and governors (the law) while they are in obedience training. Only after the law has been written on their hearts will God bestow upon His children their Birthright Inheritance.
The first work of Christ was about Judah; the second work of Christ is about Israel (i.e., Joseph). Without going through the door of the Judah work, no one can qualify for Sonship in the Israel work. One must first be of the tribe of Judah (good figs) before one can aspire to becoming an Israelite through Joseph. The good fig tree of Judah had many other ethnic groups grafted into it, and it later became known as "the Church." But it was always the tribe of Judah to which was added "proselytes" from other ethnicities. Its Head was the true inheritor of the Scepter of Judah, and this group was the true tribe of Judah.
Today, those who remain loyal to Messiah ben Judah have opportunity to recognize Jesus as Messiah ben Joseph and thereby qualify as inheritors of the Birthright, receiving Sonship as the reward.
This is the third part of a series titled "The Birthright and Sonship." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones