The Scofield Factor--Part 5
Nov 02, 2011
Scofield's belief that the Jews were the biblical Israel was an enormous blunder that most Jews themselves immediately recognized. The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1888 (Vol. 1) ran an article by Dr. A. Neubauer, saying on page 15,
"The captives of Israel exiled beyond the Euphrates did not return as a whole to Palestine along with the brethren the captives of Judah; at least there is no mention made of this event in the documents at our disposal."
In fact, for thousands of years, Jews have prayed in their synagogues to be reunited with the House of Israel, believing that this event would signal the coming of the Messiah. And so when the Jewish state discussed the question of a name for their new state, many wanted to call it Judah or Judea. But the name "Israel" prevailed. In my view it was named as a ploy, knowing that Christians would then support it as the fulfillment of prophecy.
Even so, there are millions of non-Zionist Jews who strongly oppose the Jewish state, mainly on the grounds that traditional Judaism has taught that there should be no attempt to "return" to the old land prior to the coming of the Messiah.
It took two wars with Rome for the Judeans of ancient times to finally recognize that God had exiled them according to the Law of Tribulation (Lev. 26; Deut. 28), and that they should submit to the divine judgment. Those wars were fought in 70-73 and again in 132-135 A.D. Modern Zionism broke that rule, say these anti-Zionist Jews. I agree with them in general, though we may certainly disagree on the manner of repentance that would turn the captivity.
In my view, the captivity was caused by the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, and this is the key to the reversal of the captivity. The problem is their "hostility" to Jesus Christ, who is the incarnated Yahweh of the Old Testament. As the Law indicates 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....
The original Dispensationalists (to their credit) believed that the Jews would turn to Christ prior to the Jewish return to the old land--and certainly prior to the establishment of a Jewish state. However, they found themselves being used by men like Samuel Untermeyer for political purposes. The result was not what they anticipated. The Jewish state came into being without a world-wide Jewish acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. So the Dispensationalists quietly dropped that view.
In fact, when the war with the Arab nations broke out in 1948, it was widely proclaimed that this was the start of "The Great Tribulation." Christ would return, they said, 3-1/2 years later. When 1952 arrived with no sign of the Messiah, then everyone assumed that He would come in 1955 (after 7 years). Of course, the war ended with no sign of Christ. So the whole idea was quietly dropped.
The Six Day War in 1967 revived Christian hopes, but again there was no sign of Christ, and no "Great Tribulation" occurred.
By this time, however, Dispensationalism had lost its distinction as a competing viewpoint, because it had already won the day. It was now considered to be mainstream Christian prophetic thought. Men forgot that it was a relatively recent view. They assumed that its origin was in the first-century New Testament, rather than with men like Darby and Scofield in the 1800's.
The whole viewpoint originates in a misunderstanding of who Israel is. Historically, Israel was the ten-tribed Northern Kingdom. Legally speaking, the name was given to Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, and only those who were unity with those tribes had the right to call themselves by the name of Israel.
When Israel was deported to Assyria as the result of their sin, the prophets gave them comfort and spoke of a future restoration. That restoration would occur under the Messiah. In that restoration, both Israel and Judah would be reunited under "one Head" (Hos. 1:11), Jesus Christ.
When we come to the New Testament, we find that the Messiah was rejected. He could only be accepted as part of the reunification of Israel and Judah, for He was the Repairer of the breach (Isaiah 58:12). Yet in the first century, the Israelites were known to be "beyond Euphrates," as Josephus says. They had not returned to the old land, and they were NOT united with Judah.
In other words, there were serious problems with men's understanding of the prophecies, for the truth only dawned on them slowly and painfully. The key to understanding was bound up in the fact that God was using the breach between Israel and Judah as a pretext to repair a deeper breach at the same time. This was the breach that had occurred at the beginning between God and Adam.
Further, in going back to the origins of the problem, He also began to restore the original definitions of Judah and Israel. Recall that Israel was the name (or title) given to Jacob when he wrestled with the angel. It was not originally a racial term, nor even a national term. It was a name-title that testified of the new level of FAITH that Jacob had attained when the sovereignty of God was revealed to him. All of his life he had fought for the birthright by the arm of flesh. I believe, in fact, when he was fighting the angel, he thought he was fighting Esau--until the angel did something supernatural. It was at that point he realized that he was actually fighting God, because he had been unable to see God in Esau.
It is only when we are able to see the face of God in our greatest enemy that we truly understand the sovereignty of God. The next day when Jacob met Esau, he was able to say in Gen. 33:10, "I see your face as one sees the face of God." Jacob had become an Israelite.
In the ultimate sense, no one is an Israelite apart from this level of revelation, regardless of race or nationality. On the other hand, anyone can become an Israelite by receiving the same revelation, for this is the key to being an overcomer.
Likewise, to be a Judahite ("Jew") is not ultimately a matter of genealogy but of FAITH that brings a change of heart. Paul understood this when he wrote in Rom. 2:28, 29,
(28) For he is NOT a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. (29) But he IS a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his PRAISE is not from men, but from God.
Paul tells us who is a Jew and who is not a Jew (i.e., "of Judah"). The name Judah means "praise." So Paul says that a real Jew is one whose PRAISE is from God, not men. It is a play on words to show that one's identification with Judah comes from God, and it has nothing to do with how men identify themselves.
In other words, a Jew by God's definition is a believer in Jesus Christ, who is the rightful Heir to the throne of David and the Scepter of Judah. Those who reject the King are cut off from the tribe itself.
Likewise, an Israelite is not ultimately one who can claim genealogy from the old tribes, but is one who is an overcomer.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Scofield Factor." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones