Open Letter to Answer an Important Question
Oct 06, 2007
I received this question from a reader and thought that it would be of interest to a wider audience, so I am posting the question and my answer.
I am wanting to read something by Dr. Jones which helps address/interpret/analyse the ways in which some/many evangelical/Pentecostal teachers misinterpret specific scriptures which seem to say that there is to be a "Jerusalem" or that Jerusalem is a vital entity/place in God's plan (rebuilt), crucial to the establishing of a Kingdom. I hear many teach about Jews being called to live there and some teachers such as Derek Prince who I greatly respected, went to live there for 20 years, believing that God Himself was calling people to be in that "place" as such.
How does Dr. Jones understand their misinterpreting some scriptures which they base their own thinking on? Zechariah ch. 14 might be one such scripture, but there are others.
Dear Dr. Richard Cawthra,
There are a number of reasons for this misunderstanding. The most basic reason is that they do not fully comprehend the difference between Israel and Judah. They do not realize that these had separate callings. Judah received the scepter (Gen. 49:10), while Joseph (the leading tribe of Israel) received the Sonship (Gen. 49:22), which is called the birthright in 1 Chron. 5:1, 2.
Without understanding this difference, and tracing it in biblical history, these have thought that the Jews represent not only Judah, but Israel (Joseph) also. They do not truly understand the significance of the Assyrian captivity which cast Israel out of the old land. They assume that those so-called "lost tribes" became irrelevant and/or that the birthright of Israel was somehow transferred to the Jews. They assume that the Jews, then, are (or at least represent) all Israel. From that assumption, it is easy to make the jump to the idea that the present-day Jewish state is "Israel" and is fulfilling the prophecies of the regathered House of Israel.
They also do not understand how Joseph's sons received the name "Israel" (Gen. 48:16), and that Judah did not have the right to that name except when they were united as one nation with the inheritors of that name.
They do not understand the prophetic nature of the story of Joseph, who was lost and presumed to be dead. This story played out in a greater way when Joseph's descendants (the House of Israel) was conquered and dispersed by the Assyrians, for in the centuries that followed, Israel was "lost" and presumed to be dead. If the evangelical prophecy teachers had known the story, they might have understood that Joseph was eventually FOUND and discovered to be very much alive. This discovery has already been made by a minority, but it is condemned by the pro-Zionist faction that backs the Jewish claim to the birthright.
Yet even this rampant blindness is part of the divine plan and is prophesied in Scripture. How could Joseph's descendants be truly "lost and presumed dead" if they continued to be known and identified to the present time?? That would be impossible. So God has blinded these Christian leaders from seeing and understanding this, so that the biblical type of Joseph would be fulfilled.
Yet God has chosen a few to "see." Paul says that the "elect" sees, and "the rest were blinded" (Rom. 11:7). In fact, modern Pentecost was founded by men who understood these things--that is, Charles Parham and John Allen. (See http://www.religioustolerance.org/anglo_is.htm.) The books designed to overcome this basic misunderstanding are: Who is a Jew? and Who is an Israelite? But I also recommend The Struggle for the Birthright to obtain a more complete explanation as to why God allowed the present-day Zionist state of "Israel."
A secondary misunderstanding involves the use of the term Jerusalem in the Bible. Bible teachers have been led to revert to Jewish teaching (Old Covenant understanding) about Jerusalem. Jews do not believe the New Testament, of course, and so they have no concept of the New Jerusalem. Evangelicals may claim blindness as their excuse.
The problem is that the Old Testament never uses the term "NEW Jerusalem." That is a term used only in the New Testament, along with "the heavenly Jerusalem" in Hebrews 12:22. But it is clear that the book of Revelation describes the New Jerusalem by quoting from Isaiah's prophecies about "Jerusalem." For a full comparison of Revelation and Isaiah, see chapter 8 of The Struggle for the Birthright.
From this comparison we understand a very important truth: When the Old Testament speaks of "Jerusalem," John sees references to the New Jerusalem. Thus, we must discern whether Isaiah's and Zechariah's references to Jerusalem refer to the Old Jerusalem or the New Jerusalem. The book of Revelation proves that it does not always mean Old Jerusalem.
Zechariah is the most difficult prophet to understand, since he has so much to say about Jerusalem. He can speak of both Jerusalems in a single verse without distinguishing between Old and New Jerusalem.
By the way, the Hebrew word for Jerusalem in the Old Testament is PLURAL. It reads Jerushalayim, which literally means "Jerusalems" (plural).
The rabbis were never able to figure out the reason for this, although they argued about it very often. The New Testament answer is that there are TWO JERUSALEMS. The Old Testament prophets probably did not have the revelation about a New Jerusalem, but yet their use of the plural term laid the foundation for the later revelation of the New Jerusalem.
And so, when Jeremiah 7:12-16 tells us that God was going to forsake Jerusalem "as Shiloh," we can see that God never returned to Shiloh after forsaking that place in the days of Eli the priest. Neither will He return to Jerusalem to place His name (glory) upon that old city. He first departed as far as the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:23), and later from there to heaven in the person of Jesus (Acts 1:12).
The glory returned 10 days later on Pentecost, but from then on His Name has been written upon a new temple, which is our body (1 Cor. 3:16) and our forehead (Rev. 22:4). I do NOT believe that God has any plans to forsake His present Temple (our bodies) and revert to a physical temple in the old Jerusalem.
The establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 was the final deception that caused evangelical preachers to believe that Jesus was going to return to the old Jerusalem. But this is because they do not understand the reason why God allowed the Jews to establish their Zionist state. This is what I tried to explain fully in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.
Once again, however, let me say that God has blinded their eyes in order to allow prophecy to be fulfilled. Without this blindness, America and its Christian leaders would not have supported that state, and it would have failed immediately. But God had to give Esau (Edom) the opportunity to possess the birthright (and the name of "Israel") for a season in order to rectify the wrong done to him by Jacob in Genesis 27.
The Edomites were absorbed into Jewry in 126 B.C., and from then on they are the only people who can fulfill all of the latter-day prophecies of Edom in the Bible. The prophecies speak of Edom's desire to re-possess the land of Canaan which they had lost to Jacob. They are the original Zionists.
This is a basic outline of the issues. I trust that you will study these issues more thoroughly in the books mentioned above.
God bless your study of His Word.
Dr. Stephen E. Jones
Dr. Stephen Jones