I oppose the philosophical argument that the Jewish people ceased as God's Covenant people at the Cross, which is at the heart of the debate. This is the third in a series of three lectures.
In this third article, I challenge the reader to expand their horizons in the light of Biblical thinking on supernatural events. I claim we in our western culture are restricted to what we can understand by the mind and see with the eye. Some Messianic Jewish groups are thinking with a very different mindset, and one particular view is set out in this article for the reader's consideration.
Recently the Australian Missionary News IPTV interviewed Joseph Simon, who is a Jew by birth and a Christian Minister by personal conviction. When this Messianic Jewish presentation was put to him, he not only understood where it was coming from philosophically, but endorsed its theological parameters. http://tv.bushorchestra.com/Mission/videopages/joseph_simon.html
This Messianic Jewish theological position relates to 'Jewish Salvation'. This position comes to the Gospel in as if the 'past and present' tense are one and the same. This is the key to appreciating the philosophical background to this theological interpretation. The Acts of the Apostles' sermons reveal a past event, in other words, The Cross and the Resurrection, occurred "some time ago". Yet Jesus' critical question to Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" (in this theological position) is both past tense (the question was asked in the 1st Century), yet 'present tense' as if happening as you read it.
This Messianic position refers to Jewish people (the Covenant people) who have (like Peter) recognised Jesus as Messiah. In other words, as the recognition happens. Imagine the Jewish person coming to this recognition: "Ah ha â€“ Yes, I see now, Jesus 'is' Messiah, Jesus is the Lamb of God, the fulfillment of prophecy, the Prince of Peace, the Ancient of Days, the fulfillment of the Covenant!"
The 'past future' becomes the present there is no separation between past and present tense in this theology.
It is important at this juncture to jump ahead a little in this theological way of thinking. Jesus' death on the cross, as in John 3 verse 16, died for the whole world, in other words, the Gentiles, but Jesus' death on the cross applies differently for a Covenant person, a Jew. The Cross of Christ has the Gentiles, as Paul explains in Romans, "grafted into" the Covenant family.
Any Gentile who has come to the foot of the Cross in repentance and have accepted Jesus as Lord (Messiah) is connected into the Covenant community by what occurred at Pentecost, this is the New Covenent, the 'grafted in' ....
This Messianic concept opens a Covenant door for Jewish Salvation, in that at the 'moment in time' a Jew recognises Jesus as Messiah, at that moment in time, for that Jew, Christ's death on the Cross fulfilled the original Covenent. This is 'not' a new covenant for the Jew, rather the filfillment of the Old Covenant.
This view appears to answers some of Paul's more difficult writings regarding the Jews. Its dynamic opens a fresh set of possibilities for the Covenant of God's chosen people 'to be retained', not superseeded (or replaced). As I understand this particular Messianic view, when Jesus died on the Cross, the Jew who acknowledges Jesus as Messiah, has the Covenant fulfilled (for themselves). Salvation becomes a given by recogising Jesus as Messiah. When Messiah is recognised, the Jewish person is intoxicated with the love of Messiah, this is the longing depths of the Jewish soul. (This has been the consistent experience I have witnessed whenever a Jewish person recognises Jesus as Messiah).
This draws a distinction between the Gentile who falls at the foot of the Cross of Christ in repentance and calls upon the Lord to be saved, and a Jew, who through the Spirit of God has a supernatural recognition that Jesus is Messiah, which is fulfillment of the Old Covenant for that Jew. Sometimes this recognition of Jesus as Messiah comes through a dream.
In understanding the parameters, this Messianic option pictures it this way. For the Jew who recognises Jesus as Messiah, Jesus' blood shed on the Cross is the fulfillment on the Old Covenant. Whereas for the Gentile, Jesus' blood shed is that which brings Salvation and is accepted by faith alone. These two ideas are poles apart.
But, the Day of Pentecost, the receiving of the Holy Ghost, is as valid for the Messianic Jew as it is for the Christian. This is where the "grafted" link is formalised. Christian thought on Salvation has a focus on a "past tense" Salvation, whereas this Messianic view reinterprets Covenant Salvation with "past-present tense" applicable only to a Jew.
The two views as understood by the western mind seem not to be reconcilable. This is a very difficult theological debate. My friend has no conclusion within his own heart, yet he can readily validate both ideas from Scripture as separate entities.
I say that he affirms that within the economy of God there is a place for his Chosen people, whether this particular Messianic position gains credence or not.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html