Responding to the Critics – Exposing the Error of Howard Denham – #4
We continue this series of Responding to the Critics, examining the (false) claims of Howard Denham, a caustic church of Christ preacher. Denham recently claimed that I believe in a national restoration of Israel. Nothing could be more wrong– and I dare say Denham knows it since I have denied this and correct his claims on other occasions and other venues. The bottom line is that, unfortunately, Denham has a problem telling the truth.
Be sure to read the previous installments in this Responding to the Critics series.
Denham falsely claims: “Preston, thus, is forced to supplant the church with the physical nation of Israel, a la Premillennial thought, as that is all that is left to him.” (https://eschatology.org/Archived/2006/05/18/a-matter-of-consistency-the-marriage-of-christ-otherwise-known-as-cates-vs-dobbs/).”
Response: This is simply more falsehood from Denham. Guess what, Mr. Denham, the righteous remnant was not “the nation” or the national expression of Israel. They were nonetheless “Israel after the flesh” and they were receiving the hope of Israel when Paul wrote. I have personally taught on this a good bit, demonstrating that the righteous remnant of Israel, receiving the hope of Israel, were not being restored nationalistically. They were not being restored geographically. They were not being restored under Torah. I have taught this, plainly, unequivocally, for years. If Mr. Denham had done his homework, he would know this and not make such blatantly false accusations.
Now, the question must be asked: When did the Wedding of Christ, in fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Israel after the flesh, take place? This question is of vital importance since, if that wedding took place after the cross, then that demands that God’s covenant promises to Old Covenant Israel remained valid after the cross! That would completely destroy Denham’s theology regarding the Law and Israel!
Answering the question of the time of the Wedding could involve an entire book. In fact, see my book, We Shall Meet Him In The Air, the Wedding of the King of kings. It is over 400 pages of discussion of the fulfillment of God’s promise to remarry Israel. But for brevity, I will focus here on only a couple of OT prophecies and their NT fulfillment in Christ.
Hosea 2-3 deals with the promise of the remarriage. I give here the critical verses:
“In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely. 19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord. 21 “It shall come to pass in that day That I will answer,” says the Lord; “I will answer the heavens, And they shall answer the earth. 22 The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer Jezreel. 23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’”
Notice the salient points:
1. God would make a (New) covenant with Israel. This is the ten northern tribes.
2. It would be when the Lord betrothed Israel to Himself.
3. At that time, the Lord would have mercy on Israel once again, and call them, once again, His people.
Now, take note of Hosea 3:4-5, which is a continuation of the foregoing promises:
“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.”
So, the restoration / remarriage of Israel would be:
1. In the last days. Now, catch the power of this. Denham believes that “the last days” is a referent to the Christian age! Thus, God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel, the promise of the remarriage of Israel, would be fulfilled during the Christian age! But, if God was through with Israel at the cross, as Denham claims, then how could God’s promises to her be fulfilled after the cross, in the Christian age which supposedly has nothing to do with Israel and her promises! This is hugely problematic (fatal) to Denham’s eschatology.
2. It would be when the Messianic Temple (i.e. the altar and priesthood) would be restored.
3. It would be when the Ephod was restored.
4. It would be when “David” their king would rule over them.
Would Denham wish to become a Dispensationalist and claim that these promises were to be fulfilled literally, nationalistically, geo-politically? He would, we assume, reject that idea – as I do. In our next installment of Responding to the Critics, we will examine the prophecy of Hosea in light of how the NT writers interpreted it. Stay tuned as we continue this current Responding to the Critics series!