Responding to the Critics: Fatal Admissions By the Israel Only Camp #2
I closed the previous installment by calling attention to the clear cut distinction between the “Greeks” and Israel, between “the nations” and Israel, and by noting the fatal admission that has now been made by some of the more ardent and active IO proponents on Facebook, that “Israel was among the nations.” This is, as noted in the first installment, a fatal admission, and this article will drive home that point even more powerfully.
I should note that to this date, not one of the IO advocates have attempted to respond in any substantive way to my series of articles on the Fullness of the Gentiles and Romans 11. I have posted now, some six articles. The response has been sarcasm, diversionary claims, expletive laced posts, and ridicule, but, no exegesis! Zero!
I want now to examine closely some of the key NT passages that prove that the IO doctrine is specious. We turn first of all to Acts 10.
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
Here is Peter, who had just objected to the command to preach to the Gentiles (they were unclean) and had told Cornelius that: “It is not lawful for a man that is a Jew to eat or have company with a Gentile” now affirming that all men, any man, of “any nation” could now be accepted by the Lord! Peter’s language, in the context of the time, cannot be construed in any other than a “universalistic” manner meaning, any man of any nation. It is a perversion to claim that what Peter really meant was “any man of the ten tribes.” Peter well knew that it was God’s OT plan to save the Diaspora. Thus, it could never have been considered “unlawful” for Peter to call them to their Messiah! We find in Luke 2, that Anna, who was of the tribe of Asher, dwelt in and around the temple! There surely was no prohibition for any of the ten tribes to worship and serve the Lord to the best of their ability at that sacred place. They were not unclean. They were not foreigners. They were not the nations.
As we continue Responding to the Critics, take note of Paul, standing on Mars Hill in Athens, where he affirmed:
Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:25-31).
Now, Paul stated that God created all things. He did not create just Israel. He created all things with life and breath in them – that is not just Israel. And, he made all men of one blood. That is not just Israel. He made all men who dwell on the face of the earth. Paul was not talking about those who dwelt in Israel! He was hundreds of miles away, and saying that God created all men who dwell on the face of the earth. It would be the height of arrogance (and ignorance) to suggest that Paul was talking about “Israel Only” standing there on the Areopagus!
God not only created all men on the face of the earth. He created them:
“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us,”
There could not be a clearer rejection of the IO doctrine. God created all men who dwell on the earth in the “hope” that they would all seek after Him! This is why John could write that Christ “died for our sins, and not for our’s only, but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
Paul agreed with the Grecian poet who said “we (a reference to mankind, not to Israel– that Grecian poet was not talking about Israel Only being God’s offspring! That is utterly ridiculous.) are His offspring” and drew the conclusion that because God created all men, no man – clearly including the Athenians – should worship idols. Paul then said that the times of ignorance– the times of worshiping idols- was now over. God, “now commands all men, everywhere, to repent.” What was the scope of that?
To all men that God put life and breath in.
To all men who dwell on the earth.
To all men who have that “one blood” in them.
To all men who are the offspring of God, who created all men.
(Keep in mind that when Paul spoke he was standing in the midst of a city totally devoted to the worship of idols. He is not talking about Jerusalem, where there were no idols!)
Let me drive home my point, of the clear cut distinction between the nations and Israel with an examination of 1 Peter. Peter says he was writing to the Diaspora. It is clear, contra numerous commentators, that Peter was NOT writing to a Gentile audience. Notice Peter’s terminology. He was writing to: the elect (Eklektois, Strongs #1588– which is referent to Israel, Romans 9, 11). He refers to them as the “sojourners”– (parepidēmois, παρεπιδήμοις, Strongs #3927), and he calls them the Diasporas, i.e. the Dispersion (Διασπορας, Strong’s #1290). These are all technical terms to refer to the ten northern tribes. These are not references to the Gentiles!
Now, we could write an entire volume on the significance of the fact that Peter was writing to the Diaspora, the ten tribes scattered abroad, the ten tribes scattered “among the nations.” (See my DVD series on 1 Peter for an in-depth discussion. That series is available from me, to either download onto your computer or on DVD discs).
But, let the text itself confirm that the ten tribes to whom Peter was writing were not the nations, and the nations were not the Diaspora, consider what he goes ahead to say:
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12).
So, Peter was writing to the elect, Israel, the ten tribes of the Diaspora, and they were “strangers” (aliens, παροίκους, paroikous, Strong’s #3941). They were pilgrims (παρεπιδήμους, parepidēmous, Strong’s #3927).
But, pay particular attention to the fact that he said that they were strangers and pilgrims “among the nations.” Just as in Hosea, being “among the Gentiles” meant that they were not the Gentile nations, and the Gentiles were not the Diaspora! In fact, as many scholar recognize, Peter is drawing directly from Hosea 9:17: “My God will cast them away, Because they did not obey Him; And they shall be wanderers among the nations.” My emphasis.
When God cast off the ten northern tribes, they were swallowed up by the nations, they were “among the nations.” They became wanderers. The ideas and the language is identical. What Hosea said was happening is precisely what Peter described. There is an unbroken chronological narrative. And that means that in the entire span of time from Hosea to 1 Peter, Israel, the ten tribes, were “among the nations.” They had not become the nations. For IO to have any semblance of validity and veracity, they must be able to show where Israel went from being “among the nations” to then BEING the nations. But, that unbroken chronology from Hosea to 1 Peter negates any such attempt. Thus, Israel was not the nations, and the nations were not Israel. This distinction is fatal to IO.
And yet, Peter calls attention to the fact that if the Diaspora Christians would live as they were being called on to do, those nations “would glorify God on your behalf.” The nations, the Gentiles, would glorify God in the Day of Judgment! This drives home, very effectively, what Peter said in Acts 10:34-35: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
As we have seen, Peter had initially refused to preach to the Gentile Centurion, because “it is not lawful for a man that is a Jew to eat or have company with a Gentile” (v. 28). (Just think how silly that statement is, if the Gentiles were “Israel.” It was unlawful for a Jew to have company with an Israelite?) But now, “In every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Remember that this is the apostle that knew full well where and who the Diaspora was. He knew they were “among the nations.” But, in Acts he is offering salvation to “any men” to all men, of every nation, the opportunity to worship God and be accepted by Him.
This is patently not the IO doctrine. This is an utter repudiation of that godless and faithless doctrine, that does nothing but seek to destroy the faith of believers.
In the final analysis, the IO admission that Israel was “among the nations” is truly fatal to that paradigm. It they are going to continue to claim that Israel Only was ever going to be saved, they MUST– ABSOLUTELY MUST– be able to show the point at which Israel became the nations and the nations became Israel. And yet, we have shown that from Isaiah 2 all the way to Romans, to Acts 10, to Acts 17, to 1 Peter (and we have not touched Revelation!) There is an undeniable distinction between Israel and the nations, between the Diaspora and the Greeks. Between Jew, Greek, Israel and Gentile. They are not the same, and all IO claims to the contrary are patently false. We will continue Responding to the Critics – the false IO doctrine – in other upcoming articles, so stay tuned.