The Law and Its Scope and Purpose for Israel and the Gentiles
(Refuting Israelite Only and Partial Israelite Only Using a Scriptural Analysis of the Law, Good and Evil, Sin, and the Human Heart)
By Ward Fenley
When we first came to realize that all prophecy had been fulfilled, we went through a whirlwind of emotions, rediscovery, shock, and certain joy. The paradigm change put us on a path which would unfold to us a new understanding of prophecy, prophetic fulfillment, audience relevance, law and its purpose and scope, sin, eternal life, the use of biblical language and its incorporation of metaphor, apocalyptic, idiom, and of course we began a never-ending journey of seeing the beauty of Christ in this everlasting kingdom. Specifically, however, it is the issue of the Old Testament law that has perplexed and bewildered a great number of students of the Bible, including those who affirm fulfilled redemption, that is, the belief that all prophecy was fulfilled through the finished work of Christ on the cross up to the point of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D.70.
To whom does the law apply? To whom was it given? Is it necessary today? What is the purpose of the law? What is good? What is evil? How do we determine good and evil? These are questions that have stirred much debate and created a whole host of doctrines and ideas that have brought great confusion.
Within the community of believers in fulfilled redemption, the greatest confusion has been because a group of aspiring theologians (albeit neophytes) has come to the conclusion that because of A.D. 70 there is no longer sin in the post A.D. 70 world. This conclusion may have arisen because of disappointment with their personal expectations of the life of a 21st century “preterist”; it may have arisen because they want to be able to engage in debauchery and not feel guilty about it; they have an addiction they just cannot overcome; they have gone through something horribly traumatic, perhaps death of a loved one or divorce etc.; or maybe it has happened because they have genuinely tried to make sense of sin and law and good and evil in a post A.D.70 world and in their minds, are simply unable to do so.
Their argument is this: Because the law was given to Israel, and sin is transgression of the law, it must follow that because the New Heaven and New Earth have arrived and we are in a New Covenant era, there must not be any more law or sin, and therefore because we have not sinned Christ did not die for our sins. Now, of this particular flavor of belief, they gravitate toward one of three positions:
Because I have dealt with universalism (http://www.newcreationministries.tv/the-conscience-of-guilt-the-conscience-of-innocence.html) and Israelite Only (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-14_GjvXgs; and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZU9UJ3ZqVQ&t=28s), I will not give those views much attention here. The following is primarily for those who have gullibly embraced the partial Israelite Only view. This is the view which argues for one or all of the following: Christ only died for the sins of the Church, which was an exclusive first century entity; there is no sin or law today, therefore Christ’s death does not apply to us; yet in spite of this, certain people are experiencing the “life” of Christ and will live eternally with Christ, attempting to bring Christ’s risen life and power to a post AD 70 era without the shedding of blood for those post AD 70 believers’ sins, since, according to this theology, no one sins today and the law is gone.
Since all three groups have the common denominator of denying the existence of sin, this characteristic flaw will be examined. Their argument, again, is that because Old Covenant Israel alone was given law, and since sin is transgression of the law, only Old Covenant Israel sinned.
First, there is nothing in scripture which says that Gentiles (non-Israelites) had not broken the Old Covenant law. It simply states that law was given to Israel:
Lev 26:46 These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
Deu 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Psalms 147:19-20 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
It is true that God only gave the law to Israel. Notice, however, that it was a blessing that God gave them the law. This does not mean the nations did not sin or break the law. It simply means they cannot know what was not given. Or as Paul says:
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
One must conclude that sin was in the human heart, but could not be known without law. Otherwise Paul would not have said:
Romans 7:8-9 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Sin is still sin without law, but it is dead. That is, it is not known to the individual or group who would receive the law until the law is given. Hence, “sin revived” when the commandment (law) came. How could something “revive” unless it already existed? This is precisely why Paul said:
Romans 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Again, sin existed, but it is not imputed. The Gentiles had sinned but were not given law, and therefore sin was not imputed; that is, they would not be judged by the law:
Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
This verse could not be any clearer. There is sin without law, but law brings awareness of guilt, which is what Paul meant when he said:
Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
That Israel only was given law does not mean that Gentiles were not sinning. It simply means that they were not judged for their sin because God had not revealed the law to them. This was still true in Paul’s time, even after the cross of Christ:
1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
In Romans 7:7 Paul said, “I had not known lust, except by the law,” which is what Paul means here as well, that the Gentiles “which know not God” have “lust of concupiscence.” That is, they are committing lust, but they “know not God,” and therefore “had not known lust, except by the law.” Paul goes to great lengths to show that sin existed before law but there is no imputation (judgment as a result of knowledge for transgression) for sinning when there is no knowledge of laws that are being transgressed. Yet for Israel, God blessed them in showing them law so as to drive them to Himself:
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
God specifically blessed Israel by revealing their already-committed transgressions by giving them law. God gave the law to drive them to Himself:
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
So when Paul says “I was alive,” in Romans 7:9, he was not saying he was spiritually alive. He is using a term to describe a life of experience without awareness of transgression. Paul (as well as Gentiles) was transgressing before God but did not know he was transgressing. Therefore, when Paul says, “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Rom 5:13) and “where no law is, there is no transgression,” (Rom 4:15), he is uttering the same truth. There is transgression before God, but the individual does not know he is transgressing and therefore there is no transgression/guilt to, or experienced by, the individual, awakening him to guilt. The individual does not know he is guilty. He is guilty before God but not aware of his own guilt yet, for law was not yet given. God did not bless the Gentiles under the Old Testament by revealing guilt to them in giving them law. God blessed Israel by revealing guilt to them in giving them law. But therein lies a profoundly important question: How is the giving of the law to reveal guilt a blessing? Because through the giving of the law they know they are dead to God and see their need for deliverance. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” Gal 3:24. But how could they be dead without law?
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
The revelation of law to Adam through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would reveal to the people of God that all were shown dead by virtue of Adam’s transgression. This is not genetic, and it is not punishment for Adam’s transgression. Rather, through Adam’s transgression the world of God’s people would realize they likewise had a heart just like Adam, corrupt and covetous before God. But without law they would not know that lust, or covetousness. When Paul writes, “for by one man’s offense, death reigned by one,” he is restating the point that death and sin are still in the human heart (5:14) even though an individual might not have law given. The blessing, therefore, is that for those who had been given law, they would now know that they have transgressed, thus would have their sins imputed, and if they trust in God for deliverance, they would not have those trespasses imputed to them. The Old Testament is the story of God revealing His righteousness (the standard of law) to a specific people, Israel, but that through their fall (their Old Testament history under law) not only is all humanity shown to have the same heart issue, God would now reveal His salvation from the revelation of guilt to the Gentiles ultimately at the time of Messiah:
Romans 11:11-12 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Specifically, however, the Old Testament is rife with examples of this transgression, evil, sin, and wickedness of the Gentiles, even though they were not given law:
2Ki 17:15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.
Why would God not want the Israelites to do like the heathen unless God did not like what the heathen were doing? Because of law. The heathen were violating God’s law but God had only revealed law to Israel, and the implication is, that by not wanting Israel to follow after the heathen, the heathen were violating God’s law even though they did not know it. Not only this, but God frequently addresses the evil of the Gentiles, which should cause us to examine why God calls the law the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” This tree represents law, for it gives the knowledge of good and evil, or as Paul says, “I had not known lust except by the law,” and “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law brings the knowledge of good and evil, obedience and sin. We cannot know evil apart from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that is, the law. This is a question that must be asked: does evil exist? If so, then how is evil known? The answer: by the law. This must mean that sin exists. At the time of Israel under the Old Testament, the nations were called evil? How are they called evil except if they have violated the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the law)?
“Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of Israel.” (2 Chr. 33:9 NAS)
How is it that nations are said to commit abominations if they were not sinning or committing evil? After all, they were not given law.
“And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel.” (2 Ki. 21:2 NAS)
How do we know sin (evil) exists? By the law. If we say there is no sin, we must argue there is no good and evil and therefore must argue there is no tree of knowledge of good and evil. And if good and evil do not exist, why complain of any act of evil when it does not exist? The reasoning of those denying the existence of sin forces them to deny the existence of evil, and therefore they must deny the existence of good. It is a murky and nihilistic philosophy that ultimately leads to haphazard thought and debauchery, or at best, a ghastly approach to morality and a worthless existence of life and living which cannot sustain society. That is, if there is no evil and no good, why defend goodness when it cannot exist? This is a fundamental weakness in both the house of Israelite Only and the halfway house of those who deny sin today while still affirming eternal life for the believer. The whole point of life eternal was to bring a people from darkness to light. In order to affirm life, one must affirm light. In order to affirm the eschatological light, there must have been (and still be) darkness. There is no darkness if there is no evil (no sin). The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is synonymous with the tree of the knowledge of sin. This is critical to this discussion. There positively can be no evil if there is no sin.
Another example of Gentile wickedness and sin is found in Ezekiel:
Eze 5:6 And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.
Israel is said to have violated God’s law even more than the nations, which implies that the nations were violating God’s law, but again, they were not chosen by God to have that law revealed. They had it revealed as Israel would come into contact with them, and therefore would then fall under Paul’s category of “those who have sinned under law…” etc.
The example of Jonah is evident: God sent Jonah to Nineveh, the heart of Babylon, a nation and empire of paganism and Gentiles. God described Nineveh:
Jonah 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
How is it that a purely pagan nation is wicked before God? What is wickedness without law? Is wickedness evil? Bad? Sin? Joseph associated wickedness with sin:
Genesis 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Ultimately the Ninevites “turned from their evil way” and God did not destroy them. God honored repentance. It seems that this was a foreshadow of the time of Messiah when Gentiles would repent:
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Repentance from? Their evil way. Their sin and their unbelief. If not law, then at least repentance from their sin of unbelief. In either case, they needed to repent.
The Babylonians were purely and simply pagans. Jeremiah speaks of Babylon:
14 "Draw up your battle lines against Babylon on every side, All you who bend the bow; Shoot at her, do not be sparing with your arrows, For she has sinned against the LORD. (Jer. 50:14 NAS)
“She has sinned against the LORD.” The law was not given to Babylon, yet she “sinned against the LORD.”
“Sin” is mentioned well before the law of Moses. A brief perusal of Genesis will demonstrate this. Sodom is described accordingly:
Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Some may argue that they were somehow related to Israel or had the laws of Israel, but nothing in the biblical text supports this.
Pharaoh, an Egyptian (hardly an Israelite), recognized his own sin and associated it with wickedness:
Exodus 9:27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
This was not just Pharaoh’s opinion:
Exodus 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Yet Pharaoh again identifies his actions as “sin”:
Exodus 10:16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.
How did Pharaoh know he had sinned? Moses or God or someone under the Old Testament had revealed this to him, hence, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” That is, Pharaoh now had the knowledge of good and evil. He had come face to face with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (knowledge of sin) through associating with the people of Israel. This is why when a stranger would “sojourn with thee,” they were required to keep the Passover. Types and shadows must be taken into consideration. If the stranger (a pure Gentile) were to sojourn with the Israelites (that is, believe in the God of Israel), they were to be circumcised with them in order to participate in the Passover. Similarly, in the New Testament, the Gentiles were called “strangers” and “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph 2:12) and by faith could participate in the Christ, the Passover (1 Cor 5:7). They needed the Passover/Christ as much as Israel did. However, under the Old Covenant, which was specifically given to Israel, the Gentiles did not have the blessing of the law given to be their schoolmaster to drive them to Christ (Gal 2:24).
Even in regard to circumcision, God makes it a point to exclaim that those who were “not of thy seed” were to be circumcised:
Genesis 17:12-27 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. 15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. 23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
Several observations: 1) Abraham was chosen as simply a human being/Gentile and described as a “stranger” before promises were made to his physical seed. But we also see that the stranger was to be circumcised, and if he was not, he had “broken My covenant.” (Gen 17:14). Paul refers to Gentiles as those who were the “uncircumcision” (Eph 2:11; Rom 2:26). Once faith in Christ came to the Gentiles, they were no longer required to be circumcised and come under the Old Testament. Both Peter and Paul affirm this (Acts 15; Romans 2 respectively).
Under the New Testament, the believer in Christ, whether Israelite or Gentile now falls under the new law, the law of love, and they fall under the fulfillment of law by Christ. Once we understand that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is synonymous with the tree of the knowledge of sin and the law; and once we see that Gentile had violated that law of good and evil and sin as much as the Israelites had, it makes sense of Paul’s use of the term sin and Gentiles in Romans. It is not about Israelite Gentiles. It is about the human heart. Jeremiah said “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9 NAS)
Were only Israelite hearts sick? Of course not. But only the Israelites had the sickness revealed unto them. The Ninevites would never have known their sickness unless God had revealed it to them. The revelation of law was intended to be a blessing in order to drive the wicked heart to God, but God specifically only gave that law to a national covenant people during the Old Testament period, with the occasional stranger/Gentile/foreigner coming into that covenant. However, for both Israelite and Gentile, Christ fulfilled the “requirement of the Law”:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1-4 NAS)
The halfway house position which says there is no sin must also say there is no evil. Proponents of Israelite Only (the belief that there is no salvation/sin post AD 70) rightly call out the halfway house proponents with this glaring inconsistency. If one says there is no evil and no sin, then there is no sacrifice for sin, and therefore they conclude that Jesus only died for sinners. Because the death of Christ is inseparable from His risen life, His risen life cannot apply without His equally intended death. Both are required for justification (Rom 4:25; 5:9). Nowhere in scripture is life ever given apart from the inextricably-associated death of Christ. On a related note, the halfway house position applies horrendous theology when they argue that the Church only existed pre AD 70, a doctrine Israelite Only proponents hold as well. If there is no Church today, the Israelite Only are those consistent. To argue there is no Church is to argue there is no Body, and since Christ is the Head of the Body, and the Body is dead without its Head, there can be no life apart from the Body of Christ. The halfway house proponent is made a laughing stock in front of the Israelite Only because the halfway house proponent, like Israelite only, is dismally oblivious to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and sin and the human heart. They have dismissed the issue of the human heart and made the odd and dreary mistake (theologically speaking) of restricting evil to a heart of a national people, Israel under the Old Testament. Jesus spoke of the human heart when he said:
"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. (Matt. 15:18-19 NAS)
According to Israelite Only and the halfway house of partial Israelite Only, this does not exist today, for there is no such thing as “evil (sinful) thoughts, murders, adulteries” etc. Both Christ and the Old Testament indict the human heart, not just Israelites. The human heart is not about perceiving universal absolutes inherent within all of us. Revelation by God is necessary to reveal the evil within our hearts. Likewise, revelation by God is necessary to reveal the cure for the evil within our hearts, and that is, the righteousness of Christ through faith in His blood.
The law (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) was and will always be God’s eternal standard of righteousness that needed to be fulfilled. We must understand Paul’s theology when He speaks of the righteousness of Christ. When we say we have the righteousness of Christ, we are admitting the righteousness of the law. It was the righteousness of the law that had to be fulfilled by Christ, and then imputed by Christ:
in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:4 NAS)
Why would the requirement of the Law need to be fulfilled? Because the requirement of the law is the fulfillment of adhering completely to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. How important was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? This important:
Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever "-- (Gen. 3:22 NAS)
God has known good and evil for eternity. It is His nature. Thus, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a tree designed to give knowledge of that which is eternally in the mind of God. The law is holy and good:
So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom. 7:12 NAS)
Jesus did not come to destroy what was holy, righteous, and good. Jesus came to fulfill what was holy, righteous, and good and give that holiness, righteousness, and goodness to us, not practically, but perfectly and completely to both Israelites and Gentiles in Christ:
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:17-21 NAS)
Again, Jesus did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it for the human heart:
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. (Matt. 5:17-18 NAS)
Many “preterists” and other so-called “antinomians” have mistakenly assumed that with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, that was the destruction of the law. This cannot be, for the law represents the knowledge of good and evil, an eternal attribute of God and that which is holy, righteous, and good. Jesus did not come to destroy this but to fulfill it because neither Israel (the litmus test for what the heart could or could not do) or the Gentiles could fulfill it. What passed away is the conscience of sin. That is, “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.” If a person is not in Christ, then the old has not passed away. They are still dead in sin. They are still slaves to sin, or enslaved to the knowledge of good and evil, having committed evil. The jots and tittles of the law pass away only for those who are in Christ. Their heaven and earth (conscience of sin and the law they violated) have passed away because Christ fulfilled it for them. They now are seen by God has having fulfilled the law perfectly because of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.
Some try in futility to argue that Paul’s use of Gentiles refers to Israelites. Not only is this an atrocious grammatical and historical faux pas, it grossly ignores this elementary truth under the Old Testament--the Gentiles had no hope:
“remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12 NAS)
This was never the case with Israelites, which is why the phrase is used, “hope of Israel”:
"Thou Hope of Israel, Its Savior in time of distress, Why art Thou like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night? (Jer. 14:8 NAS)
O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. (Jer. 17:13 NAS)
"For this reason therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel." (Acts 28:20 NAS)
Yet again, Paul speaks of the Gentiles as “having no hope.” He goes so far as to call the Gentiles “strangers to the covenants of promise.” Were Israelites strangers to the covenants of promise? Paul emphatically denies this:
“who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,” (Rom. 9:4 NAS)
However, the Gentiles, through the Gospel, would be able to partake in these promises, a truth hidden during the Old Testament period:
“which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” (Eph. 3:5-6 NAS)
The truth is plain. Gentiles were without hope, dead in sin, and strangers from the promise. Israelites had hope and were not strangers, however, they were dead in sin just like Gentiles.
The philosophical blunders of partial Israelite Only and Israelite only are both theologically and morally bankrupt. These blunders are exegetically corrupt and leave an utter void in the area of ethics and morality and the analysis of the righteousness of God in knowing good and evil and the human heart of knowing good and evil, having violated the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Both the halfway house of partial Israelite Only and Israelite only are systems of despair, hopelessness, and glaring theological inconsistency. Proponents of these destructive theories wax on and on in their assertions of the non-existence of sin and law, and thus, they theological are forced to conclude that God is done with humanity, and their theology forces the destruction of the actual righteousness of God. The halfway house position ultimately goes the way of Israelite only after they finally drown in their inconsistency.
It has been thoroughly proven that law, sin, and sin consciousness, as well as the effects of the cross, His risen life, all still exist: for the unbeliever, they remain in darkness and violation of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for the believer in Christ, there is no more sin, no more curse, no more bondage, but instead absolute freedom, joy, and life in the kingdom of Christ.
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." (Rev. 11:15 NAS)
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Ward Fenley resides in Westcliffe, Colorado with his two boys, Austin and Trumann. He teaches for an online virtual academy and also teaches private music lessons. Ward enjoys hiking, composing, and of course, writing about and discussing theology. He has written two books and many articles dealing with the kingdom and grace of God. Ward's current focus is on the subjects of the conscience and mercy in Scripture and how those elements relate to our everyday lives and those around us. He believes that love shown through mercy is the captivating element which not only proves the existence of the kingdom of God, but is also that which draws unbelievers to inquire into our faith in Jesus Christ.