<Note: this is a continuation of the thought/email mentioned in this post from a few days ago.>
I love Psalm 122. It’s one that I put to music many years ago and I love to sing it still.
It’s clear from Genesis to Revelation that God’s passion is for his bride, the new Jerusalem mentioned in the book of Revelation. Every time I pray for peace among the bride of Christ, I’m praying for the peace of this Jerusalem. Every labor I put into bringing about the peace he desires for his bride, I’m laboring for the peace of this Jerusalem. This kind of activity has been a primary focus of my life for about 35 years.
Jesus made it clear that it’s never been about the physical descendants of Abraham, which are an earthly body of people. The children of Abraham/Isaac/Jacob were all about his plan for bringing salvation to the entire human race, his highest creation, the descendants of Adam and Eve. Jesus was about his bride, which is a spiritual or heavenly body. Placing one section of humans on a pedestal above others is sinful, like idolatry. And I say we should beware the blindness that thinks the current, earthly nation of Israel “can do no wrong.” That group of people is made up of the same “stuff” that every other group on earth are made up of – human beings with a sinful nature that need Jesus.
There is certainly lots of injustice done in the world, by every nation, against every nation, including lots done against Jews. I am not attempting to make any comment on what to do about the conundrum of strife in the Middle East. My point in this conversation is to say that I do not accept that the current, earthly nation of Israel, and the earthly city of Jerusalem, is the same “Israel” and “Jerusalem” spoken of prophetically in scripture, which I believe is focused on the spiritual bride of Christ.
Thus, I do not see David’s prayer in Psalm 122, “may they prosper who love you <Jerusalem>” (NAS) as involving any kind of promise from God that he will prosper those who love the current, earthly nation of Israel. This also means that I am not confident that the forming of the earthly nation of Israel in 1948 was a fulfillment of biblical prophesy or in any way connected to the promises of Christ’s return. I am not aware of any place in scripture where we are encouraged to go about trying to fulfill prophecy, but I see this in some of the thinking of the church, especially with regard to “end times” and the current, earthly nation of Israel. Jesus specifically taught against such thinking in Acts 1 when the disciples wanted to see him restore the nation of Israel even then, and he essentially said, “it’s not for you to know these things” and he focused them on following the lead of the Holy Spirit. In my humble view, this is where we as his church need to keep our focus still.
4 replies on “peace for the bride”
Amen. Fully concur. Additionally, and I must stress this is hearsay, I have never personally confirmed this, but I have read or heard in recent years that the government of Israel has what may be the world’s most stringent laws forbidding the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. There may be other countries in which the laws are less stringent, yet the sanctions more horrific, like North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, but no state has more restrictive laws than Israel, or so I’m told. Furthermore, the NT emphasizes our citizenship in heavenly city, heavenly country, heavenly kingdom. Eternity is ushered in by God’s replacing the current things with “new heavens, new earth”, all things new. Meanwhile He’s putting the finishing touches on His creation of His new people, after the completion of which the end of things as we know them will come. The fascination with contemporary Israel, the earthly state, exhibited by too much of the professing church, mostly in the USA, born out of questionable theology emerging only in the past 100 years, again in the USA, is a distraction of the church highly useful to the devil, is remarkably and starkly not-Christ-focused, and is a terribly ungodly message for God’s people to politicize and offer as lightning rod for all the vitriol, scorn, and contempt that the political enemies of Israel would heap on people they see as Israel’s fellow-travellers. For the church to promote association in people’s minds of the Israeli nation on earth with the Lord Jesus Christ is sheer folly with horrendous consequences.
Thanks for your insightful post, Chuck. “…a distraction of the church highly useful to the devil, is remarkably and starkly not-Christ-focused…” – and all we really need is the “check” of the Holy Spirit within to let us know something is amiss. We really don’t need to be super wise, in the earthly way, of world events to the right from wrong here. He’s given us this wonderful blessing of being his “sheep” as it were, knowing his voice. Such an amazing God.
Thanks, Page, for a very thought-provoking post.
I haven’t had the time to even consider such deeper issues, but can say that it has always bothered my spirit when I hear religion, in today’s time, giving such seemingly unchallenged reverence for the nation of Israel, and then attaching fear to all who would challenge their “biblical” reasoning.
What you have said here certainly seems to jive more with my spirit!
Free, “unchallenged reverence” with “attached fear” – nicely put. I bet they often go together, one supporting the other. It does seem that open, candid dialogue on this topic is long overdue. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is our guide nonetheless.