Episode 94: Shalom Jerusalem

Debate topic: “There are no biblical promises awaiting fulfillment in the nation, or ethnic descendants, of Israel.” Steve Gregg of The Narrow Path affirms. Dr. Michael Brown of Ask Dr. Brown denies. Due to hectic schedules, the debate had to be limited to an hour: two 7.5-minute openings, 30 minutes of informal dialogue, and two 5-minute closings.


Promoted Resources

  • Unbelievable?, with Justin Brierley.
  • The Narrow Path, Steve Gregg’s radio and internet ministry where you can find hours of audio resources, including archives of past radio broadcasts and rcorded lectures of topical biblical lectures and of verse-by-verse teaching through the entire Bible
  • Ask Dr. Brown, Dr. Brown’s home on the web where you can access his radio show, “The Line of Fire,” or his “Fire School of Ministry” and a variety of other resources, including his recent book, The Real Kosher Jesus.

24 thoughts on “Episode 94: Shalom Jerusalem

  1. Ugh. Wish it could have been longer. Much longer. 🙁

    But at least the time that they had they didn’t waste.

  2. hello chris,
    at a certain point you said of 1 peter 2:9,”…i happen to think peter’s audience is jewish…” or something to that effect. how do you then make sense of v.10 that follows. “…which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…” this statement seems incoherent if peter is speaking primarily to ethnic jews in Christ. for prior to the new covenant God had called israel his people many times.

    by the way, the program was great. much thanks for what you do. it was short yes, but potent and civil. grace and peace…

  3. Thanks, Jeremiah! I thought the discussion was great, too, and I really appreciate your thanks!

    I think the answer to your question is quite simple. Peter is quoting Hosea 1:10, “Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and in the place where it is said to them [the sons of Israel], ‘You [the sons of Israel] are not My people,’ it will be said to them [the sons of Israel], ‘You [the sons of Israel] are the sons of the living God.'”

  4. Great exchange, although I wish it could have went on longer! I respect Dr. Brown and although I disagree with his position, he still presented his case in a respectful manner.
    Steve did a wonderful job and I highly recommend his lecture series on Israel.

  5. Hello Chris!
    Concerning your explanation of Peter’s epistles being directed to Jews only, I have a few comments.

    -First, your explanation above citing Hosea 1 seems to contradict Romans 9:26

    23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. 25 As He says also in Hosea,“ I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’” 26 “ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people, There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

    This quotation of Hosea by Paul is to back up the claim that he just made about “the called” being not only of the Jews but also of the Gentiles. So how is it that quoting this passage about being called “my people” includes Gentiles when Paul quotes it, but can only mean Jews when Peter speaks of it?

    -Second, on your Israelology podcast your guest mentioned that it would be odd if Peter were writing to the Gentiles yet say:
    1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles”

    If this were the case, then when Paul writing in Ephesians says:

    Ephesians 4:17 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do”

    So if the above logic were sound, then the epistle to the Ephesians was really written to Jews. You see, that kind of argumentation doesn’t work if it is not consistent.

    -Third, on your Israelology podcast it is mentioned that the dispersion language means it couldn’t be a reference to the church, but the church was being persecuted by the Jews and Jewish Christians were being dispersed out of Jerusalem when Stephen was killed (Acts 11:19).

    -Fourth, 2 Peter 3 says:
    “as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things”

    So according to Peter, Paul wrote to the same people as Peter. Additionally 2 Peter 3:1 says: “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle”. So Peter’s audience for 1 Peter is the same as 2 Peter, and 2 Peter states Paul wrote to the same audience. Again, this is an inconsistency.

    -Fifth, John MacArthur, even though dispensational, believes Peters epistles were written to the church. So it’s not just the crazies who believe Peter wrote to the church in general. LOL 🙂

  6. hello chris,
    so do you think hosea’s words are only fulfilled by jewish christians from the beginning of the new covenant to present?
    paul also quotes from hosea, imo more clearly applying them to gentile christians also in romans 9:23-27. just as i think peter is doing in his letter.
    but i wouldn’t be surprised if we understand paul’s use of hosea differently as well. 🙂
    grace and peace to you chris.

  7. Brown’s interpretation is wrong. Israel is The Remnant, not a religious ethnic national identity.

  8. Nice discussion. But needs more time. Peeled the skin off the onion but didn’t get to the layers.

  9. With all respect Israel today is only a part of the big Israel community around the world. The word heathen actually means nations. Luther was on his own, when he translated the Bible, so he also made mistakes, which I understand fully.
    Judah is one of the tribes of Israel. Their decendants are called Jews.
    But there are other tribes existing, who have the right to call themselves ISRAEL, as they are the descendants of the sons of Jakob, who got the name ISRAEl by God himself. The nation of Israel has not the monopoly, but they are the pioneers in the Holy Land.The future will tell, and in revelation God chooses out of every tribe 12.000 people. I wrote a booklet about this theme in German and a shorter version in English: Where do we come from? An interesting exploration in light of the Bible and history! Please feel free to contact me: wolro@sunrise.ch
    Greetings from Switzerland

  10. Brown dominated Gregg.

    Gregg said God’s covenant with Israel was conditional. No – only the Mosaic covenant was conditional. Under the new covenant, Israel is under the unconditional covenant of the promises made to Abraham, which are by faith. Israel is the most fertile field for Jewish evangelism in the world today. The national turning to Y’shua is progressing rapidly, following God’s regathering of the nation in unbelief as Ezekiel said. Over and over again in Ezekiel 36-38, God says “I will…I will…I will”. There’s nothing about Israel doing anything to “merit” returning to the land. To God be all the glory, not to man! As Israel turns to Y’shua as a nation, the Mosaic curses and warnings about expulsion from the land are overturned and made obsolete, and the new covenant of grace and promise takes their place. And all the glorious Kingdom prophesies that the Jews have always expected the Messiah to fulfill will be fulfilled. Do you think the Jews made them up? No – they are written in the Scriptures! But in Jesus’ day they did not grasp the fact that the Messiah first had a priestly mission to fulfill. The Kingly mission would come at his second coming. National Israel has a glorious future. The number of verses which speak of this are enormous – how can all of them be ignored!

    Gregg said the national prophecies to Israel have all been fulfilled. Not so. Israel was regathered a second time in the 20th century in fulfillment of OT prophecies. The first time was after the Babylonian captivity. Jesus has not descended again onto the Mount of Olives as prophesied by Zechariah and Luke. Jesus has not heard his fellow Israelites say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”, and in turn, the Israelites have not beheld Jesus again. All Israel has not yet been saved. The natural branches have not yet been grafted in. The surrounding nations have not attacked Israel. These nations cannot refer to Rome, which was the only nation that attacked Israel during the expulsion in the first century. The Lord has not defeated the enemies of Israel and given her peace on all sides. The surrounding nations have not gone up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts. Jeremiah’s prophesies about all Israel obtaining a heart of flesh for a heart of stone, and all of them actually knowing the Lord rather than just telling one another to know the Lord, has not come to pass yet. The climax of history is approaching, and is evident in the news every day – the kingdom of the Antichrist is on the verge of fruition (New World Order, New World Religion) and Israel is facing the enmity of the whole world and war will soon be waged by the surrounding nations. Technology is in place so that no man will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. Yet Gregg denies that all this is in fulfillment of prophecy. He is overlooking so many clear signs of the end times.

  11. Gregg is a serious searcher. Nobody has rented the truth, and our knowledge is just small pieces. Nobody dares to ask, who Israel really is, as He promised you will be like the sand of the sea and as the stars of heaven. This you can’t really tell about he Jews, who are about 14 Million people. Our brain seems to be too small to grasp His greatness, as He is Lord over the nations. Don’t you think that the USA and Great Britain is not mentioned in prophecy of the Bible?They got other names now, but they also belong to Israel. The veil is still in front of their eyes, and they can’t see it yet. God has a wonderful plan with Israel and the rest of the world! I am convinced of this! Greetings from Switzerland

  12. Hello Chris,

    Great debate and (I agree with others) wish it could have been longer. I am a regular listener of the “Line of Fire” and have a concern for the Jewish people.

    One thing that stood out for me was Dr. Brown’s use of Romans 11:28 and the stress he put on “But as regards election.” Do you think the interpretation of this and other passages that mention “election” is effected by one’s theological system? As an Arminian Dr. Brown sees this reference as a corporate election to service as opposed to Gregg’s Calvinist interpretation of individual election to salvation. I haven’t studied this issue and I don’t know how important the Arminian/Calvinist debate is to Israelology but I have a feeling that there is something to it. Perhaps you could discuss this with your Messianic Jewish friend who is a Calvinist.

    Chris, I’m new to your blog and podcast and I am working my way through the archives. I really appreciate your work and your perspective on things. Most of the issues you are working thorough on your shows are similar to my own.

    Mike Ranieri,
    Toronto, Canada

  13. Hi Mike. Thanks for your comment and compliments! I, too, wish the debate could have been longer, and I, too, am a fan of Dr. Brown’s and have a deep concern for the Jewish people.

    While I do think soteriology and the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism has an impact on Israelology, I don’t think it came up in this debate, because Steve Gregg is not, in fact, a Calvinist. In fact, I don’t think he’d even accept the label Arminian, because I don’t think he affirms Total Depravity which even Arminians have historically affirmed (though they think “prevenient grace” frees the depraved to turn to God).

    I think my Messianic Jewish Reformed friend would say that the unconditional election of Israel is a type of the unconditional election of the Church. He would probably say that if we believe the Abrahamic covenant was conditional, and if the Jewish people could be permanently divorced and rejected by God, then Christians have no reason to be confident that God won’t cast them aside if they are imperfect. And he would probably say the reverse is true, that if one believes–as we Calvinists do–that Christians are unconditionally elected and cannot lose their salvation, then neither can the Jewish people, through disobedience, cause God to reject them. And I would tend to agree, without intending to get into a debate here in the comments thread (which I have no time to do as it is :S).

  14. Thanks for the reply, Chris, and for correcting me. If both Brown and Gregg hold a similar view of election than my observation doesn’t apply. I am finding this subject of Israel quite difficult because it seems to span and overlap many systems and doctrines. Consistency of thought and argument is very important. I sometimes find apologists using certain arguments to defend doctrines which, if applied to other doctrines they hold, would contradict them.

    I see God’s choosing or “election” of Israel as a “type” analogous to the election of persons to salvation. Arminian’s often see unconditional election as an arbitrary act by God. Given this, would not God’s choosing of Israel also be an arbitrary act? It is true that not all Israelites were chosen for salvation but God’s election clearly gave Israel advantages that other nations did not have. And, as opponents of Replacement Theology state, even those who were free to brake the covenant did not stop being Jews. Jews were not given a choice to be in covenant with God. Covenant braking Jews are “unconditionally” chosen as covenantal Israel. I think this is an important idea to consider.

    I was motivated to make my initial observation from a comment I heard on Dr. Brown’s “Line of Fire” radio show. On Thursday, June 28th, guest David Brickner, of Jews for Jesus, said that he thought that the new Reformed movement was contributing to Supersessionism. I assume he was referring to elements of Covenant Theology. I wonder if this is true? Must Covenant Theology imply Replacement Theology?

    I am in the process of studying the differences between Presbyterian and Baptist Covenant Theology. The differences are quite comprehensive, touching not only eschatology but baptism, ecclesiology, the free will vs sovereignty debate, interpretation. I don’t know what system you hold to but perhaps this is something you might be interested in exploring in a future show?

    I think the historic church went awry when it rejected it’s Jewish roots. Check this article out: http://www.hopeabbey.com/?p=784. I’m generally in agreement with what he has to say though I think he weakens his argument with some of his responses to comments. He waffles in his response to infant baptism. (My question would be: Are there any Messianic Jews that practice infant baptism?) And he makes the bold statement: “Amillennialism is only possible with a rejection of the promised physical reign of the Jewish King in Jerusalem during the Messianic Age.” I think that needs to be “unpacked,” to say the least.

    Hey, I apologize if my musings are a little scattered — I’d tried to stay on topic but Israelology is complicated. I guest I bring all this up with the thought that you might find it useful as topic fodder for future shows.

    I am really enjoying your podcast, Chris. Keep up the good work!

    – Mike

  15. You said: “[E]ven those who were free to brake [sic] the covenant did not stop being Jews. Jews were not given a choice to be in covenant with God. Covenant braking [sic] Jews are “unconditionally” chosen as covenantal Israel. I think this is an important idea to consider.”

    I think you are conflating two separate issues. Paul made this point emphatically in his letter to the Romans — that is, being a “Jew” is not the same as being in “covenant with God.” It is true that one was free to break the covenant, but I don’t believe that such a covenant breaking Jew was “unconditionally chosen” as covenantal Israel. Covenantal Israel was a corporate entity comprised of those individual Jews and non-Jews alike who chose to be (or remain) in covenant with God. God did unconditionally elect a “nation” (or line) of people through whom certain blessings would flow through to the Messiah. However, this was never an exclusionary selection. “Israel” proper was always a “mixed multitude.” Arbitrariness has never been (to my mind) in play with respect to salvation or “covenant” with the possible exception that a Jewish (or presumably a proselyte’s) child was born into covenantal relationship through the obedience of their parents. However, there came a time for which these children would be responsible for their own covenantal faithfulness, and we have indications that God may extend like grace to children of even non-covenantal families (then and now). However, as the first covenant was that of outward signs of covenant faithfulness, the new and better covenant is an inward one, and so these “national or corporate” election notions are meaningless since an inward change of heart and belief in Christ does not depend on heritage or lineage.

  16. Thanks for correcting my spelling, Darin — (break not brake) I hate when that happens! I appreciate your response but I’m not sure I understanding everything you have said. I’m sure it is my deficiency with the subject that is the problem. Are you saying that OT Jews were not in covenant with God through circumcision? Certainly covenant breaking Jews were shunned by God, but wouldn’t they have to be in the covenant to break it? Are you coming at this from an Arminian or Covenant Theology stand point? Again I apologize for not understanding all your points but I can certainly agree with your last point.

    – Mike

  17. You said: “Are you saying that OT Jews were not in covenant with God through circumcision? ”

    I’m saying that they weren’t kept in covenant with God through circumcision alone. It was a sign of the covenant people, and one could not truly be said to have been in covenant with God without being circumcised (though who knows how God’s grace worked through a proselyte who wasn’t circumcised — I just don’t know enough about how proselytes were treated by God).

    You also said: “Certainly covenant breaking Jews were shunned by God, but wouldn’t they have to be in the covenant to break it? ”

    Not sure about “shunning” by God, but yes.

    You further said: “Are you coming at this from an Arminian or Covenant Theology stand point?”

    I would hope it would not matter what stand point I’m coming from if I’m speaking truth. If not, I stand to be corrected.

  18. Thanks again for the reply. Well, I think we are generally in agreement. I used the word “shun” for lack of a better word but you got the point. I asked about where you were coming from so that I might better understand what you were communicating. Knowing context is very important. For example, the reasons for and against infant baptism are different depending on whether one holds to Covenant Theology or not, or what brand of Covenant Theology one holds to, or if one is coming from a Presbyterian background or Lutheran or Anabaptist perspective.

    Perhaps this little discussion will encourage Chris to do another podcast on Israelology, which is an on going source of concern and confusion for me.

    – Mike

  19. Pingback: “There are no biblical promises awaiting fulfillment in the nation, or ethnic descendants, of Israel.” Steve Gregg of The Narrow Path affirms. Dr. Michael Brown of Ask Dr. Brown denies. Moderated by Chris Date | The Greatest Debate

  20. Israel means all 12 tribes of Israel, not only the tribes of Judah, Levi and some of Benjamin.
    God says in His Word, Ezekiel 37:Verses 15 and following. HE will reconcile the House of Israel and the House of Judah, and He will make them one stick in His Hand. Glory to His Name! When this will happen we don’t know yet. But believers in the western world are concerned and they had their first Congress near Jerusalem about that theme this year. They believe they are the descendants of Ephraim, to whom promises were given, Genesis 48 .19! All respect to Dr. M.Brown, whom I met once, but the Jews are not the only ones!

  21. Steve Gregg strongest point was in typology. And that is really where the whole argument lies. The lessor gives way to the greater: Israel is less than Jesus and he is by far the greater. Any attempt to argue for a future for ethnic Israel is an echo of the Galatian heresy. In fact, any argument for an ethnic Israel at all is a non sequitur. Israel was always made up of Jew and Gentile blood and Paul did not invent his argument for the truth sons of Israel when he wrote to me relations. True sons of Abraham were always by faith.
    Dr. Brown’s argument sounds nice and neat: do we believe God will keep his promises? But it is not that simple there is no promise made by God that is not contingent. Every promise God makes to man is and has tacit implements. It is not simply a matter of God said it, that settles it.
    The preterist position also helps in this arena. Dr. Brown says that Jesus is return depends upon Jewish repentace and a Jewish benediction for Jesus which Dr Brown says has yet to occur. However, dr. Brown is in serious error when he does not read many New Testament texts in a preterist fashion. Not only this but dr. Brown says that Acts 3 recordes Peters words wherein all of the promises are said to be still held forth. Nowhere in act 2 or 3 do these words occur.
    Dr. Brown argue that any slight of hand replacement theology changes the promises God made to Israel and so this would allow any current Jew to argue that the promises of the New Testament no longer have meaning because if the Old Testament promises can be remade, so too can the New Testament’s. This is not follow. Steve Gregg argument is for fulfillment of the promises in the person and work of Jesus. Ultimately dr. Brown’s argument is against that and so ultimately is anti Christian. All the promises made in the Old Testament have been fulfilled and brought to maturity in Christ. The only thing that invalidates God’s promises is unbelief. God makes his promise and Cari it out. Man other participants by faith or not by unbelief
    Dr. Brown argues that Zachariah 12 and 14 have yet to be fulfilled. This too is not so the attack upon God’s people to which doctor brown points was fulfilled in the book of Esther and in easy kills passage on Gog and Magog. Now, Dr Brown might reject this interpretation but his rejection of that argument is no different then his rejecting a preterist argument for a 70 AD fulfillment of Matthew 24. His sighting Paul’s expectation of Israel’s future repentance is likewise preterist: they are future repentance was future for Paul, but is now past for us.
    Again dr. Brown seeks to have a national fulfillment for Israel in spite of Jesus being the fulfillment of the Old Testament types. What Dr Brown gives with one hand he takes away with the other. There is no redefining of promises here but an argument for mere fulfillment. Dr. Brown may reject this argument but it doesn’t mean the argument is invalid. Dr Brown might as well argue that since God’s promise of destruction for the people of Nineveh did not happen, that it must still be in the future for us too. Fulfillment theology is simple: all of God’s promises are either fulfilled in Israel, rejected by unbelief, or fulfilled in Jesus. Dr. Brown is ultimately arguing for an ethnic national future for Israel despite the clear teaching of the New Testament that all of the promises are yes and amen in Jesus.
    Dr. Brown’s desire to see a literal national government denies typology. Israel was a type and as a type Israel passes away when the anti-type comes. In other words, the promises God makes to a typological nation stand until that which is greater comes. Were Jesus yet to come in the flesh, dr. Brown’s argument would be valid. God has not preserved the nation of Israel any more than he has preserved the Egyptian people. Again, preterism is key here. The revelation of John is no longer future. It was for jon, but not for us. Revelation is a prophecy of the 1st century much like Hebrews is. The call is for faith in Christ and the destruction of the temple is vindication of Jesus’s words in Matthew 23 through 25. There is nothing more for Israel to be or do because she was a priestly type in the end came with the work of Christ. To argue otherwise is satanic and does not recognize the tip illogical temporary role of Israel and redemption.

  22. Travis,
    You make some really good points. I do hope that Chris will revisit this subject at some point. One word of advice and I hope you don’t take offense to this. We bloggers get so wrapped up in our replies and getting them out that we neglect our grammar. I know that this happens to me and I’m a terrible speller. Make sure you re-read your post before you send it out, it is a little hard to read with all the typos.

  23. One of the things I want to touch on regarding Dr. Brown’s position toward fulfillment of prophecy is this. He seems to exhibit the strong tendency of a wooden, literal interpretation of things. For instance he talks about certain prophecies that he esteems as not having been fulfilled yet. One of these is the words of Jesus where and he says you shall no longer see me onto you say blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Dr. Brown says this has yet to be fulfilled. I would strongly disagree I think it was fulfilled numerous times throughout The first century until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The use of the term to see all throughout Scripture has both a literal and figurative meaning. Right from the get go in Genesis 1 we observe God’s seeing what he created and declaring a good. In Genesis chapter 3 we observe Eve’s seeing the fruit of the tree and determining its value. All throughout Scripture seeing is a way of talking about making certain judgments, making certain assessments. Jesus says something along these lines when he tells Caiaphas the high priest that Caiaphas himself will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand. Dr. Brown’s hermeneutic must make this a literal physical observation with the physical eye. I say this because that’s what he does with Jesus’s words in Matthew 23 when he’s leaving the temple and he says truly I say to you you will not you will not see me again until you say blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. I would put forth that this is not a physical but an evaluation made about Jesus. Psalm 2says that those who take refuge in the Lord are blessed. That is what I think Jesus is talking about here. The way Jesus phrases conversion here is seen in the phrase blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Basically it’s this, whoever says blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord sees Jesus for who he is and there by takes refuge in him. And as I said this happened all throughout the first century as Jews converted to Christianity out of Judaism. Otherwise we have to make Jesus a false prophet because he says to the Pharisees of his time, “you will not see me again untill you say…” seeing is therefore believing.

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