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May 21, 2007 / Daniel

Wright on the question of Israel

Map of Israel, the Palestinian territories (We...

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As much as I like NT Wright, I found this podcast interview with Wright unconvincing.  Wright argues that God, for the most part, is done with ethnic Israel.    This doesn’t make good sense to me since so much of Wright’s work has focused on how the end of exile plays into the New Testament.

The message of the prophets must have meant something to their original audience.  Those in Babylon during the exile certainly wouldn’t have understood Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, and others as saying that God is done with ethnic Israel.   There must be some sort of future for ethnic Israel involving their possession of Palestine or else we can’t take the writings of the prophets at face value.

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  1. rey / Nov 14 2007 12:44 am

    Don’t forget that this earth is going to burn up and God is going to create a new heavens and new earth. The whole dwelling in the land forever thing sure would be cut short by that if this earth is being spoken of. Again, “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Which one? Not this one, that’s for sure (unless earth there means a grave [tongue in cheek]).

  2. rey / Nov 14 2007 12:53 am

    “There must be some sort of future for ethnic Israel involving their possession of Palestine or else we can’t take the writings of the prophets at face value.”

    We can’t take the writings of the prophets at face value. The temple in Ezekiel is clearly not something physical to ever be built on earth, and all interpretations alleging that it is result in the false notion of Jesus coming back to undo his work on the cross by re-establishing the animal sacrifices and basically bringing back the whole Law of Moses that he nailed to the cross with the Levitical priesthood and all, with to boot ethnic restrictions for Ezekiel says no Moabite (I think that’s the one) will enter it, nor anyone uncircumcised. Clearly that literal interpretation contradicts the gospel. (BTW, I don’t remember what I was reading, but someone said the dimensions of the thing would be bigger than earth itself if it were literal.) I call it the mystical temple in Ezekiel, because its clearly not a real building but a figure for the church. The no Moabite nor uncircumcised person entering in is figurative for no unbaptized person entering the church. etc.

    So, no, the taking the prophets at face value doesn’t really always work. Nor does the “The message of the prophets must have meant something to their original audience.” Nope. This is precisely what Peter is speaking of when he says in 2 Peter 1 “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation” and also in 1 Peter 1 concerning that the prophets did not understand their own prophecies but it was revealed to them that they prophesied these for us not for themselves.

  3. Devonaide / Dec 10 2009 4:46 pm

    Even if we were to assume that the prophets were referring to a physical temple or a future for ethnic Israel, this would not mean any more to the original audience. Obviously, no such future came to pass during the time of the original hearers, so we cannot say that it benefits the original audience in any way for it to be ethnic Israel rather than spiritual Israel.

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