Knowing Our Prophetic Roots in Zion and That There's More To Come
Updated And Expanded November 2020
Videos of First Two of Three Hour Segment Of The Preaching Hour Numbers 445,447,448
"Oh that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Israel rejoice and be glad!" Psalm53,6
"All thy works praise thee o Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power." Psalm145,10-11
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to the salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Romans1,16
Zion Pentecost Mission seeks to be a source of inspiration for all peoples concerned about:
1. the future salvation of Israel when God, amidst the advance of nations against his people, pours out a “spirit of grace and prayer” and Israel looks upon “the one they have pierced.” (Zechariah 12,10, cf Rev. 1,7).
God is preparing his first people to look upon Christ in faith, for salvation, not for negative judgment (see also Romans9-11).
This is also shown by Revelation 11 which prophesies two Jewish witnesses- with faith in Jesus- testifying about salvation in Jerusalem to their own people.
God has been re-gathering the nation of Israel, from their many exiles throughout sacred history (including but not limited to the Assyrian, 722BC, and Babylonian, 586BC, and 134AD, the ltter after an unfulfilled messianic uprising against the Roman empire. This fulfills Jeremiah 16,15: “I shall bring them back to the very soil I gave their ancestors."
ZPM wants to educate the mainstream body of Christ that God has not forgotten Israel- because her call and election are irrevocable (Romans 11,29).
2. the need for us Christians in the mainstream body (ie non Jewish, or 'gentile' Christians) to protect our own salvation from apostasy, and or complacency, by knowing more about the unfulfilled prophetic promises to Israel and to ourselves.
ZPM WANTS TO REVEAL THE LIFE OF GOD COMING FROM THE ROOT
ZPM in no way wants to be critical of the mainstream body of Christ, but how healthy can our gentile branches be if we do not realize that we get life from the root of the tree which is Israel? Romans11,18. We the branches share the root of their patrimony- their promises, their blessings, their scriptures. We are discovering that there is much supernatural life in understanding these particular promises, blessings and scriptures. One discovers an expanded vista of present and future revelation and understanding, namely an all encompassing, past, present, and future scriptural-prophetic view that blesses us with a greater faith strength and greater protection for our salvation, and a further readiness for God's revelations to be seen and shared as part of preaching of our whole gospel message.
MORE THAN ‘LORD LORD’
Another way describe this protection of our salvation would be to consider what Christ meant by “not everyone who has cried ‘Lord, Lord’ will be saved.” (Mt. 7,21, Lk. 6,4)
Could it be that faith for some of us in the mainstream body of Christ has become too easy, too simple, to the point where we think “Lord, Lord” and and occasional visit to church is going to sustain our salvation?
SAMARITAN WOMAN SIMILAR TO MANY CHRISTIANS TODAY
Meanwhile, God is pouring great grace upon the mainstream body to put aside any and all of the Anti-Semitism that has plagued Christianity and learn more about our faith’s sustaining Zion root because “salvation is from the Jews” (Jn.4.22). We non Jewish Christians are sort of like the Samaritan women before Jesus. We worship God, yes, but we may not know and understand enough about Him and our Zion base to do so in Spirit and in truth.
To know more about our particular Messiah from this Zion base- aka the Hebrew scritural roots perspective- helps us to live and worship according to the Lord's ways, aware not only of His gospel salvation promises to us as individuals but also aware of the gospel fullness of salvation promised to His first people, and his and our Kingdom reign from physical Israel and from the New Jerusalem thereafter.
PRESENT HUNGER FOR SPIRIT AND TRUTH AND FULLNESS OF REVELATION
At the time Christ brought the kingdom the first time and was rejected, you could say most of Israel had the the biblical truth as revealed by God up to that time, but not the Spirit. (Cf. Ez11,19)
During 2000 years of Christianity it's fair to say that at Pentecost the 3000 people baptized had the fullness Spirit, and some of the Hebrew scripture and proto New Testament biblical truth. It also worth noting that in the first days and years this new resurrectional faith was lived by the “Nazarenes” -by messianic Jews, and what we now call "Christianity" was a fledgling sect of Judaism.
Now after 100 or so years from the rebirth of the second Pentecost based gospel movement, and some 60-70 years after Israel was reborn in a day in 1948 (cf Isaiah66,8), there is a hunger for both the fullness of the truth and the fullness of the Spirit, and the fullness of biblical revelation. This hunger can joyfully be satisfied by knowing more about our root sustenance, the source of our salvation, which is from the Jews. Again, we're like the Samaritan woman- we have been told salvation is of the Jews, and we now know there is something more to this, but we need further study, acceptance and elaboration for this resonant eternal truth to come alive in our lived expression of our faith.
This hunger for the fullness of truth and the Spirit and revelation is today expressed among the mainstream body studying the Hebrew Biblical- Messianic-kingdom-temple-Jerusalem perspective, which defined the primitive church of the Apostles Paul and Peter (See Acts2,46; 5,42). Some churches of late celebrate some of the seven festivals of the Jews as part of their worship- not because any Christian has to- but because many Christian folks long to know more about their complete bible and faith heritage. Many bible students are going back to the unfulfilled promises to Israel and to gentile Christians. Many ordinary Christians are also seeing the entire Word- the “old” and the “new” come alive for the first time, and gaining a new appreciation for the literal promised kingdom of God wherein Jesus reigns from Zion, vindicating his shed blood, gathering His nation Israel, and all the faithful among the gentiles, ie all the nations.
Isaiah prophesied at Isaiah2,3 about this hunger for the fullness that all the world would one day possess: "Many peoples will come and say, 'Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob. He will teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths. The law [the word, the teaching] will go out of Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' "
It is this hunger to 'go up' to the Lord God of Israel, go up to the messiah of the Jews and messiah of all, and that he, Jesus, would teach us the fullness of his ways and paths, that ZPM is hoping to celebrate and satisfy with its Word based teaching.
ZECHARIAH PROPHECY OF PRESENT HUNGER
In the book of the prophet Zechariah this hunger is presented in biblical prophecy as the very interesting situation of non Jews in the last days seeking out the wisdom and the knowledge of a dispersed Jew coming back to Israel. Zechariah 8 is full of promises that are coming true today. This is showing us that God has taken back Jesus’ curse of the fig tree-Israel (Mt. 21,19), and that there is a vital interchange between New Testament prophecies and the as yet the unfulfilled prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures.
For example, Zechariah 8,15 prophesies: “I have changed my mind and intend to treat Jerusalem and the house of Judah well. Do not be afraid.” Likewise, Ezekiel 36,4ff God speaks of his jealousy for Israel by bringing her back, protecting her, and making her fruitful again. Both these prophecies have been seen by all in the last 120 years. Indeed God rescued his people through the regathering and the fulfillment of Zionism (Ez. 36,8-12), and made them a nation again in 1948.
We non Jews have seen what is happening, seen Hebrew scripture prophecies come true right before our eyes and we want to be part of it! We want to understand it and we seek more of the abundant gospel life it is giving us. We are begining to appreciate more and more of what Jesus meant when he told the Samaritan woman that "salvation is from the Jews." (John4,22)
ZPM CATCHES THE SLEEVE OF THE EXILED JEW GOING BACK TO ISRAEL
We have seen the coming salvation of Israel, and at ZPM we are enthusiastic to know more. Zechariah 8,23: “In those days, ten men from nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say: “We want to go with you, since we have learned that God is with you.”
ZPM is for the ten people, the ten non Jews, the mainstream body if Christ, who want, and need, to learn more about the Jewish heritage of salvation, and that God is still with them, as well as with us.
This isn’t an academic or bible debate to keep a flock or make a flock, or any sort of religious quibbling, or going back to the law in the Hebrew scriptures. It’s a mission to avoid superficial, potentially apostate, and unhealthy, rootless and out of context explanations of the salvation message. It bears stating the obvious- this message of the prophetic scriptural unity between the two testaments, is not some new and fleeting itching ears religious philosophy, but basic and essential biblical revelation that is capable of being understood by the entire body of Christ.
How can we Christians profess to know so much about our beloved scriptures, and then explain away all the unfinished promises to Israel as a nation formed by the Word of God and faith?
3. Following Yeshua ha Mashiach, Jesus Christ-Messiah of Israel, more closely- while still maintaining our freedom and joy.
ZPM SEEKS TO INSPIRE NEW DISCIPLESHIP CONFIDENCE
Christ gave us (through faith) the Spirit to fulfill the new covenant of Ezekiel 36,25ff whereby God’s active demand to live according to his ways are possible. Ezekiel36,27: “I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practice my judgments.”
This is cause for rejoicing! We can thus bear good fruit (Mt. 3,10). We can be taught all things by the Holy Spirit (John14,26). In this "Zion" upward faith pursuit, we overcome the world! (cf 1John5,4)
This is not to put ourselves under any external law, or worse, any man-centered church laws. It is living the new law of grace (cf James1,25), “the law of Christ” within us (Galatians 6,2). Christ is our example. He showed us how to follow the Father closely- to pray about everything, to discern every spirit, according to the Word, so as to meet every faith challenge.
NEW COVENANT- GOD’S LAWS ON OUR HEARTS- NOT A BREAK FROM ISRAEL
Hebrews 8,10: “This is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel, when those days have come, the Lord declares: In their minds I shall plant my laws writing them on their hearts. Then I shall be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Yes this is the challenge for the House of Israel and all of us who have faith. We have sinned but now by faith we live in the new state of redemption, and with his laws written on our circumcised hearts we can fully be God’s people, who do our faith. Again this living and fullness of faith needs to be taught in a time when the “Lord, Lord” may not be enough to get into the kingdom of God (Matthew7,21).
In others words, ZPM is for those among the mainstream body who want to come up a little higher, not necessarily out of our present congregation, but more aware of who they are and where their salvation came from. We all can do this because we have great confidence in the living God of Israel, whose Holy Spirit lives in us, empowering us to seek and follow God in all circumstances.
This would be the highest freedom, away from a man-centered, truncated gospel that robs God’s people of their new found freedom and the fullness of faith by merely teaching a narrowed down biblical revelation administered by narrow business model corporate systems and release us toward the fullness of a worldwide, all encompassing Zion faith that calls all, all the Holy ones, to the salvation of the kingdom reign from Jerusalem, a faith that explains the fullness of the scriptures from the prophetic birth of Jesus in Bethlehem all the way to the final harvest birth of the woman clothed with the sun of all God's people who have made it through the wilderness prior to our full protection and reign with Jesus our one messiah and king (cf Rev. 12,6).
4. About the present new things of faith (some of which are old) and the last and future things of faith.
MAINSTREAM CHRISTIANITY TRYING NEW FOOD ON GOD’S TIMETABLE
Imagine if you and I went to our favorite restaurant with our favorite people after Sunday services, and everybody always ate their old stand by favorites, say chicken fried steak, which was good and filled us up.
But then that restaurant began to serve other dishes alongside the chicken fried steak, perhaps of greater nutritional value. Now before we would eat this “new” food, we would want the waitress and the chef and the newspaper and the internet and Emeril and Martha to tell us why it was better for us.
And it might take a long time before we would even try that present new food, and some more time to get used to it, and realize it truly was better for us. No sense jumping into every fad, or new fangled thing, itching ears type of thing.
It might take us seventy years- or more- to take note that there’s been some superficiality, dare I say over gentilization, of sloganeering, and secular and cultural encroachment, and over comfort, in the mainstream church. How did we get so far from “salvation comes from the Jews” and the fire and prophecy of Jesus and the Hebrew prophets, so far from Pentecost and the 'maranatha' that ends Revelation?
It might take seventy years to realize the prophetic future importance of Israel’s ongoing re-gathering, of Revelation's prophecies about Jewish witnesses to the Jewish people (Revelation11), about reigning and ruling from Jerusalem forever alongside our Jewish brothers and sisters.
It took Israel seventy years to come out of Babylon in 520 BC, and it may take us at least that to fully plumb what Jesus meant when he said to the Samaritan women “we [Jews] worship what we do know; for salvation is from the Jews.”
But wouldn’t this be time well spent? Wouldn't this prophetic rightly refocus us back to the scriptural roots of both the Hebrew and the new Testament scriptures, back to the fact and biblical reality that salvation is from the Jews and thereby be the most effective means for all Christianity to "come out of Babylon", out of a worldly, non Word based, lukewarm and materialistic faith as Revelation18,4 exhorts us all? (cf Rev.3,15-17)
JEWISH BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE AND GOD’S PROPHETIC TIMETABLE FOR ISRAEL AND KINGDOM WOULD SOBER UP THE CHURCH
Now we put things into our own stomach on our own timetable, but we should digest the word, every word of it, on God's prophetic timetable.
And ever since 1948- when the fig tree of Israel budded and became a nation again (Matthew24,32-33)- God’s timetable for these present and future prophecies is speeding up, such as: the present winnowing-apostasy of the mainstream body of Christ (2Thessalonians2,3; 1Timothy4,1 cf Zechariah13,8), the readiness and future rapture of the well prepared bride church (1Thessalonians4,17), the seven year tribulation of Israel and the appearance of a final antichrist (Daniel9,24-27; 2Thessalonians2,7-10), the final Armageddon battle of the gentile nations against Israel and judgment on them when Christ comes with all his Holy ones (Zechariah14,5; Revelation16,14; 19,19-21), a millenial reign of all the Holy Ones of all time, both Jews and gentiles (Revelation20,1-6), the great white throne judgment of folks who rejected the gospel and thus are judged on their misdeeds (Revelation20,11ff) and the upcoming descent of heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation21,1ff).
This speeding up of endtime revelation is exciting. But since our understanding of the importance of the unfinished biblical prophecies to Israel, and us, by and large only began to speed up in the last decades of the prior millenium, and Israel only became a nation in 1948, we may not have the luxury of unlimited time to get up to gospel speed on these exciting and important topics.
We are well aware that the history of Christianity is littered with prophets who predicted the day and the hour of Christ's return, and make no pretense to set up any ourselves. But perhaps we all can agree that we must redeem the time (Ephesians5,16)- use the time we have left wisely- to preach the whole gospel- including the prophetic importance of Israel and realize that there's more prophetic blessings to come for all God's people.
As we redeem the time, we do remember Noah. Nobody in Noah’s day thought preparing for the flood was a worthy matter, except him. And his timely and patient preparation turned out to be salvation for those on the boat, and a lesson for us. We shouldn't let our premillennial faith in the rapture slow us down or make us now or make us complacent. Likewise we shouldn't expect it will easier for gentile folks to become Christians in the seven year tribulation than it is now, or that planting gospel seeds with Jewish folks is not necessary now because they will hear the gospel in that same tribulation.
We don't know a timetable but at least when we do our gospel part with dispatch. And so we acknowledge with gratitude and love the fullness of our scriptural revelation and our Jewish biblical roots, and our mutual future in Israel, and their bible roots food becoming part of our faith diet. In this we are honoring God’s full word within its cultural and historical context as well as His prophetic timetable.
This is all simply to say it serves us all to get up to speed on these matters.
I don’t know about you, but I’m trusting that the future of Israel and the last things of judgement and the kingdom of God are very important to God, and as a follower of Jesus, the messiah of Israel, I want to know, by faith, as much as possible about these matters, whether I’m Jewish or not. I want to digest enough of this present “new” prophetic food that I have enough sense to know for myself what is holy and what is profane, what’s real prophecy about the Kingdom of God, and what's biblical restoration for all God's people, and thereby be able to realize that we the Christian faithful are all not just going to heaven.
Mutual Gentile And Jewish Future Victories
Much of our Christianity has failed to see, or proclaim, that our Christian victories in the endtime are mutual ones with our Jewish brothers and sisters, such as our mutual victory over the antichrist (Revelation19,20), and the shared millennial reign of faithful Jews and gentiles (Revelation17,14 and 19,14; Zechariah14,5), and our mutual victory over Gog and Magog at the end of the millennial (Revelation20,7-10).
Legacy Of Non Biblical Replacement Theology
Moreover, much of Christianity has been prone throughout its history to the biblically erroneous idea that Israel lost its eternal election by God. No! No way! In the latter half of the 20th century, with some post Holocaust soul searching, there has also been some bible searching re. God's ongoing care for Israel (eg. CCC 674 p.176 1997, likely inspired by Walter Kasper) and some softening among Christians teachers of this long accepted biblical confusion and error. But as anyone who has ever tried to spread the gospel knows- old religious prejuidices, ideas and doctrines don't dissapear overnight, nor do they always go away peacefully even when official teaching clarifies, changes, or softens them.
Evangelical bible scholar Elmer Josephson taught wisely and with conviction about this subject of election (Israel: God's Key To World Redemption, Bible Light, 1974 p. 7-8ff). He taught what the fullness of scripture teaches- that there are two elects now, Israel and the church. In the prior centuries prior to Israel becoming a nation in 1948 much of the church didn't study the bible prophecies about Israel and thereby presumed that Israel's partial hardening against the faith was permanent, and that it replaced Israel, and thus the church inherited the eternal national promises made to it in both the Hebrew scriptures as well as the New Testament.
This is the recently and thankfully debunked notion of "Replacement Theology", but the Apostle Paul had already taught better in Romans 11,25-29:
"I do not want you [gentiles] to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.' 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
We Christians don't replace those who are still elected by God!
Legacy Of Augustine's Non Biblical Novelty Of Church As Kingdom Of God
This longstanding replacement of Israel assumption was a tragic and historical biblical error and part and parcel of a related and equally unbiblical error, promulgated the prelate Augustine in the 5th century, an error still made and defended by many Christians in our modern day: the Christian church was, or is, the Kingdom of God. And as such it enjoyed, or still enjoys, the right to act accordingly. This is an idea that just doesn't hold water- as if Christianity or any "Christian" could at any time just drop the unmistakable promises in both testaments of a literal kingdom of God administered by our Lord Jesus, king of the Jews from Israel. This appropriation of the literal kingdom of God added biblical insult to unbiblical injury, and thereby rendered all such literal biblical prophecies in both testaments at best questionalble, or hopelessly confusing in the hands of Christendom, or optional, or transferred to the church, if not void or cut out altogether.
The literal kingdom of God for Israel and bible based Christians is the ultimate high point promise of all prophecy in both testaments and clearly and specifically was incorporated as part of the New Covenant in Revelation20,1-6. This kingdom takes place from physical Israel and occurs in historic time, post Armageddon, according to Revelation17,4; Revelation19,14 and 19,20 and Zechariah14,5.
Zechariah Unites Endtime Prophecies Of Literal Kingdom In Both Testaments
Yes Jesus will arive a second time as both messiah and High priest of Israel, and literally serve in both these offices for all those who have now heard and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is He alone that fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah6,12-13.
At verse 13 we read "It is he who will build the Temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two."
Now this prophecy of a High priest-messiah figure never materialized in the post Babylonian period but it does fit the person of the crucified and risen one, Jesus, who we Christians presently know and worship. This post Babylonian exile period was a difficult and strange one that saw a rebuilt temple 520BCff but no king in Israel, and no messiah, and not much more prophecy at all. Then followed the successive occupations of the gentile empires (Greek Alexander the Great in 329BC etc etc) up to life and death of Jesus as the largely rejected in 33AD, after which the Roman occupiers destroyed the Temple in 70AD, and who later in 134BC ran off Judah's last revolutionaries after the failure of Simon Bar Kochba as messiah and kingdom bringer.
This entire period from 520BC to 134 AD never saw any Davidic King reigning in His kingdom, never saw the final messiah who vindicates Israel and never saw the dramatic entrance of God's Spirit into the Temple that was protrayed when God arrived in the first, or 'Solomon's' Temple (2Chronicles7,1ff).
But in this same crucial prophetic book, Zechariah prophesied well beyond this strange and difficult and long time between the Temple destruction and forced exile into Babylon in 586BC and the failure of the Bar Kochba revolution and subsequent exile in 134AD. It predicts the Zionism which brought Israel back to the land in the early and middle twentieth century, glory to God!
In His prophesy at Zechariah12,10 the prophet places us very close to the end times and the coming literal millennial kingdom where Jesus will rule as king wherein Israel will never be exiled again. Zechariah prophesies that God "will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication and Israel will look upon the one they have pierced." We believe this will happen in our own present days, as the 'times of the gentiles' are winding down (Luke21,24), sometime after the rapture of the born again faithful (1Thessalonians4,17), ie sometime during the seven year tribulation that precedes Jesus' Armageddon victory for Israel; and judgment against the antichrist.
Just Because Israel Missed Their Messiah First Time Doesn't Wipe Out Our Mutual Prophetic Roots And The Blessed Destiny And Kingdom Of Israel And All The faithful in Zion
Even though Israel missed their messiah-king the first time, they will now- in the latter days- as a reunited nation since 1948- will be able to "see" Jesus as He is, as both the final sacrifice and the final redeemer-king of their nation and people, and the only one who can save them as they face the Armageddon battle (in Megiddo), in Israel which God has allowed: This 'pierced one' (Zc12,10) is the same Lord God of Israel who "will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle." Zechariah14,2-3. This is an endtime biblical Zionism, wherein humanity and creation see and experience the justice and full redemption and all the fulfillment of the promises of all the biblical testaments of God to Israel and all peoples!
This same Lord is also the Lord God of Zechariah14,5 who will have come down to "fight" this battle with "all his holy ones," all the saints, all the faithful of both the Abrahamic and New Testament Covenants! (I will address this question of how the Hebrew saints who died before the incarnation are saved in a future teaching).
Thereby our one Lord Jesus will institute the kingdom of God in historical time and vindicate his shed blood, His nation, and all the faithful, both Jew and gentile. As to reigning, Zechariah14,9 says "The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name." Praise His Name, the Name of Jesus! His role as great and last high priest (at present a heavenly role per Hebrews 4 and 7) and His being the object of universal worship will also be supernaturally revealed in historical time per Zechariah14,16: "Then the survivors of all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles."
This is glorious universal Zionism that calls all the world to worship as one!
His reign and worship will teach us- for one thousand years all that He is- all that humanity missed the first time- and also show His love and protection as the Lord God of Israel and all nations too.
As great High priest and king only the risen Jesus unifies the two principal offices of the nation of Israel, the High priesthood and the Davidic kingship. This was the aforesaid revelation propehsied in Zechariah6,13, and of Psalm110,1-2 (King) and v.4 (High Priest forever). As to his kingship- at John18,37- Jesus admitted as much, even before His resurrection, in repsonse to Pilate's question if he was just that.
Initial Christianity Respected Literal Millennial Kingdom From Isreal
The first students of the bible in the church for the first 400 years much respected the unifinished literal aspects of the millennial kingdom, the 1000 year reign of Jesus, Israel's King, from Jerusalem, citing the clear teaching of Revelation 20. But then Augustine, the man of the world turned prelate (with the help from Ambrose of Milan, both no slouches when it came to making their influence felt), turned Christendom to the non biblical novelty and conceit that the church was the Kingdom of God here and now.
Here's how it happened. With the fall of the Roman Empire in 410AD Augustine saw the need to defend the church against the pagan charge that this fall was the fault of Christians. Ever zealous to defend the church (over scripture), he came up with a Christian philosophy of History, namely the non biblical idea of the church as the 'City of God,' even the kingdom of God, ruling in the here and now! See 'City Of God', Book 20, Chapter 9.
(See Schonborn "The Kingdom of God And The Heavenly-Earthly Church" Letter& Spirit 2006, 222 wherein the Roman Cardinal also says "But since this one single church has her true dwelling place in heaven, she is in essence "the holy city, the new Jerusalem that comes down from God out of heaven.")
And in this scheme, Augustine seeing the Western Roman empire falling and fading now paves the way for the church become the kingdom of God!
And if the church is the Kingdom, and God's eternal promises to Israel are passe, now there's no need for a literal millenial, let alone from a kingdom from Zion.
But the Word says that in the last days the Lord will "pour out on the house of David a spirit of grace and supplication" ie they will hear and receive the gospel as the house David (Zechariah12,10) after the time of the gentiles (Luke21,24), likely in the seven year tribulation according to Zechariah12,8-9:
"On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them shall be like David [anointed with the Spirit] and the House of David [Israel] shall be like God [ie full of light, full of Jesus, and about to rule in the millennial kingdom!], like the angel of the Lord [defender of Israel], going before them. 9 And on that day I [the Lord God of Israel, the messiah Jesus] will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."
So Israel as God's people, still elect, as a group, in the end times will not only hear the gospel unmediated by any gentile church, but also turn to Jesus in faith [Zechariah12,10] and then the literal Kingdom of God will be instituted- firstly for Israel- and then for us gentiles (we gentiles were grafted into their salvation tree Romans11,24), a united kingdom from Zion in historical time for all God's 'holy ones." Zechariah14,5; Dt33,2-3; Dt7,6; Mt25,31,40-41; 1Th3,13; Rv19,14.
Now we go back to Augustine's non biblical idea of the church as kingdom of God and we understand how once the church was the Kingdom of God, and the Western part of the Roman Empire had fallen, it wasn't long before the church unabashedly became the Holy Roman Empire for over 1000 years wielding broad and great political power.
By his teaching on the kingdom Augustine forever inserted non biblical Christian philosophies and confusion into Christianity. Now that valid biblical scholarship and bibles are almost everywhere, this teaching has proven a poor substitute for the literal biblical prophesies of both testaments, and especially book of Revelation which decidedly sees no Christian church as the Kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God as a literal reign of 1000 years, a millennial, from Israel by Jesus and His 'holy ones,' the glorified saved, the raptured, the martyrs, the fully fulfilled universal priesthood of both Israel and the gentile faithful Exodus19,6:
"you [Israel] shall be for me [God] a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
The kingdom of God is a literal 1000 kingdom led by Jesus after his second coming, with Jesus leading all his "holy ones" and faithful ones and glorified saved ones, and the unoversal priestly ones dressed in white linen, from heaven to earth, to Jerusalem to reign with him for a 1000 years (Isaiah9,6; Zec14,5; Dt33,2-3; Rv19,14; 1Th3,13).
Yet, apparently worried about false messiah claiming millennialists, the Roman church describes millennarianism as "this falsification of the kingdom come." CCC 676 Our biblical answer to this is Jesus is the messiah, the Word made flesh, and His Word teaches a millennial, and that false christs and prophets would be prevalent: "For there shall arise false christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." Matthew24,24 That is, the fact that false christs and prophets, will show up- some of whom may preach a millennial kingdom- is no reason to scrap the true biblical millennial kingdom of God led by Jesus from Zion. (Revelation20,5)
Finally, when Jesus told his Jewish disciples how to pray he included at Matthew 6,10 "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth..."
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in1994, the Vatican seems to mitigate Augustine's teaching on the church as kingdom, to a degree. It seems to go out of the way to not refer to Augustine by name in reference to the kingdom, but CCC 680 gets very close to Augustine overly lofty claim of the church as kingdom (which many Catholics and other Christians in one way or another seem to still believe): "Christ the Lord already reigns through the church..." CCC 671 also says "Though already present in the Chruch, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled..."
But this fulfillment of the kingdom, according to the RCC is at a one time general judgement, is after historical time has ended and takes place at or from no particular earthly place. As such, this RCC endtime teaching on the kingdom lacks prophetic and biblical focus and fails to recognize the centrality of the salvation of Israel on earth by God, and her redemption and ingathering by her messiah (Zechariah12,10; 14,9 and Revelation19,14), and Jesus' and Isreal's earthly vindication for their shared faithful suffering and service, as bringers of the word and salvation, as crucial constituent parts of the endtime biblical drama of salvation history.
The literal biblical promise of the kingdom of God first and foremost belongs to Israel- salvation on earth came through Israel- and Augustine in effect later appropriated this promise, unto the church. In so doing he also took Christianity's eyes away, for almost 1500 years, from the many unfinished literal prophecies of the Hebrew and New Testament scriptures to both Israel and the church.
History tells us that what tipped Augustine away from a literal millennial to a new fangled idea of the church as the kingdom of God was a certain early gnostic Cerinthus. Cerinthus was unjustly opposed by a later 3rd century Roman Prelate, Caius. Caius wrongly said Cerinthus authored Revelation (refuted by Cauis' Roman contemporary Hippolitus) and also thought Cerinthus believed the millennial would be a time of marriage festivals (Eusebius Ecc. History 3,28,2; "Cerinthus" Wikipedia; christianhistoryinstitute.org/article/augustines-millenial-views).
This alleged fleshiness of millenium proponents like Cerinthius is a common and timeless straw man argument. But it apparently had something to do with Augustine's novel and strange idea of giving up the biblical idea of a literal millennial for Israel and all God's people!
Augustine's novel teaching effectively marginalized the church's two potential rivals on the future world stage: Firstly, as mentioned, it stole the thunder of a literal kingdom of God prophesied for a resurgent Israel- born or reborn in a day in 1948 (Isaiah66,8; Zechariah12,8-10, ending of time of gentiles Luke21,24)- in the latter days.
This removed Israel as biblically front and center and thus Israel no longer the cornerstone of world and salvation history- and replaced this with the philosophical, perhpas pious but unbiblical idea of the church as the kingdom of God, and thus the new center of world and salvation history.
In effect, o my, this philosophical doctrine also presupposed that the Roman church, having parsed Jesus of too much of His Jewishness, and thus made scripture too philosophical, was still to be the gateway for any individual and group salvation of Israel, rather than affording Israel the status of a still elect covenanted people worthy of God's future and full and saving attention in and of themselves.
Secondly, the church as kingdom of God minimized any sustained resurge of the fallen Western part of the Roman empire- (the not yet, but soon to be Holy Roman empire), for if the Roman church was the rightful earthly ruler of the kingdom of God, who or what could prevent the church from becoming the Holy Roman Empire, a complete and total state religion and religious empire, in which it calls all the shots on earth.
This doctrine of church as Kingdom, and later Holy Roman Empire, is likely the source of the RCC's non biblical over confidence in itself and its Tradition regardless of the whole Word of God, regardless of the unmistakeable biblical promises to Israel of a literal kingdom- regardless of the blessed resurge of biblical prophesy and biblical scholarship.
Whereas, Jesus told his supporters, fellow Jews, to pay their taxes to Rome, to secular governments, ie to stay separated in holiness from them, from the nations, Matthew22,21. This was and is still today the biblical teaching for the gentile church "for salvation is from the Jews" (John4,22). He never planned that the church would become the Roman state religion in the early fourth century, and then a Roman state empire shortly thereafter, a Roman based worldwide Holy Roman Empire, with church and state all in one. This is to say we Christian gentiles were to stay loyal only to Jesus alone as king, not to any state religion or any combined political-religious empire.
Paul and John the Revelator taught the same thing: 2Corinthians6,17: "Wherefore come out from among them. Be ye separate..."; Revelation18,4: "Come out of her..." ie Babylonian religious-political empire and, or its worldly customs.
In fact, our real NT biblical roots and tradition are reflected in 1Peter chapters 1 and 2. These remind us Christian gentiles, mere gentiles, are now one with our brother and sister fulfilled Jewish Christians- fellow sojourners and strangers of the "dispersion" (ESV, NB Jewish terms! Explaining Jewish based biblical concepts! Explaining who we all are as Christians!) in exile, in Babylon, ie among his chosen tribes, in the world, sharing the same faith as God's mutual blessed elect.
Thus, we gentiles are so blessed as to share in our one royal (1Peter2,5 and 9) good news, God made, universal, Jew and gentile priesthood (fulfilling Exodus19,6), those made holy, and humble and worthy by the blood of the lamb who would inherit the earth, and live under our real king and real Lord, Jesus, ruling messiah of the Jews and of all nations, ruling from Israel no less!
Oh glory! 2Peter2,10 We [gentiles] who were "no people" are now God's people [along with our Jewish brothers and sisters in the faith!].
What And Where Are Our Roots Are Not
These are our biblical roots not in the Roman state religion, and empire, and territorial and hierarchical bishops, but the Lord's fellow sojourners, grafted into his tribes, all holy priests, offering 'spiritual sacrifices' by faith, acceptable by his shed blood to our Lord Jesus!
Anglican scholar Allen Brent in 1999 writes a book, "The Imperial Cult As Development of Chruch Order" (Brill). He posits that since both the church and the Roman empire- lived in the same social-political-religious-cultural matrix- that right from the start they each tried to "take over and refashion conditions of the jurisdiction of each other's social and political existence." (p.10) In other words, the Roman secular empire and the initial church right from the start were gaming each other's strengths and weaknesses, each trying to further its own cause, by copying their opponents strength and capitalizing on their weaknesses.
Applying Brill's insight, we can see that many in the early church likely looked with envy on the territorial and hierarchical order and unified political and tax prowess of the Roman Empire, while the empire and the Imperial Caesars must have marvelled at the church's unified devotion to the one God of the bible. I have not read Brents' book in its entirety, only certain initial chapters on books.google.com. Please forgive me- it retails for $257- and only slightly less used. But this borrowing from, or gaming of the empire, by the church is most easily seen by the monarchic sense of territorial and hierachical bishops and the enforced control and unity of the same. But Jesus had already taught not to do this. Mark9,38-39: John asked Jesus "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us. 39 Do not stop him Jesus said. 'For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me.' "
The ambition of both church and empire to game and copy the other party's strengths (such as the empires hierarchy) is also is clearly evident in the processional aspect (Brent p. 73) of Ignatius' martyrific trek from Antioch to his death in Rome. Brent apparently writes according to the idea that Ignatius' letters are in fact hisotorical. On this early second century trek Ignatius purportedly wrote seven letters, six to important churches on his way from his home church in Antioch, and one letter to the great Jewish believer and great man of God Polycarp, who was also martyred about fifty years after Ignatius.
As a faithful Christian I am thankful to the martyrs past present and future in the body of Christ. So Thank you Ignatius for your faith example and service. But like John Calvin- no uncharitable hot head- I don't think Ignatius wrote these letters. He perhaps inspired them, but they read to me as very composed doctrinaire Romanism with very little Holy Ghost Inspiration. They read like later catechisms espousing hierarchy, and the territoriality that goes along with it. They read like the thinly veiled apologia of African Bishop Cyprian who wrote in the middle of the 3rd century "The Church is the people united to its Priests, the flock adhering to its shepherd." (Epist.66,8) They read like saint making, hagiography of Ignatius, who must outshine all other early Christians because of his perfectly composed hierarchical and eucharistic Roman doctrine.
The author of these letters portrays Ignatius not so much as a holy individual from Antioch but more like a later monarchical supervisory bishop, a dignitary orchestrating a procession, visiting and teaching the provincial churches, not an early second century local managing pastor in Antioch about to take leave of His earthly existance. The point of the letters seems to be that the Bishop of Antioch going to his martyrdom in Rome must be fully recognized and teach all the churches on the way to Rome from Antioch before he dies. Thus, he ends his life, but not before he makes a well planned hierarchical pastoral sweep complete with doctrinaire flourish for the sake of lasting church order and posterity. The tacit idea seems to be as John the Revelator's words and Jesus' words therein are for seven churches of Asia Minor, so Ignatius' seven letters are to be for the whole church. But praise Jesus, the biblical faithful of all time, including Roman catholics, of the early centuries never let go of the precious inerrant words of the book of Revelation, which had a mighty and long struggle to become part of the church canon, but prevailed as the last book of all our beloved bible.
Jacob Latham writes a book that like Brent also opens wide our understanding of religions in the Greco Roman world: "Imperial Cult And Pompa Circensis" "Performance, Memory, And Processions In Ancient Rome" Cambridge c. 4 2016 p.106, accessed via google.com As far as I know, again I have only read relevant parts, Latham was not talking about Ignatius or his letters in this book but he talks about the Circus Parade into the forum as "performed theology", (p.45). The subjects of these processions varied- from devotees of the traditional Roman gods, the Imperial Ceasars, or others. As Marshall McLuhan knew the medium is the message, and medium of spectacle and sight in Greco Roman processions is where the power of them resided. The letters attrbuted to Ignatius about his travel to Rome seem to be like the next best thing to such a procession, ie the written chronicle of a rich story of performative theology, ie saint making, and memory making, doctrine making via Roman Tradition making, with a capital "T."
Section 81 of the C.C.C 1997 in relevant part teaches that "Holy Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God..." and Section 82 reads in its relevant part "Both scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."
The letters have three main Traditional themes:
1. routine catechetical matters about unity and in the bishop and obedience to the Bishop;
2. receiving delegations often headed by Bishops from the various churches who travel to pay Ignatius a sort of homage
as if he is then and there supervising them (which is a much later historical reality);
3. Over the top honors for all the bishops, such as in the letter to the Magnesians: the Bishop presides in the "place of God and the presbyters in the place of the council of the Apostles..." (6,1)
Likewise the good folks of Ephesus were "obliged to look upon the bishop as the Lord himself." (6,1 B. Erhman trans., Harvard Press as found in "The New Testament And Other Early Christian Writings" 2nd Ed. Oxford, 2004.
This doctrinal hierarchy of Christendom is sourced at Ignatius' letters, which became the defining Tradition of Roman Catholicism and much of all Christianity- which became almost solely focused on the office of ruling pastor, to the exclusion of prophets, apostles, evangelists and all deacons who also have legitimate offices in the church. (Ephesians4,10)
But with the explosion of good bible teaching in the last 100 years, we are all more aware of our Jewish roots and all that the bible says and doesn't say. And many modern Christians are now slowly but surely recognizing that this type of Western religious hierarchy and Tradition does not fit the governance pattern of our Eastern conciliar Prophet, Savior, Lord and King, Jesus ha Mashiach, King of the Jews, who chose a group of 12 Jewish Apostles, twelve brothers, to lead his Church."
Matthew23,1 "Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:"
v. 8 "But you are not to be called 'rabbi' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father' for you have one Father and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher'; for you have one teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant." Matthew23,8-10 NIV stdy '95
At Mark7,13 (about honoring father and mother as opposed to extra vows, extra offerings, Corban, to the temple that violated commandment to honor father and mother), Jesus tells us that such non biblical religious teachings nullify the Word of God, ie nullify the ever living and active, eternal prophetic Word of God of both testaments, which is our true and precious heritage as Christians (who received our salvation from the Jews per John4,22):
"Thus you nullify the Word of God by your tradition, that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
Better the brotherly church governance rules and values of a Eastern prophet and servant King from our bible, from the roots of our entire bible, than Tradition as if made canonical by Western hierarchical religious and political organizations, that took Christianity away from its Word based roots and toward new and non biblical traditions of men.
Our ever living Judeo Christian faith roots are best found and are most clearly seen in the prophetic goodnews of both testaments of the bible, especially the goodnews of the literal promise of the Kingdom of God from Israel, to be enjoyed by all the 'Holy Ones" from the one people of God, faithful Jew and Gentile!
Alfred Loisy In Late 19th Century Sets The Record Straight As To Jesus' Biblical Expectation Of Literal Millennial Kingdom Administered From Zion
It wasn't until the late 19th century that bible scholar Alfred Loisy debunked this non biblical idea of church as the kingdom of God current since 410 AD. Loisy had plainly read the New Testament and saw that Jesus expected, and taught, a soon arriving literal kingdom from Israel (see HCBD, Achtemeir ed. "Kingdom of God" and Loisy is supposed to have dryly remarked. "Jesus expected the kingdom and what he got was the church.")
So after replacement theology and it's legacy of the church as kingdom, the legacy of church as kingdom was the Holy Roman Empire administered by the church. Despite these unbilical legacies many Christians with the rise of dispensationalism (God deals in different ways with different people groups at different times of sacred history according to the fullness of his sovereign Word) in the last approximately 200 years have now come back to believing the specific literal millennial prophecy of Revelation 20,1-6- which is expressed in many ways throughout the entire scriptures. This millennial reign was delayed by Jesus' surprising death and surprising delay in freeing Israel from so many foreign occupiers, yet it is to be literally fulfilled in historical time, as a fulfilled literal prophecy that is unmistakably tied to physical Israel and to Jesus Himself as Israel's national messiah who will returm to save his first and still elect people, Israel, and everybody else of faith too.
Therefore, ZPM wants to inspire such bible based prophecy and be a part in teaching the mainstream body of Christ about the immense prophetic role that Israel plays in our shared future. Our teaching is for people who want to get biblically rooted again in a holy Zion based prophetic biblical faith- like in the Book of Acts and on the day of Pentecost, and get back to the initial gospel proclamation and devoted unified worship and fellowship as in Jerusalem post Pentecost- and according to the entire Book of Revelation which reveals that so many of the literal prophetic events of the entire bible are yet to come true.
LOVE ISRAEL BECAUSE FUTURE OF CHURCH TOO IS ALSO REIGN FROM ZION
Part of this interest in the root among the branches is an amazing love for Israel after we, the branches, realize that God still loves them, the root (Romans 11,12), and that political Zionism saved them in 1948 and Jesus' Zionism will save them in the end! Yes we at ZPM love Israel and we love Zion. We will love them and stand by them as God gives them a second shot at salvation. Zechariah12,10: "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look upon me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child."
When Israel turns in salvation their faith will be capped off with our mutual Jewish and gentile reign with Jesus for a 1000 years (Revelation20,1-6). As you might have gathered by now there are two contrasting endpoints of humanity's redemption. Christendom, seeks its redemption in heaven (CCC 769 "The Church receives its perfection in heaven." LG 48) based on Augustine's doctrine of church as spiritual Kingdom of God (City of God 18 and 51, church on a heavenly pilgrimage, n. 180 of CCC 769ff footnote 180, p. 202). Whereas, the Jewish and Gentile faithful receive the fulfillment of our redemption, of our Zion pilgrimage, in the millennial rule from Zion as lead by Jesus, Lord of Lord, king of kings, savior of all, vindicator of physical Israel as promsied to Abraham in Genesis12 and vindicator of our word based-covenatal faith, and vindicator of his own precious shed blood.
This is bible theology for all faithful Christians and new food on God's timetable for all Christians, including our beloved neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christendom.
PSALM 87,5 PROPHESIES THAT GOD’S FINAL CHURCH- JEW AND GENTILE- IS BORN IN ZION WHICH ON FINAL PENTECOST
We also love Zion because it is the birthplace of our strongest and biblically defensible faith, not a brand named faith, not a business model, not a corporatist conquering faith of Nicolaitanism (Revelation2,6 and 15) unto less knowledge and less freedom, and less faith, but an ample all encompassing biblical faith, a Zion Pentecost (as in the fullness of the first Pentecost, not a brand name) Faith that opens our minds and spirits to the prophetic fullness of God's Word.
Unless we are born there in Zion according to the prophecy of Psalm87,5, the same place as the first Pentecost, we may not be ready to accept and understand the unbreakable connection between biblical Christianity, physical Israel, and the final, saved body of Christ which will include faithful Jews and a myriad of faithful gentiles.
For by faith in Christ we are ingrafted into the one olive tree (Romans 11,17, another symbol of Israel). Thus, we should all be ready to be born there, into great strength, and ready to actually go home to Zion, our final kingdom home, as well as home of the remnant of faithful Israel.
Psalm 87,5-6 “But of Zion it will be said, ‘Everyone was born there,’ her guarantee is the Most High. Yahweh in the register of his peoples will note against each, “Born there’, princes [non Jews] no less than native born; all make their home in you.” KJ
This faith birth in Zion is the final feast of Weeks Shu ‘vot, or Pentecost, the celebration of the end of God’s earthly harvest when all who have faith, Jew and Gentile, will bring the best of ourselves, as living offerings, as first fruits (cf Romans 11,16), to Zion and we will receive our final infilling of the Spirit, and protection of Jesus, with whom we will reign and rule, as Jesus vindicates his own shed blood that is the salvation of all humanity and the redemption of the earth!.
Yes the messianic movement of Yeshua was born at Pentecost in Jerusalem, and it will culminate with a final Pentecost, a final harvest birth (Revelation12,14 born from above through Mother Zion protected in the pre kingdom wilderness) when the truth and the Spirit will be fully realized in all believers, to the Jew first and then to the gentile.
ZPM seeks this final Zion Pentecost, brought by Jesus who will return again not just to judge the world, but to also reap the Hebrew and Christian saints of all time and those faithful Jews and gentiles of the tribulation harvest and so celebrate his earthly millennial rule from Zion. He will arrive for this judgment and celebration with his called, chosen, and faitfhul followers of Revelation17,14 and Revelation19,14, including those he raptured just prior to a seven year final tribulation 1Thessalonians4,17.
Revelation17,14: "They [Babylon's kings, and the antichrist beast] will make war against the lamb, but the lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings- and with him will be his called, chosen, and faithful followers."
ZECHARIAH AGAIN- CONNECTED TO ZION BY PENTECOST
I was connected to physical Israel when I was first baptized in water and then in the Spirit, One baptism. It was then I became a “Zionist”, just as the millennial saints will literally be "Zionists" when Jesus descends upon Jerusalem and measures (ie judges) who is within “the wall of fire,” within the Glory of God, who will receive the final blessings of a final Pentecost. Zechariah 2,4-5: "Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. 5 And I myself will be a wall of fire around it, declares the Lord, and I will be its glory within."
Oh glory! the promises of Zionism will expand to the nations, through Israel and particularly Judah, both of which belong firstly to Jesus and His first people, Zechariah2,10-11:
"Shout and be glad O daughter of Zion. For I am coming and I will live among you [Israel], declares the Lord. 11 Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you [Israel] and you will know that the Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land [ed. because his own shed blood bought it!] and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."
WITHIN THE WALLS OF ZION AT FINAL PENTECOST
Those within the wall of fire- those within the saving faith of Jesus- will be His millenial harvest, and will receive an eternal measure of God’s life and strength, another measure of power, a third baptism, a Pentecost fullness of baptism, an eternal fullness of His salvation fire, and thereby partake of eternity reigning with the messiah of Israel from Zion! It will also be another birth, into the final body of Christ, from a woman clothed with the sun, Israel, from above, our faith home and final home (Revelation12,1ff).
ZPM is for those who by faith in Jesus, messiah of Israel, have made their present faith home in Zion, who seek and receive the fullness of their one baptism (Adult water and Spirit), and their new begining and eternal Pentecost.
It is for those who want their own lives and their one church to begin again as in the book of Acts chapter 2, to begin again at the first Pentecost, as it points to our eternal, universal salvation, of Israel and all the nations, at the point where the church has the strength to give good gospel witness to all the world and to Israel as well, all the while following Jesus more closely in this present age, looking for and hungering for that final and eternal Pentecost, which will be the reign and rule with Jesus for a thousand years from Zion on earth when the Lord appears with “all the Holy ones with him” (Zechariah 14,5).
Glory! His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
Oh the glorious beauty and wisdom of God's eternal gospel (John14,6), proclaimed to the Jew first then to the Greek, to save and redeem all humanity, and prepare every tribe and nation for the Kingdom of God- literally and eternally based in Zion.
May 2008, updated October 2020.