The Bible is not only about Messiah but about Israel too (2/2)



Harald Eckert

Reading the Scriptures in Hebrew. Photo AFP, Yehuda Raizner

There is a second dimension in God’s redemption. Along Jesus’s death, there is the plan with Zion and the Jewish people, says Harald Eckert in response to Steven Paas.

Harald Eckert

God’s redemptive master plan for mankind is two-dimensional. There is the soteriological dimension for Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 1,16) based on faith in the Messiah Jesus. And there was (and still is) the dimension of blessing or curse for the nations about Israel.

The second dimension has been widely ignored, misunderstood, or misinterpreted in the background of centuries of replacement theology, especially in the Western church. This has been a seedbed for Christian Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism both within the Catholic world as well as within the Protestant (especially the Lutheran) world.

For this reason, we, as “Western” Christians, must be very careful not to continue in the face of growing anti-Semitism today with the fateful mindsets of the past, which often contributed to a history of Jew-hatred and persecution, especially in Europe.

In response to the theses of Steven Paas in his document “The Bible is about the Messiah, not about Israel”, let me answer by his headlines, but this time including the second dimension, Israel: as a blessing in past, present and future, according to the Bible.

Israel and the church

From a Biblical perspective, the modern state of Israel is, first of all, the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. In numerous ways, the prophets speak about the eschatological global return of the Jewish people, the restoration of the land of Israel and God’s redemptive purposes for Jerusalem (Jeremiah 31 and Ezechiel 36 being two out of many).

Even Jesus, in His end-time prophecy, speaks at one point of the restoration of Jerusalem coming back under Jewish sovereignty (Luke 21,24) before His second coming. And towards the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks about the healing of the nations (Revelation 22,1-3) and His identity as the “Root and the Offspring of David (!)” (NIV), emphasising the unity of Old Testament and New Testament line of redemption in two dimensions – the individual level and the nations.

Worldwide mission

In the letter to the Romans (9-11), Paul explains how both soteriological and covenantal theology go hand in hand. Paul exhorts global Christianity to “not become arrogant” (Romans 11,18) and to seek to understand the “mystery” (11,25) concerning the fact that His “gifts and callings” toward Israel are irrevocable (11,29). In this context, Paul clarifies that “… until the full number of the gentiles. And so, all Israel will be saved…”.

The completion of the world mission and the salvation of Israel in God’s redemptive master plan finally go together.


Boy supporting Israel. Photo EPA, Robert Ghement

Christians who one-sided reject or deny God’s ongoing faithfulness towards His covenant loyalty with Israel and the corresponding fulfilment of prophecy towards Israel, the Jewish people and Jerusalem are in danger of continuing the faithful history of replacement theology.

Redemption is two-dimension, including the sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God for the eternal salvation of every human soul and, simultaneously, bringing His covenantal promises towards the Jewish people and towards “Zion” to full completion.

As believers in the Jewish Messiah Jesus, Jews and non-Jews alike, are co-responsible to live out, teach and undergird the two-dimensional masterplan of redemption for the church, Israel, the nations and the world.

Harald Eckert (MA Phil) from Munich, Germany, is author of several books (in German) and has been for many years board member and president of the board of “European Coalition for Israel”.



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