The National Repentance Of Israel -- By: David R. Anderson

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 11:2 (Autumn 1998)
Article: The National Repentance Of Israel
Author: David R. Anderson

The National Repentance Of Israel

David R. Anderson

Faith Community Church
The Woodlands, TX

John the Baptist had a clear, concise message to Israel: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt 3:2). Jesus had exactly the same message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). And the people responded. They came in droves from Jerusalem, Judea, and the regions around the Jordan River. But when the Pharisees and Sadducees appeared on the scene (Matt 3:7), John was not impressed: “Brood of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

If we are going to understand the meaning of repentance for the nation of Israel, we must understand the setting of John’s ministry, the meaning of the word “wrath,” and the curse Jesus placed on the generation of Jews who put Him on the cross. Once we understand the national repentance of Israel, we can also unravel the relationship between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After all, Augustine taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs during water baptism. R. Shank,1 and many others have hitchhiked on Augustine’s baptismal wagon. Do the Scriptures teach that a person receives the Holy Spirit while he is under the water or while the water is being sprinkled/poured

over him? If not, why not? Understanding the national repentance of Israel is significant for knowing when the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs. But let’s discuss one thing at a time. What was the setting of John’s ministry?

The Setting of John’s Ministry

Israel’s Covenant with Yahweh

In order to understand John the Baptist’s, Jesus’, and Peter’s national call for

Israel’s repentance, it is necessary to also understand the covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel. It began long before the covenants with Moses and Abraham. The Abrahamic Covenant was much different than the Mosaic Covenant. The latter was what M. Kline called the suzerainty-vassal treaty.2 But M. Weinfeld identified the Abrahamic Covenant as a “covenant of grant.” In his words: “Two types of covenants occur in the Old Testament: the obligatory type reflected in the Covenant of God with Israel and the promissory type reflected in the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants.”3 In contrasting the two catego...
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