The Character Of Israel’s Future In Light Of The Abrahamic And Mosaic Covenants -- By: Robert Vasholz
TrinJ 25:1 (Spring 04) p. 39
The Character Of Israel’s Future
In Light Of The
Abrahamic And Mosaic Covenants
Robert Vasholz is Professor of OT at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.
The long history among evangelicals on the issue of the Bible’s position on the future of ethnic Israel hardly needs to be documented.1 The number of current works on the subject shows that the issue is still unresolved. So much has been said about it that one must pause before taking up the issue again for fear of being repetitious. It is with some trepidation, therefore, that I dare to enter the fray. I do so because I sincerely believe that with regard to OT prophecies pertaining to ethnic Israel’s future, the real crux of the issue, there can be a general consensus. The issue centers on how one views OT promises with respect to the future of OT Israel. Should we expect from these promises a word-for-word correspondence (i.e., a literal fulfillment) or should we view them typologically? And are these viewpoints necessarily mutually exclusive? If the Bible does affirm a future role for Israel, does it then follow that ethnic Israel must rule over the nations from her geographic homeland either by the physical presence of her Messiah or via his elect in a dispensation other than the present one? Or do these promises find their realization solely and in a far greater sense in Christ only? As we shall see, it is this writer’s opinion that a resolution of this issue can be found through an understanding of a major and fundamental difference between the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants.
TrinJ 25:1 (Spring 04) p. 40
II. A Future For Israel?
A. New Testament Response:
The Promise In Rom 11:25–26
This paper has no meaning unless the Scriptures indicate that ethnic or unbelieving Israel is promised a future. Do the Scriptures in fact teach that there is a future role for ethnic Israel? The crux interpretum where the topic is specifically addressed is Rom 11:25–26. As Scott Hafemann has noted, “Romans 11:25–26 is the only explicit treatment of the question for the future of Israel.”2 Of particular significance here is the clause “all Israel will be saved” (NASB), and the issue is whether or not this clause is to be taken at face value. Does “all Israel” in Rom 11:25–26 refer to the elect from Israel or to unbelieving Israel? If it is not unbelieving, i.e., ethnic Israel, obviously it has little rele...
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