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What Was Israel’s Hope?

Natural pool in Gan Hashlosha National Park at...

When many examine the hope of the
gospel in the scriptures, they believe
that it is a “Christian” hope.

What do I mean by that you might
ask? Don’t Christians have hope?
Well yes and no. (We’ll explain that
later, so don’t check out just yet.

The scriptures however focus primarly
on Israel’s hope. To help us understand
this we’’ll answer the question, what
was Israel’s hope?

Paul, a Christian said for he “hope of
Israel” he was bound with a chain for
preaching the gospel. (Acts 28:20)

From there we’ll show how this relates
to Christians. Finally we’ll discuss the
nature of that hope. That’s a lot to
cover in a brief writing as this.

There Is One Hope Ephesians 4:4

Even though the Bible teaches that
there was only one hope, it is
expressed from a multifaceted
perspective.

The best illustration I can give you
for that is Joseph’s multicolored coat.
It was one garment, yet it had many
colors.

The reason most people fail to make
the connection of the hope with Israel,
is because they only focus on one
or two of those facets.

This causes the problem of not only
failing to appreciate the true nature
of that hope, but of also displacing
Israel as the center and focus of it.

Israel’s Multifacted Hope

  • Resurrection from the dead, Acts
    24:15, Acts 26:7, 8
  • The adoption/redemption of the
    body Rom. 8:23–24
  • Transition from the Old Covenant
    to the New Covenant, 2 Cor. 3:12
  • Righteousness by faith, Gal. 5:5
  • Christ in you, Col. 1:27
  • Eternal life, Tit. 1:2
  • The glorious appearing of Christ,
    Titus 2:13
  • Entering the Presence of God
    behind the [2nd] veil, Heb. 6:19
  • Salvation of the soul, 1 Peter 1:9
  • The likeness of Christ, 1 John 3:3

The point of listing all of these is to get
before you, the multidimensions of Israel’s
one hope.

It is also to determine what was
Israel’s hope?

Lastly to emphasize the fact that
it is not several hopes, but one.

Failure to grasp this causes one to miss
and place an undo emphasis on one or
two aspects of that hope to the neglect
of others.

Without seeing this complete spectrum,
the hope is often misunderstood as
one or two of these facets to the
exclusion of others.

The net result is a hope that contradicts
other facets of that hope. It is the
equivalent of dividing a house against
itself, which of course cannot stand.

Transition from the Old to New Covenant

Let me give you an example of what I
mean. If you’ll notice in the bulleted
points above, item 3, which is the
transition from the Old Covenant to
the New Covenant.

That is clearly Israel/Paul’s hope per
2 Cor. 3:12. That means for it to be
hope, it had to be future when Paul
wrote.

Why? For hope that is “seen” i.e. already
accomplished is not hope. (Rom. 8:24, 25)

Therefore, the transition from the Old
Covenant to the New Covenant was yet
incomplete.

Now this is so critical in getting a clear
understanding of Israel’s hope. Further,
it helps to identify and clarify the meaning
of Israel’s hope in the other texts.

If we determine from the context of
2 Cor. 3, that the Old Covenant was a
ministration of death, and the new a
ministration of life, (2 Cor. 3:6–9, then
we understand what the apostles meant
when they wrote, “we know we have
passed from death unto life.’”

To be in and under the power of the
old covenant was to be under the power
of death. To be delivered from it was life
from death.

That was the hope of Israel. More pointedly
it defines and explains the resurrection of
the dead, another expression of that same
hope.

“I have hope in God which they
themselves also accept, that there will
be a resurrection of the dead…” (Acts
24:15)

The problem occurs when one attempts
to understand the concept of resurrection
without taking into consideration, its
soteriological equivalent of transition from
the old covenant to the new.

That improper methodology of approach
results in the fallacy of ascribing the
resurrection to biology.

Yet no one gets the idea of a biological
transformation when thinking of the
spiritual metamorphosis from the Old to
the New Covenant, (2 Cor. 3:18).

Rather it is covenantal change, not a
biologial reconstruction of our DNA.
Further, for the living, it did not even
require physical death.

It’s is also important to understand that
those who died prior to that covenantal
change, were yet under the powers of
that Old aeon.

Thus, they had to be redeemed from the
“transgressions” which were under the
first testament, (Heb. 9:15).

This would result in their obtaining the
“hope” of righteousness, another facet
of that hope, Gal. 5:5.

However, just as physical death was
not required of the living, physical
resurrection was not required of the
dead.

Christ in You

Let’s test this premise once more with
another facet of that hope. According
to Col. 1:27, the hope is expressed as
Christ in you.

That is the soteriological equivalent of
the transition from the old to the new
covenant.

It likewise expresses the true meaning
of resurrection from the dead. However,
does that mean we must literally and
biologically enter Christ’s body?

No, it means to enter him spiritually,
i.e. to have a saving relationship with
God, (Rom. 6:3–5; 10:9,10).

Now why does transition from the Old
Covenant to the New come into play?
It’s because salvation was of the Jews.

See other posts on this blog which
cover that topic. To argue that our
hope is future, is the equivalent of
saying believers are not “in Christ”
for that was the hope, (Col. 1:27).

The Parousia

Now for the connection between the
one hope of covenantal transformation
to the Parousia.

Working from the premise of a transition
from the Old Covenant to the New, the
scripture shows this equals the Parousia.

The transfiguration scene demonstrates
this concept. If you’ve never noticed
this before, consider that Moses and
Elijah appeared with Christ.

However, the vision ended with Moses
and Elijah, prophets of the Old Covenant
passing from the scene, leaving Christ
alone as God’s sole authoritative voice
in matters of faith.

Peter comments on this experience
also witnessed by James and John.
He says this was a vision of the
Parousia.

“For we did not follow cunningly devised
fables when we made known to you the
power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
(2 Pet. 1:16)

The word coming is translated from
Parousia, the technical term used for
the second coming.

Peter therefore says, the vision of the
passing of the prophets, i.e. the
transition from the Old Covenant to
the New Covenant is the Parousia.

Hope Deferred or Received?

In Proverbs 13:12, Solomon writes
“Hope deferred makes the heart
sick, but when the desire comes,
it is the tree of life.”

In an example from historical Israel,
during the infancy of the nation,
when in bondage in Egypt, Israel
groaned to be delivered from Pharaoah.

If that deliverance were yet future
today, it would be a “hope deferred”
and Israel’s heart would truly be sick.

Yet God delivered them, and gave
them the promised land. The fulfillment
of that desire was the proverbial,
“tree of life.”

As Solomon later writes, “A desire
accomplished is sweet to the soul.”
(Prob. 13:19).

Israel’s Hope in Christ

When the hope of Israel is seen as
the transition from the Old Covenant
to the New, it is easy to see that
it is a desire accomplished and thus
sweet to the soul.

On the other hand, if that hope is
understood as future physical events
then it not only is a contradiction
but also makes the heart sick.

It is my intent that this study
opens up a greater understanding
of the one hope.

Whatever view you have of the
hope test it through each of the
single facets of the one hope to
see whether it fits or creates a
contradition or impossiblity.

Only then can you know that it
is the hope of Israel as supported
in Scripture.

**************************
If you are open to learning more about
Christ’s return and the hope of Israel,
check out our most recent book,
The Re-Examination

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