Not Rebuilding Jerusalem
What about us today? Many of us, who were never under Law, are likewise reaching back to those “weak and beggarly elementary things” and choosing to slave for them. So we ask, are we today seeking to rebuild the Jewish system by reviving its mundane earthly promises? If we are, we are blinding ourselves:
“But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:14-17
For example, in establishing the hope for mankind, some choose the Jewish idea of an earthly paradise over the heavenly hope. They look to the prophesies of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel and the Psalms, completely ignoring the Christian writings from Matthew to Jude, and then latching onto the prophetic signs of Revelation.
They completely ignore Jesus’ repeated statements that he came to reveal God as a Father (Matthew 11:27), that we are God’s sons (Matthew 6:9-15), that we are to follow Christ into the heavens, and that Christ is preparing a place for us in the Heavenly Kingdom. (John 14:1-6). They further ignore Paul’s statements that we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom (Philippians 3:20), aliens and temporary residents on earth (1 Peter 2:11), and have an incorruptible inheritance in the heavens (1 Peter 1:4).
Clearly, all the Jewish promises for an earthly paradise are elementary and not the type of life sons of the kingdom are to strive for. For when we choose this course, we remonstrate that “Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:21)
Few, if any, among us would accept the idea that Christ died for nothing. Yet, if we find ourselves mirroring the Jewish system, we are, in fact, declaring through our actions that we choose the weak things under law over the superlative things under spirit. When we do, we are for all intents and purposes, rebuilding Jerusalem, thus, finding ourselves in direct conflict with the Father who clearly abandoned it.
And what about our relations with our brothers and neighbors? Have we built a wall of separation between our religion and the religion of others? Do we look at other religions as heathen or pagan? Have we developed a sort of national pride in our religion? Do we choose to imitate the fiery prophets of Israel, pronouncing judgment on those who we believe are disapproved, rather than the mild and loving message of reconciliation? (2 Corinthians 5:18) Have we added burdensome rules of conduct that dominate our personal and social life beyond what is written? Have we allowed the interpretations of “Rabbis” to overstep the Bible’s message? Have we allowed our beliefs to crystalized and fossilize to the point where we cannot receive the gospel of religious freedom and spiritual liberty as sons of God?
If so, we need to readjust ourselves in accord with the spirit – “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Since the Father abandoned the Jewish system of things, we have an obligation to likewise let go. We see the Jewish system as partial, a shadow, a prototype, a typical representation, but not our exemplar, and not the fulfillment. Christ is the fulfillment.