Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Excited About Israel?
My reading and thinking is very much geared towards restoration, revival, God's ultimate purpose for His Church - His glorious Bride etc etc, so it is probably not surprising that one of the books I'm re-reading is "The Puritan Hope" by Iain Murray. What a glorious book! Suddenly we find that a positive eschatology is not unique to Newfrontiers alone! However I was reading a chapter last night and was quite surprised by a quote that Murray including from the great Puritan Richard Sibbes and his sermon, "The Bruised Reed". The quote said this:
"The faithful Jews rejoiced to think of the calling of the Gentiles, and why should we not joy to think of the calling of the Jews?".
The doctrinal background I come from has always been an assumption that Israel will be indeed grafted in at some point in a revival to the Church (Stanley Jebb, Anglia Bible Week 1983) but however I have been guilty of neglecting studying it in any depth. So I hunted down the actual sermon by Richard Sibbes in his Works, and was really impressed and excited by the fact that this great reawakening of the Jews is meant to stand as a sign for us - that when we see this day, we will know that the return of our Lord isn't far off!
John Hosier wrote extremely wisely and excellently (as per usual) on this, noting that we must not treat this subject fatalistically, or allow it to become one of our primary doctrines - rather we must "actively and passionately involved in preaching the gospel and planting churches across the world" - and that includes Israel!
Yet I think that he would agree with this quote by Sibbes, that it is a subject we can allow ourselves to get excited about!