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Jews, Conversion of.

Conversion of Jews as a nation has been taught in connection with millenarian hopes (see Millennium). The claim is based on Ro 11:15–29. Advocates of the theory hold that Paul asserts and proves from OT prophecies that a final and universal conversion of the Jews will occur; that such OT prophecies as Is 11:11–12; 59:20; Jer 3:17; 16:14–15; 31:31; Eze 20:40–44; Hos 3:4–5; Jl 3:1–17; Am 9:11–15; Zch 10:6–10; 12:10; 14 must be taken literally; that the entire territory promised to Abraham has not been fully possessed by his descendants (hence the prophecies in Gn 15:18–21; Nm 34:6–12; Eze 47 must refer to the millenial reign of Christ, with Jews occupying the land described); and that the Jews, though scattered among the nations, have been preserved as a separate people for the purpose of constituting a distinct people during Christ's reign on earth.

Opponents of the theory hold that literal interpretation of the OT prophecies cited is untenable, since such interpretation, to be consistent, must be literal in all its parts. This literalism would imply that David will reign in person in Jerusalem, Eze 37:24; that the Levitical priesthood will be restored and bloody sacrifices offered to God, Jer 17:25–26; that Jerusalem must be the center of govt., and all worshipers must come monthly and from Sabbath to Sabbath, from the ends of the earth, to worship at the Holy City, Is 2:3; Zch 14:16–21. The literal interpretation leads to a complete revival of the Jewish ritual which was abrogated by Christ and which is opposed to clear NT teaching. Most important, Is 10:22–23; Ro 9:27–28; 11:3–8, 25–32 refer to the elect saints in Israel, Israel acc. to the spirit, spiritual Israel. As in OT Israel only those called by grace were saved, so in NT times the chosen ones will be brought in only through the preaching of the Gospel (Ro 11:1–7). Thus such NT expressions as “Abraham's seed” and “Israel of God” (Gl 3:29; 6:16) apply to all believers in Christ, not only reconverted Jews.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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