Hermeneutics Consistency

I am struck by the fact that many Christians do not read their Bible consistently.  That is, they have a dual hermeneutic – one for the New Testament, but a different one for the Old Testament. In particular, when many interpreters come to passages about the promises to Israel about a future land and kingdom, they all of sudden abandon any straightforward assessment of the words in the text and opt for some non-textual understanding. Let me challenge you to read two passages: Amos 9:11-15 and Romans 8:28-39.  I am going to highlight a small portion of each here:

Amos 9:15 “I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God.Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Romans passage closes out a section that gives a tremendous and beautiful promise about the security of Christian believers. We take the words at face value, and we cherish every word. Should we not do the same in the last verse of the prophet Amos — take every word at face value and cherish it? The passage teaches that the nation of Israel will one day be in its land never to be removed again. Such a teaching has long term implications for how we handle the biblical promises to Israel. In the future, Israel will turn to the Lord in its ultimate spiritual as well as national restoration (Ezekiel 36-48, Romans 9-11). Consistent hermeneutics abandons the dual hermeneutic that separates the testaments and believes what God says about both Israel and the Church.

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