Israel according to the Book of Hebrews and the General Epistles

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Dr. Evans, in his chapter Israel according to the Book of Hebrews and the General Epistles, seeks to show how ethnic Israel is the primary audience for both the General Epistles and the book of Hebrews. He begins his discussion with an overview of the authorship of each. While the authorship of Hebrews is uncertain, the book clearly has a Jewish author. Although scholarship debates the authorship of the other General Epistles (James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude), there is strong evidence for Jewish authorship and they represent “important themes in early Jewish messianic theology.”

Israel in Luke – Acts

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Dr. Bock, in his chapter The People, the Land and the Future of Israel in Luke–Acts, illustrates how Luke gives Israel a continuing role in God’s plan of redemption. The chapter examines common Christian perceptions of Israel, specifically the belief that the Church is the New Israel. Bock presents compelling evidence to show that Luke’s writings are critical in forming a Christian view of Israel. Luke originally penned his works to “legitimize the inclusion of Gentiles in an originally Jewish movement as part of God’s plan.” The arrival of God’s Spirit initiates a new era, but Luke’s message shows how the Church is in continuity with Israel’s promised hope. As Bock reiterates, the inclusion of the Gentiles does not require the exclusion of the Jewish people. In fact, the inclusion of both has always been part of His plan.

Israel according to the Gospels

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Dr. Wilkins, in his chapter Israel according to the Gospels, pays special attention to the gospel of Matthew and its presentation of the Jewish people. Wilkins suggests two unique attributes that especially add to the discussion about the future of Israel. First, Matthew emphasizes both the particular and universal fulfillment of prophecy. Secondly, Matthew’s gospel is a challenge, as it seems to be both positive and negative towards the Jewish people.

The People and Land of Israel in Jewish Tradition

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Dr. Michael Brown, in his chapter The People and Land of Israel in Jewish Tradition, focuses on the more traditional Jewish view of the Jewish people’s relationship to the land of Israel. Although the land was “inhabited by giants” prior to Israel’s conquest of Canaan, it was also “flowing with milk and honey.” Brown suggests that the land is so important in Jewish tradition it is simply referred to it as “the Land.”

Israel according to the Writings

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Dr. Kaiser, in his chapter Israel according to the Writings, continues Dr. Merrill’s trajectory established in the five books of Moses by turning to the portion of Scripture known as the “Writings.” This refers to the third division of the Hebrew Bible; the Torah, the Prophets (Nebi’im) and the Writings (Kethubim). The “Writings” applies to thirteen books in the Hebrew Bible. According to Kaiser, God’s redemptive story in the Writings begins with a Moabite woman, Ruth, setting the stage for the creation of a Davidic dynasty described in 2 Samuel 7:8–17.