I have run into a new group as of late called Israel Only. Israel Only is a group of Preterists that insist on four things:
- The Messiah was only for Israel.
- Only Israelites were or could be saved.
- Only Jews were under the law and thus only Jews were in need of salvation.
- Finally as Preterists they believe that all prophecies were fulfilled in 70 AD and as a result there is no possibility of salvation today.
While I’m not here to argue against Preterism, something I’m not prepared for, I am here to show how the other three points are false and why you shouldn’t believe them.
Who Was The Messiah For
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.|John 10:16
In this chapter Jesus is talking about how he’s the good shepherd who protects the flock. The flock he’s talking about initially is Israel. Then he transitions in verse 16. The “other sheep” he has are gentiles and they’re not “of this fold” or Israel. When he brings them together the “one fold” is the Church. Paul emphasized this when he said “there is neither Jew or Greek, bond or free” (Gal. 3:28). Furthermore Jesus said he died for the whole world(Jhn. 3:16) not just Israel. Therefore the Messiah is for everyone not just Israel.
Who Can Be Saved
In Acts 2:38 Peter gives the new testament plan of salvation as repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. In Acts 2:39 Peter says, “For this promise(salvation) is unto you(his Jewish audience), and to your children(the offspring of his Jewish audience), and to all(all people) that are afar off, even as many(everyone that hears the gospel) as the Lord our God shall call.” Clearly from this verse we can see that everyone who hears the gospel and responds to it has assurance of salvation. Thus this isn’t just for Israel but for all people. We can further see this in the Great Commission where Jesus says to preach the Gospel to ALL NATIONS(Matt. 28:19). Thus everyone can be saved.
Who Was Under The Law
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being done by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.| Rom. 1:18-21
Speaking of the gentiles Paul said they knew God. He said they knew two things specifically his Godhead, that he exists, and his eternal power, that he’s all powerful. They knew this from observing nature. Later on in Romans 2 when addressing the Jews Paul says, “For when Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, not having the law, are a LAW UNTO THEMSELVES: which shew the work of the law WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS, their CONSCIENCE also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another” (emphasis added). Here Paul’s says that when Gentiles do the things in the law they are a law unto themselves. He then identifies that law as being written in their hearts as their conscience. In other words everyone has the law. Why? Because everyone has a conscience. Even Gentiles, who did not live under covenant with God, had the moral laws of God written on their hearts. Furthermore they knew about God. He had revealed himself to them via creation. Thus they are just as guilty of transgressing the moral law as Jews who have the law written out for them. In other words they are equally in need of salvation as Jews.
While I’m not going to endeavor to debunk Preterism, something which I’m not prepared for, I must comment on it. Preterism is a fallacious doctrine which holds that all prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD. This goes against multiple verses that indicate a literal physical public return of Christ. Since such a return has yet to happen this means that 70 AD can’t be the fulfillment of prophecy. The rapture hasn’t happened, the return of Christ hasn’t occurred, the Antichrist hasn’t taken over, the desolation of abomination hasn’t taken place thus 70 AD isn’t the fulfillment of prophecy. It is just a partial fulfillment of some prophecy. Thus salvation is still for today.
The Messiah is for everyone, salvation is available to all, everyone is under the law, and Preterism is false.