In our previous article, Bible Reading; as a Hebrew or a Greek? we looked at the effects on the Church of Rome, and henceforth the effects on the Church in much of Christendom, as a result of the expulsion of the Jews from Rome and their subsequent loss of leadership positions in the First Century Church of Christ. This history apart, we need to see this change in line with the perspective that the Jews were and are still, God’s chosen people, and Israel, is His chosen land.
The Jewish nation vanished from the world scene following the defeat of the Great Jewish Revolt in the year 70AD and of Bar Kokhba’s revolt against Rome in 135AD. This final revolt notably contributed to the Diaspora, as many Jews were scattered after losing control over Judea, or were sold into slavery throughout the Roman Empire. Then God brought Israel back to life and reinstated it, in 1948, breathing life into the words of Isaiah 66:8 “Will the earth be brought forth in one day? Or will a nation be born at once?”
Thus, when reading Bible commentaries written before about 1970, especially those on end-times prophecy and the Book of Romans, we need to be aware that these writers could not possibly have imagined, nor did imagine, that Israel would be brought back to life. The clock for the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel and the end-times, such as in the Book of Daniel, simply stopped for some two thousand, and in 1948, or as some argue, 1967, when Israel regained Jerusalem, the clock started again.
If we now look at the present position of the Jews in the world, we see without doubt, the Jews are still God’s chosen people, and Israel, His chosen land.
As Steven Silbiger says in his book “The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People“:
“For Jews, wealth is a good thing, a worthy and respectable goal to strive toward. What’s more, once you earn it, it is tragic to lose it. Judaism has never considered poverty as a virtue. The first Jews were not poor, and that was good. The Jewish founding fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were blessed with cattle and land in abundance. Asceticism and self-denial are non Jewish ideals. With your financial house in order, it is easier to pursue your spiritual life.”
This view of life and money and wealth is about the polar opposite of the humble and pious Christian tradition and the Christian view of wealth.
Looking at Church history as I do through the eyes of European, and with nudges of understanding from the Holy Spirit, I aver that the Dark Ages in Europe from the 5th to the 15th Century, had a major role in developing this Christian mindset. Some have argued, quite reasonably, that a Spirit of Poverty came upon the Church during this period, a spirit which still hold sway on most of the Church today. Until the Church and Christians are delivered from this Spirit of Poverty, they argue that we, the Church, cannot come into our full blessings of the Lord. I agree with this position, especially after looking at the accomplishments of Christian nations in the world, when compared to non-Christian, and in particular, to the Jewish nation.
However, for born-again Christians, Romans 12:2 gives us the means of changing our circumstances as it instructs us saying:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.”
How do we do this? We start thinking like a Hebrew, not a Greek. We start taking on a Jewish or Hebraic mindset, which is based on Godly teachings and Godly ways, and turn away from a worldly Greek mindset based on self and ego.
Looking at Judaism with the help of the internet, it is easy to compile comparative statistics to see how much better God’s people fare, compared to those still encamped with the enemy. In particular we can see how the Jews, God’s chosen, compare with the rest of the world. Such a comparison gives us hope. Hope, because we too can change ourselves to a great extent and aligned with the perfect will of God.
Given that Jews comprise only 1/4 of 1% (13 million) of the world’s population (6 billion) and that 99+% of the world is non-Jewish, the list of accomplishments by Jews is impressive:
- Of the some 700 Nobel prizes awarded, 166+ have been won by Jews, more than any other ethnicity and 40x more than should be expected based upon population size. They also comprise 27% of Nobel physics laureates and 31% of medicine laureates.
- Jews make up 0.2 per cent of the world population, but 54% of the world chess champions.
- By comparison, the global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000, or 20% of the world population and from 1901-2006 received 13 Nobel prizes in total.
From an American perspective:
- Jews make up 2% the US population, but 21% of Ivy League student bodies, 26% of Kennedy Centre honourees, 37% the Academy Award-winning directors, 38% of those on any Business Week list of leading philanthropists and 51% Pulitzer Prize winners for non-fiction.
- Comprise 45% of the top 40 of the Forbes 400 richest Americans.
- Comprise 20% of professors in leading universities.
- Comprise 40% of partners in leading Washington DC and New York legal firms.
- Comprise 25 % of all American Nobel laureates.
- Comprise less than 0.1% of prison inmates.
Seeing the position of God’s chosen people in perspective, and bearing in mind that as God has said on more than one occasion, “They have rejected Me” (First Samuel 8:7), we see that obviously God still has a heart for His people and despite everything else, the Hebrew mindset is God’s mindset. The Greek mindset which we possess and under which the Church generally operates, is not.
One final example of how I believe our Greek mindset has led us astray from the true path and will of God for Christians and for the Church of Christ, is what Ed Silvoso, author of Anointed for Business, calls “The Four Lethal Misbeliefs.” These are beliefs held to be true in the Church, which he believes have deprived the Body of Christ its right relationship between Church ministry and business. As was explained in the previous post, work = worship. This mean that for the true believer, there is no difference in working for a living in business or in Church ministry, for both are and should be, praise offerings and worship to our Glorious God. Silvoso’s Four Lethal Misbeliefs state:
- There is a God-ordained division between clergy and laity.
- The Church is called to operate primarily inside a building referred to as a temple.
- People involved in business cannot be as spiritual as those serving in traditional Church ministry.
- The primary role of marketplace Christians is to make money to support the vision of those “in the ministry.”
There misbeliefs are unbiblical and supported only by a wrong Greek mindset. If we read and study the Bible, we find abundant confirmation of this view. “The Kingdom of God is in your midst,” as Luke 17:21 says, is a position confirmed in First Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Obviously in this case, all are equal before God for He indwells equally in all His subjects.
Let nothing here, however, lead you to believe that God has not chosen special individuals for His own purposes. He has, and He as anointed them with special spiritual gifts and offices. I believe the correct view of these gifts and offices is that they can be held and operated in, equally well, outside Church ministry: i.e. in Marketplace ministry. I believe these ‘higher’ callings which we see, are equally appropriate to Christians serving God in business and in the marketplace and they should not be belittled, because they earn a salary. The biblical truth seems to be that these callings are not higher, but alternative to. Both are equal and both glorify God, who grants them.
Amen and Amen.