Still thinking about the issues I raised regarding Christian theology and Israel. I will come back to that with a Part 3 soon.
Meanwhile, wanted to share another little gem I picked up from reading. I got this through N.T. Wright. Wright is as good a New Testament scholar as you will find. Unfortunately, he does not see a continuing role for Israel either. You might think, then, that he would not be at the top of my list. But the thing is, he is so helpful in other areas, I just cannot keep from reading his work. I highly recommend his three main books: The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God. If you read only three books on the New Testament, let it be these three. Just remember to keep Israel in the picture and not buy into the idea that after Jesus Israel is obsolete.
Having said that, here is a little gem I picked up through N.T. Wright (which he picked up from a commentary–I intended to tell you which commentary, but I cannot find my notes on that).
Luke’s gospel seems to, more than the others, emphasize Messianic banquets. That is, you will find 8 times in Luke where Yeshua is seated at a table and teaches about the kingdom of God. Sometimes he is at the table with friends and sometimes with enemies (or both).
There is a concept of a banquet in the Age to Come. It starts in Isaiah 25:6. Revelation mentions it also in 19:9. 1 Enoch 62:15 shows that in apocalyptic Judaism this was also an expectation (“They will eat and rest and rise with that Son of Man forever.”). The Essenes also emphasized Messianic banquets, holding ritual meals themselves. In 1Qsa 2:11-22 they give instructions for what the etiquette should be when eating with Messiah!
So here is he cool thing in Luke: the seventh banquet is the Last Supper/Passover and the eighth, the first of the new age, is on the Road to Emmaus.
Another cool thing: one of the Pharisees starts to get it. Seated with Yeshua and hearing his compelling teaching about the kingdom of God, the unknown Pharisee blurts out, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15).
Here is the list of Messianic banquets in Luke:
1. Luke 5:29-35 Banquet at Levi’s House
2. Luke 7:36-50 Banquet at a Pharisee’s House
3. Luke 9:12-17 Feeding the Five Thousand
4. Luke 10:38-42 Dinner at Martha and Mary’s
5. Luke 11:37-54 Another Banquet at a Pharisee’s House
6. Luke 14:1-15 A Third Banquet at a Pharisee’s House
7. Luke 22:7-23 The Last Supper/Passover
8. Luke 24:30-32 The Road to Emmaus