God has worked with Israel and the church simultaneously in the past. I described three prophecies that were given to Israel, and about Israel, that have been fulfilled in the past during the church age. The point of this was two-fold: (1) to demonstrate that God does indeed work with Israel and the church at the same time, and (2) to show that it is inconsistent to claim that Daniel’s seventy-weeks prophecy made to Israel excludes the church from being on earth during the final seven years of that prophecy.
The first prophecy examined was the new covenant prophecy, which was predicted in Old Testament through the prophecy Jeremiah:
“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the LORD. “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the LORD. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the LORD. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34)
Notice this passage says that the covenant was made with “the people of Israel and Judah.” It was not made with the church, but we learn in the New Testament that the benefits have been extended to Gentiles who are not part of Israel. The church is governed under the new covenant. The point here is that if pretribulationists want to be consistent they must insist that the church cannot be a part of the new covenant by virtue of the Jewish new covenant being made with Israel, which was prophesied in the Old Testament. They end up possessing one interpretative standard for Daniel’s seventy-weeks prophecy and a different one for Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy. To put it another way, they take the fuller New Testament revelation into consideration for the new covenant prophecy applying both to Israel and the church, but they will not do the same for the Daniel seventy-weeks prophecy limiting its application only to Israel. They claim that because Daniel’s prophecy says it was made to Israel, and about Israel, therefore it can only be applicable for Israel, even excluding the church from being on earth being raptured before the seven-year period begins. Yet, my counter example about Jeremiah’s prophecy to Israel renders the pretrib hermeneutic flawed. Therefore, it is inconsistent to claim that the new covenant made to Israel is applied to the church, while at the same time claim that Daniel’s seventy-weeks prophecy made to Israel is not applied to the church.
The second Old Testament prophecy highlighted that was given to Israel is found in the book of Joel:
After all of this I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; your young men will see prophetic visions. Even on male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth– blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the LORD comes– that great and terrible day! (Joel 2:28–31)
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in the context of Israel and beginning of the church age. Preaching at Pentecost, Peter proclaims:
But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (Acts 2:16–21)
Peter applies the Old Testament prophecy from the prophet Joel, what was originally given to Israel, and shows that it has been fulfilled in the context of Israel and the primitive church. The first members of the church were Jews, Jesus’s disciples and Jews at Pentecost. The church, of course, is not Israel, or vice versa. The point is that it is a false dichotomy to think that certain Old Testament prophecies given to Israel have no application to the church simply because they were given to Israel as was demonstrated above with the example of the new covenant prophesied in Jeremiah. This prophecy was given by Joel to Israel and fulfilled in the context of Israel and the new church. We could say the same thing about a number of Old Testament prophecies. It should be clarified again that since these events were prophesied originally to Israel, the church is not “replacing” Israel. Instead, the application of the prophecy is being extended to the believing Gentiles in the church, because Joel’s prophecy of the coming of the Holy Spirit extends to believing Gentiles.
The third Old Testament prophecy I commented on was a prophecy that Jesus predicted about the judgment on Israel. Before the death of Jesus, which was still the Old Covenant dispensation, a prophecy was given to Israel that predicted God would judge Jerusalem with destruction, including its temple:
Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings. And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down! (Matt 24:1–2)
For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you–you and your children within your walls–and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God. (Luke 19:43–44)
When did this prophecy to Israel concerning Israel become fulfilled? It took place in AD 70 during the church age! It is inconsistent for pretribulation theology to maintain that since the seventy-weeks prophecy in Dan 9:24–27 given to Israel concerning Israel, requires the church to be absent from earth. Rather, here is a clear example where God works with both Israel and the church at the same time. The pretrib assumption, that the church must be raptured before the last seven-year period because Daniel’s prophecy was given to Israel, has been shown to be inconsistent and deeply erroneous. It is cherry-picking.
In summary, these three biblical examples illustrate that God has dealt in the past with Israel and the church simultaneously: (1) Jeremiah prophesied to Israel about the new covenant that he would make with Israel, which the church would be included in its benefits. (2) Joel made a prophesy that was originally given to Israel, fulfilled in the context of both Israel and the church. (3) Jesus made a prophesy to Israel and about Israel, which would be fulfilled during the church age in AD 70. These three biblical Old Testament dispensational prophecies contradict the pretrib teaching that claims Daniel’s seventieth week prophecy cannot happen during the church age by virtue of it being prophesied for Israel. The three Old Testament prophecies address above were prophesied to Israel and fulfilled during the church dispensation. The pretrib interpretive framework is inconsistent and deeply flawed.