Biblical theology is understanding God’s plan for His people and how it unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. I am sure that sounds like a good thing to most Christians, but I am amazed at how radically different our understandings of that plan can be. The issue I have been wrestling with over the last two years (way more than I ever wrestled with it in seminary) is: does God have a distinct plan for the nation of Israel today (or in the future) according to the Scriptures?
A dear sister of mine just passed away a couple months ago, and she had a hunch that the 144,000 in Revelation 7 were Jews, whether they believed in Jesus or not. That is an extreme case (and she does not have that hunch anymore– she can answer that better than me now), but you can see some of the spectrum of beliefs on this issue.
I have been meditating on the book of Romans the last couple years, and here are some reasons why I believe it is most biblically faithful to say that God has always had just one plan for one people, namely, the Church/Christians/the Elect:
Today I start with the first reason from Romans 1.1-3: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son…” There are so many verses like this in the NT that tell us the OT was mainly about the gospel, and mainly about Jesus. Though a shallow reading of the OT will not help you see Jesus and the gospel, that is what Paul said was promised throughout.
So many Bible teachers in America see current events “fulfilling” certain prophecies in Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. But Paul says the prophets were promising Christ and the gospel. At the very least I ask: does your understanding of the OT Prophets reflect the understanding of the NT writers?