Mar 22, 2019

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XVI. Introduction

This section seeks to focus on the reasons why prayer is needed for Israel and why intercession on its behalf is scriptural even with regard to the national and generational sins of the past. The topics of confession, repentance and reconciliation on a corporate level in recent years have gained increasing attention and prophetic significance. At the same time, however, many believers ask critical questions like 'Why should I feel responsible for sins which I have never committed?' or 'Why should we ask God for forgiveness for sins which others committed in times long past?' Does the Bible really have any answers to questions of corporate responsibility that could be valid for us today? It may need to be stated that if an exact parallel in the Bible cannot be found in relation to specific problems of today's world and ways to solve them, this is no reason for not looking for relevant scriptural principles. Otherwise Scripture would have no answer for instance to abortion or drugabuse.

The fact that there is "no explicit call addressed to the first Christians to confess the faults of the past" does not mean that intergenerational sin, indentification with those who committed such sin and corporate confession and repentance are out of place in New Testament times. The New Testament presupposes that which has been revealed in the Old (XVI.A.2, XVI.A.4) even if it does not repeat it explicitely (for instance God's continued covenantal relationship with the people of Israel as a national entity and the validity of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or King David).

There is no change in God's character (XVI.A.1) nor in the fact of man's sinfulness (whether this is due to personal sin or to solidarity with humanity's sinfulness) although compared with the provisions of the Old Testament it is now the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ the Messiah who was revealed as God's provison for the forgiveness of sin and the way to reconciliation and restoration. Individual and generational sin (XVI.A.5, XVI.A.6), individual and corporate responsibility (just like conditional and non-conditional covenantal promises, see IV.B.3.d.xiv/xv) coexist in complementary, not contradictory manners. In God's view there is not only personal but also collective guilt, for there is personal as well as collective responsibility. The only way of dealing with guilt is individual and corporate repentance (XVI.A.3,XVI.A.7). Crucial to it all is the Holy Spirit's ministry of guidance and conviction. (As to repentance in the sense of 'identificational repentance' see for instance www.reconcile.org and Walter C. Kaiser Jr, ed., Hard Sayings of the Bible, IVP, 1996.)

More about prayer see Prayer for Israel and Prayer for Jerusalem and many others on our Messianic links and Christian links lists. Also see 7 Reasons Why You Should Pray For Israel. Why pray for Israel?


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