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Summer 2009, Vol. 6

Book Review

Sandra Teplinsky (Foreword by James Goll), Israel’s Anointing: Your Inheritance and End-Time Destiny through Israel(Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Press/Baker Book House, 2008) 224 pages

Raymond L. Gannon, Ph.D., President, Israel’s Redemption; AGUSM Missionary and AG National Representative for Jewish Ministries; Visiting Professor of Missions and Jewish Studies, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary; Director of Messianic Jewish Studies, The King’s College and Seminary

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Sandra Teplinsky, a former attorney, and her physician husband are both Messianic Jews living in Southern California.  Having been a committed Jewish believer in Jesus for decades while remaining committed to both Jewish and Christian worlds, Sandra Teplinsky offers a unique perspective on her topic, Israel’s Anointing: Your Inheritance and End-Time Destiny through Israel.

While Teplinsky brings a legal mind’s logic to her important theme, she is not a biblical exegete. Still her years of effectual ministry equip her to present God’s truth in a solid teaching and pastoral manner. More than simply a “Jewish Roots” text filled with Hebraic detail, she lays out a tender perspective on the Christian need for a proper Hebraic understanding of Scripture and for a sense of fraternity with God’s forever Chosen People. Her basic eschatology seems to approximate that of a post-tribulational dispensationalist.

The author makes a strong case for the Christian need to identify with the Jewish people, as had been the apostolic expectation from the outset of the first-century Church. Her hoped for contemporary identification has little to do with blatant Christian political support for the modern State of Israel, as traditionally Pentecostal and biblically sound as that can be. Her chief concern rather is the spiritual heritage Jews and Christians are to co-inherit and together walk out in the interests of God’s Kingdom.1

The divinely mandated unity of all God’s people, as Teplinsky notes, does not nullify God’s unique promises to “All Israel” as understood and fully embraced by patriarchs, kings, prophets, and apostles alike. She advocates a solid and legitimate Christian identification with Israel—one that must appreciate the partnership God has always intended for the two whom Jesus’ cross has made into “One New Man.”2

Tracking related themes in the Hebrew Bible, Teplinsky inspires fresh devotion to intimacy with Christ through a creative look at the Song of Solomon. She also offers a fresh and insightful investigation into the relationship between Ruth and Naomi to illustrate the proper attitudes and commitments Christians need to be exercising toward the kinsman-redeemer nation as well as proper Jewish behavior toward faithful Christians. According to the author, such divinely mandated reciprocity leads to global redemption.

Teplinsky also points out the biblical significance of the Sabbath and decries modern abuse or total neglect of the one-day-in-seven principle God allowed humankind for proper rest and private devotion. The Sabbath was not based upon the Torah, God’s constitutional guideline for ancient Israelite polity in the Promised Land, but established upon God’s celebrated resolve to cease from creative activity. Christians, suggests Teplinsky, would do well to follow the biblical pattern, not out of any need to keep Jewish legal codes but to capitalize upon the restorative season God provides all.

Teplinsky, however, cannot support traditional Christian lawlessness (antinomianism). While Christians are not responsible to strictly adhere to Israel’s God-issued national constitution (Torah), to not avail one’s self of the God-given principles revealed in Torah is irresponsible. Lovers of God will surely scrutinize the Scriptures to discover God’s perspective on holy living and thereby use Torah to help inform one’s own commitment to holiness. The same Holy Spirit inspired the Torah and Paul’s epistles. In their pursuit of holiness Christians are subject to the “Law of the (same) Spirit.”

In her chapter on “Messianic Justice,” Teplinsky addresses the pros and cons of the highly profiled modern Christian Zionist movement. While Christians should be “blessing” the Chosen People as God expects of His partnered co-laborers (Gen. 12:2-3), to withhold the Gospel from Jewish people in order to avoid Jewish establishment rejection is not biblically consistent. The Jews need Jesus as much as anyone; there is no salvation plan “B” for the Chosen People. To appease Jewish leadership by passively denying the centrality of Jesus in all God’s dealings with Israel is a practice that must be rejected.

Equally scandalous is the common practice of such Christian Zionist groups to deliberately avoid contact with Messianic Jews in an attempt to gratify the unbelieving Jewish community. Strange as it seems, registers Teplinsky, the Christian Zionists welcome Jewish relationships but only as long as Jews remain unbelieving. Once Jews come to faith in Jesus, they become pariahs to both the Christian Zionists and the Jewish world. Testimony is offered of how the Christian Zionists annually pour millions of dollars into supporting Israeli humanitarian concerns, launching new Israeli businesses, supporting Jewish orphanages and immigrants, etc. However, Messianic Jewish Israelis (now about 15,000) are systematically deprived of Christian assistance in spite of the fact Israeli law and social mores are openly hostile to Messianic Jews and manage to keep much of the memberships of the one hundred Messianic Jewish faith communities in Israel impoverished.

Though she places the “whisking” away of the saints at the close of the seven-year tribulation, Teplinsky otherwise parallels classical dispensationalist eschatological thought. Surely Jesus will physically return to a nationally restored Jewish people. Ready to herald Jesus with “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord,” all Israel will experience salvation in Jesus and the infilling with the Holy Spirit.

Sandra Teplinsky’s insightful read is innovative on many levels, highly devotional, and spiritually inspiring on nearly every page. Yet her book is occasionally eccentric (e.g., Torah as marital contract [ketubah] with Israel). Nevertheless, I can recommend its ten chapters not only for private devotional use but for Christian study groups as well.

Endnotes

1. While Jews and Christians suffer “birth pangs” awaiting the Messianic reign, they need to be synergetic heralds of the coming Kingdom—with prophetic testimony confirmed by supernatural workings of the Spirit in the here and now as the Ruach of God utilizes the People of God, the One New Man, Jew and Gentile together.

2. There is no exegetical evidence anywhere in Scripture to support supersessionism (replacement theology), a post-apostolic second-century extra-biblical but theological notion that conveniently forfeited God’s commitments to Israel in favor of the Church as a “new” or “true” Israel.

Updated: Friday, July 31, 2009 9:43 PM