A Revised and Expanded Edition
Tools To Investigate the Whole and the
Sum of the Parts of Israel Only Ideology
by Mark Mountjoy
I felt I needed to speak to Christians and say that nobody is perfect and we are not claiming to ‘know everything;’ the extent of this work speaks for itself. I hope and pray and remain conscious and careful to hold to the basics that give what we believe content, shape, structure, and destiny reflected in the Bible. I am not trying to leave anything out or trying to reinvent the wheel. I need to warn you, however, that any Preterist proposition (including Atavism) has to go through the test and it has to pass through the scrutiny of the Word of God.
Please bear in mind that we do accept the Roman Catholic canon of Scriptures and, therefore, the Deuterocanonicals has an important place in our evidentiary understanding of the Jewish salvation history timeline.
I believe a big mistake is made when people study from a future perspective and conclude that the truth, for example, has to be either Amillennialism or Premillennial. What if the best option is neither one? What if the best futurist option is the best ideas taken from both ideologies?
The same thing holds true for Realized Eschatology: Just because a fault can be found in Full Preterism that does not prove that anything Jesus said he would do in the lifetime of his contemporaries is suddenly an open possibility for our future. It is not! Full Preterism has truth in it, but in our understanding, it does not go far enough back in Jewish history to resolve the issue of who the fourth kingdom was; neither does it go far enough away from A.D.70 to be able to answer properly what Revelation 20 means (we believe they fail miserably to answer anything in that entire chapter).
‘Israel Only,’ we believe, takes off from Full Preterism as if their claim that the A.D.70 date is an absolute end and is a proven fact, but we believe all evidence points to an opposite conclusion. And besides timeline issues, the Israel Only allegation that the Gospel was intended for the Hebrew people only, and even that only till A.D.70, and the door of salvation has been shut ever since, is categorically false. We believe there is not a shred of evidence to support such a thesis!
Ever since the advent of the appearance of Preterism, on one hand, there was shock and bewilderment about its claims (mainly by traditionalists and those accustomed to Futurist thinking). But on the other hand, there was surprise, resonance, and excitement by those who recognized within it a very large kernel of truth and different trends emerged—Full Preterism, Partial Preterism, Preterist Idealism, Redirectionalism, and Atavism—each almost as different from each other as anything you might find on the shelf in the Marketplace of ideas.
But recently an even newer phenomenon has emerged, threatening to sabotage the Bible, faith, and a reason for existential hope in life after life which Christians have confidently believed and expected for almost twenty centuries. This newcomer and spoiler styles itself as “Israel Only.” Our aim in this essay is to grasp what the sum and the parts tell us about the overarching claims of this aggressive belief in order to understand it from the direction of its individual claims or from the total of its basic implications.
Our method of research is to examine this ideology’s key claims and discover the validity of whether it is approved or disapproved. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, normally but in Israel Only ideology, it turns out, the parts are much greater than the whole and, because of this, we will demonstrate how the entire theory explodes because it relies heavily on an arbitrary A.D.70-end-all-and-be-all-date, by which time it claims the Church cannot continue or persist past the events that saw the Destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem in the summer of A.D.70.
To see if this is true it is necessary to dissect it; analyze it, and address it from four angles: hermeneutically, historically, chronologically, and confessionally.
Hermeneutical and Exegetical Considerations
Israel Only people claim that the New Testament advocates a purely racial salvation message intended, ultimately, for Jews and Israelites only and, we believe, this is a grave error based only on specific Scriptures which (in isolation from other Scriptures) seem to say exactly that.
A look at hermeneutical and exegetical and interpretive considerations will help us sort out where the confusion arises and why, on the face of some statements, it may seem as if the New Testament is aspiring to and arguing for an Israel-only salvation (John 4:22 cf. Romans 11:26). But it isn’t (Romans 4:14 cf. Romans 9:6). Another reason why we want to confront Israel Only people is this: Their notion that A.D.70 marks the end of God’s dealings with anyone on earth (Jew or Gentile) is demonstrably both contrived, invented, dangerous, and even blasphemous to the Gospel.
If we bother to look deeper it will clearly be seen that there is no real basis for this idea either in the sayings of Jesus, the Apostles, or anything in the entire Bible. It is saying that, since A.D.70 God has no intention that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10 cf. Revelation 5:10).
They say that since A.D.70 God could actually care less if anyone was as contrite and devoted as St. Francis of Assisi or as proud and murderous as Adolf Hitler, either way (according to Israel Only thinking), a person’s ultimate end would be exactly the same: Nothingness. And furthermore, nobody can be a Christian after A.D.70—and nobody has been a Christian since then! They laugh at the idea that people think they are Christians! This is a false, dangerous, and tragic idea and Israel Only has created these notions, ideas, and imperatives out of thin air.
And so, the very first thing we must do is demonstrate that an Israel Only Gospel emphasis in the New Testament is apparent but not real. Two ideas–Pesher and Peshat–will help us navigate this discussion. We need to first verify what the two competing New Testament narratives are. In antiquity, two messages were in direct competition: Jewish nationalism and the Gospel. Jewish nationalism was ancient Israel onlyism (a more authentic but equally erroneous Semitic exclusivism). It was known as “the Fourth Philosophy” and we want to know if it was successful and if so, when did the momentum of this quest reach its zenith?1
Now, Jewish nationalism’s main advantage was that its purveyors were either Jews, Israelites, or proselytes to ancient Bible Judaism. Their claim to fame was their custody of the Old Testament, they believed they were the natural heirs to Covenant promises who could expect to attain the messianic and kingdom promises found therein.
As far as the New Testament is concerned, the Jews’ confidence in their ancestry, their Temple, and the Law of Moses was doomed to unexpected disappointments, as we shall see (Luke 13:28; John 8:44-45 and Acts 7:51-60).
The second narrative of the New Testament was something brand new: The good news of the Gospel (John 1:17 cf. Galatians 1:6-9). Does it coincide with the Jewish nationalist message or does it diverge from it? This is the question that will ultimately determine if Israel Only is exactly what Jesus and the Apostles preached and stood for. But we know the majority in Judæa and the Diaspora defied the Gospel and ran headlong into the fervent promises of a delusional nationalism.
Whatever became of it? Here’s what became of it: The Bible says that those who possessed a zeal for the Law had it, “but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). And, “for being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3). And “but they have not all obeyed the Gospel” (Romans 10:16; Ephesians 2:2 cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8) and they were condemned: Matthew 7:15-27. We need to see and understand the error of the original Israel exclusivists of New Testament times, examine where they went wrong, and reject it. Now, let us now turn our attention to some specific hermeneutical considerations like Pesher and Peshat as these will help us understand Israel Only ideology with more accuracy, insight, and clarity.
What is Pesher?
In his paper, Pesher: Towards a Description and Understanding of its Use by the Qumran Sect and the New Testament, author Donald Lee Zimbrick defines the word pesher as follows:-
“The word pesher appears in its Hebrew equivalent only once in the O.T. (Eccles. 8:14 “Who knows the interpretation of such a thing.” Even though the root p-sh-r is not found in the Hebrew part of Daniel, we find that the same idea is conveyed by the common roots כלֶשׂ ,ידע ,נהָבּ, and נגד. In these cases the Pesher is understood as an interpretation which is beyond the ability of ordinary wisdom—it is given by divine illumination.
In Daniel, it is clear that the zia (the mystery) is given to one person and the pesher (the interpretation), is given to another. It is not until this mystery and the interpretation are brought together that the divine communication can be understood.”2
Now, the problem with what Israel Only proponents allege is this: They surmise that everything the Bible says about Israel is for literal Israel. But a consideration of Pesher will immediately betray this intuitive claim. We need to understand what this interpretive science is to understand how it counterintuitively undermines Israel Only allegations.
In Pesher and the New Testament, we read,
“When approaching the Gospels, especially the book of Matthew, one of the most difficult issues to deal with among the uninitiated is its use of Biblical verses as evidence of supposed “messianic prophecies” that have been fulfilled. When a person familiar with Jewish Torah literature reads those verses in the Bible, he notices that quite often the verse is not Messianic, or is not even a prophecy at all. However, the author is not writing for an ignorant audience, but for those who are familiar with the use of Pesharim. So what is a “pesher” in contrast with a “prophecy”?”
The author of this piece goes on to say,
“Pesher may be defined as [the] interpretation of a Biblical verse which has been applied to an actual subject (a person or event) even though the literal Biblical text is not really talking about that actual subject. A Pesher may not be directly deduced from the literal text but through different methods of interpretation. The Pesher subordinates the literal text to its own revelation.”
The word “pesher” comes from Ecclesiastes 8:1 and from Daniel’s interpretations [pesharim] of dreams and is based on the idea that every verse in the Bible has a literal meaning but also conceals a deeper message for the present generation, which can be revealed by those with deeper knowledge or [according to the Essenes] by the righteous Master.
Basically, the Pesher makes a verse relevant to its generation. The Qumran literature is filled with Pesharim of many kinds; there are manuscripts entirely dedicated to interpreting a book of the Bible, there are thematic Pesharim (which use different sources) and there are smaller individual revelations of a verse (cf. George Brooke: Qumran Pesher: Toward the Redefinition of a Genre. In: Revue de Qumran 10, pp. 483-503; see also: 1QpHab VII:4-5, The Damascus Document...etc).
In Rabbinic literature, a Pesher can be labeled as a form of Midrash (especially of Aggadic nature). The so-called “Melchizedek Midrash” from the Dead Sea Scrolls is a Pesher. As an example of a Midrash reflecting Pesharim, there’s Midrash (Tanhuma Toldot) says that the Messiah will be greater than Moses. How was this deduced?
By reading Numbers 11:12:
“... that you say to me, carry them in your bosom.”
As is evident, there’s absolutely nothing about the Messiah being greater than Moses at the literal level of interpretation. In fact, there’s nothing about Messiah at all and there seems to be no context for such a claim. However, the Midrash reveals this based on [the] homiletic study. In more modern times, rabbis have used pesher to identify Adolf Hitler with Amalek, or Edom with Christianity (cf. Ephraim Oshry, “The Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry,” p. 172; Abarbanel on Ovadiah).3
Pesher is the reworking of a passage, prophecy, or verse and repurposing or superimposing it onto a contemporary application. It does not handle a theme by trying to take it at face value. And this was not a method that was created by Christians but is said to have been introduced into Second Temple Judaism by Ezra, a leader, and scribe. People who do not realize what is going on in the New Testament can mistakenly think the authors of the Christian Scriptures are playing fast and loose with the Old Testament; they aren’t.
Documents recovered from the Dead Sea Scrolls have demonstrated to the archaeological community how Pesher in the Qumran sect dates back at least to the time of the Hasmonean King Alexander Jannaeus (103—76 B.C.).
So when Jesus and the New Testament writers were using these same familiar interpretive methods it was entirely angering and grievous to the Jewish world leaders who heard and saw the Apostles using the Tanakh to seemingly turn the table on traditional Jewish values, and turned cherished Hebrew messianic hopes upside down. It frustrated them, not because Pesher was something new, but because they believed only Rabbinic or Scribal interpretations counted, but certainly not Apostolic ones.
Clear Examples of Pesher
Pesher in the New Testament is extensive and there is no attempt here to make an exhaustive list but to give the reader an idea about how it looks. In many instances, the borrowing appears highly incredible, perhaps even tendentious and it could easily strike the modern mind as some serious reaching, however, the confidence we have, as Christians, are this: Jesus and the Apostle’s interpretations would be immediately proved wrong if their claims about the discontinuity of the Temple, the Priesthood, the State, and the Law did not come true.4 But this brings us to the subject of A.D.70 and its supposedly being the zenith of redemptive history.
The Question of an A.D.70
Terminus ad Quem
Israel Only ideologies believe strongly that A.D.70 represents an absolute terminus ad quem (endpoint) yet there are a number of Bible passages they will not even deal with that indicate things would happen after the end of the fourth kingdom eschaton and we need to look at them and see what they say.
First, Daniel 2:44 the Stone (we know and agree) was the A.D. 70 event. After that year we disagreed on the remaining processes.
Second, Daniel 2, the image falls, (do) we agree with what that means but how extensive was the collateral damage? Was it universal? Was there anything else expected to happen in the aftermath?
Third, Daniel 2, the pulverization: Was this an instantaneous event or an extended historical process?
Fourth, the image is reduced to chaff on the summer threshingfloor. Where are we at in the Bible history timeline when gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay are made into a fine meal? Is this A.D. 70 or later? If A.D. 70 are we saying the Stone struck the feet and toes and turned the image into chaff without any time lag, interim, or process? The Bible says “then” the image was reduced after the initial concussion. Everything either happened in one moment or did not happen instantaneously and we have to study the situation to decide which conclusion is true.
Fifth, the next to the final ACT in the king’s dream is the work of the wind to blow away this chaff from the threshingfloor (Daniel 2:35). If we say this happened when the Stone struck the feet then we conflate what the Stone did to the feet and toes with what the wind did to the chaff. We cannot conflate the events into one occurrence and make sense of Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
The Culmination of the King’s Dream: A Great Mountain
Next, the final ACT in Daniel 2 is the metamorphosis of the Stone into a great mountain that fills all the earth. What is this When was this? Again, if we insist that this happened in 70 we end up conflating THREE events into a single year (70). This is what Israel Only is doing with the A.D.70 terminus ad quim.
We can take this discussion a little further to reinforce our point. But this time we need to see Daniel 7:12 and Micah 3:9-12).5
In Daniel 7 we have a similar timetable and the familiar four kingdoms of Bible prophecy, but this time instead of being 5 elements they are four beasts–lioness, bear, leopard, and indescribable monster. Now, the first three beasts arise from the turbulent sea but Daniel’s attention is drawn to the rise and end of the fourth beast, which is unusual in almost every possible way. It persecutes the people of God, it has a little horn that has eyes like the eyes of man, it has a mouth that speaks loud and harmful words against God, it aspires to take the kingdom of God violently, enacts innovations by attempting to change both times and laws, it is given three years and six months to do its destructive work, it succumbs to destruction by fire and the kingdom it pursued is given to others, the people of the saints of the Most High God.
In other words, it is clear from reading the situation in Daniel 7:7-27 that the fourth kingdom is destroyed FIRST and then the three other kingdoms “were prolonged for a season and a time” (Daniel 7:12). There is no way to resolve this if all four of the beasts were destroyed unilaterally in the first century debacle in Jerusalem and Judæa. This same difficulty springs up again in Revelation chapters 19:1-4, 21, and 20:1-3, where Jerusalem and the remnant of the beast are destroyed (Revelation 19:21), and, finally, Satan is bound (Revelation 20:1-3), but released from his prison (Revelation 20:7) only to begin a renewed deception, gathering battle forces numbering “as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:8).6
Israel Onlyism (because of its rigorous philosophy around a race-based soteriology and a forty-year generation imperative) is forced to restrict all the events of Revelation 20:1-15 into a strict A.D.33-70 timeframe. This strategy is a solution but is it a logical one when all factors are considered?
Yet the weightiness of Israel Only claims about audience relevance and the nearness of the end (which, by the way, are completely true) work to mislead Israel Only people to accept a fully developed eschaton at, in, and by A.D.70.
However, out of concern for the truth, we can never become tired of insisting that Jewish salvation and judgment not only continued into the second-century destruction of the state, but also this salvation history timeline is the biography of what Christianity really is as it continues today and on into the future. This continuity is the decree of God that his kingdom on earth will increase forever and have no end (Isaiah 9:6-7 cf. Revelation 5:10; Revelation 11:15, and Revelation 14:13). In other words, the buck does not stop in front of Israel Only claims, they stop in front of Bible claims. If anybody makes a claim for the Bible they have to demonstrate, explain, and prove it in light of the Bible.7
The problem with Israel Only is this: They have no way to positively prove by the Bible that Jewish national history suddenly stopped in A.D.70.8 Supposedly the Holy Spirit was behind the testimony of Jesus. According to his words, in the very near future, the Jewish civilization with its doomed Holy Temple and unhappy capital city, would collapse in a violent insurrection and be no more. Now, if that failed to happen then those New Testament Pesharim would be immediately seen to be utter nonsense, a hoax, and a clear deception.
“According to Micah 3:12 Zion would be plowed as a field and as per the Gadara, “the Romans ran a plow over Zion on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Ab. The Gemara said that Turnus Rufus, a Roman officer, plowed the area of the Temple. This prophecy was fulfilled in literal detail. And, incidentally, there was a Roman coin minted during that era that shows an image of a man using a plow. The coin was intended to commemorate the founding of the pagan Roman city called Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem. The Romans sometimes minted coins showing the plowing motif as a symbol of the establishment of a new Roman city.
Judaists fast (go without food) on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Ab (sometimes spelled Av) in remembrance of five historic events that are recorded as occurring on that date. One of those events is the plowing of all or part of Jerusalem by the Romans.”9
The Jewish Virtual Library also adds this:
“A last brief period of Jewish sovereignty in ancient times followed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), during which Jerusalem and Judea were regained. However, given the overwhelming power of the Romans, the outcome was inevitable. Three years later, in conformity with Roman custom, Jerusalem was “plowed up with a yoke of oxen,” Judea was renamed Palaestinia and Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina.”10
From the very beginning of this essay, we have demonstrated that the prophecies of our Lord were not meaningless; they did take place; they were fulfilled; nothing went unrealized.
Jerusalem was charged with the death of Abel, the prophets, apostles, and saints and she did fall. The Lord promised in Matthew 10:23 that he would come as a man of war before the apostles had fled to all the cities of Israel and that did happen.
“This generation” allows enough time to elapse between the beginning of the desolations to the end of the state within about a century that, again, everything that was expected to happen did happen. In other words, the interpretive declarations did come true and this reality confirms the substance, verity, and infallibility of the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth, once and for all time.
So now, after over 19 centuries of time, developments have already proven the interpretive differences between the synagogue and the church to be defined by a paradigm of either by disappointment and failure or fulfillment and success. This means that there can be no controversy that the Jewish world and all its perfunctory religious realities–the Temple, the Sacrifices, the priesthood, the Law, the holy convocations, and all the ancillary activities that surrounded that sacred hub has disappeared forever, just as our Lord and his Apostles and their followers steadfastly preached, warned, and expected.
The use of Pesher (solution) and Peshat, (face value) to predict such catastrophic changes could have and would have completely backfired simply by failing to come to pass.11 But whose Midrash failed to come to pass? It was the Jewish nationalist’s exclusivist Midrash that failed to materialize!
What is Peshat?
Not only does the New Testament contain a plethora of examples of Pesher interpretations of Old Testament promises, it also contains promises from the Tanakh that are taken strictly at face value, that is to say ‘literally.’ An example of an Old Testament prophecy that was taken at face value is the angel Gabriel’s prophecy of an Abomination of Desolation in the Second Temple (see Daniel 9:26-27). Jesus, in Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14, and Luke 21:20 understood Gabriel to say that some deleterious and sacrilegious event in the Second Temple would be fulfilled within the final years leading to the Destruction of the famous Second Jewish State Temple.12
Our Lord taught that it would literally happen and that the Apostles should make haste to flee from Jerusalem’s environs out into the countryside and the hilly and mountainous regions of Judæa. It is for this reason that an unwary interpreter would be making a major mistake to say that the Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24:15 is about Papal persecutions and Christians should flee from Europe—(perhaps to the Alps?), but that would make a Pesher out of an evident Peshat Bible prophecy! But this is precisely what happens when Revelation 11:1-2 is rationalized to mean Roman Catholics abominated the Temple (the church) for forty-two months (i.e., 1,260 years) and then they go into Revelation 12:6, 14 where the woman with wings of an eagle is imagined to the true church who fled into the wilderness near the end of the first century only to make her debut back onto the world stage in the 18th or 19th century!
Nothing could be more indicative of throwing all caution to the wind and turning the Book of Revelation into a proverbial ‘free-for-all’! Such an imaginary interpretation is made up and squanders passages that are about a real Semitic Christian historical emergency that transpired in just under four years (as forty-two months is three and a half years, (i.e., A.D.66-70).
Efforts to Make Key Pesher Verses Peshat Verses
Now, the basic flaw in Israel Only arguments, besides contextual blindness, false imperatives, and false alternatives, is an effort to transmogrify Pesher prophecies into Peshat prophecies. They don’t seem to recognize that some Bible prophecy promises are being used in a highly tendentious way (on purpose and for a reason).13 Nevertheless, they do not understand the logic behind taking a prophecy about inter-Jewish realities (as seen in the prophecy of Hosea about Israel and Judah - Hosea 2:23) and then transforming it into an argument about bringing non-Israelite foreigners in as a brand new people of God (e.g., Romans 9:25). As a result of this oversight or denial, Israel Only people conceive falsely and insist wrongly that Paul is trying to gather up Israelites ONLY in order to bring them back into a historical relationship with the God of Israel that their pre-Assyrian Captivity ancestors enjoyed in the first place! But this is not Paul’s logic or his Gospel!
The Gospel Was Not Intended to Be Nationalistic At All
Israel Only savants claim that the New Testament is an exclusivist trope intended only for Israel. This is what the doctrine is and what we would like to do is see how that aligns with the message of the Apostle Peter and the other eleven Apostles on the day of Pentecost. Of course, to begin with, the Gospel only went to Jewish and their Gentile proselytes.
But this ceases to be the case once we reach Acts chapter 10. With the induction of the Roman centurion, Cornelius, and his family into the faith, plus all of the Apostle Paul’s field efforts to win bonafide Jews, Herodians, Romans, Greeks, barbarians, and Scythians (to the time of his execution in the mid-60s)–all this reveals that first century outreach efforts were definitely toward inclusion, NOT exclusion.
According to Paul’s own words, genuine non-Israelites were being grafted into the natural olive tree of the House of Judah and the House of Israel (Romans 11:11-32 cf. Galatians 3:26-29; Colossians 3:10-11). Indeed, if Israel Only theologians are correct Paul would never have been opposed, beaten, whipped, or stoned by any of his opponents! They would not have objected to Paul preaching what would have been, basically, a thoroughgoing Hebrew nationalism!
Let Peshat Verses Be As They Are?
In an ironic and surprising twist Israel Only savants are only too willing to let Peshat verses (plain sense verses) be what they are. Why is this? There could be a number of reasons behind it, but the most obvious is this: By allowing plain sense verses to stand at face value the Israel Only interpretation of Old Testament prophecies as they appear in the New Testament bolsters and compliments the allegations they want to make. In other words, it is the Pesher interpretive examples that (mostly) aggravate and spoil their efforts to turn the Good News of Jesus Christ into a strictly nationalist Hebrew trope (an idea or expression that was at the very heart and core of Zealot, Sicarii, and seditious assumptions). This is a weakness, an Achilles’ heel of Israel Only theology which, once this is recognized, will make it next to impossible to be persuaded that Israelite nationalism is the underlying message of the New Testament.
Now, above we said that Israel Only polemicists are generally satisfied to accept Peshat verses and let them be, but that is certainly not true in all cases. If they read carefully Deuteronomy 18:15 where Moses promised curses and destruction upon all in Israel who did not receive Christ (see e.g., Acts 3:22) they also would be forced to concede that not every blood-born, DNA and genealogical certified Israelite had a bright future by an artificial A.D.70 deadline.
Similarly, the prophecy about Israel’s obstinance, found in Romans 10:21 treats Isaiah 65:2 as a Peshat. Romans 9:27-29 is another Peshat that attests that there is no way to sustain the view that first and second century Judæa had nothing but blessings coming its way.
Carefully read and ponder the implications of the prophecies about Gog and Magog in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, cross-reference them with what Paul says in Romans 9:27, and then see where we are taken in Revelation 20:8 and it is clear that disobedient Israelites were involved in a rebellion gone terribly awry and, taken at face value, literal this literal ancient Israel had a gargantuan loss coming up on the horizon! All these potential dangers were of immediate concern to Jews and Israelites, proselytes, and God-fearing Gentiles in the first and second centuries of our Common Era.
How Pesher and Peshat Combine
Pesher and Peshat are interpretive combinations that surprised the Jews with the seemingly unbelievable Incarnation, the scandal of the Cross, and the incredible resurrection of our Lord. In any case, the Gospel of grace stupefied those who first heard it in the context of an A.N.E. with its philosophic or dogmatic certainties enshrined in traditions contained in voluminous literature informing, elucidating, and ruminating about what the God of Israel or any of the pagan gods could or would not do. By using Pesher and employing passages in the Old Testament that were seen to refer to David or Israel or the Gentiles Jewish exclusivists were left confounded! Everything they had supposed; everything they had believed, and everything they had expected was in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, turned on its head!
Likewise, Paul concluded that Christ is the end of a Law that was only a tutor for a set time (Romans 10:4 cf. Galatians 3:24), so that, in the final analysis, the preaching of the Gospel and the reality of the Church are not set in such limiting and restrictive parameters. Instead, the death, burial, and resurrection led, inevitably, to the Gospel, the Church, and the kingdom of God—all of which are universal, truly catholic in their scope and timeless in scale, and eternal in perdurance (Ephesians 3:21). This is the sum of what we are told if we take everything from Matthew to the Book of Revelation and do not selectively pick and choose which Scriptures we will accept at face value while ignoring the rest.
Chronological and Historical Questions Examined Below
Israel Only’s chronological difficulties begin to appear just as soon as they allege that a terminus point for redemptive history happened only about forty years after the crucifixion of our Lord. But ancient sources tell us about the Hebrew nationalist fervor well past A.D.70 and, in fact, serious fighting, mass casualties, and collateral damage continued right through the reigns of Nerva, Trajan, and Hadrian. Therefore, the idea that A.D.70 was a hard and inflexible deadline is purely artificial and introduces calendrical feats and acrobatics that defy all the prophecies of Daniel chapters 2 and 7, 11 and 12 along a timeline of events stretching for seven decades up till A.D.136.
Only then did nationalist exclusivity face the facts of an enigmatic, inexplicable, and catastrophic failure to achieve what it wanted in a century of hopes and endeavors, trials, and fatal errors.14 How do these ancient national failures bode for Israel Only claims and why should they have the upper hand in spite of all contrary evidence? But there is a suggestion in their claims that hints that they may be fairly unfamiliar with the context of chapters, passages, and verses and this leads us into a discussion of exegetical considerations.
A working definition of the word chronology is a sequence of events and context is the historical framework. These pairs would be the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular development, event, or situation. A promise, a prophecy, a command, or a statement may be given at a certain time and not apply at a different stage of development.
For example, what Jesus said before his crucifixion and what the Holy Spirit instructed the Apostles to do after Pentecost may have broadened their work to include alien Gentiles at a specific nexus (Acts 10:10; 10:34 and 13:46). But it will only serve to confuse issues if we take what Jesus said to the Apostles during his earthly ministry and try to make it strictly apply to anything the Spirit said later on in Acts.
This is a mistake Israel Only savants frequently make and leads directly to a leap of logic where they reach a faulty conclusion based on poorly conceived or falsely misconstrued contexts. Context starts with the day of Pentecost with Jewish, Israelite, and proselyte evangelism. Context continues to chapters 2-7 of Acts in a Jewish framework only. After Stephen’s martyrdom, however, things take a turn to a broader reach. Samaritans come into the picture (Acts 8:1) as do Romans (Acts 10:1-48). This was not entirely unpredicted by Jesus because in two places (Matthew 8:5-12 and Matthew 10:18) he envisioned the Gospel coming into contact with the Samaritans, Romans, and other Gentiles.15
Now, the context from Acts 13 onward shows that an increasing number of Gentiles eagerly flowed into the faith and because of this the God-fearers who were sympathetic to Judaism became increasingly impatient, angry, and agitated with the activities of Paul and his co-workers. The letters of the Apostles, from Romans to Titus completely inform us about the specifics of his outreach beyond the pale of Judæans, Israelites, and proselytes to Romans, Scythians, Macedonians, Asians, and Syrians. Paul did not target ‘Israel only’ nor did he make any statements that, in context, could be construed or interpreted to mean only one nationality would or could be saved.
Now, Jewish military forces in the first century were not very impressive compared to the Romans (especially in terms of training and discipline). There were three main armies engaged in what was basically a civil war. And these included those from the Essenes who believed angels would go before the people of Israel and cut down the Romans in a way similar to how God’s angels miraculously defeated 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in the days of kings Hezekiah and Sennacherib (in 701 B.C.).16
Now, context must continue to play a big role in the run-up to the Jewish rebellion. As time progressed into the early 60s of the first century the Jews became persuaded that the time was ripe for the kingdom of God to come and they prepared themselves to seize the moment. Before Simon Bar Giora overran Idumea he had twenty thousand armed men under fifty commanders and five thousand Idumeans, and eight commanders. But before the war reached its final year he had an additional forty thousand unarmed people after his conquest of Hebron.17
On the other hand, John of Gischala, had six thousand Zealots under twenty commanders but not long after the Jewish civil war broke out they became trapped in the Second Temple, to everyone’s chagrin. But in order to escape their imprisonment there they secretly sent letters by runners down to Idumea calling for assistance and a contingent of twenty thousand Idumeans under four commanders immediately came to their rescue.18 Besides these Eleazar had two thousand four hundred troops and the Sicarii, holed up in Masada, had 967 people who, before they committed suicide, claimed they made pretensions of being courageous and faced a terrifying damnation orchestrated by their own ideas and actions.19 The approximate combined total of Jewish forces in the First Great War equaled about 88,000 people.
Later on, however, in a vastly different context and further along in the chronology, a war was led by a single commander, Simon Bar Kokhba, but this time it was over 400,000 soldiers, and he was assisted by fifty fortified towns and 985 villages. No Jewish leader in the first century had anywhere near such broad and devoted public support!
“in 132 CE, the misrule of Tinnius Rufus, the Roman governor of Judaea, combined with the emperor Hadrian’s intention to found a Roman colony on the site of Jerusalem and his restrictions on Jewish religious freedom and observances (which included a ban on the practice of male circumcision), roused the last remnants of Palestinian Jewry to revolt. A bitter struggle ensued. Bar Kokhba became the leader of this second Jewish revolt (see First Jewish Revolt [66–70]); although at first successful, his forces proved no match against the methodical and ruthless tactics of the Roman general Julius Severus. With the fall of Jerusalem and then Bethar, the fortress to the southwest of Jerusalem where Bar Kokhba was slain, the rebellion was crushed in 135. According to Christian sources, Jews were thenceforth forbidden to enter Jerusalem.”20
The above information helps us appreciate not only the unity of the Hebrew people in the second century but also the disastrous results of ancient Israel Onlyism and exactly what end it came to within a prescribed but separate window of time. And so, a look at the trio of nationalist Judæan efforts is quite revealing: Were its nativist exceptionalism and secession attempts a stellar success or a singular and catastrophic failure?21 Israel Onlyists need to tell us plainly, Whatever became of it? When the Jerusalem Church refugees fled to Pella, what significance can be attached to their abandonment of the nationalist cause and the struggle of Judæa to survive?
By forsaking and leaving the Zealots and the Sicarii to fight their own battles, the Christians demonstrated by their actions exactly where they stood on the issues that already had divided them all the way back to the time of Cornelius’ induction into the early Christian movement (Acts 11:1-3 cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:16).
But Jewish Christian efforts did not stop there: After the war, however, they returned to the ruined city and doubled down on their outreach to Gentiles (according to multiple reports in Jewish history).22
How does a renewed and greatly expanded mission to Gentiles correspond with Israel Only suppositions, rhetoric, and conclusions? They either agree or disagree with recorded history and disinterested chronicles, but be sure of this: To disagree is to ignore facts; it is also to prefer a contrivance, a private interpolation, and a brazenly biased outcome founded upon an unspoken psychological need to make claims without also offering sufficient proof. This is where Israel Only ideologues mess up: they try to abridge the Church’s existence and make it a mere forty-year enterprise that vanished with the Judaic tutor in A.D.70. They are obviously preaching and teaching another Gospel and offering a confession of faith that is completely foreign to anything espoused in the New Testament. Let’s talk about that . . .
The Confession of Israel Only
Having examined Israel Only’s hermeneutical strategy, the question of Bible prophecy, and its fulfillment along a logical continuum we now come to the issue of this dogma’s present beliefs, its statement of faith. In light of these considerations, we now want to turn to Israel Only proponents and ask them to review and rethink their propositions and confession of belief and ask themselves some soul-searching questions.
They can take all the time in the world they need but they do need to do this because, even though they brag and taunt that no real Christians have existed since A.D.70 it is also very true that they are playing the role of teachers far after that terminus and, if there is a God (and we definitely believe there is), then Israel Only individuals will come under condemnation, certainly not as Christians, but surely as teachers. . .
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).
Teachers have a heavier burden of responsibility to bear because people will take what we say and run with it. If they believe the material is too complicated for them to untangle, they may give a teacher the benefit of a doubt. And right now not only I but a fellow Christian on the West Coast have a sore spot in our hearts because a fallen brother of ours got entangled in Israel Only theories, jumped to conclusions and ran away claiming “Jesus did not die for my sins”!
However, we can say nothing because once he grabs something will not easily let go nor be reasonable enough to study or scrutinize it thoroughly. He is just 100% sure Jesus came back in A.D.70 and everything ends there and then! And, ironically, he believes the New Testament has nothing to do with him, his life, his sins, his salvation, or his destiny! At the time of his death, he believes he will vanish like a dream never to be seen or heard from again!
So whoever came up with these novel and unbiblical ideas has Matthew 18:6 hanging over their heads unless they grow wiser and repent before the end of their life and then it will be too late. Israel Only teachers and their disciples need to be without the slightest shadow of a doubt that the New Testament is treating Old Testament prophecies in a unilateral way! They really need to look and find out if Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the others utilize and deal with the Tanakh according to Peshat ONLY. They need to think very deeply and very carefully about this, because if they are wrong they are committing a fundamental and fatal error in order to support their claims when, in reality, it is the case that Israel Only ideologists think they have an open and shut case when they have none at all! As far as we can see, their conclusions are both premature, prejudicial, and a form of self-deception and, since we are talking about being sure, this is a good place to segue into a discussion about the human spirit’s continuous existence after this life . . .
Israel Only’s Sadducean Cosmology
Israel Only cosmology, that is, what they believe about life after death can provide another source of false comfort to them because they believe nobody will exist after they die. Now since they do not have a personal experience of existence after life (although they can easily deny that it is possible to be alive apart from their physical body) the New Testament claims the very opposite (2 Corinthians 5:8). To be frank, we really do not have the slightest idea where they are getting these ideas about the cessation of life at death.
To be sure, it is a Sadducean construct, but it did not come from Hebrew tradition but from Hellenism (specifically Epicureanism) from the true faith of the God of Israel since there is no hard evidence in the Old Testament to support annihilationism (2 Samuel 12:23 cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7). It could be comforting to think that, in case they are wrong, they won’t exist anyway (so there will be no consequences to face)—but owing to what we believe about the resurrection of our Lord, this is certainly not true!23
Nevertheless, Bible chapters, passages, and verses prove that all spirits live on and anecdotal evidence from a wide variety of thousands of personal testimonies of near-death experiences (NDEs) and out-of-body experiences (OOBEs) can be seen on the world wide web. And besides all this, we need to ask ourselves if we believe God still judges? Do we believe we will be held accountable to Christ even after A.D.70? In the Tanakh it is declared:
“By myself I swear, righteousness shall surely proceed out of my mouth; my words shall not be frustrated; that to me every knee shall bend, and every tongue shall swear by God” (Isaiah 45:23).
The New Testament also reaffirms the same promise:
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11).
The long and short of the above assurances tell us God lives, and God still judges. But can Israel Only people admit this? Can they allow, for a minute, any anecdotal stories from people of all walks of life who have had out-of-body or near-death experiences? The Bible virtually screams that each of us has an invisible aspect (it is a doppelganger, if you like), it is us and this aspect lives on continuously even after we depart from this physical body. This unseen aspect of ‘us’ will face God and be judged for the deeds that we have done in this body and in this life, whether they be large things or small things, whether they be good things or bad things. We believe it is a dangerous thing to turn a blind eye to this and Israel Only teachers are lying when they say we won’t exist after we die when according to the Bible, Jesus very bluntly told the Sadducees that to God ALL are alive to God:-
“The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, ‘Master, Moses said, If a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”
Jesus answered and said unto them,
‘Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” (Matthew 22:23-33).
Israel Only savants think that after they pass away they will cease to exist, but no, that is not true, for Jesus said,
“For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him” (Luke 20:38).
What this means is this: Nobody is dead to God! All are alive to him! There is another place where we can show this to be certainly true: In 1 Peter chapter 3 we read,
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Peter 3:18-20).
In the above passage, the Apostle Peter claims that when Jesus died he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. What spirits? He tells us in verse 20 that these spirits were the same individuals who disobeyed God while Noah was building the ark in preparation for the Great Flood.
Now, if Jesus died on 3 April A.D.33 and after that spent part of that Friday and the whole day Saturday preaching to spirits of people who were overthrown and drowned when the Deluge overtook the earth. This tells us that those people continued to exist imprisoned somewhere inside the earth for two thousand four hundred and one years! That is, Jesus was born approximately two thousand three hundred and sixty-eight years after the Flood, lived thirty-three years, and went and preached to people WHO STILL EXISTED in the Hadean world!
If they no longer existed then 1 Peter 3:19-20 would not make sense and would not be true. But since it is true it serves as a grave warning to people that they did not automatically assume the death of the body means the end of existence because the Bible teaches no such thing (see Revelation 6:9-10; 15:2-3; 19:1-2, 20:4, and 21:24-27, 22:3, 14).24
Finally, we would be remiss to fail to apprise you of the fact that Israel Only savants don’t believe the Bible anyway. Hear their own say it with his own pen:-
“If you believe there was a literal first man named Adam formed from dirt and lived 950 years, who had a wife formed from one of his ribs who was deceived by a talking snake, and that over a million people departed Egypt and roamed around Egypt and Arabia for forty years without leaving a single trace, then you believe in a fairytale.
If you believe that there was a great flood and Noah saved all the animals in a ship that took a hundred years to make (in a desert), that Enoch levitated into the clouds, that a pole turned into a snake, that Joshua made the sun stop for an hour, that a single man killed an entire army with the jawbone of a donkey, that a donkey spoke then you believe in a fairytale.
If you believe that three men were consumed in a burning furnace and came out unscathed, there was a person (Jonah) who lived in a fish for three days, that a man (Daniel) was supernaturally protected from being eaten by lions, that water was made into wine, that Jesus passed through people invisibly, that dead people were brought back to life, that five thousand people were fed from five loaves of bread, that Jesus walked on water, calmed a storm with a word, raised back to life after being dead for three days and then levitated into the clouds. . .you believe a fairytale.”25
Now, the fact that they do not believe the Bible, but get a kick out of arguing about the Bible and defending a view that one would think can only add up if the Bible were true, these people unwittingly follow in the footsteps of their ancient Jewish predecessors who also stood in doubt about Bible history (2 Peter 3:4-5 cf. Wars 4.6.3:386).
But it is important for us to hold onto the promise of Revelation 21:6 and 22:17 because being thirsty is a requirement that crosses racial, ethnic, social, and economic lines! Israel Only is categorically false: These precious promises—Acts 4:12 and Acts 10:34-35 and 43 and Colossians 3:10-11—apply to all, not only a select few!
We discussed context before and context after, we defined Pesher and Peshat with a dozen examples of both. We also contrasted it with Israel Only efforts to make Pesher interpretations by the Apostle Paul into Peshat (face-value) interpretations, which should not be done because Paul was in trouble because he did not understand the Gospel in an Israelite nationalist or exclusivist way.
We noted that Israel Only has an apparent willingness to let some Peshat prophecies stand (wherever they are) but this is only apparent true because, even there, if they follow the implications of those prophecies it will lead to the conclusion that God will both save only Israel and condemn only Israel at one and the same time (which is a total contradiction)!
We also noted that James cautions that teachers will be judged more severely and that is all Israel. Only people pretend to be, but they have involved themselves in someone else’s correspondence (ours, because we are Christians).
Consequently, Israel Only adherents will be forced to face inescapable consequences spelled out in Galatians 1:6-9 and Revelation 21:8 and 22:18-19. These warnings apply to everyone (Israel Onlyist included). Finally, we touched on the substandard cosmology of Israel Only to contrast their assumptions about death with what the Bible says about the continuity of existence in the Tanakh and in the New Testament.
In the final analysis, we encourage anyone studying the Bible to commit their ways to God, since it is his book, understanding, upfront, that involving ourselves with it also has consequences we will not be able to control but the Judge of the earth will do right.26 Whatever we do, we want to make sure we accord the respect, godly fear, and praise that the Deity deserves and not flout or trample his New Agreement with mankind under a mistaken notion that the Bible is a big Jewish history book that we can exploit as a hobby and shamelessly ransack without a real expectation of eternal condemnation, and endless regret. We want to end by saying that a careful reading of Matthew 12:32 proves to one and all that it is possible to sin in the world to come and that alone demonstrates that, in the here and now, we are still amenable and answerable to God for every word that we speak and everything we teach (1 Timothy 4:16).
We conclude from this study that Israel Only (in its ancient nativist sense) was a consummate disaster and its modern notional child is without depth and essentially unsubstantial.27 Remember, you are speaking, not with a person who even believes the Bible is the Word of God, but someone who DOES NOT believe the Bible is the truth but wants to argue about words and promises and notions, in spite of thinking the Scriptures are without foundation and, basically, worthless. We found the results we needed to know about the attitude and intricacies and the shape and scope of Israel Only idealism.
Now, because the Bible is denigrated as a litany of lore, myth, and fairy tales we have no choice but to see the Israel Only effort as a distraction rather than a serious discipline since it is not an ideology that affirms the Bible or has any contributions to offer the Body of Christ or a lost, hungry, and searching world.
1 Calvinist enthusiasts typically use Bible verses that graphically describe members of the Fourth Philosophy to prove that people, in general, are “totally depraved.” However, a real movement with traits, characteristics, and goals actually existed and was a distinct threat to the existence of the nascent Christian church.
2 Note that in number 4 above Zimbrick concedes that Pesher can bleed into allegory. In Pesher example 10 we see how Matthew brazenly uses words from the Prophet Zechariah to complete thoughts not included in his Jeremiah Pesher. As Zimbrick noted in 2 above, “Variant readings are selected in such a way as best to serve the commentator’s purpose. Where a relation cannot otherwise be established between the text and the situation to which it is believed to refer, allegorization is pressed into service.” (My emphasis, MEM).
4 Matthew’s treatment has puzzled and befuddled exegetes for two thousand years but stands as an extreme example of merging material from two separate prophets into one complete idea. See e.g., https://thirdmill.org/answers/answer for more on this.
5“The Romans, under Hadrian, crushed a second Jewish rebellion for independence in a three-year war ending in 135 AD. The rebellion was led by Simon bar Kochba, who was declared to be the messiah by an influential sage named Rabbi Akiva.
Bar Kochba’s rebellion had disastrous results. Cassius Dio, a second century Roman historian, claimed that the Romans killed 580,000 Jews during the war. The Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem, and are believed to have run a plow over all or part of the city. The surviving Jews were expelled and were banned from returning to Jerusalem. Bar Kochba's name is sometimes rendered as Bar Kokhba, Bar Kochva and Ben Kosiba.” www.aboutbibleprophecy.com
6 Ancient Jewish exclusivism put Jews and Gentiles at odds with the mandate of the Gospel that there is no other name under heaven, given among men can anyone be saved (Acts 4:12). Not only is Jesus the only way, but salvation is not about blood, the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God, and ALL nations shall serve and obey him (Daniel 7:27; John 1:12-13 cf. Acts 13:46).
7 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” We have this admonition from the Apostle Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
8 In the order of events in Daniel 9:25-26 it is quite impossible for Israel’s true messiah to arrive anytime after the A.D.70 Destruction of the Second Temple. For this very reason, second century Christians refused to acknowledge Bar Kokhba as the Messiah, provoking his rage against them.
9 Source: Jewish Virtual Library.
10 aboutbibleprophecy.com, referenced above.
11 To be clear: It is not a matter of appropriating the Scriptures and making claims. Instead, not only must the appropriation be made, it must also come true. The ancient Midrashes did not materialize but the Christological and Apostolic ones did.
12 Gabriel’s prophecy about the abomination of desolation of the Second Temple was understood by our Lord to be a literal (Peshat) event and it came to pass just as he reiterated it in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).
13 According to the Apostle Paul that purpose and that reason are embodied in the mystery of godliness that God hid in ages past, but in the fulness of times was divulging to the world through Christ and the Apostles (see Ephesians 3:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25-27 cf. Revelation 10:4-7; 20:9).
14 Each and every effort for Jewish realization of the messianic
and kingdom promises along the logic of carnal nationalism were met with singular spectacles of disaster no matter how desperate or disciplined their attempts happened to be.
15 It should be noted that the evangelism to Samaria did not initially involve the Apostles and even in our Lord’s earthly ministry his foray into that region was purely an exception (Acts 8:1 cf. John 4:5-30). However, it must not be forgotten that Samaria was included in Christ’s expanded commission in Acts 1:8.
16 2 Kings 19:35-37 cf. 2 Chronicles 2:1-23, but see Wars of the Jews 5.9.4:403-404 where Josephus chides the seditious that they should not expect God to overthrow the Romans, as God saved King Hezekiah because of his humility whereas these nationalists were very presumptuous and transgressive people.
17 The Wars of the Jews 4.9.5:515 cf. cf. 4.9.7:534.
18 The Wars of the Jews 4.4.2:233-235.
19 The Wars of the Jews 7.8.8:383 cf. 7.9.1:389-406.
21 The three efforts in reference here are the First Great Revolt (A.D.66-70), the Diaspora Revolts which were put down by Lusius Quietus in the years A.D.115-117 (A.K.A., the Kitos War), and the Bar Kokhba Rebellion (A.D.132-136).
22 Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews, pp. 198-200. See also, Gedaliah Alon, The Jews in Their Land in the Talmudic Age, p. 295 and Ibid., pp.305-306, The Magnus Press, the Hebrew University, 1984.
23 Our Lord arose from the dead on the first day of the week and, therefore, this assumption is certainly out of the question.
24 New Testament passages, again and again, make it clear that life transcends physicality: 2 Corinthians 5:8; Revelation 6:9-11, and Revelation 15:1-4. The death of the body is irrelevant to the continuity of life.
25 Source: Natural Israel Only Salvationism is a FALSE GOSPEL, A private Facebook group (Emphasis mine, MEM).
26 Genesis 18:25 cf. John 5:22-23.
27 The contributions of Israel Only are negative; however, the ideology is a genuine menace mainly because many Christians may not be grounded in the basics of the Christian faith and may fall prey to their spurious claims.
Doron Mendels, The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.
Nachman Ben-Yehuda, The Masada Myth, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1995.
Yehoshafat Harkabi, The Bar Kokhba Syndrome, Rossel Books, 1983.
James D.G. Dunn, Jews, and Christians, the Parting of the Ways A.D.70 TO 135, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.
Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews, A Meridian Book, 1968.