Israel My Glory In Depth: Interview with Linda Craft
It’s not easy to admit when you’re wrong. It’s even harder when you’re dealing with something as sacred as the Word of God. Linda Craft learned how to humbly correct her theology when she found out she had wrongly understood one of Scripture’s great promises: the New Covenant. She wrote an article in our magazine, Israel My Glory, to explain why the New Covenant is thoroughly Jewish and how Gentiles should understand it.
Linda joins the show this week to speak about her article, including why understanding the Jewish nature of Scripture helps us understand what God teaches us in His Word. Chris adds a layer of teaching alongside Linda, explaining the wonderful future of spiritual regeneration God has promised to Israel. This week’s show will help you understand the New Covenant, the great hope of both Jews and Gentiles!
Take a look at Linda’s article, “How I Learned I Was Wrong.”
Chris Katulka: Welcome to the Friends of Israel. Today, I'm your host and teacher Chris Katulka. Steve Conover is on his way back from the holy land as we speak, he'll be back in the studio next week. Today's episode is a great one. We're actually going to be looking at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, our award-winning Christian magazine. The entire issue is about the Jewish New Covenant, what it is and why it exists. I'm going to be sharing my thoughts on it later in the program. But first we're going to be speaking to Linda Craft, a field ministry representative in Las Vegas, who wrote a fantastic article. You're not going to want to miss it. But first here's what's happening in the news.
Chris Katulka: At the end of its 49th session, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved four anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian resolutions, which called on a limited arms embargo against the Jewish state. Israel was the only country at the UNHRC targeted with multiple resolutions, four to be exact. Well, here's my take. Israel was targeted with four human rights resolutions at the UNHRC while Russia was only given one for its war and aggression in Ukraine. There is evidence today of war crimes committed by Russia, a massacre of innocent life in Bucha outside of Kiev, and yet Israel remains the prime target of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is why America should have stayed out of the UNHRC.
Chris Katulka: Well, everybody, we have a special guest with us today, it's an old friend of mine. And by old, I mean she's super young, but we've known each other for a long time. Her name's Linda Craft. Jonathan and Linda Craft are field ministry representatives with the Friends of Israel in Las Vegas. They are saints in sin city. Linda, great to have you on the program.
Linda Craft: Great to be here, Chris.
Chris Katulka: Linda, you and I, we have had some fun together, especially in 2004 when I came out to visit you and Jonathan for the first time in Las Vegas. You showed me the ropes, and I remember it fondly. And you've stayed in Las Vegas, how long have you been in Las Vegas actually?
Linda Craft: 22 and a half years.
Chris Katulka: 22 and a half years, that's amazing, ministering in the Jewish community of Las Vegas. And at the time when they moved out there, it was the fastest growing Jewish community in the country. And their ministry has been nothing but a blessing to the Friends of Israel, and I know nothing but a blessing to the Jewish community as well. But Linda, I asked you to come on the radio program because this is our Israel My Glory in-depth episode. And we're talking about the article that you wrote in our latest Israel My Glory, which is called the Jewish New Covenant. And your article is titled How I Learned I Was Wrong, what do you do when you're teaching one thing and the Bible teaches another. So Linda, set us up here. Your article starts with you teaching a Bible study, tell our audience what happened.
Linda Craft: Okay. I have been teaching this ladies Bible study in our home church for years. And in 2010, I just said that there's really a great need for a better understanding of the Old Testament. I mean, these are church ladies. They've been in church all their lives. And I don't think they're different from any other church members across the country. They just did not have a real familiarity with the New Testament or the Old Testament. So I started teaching from Genesis 1:1 verse by verse with the goal of going through all 39 books in 10 years. That was the goal. So I'd been teaching through the covenants for Israel, Abrahamic land covenant, Mosaic covenant, Davidic covenant. And I was pretty solid on the conditional, unconditional, and even unilateral aspects of those covenants with Israel. So by the time we got to Jeremiah and I was setting up the introduction for the book, I just couldn't help myself. I wanted my ladies to get jazzed about our covenant.
Linda Craft: And so I said, "We're going to peek ahead here just a little bit. Just keep your Bibles open to Jeremiah one, but I'm going to read to you something way cool. It's our covenant from Jeremiah 31, the new covenant." And I started reading. I hadn't even completed the first sentence, because I started reading in 31, 31:31. And it was like a new covenant for the house of Israel and the house of Judah. And I'd start slowing down and I'm like, "What?" Chris, it was like I never read the book of Jeremiah before, and I have many times. But I'm going, " What the world? For the house of Israel and the house of Judah?" And I just kind of tailed off. I mean, there it was staring at me straight in the face. And I couldn't say it was for the church, so I just kind of ended, went back to the intro because I was just like, "I don't know what to say." I was saved by the blood of the new covenant. Of course, it's for us, it's for us Christians, isn't it?
Chris Katulka: Yes. And that's why this particular issue of Israel My Glory is called the Jewish New Covenant, because I agree with what you say about the new covenant, Linda. It's often painted that it's almost like something Jesus invented while he was on earth, this new covenant, but the reality is when Jesus was talking about the new covenant, he was referring back to the one promise in Jeremiah 31, it also appears in Ezekiel chapter 36. But why do you think Christians overlook the Jewishness of the new covenant? What do you think that's all about?
Linda Craft: Well, in my humble opinion, I think that the Jewishness of the whole Bible is overlooked by Christians. We look at that as our book, our promises, our salvation. The Old Testament, from the pen of the Jewish prophets to the Jewish people about a Jewish Messiah. And even three books in the New Testament are specifically written to Jewish people. So I think the whole Testament is overlooked.
Linda Craft: And then I think another main reason is that it's not really preached a lot in churches. I've heard it over and over again, "We're a New Testament church, and we preach from the New Testament." And I suppose there's one of those reasons. And then, of course, there's communion. Because on the first Sunday of every month in every church I've ever been in, for all of my life, we hear our pastors say, "This is the new covenant in my blood," and we're in church, so it must be for us. And until I took an online class with Friends of Israel, I had no idea that even though the new covenant wasn't to us, that we reap the spiritual blessings of it because of our relationship with the mediator of that covenant.
Chris Katulka: Amen. And I want you to explain that more, because in your article you say that for Christians the new covenant is spiritual, but for Israel it's physical. Can you explain that more?
Linda Craft: Sure. As a church, as Christians, of course, our salvation is through the blood of the new covenant, and it is through the relationship that we have with the mediator. And the relationship of we're [inaudible 00:08:27] with Christ. Christ our brother, God is our father, we can call out Abba father, that's quite a relationship right there. And we also have regeneration. We see that in Titus, the forgiveness of sins, baptism and dwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, direct access to God in Christ with a bride of Christ. And right now national Israel does not have that relationship or those spiritual blessings. So what does it mean for future Israel? A saved and redeemed Israel when all Israel will be saved at the end of the tribulation there, and they all come to Christ and call from him to come?
Linda Craft: Jeremiah 31 explains the physical blessings very well. They were gathered in the land. Productivity, the crops are just going to be bursting with grain and with whatever else they grow out there, barley, wheat, olive oil, the garden, it's going to be incredible. There's going to be expressions of joy. Jeremiah says their mourning's going to be turned into gladness. There's going to be an increase of herds and flocks. There's going to be rebuilding of city. It's going to be an exciting time. And then the saved and redeemed Israel will have a transformation. Ezekiel says they'll have a new spirit. And they will have forgiveness, and they'll have the new heart, and they'll have the relationship that Jeremiah speaks about when God says, "They will be my people and I will be their God." That is going to be the fulfillment of the new covenant, that's going to be such an exciting time.
Chris Katulka: Hey, you know Linda, when you think about, because we're dividing up physical and spiritual for the church today, the new covenant, we have the spiritual benefits of what God promised in the old Testament. But when Israel comes to faith, when they place their trust in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, there both the physical and the spiritual come together. Israel will return to the land, they'll stay in the land and fulfill the promises that God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That's the whole point of what the new covenant was all about, was making sure that God could maintain that covenant relationship that he had with his people. We only have one minute left, Linda, but the subtitle of your article is, what do you do when you're teaching one thing and the Bible teaches another? What do you do, Linda, when you realize you're wrong?
Linda Craft: Chris, I'm a football fan. What do you do? You punt, right? I was kicking that ball down the field for a while. I hedged, I didn't know what to do. But James 3:1 says, "Teachers are held to a higher standard," and I didn't want to take that lightly and I didn't. The article in Israel My Glory was actually from a paper I wrote from my Institute of Jewish Studies class. So each of my Bible study ladies got an explanation of the new covenant as soon as I knew what it was. So what do you do? Own up to your mistake, find out the truth, and then you teach it.
Chris Katulka: Linda, you and I, had the same professor, Dr. Herb Hirt. And I was mentioning him a couple weeks ago. And you know what? The very first lesson I remember hearing from him is if you don't know the answer, it's okay to say I don't know. And you know what it is, you know what Herb taught me and a lot of our great teachers here at the Friends of Israel taught me over the years, is come at the Bible with a heart of humility and then God will do the rest to make sure that his word doesn't return void. Hey, listen, if you want to read Linda's article, we're going to share with you a way in a moment where you can get a free one year subscription to our award-winning magazine, Israel My Glory. But until then, Linda, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to be a part of the radio program today.
Linda Craft: Thank you, Chris. It was great being here.
Chris Katulka: I want to share with you two ways that you can get involved with the Friends of Israel. The first is you can sign up and receive a one year free subscription to our award-winning Christian magazine, Israel My Glory. If you've never subscribed before, I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org. And there you'll actually have two options, you can either sign up and get our print edition, which will come to your house every two months. Or you can get our digital subscription of Israel My Glory, which not only gives you all content online, but it even gives you over 40 years of Israel My glory articles. I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org to subscribe to your free one year subscription to Israel My Glory if you haven't already done that.
Chris Katulka: Another way that you can get involved with Friends of Israel is by joining us for our online Passover Seder that Steve Herzig and I are leading on April 14th at 7:00 PM Eastern time. Go ahead and mark that on your calendars. Enjoy an interactive time of worship and celebration as we taste and experience the fullness of the Lord's Passover. To learn more about how you can prepare to reflect on the perfect innocence of Jesus, our Passover lamb, please go to foiradio.org, and you'll find a link to everything related to this fantastic event. So when you're at foiradio.org, subscribe to our award-winning magazine, Israel My Glory, and register for our upcoming Passover Seder online.
Chris Katulka: It was great to hear from Linda about her journey to realize that as Christians today we are beneficiaries of the new covenant promise that was made to Israel. A promise from God that they certainly, Israel, certainly didn't deserve at all. Let's talk for a moment about this new covenant.
Chris Katulka: Listen to what Jeremiah the prophet says as Linda was referring to, Jeremiah chapter 31 starting in verse 31. It says, "'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, they will be my people. People will no longer 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 sins and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.'"
Chris Katulka: God is promising a new covenant to Israel. It says it right there, "I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah." But why is God making a new covenant? Why is Jeremiah the one talking about it? Well, for Jeremiah, he is a prophet speaking to the people of Judah during one of their most difficult times. Jeremiah sees God's judgment coming on Judah and Jerusalem because of their sin. He's the only prophet in Jerusalem that's telling the Jewish people that when Babylonians come from the east don't fight them because God's not with you. In fact, it was God who sent them. The Babylonians were a pagan people from the east. They were gobbling up land and people from all over Mesopotamia from the Middle East. And technically, if you wanted to know where Babylon was in relationship up to Israel, it's in modern day Iraq.
Chris Katulka: The king of Judah was hearing from all of his advisors at this time. And they were saying, "God is on our side. We can defeat Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon." And Jeremiah was that lone voice, the one voice in the king's ear saying, "The word of Lord says don't fight, judgment is coming. Throw up the white flag and surrender. Save yourself and as many Jewish people as you can." Well, the king and his advisors were so frustrated with Jeremiah's prophecies they threw him in a pit to shut him up. But here's what's happening. God has been judging his people now for quite some time. God made it clear in Deuteronomy chapter 28 that if Israel continued to disobey and spiritually fall away from him, he would banish them from the land that he promised and swore to give them through Abraham.
Chris Katulka: Listen to what God says in Deuteronomy chapter 28. He says, "The Lord will scatter you among the nations from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other guys that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and of stone. Among those nations you will have no rest. There will be no place of peaceful rest for the souls of your feet. For there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair." This would be an ongoing issue for Israel and the Jewish people, that every time, think about it, every time they disobey God, God would use means to draw Israel back to him that they might repent and turn to him. And then if they continued to disobey, he would have to kick them out of the land again according to the law. It would be an ongoing cycle.
Chris Katulka: And you know what doesn't help? The law doesn't help. The law demands this. God wanted to make sure in Jeremiah, when he spoke about the new covenant, God wanted to make sure that the promise that he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be fulfilled. That the land, Israel, the people, the Jewish people, and the blessing associated with the promise would find its complete fulfillment. But it can't do that as long as mankind, mankind, not just the Jewish people, mankind has a sinful nature. I mean, it's the reason Jeremiah wrote this, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it?" It's the Lord who searches the heart and the mind to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruits of his deeds.
Chris Katulka: If the heart of man is desperately sick, then guess what? Israel will never see the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham under the law. Over and over they will be kicked out and welcomed back and then kicked out and then welcomed back. But in the midst of getting kicked out, Jeremiah has a vision from the Lord of a new covenant, a new way, a new way to make sure they never get kicked out of the land again. It won't be like the covenant that God made on Mount Sinai, the law made on tablets. The new covenant will be etched on the hearts of man. The hearts that are desperately sick will be revived and God will write those laws on them, remember, on their hearts and on their minds.
Chris Katulka: The main theme of Jeremiah 31, it's amazing, it's actually God promising to bring Israel back to the land. Listen to Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 10. "He who scattered Israel will gather him and we'll keep him as a shepherd keeps his flocks." If God's going to return them to the land, he's going to make a way to make sure they can never leave again. He's going to redeem them and give them the Holy Spirit. And he's going to do this through his one and only son who shed blood, will provide the forgiveness and reconciliation. And in Christ coming, he also promised what? The Holy Spirit, the indwelling of the spirit, as Linda said. I've said this before on this program, but there's a reason that when you read through the gospels you never hear Jesus condemn Rome or condemn Caesar or condemn Pontius Pilate. Rome wasn't Israel's problem. It was Israel's spiritual condition that caused them to suffer. Jesus didn't condemn the Gentile kingdom, he condemned the religious leaders of Israel guiding Israel astray, guiding the sheep astray.
Chris Katulka: Jesus came to provide a way so that when Israel does believe, they never leave the land again. As the Prophet Ezekiel put it in Ezekiel chapter 36 starting in verse 25, he says, "I will sprinkle clean water on you. You shall be clean from all your uncleanliness. From all the idols, I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you, Israel. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave your fathers and you shall be my people and I will be your God and I will deliver you from all uncleanliness." God promises through Ezekiel that he would forgive Israel, wash them clean, give them a new heart, and indwell them with his spirit.
Chris Katulka: Listen to what God says then, "Then you will dwell in the land that I gave your fathers." That is the day that we are waiting for my friends. But until that day, the spiritual blessings of the new covenant are so graciously made available to us today, believers in the Lord Jesus. The promise of forgiveness, the cleansing from sin, reconciliation, the indwelling of his Holy Spirit in our lives that's available to us, the sealing until the day of redemption, that we are sealed, we cannot lose our salvation. Today, we are spiritual beneficiaries of a promise that God made to Israel. So next time you hear about the new covenant in church, praise God for his kindness and mercy towards us. And don't forget that it's a Jewish New Covenant.
Chris Katulka: Thanks for joining us. You know what's coming up next week, we're going to be talking about Easter and Passover. It's something that you're not going to want to miss. Steve Conover is our executive producer. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. And our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. I'm your host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Write us, let us know what you think of the radio program. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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