Contend Earnestly: Supporting the Nation of Israel is Political, Not Biblical

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Supporting the Nation of Israel is Political, Not Biblical


One of the oddest things happening in today's world is the fact of so many Christians believing that Israel as a Nation is because of biblical prophecies, like God still "owed Israel." Because of this belief many Christians look down on the land and people of Palestine and desire to take up arms against them. The problem with this is two fold:

1. The Bible clearly teaches that the land promised to Israel was given to them and then taken away because of their disobedience. (which was the majority belief before the mid 19th Century and before American Evangelicalism)

2. There are up to as much as 10% of the population of Palestine who are Christians. If American Christians desire to go to war with Palestine (or merely support Israel in it), they will be killing Christians over the thought that the nation of Israel, who reject Jesus as the Messiah, should have the land promised to them in Deuteronomy 29:1-29 and Deuteronomy 30:1-10. You can see that God gives them a requirement at the end of this passage, in verse 10:

if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

Here are some biblical problems with holding that Israel is still "owed land" or "owed fulfilled promises" by God:

1. The land promise to Abraham pertaining to the land of Palestine have already been literally fulfilled through Joshua. Look specifically to Joshua 11:23 and 21:43

So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.
Joshua 11:23


So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.
Joshua 21:43


a. The proofs that Israel became a great nation, are too numerous and well known are well documented and one doesn't need simple biblical proof to see this fact

b. The promise that the descendants would be as numerous as the sand of the sea and the stars in the sky has been fulfilled when seeing Nehemiah 9:23:

You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And You brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.

c. The promise to Abraham that the Messiah would include all the nations of the earth (Gen. 12:3) was fulfilled in the incarnation of Christ and the book of Acts

2. After the return from the bondage in Egypt other prophecies concerning the nation of Israel included returning to the land, rebuilding the temple and the reinstitution of sacrifices. This has already been fulfilled both historically and biblically. The temple was literally rebuilt in 516 B.C. and so the sacrificial system was also back in place. One need only read such books as Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zachariah to find that there is no need for such prophecies to be for the End Times. Remember that all the prophecies concerning the return to the land, the temple being rebuilt and the sacrificial system being reinstated were all made before 516 B.C. Since this time of fulfillment in 516 B.C. there have been no further mention of these prophecies, including Malachi and the New Testament.

3. Since the above mentioned have been fulfilled, all other prophecies were to include the New Covenant of believers which would include Gentiles into God's people and therefore all further unfulfilled prophecies, such as the second Advent, the judgment seat, which includes the Day of the Lord, will include all believers in the Lord Jesus, not merely national Israel. This is known as the New Covenant that was prophecied by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31:31 and will be carried out by those who believe, the church. Both Jews and Gentiles without distinction.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
Galatians 3:28-29

I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
John 10:16

With all this in mind, it is clear that there is no reason why we should biblically support the nation of Israel to "take what is rightfully theirs." This is clearly a political decision, not biblical. The promises given to the nation of Israel have already been fulfilled in the past and now any left over promises are going to be fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah for those who love Him and believe in Him (see New Covenant and compare that to Jews/Israel today).

The whole idea of Zionism came from non-Christian scholars and before the early 20th century Zionism was not even on the map. I am not going to get into all the political jargon over this, but understand that if you are trying to support the Nation of Israel biblically, you will fall very short in trying to make this argument sufficient.

I am not saying that we shouldn't love Israel or Jews, but I wish Evangelicals would be careful how they read the Bible and how it should affect their political convictions.



6 comments:

tyler recker said...

Seth,

You seem to be saying that dispy isn't where it's at...?

Josh R said...

While I don't wholeheartedly disagree with you - I don't think God's gift of the Land was conditional. And I do think that it was for all time..

Deuteronomy 4:40 affirms this -- Moses warns them to obey or their days in the land will be shortened, but he also affirms that it is their land for all time in the same verse.

The title was given to Abraham in Gen 13:15. Unlike the covenant with Moses, the covenant with Abraham was not conditional. "for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever."

One could argue a replacement theology - that the land now belongs the the Christians grafted in who are sons of Abraham. But I think you are on shaky ground saying that the God revoked his promise to Abraham. It is his land forever.

It is also worth noting that God Promised that if they failed to take the land completely and ruthlessly there would be battles over the title forever -- They didn't and there has been

In the end, all of us live on borrowed land, and there is one title holder.

Chris Cole said...

I think that there is one promise remaining regarding ethnic Israe, though the promise is made to the Church REGARDING them rather than to them directly. That is the promise of Romans 11:25-26, that their judicial hardening will be lifted and they shall be converted as a nation (not necessarily meaning every individual).

ZSB said...

So, like... Jews=bad, Muslims=good?

:P

Contend Earnestly said...

Zach.
haha..no...not at all...

Just don't want people to use their bibles to try and show why Israel should be a nation and why the Muslims should go away...

Bad theology and hermeneutics.

Darlene said...

This kind of thinking regarding Israel comes from the pre-Rapture Dispensationalists. They think it's important for the ethnic Jews to have the land so that sacrifices can be re-instituted. But why would God will or desire for animanl sacrifices to be re-instituted when He already gave His Son as the final sacrifice?

The Church is the Israel of God, composed of both Jews and gentiles. All Jews must come to God through Christ, not animal sacrifices. The curtain of the temple was torn in two, to end animal sacrifices once and for all.

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