Monday, January 3, 2011

The Most Precious Real Estate In The World

Happy New Year's and Monday evening to all you followers of the Voice! I've been meaning to put this post on here for about the past month, but with Christmas and New Year's both being over, I have no more excuses for being too tired to blog.

I ran across this pdf article and it discusses whether or not the nation-state of Israel has a legitimate claim to "their" land. Before you go judging the situation I implore you to read this article. It is well written and has some very interesting implications both in biblical prophecy and how American Christians should act towards our Israeli brethren. Enjoy!



  1. As a person of some Jewish heritage, I might not be the most unbiased when it comes to this topic. I will say that to begin with. However, the first argument in this pdf. does not seem to be of good quality - he argues that the New Covenant "annuls" the Old Covenant, implying that the relationship of the Church to God "annuls" the relationship that God has with Israel, though the general thrust of NT passages like Romans 11 shows that Israel's relationship with God is still unique and important, if not in a saving way apart from belief in Jesus Christ.

    Here's an example passage: "As regards the gospel, they [the Jews] are enemies of God for your sake. BUT as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

    Although Paul seems to say two opposite things at the same time (how can Israel be enemies of God -as in the first sentence- yet also be elect/loved by God, as in the second and the third?), the general idea seems to be that God's relationship with Israel is still a unique one distinct from what God has with the Church, and that God shows favor to national Israel while also preserving a Jewish remnant which has put their faith in Jesus. I believe that these Messianic Jews are described by Paul when he says,

    "I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 'Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.' But what is God's reply to him? 'I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.' So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace."

  2. As a person of Jewish background, I might not be the most unbiased when it comes to discussing the importance of Israel. Still, let me have a try.

    I have only read the first argument in the pdf so far. I thoroughly disagree that the New Covenant "annuls" the Old Covenant or that the Church annuls God's unique relationship with Israel, which seems to be what is implied there.

    While salvation belongs to the Church, God still has a unique relationship with national Israel based on His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: "As regards the gospel they [the Jews] are enemies of God for your sake. BUT as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Romans 11.28-29)

    It is because of this unique, distinct relationship (distinct from that which God has with the New Covenant church)that God has also preserved a remnant of Messianic Jews - see especially Romans 11.1-5. Even then, the believing [Christian] Jew fits in a uniquely favorable way into the church - "if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary by nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will the natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?" (Romans 11.24)

    All that to say, the existence of the New Covenant church does not annul God's distinct relationship with national Israel.

  3. Woops, I thought blogger had accidentally deleted my first comment.

  4. That said, good stuff. Room for spirited disagreement - it keeps us on our toes!

  5. Ok, I see your point, and I actually agree with you. I think what the author is trying to get at mainly is asking the question, "Does Israel currently have a right to the land that they are attempting to occupy?". This gets tricky real quick because you have people out there like John Hagee who has some pretty oddball beliefs about Israel, specifically when it comes to prophecy and eschatology. And there's also the argument over dispensational versus covenant theology, but that's not what this post is about.

    So you can see how slippery a slope this is and how quickly it gets messy. All that to say, I think this article is thought provoking and can bring about some good conversation, but if you want more info about what he's talking about, I would consider a less biased opinion ( a church class, online seminary, iTunesU, talking to your pastor, etc.) for more info.

  6. Totally - it's an important discussion to be having, even for those who support Israel.

    Lots of Christians support Israel but don't know why, and lots of Jews support it just because they think that they should. Then there are the strange TV preacher types who have some very messed up eschatological views, and they support Israel because it figures in to the End Times, somehow. So even those who support Israel might no be in the best theological (or mental) health. Just my assessment.

    All that is to say, it's a really practical issue to think through. If Israel has a God-given right to the land that they occupy, then we had best support their ongoing existence. If God has not given them a right to that land, then we are supporting the oppression and marginalization of Palestinians. Either way, we need to have those viewpoints addressed.


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