FILM REVIEW: “With God On Our Side” (includes video previews)
by Adam Maarschalk: April 29, 2010
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him” (Romans 10:12).
“In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:4-6).
“For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your children will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring” (Romans 9:6-8).
These three passages are only a sampling of New Testament passages demonstrating that “the playing field” is leveled because of Christ’s work on the cross, and that in the kingdom of God ethnic descent counts for absolutely nothing. Saving faith in Christ is required to have any stake whatsoever in the promises of God (see especially Galatians 3:7-9, 16, 29; Romans 4:13-16, 22-25; Galatians 5:6, 6:15-16). How does this New Covenant truth play out, though, in 21st century American Christianity? Do we believe it? Do we teach it? Do we practice it? Or do we teach instead that God favors one ethnic group over all others, and that He holds out promises for that one ethnic group which He withholds from others? The sad fact is that there is a popular movement which indeed strongly advocates this type of partiality and favoritism. This movement is known as Christian Zionism, an offshoot of Dispensationalism, the school of thought invented by John Nelson Darby in the 1830’s and popularized by the 1909 publishing of the Scofield Reference Bible.
Are there significant implications for supporting Christian Zionism? Porter Speakman Jr. believes so. Speakman is the director of a brand new documentary titled “With God On Our Side” (not to be confused with a 2004 documentary by the same name highlighting “the rise of the religious right in America”). It was released by Rooftop Productions on April 8, 2010. The following is the film’s synopsis:
With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.
This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.
I watched this documentary last weekend, and highly recommend it for anyone who has any interest at all in the present Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and especially for those who have theological convictions regarding modern day Israel and/or the Jewish people. My brief review of this film will follow shortly, but first I’d like to highlight the five official (short) video clips posted on Vimeo to promote the film. They don’t do justice to the excellent content of the film itself, but they are a good introduction:
This first video is the official trailer of “With God On Our Side.” It includes brief testimony from Salim Munayer, a Palestinian Christian who lived in the region when Israel became a nation in 1948. Salim helped to found Musalaha, a non-profit organization “that works toward reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians based on the Biblical principles of peace, justice, and love.” This trailer also includes footage from certain Palestinian areas, and speaks briefly of the more than 3 million Palestinian refugees who today make up the largest refugee population in the world. The viewer is also given a couple of brief glances at a “Christians United for Israel” (CUFI) rally led by pastor John Hagee of San Antonio, Texas.
In this second video clip, Gary Burge (Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, and a student living in Beirut when the Lebanon civil war broke out in the 1970’s) speaks on Biblical justice and kingdom values. Examples would be the truths Jesus articulated in the Sermon on the Mount, and His actions toward the people who were marginalized in the Israel of His day. Gary asks whether or not evangelical Christians today are promoting and applying these values equally toward all peoples in the Middle East, regardless of their background.
In this third video clip, Salim Munayer, who is also a leader on faculty at Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine, tells of a popular US Christian radio anchor interviewed some time ago on Israeli TV. This Christian leader cited the book of Joshua in making his case that the Jews should destroy the population of Lebanon. The point of this Palestinian believer is that many American Christian leaders are being perceived in the Middle East as warmongers, as desiring to be rich but not caring for the poor, as standing for power and not peace/justice, as hating Muslims, as being one-sided regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, etc. He points out that certain Christian spokespersons in America (especially from the Christian Zionist camp) are heard loudly in the Middle East, and their statements are immediately translated into Arabic on a regular basis. Their teachings and political opinions are hindering the ministry of believers in that region.
In this fourth video clip, a Christian British journalist speaks of the unjust accusation of anti-semitism which is often leveled at those who attempt to tell the “Palestinian narrative,” or who advocate equality between the Jewish and Palestinian communities. I might add that I’ve also personally heard this charge applied unfairly to those who simply question or reject the teachings of dispensationalism and/or Christian Zionism, which happen to be fairly new doctrines in Church history. Another term which is hastily applied to those who don’t believe that the Jewish people hold a special status in New Covenant Christianity is “replacement theology.”
Photo Credits: All photos in this post are sourced from the “We Love Israel” page on Facebook.
In this fifth video clip, Stephen Sizer (a pastor at Christ Church in Surrey, England; also an author, theologian, and an international speaker specializing in topics relating to the land of Israel) speaks of the danger of simplistic answers regarding the Israeli/Palestinian situation. These dangers include making one group or the other “the bad guys,” or demonizing a whole group of people, leading to a justification of the abuse of civilians in order to advance a certain cause. He compares some of the arguments which are being advanced today to the arguments which allowed for the ethnic cleansing of North America’s indigenous people in generations past.
A Brief Review of “With God On Our Side”
One of the features of this film which I greatly appreciated was the space given to Palestinian Christians to share their stories and their perspectives. They are often a forgotten voice in the present conflict. The same is unfortunately true in the world of Christian Zionism, where even Jewish unbelievers are among the favored ones, but our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters are too often sidelined. One man shared what he saw firsthand in 1948 when Israel became a nation, when his own family members were made homeless along with nearly 700,000 other people. He doesn’t share these details with bitterness. Instead, he expresses how he loved the Jewish people prior to 1948, and by the grace of God continues to love them post-1948. Upon watching the film, one gets the sense that there are so many similar stories which could and should be told.
Another helpful feature of the film is an informative section devoted to the history of the land/region of Palestine during the last several centuries. The film’s very informative official site provides some of these same details, minus the attractive graphics presented in the film. One learns about the Ottoman Empire, its fall around the time of World War I, the famous Balfour Declaration of 1917, and British-controlled Palestine during the “British Mandate,” all prior to 1948. As the film site states,
The status of the populations between Arabs and Jews living in the land of Palestine before 1948 is one that is continuing to be debated. While researching for this film, we came across various population numbers and statistics. We have tried to take numbers that most accurately indicated the realities on the ground at that time. The two main things that can be said with little doubt, no matter what numbers you use is that, one, the land of Palestine was not empty when Jews began immigrating back in the late 19th century. Two, there was a majority Arab population and minority Jewish communities living in the land of Palestine before 1948.
Jewish immigration to Palestine grew, especially during and after WW2 and the Holocaust, which saw the systematic murder of over 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis. As Jewish immigration grew, tensions between the two communities mounted. However, before that, Arabs and Jews lived together peacefully. It is true that there was Arab migration into the area as Jewish immigration and opportunities arose; however, the idea that Arabs only started to populate the area when Jews made it prosperous is a myth.
Speaking of myths, some of the theology characteristic of Christian Zionism is discussed throughout the film, but especially during the last half hour (the film is 82 minutes long). The film is not one-sided in this regard, though. Christian Zionists, John Hagee being one of them, are given numerous opportunities to express their views without interruption. In some cases, their views are then refuted by featured speakers in this documentary. In other cases, their specific points are not so thoroughly addressed, though I found myself wishing that they would have been.
The video footage alone makes this film worth viewing. It was fascinating to see the way of life of both Jews and Palestinians in villages, cities, and marketplaces. To be sure, there were heartbreaking moments as well. The suffering and injustices are incredible, and too many are needlessly being made victims, and much more could be said on this. The viewer learns of some disturbing details behind the push to locate settlers in disputed areas, including massive financial support from Christian organizations in America which is enabling certain aggressive activities to continue and increase. Is God on one side of the present conflict, but not on the other? Christian Zionists say “yes,” but does the Bible agree? Emphatically, I must say “no.”
It’s my conviction that it’s impossible to make a responsible case from within the pages of the New Testament that God maintains any promises for the Jewish people which are not available for all who trust in Christ, not even promises regarding the land of Israel. In fact, unbelieving Jews (and Gentiles) are entirely outside of God’s covenant and promises, for these promises are only accessible through faith. Nor do I believe that any promises await any future fulfillment exclusively or primarily for the Jewish people, for there really is no Jew or Gentile in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). I realize that the statements I’ve just made are a huge can of worms for a lot of people. Good! Let us all dig deep on these things for ourselves, and not just blindly follow popular teachers and teachings.
When time allows, I hope to write much more extensively on this very subject, for there are so many things to consider. In the meantime, for anyone who is interested, one excellent resource is a series of presentations based on Stephen Sizer’s book, “Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel, and the Church.” Sizer has kindly made this series available online for free (the book is available for purchase here). I have read portions of this series and what I’ve read so far is thorough, well-thought-out, and simply an excellent study. I plan to do a lot of interaction with Sizer’s writings once I do write further on this subject here at this blog. The following are some of the questions I wish to tackle at that time (feel free, though, to discuss them even now):
-According to the New Testament, who are God’s chosen people today? Does God have one chosen people, or two?
-Are all Jews part of God’s chosen people, as is taught in many Christian circles, or only those Jews who have put their faith in Christ (alongside of all non-Jews who have done the same)?
-Do Jewish Christians (known as “Messianic Jews”) have a higher place in the kingdom of God than non-Jewish followers of Christ? Does Scripture say that this will ever be the case?
-Does Genesis 12:3 mandate that Christians show favoritism toward the modern nation of Israel, the policies of that nation, and/or toward the Jewish people as a whole? Does Genesis 12:3 have anything at all to do with the modern, geopolitical nation of Israel? How about Zechariah 2:8, where Jerusalem is said to be “the apple of God’s eye”?
-Do the Jewish people have a divine right to the land of Israel? Is this idea affirmed anywhere in the New Testament? If yes, where? If no, why not?
-How do the inspired authors of the New Testament apply Old Testament passages which were originally addressed to “the house of Israel”? Are they applied in the NT to the Jewish people as a race, or to the Church (which is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, with no distinction)? Are they ever spiritualized in any way by the authors of the NT?
-Were the promises given to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament conditional or unconditional? Do they apply to the modern, political nation of Israel? If so, to whom were they applied from 70 AD to 1948 when there was no established nation known as Israel?
-The land promises in the OT were said to be eternal/everlasting/perpetual, as was the covenant of fleshly circumcision, and as were also numerous temple-based rituals. How does the NT deal with the non-land covenants/statutes which were said to be eternal? Should the eternal land promises be dealt with in a different manner? If so, why?
-How does the New Testament speak of earthly Jerusalem in comparison to heavenly Jerusalem, and what are the implications of this contrast?
-Has the New Covenant (promised, for example, in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36) fully arrived yet? Or is its full arrival awaiting the future salvation of the entire nation of Israel (or all surviving Jews) at the Second Coming of Christ? This is what dispensationalism teaches.
-Are you sure that what you have been taught regarding the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and other related issues resembles what has been taught throughout Church history, especially prior to the advent of dispensationalism (the school of thought developed by John Nelson Darby in the 1830’s)?
“With God On Our Side” is available for purchase on Amazon.com, where several helpful reviews of the film can also be seen.
All posts on the subject of Christian Zionism can be found here.
45 thoughts on ““With God On Our Side”: A Documentary on Christian Zionism”
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[Another term which is hastily applied to those who don’t believe that the Jewish people hold a special status in New Covenant Christianity is “replacement theology.”] “Replacement theology” is the the idea that the church has replaced Israel. You say it is hastily applied… it’s like you are trying to make a point but don’t quite make it. How is it hastily applied, and are you trying to say it’s incorrectly applied? And if so, how?
Hi Confused. Thanks for stopping by, and for your question. You’re right-I could have elaborated more on my comment regarding “replacement theology.” My point is that this charge is leveled at those who don’t believe that the Jewish people have an exalted position in the kingdom of God, but this charge is often leveled with little or no explanation. At least that has been my experience and observation.
In several discussions on Facebook, for example, I’ve been told repeatedly that I embrace “replacement theology,” but I have waited in vain for any real explanation of what is meant by this charge (despite asking for such an explanation). For that reason, it seems to me that it has become an easy thing to say that others hold to replacement theology, and that this has become a way of quickly dismissing what they have to say.
Yes, I believe this charge is applied somewhat incorrectly. I do believe that the nation of Israel as an entity is completely out of the picture with regard to the New Covenant. This entity did not exist for more than 1800 years of Church history, so any discussion regarding “replacement theology” between 70 AD and 1948 would have been a reference to the Jewish people as a race. However, it’s not accurate to say that the Jewish people have been replaced by the Church. For any Jew who trusts in Christ partakes of salvation on an equal basis along with any non-Jew who trusts in Christ. That Jew (or that Gentile) belongs to the Church. God has a remnant of believers from among the Jewish people, as the apostle Paul is very careful to say (Romans 11:1-5), and God also has a remnant of believers from among the Gentiles.
My conviction is that God has one holy nation (e.g. I Peter 2:9-10), and it’s not defined by geopolitical borders. This holy nation, to whom belongs all spiritual blessings and promises, is the Church. It is not the modern, political nation of Israel. Again, though, there are individuals living within national Israel who belong to this holy nation. The majority, though, within national Israel (and also America, for that matter) have no part.
If you don’t mind me asking, do you believe that national Israel today stands as an heir of any God-given covenant or promises, particularly those spoken to Abraham?
excellent post…cant wait to read more…
the Lord reveal to me this horrible perversion of the Word of God, tha places natural israel above all ppls and even makes Christ submit to the zionist agenda…those who preach a different gospel also preach another jesus…but let the redeemed of the Lord say so…and speak truth into this darkness…be bless… -g-
Thank you for your kind words. May the Lord continue to bless you in your study of His Word.
Excellent – I’m looking forward to reading more – Todd Bentley can wait! Radio free church is a good resource site – has some views which differ but then it’s healthy to listen to other perspectives to see where they are coming from.
Thanks. Do you have a link to the Radio Free Church you’re referring to?
here you are
Great review. Thanks for being so encouraging. Presently in Austin showing the film at the Vineyard Church tonight – so appreciated the photo that epitomises the tensions for someone from Austin.
Thank you for your feedback. I so appreciate the work that you’re doing. May the Lord’s hand be upon your meeting in Austin tonight.
Good work Adam.
I wholeheartedly agree with your perspective, although it is painful for me to say it. All my natural inclination is to be sympathetic to the Jewish side, having a nephew in the IDF, having visited Masada, and felt so keenly there Christ’s broken heart for that terrible judgment. My relatives live in the Galilee. When you see the Golan Heights, it is no longer just an idea, how vulnerable Israel is.
But justice cries out, God is no respecter of persons. It breaks my heart, the plight of the Palestinians. I have been making friends with some neighbors of mine who emigrated from Israel, who wear the hajib, and it makes me sad to think they see American Christians as anti-Muslim.
I am trying to train my children in impartiality around these issues as well. A good book for youth that we are using in our homeschool is Brother Andrew’s, “Operation Desert Light”, which deals in a very readable way the very issues described in this documentary, that of bringing the Gospel of Christ to all the suffering peoples of the region–not just the Jews. Brother Andrew writes about bringing the gospel to the Islamic Fundamentalists, (actually preaching to leaders of Hamas!) He writes of the plight of the Arab believers,particularly those of Bethlehem Bible Bible College, which Open Doors was instrumental in helping to build. Salim Munayer is figured prominently in the book. It is a great read, with gripping stories, and my boys have enjoyed it. I haven’t read your blog completely, so I don’t know if you encountered it. I always enjoy reading your comments on PJ’s blog, and I am intrigued by what I see here.
I appreciate your thoughts, and have always enjoyed seeing your comments on PJ’s blog as well.
Amen. Impartiality is a very good thing to teach. No, I wasn’t aware of Brother Andrew’s book, but it sounds very good. Thanks for mentioning it. I do remember reading that he had some association with Salim Munayer.
I don’t think God would call you to give up your sympathy for the Jewish people, but His desire is that we show compassion to all, and it sounds like this describes your heart. If there is a priority list, those who are poor and suffering would be at the top. We also have this instruction:
I’ll pray that the Lord uses you effectively as His instrument in the lives of the neighbors you mentioned.
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It is great that the Bible gives us God’s perspective on the history of Israel. Called to be a blessing to others (Gen 12:1-4), called not because they were so great, but because God loved them, (Deut 7:7-8, just like how he saved you and me), called to be a nation of priests, to show the world the way to God, what happened? He rescued them from Egypt, gave them perfect laws, a good land, a king after his own heart, prophets to correct them, he gave them every help imaginable, yet they sinned. They sinned to the point of killing his own dear son. Israel teaches me that we can not get to God, even when he gives us every help to do so. It isnt just about getting a better president, or better laws, Israel had the best, and still fell. Now the wages of sin is death, and Israel had a living death among the nations for 2,000 years, but that verse continues, that the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus! God’s love does not know how to quit (amen!), even after what they had done, his love continued towards them – his love is greater than our sin. In every generation, there were a remnant saved by grace, and finally, all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26). We see how this happens in Zech 12:10-13:1. They look on him whom they have peirced (conviction of sin), mourn for him (repentance), and God washes them clean (baptism). That is, they are saved just like you and I were. Having shown the world that we cant be saved by works, that the wages of sin is death, and that God’s love is greater than our sin, they finally show the world the only way to salvation, living out their calling as a nation of priests, because the gifts and calling of God are irreversable! (Rom 11:29) This is wondereful. I sin, I let God down, and wonder if he could still love me and use me in his will, then I remember Israel, and am comforted. God’s love for Israel shows me the nature of his love for me also. And their history, from beginning to end, is recorded in Scripture to be a blessing (1 Cor 10:11). Romans 15:8 says Jesus came to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs (see Psalm 105:6-11 for some of these – and remember, in Jesus, all the promises of God find their yes). See Luke 1:32-33 and 54-55. Will these promises come true, or did Jesus fail?
We have a good God. I am glad his love never fails, and his promises can be trusted. At present, Israel have been re-gathered in unbelief, are still sinning (like the rest of us) and need the Gospel (like the rest of us), but we can see through the eyes of Scripture in that regathering the first blossomings of redemption (Rom 11:15). Praise God Israel have come home.
You have a few good points in your comment (e.g. Israel was not called because of their own greatness; what happened in their history was written down for our instruction; God’s promises can be trusted…). But I have to confess that I don’t follow everything you’re trying to say here. For example:
However, this is the testimony of Scripture: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself…” (II Corinthians 5:17-19).
Perhaps I’ve misunderstood, but are you equating  the captivity of the surviving Jews in 70 AD (Luke 21:24a) with spiritual death (Romans 6:23) and  the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 with God’s gift of eternal life?
Are you suggesting that this is a future event, or an ongoing process during the last 2000 years? I can’t tell for sure what you’re suggesting here. This bears some importance on your next statement, though…
Are you saying the Jewish people will accomplish this in the future? Or that they’ve been doing so in recent decades? It’s Jesus who showed the world the only way to salvation. And the only nation of priests in this present New Covenant age is the Church, made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers–without distinction (I Peter 2:9-10).
Now I have to be rather blunt. Jesus did not fail, and He does not fail. And nowhere in the New Testament is it stated or implied that a certain geographical region must belong to one race of people in order for Jesus to succeed. According to Romans 15:8, Jesus already confirmed “the promises given to the patriarchs,” and verses 9-12 make it clear that His becoming “a servant to the circumcised” also opened the way for the Gentiles to enter His kingdom without hindrance. This is nothing less than the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22-24; cf. Galatians 4:21-31), the very city that the patriarchs looked forward to (Hebrews 11:10, 13-16). Let us not part ways with them, by instead fixing our eyes on the earthly city of Jerusalem. On this matter which you brought up, I strongly recommend to you the following free resources from Stephen Sizer:
http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/zcs3.pdf (“The Promised Land-From the Nile to the Euphrates?”)
http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/zcs4.pdf (“Battle for Jerusalem-The Eternal Capital of the Jews?”)
What do you mean by “Israel have been re-gathered,” and are you attempting to refer to anything in Scripture by this statement? Assuming that by “Israel,” you mean the Jewish people, I’m fully agreed with you that they need the gospel just like any other people. But if “the first blossomings of redemption” are happening in this present day because of Jews taking up residence in modern Israel, does this mean that no redemption has taken place during the last 2000 years? What kind of “redemption” are you speaking of?
Hi, not sure how to do this, I will try and put my comments on your comments, and see if it makes sense.
Colin, on May 5th, said: we cannot get to heaven by good works, even with God helping us – even given perfect laws, prophets and priests to help, we still fail. Israel’s Biblical history shows the impossibility of getting to God even in the best possible conditions. How often do we say, if only we had better laws, or better leaders, all would be well? Israel had God’s own choice of leader, and rules written by his hand, yet they still failed.
Colin, on May 5th, said: As a nation, since 70 AD, Israel have been persecuted strangers where ever they have gone. I was likening this to a national death among the nations of the world a natrion without a land, scattered and persecuted. I was not equating 1948 with eternal life (!!), but rather the national salvation of Israel at the end of the age as promised in Romans 11:26 (see also 11:15,16 and 25).
and finally, all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26). We see how this happens in Zech 12:10-13:1. They look on him whom they have peirced (conviction of sin), mourn for him (repentance), and God washes them clean (baptism). That is, they are saved just like you and I were.
Colin, on May 5th, said: unless these events are unrecognisable from their original context, they have yet to take place.
Colin, on May 5th, said: Romans 11:28-29 “As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” In the passage that states that all Israel will be saved, because God is faithful, ‘Israel’ are defined as “enemies of the Gospel” in the present (so they cannot be the church), but still beloved for the sake of the patriarchs. That is, corporate Israel still have a role to play, God has not cast them off.
Colin, on May 5th, said: its ok, I do not believe Jesus failed either!! But Luke 1:32-33 says “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” and Luke 1:54-55 “God will give Jesus the throne of his father David, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” and Luke 1:68-74 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us– to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear.” Simeon says of Jesus that he is (Luke 2:32) “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Note, Jesus is a blessing to both gentiles and to “your people Israel” – we agree that Jesus confirmed the promises given to the Patriarchs, those promises include Psalm 105:6-11 “O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance,” Will Jesus rule over the house of Jacob forever?”
Colin, on May 5th, said: I was speaking of the return of our Lord – Rom 11:15 “For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” Speaking about Israel, Paul says their rejection of Jesus sent the Gospel to the Gentiles, but that is not the end of the story!! Their future national acceptance (for all Israel shall be saved) will usher in life from the dead, the ressurection at the return of Jesus. Romans 11:11-12 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
Think of Joseph, rejected and left for dead by his brothers, become a ruler over the gentile Egyptians. This is where you would end the story. His brothers of the flesh are disowned and forgotten, lots of gentiles are enjoying the blessing of his rule. But that is not where God ends the story. The brothers come to realise they need what the people ruled by Joseph have – (Paul speaks Romans 11:13-14; “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.”), the brothers go to Egypt, and finally confess their sin, look on him whom they pierced, and are reconcilled with Joseph. The Jewish people still need to look on him whom they have pierced, and repent and be saved, and the Bible promises us this will happen.
That is the national history, as Paul also notes, each individual Jew needs to be saved, and in every generation, that is happening, praise God!!
Forgive me for taking so long to get back to you. I didn’t mean to disregard your response on May 5th, but I’ve been quite swamped with other things the last few days. I’m starting a new comment thread here for the sake of clarity, as I respond to a few of your points.
Thank you for clarifying that you mean our own good works can’t get us to heaven. On this point, I very much agree. I wouldn’t say, though, that it was impossible in Old Testament times to “get to God.” Of Enoch, it is said that he “walked with God.” Moses, David, and many others also had an intimate relationship with God. I’m not assuming you would dispute this. Anyway, this is a very minor point in our discussion here. Moving on…
On these points, my reply will be quite lengthy. I’m glad to know that you’re not equating the events of 1948 with eternal life. I still must object, though, to your use of Romans 6:23 in any kind of analogy regarding the scattering of the Jewish people after 70 AD. The free gift of eternal life through Jesus is granted strictly on an individual basis to those whom God draws to Himself and who respond with faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross.
By the way, what happened to the unbelieving Jews in 70 AD was predicted by Jesus (“for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written… They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all the nations…”; Luke 21:22-24). This was God’s judgment upon 1st century faithless Israel (e.g. Matt. 23:35-36; Rev. 18:24). At the same time, it’s a grievous thing that there have been instances in history since that time where Jewish people have been targeted and mistreated, and an even more grievous thing when any professing Christians have condoned or supported such acts.
In the book of Romans, Paul speaks of both spiritual Israel (made up of believing Jews and Gentiles alike) as well as natural Israel (Israel after the flesh). The question before us now is, “Which one was he speaking of when he said, ‘And in this way all Israel will be saved.’”?
In Romans 9:6-8, Paul already defined who spiritual Israel is, and it’s not the same as “Israel after the flesh.” In fact, he used the same phrase, “all Israel,” in Romans 9:6-8 as he does in Romans 11:26. Here is what Paul says in this passage: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise who are counted as offspring.” This only confirms what he has already said in Romans 2:28-29 (“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…”).
Then in Romans 9:27-28, Paul quotes from Isaiah 10:22-23 in order to declare that only a remnant of the Jewish people will be saved (“And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out His sentence upon the earth fully and without delay”). The language used in this last statement would seem to be a prophecy of what took place shortly after Paul penned these words, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In Romans 11:5 Paul again states that there is “a remnant, chosen by grace.” In Romans 11:23, he lays out the condition by which any natural Jew might be grafted in to the olive tree: “if they do not continue in their unbelief.” Everything he says indicates that spiritual salvation comes to both Jews and Gentiles on an individual basis, not corporately.
We should also consider the passage Paul quotes from Isaiah 59:20-21 in Romans 11:26b-27. It speaks of a Deliverer (Jesus) coming from Zion (“to” Zion in Isaiah 59). This Deliverer establishes a covenant which results in the taking away of sins. Doesn’t this sound like the New Covenant and the work of Jesus on the cross? Why must this be a prophecy of a future (to us) Second Coming? Does the Bible really speak of any covenant which must come AFTER the New Covenant (established at the cross) and the complete dissolving of the temple-based Old Covenant system in 70 AD (see Hebrews 8:13; 12:18-28; Galatians 4:21-31)?
Whether or not it is legitimate to tie in Zechariah 12:10-13:1 to this passage in Romans 11, it’s my conviction that Zechariah’s prophecy (and its parallels in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7) were fulfilled in the events which took place in 70 AD. The majority who mourned did not experience repentance either, but a remnant did. As I wrote in one post,
Please see this post for a full explanation of why I come to these conclusions: https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/the-earth-as-a-common-reference-to-israel-in-revelation-part-1/.
Another consideration is the phrase “the fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25, which would also mark the end of the “partial hardening” that had come upon Israel. Many scholars believe that the “times of the Gentiles” spoken of by Jesus in Luke 21:24 was a reference to the Gentile kingdoms that Daniel saw in his vision (Daniel 7), which Nebuchadnezzar also saw in his vision (Daniel 2), namely: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Dispensationalism (along with other futurist views), however, wouldn’t see (as I do) the times of the Gentiles ending with Rome’s trampling Jerusalem underfoot (Luke 21:24) for 3.5 years from 67-70 AD (cf. Revelation 11:2). Instead, these “times of the Gentiles” are seen by various futurist viewpoints as BEGINNING in 70 AD and extending until this present time (or perhaps until 1967). This is despite the fact that Jesus said in Luke 21:32 (referring to all He had said up until that point) that “this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.” I appreciate Mike Blume’s article on this subject: http://mikeblume.com/timesgen.htm.
In this understanding, the “partial hardening” was removed in 70 AD, when judgment was poured out on apostate Israel just as Jesus said it would be (e.g. Matthew 8:10-12; 11:21-24; 21:33-45; 22:1-14; 23:29-24:35; Luke 11:47-51; 13:1-5; 19:41-44; 21:1-36; 23:28-31). This mirrors what the prophet Isaiah said when he described this dullness of heart for the people of Israel (Isaiah 6:8-10). Then we read this from Isaiah, regarding this dullness of heart:
“Then I said, ‘How long, O Lord?’ And He said: ‘Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land’” (Isaiah 6:11-12). This is a very apt description of what took place in 70 AD.
This might be a good place to point out that there is an alternative understanding of Paul’s statement, “And in this way all Israel will be saved,” in Romans 11:26, with regard to 70 AD. Some see his reference of salvation here as referring not only to spiritual salvation, but also to physical salvation (deliverance) when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. For example, Steve Gregg (the author of “Revelation: Four Views [A Parallel Commentary]”) has written about the believers in Jerusalem successfully escaping before Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD, just as Jesus warned them to do in Matthew 24:15-21 and Luke 21:20-24:
So there are those who see Romans 11:26 as speaking of these things. While I don’t see this passage as strictly future, I’m not sure I agree with this viewpoint either (this passage is something I hope to study more thoroughly). I don’t see any clues in this text to that end, except that Paul in Romans 11:26 appears to be addressing what he has already said in Romans 9:27-28. This understanding would also indicate the establishment of the New Covenant (Romans 11:27) in 70 AD (or some would say the full establishment of this covenant apart from Judaism), a prospect I’m certainly more comfortable with than the prospect that this covenant yet remains to be established (and that with only one race of people).
We may have to agree to disagree that national Israel still has a role to play in Biblical prophecy, at least in any redemptive sense. My greatest reaction earlier, though, was to your statement that the Jewish people will “finally show the world the only way to salvation, living out their calling as a nation of priests.” I really hope you didn’t mean that. The only way to salvation was shown to the world 2000 years ago, by Jesus, and the calling to be a nation of priests clearly belongs to the Church (I Peter 2:9). Any believing Jew, of course, takes part in that calling, as does any believing Gentile, and that without any distinction or dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles.
Without doubt, “they” in verse 28 refers to national Israel. I’m in agreement with you on that. I’m comfortable with the idea that Paul, at this point, could have switched from speaking of spiritual Israel (verses 26-27) back to speaking of natural Israel. He has done this, after all, elsewhere in the book of Romans. Even if he was speaking strictly of ethnic Jews in verse 26, though (and he might be), I wouldn’t take the phrase “in this way all Israel will be saved” to mean anything more than the manner by which that remnant of ethnic Jews would be saved. In other words, their salvation is on an individual basis, not corporately; and not in one moment, but over time. The manner of their salvation would be no different than the manner by which a remnant from among the Gentiles is being saved, as Paul has said elsewhere (e.g. Ephesians 2:12-13, 3:6; cf. I Peter 2:9-10). Again, Romans 9:27-28 even says as much: “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, ONLY A REMNANT OF THEM WILL BE SAVED, for the Lord will carry out His sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.’
“Will Jesus rule over the house of Jacob forever?” Yep, He sure will, and I believe His rule and reign began nearly 2000 years ago. I perceive that you are a premillennialist. I am not, though I used to be. I don’t believe that Jesus ever affirmed any of the nationalistic expectations of many Jewish people during His earthly ministry, even to say that those expectations were to be fulfilled at any future time. Instead, He repeatedly affirmed only a heavenly kingdom. The rest of the New Testament likewise only points to heavenly Jerusalem as the holy city, a New Covenant reality even in the first century (Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 21:1-2; Heb. 11:10-16; Gal. 4:24-27). As I wrote in this post, one of the questions I hope to address in this series on Christian Zionism is this one:
The Jewish people living now in the 21st century are no more responsible for having pierced Jesus than you are, or I am, or anyone else is. No, I wouldn’t end the story of Joseph with him left for dead. And, to use this analogy, neither does the Bible regarding the Jewish people:
The door has never been shut for any Jewish individual who would call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. “Joseph” is not left for dead.
It is really nice to be able to discuss the things of our Lord with a brother in faith! It is right to take our faith seriously, as we work out our own salvation in fear and trembling, and it is great that the wisdom from above is open to reason. We can sit down as brothers and open the scriptures and discuss what God has written there. It is in that spirit, so well demonstrated by you, that I would continue this discussion/search for God’s truth.
If I can quote from your last correspondence, and add my thoughts; Adam said; “Does the Bible really speak of any covenant which must come AFTER the New Covenant (established at the cross) and the complete dissolving of the temple-based Old Covenant system in 70 AD (see Hebrews 8:13; 12:18-28; Galatians 4:21-31)?”
Colin replies; Looking at the excellent passages you quote,
Hebrews 8:8-13 8 But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. 10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
Hebrews 12:18 18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm;
Galatians 4:21-25 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
One can see that they all refer to the ending of the Mosaic covenant. On this we agree. The Mosaic covenant was works based, conditional and for a time. Speaking of the covenant with Abraham, however, both Hebrews and Galatians affirm a different view. While Hebrews calls the Mosaic covenant obsolete, it describes the Abrahamic, unconditional, faith based covenant as the anchor of our souls!
Hebrews 6:13-2013 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. 16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
In Galatians, Paul says; “What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.”
The people of Israel were not created by the Law – Genesis 15:13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. Exodus 33:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ Note also that both Mary and Zachariah base the ministry of Jesus to the Jewish people on the promises of God to Abraham, not Moses. Luke 1:54-55 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:72-73 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
Now, clearly, we gentiles are included in the Abrahamic promises (praise God!), “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:30-32, but in that very affirmation, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” God’s continuing love and promise to the people of Israel is also affirmed! “and for glory to your people Israel” The new covenant does not do away with God’s promises to Abraham, it is the fulfillment of them. The children of Israel, however, as a community, have not yet entered into that new covenant. I believe that will happen in the future, they will as a community enter the new covenant of Jesus, fulfilling God’s promises to them. They will yet look on him whom they have pierced, and all Israel shall be saved.
Adam said; “it’s my conviction that Zechariah’s prophecy (and its parallels in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7) were fulfilled in the events which took place in 70 AD. The majority who mourned did not experience repentance either, but a remnant did.”
Colin replies; I must confess I do not find this reasoning convincing. There is a difference between “all Israel”, and a remnant. To conflate the terms does damage to both. A remnant are a few out of all Israel who survive some catastrophe, all Israel means just that, from “the least to the greatest” of them. As regards Zechariah 12:10-14, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
This clearly speaks of “all Israel”, and not just a tiny minority. Now, in 70 AD, the city was besieged, captured and destroyed. The attackers left victorious, the besieged were decimated. This is the exact opposite of what is prophesied in Zechariah!! Here the city is besieged, but:
On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’ 6 “On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. 7 “The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:3-9
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. 6 On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. 7 It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime–a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. 8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. 9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. 10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place, from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure. 12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected–great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps. 16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 14:3-16
Do you really think this describes what happened in 70AD? In Zechariah, it is the nations that attack Jerusalem that are destroyed, the inhabitants of Jerusalem are made secure, and the survivors of the defeated attackers go up each year to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of tabernacles. This is the opposite of what happened in 70AD. One is the judgment of Jerusalem, the other the judgment of the nations.
You wrote “The majority who mourned did not experience repentance either, but a remnant did” – as noted, the language of scripture defeats this interpretation – “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.”
There is no evidence of a mass conversion of Jews after 70Ad – indeed, the Pharisees, who likewise fled before the end, thrived and their practice became normative for all Judaism. This was not the salvation of all Israel as promised here and in Romans 11. Equally, Jesus did not return in victory in 70AD! “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives” Acts 1:9-12.
This has yet to happen, at the return (obviously) of our Lord. The prophecy of Zechariah has yet to be fulfilled.
Adam said; “Another consideration is the phrase “the fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25, which would also mark the end of the “partial hardening” that had come upon Israel. Many scholars believe that the “times of the Gentiles” spoken of by Jesus in Luke 21:24 was a reference to the Gentile kingdoms that Daniel saw in his vision (Daniel 7), which Nebuchadnezzar also saw in his vision (Daniel 2), namely: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Dispensationalism (along with other futurist views), however, wouldn’t see (as I do) the times of the Gentiles ending with Rome’s trampling Jerusalem underfoot (Luke 21:24) for 3.5 years from 67-70 AD (cf. Revelation 11:2). Instead, these “times of the Gentiles” are seen by various futurist viewpoints as BEGINNING in 70 AD and extending until this present time (or perhaps until 1967). This is despite the fact that Jesus said in Luke 21:32 (referring to all He had said up until that point) that “this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.” I appreciate Mike Blume’s article on this subject: http://mikeblume.com/timesgen.htm.”
Colin replies; Luke 21:17-33 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life. 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The first thing to note about this passage is that Jesus is speaking about the near future (when you see, then let those). “for this is the time of punishment … Jerusalem will be trampled on by the gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled” This time then continues , with Jews scattered and Jerusalem under gentile control, until the times of the gentiles are over. And at this later time, Jesus also returns; “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
As I do not believe Jesus returned in 70 AD in great power and glory, with every eye seeing him,
Matthew 24:23-32 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. 29 “Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
I take Jesus saying “this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem not to his second coming. Again, if the times of the gentiles ended with the sack of Jerusalem (the opposite of Zechariah, as seen), then 70AD would mark the end of the Roman empire –
Daniel 2:34-45 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. … 44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands–a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”
The Roman empire endured for another 400 years, Jesus did not return in 70 AD, Jerusalem was destroyed not saved, the community of Israel did not undergo a mass conversion, these are not the same events.
Adam said; “In this understanding, the “partial hardening” was removed in 70 AD, when judgment was poured out on apostate Israel just as Jesus said it would be (e.g. Matthew 8:10-12; 11:21-24; 21:33-45; 22:1-14; 23:29-24:35; Luke 11:47-51; 13:1-5; 19:41-44; 21:1-36; 23:28-31). This mirrors what the prophet Isaiah said when he described this dullness of heart for the people of Israel (Isaiah 6:8-10)… This might be a good place to point out that there is an alternative understanding of Paul’s statement, “And in this way all Israel will be saved,” in Romans 11:26, with regard to 70 AD. Some see his reference of salvation here as referring not only to spiritual salvation, but also to physical salvation (deliverance) when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.
Colin replies; What evidence is there for this assumption? 3,000 Jews were converted on one day in Acts 2. Were a greater number converted after 70AD? Were Jews easier to convert after 70AD? Augustine says the requirements of Acts 15 no longer apply because in his day, there were no Jewish Christians. The Jewish people have yet to experience a mass conversion. Equally, there is something seriously wrong in thinking that the destruction of Jerusalem, the deaths of over 2 million people, the scattering of the rest into slavery and death in the arena, represents all Israel being saved!! Luke 1:67-75 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant– 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old– 71 Salvation from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us; 72 To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, 74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
Do you think the events of 70AD are what Zacharias imagined this prophecy to be about, or did it come as a happy surprise?
These events are more accurately described in Deuteronomy28:64-68 ; 64 “Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. 65 “And among those nations you shall find no rest, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. 66 “So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you shall be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. 67 “In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. 68 “And the LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”
The few Jewish Christians who fled Jerusalem in 70AD do not equal “all Israel”.
Adam said; “We may have to agree to disagree that national Israel still has a role to play in Biblical prophecy, at least in any redemptive sense. My greatest reaction earlier, though, was to your statement that the Jewish people will “finally show the world the only way to salvation, living out their calling as a nation of priests.” I really hope you didn’t mean that. The only way to salvation was shown to the world 2000 years ago, by Jesus, and the calling to be a nation of priests clearly belongs to the Church.”
Colin replies; I was saying that all of Israel’s national history proclaims the way of salvation, that they were called to be a nation of priests, and that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Having shown the world by their failure that we cannot keep good laws as the way to salvation, the climax of their history, as seen by John “and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” (John 19:37) completes this calling, as their national history proclaims that salvation is only to be found in Jesus. Clearly, at present that task is given to the church, grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel. But God has not given up on the nation of Israel – he died for it!, and their national history will yet proclaim that salvation is only from Jesus.
Adam said; I wouldn’t take the phrase “in this way all Israel will be saved” to mean anything more than the manner by which that remnant of ethnic Jews would be saved. In other words, their salvation is on an individual basis, not corporately; and not in one moment, but over time.
Colin replies; again, all Israel does not equate to a remnant of Israel. Zechariah and Romans clearly speak of a corporate conversion, personal, each family by themselves, yet encompassing the entire nation.
Adam said; “Will Jesus rule over the house of Jacob forever?” Yep, He sure will, and I believe His rule and reign began nearly 2000 years ago.
Colin replies; “the house of Jacob does imply more than just a few individuals – it is a corporate term. The history of the Old Testament is the history of God’s dealings with a particular people. They go down into Egypt, are rescued under Moses, conquer the land under Joshua, are ruled by Davidic kings, sin, are sent into exile, return 70 years later etc. There is a corporate identity here as well as an individual one. Otherwise the following makes no sense. Romans 11:28-29 “From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” God loves the people of Israel. He called Moses to rescue them from Egypt, David to be a shepherd over them, Isaiah 63:9 In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Hosea 11:3-8 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. 5 “Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? 6 Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. 7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them. 8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. Hosea 14:1-7 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.” 4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; 6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. 7 Men will dwell again in his shade. He will flourish like the grain. He will blossom like a vine, and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon. Isaiah 54:7-8 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.”
So God calls this people in love, tends for them, even when they sin, sends them into exile, brings them back, all so they can kill Jesus and disappear from history, and be replaced by a bunch of happy gentiles? Is that your view of salvation history, or rather even after killing his own dear son, does God’s love never stop, his love being greater than our sin, his gifts and calling being irrevocable? Pursuing them in love, in every generation a remnant saved by grace, and finally, when they call to him (Matthew 23:29), look on him whom they have pierced, and all Israel are saved, and God’s love has triumphed.
Hosea 3 “The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.”
Israel has turned from God, and God chooses Hosea to reveal to them his heart. Hosea marries a prostitute, who after returns to her prostitution. The people around say to Hosea, “dump her, she is no good”, but Hosea replies, how can I give her up, I love her. And so he debases himself to purchase her, but does not lie with her, this is not based on lust! And God says, “that is how I feel about faithless Israel!” And then he explains that “the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol” This has been Israel’s history since 70AD – they have been without king, sacrifice or priest because they rejected Jesus who is their king, sacrifice and priest. And then the promise, for faithless, sinful Israel, “Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.”
Adam said; “The land promises in the OT were said to be eternal/everlasting/perpetual, as was the covenant of fleshly circumcision [see, for example, Genesis 17:9-14, and note the language used], and as were also numerous temple-based rituals [Exodus 28:43, 29:28, 31:16-17, 40:15; Leviticus 3:17, 6:18, 22, 7:34, 36]. How does the NT deal with the non-land covenants/statutes which were said to be eternal? Should the eternal land promises be dealt with in a different manner? If so, why?”
Colin replies, there is both a short and a long answer to this excellent question. The short one is that the land promises are part of God’s promises to Abraham, the eternal promises which anchor our soul, while the others are part of the conditional, temporary Mosaic Law, which would have endured forever except for our sinfulness. Being already on page 8, I will leave the longer answer, happy to include it next time if you want.
Adam said; No, I wouldn’t end the story of Joseph with him left for dead. And, to use this analogy, neither does the Bible regarding the Jewish people:
“But of Israel He says, ‘All day long I have held out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’ I ask, then, has God rejected His people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham… So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace… What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened” (Romans 10:21-11:7). The door has never been shut for any Jewish individual who would call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. “Joseph” is not left for dead.
Colin replies; I was not leaving Joseph left for dead, but rather, having been left for dead by his earthly brothers, he then goes on to rule over the gentile Egyptians, who are blessed. That is where I think you would leave the story, the earthly brothers forgotten, lots of blest gentiles. But Joseph says that, while they (earthly brothers) meant it for ill, God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). This finds echo in Romans 11:12. Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! Note how his brothers also came to realize that they need what Joseph has, again echoed in Romans 11:13-14; “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.”
Thanks for the serious conversation,
My reply once again is “better late than never.” I hope that’s OK. It’s been good to discuss these things with you as well, and I also have appreciated your tone throughout this dialogue. By the way, my name is Adam, not David. No problem, though, and I took the liberty to correct this in your last response. That response is certainly impressive in its length; intimidating, but impressive. Hopefully mine won’t be as lengthy. I don’t know that I’ll be able to take the time to respond to all of your points, but I’ll see what I can do.
I agree with you that the covenant established with Abraham is fulfilled in the New Covenant, through Christ, and that it is distinct from the Law of Moses. It’s apparent that our disagreement is over whether or not the final generation of Jews living at the last moment of history will corporately experience salvation. Before I go any further, here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask you: What led you to associate Romans 11:26 with Zechariah 12:10-14 in the first place?
In my previous reply, I acknowledged that there exists a viewpoint on Romans 11:26 which associates it with the remnant of believers who fled to Pella, Jordan prior to 70 AD. This is not the viewpoint I favor. My own viewpoint, in agreement with plenty of others in church history, is that the salvation of all Israel (“in this way all Israel will be saved”) has been taking place throughout church history as Jews and Gentiles trust in Christ and are added to the company of the redeemed. This process began when the Deliverer (Jesus) came from Zion (through the lineage of Abraham) to take away the sins of His people by way of a new covenant (Romans 11:26b-27). Personally, I don’t see a connection between this passage and Zechariah 12. It seems to me that the idea of a national conversion at the last moment in history has to be imported into this passage (Romans 11) in order for it to be seen that way.
Moving on now to Zechariah 12-14… I’ll get straight to the point. I believe Zechariah speaks of Jerusalem in a split sense; that is, at times to physical and earthly Jerusalem, and at times to the heavenly Jerusalem we read of in the New Testament (as being parallel to the Church). By way of a little background, in Zechariah 11 we read of God breaking two staffs, “Favor” and “Union” (verses 7-14). In verse 10 we read, “And I took My staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples.” Next we read of the Lord’s wages being thrown to the potter, thirty pieces of silver, “the lordly price at which I was priced by them” (see Matthew 27:9-10). In verse 14 we read, “Then I broke My second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.” All of this had to do with “the flock doomed to slaughter” (verse 4), those of whom it was said, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die. What is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. And let those who are left devour the flesh of one another” (verse 9).
The language here is quite similar to what we encounter in the Parable of the Tenants, where the Jewish religious authorities of Jesus’ day rightly pronounce their own doom, and Jesus associates this with the taking away of the kingdom from them in order for it to be given to “a nation producing its fruits,” i.e. the Church (Matthew 21:33-45, esp. verses 43-44).
Now before we push forward to the text in question, Zech. 12:10-14, we should note that this text is without doubt the basis of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7. I’ll come back to Matthew 24:30 in particular, because it relates to some of the other points you brought up in your latest response. For now, I would like to point out that Matthew 24:30 is clearly in the context of what Jesus called “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; cf. Rev. 7:14). Futurists and preterists alike are agreed that two other parallel passages describing this time of tribulation are Jeremiah 30:7 and Daniel 12:1. I will quote them here, because I believe they both contain a key to what is being shown in Zechariah’s prophecy:
“Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7).
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).
So, in both of these passages, we see most of Israel under great distress, but a faithful remnant of Israel experiencing deliverance. I believe this remnant is the “Jerusalem” being given strength and protection in Zechariah 12, rather than the entire population of earthly Jerusalem. Whoever the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” are in Zechariah 12:5, the Lord of Hosts is acknowledged as their God. In your view, this will only be true of the entire population of Jerusalem at the final moment in history, right? In this text, this seems to be an already established reality when this attack takes place. Backing up to the beginning of the chapter, we see that there is a siege of Jerusalem and Judah (verse 2; and spoken of in more detail in chapter 14). A tremendous siege took place in 70 AD, but the futurist position has Zechariah looking beyond this more than 2500 years into his future, despite the description of ancient warfare (“every horse of the peoples”; verse 4). There are some who would say that “all the nations of the earth” (verse 3) must refer to the entire globe in our future, but this is also an accurate description of the Roman Empire in the first century (see Luke 2:1 and Acts 2:5). I suspect that in this portion of Zechariah 12, in addition to the siege upon earthly Jerusalem, we are seeing a picture of an all-out attack against the heavenly Jerusalem (the Church). If so, we know that one of the most intense (if not the most intense) period of such persecution took place under Nero’s leadership from November 64 – June 68 AD, a period of 42 months, as I have written about here:
As far as the consequences upon the Roman Empire for its attack on Jerusalem, even on earthly Jerusalem, the text doesn’t say that “the nations” would be destroyed at that time. It only says this: “And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (verse 9). Interestingly, many historians mark the decline of the Roman Empire from around the time of Jerusalem’s demise. For that matter, Daniel 2:44-45 (which you quoted) also doesn’t say that when the everlasting kingdom of God is set up (and I believe it has been already, for a long time) that all other earthly kingdoms will be instantly wiped out, only that they would be broken in pieces and come to an end unlike God’s kingdom. In fact, three of “these kingdoms” had already ceased to be kingdoms by the time of Christ’s first coming: Babylon, Persia, and Greece.
For now, I will move past the text in question (Zech. 12:10-14), which I dealt with in my previous response (and in a previous post belonging to our series on the book of Revelation) to look briefly at chapters 13 and 14. I don’t have the time to look at these chapters comprehensively, but I will say that I believe the fountain which cleanses from sin and uncleanness (13:1) is already opened for all who will call upon the name of the Lord. The phrase “house of David” is used here, but this need not be seen as a reference to the Jewish race, for the rebuilding of “the tent of David” spoken of in Acts 15:13-17 has everything to do with God taking from the Gentiles a people for His name. Zech. 13:9 is spoken of by Paul as a present reality for the Church in II Corinthians 6:16, to cite just one example.
Many more things could be said, and I must admit that even with my present, tentatively held viewpoint on these things I still have much to learn and study. The language used in this extended passage is not simple, no matter how one views it. I have found these two articles to be helpful, though:
A couple of interesting tidbits from the first article by Gary DeMar are these:
 Tertullian, in the second century AD, applied Zech. 14:4 to what took place at the end of Christ’s earthly ministry: “”‘But at night He went out to the Mount of Olives.’ For thus had Zechariah pointed out: ‘And His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives’ [Zech. xiv. 4].”
 Matthew Henry saw this same verse as referring to Jesus breaking down the wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles:
Yes, I do believe that Christ came in judgment, so to speak, in 70 AD. I don’t regard that event as the Second Coming, though, which I affirm to be yet future. Steve Gregg, the editor of “Revelation: Four Views (A Parallel Commentary) is very succinct in articulating my position (p. 57):
I have written more about this here:
https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp11-did-jesus-come-in-70-ad-part-1/ (see also part 2)
Matthew 24:30, which pictures Jesus “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 where Jesus is shown ascending to His Father and not descending to the earth. The time marker Jesus used in Matthew 24:34 (“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place”) is the same as that expressed in Mark’s gospel account (Mark 13:30) and also in Luke’s gospel (Luke 21:32). It seems clear that it must refer to all that Jesus had spoken up to that point, including the darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars of heaven (language used frequently enough in the Old Testament to refer to the political collapse of a nation). In Luke’s case, all are agreed that he speaks of first century AD events in verses 20-24, but futurists say that he is speaking of events in our future before and after those particular five verses. Yet Jesus said that “all these things” must take place within one generation, and therefore it’s not possible to make the “times of the Gentiles” last for nearly 2000 years beyond 70 AD. It would be better for futurists not to admit at all that Luke 21:20-24 was fulfilled by 70 AD. As it is, they ought to admit (with the majority view in church history) that the rest of the chapter was also fulfilled by 70 AD, for once “these things” began to take place they had to be completed within one generation. And whatever works in Luke’s account must also work in Matthew’s and Mark’s, for they are parallel accounts of the same Olivet Discourse.
To very quickly answer a couple of your other questions: No, I don’t see the Jewish people disappearing from history and being “replaced by a bunch of happy Gentiles.” God’s people are made up of the redeemed from among the Jews and the Gentiles alike. It’s not accurate to say that Gentiles have replaced Jews. Regarding Hosea’s statement that “the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol,” I don’t believe at all that this is a description of the Jewish people post-70 AD. Rather this was the reality (for a while) after Israel and Judah fell several centuries before Jesus came the first time.
Stephen Sizer, who was featured in the film “With God On Our Side,” has graciously compiled a study guide based on the film. It includes seven interactive Bible studies, under the following headlines:
1. Introduction: What are my presuppositions?
2. The Bible Tells Them So: Can you read the Bible too literally?
3. Israel and the Church – who are God’s chosen people?
4. The Promised Land – From the Nile to the Euphrates?
5. Battle for Jerusalem – Eternal Capital of the Jews?
6. The Coming Last Day’s Temple: Ready to Rebuild?
7. Overture to Armageddon: Want to be Left Behind?
This is a free resource, worth taking advantage of, and it can be viewed/downloaded here in PDF format:
Click to access WGOOS%20Study%20Guide.pdf
Why do you pick on Israel alone? Persian Zorastrans need to return back to their ancestral homeland in Iran, Assyrian Christians need their homeland back from Arab in Iraq. Kashmiri Pandit Hindus when they became minorities in their own land were driven out to the other parts of India and without a homeland. Copts need to reclaim their lands as well. Why are you sympathizing only with Palestinians who want to impose the Sharia law on the whole world.
If you are intellectually honest can you also speak for the innocent Kashmiri Pandit Hindus who are living under occupation?
There are indeed other situations around the world where injustices have occurred and are occurring, and where disputes are taking place regarding the ownership of various territories. This post does touch on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but is primarily a review of a film in which the theological system known as Christian Zionism is examined. Christian Zionism expresses itself in blatant favoritism for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, very often at the expense of the Palestinian people. By the way, not all Palestinians “want to impose the Sharia law on the whole world,” and a sizeable number of Palestinians are in fact our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’m interested in the facts and details behind the different conflicts you have mentioned, and if time allowed I would gladly study these things right now, listen to the stories of those who are suffering, etc. I’m most interested, though, in the Israel-Palestinian situation because a massive and defective theological system has caused millions of professing Christians to, among other things:  center their theology and eschatology around Israel instead of Jesus  explicitly or implicitly condone the suffering of an entire people group, and turn a blind eye to the injustices committed by representatives of another. As worthy as it might be to dive into the story of the conflict in Kashmir, it doesn’t fall within the scope of this post, or this series (on Christian Zionism), to do so.
On another note, having taken a very quick look at your site, I’d like to say that I’m very much on board with your stand that “tithing is not for New Testament Christians.” A lot of Scripture passages have either been twisted or ignored in order to arrive at the popular practice of mandated tithing as we see it taking place in so many churches today. At some point down the road I plan to post a series on this subject as well.
Thank you for allowing my comment in your blog.
First of all I am not a Christian Zionist but I believe in the existence of Israel based on the Biblical boundaries. I also have problems with the likes of John Hagee. Hagee like Christian Zionists ignore the plight of Messianic Jews who are severely persecuted in the nation of Israel. John Hagee does not want Christians to witness to the Jews. Also when John Hagee denied that Jesus is not the Messiah, he failed to issue a sincere apology.
I meant the Muslim-Palestinians obviously as Sharia law is exclusive to Muslims.
The other side of the coin is the problem of Islam. The issue of Islam is much larger than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Muslims, since the birth of Islams, propagated their religion by sword, destroyed many civilizations and except for the crusaders, no civilization in the world had reclaimed their ancestral homelands from Muslims. Only Jews miraculously returned to their ancestral homeland. The religion of Islam only understand the language of force. Supporting the cause of Palestinians will only contribute the expansion of Islam.
Carving out a Palestinian homeland inside Israel will trigger the creation of numerous Muslim states across the world. Chechenya in Russia, Kashmir in India, Ugair in China, Southern Parts of Philiphines, Kosovo in Serbia and many more. In 25 years Britain and France will go for civil war. As it happened in Kashmir, India when Muslims out number the Brits and French they will establish a Islamic Caliphate in Europe. Islam is a far greater threat then the Israeli-Palestinan conflict
We as Christians should have a balance in our theology. We should not follow blind fanatics like John Hagee and we should not help the Palestinans to establish a state in the Holy Land. Both are two extremes.
Let me give you one example of a 2 state solution that happened in 1947. The British divided India and created Pakistan as an Islamic state. Since then India and Pakistan had fought 3 major wars and every day war of attrition. In 1971 India invaded East Pakistan and created Bangladesh. 2 state solution never worked in history. Therefore I believe in a secular stand point, we must support Israel. Also look at Serbia, when Kosovo was given to ethnic Albanian Muslims, they destroyed several Churches and severely persecuted Serb Christians.
Thank you for your comments about my tithingstudy blog. I felt encouraged.
P.S. Have you ever read about two ex-Palestinan terrorist (who are born-again Christians now). http://sonofhamas.wordpress.com and Walid Shoebat (http://www.shoebat.com/)
You’re welcome for allowing your comment here. By the way, do you have another name by which I might call you? You said,
Forgive my lack of understanding, but what do you mean by this? Does this mean you believe that Israel exists today in order to be given again the promised boundaries which the ancient nation of Israel enjoyed during the days of Joshua (Joshua 21:43-45, 23:14-16; Nehemiah 9:7-8) and perhaps Solomon (I Kings 4:20-21)? If so, does this mean that Israel must dispossess many of the Arabs from the lands where they are now living, if they happen to live within those original borders in Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia? What is to happen to them as Israel “takes the land”? It’s a good thing that we agree concerning John Hagee, so that we don’t have to consider how he would answer this question. 🙂
What has happened since a Jewish homeland was carved out of the inhabited region of Palestine in 1948? I personally don’t see this as a great miracle, as much as it was the result of decades of efforts mostly by British Zionists.
I’m well aware of the too-often violent history of Islam (not to mention the too-often violent history of professing Christianity). Having lived, though, in a Muslim country for nearly six years (2001-2007), I can’t agree that “the language of force” is all that is understood by those who adhere to Islam. I found quite the opposite to be true among most of my Muslim friends. I’m not overly concerned about the political expansion of Islam. My greatest concern is that the gospel be proclaimed widely among those who follow this religion, and indeed among all peoples.
If the Church didn’t have to “support Palestine” when the events of 1948 took place, then why “must” the Church support Israel now? Why must one entity be supported to the exclusion of the other? Regarding the best solution for the present crisis, I don’t know for sure what is best. Interestingly enough, nearly 70% of Israeli Jews “support” or “definitely support” the two-state solution; this is true of 57% of Palestinians. Only about 22% of Israeli Jews, and about 29% of Palestinians, support a one-state solution where “Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews would be equal,” which I would think would be a better solution if it could play out this way. Source:
http://truman.huji.ac.il/upload/truman_site_poll_31_March2010.pdf (see V32 and V33)
I have read a little bit from both Walid Shoebat and “son of Hamas.” Some of what I’ve read has been good, but some has been disheartening to see. That’s my honest but not-very-detailed assessment at this point.
[…] “With God On Our Side”: A Documentary on Christian Zionism […]
[…] these past 2 weeks I have thought of what (more) I could add to Adam’s excellent review, along with his post critiquing Jan Markell’s disturbing review, and realized not much: Adam did […]
Tim Avery from Christianity Today magazine has written a fairly well-balanced review of “With God On Our Side.” It’s a combination review which also discusses another documentary, “Waiting for Armageddon.” The review begins this way:
You can check out the review here:
[…] “With God On Our Side”: A Documentary on Christian Zionism […]
Psa 89:30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules,
Psa 89:31 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments,
Psa 89:32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes,
Psa 89:33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.
Psa 89:34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Psa 89:35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.
Jer 31:35 Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the LORD of hosts is his name:
Jer 31:36 “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”
Jer 31:37 Thus says the LORD: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD.”
Jer 33:24 “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The LORD has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight.
Jer 33:25 Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,
Jer 33:26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”
Is everlasting everlasting, or is God a liar?
Thank you for your comment and for the Scripture quotations. Everlasting is indeed everlasting, and God is certainly not a liar. Do you feel that anyone in this discussion has made God out to be a liar? If so, why do you feel that way?
As the apostle Paul said, God never entirely cast off the physical descendants of Abraham. He declared himself to be one of many such individuals who were presently called and chosen, and part of God’s New Covenant body (Romans 11:1-6). At the same time he was clear that this was not true for most of his Jewish brethren (Romans 11:7-10 and elsewhere).
As discussed above, God has never ceased to have a nation before Him. Peter speaks of this holy nation in I Peter 2:4-10. If you belong to Christ, rejoice that you are part of this nation. Regarding Jeremiah 33:26, God has indeed chosen one of David’s offspring “to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” His name is Jesus. See especially Galatians 3.
I Peter 2:4-10 is not referring to the church! It refers to: To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: [The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Pe 1:1–2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.] While these may have all been believers and thus a part of the church, Peter, as a circumcision apostle, is addressing dispersed Jews who really are members of the holy nation elect of God: Israel NOT the church.
Ross, this distinction you’re trying to make between Jewish believers and non-Jewish believers is a complete farce:
There is no holy nation, Israel, outside of Jesus Christ. Nobody outside of Jesus is holy, even if they have Jewish blood.
Adam, I see Peter as addressing Jewish believers who began in covenant privilege which was a real advantage according to Paul. Culturally, and religiously there was a distinction. The remnant of Israel which Peter addressed are members of the church, i.e., a subset. I think they will be resurrected to probably be the basis of restored national Israel where the 12 will sit on 12 thrones over Israel. Of course, after Paul, all distinctions become invisible as to the blessing of eternal life and a relationship with God.
[…] With God on Our Side documentary […]
Shalom Adam Maarschalk
I just came across your above site and would like to comment on a few issues raised here. I’m not going to go down the path of theology since in my opinion every man is entitled to his own belief and thank God both you and I live in Democratic countries where every person can follow his religion freely. There are not too many countries existing in our world today that offer such freedom. Specially in the ME and the Far East. (you know exactly what I’m referring to).
In your introduction you write” Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.”
To set the record straight allow me to clarify that Israel, like USA, is not perfect and that governments do make mistakes and that no one is beyond criticism. Israelis, Jews Christians and Arabs in the country and in the diaspora criticize the government when it is in the wrong and thank God we live in such a country. As for the term Palestinians, please note that prior to 1948 there were Palestinian Jews, Arabs and Christians so when using this term, please specify exactly who you are referring to. Regarding the third point mentioned, you write about the great suffering among Muslims and Christian Palestinians, why do you not mention the great suffering of the Jewish Palestinians since 70 CE (AD). I believe it is also fair to mention that both Muslim and Christian Palestinians in Israel have equal rights but not always equal duties. We have Arab members of Parliament, Judges in the Supreme Court and Muslims in the IDF (military. Though it is not compulsory for Arabs to enlist.) If you are referring to the Muslims in Judea and Samaria, would it not be fair to mention the conflict raging here from time immemorial? Would it not be fair to mention all the Christians who have been forced to leave Bethlehem by the Muslims? There is plenty of information on that if you wish.
Would it not be fair to mention here the terror campaign against the Jews by the Muslims for over a century? If there is any suffering on the Muslim side in Judea & Samaria, I believe it is mainly to do with the fact that the Palestinian Arabs never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. (i.e. for peace).
You mention the film: “This trailer also includes footage from certain Palestinian areas, and speaks briefly of the more than 3 million Palestinian refugees who today make up the largest refugee population in the world.”
Why have you not mentioned here that after the State of Israel was recognized by the UN on 29.11.1947, all newly established Arab nations, including the Arab Palestinians opened war against Israel that was fought along the entire, long border of the country: against Lebanon and Syria in the north; Iraq and Transjordan – renamed Jordan during the war – in the east; Egypt, assisted by contingents from the Sudan – in the south; and Palestinians and volunteers from Arab countries in the interior of the country.
It was the bloodiest of Israel’s wars. It cost 6,373 killed in action (from pre-state days until 20 July 1949) almost 1% of the yishuv (the Jewish community) – although that figure includes quite a number of new immigrants and some foreign volunteers.
As a result of the above war and with the encouragement of the Arab leaders, about 650,000 Arabs fled from Israel mostly Palestinian Arabs even though many were begged to stay.
But also as a result of the above war (and many wars to come, initiated by the Arabs), 850,000 Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries and were received as refugees and assimilated into Israel. See: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_and_Muslim_countries) After WWII there were millions of refugees from many countries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_evacuation_and_expulsion) All were rehabilitated. Only the Palestinian Arab Refugees is perpetuated and maintained by UNWRA since 1948. Have you ever wondered why?
Then you mention: “The point of this Palestinian believer is that many American Christian leaders are being perceived in the Middle East as warmongers, as desiring to be rich but not caring for the poor, as standing for power and not peace/justice, as hating Muslims,” Have you ever asked yourself or have you ever interviewed Palestinian Arabs what they think about the Billions of dollars and Euros that Arafat and his cronies have swindled from their people I/O investing these huge donations to build their infrastructure and housing for the refugees as Israel has done with its Jewish refugees?
As for your claim about Antisemitism, I highly recommend you read the book: The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism by Prof’ Andrew Bostom.
You can also read the following articles: http://cifwatch.com/2011/05/03/muslims-must-accept-the-burden-of-antisemitism/
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=213121 and http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=5190
Then this insinuation: “Stephen Sizer…… He compares some of the arguments which are being advanced today to the arguments which allowed for the ethnic cleansing of North America’s indigenous people in generations past.”
For the record: There were 5 major wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors, all initiated by the Arabs, thinking they can annihilate the Jews and throw them into the sea. (Hamas Charter still states that this is exactly what they intend to do). Do you not think that Israel had plenty of reasons to “ethnic cleanse the Arabs since 1948? Why put such heresy in your review?
Why don’t you read this article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/islamists-targeting-christians-wherever-they-can-reach-them/?singlepage=true
How about this: http://cifwatch.com/2011/03/08/the-deafening-silence-over-the-increasing-danger-to-christians-in-muslim-countries/
Talking about Christians in Bethlehem, please read the following: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=124×164308
I think that this is sufficient for now. I hope that in the future, you can inform your readers fairly about the ME conflict.
You might start with the fact that in 1919 there was an Arab-Jewish Treaty on Jewish Homeland in Palestine
Signed by the official delegations, specifically elected by their nations for these particular missions. See copy:
Based on the Mandatory Law we have proved that Mandate for Palestine is Jewish, not British.Please see the first page of http://summary.NYMEI.org See:http://www.nymei.org/jewish-mandate-for-palestine.html
See also UN Charter Article 80: http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter12.shtml
So the UN Partition Plan for Palestine is completely illegal and therefore can not have any power.
Despite of this clear fact, British, Jewish, US and all other university textbooks (as well as all the professional thesis, etc) spread felonious disinformation stating that UN Partition Plan for Palestine was legal and must be followed.
The truth is:
The only legal and obligatory enforceable documents are the “Arab-Jewish Treaty” plus its ratification (not the source of the rights) – “Mandate for Palestine”.
Both documents clearly stating that ALL PALESTINE BELONGS TO THE JEWS.
That’s the currently working International Law.
All the European’s and UN’s accusations and actions to divide Jewish Jerusalem and/or Jewish Palestine are not only illegal, but they are clearly criminal and felonious.
Therefore must be persecuted via the International Court System.
Contemporary issues with Samaria and Judea we better resolve in advanced, issuing court decision that any attempts to create or to recognize Arabian state or Arabian kingdom in Palestine are completely illegal and therefore can not be done by UN
I can recommend several good books for you if you wish.
[…] Churches that support AIPAC are not Christian but Apostates, and would recommend viewing the film “With God On Our Side” in order to better understand why. The author goes on to confirm my own fears when he says: […]
Just a couple of questions for you, if you serve the God of the bible. If the God of the bible broke His covenant with Israel, why would you trust Him with your eternity? How faithful is He if He doesn’t keep His covenants? If He didn’t break the covenant with His chosen people,the JEWS then YOU are a “grafted in JEW.” I might remind you that the entire bible you stand by was written by JEWS. The Savior you serve is a JEW coming back for a Jewish Bride. He did NOT replace the Jews NOR Israel with the Church. He clearly says He will return and set up HIS Kingdom in Jerusalem, the HOLY CITY. Holy because He chose it to be. We need to listen to a whole lot less earthly propaganda over this city and the people and whole lot more reading what HE said about the City and what He will do. Israel according to the bible is STILL the apple of God’s eye and Jerusalem His footstool.
Hi Carol. Thanks for your questions and comments. I do serve the God of the Bible. I’ll address your questions and statements one at a time.
Which covenant are you talking about? Do you agree that God replaced the old covenant with the new covenant? The author of Hebrews says this:
“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant He mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second… In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:6-13).
If you’re talking about the Abrahamic covenant, I simply maintain that it has never been broken and does continue, but only in Christ, and outside of Christ it is impossible to inherit any of the promises of that covenant. Please carefully consider what the apostle Paul teaches on this matter:
“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise… For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:16-29).
Jesus is true Israel, and He extends that status and that reality to His followers who are one with Him. Outside of Jesus there is no Israel that presently inherits, or ever will inherit, God’s covenant promises. The real “replacement theology” out there takes what belongs to Jesus, and attempts to give it to those who reject Him.
Wait. Are you saying that all ethnic Jews are God’s chosen people? How many chosen peoples does God have then? One according to the flesh, and one according to the Spirit? This is impossible (if this is what you are saying). Paul couldn’t have been any more clear. He says, “…For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring… This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring” (Romans 9:6-8). Then we have the testimony of Peter, speaking to the body of Christ:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).
There is no way this describes the Jewish people as a whole. The majority of them are walking in darkness outside of Christ, so how can they proclaim the marvelous light of Christ, when they know nothing of it? There is, of course, a remnant of believers among the Jews. Yet their status is no higher and no lower than that of non-Jewish believers: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him” (Romans 10:12). By the way, if God has two chosen peoples (He doesn’t, but for the sake of argument…), then believing Jews would belong to both groups, and they would be heirs of spiritual promises that non-Jewish believers don’t have. This also is impossible, for it would make liars out of the New Testament authors who repeatedly state that there is no distinction, no partiality, no Jew or Gentile in Christ Jesus, etc. For a more lengthy discussion on the question of God’s chosen people, feel free to take a look at this post:
You said I am a Jew. Well, Paul does affirm that “no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…” (Romans 2:28-29).
Actually, many believe that Luke was a Gentile. In any case, I’m well aware that at least the vast majority of the Bible was written by Jews. I hope you can appreciate that Paul expressed his intense love for his own people (ethnically speaking), and at the same time went out of his way to make clear that the good news of the gospel has been given to all peoples on an equal basis forever.
You say Jesus is coming back for a Jewish bride. Do you mean a bride that is only made up of ethnic Jews? If so, the entire New Testament stands as a witness against such an idea. If I’ve misunderstood you, please forgive me. If I haven’t, please explain on what basis you came to believe this. Regarding Jesus’ promised return, I believe He was telling the truth when He said that His coming would take place  before His disciples would be able to go through all the towns of Israel (Matthew 10:23) and  while some of them were still alive (Matthew 16:27-28). Furthermore, He said He would come [a] in His kingdom [b] with His angels [c] in the glory of His Father and [d] to repay each person for what they had done, i.e. in judgment. None of His disciples lived beyond the first century AD. Therefore, if He was telling the truth, His promised coming already took place. This is confirmed yet again in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), when He promised to come before His own generation had passed away. The writers of the epistles reflect this same first century imminency.
I basically agree with this statement. The Jewish people as a whole have not been rejected. A remnant from among them continue to be included among God’s people. Any Jewish person who doesn’t know Christ, though, is most definitely on the outside. Israel also continues, that is, through Jesus, the true Israel, and through His people who are one with Him. The modern political nation of Israel, on the other hand, is simply one of many nations on this earth. That’s what I believe. Replacement? Not exactly. Continuation? Yes, in Jesus alone. Regarding the kingdom of God, though, I do affirm that it was taken away from the nation of Israel (its religious leadership in particular) and given to the Church, God’s fruit-bearing people (Matthew 21:43; see also Daniel 2 and Daniel 7).
Well, amen…as long as you’re talking about the heavenly Jerusalem. If you’re talking about earthly Jerusalem, please provide even one example of where Jesus, in His own words, ever said that He would set up a kingdom there. I don’t believe you’ll find any such statement coming from Him. I agree that we’ve heard far too much earthly propaganda concerning the political city of Jerusalem. Paul said that the present (earthly) Jerusalem of his day was in slavery with her children, but that “the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:25-26). The author of Hebrews told his first century readers that they had already come to “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22).
Again, Jesus said that He would come in His kingdom while some of His disciples were still alive (Matthew 16:27-28). Unless there are 2000 year old disciples roaming the earth today, He has already come to set up that kingdom. This lines up with Daniel’s statement in Daniel 2:44 that God’s kingdom would be set up in the days of the four kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (which fell in 476 AD). Jesus further said that His kingdom would not come with signs to be observed, and that it would exist in the midst of (or within) His people (Luke 17:20-21). His kingdom is a spiritual one, not an earthly or political one.
Yes, and Jesus is Israel, along with those who are His. God is indeed well pleased with His Son and those who belong to Him. It’s actually the entire earth that is God’s footstool (e.g. Isaiah 66:1, Matthew 5:35, Acts 7:49).
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Avinoam Ben Dor makes several telling points. From a political science perspective, the Nation of Jordan (first called Trans-Jordan) was to be an Arab homeland and Israel to be a Jewish homeland. However, as ABD points out, the Jews asked the Arabs living in Israel not to go but to stay and help build Israel. But Arab nations surrounding Israel threatened all Arabs who would not leave. It was an ugly situation not caused by Israel, but by their neighbors who set out to destroy Israel despite the efforts of the UN, England and the Allies. For the Palestinians of today to continually brainwash their children to glorify “Intifada” and for them to lob missiles into Israel continually and then beg the world to help them? No way! They have created their own plight. The native Islamic and other Arabs of Israel were asked to stay in 1948 but they chose to leave, turn around and attack.
The Bible tells us that we are all one people if we belong to Christ. So Jews and Arabs and Europeans and Asians and all peoples are invited to become part of the Body of Christ. The political Nation of Israel has nothing to do with this. I do not support Israel because they are part of some Biblical plan aside from the main plan. I support them because they had the right to exist, they still have the right to exist and the Palestinians exiled outside that nation made their own problems in the first place. They chose to run and then attack Israel and then they turn around and cry to the world. No doubt there are many individuals among that set of people who are suffering because of decisions their forefathers and their political leaders have made. It remains true that the Palestinians made their own bed and now they are complaining about having to lie upon it.
How big would Israel be today if the surrounding Arab nations had not continually attacked them? Can you blame them for occupying strategic territory because of the constant threat of attack? Also, the so-called Palestinian problem would not be if nations like Jordan would accept these people as refugees. They don’t do it. The Arabs will not take their “brothers” in to their nations, probably because they want to destroy Israel and see the Palestinians as tools to aid them in the cause. Therefore I do not think the “plight” of the Palestinians is valid. I would reference this as thumbnail sketch: http://www.masada2000.org/historical.html and also recommend reading the Leon Uris historical novel, EXODUS (1958). Uris was a war veteran and war correspondent who researched while living there for two years to try to give the world an accurate view of the founding of the modern State of Israel. Uris is said to have used literally thousands of interviews along with his own knowledge and experience to give the world an accurate understanding of the founding of that nation and the beginning of the ongoing war between Jews and Arabs.
Two books which will answer all your questions above are “Future Israel” by Horner (non-dispensational) and “Has The Church Replaced Israel” by Vlach (dispensational). Both address the errors of Sizer and the historical church’s antisemitism and its failure to note the distinct and obvious differences between the covenant nation of Israel and the international body of Christ church. The church of God is never referred to as a nation and the church is never called the kingdom. God’s elect covenant nation was composed of believers and unbelievers while the church of God’s free grace is composed of saints only. Lets not confuse covenant apples with free grace oranges.
Ross, you again have accused Stephen Sizer of errors, but the only “error” you seem to be referring to is an alleged “failure to note the distinct and obvious differences between the covenant nation of Israel and the international body of Christ church.”
Who, by the way, would you say belongs to “the covenant nation of Israel”? Citizens of the modern nation of Israel? (That, of course, would beg the question of who belonged to this “covenant nation” from 70 AD to 1948 when there was no nation of Israel.) Jewish individuals worldwide? What covenant are you talking about?
You said that “the church is never called the kingdom.” That’s simply not true. This is what John said to the seven churches in the book of Revelation:
And this is what the four living creatures and the 24 elders sang about believers from EVERY tribe, language, people, and nation:
I also fail to see any difference between “believers” and “saints,” and I don’t even know where you’re coming from with that.
Adam wrote: Ross, you again have accused Stephen Sizer of errors, but the only “error” you seem to be referring to is an alleged “failure to note the distinct and obvious differences between the covenant nation of Israel and the international body of Christ church.”
That is basically the ground of his error and I think Barry Horner demonstrates that in chapter 4 of his book “Future Israel.”
Adam wrote: Who, by the way, would you say belongs to “the covenant nation of Israel”? Citizens of the modern nation of Israel? (That, of course, would beg the question of who belonged to this “covenant nation” from 70 AD to 1948 when there was no nation of Israel.) Jewish individuals worldwide? What covenant are you talking about?
“Who belongs” is irrelevant today until Christ restores national Israel Himself. Citizens of the modern nation of Israel are just citizens of another nation. Yet as Bible believers, we must not sweep under the rug the covenants: Abrahamic, Davidic, and Palestinian (land covenant). God’s elect nation of Israel has been put aside temporarily and so the details of their restoration lie with God at this point. But this is no warrant for the theological anti-judaism of supersessionism which has practically manifested in the antisemitism of the historic church.
The passages in Revelation are interesting but my Bible has “kings” rather than “a kingdom” in those verses. Interesting in that we have textual variants that may affect doctrine where many text critics say they never do.
And I was not trying to make any difference between believers and saints except to distinguish the culturally different groups using alternate terms.
Again, there are two different arguments. Remember that Jesus and the first Christians were ALL JEWS with virtually no exceptions. The non-believing Jews left the faith by rejecting their own Messiah. Judaism actually became Christianity. Orthodox Judaism was destroyed along with the Temple. We now have Rabbinical Judaism, which is NOT the same as the pre-Christ Jewish faith. Sacrifices and offerings were done away with. So the people who call themselves “Jews” now can be Jewish by genetic heritage but they did not inherit faith. The Nation of Israel of today is a valuable ally against radical Islam, granted, but they do not have anything to do with Bible prophecy any longer. Just as Joshua challenged the Children of Israel to “choose you this day”, Jesus Christ called on the Jews to receive Him by faith as the Messiah and the majority of them did not. One of the non-believers was Saul of Tarsus, who was confronted by Christ on the road to Damascus, blinded, and brought to saving faith for the express purpose of spreading the faith to Gentiles. God gave Peter a vision to see that Gentiles were not “unclean” and so before long the entire church realized faith in Christ was for all peoples, tribes and nations.
So modern Israel is an ally of America and we should support them. Palestine is a bogus political entity that does not have historical support in my opinion. Islamic Arabs are wrong, Islam is a religion of vengeance and Israel is in constant danger because of the surrounding warlike nations who hate Jews and teach their young to hate before they can write or read. But modern Israel is not connected to Bible prophecy any longer.
Paul was filled with grief for his fellow Jews who would not believe and mourned for them in Romans. John was given a vision to warn believers to leave the area of Jerusalem before the city would be destroyed by Roman armies and the Temple was completely torn down stone-by stone as Jesus prophesied in Matthew. By 70 AD the Temple was gone, a sign to all Jews that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and that the old covenant was fulfilled and ended. The Revelation of John was written in prophetic language and Christians should be familiar with the Prophets and therefore realize what Revelation actually was and is. Much of the book was a warning to all that the prophecy of Christ was about to be fulfilled and that believers needed to get the heck out of town! There are some passages concerning times to come as God says, “Enough” and puts an end to this world. All who claim that Revelation is a book proclaiming a coming seven years of hell on Earth do not know their church history. One cryptic comment by Iraneus that cannot be confirmed as being pertinent to the discussion is pretty much all that Dispensationalists have to hang their hat upon. The people of the time of the 1st Century AD would say that the destruction of Israel was far more horrifying and newsworthy than our own 9/11 was in our times. The early church believed that John’s Revelation had predicted this event. Dispensationalism has not been commonplace in Christianity and the modern version began in the 19th Century, along with Mormonism and Adventism and Jehovah’s Witnesses and other mutilations of Christianity.
But for all we know the end could be 500 years from now? After all, mankind has not filled the Earth with people. We are only around 6 billion at the moment and we could double that easily and have plenty of room. Cities may be crowded, but most of the Earth is relatively empty of mankind. On the other hand, God could decide to bring the end this afternoon? All who are in Christ will see His face after death of the body. There will be no seven years of tribulation. The tribulation was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and blood did literally run in some streets like rivers. Millions died. Temple gone. Christianity confirmed and the Old Covenant gone.
[…] live in relation to their Israeli neighbors, and how Christians outside of Israel get involved. A positive review of the film is here, and a negative review of the film is here. The film lasts about 90 minutes, with a feel of a PBS […]