A Night to Honor Israel – And to Dishonor Jesus and His Church


A Night to Honor Israel – And to Dishonor Jesus and His Church

by Adam Maarschalk (May 23, 2010)

Last Tuesday night (May 18th) a friend and I headed out for what I thought was one of CUFI’s “A Night to Honor Israel” events. On the way there we imagined ourselves in the midst of several thousand fans waving Israeli and American flags. The crowd would be bleeding with unquestioning support for the nation of Israel and all her political policies. It turns out that the flags weren’t there, and neither were the thousands, but the unquestioning support certainly was. And the political nation of Israel was most definitely honored above all else, including Jesus, who didn’t receive one single mention the entire evening. What my friend and I ended up attending was more like a regional information meeting led by John T. Somerville, the Central Regional Coordinator for CUFI (Christians United for Israel). CUFI is a large organization which was founded in 2006 by San Antonio-based megachurch pastor John Hagee.

The event was held at Living Word Christian Center, the premier “health and wealth” (prosperity gospel) church in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. LWCC is pastored by Mac Hammond, who is also on the Executive Board of CUFI and is their Region 8 Director (for Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin). The church draws speakers like Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar (yes, that’s his real last name), and Jesse Duplantis, as evidenced by this poster near the entrance to the massive lobby:

The Ahmadinejad bashing began almost right away, my first clue that this evening’s focus would be as much political as anything else. The speaker, John Somerville, listed off the evils of Iran, giving special attention to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s various meetings with foreign diplomats. We were told that each and every time he meets with national leaders he tries to sell them his “let’s wipe Israel off the map” agenda (I certainly acknowledge this agenda as evil). Somerville then predictably invoked Zechariah 2:8, which reads: “…for he who touches you [Jerusalem] touches the apple of His [God’s] eye.” Somerville declared, his voice rising, that the nation of Israel always has been and always will be the apple of God’s eye, His most precious possession. Those who would oppose Israel in any way will incur God’s wrath. As proof of this transgression on the part of national leaders, Somerville put up this ingenious slide picture of different leaders putting a finger up in the air:

Political leaders allegedly “sticking their fingers in God’s eye”

Never mind how easy it was to locate a picture of John Hagee with his own finger extended upward…

If Somerville is correct in his interpretation of Zech. 2:8 (and Hagee as well, for he teaches the same thing), who was the apple of God’s eye from 70 AD until 1948 when there was no nation of Israel? Did nearly 19 centuries pass without God having a special possession to call His own? This time period covers much of the present church age, so what is the Church in God’s eyes? Chopped liver? On the other hand, this is the testimony of the New Testament regarding the Church, which is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles alike: “But you are a chosen race, 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).

Somerville, on Tuesday night, voiced his disagreement with the apostle Peter, by announcing numerous times that the Jews are God’s chosen people. He never did clarify what they are presently chosen for, but one curious thing to note was that whenever this phrase appeared in one of his slides it was always capitalized (“Chosen People”). This made me wonder something. If he were to acknowledge that the body of Christ is God’s chosen people (he did not), would capital letters again be used? Somehow I doubt it. His main proof text for his assertion that the Jews are God’s chosen people was Isaiah 65:9. This verse reads, “I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of My mountains; My chosen shall possess it, and My servants shall dwell there.”

Ah, this verse appears to speak of the land. So is this a clue as to why Somerville believes the Jewish people are presently chosen? “Israel is the only piece of real estate that God calls His own,” Somerville thundered next. And God has given the land of modern Israel (and more) to the Jewish people forever, we were repeatedly told, so woe to anyone who would get in the way of them possessing it. This apparently includes the Palestinian people who happened to be born there, and whose ancestors had lived there and cultivated the land for a long time. Apparently we can chalk it up to mere collateral damage that around 70,000 Palestinian men, women, and children were slaughtered in 1948; around 700,000 made homeless that same year; and 4 million or so have been dispossessed of their land ever since. The land in red on the map below, we were told, rightfully belongs to the Jewish people. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was “the high-water mark of the British Empire,” Somerville added. Transjordan made up 77% of the (partially) resulting British Mandate, but the British “gave it away in violation of Genesis 12:3 [see below] and Joel 3:2.” The British soon lost their vast empire, according to Somerville, as a direct result of leaving most of “the Promised Land” in the hands of the Arabs:

Somerville emphasized that when God said the land belonged to Israel forever, He meant it. We will address this question in depth in future posts. For now, let us take note that the covenant of fleshly circumcision was also said to be forever/eternal/perpetual [see, for example, Genesis 17:9-14, and note the language used]. The same was said regarding 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 New Testament 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? Were they ever said to be conditional? Are we not heirs of a better “land” under the New Covenant? The land promise was first articulated to Abraham, but what city did he look forward to possessing (hint –> Hebrews 11:10-16)? All of this and more we will deal with later, Lord willing.

Somerville made it very clear that two big “no nos” are [1] attempting to divide the land of Israel and/or Jerusalem, and [2] preventing the Jewish people from coming back to the land God promised them (for which Britain was especially guilty, he said). We were taken to Joel 3:1-2, “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of My people and My heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up My land.”[1] This text, we were told, is proof positive that America is in deep danger because of President Obama’s lack of pro-Israel policies and his non-red carpet treatment of Benjamin Netanyahu in recent months.

Apologies for the blurry photo. It says: “… …” (Zech. 2:8). Is the US sticking its finger in God’s eye? Is the US being brought under the judgment of God? Is there still time and any hope for our nation?

All night long, the only verses referenced or quoted were from the Old Testament. This was no surprise to me, for the New Testament has much to say in direct response to the many false doctrines of Christian Zionism. Those who belong to Christ today are in the New Covenant, but one wouldn’t have known it from being present at this event. Somerville almost broke from this pattern, though, by going to Matthew 25:40. This verse flashed briefly on the screen in front of us before he decided to skip it, but I took note of what was highlighted in that verse. It’s from the famous Sheep and the Goats passage: “And the King will answer them, Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.” I’m all too familiar with how John Hagee treats this passage, so I will go ahead and assume that Somerville (as a key representative of his organization) would have treated it the same. In addition to seeing this as a future judgement, they see Christ’s brothers in this passage as the Jewish people, simply because Jesus was an ethnic Jew. Therefore, God will one day judge all people based on how they related to the Jewish people. What is John Hagee’s creepy application of this passage (Matthew 25:31-46)?

It is important to be right on the Israel question when you consider that being wrong brings you under the curse of God and headed for eternal, everlasting fire with the devil and his angels. Israel is not a “take it or leave it” subject. It is a life and death matter-eternal life!

However, Jesus didn’t consider His true brothers to be those who happened to share His same ethnicity, nor even those who happened to be born of His mother:

Then His mother and His brothers came to Him, but they could not reach Him because of the crowd. And He was told, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.” But He answered them, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:19-21).

Somerville apparently believes that all nations are in some sort of a covenant with God today, saying that they are all duty-bound to honor the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 12:3– “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Somerville’s immediate application of this verse was to instruct us to all “go find a Jew tonight and bless him,” and God would then be obligated to bless us in return. I’m not sure if he expected us to go out knocking on doors, asking people if they were Jewish, but it was 9:30 pm by the time we got out of there and…well, I guess I failed to receive my guaranteed blessing that night. On a related note, CUFI’s purpose was expressed on another slide: “to fulfill God’s Biblical Mandate to bless Abraham’s descendants.” Clearly we were meant to understand that it’s Abraham’s physical descendants who we are to go out of our way to bless. How does this idea stand up, though, to the scrutiny of the New Testament?

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10).

The apostle Paul actually cites Genesis 12:3 in Galatians 3:8. Let’s see what he, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had to say on the matter. First, he said that by this promise “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham” (this also agrees with Peter’s interpretation in Acts 3:25-26). Then Paul goes on to state something which John Hagee and others in this movement very badly need to embrace as truth: “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” (Gal. 3:16). Going on a little bit further, we come to even more truth regarding those who are counted as Abraham’s offspring today: “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” (Gal. 3:28-29).

In Christ, there are no benefits that God grants to males which He will not also grant to females, and there are no benefits or promises that He grants to ethnic Jews which He will not also grant to ethnic non-Jews who trust in Christ. All of God’s promises are accessible only through faith (Romans 4:13-18). “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). “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15; see also Gal. 5:6 and John 8:39-47).

The saddest part of the evening occurred when Somerville turned the microphone over to a Jewish community leader (a Rabbi?) who was clearly not a follower of Christ. This man, who didn’t hear a trace of the gospel that evening, emphasized the common ground between Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists, much to the delight of the crowd. It only got worse when he proceeded to define what a “righteous Christian” is: one who [1] does what is right regarding the nation of Israel and the Jewish people [2] rejects “replacement theology,” and [3] believes that all the promises God gave to Abraham apply today to his physical descendants, the Jewish race. Unbelievably, this definition of a “righteous Christian” received applause from the crowd, even though it was implied that all Christians who fail to meet these three criteria are unrighteous. The Biblical definition of righteousness has everything to do with Jesus and His work on the cross. It’s impossible to be a genuine follower of Christ without being made righteous, and to be without righteousness is to be without Christ. The deceived supporters of CUFI fell for the lies spoken by a man who has no hope of ever being found righteous unless God draws him to Himself and he places his trust in Christ for salvation. Tragically, that hope was kept hidden from him that night.

We were pushed hard to join more than 175,000 other Christians in signing “The Israel Pledge.” In fact, the crowd was asked to repeat this pledge out loud together (my friend and I remained silent, although we could certainly agree with point #2):

The Israel Pledge We believe that the Jewish people have a right to live in their ancient land of Israel, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of this historic right. We maintain that there is no excuse for acts of terrorism against Israel and that Israel has the same right as every other nation to defend her citizens from such violent attacks.

We pledge to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel and to speak out on their behalf whenever and wherever necessary until the attacks stop and they are finally living in peace and security with their neighbors.

A few days ago, Jews for Jesus’ founder Moishe Rosen passed away. He left behind a heartfelt letter in which he expressed his concerns regarding certain trends today:

As I go, one of the things that concerns me deeply is how much misunderstanding there is among believers. I never thought I would live to see the day when those who know the Lord and are born again were supporting the efforts of rabbis who, frankly, not only don’t know Christ, but don’t want to know Him.

To be an honest ministry, it can only come from the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit can only indwell those who have the new birth and are born again. Therefore, I would urge you to think very seriously before you support any “ministry” that involves Jewish people and doesn’t actually bring the gospel to the Jews… Within Judaism today, there is no salvation because Christ has no place within Judaism.

Source: http://jewsforjesus.org/(HT: PJ Miller)

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All posts on the subject of Christian Zionism can be found here.


[1] In a future post I hope to interact with Joel 3:1-2, which is often used today by Christian Zionists to say that God will judge all nations in the future based on how much or how little favor they granted to the nation of Israel which was founded in 1948. Briefly, though, it may be of interest to note that both John Wesley and Matthew Henry saw in this passage a two-fold application: [1] to the time period following Judah’s defeat at the hand of the Babylonians in 586 BC, and [2] to the Church in this present age, in terms of God ultimately vindicating His people who experience persecution and martyrdom for their faith.

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53 thoughts on “A Night to Honor Israel – And to Dishonor Jesus and His Church

  1. a Jewish community leader (a Rabbi?) who was clearly not a follower of Christ. You don’t have to be a rabbi to be a Jewish community leader.More importantly, no Jew believes that jesus was anything more than a man who might have lived.

    Furthermore your one sided diatribe about history ignores many facts. It doesn’t distinguish between those killed during war and those who were not. It doesn’t discuss partition plans or how the romans punished the Israelites by imposing the name Palestine upon the land.

    Many errors, very questionable scholarship here.

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    • Ozymandias,

      Thank you for expressing your opinions and thoughts. You’re right that a Jewish community leader doesn’t need to be a rabbi. I only wrote that because I don’t remember this man’s name or title. I was writing something down while he was being introduced, and didn’t catch his credentials very well. By the way, I have nothing whatsoever against this Jewish man. I understand that one who does not follow Jesus and belong to Him can not be expected to express truth about Him. I hope and pray that he will one day belong to Christ, though. What saddened me was that many in attendance, who professed to know Christ, accepted the unbiblical things he said as if they were truth. Yes, ethnic Jews who practice Judaism regard Jesus as only an ordinary man. There are, however, ethnic Jews who have embraced Jesus as Messiah and the only way to salvation and eternal life. I have met some, and count it a privilege to call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

      I suppose my brief remarks on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict do appear to be one-sided. So I would like to take the opportunity to clarify that I don’t condone the terrorist acts of certain Palestinians in any way, and I also have no problem with the Jewish people having a homeland in the Middle East, depending on how this takes place. It’s the forced displacement of established communities–along with partial genocide–in order to advance the Zionist cause which I can’t support, and which I addressed briefly in this post. My point, perhaps not communicated so well, was that followers of Christ are turning away from the ways and teachings of Jesus if we support such activities. Ironically, many Christians have turned a blind eye to the sufferings of Christian Palestinians (for example), while supporting the oppressive activities of some (not all) Jewish unbelievers toward them (and toward non-Christian Palestinians at the same time).

      If you can provide any responsibly-obtained statistics that might correct the statistics I cited in this post, I would be grateful. As for how that region came to be known a long time ago as Palestine, it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of people (Jews and Arabs) were living there when Israel was established as a nation in 1948. As I wrote in the post titled “With God On Our Side”: A Documentary on Christian Zionism, I appreciated these statements from the makers of this film:

      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.

      It didn’t fall within the scope of this post to go into the partition plans regarding the land of Palestine, but any reader can follow the Wikipedia links I provided in order to learn more about those plans.

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  2. Hey Adam,
    It’s obvious the night wasn’t what you expected, and maybe Christians United for Israel isn’t what you thought it was (or maybe you went just to criticize, idk). But if it helps, Nights to Honor Israel are events held specifically to honor the Jewish community (who don’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah). So maybe the name “Jesus” is mentioned less so as not to offend a community we, as Christians, are working to befriend. Other CUFI events may be very different. There are many, many organizations out there whose main mission is to evangelize / proselytize the Jewish community. But that is not what CUFI has set out to do. In fact, trying to give the Gospel and convert the Jews would hinder what they are trying to do (speak and act with one voice on behalf of the state of Israel). The event sounds like it is meant to “honor Israel” /the Jewish community, not so much “A Night to Give the Gospel to Israel.” I would imagine it’s hard to unite and befriend and work with a group you are continuously trying to convert. 
    As for the Church being a “chosen race, holy priesthood,” that’s true. The Church is the bride of Christ. We are children of God. But then what about the Jews? Is the land, Zion, that he promised them, not theirs anymore? When God told Abraham, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” – Has God broken this covenant? Has He altered it? When He said “I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you,” when did that promise end? He didn’t say, “until the Messiah comes,” “until the church is formed” etc…. So if this promise is no longer in effect, then we serve a God who breaks covenant. (Maybe you believe that).
    You asked “chosen for what?” Good question. Why did God choose that group of people? Israel ended up disobeying God’s laws repeatedly in the Old Testament. They worshipped idols, turning their back on the One who not only created them, but called them out to be specifically His people. Who but God knows why He chose them. And why did He promise them Canaan? And do they still have a right to it? Well, God himself took it away from them. He used other nations to punish them for their disobedience, to carry them into exile. And in every generation SINCE THEN a nation (or more) has risen up against them. It is only by God’s grace and mercy Israel has the land they have now. And if God, one day, sees fit to restore to them the rest of the land, He will. Meanwhile, I think it’s foolish to be on the side of those who are condemning, “picking on,” or threatening that nation and those people. And yes, it’s because God promised a curse. You basically said that Hagee (or some people) think: curse = hell. I’ve personally never heard or thought that… is this a direct quote? Where did you get this? I’d like more context:
    “It is important to be right on the Israel question when you consider that being wrong brings you under the curse of God and headed for eternal, everlasting fire with the devil and his angels. Israel is not a ‘take it or leave it’ subject. It is a life and death matter-eternal life!”

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    • ImperfectVoice,

      Thank you for your candid response. If what you have said about CUFI’s purpose is true, and it certainly appears to be (more on this in my next post), then this is confirmation that CUFI is in deep, deep compromise–to say the least. Any organization that has to withhold the gospel in order to carry out their purposes should not take the name “Christian.” I understand that the Executive Director of CUFI (Christians United for Israel), David Brog, is not a Christian. That’s amazing, for many reasons. Why would a Christian organization specifically aim to honor a community that doesn’t believe in Jesus, and at the same time “safeguard” them from the gospel and the name of Jesus, their only eternal hope? The answer appears to be that this organization exists to share the earthly, temporary agenda of an unbelieving community, and desires little or nothing more for them than that they see this agenda come to pass. From a Biblical standpoint, how does this honor them? It does not–it happily leaves them eternally lost. This should sicken every true believer in Christ.

      I say all this as one who lived in a Muslim country for several years. I understand the tension of wanting to maintain friendships with Muslim friends (in my case), and looking for ways to share the gospel with them. To the degree that I withheld the message of the gospel from any of my friends there, in order to avoid offending them, to that same degree I compromised and was not faithful. According to Scripture, the Jewish people are just as lost as Muslims (and any other people) are without Christ. Do you believe this to be true? I know John Hagee has made statements to the contrary (more on that in my next post as well, Lord willing).

      On that note, here is the source for this quote from John Hagee (yes, it’s a direct quote):

      “It is important to be right on the Israel question when you consider that being wrong brings you under the curse of God and headed for eternal, everlasting fire with the devil and his angels. Israel is not a ‘take it or leave it’ subject. It is a life and death matter-eternal life!”

      Source: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/newsletters/standing-with-israel/22726-christians-and-the-cause-the-lord-has-chosen-zion

      Secondary Source (the one I hyperlinked in this post just above this quote, and an article which is well worth reading): http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/john-hagee-teaches-another-gospel/

      Now I will interact with the rest of your reply. You said:

      As for the Church being a “chosen race, holy priesthood,” that’s true. The Church is the bride of Christ. We are children of God. But then what about the Jews?

      Any Jew who does not trust in Christ is under the wrath of God just like any other unbeliever (John 3:18-19, 36). Any Jew who trusts in Christ is part of the Church, God’s chosen race and royal priesthood. Believing Jews are part of the bride of Christ, alongside of believing Gentiles, and they are on a level playing field. Neither group is more special than the other; there is no distinction (e.g. Romans 10:12).

      Is the land, Zion, that he promised them, not theirs anymore? When God told Abraham, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” – Has God broken this covenant? Has He altered it? When He said “I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you,” when did that promise end? He didn’t say, “until the Messiah comes,” “until the church is formed” etc…. So if this promise is no longer in effect, then we serve a God who breaks covenant. (Maybe you believe that).

      No, I don’t believe the Bible teaches that those belonging to the Jewish race have a divine right to the land. Yes, the word “everlasting” (olam in Hebrew) is used in that passage. I addressed this in this post, in this way (for now; I plan to take up this question much more thoroughly in future posts):

      “For now, let us take note that the covenant of fleshly circumcision was also said to be forever/eternal/perpetual [see, for example, Genesis 17:9-14, and note the language used]. The same was said regarding 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 New Testament 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? Were they ever said to be conditional? Are we not heirs of a better ‘land’ under the New Covenant? The land promise was first articulated to Abraham, but what city did he look forward to possessing (hint –> Hebrews 11:10-16)?”

      This post also already dealt with the Genesis 12:3 question, in this way:

      The apostle Paul actually cites Genesis 12:3 in Galatians 3:8. Let’s see what he, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had to say on the matter. First, he said that by this promise “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham” (this also agrees with Peter’s interpretation in Acts 3:25-26). Then Paul goes on to state something which John Hagee and others in this movement very badly need to embrace as truth: “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” (Gal. 3:16). Going on a little bit further, we come to even more truth regarding those who are counted as Abraham’s offspring today: “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” (Gal. 3:28-29).

      In Christ, there are no benefits that God grants to males which He will not also grant to females, and there are no benefits or promises that He grants to ethnic Jews which He will not also grant to ethnic non-Jews who trust in Christ. All of God’s promises are accessible only through faith (Romans 4:13-18).

      Why must we conclude that God broke His covenant with Abraham? This promise, along with others, was made to Abraham and his offspring. The New Testament is crystal clear who his offspring are–not his physical descendants, but his spiritual descendants. All is fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the center of prophecy, not Israel. By the way, John Hagee says that Genesis 12:3 mandates that we bless the nation of Israel. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that his interpretation is correct, that would include the Palestinian people, right, since they are also part of modern day Israel?

      It is only by God’s grace and mercy Israel has the land they have now. And if God, one day, sees fit to restore to them the rest of the land, He will. Meanwhile, I think it’s foolish to be on the side of those who are condemning, “picking on,” or threatening that nation and those people. And yes, it’s because God promised a curse.

      God will do as He sees fit. On that I definitely agree. In your mind, though, what would it look like for God to give “the rest of the land” to Israel (I assume you mean the Jewish people)? In other words, what happens to the people (they are people, right?) who currently live on that land? From a justice point of view (God does care about justice), what should happen to them? Should the Church go as far as supporting the idea of the complete removal of all non-Jews from all of what was once known as Canaan?

      I’m not “on the side” of anyone who threatens the Jewish people with terrorism, bullying, genocide, or destruction of any kind. My heart does go out, though, to those who are oppressed. And when it comes to the nation of Israel, it’s much of the Palestinian civilian population who are most oppressed–not only by aggressive Zionists, but also by certain callous Arab authorities.

      I’m not afraid of being cursed because I don’t lend support to the Zionist cause, or because I’m saying that some of Israel’s policies are unjust, or because I don’t regard the Jewish race as being any more special than any other people. Unbelieving Jews have no stake in Genesis 12:3. This is very clear from Galatians 3, and also from the testimony of the New Testament as a whole. As I said in this post, if there is any people that we are to especially bless, it’s the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

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      • I can certainly understand where you are coming from, and there is definitely that tension when you have Jewish friends (and Muslim friends too). I have Jewish friends and also Muslim friends from Pakistan. They know I’m a Christian and what I’m all about, so to speak. But to me, just because I don’t open up the Romans Road, or ask, “If you died right now, do you know for sure if you’d go to heaven?” (They know what I believe, and I know what they’d say), I don’t feel that is “compromising.” When my little Muslim friend finished memorizing the Qur’an, the family completely understood when I didn’t attend her party and celebrate with them. They know I can’t support that. What you see as a “compromising of the Gospel,” I see as living out the Gospel in a different, but very real way. We are still letting our light shine, but without alienating this community by constant pressing for a conversion. (I respect if you don’t agree with this opinion. I know not everyone does). In my experience though, that’s just not effective. So I see where CUFI is coming from.

        As far as blessing the Jewish people and recognizing them as “special,” it was the Jewish people who gave us the Gospel to begin with. They gave us the entire O.T., and Jesus himself was a Jew. I think that is one way in which all the nations of the earth are blessed through them. In Romans 15:26-27, Paul explains WHY it is important to BLESS THE JEWISH PEOPLE (In this instance he talks about blessing them monetarily). He says,

        “For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.”

        Even though Christians partake in the blessings promised to Abraham and his “descendants,” we have not replaced them. In this case Paul didn’t say bless them by preaching to them. He said bless the Jews by …blessing them, giving to them. Paul saw fit to do this because he recognized that we owe something to them. Yes, “there is neither Jew nor Greek….” We are certainly all one in Christ Jesus. But BECAUSE we get to participate in these benefits, we honor the Jews. So I would guess that’s why Christians would see fit to bless a community that doesn’t believe in Jesus. Do I believe Jewish people are just as lost as Muslims? Yes. Does it sadden me? Yes.
        Do I believe the sons of Esau are heirs of the promise, because they are “a part of modern day Israel”? No. Residing in Israel doesn’t make them Jewish.

        [In your mind, though, what would it look like for God to give “the rest of the land” to Israel (I assume you mean the Jewish people)? In other words, what happens to the people (they are people, right?) who currently live on that land? From a justice point of view (God does care about justice), what should happen to them? Should the Church go as far as supporting the idea of the complete removal of all non-Jews from all of what was once known as Canaan?]

        I have no idea what it would look like for God to restore every inch of the land to the Jewish people. I don’t know what would happen to the non-Jews living in that land. I know war happens. I know land is seized, divided, etc…. Look how much has changed in that area over the recent years and how strong the threat of war is even now. Should the Church support removing non-Jews from that area? I don’t. I pray that the nations, the people, can live in peace. Wouldn’t that be wonderful – for both Israel AND the Palestinians to have a home they can call their own, for there to be peace. No more rocket fire. For Hamas to strike the horribly anti-Semitic rhetoric from their charter such as, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” And “There will come a day when the rocks and trees cry out there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.”

        Neither “side” is perfect. But like you said about refusing to support anyone who threatens terror, I think, judging by that written charter, and the fact that they actually say they refuse to co-exist with Israel, the Palestinian government (not the citizens for the most part, but the people who are actually leading these people) is far more guilty hurting the possibility of peace.

        Your having lived in a Muslim country for several years, (I don’t know what country that was), but I’m sure you’ve witnessed a people who are oppressed. Perhaps even people who don’t have a land to call their home (like the Jews before 1948). You’re sympathetic towards such people, as we should be. Many of them are oppressed though by their own governments, rather than the Jewish people or the Israeli government. At least Israel offers them freedom. Maybe not voting rights or rights that come with full citizenship. But to call Israel an oppressor, when Hamas operates out of schools, using their own people, their own children, to shield them… when a government decrees that homosexuals will be executed or imprisoned…. Or that a woman who has been raped must be exiled or put in prison, or allowed to be killed to preserve her family’s honor… and that’s legal. And more! Israel offers freedom in the Middle East, and Zionists support Israel, and you put “aggressive Zionist,” in the same category as “as callous Arab authorities?” Yeah those aggressive Zionists. They’re the real perpetrators. Because they didn’t get all upset over that little apartment unit the Jews were building in Jerusalem, because SOME DAY it may POSSIBLY be Palestinian territory. Look at the Middle East, the big picture, and ask yourself, “who is the oppressor?” It’s not the Zionists. And it’s not Israel.

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      • The Muslim country I lived in for several years (2001-2007) is Malaysia, where thankfully peace prevails to a high degree. Injustices there take the form of a reverse affirmative action where the majority Malay people (roughly 60% of the population) receive a disproportionately high level of benefits that are not afforded in the same way to the minority groups in the country (Chinese: 27%, Indians: 7-8%, various tribal groups). The government takes care of the Malay majority quite well, but the minority groups aren’t exactly in dire straits either.

        I would agree that evangelism methods which involve “beating people over the head with the Bible,” or aggressive and non-relational street corner conversion tactics, tend to not be effective. But what we’re primarily talking about here, in the case of CUFI, is an organizational stance of avoiding the spread of the gospel among the Jewish community. In a recent article on CUFI’s website, titled “Why Christian Zionists Really Support Israel,” John Hagee said this:

        Like all people of faith, we Christians firmly believe that our religion is true. But we also believe in religious freedom and have enormous respect for the Jewish faith. The first rule adopted by Christians United for Israel was that there would be no proselytizing at our events. CUFI exists only to honor and support the Jewish people, never to convert them.

        I never used the word “convert” with my Muslim friends in Malaysia. I understand the negative connotations of this word because of the Crusades, etc. in some of the darker moments of church history. However, this word set aside, Hagee has shown a consistent pattern of intentionally withholding the gospel from an entire people group, a people group he claims to love. Peter, John, James, Paul, and many others in the early church were themselves Jewish, but they boldly proclaimed the message of the gospel to their fellow Jews.

        What is the real reason Hagee wishes to avoid proselytizing the Jews, and even works hand-in-hand with an Executive Director (David Brog) who doesn’t know Christ? These words from Hagee in 1988 (which, to my knowledge, he has never turned his back on) might be a big clue:

        “I’m not trying to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith… In fact, trying to convert Jews is a waste of time. Jews already have a covenant with God and that has never been replaced by Christianity. The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses. I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption. The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not” (Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988, sec, 6, pg. 1).

        Source: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/john_hagees_heresy.htm

        I’m quite familiar with Hagee’s teachings that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people because “they brought us the gospel,” etc. And, therefore, says Hagee, it’s quite appropriate to “repay this debt” by handing over huge checks to Jewish organizations for the rebuilding of the third temple where the sacrificial system is to be reinstated (an incredible insult to Jesus, whose own sacrifice put an end to these sacrifices), to fund settlements in disputed/occupied areas, etc. First of all, the majority of the Jewish people have nothing but disdain for Jesus and for the message of the gospel, and hardly “brought” this to us. God is the source of the gospel. In the case of Romans 15:26-27, the Gentile believers blessed the Jewish believers who were in financial need. It was “for the poor among the saints” in Jerusalem. This does not mirror CUFI’s objectives or actions at all. You said,

        Do I believe the sons of Esau are heirs of the promise, because they are “a part of modern day Israel”? No. Residing in Israel doesn’t make them Jewish.

        Jews residing in Israel are not heirs of the promise either, except for those who trust in Christ (e.g. Galatians 3:16-29). And believing Jews are on equal footing with believing Gentiles (e.g. Romans 10:12).

        I’m glad that you don’t support the removal of non-Jews from the region that many Zionists hope to see belong only to the Jewish people, and that you desire to see peace between Jews and Palestinians. I don’t know that we can place “far more” guilt upon the Palestinian government than we can upon Israeli leadership. I’m by no means an expert in this area, but I am trying to look at the big picture as you rightly suggested.

        For years, in church circles, I’ve heard all about the injustices committed by Palestinian leaders, about suicide bombings, child soldiers, etc. I don’t want to be in denial about any of this. It’s ugly. But I also can’t see a rosy picture of Israel’s policies. The bulldozing of more than 12,000 Palestinian homes since 1967, humiliating blockades and checkpoints, aggressive settlements in disputed zones, the oft-repeated pattern of killing large numbers of Palestinian civilians, cutting off access to quality healthcare, and many more such acts are ugly as well.

        I haven’t even mentioned what happened in 1948 and the next few years, when tens of thousands of people were suddenly uprooted from their homes and never again allowed to return. Soon, Lord willing, I plan to share some heart-rending excerpts from the book “Blood Brothers,” written by a Palestinian Christian who was 9 years old in 1948, and who remembers well the heartache his own family and many others experienced when they were victimized by incredible injustice. He writes his story without bitterness, and in fact he still lives in Israel and is committed to seeing reconciliation among the different people groups there. There are many more who have similar stories to tell.

        I hope you’ll take the opportunity to see an excellent new film release, which addresses some of these very things and much more. It’s called “With God On Our Side,” and I wrote a review of this film here:

        https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/with-god-on-our-side-a-documentary-on-christian-zionism/

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  3. Being familiar with many of CUFI’s events, I thought that the night you were describing sounds much more like a Standing with Israel Meeting than a Night to Honor Israel. A quick check of the CUFI website shows that I’m correct.

    Standing with Israel meetings are designed to be educational seminars on the Middle East and inform Christians on tangible steps they can take to support Israel. A Night to Honor Israel would be much more like what you were originally expecting.

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    • Jer On The Road,

      You’re very correct. Based on the calendar at CUFI’s website, what I attended was a “Standing with Israel” event and not “A Night to Honor Israel.” Thanks. I didn’t know the difference before I attended, but I do now.

      I would say that “tangible steps [one] can take to support Israel” was just a small fraction of the evening. These tangible steps involved standing behind only Jewish Zionists (I understand that some Jews have a disdain for what is known as the Zionist agenda), but did not at all seem to take into consideration the well-being of the Palestinian population currently residing within the nation of Israel. Some of these Palestinians are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

      The evening was indeed meant to be educational, but since I felt that the whole thing was theologically misguided I created this post in order to answer with a different viewpoint. I know that some will consider these things thoughtfully; others will not. At one point in my life, I must admit, I probably would not have either.

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  4. Hello,

    Hope you are well.

    I believe God gave Isreal land whose boundaries are described in the Bible. I also firmly believe that the Isreal that exists now has nothing at all to do with God. These people serve the god of mammon. They adhere to the Talmud and not the Torah.

    If you read the prophets one will see that God gave land to other nations. It is so hypocritcal of people in the United States to support Isreal while denying the Native Americans, the rightful owners of this land their due.

    God is going to act in a mighty way. It will not go done as these false prophets think.

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

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    • Hi John,

      Thank you for stopping by, and for your comments. I agree with you that the modern, secular, and political nation of Israel is not a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and that it does not have the special favor of God above any other nation. God’s one special nation today has no geographical borders (I Peter 2:9-10). Good point about the Native Americans…

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  5. Hi Adam

    God has kept his promise,and has already regathered and blessed Israel at first Pentecost after the ascension.These folks bless and honor unbelieving Jews/Israelis,dishonor Christ and the church.Turn a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians,some of which are their own brothers and sisters in Christ.

    There is left but a ‘gathering’ of the church of God,both Jew and Gentile.These Christian Zionists stand only for themselves and their unscriptural end times scenario.Which is but a Mega Holocaust.AD70 would be but a pale shadow of what these CUFI folks envision before Jesus returns.Suffering and doom to those they profess to love and stand for.Shame Shame on them.

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    • Seroled,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re right about what God did for ancient Israel, and the Jewish population in the first century, at Pentecost:

      Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven… (Acts 2:5)

      That blessing had everything to do with the gospel and the proclamation of the kingdom of God, part of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 (cf. Acts 3:25, Galatians 3:7-9).

      There is left but a ‘gathering’ of the church of God, both Jew and Gentile.

      Exactly, and that gathering has been taking place for many centuries and continues to this day. I grieve with you that some who have been gathered, like our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ, are out of sight and out of mind for many professing Christians in the US because of the false doctrines of Christian Zionism and dispensationalism.

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  6. This is a very good article.

    I will make one comment. I am being tempted to go farther because there is so much to comment on this article, but I will restrain my fingers and toes to just “one” comment.

    Somebody needs to teach them at CUFI just “who” and “where” Abraham was from and how blessing or dishonoring those who live by Faith corresponds to the meaning of Gen. 12:3?

    What it seems to me is being missed by CUFI is this. I live by the same Faith God gave to Abraham. Anyone who blesses me because they realize that I have been given the same gift of Faith once delivered to the Saints will have the SAME results people had blessing Abraham, the Hebrew of Ur of the Chaldeans. Anyone who dishonors me because I live by that Faith once delivered to the Saints, God will indeed “CURSE”!

    Let it be known that I confess Jesus Christ is Lord and I believe in my heart God raised Him from the dead!

    1Ch 16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
    1Ch 16:32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!
    1Ch 16:33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.

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  7. Peter, Paul, James, and John did indeed take the Gospel to the Jews. CUFI is not Peter, James, John, and Paul. They are CUFI. They are not Christian Witness to Israel. Their mission is different, therefore their approach is different. It is a false assumption to say an organization that carries the name “Christian,” is selling out their faith if they don’t include evangelism as a part of their ministry. Does winning the lost have to be the mission of every Christian organization? Can a person, or an organization minister (tend to the wants and needs of others) without evangelizing? Of course they can.

    It makes sense for them to take that “organizational stance.” How would you propose an organization like this be effective in its mission, if there were an emphasis on evangelizing and giving the Gospel? “We’re gonna unite and stand up and speak up together. Be a ‘unified’ voice together – but first let me point out some major differences between us….” That is counter-productive. That’s plenty of “real reason.”

    “God is the Source of the Gospel.” – Whether they like it or not, whether we like it or not, God chose to be born of a Jew. He called Himself “King of the Jews” Mark 15:2. He chose that race to be His own. Yes, He, not the Jews, orchestrated this plan. You’re saying the Jews didn’t have anything to do with it. THAT is the significant thing about it. They didn’t choose Him. He chose them. Out of all other peoples. And though they acted in accordance with God’s plan, we appreciate and honor the race chosen of God to be the ones to bring us this Gospel on which our faith is founded. And we owe them a debt of gratitude as Paul says.

    Look at that verse again. It does not say, ‘we were happy to bless them because they were poor.’ He says we owe them because they brought us our faith – because they are Jewish. Do we owe only the poor Jews for our faith, according to Paul? No – God brought us the Gospel using the Jewish people (some were wealthy, some were poor). So I’m not AS concerned with what Hagee says about blessing the Jews as I am with what the Bible says about blessing the Jews. With what he said about Jews coming to salvation through the Torah, I THINK he has said otherwise since ’88, though I can’t reference it. So I’m not sure. But for arguments sake, let’s say he does think that. Hagee doesn’t represent the beliefs of every Zionist, and I don’t even think those that follow him necessarily agree with that position.

    As far as believing-Jews and believing-Gentiles being on equal footing, I agree.

    “Jews residing in Israel are not heirs of the promise” – I don’t believe God “dropped” Israel with the coming of the church age. (this is at the heart of our disagreement I think) I think He will bless those that bless them and curse who curses them. I also think this has been evidenced throughout history. So if this is at the heart of where the Zionists are coming from, if it comes down to taking “sides,” they, and I am going to lean more towards the Jews and Israel. I just wouldn’t mess with them. But, for a person who believes the Jews are no longer a part of God’s plan, and they’re not special, and they had no part in bringing about the Gospel, and they’ve been entirely replaced by the church as far as prophecies and promises, and Paul didn’t care about the Jews (he cared only about the poor Jews, as he would care about a poor Gentile), it would make sense that you disagree with what Zionists stand for.

    We can’t deny that there have been atrocities on both sides – atrocities against humanity, and political mistakes…. But in defense of the Jews, who have been fighting for their lives in every century since their existence (the most recent centuries possibly being the worst persecution yet with Pogroms, the Holocaust, and now another madman threatening their existence) it certainly makes sense for them to mistrust and to take a more aggressive approach to their defense (is that too much of an oxymoron? Haha). And EVEN STILL they take measures to keep from harming civilians, at the expense of Israeli soldiers. http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=176688.

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    • Agreed. The ministry, focus, and theology of CUFI is very different than that of Peter, John, James, and Paul. I stand by my previous statements. It would be better for CUFI to drop the word “Christian” from their name. By devoting itself to supporting Jewish Zionism, this organization encourages earthly pursuits such as land conquest. At the same time, the glorious gospel of Jesus, the very thing that is of utmost importance to genuine believers, is intentionally withheld from those it claims to love.

      It’s not my stance at all that the Jews had nothing to do with God’s plan to bring forth the Messiah in the fullness of time. They were instrumental, but not the source. The truth of the gospel proceeded from God. The credit for all the spiritual blessings we receive goes to Him, not to the Jewish people.

      In quoting the phrase, “the poor among the saints” (Romans 15:26), my focus was not on the word “poor,” but on the word “saints.” My point was that the Macedonian and Achaian believers blessed the saints financially. John Hagee, generally speaking, wants us to financially bless Jewish unbelievers. This was the difference I was trying, perhaps not so effectively, to point out.

      Does anyone else here have any thoughts regarding Romans 15:26-27 and Paul’s use of the phrase, “and indeed they owe it to them”?

      You said:

      But, for a person who believes the Jews are no longer a part of God’s plan, and they’re not special, and they had no part in bringing about the Gospel, and they’ve been entirely replaced by the church as far as prophecies and promises, and Paul didn’t care about the Jews (he cared only about the poor Jews, as he would care about a poor Gentile), it would make sense that you disagree with what Zionists stand for.

      This quote does not accurately reflect my position, on several points. I will briefly try to clarify. Any ethnic Jew who trusts in Christ for salvation is most definitely a part of God’s plan to bless the nations with the gospel. The Jewish people have not “been entirely replaced by the church.” God has never ceased to have a remnant from among the Jews; that remnant is a part of the church, alongside of non-Jewish(in ethnicity) believers.

      Yes, I disagree with what Zionists stand for. Their aims are earthly, and not eternal, and quite often they are carried out unjustly and without compassion. They have nothing to do with Christ.

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      • Adam, I would also add that Paul said a true Jew is not one who is circumcised outwardly, but inwardly of the heart (end of Romans 2) He also said that not all Israel IS Israel. That is why the focus of these Zionist groups is off.

        IV you said: Does winning the lost have to be the mission of every Christian organization? Can a person, or an organization minister (tend to the wants and needs of others) without evangelizing? Of course they can.

        To which I say NO…. the great commission is to go into all the world and make disciples otherwise any secular organization can do good deeds and minister to the wants and needs of others.

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      • The great commission Jesus gave to his to the 11 disciples who were there with Him on the mountain. He gave them a commission and the power to do it.

        While it is good to be missionaries, and we all need to be a witness, not everyone is called to be a pastor or evangelist. I completely disagree with you that all of our professions must be directly linked to soul-winning be doing the work of God.

        I like that part in the movie “Amazing Grace” where the woman tells William Wilberforce, “You are deciding whether to do the work of God, or the work of an activist. I humbly suggest you can do both.”
        And then Wilberforce goes on to end slavery in the Brittish empire!

        What about people like Truett Cathy, who started Chick-fil-A? Dude, he was in the fast food business, but he created this awesome Christian organization and does the Impact 360 Christian camps to teach kids about worldview. And he just has an incredible testimony. FAST FOOD!

        What about someone who is called to be a full-time mom? Is that not the work of the Lord?

        What about the American Red Cross, the Young Men’s Christian Academy, Purple heart? What about a Christian org who stands up against abortion? Are they not doing the work of the Lord because the purpose of their org is not evangelism?

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      • Imperfect Voice,

        I think we’re talking past each other on this point. Key words = “intentionally withhold.” CUFI, as an organization, intentionally withholds the gospel from an entire people group. Based on the words of its founder, not only in 1988 but also in more recent years, there apparently remains a belief that this people group is eternally secure apart from the gospel. This is blatantly false doctrine, and CUFI is spreading plenty of it among the body of Christ.

        Furthermore, I don’t see any evidence that the non-evangelistic work of CUFI in any way reflects the work of the Lord. What needs are they meeting? What wants are they meeting, and are these “wants” just and in any way glorifying to God? CUFI advocates ethnic cleansing, so that one people group will be pushed out and made homeless in favor of another. The Palestinian people, including those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ, are given the status of illegitimate squatters on “a land that isn’t theirs.” Please see the first, very brief, video in this post by Porter Speakman, Jr.:

        http://porterspeakmanjr.com/2010/05/24/rebranding-of-christians-united-for-israel-christian-zionism/

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  8. Romans 11
    1Am I saying that God has turned his back on his people? Certainly not! I am one of the people of Israel, and I myself am a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God did not turn his back on his chosen people. Don’t you remember reading in the Scriptures how Elijah complained to God about the people of Israel? 3He said, “Lord, they killed your prophets and destroyed your altars. I am the only one left, and now they want to kill me.”
    4But the Lord told Elijah, “I still have seven thousand followers who have not worshiped Baal.” 5It is the same way now. God was kind to the people of Israel, and so a few of them are still his followers. 6This happened because of God’s undeserved kindness and not because of anything they have done. It could not have happened except for God’s kindness.
    7This means that only a chosen few of the people of Israel found what all of them were searching for. And the rest of them were stubborn, 8just as the Scriptures say,
    “God made them so stupid
    that their eyes are blind,
    and their ears
    are still deaf.”
    9Then David said,
    “Turn their meals
    into bait for a trap,
    so that they will stumble
    and be given
    what they deserve.
    10Blindfold their eyes!
    Don’t let them see.
    Bend their backs
    beneath a burden
    that will never be lifted.”
    11Do I mean that the people of Israel fell, never to get up again? Certainly not! Their failure made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved, and this will make the people of Israel jealous. 12But if the rest of the world’s people were helped so much by Israel’s sin and loss, they will be helped even more by their full return.
    13I am now speaking to you Gentiles, and as long as I am an apostle to you, I will take pride in my work. 14I hope in this way to make some of my own people jealous enough to be saved. 15When Israel rejected God, [a] the rest of the people in the world were able to turn to him. So when God makes friends with Israel, it will be like bringing the dead back to life. 16If part of a batch of dough is made holy by being offered to God, then all of the dough is holy. If the roots of a tree are holy, the rest of the tree is holy too. 17You Gentiles are like branches of a wild olive tree that were made to be part of a cultivated olive tree. You have taken the place of some branches that were cut away from it. And because of this, you enjoy the blessings that come from being part of that cultivated tree. 18But don’t think you are better than the branches that were cut away. Just remember that you are not supporting the roots of that tree. Its roots are supporting you.
    19Maybe you think those branches were cut away, so that you could be put in their place. 20That’s true enough. But they were cut away because they did not have faith, and you are where you are because you do have faith. So don’t be proud, but be afraid. 21If God cut away those natural branches, couldn’t he do the same to you?
    22Now you see both how kind and how hard God can be. He was hard on those who fell, but he was kind to you. And he will keep on being kind to you, if you keep on trusting in his kindness. Otherwise, you will be cut away too.
    23If those other branches will start having faith, they will be made a part of that tree again. God has the power to put them back. 24After all, it wasn’t natural for branches to be cut from a wild olive tree and to be made part of a cultivated olive tree. So it is much more likely that God will join the natural branches back to the cultivated olive tree.

    The People of Israel Will Be Brought Back
    25My friends, I don’t want you Gentiles to be too proud of yourselves. So I will explain the mystery of what has happened to the people of Israel. Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in. 26In this way all of Israel will be saved, as the Scriptures say,
    “From Zion someone will come
    to rescue us.
    Then Jacob’s descendants
    will stop being evil.
    27This is what the Lord
    has promised to do
    when he forgives their sins.”
    28The people of Israel are treated as God’s enemies, so that the good news can come to you Gentiles. BUT THEY ARE STILL THE CHOSEN ONES, and God loves them because of their famous ancestors. 29God doesn’t take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen.
    30At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. 31And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy. 32All people have disobeyed God, and that’s why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them.
    33Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does?
    34″Has anyone known
    the thoughts of the Lord
    or given him advice?
    35Has anyone loaned
    something to the Lord
    that must be repaid?”
    36Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord forever! Amen.

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    • Try exchanging the word “church” for “Israel” in this passage. Especially where it says “they are still the chosen ones.” That theology does not stand.

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    • Paul plainly had much to say in this chapter about the national Israel of his day. So of course it doesn’t work to substitute “church” for “Israel” whenever he is doing so. Paul was very clear that only a remnant from among the Jewish people were to be saved. If you would like to maintain that the Jewish people as an entire race are God’s chosen people, again what are they chosen for? Certainly not for eternal life, with the exception of that remnant from among them who turn to Christ.

      I noticed you quoted from the Contemporary English Version which, as far as I know, is the only translation to use the expression “they are still the chosen ones” in Romans 11:28. I’m looking right now at the English Standard Version, which says, “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” I find the following information to be very interesting concerning the aims of the translators of the CEV:

      The CEV also makes an attempt to tone down the anti-Judaism of the New Testament by avoiding the word “Jews” wherever it is used in reference to opponents of Jesus. Instead of “the Jews” it has “the people” (John 6:41, 8:48, 10:19, 31, etc), “the people of Judea” (Mat. 28:15), “the crowd” (John 18:31, 19:7, 12, 14, etc.), “in public” (for “among the Jews” in John 11:54), “some men” (Acts 26:21), “some of them” (Acts 9:23), “the leaders” (John 5:18, Acts 25:9), “the Jewish leaders” (John 7:1, and frequently elsewhere). (3) In a 1993 article David G. Burke, the director of the ABS translation program, says that the purpose of this was to combat anti-semitism. Burke acknowledges that the use of the expression “the Jews” in the New Testament is significant in that it “carries a bias that was born of the increasingly heated struggle for credibility between two strains of first century Judaism,” but as a translator he cares more about “its effect on the poorly informed modern reader” than about accurate translation of the phrase:

      The problem is not how well the English locution reflects the Greek text or the escalating polemical realities of the first century situation, but rather its effect on the (poorly informed) modern reader. Few modern readers are equipped to sort out that “the Jews” opposing Jesus and the Jesus movement are in many cases just other Jews who happen not to have accepted Jesus’s identity as Messiah—whether these are individuals, groups, local leaders, or religious or political authorities. Given the way the overall picture is painted, it is difficult for the modern reader to think this through in terms of real-life ambiguities that would have applied then as now; that is, to consider that many of these “enemies” may have been acting, in the events of the early (pre-synagogue expulsion) years, in order to be responsible and faithful to the tradition as they understood it by resisting and being suspicious of what they may have perceived as another of those Messiah claimants that get everyone worked up then fade away.

      Burke’s apology for those who “happen not to have accepted Jesus’ identity as Messiah” is understandable in the context of a modern inter-faith dialogue, but it must be said that this muffling of the antagonistic language of the New Testament is a deliberate attempt to play down a meaningful element of the text. In the New Testament we do not see Jews who “happen not to have accepted Jesus’ identity as Messiah,” but rather mobs of Jews who were determined to kill the Christians if possible. It was not long before the Christians became so disaffected and alienated from the Jewish community in general that it made no practical difference to anyone that most of the Christians were Jews by birth. They had been cast out of the community, just as Christ foretold. In these circumstances it was appropriate enough for the apostles and their disciples to begin speaking of “the Jews” as if they were not of that people. In a very real sense they were no longer Jews, but now children of the God who is Creator and Father of all men. They were an Israel of God that transcended the old Jewish bonds of blood and soil. That is apparently how they understood themselves, having repudiated the narrow ethnic identity which was so much a part of Judaism in the first century.

      Source: http://www.bible-researcher.com/cev.html

      This quote contained a link to a very insightful commentary on the phrase “the Israel of God” found in Galatians 6:16. I’ve skimmed it, and read certain sections more in depth, and what I’ve seen so far is very much worth reading:

      http://www.bible-researcher.com/gal6-16.html

      Like

      • I will read it, thank you.

        I imagine (being rather ignorant, and w/o assuming to know God’ mind) the Jewish race was “chosen for” to bring about salvation (well I guess they had salvation before Jesus, b/c it’s by faith.) But they were chosen to be the lineage for Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice. They were chosen to write God’s Words down – chosen to receive that inspiration I guess. But chosen to be a huge part of God’s master plan.

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      • I would agree with much of what you wrote here. Exodus 19:3-6 also gives great insight into why the nation of Israel was chosen:

        The Lord God called to [Moses] out of the mountain, saying, “Thu you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel” (see also Deut. 7:6-8, 14; Amos 3:2).

        The Jewish people were also chosen in order to be a light to the Gentile nations.

        Now in the New Testament we see that the same language spoken to Moses at Mount Sinai is again spoken regarding the body of Christ, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles alike:

        But you are a chosen race, 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. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (I Peter 2:9-10).

        The body of Christ has taken on the role which once belonged to the nation of Israel. Those who remain in darkness, and this would include unbelieving Jews, are not part of God’s chosen people today.

        Who are chosen to be a light to the nations today? Certainly not the Jewish race as a whole, for the majority reject Christ and are themselves walking in darkness. Those walking in darkness can’t possibly be a light. This role belongs to all who follow Jesus:

        “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

        “…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” (Ephesians 5:8).

        “…that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:15).

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  9. Adam,

    I am “michael” and I came over here from PJ Miller’s blog.

    Just so we can locate in your mind “who” this “michael” is responding.

    Imperfectvoice, this response is directed towards you basis Adam’s question asked above: “…Does anyone else here have any thoughts regarding Romans 15:26-27 and Paul’s use of the phrase, “and indeed they owe it to them”?…”.

    My answer to that question is: “yes”.

    When I read your response following mind above and then Adam’s and Truth’s, I immediately was directed by the Holy Spirit to Romans 11.

    You are “absolutely right” about making reference to Romans 11 when making your point hereon.

    Now if only you could go to a CUFI meeting and get them to go to Romans 11 based on Romans, chapters 1-16, you would be of great service to the work of the Gospel, “my” Gospel and hopefully “your” Gospel as well?

    My point, which I will make now is this, I believe you are not taking into consideration one very important issue, a primary major issue and the very issue the Apostle Paul was tasked with that caused him to dictate the Roman letter to Tertius so we could have this exchange in here these many generations later on:::>

    Rom 16:22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.

    What is the major, primary issue then?

    “The Will of God through Christ Jesus by One Spirit” not one national Jewish heritage or national Jewish inheritance, or Jews national rights and responsibilities or national Jewish outrage, or or or!

    Huh?

    Let’s remember something, which is the fault you have to “hear”; and it seems your ability to step back and “hear” the fault is this:

    “What is this then being played out through Zionism and CUFI?

    Let me let the Word of God speak and if after reading the verses I cite below you need some help seeing and hearing, let me know? If you begin to see and hear, or, “see and hear”, let us know, ok?

    Here are the verses:

    Rom 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

    and

    Act 26:6 And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers,
    Act 26:7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king!
    Act 26:8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
    Act 26:9 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
    Act 26:10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.
    Act 26:11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
    Act 26:12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
    Act 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.
    Act 26:14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
    Act 26:15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
    Act 26:16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
    Act 26:17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles–to whom I am sending you
    Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
    Act 26:19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
    Act 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
    Act 26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
    Act 26:22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
    Act 26:23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
    Act 26:24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.”
    Act 26:25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.
    Act 26:26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.
    Act 26:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”
    Act 26:28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”

    submitted!

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  10. Adam, it’s not letting me reply for some reason to you post, but anway…
    So your beef is more with CUFI than it is with Christian Zionists as a whole. Now I’m not sure what Hagee quotes are floating around out there, but I do know that he’s said over and over again that salvation is ONLY through Jesus. And there is definitley no such statement in any of CUFI’s material, saying Jews are going to heaven. I’ve read several Hagee-bashing articles that say he says this, he believes that, but there are plenty of his sermon DVD’s where he is saying otherwise, which I think is stronger evidence. And anyway, aside from Hagee, CUFI does not take that stance. The only blatantly false doctrine that’s being spread around is the idea that Jews are no longer a part of God’s plan, and that the church has replaced them as God’s chosen people.

    And as far as doing the work of the Lord: They go on Israel’s behalf to congressmen and senators and request sanctions on those who hate and who would seek to do harm to both the U.S. and Israel. They speak out against those who rain rockets down our their citizens. They counter anti-Semetic rhetoric that is disturbingly simliar to that rhetoric which brought about the Holocaust. They pray for peace, and they work for it. Many of them are pro-two-state solution, if it would bring peace to the land. They bless God’s chosen people. They teach history – the history of Palestine, the history of the Holocaust, the history of the church, the history of the relation of Jews and Christians. (Are history teachers doing the work of the Lord?) We may not agree on theology (obviously you think they are spreading ‘false doctrine,’ I believe they are spreading the truth). But even though they are not pushing the Gospel, through their actions, through Nights to Honor Israel, through financial support, they are showing the love of Christ to a people who have known hatred, rejection, persecution for centuries.

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    • Sort of… I have “a beef” with Christian Zionism as a whole, and to me CUFI epitomizes what is false about this system (I know you disagree). I will do my best to see if there is evidence that Hagee has turned course from his 1988 statements that the Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of Moses which is sufficient to bring them to salvation apart from Christ. I do believe you that Hagee teaches on a regular basis that salvation is only through Jesus. Whether or not he believes this is true for both Jews and non-Jews (he did not in 1988) is what I hope to find evidence for. I understand that this is known as Dual Covenant theology, and that the majority of those who subscribe to Christian Zionism would not hold to this extreme position.

      If anyone says that “Jews are no longer a part of God’s plan,” I will disagree with them. God still has a remnant of believing Jews, and they are no more and no less a part of God’s redemptive plans than non-Jews. As mentioned already, if anyone says “that the church has replaced [the Jews] as God’s chosen people,” I will also disagree with them. This is not accurate. Ever since the cross, any Jew who trusts in Christ is part of God’s chosen people along with any non-Jew who trusts in Christ. The apostle Paul was very clear, e.g. in Romans 11, that the Jewish people have not been entirely cut off, but that a remnant remains who belong to Jesus.

      Thanks for explaining more about the work that CUFI does. That was informative. By the way, do you work for CUFI, or are you directly affiliated with them? I hope you don’t mind the question. I’m surprised to hear that some CUFI staff are for a two-state solution, if that’s true. That doesn’t seem to fit at all with the rhetoric of John Hagee or David Brog. Yes, there are history teachers who do the work of the Lord, but not all, of course. I happen to question a lot of the history taught by Hagee, for example, when he speaks of the events of 1948 and the population (or implied lack of one) living there before the Zionists arrived.

      You said that CUFI blesses “God’s chosen people.” You mean they bless the body of Christ, right? 🙂

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  11. It doesn’t mean that a nation is chosen if the prophets came through their line. It might be said that they are more in need for guidance, they are more degenerated or more corrupted so that the prophets were sent to that nation to guide them and to show them the right way. If a nation was chosen by God, God would not send any prophet to them because they would not need a guidance (they are chosen already). We should say that not a nation but the prophets who deserved to be chosen are chosen among that nation to send the message of God. For example; if you choose a fruit in a tray, you should choose the best among them, so you will reject the others as long as the others turn to resemble the best one. The sons of Israel had killed most of their prophets denying them and saying that the previous prophet was our real prophet. Jesus was chosen from among the sons of Israel to guide them and to show the true path but they denied him and killed him. Is not Jesus a son of Israel as he also believe Moses and more other prophets of sons of Israel? So isn’t He chosen? They are from the same nation. So, is God they believe confusing? Or was Jesus disqualified from being from their nation? Maybe it is because they killed many of their prophets that they are considered contaminated or cursed in Muslim’s Holy Book, the Qur’an.

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  12. The Jews reject Christ; they are disbelievers. The Muslims reject Christ; they are disbelievers. If a supposed Christian, no matter how high he might have risen in some Ecclesiastical organization, supports either one of them, then he is diverted in his faith. Especially heinous is the fat Baptist preacher who stands up and rails about the necessity of sending your money to Israel, because “the high priest has put his vestments on and that means the rapture is right around the corner.” The Bible says that if a prophet (someone claims to speak for God) says things he didn’t command them to say, or things in favor of other Gods (like the Jews and Muslims worship) then he must die (Deuteronomy 18:20). Wouldn’t the truth be easier to spot if we cleaned house a little and got rid of those who imagine God must conform to their imagination of him?

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  13. HI Friend,

    I think you missed the boat on this one. First of all your bad experience at a regional CUFI meeting does not warrant your wholesale scraping of this organization. It seems that your most upset at the fact that this meeting did not meet your expectation of a “worship service”, hence the title: “A Night to Honor Israel – And to Dishonor Jesus and His Church”. I am sure that the invitation that your received to come to this meeting did not give you the idea that your going to be attending church service or the like??? It seems that you went to a wedding expecting a funeral and your upset. That’s okay but please be honest about the reasons why you are upset.

    Secondly it appears that you would like to see Christians sever their ties and dialogue with the Israel and the Jews? How is removing support for Israel going to honor God or the church?

    My concern with your views are that in essence it calls for the Christian to reconsider their affection for the Jews. This is not the first time the church has faced this discussion. In the late 1920’s the church in Germany faced this same argumentation with more fervor from nationalist pastors that were influenced by the Third Reich (See Erwin Lutzer’s “Hitler’s Cross”). If Christianity changes their passionate support of Israel to a passive stance – who will stand beside Israel? It appears that the work of Haman, Herod, Hitler, Hezbollah, and Hamas, are being recapitulated in the thoughts of well-to-do theologs who argue with the highest level of academia and passion do cut the ties that bond with the Jewish people. Well, I’m not buying it!!! History teaches us that the people of Israel have a propensity to be subject to genocide and horrible treatment. Sometimes the harsh treatment of the Jews have been at the behest of those who name the name of Christ. With that said, It is most moral and humanitarian and thus most holy to say- I stand with Israel and their need for a defensible national border.

    Perhaps I’m in a minority, but I stand here with Paul and with Martin Nemoeller, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and those who love the Scriptures.

    Forgive me for my harsh tone, it is only a passionate response to the jargon and mockery shown for those in CUFI.

    Blessings,

    EH +

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    • Hi Edwin,

      Thanks for your feedback. I didn’t think you were too harsh. Just to be clear, I was quite familiar with CUFI before attending the event I described in the post above. I had already observed that John Hagee elevates the nation of Israel to idolatrous levels at the expense of Jesus and the church, and that his organization walks all over the New Testament. See this post if you’d like to better understand what I mean by that:

      http://kloposmasm.com/2013/02/13/why-i-abandoned-replacement-theology/

      So when I observed the same pattern at this event, I titled my post appropriately.

      I don’t wish at all for Christians to have anything but affection for the Jewish people. I believe that we are called to love all peoples, including the Palestinians.

      What does it mean to stand with Israel? Did you know that there are many Jews who strongly and vocally disagree with what the government of Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people? One such group is the Jewish Voice for Peace. Can I stand with Israeli Jews who oppose Israel’s apartheid policies, and the ethnic cleansing they’ve been practicing for decades? After all, they’re part of Israel too.

      I would say that my biggest concerns with CUFI are [1] the way this movement opposes the teachings of Jesus and the apostles regarding the new covenant, no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, etc. [2] the attitude toward Palestinians (including our brothers and sisters in Christ among them), Iran, and Muslims in general [3] what appears to be an unquestioning support for the government of Israel, no matter what they do.

      By the way, am I correct that you and Bob (the commenter below you) are both in leadership at East Point Christian Center in Escondido, California?

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    • Thanks Edwin for your comments. In reading those of Adam and others, I have been amazed at the lack of factual information about modern Israel and its history. One of the best comprehensive books about Israel’s history is “Israel” written by one of the greatest historians of our time, Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Churchill. For shorter and more concise facts, several booklets are available on-line or by ordering. The following are produced by Stand With Us: 1) “Israel Pocket Facts” – an excellent summary of the real facts about Israel in a 10 minute read, 2) “25 Short Answers to Tough Questions About Israel” and 3) “Middle East Apartheid today” – this fact-filled booklet completely refutes the belief that Israel is Apartheid. Two other excellent booklets are, “Stolen History: How the Palestinians and Their Allies Attack Israel’s Right to Exist by Erasing Its Past” by David Meir-Levi and what every Christian needs to read, “Muslim Persecutions of Christians” by Robert Spencer. I think these will clear up a lot of misinformation that delegitimizes Israel and the Jews. The “Stand With Us” website is particularly informative in light of the many comments above.

      -Jim

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      • Hi Jim. I’m not sure what information above, from myself and others, you believe to be false. Some clarification would be helpful for those of us who might not be inclined to order the materials you recommended. As I asked Edwin:

        “What does it mean to stand with Israel? Did you know that there are many Jews who strongly and vocally disagree with what the government of Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people? One such group is the Jewish Voice for Peace. Can I stand with Israeli Jews who oppose Israel’s apartheid policies, and the ethnic cleansing they’ve been practicing for decades? After all, they’re part of Israel too.”

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  14. Oh my. Where to start? I suppose with your logic as applied to Zechariah 2:8-9. Since Israel experienced God’s judgment (“from 70 AD to 1948”) this means He renounced His people for all time? This simply does not follow – to say nothing of the fact that Israel has been judged and restored before. Nor can your logic explain why Israel came to be a thriving nation again since its rebirth in 1948.

    My fear is that your position, along with that of a growing numbers of Christians, is more defined by political fashion than reason. Perhaps it is time for more balanced reading?

    Bob H

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    • Hi Bob. How do you interpret Zechariah 2:8-9? And do you believe that both Israel and the church are the apple of God’s eye? Or just Israel? (If so, would that include non-Jewish citizens of Israel as well?) Or just Jewish people, regardless of where they live?

      God didn’t renounce His people at all. His people are those who belong to Him through faith. That’s a very clear teaching of the New Testament (in Galatians 3 and elsewhere).

      I also don’t believe that God has shut the door on Jewish people. Any Jew who calls on Christ will be saved, just as is true for any non-Jew. The New Testament doesn’t allow any room for Jews who are outside of Christ to be counted among God’s people. They are lost and in darkness without Him.

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  15. I would recommend that you abandon John Wesley and Matthew Henry’s interpretation of Joel 3:1-2. If you trace the prophecy from Joel 2:21 up through 3:2, It traces a future reality for Israel where 1. God will be in Israel, 2. The Spirit will be poured out on all people, and 3. God’s people (which seems a pretty clear reference to Israel) will no longer be ashamed into eternity. Israel has yet to experience an unashamed existence that fits the picture of Joel 2:21 onwards; rather, we are still waiting on God to bring this about. Moreover, the events of Joel 3:2 are part of this yet-awaited future – indicated by connector words such as ‘then you will know’ (2:27), ‘afterwards’ (2:28) and ‘in those days and at that time’ (3:1). Since Joel 3:2 is future, there still awaits a judgment for enemies who mistreat Israel.

    Believers in Christ must take care not to get arrogant, for Romans 11:17-32 not only indicates that Israel will be brought back to God, it even warns us that we if we don’t continue in God’s kindness then we will be cut off. Moreover, I believe it can’t hurt to imitate Paul’s prayer in Romans 10:1 that Israel be saved.

    Regarding a righteous Christian, it sure seems to me that a righteous Christian is one that does what is right regarding the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. This is supported by Genesis 12:1-3, in which God blesses those who bless Israel, and curses those who curse Israel. Should we ever expect God to praise a Christian who bears ill will towards Israel? Did Jesus do his work on the cross for the purpose of raising up ‘righteousness-infused Christians’ who mistreat Israel? If not, then why shouldn’t a Jewish leader be desirous for Christians to display righteousness and goodwill towards the Jewish people? Why should a Christian ever silence a Jewish person for expressing such a request to us?

    Regarding whether God’s promises to Abraham apply today to his physical descendants, how is it unreasonable for a Jewish leader to desire for Christians to respect and appreciate that God has a plan for Israel? Doesn’t Ezekiel 40-48 reinforce that God’s promises to Abraham’s physical descendants still stand? If not, what has changed? Did God change his mind or something? If anything, wouldn’t it be more encouraging to know that when God when God chooses a people for Himself, He sticks with the people He chooses? Doesn’t God’s blessing for Israel mean blessing for His church (Romans 11:12)?

    Moreover, I’m not sure what is within The Israel Pledge that isn’t a noble statement of intent. If I were to nitpick I could say that Israel does not have a ‘right to the land’ but rather a ‘God-backed promise to the land based upon obedience (or mercy),’ but I think saying that Israel has a right to live in the land reflects a positive spirit we should have towards Israel. In fact, I would say that my respect for Donald Duck has grown bigger for having signed The Israel Pledge, which is hard to believe because I have such a high appreciation for Donald Duck already. I hope Goofy and Pluto will soon follow suit … unless there are any significant reasons why any of us should refuse to adopt The Israel Pledge?

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    • Thanks as well, Bret, for your comments. I don’t agree with your premise that Joel 3:1-2 remains unfulfilled. Peter was clear in Acts 2 that Pentecost was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy at the end of chapter 2. Peter said, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel…” God’s Spirit has been poured out, and is being poured out, on all who call upon Christ, regardless of their ethnicity. God is also in Israel now, for Jesus is true Israel.

      Why do you believe that “God’s people” is a clear reference to Israel (it appears that you mean the modern day nation of Israel)? Isn’t the New Testament clear enough that God doesn’t have a people outside of His Son, Jesus? Most of the people living in Israel today are outside of Jesus. They are not among God’s people. However, any Jew, any Palestinian, and any other person living in Israel who does trust in Jesus are counted as being among His people.

      In Genesis 12:3 God simply promised to bless those who would bless Abraham, and to curse those who would curse Abraham. He said nothing about Israel in that promise. In Genesis 22:18, God repeated the promise in the latter part of that verse, and included Abraham’s offspring: “And through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me.” Then in Acts 3:25-26, the apostle Peter clearly identified Jesus as Abraham’s offspring and the means of blessing for the nations:

      “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

      It’s Jesus who is Abraham’s offspring, and He blesses the nations, beginning with the proclamation of the gospel to Jews in the first century. The apostle Paul, in Galatians 3:7-8, declared that Jesus’ followers are Abraham’s offspring too:

      “Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’”

      I have no desire for Christians to mistreat the nation of Israel. Giving a free pass to Israel to carry out ethnic cleansing upon others is another matter, however. Doing so does not express love for Israel, nor does it express love for the people being mistreated by Israel. As I mentioned in my response to Edwin above, there are plenty of Jews in Israel and outside of Israel who are protesting the actions of the Israeli government and other Zionist factions.

      I don’t believe that Ezekiel 40-48 shows that God’s promises are wrapped up in Abraham’s physical descendants. Jesus and Paul were clear that physical descent from Abraham is meaningless when it comes to inheriting God’s promises, even those promises made to Abraham. I believe that this section of Ezekiel described the return from Babylonian captivity, and also gave a prophetic picture of the new covenant age we now live in.

      God has not ceased to have a people, but take note that Peter quoted Moses as saying that all Jews who would reject Jesus would be completely cut off from that people (Acts 3:22-23).

      I appreciate your humor about Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. 🙂

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      • Centuries of Jewish history are confirmed by historical accounts in the Bible and archaeological discoveries showing that the Jewish people lived in Israel, spoke the Hebrew language and worshipped the God of Israel for over a thousand years before the birth of Christ. In spite of the undeniable historical evidence, on numerous occasions when archaeological finds have uncovered Jewish artefacts containing ancient Jewish symbols and Hebrew texts giving clear evidence of Jewish history in the land of Israel

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    • The Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel, because the Philistines (whom the Romans insultingly renamed Israel after) were also not indigenous to the region and disappeared from history after the reign of King David. To be very precise anthropologically, the Philistines were an Indo-Hellenistic people from the area of the Aegean around Crete, who worshiped the fish-god Dagon.
      Therefore, bearing in mind it was the Philistines that “Palestine” was named after by the Romans, a true “Palestinian” has not existed in three thousand years!

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  16. Abraham’s first born, Ishmael (and his descendants), has no part in the covenant God made with Abraham, and no right to the land specifically promised to Abraham and his descendants. In the same way, God also made clear that Jacob was the covenant child of Isaac, not his first-born Esau. Esau despised his birthright and sold it for the price of a bowl of stew. God reaffirmed to Jacob the promises He had made with his grandfather and father (see Genesis 28:13-14). In spite of Genesis 17:19 and Genesis 17:21 being very clear, Muslims claim God (Allah) promised the land to Ishmael and his descendants, not Isaac; there is a large rock directly under the appropriately named Dome of the Rock (built 691AD), where Muslims claim that Abraham offered Ishmael to God, not Isaac. The Muslim festival if EID commemorates this lie, even though the Qur’an itself is very ambiguous over the identity of the son:

    And when he attained to working with him, he said: O my son! Surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones (Sura 37:102).

    Muslims assume it is speaking of Ishmael.

    But then Islam has no problem in revising biblical history and hoping no one notices. For example, in spite of there being over 2500 years between the life of Abraham and the creation of Islam by Mohammad in the 7th century, Sura 3:67 claims Abraham (referred to as Ibrahim) was a Muslim:

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    • Paul, those who belong to Jesus are heirs of the covenant and the promises made to Abraham, and that includes all Arabs and Palestinians who trust in Jesus. It’s that simple.

      “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as to many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is 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 seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:16, 28-29).

      Abraham and the patriarchs weren’t fixated on the land, and neither should we be. They desired a heavenly city, and that city has now been established among God’s people. See Hebrews 11, especially verses 8-16, and also Revelation 21-22 (you can also find studies on those two chapters here at this blog under the “Book of Revelation Fulfilled” page).

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  17. It is an inconvenient truth for many Christians that the Jews remain God’s chosen people; through which He brought His Son Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the world. This is an inconvenient truth for those many Christians who hold to a Replacement Theology, which teaches the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan and the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. Replacement Theology (cleverly rebranded by N. T. Wright as Fulfilment Theology) teaches that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not Israel. This is serious error that leads to Christians sharing the world’s view of Israel, rather than having a Biblical view of Israel.
    When adherents to Replacement Theology read “Israel” in the Bible they interpret it to mean “the Church”. However, the view that Israel and the Church are distinct and different is clearly taught in the New Testament, and should never be confused or used interchangeably.
    The New Testament teaches us that the church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the day of Pentecost and will continue until it is taken to heaven at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

    It leads to Christians denying the Jews the right to the land of Israel because the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualised” and “allegorised” into promises of God’s blessing for the church. The interpretation of Isaiah 11:12 given by proponents of Replacement Theology is a perfect example of this, because they say the fulfilment of the regathering of “the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” is the coming of the Gentiles from the east, west, north and south into the kingdom of God. The events of 1948 make that interpretation look very silly and empty indeed. Israel’s physical rebirth as a nation in accordance with Biblical prophecy is an inconvenient truth to proponents of Replacement Theology who view the promises of restoration to Israel as not being literal. I am afraid the events of 1948 prove them totally wrong.
    Of the 77 times the words “Israel” and “Israelite” occur in the New Testament, nine are direct quotations from the Old Testament and are therefore very obviously intended to mean the same as it did in the Old Testament – Israel the nation. For example, Matthew 2:6 quotes from Micah 5:2 declaring:

    But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.

    There are a further 66 cases that are not Old Testament quotes, but still clearly do not refer to the Church. For example:

    But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6).

    And so all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).

    This leaves two uses of the term “Israel” to be accounted for, which are Romans 9:6-9 and Galatians 6:15-16, both of course written by the apostle Paul. In both cases Paul is restricting the use of the term “Israel” to describe those Jews who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

    That is not to say there is no spiritual connection at all between how God deals with the Church and with Israel, because the way in which Scripture shows us that God deals with Israel does provide us with spiritual principles for how God deals with us as individual believers. However, Replacement Theology takes these genuine spiritual principles way beyond what is intended, to mean a direct and physical application, with the Church having replaced Israel. That teaching cannot be found in Scripture unless the plain and obvious meaning of words are altered; and then you can make the Bible say what you like! The Church has no direct or physical relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises and warnings are valid only for Israel and it is error and arrogance to believe the Church has usurped these. Look at what Paul says in Romans 9:4. He says it is his own countrymen, the Israelites:

    To whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises.

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  18. Paul, I can see that your comment here is a copy and paste from these sources:

    1. http://www.premier.org.uk/Blogs/Yeshua-Explored/Replacement-Theology
    2. http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology.html

    In the future, please give credit to those you source from, instead of passing off others’ thoughts as your own. You’re welcome to share your own thoughts on this subject, though.

    To address one thing in your comment, the idea that Jews alone, or all Jews, are God’s chosen people is not “an inconvenient truth.” Let’s see how the New Testament describes God’s chosen people:

    “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (I Peter 2:9-10).

    “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being chosen according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).

    “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-13).

    According to the New Testament, God’s chosen people are those who belong to Christ, who have been rescued from the darkness and walk in His light, who have been made holy, who bear the fruit of the Spirit, etc. God’s chosen people do not include those outside of Christ, even if they happen to be ethnically Jewish – which means nothing and provides no advantage whatsoever (e.g. John 8:37-47, Galatians 6:15).

    The one source you plagiarized says that “proponents of replacement theology” wrongly believe that Isaiah 11 was fulfilled when Gentiles came from north, south, east, and west into God’s kingdom. Your source added that the events of 1948 make that interpretation look silly. That source would also have to mock the apostle Paul then, because in Romans 15 he quoted from those very verses in Isaiah 11 and said that they were indeed fulfilled in his day by Gentiles coming into the kingdom of God and finding hope in Christ alongside a remnant from among the Jews. See this post for more details on how Paul showed in Romans 15 that Isaiah 11 has been fulfilled:

    http://kloposmasm.com/2012/01/29/romans-15-shows-that-isaiah-11-is-fulfilled/

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  19. Thank you for an interesting website that a Norwegian evangelist alerted me to. I share much of the same views related here. God bless you in your important ministry!

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