Israel’s Significance Is Insignificant
The headline of this editorial is the considered opinion of two men who are deemed “very influential and major [religious] voices throughout America.”
Their identities are not particularly relevant. Their statements concerning Israel are being espoused by a host of pop-culture theologians currently afflicted by the pernicious Replacement Theology ideology of the day. The issue is the right of contemporary Israel to a homeland in the Middle East sanctioned by God and whether today’s Israel is in any way related to the prophetic promises of the Word. Their message is that Israel’s presence in the Middle East is not currently relevant for reasons they feel constrained to explain. Following are sermon excerpts from these men:
Geo-political Israel today is not to be understood as God’ s promise to Abraham and Joshua. IT IS NOT! …It is fair to say, the world owes them a homeland. But, and this is important, there is no biblical right that geo-political Israel has today to that particular piece of geography in the Middle East. For Israel is not a nation state any more; Israel is the church. Israel is people of God, Jew and Gentile from every nation and every tribe. Ancient Israel is a preview of what God intends for the new Israel.
Therefore [because Israel broke her covenant by rejecting the Messiah], the secular state of Israel today may not claim a present divine right to the Land, but they and we should seek a peaceful settlement not based on present divine rights.
By faith in Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, Gentiles become heirs of the promise of Abraham, including the promise of the Land. But I think we will make better progress if we do not yield to the claim of either side to be ethnically or nationally sanctioned by God in their present conflict.
Such Replacement Theology is actually ideology in the guise of theology. And it plays to the cultural interests of self-absorbed Christians in the West.
God’s program for Israel and the Jewish people has not run off the tracks. The inviolable bedrock of prophetic truth did not somehow draw its last breath when the corrupt Temple hierarchy incited a crowd to reject the Christ in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. While acknowledging the historical veracity of all prophecies related to the Messiah’s First Coming, our friends tend to forget that you cannot accept these promises as literal and then leap into the murky realm of allegory, spiritualizing the text to prop up culturally preferential theory. One reference will suffice:
Hath God cast away his people? God forbid (Rom. 11:1).
Despite whatever manipulative gyrations one employs, Romans 11 clearly enunciates the future promise of Israel’s national reconciliation to the Messiah in anticipation of the King’s reign in fulfillment of Scripture:
And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Rom. 11:26).
This does not refer to the proclamation of the gospel to Jewish people and Gentiles during the Church Age. It can only be ascribed to Israel and the future fulfillment of God’s plan.
However, there are more pressing and potentially devastating issues to confront here; namely, the incredible naiveté of promoting the fantasy that Israel is the cause of Muslim and Arab belligerence and worldwide terrorism. Said one of the preachers,
The existence of Israel in the Middle East and the extent of her borders and her sovereignty are perhaps the most explosive factors in world terrorism and the most volatile factors in Arab-Western relations.
This statement is not only wildly exaggerated but potentially deadly. To indulge the fantasy that the issue can be addressed from a purely human-rights perspective is beyond the pale. Such thinking exposes the underlying militancy of Replacement Theology, which seems to relish making Israel the heinous perpetrator, and Arabs and Palestinians the helpless victims.
The Muslim world’s greatest problem is not with Israel; it is with us! Democracy, freedom, and our insistence on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the real adversaries. Israel is but the token of that light in the dark sea of Islamic hatred.
To take potshots at prophetic biblicists and the Chosen People and their inherent, God-given right to a safe haven in the land of their fathers may be the popular sport of contemporary skeptics; but in the end, it may cost us all dearly.