Rethinking Israel

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54 Responses

  1. em says:

    One thing about Michael has begun to amaze me… his ability to give attention to so many things that are timely and important in spite of what life is throwing at him… pray for him, because i think – dunno – that he’s got the devil’s attention

  2. Michael says:

    Em…thank you.
    I think you might be right… 🙂

  3. em says:

    #6-exactly! – some of our support for the nation must be pragmatic and of a political nature, but the saga of the people down thru history has a drama to it like no others and it is possible to get caught up in the romance IMHO

  4. Michael says:

    I’m a premill, prewrath person eschatologically.

    That view has a prominent place for national Israel in it’s theology.

    However…reading classic Reformed theology and the writings of N.T. Wright…I began to waver in this position.

    Throw in the political baggage and I was half way out the door to amill land.

    This was a timely intervention in my thinking…

  5. Linda Pappas says:

    Haven’t reviewed the articles referenced, but will say this. Most people really don’t understand the underlying political/religious issues involving these people. So, from the perspective of an out group, the ways they view things can appear to be off.

    Good to see, this is being addressed, Michael.

    There is nothing, whatsoever, that is romantic regarding the history of the Jews. We can, however, learn much from them and their history, thus seeing the parallel of our own, being it as a nation and or faith. In this, we can be humbled, seeing that God has not forsaken them and will keep the covenantal promises by means that none of us can fully comprehend, but all points to bringing His people back to the land and reconciling them back to Him when the fullness of the Gentiles are completed. Romans 10-11. Selah, Shalom, in Jesus.

  6. em says:

    haven’t really given any serious thot to this subject for a few years – other than listening when the topic comes up from someone i respect and i am superficial in my understand, at best… that said, it is possible that the Lord will just return one day out of the blue, out of the clouds, and unexpectedly clean house with a new heaven and earth immediately following, but… there is so much that more than hints to intensified world tribulation – from which the Church is removed before God pours out sequential wrath on the planet… but there is also much that more than hints to a 1,000 year dictatorial – but just and righteous – reign of Christ before the new heaven and earth (God created them once and He can do it again 🙂 )

    speaking superficially

  7. em says:

    think i’ll have to answer Linda’s assertion that there is nothing romantic about the history of the Jew by writing a book 🙂
    think of the travels of Abraham, Joseph’s dealings with his brothers in Egypt, forward to the diaspora and all the declarations of “next year in Jerusalem,” the boatloads of refugees refused asylum, the hopeful, productivity of the kibbutzes … but the book can’t be written as their reconciliation to God has not yet been completed…

  8. Kevin H says:

    I lean pre-trib, pre-mill in my eschatology. I have always thought that ethnic/national Israel will play a significant role in the end times just prior to Jesus return (regardless of how that may play out with the timing of the Rapture, or lack thereof).

    What I get sick of are the calls of the sky is falling and certain judgment upon our country if we don’t completely support today’s modern day national Israel. Or even to the extent of us not supporting the proper political parties within national Israel. And the accompanying demeaning and condescending attitudes toward those who aren’t supportive “enough” or may not believe in the continued eschatological importance of Israel. As if they are lesser Christians and lesser biblical.

    On the flip side, I also get sick of the demeaning and condescending attitudes by those who don’t see an importance of national Israel anymore towards those who still see either a current or future importance to Israel. As if they are lesser Christians and lesser biblical. While also being partially crazy.

    Due to my environment, I see the condescension much more from one side than the other. But it still bothers me when I see it from either side.

  9. Papias says:

    “There is such a thing as respectful disagreement of the authorized version of theology. We should glean a thing or two from that concept instead of the default of “showing someone the door”.”

    I respect the views expressed for this “new understanding”, but also the tone by which these points are being presented.

    Thank you.

  10. Linda Pappas says:


    Appreciate the feedback.

    What I am saying, being a Christian Jew, is that for the Jew, our history is not to be romanticize, but understood in it’s proper context. Being children of the diaspora and continuing to be in exile in one form or another is nothing to be looked upon as something that is heroic or idealized. Being called out to be a people called by His Name, then brought into land given to us, then taken away, then being brought back into it, when after spending almost 2 thousands years away from it, scattered, persecuted, burned, gutted and skinned alive, and then reinventing ourselves or being reinvented by others has not been a picnic, nor anything of any heroic significance. It is only by God’s promise, that we still remain on this earth. And it by us, that God teaches and use to speak to all others, that which has been promised and that which is and will be, in all that He is and will accomplish through those who follow after Him.

    As for eschatological position, I am a Mid Trib. Tribulation is not the same as Wrath, IMO. Jews are not the only ones who have or will experience the trying and perfecting of their faith. We each have our own story, yet to be told. And this, we can see how merciful, loving, and just, God really is and how any of us survive at all. After all, we are a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, and foreigners in a strange land, yet waiting to be home with Our Lord, God, and Savior.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Because an Anglican has reevaluated his own position does not mean that Anglicans have. From the papers presented I saw no evidence that any of the speakers were former non Zionists — they only made the claim that they were not dispensationalists.

    Also, they used the code language of Replacement Theology which I always evaluate that they are drawing the theological line in the sand.

    Michael, if you missed it, 1 guy even called out John Calvin as a replacement theologian.

  12. Michael says:


    My only complaint was that I believe the term “replacement theology” is sloppy theologically.

    Calvin followed Augustine in eschatology…so there is some truth to what was said.

  13. em says:

    Linda, your point is well taken – if romance connotes idealism … plenty of drama, but not to be idealized?

  14. Linda Pappas says:



  15. Nonnie says:

    Even if one doesn’t agree “theologically” about the Israel issue, how can anyone not cheer for Israel. Look at how Israel hospitals care for Palestinian children with heart conditions, and other mercy outreaches. Look how non Jews can live in peace and prosperity in Israel.

    For the incredible and unreasonable hatred of Jews and Israel, how can anyone not believe there is a spiritual element involved? That hatred is against the true God, because of Jesus Christ.

  16. Babylon's Dread says:

    Several of the speakers have pretty clear connections to either dispensationalism or progressive dispensationalism. Still I am willing for the discussion to happen.

    I note on the other side of this the censure of Stephen Sizer by the Archbishop of Canterbury for his ongoing critique of Israel. Sizer barraged social media day after day with relentless articles of criticism against Israel. He condemned them for war crimes against Gaza.

    I want to get into this and think it is a worthy study.

    My own position is that God decisively acted to judge Israel in 70AD and ended once and for all the covenant with Moses. Any re-entry of this discussion with me will have to be an appeal along Abrahamic lines.

    I will hear as much of this as I can.

  17. Michael says:


    I think this is the beginning of a discussion that will last for a number of years.

    What starts in academia takes a while to trickle down.
    I’m just grateful that the conversation has started.

  18. em says:

    “Still I am willing for the discussion to happen.” – BD

    me too, i want to read the input from some of the knowledgable people here

  19. Babylon's Dread says:

    So far I am still looking for something new and something that will not result in another wave of nationalism which always yields the backlash of anti-semitism. Both are deadly … as I tell my church nationalism is always a prelude to blood.

    What is the best seminal point you read so far Michael?
    That nondispensationalist were zionists in not news…
    That dual fulfillments of scripture are proposed is not new… putting that in the mouth of Richard Hays certainly is interesting… with the literal/spiritual fresh take.
    NTW’s concept of an Israel that was still in exile waiting for the return of he king to sit on the throne seems to be echoed in the weeds here. In other words his thinking can be taken to mean that anticipating a greater return from exile is a springboard to zionism… (my interpolation) But I will dig more into it.

  20. em says:

    okay, here’s my ‘aha’ moment – the outer darkness of Matthew is a prediction of the diaspora of the last 2,000 years … but i still ‘see’ the intensifying tribulation leading to the removal of the Church and the eventual 1,000 year reign of our Lord on planet earth

    like we like to say concerning our Pilgrim walk … God isn’t finished with them (as a nation) yet

  21. Papias says:

    “My own position is that God decisively acted to judge Israel in 70AD and ended once and for all the covenant with Moses. Any re-entry of this discussion with me will have to be an appeal along Abrahamic lines. ”

    BD – Can you explain why you think God judged Israel in 70AD?

  22. Alex says:

    Personally, I support Israel’s right to exist as a Nation b/c it is a Democratic State with representative democracy…and it is a Western Culture with a responsible rule of law and the secularists and jews there are not psychos like most of their neighbors.

    I think the Jewish people as both a religious group and also as an ethnic group have the right to exist…and unfortunately, many of their psycho neighbors disagree (as well as some of the neo-nazis here in the US and in Europe who seem to side with the Islamists).

    My Jewish and/or Israeli friends are largely fascinated with the “End Times!” evangelical crowd’s preoccupation with Israel…but they certainly don’t despise it…Israel and the Jews need friends wherever they can find them.

    I don’t know if Israel has any significance in “End Times” or not. I don’t think there are really any things from John of Patmos’s psychedelic journey that are specific prophecies and not metaphorical…in fact, it’s probably not even true, just a wild rant.

    Israel becoming a nation in 1947 seems to be a big thing that the “End Times” crowd hangs their hat on and if you study that one, it’s largely a whole lot of self-fulfilling prophecy that was made to happen by “End Times” Dispensationalist World Leaders in power at that time…so there was quite a hand on the ouija board with that one…

    The concerning thing about self-fulfilling prophecy is that you have “End Times” folks in Christianity and in Islam that both seem to be pulling in the same direction at times…both seem to want a big ‘ol World War so they can usher in their particular Messiah or their 2nd Coming and get on with their End Times Scenarios…and that is dangerous.

  23. Michael says:


    I’ve long been an advocate for a “both/and” view of Israel, rather than an “either or”.

    To be brief, I see an unbroken line of expectation of the restoration of Israel from the OT prophets to the words of Jesus to Paul in Romans 9-11 to John the Revelator.

    However, it doesn’t fit neatly inside a systematic theology that doesn’t allow for Jesus to also be the fulfillment of much of the promises.

    I think we have to lay both next to each other and say “amen”.

  24. Alex says:

    “BD – Can you explain why you think God judged Israel in 70AD?”

    Because Jerusalem was utterly destroyed.

    What is rather ironic is the major Argument in Christian-land about when Revelation was written…was it written “before” or “after” 70 AD?

    …depends on which Sect and which “interpretation” of Eschatology you ask.

    It is rather interesting to hear one side argue against the other and claim textual criticism and authenticity of texts…when the argument suits them for a particular date…but then they dismiss the same techniques used to prove the other books of the bible were likely written well after-the-fact by authors different than some of the Apostles who’s names are on the books…

  25. Alex says:

    …yet another example of the slippery-ness of the Christian “faith”…which isn’t a “faith”…it is an Apologetic for a particular Box and Sect and interpretation….

  26. Papias says:

    The Temple was destroyed in 70. Jerusalem….not so much.

    Jews lived in and around the city for at least another 60 years until the Bar Kochba rebellion, when they were “dispersed”.

  27. Jim says:

    No nation has a right to exist, but they certainly have a right to try to exist, and to defend themselves in the land of barbarians.

    I’m not comfortable at all with America’s relationship with Israel, or with the influence AIPAC has in Washington.

    They need to handle their own business, just us we need to mind ours.

  28. Babylon's Dread says:


    As per AD 70 …

    1-Jesus plainly stated that some of the people would live to see the temple destroyed. They did. Matt. 24:34, Mk 13:30, Luke 21:32
    2- Jesus plainly stated that he was taking the kingdom from them and giving it to another people Mt 21:33-46 especially vs 43… Their rejection of him meant his rejection of them
    3- The writer of Hebrews plainly stated that the covenant with Moses was obsolete and passing away — a scant two or three years later it did Hebrews 8:13
    4- The end of the temple was the end of sacrifice and the end of continuity between the past and the present Israel… Dan 9, Heb 9:26 sacrifices irrelevant and ended by God’s judgement
    5- Tribal distinctions died and cannot be revived. Jesus reconstituted Israel around his apostles with no regard for tribe. The Holy Spirit not bloodline is the demarcation of the true covenant people Rom 8:9 without the Spirit you do not belong to him… but I digress a bit here

    In essence God terminated old Israel by destroying them. The Israel on the Mediterranean is a nation without the Spirit of God they are not his people… by covenant.

  29. Babylon's Dread says:

    When Israel apostatized in Moses time he gave them 40 years to perish and then God began again with a new people constituted by faith … to go get their inheritance in the land

    When Israel apostatized in Jesus time by rejecting him God again gave them 40 years then he destroyed them as a corpus God reconstituted his people again this time around faith and by the Holy Spirit…

    I am open to hear what these gentlemen have to say but so far nothing new.

  30. Babylon's Dread says:

    For the record on the matter of Israel and covenants I am a strong believe that both Paul and the writer of Hebrews teased out a clear separation of the Moses covenant from especially the Abraham covenant. Now we still have much to work with here because it is in Abraham that the land covenant is made. In Moses the people are told that their possession of it was tied to their faithfulness to the Moses covenant… They broke covenant and God destroyed them. As per Abraham we come into some real interesting waters… especially in that 1) Abraham seemed to eschew the land in favor of a “city with foundations” 2) Paul interpreted Abraham as heir of the world 3) the Kingdom of God clearly cannot be land bound. Many more things but… I need to dig into these guys and give them more of a chance.

    The First Things article did not budge the needle

  31. Linda Pappas says:

    Just for BD—special delivery.

    There is so much you do not know or understand regarding the history of the Jews. No disrespect intended, just would like you to know that those promises are good for eternity and unconditionally.

  32. Xenia says:

    Lambert Dolphin. Now there’s a blast from my past.

    Linda, I suspect Dread knows more about the history of Israel than most of the rest of us put together.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Rreplacement theology was started by the devil way back in time. He put in people’s minds that Israel was the important thing to speak about when discussing end times – not Jesus. If you don’t believbe me, pick up any evangelical end times book or commentary on the book of revelation and I can almost guarrantee that Israel will be mentioned 100 times for every mention of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus has been replaced.

    Just watch the video of the conference and the papers presented – very little mention of Jesus in the 90 min.

    Watch as this thread continues, there will be little mention of Jesus.

  34. Xenia says:

    Even if this “rethinking” stuff is true- and I rarely trust “rethinking” when it comes to the doctrines of the faith- then what difference does it make in the daily life of the Christian? Does it make me a better mother, grandmother, neighbor or church lady? Does it draw me any closer to Christ? My life in Christ is carried out in my Church, my town, my neighborhood and my family.

  35. em says:

    there is a danger of making this cataclysmic event a diversion to living The life…, like the “men of Israel” standing mesmerized looking at the skies…
    but, to an extent, it does make me a better mom, etc. nothing would discourage me more than to think, as some do, that we’re going to just go on and on and on and on until we get it right down here
    on the other hand, some say that we’ll be wallowing in peace and prosperity and not thinking of His return and there He’ll be… that doesn’t seem likely today
    no, i think there are good reasons to consider – keeping one eye on the pot and the other on the skies… to paraphrase an old ditty

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em, the imminent return of Jesus is not in question. The amil position says that there is no event that must happen before Jesus returns to earth to judge.

  37. em says:

    BTW – i am in agreement with those who observe – this is just instinct, not a doctrine for me – the extreme and world-wide anti-Semitism is evidence to me that the Jews are still a future piece of the puzzle in God’s plan…

  38. em says:

    i understand that MLD – hate those doctrinal labels… 🙂
    what think ye of interpreting the “outer darkness” spoken of in Matthew as a description of where the Christ denying Jews of His day were headed?

  39. Nicholas says:


    Here’s a good reason not to “cheer” for Israel:

  40. em, I don’t think much of it because many believing Jews were cast out of Jerusalem during the diaspora.

  41. Nicholas – Israel’s not as liberal as the good old USA when it comes to abortions. We do them all the way to before birth and we have no restriction to appear before a 3 person panel to get permission to abort.

    Could you imagine if someone made a proposal that American women go before a panel to ask permission?

    No, it is a fact that Jews have exterminated more Jews through abortion that Hitler ever imagined in the death camps.

  42. Xenia says:

    Living in the light of Christ’s return- that should have an effect on my daily life as a believer. Worrying about Israel… that is God’s business and I can’t see that it has any effect on me, other than hoping the innocent (whoever they might be) are protected and that evil is held back. I just can’t get interested in this topic. I am generally pro-Israel but I have Palestinian Christian friends who can tell you stories of what it was like to live in Israel and why they are very glad to live in the USA. But Israel has enemies all around and desperate times require desperate measures.

  43. em says:

    MLD hmmm… the believing Jews that survived the persecutions of the early Christian church – that is a history that i haven’t any knowledge of – i was thinking of the long trek the unbelieving (in Jesus as Messiah) Jews have been on since (most) were driven out their land in the first century AD (or is it called ‘CE’ now?)

    Xenia, we do get the present nation of Israel co-mingled with the signs precluding the end – such a diversion from our focus on walking the walk – amen to that

    can’t believe it’s 7 pm PDT… time when busy on the computer isn’t like ‘real’ time

    God keep

  44. See, now here is an example of the problem – why on a christian tv show do they not talk about Jesus. This guy has 4 issues that are destroying the church and none of them are that many pastors fail to preach Jesus.

    I would like to see how this guy is going to make pastors answer his questionnaire and give account to him. A nutter for sure.

  45. Muff Potter says:

    I have always been and will always be a friend and supporter of the the Nation State of Israel. I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Misslerites, the Hageeites, or the LaHayeites say about the ‘end times’ or their half-baked ‘theology’.

    I believe in Israel because she’s the only progressive democracy in that part of the globe and she’s surrounded by Arab despots who are still mired in the 7th century, and who are bent on the extermination of Jewry in the Levant.
    Never Again !

  46. Babylon's Dread says:


    Make your case for promises to Israel about the land that cover ETERNITY…

    Let’s talk about words for eternity in the scripture…


    Muff Potter

    The evidence of the last 65-70 years is that Christians are in much more danger of extermination in the Middle East than Jews… of course you qualified with “the Levant”… same thing applies.

  47. Babylon's Dread says:

    As for the Replacement Theology paper

    1. Actually Abraham was the chosen person to bring forth the chosen one to save all nations. The Jews are the offspring of Abraham and thereby carried the seed till the promise was made actual. The Jews always misunderstood their own election and Jesus himself rebuked and condemned them for it.
    2. Apart from repentance and faith NO ONE has hope
    3.” Israel ” both before and after Pentecost has various referents (this guy’s a bozo)
    4. The church is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant… in that the seed of Abraham (Jesus) brought the blessing of salvation to the nations.

    Clarence is easy to deal with… and he is really obsessed with one thing… the idea that being Abraham’s blood makes one the possessor of special privileges over against those who do not. I maintain that without Abraham’s faith, the blood of Abraham avails nothing.

  48. Babylon's Dread says:

    “The Jewish people have fulfilled their role. The promise to the world through Abraham was that, “in you will all the nations on the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). They were to be a light unto the nations and, while they made mistakes as we all do, they did demonstrate the power of God on earth, they did hear God’s Word and record it so that we have the Bible, and they were the human channel for the Messiah, who was born, ministered, died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and will return to Jerusalem, Israel, in a day yet to come.”

    Really?… this betrays the whole premise… This is the stuff that makes zionism weak.

    Let’s return to the information from the serious theologians that Michael presented.

  49. pstrmike says:

    “It is only in the Messianic age that Israel’s settlement in the land be secure”.

    I don’t have much time for this, but let me interject a few thoughts.

    Yes, they lost the land due to their unbelief, but how often in prophecies of judgment does God follow up with a promise of a future hope? Amos and Joel are but two good examples of this. The faithful look past God’s judgment on the unbelievers in hope of a future promise.

    The nationalistic argument does not address the land issue. Those who don’t believe, Jew, or Gentile alike will perish. God’s covenantal promises are only good for those who hold them in faith. Not all Israel is Israel.

    The promise (all of it) is to the Seed and those who are in Him by faith.

  50. Thankful says:

    Something I’ve wondered about the last few years:

    The Church is the Bride of Christ, but if God the Father is the Husband of Israel, how could there be a co-mingling of the two? I don’t see God using a metaphor like this in a confusing way.

    God called Himself the Husband of Israel, yet the church is the Bride of Christ; is this a valid line of thinking to demonstrate a unity (i.e. saved through faith in Christ) yet a distinct separation? Or are they metaphor’s that cannot be carried to conclusion?

  51. Here is how strong the tug of modern day nation state of Israel has become. Dispensationalists, although proven wrong at every turn and through a century and a half of continual changes in what they believe (in reaction to scholarly criticism) still can’t dump the false theology of God getting back to work with his people of Israel.

    So, according to Michael Patton (who I really enjoy reading and respect a lot) speaking to the issue of the ever changing program … even to giving themselves new names instead of dispensationalists.

    I wonder how many of the folks in the video who claim you don’t have to be a dispensationalist, actually were and changed for the same reason, or were heavily under the influence of the Calvary Chapel type rapture theology (but never dispensational per Steve Wright.)?

  52. Also, I want to point out all the times I stated here dispensationalism teaches (fill in the blank) and I would get jumped by those saying no they don’t – read the article, Patton admits they did but they have changed over the years and have stricken those from the evidence room.

  53. Muff Potter says:

    @ Babylon’s Dread:

    We could argue from now until hell freezes over about Israel, Jews, Christians, Arabs, and the Balfour Declaration, and it will not change one electron the fact that Jew haters far exceed any other type of hater. Whether it was Russian Orthodox Cossacks hacking a Shtetl to death with sabres, or American ‘Christians’ who turned away Jewish children from these shores at the outset of the holocaust, Jews have always stood alone with very few friends.

  54. em says:

    couple of thots… FWIW, as usual
    the original promise/prophesy of a redemptive offspring was made to Eve – was she a Jew?
    it seems to me that in a lot of these discussions the terms Jew and Israel are getting swapped around … it may be that Israeli Jews are now returning to their promised land as they did in all past exiles – i’m willing to let God sort out who’s who (and when’s when)

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