What Is Israel?

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40 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Paul seems to distinguish between Israel according to the flesh and the Israel of God. I think he’s clear. Israel on the Mediterranean is a whole other matter.

  2. Jean says:

    The Israel that is in covenant with God are the disciples of Christ, both ethnic Jews and Gentiles.

    The current nation state of Israel is not the object of any biblical promises or active covenants.

  3. Michael says:

    I think Paul is clear as well…

  4. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I concur…so far it’s 3-0…

  5. Terry says:

    Some will cry “Replacement Theology!”. It’s not replacement if The Kingdom includes both Jews and Gentiles. It’s this insistence on keeping us/them separate, with separate covenants and separate eschatologies that is counter to, I don’t know, how about the entire New Testament.

  6. Jean says:

    Another related point that doesn’t get too much notice is the question of who the true children of Abraham are.

    John the Baptizer warned the Pharisees and Sadducees not to assume they are the true children of Abraham, despite their blood lineage. Later Jesus told the Pharisees who did not believe in him that if they were Abraham’s children, they would do what Abraham did. What did he do? “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my [Christ’s] day; he saw it and was glad.”

    The true children of Abraham are his seed (Christ) and all those incorporated into Christ through faith.

  7. Josh says:

    Theologically / eschatologically…I don’t really care.

    As far as I’m concerned Israel is a nation in the middle east with a broken history, accept for the contentious relationships with its neighbors. That has been unchanging.

    The (re)creation of the state in 1948 may have been an epic blunder, but here we are. I can’t imagine how to fix the problem.

  8. Alan says:

    Well,

    You don’t fix the problem with faulty theological construction. Israel’s existence is not being questioned. Her ethics are. So are ours.

    We can begin by valuing all people based upon imago Dei and not by DNA. Our faith would help much if we practice it.

  9. Michael says:

    Alan,

    Well said.
    The unconditional support of any and all Israeli actions has not made the situation better.

    The fact that much of the support is based on faulty theology makes it a misguided holy war…

  10. Josh says:

    Just ignore all that.

    Practically, how do you fix it? They are where they are since 1947. People have lived entire lives in that spot. Grandchildren born. You can’t just say, OK , this nation shouldn’t exist. You could give the same reasons for USA not to exist, but the fact remains that we do and they do. In practice, how do yo go forward?

  11. Michael says:

    You can’t ignore all that…religion is at the heart of the problem.

  12. Josh says:

    My point is that no matter your religious belief, there is no way forward. Its a bad situation with no solution.

  13. Alan says:

    Josh

    We all play our own role. Clearly none of us have a role in solving the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. But we have a role declaring and living truth.

    There are many others who do have a role to play. That we do not know how to solve the impasse is not a call to say and do nothing. It is a call to justice and peace.

  14. Reuben says:

    I was born in Israel. Israel is a militarized terrorist state, just like Palestine. The difference is the religions. Jews and Muslims will not coexist. Another filthy religious war. One side makes the claim that it is the final solution, and it’s numbers grow. Zombies aside, there is a fear to legitimately have. Islam will not be quelled. There is no sense in taking sides, both are violently wrong. Both required the blood of children. Both be damned. Couldn’t care less if that offends.

  15. BrianD says:

    There have been all kinds of solutions for the Jewish state: Madagascar, Europe, Alaska, and countless others, all having in common the idea of relocating the homeland out of the very place where the Jews originated from.

    Josh is right, it’s a bad situation with no solution. I suppose if the pre-Trib rapture and Great Tribulation are real, this would be as good a time as any for bad ol’ Nicolae to show up and present his great solution that everybody magically agrees to.

    Here’s a thought: sometime in the next few years — say 2029, after Newsom or Crenshaw or whomever takes office — if the United States cuts all ties with Israel and throws in with Palestine, will God punish and/or destroy the U.S.? Or will He just let things play out on their own?

  16. Bob Sweat says:

    For 23 years I believed and taught that Israel today is the Israel of the Old Testament. As I studied and read some books that were recommended, I began to think differently.

    I believe Alan’s teaching on Hebrews 8 does an excellent job of answering the question.

  17. Reuben says:

    I can’t imagine a God of peace getting involved in a religious war. Gott Mit Uns seems to always apply when religion gets involved.

  18. The New Victor says:

    As outsiders, considering whether or not God is on their side is irrelevant. The Muslim Arabs think Allah is, taking pride in small victories (even acting like ISIS), and despite many defeats both small and large. Israel isn’t going anywhere. My good friend from college 30 years ago is Mizrahi. Her patents fled Iraq in 1948 after what… 2500 years of residing there?

    Eastern Israelis (which includes non-Jews) comprise up to 70% of their citizens. But yeah, let’s resettle them in Alaska or The Outback. No one is safe, including the Arabs in the West Bank given the ISIS mentality of Hamas and their ilk.

  19. Muff Potter says:

    Even the slightest critique of Israel’s actions as a Nation can get you branded as an anti-semite in both secular and fundagelical circles.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    In all this discussion, I have heard nothing about the Palestinian Christians who have suffered remarkably from both sides in this conflict. Our care should be first and foremost with them…

  21. Josh says:

    Should it? Why?

  22. Muff Potter says:

    Duane Arnold wrote @ 6:57 am,
    “In all this discussion, I have heard nothing about the Palestinian Christians who have suffered remarkably from both sides in this conflict. Our care should be first and foremost with them…”

    I disagree, and I prefer John Lennon’s take:

    “Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace
    Yoo-hoo, ooh-ooh
    You may say I’m a dreamer”

    I’m a dreamer too.

  23. Jean says:

    “Our care should be first and foremost with them…”

    “Should it? Why?”

    Because we share the same body together with them.

  24. Michael says:

    It has to be getting close to 40 years ago that I was at a church service where a man had been invited to speak to the plight of Palestinian Christians.

    He was giving an excellent overview of the situation when the congregation decided it had had enough…they would hear nothing negative about Israel.

    Soon thereafter,the pastor was fired and the church split.

    Theology has consequences…

  25. Josh says:

    “Because we share the same body together with them.”

    Just thinking it through though:

    Does that make their lives more valuable than their neighbors? Is favoring them for religious purposes not the opposite side of the same coin as favoring Israle for religious purposes?

  26. Josh says:

    Michael – I had a similar experience 15 years ago or so. Our church funded a missionary family in Ukraine. The young adult son was going to spend an extended time in Israel. After the trip we had him come speak and he was mostly distraught at the treatment of the Palestinians. It was the most awkward service I have ever been a part of. The family didn’t immediately lose their funding, but I’m sure their was pressure. Eventually they did lose their funding.

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    Why?

    “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the household of faith…”

  28. Josh says:

    Bible verse battle!
    “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself,”

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    We have an obligation of love and service to all people, but especially to those of the household of faith… That seems obvious from even a cursory reading of the New Testament. All I’m trying to say is how often have you seen the plight of Palestinian Christians referenced in news reports or in debate on the subject?

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    Full disclosure… For over 40 years I have supported an Anglican hospital located outside of Jerusalem. They have been bombed, staff have been abducted, and in some cases killed, merely from being there to provide service to all regardless of religious affiliation…

  31. Michael says:

    “Does that make their lives more valuable than their neighbors? ”

    That’s a ridiculous assumption.
    The struggle has been to demonstrate that their lives have any value at all…they are the invisible victims in this war and have been for decades.

  32. Josh says:

    Assumptions don’t end with question marks. This is why you can’t discuss these issues.

  33. Michael says:

    Josh,

    You’ve become proficient went at making statements ending in question marks.

    If I misunderstood your intent, I apologize…but my point stands.

    One of the stranger phenomena that I’ve yet seen is students on American campuses supporting Hamas.

    The violent, criminal nature of Hamas is well documented.

    This does not absolve Israel of any guilt in dealing with the Palestinians ,but it demonstrates the lack of critical thinking that is the norm these days…and how extremism has won the day.

  34. Reuben says:

    I am sure most pro- Palestine protestors do not even realize Hamas would blow them to pieces given the opportunity, college campus being a bonus.

  35. BrianD says:

    I have to ask again: if the US cut off ties to Israel, would God destroy the US or not? And why?

  36. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    No He would not destroy us for cutting off aid…though that would be unwise politically.

    Israel is a secular nation, not in any covenant with God….simple as that.

  37. Reuben says:

    With respect, there are secular Israelis, but it is a religious nation. I don’t believe there is any covenant either.

  38. R'as al Ghul says:

    Minor bit of Trivia: Only until fairly recently (and due to an Israeli Supreme Court decision), Messianic Jews (i.e., those “completed” Jews that Paul talks about like himself, Peter, John, etc.) were NOT allowed the Right of Return (even if they had the paperwork to prove it).

  39. Keith says:

    Is the covenant made with Abe an unconditional covenant (at least certain aspects of it)? Land that was spoken of to Abe by God? Were there certain historic events done by the physical descendants of Abe that voided those promises uttered by the Almighty? If there are some of these grand children of Abe in the land today are they the recipients of these words spoken by the Almighty? Are the anti-Jewish/ Anti-Judaism attitudes that seem to runthrough much of the patristics sinful or justified because of the Jewish people attitudes towards Jesus and his Church? Just a few of the questions rolling around in my head.

  40. R'as al Ghul says:

    Keith,

    All the promises (and that includes the land promise) given to Abraham are “Yes in Christ.” and the true seed of Abraham is Christ and those who are in Christ (they are considered heirs to the promise of Abraham) per Galatians 3. A genetic link to Abraham means absolutely nothing. Only those who are in Christ (which would be believers in Christ of Jewish ancestry and Gentiles like Palestinian Christians) are the true seed of Abraham

    I find it fascinating that the dispys have to completely minimize/twist the clear meaning of Galatians to maintain their fictional eschatalogy.

    The irony is that the promises were “literal” in the sense that the ancient land of Israel did eventually become the Promised Land for the descendants of Abraham for a period of time, it is also a type and shadow. According to Scriptures, the heirs and true seed of Abraham will not only inherit a tiny piece of real estate in the Levant, but the New Heavens and New Earth in the end.

    It’s like being a kid of 5 in say 1885 and being promised by you will get your father’s ride when you are 90 years old. His ride back in 1885 was a Concord stagecoach. But 85 years later, when it is time to collect on the promise, the ride is a 1969 Lincoln Continental. But you insist that the promise was not kept because it wasn’t the stagecoach.

    People tend to forget that Abraham was a bronze age man living in the Ancient Near East. So imagine trying explain the concept of an entire earth with far, far more land that Abraham could possibly imagine and that his true heirs would get ALL of it.

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