Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible

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The other day, I raised a question for evangelicals who think standing with Israel means supporting them no matter what. How do you reconcile a “never criticize Israel” mentality with the overwhelming witness of the biblical prophets?

If you’ve been told that unconditional support for Israel is the only “biblical” position, that the modern-day state enjoys the same kind of “most favored nation” status with God as ancient Israel did, then here’s another question. If Israel today is entitled to the covenant blessings spoken by the Old Testament, what about their covenant obligations?

The Bible never spoke of Israel’s covenant blessings apart from their obligations. It’s no use trying to have one without the other. And at least one of these obligations poses a bit of a problem for the modern state of Israel, if it is indeed the same nation as the one in the Bible.

Ancient Israel was not supposed to have a standing army. They weren’t supposed to stockpile weapons. There were no taxes to fund a permanent military. Israel’s rulers were forbidden from amassing large numbers of horses (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)—which was about as close as you could get to an arms race in the ancient Near East. Israel’s king was not supposed to make foreign military alliances. God stipulated that Israel should remain militarily weak so they would learn to trust him for protection.

Israel wasn’t allowed to conscript anyone into military service. If you didn’t want to fight, you didn’t have to fight. Note this remarkable command from Deuteronomy 20:

When you go to war against your enemies… the officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.” Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”

There were times when God whittled down Israel’s fighting force to an impossibly small number—as a reminder that they were not supposed to rely on their own military strength.

Micah 5—the same passage which said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem—also said that in that day God would destroy Israel’s horses and demolish its chariots. Israel’s military implements are mentioned in the same breath as other signs of their apostasy: witchcraft, idols, sacred stones, Asherah poles. The prophets considered militarization a form of idolatry—a blatant violation of Israel’s covenant with God.

If modern Israel is the same covenant nation written about in the Old Testament, then they are under the same covenant obligations. And that covenant forbids militarization. It declares militarization a form of idolatry.

If the modern Israeli state is not bound to these covenant obligations, then they aren’t entitled to the covenant blessings, either. You cannot have one without the other. If the laws that governed Israel in the Old Testament do not apply to Israel today, then they are just another nation, and they should be held to the same standard as every other nation.

Would we stand for any other democratic nation on earth driving people off of land that’s been in their families for generations? Would we stand for any other nation building settlements on land that almost everyone agrees belongs to someone else? Would we stand for them restricting people’s freedom of movement, bulldozing their homes, and killing thousands of innocent civilians?

Of course we wouldn’t. And we shouldn’t stand for violence committed by Palestinian groups either. But evangelicals keep giving Israel a free pass. They do so because they believe it is God’s covenant nation. Yet when it comes to holding Israel to the stipulations of that covenant… silence.

So which is it? Is modern Israel bound to the covenant or not? Either way, you’ll have a hard time justifying its treatment of their Palestinian neighbors.

RELATED POSTS: 
If you think “standing with Israel” means never criticizing them, you’re going to have to get a new Bible
When I think about my sponsored child in Gaza
The problem with using the Bible to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Note: For a helpful summary of covenant stipulations forbidding militarization in ancient Israel, see chapter 3 of Preston Sprinkle’s book Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence

Photo credit: Israeli Defense Force on Flickr

 

186 thoughts on “Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible

  1. olá amigo! Ben eu sou Evangélica mais eu não vejo na maldade Humana a desculpa para atos distorcidos, Deus ainda nesse novo tempo fala com a gente, sentimos Deus no coração e é por isso que evitamos algumas coisas, mais se militares de israel forem contra as leis de Deus, eles pagaram muito caro pelas suas atitudes na terra, esse é o único povo que aguenta a dor.
    sabe amigo pelo que vejo você conhece bem a Bíblia, oque eu posso dizer a respeito disso que devemos aguardar o Julgamento do Senhor nosso Deus pois diante dos olhos dele nada passa despercebido.

    • Amain! I agree with Jared. Why is it the church can pick out what covenants remain? This is not a pick and choose matter!!!! The covenant still applies. The Old Testament or Torah is alive. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!!! His covenant remains. Just like the Noah covenant.
      Israel are Gods chosen and we better stand for them. As God says, ” I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee!”

      • Did you think for a minute that it’s possible the children of Israel are the Palestinians. They meet all the qualifications, caretakers of the land, no arms, no military. True descendants of Abraham with genealogical proof, 100% pure. Perhaps they converted to Islam which is still word of God nonetheless. Maybe the world is misguided and the true people of the covenant have been sitting there all along. Where did the people with Israeli status come from? Gypsies with nothing have come from all over the world claiming stake in a piece of Israel just to have or own something. In this case I am not worried, for the true covenant tells the children of Abraham to have faith and trust in their lord. That is exactly what the Palestinians are doing.

      • Gods promise to the old israels was for more then 3000 years ago and he gave them a land they lived in for about 100 years and it was for ca 3000 years ago. They have allready have their land but could not keep it and left it.
        What whould we say if a small groupe who lived in a part of our land 3000 years ago came back and wanted take over all land from us?

      • Yes, I would agree, I would not like a people to come after 2000 years and claim the land I and my family had lived in for many years, but it is not what I or you want but what God determines, Hosea the prophet tells us that because of disobedience Israel would be many days without all that is necessary to make or keep them a nation, but also when the People are out of the Land it will become barren and unproductive, which is exactly how Mark Twain described the land over 100 years ago the prophets foretell a time when Israel will be restored to the land, the land will blossom as a the garden of Eden, this is exactly what has happened over the past 80 or 90 years, there are many other things the prophets foretold what will happen. Remember who our Lord and Saviour is, the Son of God, the Messiah, the One who would remove all our sins through His precious blood Also He is “King of Israel” “King of the Jews” and written on the doors of the New Jerusalem that we read in Revelation are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. And He when He comes back His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and He will rule Israel and the would from Jerusalem.

      • A VERDADE É UMA SÓ, SE USA MUITO O NOME DE DEUS PARA CRIAR UMA GUERRA DESNECESSÁRIA, A FIM DE CONSEGUIR ALGO, MAIS TODOS QUE USAREM O NOME DE DEUS EM VÃO SERÁ CASTIGADO, NÃO CONSIGO CRER QUE DEUS ESTÁ A FAVOR DE TANTA CRUELDADE!!!

      • You are picking and choosing when you say the covenants remain but ignore the stipulations of those covenant as it applies to modern-day Israel. That was my point.

      • The true Israel are those who put their faith in Christ. The old covenant was done away with, we are operating under a new covenant. You are sorely misguided.

      • Wow, so how do you explain away the book of Hebrews, Romans, Galations, and Ephesians?? Especially Galations 3:16 which says the promise to Abraham was never to many descendants, but to one, that is the Christ??

    • Unfortunately the writer is not well educated in the Scriptures, history and Middle East figures.
      Maybe his good will is to question the lack of critical sense of some Christians regarding “Israel case”, if not, is under the risk to be identified as source of “intellectual dishonesty”.

  2. God’s Covenant with Abraham was unconditional.

    Look at the days of Ahab, God Supernatural protected Israel even under him, living in disobedience doesn’t take away their Chosen status.

    • Unconditional?
      Genesis 17
      14 ‘And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.’

      • Here’s one: If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has got out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David; his seed shall endure forever like the moon, and his throne as the sun before Me; it should be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky. Psalm 89: 33-37.

      • Jose, the first thing to be aware of is that God made more than one covenant in the Old Testament. The wording of your question/request implies you are not aware of this??
        Secondly, there are two covenants that are relevant here and one had conditions while the other did not. (There were other covenants – eg the Noahic Covenant: Gen 9:8ff.)
        The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15) concerned the ownership of the land and it was unconditional. God put Abraham to sleep while He solemnified His promise.(ie. Abraham was asleep so was unable to agree to anything for himself or on behalf of his descendants.) God later appeared to Abraham’s son Isaac (Gen 26:2-5) and his grandson Jacob (Gen 28:13-15) to repeat His promise. He also told Moses of this (Ex 6:3-4).
        The Mosaic Covenant was made much later between God and Moses, focused on the Law and contained conditions (Ex 19:5; Lev 26:15ff) which if violated would affect the Israelites’ possession of the land (Note; possession NOT ownership.) The Bible records that the Israelites violated those conditions and sure enough they were sent into exile (2Kings 18:12; Jer 11:10; 13:19; Hosea 8:1,8). They did not lose ownership of the land however.
        Finally, God has promised that He will regather the faithful remnant to their land (Ezekiel 20:41-42; 36:24).

      • It does not make it OK, but about 0% of the earth’s surface is currently occupied by it’s original owners. Conquerings thru the years have moved people back and forth. If we really want to get people who were pushed off their land … we’d have to go back thousands and thousands of years. Don’t forget, Israel had the land, then didn’t, then did, then didn’t … numerous times. They were a vassal kingdom, then independent, then vassal, … It is not OK that the planet’s deeds all go to the conquerors … but it is reality.

      • Did you think for a minute that it’s possible the children of Israel are the Palestinians. They meet all the qualifications, caretakers of the land, no arms, no military. True descendants of Abraham with genealogical proof, 100% pure. Perhaps they converted to Islam which is still word of God nonetheless. Maybe the world is misguided and the true people of the covenant have been sitting there all along. Where did the people with Israeli status come from? Gypsies with nothing have come from all over the world claiming stake in a piece of Israel just to have or own something. In this case I am not worried, for the true covenant tells the children of Abraham to have faith and trust in their lord. That is exactly what the Palestinians are doing.

  3. 1 Peter 1:20 says, “God chose him as your ransom long before the world began…” Jesus Christ is the only reason the nation of Israel was favored by God to begin with. The nation of Israel was protected by God because of Him. The promised Messiah was to appear through the line of David and it is for this reason alone that Israel was favored at that time.

    God is not partial. “Then Peter replied: “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.” Acts 10:34. When Christ died for us he opened the door for both Jews and Gentiles to be saved.

    The nation of Israel lost favor with God because of the hardness of their hearts except for the faithful few. “Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert.” Lamentations 4:3. They rejected Jesus Christ as their savior, and as the Son of God. “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” “….Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone.” Matthew 21:42 & Ephesians 2:20. They even went so far as to call for his death. “In reply all the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.” Matthew 27:25. It’s a powerful and haunting statement that may have even contributed to some of their suffering throughout history.

    Israel is mentioned throughout the Bible and does play a significant role in the world today. However, is it modern day Israel or spiritual Israel we should be focused in on? Revelation 21:2 mentions a “new Jerusalem” a heavenly one. The Bible says that people from the four corners of the earth will make up this “new Jerusalem.”
    …”there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the lamb….” Revelation 7:9.

    Another excellent piece Ben.

  4. you are telling us what God would do. You are not God, nor do you have that authority. God’s covenant is there forever.

    • But insisting that God favours Israel shooting rockets at schools ISN’T telling God what to do? Come on.

    • Agree, Marcos….God’s purposes will not be be thwarted by mere men (or women)…there is a GOD….and HE is not ME….or any of you either!

      • Dear Zionist, I’ve read one too many of your scripts. From one sided pro Israeli forced media to an undignified right to defend. If Hamas is a terrorist organization then the IDF is tenfold in equivalence. For anyone to agree with the way Gaza has been handled is bewildering and nauseating.

        Zionist you must not be a Jew, for a true devout Jew will share the same God as I, and OUR God will hold accountable any murderers, liars, thieves and oppressors. For no creator of man would want his people to turn their backs on each other.

        Zionist, Are you willing to put your morals on the line to agree with an alleged right to occupy? Are you too consumed by the idea of a right to own that you’ll forgo the cruelty set forth to take land that does not belong to you? If God told you to kill people and occupy their land then he is the devil himself and you are misguided.

        Genealogy tests would confirm that the people residing in Jerusalem pre 1948 are the original inhabitants and rightful heirs. I myself would find that I am more qualified than you to reign on OUR holy land. I am most likely more Israelite than you ever will be. I have a lengthy history complete with an ancestral background of people who are indigenous to the land. I know exactly where I’ve derived from. Do you? Or if an increment of Abraham’s blood travels through your veins? For many of Abraham’s offspring have turned to Islam and protected our glorious Jerusalem through antiquity. Sarah’s children included. For centuries Palestinians have protected the walls of Jerusalem, tilled its soil, and watered millennium old trees. Trees that you’ve so callously uprooted and moistened with the bloodshed of innocents.

        Zionist, you are too blind with greed and the right to own that you’ll brutally accept genocidal treatment towards the real children of Abraham.
        Throughout the years you have been searching under the Dome of the Rock and Masjid Al Aqsa for proof that Israel exists and all you find is further proof of Islamic and Christian history. Yet you make claims of a secret Judaic lair. The Judaism that you openly disobey while disgracing the actual devout believers. The real Jews our brethren. Why does your conscious allow you to knowingly spread fallacies? Lies that lead to mass murder.

        What happens today will further the angst of the expanding future middle eastern generations and these so called terrorist attacks will turn into rights to defend, the whole muslim ummah will unite. What are you going to do when that happens? When an army of 1.5 billion plus people are no longer going to accept the torture of Palestinians and will attack 15 million Zionists? This is something I would be more concerned about if I was you. It would be a very good idea to try to live in peace. I don’t want to witness anymore atrocities. Neither does the world.

        Zionist, you want my land, my trees, my home, fine you can have it. I want to see you drag it to your grave. I have a deed to my home in Jerusalem handed to me from my ancestors, can you make the same claim?

  5. If Israel militarily were weak then there would be no Jewish state because every nation and people that surround them in the Middle East want to annihilate them and drive them into the sea.

    The Scriptures teach that the Old Covenant is the Mosaic Covenant but that covenant does not abrogate the promises made in the Abrahamic Covenant from Genesis 12:1-3, 15, 17, 26:2-5, 28:13-15 etc which clearly states that the land was given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and to their descendants, the Jewish people. Nowhere in the Bible is this promise regarding the land denied. It is an everlasting, unconditional covenant.

    We know that Israel as a nation today are far from righteous but Scripture teaches that one day as a nation they will look upon Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, the One whom they have pierced and will mourn bitterly over Him (Zech. 12:10). Praise God that many are coming to the Lord and are been made whole but unless they defend themselves to remain a nation then Zechariah’s prophecy will never be fulfilled.

    Their disobedience and rebellion against God does bring about discipline yet that does not mean that they forfeit the promises made by God to them regarding the land nor their national status as a people, Jeremiah 31:35-37 is quite clear that only will the Jews cease from being a people and the promises forfeited along with it if the sun, moon and stars are destroyed. The promise of the land is not based upon Israel’s works but is based upon God’s character as a covenant keeping God, He cannot lie and will not break His promises to the Jewish People. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

    • So what you’re saying is that Israel can pick and choose which parts of the Mosaic covenant apply to them today. The reality is that the Torah (esp. Deuteronomy) and the Prophets routinely tied possession of the land to fidelity to the covenant. Israel was not allowed to have one without the other.

      • No I’m not saying that, what I am saying is that you are speaking of the covenantal blessings/cursings, this is the Mosaic Covenant which is a conditional covenant, a completely distinct covenant from the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis. The Abrahamic Covenant shows that ownership of the land is unconditional. The Mosaic Covenant shows that enjoyment of the land was conditioned upon obedience. The two matters are actually very distinct, they will never enjoy the whole land until they are a believing people but that doesn’t change the fact that they are rightful owners.

        It is a miracle that they have survived as a distinct people in the worldwide dispersion of the last 2000 years and now God is gathering them back to the land of Israel as He said He would in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

      • That’s a very selective reading of the biblical narrative. The ancient people of Israel lost a bit more than the “enjoyment” of the land when they were sent into exile…

      • No Ben, the reality is the promise of the land (the Abrahamic Covenant) is NOT tied to or dependent on Israel’s actions – in any way, shape or form. There were no conditions or obligations attached whatsoever, Abraham was asleep, he was not required to agree to anything. Have a look at Genesis 15: what is described there is the way covenants were made in those times. Normally both parties to the covenant passed between the animal pieces – to signify that if they broke the covenant they deserved to be cut in two! On this occasion however, God put Abraham to sleep first as this was an unconditional covenant or promise He was making to Abraham and his descendants. This has nothing to do with the Mosaic Covenant which you are obviously confusing it with. The Mosaic Covenant was made between God and Moses on Mount Sinai and did have conditions. (It did not involve the land however!)
        While I admire the fact that you are prepared to have a go and write a blog (something I haven’t done), your views unfortunately show a poor knowledge of Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible is possession of the land tied to Israel’s fidelity to a covenant. (If you are going to stand by that claim then please provide chapter and verse – as you should have when you first made it. Thanks!)

      • No he’s not correct. The true children of Israel will only be collected on the return of Christ. You people are awfully retarded. The Israelite bloodline still lives to this day in Palestine. Israel is mainly Ashkenazi Jew–Europeans who Converted to Judaism. Not the Davidian Bloodline.

      • Please do not use words like retarded on this blog. That’s demeaning to those with disabilities. Besides, at least Tim (though I disagree with him) engaged in a substantive argument rather than trading cheap insults. One warning. Next comment like that gets you blocked.

      • The promise that God made to Ibraham was made to his seed, I’ll Bless those who Bless you and curse those who curse you and in your seed all the nations shall be Blessed. As we see here the seed is singular not plural, the apostle Paul clarify this in the book of Galatians chapter 3, saying this promise seed is my Lord Jesus. Yes Abraham was not a Jew, but the promise of the covenant belongs to the seed and all of his followers. In Romans it’s says not all of Israel is Israel but few, and Blessed is the Israel of God (the Church) which is made up of Jews and none Jews. This Israel of today in the land of Palestine is the Imposter the Israel of satan.search the scripture and read the entire book of Galatians and free your selves from falls teachings. Many falls teachers abound on TV and pulpits that are keeping the Jews from accepting the Messaiah the true Seed, and keeping them looking at the physical,our kingdom is a heavenly one Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker is God

      • Yes, Tim is quite correct. In my reply above, I meant to say that nowhere in the Bible is ownership of the land tied to Israel’s fidelity to a covenant. (I inadvertantly used the word ‘possession’ which is obviously a different thing.

      • You just made the point for me then. Even if you believe Israel’s “ownership” of the land was unconditional, you seem to understand that their “possession” of it, at least, was contingent on their fidelity to the covenant. (I happen to think the “unconditional ownership” view draws too much of a distinction between the covenants in the Hebrew scriptures, but my post was addressed to evangelicals who, for one reason or another, hold to a more or less dispensational view.) So my conclusion still stands: if the modern Israeli state and the ancient Israelites are one and the same, then their “possession” of the land should still be contingent on following the stipulations of the covenant. Otherwise you’re trying to have it both ways.

      • “I happen to think the “unconditional ownership” view draws too much of a distinction between the covenants in the Hebrew scriptures.” I have no idea what you mean by that. They ARE two different covenants so how can you not make a distinction??? You would only say that if you did not want to acknowledge the full ramifications of the Abrahamic Covenant and that it is a separate covenant. Yes, possession of the land was contingent on Israel’s fidelity to the covenant but their ownership of it is not.

      • “Yes, possession of the land was contingent on Israel’s fidelity to the covenant but their ownership of it is not.”

        Again you have made my point. Even if you assume the modern Israeli state is synonymous with ancient Israel, there is no way you can say they have shown fidelity to the covenant.

      • Yes we are getting closer. :) For the record,it has never been my position that the modern state of Israel has “shown fidelity to the covenant”. (You didn’t specify which covenant you were referring to by the way but I am assuming you meant the Mosaic Covenant.) Perhaps my defence of some of modern Israei’s actions had implied that? If that is the case, that was not my intention. Neither do I assume that the modern Israeli state is synonymous with ancient Israel. By that I mean the mofern state of Israel is not obliged to observe the Old Covenant as Christ came to fulfil it and instituted a New Covenant. (‘For the Messiah is the culmination of the Law as far as righteousness is concerned for everyone who believes.’ Rom 10:4 ISV)

    • Thank you, Tim Wood, for sharing TRUTH about our Covenant keeping God and our Lord Jesus Christ. This, after all, is about Him and His character. He is our all knowing Father and His plans for Israel and each of us will not be thwarted. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

      • So why would you want to share opinion of others if a comment you don’t appreciate or don’t like makes a person be blocked? That sounds too fascist to me. Truth is God has never abandoned Israel as a nation or people because he is faithful in his promises and will always gather them back to Himself. The Jews made a great mistake when they failed to recognize the Messiah among them and God focused His love and grace to the others (gentiles). They are still expecting the Messiah to come but the one who will come and recognize will be a false one who will lead them to their destruction and discover too late they chose a false one in place of the true one: Jesus. Those Israelites who recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Messiah are saved from this and there are such in Israel as a nation.

      • I’m not sure I understand the point of your question. But I threatened to block The White Horse for using an inappropriate term to insult another commenter. I’m very happy for all viewpoints to be discussed and debated here, but we can all do without the demeaning language.

    • Revelations 2:9 and 3:9 Explain that. “I know your suffering and your poverty (but you are rich ) and the blasphemy of those who call themselves Jews of the Judeans, when they are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”
      “And behold, I grant some of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say about themselves that they are Jews and are not, but they are lying, behold, I shall make them come and worship before your feet and to know that I love you.”

    • Did God said when u come into the land again, you have to mow down the inhabitants’ houses, rob them and kick them out of the land and if they resist, blow them apart into smithereens?

      • Not entirely sure that they were told to accept daily rocket fire either.
        It’s one thing to judge and condemn. It’s another thing to say don’t defend yourself. Upon becoming a state in 1948, it was the neighbouring countries who declared war first, not Israel.
        Someone said earlier that the Jews left Israel. Not quite, they were driven out. The Jewish identity and faith has survived despite its persecution.
        No other country nor community has been persecuted to the same extent and therefore our ability to judge is limited. Name me a Christian country and I can give you a list. Same of Islam. Ask about a Jewish country and I have only 1. Yes, there are countries where different religious people live.
        And the Christian condemnation of Judaism/ Jews as those who rejected/ murdered Jesus is outdated and ill informed.
        The Bible is a book of faith, about faith, for faith. Those who would seek to use it had best consider whether they mis-use it.

    • Tim, have you read the book of Galatians? The whole book is about how Christ IS the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise and how physical Israel is the one with no inheritance since they are without Christ.

      For as many people who claim to know their Bible on here, it seems many of you haven’t studied or read Paul’s epistles.

  6. Leviticus 19
    33’When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34’The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’

    • Rose, the Arabs/Palestinians/Muslims living in Israel have a higher standard of living than any of the ones living in Muslim countries! They even are in the Knesset! Ask them if they would rather live in a Muslim/Arab country. And the children are treated the same in the hospitals as the Jewish children! Even the children from Gaza are welcome to come to the Israeli hospitals.

      • sorry Mary but who told you those things about Palestinian children being welcomed to Israeli hospital? you are definetly not well informed!…Palestine is like a small prison …..they are limited in their way of living…niot sure what you are talking about but I´ve been a few times in both siodes and believe me…that is not true…

      • Mary, do you know any Arab Israelis? I dont think so . As I am married to a Palestinian Arab Christian, I know quite a few. They do not live a higher standard of living than Muslims / Christians living in other Arab Muslim countries. You are rather ignorant I am sorry to say. And your comment ” The children are treated the same in the hospitals as the Jewish children” That borders on racism. How should they be treated? And oh yes, there are Arabs in the Knesset and if they say anything that the Jewish members dont want to hear, they are banned from attending sessions. Some democracy.

      • Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I do! And I really doubt that if Arabs in the Knesset have a dissenting view they are silenced!

      • Mary, you, like many Americans who have probably never even been to Israel unless it was with a church group, are very ill informed. Many in Israel are not well treated including African and Russian Jews. This is such a fact that the Washington Post published an article stating how IDF reserves are refusing to participate in this latest war against Gaza because of discrimination in the country and the fact that the government never thinks about peace with its neighbors.

        For all those who slander Israel’s neighbors, take care. You have never been there to know for yourself how warm, kind, or even gracious they are – even to Israel. Most of you have filled yourself with “State TV” and don’t even know who is controlling the box you believe.

        I used to be just like that until I began to travel and lived outside the U.S. for almost 10 years, then the tin foil and cardboard box all blew away. And by the way, I have traveled throughout Israel and Palestine on my own and spoke and saw many on several trips. I will never forget what I saw and I will never go back to the lies that I have seen, or heard from Israel or our government.

        Israel is an unbelieving nation. God never gave them a free pass and never will. Only those who have received his son and walk in his Spirit will be justified. It was never based on ethnicity and never will be, thank God.

  7. Let us consider that perhaps YHWH is gathering them in unbelief and covenantal disobedience, as both dispensational and historic premillennialists would affirm. The revelation of God to them of the Messiahship of Jesus would come after their being brought into the land (in part only) in an unbelieving state. So no, the modern State of Israel is not the Torah Commonwealth of Israel, but Paul in Romans chs. 9-11 asserts that all Israel will be saved and “re-grafted” into the olive tree.

  8. Tim Wood is saying, “If Israel militarily were weak then there would be no Jewish state because every nation and people that surround them in the Middle East want to annihilate them and drive them into the sea. ”
    Isn’t Israel supposed to be relying upon God for their defense?
    Essentially Tim Wood is stepping into the role of God and declaring Israel must have horses (or the modern-day equivalent). Google “Dimona” and “Samson Option” to see how far Israel has strayed from God’s protection. Looking at the Palestinian situation from another angle, human psychology, the abused (European Jews-Aschkenazim) have become the abusers (victimized the Palestinians).

  9. Reblogged this on jominee and commented:
    Ben Irwin legt helder en bondig uit waarom het theologisch “gevaarlijk” is om de moderne staat Israël gelijk te stellen aan het Bijbelse Israël.

  10. God bringing Israel back into there land at this point in history has nothing to do with there obedience to the covenant…but his PROMISE! If you read in the prophets from Isaiah (Isaiah 12) to Ezekiel (ez 38:8) to Zechariah they all speak about God fulfilling his promise and regathering Israel….Its about what God is going to do through Israel and the Jewish people. God has an order of events that hes going accomplish regardless of Israels obedience and what the world tries to do. I absolutely agree with you that we don’t have to personally condone every decision or action the government of Israel makes…but as bible believin christians we should know our bible well enough to see God fulfilling his plan and get on board with that…not on wether we think Israel should have Weapons or Horses for God to be faithful….one day every knee Jew, Arab and Gentile will bow the knee to Jesus Christ and recognize him as King….but his plan has to happen before then

    • THNKS YOU JUST BROKE IT DOWN TO IT’S SIMPLIST STATE , ONE THAT ALL OF US CAN UNDERSTAND AND ADHERE TO WHETHER WE AGREE OR NOT . GODS WORD HAS NEVER FAILED !!!!YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ON BOARD WITH THE JEWS BUT YOU BETTER BE ON BOARD WITH JESUS !!!!!!!!

    • When Ezekiel wrote this prophetic book the Judeans were in exile being punished for not obeying God and worshiping idols and God telling him He will restore them after many years and pointing him to the work of the Holy Spirit , and they were restored after 70 years of captivity rebuilt the temple, that’s all of the Ezekiel.

      • Thank you Sami for bringing in the history. I used to be really lazy in looking up what prophecies had been fulfilled until I kept seeing it abused.

        I will no longer choose laziness and ignorance. It is much too dangerous in these times.

    • I agree with Jenksthinks, thank you for your insight.

      God’s promises and His plans WILL NOT be thwarted. It has nothing to do with what the nation of Israel now believes or their obedience or disobedience! BUT, it has ALL to do with what GOD is doing in bringing Israel to the place that HE has for them in HIS plan…for the return of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Since HIS covenant promise with Abraham,(Genesis 12) and through all of the cycles of obedience, disobedience, judgement and scattering of His Chosen people, HE has always had a remnant. Romans 9:27-28 “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, ‘THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE AS THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED; FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD UPON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY’ “. These scattered ones of the remnant, have been steadily returning to the nation of Israel since it was legally declared a Nation in 1947….God knows who they are. We don’t! In Romans 11:1-5 the Apostle Paul writes: 1.”God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” 2. “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?” 3. “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED THY PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN THINE ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.” 4. “But what is the divine response to him? ‘ I HAVE KEPT FOR MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” 5 “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice”.

      Of course many have converted to Judaism as a religion…this has nothing to do with His Chosen ones (unless they have received Jesus Christ as Savior, as many Messianic Jews have today). We are not talking Religion here! In Psalm 83:4 “They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more”. Does that sound familiar to anyone? How often have we heard this from Iran, Alqaeda, Isis, and Hamas, the terrorist group that began firing rockets at Israel for days before any retaliation on Israel’s part other than defensively bringing down the countless rockets fired at them. How many cease fires has Hamas not honored? Knowing that many in the Middle East want to see the nation Israel destroyed from the face of the earth, what are we as Evangelical Christians supposed to do??? We are told to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” ..Psalm 122:6 and Gen 12:3…”And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse”.

      To address the statement of using weapons….we would ALL agree that when David faced Goliath with all of his battle array I Samuel 17:45 – 50….that David said, 45.”You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted…..49….And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’ hand.”

      Miraculous!…we say…and yes it was! But, David DID use weapons…a sling and a stone….hmmm! NOW we know that our God could have done this without David’s sling and stone, but He chose to defeat the giant this way…..hmmm. Something to think about!

      When we think about the size of the little nation of Israel and the size of ALL of the giant enemy nations and terrorists surrounding them…wonder if God is not showing Himself strong and Miraculous in allowing them to defend themselves with weapons? I don’t know. But, God does…..HE has a plan….and He doesn’t have to check with ME….or YOU.. either for that matter! As Psalm 20:7 says “Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

      Yes, I support the nation of Israel as we know it today…not because they deserve it….but because my Father in Heaven says so!

  11. Hi Ben, several things:
    1. “The Bible never spoke of Israel’s covenant blessings apart from their obligations.” Wrong!
    As far as the covenant involving the land is concerned, Israel has NO obligations. Look at Genesis 15 where the covenant was made: The Lord made a covenant with Abraham BUT Abraham did not make a covenant with the Lord. It was not a 2-way thing because the Lord had put Abraham to sleep. It is therefore impossible for Abraham or any of his descendants to break it.
    2. It is nonsense to say “Ancient Israel was not supposed to have a standing army”.
    You are very good at taking one verse and using it to make your point (Deut 17:16) but it is in fact bad exegesis in this instance. The above verse has nothing to do with building an army – you are using it completely out of context. Your ‘interpretation’ of the verse completely contradicts vast portions of Scripture. Consider Numbers chapter 1: Moses was instructed to count/register everyone in Israel who was able to go to war. A plain reading of this passage completely contradicts your argument. God sent the Israelites into battle against other nations many times if you have a look at the Bible from Moses through to the end of the major prophets.
    3. ” However, is it modern day Israel or spiritual Israel we should be focused in on?”
    You are getting into ‘Replacement Theology’ with this statement. There is much I could include here but I will simply say that Paul in Romans 11 makes it clear that God has not finished with Israel. Note for instance that the Gentiles are grafted INTO the vine – they do not replace it. Unfortunately, one of the impacts of this erroneous teaching is to provoke anti-Semitism!
    Your article is contains faulty arguments, misuse and selective use of Scripture and arrives at a totally wrong conclusion. If it was submitted as a paper at any respectable Bible college it would score a fail. .

    • Taking one verse and using it to make my point? Really? The provisions against a permanent military infrastructure (the ancient Near Eastern equivalent to Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex”) are woven throughout the Hebrew scriptures. In addition to the passages I shared above… one of the curses of having a king, according to Samuel, was that the young men of Israel would be conscripted into a permanent army. Israel had the means for calling up a fighting force when it was considered necessary, which explains Moses’ counting the men of fighting age in Numbers. (They were, after all, about to go into the Promised Land at that point in the narrative.) But Israel’s fighting force was not a standing, permanent army. That would mean being like the other nations…and that was strictly off-limits for ancient Israel.

      Your statement that I’m getting into Replacement Theology misses the mark by a pretty wide margin.

  12. God’s promise to Abraham about the land was to him and “his descendants”. Abraham had TWO sons….not just Isaac (considered the father of the Israelites of the Old Testament) but also Ishmael (considered the father of the Philistines).

    • The promise to Abraham about the land was repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob, it was not made to Ismael, and God says Mt covenant I will establish with Isaac. and with Jacob!

  13. Oh, I guess you missed the following verses in the same chapter……10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you.”

    • Nope. Never said Israel didn’t have ANY fighting force in the Old Testament. But the Torah prohibited them from building up a permanent military infrastructure, the likes of which was enjoyed by other more powerful nations.

      • Ben Irwin. When people of Israel asked Samuel to have a king over them like the nations around them, it grieved God as well as Samuel. But God told him to listen to them, however they have to take the risk having the sons join in the army or pay taxes to support the king and governance and his army since the time of Saul, David, Solomon and onwards they have regular enlisted army. They don’t have the biggest army in number like the other nations and empires around them. That is population wise as well as like in Gideon’s time victory is on their side when God is with them. Oh as a throwback on Duet 17, God has a reason, let us read the whole verse: “16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” (NIV) Egypt is one among the nations with greater number of horses geared for battle but more than that God told them “…not to go back that way again.” Back to slavery when God is moving forward with His Plan for them.

        Evangelicals should not take side between what Israel’s and Islam Jihadist’s actions against each other in times of war. God’s eternal covenant with Abraham is fulfilled through the son of promise Isaac and unto his Seed but God did also bless Ishmael with many nations of descendants. Can you find any instances during the lifetime of Isaac and Ishmael that they seek to kill each other? Why it is so today? It is very unfortunate that now their descendants are at war with each other. Would Christians, even in the evangelical side, be more eager to share the love of Christ to them in times like this rather than proving who is right or wrong between them?

        They had been in exile for hundred of years but in the Bible it is prophesied that Israel since the time of David until now did not cease to have a King, much more so now for Christ is their risen King (even though as a nation He is not recognised as their King) yet but it does not change the fact that he reigns in the heavens and is aware of what is going on upon this tiny state and the world. For the sake of His Holy name he will show himself holy before them and the nations around them, I think that is loud and clear in the book of Ezekiel. Paul and Peter elsewhere in the their writings had made it clear at the same time.

        I would rather pray for peace that unites than arguments even scholarly yet divides.

        Prayer and blessings!

  14. What about the Palestinian Christians? For those Christians who support the covenant nature of Israel and the Jewish people of today, what about the “new covenant” that comes to us through Christ, and those Palestinians (some of whom trace their roots back to the first century) who live that covenant through their baptism. Some live in Israel, but many more live under occupation in Palestine and under “siege” in Gaza.

    • If you read all references to the New Covenant, you will read that it was made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah! As one person commented we Gentiles who believe in the Jewish Messiah who shed His blood for the remission of sins have been grafted in to the Vine, note also the warning , you can read it yourself!

  15. Ben the problem is that the Palestineans (muslim) mandate is to kill all Jews at all costs. Isreal just wants to exist. The Ireali’s have a right to exist and have an army to defend themselves in my opinion. They still are God’s chosen race no matter how many times they break the covenant. When the covenant is broken God deals with his people. Isreal wants peace – the Palestineans (muslims) do not. Isreal does not get a free pass but they should get a fair pass! It seems the world has forgotten what is fair. War is never pretty and both sides do a lot of damage but people please look at the underlying issues. Stop the Muslim(palestinean) extremists – thank you Isreal for standing up to exist.

    • Norine, that is not true. Just as not all Jews are Zionists, not all Palestinian Muslims are destructionists–this kind of broadbrushing is huge part of the problem in the Levant.

    • Norine – Nope, nope, nope. Some extremist elements (including Hamas) have called for the destruction of Israel and made other genuinely anti-Semitic statements. But to tar the entire Palestinian or Muslim population with this is utterly unfair and borderline racist. Also, “Palestinian” does not equal “Muslim.” There are thousands of Palestinian Christians, too.

      Some rightwing Israelis have called for death to all Arabs (as I noted in today’s post). It wouldn’t be fair to tar all Israelis or Jewish people with this view. Please treat the Palestinian people with the same respect as their Jewish neighbors.

      • Palestinian people have become a collateral damage between the wars of two brothers, very unfortunate.

    • Having been born and raised in the Middle East I can tell you unequivocally that not all Muslims want to see the destruction of Israel. All however want to see the rights of the Palestinians restored. For some the only means to do this is via armed struggle…what else is left when the world’s powerful nations side with Israel as the Palestinians are kicked off their lands and deprived of their livelihoods?

      Assuming for one moment that modern day Israel is the biblical Israel (which I don’t), where does the concept of ‘love’ come into all of this? Wasn’t this Jesus’ greatest command: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself? Don’t these two simple commands, by none other that God himself, trump all others?

      And what does it mean to ‘love’ Israel? Am I a loving father to my son when I see him bully another child in school and allow him to get away with it? Do I love my son when I allow him to focus his energy on selfish or self gratifying activities to the detriment of his physical, spiritual or emotional well being? Am I a loving friend when I allow my friend to steal, rape or murder? Absolutely not! I can love the person, hate their action and by implication, try and do something about it to prevent repeat behavior or bad behavior in the first place. This analogy works on a God-person, person-person and nation-nation level.

      I suspect many Christians who profess love of Israel and support it’s actions regardless of the harm Israel does to innocents, are more focused on accelerating our transition to the ‘end times’ so that they can earn whatever brownie points from God they feel they deserve, than actually doing God’s work.

      It’s the survivor mentality kicking in, where ‘I’ get proved right, everyone else gets proved wrong and the icing on the cake is that I get whisked up to heaven whilst the earth, full of nasty unbelieving people below me, get burnt to a crisp.

      ‘All those people who disbelieved me when I talked to them about Jesus!’
      ‘All those people who annoyed me at work and refused to accept my Christian beliefs!’
      ‘All those people who trusted false gods or followed false religions. Well, that shows them now, doesn’t it! ‘

      I’m sorry, but you don’t have to take sides in this conflict to know that firing missiles and tanks shells at terrified people who have no where to go is just wrong, plain and simple. You can abhor Hamas, decry them as cynics and murderer’s, but if you can’t show any pity to children who have no say in this conflict, don’t dare call yourself a Christian.

      Luke 13:26-27

      “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets'; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’

      • Thank you ZZR. You really to have to live or have lived here (I am an American who has lived in Jordan for the past 40 years, virtually all of my adult life) to break through all of the propaganda. Particularly the Zionist Christian propaganda. You will find very, very FEW believers outside of the United States that drink the undiluted zionist rubbish that American evangelicals seem to embrace hook,line and sinker.

      • I agree with you that loving Israel should mean we should call them away from their destructive behavior. (That’s what the Hebrew prophets did, and I don’t think anyone would accuse them of not loving the ancient nation of Israel.)

        Also…I think you’re right that for at least some evangelicals, their professed love for Israel is more about accelerating a particular end times scenario (one that I don’t see described anywhere in the Bible). Israel to them is a means to an apocalyptic end. There’s little actual concern for the people themselves.

      • Your rant is really very sad….of course, Israel, nor Christians want to see innocent children or people killed…why did Hamas begin firing rockets at Israel….when they knew they were in Palestinian territory with innocent people all around?….why did they dig tunnels in toward Israel…was this for the good of Israel’s innocent children? What is their plan if not to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I am not drinking the cool ade of trying to get God’s favor….we are saved by GRACE alone and not by merit, or so many Hail Mary’s….and what would Jesus do? He hates the oppression of any person…in fact He gave His life for that very sin…and for ALL of yours and my sin. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem as we are told to do. BUT, please do not place ALL of the blame at the feet of Israel, Evangelicals in the United States or anyone else….place it at the feet of the evil terrorists and the enemy of our souls….they who do not care for the LIVES of anyone….do you think they care for your life??? Indeed not! Pray that you come to see TRUTH soon, my friend!..

    • Norine, as I explained, I was born and raised in the Middle East, and so I am fluent in Arabic. Most, if not all, of my friends were Muslim. Never, ever, did the topic of the destruction of Israel or killing of Jews arise. Whenever Israel/Palestine was mentioned, it was in the context of a desire to see the end of the occupation. Unfortunately, as the brutality of the occupation became more apparent (TV coverage of the first Intifada that kicked off in 1986 was extensive and the Israeli response to stone-throwing youths was brutal to say the least) attitudes did begin to harden, but it was still primarily about ending the occupation rather than the destruction of Israel.

      You also need to avoid the common mistake of lumping all Muslims into one category. Just as Christian disagree about scripture, Muslims do as well.

      I suspect you have never spoken to a Muslim, nor a Palestinian, nor even a Palestinian Christian. As such, I would suggest a visit to Palestine would be very informative and eye opening. I can recommended the House of Hope in Bethlehem if you ever want to visit and maybe work as a volunteer for a short time http://www.hohbethlehem.org/

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  17. As a Lebanese-Palestinian Christian…I tell you thank you! Please keep speaking the truth in your setting. More of your voice means life (literally) for us! Thank you!

    • Interesting reminder that there are different perspectives on Zionism within the Jewish community. One key point where I would differ with the main speaker in the video… I think the Jewish desire for a homeland was legitimate, especially on the part of European Jews who endured centuries of mistreatment, persecution, and antisemitism—culminating in the Holocaust. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any problems with how that desire was fulfilled…there most certainly were. But it’s not hard to understand the desire for a homeland, given everything the Jewish people experienced.

  18. Some excellent points in here. Still wrestling with what implications the Abrahamic covenant and the unconditional nature thereof brings to the table on this. It cannot be emphasized enough that supporting /loving Israel should absolutely not be equated to unequivocal blind support for everything they do… yet I don’t know that it is necessary to eject supporting Israel’s statehood while standing against their current means of said statehood.

  19. In due time, the Lord will ultimately reveal reality. Only then we may be able to comprehend the will of our Creator. We may have our own stand or position relative to the issue concerning Israel. We may always have our own reasoning. But what is happening now does not make our conclusions or reasons to be precise. Only God knows. Our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways. Let’s just continue to cling into the promises of the scriptures. I believe that everything in this world will pass away but His Words, His Utterances will really stay and in His time it will come to reality.

  20. Not that it makes much difference to the Covenant argument, but can the author and respondents please stop subscribing to the news media propagation network? If you really think Israeli is ‘Driving people off their homeland” and “Killing thousands of innocent civilians” you need to do some serious research on this issue.

    First of all, Great Britain conquered that entire territory way back in the day. It was theirs by right of conquest, and they could then give it to whoever they wanted to rule afterward. Right of the victors, per globally understood human warfare contracts since the beginning of our race. Indeed, the rest of the world recognized Great Britain’s legal transference of rule to the newly fledged created of Israel back in 1947. The Arab states did not, and have made ILLEGAL war on Israel ever since, in the goal of exterminating the Jews who they hate.

    Second of all, Hamas is using the aforementioned innocent civilians as human shields for the very purpose of eliciting world sympathy and hatred against Israel. When the Israeli army.kindly phones ahead, scatters leaflets, uses Facebook and other media outlets to warn in advance when and where they will be bombing, but Hamas refuses to let its civilian populations evacuate these areas, who are the real murderers here? http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/07/20/shujaiya-hamas-terror-fortress-gaza/

    Finally, it is already wildly known that Hamas’s favorite hiding place for weapons, ammunition, terrorist headquarters, etc. is underneath schools, mosques, hospitals, etc. Yes, Israel is eventually forced to bomb them in order to secure their own survival, but who is more to blame for this, Hamas for ignoring Geneva conventions and hiding them there at all, or the Israeli army for doing its JOB to protect its own innocent civilians from these weapons?

    So no, blindly supporting Israel “because God said so” is, as the article pointed out, a bit silly. However, going to the other extreme and allowing newsmedia to make sheeple of you all in the goal of helping the Muslim Brotherhood exterminate Israel and all Jews everywhere is not the right answer either. Educate yourselves on the cause of this conflict and decide then if you will support Israel’s right to exist because its the RIGHT THING TO DO as fellow human beings. Turn off your TVs. Exercise a little critical thinking. God gave our race intellect, the ability to reason, and a moral compass for a reason, people. To deny these tools is to deny Him as our creator.

    Other links:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/bruce-thornton/the-incoherent-excuses-for-hating-israel/#.U86kghsd4dQ.facebook

    http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/the-most-important-video-about-israel-ever-made

    • I’m genuinely baffled by the assumption that British imperialism is a morally legitimate basis (“it was theirs by right”) for anything. In any case, it’s historically wrong to say Britain transferred ownership to Israel. Britain referred the matter to the UN, who recommended partition, which was rejected by the Arab states. The Arabs have not “made war on Israel ever since.” This was certainly true for many years, but today no Arab state is at war with Israel. The present conflict is between Israelis and Palestinians whose parents and grandparents were forced from their homes many years ago.

      I’ll be the first to condemn Hamas’ use of innocent civilians as human shields, but the Israeli military’s of Palestinian civilians is human shields is well documented too. They should be condemned for it too.

      I’m also puzzled that you criticize the supposed reliance on mainstream media reporting (which, at least in the US, has been overwhelmingly biased in favor of Israel), yet one of your main sources of information is the Israeli Defense Force blog. They’re not exactly an impartial source…

      • Spoils of war to the victor has been pretty much the standard throughout human history, as I stated before. The victors in the conflict take all, until the rebels or the next guys in line come to take it away. Why do people feel the need to change the rules simple because its Israel this time? I don’t see people on this thread up in arms over China’s illegal occupation of Tibet for the past 50 years, or a thousand more etc.s. So yes, I’d say it very much applied to British imperialism. How could it not? Sure, okay Great Britain *referred* the case to the UN, but it was still ultimately THEIR decision to do so, and no one else’s.

        Yes, the IDF has made mistakes. The very act of being at war makes monsters of all of us in some ways. But the impression I got from your article was that “Hey, these guys broke God’s Covenant, so Christians should stop supporting them and leave them to their fate.” That was the point I was challenging. There are plenty of reasons to support the rights to existence for Israel without religion having anything to do with it. If I misread the intent of your article forgive me, but it would have been nice to see it end on more positive *alternative( Pro-Israel arguments, because trust me sir, there are plenty to choose from.

        One thing I haven’t seen brought up yet is the argument that many Jews would feel that God broke the covenant with them first by allowing the Holocaust. Many orthodox Jews perished along with those who perhaps didn’t follow Deuteronomy to the letter anymore. They cried out for God to save them but died anyway, leaving many Jewish people across the world afterward to feel “God is dead.” (But not all of them, granted). At that point, all they had left was to save themselves, which forced just about every Israeli regardless of religious misgivings to pick up a weapon and fight for their lives, because they had no where left in world to go. (Referencing strict world-wide immigration quotas or outright bans post-WWII that prompted the UN’s decision to create Israel in the first place. Hundreds of thousands of displaced European Jews had literally nowhere else they could go.)

        Despite outbreaks of fighting like the one we’re seeing now, Israel has continually attempted peace with their neighbors to little avail. Also, you have enjoyed generalizing all Jewish people as those willing to fight in the IDF, but the way I understand it, Jewish youth are not ALL pressed into military service. If one has strong enough religious misgivings, they are allowed to spend those two years in synagogue instead. Or at least, that’s how it used to be a decade ago when I was more familiar with the process. This latest war might have prompted different standards, I’m not sure. In theory though, yes, some Jewish people still ARE following God’s Covenant to the letter. Are you saying those who aren’t as willing to do so should be *forbidden* to defend their more orthodox brethren if they are willing to?

        As always, I am amazed at the hypocrisy I see in so many Christians, who would so readily condemn Israel for supposedly abandoning the letter of Covenant when they so delight in not following it themselves. And we are still talking Deuteronomy, right? As in women on their periods living outside the village? Putting to death the adulterous women and ‘witches.’ And its just fine to screw and beat your female slaves? I know, I know, “Freed by the blood of the Lamb” but how many Christians even truly follow Jesus’ commands these days? And anyway, whatever happened to “He who is without sin cast the first stone?”

        Finally, I can’t say definitively what slant the US newsmedia is showing this time around, though I had been led to understand the ‘left’ stations are far from friendly, continually buying into the ‘Isreal has killed more innocents today” spiel. But perhaps I’m wrong, having lived abroad for 9 years now (in Japan, now Germany) I haven’t actually watched years myself. But compared with international news I get over here or online, the US journalism standards are a joke. We boast ‘freedom of press’ but our broadcast newstations are some of the most heavily censored/biased/feeding an agenda in the world. So my statements were more of a wakeup call for Americans generally. Turn off this brainwashing filth! Think for yourselves before its too late!

  21. Did you think for a minute that it’s possible the children of Israel are the Palestinians. They meet all the qualifications, caretakers of the land, no arms, no military. True descendants of Abraham with genealogical proof, 100% pure. Perhaps they converted to Islam which is still word of God nonetheless. Maybe the world is misguided and the true people of the covenant have been sitting there all along. Where did the people with Israeli status come from? Gypsies with nothing have come from all over the world claiming stake in a piece of Israel just to have or own something. In this case I am not worried, for the true covenant tells the children of Abraham to have faith and trust in their lord. That is exactly what the Palestinians are doing.

    • What kool-aid have you been smoking? “No arms, no military”!!! What do you call rockets and suicide-bombers? And Islam is not the word of God. Allah is a false god and not the God of the Bible. The Koran is not the word of God. But you may be right that at least some of the Palestinians are descended from Jews. Over the centuries in post-biblical times, most Jews came to convert to the dominant religion of their country, which has usually been Christianity or Islam. Almost all of them gave up their Jewish identity when they converted, except for Messianic Jews which are a recent phenomenon. But modern Jews still proudly keep their Jewish identity and should be recognized as such. This is why modern Israel should be internationally recognized as a Jewish state and a homeland for Jews around the world.

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  23. It is easy to judge, to condemn, the United Nations over the years have officially condemned Israel over 250 times for their actions, never once have the PLO been condemned for what they have done! And yes Israel didn’t have a standing army for several hundred years, but when she was given a king she had a standing army of thousands. And true you cannot compare modern Israel with Israel BC. Same with the western church it is nothing like the early church. But whatever stand is taken whether for or against Israel or the Palestinians, the opposite side will always give good reason why you should agree with them, even to quoting scripture

  24. But I don’t really think that most people believe that “standing with Israel means supporting them no matter what.” And God did give biblical Israel the ability to defeat and even destroy its enemies. Though when biblical Israel disobeyed God, He “let” Israel’s enemies conquer it. In post-biblical times, God has had his hand throughout all of human affairs, including where modern Israel is concerned, though we never know exactly where His hand is or what it is doing. We just know that God hates evil everywhere and wants to see it destroyed. Ultimately God does make sure that good triumphs over evil even if it takes a long time to occur. And as Christians, I think that we all know what is good and what is evil when we see it, or at least I hope that we would know.

    • We should be able to figure out that Israel is good and Hamas (and Israel’s other enemies) is bad, even if the result is often messy. Sausage-making usually is messy. It is true that the world is gray, rather than black-and-white, but the world isn’t as gray as a lot of people think it is.

  25. As far as I know the God of Abraham does not have two peoples. The people of God are the seed of Abraham. As far as I understand Paul, the seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ. So the direct implication is that only if you are Christ you are the seed of Abraham. That’s why, among other things, Paul says that in Christ there is no Jew nor Gentile. So, if God has only one people today, and that people is the seed of Abraham, a.k.a. those who are in Chris, then I’m afraid it is quite heretic to equate the modern Israel with the people of God

  26. Pingback: Dani’s Video Blog No.2 — David and Goliath in Reverse | Dani's

  27. Pingback: Grief and Tragedy in the Middle East - Do American Christians Really Care or Understand? - mallaidh.org

  28. Ben I think this post stems from a misunderstanding of the position your attacking. In summary: You’re getting your covenants mixed up! Remember there are at least 5 seperate covenants in the Bible. Not all of them apply today.

    As a Christian I believe the Jews have been restored to the land – NOT because they’re holy and pure, but because God cannot break his promises. Which promise? The promise made to Abraham. The Abrahamic Covenant (AC).

    But in this post you’re trying to apply Old Covenant (OC) commandments rather than Abrahamic Covenant (AC) promises.

    You write, “If modern Israel is the same covenant nation written about in the Old Testament, then they are under the same covenant obligations.” You’re right – but what were the obligations in the AC? Answer: There weren’t any!

    What you’ve done is find a load of commandements in the OC and say they apply to a previous covenant – the AC.

    OC commandments have nothing to do with an AC promise. The OC was only given for that time. It is now obselete.

    Why would God demand that modern Israel live by rules he made in a now obselete covenant? God wants neither Jew nor Gentile nor Israel as a nation to live under the OC.

    Both Israel and the Church are today under a NEW covenant. I believe God wants everyone – both Jew and Gentile to live under the New Covenant. He doesn’t want Israel to go back to the Old Covenant to find out how to live. The OC is done away with.

    Again, remember Israel’s legitimacy does not in any way come from the Old Covenant. Israel’s legitimacy coems from the Abrahamic Covenant (AC) where God promises them the land as an “everlasting posession”. Apparenly in the Hebrew, “everlasting” actually means “everlasting”! ;)

    MASSIVE DISCLAIMER: All that said, I wholeheartedly agree that Israel MUST act justly in the land and look after the stranger as it is commanded in the OT numerous times. I actually think ALL nations should act justly and therefore I would agree with this conclusion: “If the laws that governed Israel in the Old Testament do not apply to Israel today, then they are just another nation, and they should be held to the same standard as every other nation.”

    I agree with that conclusion. God wants all nations everywhere to act justly and to be Godly. He does not expect ANY of them (including Israel) to live under laws he made in 1000BC or whatever regarding having no armies! Such a commandment would make no sense. Instead God wants all people and Nations everywhere (including Israel) to follow the New Covenant.

    Then your final 3 paragraphs just get a bit nasty. I’ll quote the main one I take issue with…

    “Would we stand for any other democratic nation on earth driving people off of land that’s been in their families for generations? Would we stand for any other nation building settlements on land that almost everyone agrees belongs to someone else? Would we stand for them restricting people’s freedom of movement, bulldozing their homes, and killing thousands of innocent civilians?”

    There are a few grains of truth here, but honestly its just another anti Zionist attempt to paint Israel as the big evil aggressor. Paragraphs like this do nothing to promote peace. They lay all the blame on one side. Some of what you insinuate here is just plain wrong. But that’s a seperate political discussion. I don’t think mixing theology and politics in this way is particularly helpful. You’re writing a theological post, so lets deal with the Bible – which we both agree superseed anything that’s happening in modern day politics.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to believe that God promised the land to the Jews > God keeps his promises > God fulfilled his promises in recent years.

    It’s also possible to have a political opinion which is that what Israel is doing now is wrong. There need not be a contradition here. God works through messy political situations. When Jesus was born Herod massacred all the children. Yet God was at work through this and the Messiah was born – allbeit in awful circumstances.

    • ‘Sam’ is mistaken in his reading of the Old Testament. The Abrahamic Covenant DOES have obligations. For example, it is clear in Genesis 17:9-14 that one of the conditions of the covenant is circumcision. The conditionality of the Abrahamic Covenant is made clear elsewhere in Genesis, eg 22:16-18, where God tells Abraham, just after he was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac, “because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you…”. Also, the implication that modern Israel has a Biblical obligation to Palestinians because they are ‘strangers’ in the land which God gave to the Jews is pretty offensive to Palestinians who trace their roots in the land back for centuries, much longer than many European Jews who have now made ‘aliyah’ to Israel. I applaud Ben for his excellent piece which aligns with similar teaching by John Stott and John Piper, among others.

      • Wrong Jeremy, very wrong. Sam is actually spot on. Neither of those passages you referenced have anything to do with the ownership of the land or that covenant which was in Genesis 15 – and WAS unconditional. Gen 17:9-14 is about circumcision and took place at least 13 years later. Gen 22:16-18 is about making Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in heaven because he obeyed the Lord’s command concerning Isaac, and that took place even more years later. There is no mention of ownership of the land on either of those occasions.

      • Sam, to pick up on Jeremy’s point about your implicit reference to Palestinians as “strangers” — i.e., foreigners, outsiders with no right to the land their families have lived on for centuries… you’re allowing your theological interpretation of a handful of Old Testament texts to dictate your political views on who you think is entitled to the land today. Something to keep in mind next time you want to chide someone else for mixing theology and politics.

      • “…you’re allowing your theological interpretation of handful of Old Testament texts dictate your political views re. who you think is entitled to the land today.” Well gee Ben, look who’s talking! That is exactly what you have done yourself!

      • After a “stranger” lives in Israel for a certain number of generations, 6-8 I think, they are no longer aliens. This is what the Mosaic Law says. Which puts modern day Palestinians who have been there for centuries firmly in the non-alien category.

    • Sam, I’m fully aware there are multiple covenants in the Bible. But to treat them as if they are totally separate is, in my opinion, to compartmentalize the Bible. There is one story of redemption in the Bible, not two (or seven, depending on what kind of dispensationalist you are). Also, the Mosaic Covenant repeatedly ties possession of the land to covenant fidelity, as do the prophets. To say “the OC commandments have nothing to do with an AC promise” is to ignore huge swaths of the Old Testament.

      As a Christian, I agree with you that the New Testament invites everyone, Jew and Gentile, to live under the new covenant. But isn’t it interesting that the NT, so much of which is preoccupied with the relationship between Jews and non-Jews under the new covenant, says nothing about possession of a particular piece of real estate by a particular group of people? The new reality inaugurated by Jesus builds on the promises to Abraham and Israel to create one new human family—Jew, Gentile, etc. Together. It encompasses the whole earth.

      Re. the last few paragraphs, which you felt were out of line… calling out injustice does “nothing to promote peace”? Really? Would you say the same of someone who condemns Hamas for the firing rockets at Israel? Would you say their condemnations “do nothing to promote peace”? Are you willing to say the same of those (i.e. Netanyahu, Obama, the entire US Congress, etc.) who lay all the blame on the Palestinians? You are playing with a bit of a double standard here. And besides, I have not laid all the blame on one side. I have been clear that violence by Hamas and other militant Palestinian factions is to be condemned.

      Re. the mixing of theology and politics…funny how that’s only a problem when it’s other people who do it. The reality is that politics and theology are hopelessly intertwined in this debate, especially for US evangelicals, the vast majority of whom give unconditional support to the Israeli state precisely because of their theology.

      Your last statement, btw, is the whole point of my post. Regardless of your theology, you should be able to arrive at the political opinion that what Israel is doing is wrong. Even if you think the modern state is heir to the Abrahamic Covenant, you should still speak up when they engage in acts of oppression and violence. (The OT prophets certainly didn’t hold back on account of their chosen status.) Unfortunately, most evangelicals—particularly in the US—are not willing to tolerate this.

  29. Just thought to add my two cents, as I read through comments, I have no intention to hurt anyone’s feeling.

    There were never multiple Religions all prophets of GOD came with one primary message/religion i.e. “There is only one God and submit and surrender your will to will of GOD in obedience and Worship HIM alone”, this in one word is called “Islam” in Arabic and Muslim is one who practice Islam. “ISLAM”, in fact, is a descriptive title. Whoever possesses the qualities contained within this title, regardless of his race, community, country, or family, is a Muslim. According to Qur’an Abraham, Moses and Jesus (PBUT) and their true followers were all Muslims.

    Islam is not a new religion as one claim, Islam is not named after person, place or people it apply to whole of humanity. Christianity is named after Jesus Christ, the religion of the Jews, takes its name from the tribe of Judah and the country of Judea where it was born, Buddhism after Gautama Buddha.

    However this is not the case with Islam, Islam (submission to the will of GOD) is the universal religion for humanity as a whole which was given to Prophet Adam first man and first prophet. Hence Islam do not claim to be a new religion brought by Prophet Mohammed(PBUH) rather its re-expression in its final form of the true religion of Almighty God, as it was revealed to Adam and subsequent prophets, to mention few Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus , Mohammed (peace be upon them all).

    Nowhere in Bible will you find God revealing to Prophet Moses’s (Pbuh) people or their descendants that their religion is called Judaism or to the followers of Christ that their religion is called Christianity (except in books of acts).

    All prophets of God came with same message “Worship ONE God and don’t associate partners with God and submit your will to the will of God.” So basically they all followed Islam and they all were Muslims.
    One should ask a question was Abraham (PBUH) a Jew or Christian? The names “Judaism” and “Christianity” as religion have no divine origin or approval. It was not until long after his so called “death” that the name Christianity was given to Jesus’ religion.
    Allah(God all mighty) knows best .

  30. The crazy thing is that Israel plays up the short-sightedness of evangelicals to get a blank check from conservative politicians. But what are you going to do? These are the same folks that were convinced for decades that the USSR was mentioned in the book of Revelation – and we’re trying to convince them that the Biblical Israel isn’t the same as the Israel on the news!

  31. Pingback: Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible | Ben Irwin | emotivetruth

  32. This is a great thought provoker, but it lays too much on a one sided view of the conflict. As an Israeli, and a balanced one, I agree our actions are not without blame. But I dare challenge your assumptions that Israel is the problem here, and I wonder how you would see things after spending just one week living in the south and running for your life. I believe your justice oriented observation fails to see the injustice the Palestinian government is to blame for.

    I just hope you do the same critical thinking when you consider the Palestinian dream is a well packaged Islamic vision that leaves no room for thousands of christian Palestinians. If you were under threat by some Islamic extremists who use their people as shields, what would you suggest doing?

    Oh. About “Would we stand for any other democratic nation on earth driving people off of land that’s been in their families for generations? Would we stand for any other nation building settlements on land that almost everyone agrees belongs to someone else? Would we stand for them restricting people’s freedom of movement, bulldozing their homes, and killing thousands of innocent civilians?”.

    History shows it wasn’t as simple as you paint it to be. Driving off people, I mean. But since when ‘truth’ is what everyone agrees? That really puzzles me. And no, you’re wrong when you think this country I love is excited about the deaths of innocent civilians, or worse, when you assume that it is its purpose to kill innocent civilians as you’ve done so clearly in that last sentence.

    Thank you for lighting up the thoughts of evangelicals around the world. It’s true, they should know why they’re supporting Israel and not just support it out of obligation. You should question yourself too as why you’re supporting those who call for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

  33. David, a few thoughts…

    First, I appreciate your willingness to critically reflect on the Israeli government’s actions. To the degree both sides have committed acts of violence, there is blame to be shared. However the narrative perpetuated among evangelical Christians, particularly in the US, is so one-sided—to the point where any criticism of the Israeli state is considered anathema and all the blame is assigned to the Palestinians. This needs to be addressed.

    Second (and for what it’s worth), I make a distinction between the Israeli state, the Israeli people, and the Jewish community as a whole. My criticisms are directed at the first, not the latter two.

    The Palestinians I know would dispute your characterization of “the Palestinian dream.” Also, I don’t see how it’s relevant to speak of a Palestinian government (much less blame them) when no such Palestinian state exists—at least not in the eyes of Israel, the US, and the UK. Seems to me there is a fundamental failure to even listen to the Palestinian narrative.

    As for what should be done if threatened by extremists who use human shields, I’ll grant this is a difficult question. But one answer that’s certainly NOT legitimate is to engage in similar behavior. The Israeli military’s use of human shields in Gaza has been documented.

    I don’t believe the Israeli government’s goal is to kill Palestinian civilians (though you have to admit, some far-right Israeli politicians and commentators have made some rather disturbing statements to that effect). But we still have to face the fact that the overwhelming majority of those killed by the Israeli military were civilians. Politicians can talk all they want about militants using civilian infrastructure as cover—and if these claims are proven true, those responsible should be tried for war crimes. But the rules of war do not accept this as sufficient reason to target civilian infrastructure, as the Israeli military did to such devastating effect.

    If you read what I’ve written, you should know that I am not in any way supporting those who call for the annihilation of anyone. I have condemned Hamas for their violence. I believe every rocket fired—indeed, every act of violence—is an act of blasphemy, because we are all made in God’s image. But I also believe that those with the lion’s share of power also have a greater degree of responsibility.

  34. I guess I am befuddled at the debate. Surely even if one believes in a scripturally justified real estate claim, one cannot infer that the Almighty intended for such a claim to be enforced through the murder of children. Every single one of us Christian, Jew, or Muslim believes that God has commanded “Thou shall not commit murder.” And none of us can be so naive to believe that 1000 pound bombs are only going to affect the structure they are dropped on. And surely, anyone’s claim that the murder of children is justified, lies hypocritical their claim to be pro-life…..

  35. No, I don’t equate modern Israel with “the Israel of God”. Here’s a small collection of articles by the likes of John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John Stott, Michael Horton, and other theologians that make the case with much greater clarity than I can. http://www.thinkingreformed.org

  36. I think many of you who commented here need to go and read the new testemont well before commenting. The old testemont is the preparation for juses coming. When juses came, his testimonies can be find in the new testemont. He made it cleare that his kingdom not on this earth but in heaven. He also told his disciples ( who were among the old Jews who accepted Christ) to go all over the wold to spread juses words. He did not tell them to stay in the land that was ruled by Romans at that time. Moreover, juses made cleare distinction between the Jews who believed in him as a saver and become Christians in his name and between the jantiles who rejected him.
    By the way, if you go and look at copies of old maps you will see the name of palestine – Falsteen there very clearly. It’s the name the area was known for

  37. weak premise. Have you broken Gods favor by wearing two different materials in your shirt Ben? Also not everyone agrees with the myth of the Palestinian State. Mixed emotions. Israel is out of line often but how do you deal with a surrounding population that denies your right to exist, avows your total destruction, and thinks that your having 1% of the land mass in the middle east is 1% too much?

    • A weak premise = suggesting the entire Palestinian population denies your right to exist. Try talking to actual Palestinians instead of tarring an entire population with the actions of an extremist group who doesn’t speak for everyone, not by a long shot.

      • The entire Sephardic Jewish communities, are Jewish Communities who existed in Arab lands historically. Many were there because they found sanctuary from the inquisitions, and a significant number in historical Palestine. “Denies their right to exist” is nothing but a straw man.

  38. Pingback: The problem with using the Bible to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict | Ben Irwin

  39. Pingback: The Hamas Argument - Page 5 - Religious Education Forum

  40. Pingback: Was Islam spread by the sword? - Page 43 - Religious Education Forum

  41. >>Would we stand for any other democratic nation on earth driving people off of land that’s been in their families for generations? Would we stand for any other nation building settlements on land that almost everyone agrees belongs to someone else? Would we stand for them restricting people’s freedom of movement, bulldozing their homes, and killing thousands of innocent civilians?

    Besides the United States, of course.

  42. Thank you Dean May for saying that. I have to say that reading this post made me run the gamut from teeth-clenching to mouth-gaping to groaning aloud in frustration. For a start, “Why evangelicals should think twice….”. How about thinking once? Choosing to “never criticize” is clearly a choice to *avoid* thinking. There are no good reasons to believe that modern Israelis have anything to do with anyone in the old testament. Whether ancient Israel ever had to rely on God’s strength is anyone’s guess, but everyone knows that neither Israel, nor *any other developed country* relies on any deity. They have weapons. They have well-funded military forces, with which they start, fight, and end wars. “If modern Israel is the same covenant nation written about in the old testament…” IT ISN’T! Let it go. God will not appear in the UN and grant favored status to that or any other nation. God will not create, detonate, or destroy any nuclear weapon. God will not sign a piece of legislation, or a cease fire, or a declaration of war. People do these things. People will either insist on an end to violence or not. As several have already pointed out, without foreign aid, Israel as we know it will no longer exist. I don’t comment on the rightness/wrongness of this. And I’ll bet you a sandwich that no one alive really, *really* believes there would be a different result. Just to reiterate what Dean May said– the USA *is* a democratic nation which has “driven people off land that’s been in their families for generations”. The USA not only stands by while violence is committed using our resources, its government also commits acts of violence. Let it go, folks. Trying to mash the modern geo-political paradigm into the old testament template is just unnecessary effort. I don’t say any of this to offend, but honestly: I see people going to such effort and trouble trying to match current experience with ancient scripture, and it just don’t know what the benefit could possibly be. God isn’t going to fix this. God didn’t fix the civil rights years in the USA. He didn’t fix the British oppression of India. It was people, deciding to take action. Quibbling over scripture seems lazy, frankly. Sorry.

  43. Pingback: America, Israel, False Prophet, & Real Profit | Culture CollectiveCulture Collective

  44. The author had me until he started with his anti Israel propaganda at the end of his writing. He clearly starts pointing absurd fingers at Israel concerning the recent historical events vs Palestine. He basically body slams Israel and then says yeah but Palestine is not perfect either. Failing to actually use the historical facts that the Hamas puts their children intentionally in harms way, the Hamas launches countless rockets at Israel without provocation, that there were peace accords given by both parties, and only the Hamas broke them, and that we have suicide bombers killing themselves by walking through tunnels in Gaza neighborhoods getting to Israel to kill and destroy. But then again, heck, why mention those things when he says,

    “Would we stand for any other democratic nation on earth driving people off of land that’s been in their families for generations? Would we stand for any other nation building settlements on land that almost everyone agrees belongs to someone else? Would we stand for them restricting people’s freedom of movement, bulldozing their homes, and killing thousands of innocent civilians? Of course we wouldn’t. And we shouldn’t stand for violence committed by Palestinian groups either. But evangelicals keep giving Israel a free pass. They do so because they believe it is God’s covenant nation. Yet when it comes to holding Israel to the stipulations of that covenant… silence.”

    Biased, and typical Anti Israel propaganda.

  45. Ben,

    I see The Church is not just sticking up for Israel, but also concerned for the innocent lives in Palestine who need freedom from Hamas. I’m personally happy that Israel is ridding the area of Hamas, maybe innocent people will not be killed because of it. Israel is bombing Gaza because of Hamas and it is not Israel’s intention to kill innocent lives, do you think it is? Isn’t Hamas using innocent people as shields? I feel as though you could direct your attention on the people who are doing evil, rather than the Israelites who are defending themselves. What about the innocent lives dying in Israel because of rockets? I’m curious and these are not rhetorical questions: are you saying Israel should not defend itself? And what is your solution to the rockets that Hamas continues to fire?

    • I strongly agree. I would rather ask, “Would God be pleased if the state of Israel openly welcomes all attacks from Hamas and other supporting countries?” or
      “Would God bless Israel for not defending itself?”

  46. Thanks for your research and approach at this topic. I disagree pretty strongly and have only one point to offer:
    Isn’t the point that Israel never did fulfill their obligations. They never got better and better, they got worse and worse. Messiah came not to a group that was obeying more and more, but less and less. The covenants, thankfully, don’t depend at all on Israel, but on God’s promise. He will redeem Israel when the time is right. I will be standing in support of the “broken off cultivated olive branches” as Paul calls Israel today. They can be grafted in more easily than we can imagine because theirs were the promises.

  47. Pingback: Should Evangelicals Support Israel? | Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament

  48. I’m glad Ben started this post as it has provoked some interesting discussion. I’d like to make two points

    Firstly, and assuming that the ‘chosen people’ must be supported by Christians regardless, I’d like to ask how exactly one defines one of the ‘chosen’? I presume it’s based on ‘Jewishness’ but then how do you define that? Do both parents need to be Jewish? Two grandparents out of four? One great grandparent out of eight? You can see what I’m getting at. Presumably there is some Jewish law that defines who is Jewish and who is not, but therein lies the problem that Jesus came to solve- that it’s impossible to live by the law. If there is certain ‘cut-off’ point after which you are no longer technically Jewish, this is a man-made definition which can include or exclude many, rightly or wrongly. At what point can someone we don’t recognise as being ‘Jewish’ become ‘Jewish’? Palestinian Christians can trace their roots back to the time of Jesus, so maybe they have ethnic Jewish roots? Conversely, recent Israeli immigrants are have very tenuous links to Judaism (search for Israeli neo-Nazis on google, you will find this a recent problem in Israel). When some of the ‘chosen people’ themselves (various Jewish rabbis) condemn the state of Israel as being against the principles of the Torah, which ‘chosen people’ exactly are we meant to support? I don’t know, but the point I’m trying to make is that the ‘chosen people’ that we choose to support may not be the same people that God refers to.

    My second point is our attitude to the using the Bible with respect to God’s covenants. Imagine for one moment a conversation between a Christian and a non-Christian:

    Non-C: I don’t believe in God.
    C: Why?
    Non-C: well, I’ve read some bits of the bible and I really don’t like how god tells some people to kill others and there are verses that say we have to stone adulterers and gays. I don’t agree with that.
    C: well, you’re right, there are bits of the bible that are hard to accept, but you need to see if from the point of view of Jesus.
    Non-C: how’s that
    C: Well, the Old Testament points the way towards the coming of Jesus. It’s also trying to tell us that it’s impossible to live by the law- by that I mean that however hard we try, we’ll always do wrong. So Jesus tells us it’s not who you are or what you do that matters, it’s whether you accept your sin and ask for forgiveness.

    However, mention Israel and the Pharisee in many of us comes out. It is no longer about love God and love your neighbour, nor love your enemy (if you want to define your ‘enemy’ as the enemy of Israel as many appear to do). The discussion becomes one of legalism. Please remember that Jesus reserved his strongest criticism of the Pharisees (loved by God and chosen by him but clearly not supported by him in this respect): “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are…..Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence….You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Matthew 23.

    So let me ask this question. For one moment, forget the nationality, ethnicity or religious affiliation of the warring parties in Palestine/Israel. Call them Elliotstan and Mikestan. Would Jesus approve of the indiscriminate use of heavy artillery and missiles by Elliotstan on the largely captive population of Mikestan? Would he approve of Elliotstan’s denial of Mikestan residents access to food, water and electricity? I suspect strongly that Jesus would weep for the casualties of Mikestan and would prefer that Elliotstan demonstrates grace and forgiveness whether Mikestan apparently deserves it or not.
    I also suspect that most of us would urge the stronger party to refrain from the use of overwhelming force, and if they did so we would likely not provide them with weaponry nor financial support (I’m taking as a Christian here, not a politician here who for whatever reason may decide to stoke the conflict further as sadly happens too often).

    In summary, we can use legalistic arguments to justify one position or another. As soon as we remove the concept of love and forgiveness, we immediately become like of the Pharisees, “on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

  49. Please don’t confuse covenants. Israel cannot be under the Mosaic Covenant as that was fulfilled. God promised to bring the Jews back into the Land and only then bring them into the New Covenant (Ez. 36). Biblical Christians understand this. They also understand that the remnant of Jews being saved is tied into the Second Coming. God’s promises in the unconditional covenants to Israel are irrevocable.

    Please stop being so one-sided. Anyone who objectively understands the current situation would condemn Hamas. Isn’t it interesting that this author chooses to go after Israel? Quite telling of where his heart it.

    • Matthew, your assertion that ‘modern Israel is the work of God’ is undeniably true, in the sense that all nations rise and fall as God wills. After all, God ‘changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others’ (Daniel 2:21). But to conclude – as you do in your blog – that the modern State of Israel is prophesied in Ezekiel 36 (or the ‘dry bones’ passage in Ezekiel 37) is to misinterpret these passages quite grievously.

      Ezekiel 36 is a clear reference not to the return of Jews to Palestine in 1948 (what evidence is there of a ‘new heart’ and a ‘new spirit’ in the State of Israel in the last 66 years?) but to the spiritual gathering of all people of faith into the person of Jesus Christ (by whose blood we are sprinkled with ‘clean water’), and it His Spirit who gives us a ‘new heart’. If the land promise were so important, why did Jesus not mention it? On the contrary, he states (Matthew 5:5) that the inheritors of the earth (equivalent Greek word as the Hebrew word for ‘land’ in the OT) will not be the members of one particular ethnic group but the ‘meek’, by which he means ALL people who humbly follow him in obedience and faith. Indeed, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:21-24) that the physical land really does not matter any more: ‘a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth’.

      So, I do believe in God’s promises, 100 per cent, and they are perfectly fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian Zionism has always struck me as subtracting from the efficacy of the cross, by suggesting the continued existence of a parallel covenant which somehow by-passes Calvary. This is the worst kind of heresy, and an offence to our Lord.

  50. Reblogged this on jabarksdale and commented:
    Interesting read. The writer brought some perspectives to light that I hadn’t heard before. However, I still disagree. Like others on this reply thread have mentioned, this writer has failed to understand the scriptural context that they claim to argue from. Regardless, if this writer is going to make the scrutinizing criticisms of Israel that it has on simply a nation-hood status according to the world’s standards and it’s treatment of “Palestinians” (which is a misnomer, by-the-way) then Ben would do well to apply that same criticism to the U.S. and it’s past and current treatment of the peoples that live(d) in what is today the U.S.A. I find Ben sorely lacking in his understanding of the current situation based on God’s word. If he’s going to use the Bible as the basis for what is the truth and falsehood in this matter, then I would strongly urge him not to blur the lines between this approach and the world’s approach to this situation. America, the U.N. and any other body of govt. does not serve as the mouthpiece of God’s voice in this matter. What God says about His people Israel is made clear to all who seek to listen and ACCEPT what God’s opinion is. It may be hard to swallow, I can empathize with that at times, but I have two choices: take the Lord wholly on His word or reject it altogether. You can’t pick and choose Ben what you like that God says and what you rather not take heed of. Regardless, thank you for sharing your perspective on this matter. I’ve found it intriguing and educational.

  51. Bravo Ben, for stating what should be fairly obvious, but for the last 100 years of Dispensationalism muddying the waters of the key question:

    Who is Israel ?

    To boil it down, Scripture identifies Israel (and Zion), as those who live, move & have their being in the Messiah, Jesus Christ the LORD.

    The True Believing Church = Modern Israel = Now a Global church, encomapassing every Tribe, Tongue & Nation.

    All the fighting over the historical boundaries is tragic, and needless. Modern Zionism is a political arrangement & not much more.

    Their is neither Jew nor Greek, nor male or female, but all are one in Christ Jesus.

    Yet we keep rejecting the simplicity of the New Covenant Gospel, for complexities that ensnare us.

    May the LORD wake up Israel to it’s True Nature, and remove the scales from our eyes.

    If this were to happen, maybe the US would stop trying to please both sides in the Israel & Muslim conflicts: Both are in the flesh, without their Messiah. Both need Him. And neither will live in peace until they accept His leadership in their lives & respective nations.

    And, even more to our point here in the USA: until the American Christians grasp this, we won’t have rest from our Middle Eastern Military Mis-Adventures & entangling alliances (that Jefferson & Washington warned us about engaging in….)

    LORD bless you Ben, for taking the heat in this post.

    You know you’re making headway when you get that kind of reaction, Brother.

    David in East Texas

  52. Hey Ben, I noted in your “About Me” that you like to run, in your spare time.

    I’ve been a runner myself (mainly High School cross country & Track), until sidelined by knee injuries.

    Now, the kids & I do some road racing on bicycles.

    My blog covers some of our activities & bikes, too.

    Please check it out, if you have the time !

    Godspeed, David & family

  53. First, a very important verse, followed by an Application:

    “Neither Circumcision, nor Uncircumcision means anything: what counts is a New Creation. Peace and Mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.”

    – Galatians 6:15-16

    During this century, Christians have been told over & over again that “God has an unconditional love for Israel”, by which is meant that God’s love is directed towards persons racially decended from Abraham, regardless of Faith or Obedience.

    Membership in Israel, thefore, is viewed as a matter of race, not faith.

    “The Church is Israel Now” demonstrates that the Bible totally repudiates this racialist viewpoint. Being a member of Israel in the Old Testament was dependent upon faith & obedience to God.

    When the Israelites obeyed God, God loved them. But when they turned from Him, He hated them, stripping them of their Israelite status. After centuries of Israelite rebellion against God, culminating in their rejection of Jesus the Messiah, the titles, attributes and blessings of Israel were transferred to all those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, and to no one else, regardless of Abrahamic descent.

    The Church is Israel Now.

    • In my comment immediately above, I was quoting from the Introduction to a very insightful small book, titled:

      “The Church is Israel Now”

      It is mainly an exhaustive catalog of Scriptures, coordinating the Old Testament cites, into the New Testament & showing that the many titles, attributes & blessings of the nation of Israel were transferred to the Church, under Jesus Christ the Messiah.

      It’s very hard to argue (impossible, I dare say) with the clarity of this work.

      It’s a smallish book, 75 pages or so, & has several indices & quotes the relevant passages at length & compares the OT passage, with it’s NT parallel.

      As such, an excellent study guide – and more importantly, an eye-opener in the sense that it fleshes out the Truth: Christians are the modern day Jews.

      Once we grasp that, a lot of things begin to make sense.

      We also begin to realize that we’ve got be more consistent lovers of God & His Ways, stop playing at Politics (trading in true Christian Statesmanship for partisan tit for tat, that = Statism (the elevation of the State as all powerful, dominating the lives of Christians & non Christians alike), stop using the US Military in place of a true missionary outreach to the Nations.

      We have a great mandate, to make manifest Christ & His Kingdom. But first in our lives & homes, then our churches & communities, reigning in the State to it’s proper boundaries (nil), then outward to transform the Nations, for as Jesus declared in Matthew 28:18:

      “All Authority in heaven & on earth is given unto Me, go ye therefore…..”

      All Authority belongs to Him, who is the true seed of Israel, and the privilege is given to us to carry it out, teaching & discipling all Nations….with no fear….for He will be with us always, even unto the end of the age.

      Again, it’s done not by a political nation, not the USA (alone, or primarily) and not political Israel, but by this Israel:

      “Neither Circumcision not Uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a New Creation. Peace & Mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.”

      – Galatians 6:15-16

      Being a New Creation in Messiah Jesus, is the key to being a member of the “Israel of God”, the same today as when Paul first preached this to the saints at Galatia.

      The book, “The Church is Israel Now” is available on Amazon.com:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1879998394/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

      It’s a great help for all those who want to study this through.

      Thanks again, Ben, for highlighting this important issue. Very, very timely !

      • Hi,

        I just wanted to say that there is absolutely no exegetical basis to say that Christians are modern day Jews. Being a Son of Abraham doesn’t make a person a Jew, even in the physical realm Arabs are descendants of Abraham but that doesn’t mean they’re Jewish, the Biblical definition of a Jew is one who is descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I’m a born again Gentile grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel but my faith in Christ Jesus doesn’t make me Jewish whatsoever. The spiritual Jews are those physical Jews who have accepted Jesus as Messiah.

        Your quotation of Galatians 6:16 using the word “even” from the Greek “kai” is a very poor translation and shows the Bible translation’s replacement theology bias. The vast, vast majority of Bible translations say “and upon the Israel of God.” The Israel of God are the believing remnant within the Jewish nation (Rom. 9:6, 11:1-5) they are a completed Jew in Messiah, circumcised of heart (Rom. 2:28-29). The ones who are blessed in Galatians 6:16 are both the Jews and Gentiles, the one new man in Christ who are justified by their faith. There is nowhere in the Bible where the term Israel refers to the Church, this verse does not prove your point.

        To say that God has rejected His people is to go against the very character of God and against the Scriptures, His promises are irrevocable and your assertion goes against Paul’s very words in Romans 11:1- “I say the, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the Tribe of Benjamin.”

        Highly recommended reading on this large subject of Israel in the Bible is “Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology” by Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

        Thanks

  54. Pingback: Evangelicals, Israel, and the Palestinians | Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament

  55. I saw a video that posted these questions (though not verbatim)
    “What if they leave Israel alone?” Ever wondered?
    “What if Israel gives in to the demands of Palestine, Hamas, and all the Nations that surround?”
    I believe the answer to the last question is clear. Total desolation of an entire race. Another Holocaust.

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  65. I have to say this is a very mute argument. First we must really understand what a covenant is with God. When someone makes a covenant with God they promise to obey him in all things God will never break his part of the covenant! At sometime whether a man individually or collectively as a nation we will break our covenant. It is only through, Jesus Christ, and no other way that we can repent and become reconciled to our covenant with God. This includes repenting through a vicarious sacrifice in old times or a broken heart and a contrite spirit washed in the blood if the lamb Jesus our savior. We our the only ones who break covenants, Gods hand will be stretched out still! He is a unchanging God who can not sin or lie. It was the wickedness of ancient Israel that caused them to loose their promise with God when they repented they were able to reclaim what was their land given to the by God.
    Whether you support Israel or Palestine, two wrongs will never make it right. Whether it be the Jews rejecting the chosen Messiah for two millennia, and choosing Satan as their master and fighting their own brother Ishmael, or our Islamic brothers being stirred up by Satan to fight their brother Isaac. This war will continue until that great and dreadful day of the Lord Jesus Christ sets his foot on the mount of olives, and peace will be upon the whole earth.

  66. What a collection of hogwash. Anyone with any intellectual honesty AT ALL will admit they don’t know what happens at death. And any person trying to tie modern geopolitical realities to an ancient text rife with error and inconsistencies borders on a full blown lunatic. I know…let’s find some obscure verse relating to Chile, Grenada, or the coup in Iran in 1953..

    • Robert, your comments show you have no concept whatsoever of what the Bible is or its origins. Please refrain from criticising something you clearly know nothing about!

  67. And what is this “Satan” stuff?? Too scared to face the reality of what the Bible states?

    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7, KJV)

    • After your previous comment ridiculing the Bible, it is more than a bit rich to then quote from it in order to make your next point.

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