The problem with using the Bible to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

8 thoughts on “The problem with using the Bible to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

  1. I do NOT believe the current Israel is the Israel of the Bible..as related to the covenant in the OT,they (OT Israel) broke the covenant..not God..thus a covenant has to be agreed upon by both parties involved in the covenant or it is no longer a covenant..

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  2. Hi Ben,

    Even though you say that replacement theology gets some things wrong what you are doing is basically saying the same thing just in a different way that God has no specific purpose in the future regarding the national promises for Israel.

    Something I really want to object to is the passage in Acts 1 in the way that you portray the Lord as “dismissing the question out of hand.” Really? That is quite a far reaching conclusion to come to from reading the text. The way many theologians such as Calvin portray the Lord Jesus is as rebuking the disciples in Acts 1:6-8 as if the disciples were asking an idiotic question and He then comes down on them like a tonne of bricks when in fact it was indeed a very valid question. We have to ask why did they ask this question? In verse 3 we are told that Jesus had been teaching them after His resurrection of things concerning “the Kingdom of God”. The Kingdom of God is a Messianic Concept, it was their Messianic Hope. Then in verse 5 Jesus speaks of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The disciples knew from the Old Testament that the restoration of the Kingdom would be preceded by Israel’s salvation, references to this include Isaiah 32:15-20, 44:3-5 and Zechariah 12:10-13:1.

    The OT prophets clearly foretold that there would be a national salvation of Israel before the restoration of the Kingdom and this national salvation will be preceded by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so logically what they were thinking is what was spoken of in verse 5 is the same as the national outpouring of the Spirit upon Israel that the Prophets spoke of. What they were confusing was Spirit Baptism for the individual believer with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the nation of Israel. What they were asking is “will the Messianic Kingdom come now?” “Is the Times of the Gentiles fulfilled?” “Will you now restore the Davidic Kingdom?” The issue isn’t if it’s going to happen but when. They were asking “when is this going to happen?”

    I really don’t want to make this a long winded essay but as to your argument regarding that there is no mention of the land in the NT I have to differ, first, there are clear references in the NT to the restoration and future of Israel apart from Romans 9-11, in Acts 3:17-21 Peter says that Jesus had ascended to heaven “UNTIL the period of restoration” of what the OT prophets spoke about. This is the promised restoration of Israel as a national entity to the land because this is what the Prophets spoke of, they spoke of a time when Israel will possess the land in the future so in this passage what Peter is saying is that Christ will remain in heaven until the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, Jesus spoke of this as the regeneration (Matt 19:28).

    Also in Matthew 23:39 Jesus clearly predicts that there will be a time when the Jewish people will recognise Jesus for who He is and they welcome their rejected Messiah (Zech. 12:10) and the place He was speaking to was specific, Jerusalem (v37). Also the plain meaning of Luke 21:24 is that Gentile rule and possession of Jerusalem is to have an end, then it will come again into the possession of the Jewish people as their Capital. It is impossible to make Jerusalem spiritual here, it is quite obvious that this is speaking of earthly Jerusalem. To take a Preterist interpretation of this text is also impossible here because Gentile rule over Jerusalem exceeded way beyond AD 70. Jesus is speaking literally and He is saying that the restoration of sovereignty of Jerusalem to the Jewish nation will come when the “times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

    Lastly, Acts 1:11 says that Jesus “will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” This verse says that Jesus is going to return to a specific place upon this earth and that place is the Mount of Olives because Acts 1:12 tells us that’s where the Ascension takes place, Jesus’ return to the Mount of Olives is clearly predicted in Zechariah 14:1-4 and verse 4 states “His (Jesus’) feet will stand on the Mount of Olives”, which is the same event as referred to in Acts 1:11 when He returns and to spiritualise this text is also impossible, Zechariah 14:2 states that all nations will gather in battle against Jerusalem, this implies that Jerusalem will be the capital of the Jewish nation or why else would “all the nations” be gathered against her? All the nations wouldn’t be gathered against Jerusalem if it was under Islamic control!

    Thanks for reading,

    God bless

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  3. To people who do not share your religious views and your faith, the bible-based approach that you take is incredible and untenable. If one accepts your premise, then all that is needed, to justify any atrocity, is a suitable passage in the bible, that can be intrepreted in such a way as to justify the atrocity. In the U.S.A. and other western cultures, we cannot claim to have a fair and impartial perspective on the Israeli-Arab conflict so long as we continue to look to the bible to find justtification for our support of Israel. You are taking a small step in the right direction, but your small step is only that. Grass-root support for Israel within the U.S.A. comes directly from our religious heritage; this is why it is not fair or impartial. God did not promise that land to the Jews. The very idea that the Supreme Being would pick out one group of human beings as his favorite, and do something like that, is outrageous. This clearly is what you and others like you believe, and this is why the U.S.A policy in the Middle East is not fair and is not impartial. And beyond that, the reason that the Israel of today is not the same as the Israel of the Bible is that the Israel of the Bible was a culture of that existed two thousand years ago and that ceased to exist about that long ago. The majority of modern Israelis are descended primarily from the people of that ancient culture, but the Israeli government decides who is and who is not a “Jew” and thereby entitled to the priviledges that they claim for Jews. Thus, the modern state of Israel is a synthetic culture that evolved during the 20th century, starting around the time of WWI, and for which the binding thread, genuinely, is belief in the essential notion that God promised that land to the people who identify themselves with that belief. The whole thing revolves around religious belief. If you are not a religious person or do not subscribe to the Judeo-Christian tradition and point of view, you cannot help but question why the Truman administration even recognized Israel in the first place. You cannot help but conclude that were it not for the fact that we closely identify with Judaism in our predominately Christian culture, we would never have had any inclination at all to align ourselves with Israel, and would not today have a strong sense of obligation to Israel. We are deeply mired in a conflict that will almost certainly escalate and eventually reach a state of all-out, unlimited warfare that will spill over into our country (as it has already) and the reason that we put ouselves in this predicament is because of our religious belief: in the ancient Jewish Text that early Christian leaders continued to embrace (because it foretold the coming of the Messiah), one of the fundamental themes is that God himself promised an ill-defined piece of land to an ill-defined bunch of people who needed a foundation for their claim to the land that they wanted.

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  4. I enjoyed your post and agree that Israel (and more specifically the Kingdom of God) encompasses more than just the Jewish people of the promise. That said, I must admit that I do believe in the national restoration of the historical Israel according to the OT boundaries. I’d invite you to take a look at Ezekiel 37 as a text that outlines God’s plan for reestablishing Israel in the land promised to Abraham. I think it’s a testament to the faithfulness of God that He will see that ancient promise through without compromising the overarching plans for humanity that you laid out.

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  5. If you recall when god ordered Jeremiah to buy Hamalel’s field in Anathoth, just before being taken captive to Babylon. The whole country would to be laid waste, yet this pointed for a time would come, when houses, and fields, and vineyards, should be again possessed. Now, contrasted this, with New Testament believers – they began selling their property and possessions – afterwards because of persecution had to abandon their home land. so the gospel is never been about the people nor the land, it is about redemption of mankind.

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