Israel, the Jews and Evangelicals
The rise of Islam and anti-semitic attitudes in Europe and around the world will surely oblige Bible-believing Christians to come to a view on God's present and future purposes for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
First published 23/03/12
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. (Zech 12:2-3)
And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people... (1 Chron 17:21)
WITHIN the past three weeks three incidents (Note 1.) have typified the extent to which individuals and organisations are moving towards creating a climate similar to that in 1930s Germany which lead to Kristallnacht and ultimately the Holocaust.
Islamists, followers of other religions, secular humanists and atheists will come to a view based on their own creeds, perceptions and understandings. It will not be much different - and indeed it is already the case - that those within the ambit of the Christian church who pay scant heed to the Word of God will behave in similar fashion.
However, there is one group of people around the whole world which marches, or should at least, to a different drumbeat. That group is Bible-believing Christians who believe that God is sovereign, and that His Word is unchanging, complete and authoritative.
Yet even within the evangelical community there is most likely four sub-groups:
those who believe that God has yet a special place in His present and future purposes for the Jews and the nation of Israel (even though presently mainly in unbelief regarding the Jewish Messiah) (Note 2.)
those who have been taught (or at least teach) Replacement Theology which runs counter to the above position (Note 3.)
those who have not been taught (i.e. those who have had no clear teaching or none at all on the prophetic scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments) (Note 4.)
sadly there is probably a group which 'will not be taught' (i.e. minds have been made up and views are fixed) (Note 5.)
As the world moves inexorably towards the second coming of Jesus Christ, and for those who believe the Bible's teaching that 'his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives' (Zech 14:4) the question of attitudes towards and beliefs regarding the Jews and Israel will increasingly oblige believers to sort out their thinking and take a position.
The issue could well become one of, if not the, most controversial subjects within evangelical circles between now and Kingdom come.
The video to the right is an extract from a video by Derek Prince where he says: "If you don't understand Israel, you don't understand the Bible."
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Note 1. The three recent incidents – typical but certainly not unique – together sum up what is happening in the world and in the church: they are
Note 2. To see what Christian leaders of this and an earlier age have taught and believed see quotations from Yachad flier.
See also comment by J.C. Ryle and a summary from God's word.
Note 3. The Replacement Theology view has existed from the 3rd century onwards but has come to the fore especially following the recreation of the state of Israel in 1948. The national Church of Scotland spent the best part of an afternoon at its General Assembly in May 2011 discussing how the Church might call for a boycott on Israeli products without breaching the law. In 2007 one of its most senior ministers wrote to the Church following the May 2007 General Assembly. However the Church of Scotland is not the only denomination which has taken, or is moving towards, towards a hostile view.
Note 4. There is a vast swathe of members in the evangelical churches that has not had any teaching on these subjects and are consequently unaware of the issue(s).
Note 5. The media and organisations like the United Nations have been extremely influential in shaping views. The BBC is continuing to resist efforts to force the publication of an internal report which accuses the broadcaster of institutional anit-semitism. University campuses are also become fertile grounds for Islamic and anti-Israel activism. In the final analysis (on any topic) the will of God trumps all human thoughts, prejudices and/or teachings of other religions, political bodies and public opinion.