Jesus Christ Is Lord

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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Do Not Be Deceived: You Have A Creator

Posted by Job on April 6, 2009

Consider Psalm 100:3. “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

There are three ways to look at this. First: evolution. Let it be known that evolution is not science, but a naturalistic and materialistic belief system very similar to a religion. Call it pantheism (of which Hinduism is an example and Greek and Roman mythology are to a degree) without “gods” like Vishnu, Apollo, Zeus, Mars, etc. In those systems, the “gods” are merely part of nature, the universe, and these “gods” created (or more accurately rearranged) things that basically already existed. Pantheism claims that humans, for instance, were created by beings that were, while higher life forms, still part of creation. In other words, creation “created itself.” Evolution takes the same position: the universe, creation, man, etc. made itself, is the product of its own doing. Its only innovation, or evolution of thought if you will, is to reverse the logic. Where pantheism goes downward, basically beginning with higher life forms who produce the lower life forms, evolution goes upward, beginning with lower life forms that advance to higher ones. Or truthfully using the “primordial soup” theory (that is quite reminiscient of the near east pantheist “primordial seas” that Baal and other gods conquered) the true beginning is with nonliving matter that organizes itself into living matter. What more evidence do we need that this is a belief system rather than a science than the fact that the modern popularizer of this “theory”, Charles Darwin, proposed it without the benefit of any of modern evolution’s underpinnings? Consider this quote

Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution. Such as: Gregor Mendel’s patterns of heredity (which gave Darwin’s idea of natural selection a mechanism — genetics — by which it could work), the discovery of DNA (which gave genetics a mechanism and lets us see evolutionary lineages), developmental biology (which gives DNA a mechanism), studies documenting evolution in nature (which converted the hypothetical to observable fact), evolution’s role in medicine and disease (bringing immediate relevance to the topic) and more.

So, it was by faith alone that Darwin not only embraced this false gospel (which the article further states that he received by hearing from HIS FATHER). And how amazing that Darwin, who originally studied to be a minister, in renouncing Christianity rejected the witness of 500 people who saw the resurrected Christ, a standard that would be accepted by any courtroom today, in order to become the herald for an idea supported by no evidence whatsoever. How more amazing still that Darwin had so many immediate sympathizers that were willing to reject that established by the testimony so many well known prominent individuals, many of whom died for their beliefs, in order to accept Darwin’s racist and misogynistic ramblings in The Origin of the Species. The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Here is an excerpt:

Here is what Darwin writes in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex:”With savages, the weak in body or mind are eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

Not exactly the mindset of the Bible, where the queen of Sheba was the first known convert to Yahwism, the Ethiopan eunuch was was one of the first non – Jewish Christians, and Simeon Niger (Simon the black) was one of the first deacons in the church.

So why did so many people rush to accept the pantheism of Darwin? It is not so much to deny the existence of a Creator, but rather what having a Creator necessarily implies, the “we are the sheep of His pasture” part. Having a Creator means that this Creator is sovereign over you, possessing complete, total, and unchallenged ownership rights, and is able to do with you as He pleases. In other words, a Creator has the right to tell you what to do, and punish you if you refuse.

Now this mindset ruled western culture for centuries: the idea that there was a God and you had to do what He said. Basically, the laws, customs, and other rules for civil society were fundamentally derived from this notion. Naturally, certain people soon found this form of social control too restrictive for their liking. The best way to challenge it? Either deny the existence of God, or deny God’s sovereign ownership over man and his affairs. Darwinism gave these people a way to reject the notion that they were sheep in God’s pasture in favor of the vain notion that they were masters of their own fate, accountable to no one.

So it was because of their desire to reject God’s authority over their lives and His ultimate rule over the nations that they rejected the 500 eyewitnesses to the resurrection of the Great Shepherd who came in the Name of God in favor of a man who came in his own name and possessed no evidence at all. These people stated “we are not God’s creation! Creation made itself, which means we made ourselves!” And do you know what is the logical conclusion of claiming that creation is the creator? Why, creation worshiping itself. The apostle Paul prophesied of just such a thing happening around 50 AD, about 1750 years before Darwin in Romans 1:25 “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Where else do we see the worship of creation manifested more clearly except that of the modern environmentalist movement? And yes, the modern environmentalist movement is little more than the eastern pantheist Gaia religion. 

An example of this religious mindset: Richard Dawkins, that great polemicist against Christianity. When challenged by the very Christian apologists that creation worshipers want to keep out of our schools, Dawkins finally admits that there are severe holes in his precious evolutionary theory that cannot possibly be resolved. But what does Dawkins resort to? Time! He states that over billions of years, so many attempts at evolutionary adaptations took place that some of them HAD to work AND become self – sustaining and self – replicating! How? When? Where? Is there any way to test, verify, observe, measure, or prove it? Dawkins freely admits: of course not. Instead, he demands that the logic be accepted that events occuring over a long enough time made it happen. Except that it isn’t logic. It isn’t science. It is FAITH. Where Christians say that “with God, all things are possible” Richard Dawkins and his evolutionary cohorts say “with TIME all things are possible.” End result: Richard Dawkins is worshiping “father time”, the Greek god Cronus and the Roman god Saturn. Dawkins, then, is not an atheist but a pantheist, and so is every other evolutionist. 

If anything, Dawkins and his ilk need more blind faith in Cronus than the God of the Bible requires. The God of the Bible left evidence in the form of 500 eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a host of fulfilled prophecies (and not a single failed one), and lots of other wonders and miracles done before the world. Allow me to say that I have had the pleasure of experiencing at least two of them. A few years ago, I was suffering from worsening asthma, and kidney swelling caused by misuse of my asthma medication. I prayed in the Name of Jesus Christ, and both my asthma and kidney swelling were instantly healed. Both of these were confirmed upon subsequent visits to my primary care physician, who had been prescribing various asthma medicines to me for years (and who also diagnosed my kidney problems and referred me to a kidney specialist), and the kidney specialist that I saw. So, my faith does not require the type of blind faith as possessed by Richard Dawkins and all of the others who followed after Darwin, and it is a good thing too because being someone who has always been somewhat skeptical and cynical, I lack the capacity for that type of faith. I am not from Missouri, but you still have to show me, and Jehovah has shown me much more than father time/Cronus/Saturn will ever show anyone. All to reject the authority of God over their lives!

Now for the second angle. This text was written from the perspective of a Hebrew speaking of God’s creating the nation and people of Israel. Israel rightly viewed itself not as a mere political entity or ethnic tribe, but rather one which owed its existence to a supernatural act, or special creation. Israel’s problem would appear to be that they forgot that their special status was not due to their nationality, lineage, location, religion, priesthood, or temple but instead totally due to God. Because of this, not only were they conquered, sent into captivity, and made into a diaspora, but when God revealed Himself in the flesh in the form of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ right before their eyes, they refused to recognize Him.

Their eyes were blinded and their hearts were hard, so they rejected Him, conspired against Him, convicted Him of crimes though they knew that He was sinless, and sent Him to the Romans to be slain on a tree, in the process having a murderer released in His place. By virtue of a mere technicality they did not commit this deed, for they were not the ones who actually struck the lashes and nailed the nails. But they were every bit as responsible for the deed as is the person who hires a hitman is for murder even though the person who places the contract on someone’s life does not himself fire the gun. Why? Not only did the Jews forget that God sovereignly created their nation, but they also forgot God’s ownership rights. Rather than accepting that they were the sheep in God’s pasture, they felt that because they were the children of Abraham to whom was given the Torah and the prophets that it gave them some sort of claim, some sort of ownership, on God.

First of all, He could only be the God of the Jews and never the God of the Gentiles. Second, He was obligated to restore to the Jews the nation of Israel and the throne of David at the time that they saw fit, and furthermore they could bring this about by virtue of their own piety and religious good works (the stated goal of both the Pharisees and the Essenes). Third, if the Messiah did not come with their mission, political salvation as opposed to spiritual salvation, they had the right to reject Him as a false Messiah. Fourth, God only had the right to reveal Himself to them in a manner that they thought appropriate.

So, they rejected God’s self – revelation through incarnating Himself as a human being subject to natural birth, temptation, and natural death, and they rejected that the Unity of God as expressed in the shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) was actually a Tri – Unity. Now the fact that the very first Name of God revealed in the Torah is PLURAL should have been a longtime question that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ provided an answer to (see John 1:1, a clear reference to and explanation of Genesis 1:1) but because they rejected the authority of God over their lives, being merely the sheep in God’s pasture, they had no interest in the question or the Resolution.

So, they had the Answer slain on a tree and continued to reject Him still even after He overcame their judgment and punishment. (By the way, rabbis to this day have  the “not conceding that He ever rose from the dead, but even if He did it still doesn’t prove that He was the Messiah and the Son of God!” argument that they have been practicing and using for a mighty long time.) So where the evolutionary pantheists deny a monotheistic Creator, Judaism purports to allow for it while denying its implications: that this monotheistic Creator retains the prerogative to exist, reveal Himself to, and deal with His creation in whatever manner He sees fit.

Now while a great many evangelical Christians love “Expelled”, the anti – evolutionary polemic by the non – Messianic Jew Ben Stein, the truth is that the position of evolutionary pantheists is actually more consistent and less contradictory and hypocritical than of Jews who reject Jesus Christ. The former merely worships an impotent and silent god Saturn. The latter claims to believe in the Torah while denying that the all powerful God that gave them the Torah had the power, prerogative, and motive to incarnate the Torah as a Man and use this Man save both Jew and Gentile. 

The third angle: the church. Just as Israel was a special creation of God, the church clearly is also. However, many professing Christians are making precisely the same error that the Jews did, which is taking God and our status before Him for granted, making it a thing of pride rather than a motive to serve and submit to Him out of humility and gratitude, and thinking that God is just a little bit under our obligation to deal with us as we see fit. The primary way that this manifests itself is a refusal to separate ourselves from the world. On one hand, we confuse the mission of the church – and by extension the mission of Jesus Christ – for being one that is temporal and earthly. We make the gospel a servant of man and his desires rather than making man a servant of the gospel. On another hand, we do what Jude calls in verse 4 “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.” In other words, we use our status as Christians as license to sin and claim that God is obligated to forgive us. Oh, we obey all right, but only the things that we see fit to obey when we feel like obeying them.

It is interesting that Jude refers to this as “denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Both groups do this by take the Jesus Christ of the Bible and turn Him into the Jesus Christ that they want Him to be, one that is only a Savior and not a Lord. They want a Jesus Christ that will save them but will not rule them because they do not wish to be the sheep of God’s pasture any more than the inconsistent Jews or the father time worshiping evolutionists. That makes such people, who claim to profess Jesus Christ as God while simultaneously denying what scripture plainly reveals God to be, even bigger hypocrites and even more inconsistent than the perfidious Jews are. These are the ones who claim to have such trouble reconciling the “angry wrathful punishing God” of the Old Testament with the “loving merciful gracious God” of the New Testament, and believe that Jesus Christ came to save everyone but the Pharisees because the church folk who refuse to acommodate sin are the only ones that Jesus Christ will ever condemn. Apparently, such people believe that God decided that He was wrong, so He sent His Only Begotten Son so that we could enjoy the same pleasures of sin that Moses refused (Hebrews 11:25). Pardon me, but would not such a God owe the Jews an apology? God forbid!

So whether you are an evolutionary pantheist, a Jew, or a carnal Christian, Psalm 100:3 is still true, and its meaning applies to you. You had best take its implications seriously by obeying the words of Jesus Christ as expressed in Matthew 3:2 and Matthew 4:17: repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Believe that Jesus Christ is God and Savior, be baptized in His Name, and be saved. 

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Unheeded or Misinterpreted Signs – The Destruction of Jerusalem 70AD

Posted by Job on March 29, 2009

A must read from PJ Miller!

Unheeded or Misinterpreted Signs – The Destruction of Jerusalem 70AD

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Considering Democracy And The Anti-Christ

Posted by Job on March 25, 2009

Inspired by the book “Will Democracy Elect the Anti-Christ” by Arno Froese which was ordered, never shipped, and now is no longer available from that distributor. Amazingly, this spur of the moment, rushed, and completely unthreatening and inoffensive effort was banned by Google in the first attempt to submit it, so it was resubmitted in a manner designed to evade their censors.

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Hypocrisy Watch: Mauritania – Muslim Nation That Holds Blacks As Slaves – Expels Israeli Ambassador Over Human Rights

Posted by Job on March 7, 2009

We Christians must pray for Mauritania and target that region, both slaves and slaveowners, for evangelism.

Mauritania expels Israeli ambassador

Slavery in Mauritania

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Burning Incense To Caesar: Regarding Avigdor Lieberman’s Proposed Loyalty Oath In Israel

Posted by Job on February 27, 2009

Two things.

First, I am thoroughly shocked at the intense and pervasive anti – Israel and anti – Semitic feelings around the globe that has been growing exponentially since the September 11th terror attacks. Now I do have a theory on why SOME of this is taking place, specifically among certain corners of the left. First, there has always been a large anti – Semitic presence on the left, but it has been largely muzzled by an apparently pro – Jewish sentiment in that body. I said “apparently” because it was never legitimate, but rather many of these people’s using the Jews. First, Jews were a bold, intellectually vital, and financially necessary part of the radical left in its early days. Second, it was unbecoming to be an open anti – Semite while simultaneously agitating for equal or special rights for blacks, women, Hispanics, homosexuals, atheists etc. Third, and perhaps most important, Jews were very important as a strategic weapon against conservatives, which at the time was primarily led by anti – Semitic (or at least non – Zionist) paleoconservatives.

Now the situation has reversed itself. The radical left is now mainstream, fully in control of the government and further having made major inroads in our corporate and financial institutions. So, they no longer need the courageous leadership, brilliant ideas, or financial backing of Jewish socialists. Also, multiculturalism and relativism now make it entirely possible – indeed fashionable – to denounce Israel and Jewry as evil while glorifying suicide bombers who target Israeli schoolchildren as freedom fighter servants of “god” through the religion of peace. And most importantly, the left can no longer use the charge of anti-Semitism to attack the actions and motivations conservative opponents, because the paleoconservatism of the recent past has given way to a pro – Zionist neoconservatism, many of whose ideas and leaders come from the ranks of conservative Jews, and much of whose money, numbers, and organizing muscle comes from premillennial dispensational evangelical Christianity. So, where a conservative was often called “anti – Semite” as a political tactic in times past by leftist activists, modern leftist activists now bash Jews and Israel far more overtly, publicly, and viciously than the conservative WASP (or as it were Roman Catholic) bankers and politicians ever did in private, and now use “homophobe” as their weapon of choice against conservatives. The best example of this startling shift: where leftist Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fervent Zionist and employed communist Jews as his speechwriters, organizers, and strategists, Barack HUSSEIN Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright casts his lot with the Palestinian terrorists and counts Louis Farrakhan (and similar) among his support system. Not the Palestinians, mind you, for the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not violent criminals, but people and groups who have blood on their hands and are thirsty for more of it. And where King was roundly criticized for his Zionist position, Obama and Wright were only challenged – and in an extremely muted fashion – by a few neoconservatives.  This is only explicable by a rapid and amazing rise in the climate of anti – Semitism (both that which exists and that which is tolerated in others) which can only be explained by the activity of evil spirits. 

So, it is in this context that Avigdor Lieberman is being called – amazingly – “Jewish Hitler” in some circles. I will not even bother to explain how such a moniker, such a comparison, is so grotesquely inaccurate and inappropriate that it can either only be made by someone who is unaware of Hitler’s ideology and behavior and is merely used to calling someone that you disagree with “a Nazi” (which does honestly seem to be increasingly the case … the media and the education system seem fine with willfully refusing to educate people about Hitler and the Nazi regime so that any view or ideology that they disagree with, including those in the New Testament, can be accused of either contributing to the Holocaust or leading us to a new one … a columnist for the Detroit Free Press actually claimed that George W. Bush’s proposals to cut taxes and create private Social Security accounts could lead to a state policy of exterminating low income people, and yes people like her often tend to be pro – abortion!).

And what makes Avigdor Lieberman so monstrous? Quite simply, his proposal for a loyalty oath, that all citizens be required to publicly express loyalty to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. Those who refuse have to options: to leave Israel (and if I am correct, it is at Israel’s expense!) or to remain there as a sort of second – class citizen. Lieberman has even stated that a person does not need to declare loyalty to Zionism, which comes with a lot of political and religious implications that a lot of people (including haredi Orthodox Jews!) cannot abide. Such a person merely needs to be willing to declare an acceptance of the fact that Israel exists now and of its continued existence in largely its current makeup and form (a secular western democracy with a mostly Jewish population where Orthodox Judaism plays a huge role – indeed a larger role than Christianity ever has in America, as it is modeled more closely after 19th century Lutheran Germany or Anglican England than America) – in Jewish government and institutions.

Jewish supporters of Lieberman’s proposed oath point out that the United States requires the same of people beocoming  naturalized United States citizens. That is a willfully false comparison, as Lieberman’s oath would be required of everyone, both natural born citizens and already naturalized citizens, as a requirement of retaining their citizenship. In America, it is practically impossible for a natural born or naturalized citizen to be stripped of his status against his will. 

However, Israel is not America. Enumerating the many differences between their legal code and its underlying assumptions and our own would be rather unwieldly, but suffice to say that a Christian could spend a year in an Israeli prison for giving a “Gideon’s Bible” containing the New Testament (as they of course all do) to a Jewish 12 year old. Like all parliamentary democracies, Israel lacks freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other things that make America much more of a constitutional republic than a pure democracy. 

Also, what Israel chooses to do with its citizenry is ultimately a matter of state, not of the cross. And though I believe Lieberman’s proposal to be exceedingly unwise, as it would be the doings of a democratic state that is not only secular but “founded on and governed according to anti – Christian principles and values” (it is a Jewish state, after all, so cast aside your premillennial dispensational Christian Zionism long enough read the 1, 2, and 3rd John and take its contents seriously) as opposed to the doings of a church or other body of professed Bible believing Christians, my position must be neutral, one of the many things that has happened and will happen in this world until Jesus Christ comes back. 

Yet and still, I cannot restrain myself from considering this policy past and future. It reminds me of the persecution against Christians in the Roman Empire. Christians were required to swear loyalty to the Roman state – and its state religion – with Caesar as head of both the state and religion with the status of a minor god in the religion by signing a document and bowing before either Caesar or his effigy. People who did so received certification of having done so, and people found by authorities in a condition of not having this certification either had to burn incense to Caesar or his statue immediately, or be subject to arrest, torture, and death. This policy resulted in the deaths of Christians in numbers exceeding a million, and the imprisonment or torture of still more.

I think that it is fair to point out that some Christians interpret the “mark of the beast” portions of Revelation to refer to this time, while others – myself included – believe the Roman persecution to be a precursor to the much worse persecution still to come under the great tribulation.

With that in mind: consider this. Were Israel to actually implement Lieberman’s policy (which by the way would take major changes to Israel, including but not limited to a major redirection of public opinion, big changes of Israel’s laws, and a complete overhaul of the composition of their largely liberal courts, which are far more likely to sentence conservative Israelis to 6 months of community service for speech code violations for displaying shirts and bumper stickers with slogans offensive to Muslims – again, Israel has no freedom of speech – than approving a citizenship test), then in order to be viable and practical, the government would have to be able to differentiate between who has taken the loyalty oath and who hasn’t. (After all, Christians had various ways of evading detection and capture by the Romans.) This is not the case of apartheid South Africa, where it was very easy to use physical appearance to determine different treatment by government authorities. Israel is not even planning on automatically deporting those who reject the loyalty oath, but rather giving such people the option of remaining as second class citizens. 

So, how is this to be done except A) completing a national computerized database or registry of people who have  and haven’t declared a loyalty oath and B) requiring people to carry evidence of their loyalty and status with them on their person so that the government officials – and anyone else who decides to enact similar policies of their own, including banks, grocery stores, and other businesses – would be able to differentiate and treat people accordingly? Would it take the form of an identification card that a person would be forced to carry? Well, those can be forged. What about a government – issued microchip? 

But that is just Israel, you say? Wrong. Various interests in America have been promoting “national ID cards” and “national registries” for years to combat everything from legal immigration to voter fraud (not to mention databases of people allowed or not allowed to buy firearms, and also of sex crime offenders … are “hate crimes” offenders next?).  If Israel adopts a national registration and ID system to implement their loyalty oath policy, then other western style governments are very likely to emulate it for their own national ID systems to address their own (real and perceived) problems. As a matter of fact, dictatorships and other authoritarian regimes are even more likely to. 

So, for no other reason than that, Lieberman’s proposal is something to watch and think about, along with the many similar proposals in our own country, especially those who prefer national ID cards over simply building a border fence, or people who claim that there aren’t simple and local solutions to voter fraud.

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Will The Anti – Christ Come From The Line Of Ishmael?

Posted by Job on February 16, 2009

Whether the anti – Christ will come from the line of Ishmael has to be considered. Of course, he may be a figurative or spiritual descendant rather than a natural one. And there are probably more physical descendants of Ishmael about than those within the Muslim faith, and it can certainly include former Muslims that did not become spiritual descendants of Abraham by becoming born again Christians. Still, a bit of Biblical evidence has to be considered.

Genesis 16:11 reads “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

Genesis 17:20 reads “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Genesis 21:21 reads “And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”

Galatians 4:22-29 reads “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”

Interesting that both Ishmael and Isaac are descendants of Abraham. However, scripture has always depicted the line of Isaac as being supernatural, born of the spirit, and representing the world to come that will reign with Jesus Christ. The line of Ishmael, on the other hand, represents the natural, the sons of the earth, and representing the world or this current order. So it is interesting that just as the Godly spiritual order or kingdom is represented by the 12 tribes of Israel for Judaism and the 12 apostles for Christianity, Ishmael, the one born after the flesh that represents the natural order, had 12 princes as well.

Now realize that the best defintion of the word translated as “Satan” is “opponent” or “adversary.” Satan opposes God and God’s people. Also, consider, type/anti – type, what the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles that replaced them represent, and consider the 12 of Ishmael the opposite of that. The Godly 12 of Israel and of the apostles represent God’s people, first Israel and then the Body of Christ, on the earth, so Ishmael’s nation of 12 represents its opposition; supernatural versus natural. Finally, consider that the number of the man of sin, the beast, is the number of a man, which could be a reference to Ishmael’s being one after the flesh and not of the promise. 

So if Jesus Christ was the descendant of the 12 dukes of Israel, how sensible would it be were the anti – Christ the descendant of the 12 dukes of Ishmael? Either way, the type and anti – type, the Redeemer and opponent, will have come from Avraham (Abraham). 

Also, Paul stated that just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac (and the world has persecuted true Christians!),  he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit. That also falls in line with the prophecies in Revelation that refer to the beast, the man of sin, persecuting the church during the great tribulation. 

So then, this is something for Christians to ponder as we watch and pray for the return of our Lord and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus Christ.

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Newsmax: George W. Bush Betrayed Conservatives

Posted by Job on January 21, 2009

The most interesting thing about the two columns below is the part in the first where it asserts:

The war was justified on the legitimate evidence, first offered by the Clinton administration, that Saddam Hussein was intent on developing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Hussein had flouted agreements with the United Nations, and his riddance was a desirable goal. But almost from the beginning, the war was flawed. The American occupiers quickly fired the entire Iraqi military, leaving not only a tremendous vacuum of authority but also turning loose trained military professionals to join terror cells and paramilitary groups who would work to undermine the U.S. efforts.Some Pentagon military advisers suggested the U.S. military force was too light to accomplish the goal of both invading Iraq and stabilizing the country. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld strongly resisted deploying a larger force.

And as casualties mounted in the early part of the war, the administration continued to resist sending additional troops. Only after the 2006 elections did Bush sign off on the surge that added 30,000 troops in the spring of 2007, under the command of Gen. David Petraeus.

The surge helped, as did a more aggressive policy to pay off Iraqi Sunnis who turned against al-Qaida — the so-called “Anbar Awakening.”

Another ingredient: U.S. and Iraqi authorities rounded up tens of thousands of likely dissidents and imprisoned them. The effect of this action may be short lived, as many of these agitators eventually will be released. Still, the likelihood is that such calm will not prevail once American troops are removed and the goal of establishing a stable democracy in an Arab state may still prove elusive.It should be remembered that, sometime after the invasion, the raison d’etre of the war changed from removing Saddam from power and stopping his weapons of mass destruction program to a dreamy plan of creating a democracy in Iraq.

In Bush’s second inauguration speech, he echoed the thoughts expressed in former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky’s book “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.” Bush said: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

Such Wilsonian thoughts are laudable, but have long been discarded by conservatives as dangerous and unworkable. Even Sharansky himself had said that Iraq did not have the necessary cultural and political ingredients to create a stable democracy.

In that effort to create a new Iraqi democracy, the Sunni Muslims — more sympathetic to the West — were pushed aside and the Shias ascended to power in Baghdad. The American-backed power shift in Iraq also created a new regional ally for Shia-dominated Iran, a major threat to the region.

After 9/11, as the U.S. considered making Saddam’s regime its prime target of revenge, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell reportedly warned the president, “You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people.” He noted that the U.S. would have little room to maneuver in dealing with other global problems.

“It’s going to suck the oxygen out of everything,” Powell added. “This will become the first term.”

It also became the second term. Powell’s stunning assessment was accurate. The U.S. became stuck in an Iraqi mire after its successful 2003 invasion, meanwhile elsewhere its enemies grew in power.

Please recall: one of the justifications for the Iraq War was the link between Saddam Hussein’s regime and Sunni Al Qaeda. I do not disagree that such a link existed. Usama bin Laden wanted to use the Saddam Iraqi regime to remove OUR ALLIES the House of Saud from power in Saudi Arabia. That was why bin Laden declared jihad against America after the first Gulf War under the first president Bush. But our response was to put the Shi’ites in power? So when our troops leave Iraq, what keeps Shi’ite Iran from walking right in?

Ultimately, that angle may be overplayed, as Shi’ite Iran has no problem funding and controlling Sunni Hamas in Israel. Saddam Hussein hated Iran, but Saddam was a secularist motivated by nationalism. Saddam didn’t even necessarily get along with other members of the Ba’ath Party in other nations. So remove the nationalist regime out of the picture, and you basically have a region that is willing to unite either along the Muslim religion (whether, Shi’ite, Sunni, or Wahhabi, with the latter technically a form of Sunni that other Sunnis don’t like) or along Arab lines. Now Iran is technically not Arab, but they are Muslim. So with Saddam out of the way, when our troops leave, what keeps Iran from using its “influence” to put a government in favorable to its designs? It need not even use invasions or terror. It can just spread a little cash around to elect favorable Iraq leaders, basically the same way that Hugo Chavez has gotten a ton of sympathetic leaders elected all over Latin America. And again, they need not even necessarily be Sunni or Shi’ite. If Iran coordinates between Shi’ite Hizbullah in Lebanon and Sunni Hamas in Palestine rather than having one fight the other, they will likely do the same in Iraq once American troops leave. Any violence will be based on killing or silencing people opposed to Iran for whatever reason, not on killing Sunnis.

So, the result of removing Saddam based on – (insert ironic remark here) – Bill Clinton’s intelligence data will not be the establishment of a western style democracy that even the fellow whose views George W. Bush promoted as justification for nation building over there (Natan Sharansky) but the re – establishment of the old Medo – Persian Empire which included both Persia (Iran) and Babylon (Iraq). And what implications does THAT have for Israel, Christian Zionists and premillennial dispensationalists?

Bush’s Legacy: Conservatives Were Betrayed

The Bush Legacy Part II: Trillions in Deficits For Years to Come

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On Israel And The Palestinians: A Tragedy Is Not A Crime

Posted by Job on January 19, 2009

Despite my sympathy for the Palestinians and many disagreements with Israeli policies, I have always maintained that ultimately Israel has not only the right but the responsibility to defend itself when faced with a population that throws rocks at Israeli tanks trying to avoid civilian casualties rather than at the terrorists using them as human shields. One can oppose political and religious Zionism – as do I – and sympathize with the intractable plight of the Palestinians – again as do I – while realizing that Palestinian civilian casualties are inevitable because the Palestinians allow themselves to be used as human shields.

I remember the Los Angeles race riots when brave residents of South Central Los Angeles risked their lives to rescue badly beaten Reginald Denny. Why? Because they had the mindset to do so, and I also recall specifically that one of the people who ran out in the middle of a race riot to rescue Denny was a Christian woman, a longtime and faithful church attendee. Well, the Palestinians lack the mindset required to drive out the murdering cowards that are using pregnant women and babies as human shields. The article below contains things that I do not agree with, but it is an excellent example of what the Israelis are faced with in dealing with actions of the Palestinian population that defy human reason. I am not going to state that the Palestinians practice some form of Islam that promises heaven to human shields, because not all Palestinians are Islamists, or Islamic fundamentalists. As a matter of fact, only a few are, and a real problem is how outside elements (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria) is supporting the portion of the Palestinian population that is Islamist. So then, what motivates the non – Islamist Palestinian majority to allow cowardly murderers to use their mosques, hospitals, schools, and apartment complexes as places to hide and fire rockets?

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292897813&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

By the way, things are only going to get worse. Iran is upset that so few Jews died this time around (more Jewish deaths increases the pressure on the Israeli government to capitulate … I am sorry to say that it works just about every time, even when a conservative Israeli government is in power … Binyamin Netanyahu talks a tough game, but he made a series of concessions after a wave of successful terror attacks just like all the rest) so they are planning to send Hamas missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292910127&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Also, Hamas will be able to rearm itself from whatever weapons and infrastructure damage that Operation Cast Lead inflicted in as little as three months.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292908245&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The  Hamas lives lost will take longer to replace, but even Israel acknowledged that the 750 Hamas members killed were only a fraction of the 25,000 members of the Hamas military wing. Incidentally, even that 750 count doesn’t include only actual Hamas murdering cowards; a lot of it included police officers (even the decision to target police officers by Israel’s military was controversial) and also members of Hamas in governmental, administrative, and other non – military posts. So the actual number of people with the desire and training to launch missiles into Israel and perform other acts of murderous mayhem killed … the actual reduction in Hamas’ fighting capacity … is considered to be very small. Thinking that it is 500 or even 400 out of 25,000 would be extremely optimistic. So truthfully, Operation Cast Lead, while completely justified, accomplished absolutely nothing.

All the more reason why we should continue to pray for the return of Jesus Christ, that many be added to the church in the meantime, and that Christians in the Middle East and around the world be comforted in their turmoils and afflictions until the day of perfection, the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of those that sleep and those that are alive being changed and caught up, happens. Maranatha!

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Roosevelt’s Refusal To Save Auschwitz Jews During World War II

Posted by Job on January 18, 2009

Please note the part about how Britain refused to allow Jewish refugees into Palestine during this time as well.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292897063&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Posted in Christian Zionism, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Is Israel’s Heavy Handed Military Tactics In Gaza Justified?

Posted by Job on January 12, 2009

Many American Christians state that Israel’s devastating military tactics against the Palestinians in the Gaza campaign – and in general – are justified by terrorism. I wonder if people who make that case are aware of incidents of terrorism in our own history.

First examples: the Ku Klux Klan and related violence. Over a period of many decades, hundreds – possibly thousands – of blacks were lynched. Homes, businesses, and churches were bombed. Not only were there individual citizens targeted, but at times there were mass wholesale indiscriminate assaults on entire communities such as Rosewood, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921 and 1923. Government officials not only did nothing to prevent this domestic terrorism whether in terms of law enforcement or prosecution, but in many cases were themselves complicit, down to local, state and federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and military officials not only being members of the KKK and other terror groups, but taking part in the very acts themselves, including the Oklahoma National Guard personally killing a still unknown amount of citizens in the attack on the Greenwood community in Tulsa.

The second example: the wave of urban criminal activity – including gang and drug violence but also including random, senseless brutal crimes – that gripped our nation from the late 1970s until the mid 1990s. Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Detroit and Washington D.C. were the flashpoints, but truthfully it was a nationwide problem, as evidenced by Albany, Georgia, not even large enough to qualify as an actual city, not only once being named murder capital of the country but remaining in the top 5 and top 10 on the dreadful list produced by the FBI’s crime statistics for several years. Whole communities and regions felt unsafe, families abandoned these communities seeking safety, and those lacking the means or mindset to do the same (often the elderly and single parent led households) saw a generation of children grow up in fear. Even though the level of direct government complicity in this was nowhere near as high as it was in the first example, they certainly were not blameless. There was a general refusal – even hostility to – enforcing the law in many of these communities and a rejection of notions of law and order by many members of the citizenry and the governments that they elected, which emboldened the criminals even more to commit crimes against innocent people and violently resist law enforcement.

Even though it was never called such, these and other incidents in our nation’s history were clearly incidents of terror, and they resulted in a great many more deaths than Hamas’ rockets into southern Israel. For instance, nearly 4000 people were murdered in one single year in New York City alone. Less than ten years later when New York officials finally began to try to enforce the law, that total dropped to less than 1,000.

So what if the response of the federal government in response to the Ku Klux Klan and other hate group terror, especially after incidents like Rosewood and Tulsa, been to conduct a bombing campaign in civilian areas, residential communities, targeting KKK members, their sympathizers, and families – including those that had committed no crimes – and in the process killing as many innocent civilians as their actual targets, if not more? What if the US government’s response to those criticizing the war on its own citizens as “where the Ku Klux Klan blows up churches and homes and kills innocent people by design, we target KKK members and kill innocents accidentally.”

What if the response to the criminal violence in our inner cities in the 1980s had been to use missiles and machine guns in the public housing projects and neighborhoods where the drug gangs lived and were known to congregate? Do not be naive, such gangs were organized criminal enterprises who killed many innocent people directly and many more indirectly.

In both cases, there would have been massive public outcry against the tactics. This nation would have never supported military action against the Ku Klux Klan and the drug gangs or any of the other groups of people that have spread large scale mayhem in our national history, and certainly not indiscriminate violence that could have had no consequence except kill large numbers of innocents.

Yet truthfully, that is very similar to what is going on in Israel right now. Israel, along with its allies and the media, have done a very good job at portraying themselves as being at war. It is not quite true. They cannot be at war with the Palestinians because the Palestinians are not a foreign state, or even a group operating out of a foreign state with that state’s unwillingness or inability to control them. Instead, the Palestinians are a group of people within Israel’s domain; under Israel’s military and ultimately political control (though Israel does not exert political control over these territories for domestic and international political reasons).

So Israel is not at war in Gaza the way that, say, the United States was at war with Germany and Japan, or even in our undeclared wars – and in my opinion illegal under our own Constitution – which are technically conflicts in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and both Iraq campaigns. It also does not even rise to being considered a civil war. (Even if it did, Israel would NEVER call it a civil war because of internal and international political considerations.) Instead, Israel is using military tactics against its own population, people that live within their own borders.

It is true, the Palestinians are not Israeli citizens, and do not wish to be. It is equally true, however, that Israel would not grant citizenship to the Palestinians anyway. Israel’s citizen population contains only 5.5 million Jews against 1.5 million Israeli Arabs. About 1.5 million Arabs live in Gaza, 2.3 million Arabs live in the West Bank. So add the nearly 4 million Palestinians to the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs, and the result would be a roughly equal proportion of Jews and Arabs – 5.5 million – with the Arab Muslim population growing far faster than the Jewish one. Israel would no longer be a Jewish state.

So rather than viewing Israel’s bombing and invading Gaza in the same terms as America going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, it would truthfully be more analogous to our sending tanks and missiles into our Native American reservations in response to any violent nationalist movement on their part. (I will not say the same regarding a similarly violent movement, whether political or criminal, involving illegal immigrants holed up in a particular area, because like the Palestinians in Israel, the Native Americans were living on the very land that outsiders came to and declared to be a nation with them still on it. Of course, this is not to compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to America’s initial – and long running – treatment of its indigenous population.)

So what is it that allows Americans – particularly Christians – to accept tactics against Palestinians that we would have never accepted had they been used against the Ku Klux Klan or the Bloods and Crips? (I wonder who killed more innocent people: the KKK or Hamas? The Crips or the PLO?) Or more accurately, the communities of 99% innocent civilians that had nothing to do with the KKK or the street gangs but would still wind up bearing the brunt of the collateral damage that everyone knows is inevitable?

I will say this on behalf of the Israeli government, however: the behavior of the Palestinians make it difficult to defend this population. Compare the Palestinians with, say, the residents of our inner cities during the crime crisis. Of course, in these inner cities there were plenty of criminals. Even worse, there were a great many criminal sympathizers: politicians and activists who claimed that the criminals were acting out of economic privation and political marginalization, and that efforts to punish them and impose law and order were illegitimate and criminal in and of themselves. Many of them called the police officers an occupying army, or criminals themselves. And keep in mind: it was not marginal people who held these views, but rather the mayors of large cities, members of the US Congress, prominent members of academia, and not a few influential preachers. So you had not only criminals, but those who were pro – criminal, and the latter group was actually the most harmful.

However, this element was not  universal. There were scores in these communities who opposed crime and the leaders and sympathizers that enabled it. Such people petitioned the police, went to various political leaders, and took their case to the media. Some of them even took matters into their own hands by staging “clean up our streets” or “save our kids” marches and rallies, organizing neighborhood watches and cooperative ventures with the police, etc. In some cases this was dangerous work, because the criminal element that had an interest in these communities remaining lawless and feeling powerless at times targeted the leaders and participants of these anti – crime ventures for murderous violence, but they continued their work.

What difference did these people make? Regrettably very little, because it was a small amount of people with very little resources and know how against heavily organized and ruthless criminal networks, corrupt or incompetent government officials, and/or higher profile and better funded community leaders with different agendas. However, despite the failure of the citizens of these communities that worked to promote law abidedness to accomplish anything but prevent a few crimes and clean up a block or neighborhood here or there, the fact is that the very presence of such people let the government and its citizens know that the entire population of these inner cities were not opposed to law and order. Instead there were people, lots of them, who opposed not only the criminals and gangs, but the politicians and activists that were creating and defending the lawless environment that enabled them to thrive.

So I must ask: where are the counterparts of these people among the Palestinians? I remember this one particularly tragic case in Baltimore where this woman tried to stand up to the drug dealers on her block. The drug dealers responded by setting fire to her place of residence, killing her along with her entire family. Where are the people like this woman among the Palestinians?

Now keep in mind: these Palestinians in question need not necessarily support the Israeli state in order to take a stand like this. They merely need to A) oppose terrorism, especially terrorism done by people allegedly representing them and purporting to advance their interests and B) want to avoid the inevitable Israeli response to terrorism. There needs to be a visible movement of Palestinians willing to stand up and say that sending rockets – as well as suicide bombers and everything else – against Israel and claiming that it is done by their leaders with their support is wrong, morally and politically. At the very least, there needs to be Palestinians with the basic survival or self preservation impulse – as well as a desire to protect the lives of their women and children – to hold marches and demonstrations saying “we are not Hamas, we are not Hizbullah, we are not sending rockets into your country, don’t bomb us!” And yes, there should be an effort on behalf of these people to prevent being used as human shields. “Don’t fire rockets from our mosque. Don’t hide your fighters in my school where my kid attends. Don’t stash your weapons in the hospital where I plan to take my pregnant wife when she has our baby. Because when Israel counterattacks, I don’t want my family to die!”

Some people may claim that there are plenty of Palestinians who feel this way, but refuse to speak out for fear of Hamas and similar groups. First, the very fact that Hamas’ (and Hizbullah’s) alleged leadership is so vicious that its own people live in terror of it shows that people who apologize for Hamas, believe that Israel should give them credibility or status by acknowledging and negotiating with them, etc. are not being honest. How on earth could allowing the Palestinians to be ruled by such people be in the best interests of the Palestinians, and how could those who would murder their own people for the “crime” of not wanting to be collateral damage be trusted to not continue trying to destroy Israel?

Second: so what if Hamas will retaliate! Is being killed by Hamas any better than being killed by Israel? I understand the argument that death is more certain for the Palestinian that rejects Hamas. However, the counterargument must be considered: making their opposition to terror and the use of human shields known would force Israel to deal with that fact. Right now, Israel is able to treat all residents of Gaza as potential Hamas sympathizers because there is no hard evidence otherwise.

There are no TV pictures of Palestinians demonstrating in the streets “down with Hamas, we want peace!” or even of their attempting to drive terrorists using them as human shields (and by the way, the terrorists are often long gone, leaving the innocent victims behind, before Israel strikes back!) out of their homes and schools. Al Jazeera would be able to run stories ad infinitum “this man, who risked death trying to stop Hamas from firing rockets from his apartment building, is now dead and his family. They were killed not by Hamas, but by an Israeli air strike!” and Israel would have to deal with it. One of the ways to deal with it: do their best to protect Palestinian dissenters against terror and against Hamas, or at least against being used as human shields, which is enough to qualify you as “a moderate.”

But we don’t see any of that. Instead, we see pictures of Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli tanks instead of throwing rocks at the Hamas terrorists that are drawing the Israeli tanks to their homes, schools, and refugee camps. If you want to blame Israel for your being in a refugee camp, fine. But it is the terrorist using you and your family as human shields that is causing those tanks to fire on your refugee camp, and you yourself saw the “brave freedom fighters” scurry like roaches at the first sight of that tank, leaving you to face down the tank without even the benefit of the same escape route that they took. Now while the Israeli state is the long term problem, the tank about to rain deth on you and your family is the short term problem, and you blame the Israeli state rather than the cause of the immediate problem?

Again, this is the opposite of those who stood up to gang and drug violence in their inner city neighborhoods. Many of them held grievances against America’s political, economic, and social structures and might have actually agreed with the street radicals in theory. But in practice they knew that it was the drugs and thugs killing their kids in the streets, not the bankers and the governors, and those were the ones that they stood up to or went to the chiefs of police begging them to do something about.

So with Hamas firing rockets at Israel and no evidence that any Palestinian opposes it – or even opposes being used as a human shield – how else is Israel supposed to act? What evidence is there that the 1.5 million residents of Gaza not only support Hamas, but support them enough to stand up and sacrifice themselves and their innocent family members as collateral damage?

This is not to say that I support Israel’s tactics in Gaza. Quite the contrary, I really honestly want to oppose it. However, the behavior of the Palestinians makes opposition to Israeli tactics virtually impossible. Israel has just as much responsibility to show that they will not tolerate being subjected to rocket fire as the political leaders of Florida and Oklahoma had to show that they would not tolerate mob violence, and the hundreds of innocent dead people, including women and children, in Rosewood, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma shows what happens when that responsibility is not taken. However, the Palestinians also have a responsibility to unconditionally dissassociate themselves from those who would murder innocent people by firing rockets at civilians and using human shields in the process.

Hamas’ claims that their firing rockets was in response to Israel’s using a blockade to force its legitimately elected regime into crumbling has considerable merit, but the 1.5 million residents of Gaza are not Hamas. If anything, were the residents of Gaza to separate themselves from Hamas’ terrorism while insisting that Israel respect the results of the free and democratic elections that Israel itself allowed to occur knowing full well that Hamas might win, that would pressure Israel to stop punishing the Palestinian people for Israel’s mistakes. Hamas’ refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist is an issue between Hamas and Israel, but Israel’s refusal to allow food, medicine, fuel etc. into Gaza is an issue between the people of Gaza and Israel. But the absence of anyone willing to publicly reject Hamas terror tactics or even their using infants as human shields allows Israel to basically paint the 1.5 million population as Hamas and act accordingly.

It is not right, and it is not fair, but the exceedingly foolish (and that is being kind!) behavior of the Palestinian people allows Israel to get away with its conduct. Israel can and should take responsibility for the peaceful Palestinians, either by granting them a state or by absorbing them within their own state, and then treating the terrorist Palestinians as the criminals that they are. However, lacking the cooperation of Palestinians that are not terrorists, Israel doesn’t have to do a thing. They can simply sit and allow conditions to linger. Why not? The Palestinians are the ones that have to deal with the overwhelming amount of misery and tragedy. It also keeps Israel from having to deal with the not insubstantial portion of its own population – and of its evangelical Christian Zionist supporters – who do not want a Palestinian state, and yes that does include those who wish to drive the nearly 4 million Palestinians out of Israel, including eastern Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank.

Even though it would come at a very heavy cost  – money and Israeli lives  – Israel can and should do better. However, they have no pressing reason – or even no incentive? – to do so, and for that we have only the law abiding and terrorism opposing Palestinians to blame. Some more right wing Israelis claim “there is no such thing as a Palestinian.” That is a spurious proposition at best. But were such Israelis to claim “since there is no such thing as a Palestinian who opposes terrorism in any substantial way, then all Palestinians are terrorists and should be treated as such” then regrettably there isn’t much that can be said – or done – against that proposition. So even if the Israelis are acting in an unjust manner towards the Palestinians, the actions of the Palestinians allow them to get away with it. And since we are dealing with two populations here that save a tiny minority on both sides rejects Jesus Christ, what more can we expect?

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments »

Does Israel Have The Right To Exist?

Posted by Job on January 7, 2009

That was the question posed to the Jerusalem Post columnist and Jewish intellectual David Forman by a liberal Christian group. As Forman is also liberal, they were expecting the usual apologies, defensive postures, and equivocations that the modern left makes regarding Israel. This is in contrast with, say, 60 years ago, when the position of the left was to defend a much more liberal – indeed socialist – Israel government from amillennial conservative mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics (this was before the rise of the religious right and its alliance with the conservatives that now in large part control Israel, even when the Labor Party is in power … the modern Israeli Labor Party is not the Labor Party of Golda Meir).

Well these liberal Christians were shocked when Forman launched into a vigorous stance on Israel that could have just as easily come from the conservative Jews (and Christians) that these liberal Christians obviously do not dialogue with. Forman’s strongest argument was that modern Israel has as much right to exist as any other nation, including the United States, and furthermore that Israel was created by the United Nations (the only nation that I am aware of that has that designation). Unfortunately, Forman went on to use some much weaker arguments, including some that amount to little more than Jewish propaganda.

This is my personal answer to the question that was posed to Forman and is often asked, especially in times such as this when Israel finds itself using military action. Iin a true or absolute sense, what we mean when we use the term “rights” is something that only comes from God. In that context, the only nation (and by that I mean nation – state, a sovereign political entity  associated with a general area of land) that ever had the right to exist was Old Testament Israel.

As for other nations in other places and times, well we know from Romans 13 and 14 that they are good things, gifts to humankind from God’s common place. We also know that other nations have been used by God to accomplish His purposes. God used Egypt, for instance, to make Israel into a people. He used Babylon and Assyria to judge Judah and Israel. The Roman Empire’s vast network of roads, political stability, and common Greek language facilitated the speedy spread of the gospel and the preservation of the New Testament. (God also used the Roman Empire to judge the Jewish people for their rejection of Jesus Christ: read Matthew 24 and then consider the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and the destruction of Jerusalem and scattering of the Jews in 132 AD). And our current nation, America, has been very important in A) strengthening the vital free church tradition, B) global missions, and C) protecting Jews, including but not limited to taking in refugees and supporting the modern state of Israel.

But the much good that many nations have done before the eyes of the Lord throughout history does not mean that any particular one had or a right to exist. That would imply that A) such a nation was created by an act of God as was Old Testament Israel and B) that God mediated either through prophets or His Son Jesus Christ a covenant with that nation. In other words, such a nation would have been a function of special grace and not common grace. It is my contention that only Old Testament Israel met either the conditions A) or B), let alone both of them. As such, no other nation has had a “right'” to exist.

As I have stated earlier, it is my proposal that Old Testament Israel’s right to exist as a unique sovereign political entity tied to the land that was formerly Canaan ended by virtue of their breaking the Sinai covenant, and such happened just as the book of Deuteronomy and the classical prophets that warned Israel’s kings and people largely based on Deuteronomy said that it would, first in 721 BC and then in 586 BC. For this nation – state to be re – established with a similar right to exist, whether in Canaan or anywhere else, would have required A) another miraculous act of God, B) another covenant of God, C) another prophet to mediate this covenant, and D) another purpose. Those who assert that this is the case, well the burden is on them to provide evidence of A, B, C, and D. Or failing that, Biblical evidence predicting that such a thing would happen.

I am aware of the many Bible passages that predict that the Jews would return to Israel. But none of those passages to my knowledge predicted that Israel would be re – established to the position that it held before, as a special nation with a special status by virtue of God’s special grace, and in particular with a specific role in human redemption or salvation history. As a matter of fact, the idea that Israel would be re – established in something closely resembling the form or character of the Sinai covenant nation – state caused the Jews much confusion and consternation, and was the cause of the belief that the Messiah would set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ’s refusal to even aspire to such a thing was a key reason why He was rejected, and is still rejected by all but Messianic Jews to this day. But my reading of the Bible, especially Hebrews 1:1-4, would seem to preclude the idea that God would have created or had a use for a covenant nation in the last days, a period or dispensation that the New Testament made clear began with the ending of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to the right Hand of the Father.

That said, as I mentioned earlier, nations are clearly intended by God as a good thing. It is not a bad thing when nations are created, and it is a very bad thing when nations that are basically decent and moral fall. As all nations are certainly imperfect, claiming that Israel is anything but an orderly, decent and moral nation is a lie. So, Israel’s existence is a good thing that restrains evil. And yes, I do consider Israel’s existence as a work of God’s providence – if not an act of God’s special creation like Old Testament Israel and the church – because Bible passages speak of a gathering of Jews in the land of Israel having great endtimes significance. (Keep in mind, I am a millennialist, even if it is postmillennial.) I merely reject the notion that those prophecies require a sovereign Israel – especially one run by a constitutional democratic republic form of government that is the product of human paganism and philosophy – to be carried out. After all, when Jews returned to Israel the first time – a precondition for the birth of Jesus Christ – they were under Medo – Persian domination, and Jesus Christ Himself was born to an Israeli people under Roman domination. So, the fulfillment of the revelant eschatological passages, including the famous ones in Ezekiel that are so popular with dispensational premillennialists, do not require that Jews have a sovereign state in Israel. It merely requires that a large number of Jews live in Israel.

Still, this does not make Israel’s formation or existence illegitimate. Realize that nations do not have a “legitimate” way of forming in the first place. They simply exist. The idea that Israel was formed on stolen land … well name the nation that exists today on land that did not belong to some other people group or political entity in times past. Also, Israel’s existence in some form has been endorsed by the United Nations, which let us face it is the highest human authority on the planet today, and likely will be until the beast, the anti – Christ takes power. (Being millennialist, I reject amillennial notions that the anti – Christ will be an institution or body like the Roman Catholic Church, but rather that the beast will be as Daniel, Revelation, and 2 Thessalonians states: a literal human being.)

What makes a nation’s continued existence legitimate? The ability and willingness to govern and defend itself. A nation that cannot or will not govern or defend itself … well that nation will fall and either be dominated by another nation or just descend into general anarchy and with it end any question of its legitimacy. So Israel must govern and defend itself even if it means defying the international community. Governing itself means capturing, imprisoning, and killing the Palestinian criminals that are murdering its citizens. Defending itself means taking definite action against Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and other nations that are funding and arming the Palestinian criminals. Is there such a thing as being excessive, cruel, or unwise in governing and defending itself? Of course, and Israel has been at times. In my opinion, the primary cause of this is relying on air strikes, knowing full well that it will both endanger innocent civilians while accomplishing relatively little, rather than ground troops and soldiers. Do not be deceived: Israel does this only because of politics and public relations. But Israel’s mistakes and unwise policies in the couse of governing and defending itself does not remove the fact that Israel has the responsibility to do so. Israel is not committing a sin against God’s common grace by governing and defending itself. Rather, it is doing so if they refuse.

So, should Christians support the state of Israel? Of course. Romans 13:1-4a reads “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good.” So Christians should support every stable, functional, basically moral government, and also support the establishment of the same where it does not exist. (Please note: this does not mean that we should be in the business of going to war with sovereign nations and occupying them in the interests of establishing a government that is more to our liking, or support such endeavors.) Israel is a stable, functional, basically decent government, and we should support it in being so and support its continuing to be so. However, this is not necessarily special with regards to Israel (the Biblical imperative to pray for the peace of Jerusalem notwithstanding) but with all nations, including our own. Which means that we should resist our own nation’s slide into corruption and lawlessness.

So in absolute terms with respect to a special position before God, Israel has no special right to exist that any Christian need respect as was the case with Old Testament Israel. But in relative terms with respect to every other nation that has ever existed, Israel does have rights that Christians should respect, and rights that Christians have an interest in seeing Israel stand up and defend. The fact that I have declared their conflict with the Palestinian population that resides within their borders to be intractable based on very legitimate considerations on the part of both the Palestinians and Israelis does not in any way alter this. Quite the contrary, living in this creation that has fallen into sin due to the sin of Adam means that just these sorts of issues will occur whether they are within nations, within families and marriages, or within an individual (please see Romans 7:7-25 for the individual conflict). I only hope and pray that Palestinians and Israelis handle this inevitable and intractable conflict with justice and dignity, and that more and more individual members of those respective populations accept salvation through Jesus Christ to aid them through their trials.

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 44 Comments »

Whither The Promise of God That Israel Would Always Be A Nation?

Posted by Job on January 5, 2009

To the post Do Evangelical Christians Consider The Plight Of The Palestinians? I received an excellent reply which asked to justify my comments in light of Jeremiah 31:35-36:

I don’t have time to write a long comment, but one bit struck me:

Even if we accept the Old Testament version of events as history (which of course the Palestinians, being neither Jews or Christians, are not obliged to), that version tells us that the nation of Israel ceased to exist in 586 BC.

Contrast this to Jeremiah 31:35-36:

This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.”

Are these two statement compatible?

My reply: the modern definition of “nation” and what the Bible means when it uses the term are not always one and the same. Further, there seems to be a common occurrence of merging the related but not identical promises to Abraham given in Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 15:18-21. Jeremiah 31:35-36 references one but not the other.

So here is my response to the very legitimate question of the promise of Israel’s always being a nation made by God, and I would appreciate responses. When making them, please note two things:

1. I do not oppose the existence of the modern nation – state Israel and I am fully aware of modern Israel’s obligation to defend itself from many enemies (including but certainly not limited to Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, the PLO, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc.) that are committed to its destruction.
2. Though I reject premillennial dispensationalism, I acknowledge the historical legitimacy of other forms of premillennialism, and I do not subscribe  to amillennialism, preterism, covenant theology, nor do I subscribe to replacement theology in its classic sense..

Well, statement two is incompatible with history. Israel lost control of their land in 586 BC, not long after its writer Jeremiah urged the southern kingdom to submit to Babylon. And about 700 years later Jerusalem was burned to the ground and the Jews were scattered into a diaspora. So, statement two would have to be “never except for a huge gap between 586 BC and 1948 AD, and especially between 132 AD and 1948 AD.”

So the only way to reconcile Jeremiah 31:35-36 with the rest of Biblical revelation and of history is to conclude that it did not refer to the physical nation or land of Israel, but the people of Israel. And to confirm that, go to Exodus. The Exodus account is clear: Israel became a nation when God brought them out of Egypt. Yet they did not possess the land of Israel until after 40 years in the wilderness. Again, they were a nation, but wandering in the wilderness and not in Israel.

So Jeremiah 31:35-36 was a promise that the natural seed of Abraham would always exist as a people. That promise is true, and evidence of that is the discovery of Jews who can trace their bloodline in such exotic places as Ethiopia and India. But making the claim that it refers to Jews always living in and controlling the land of Israel would be hard to reconcile with the facts of history.

This is more so when you consider the nature of the Sinai covenant, especially as spelled out in Deuteronomy. The Sinai covenant was not unconditional as was the covenant that God made with Abraham or the Davidic Messianic covenant. The Sinai covenant was conditional. Which meant that for the nation of Israel to remain in the land of Israel (for the people of Shem to dwell in the tents of Canaan, remember Noah’s famous curse against the son of Ham, as the land of Israel is actually the land of Canaan, the Jebusites built Jerusalem if I am correct) and to continue to control Israel, it had to keep the Sinai covenant.

We know that Israel did not keep the terms of the covenant, and that is why 586 BC happened. Make no mistake, and the Old Testament prophets declared, that the falling of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians and the southern kingdom to the Babylonians was the result of Israel’s breaking of the old covenant. And this same Jeremiah that you quote spoke of a new covenant.

Israel’s living in and controlling the land of Israel was tied to the Sinai covenant. Again, the book that best spells this out is Deuteronomy, written by the leader of the nation of Israel at the time, Moses, who himself never set foot in the land of Israel.

Premillennial dispensationalism tries to get around the fact that Israel broke the terms of the conditionial Sinai covenant by claiming that it was the unconditional covenant with Abraham that gave Abraham’s descendants eternal control of the land of Israel. However, http://www.gotquestions.org/Abrahamic-covenant.html does an outstanding job of exposing this false belief. It is based on inappropriately joining Genesis 15:18-21 and Genesis 12:1-3 together. Genesis 15:18-21 simply promises land to Abraham and his descendants. We know that this promise was fulfilled, as Abraham’s descendants were given the land of Israel. That was not what Jeremiah 31:35-36 was referencing.

Genesis 12:1-3 is the unconditional covenant that makes promises to make Israel into a nation. That was what Jeremiah 31:35-36 was speaking of. And why did Jeremiah write Jeremiah 31:35-36? To address people who claimed that the fall of Judah to Babylon meant that God was breaking the Abrahamic covenant. Jeremiah was reminding Israel that the Abrahamic covenant meant that the natural children of Israel through Isaac would always exist as a people, not that they would always live in and have control of the nation of Israel. Again, continued living in and controlling the nation of Israel was conditioned on keeping the Sinai covenant.

Now interpreting scripture with scripture is a legitimate way to interpret the Bible, so adding Genesis 15:18-21 to Genesis 12:1-3 or even using one to interpret the other would appear, in isoloation, to be valid. The problem is that Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 15:18-21 do not appear in isolation. We have to consider those two statements in the context of the rest of the Bible. The issue with modern premillennialism (which, yes, does differ from historic premillennialism) is not so much that people add those two promises to Abraham together, but rather that in doing so they reinterpret or outright ignore/reject other parts of the Bible, especially the Sinai covenant, its conditional nature, and basically everything that happened after 721 BC when the northern kingdom destroyed Assyria. Interesting thing about the northern kingdom’s tribe of Dan … they never at any time kept the Sinai covenant. The book of Judges reveals that the tribe of Dan fell into apostasy immediately after Israel possessed the land. Do you know the result of that? The tribe of Dan is not listed among the 144,400 in Revelation. They are replaced by elevating the half tribes of Joseph to two full tribes. If that doesn’t prove that God was serious about the Sinai covenant, I do not know what does.

But dispensational premillennialism teaches that 721 BC was the start of Israel merely being punished for breaking the Sinai covenant, and in 1948 the punishment was over. As a matter of fact, Paul Meier, who wrote “The Millennium” series of books that – among other things – promotes Bible codes, claimed that the punishment for breaking the Sinai covenant was only the 60 year captivity in Babylon, and what happened to Israel thereafter was actually Israel being punished because most of them refused to return to Israel but stayed in Babylon. Well, Meier’s argument breaks down when you consider that A) not all of Israel was sent to Babylon, but that the poor was left behind and B) it completely ignores the northern kingdom.

And that is yet another problem. Dispensationalism starts by referring to all of Israel, then it shrinks to just the two tribes that made up Judah, then it enlarges to include all of Israel again. Why? Because if you don’t shrink it to include Judah, then you will have to deal with the fact that the 10 northern tribes were not restored to all of Israel, only the two southern tribes were. The land formerly occupied by the 10 northern tribes basically went to the SAMARITANS. (Of course, the later books of the Old Testament reveal that the Samaritans included natural descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that is why they figured so prominently in the gospels and Acts, to the point of Jesus Christ making the special effort to reveal Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well. But they were not Jews or considered to be part of the nation of Israel in any sense.) But now, it has to be expanded to all of Israel so that the descendants of those who returned from Babylon can stake a modern claim to the land given to all 12 tribes.

So we have to points of contention that are critical to premillennial dispensationalism. First is the combination of Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 15:18-21 when later Biblical revelation (not to mention historical events) doesn’t support it. Second is willfully misusing the term “nation” in Genesis 12:1-3 and in other relevant places to be the modern meaning of “nation – state”, a combination of a land and a government. Genesis 12:1-3, Jeremiah 31:35-36, Exodus, etc. do not use that definition, which is western. When the relevant Bible passages say “nation”, they are referring to a PEOPLE, such as a tribe (or confederation of tribes) or ethnic group, people united by common lineage. Now the epitome of the modern definition of “nation” is America, which is not defined by a single ethnic group, people group, or lineage but is an amalgamation, and indeed the people who are actually indigenous to our nation – state are a tiny part of the population and have very little – if any – power in it. So, the “nation” of America (out of many, one, e pluribus unum, tons of different races, nationalities, ethnic groups etc. combining to make one entity that is defined by a political entity and a land mass) and the “nation” of Israel (which literally means the natural genetic descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel and exists no matter which political entity they reside under or where they live whether it be in Egypt/Alexandria, Canaan, Babylon, the Greek Empire, New York City/Miami, Mumbai) are direct contrasts with each other. It is one of the classic divergences between what the Bible meant to its original hearers when it was written and what it means to contemporary audiences (especially those in the west, who are completely influenced by the western – Roman! – notions of nation – state and city – state and empire – state that often contain many races and ethnic groups as opposed to the east and other parts of the world where tribes and such still very much exist and influence thinking, even in the cases of tribes that are in the same basic ethnic or racial group … if you doubt that do an Internet search on “Rwanda genocide”).

Now I should point out that I disagree with some of the older fashioned amillennialist sorts, the line of thinking in a lot of conservative Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant circles that opposes the existence of the state of Israel. I have no problem with Israel’s existence, especially when you consider that Jews do in fact need a place of last resort that they can flee to because of persecution and other crises, and no other country on the world want that place to be their own country. (I personally wouldn’t mind that country being America, but I am not a democratic majority.) And if you look at current events in Europe, its allowing itself to be Islamized and assent to sharia law, it does appear that many Jews may have to leave that continent for Israel in the near future. So yes, I can say in a very real way that I do support Israel and the Jews. I am merely pointing out that the existence of Israel is a very bad deal for the Palestinians, who are in a tough spot that cannot be resolved with either politics or military force. People who use questionable premillennial dispensational assumptions to support Israel’s simply crushing the Palestinians beyond doing what is necessary to defend themselves (and I do agree by the way that Israel’s bombing and invading Gaza is a legitimate and perhaps necessary measure to stop being pelted with rockets) are ignoring that fact.

Bottom line: it was the Sinai covenant that allowed Israel to live in Canaan under God’s protection, not the Abrahamic or Davidic covenants. And the Sinai covenant was broken by Israel. If it hadn’t been, then Israel wouldn’t have fallen to Assyria and Judah wouldn’t have fallen to Babylon. That was precisely what the Old Testament prophets and the Chronicler addressed … people who were claiming that God had forsaken His promise to Israel. They replied “God didn’t forsake us, but we forsook God” and then took them right back to Exodus, Leviticus, and especially Deuteronomy (which is precisely why liberal scholarship denies that Deuteronomy was written by Moses, but was instead written during the exile, and the rest of the Old Testament edited to reflect it as a way of Judaism’s “covering its bases” to account for its defeat by Babylon).

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Do Evangelical Christians Consider The Plight Of The Palestinians?

Posted by Job on January 4, 2009

Please note: several updates and edits have been made.

Israel is well into their mini – invasion of the very same Gaza Strip that they abandoned just a few years ago. Now when the Gaza Strip was abandoned, critics claimed that militants would take control of the area and use it to plan and launch attacks on Israel. After years of the critics being proven right, Israel is yet again taking military action against the Gaza area to stop rockets from being fired on its population.

Israel has every right to defend itself. However, one of the conservative – leaning Jerusalem Post’s better columnists claims that the invasion has less to do with self defense than with politically positioning Israel’s current corrupt ruling coalition in advance of the February elections. Now one does not have to be as cynical as that columnist to question Israel’s motivations. And one certainly does not have to endorse the unabashedly Zionist views of this columnist – and of the Jerusalem Post that she represents – to wonder exactly what this military campaign will accomplish other than killing lots of people.

The best reason why one should ask themselves this question is to view this conflict from the side of the Palestinian people. Most Americans have been reared to view only the Israeli side. The first reason is that quite simply Israel is a very important American and western ally in that critical region. That alone will mean that our government and our mainstream media will inevitably side with Israel. The second reason is that many American Christians have been indoctrinated into regarding Israel as a natural ally for religious reasons which range from the premillennial dispensational movement (that I myself until recently belonged to) which considers Israel as belonging to the Jews alone and its rebirth as a fulfillment of endtimes prophecies to other Christians who simply prefer Judaism to Islam, and in particular conservatives who subscribe to the “Judeo – Christian western culture” ideology which conveniently casts aside inconvenient facts of religion and history.

So, the western – and evangelical Christian – line has been that the sole source of the Palestinian – Israel problem is Palestinian terror, and that were the Palestinians to renounce violence, all of the problems would end. And for 50% of the equation that is correct. It would end all of the problems for the Israelis. But for the Palestinians, I am not so certain.

Let us start, of course, with the premillennial dispensational position, which just happens to be the position of the majority of evangelical Christians, and furthermore heavily influences evangelicals that hold other endtimes beliefs. (Consider, for instance, that even amillennial evangelicals often subscribe to the “Judeo – Christian western culture” ideology and have made it a very important part of their dominionist thought.) Such people take the position that Palestinians have no basis for being in Israel in the first place, and should accept being dealt with however Israel chooses to. As these people oppose even a two state solution on terms as favorable to Israel as possible – as for them it would be a sin and an attempt to rebel against prophecy – if pressed they would ultimately admit that it would be best if the Palestinians simply left Israel. Best for who? Israel? Of course. Christians who hold these beliefs? Certainly. Palestinians? Of course not.

You see, there are MILLIONS of Palestinians, and they are FLAT BROKE. So … where would they go? Many float the “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” notion and proclaim the idea that the Palestinians are actually Jordanians. So, such people claim, the Palestinians could return to Jordan. Of the many problems with this thinking, the most pressing and relevant one is that the sovereign nation of Jordan disagrees with it. Or should I say that even if Jordan did agree that the Palestinians were in fact Jordanians, they are not going to accept being flooded with millions of impoverished “Jordanian” refugees – thereby adding to their own set of not insignificant problems – based on it. Incidentally, neither is Iran. Neither is Iraq, Neither is Syria. Neither is Lebanon. Neither is Egypt. Neither are any of the other places where the people who adhere to the “Israel belongs to the Jews and if the Palestinians don’t like it they can just leave!” mindset suggest as potential homes for the Palestinians. And why should they?

Now keep in mind that the dispensational evangelicals in question who wish to push the Palestinians off on the Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese feel the same way. How many American evangelicals want to bring the Palestinians over here? To put them in South Dakota, Wyoming, or even Alaska? That’s what I thought. They could care less about where the Palestinians go. They just don’t want them in Israel and don’t want them over here. And the Judeo – Christian westerners don’t even want them in Europe. As a matter of fact, they want Europe to expel the Muslims and Arabs that they have already.

So the people suggesting that everything would be better if the Palestinians simply left en masse – or were Israel be bold and courageous enough to stand up for themselves by driving them out – either know full well that they are not proposing a workable solution or have not studied the situation enough to know that what they propose is not viable. Either way, they are no help to the situation, which means that they are no help to Israel or to the Jews. The truth is, though, that the people who believe that a solution for the Palestinians involves them remaining in Israel are not being much more realistic.

For instance, start with the common Israeli position that they offered to come together with the Palestinians to form a single state decades ago, and that the response of the Palestinians was to join the Arab/Muslim world in declaring war. So, the Palestinians are just a bunch of anti – Semite war mongerers, right? Well, that assumes that the Palestinians were ever obliged to accept forming a state with this huge influx of EUROPEANS and AMERICANS to begin with. Certain conservative Jews and their advocates would have you believe that Israel was basically barren, and that virtually all of the Palestinians are squatters from Jordan (and Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and wherever) who barged into area simply to keep and drive the Jews out. Even were that version of history true, one of the many variants of the “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” idea, all that it means is that the Palestinians and Jews have an equal claim on the land, which is ZERO based on modern history.

Even if we accept the Old Testament version of events as history (which of course the Palestinians, being neither Jews or Christians, are not obliged to), that version tells us that the nation of Israel ceased to exist in 586 BC. Which means that for people who tend to reject Judaism and dispensational Christianity (which again would include Muslims by definition) even according to their own history and literature, the Jewish claim on the land ended in 586 BC.

Sure, some Jews did remain in Israel, and more repatriated from elsewhere to Israel, but only because the Babylonians, Medo – Persians, Greeks and Romans allowed them. What is also true is that after the Jewish – Roman War in 132 AD, the Roman Empire burned Jerusalem to the ground, renamed it, and made it a capital crime for any Jew to attempt to re – enter. The Roman Empire then fell and control of the land of Israel and Jerusalem went back and forth over the centuries to various entities – including but not limited to Arabs and Muslims – that weren’t very much more accommodating to the desires of any large number of Jews wishing to resettle Israel than the Roman Empire was.

And incidentally, after the Jewish – Roman War, there actually was no large organized international effort of Jews to resettle Israel in the first place. Until, that is, the Zionist movement, which was originally led by socialist – and largely atheist – Jews with nationalist and secular aims. A big motivating factor of the original Zionists: getting away from religious people. The original Zionists were trying to get away from both the Christians who were oppressing and discriminating against them and the religious Jews who were making the atheist and secular Jews outsiders in their own communities, and create a secular socialist state where there would be religious freedom and a commitment to equal rights and peace.

This is, of course, in direct contrast to modern Zionism, which is heavily religious in nature (both Jewish and Christian), militaristic, and hyper – capitalist. I am not afraid to say that the original Zionists would call the modern Zionists fascists, religious zealots (and hypocrites), and insist that they pick another name for themselves.

In any event, the original Zionist movement did get some Jews into Israel, but not that many. So the result was that immediately after World War II, Israel was just one of many colonies in the British Empire, and had a small Jewish population (that the Palestinians were not above targeting for murderous violence I should add). Also, the British liberated Israel after World War II not because of any special considerations for Israel, but because of the general consensus shortly after the great war that western colonial powers should grant self – rule and self – determination to its colonies.

Further, Israel was not chosen as the homeland for the Jews because of the Old Testament. Instead, after World War II, there was the thorny issue of what to do with the many Jewish refugees, and for that matter the Jewish diaspora in general. There was a huge number of displaced Jews, and there was also the general agreement that Jews needed a place to go to in case of persecution. Many Jews tried to flee Hitler’s Holocaust, but they had nowhere to go: no nation would accept them. The sad truth is that no one wanted them. No nation wanted the Jewish refugees, and in particular no nation wanted to be the place that would accept large numbers of Jews fleeing persecution or some other distress in another nation or nations.

Only a single nation, an African nation, offered to accept any appreciable number of Jews, and even that was almost certainly because they were promised international aid for doing so: basically accepting being paid off by people who preferred giving up large sums of money in exchange for not having to host current and future Jewish refugees. However, the Jewish community quite understandably did not find that destination to their liking.

So only then did the international community see Israel as the answer to the immediate problem of the Jewish refugees and the long term issue of a place where members of the international Jewish diaspora could flee persecution, as everyone agreed was needed after the Holocaust. (It is generally agreed that upon seeing that no nation was willing to take on a large number of Jewish refugees, Hitler saw that there would be no repercussions for fully pursuing his final solution. So no matter what history books claim, whatever motivations that various countries had for entering World War II, saving the Jews was not one of them.) Everyone agreed that the Jews needed a place to go if they had to, but no one wanted their country to be that place!

So the intent never was to recreate Biblical Israel to satisfy the religious aims of Jews or of dispensational Christians. (Quite the contrary, the Christian bodies with the most political influence at the time, Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants, were amillennial, and believe that the church has replaced Old Testament Israel. Church of England = amillennial.) Being a colony that England was about ready to wash its hands of anyway, Israel was merely the most convenient – and very likely the only practical – place to put them. 

So, this was fine for the international community, who got to rid themselves of their responsibility to the Jewish people plus not a few actual Jews. And it was fine for the Jewish people. Secular Jews saw it as Zionism achieved (and the Israeli nation was indeed secular and socialist initially), religious Jews saw it as being returned to their land of promise to await the Moshiach (Messiah). But no one can pretend that Israel being flooded by European Jews was good for the Palestinians living there in any way, shape or form. The Palestinians saw it for what it was from their perspective … an invasion. So the Israeli argument “we offered the Palestinians the opportunity to join us in a state and they chose war over peace” … well imagine if a flood of Mexicans, Kenyans or Soviets came to America offering to create a nation with us and had the United Nations backing them. What would we say? No, right?

Of course, it isn’t that simple, because the Palestinians did not have a sovereign state at that time. But it is equally true that the Palestinians were never obliged to accept what the British, the international community, and the flood of European Jews were attempting to impose on them.

There is still more. When Israel advocates mention the refusal of the Palestinians to join them in a state, they leave out some key details. Namely, that the state would have been Jewish. Any other way would have been unacceptable to the Jews, because it would have been impossible to ensure that Jewish citizens of that state would have religious freedom and be otherwise well treated, and it certainly would have been impossible to allow such a state to allow an open – ended stream of Jewish refugees from primarily Europe and America. Now it would have been technically possible to make such guarantees had Jews remained a numerical majority (allow me to point out that the number of Palestinians when added to the number of Arab/Muslim Israeli citizens far exceeds the number of Jews, and has for quite some time now!), but there was no way to ensure that it would happen. So, the Palestinians would have had to consent to living in a state that while technically secular and socialist would be by constitutionally mandated as Jewish and western, and would allow for Jews all over the world to come automatically be citizens with other Arabs and Muslims not having that same right. Thus, the Palestinians would have actually been better off by remaining a British colony than by joining this state.

And what of the two – state solution? Well, for starters, that presumes that a Palestinian accepts the right of a bunch of Europeans to grab half the land which they consider theirs. (Even if the land isn’t theirs, from their perspective it certainly does not belong to the Jews. Again, not only are Muslims not obliged to respect the Old Testament, but even according to the Old Testament Israel ceased to exist in 586 BC, and history records Jews being driven from a Jerusalem that they didn’t even control in 132 AD.) Just like no Frenchman, German, Irishman, or American would agree to those terms willingly, it is something that very few Palestinians would naturally be obliged to accept. Rather, it is something that they would acquiesce to over time after finally realizing that nothing better is forthcoming. So yes, a majority of Palestinians will accept a two – state solution even though they don’t really want one, because they prefer it to perpetual poverty and warfare.

The problem: what Israel has been offering is not a two state solution. Israel proposals include A) Israel getting more land and B) Israel getting the better land, including most of Jerusalem. Also, because of their very real and understandable security needs, this Palestinian “state” would have no real military, strict limitations on trade, and a lack of control over its ports and airspace. Those things would either be monitored by Israel or by “the international community.”  Now you can call such an entity a lot of things, but an actual sovereign state is not one of them. In truth, it is not much different than being a territory ultimately under the jurisdiction of another nation (or the U.N.) or for that matter being a colony allowed limited self – rule. And to keep on being redundant, the Palestinians could have had that with the British and without having to surrender the better part of the land to what they quite understandably view as European interlopers.

Israel and its many advocates keep trying to claim that the Palestinians would go from being poor people in refugee tents to being extremely wealthy and carefree with virtually unlimited international aid and also international military protection from any nation that tried to attack them (i.e. an irate Syria or Egypt that considered them traitors to the Arab/Muslim cause, or failing that simply wanting their land) but few Palestinians have been so easy to buy off with promises of becoming a permanent welfare state.

Now am I leaving out a lot, including things concerning anti – Semitism and radical Islam, and the pernicious influence of other Muslim/Arab states who truthfully could care less about the Palestinians and simply hate Jews and westerners? Of course. But if you think that even absent those influences the Palestinians would be happy to accept second class status within a Jewish state, or living in a phony Palestinian state that cannot so much as operate its own airport, then you are expecting the Palestinians to accept terms that no westerner, and especially no American, would accept for himself. After all, why did America fight the revolutionary war again? And why did the American south fight the Civil War? Enlarging that a little bit, the French, British, and Russians didn’t just roll over and accept being dominated by the Germans and Italians did they? And America and its allies didn’t just sit back and allow the Soviet Union to win the Cold War either.

But the Palestinians aren’t westerners. They aren’t western Europeans, and they certainly aren’t Americans. So, most Americans believe that the Palestinians should just accept whatever conditions that America and Israel impose upon them, and are shocked – SHOCKED – when Palestinians reject terms that no American (and no modern day Israeli Zionist) would accept. To go ahead and spell it out, the Palestinians refuse to accept that they are an inferior people with an inferior culture, and that they should just sit back and allow people who consider themselves to be a superior people with a superior culture (and religion) to dictate their fates as they please. And of course, Americans and Israelis get very upset when the Palestinians refuse to accept their inferiority or our superiority; that everything would be SO MUCH BETTER if they and everyone else in the world were to just obediently do everything that America (and Israel) tells it to do. You have one side seeking its best interests at the expense of the other side, and the other side pushing back just as certainly as the first side would were they in their position, indeed as the first side has in the past. After all, colonial America had a much better lot than the Palestinians currently do, and do not forget that their relative comfort in many cases came at the expense of slaves and native Americans (a fact that the British that the Americans rebelled against never ceased to point out).

So that is why this current military action by Israel, indeed any military or political action by Israel, is ultimately doomed to fail. It does not change the fact that there are millions of Palestinians in land that Israel ultimately controls. It does not change the fact that there is no place for these Palestinians to go even if they wanted to. They cannot become Israeli citizens because if they did Israel would no longer be a Jewish state but an Arab/Muslim state (with all that it entails, including at minimum but certainly not limited to no longer unconditionally accepting Jews), and “the Arab/Muslim world” will not take them in, nor should they be expected to. (They didn’t create this problem, they don’t support the current policy, so why should they solve it? Let the British, who created the problem, or the Americans, who so proudly unconditionally backs Israel, accept the Palestinians. Of course, none of those people who thinks that the Palestinians should just go to Jordan or Egypt thinks that sounds like such a good idea!) And they are unwilling to accept living in a phony “Palestinian state” that wouldn’t even be able to defend itself from attack from another Arab nation, Israel, or anyone else, let alone truly control its own economy.

So, there is really only one solution. That is to make Palestinian existence so miserable that whoever survives will agree to Israel’s terms. That actually is the position of Binyamin (Benjamin) Netanyahu and those to the right of him. However, even that has problems. First, it will mean an all out war with the Palestinians that will mean a very high number of Jewish casualties, especially if other Arab nations get involved. Most of the “crush the Palestinians” contingent delude themselves of the actual cost of this policy in Jewish lives – and I include Netanyahu himself in this delusional group – and the rest see it as a price that they are willing to pay. Second, a great many Jews, including some that are quite conservative and/or religious, really truly do not want to be cruel and oppressive to the Palestinians; or to slaughter large numbers of them and to crush the spirits of the survivors. Most of them are willing to fight a war, but only a defensive one.

Now please do not misunderstand the intent of this, which is not to be anti – Israel or pro – Palestinian. Rather, it is to point out that the Israeli – Palestinian situation really is intractable. There honestly is no solution. The Palestinians can’t leave because no one will take them. The Palestinians can’t join Israel because that would destroy the Jewish state and homeland. Israel can’t give the Palestinians a legitimate state because Muslim extremists would use that state to launch devastating attacks against Israel’s population. And the Palestinians cannot agree to a phony state because such a state would be unable to defend itself and have no one truly willing to defend the state for them.

So, it comes down to the Christians who repeat the common slogan of Israel supporters: “why can’t the Palestinians just give up terror” is really “why can’t the Palestinians accept foreigners taking over half their land and being relegated to living in an economically unviable ‘state’ that cannot defend itself.” I say that American Christians who root for Palestinians to accept such terms – or any other terms that they would never themselves accept – in the interests of  “peace” violate Matthew 22:39 and especially Matthew 5:43-44.

Before you go claiming an “out” based on the notion that Muslims do not qualify as our neighbors because they aren’t Christians, please remember that save for the tiny percentage of Messianic Jews, the Israelis aren’t Christians either. So really, in this dispute, I would have a hard time proposing that Christians have a Biblical basis for choosing any one side over the other. (The liberal Christians who side with the Palestinians ignore that the Palestinians are not exactly innocent oppressed victims here.) Who I really want to hear from are the premillennial dispensationalists who stand with Israel because of Abraham’s covenant and believe that the recreation of Israel in 1948 was a mighty act of God that sets the stage for the endtimes including the rapture, and that Israel belongs to the Jews and the Jews alone based on it. Seriously, what is the solution according to your doctrines? What is the Biblical solution to this intractable problem that Christians should hope and pray to occur?

I freely admit that from where I sit there is no solution other than to wait for Jesus Christ to return. To choose the Israeli side is to be unjust to the Palestinians, most of whom have not engaged in a single act of violence against anyone and are living in a dire situation that they did not create and have no power to resolve. To choose the Palestinian side is to be unjust to the Israelis, who despite their superior wealth and military might are also stuck in a bad situation. They can’t give in to the Palestinians, and they can’t leave Israel because no one wants them, not even the United States.

Now I 100% believe Paul when he wrote in Romans that God has not cast off His chosen people the Jews. I also believe 100% when this same Paul wrote that God created all people and loves all people, including Palestinians. I do not advocate picking sides in this intractable situation that will only be resolved by God on the basis of doctrines that present an unbalanced view of scripture, and I rise up in direct opposition to those who pick sides based on worldly concerns (i.e. which one is “pro – western”, which one is “our ally”, which one’s culture and religion we find more appealing, etc.).

So Christians are left with the fact that with regard to the Israeli – Palestinian situation, we are to be on no one’s side but God’s, and therefore we are to pray for the speedy return of Jesus Christ and that God’s Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And yes, it is God’s Will in heaven that Jews and Palestinians come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So we are to pray for that to happen to. We are also to work for that to happen with our evangelism. And we are also to cast off everything, including unbalanced doctrines and worldly political situations, that would hinder us from being as effective as we possibly can in evangelizing both Jews and Palestinians. I have to say that the current way that many contemporary evangelical Christians view and paint the Israeli – Palestinian conflict often results in a form of false or negative witness to both groups that leave Jews feeling that they do not need to accept Jesus Christ because they are already inherently righteous without Him and Palestinians feeling that they don’t want a Jesus Christ that based on our own doctrines and political positions doesn’t love or care about them.

(I realize that my last statement may seem to conflict with my Reformed/Calvinist leanings, but it is still a true statement. Believing in a predestined elect and believing that God commanded us to show love to all without partiality and certainly without worldly considerations are ideas that are not in tension or conflict, because the same Bible that speaks of the former also incontrovertibly commands the latter. So if anything, the Bible is clearer and more direct on the compulsion to evangelize both Jew and Palestinian, not be partial to either, and to cast off anything that hinders it – if an eye or hand offends then pluck it out or chop it off! – than it is on predestination, so that should be doctrinally and spiritually prior. So yes, I disagree with Calvin’s successor Theodore Beza who called predestination the head of all doctrines. I also disagree with Beza – and Augustine – on the issue of hunting down and killing Anabaptists and Donatists, but that is a topic for another day.)

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