Sunday, February 3, 2013

DIVIDING THE LAND OF ISRAEL


This article is not only addressed to Catholics, but to ALL those who claim to be Christian.  We will take a look at a very important topic, that is, how we view (and interact with) the land and people of Israel.

  •         It is a fact that God has given to the Jews the land of Israel as an *everlasting* covenant:


For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. (Genesis 13:15)

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.  (Genesis 17:7-8)

O ye seed of Israel His servant, ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones.  He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth.  Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which He made with Abraham, and of His oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance. (1 Chronicles 16:13-18)

Art not Thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend for ever? (2 Chronicles 20:7)

Let this sink deeply into our brains.  God gave this land of Israel to the Jews (i.e., Abraham’s descendants through the line of his son, Isaac), and He gave it to them FOREVER.  

  • God warns not to part / divide the land of Israel:


I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. (Joel 3:2)

Notice that God says, “…and parted MY land.”  He takes this personally.  It is GOD’S land given to His chosen people.  No other people or nation is supposed to get any part of the land of Israel.  It is all theirs, and not to be sold, traded, given, or parceled out to anyone else for any reason.  There will be divine judgment for anyone who would participate in such activity.
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  • God promises that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel will be cursed:


And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  (Genesis 12:2-3)

So, are we BLESSING Israel when we participate in the dividing or the giving away of their God-given land?  Absolutely not.

  • It is a fact that many in America (even Christians) are promoting the parting / dividing of the land of Israel:


There is a very interesting book available from About Him Publishing, (McLean VA, Copyright 2008) by William Koenig, titled, “Eye to Eye (Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel).”  The book is a painstakingly detailed account of how the United States of America has suffered over 50 catastrophes (many major) that have been documented since 1991.  These include hurricanes, tornadoes, acts of terrorism, wildfires, ice storms, stock market problems, earthquakes, flooding, heat waves, etc., most (if not all) within 24 hours of certain events… and those certain events have been attempts by America to put pressure on Israel to give portions of their land to the Palestinians.  Yes, it seems that every time America is involved with giving up Israel’s land, a catastrophe happens on American soil.  And the incredible timing of these catastrophes can hardly be considered a “coincidence.”  I would urge every Christian to read the book, and see for himself the uncanny timing of these events and the judgment of God on our nation.

The book tells us of many different meetings between our leaders and leaders from other countries who would meet to discuss negotiations to cause Israel to give up land to the Palestinians for “peace.”  Many think that this “exchange” between Israel and her enemies will indeed bring about peace in the Middle East.  They envision a “Jewish state” and a “Palestinian state,” living together in peace and harmony, side by side.  But, as someone so eloquently stated, “It ain’t gonna happen!”

Giving away land will never work.  Once land is given them, they will simply want more… and more… and more.  This is ISRAEL’S land!  If we really respect the God-ordained Scriptures, we will acknowledge this.

But this “land for peace” concept is an utter insult – this is like a schoolyard bully telling his victim, “You’ll have ‘peace’ if you give me your lunch money!”  In much the same way, Israel’s enemies are saying, “Give us some of your land and then we’ll stop bombing you.”  Would any American worth his salt expect his own nation to just hand over land to some bully nation in return for “peace”?  Then why expect Israel to do it?
 
Anyway, why all the fuss over this tiny piece of land called Israel?  Why is this going on and why does it have the world’s attention?  All this is happening simply because it is about GOD’S chosen people and the land He promised them.  God is forcing the world to focus on these events because they are the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.  God is merciful and He is allowing the whole world to see that His Word is true.

No one is pretending that the solution to the violence in the Middle East is a simple one.  To be fair, we need to note that there are some Palestinians who are reported to be Christians who are caught up in the fight for that land, as well.  So we, as Christians, should feel compassion for those fellow Christians who have lost homes there.  We should be considerate of them and keep them in prayer.  However, we also need to recognize that they are simply being used as pawns to bring about a political agenda which would lead to the weakening, and ultimately the destruction, of Israel.  We cannot expect anyone (Christian, Jew, Palestinian, or otherwise) to violate God’s Word, and not be punished.

It is interesting to see that the enemies of Israel have a vast amount of land in the Middle East, yet they want to crowd the Palestinians into this very small space, that is, in Israel.  But if they really had compassion for the Palestinians, it seems that they would be able to abundantly provide homes for them elsewhere.  Surely, they would be welcome somewhere in the Middle East, don’t you think?


Replacement Theology

There is a false teaching to which many churches in America have fallen victim, and this teaching is called “replacement theology.”  Replacement theology is the concept that Israel has lost its place in the scheme of things and has been replaced by the church, since Israel has rejected its true Messiah, Jesus Christ.  It is the belief that Israel is no longer God’s people, and God has no specific plans for the future of Israel.  They say that the church is now the sole owner of God’s promises, since the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the church.  

But this is not true.  The New Testament tells us that although the Jews (in general) reject Jesus Christ as their true Messiah, this is only a “partial blindness,” or a “partial hardening” (Romans 11:25).  God does still have a plan for them, and Israel will certainly be the object of God’s focus once again.  God has supernaturally kept Israel over the centuries and they have become a nation again in 1948, in spite of many attempts by their enemies to destroy them.  So, anyone believing this doctrine of “replacement theology” is deceived.


Something to Think About

Does anyone think that America could not be destroyed like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were?  It certainly is possible, since we not only have a high tolerance of homosexuality in many places in this country, but we also have an open acceptance (even encouragement) of this sin from many of our leaders and celebrities.  Perhaps, in some cities, we are WORSE than Sodom and Gomorrah were!  America is more accountable to God than many other nations, since we started off as a godly country with abundant freedom to worship and we now have abundant access to the Bible - but we have become incredibly self-centered, undisciplined, greedy, proud, and full of immorality… a nation moving away from God.  So, the question is, if this is true, why is America still around, and why haven’t we suffered the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah?  Perhaps it is because we have not yet turned against (and are still allies with) the nation Israel.  This may be the main reason that we still exist as a nation.  So, does anyone think that it is wise to turn against Israel by urging them to divide and give away their God-given land?

Conclusion

According to William Koenig, the author of the book mentioned above, those who are urging Israel to divide the land include the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (page 32), the Vatican (headquarters for the Catholic Church), and the World Council of Churches (page 28-29).

Also included are leaders of the Episcopal Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Churches USA, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and others (pages 299-300). 

But Christians should know better.  It is sickening to see so many in American churches push so hard to anger God by urging our leaders to force Israel to give up their own land.  These churches… the very ones who should be WARNING us of this problem and pointing us in the right direction… these are the ones who are ignoring God’s Word and causing the judgment of God to fall on this country.  They need to repent. 

Those churches involved in these efforts are spiritual traitors.  They are ignoring the simple biblical command to respect and honor God’s chosen people and the rightful possession of their land.  And as a result, they are destroying our beloved nation. 

All Christians need to pray for the protection and peace of Israel… and America.  Let us also pray for the souls of all those involved in the Middle East conflict.  And may God help us to bring to them the simple gospel message of Jesus Christ.  What is this message?  It is a message of changed hearts and the hope of Heaven, through trusting in the Person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and that alone.  May we bring it to the Jews, the Palestinians, and the rest of the world. 
















9 comments:

  1. This post unfortunately reflects the error of Dispensationalism. It is erroneous both in the Biblical data and in the historical data.

    For example, Jesus made a prophecy that the Temple and Jerusalem would be flattened in 70AD, and that's precisely what happened. For approximately 1900 years, there was no Israel and Palestine was mostly Christian and Muslim that whole time. Given this, your whole thesis would suggest God has indeed failed to keep His promises for 1900 years. But Catholics and most non-American Protestants have never been Dispensationalist, so we've always seen the Divine Judgment of 70AD to be pretty definitive. The texts that speak of the promises being "eternal" are not to be understood as literally eternal, but rather for a long time, which is why even though circumcision was said to be eternal the council in Acts 15 deemed it was not. God delivered on all his promises, the problem is that after repeated disobedience God also promised punishments. Rejecting the Messiah is no small beans, and God will not bless anyone who rejects His Son.

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  2. Hello Nick,

    You said that my thesis suggests that God has failed, because ever since Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70, Israel was not in their land for 1900 years. You seem to be suggesting that the land wasn’t theirs during all this time, because Israel would be required to BE IN the land for it to be theirs.

    But if it is necessary to actually live in the land before it can be considered rightfully theirs, then wouldn’t it be rightfully theirs TODAY (since they are in it)? And if it is rightfully theirs, then why should they divide their land and give it to an enemy who will use it against them?

    But the point is that it was God Himself who gave this land to these descendants of Abraham back in Genesis, and from that point on, it was ALWAYS rightfully their land, whether they actually lived in it or not.

    You said:

    “The texts that speak of the promises being ‘eternal’ are not to be understood as literally eternal, but rather for a long time…”

    Says who? No disrespect intended, Nick, but why should we believe YOUR spin on the interpretation of these seemingly plain and straightforward verses, when 1) we see nothing in the contexts to suggest that God did NOT really mean “forever” or “everlasting,” 2) we see evidence of Israel’s RESTORATION in other passages (e.g., Romans 9-11), thus showing God’s continuous and eternal plan for them, and 3) even if you could prove that the term “eternal” only means “a long time” in this particular case, this wouldn’t nullify the fact that those nations participating in the end time Armageddon scenario (Joel 3:2) are still PUNISHED for parting the land of Israel. The truth is that God has always kept this land for Israel, and it will always be theirs.

    By the way, your example of circumcision is weak, at best. Physical circumcision is the SIGN of the covenant (Genesis 17:11), not the covenant itself. And it is the COVENANT and the POSSESSION OF THE LAND that is everlasting (17:7-8), not the sign.

    You said:

    “Rejecting the Messiah is no small beans, and God will not bless anyone who rejects His Son.”

    That’s true, but we see the eventual restoration of Israel, where they WILL INDEED accept Him as Messiah, after the “fullness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:25) has come. Again, God is definitely not through with the nation of Israel. And Christians have no business pressing Israel to divide their God-ordained land in exchange for “peace.” Those who do are helping to usher in the antichrist, not helping Israel.

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  3. The destruction of the Temple and flattening of Jerusalem was God's divine judgment on them, and why Christ warned about this at the end of the Gospel accounts. If you deny that, then you basically affirm a bi-covenentalism and have a lot to explain as to why that even happened.

    As for their claim to the land today, that's something that's open to speculation. Did they truly receive the land back per God's intentions, or was this purely driven by human motivations? Does this somehow signal we're in the end times? Possibly.
    But the idea that they've always held the land rights is untenable from the evidence provided in the NT, the historical events of 70AD, and the Church Fathers and Jerusalem Patriarchate. The Jews are still 'Gods People' in the sense they hold a priveldged status, but this is not a covenantal/soteric status. They will enter the New Covenant in some manner at the end of time, but now we're in the Gentile age where God's favor is upon the Gentiles for now (Cf Romans 9,10,11).

    The fact the Jews were already kicked off the land with Babylon shows that this land was not some unconditional "always yours" type covenant. God delivered on everything, and it was to remain theirs as long as they stayed faithful: "9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come." This command of circumcision (17:13) is clearly in the same context. This is why Acts 15 was so revolutionary.

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  4. Nick,

    I agree that the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple in A.D. 70 was divine judgment on the Jews for rejecting their Messiah. I never denied this. And I’m not claiming that the Jews are innocent at every turn. There were times when, as a nation, they fell so far into sin and disobedience that God allowed other nations to usurp their land. But that still does not negate the fact that God promised that land to the Jews, and to no one else. And the fact that other nations sometimes took over the land does not negate the fact that those who divide Israel’s land will still be punished. In the eyes of God, it always has been and always will be Israel’s land.

    It was not any human that promised and gave the Jews their land in Genesis; it was no human who miraculously protected them all these centuries when many of their enemies were dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish race; and it was not “human motivations” that put them back in the land of Israel in 1948.

    As you admitted, they are indeed God’s people with a privileged status. God has miraculously reserved them as a special people throughout the centuries, and He has a magnificent plan for them. But this bound-to-fail “land for peace” activity that is happening in Israel puts everyone involved on thin ice.

    Nick, if you want to join the ranks of those who want to give away Israel’s land, then go right ahead. But you’ll have no right to complain when our nation is judged for this.

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  5. As long as we agree that it is only through Jesus that man is saved, then the main issue is settled. The leading problem with Protestants advocating the land of Palestine belongs to the Jews is that they see this as the Old Covenant still being valid and thus the Jews being saved without having to accept Jesus. The Protestants go so far as wanting the Temple rebuilt so that OT sacrifices can resume. This is classic/textbook Dispensationalism, and it's a heresy because it makes Christ irrelevant and unnecessary.

    Whether God wanted to bring the Jews back to that land as a sign of the end times is quite possible, but it is not the same as saying the land has always belonged to them or that God has forever promised it to them. Since we know God is ultimately in control of world events, the fact they've not been on the land for 1900 years must have significance.

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  6. Have you ever wondered why Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah?

    Maybe this will clear things up:
    http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

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  7. Greetings Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comment and for visiting this blog.

    Here is just one good reason (from a Jewish standpoint) to accept Jesus as the Messiah:

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2004/552/

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  8. Sorry but it is impossible to accept Jesus as the Messiah from a Jewish standpoint. I suggest you read these reasons why Jesus couldn't have been the Messiah:

    http://www.outreachjudaism.org/FAQ

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    Replies
    1. Okay Anonymous, then please try these articles:

      https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-reason-to-believe.html

      http://theresurrectionstillspeaks.blogspot.com/2014/08/evidence-for-resurrection.html

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