My good friend and fellow-servant, KA in LV, pointed out that my recent remarks on Israel may be influenced by my covenantal leanings theologically. He may be correct in this, but I am uncertain. I am not a straight-up covenantalist, and I believe that he said that he is not a down-the-line dispensationalist either. What that means, actually, is that KA's theology and my own needs some work. Further, it means that we know too much from both sides for our own good, we understand the good points of both, so we promise further investigation on the matter as soon as the phone stops ringing, counseling sessions get cancelled, all the kids get well, and the grass gets cut. By the way, KA, we pray for you each day and you continue to be on our prayer list at Church.
Let me make a couple of things clear from the start. I do not wish emnity upon Israel in any shape, form, or fashion. I also would like to be friends with Belgium, if that is possible. I try to live at peace whenever I can.
Here is what KA meant when he said that my covenantal views have affected my views on Israel. According to strict covenantalism, the Church itself is the Israel of God. I think that it is a bit of a mistake to say that covenantalists believe that the church has "replaced" Israel as a people. They certainly believe that Israel is included in the Church. They just get the same space as the English, the Americans, the Williams', and even the French. In Covenantal theology, when you read "Israel", you can basically plug in "church" and have a good synonym.
That sounds sort of like what I am saying, but it isn't quite. What I am saying is that it is okay to protest against modern day Israel if they are guilty of violating people's basic human rights. Jeremiah did. Isaiah did. Most of the prophets spoke against the ruling powers of Israel if indeed they acted ungodly. My contention is that so should we.
I know that Israel its hands full dealing with terrorists and crazy Jihadists and things of this nature. I believe that Israel has a right to defend itself. But we can't just throw a blanket over everything that Israel does and pronounce it righteous simply because they sprang from Abraham's loins anymore than we can rubber stamp George Bush's choices because he is an "evangelical Christian."
That is all pretty basic, I believe. So let me get to the real reason why I believe the average dispensational guy defends Israel so vigorously. They are God's chosen people. Yes, that's true. I also happen to be a chosen person who has the faith like Abraham's and will sit at the table with he and Isaac and Jacob. No dispensationalist would disagree with that, I don't think.
What they really believe is that, if we leave Israel alone, or better yet, support them, that God will soon rapture the Church away so He can deal once again with His "chosen" people. Now I am a chosen person...wait, I said that already.
I am with you on this, my dispensational friend, sort of. I have some melancholy Post-trib leanings, though. Please don't stop being my friend over this; I can't help it that I'm right about that.
What fascinates me about this position is the inherit predestination and sovereign election of God that is built in to this view that the average dispy will most likely deny. That is, the average dispy believes in a general(ish) atonement and that election of individuals is based upon their foreseen belief in Christ. Now oddly, at the end of all things, all of surviving Israel will be saved. No doubt about it, according to dispensational theology. How is it that an entire nation of people, all armed with libertarian free will, will all accept Jesus as Messiah at the same moment? Why will this only happen to Israel and not, say, Mozambique? I know the answer: Brad, it is because God chose Israel for salvation.
What do you mean? God chose Israel as a nation and individually because He saw that they would all simultaneously believe in the end? Or...do they all simultaneously believe in the end because God chose them? (cf. John 15:16).
Just some food for thought there. In the end, I believe that the average evangelical is crazy about Israel because they see that nation as an end time fulfillment to prophecy and a sure sign that Jesus is returning soon. Further, all Israel will be gathered together so that God may work His saving grace among them.
I read you loud and clear, but let me add something more to this. I also believe that there are people in Saudia Arabia that God will save, and in Egypt, and in Texas, and in Italy. They will be just as much my brothers and sisters and Christ as any Jewish person that God saves. Are they due any less respect and awe?
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