Later this month, I will debate the question of our duty to Israel with two ardent pro-Zionist evangelicals on nationally syndicated Christian radio. We will ask: “Does God have an unconditional covenant with all Jews, entitling them to the land of Israel? Or is His blessing conditioned on Jewish obedience?”
I believe Scripture emphatically teaches that God’s covenant is with Jews who trust and obey Him. God told Abraham that because he believed in God he would be personally blessed with the land of Canaan, and so would his believing descendants—a posterity who gave God the same works of faith (Gen. 17:7). Scripture says these righteous descendants will bless the whole world (Gen. 26:4). (See, “Bible Prophecy Made Simple” and “History of the Jews is a Love Story Scripted by Christ”)
Paul, however, clarifies that the “seed” of Abraham is also singular, in the person of Jesus Christ. “He does not say, ‘And to his seeds,’ as referring to many but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.” (Gal. 3:16) It is through Christ, the “seed” of Abraham, that the covenant’s blessing came to Gentiles (Gal. 3:14). Believing non-Jews join the spiritual “Israel” of God (Gal. 6:16); Paul says it is children of faith, not mere blood, who are the true “sons of Abraham.” (Gal. 3:7) The “seed” of Abraham thus consists of three entities: Jews in every age who give God the faith and obedience of Abraham; Jesus Christ; and any Gentile who also trusts and obeys God daily as Abraham did.
Are Christ-rejecting Jews the “children of Abraham?” Only according to heredity. Spiritually, Paul says, “It is not the children of the flesh who are children of God; but the children of the promise (i.e. faith) who are regarded as descendants” (Rom. 9:8). God never made a covenant with unbelieving Jews. He doesn’t have one now. They have no claim to the spiritual or territorial promises given to faithful Abraham. Paul says they are dry withered branches, broken off from the living root of Christ because of unbelief. They may be grafted in through repentance, but while in rebellion they are “enemies” of the gospel (Rom. 11:28). Paul says “they both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, they are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost” (1 Thess. 2:15). Jesus said they are “the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie…” (Rev. 3:9)
Why can’t unbelieving Jews inherit Palestine? The land is holy, set aside as the millennial ruling place of Jesus, true Israel’s husband and great King. The land of Israel is part of an earthly, spiritual and ecclesiastical structure that has its counterpart in heaven. In fact, Canaan land, “a land that flows with milk and honey,” corresponds to heaven and that glorious “spiritual rest” promised in the book of Hebrews.
Scripture says that there is a heavenly city (Heb. 11:16) and temple with what amounts to a “holy of holies,” occupied by the high priest Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. Before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the heavenly pattern was mirrored on earth. It corresponded to the holy city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple, containing a holy of holies. This sacred space was meant to be inhabited only by a devout high priest who, like Christ, was a mediator to God for the sin and errors of the Jewish people.
In heaven, “cherubim,” angels, elders and saints praise the Lamb continuously. Just as this heavenly temple is inhabited by holy beings, Israel and God’s temple on earth are meant for people who trust and obey God, who are dedicated to praise, worship and truth. Scripture promises that someday this will be realized; the land of Israel will be filled with holy Jews and "Jews" who are actually Gentile converts 1 (Ezek. 47:22).
But Jews are not sanctioned to occupy the land in unbelief. This is clear throughout the Old Testament, where Jehovah always required obedience from the Hebrews before they could enter the land and live there. If she did not obey Him, Israel was warned she would be “torn from the land” and “scattered among all peoples” (Deut. 28:63, 64). God also told the Hebrews that if they were exiled they could never lawfully reenter the land unless they chose to “return to the Lord your God and obey Him.” Only then would God “restore [them] from captivity and gather [them] again from all peoples.” (Deut. 30:2, 3)
God demands obedience! He forbade Moses himself to enter the land because of one infraction (Numb. 20:13). Only when Israel gave Him complete, trusting obedience, as under Joshua and Caleb or later Ezra and Nehemiah, did He allow a land symbolizing heaven’s holiness to be reoccupied by His chosen people.
Have Zionists given God the obedience He demands? Decades ago, unbelieving Jews, primarily the offscouring of the Jewish Bolshevik upheaval in Russia in 1917, descended from Eastern Europe into Palestine, forcing out the Arab inhabitants, both Christian and Moslem. They claimed rights of occupation as the “children of Abraham.” In reality they were children of the devil, the Zionist wing of Bolshevism. Violent Marxism was shared by Zionist pioneers including Golda Meir, Begin, Shamir, and Ben Gurion. Israel became (and remains) the only country in the Middle East to legalize the Communist party. “Kibbutzim” were the Israeli equivalent of Soviet collectives.
Heavenly beings who dwell below God’s throne must be holy; God wills that those who occupy the earthly counterpart must be holy, too. The opposite happened under Zionism. Israel forced her way into Palestine after WWI in resolute unbelief in Jesus Christ. Through international intrigue, massive infusion of cash from prosperous Jewry in the West, terrorism, arms supplied by Stalin, and outright expulsion of the Arab and Christian inhabitants, Israel made herself a nation. (See, “The Simple Explanation for Mid-East Strife”) She did so by violence and force, not true faith. At this moment, Israel retains such anti-Christianity that Knesset is considering whether to mandate a year in prison for Jews and Gentiles who evangelize for Christ in Israel. Zionists defiled God’s holy land at every step, a defilement that evangelicals have unconditionally blessed for a century.
Clearly, evangelicals and Zionists agree that obedience to God is no longer necessary to occupy His holy land. How did God’s timeless law become so totally mocked and overthrown?
It happened around the turn of the 20th century. The Jews received deep sympathy from evangelicals because of their real or exaggerated sufferings. They convinced evangelical leaders that obedience no longer matters; the only issue to consider was that the Jewish people find haven from persecution, a sanctuary in a holy land unconditionally promised to them by God. With hardly a whisper of dissent, evangelicals bought into this lie and have held it unflinchingly to this moment.
Unbelievably, the church turned its back on the Bible and accepted the Zionist lie that obedience was irrelevant. This betrayal testifies to the American church’s spiritual poverty for the last century. It esteems material success, numbers, and respectability; but there is a chronic dearth of deep appreciation of the truly spiritual. Few honor the fact that holiness epitomizes God and that without holiness no one will see Him (Heb. 12:14).
The superficial, predominantly Calvinist (once saved, always saved) church failed to appreciate the demand for continuous trust and obedience to Christ. If the church had realized that obedience is a requirement for salvation, it would have known God requires the same for the Jews to reoccupy Palestine. The church would not have abandoned the Biblical standard to please Zionists.
Without the massive support of evangelicals, apostate Jewry would have had to remain in the countries of their dispersion. They would have been forced to enjoy the prosperity and protection of their host nations (as God commanded through Jeremiah). There they would be unable to inject a thorn of bitterness in the Middle East— a thorn that has now festered for a century and threatens the stability and safety of the entire world.
A century ago, both evangelicals and Zionists expected peace and safety for Jews in Palestine. Yet because Jewish reoccupation was spiritually lawless, it did not bring such peace or freedom.
Former Pres. Jimmy Carter has said Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians is “abominable” and massively contributes to the strife and terrorism ravaging the Mideast today. Israel is not the safest place a Jew can live but the most dangerous. Most Israelis would prefer to live in America. This state of threat and disillusionment results from the searing violation of everything that is sacred. Imagine the violence in heaven if a Christ-profaning revolutionary sat down among the cherubim, angels, and elders before the throne of God and began to blaspheme. That is exactly what has happened in Palestine during the past century. A holy land, meant to epitomize heaven on earth, has been profaned by 6.3 million Christ-rejecting secular or Talmudic Jews.
This state of affairs can’t possibly fulfill the hundreds of Old Testament prophesies of national restoration. Why not? Because the prophets always foresaw this restoration following national repentance.
From the moment Zionists entered Palestine more than a century ago, strife in the Middle East has only escalated. Violence has been done to God’s law in heaven and earth. The Bible is clear: There is no peace for the wicked. There will be no peace in the Mideast for America either, as long as we continue to fight trillion-dollar wars to legitimize and protect a spiritually lawless, counterfeit, rogue state.
1 For an overview of the astonishing role which 9th century A.D. Gentile converts to Judaism, the “Khazars,” are playing in God’s plan for Israel, see, “The Khazars: Do They Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews?”
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