This Sunday I was blessed to hear John MacArthur briefly speak of what our perspective on the conflict in Israel should be. It seems that many evangelicals have an extremely unbiblical perspective on this conflict therefore; I would like to share what I learned this Sunday.
Israel has the Sovereign Right to Defend Itself
First, we must recognize that God has established the nations and they have no authority except what has been granted them by God (Romans 13). God has granted Israel the right to defend itself against hostile aggressors and Israel is just in doing so.
Israel is Currently a Nation Under God’s Judgment
Second, we must recognize that Israel, and subsequently the Jewish people, is a nation under the judgment of God. Israel has rejected Christ, the New Testament, and the entire Old Testament, in that the purpose of the Old Testament is to point towards Christ. They are literally enemies of God and of the Gospel (Romans 5:10). The Israel is no safer now than in the days of captivity.
Israel’s Actions Cannot Hinder the Sovereign Plans of God
Third, God’s purposes are immutable, what He decrees always comes to pass, and all those who plot against Him do so vainly (Isaiah 14:24, 43:13, 55:11). The fulfillment of God’s will is not dependent upon anyone or anything; He does as He pleases.
Israel Need’s the Gospel
What is Israel’s most pressing need; UN sanctions, assistance, a Hezbollah ceasefire? No, Israel needs what it has always needed, the Gospel. How should Christians respond to this conflict? We should respond with the Gospel.
What’s your take on “replacement theology” in which people believe that the Church has replaced Israel as far as its promises and promises in the Bible are concerned?
I couldn’t read your article because I was too tired after trying to figure out what in the world your title said. Sorry man, I guess I need to get back in the theological world for a while so that I can keep up with you. Hope you’re doing well, man!
Ha:) Tim you crack me up. when are you starting te new blog?
Tapp, that is one of those undecided issues. I know we will spend a lot of time on that in seminary because it is one of the few undecided issues. I would lean more toward the church being the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. But I really know nothing about eschatology, hopefully I will know more soon. What do you think?
I think much of prophecy clearly relates to modern-day Israel as it is. The 144,000 “remnant” i see clearly as Israelis who repent and trust in Christ. i see the establishment of the modern day state of Israel as being the fulfillment of prophecy.
And I’ve read too many stories of miraculous things in their battles with other nations for me to believe that God doesn’t have his hand on Israel.
Israel, as a people, are not “safe” as far as salvation is concerned, but I think they are clearly under the protection of God as far as a nation. Just like in the OT, not every circumcised Israelite was a true believer, but they were still living in land and a people group chosen by God.
I believe His promises to them under Abraham and Isaac and Moses still apply to them as a nation (country). But, salvation for them is only found in Christ.
It’s my understanding that this sets me opposed to people (like Piper) who believe that there is nothing special about modern-day Israel, and that none of the promises of God relate to Israel as a nation (country.)
By Israels safety I was not talking about salvation. But rather their saftey as a nation in that Israel could just as easily be taken into captivity today as they chould at any point in history. Not because God has broken His promise but in fulfillment of it (Read Deuteronomy 29). The nations will wonder “why such hardship has befallen Israel (v.24).” And the answer is because they have abandoned the covenant of the Lord therefore kindling His anger against Him (v.25-28). And His wrath will continue to be against Him untill they turn to Him (Deuteronomy 30:2-3).
If God’s promise is a promise distinct to Israel and does not find it’s fulfillment in the church, then Israel is “safe” in that God ultimately fulfill His promise. But they are not “safe” in an immediate sense because His wrath burns against them and will continue to burn against them until they turn to Him, and subsequently Christ.
I do not think we can say that Israel becoming a nation again is the fulfillment of prophecy, which it very well may be, until Israel returns to Christ and submits herself to Him. Until then the wrath of God abides on Israel and He will continue to heap calamities on them until they return to Him (See Moses’s sond In Deuteronomy 32).