17 Comments

Issues Concerning the Middle-East


This is an excellent article by John Piper. Its a few years old, (2002) but in my opinion, even more pertinent today considering all that is going on in the Middle East. In the coming months and years, (if the Lord tarry) as we continue to observe even more visible manifestation’s of God’s hand in the issues arising in that part of the world, we as Followers of Christ are going to have to decide, hopefully according to the principles spelled out in God’s Word, how we are to view these things taking place.

To do so is going to take us having the mind and heart of Christ: Prayerfully seeking Him to gain an understanding in how He views these many issues, the people involved, and what His ultimate purpose is behind many of the actions taking place now, and those in the future as well. This is what I prayerfully attempt to do. One thing we can know from the Word itself–God wants all who will, to come to the saving knowledge of His Son Jesus.

“…Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” John 7:37

“But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day; The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” 2Peter 3:8-9

Prophecy will be fulfilled–that we know. Its only a matter of when and how. We cannot change it, nor can we postpone any fulfillment of prophecy–and, we cannot rush its fulfillment either. I like what Spurgeon wrote:

“Prophecy? One thing we can know for a certainty, man knows little, God knows it all!”

Got to love that man!

I find myself in agreement with John Piper’s words in this article.

*****

Land Divine? – We should treat the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as we would any other
By John Piper – Desiring God Ministries

How should bible-believing Christians align themselves in the Jewish-Palestinian conflict? There are biblical reasons for treating both sides with compassionate public justice in the same way that disputes should be settled between nations generally. In other words, the Bible does not teach us to be partial today to Israel or to the Palestinians because either has a special divine status. Israel has a unique place in God’s plans, but this status does not warrant a claim, at the present time, to divine prerogatives.

Israel was chosen by God from all the peoples of the world to be the focus of special blessing in the history of redemption which climaxed in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. “The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

Moreover, God promised to Israel the presently disputed land from the time of Abraham onward. “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring'” (Deuteronomy 34:4).

But neither of these biblical facts leads necessarily to the endorsement of present-day Israel as the rightful possessor of all the disputed land. Israel may have such a right. And she may not. But that decision is not based on divine privilege. Why?

First, a non-covenant-keeping people does not have a divine right to the present possession of the land of promise. Both the experience of divine blessing and the habitation of the land are conditional on Israel’s keeping the covenant God made with her. Thus God said to Israel, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples” (Exodus 19:5). Israel has no warrant to a present experience of divine privilege when she is not keeping covenant with God.

More than once Israel was denied the experience of her divine right to the land (not the final right itself) when she broke covenant with God. For example, when Israel languished in captivity in Babylon, Daniel prayed, “O Lord … we have sinned and done wrong…. To You, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame … to all Israel … in all the lands to which You have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against You” (Daniel 9:4-7; see Psalm 78:54-61). Israel has no divine right to be in the land of promise when she is breaking the covenant of promise.

This does not mean that other nations have the right to molest her. She still has human rights among nations even in those seasons when she forfeits her divine right. Nations that gloated over her divine discipline were punished by God (Isaiah 10:5-13).

Secondly, Israel as a whole today rejects her Messiah, Jesus Christ, God’s Son. This is the ultimate act of covenant-breaking with God. God promised that to Israel “a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7). But with tears this Prince of Peace looked out over Jerusalem and said, “Would that you … had known on this day the things that make for peace! … You did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:42-44).

When the builders rejected the beautiful Cornerstone, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Matthew 21:43). He explained, “Many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham … while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness” (Matthew 8:11-12).

God has saving purposes for ethnic Israel (Romans 11:25-26). But for now most of the people are at enmity with God in rejecting the gospel of Jesus their Messiah (Romans 11:28). God has expanded His saving work to embrace all peoples (including Palestinians) who will trust His Son and depend on His death and resurrection for salvation. “Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? … He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith” (Romans 3:29-30).

The Christian plea in the Middle East to Palestinians and Jews is: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). And until that great day when both Jewish and Gentile followers of King Jesus inherit the earth (not just the land), without lifting sword or gun, the rights of nations should be decided by the principles of compassionate and public justice, not claims to national divine right or status.

17 comments on “Issues Concerning the Middle-East

  1. and sadly John Piper does not believe that the current state of Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy.

    His article only proves that even good men can have blind spots!

    PJ it is unfortunae that you are moving ever further into Calvanism and Replacement Theology. Both of these belief systems are very unblblical! And they are deceiving many good people.

    I would admonish you to seriously think about the direction you are heading as the farther you go the more distance you will place between yourself and God.

  2. I thank you John for your obvious deep concern about what you see as my distancing myself from God.

    May i be candid?

    Since the Spirit of God led me to study more deeply the Eschatological points and beliefs within Dispensationalism, and eventually coming face to face with the truth, which was, i had by holding to the beliefs of this system of interpreting prophecy for years, not been Christ centered in my beliefs on prophecy…but had instead allowed the pillars of this type of theology to point me elsewhere, i grieved in deep repentance for days John.

    Since then i can honestly say the close-ness i had with Jesus in my early years, before getting caught up into DT, has returned! So has my joy. Why? Because now i finally see its all about Christ and always has been!

    In/by him all has been and will continue to be fulfilled.

    How wonderful that truth is–how FREE-ING to finally see that truth is my friend.

    My prayer is that all followers of Christ, finally come to see this truth.

    Praising God today….

    As far as John Pipers beliefs on how we as Christians are to react to problems in the middle east, i totally agree with him;

    ..the Bible does not teach us to be partial today to Israel or to the Palestinians….

    That doesn’t mean as humans we don’t have opinions..and cannot voice them. But we cannot take our ‘human’ personal opinions and tie them to our eschatology beliefs…to the extent that we lose sight of the big picture, which is God’s desire that all people[s] come to Christ, or that in his desire to see this come about that he is partial to one people over another..

    Many dispensationalists do just that–they ‘hate’ or vocally stand against in all ways, any people, lost OR SAVED, not that speak against Christ, but who speak out against showing partiality to one nation: Israel. Why?

    Because their form of prophecy interpretation is not Christ centered, it is centered on a nation…Israel.

    Many good honest bible believing Christians have fallen into this trap…Not all of them are as extreme [as others] in this wrong belief, but there is a danger to take heed of within it…

    We saw that danger [and see it still] within the beliefs of men like John Hagee, who now appears to care more about a nation then Christ or the spreading of the gospel to ALL lost men .

    Where do you think dual covenant theology came from? It sprung from dispensationalism.

    As i close, i leave anyone reading this something to think about: Who are the real proponents of replacement theology?

    Those who believe God has/had one plan…one way, for all who would believe in his son, to be saved, and that the Church is made up of those from nations today: Jews and Gentiles (one people of God) …..That God will restore many within backslidden Israel someday, but that those in Israel or any other nation, who deny Christ as the Son of God, are lost and not in covenant with God today…

    Or those who wrongly believe by their prophecy interpretations, that we can, or a nation can, be apostate and still be in covenant with God?

    I’m going to tell you something..when i, one single person, was in a backslidden state many years ago, i was not still in covenant with God folks. Not because God broke covenant with me, but because i broke covenant with him!

    During that season, the promises of God were still there–waiting for me to repent and claim as mine. But it was me who had to return to God for those promises to be mine again. It is the same with lost Israel today….regardless of what someone may teach, which says differently.

    What is replacement theology if it is not believing that all of God’s attention is on only the Gentile Church today, until the rapture, when he will once again turn his undivided attention upon Israel?

    That is what real RT is to me…but to many today, it indicates any theology other than dispensationalism.

    God bless…

    pj

  3. PJ,

    Indeed this is a very good article from John Piper. I actually attend his fellowship (Bethlehem Baptist Church) here in Minneapolis, where I have been since August 2007. In any case, as you said, many of Piper’s points here are very pertinent to what is going on today in the Middle East, and it’s very true that God has not called us to show partiality to either national Israel or the Palestinians.

    I also greatly enjoyed your very solid response to John’s comment. I find myself resonating with what you said about Christ-centered prophetic interpretation, and how prophecy really is all about Jesus. I see this truth more and more clearly the further away I get from Dispensationalism, the belief system I was presented with in my upbringing.

    I have a question from this article, though, if you have the time to entertain it. I guess I really should ask Piper, since he’s the author (although I don’t have any personal relationship with him), but I thought I’d run it by you or anyone else who happens to read this. It’s regarding Piper’s interpretation of Romans 11:26.

    He said, “God has saving purposes for ethnic Israel (Romans 11:25-26).” Recently I read another sermon by Piper on this subject (I forget what year it was from), and in that sermon he was even more clear that he believes all surviving ethnic Jews will be saved at Christ’s Second Coming. I find myself questioning that idea in recent days. I somewhat had to address this very question in one of my university classes not too long ago (the actual essay question was, “Israel: Whose Land Is It?”). This is part of what I wrote:

    “…Yes, all of Israel will be saved, according to Romans 11:26. It seems there are two main ways to view this passage. One is that this is a prediction of salvation coming to all surviving Jews at the Second Coming of Christ, a common view of Dispensationalists. This view rests in part upon the idea that “the fullness of the Gentiles” (verse 25) refers to the sum total of Gentiles who will be saved during the Church Age, and that this is still an ongoing process, meaning that the salvation of all Israel is yet in store for the final generation.

    The other view is that Israel, as the subject here, is not defined as national Israel nor refers to ethnic Jews. In context, according to this view, the Church is the spiritual remnant in view in this passage, as it speaks of sins being taken away and the banishment of ungodliness. It sounds like this is referring to the work of the cross. Romans 9:6-7 and Galatians 6:16, being only two such examples, explicitly state that we who belong to Christ through faith are the Israel of God, and in that sense Paul declares in Romans 11:26 that we are all being saved through Him…”

    I then acknowledged in my essay that I lean toward the second view. Having read a number of very good posts on eschatology on this site in recent months, I’m curious what your view is on Romans 11:26. That is, again, if you have the time. Thanks!

  4. Adam,

    In the reference bibles i’ve had verse 26:

    26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    is always ‘chained’ [linked] back to Isaiah 59 verses 20 [and in some instances verse 21 as well)

    20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

    21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

    Notice in Isaiah verse 20 it says “and unto them that turn from transgression

    To me this supports other scriptures which we know state salvation is found only in Jesus, and that through no other way can it be obtained. This would also stand against the dispensationalist interpretation of Romans 11:26 which is, as you pointed out, that all Jews living in Israel will be saved at Christ’s return.

    Paul earlier in the chapter writes of a remnant (5Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace) even then who were in the faith/in Christ. He also goes on to say: (after warning the gentiles not to boast)

    22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

    23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

    Notice in verse 23, “they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in”

    Again a precondition is written, that being that they not continue in unbelief! In other words they [Jews] must believe that Jesus is the Messiah [like all other nationalities] to be grafted (back) into the tree.

    So its impossible for Paul to contradict himself (and we know he is writing by the Spirit of truth) a line or two later in the letter by meaning ALL [National] Israel will be saved:

    26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    Right?

    So what is he saying…

    We know elsewhere Paul stated:

    Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;

    Quoting from another teaching by Piper:

    Ethnic Israel and True Israel

    First, in verse 6 he says, “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” In other words, Paul’s argument is that the promises of God always hold true for the true Israel, the spiritual Israel, but not all ethnic Israel is true Israel. That’s his first statement of the argument: “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” The assumption is: there is a true Israel; God’s saving promises are made to them; and these promises have never failed.

    All Descendants of Abraham and the Children of Abraham

    Second, in verse 7 he says it a little differently, but makes the same point: ” Nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants.” In other words, he is distinguishing here between two kinds of “children” – there are all of Abraham’s descendants, and there is a narrower group in that number whom he calls here “the children,” or we could say, “the true children” since the others are physical children also. The assumption is that the promises of God hold true for the true children of Abraham but not for all the descendants of Abraham. So in verse 6 he says that not all Israel is Israel, and in verse 7 he says that not all the children of Abraham are children. There is a true Israel and there are true children. The word of God has not failed, because it was meant for the true Israel, the true children, and it has never failed any of them.

    The Children of the Flesh and the Children of God

    Third, in verse 8 Paul states the argument a third time in more general terms without naming Israel or Abraham so that we see the principle involved. “That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” This, he says again, is why the word of God has not failed -why the promises of God have not failed – even though many of Israelites according to the flesh are accursed and cut off from Christ. It’s because the promises are for the children of promise – the children of God – and not every child of Israelite flesh is a child of promise.

    When Paul distinguishes “children of the flesh” and “children of God” he means that not all physical Israelites are “children of God.” And that means that the term “children of God” is not a mere ethnic or physical or historical term. It has its full saving meaning just like it does in Romans 8:16, 21, and Philippians 2:15 (cf. Hosea 1:10). And when he then says that these “children of God” are “children of promise,” he means that they have their spiritual position not because of their physical connections, but because of God’s effective promise. The promise produced the position.

    more here: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/sermons/bydate/2002/114_Gods_Word_Stands_Not_All_Israel_is_Israel_Part_1/

    When Paul says ‘all Israel’ in Romans 11 verse 26, logic and plain understanding would dictate it is ‘this’ Israel he is writing about–the Israel of the Spirit not the flesh–which is made up of all (Jews and Gentiles) down through the ages who have received salvation.

    What do you think?🙂

  5. PJ and Adam,

    The texts in Romans 11 and your discussion here reminds me of the discussion between Jesus and the Jews in John 8. In this conversation, the Jews were claiming that they were the true children of God because of their physical ancestry, descending from Abraham. “We are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.” (v 33) Their focus was on ethnicity. Jesus’s focus was, of course, on the spiritual. “You are of your father the devil” (v 44a).

    My point is that Jesus makes clear in John 8 that ethnicity counts for nothing. The notion that the “Israel” referred to in Romans 11:26 is ethnic Israel would contract this teaching, which, of course, the apostle Paul would not do.

  6. My point is that Jesus makes clear in John 8 that ethnicity counts for nothing. The notion that the “Israel” referred to in Romans 11:26 is ethnic Israel would contract this teaching, which, of course, the apostle Paul would not do.

    exactly..

    Dave those few little words:

    “And so all Israel shall be saved…” have caused more debate then any other i’ve ever seen! lol

    What convinced me of the word ‘Israel’ not being concerning a nation [or just the Jews] was the fact we know that scripture can’t contradict itself. If we applied it [in this case] to all who are living in Israel [at the time of Jesus’ return] it not only would nullify all the other instances when we are told of a remnant, and/of salvation through faith only in Christ.

    Plus, if you want to really get picky, (ahaha) all Israel [all living there] would be including other ethnic groups who are not saved also. Plus, what does that say about Jews living outside of the state of Israel?

    see, to me it just makes no sense whatsoever to think Paul meant it any other way then spiritual Israel… (all those, world-wide in Christ, at the time of his appearing)

  7. PJ,

    You’ll need to watch out for that guy, “Dave O Minneapolis.” I’m all too familiar with his views on a number of subjects. I’m just kidding🙂 Dave is actually one of my housemates, and in fact the owner of the house where I stay. I referred him to this article because this very subject came up in our group’s Bible study last Thursday night.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your reply to my comments and question. I do agree that in Romans 11:26 Paul is speaking of spiritual Israel, that is, all those who have belonged to Christ through the ages, regardless of their nationality. I’m with you and Dave that the apostle Paul, by earlier making the case that “not all who are descended of Israel belong to Israel,” would have contradicted himself had he applied the promise of Romans 11:26 to all ethnic Jews alive at Christ’s Second Coming. The overall context, and logic, does seem to eliminate this interpretation.

    It’s good that you pointed out the phrase from verse 23, “if they abide not still in unbelief,” as the one condition for being grafted in to the olive tree, which is true both for Jews and for Gentiles. It seems that Dispensationalist teaching sees an exception being made to this rule for one fortunate group of final-generation ethnic Jews. Dave, I thought your observation of Jesus’ words in John 8 was also very insightful.

    I mentioned in my previous comment that I had read another sermon from John Piper in which he was even more clear that he believes all of national Israel will be saved at Christ’s Second Coming. I was able to locate that sermon, and here’s a link so you can see his reasoning if you’re interested:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/10/164_All_Israel_Will_Be_Saved/

    Piper shares some interesting thoughts, but I’m not able to agree with his final conclusion on Romans 11:26. Earlier in this sermon, though, you will find him clearly standing against the false teachings of dual-covenant theology.

    I wonder how this passage would have been understood from AD 70 to AD 1948 when there was no physical nation of Israel. Were believers really holding their breath all that time, waiting for national Israel to be restored, so that (the Dispensationalist understanding of) this passage could be fulfilled and Christ could return? I doubt it. And what a shame that would have been, since there is such a beautiful promise here of Christ the Deliverer taking away, through His work on the cross, the sins of all who will believe in Him. I know from many other passages that this is true, but it’s a delight to see it here too.

    • Thanks, i’ll check out the link to Piper’s sermon…

      And what a shame that would have been, since there is such a beautiful promise here of Christ the Deliverer taking away, through His work on the cross, the sins of all who will believe in Him.

      Amen. And once you ‘see’ it, all just falls into place perfectly!

      You and Dave know im sure, that many Christians argue against this, but i keep plugging on.🙂

      I think it frightens them to be frank.

      For when any of us feel we have all our prophecy/theology/ and eschatology T’s crossed and “I’s” dotted, and have everything down pat, and someone shows us scripture after scripture which disputes what we’ve been taught, it could mess up a WHOLE LOT of other preconceived ideas on prophecy etc. And that’s scary for most people; it can cause them to act out that fear [or doubt] in anger. Its why i don’t get into debates with dispensationalists.

  8. PJ and Adam,

    Very enlightening discussion here. Before thinking it through with you, the only interpretation I’d heard was Piper’s. Thanks both of you. Adam, I’ll check out that link — it will be interesting, now, to hear his take on 11:26.

    Yep, I’m sure Adam Minneapolis is forced to hear my views more often than he’d like. Thankfully it hasn’t caused him to start packing.

    BTW, the last sentence of my comment should have read “contradict”, not “contract”. I need an editor.

    Dave O

  9. Related to this subject we’ve been discussing here the last few days, I received a rather over-the-top email in my inbox from Charisma Magazine yesterday. It featured an article by Jonathan Bernis entitled, “The Fate of Israel Is In Your Hands.” Bernis believes that the destiny and “salvation” of all nations, as well as the Second Coming of Christ, is dependent upon the salvation of national Israel. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

    “I have spent a number of years lecturing in Japan. Why Japan? Because I was intrigued that even though only one percent of the Japanese profess faith in Jesus, most of them are members of the intelligentsia. They are doctors, professors and lawyers, and they are fascinated with Israel. They understand that the destiny of Japan is inseparably connected to the destiny of Israel. These people pray daily for the salvation of Israel, and they know that when it comes, it will directly affect their nation. It will bring life from the dead and times of refreshing. The fact is the destiny of all nations-including our own-is connected to the salvation of Israel.

    When I’m in Japan, I tell people to pray for the salvation of Israel if they want to see Japan saved. When I’m in India, I say pray for the salvation of Israel if they want to see India saved. Here in the United States, I tell people that if we want to see America turn to God in a very big way, we need to pray for the salvation of Israel.”

    OK, that’s bizarre. It makes you wonder how God was able to work among the nations before the nation of Israel was created in 1948, in this guy’s view. I was under the impression that Dispensationalists see the salvation of Israel happening pretty much at the very time of Christ’s Second Coming, but Bernis seems to have something else in mind. He continues:

    “I believe the salvation of the Jews will release the power of God and a mighty worldwide revival will result-a revival far greater than any other the world has ever seen. The prophet Joel wrote: “I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29 NIV).

    The very thought of this sends a frightened chill down Satan’s back, and he’s working diligently to prevent it from happening. He knows that an essential part of life from the dead will be the crushing of his head, prophesied in Genesis 3:15.”

    Huh? Didn’t Jesus crush the head of the serpent already when He went to the cross? Bernis continues:

    “Some scholars believe that the life from the dead Paul refers to in Romans 11 is a physical resurrection of the dead that will be connected to the return of the Messiah. Others say it is addressing spiritual renewal. But it’s clear to me that this is something far greater than individual salvation.

    I am convinced that life from the dead is related to the fall of Adam and the restoration of all things. It has to do with finishing the work of atonement that restores the earth to the pre-Adamic state. Life from the dead is the termination of the curse of man’s fall from grace once and for all! It is the eradication of our final enemies, sin and death.”

    Yikes! It sure seems to me that Bernis sees the termination of the curse as dependent upon the salvation of national Israel, not the Second Coming of Jesus. If so, he has quite literally misdirected our blessed hope (Titus 2:13). The rest of the article, which is not much longer than what I’ve already quoted, can be seen here:

    http://charismamag.com/index.php/newsletters/standing-with-israel/22211-claiming-the-land-pray-for-the-salvation-of-jerusalem-

    • Adam, thank you so much for addressing this… (big thumbs up)

      I also received the same news letter which included this link to Bernis’ message and actually thought about posting it. You went one better and located his website…im looking forward to checking it out.

      Bernis believes that the destiny and “salvation” of all nations, as well as the Second Coming of Christ, is dependent upon the salvation of national Israel.

      YES…and this is the eventual place Christian Zionism (an off-shoot of dispensationalism) leads people who follow this doctrine—into believing ‘everything’ hinges on and centers upon the modern state of Israel instead of upon Christ.

      Like he wrote:

      When I’m in Japan, I tell people to pray for the salvation of Israel if they want to see Japan saved. When I’m in India, I say pray for the salvation of Israel if they want to see India saved. Here in the United States, I tell people that if we want to see America turn to God in a very big way, we need to pray for the salvation of Israel.”

      And i agree with your analysis:

      OK, that’s bizarre. It makes you wonder how God was able to work among the nations before the nation of Israel was created in 1948, in this guy’s view.

      Its not only bizarre its totally unbiblical!

      He also stated:

      “I believe the salvation of the Jews will release the power of God and a mighty worldwide revival will result-a revival far greater than any other the world has ever seen. The prophet Joel wrote: “I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29 NIV).

      But apparently forgot what Peter preached on the day of pentecost–Acts 2:

      Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

      BUTthis is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

      And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

      It sure seems to me that Bernis sees the termination of the curse as dependent upon the salvation of national Israel, not the Second Coming of Jesus.

      Weird, isn’t it.

      I think when we stop seeing our theology (or eschatological beliefs) no longer centered upon Jesus Christ, it will always lead to grave doctrinal errors. When i say grave i mean, as in this case, and that of many who call themselves Christian Zionists, it will lead to doctrines of demons being accepted and eventually, full blown idolatry.

  10. As an additional note on Jonathan Bernis, his website is here:

    http://www.jewishvoice.org/site/PageServer

    His site advertises a seminary called the Messianic Jewish Bible Seminary, of which he is the Rabbi and Jack Hayford is the Chancellor. Their goal is to provide a critically needed educational opportunity for “team players in the Redemption of All Israel.”

    (http://www.thekingsjewishvoice.org/why_study.html)

  11. Let me tentatively wade in here to this very good discussion by sincere saints seeking Truth and understanding for our day. . .

    I think Piper’s article is right on generally, without having spent a lot of time musing on it.

    Responding to John’s warning to pj, I say I think one can reject classic dispensationalism and reject replacement theology and not have to become a Calvinist to do so.
    Generally, calvinist or “reformed” theology has promoted replacement theology either more or less explicitly, which I believe is wrong. That’s just one problem I have with it.

    Look at the “fathers” of the magfisterial reformation and their most unbiblical bloodthirsty anti-semitism and sadistic persecution of the radical reformers they disparagingly called “anabaptists” and you can see how this reform tradition was corrupted from its inception, because it wedded itself with the wordly powers and principalities which used it to carry out their hatred of King Jesus in hating His natural ans spiritual kinsmen. The whole world system, and thereby any “church” that allies with it, is in rebellion against the actual rule and reign of King Jesus on the earth from His throne in Zion, which will occur when Jesus returns bodily. So the powers have always sought to destroy Zion and ethnic Jews, because there WILL be a salvation of ethnic Jews at the close of the age of gentiles, when the mainly gentile church will minister to a remnant of ethnic Israel who will be saved by faith in their Messiah, and it is all wrapped up in the apocalyptic end of those powers’ rebellion. The reuniting of the grafted branches and the natural branches heralds Jesus’ return and results in resurrection! So there is a distinction between natural and grafted branches, though of course both are saved through the glorious gospel of Christ, and in Him are made one Body. But there seems to be distinct roles for each at the end of the age. Romans 11 is a mystery yet, and many theologians don’t even go there.

    Anyone serious about seeking understanding of all this should consider the writings of Art Katz and Reggie Kelley, who have influenced me. These men have devoted their lives to seeking God on these issues. Of course, they are not among the “popular” voices in “Christianity” today.

    I am still learning and don’t have it all nailed down. But I can say I reject replacement theology if defined as saying that God is through with Israel and now the church inherits all the promises and prohecies independent of Israel (Paul warns that such thought will make the church arrogant!), reject the false idea that the political state of Israel is the Israel of God, reject Christian Zionism and its dual covenant soteriology. But I am not a calvinist and don’t think I should be. Even so, I can fellowship with and learn from people who hold calvinist views, like Piper, on many things while contending against TULIP.

    I think that as disciples, we must stop mixing with political worldly means and allies, whether that is Hagee’s type of pro-Israel error, or domionionism–which depends largely on replacement theology– in any form. It is all at enmity with the purpose of God and His glory. Because the purpose of the Church is to demonstrate–to play out– to those very powers the wisdom of God which is totally opposite from their wisdom.

    Please be gentle with me if you take issue with my statements. I’m just thinking out loud.

  12. I’d like to hear the reasons for thinking that the modern political entity called Israel is the prohetic Israel of God.

  13. […] and you are but aliens and My tenants.” Blogger PJ Miller highly recommends, and rightfully so, a 2002 message by John Piper on this subject titled “Land Divine? – We Should Treat the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute As We Would Any Other” […]

  14. Upholding the Scriptural teaching of the continued election of unbelieving Israel in the plan of God in no way divides the unity of the body of Christ which is composed only of believers, regardless of ethnicity. The body of Christ reflects individual election which differs from the national election of Israel—a point which Paul is careful to distinguish (compare Romans 11:7,28).

    Regarding Israel’s treatment of her neighbors, history shows it to be much more humane, on the whole, than the reverse. Ask yourself this question: which of her surrounding nations support any form of democratic process in which Jews in that country may vote or hold political office? Which of her surrounding neighbors applauds her right to exist as a nation? Which of her surrounding neighbors has Israel refused to recognize? Even so, we readily admit that Israel is far from perfect, being made up of fallen men like every other nation.

    • Upholding the Scriptural teaching of the continued election of unbelieving Israel in the plan of God

      Doug, i do not believe the scriptures teach that all unbelieving Israel (unbelieving Jews residing within Israel) continue to be part of the election. The scriptures teach quite the opposite. As Paul wrote “the elect” obtained it, as you pointed out in Romans 11:7 (those who believed upon Jesus as the Messiah) the rest were hardened.

      This has held true for the past 2000 years. Those who accept Jesus Christ (believe by faith) are grafted into the body the same as gentiles are, when by faith they believe. These make up part of the elect.

      I agree with John Piper’s message (above). We as Christians should indeed “….treat the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as we would any other”; Praying for all involved, but in particular (for) our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters in Christ.

      If i misread your comment forgive me, but it seems to be saying you believe Israel, as a whole will be saved.

      Regarding Israel’s treatment of her neighbors, history shows it to be much more humane, on the whole, than the reverse.

      Doug, evidence (even on Israeli news websites) seems to say otherwise. I see many actions taken by the Israeli government, concerning Palestinians, as inhumane in many ways. If you are pro-Israel, which means you support any and every action their government takes, you will disagree, and i understand this.

      Thank you for stopping in and i hope you’ll return! God bless…

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