I honestly dislike controversy. I try to avoid it. But the things which matter most to me are always on collision course with the things that others decide are too “controversial” to speak about in polite company. Marriage, families, protecting babies, and the freedom of religion—all these are important realities which rile abortion supporters and those who wish to dismantle the traditional family.
Above all else, I care about Christ and sharing God’s love with others. So, I have to speak concerning the controversial subject of Israel (because it involves Christ). I read a popular Christian post which proclaimed that God is always on the side of Israel. I do not think that is true—at least not in the way the author meant it. Before I explain further, I heartily agree that the nation of Israel needs our support, considering that it is freedom’s best ally in the Middle East, and many of her neighbors are busily working to see her annihilated.
That being said, the Bible nowhere offers warrant for saying the present nation of Israel is comprised of the people of God. The land and the people filling it have no hope of being part of the kingdom of God without faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Like the novelist Anne Rice, I understand the presence of the Jews as an “immense mystery” without a natural solution. It takes God to explain the existence of Jews in this world, and it may well be that at some point in the future there will be a great outpouring of faith towards Christ among the Jews (Romans 11:25-29).
Nevertheless, the present nation of Israel does not exist as a vessel of God’s special favor. The reason is simply this: The concept of Israel is a personal concept in Scripture, not a national one. The present nation of Israel is a national entity, not a personal one.
In the Bible, Israel is a person. Originally, Israel is the name given to Jacob after he wrestled with the angel of God (Genesis 32:24ff). Israel later became the collective name for the twelve tribes of Israel (which, of course, was a reference to the twelve sons of Jacob). The original, biblical understanding of the name Israel was a reference to a person. This person represented other people.
In a foreshadowing of the Christ who would later come to fulfill God’s purposes for His people, Exodus 4:22 says, “Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, My firstborn.” Again, in prophetic utterance, Hosea gets a word from God: “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1). All the prophecies about God’s Son—Israel—have seen their fulfillment in Christ, who came not to abolish the law, but to complete the law and the prophets. So, in Matthew 2, Jesus was taken as a child into Egypt so that Hosea 11:1 would be fulfilled—out of Egypt, God called His Son.
The concept of Israel and the person of God’s Son both find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Acts 13:32-39 speaks of early Christians preaching Christ as the fulfillment of these prophetic words:
“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus as it is written in the 2nd Psalm, ‘You are my son, Today I have begotten you.’
The Apostle Paul (in Romans 9:6-8) spent much time and energy pleading with the Jews (who occupied the land which today makes up Israel) so that they would stop taking comfort in their ethnicity. He spoke plainly that their hope was not to be found in “Israel” but in Isaac—not in the flesh but in the promise of God. In other words, Paul says, “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel… this means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise….”
To Be Continued (Let your mind chew on these thoughts, while I get ready to post more tomorrow)
- Israel at War: Inside the Nuclear Showdown with Iran (worthabowedhead.wordpress.com)
- Israel & Gaza (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com)