Influential Christian Leaders Speak
Against Israel's Biblical Significance
and Her Land - Bill Koenig
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April 7, 2004
Leaders of replacement theology churches, ministries and preterists/amillennialist do not acknowledge the biblical and prophetic significance of what is unfolding in Israel and the world today.
Below are examples from a commentary and sermons from Chuck Colson, Dr. Joseph (Skip) Ryan and Dr. John Piper on Israel, Jews and the covenant land.
These men are very influential and are major voices throughout America. Colson has an excellent relationship with President Bush and his top staff. His Prison Fellowship Ministry will be a financial benefactor of the president's faith-based initiative program. Skip Ryan of Dallas is the pastor of one of President Bush's closest friends whom we have spoken to about Israel for two years. John Piper is a Minneapolis pastor with a national radio ministry and a new best selling book "The Passion of Jesus Christ."
"Eye to Eye" is a tool that is being used to show specific examples of the seriousness and consequences of endangering the "apple of God's eye" and dividing His land. We encourage you to get
"Eye to Eye," read the book, and then give it to another person to read. Pray that the Spirit of God will open their "eyes and ears" to what the Spirit is saying about God's special relationship with Israel.
Chuck Colson - Prison Fellowship Ministry
Covenant and Conflict - Israel's Place in the World Today - February 18, 2003
Breakpoint Commentary - No. 030218
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Excerpt from Colson's Breakpoint Commentary:
As a Christian and believer in the Abrahamic covenant, I'm a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. I take Genesis 12:3 literally. I also believe that Jesus will return and rule the earth for one thousand years from Jerusalem -- a pre-millennial perspective on the second coming. I believe that God has a special plan for the Jewish people and the land of Israel.
But I think it is problematic to relate prophecy to current events unfolding in the nation-state of Israel. There may be some relationship, of course. Only God knows. But the secular state of Israel created in 1948 is not, in my understanding, identical with the Jewish people as God's chosen and called-out covenant people.
God clearly has a distinct plan for the Jewish people that the secular state of Israel helps carry out. I don't rule that out, of course. And I strongly support Israel because it is a haven for persecuted Jews -- not because I think it fulfills biblical prophecy.
I also support a Palestinian state both from historical and prudential considerations. Given the state of affairs in the Middle East, a Palestinian state is the only practicable solution for peace.
Dr. Joseph F. (Skip) Ryan - Senior Minister, Park Cities Presbyterian Church - Dallas, TX
Certain Promises in Uncertain Times - References: Joshua 21:43-45 - March 23, 2003
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Excerpt from Ryan's sermon:
And here I must say that run against the grain of what we have been taught. Geo-political Israel today is not to be understood as God's promise of Abraham and Joshua. IT IS NOT!
If you say that the existence of geo-political Israel today fulfills the promise of God that His people will have a land, it raises a question: "How come God's promises fall short, because they are not occupying the land that God promised? And, "Who are His people?"
It is fair to say, the world owes them a homeland. But, and this is important, there is no biblical right that geopolitical Israel has today to that particular peace of geography in the Middle East.
The world should give Jews a homeland, and I am half Jewish; I don't mean to speak against the Jews or Israel. Look at how the world has mistreated them.
But do they have a biblical right to that particular peace of geography? It is not in the Bible.
For Israel is not a nation state any more; Israel is the church. Israel is people of God, Jew and gentile from every nation and every tribe, and every tongue who confesses faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the new people of God. Ancient Israel is a preview of what God intends for the new Israel.
Parallel: Should we Christians have any concern that a new temple will be built in Jerusalem? ABSOLUTELY NOT! And in fact if such a building were ever built it would be an abomination.
Do you really think there ought to be a place where animals are sacrificed again? Do you really think there should be a place where the old ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are once again reenacted? That is what some people mean when they say, "Rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem." If they say that, I should not be standing before a pulpit preaching to you the word of God . . . I should be standing before an altar with an animal and a knife, and you should hear the scream of the animal, and you should smell the blood.
Because if you don't understand that Jesus Christ has fulfilled all the promises the Temple meant, all the promises Jesus Christ meant, all the promises that the land meant, all the promises that Israel meant, then we have nothing.
Dr. John Piper - Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist - Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East - Romans 11:25-32
March 7, 2004
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Excerpt from Piper's sermon:
Today I would like to address the issue of Israel's relation to the "Promised Land" in the Middle East. This is not primarily an expository message from Romans 11, but an effort to draw out implications of Romans 11 and the rest of Scripture for a very vexing problem in the world today. The existence of Israel in the Middle East and the extent of her borders and her sovereignty are perhaps the most explosive factors in world terrorism and the most volatile factors in Arab-Western relations.
The Arab roots and the Jewish roots in this land go back for thousands of years. Both lay claim to the land not merely because of historical presence, but also because of divine right. I won't try to lay out a detailed peace plan. But I will try to lay out some biblical truths that could guide all of us in thinking about peace and justice in that part of the world. What we think about this, and what we say, does matter, since politicians are influenced by their constituents in these religiously super-charged situations. And we need to know how to pray. And we need to know how to talk to others in a way that honors the truth. So for all those reasons, and for the reason that God is very much involved in this situation, we should talk about it in the context of Romans 11.
What we've seen in Romans 11 is that Israel as a whole that is, as an ethnic, corporate people enduring from generation to generation has a root in the covenant promises made to Abraham and his descendants. Verse 16b: "If the root is holy so are the branches." We interpreted that picture in the light of verse 28: "As regards the gospel, they [Israel] are enemies of God for your [Gentile] sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. The "forefathers" here correspond to the root in verse 16. So the promises to the forefathers imply that some day the whole tree, with all its branches, will be saved.
Some day. Because verse 28 says, for now "they are enemies." Verse 28a: }As regards the gospel, they [Israel] are enemies of God for your sake." In other words, they are rejecting their Messiah and thus putting themselves against God. This is what Jesus said to Israel in John 8:42: "If God were your father you would love me." Jesus is the litmus test whether anybody's religion is worship of the true God. But Israel does not love Jesus as God's son and her Messiah. So they are, for now, "enemies of God."
So now we ask, is the so-called "Promised Land" part of the inheritance and salvation that "all Israel" (v. 26) will receive? And if so, what does that say about the rights of Israel today to the Land?
The promises made to Abraham, including the promise of the Land, will be inherited as an everlasting gift only by true, spiritual Israel, not disobedient, unbelieving Israel.
Being born Jewish does not make one an heir of the promises neither the promise of the Land nor any other promise.
Throughout the history of Israel, covenant breaking and disobedience and idolatry disqualified Israel from the present divine right to the Land. (See also Daniel 9:4-7; Psalm 78:54-61.)
Be careful not to infer from this that Gentile nations (like Arabs) have the right to molest Israel. God's judgments on Israel do not sanction human sin against Israel. Israel still has human rights among nations even when she forfeits her present divine right to the Land. Remember that nations which gloated over her divine discipline were punished by God (Isaiah 10:5-13; Joel 3:2).
So the promise to Abraham that his descendants will inherit the Land does not mean that all Jews inherit that promise. It will come finally to the true Israel, the Israel that keeps covenant and obeys her God.
Jesus Christ has come into the world as the Jewish Messiah, and his own people rejected him and broke covenant with their God.
But even though Jesus was the Messiah and did many mighty works and taught with great authority and fulfilled Old Testament promises, nevertheless the people of Israel as a whole rejected him. This was the most serious covenant-breaking disobedience that Israel had ever committed in all her history.
Israel has broken covenant with her God and is living today in disobedience and unbelief in his Son and her Messiah. That is why Paul says in Romans 11:28, "As regards the gospel [the good news of the Messiah] they are enemies of God."
Therefore, the secular state of Israel today may not claim a present divine right to the Land, but they and we should seek a peaceful settlement not based on present divine rights, but on international principles of justice, mercy, and practical feasibility.
My aim is to put the debate on a balanced footing in this sense: neither side should preempt the claims of international justice by the claim of present divine rights. Working out what that justice will look like is still a huge and daunting task. I have not solved that problem. But I think we will make better progress if we do not yield to the claim of either side to be ethnically or nationally sanctioned by God in their present conflict.
By faith in Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, Gentiles become heirs of the promise of Abraham, including the promise of the Land.
Therefore Jewish believers in Jesus and Gentile believers will inherit the Land. And the easiest way to see this is to see that we will inherit the world which includes the Land. Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians will not quibble over the real estate of the Promised Land because the entire new heavens and the new earth will be ours. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, "All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." All followers of Christ, and only followers of Christ, will inherit the earth, including the Land.
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