AMILLENNIALISM – A MAN-MADE THEOLOGY (PART 1 OF 3)

AMILLENNIALISM

A-Millennialism believes that there will not be a literal Millennium at all, and the Lord will not return until the end of the world.

“Amillennialism” is a big word, but its meaning is relatively straightforward: The Latin word for a thousand is “Mille” (e.g. a millipede is supposed to have 1000 legs!). The Latin for “years” is “annum”, so millennium is literally “1000 years”. When a word is prefixed by the letter “a” this means, “not” or “against”, i.e. the opposite of what follows it, so “Amillennium” could literally be translated “Not 1000 years”!

THE ADVANCE OF AMILLENNIALISM

Post-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation and Post-Millennium theories have all declined in popularity in recent years. It is getting rather difficult to find people who believe them, or at least who are prepared to propagate them. The very opposite is the case for Amillennial teaching. The number of people holding it is increasing rapidly, and they are increasingly confident and vocal in their propagation of it. There are doubtless many reasons for this, but one is definitely the resurgence in popularity of so-called “Reformed doctrine,” which is totally dismissive of any other position. Consequently, in seminaries, in books, in magazines, in conferences, and wherever possible, the Amillennial position is now propagated either without question, or if any alternative is mentioned, it is mentioned only so that it can be contemptuously dismissed. In evangelical circles today, it takes a strong fish to swim against the strong tide of Amillennialism.

Here are several reasons why believers cannot afford to ignore it:

  1. Amillennialism is not just an argument about future events. The issue at stake is more fundamental, i.e. Is Scripture to be taken literally or not?
  2. It is better to counter it before it does more damage and deceives those who still holds on to biblical eschatology.
  3. It should ever be our desire and prayer that believers in denominations will see the truth of scriptural gathering, leave their man-made systems, and come into fellowship with ourselves.

The believer who tries to reason with an Amillennialist on the grounds of what the Scripture teaches will soon find himself up against a difficulty. The difficulty is that we may be able to quote every verse from Genesis to Revelation which refers to future events, but the Amillennialist will constantly respond with, “It is to be interpreted spiritually, not literally.”

And so, when seeking to combat the error of Amillennialism, we need to know something of how Amillennialism came about, what it is based on, what are its main arguments, and how these can be answered from Scripture.

THE ANALYSIS OF AMILLENNIALISM

When God spoke to Abraham, He made a number of promises to him, promising a blessed future for his seed. These promises were totally unconditional, and thus they will be fulfilled literally to the nation of Israel. These blessings have not been transferred to the church, which is distinct from the nation of Israel, and is a mystery which was not revealed in the Old Testament. After the church has been removed from the earth and the Great Tribulation has taken place, Israel will be restored as a nation to its place as the people of God. Christ will sit on the throne of David, and there will be a period of peace and justice on earth for 1000 years, which we thus call the Millennium, during which the many promises given in the Scriptures will be fulfilled.

And now, by contrast, the Amillennial position:

When God made the promises to Abraham, these promises were conditional upon obedience by Abraham’s descendants. Due to the nation’s disobedience, they forfeited these blessings, so that they will not be fulfilled literally to the nation of Israel, but rather spiritually to the church. The church is not a distinct entity revealed in the New Testament; rather, it did exist in the Old Testament, and consists of all believers, from Old Testament times right up to now. There will be no restoration of the nation of Israel. Christ will not return to sit on the throne of David; such references in the Scriptures are fulfilled by His present session at His Father’s right hand. There will be no 1000-year reign. The promises of peace and justice in the Scriptures are presently being fulfilled spiritually in the blessings of the church.

Clearly both views cannot be simultaneously correct! In analysing the above views, it would be easy to get into deep water quickly and to lose sight of where we are going. So we will set ourselves 5 questions to answer; questions which deal with key differences in the above 2 points of view:

We will seek to answer each question in turn. In the interests of space, Scripture references will be given, but the passages will not be quoted. This is because it is assumed that the articles will be read with an open Bible alongside, and that every reference will be looked up and read carefully. The Scripture references are of immeasurably more value than anything that will be said about them.

QUESTION 1: WERE THE PROMISES GIVEN TO ABRAHAM UNCONDITIONAL OR CONDITIONAL?

If they were conditional, then Israel could forfeit them by disobedience. Doubtless there was much failure in the nation, so if the promises were conditional, then we have no right to believe that Israel has any hope of receiving them. If, on the other hand, the promises were unconditional, then Israel’s failure does not nullify them, and they must be fulfilled to Israel.

The following show that the promises were unconditional:

  1. Once Abraham had obeyed God and left his country and kindred, the covenant with him was stated and repeated several times without any conditions whatsoever (Gen 12 .1-3; 13.14-17; 15.1-7, 18-21; 17.1-18). If it had been conditional, God would have stated the conditions, as He did in the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 19.5; see also Deut. 28.1-15).
  2. Not only was the covenant repeated and amplified to Abraham several times; it was also repeated to Isaac (Gen. 17.19; 26.2-4) and Jacob (Gen. 28.13-15), always without any conditions attached. By the time we have reached Gen. 28 and God states it to Jacob, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have all failed in different ways, yet the covenant is unaffected. It is not nullified by failure on the part of the nation.
  3. The Abrahamic Covenant is explicitly referred to as “everlasting” in Scripture (Gen. 17.7,13,19; 1 Chron. 16.16,17; Ps. 105.9,10). A covenant which can be broken by man is not in any sense, everlasting.
  4. In solemnizing the covenant (Gen. 15.9-17), only the Lord passed through the pieces. Normally both parties to a covenant passed through the pieces. In this case the covenant did not depend on man for its fulfilment, but entirely on God.
  5. Even in the midst of apostasy, God states that He will not cast aside Israel (e.g. Jer, 31.35-37). Failure on the part of the nation does not nullify His promises.
  6. Failure on the part of an individual to be circumcised resulted in that person individually losing out on the blessings of the covenant (Gen. 17.14). This shows that disobedience by an individual affected only his own relationship to the covenant; it did not nullify the covenant.
  7. In the New Testament, after the nation of Israel has committed the worst sin possible: rejecting and crucifying the Messiah, it is specifically stated that the covenants are still theirs (Rom. 9.3,4 and Ephes. 2.12). Even their rejection of Messiah did not nullify God’s covenants with them.
  8. In Rom. 11.1,2, Paul categorically states that “God hath not cast away His people which he foreknew”. We will return to this passage later, so will not add further here.

There are further reasons, but we trust that these are sufficient to show that the promises in the Abrahamic Covenant are unconditional, and will surely be fulfilled. Israel’s disobedience has not nullified the promises of God.

QUESTION 2: WILL THE PROMISES BE FULFILLED LITERALLY (TO ISRAEL) OR SPIRITUALLY ONLY (TO THE CHURCH)?

There are many prophecies in the Old Testament, and also in the New, which have not been literally fulfilled; in particular ones relating to a time of unprecedented tribulation and a time of unprecedented peace on earth the earth. The Amillennialist says that these were never intended to refer to literal events on earth; they have a spiritual fulfilment only. We therefore need to try to determine whether or not we can expect a literal fulfilment for these Scriptures.

The following points are put in favour of a literal fulfilment:

  1. Abraham received many promises which all must agree have been fulfilled literally. He was promised a great nation stemming from him; a great name; a blessing for those who blessed him; cursing for those that cursed him; a blessing for all families of the earth through him; that he would have an heir; that he would be the father of many nations; and that kings would come out of him. These promises have been fulfilled literally. There is not the slightest need to spiritualise any of them. Now when we come to the issue of the promises regarding inheriting the land, which are part of the same covenant, surely we are entitled to expect that these promises will also be literally fulfilled. Consistency of interpretation will not allow for anything other than a literal fulfilment. To suggest otherwise is to accuse God of inconsistency; a very serious charge indeed.
  2. In Genesis 15, Abraham is told by God that it is “this” land which the Lord brought him out of Ur, to inherit (v7). This can only mean the physical land of Canaan. Abraham asks how he will know he is to inherit it (v8), and in response God solemnizes the covenant in a most emphatic way, indicating to him beyond doubt that he will inherit the very land he is standing on. God emphasises again that it is “this” land (vl8). And as if any further proof were needed that it is the literal land of Canaan He is talking about, God precisely delineates its boundaries in vl8—21. In the same passage God predicts the period of suffering in Egypt, referring to it as “a land that is not their’s” (vl3). This clearly refers to a literal land, and it was fulfilled literally. Abraham would have had no doubt whatsoever that God was referring to literal land throughout this passage. To suggest that when God gave such a clear and specific promise and description of the land, He did not have in His mind any intention of ever giving Abraham the land, is not only to rob language of any meaning; a serious enough error in itself, but, more seriously, it is to accuse God of deliberately deceiving Abraham.
  3. Later references in the OT (e.g. Gen. 50.24 and Ex. 32.13), and, very significantly, in the NT as well (e.g. Acts 7.3—8 and Hebrews 11.9), categorically state that the land Abraham and his seed were promised was the literal land of Canaan.

But the Amillennialist sometimes goes even further than this. He says that when God made these promises to Abraham’s “seed”, He was not referring to Abraham’s natural descendants at all; He was referring to believers, whether Jews or not. Thus the nation of Israel has no entitlement to the blessings.

Another look at Gen. 15 will answer this point: In vl3 we have already seen that God says “Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their’s”, and He goes on to describe the affliction in Egypt, and the Exodus (vl3—16). Thus, the term “thy seed” must refer here to the nation of Israel. By no stretch of language or imagination can it mean the church. Abraham would have had no doubt that the term “thy seed” was literal. Moreover, in Gal. 3.8, 15 Paul makes it clear that the promise “In thee shall all nations be blessed” is fulfilled ultimately in Christ. He was literally a descendant of Abraham, so again the word seed is to be taken literally.

(We acknowledge that the term “seed of Abraham” is also used in a spiritual sense in the N.T. We are not avoiding that issue and will come to it later. But for now, we are trying to decide whether the promises in the OT were meant for Abraham’s literal seed or his spiritual seed, and the above reasons would point to the fact that they were given to the former, and hence will have a literal fulfilment for the nation of Israel.)

Moreover, the promises of the covenant are stated as having been given not only to Abraham’s seed, but also to Isaac’s “seed” (Gen. 17.19) and to Jacob’s “seed” (Gen. 28.13). To support their theories, many Amillennialists must construe the OT references to Abraham’s seed to mean his spiritual seed, due to NT references calling all believers the seed of Abraham. No such construction can however be made from the seed of Isaac or seed of Jacob, as NT believers are never referred to as “Isaac’s seed” or “Jacob’s seed”. The only way these terms can possibly be taken is literally.

Other uses of the word “seed” in Genesis include 7.3, 9.9, 38.8, 46.6, 48.11, and 48.19. Examination of the context in each case shows that each must refer to literal descendants. Neither is there any reason to believe that in the Abrahamic Covenant it refers to anything other than literal descendants.

  1. The above discussion has been largely confined to the Abrahamic Covenant, but the argument for literal fulfilment goes much further than that. Frequently in the OT we have references to Christ’s first coming, which were fulfilled literally (e.g. that He would be a descendant of David, that He would be born in Bethlehem, that He would be born of a virgin, descriptions of His earthly ministry, the manner of His death, and the circumstances surrounding it). There is not the slightest doubt but that these prophecies were literally fulfilled. But in the same OT, there are many prophecies regarding His return to earth, judgments, a blessed future for Israel, and a time of peace. Often these are side by side with prophecies of His first coming. For example, we do not doubt the literal fulfilment of Isa. 53 at the Lord’s first coming. Why then doubt the literal fulfilment of Isa. 11 and 12 at His second coming? Consistency demands a literal fulfilment for these as well. It is absurd to suggest that everything that has been fulfilled up to the first coming was meant literally, but everything else spiritually only.
  2. There is not a single scripture that the Amillennialist can produce in order to substantiate his claims that OT promises of the land have been spiritually transferred to the church. Never in Scripture is the promise to Abraham cancelled, never is it stated or implied that the literal boundaries given are only of spiritual significance, and never is it indicated or even hinted that the church inherits these promises. If the Amillenniaiist proposes that the promises have a totally different meaning than the plain sense of their words, the very least we can expect is a clear statement from scripture to back up his claims. This has never been produced, only lots of convoluted arguments, which we will consider later.

Thus, we conclude that the promises given to Israel in the OT must be literally fulfilled, and this can only happen in a future literal reign of Christ on earth. There must be a Millennium.

Question 3: Is the church a distinct entity, seen only in the NT, or did it exist in OT times as well?

If it can be shown that the church is not the subject of OT prophecy, then it follows that it cannot be the fulfiller of the OT promises to Israel.

The following shows that Church is distinct from Israel:

  1. The use of the word “mystery” to describe many of the major truths of the church. Four verses in particular give us the meaning of the word “Mystery”:
  • Romans 16.25: “the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began”
  • Colossians 1.26: “The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints”
  • Ephesians 3.4,5: “The mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit”
  • Ephesians 3.9: “the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God”

Thus, we clearly see that a mystery is a truth hidden in the OT but revealed in the NT.

Now let us look at some things pertaining to the church which are described as a mystery, and which thus are new revelations in the NT, and not in the OT:

Eph. 3.1-12. This describes the mystery of the one body, which Paul calls a “new man” in 2.15. Nothing could be clearer: the church has not been incorporated into Israel, nor is it a fulfilment of it, rather it is an entirely new and distinct entity. In v 9 it is stated that it was “hid in God” from “the beginning of the world” and in v 10 it is stated that it has been revealed “now”. There could be no clearer statement of the fact that the church is not in the OT.

Col. 1.27. This describes the fact that Christ indwells each believer. “Christ in you” was never the case for individual Israelites, let alone Gentiles. Something never revealed heretofore has been revealed and realised in the church.

Eph. 5.32. This speaks of the relationship between Christ and the church. It is a mystery, never before revealed. The description of God as the husband of Israel was known (Isa. 54.5). The relationship of Christ to the church is distinct.

1 Cor. 15.51,52. This describes the rapture of the church. This was not revealed in the OT.

Thus, so many major truths concerning the church are clearly indicated to have been hidden before and have been revealed in the NT. The church must therefore be seen as distinct from Israel.

  1. The Lord Jesus in Matt. 16.18 says, “I will build my church.” The tense is future, clearly showing that when the Lord Jesus spoke, the church was not yet in existence.
  2. The church’s purchase and purification depend on the shed blood of Christ (Acts 20.28 and Eph. 5.25-27). Therefore, it could not have existed before the death of Christ.
  3. The church is the body of Christ, and this Head and body relationship is consequent upon Christ’s resurrection and glorification (Eph. 1.20-23).
  4. Entrance into the body of Christ was by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12.13), and this did not take place until Pentecost, so this fixes the beginning of the church at Pentecost.
  5. The word “church” is never used of Israel in the NT (or the OT for that matter) in the sense of being the body of Christ. The use of the word “church” in Acts 7.38 and Heb. 2.12 refers to a congregation or assembly of people, and would be better translated as such, as was done elsewhere, e.g. Acts 19.39,41. Acts 7.38 no more proves that the church was in the OT than Acts 19.40,41 proves that the riotous mob at Ephesus was the body of Christ! The Amillennialist’s use of Acts 7.38 to try to prove that the church as the body of Christ was in the OT shows just how short of evidence he is.
  6. In the NT, there are many references which refer to the church and Israel as being distinct, e.g. 1 Cor. 10.32; Rom. 9.4,5; 11.1-27.

Question 4: Will the nation of Israel be restored, or is their setting aside permanent?

If the Amillennialist is right, then there is no future for the nation of Israel in the purpose of God. If he can prove that God has cast them away irrecovably, then he has a very strong case for his Amillennialist position. If on the other hand we can show that there is a future for Israel, then his argument is doomed.

A couple of points before looking at the evidence:

Firstly, many of the points cited above are also evidence for the restoration of Israel as a nation. For example, proving that the promises to Israel were unconditional is proof that Israel will have to be restored. Also, proof that the promises will be fulfilled literally to Israel is proof of their future restoration. Thus, in this section we will look only at evidence not yet considered, but we should bear in mind that the restoration of Israel is essential in view of what we have already seen.

Secondly, we must confine our evidence in this section to the NT. Whatever OT Scriptures could be quoted as evidence (and there are many) the Amillennialist will not admit it, but will claim it has to be spiritualised away. We thus confine ourselves to NT Scriptures.

  1. There is one passage which will be more than sufficient to totally prove that Israel will be restored. The Scripture in question is Rom. 9-11. No-one can deny that the subject of this section is the nation of Israel. At the start of each chapter: 9.3-5; 10.1-3; 11.1,2 we are left in no doubt that physical Israel is being referred to; it cannot by any stretch of imagination be the church. Many verses, particularly in ch.ll, indicate that Israel’s fall is not final (e.g. v.2,11,12,15,23,24). However, of particular concern to us is 11.25-27. Again it must be stressed that these verses must refer to literal Israel, as phrases such as “blindness in part is happened to Israel” (v.25), “turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (v.26), “I shall take away their sins” (v.27), “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies” (v.28) cannot by any means refer to the church.

These few verses show beyond a shadow of a doubt that Israel’s blindness is partial (v.25), temporary (v.25), will cease when the Deliverer comes out of Sion (v.26), and removes their ungodliness (v.26) and sins (v.27), and saves them as a nation (v.26).

  1. Several times people spoke to the Lord Jesus when He was on earth, mentioning the hope of the coming earthly kingdom, and the Lord never contradicted them. Of particular interest and significance is Acts 1.6,7, because it was after the ultimate rejection by the nation (the crucifixion), and also because it specifically mentions Israel’s restoration. When the disciples ask Him, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”, the Lord’s reply, had the Amillennialist been right, would have been undoubtedly to make it very clear to them that such a thing was never going to happen. On the contrary, however, His reply confirms that it will happen (“the times and the seasons”), but it is not for the disciples to know when it will happen. But undoubtedly the Lord’s words would have left the disciples in no doubt about the fact that it would happen.
  2. Other examples of references by people to the earthly kingdom include:
  • James and John’s mother in Matt.20.21-23
  • those who thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear, in Luke 19.11
  • the dying thief spoke of the Lord coming into His kingdom in Luke 23.42.

In every case, the Lord does not even hint that there is not going to be an earthly kingdom, but is clear that it will not be immediately. But come it will, indeed He Himself makes many references to His literal earthly kingdom (e.g. Luke 22.30, when He speaks of the apostles sitting on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel).

  1. Passages such as Acts 15.14-17 show that in the present age God is taking from the Gentiles “a people for His Name” (v.14), and that “after this” (v.16) Israel will be restored (v.16) and there will be universal blessing (v.17).

Thus, we see that there is going to be restoration for the nation of Israel. This cannot take place under the Amillennialists’ scheme. Either we accept the evidence of the above (and many other) Scriptures or we accept the Amillennialist theory. We cannot do both.

Question 5: Will Christ reign on the throne of David, or does this refer to His present glory in Heaven?

The Amillennialist denies that there will be a restoration of the earthly throne of David and says all such references in Scripture refer to the Lord Jesus’ present session in Heaven. If he can show there will be no restoration of David’s earthly kingdom, his case is strengthened. If, however, we can show that there will be a literal reign on the throne of David, this can only be fulfilled in the Premillennial scheme since Amillennialism has no place for it.

The following points indicate the restoration of the Davidic throne, with Christ sitting on the throne of David:

  1. The covenant with David, promising that his throne would be established forever is given in 2 Sam, 7.12-16. Much of what was said above regarding the Abrahamic Covenant is also true of the Davidic Covenant, and so will be given in summary form: It is unconditional and demands literal fulfilment:-
  • it is described as “everlasting” (2 Sam. 23.5), “for ever” (2 Sam. 7.13,16)
  • its promises are often repeated, in the midst of failure (Isa. 9.6,7; Jer. 23.5,6; 33.14-17,20,21; Zech. 14.4,9) – disobedience on the part of Solomon will bring chastening on him but will not nullify the covenant. The words of 2 Sam. 7.13-15 could not make this clearer.
  • it was confirmed by an oath (Ps. 132.11)
  • God says He will not break it (Ps. 89.34)
  • much of 2 Sam. 7.12-16 has already been fulfilled literally (e.g. David was given a son, it was his son who built the temple, his kingdom was established, Solomon was chastened for his iniquity, but God’s mercy did not depart from him, and did not result in a destruction of the Davidic line). Since all these were fulfilled literally, consistency demands literal fulfilment for the promise in vl6.
  • David expected a literal fulfilment (2 Sam. 7.18-29). To propose that it will not be fulfilled literally is to say that God was deliberately deceiving David, and indeed the nation of Israel.
  1. In the OT Christ is the ultimate fulfiller of the promises to David, and that it will be literally, e.g. the well-known passage in Isa. 9.6,7. The reference to the child born and the son given (v6) must be taken literally. For consistency so must the reference to His “government and peace . . . upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom”. We cannot take verse 6 literally and spiritualise verse 7.
  2. Turning now to the NT, no clearer example could be afforded to us than the words of the angel to Mary in Luke 1.31-33. He tells her that she will conceive in her womb, bring forth a son, and call His name Jesus. These are literal, if ever anything was. Then in the next verse the angel says, “the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” The Amillennialist cannot have it both ways: if he takes the details of the Lord’s birth as literal, then he must take the reign over Israel as literal. If he denies the literalness of the reign, then to be consistent he must deny the literalness of the details of the Lord’s birth.
  3. There are many references to David in the NT, and there are also many references to the Lord’s present position in Heaven. Nowhere is His present session said to be on the throne of David. On the contrary, His present position is at God’s right hand (e.g. Heb. 12.2) or the Father’s throne (e.g. Rev. 3.21). Moreover, to equate David’s throne with the Father’s throne is to say that David’s throne has existed from all eternity: a strange suggestion indeed!
  4. The Lord Jesus Himself refers to His return to earth and sitting on His throne, e.g. in Matt. 25.41, He says “When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory’. The linking of the two words “When” and “then” show clearly that the sitting on the throne is not until He comes again. Thus, it is future (so it cannot be His present sitting in Heaven), and it will be on earth (again showing that it is not His present session in Heaven).
  5. Acts 15.14-17 show that the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David is “after” God takes out a people for His name, and it will be at his “return.”

So we see that the promises of Scripture can only be fulfilled by a literal reign of Christ on the throne of David. Amillennialism cannot be true if this is so.

In closing this long section, we must summarise. We have analysed 5 major planks of Amillennialism:

  1. The claim that God’s promises to Abraham and the nation were conditional on obedience, and that thus they were irrevocably forfeited.
  2. The claim that the promises to Abraham and the nation were not meant to be taken literally.
  3. The claim that Israel and the church are not distinct.
  4. The claim that there is no future restoration for the nation of Israel.
  5. The claim that Christ’s session in heaven is the fulfilment of the promises regarding the throne of David.

In order for Amillennialism to stand, it must be able to show that all five statements above are true. If any one of them falls, the whole system falls. We trust that it has been shown that each one of them is false, and thus that Amillennialism must be rejected.

(Source: Amillennialism Examined – by David McAllister (Zambia))

WHO IS A JEW? WHO IS ISRAEL?

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Who is a Jew and who is Israel of the Bible? Is it the “church,” or those who practice Orthodox Judiasm? Or maybe a nation?

In his book, “The Remnant of Israel: The History, Theology, and Philosophy of The Messianic Jewish Comunity,” Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, a Messianic Jew, attempted to answer this much debated question. There are few topics in the Jewish and Christian world that have been more debated than this one. To this day there is no consistent definition among most people.

A Biblical Definition

If Jewishness is defined in terms of religion, and that religion is defined as Orthodox Judaism, then obviously Messianic Jews are not Jewish. But according to this definition neither are most Jews, because most Jews do not practice Orthodox Judaism. Defining Jewishness on a purely religious basis does not satisfactorily explain who a Jew is.

The Messianic Jewish definition has an objective standard; it goes back to the very source of Jewishness: the Scriptures. The further any definition departs from the Scriptures, the foggier it gets. The Messianic Jew is forced to define Jewishness in the biblical sense of the term, for to him the Scriptures are the source of authority. Hence the Messianic Jewish definition can also be called the biblical definition. The biblical basis for defining Jewishness lies in the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis:

“Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto the land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and be you a blessing: and I will bless them that bless you, and him that curses you will I curse: and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

It is further described in two other passages:

“For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then may your seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:15-16)

“And, behold, the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This man shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if you be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall your seed be.” (Genesis 15:4-5)

Later, the Abrahamic Covenant is confirmed through Isaac in Genesis 26:2-5 and Genesis 26:2-5. After Isaac, it is reconfirmed through Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15.

From the Abrahamic Covenant a simple definition of Jewishness can be deduced. It lies in the repeated statement that a nation will come through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and thus defines Jewishness in terms of nationality. This nationality is not confined to the State of Israel alone, but it includes all the Jewish people no matter where they are. It is a nationality based on descent and not on Zionism.

Biblically speaking, the Jewish people are a nation. Although many of them today, are still scattered, they are nevertheless, a nation. They are a nation because they are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The implication of this definition is that no matter what a Jew does he can never become a non-Jew; no matter what the individual Jew may believe or disbelieve he remains a Jew. If a Jew chooses to believe that Yeshua is his Messiah, he too remains a Jew. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can change the fact that he is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

At this point the problem of children of mixed marriages comes up. These children are usually designated half-Jewish and half-Gentile. The theology of Judaism teaches that Jewishness is determined by the mother; if the mother is Jewish, then the children are Jewish. But again, this is a departure from the biblical norm. In the Scriptures it is not the mother who determines Jewishness but the father; consequently the genealogies of both the Old and New Testaments list the names of the men and not of the women, except in cases where a mother was notable in Jewish history. Thus if the father is Jewish, the children are Jewish. King David was definitely Jewish, although his great grandmother Ruth and his great-great grandmother Rahab were both Gentiles.

Can the church be called a Jew (or “Israel”)?

The New Testament divides the world into three groups of people: Jews, Gentiles, and believers (I Corinthians 10:32). It plainly teaches that no one can ever be born a Christian; everyone is either born a Jew or born a Gentile. A Christian is therefore, either a Jew or a Gentile who has become a believer. He is not a Jew (or “Ïsrael”) merely because he holds church membership or is baptized.

In the Levitt newsletter for May 1996, Dr. Thomas McCall, the Senior Theologian of Zola Levitt Ministries, also addressed the battle regarding the nature and character of the Church, especially in relation to its biblical predecessor, Israel. The two major views are that:

  1. The Church is a continuation of Israel.
  2. The Church is completely different from Israel.

First View: The Church is Israel

The predominant view has been that the Church is the “new” Israel, a continuation of the concept of Israel which began in the Old Testament. In this view, the Church is the refinement and higher development of the concept of Israel. All of the promises made to Israel in the Scriptures find their fulfillment in the Church. Thus, the prophecies relating to the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” into promises of blessing to the Church. The prophecies of condemnation and judgment, though, are retained literally by the Jewish nation of Israel.

This view is sometimes called Replacement Theology, because the Church is seen to replace Israel in God’s economy. One of the problems with the view, among others, is the continuing existence of the Jewish people, especially with regard to the revival of the new modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned to extinction, and there is no divinely ordained future for the Jewish nation, how does one account for the supernatural survival of the Jewish people since the establishment of the Church, for almost 2,000 years against all odds? Furthermore, how does one account for Israel’s resurgence among the family of nations as an independent nation, victorious in several wars and flourishing economically?

Second View: Israel and the Church are Different

The other view, we believe, is clearly taught in the New Testament, but it has been suppressed throughout most of Church history. This view is that the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two should not be confused. In fact, the Church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the Day of Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and will continue until it is taken to Heaven at the Rapture return of the Lord (Eph. 1:9-11). None of the curses or blessings pronounced upon Israel refer directly to the Church. The Church enters into the Abrahamic and New Covenants, for instance, only by divine application, not by original interpretation (Matt 26:28).

This leaves all the covenants, promises, and warnings to Israel intact. Israel, the natural Jewish nation, is still Israel. To be sure, Israel has been side-lined during these past 1,900 years of the Diaspora. The Church has taken center stage in the Lord’s affairs as the Gospel has spread throughout the world. Nevertheless, God has carefully preserved the Jewish people, even in unbelief, through every kind of distress and persecution. Sometimes, the professing Church itself (I speak to our shame) has been a cause of these persecutions to the Jews.

Not only has God preserved the Jewish nation, but He has also kept His promise to save a remnant of Israel in every generation. The remnant of Israel in this age are the Jewish believers in Christ who have joined the Gentile believers, and form the Church, the Body of Christ (Rom. 11:5). In this respect, then, a part of Israel (the believing remnant) intersects with the Church during the Church Age. But this does not make Israel the Church, or vice versa.

In the future, both God’s warnings and promises to Israel will come to pass. After the Lord is finished with the Church Age, and has taken the Church to Heaven in the Rapture 1 Thess. 4:16-18), God will restore Israel to center stage on the world’s divine theater. First comes the devastating “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer. 30:7) also known as the Great Tribulation. This is a dreadful period of seven years, which begins relatively lightly during the first half, but intensifies into full focus during the latter half. During this time the world is judged for rejecting Christ, but, more specifically, Israel is judged, purged and prepared through the fiery trials of the Great Tribulation for the Second Coming of the Messiah. This is the bad news.

The good news is that, when Christ does return to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, Israel will be ready, willing, and eager to receive Him, and proclaim, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39). As the stumbling of Israel brought blessing to the world at Christ’s First Coming, the reception of Israel to Christ at His Second Advent will be like “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:15). The remnant of Israel which survives the Tribulation (some one-third of the Jewish people who enter the Tribulation), will be saved, and the Lord will establish His kingdom on the same earth and the same capital city, Jerusalem, that rejected Him centuries before. Israel will be the head of the nations, and no longer the tail, and all nations will send representatives to Jerusalem to honor and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Isa. 2:2-3;Micah 4:1). The Church will return with Christ, and will rule with Him for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-5). He Himself told His disciples that they would rule over the 12 tribes of Israel in the restoration (Matt. 19:28). Thus, Israel has not been forgotten in God’s plan. While the Jewish nation still has a dark period facing it, there is a glorious finale to Israel’s long history.

How Did the Church Decide the Demise of Israel?

The New Testament Church was very much involved with the vicissitudes of Israel. Jesus is an Israeli, as were all the apostles, and the concerns of Israel, spiritually and politically, were very much a part of their lives. The greatest struggles the early Church had were over the relationship between Israel and the Church, law and grace, and the fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ (Galatians). Many of the Jewish believers were not comfortable with the Gentile believers at first; and as time went on and Gentiles began to predominate numerically, the attitudes were reversed. Galatians shows how the Jewish party tried to impose the Mosaic Law on Gentile Christians, and Romans shows how the Gentile party began to “boast against the branches” (Rom. 11:18), resenting the place of Israel in history and theology.

It took some time, perhaps a couple of centuries, but eventually the vast Gentile majority in the Church began to view Israel as a vestigial organ that had outlived its usefulness. In fact, the predominant Christian view was that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD signaled the official and divinely-ordained end of the Jewish nation, never more to be re-instituted as a national entity. The fact that Jerusalem lay in ruins and the Jewish people were scattered over the world was seen as conclusive evidence that God was forever finished with national Israel. If there were any purpose for the existence of the Jewish people, it was to remind the world of the severe judgment of God upon a disobedient people.

If this harsh view of Israel were true, though, what of the promises of God to Israel in the Old Testament? For those who claimed to believe in the entire Bible as the Word of God, this was a great problem. How could a faithful God not keep His promises to His ancient people? To deal with this took extraordinary theological dexterity and alchemy. The theologians had to propose that Israel in the Scriptures did not really mean Israel, especially when it came to the promises of eternal blessing. Instead, Israel meant something else, something that came to be known in the New Testament as the Church. The Church became the new Israel, and through this remarkable transformation, wherever blessing is promised to Israel in the Old Testament, it was interpreted to mean the Church. This is Replacement Theology, in which the Church has become Israel.

Replacement Theology was already around before the end of the First Century, but did not become the official position of professing Christian leadership until Augustine popularized the concept, primarily in THE CITY OF GOD, in the latter part of the Fourth Century. Augustine actually states that he was previously a Chiliast, meaning that he was a believer in the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth after His return. This is the same as our current description of Premillennialism. However, he had come to the conclusion that this view was “carnal,” and had adopted the view that the reign of Christ would be something more “spiritual,” and would actually occur during the Church Age. Such a view necessitated the extinction of Israel, and the cancellation of all promises God made to the Jewish nation. These promises of blessing would now be fulfilled within the framework of the Church.

This view, which had been latent in Christendom, now flourished throughout the Byzantine world. From this point on, the theological legs were cut out from under Israel, and the predominant Christian theology was that there was no future for Israel. Replacement Theology has been the rule that has survived the Middle Ages, the Crusades and the Reformation in Church History. Only during the last Century or so has the Premillennial concept of the future of Israel come to the forefront in evangelical Christianity. Even so, it is a minority view.

Does Israel’s Future Demean the Church’s Glory?

Some suggest that if Israel has not ceased to exist in its covenant relationship to God, and if Israel still has a future in the divine plan, this somehow diminishes the position of the Church. Is such a concern valid? It is almost as though the Church has been jealous of Israel, and afraid that if it recognized Israel’s future promises, it would somehow demean Christ and the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is when the Church recognizes Israel that the true distinctiveness and glory of the Body of Christ becomes evident. This called-out body, composed of believing Jews and Gentiles during the Church Age, is the highest entity the Lord has created, superior to the universe, all the Angels, the nations, and Israel. Our Head, our Husband, our Friend is the Son of God Himself. We shall reign with Him when He rules the earth, and our 12 Founding Apostles will rule over the 12 tribes of Israel. The Angels themselves will study us forever as the greatest exhibit of God’s grace, and we will actually judge the Angels. This is our destiny, and this writer, for one, would not trade his position in the Body of Christ with any creature in the universe! Why, then, be disturbed over what God has promised the Jewish people? Why be jealous over the future destiny of Israel? How short sighted of us! Indeed, the Church’s finest and most distinctive hour will be when Israel is restored nationally and spiritually to the Lord at the Second Coming of Christ. We will return from Heaven with Him as His glorious Bride to rule the world. What more could we ask? (Sadly, those who follow Replacement theology, would rather also reject the prophecies regarding the rapture of the church and the 1000 year reign, than accepting that God will honour His covenant to the Jews – Israel).

So, if we are not to suffer from spiritual myopia, we must recognize what the Lord is doing with Israel, not shrinking from it as though our own interests will be overshadowed. Rather, we rejoice in these developments, with full assurance that our own redemption draws ever closer.

(Main Source: https://www.levitt.com/essays/israel-church )

DEFENSE AGAINST REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

replacement-theology

We who read the Bible for what it says and do not try to add the “wisdom” of man to it are often attacked for our believe that God will keep His promises to the Jews. I found the downloadable document in the link below on the web. It is quite lengthy but it provides us all with excellent answers to those who attack us for our biblical beliefs.

https://mysouthland.com/Resources/Theology/6%20reasons%20Replacement%20Theology%20is%20false%20-%20the%20Church%20has%20not%20replaced%20the%20nation%20of%20Israel.pdf

THE RISE IN ANTI-SEMITISM

After a new report was issued on known cases of Anti-Semitism that occurred in 2018, the Kantor Centre at Tel Aviv University said, “Antisemitism has progressed to the point of calling into question the very continuation of Jewish life in Europe.” The U.K. logged a record 1,382 hate crimes against Jews, an increase of 34 percent.

Josef Schuster, leader of Germany’s largest Jewish organization, urged Jews not to wear kippas in Berlin’s public spaces. He suggested, instead, to wear baseball caps. “It’s become just too dangerous,” he explained. “Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden requires airport-like security checks. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass,” says an article in the  New York Times.

The Anti-Semitism practiced by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, two Muslim representatives of the Democrats in the US is also no secret. In the U.S., anti-Semitic incidents rose by 57 percent in 2018, the largest increase ever recorded. Historians and scholars who write about anti- Semitism often state that it is “an illogical hatred of the Jewish people.”

Time magazine recently also reported that the surge in Anti-Semitic attacks has caused a ‘sense of emergency’ among Jews worldwide.

When we understand that the source of Anti-Semitism is Satan himself, we can easily comprehend why we see this rise in Anti-Semitism. Satan and his hordes of demonic forces are fighting to retain control of this world and the Jews are caught in the midst of the battle. A major part of Satan’s strategy is also to breed anti-Semitism specifically among Christians, for the purpose of completely annihilating the Jewish people and sadly, the majority of the church today has fallen for his deception. As mentioned previously on our blog, we strongly oppose Replacement Theology and consider it a doctrine of demons… even if they try and cover it up by calling it Supersessionism or Fulfillment Theology.

Satan’s plan is to misuse the very people who must bring God’s message of redemption to the Jewish people. Christians, therefore, instead of provoking the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11: 11), have been used as a weapon against Jewish people, in the name of Christianity.

To obtain a better understanding on how bad Anti-Semitism has really become, we strongly suggest that you look at this 28 minute long video, recently published on YouTube by Rock Harbour church.

 

 

 

 

CHRISTIANS, JEWS AND “PALESTINIANS”

When we want to determine where we are on God’s timeline in terms of the Last Days, we need look no further than God’s timepiece, Israel and even more specifically, Jerusalem. The nation of Israel literally lies in the center of events that point to the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God deals with Israel in the Land of the Covenant in harmony with the seven festivals of Leviticus 23 and therefore their elect will be born-again as a nation in one day confirming Israel is God’s timepiece. God measures no certain time by us Gentiles for He deals with us as individuals. His servant Israel is a distinct race—one nation in its Covenant Land bound within a common law and culture—separated from the nations of the world. As Israel has specific times and seasons to present itself before the Lord, He could declare in Isaiah 66:8 “the nation will be born-again in one day” in a certain year, month and week.

CHRISTIAN HERESY

Sadly, much of the Christian Church does not properly honor and recognize the nation of Israel, irrespective of the fact that God said to Abraham “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3). The prophet Zechariah revealed that the physical descendants of Abraham (the entire Jewish nation) are the “apple of God’s eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

Israel is the foundation of the Bible and the Christian faith. God’s intimate relationship with mankind was re-established through the Jews after the fall of Adam. They are the true chosen people of God. It is the same eternal covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who is restoring Israel to the land of their fathers at the end of this age just as He promised. Her people were never expelled from the Land as chastisement for sin without God setting a precise time for their return.

The fact that Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah resulting in their world-wide dispersion, has led to a great satanic deception which has invaded the Christian Church with many teachings that God’s covenant with Israel no longer exists. This is the view that the church is the new or true Israel that has permanently superseded Israel as the people of God.

It is true that God brought salvation to the Gentiles due to the stumble of the Jews (Romans 11:11). Paul stated that Gentiles who accept Christ are “grafted” spiritually into the Jewish nation and become a part of God’s chosen people (Romans 11:11-36). The Church was however grafted into God’s chosen people but never replaced or superseded Israel. Non-Jews can find great joy in knowing that all who accept Christ will be joined with the “apple of God’s eye”.

The heresy by these Christians has led to the Church abandoning Israel even though the entire world is coming against it, led by forces of evil. It has led to a plethora of false doctrine and anti-Semitism.

Some examples include the following:

  • Revelation has been turned into a history book, instead of being a prophetic book as God intended. Suddenly they Interpret the woman in Revelation 12:1-6 as the Church rather than true Israel.
  • Statements that Christ could return anywhere, even in light of Zechariah 14:4.
  • Misunderstanding of the purpose of the Tribulation and Rapture of the Church.
  • Ignorance of parts of Scripture, such as “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:16).
  • Shear disdain for the Jews, even in the Church. 16th century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote, “Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools…” and “If I had to baptize a Jew, I would take him to the river Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words `I baptize thee in the name of Abraham’.”
  • Israel’s return to the land is just a coincidence.

Significance in the Jewish nation of Israel is found in the fact that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was brought into the world through the Jews and lived in Israel while on earth as a Jew. The scripture refers to Jesus as King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-2, 27:11). God’s word also declares that Jesus will return to earth someday to rule and reign from Jerusalem (Zechariah 1:16, 8:3, 14:4, 14:16).

The Church never has nor ever will replace Israel in the eyes of God. This false teaching has no place in the Church and has caused much confusion concerning Bible prophecy and is the reason for anti-Semitism in the Church. This false doctrine should be permanently removed from the Church.

ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

The call to Israel as God’s chosen people began with Abraham. God said to him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants FOREVER”  – Genesis 13:14-15. God later reaffirmed this promise with his son Isaac and grandson Jacob (Genesis 26:3-5; 28:10-15).

“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an EVERLASTING COVENANT, to be God to you and your descendants after you” – Genesis 17:7. This covenant is therefore unconditional in nature.

On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates – Genesis 15:18

But prior to this covenant coming to pass, Abraham’s people spent 400 years under Egyptian bondage. The Exodus out of Egypt came after the sacrificial lamb was slaughtered and the celebration of the first Passover. This sacrificial lamb was a foreshadow of the True Lamb that would come centuries later – the Messiah Jesus Christ.

The Lord called them to be a holy people while leading them to the Promised Land and repeatedly warned them that consequences would follow disobedience. One of the punishments would be Israel’s enemies exiling them their land and taking them into slavery. History reveals that this came about as the Babylonians and Assyrians overtook the Jews. But these proved to be short-term takeovers as God restored His people to their land once they called out to Him and repented from their rebellion (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 30).

DISPERSION

Yet the Jews sinned again and after centuries of occupation, during the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, they were driven away from the Promised Land and scattered throughout the world as punishment for disobedience to God and rejection of Christ as the Messiah (Ezekiel 5:10). Jesus prophesied that this would occur beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39). Also see God’s warnings in Leviticus 26:33 and Deuteronomy 28:64.

Jesus indicated that the Jews would remain exiled from Jerusalem for a long period of time – until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled, “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” – Luke 21:24.

RESTORATION

God stated that He would punish the Jews but not completely destroy them (Jeremiah 30:11). The promise to restore Israel to their land someday was revealed to the prophet Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones Vision (Ezekiel 37). Even though Israel was unfaithful, God is a forever faithful covenant-keeping God who would again restore the nation to their land. Leviticus 26:44-45 confirms this fact.

The restoration of Israel brings tremendous resistance from its enemies. The kingdom of darkness is fully aware of God’s plans with Israel and is the reason for the campaign of hatred against the Jews. Events such as the Holocaust are rooted in a satanically driven hatred against God and His chosen nation.

As God is always true to His word, the Jews have physically returned to Israel and the Jewish nation was officially reborn on May 14, 1948. One would think this event would have erased all thoughts of Replacement Theology.

The spiritual restoration will come about as a result of the worst persecution that Israel will ever face. “And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, This is My people; and each one will say, The Lord is my God” (Zechariah 13:8-9).

GOD’S PROPHETIC TIME CLOCK

As stated earlier, numerous prophecies of the Bible reveal that when certain events happen concerning Israel, respective prophecies will be fulfilled. One of these prophecies is the Seventy Weeks Prophecy found in the book of Daniel. The prophecy gives specific timeframes concerning the First Coming of Christ, His crucifixion, the antichrist, and Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Jesus also gave the parable of the fig tree to His apostles as an indicator concerning His return to earth. He was conveying the message that when the fig tree (Israel) blossoms, His return would soon follow. He also spoke of Jerusalem and its trampling by the Gentiles as it relates to His Second Coming.

The prophecy of the fig tree was physically fulfilled on May 14, 1948 when Israel once again became a nation. The times of the Gentiles in Jerusalem started in June 1967 with the “Six-day” war. These fulfillments mark the soon closing of the Church dispensation. Scripture states the generation that sees these events will also see the return of Christ.

The spiritual cleansing must occur after Israel has been restored to their land. It will coincide with great distress and tribulation. A remnant of Israel will be refined in the fire of God’s wrath (Zechariah 13:9).

We find further evidence of that nation of Israel as God’s prophectic time clock when studying the Seven Feasts of the Lord. Of the seven feasts, there are three in the spring, one in the summer, and three in the fall.

PRESENT DAY CONFLICT

Many nations have adopted foreign policies for a two-state solution in what they believe is necessary for peace between the Jews & Palestinians. God however warned, “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3).

Regarding a two-state solution: Israel has put numerous offers on the table and they have been soundly rejected by the PLA. Land for peace simply will not work because ultimately Abbas and Hamas don’t want a two-state solution. Their goal is complete control and domination with Jerusalem as their capital.

Any Bible believing Christian would know the actual intent, especially that of the Arab world. “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4).

God sternly warned that He would bring judgment upon nations that attempt to divide His land, “I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land” (Joel 3:2).

We are seeing the beginnings of what Zechariah wrote about almost 2,600 years ago. The media, politicians, the pop culture and sadly, even the Christians we spoke about, have wrongly singled out the Jews as the problem. This is because many choose to believe a popular lie and ignore the facts about Palestine.

SO WHERE DOES THE “PALESTINIANS” FIT IN?

When you reduce the Israeli-Palestinian issue down to the ridiculous, you will find its root cause. The cause is the lie about ownership and what I will call “the Palestinian lie” in particular. The situation in the Middle East goes from bad to worse and is ultimately being used as fuel to turn all nations against Israel.

The Palestinian lie is quite simple: People are continually repeating the lie that there is a Palestinian people and that Israel is an occupying force. But truth is rooted in historical, documented, and verifiable facts. The main source to refute this lie is the Bible.

WHO ARE THESE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE?

The terms Palestine and Palestinian have origins dating back to the second century AD. The Roman Empire and its ruler Hadrian wanted to get rid of all Jewish identity in the region. He used the name of Israel’s ancient foes the Philistines and renamed the land Palaestina. The Philistines were located to the north of Israel in modern coastal Lebanon and parts of Syria.

The term Palestine was rarely used until Israel declared her Independence in 1948. The term Palestinian wasn’t widely used until the 1960s and 1970s. Yasser Arafat, a well-known terrorist was the chairman of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and his goal was to legitimize a people and cause that have no historical precedent. The PLO seeks to liberate “Palestine” through armed struggle. Since 1994, the PA (Palestinian Authority) has been the governing body of the so-called Palestinian people.

WHERE DID THE PALESTINIANS COME FROM?

Throughout history, there has never been a Palestinian people as a distinct group. This is a fabrication of terms used by Arabs to identify the people who occupy the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and other parts of Israel. These people are Arabs from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and surrounding countries. The Arabs in the disputed areas can trace their recent history to Israel’s neighboring countries. While it’s true that Arab children are born in these disputed territories, they are Arabs who live in Israel, not Palestinians who live in occupied territory.

In announcing the “Disengagement Plan” in December 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the withdrawal from Gaza was to increase security of residents of Israel, relieve pressure on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and reduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians. Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, claims that the withdrawal is the result of violent Palestinian resistance to “Israeli occupation”.

To have a legitimate claim you must have historical precedent and there was never a Palestinian people in the land of Israel. People and organizations such as the late Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair, the European Union, and the UN are promoting a distorted view of history and holding negotiations based on a false presupposition that Arabs (with no historical claim), deserve land that rightly belongs to the Jews. To make matters worse, many leaders are seeking to legitimize the Palestinian cause under the banner of evangelical Christianity with organizations like Christ at the Checkpoint and others.

Pope Francis, who I strongly believe is the false prophet in Revelation, also made a very unfortunate move by officially signing a treaty recognizing Palestinian statehood. There are also reports that the Pope referred to Mahmoud Abbas as an “Angel of peace.” Add to this the social media frenzy and downright antisemitic actions of many on university campuses, you have a cause based on nothing but lies.

REFUGEE STATUS OF THE PALESTINIANS

Soon after the Palestinian Arabs fled their homes during the 1948-49 war they were taken under the protective wing of the international community and protected like no other group in similar circumstances. This special treatment ranged from their very recognition as refugees despite the failure of many to satisfy the basic criteria for such status, to the unprecedented creation of a relief agency committed exclusively for their welfare: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA.

Yet rather than help resolve the Palestinian refugee problem, this unparalleled indulgence has only served to confirm its permanency. And no factor has contributed more to this perpetuation than UNRWA, which, instead of ending direct relief and transferring responsibility for the refugees to the host Arab states within months, as stipulated by its mandate, has kept them on the U.N.’s dole for decades under false humanitarian pretense.

World War II created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. In Europe alone, more than 16 million refugees and displaced persons languished in search of a solution to their plight. Some 250,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors herded in overcrowded camps (mainly) in the country that had just slaughtered six million of their brothers; and over 400,000 Finns driven from Soviet-occupied Karelia for the second time in half-a-decade. None of them were given such privileges.

The word “refugees” has been put in quotes with regard to the Palestinians currently cared for by UNRWA for the simple reason that they do not correspond to the conventional refugee concept, which views this phenomenon as a temporary plight that needs to be rectified swiftly. As early as 1929, the League of Nations decided that its International Office for Refugees would shut down within a decade at the most.

Apart from recognizing the Palestinians as refugees despite their failure to meet the basic criteria for this status and assigning a distinct agency to tend to their affairs, the U.N. blindly registered countless false claimants as refugees despite its keen awareness of the pervasiveness of this fraud, then let their falsely obtained status be passed on to future generations.

Responsibility for the Palestinian “refugees” should long ago have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority and the host Arab governments, thus ending their eternal “refugeedom” and facilitating their integration in their respective societies as equal and productive citizens.

THE LIFE OF A PALESTINIAN

The Arabs in Israel are treated fairly and Arab laborers flock to work in Israeli factories instead of those in the West Bank where wages are sometimes double that of Arab employers. Arab citizens in Israel enjoy modern amenities and a stable government. Compare that with the poor living conditions in Baghdad, Damascus, or Cairo and there is simply no comparison.

The governing bodies of Hamas and the PA take western aid money meant to help improve the lives of the so-called Palestinian people. Much of the money ends up lining the pockets of the governing officials and used to procure weapons that are used to wage jihad on the citizens and population centers of Israel. The Hamas thugs routinely place their weapons of war near playgrounds, mosques, and homes of civilians. These actions are indicative of the mindset of the entities Israel is forced to go to the bargaining table with groups calling for the destruction of Israel.

WHAT SHOULD CHRISTIANS DO?

When you see the hate-filled, ignorant, lopsided, anti-Israel anti-Jewish propaganda, understand where it originates from. Satan hates Israel, its people, and its God. The prophets, the Bible, the apostles, and the early church all originated right there. The gospel has gone out from there. It started with the great commission at the Mt. of Olives and will crescendo right up to 144,000 Jewish evangelists proclaiming salvation through Jesus during Daniel’s 70th week. Men including Pharoah, Haman, Hitler, and the coming antichrist have attempted or will attempt to put an end to God’s promises. The Bible tells us the Lord will have the final say regarding who the land belongs to.

Understand that the political turmoil in the Middle East is simply an indicator of the nearness of the Lord’s return. We should see the Israeli-Palestinian issue for what it is: An attempt to undermine what God has done. We can choose not to remain silent despite the onslaught of anti-Jewish rhetoric from the divestment and social gospel crowd.

We should reach out in love to both Jewish and Arab people and be a bold witness for the gospel of Christ. Christians should stand with Israel and we can do that while we show compassion and love to both Jews and Arabs. It may not be politically correct to stand in solidarity with Israel, but history will prove it’s the right thing to do.

We are seeing the stage being set for the end time scenario as Israel and Jerusalem become the geopolitical focal point of the world. No one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return, but in light of recent events, we seem to be closer than ever. Maranatha

(SOURCES: Articles published by Howard Green who leads Concerning The Times and Brian C Thomas of God’s1st)