We Are Not of Those "Evangelicals"

Recently, a group of 34 Evangelical Christian leaders in America wrote an open letter to U.S. President George W. Bush to register their support for his efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to clarify that not all Evangelicals oppose such a "resolution" of this long-running dispute.

We cannot agree with the historical and moral equivalence that these Christian leaders have drawn between Israel and the Palestinians, nor with their exegesis of Scripture.

The Jewish people have an ancient claim and attachment to the Land of Israel dating back 4000 years to the Hebrew Patriarch Abraham. There they became a nation that made universal contributions to all humankind, not least of which are the Bible and the Messiah that we Christians hold so dear.

The Jews have returned to their ancient homeland many centuries after being violently uprooted from it not once, but twice.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have never built an independent nation here and have made no positive contributions of note to the world. Palestinian nationalism began a mere 40 years ago and only then due to the movement’s adoption of terrorist tactics. It is an historic fact that at every point in which the Jewish people agreed to a two-state solution, the Palestinian Arabs have rejected such compromise in favour of violent 'resistance' to any expression of Jewish presence in the land.

As a result, most Evangelical Christians distrust Palestinian intentions and are highly skeptical (an understatement if ever there was one!!!) about the merits of a two-state solution, as do a great many Israelis.

At the same time, this does not mean we are "blocking" peace in the Middle East. The blame for that lies largely with the militant Islamic elements that seek Israel's destruction.

It is our assessment that the Evangelicals writing to President Bush were nonetheless able to place Israel and the Palestinians on an equal footing because of two theological errors:

1) A failure to grasp the Biblical paradox of 'free grace' versus 'divine election,' and
2) Their adherence to the vestiges of a false doctrine known as "Replacement Theology."

It is clear from the Bible that God indeed loves all men, whether Israelis, Palestinians or others. Yet it is equally true that God in His sovereignty calls and elects certain vessels for His eternal purposes. "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated," affirms Romans 9:13. God established a unique relationship with Israel for the purpose of world redemption, and that relationship is enduring and has no equivalent whatsoever on the Palestinian side, the children of Ishmael and of Esau.

It is our belief that God's covenants with Israel are as valid today as when He first swore two irrevocable and unconditional oaths to Abraham:
1) To bless or redeem the world through Abraham's seed (Genesis 12:1-3), and
2) To deliver the Land of Canaan to Abraham's natural descendants as an "everlasting possession" (Genesis 17:8).

Both the people and the land of Israel were chosen for the purpose of world redemption, and to remove either one from the equation nullifies the Abrahamic covenant, and by extension even our own salvation as New Testament believers. Why? Because according to the Apostles' teaching it would render God a liar and absolutely untrustworthy (see Romans 3:1-4; Hebrews 6:13-20).

Yet many Christians ignore or demean the land component of the Abrahamic Covenant, even though the Bible lays emphasis on it throughout its pages. When the Psalmist describes the covenant with Abraham, he stresses the land promise and its validity for "a thousand generations" (Psalm 105:8-12). Nothing in the New Testament abrogates or nullifies this land promise (see Romans 3:3; II Timothy 2:13; Galatians 3:15-17).

In the Mosaic covenant, God places conditions on Israel's right to enjoy possession of that which they already own (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28). Israel's loss of domicile in the land has never meant her loss of title to the land (Leviticus 26:44-46). Even the past 2000 years of exile is not a sign of Israel's rejection before God; rather God was simply keeping His side of the 'bargain' made at Sinai. Thus in Israel's exiles we see God's righteous and just character, but in Israel's returns we see His faithfulness and favour (Psalm 102:13).

In the end, Abraham was promised not only a ‘seed’ to bless the whole earth, but also the physical land of Israel as an ‘everlasting possession.’

We will not be part of any effort to force Israel to divest herself from her land inheritance.

Condensed from "ICEJ Special Release"
ICEJ Email Newsletter
August 29, 2007


Gayle said...

Absolutely, Paula. I agree with you 1,000%!

This is an excellent article you have written and you're right on target. How they can't see how wrong they are is beyond me. Nope, I'm not in agreement with their sentiments either!

Anonymous said...

''There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise'' Galatians 3:28,29

P Maillet said...

Thanks Gayle, we need to make our position clear.

Anonymous, these are two separate subjects. In CHRIST there is neither Jew nor Greek, etc.

God has established covenants with two peoples. Believers in Jesus belong to the New Covenant, with all that applies to that covenant.

God established several covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The land covenant is unconditional, and though they have been under Fatherly discipline aS he foretold would happen, the fact remains that that land belongs to Israel unconditionally and will be fully restored to Israel. That will be completed when the Messiah returns to Israel, and that's why the agencies of Satan are battling so ferociously over that land, because the restoration of the Jews to the land of Israel after 2,000 years of being dispersed throughout the world signals the age of the coming of the Messiah which will mean the end of Satan.

The issues over the land covenants are to signal to Christians that we are in the age of the return of the Messiah.

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