The Age to Come: 'The Kingdom Age' vs. 'The Eternal Age'
What Are the Driving Factors Behind Christian Zionism?
The disputes between her and her enemies should be resolved by the Christian virtues of equity, justice, etc., that ought to characterize all the nations which God has made and placed within their respective boundaries. The various states of the Middle East will finally be judged on the basis of their cruelty, pride, and so on, Israel as well as Palestine, Jordan, and all the rest. And any nation involved in arbitration between them would do well to consider the various dynamics of the current situation without resorting to the idea that one of them possesses a divinely-written title to all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates.
If God is fulfilling his promise made to Abraham by calling out persons from every nation to be his children by faith — and preparing them to inherit, not just the promised land, but the whole earth, and the New Jerusalem of which they are citizens even now (Matthew 5:5; Galatians 4:25-26; Revelation 21:1-4) — then one can best throw in his lot with God's people by laboring to bring children of every nationality in to his kingdom, which has now exploded beyond the bounds of the Middle East, and soon promises to change the entire world when the redemption of God reaches its consummation and the Davidic King returns in all his glory.
Although ethnic Israel still retains a special place in God's redemptive design (being the nation to whom he first gave his grace and promise and covenant), and though we might with firm biblical conviction labor to see the ethnic Jewish people enjoy the blessings that God has irrevocably covenanted to give them, and continues to give to a remnant of grace within their ranks (Romans 11); yet, it would be a tragic step backwards to labor to reserve for them all the old shadow-blessings of a typical strip of this still-cursed earth, when the remnant of grace has entered into the true inheritance of Christ, and awaits an entire new and glorious earth, that “city which has foundations” (Hebrews 11:10, 14-16), which all of Abraham's true seed by faith will inherit.
- Nathan Pitchford, The Threat of Christian Zionism
Millennialism v. A-Millennialism
by Herman Hoeksema (1886 - 1965), ©1969 Reformed Free Publishing Association.
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;
And unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time,
Without sin unto salvation
First of all, it should be observed that Scripture knows of only one Second Coming of the Lord, which marks the end of the world. The end is by way of universal catastrophe and the inauguration of the world to come. In the new heaven and earth, the eternal kingdom of God (the New Jerusalem) will come down from God out of heaven, and we shall be forever with the Lord.
And I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God,
Which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God:
And I will write upon him my new name"
"And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
Coming down from God out of heaven,
Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband"
This observation that there is only one Second Coming of the Lord, which marks the end of the world, precludes the view of the pre-millenarians, who speak of two comings of Christ: the one is called the rapture, the other is called the revelation, and in between is the millennium, the 'kingdom age' in which Christ shall reign for 1000 years before eternity is ushered in.
Arguments Against the Pre-Millennial View
According to the pre-millenarian view:
- The rapture will be the first resurrection of the just: it will be the change of those believers who are faithful and who look for His coming. In the rapture, the Lord will come for His saints to take them with Him in the air before the great tribulation. And at the rapture, the end of the world is not realized; rather, the rapture will mark the end of this "age," which will inaugurate another age, that of the millennium or the "thousand years" of Revelation chapter 20.
- In the millennium, the Lord will come with His saints, destroy antichrist, and then reign with His people over the nations for 1000 years, during which time there will be a period of great tribulation.
- The revelation will take place after the great tribulation. The revelation will be the second resurrection, which is the revelation of the "tribulation" saints. In the revelation, the last enemy, death, will be destroyed and then eternity, or "the ages of ages," will be ushered in.
We cannot possibly agree with the pre-millennial view nor with the pre-millenarian interpretation of Scripture, generally, and of Revelation 20:1-10, specifically.
- First of all, the essential element of this view is that it is based upon an erroneous interpretation of the Old Testament. This interpretation leads to a separation of Israel and the Church as if they were two separate peoples: the former, Israel, is the kingdom people and the latter, the Church, is the body of Christ. A correct interpretation of the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament will lead to the conclusion that Israel and the Church are not two peoples, but one.
- Secondly, the view of the two comings, the rapture and the revelation, is based on a wrong interpretation of several passages of Holy Writ. An outstanding example of this wrong interpretation is that of the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."It is claimed that this passage of Scripture plainly teaches that the "first resurrection" is the resurrection of pre-tribulation saints in distinction from the saints who are alive when the Lord returns to reign for a literal "thousand years, which pre-millennialists term the "millennium." The pre-millenialists claims that the "second resurrection" is the resurrection of those saints who live through the "millennium" and great tribulation, which is the literal thousand-year reign of Christ after He returns to "rapture" the Church.
As to this "first resurrection," anyone who reads the text without prejudice, without "millennially-colored" glasses, can readily see that it makes no distinction between the dead in Christ, who shall be raised first, and the dead outside of Christ, who shall be raised later. Rather, the distinction is between the dead in Christ, those who have died before His coming, and the living in Christ, those believers who shall be alive at the Parousia. The former shall occur before the change of the latter—this is the meaning of the text—and so they shall meet the Lord together in the air.
- Thirdly, according to the millennium view, this coming only for the faithful believers is a secret rapture: the world will not even notice this private coming of the Lord except that certain persons suddenly will be strangely missed. This view emphasizes that the Lord will return a second time after this rapture, and that this return will last only during the years of the great tribulation in the world.
- Finally, this view is based on an interpretation of the book of Revelation that is neither in accord with the highly apocalyptic contents of the whole book nor with the evidently symbolic presentation of chapter 20 itself. It is quite impossible to read the twentieth chapter of the book of Revelation as if it records a simple historical event that will take place some time in the future, an event that will follow in time upon with what is revealed in chapter 19 of the same book. Such an interpretation is quite impossible.
The idea that believers must look forward to their final redemption through the coming of the Lord before the great tribulation is contrary to all teaching of Holy Writ. Scripture not only warns us to expect tribulation, but it emphasizes that we shall consider it a great honor and privilege to suffer with Christ. Scripture does not exhort us to rejoice in the idea of escaping tribulation; rather, Scripture tells us that to suffer in behalf of Christ is given us of grace (Philippians 1:29).
The text quite clearly refers to a public and universally announced coming of the Lord. The Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. If this means anything at all, it certainly means that there will be nothing private or secret about this coming, but that it will be loudly proclaimed to all the world. And the text emphasizes that it will be forever: "And so shall we ever be with the Lord."
The Bible throughout clearly connects with the one and only coming of the Lord at the end of this world, the final salvation of the whole Church, the last judgment, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. Consider, for instance, Matthew 24:29-31:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."And thus, in Matthew 25:31, we read:
"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."And once more, consider the Lord’s own interpretation of the parable of the tares:
"The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:39-43).These are the remarks that we wanted to make concerning the interpretation of the text itself. It is certainly evident that Scripture teaches not all kinds of different comings of the Lord, but only one coming. The pre-millennialist’s hope of escaping the tribulation is not spiritual but carnal, and it is as dangerous as it is false because it fills its followers with a false hope, which will leave them unprepared in the evil day.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept
(1 Corinthians 15:17-20).
The Resurrection of the Dead
Scripture speaks of the resurrection of the dead in more than one sense: for the godly dead, it refers to regeneration; for the ungodly dead, it refers to damnation.
"And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15).
"Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephesians 5:14).
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."The First Resurrection is Only for the Righteous: It is the Resurrection of the Godly Dead Unto Glory Immediately After Physical Death
The Resurrection of "the Rest of the Dead" is the Resurrection of the Ungodly Dead Unto Eternal Damnation
The expression "the first resurrection" does not refer to a separate group of saints who are raised first in distinction from the raising of the wicked "a thousand years" later as a "second resurrection" (note that the term "second resurrection" is not in Scripture). Rather, it refers to a state or degree in the overall resurrection of the dead.As we can see in Revelation 20:5, the first resurrection refers to the state of the saints in glory immediately after physical death: they are delivered from battle and from the persecution and suffering inflicted on them by the anti-Christian forces that are always in the world throughout this dispensation.
The saints "dead in Christ" reign with Him: "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). John tells us: "I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them." This part of the picture evidently represents a people who reign, a royal people, for such is the meaning of their sitting on thrones, as well as of the statement that judgment was given unto them.
To judge is a function of royalty: it implies authority to rule. "Who are these royal people?" The text does not directly answer this question: it does not inform us who they are, nor where we must look for their thrones. However, in the latter part of verse 4, John plainly describes these same people as he continues: "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
It is self-evident that "the thousand years" refer to the same period as that in which the devil is bound with respect to Gog and Magog. In this entire "thousand year" period, these people reign with Christ whether they are with Him in heaven or are still here on earth. Upon physical death, they are the saints in glory: "the souls of them that were beheaded" permits no other interpretation.
In answer to the question, "What is the first resurrection," we cannot introduce our own preconceived notion. We are bound to the text, and we are constrained to say: The first resurrection applies only to the righteous upon death: it is the reign of the souls on their thrones in heaven; that is, the souls of the elect of God. The text plainly says, "this is the first resurrection," and the pronoun "this" refers back to the statement in verse 4 concerning the souls that reign with Christ.
"God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" (2 Peter 2:4).
The resurrection of "the rest of the dead" in Revelation 20:5 is the raising of the ungodly dead on "the last day" for judgment and eternal damnation.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." (Revelation 20:4-5)
"Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6)
The millennialist cannot adduce the first part of verse 5: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." Certainly, "the rest of the dead" are the ungodly dead. And it may be frankly admitted that the form of the expression would almost invite us to complete it as follows, "then they also shall live again;" however, we must remember that the text does not say this and that we have no authority to add to Scripture.
Besides, even the millennialist would not venture to finish the expression in that fashion. Although the wicked also shall have a certain rising from their graves and receive their bodies again, it cannot be said of them that they shall "live" again. Their resurrection will be a resurrection to eternal perdition, and Scripture clearly teaches that this going forth out of the grave unto perdition will take place at the same time, as in one hour, with the resurrection of the righteous unto eternal glory (John 5:29).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, 'The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.'" (John 5:25-29)
So, then, the text in Revelation 20:5 can only mean that while the souls of the righteous were seen as living in glory and in power, the rest of the dead had no place in this picture at all, and they did not live again. And when they do appear once more, it will be to be sent into perdition, to be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
- The first death is physical death, the death of the physical body, which we all shall experience.
- The resurrection of the dead refers to everyone, for we all shall die the physical death; however, only the righteous shall be raised to reign with Christ in their gloried bodies. Therefore, only the godly dead shall experience the "first resurrection." The "rest of the dead," the ungodly dead, shall be raised on "the last day" for judgment and eternal damnation.
- The second death is the state of perdition of body and soul in hell. The "rest of the dead" shall be raised for judgment on the "last day," and they shall be sentenced to the second death along with Satan. Only the ungodly dead shall experience the second death.
In connection with the first ten verses of Revelation chapter 20, we find that the position of those who believe that these verses indicate a literal "thousand year" reign of Christ on earth is untenable for the following reasons:
- The temporal, historical view of the book of Revelation is untenable.
- Even a complete binding of Satan would not do away with sin, which is in the hearts of men.
- Revelation chapter 20 is the only place in Scripture where such a "millennium" would be taught while other passages contradict it.
- The millennium theory is impossible because it is plainly not taught even here in Revelation chapter 20.
- The first resurrection refers only to the reign of the saints with Christ after their physical death.
- Satan’s binding is symbolic of the partial restraint placed upon him with regard to the heathen nations, Gog and Magog.
- The "loosing" of Satan refers to the fact that he will be allowed to stir up the heathen nations against the Church of Christ shortly before the time of the end.
Behold, He cometh, He, the mighty Lord! And His Second Advent shall undoubtedly be the culmination of all wonders. Let us be prepared. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection; blessed are those servants whom their Lord shall find watching when He cometh.
Premillennialism is the notion that Jesus will return to this earth before he commences a 1000-year reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem. Premillennialism, and its theological sister, dispensationalism, argue that in connection with the second coming of Christ, God intends to reestablish a Jewish kingdom in Palestine. The doctrine contends that there is yet a purpose to be served by physical Israel.
Dispensationalists allege that in the “seven-year tribulation period,” just prior to Christ’s “millennial reign,” God will restore the Jews to Palestine and a national conversion of the Hebrew people will occur. It is not claimed that every Jew will be won to Christ; however, such vast multitudes will be saved—numbers proportionate to Israel’s tragic fall—that it is appropriate to refer to the phenomenon as a “national” conversion.
One writer describes this so-called “restoration” as follows:
The same prophets who predicted the world-wide exile and persecution of the Jews also predicted their restoration as a nation. . . This restoration was to come about in the general time of the climactic seven-year countdown and its finale—the personal appearance of the Messiah to deliver the new state from destruction (Lindsey 1970, 37-38).The foregoing theory is quite erroneous in that it repudiates numerous fundamental Bible truths. Further, it is exceedingly dangerous in that it offers a false hope to Jews. Walvoord, a millennialist, says that:
“This hope of restoration has sustained the Jews through 1900 years of struggle” (1974, 76).This “hope” has been grossly misplaced—thanks, in part at least, to millennialists.
Israel in the Divine plan
A balanced study of the nation of Israel must include at least four elements: the selection, testing, rejection, and replacement of the Jewish people.
Almost 2000 years before the birth of Christ, Jehovah selected Abraham to be the founder of a new nation. It was declared that through him a seed would come by whom all peoples of the earth would be blessed (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; 22:17-18). Several centuries later, Abraham’s offspring were delivered from an era of bondage in Egypt. They were given a special law and ritualistic system of worship which were designed to separate them from the other nations of the world (Exodus 19:5-6; cf. Ephesians 2:14). All of this, of course, was in view of the coming Messiah (cf. Galatians 3:24-25; Hebrews 9:1-10).
For some 1500 years the Lord God attempted to cultivate the nation of Israel in preparation for the first advent of the Lord Jesus. It was a constant struggle to get the Hebrews to maintain a semblance of fidelity. They grossly violated the law, frequently went after “strange gods,” and they viciously persecuted the prophets that Jehovah sent to call them to repentance. Jeremiah summarized the history of the Israelite people when he charged that they did “nothing” of all that Jehovah commanded them (32:23).
Because of the accelerating rebellion of the nation, consummated by the murder of Jesus Christ, God rejected the Hebrew people. Inexcusably, the Jews rejected their own Messiah; accordingly, Jehovah repudiated that nation and determined to scatter them as dust (Matthew 21:44). Thus, in the providence of God, the Roman armies came against Palestine in A.D. 70, and Judaism was destroyed (cf. Matthew 22:7; 24:1-34); the Jewish “vessel” was smashed, and it cannot be put back together (cf. Jeremiah 19:11). According to Josephus, some 1.1 million Hebrews were slaughtered, and thousands were taken into slavery. All Jewish records were lost in that holocaust. Today, there is not a single Jew who knows his tribal ancestry (McClintock and Strong 1969, 771). The physical nation of Israel is dead. The “Jews” that make up the State of Israel today (less than 25 percent of the world Jewish population) cannot legitimately be called a “nation.”
As a consequence of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, God has replaced physical Israel with a new nation, spiritual Israel. Today, the “Jew” is not one who is so physically, but one who is so inwardly, i.e., spiritually (Romans 2:28-29). In this age, those who submit to the gospel plan of redemption—whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 1:16)—become children of God, and thus are constituted as the true “seed of Abraham” (Galatians 3:26-29).Errors of the Premillennial View Regarding the Nation of Israel
In view of the foregoing considerations, the following factors clearly indicate that the premillennial view of the nation of Israel is erroneous, and it should be rejected by conscientious students of the Bible.
First, it is a reflection upon the benevolent character of Jehovah to suggest that he intended to perpetually favor one nation over all others. Such a notion is at variance with the multiple Bible affirmations which assert the universal love of God, and his just, impartial disposition with reference to the whole human family (cf. Genesis 12:3; Psalm 145:9; Acts 10:34-35).
Second, the premillennial dogma ignores the fact that God’s initial selection of the Hebrew people, and the acquisition of the land of Canaan, was preparatory to the coming Christ. Jehovah employed the Jewish nation as a medium for the introduction of Christ into the world. Now that the Messianic mission has been accomplished, the role of “national Israel” no longer exists (cf. Galatians 3:24-25). That “middle wall of partition,” designed to isolate Israel from the nations, has been broken down (Ephesians 2:14). It was abrogated at the cross (Colossians 2:14). From the divine viewpoint, old physical Israel has passed away. It has been superseded by a new Israel.
Third, the Old Testament makes it abundantly clear that Israel’s favor with Jehovah, even under the Mosaic regime, was conditional.
The Hebrews were constantly warned of the consequences of disobedience (cf. 28:15ff). They could be disinherited as a nation (Numbers 14:12) and disfranchised of their land (Joshua 23:13,16). The truth is, there are about as many Old Testament warnings to Israel as there are promises!
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that Jehovah thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:1).
Fourth, there is not a solitary New Testament passage which speaks of the restoration of national Israel and the reinstitution of Judaistic ritualism, etc. The Old Testament prophecies which predict the literal return of the Hebrews to Palestine were fulfilled in the Jews’ release from political captivity (cf. Jeremiah 29:10; Ezra 1:1). Other predictions, which speak of a “restoration” of Israel, refer to a spiritual restoration (to God, not Palestine—cf. Isaiah 49:5) through Jehovah’s servant, Christ. [Note: Sometimes this spiritual restoration to God, through the redemptive work of Christ, is symbolically viewed in terms of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, etc. (cf. Jeremiah 31:38-40).] This blessing was for Jew and Gentile alike. Study carefully Isaiah 49:5ff, and note Paul’s use of this context in the New Testament (Acts 13:47; 2 Corinthians 6:2).
Fifth, there are many New Testament passages which portray a tragic future for physical Israel, with no hint of a national restoration.
Prophetic Pronouncements Concerning Israel
Like modern millennialists, there were Jews of old who felt that there was intrinsic virtue in being a physical descendant of Abraham (cf. John 8:39). John the Baptizer informed them, however, that God was able to use stones in raising up seed to the patriarch. He then warned:
“And even now the axe lieth at the root of the trees” (Matthew 3:10).The context focuses upon a threatened “wrath to come” (v. 7), which would find its nearest application in the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Romans in A.D. 70. Now here is a vital point. When a tree is cut down, there is hope that it will sprout again, provided its stump or roots remain (cf. Job 14:7,8; Isaiah 11:1). But when the axe is laid at the root, where is the hope of restoration? There simply is none!
Christ once pronounced a curse upon a barren fig tree near Jerusalem. The tree served as an apt illustration of fruitless national Israel. Jesus declared:
“Let there be no fruit from thee henceforth for ever” (Matthew 21:19).Where is the hope in that? Later, on that same Tuesday, just prior to Friday’s crucifixion, the Lord announced to the Jews,
“The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (21:43).In other words, barren national Israel would be replaced by fruitful spiritual Israel, the church (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Galatians 6:16).
In the parable of the marriage of the king’s son, Jesus spoke concerning those who spurned the royal invitation. It was prophesied that the king (God) would send his armies (the Romans), and destroy those murderers (the Jews), and burn their city (Jerusalem). Why? They “were [imperfect tense—sustained state] not worthy” (Matthew 22:1-8). Is there any suggestion of restoration there? Later, in 23:38, Christ warned:
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”The term “house,” as Bloomfield notes, refers not merely to the temple alone, but to the whole Jewish nation, especially its metropolis (1837, 116). “Left desolate” has a note of finality about it.
In the parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9), it is suggested that fruitless Israel would be soon cut down.
“This parable gives Israel to know that its life is only a respite, and that this respite is nearing its end” (Godet 1879, 119).There is no suggestion that the “tree” would spring up again. Strange indeed—if millennialism is true.
In another parable, uttered shortly before his death, Jesus depicted himself as a nobleman who was going into a far country (heaven) to receive for himself a kingdom (the church). Later, he would return (the second coming). However, while he was in that distant land, his citizens (the Jews) hated him (imperfect tense—abiding hatred) and sent this message to him:
“We will not [present tense—continued determination] that [you] reign over us” (Luke 19:14).Even millennialists admit that this refers to the Jewish rejection of Christ (Martin 1983, 252). Without the remotest suggestion that there would be an alteration of this hateful Jewish disposition, the nobleman, “when he was come back” (v. 15), characterized these citizens as his “enemies,” and commanded they be slain (v. 27). The language describes “the state of rejection in which [the Jews] are plunged till the Lord’s return” (Godet 1879, 223).
In yet another parable, Jesus foretold Israel’s rejection of the gospel, and the subsequent success of the kingdom of heaven among the Gentiles. Of those stubborn Jews, he declared:
“[N]one of those men who were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:24). This refers, of course, to the Jewish majority that refused the gospel (a remnant accepted the invitation—cf. Romans 11:5).Why did not the Lord give some clue that eventually there would be a massive Jewish acceptance of his invitation?
In Luke’s account of the Olivet discourse, Christ, alluding to Jerusalem’s impending destruction, declared that the city would be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). The term “trodden down” is a present tense participle, suggesting prolonged hardships (though not necessarily uninterrupted) for Jerusalem (and what she represented—the nation). This oppression was to continue until the “times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The phrase “times of the Gentiles” is an expression for the current age. It implies a “times of the Jews” (i.e., the Mosaic period). For fifteen centuries the Hebrews were Jehovah’s special people—an era which might be appropriately termed “the times of the Jews.” When they rejected the Messiah, that age of prominence (called a “reign”—Matthew 21:43) ended. It was superseded by “the times of the Gentiles”—the Christian age. It is clear that Israel is to be the recipient of divine retribution throughout the Christian era.
Millennialists argue, however, that Jerusalem was to be trodden down only “until” the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled. After that time, they contend, Jerusalem will be exalted to her former glory. The key word in their argument is “until” (Greek, achri). Premillennialists assume the term has a temporal implication in Luke 21:24, thus implying a reversal of events after the time specified. But the assumption is unwarranted. The term achri frequently has a terminal thrust in the New Testament. Consider, for example, Revelation 2:25, where Christ sought to encourage the saints at Thyatira:
“[T]hat which ye have, hold fast till I come.”Does this suggest that these Christians will relinquish their blessings when he comes? Of course not. Similarly, just because the Lord declared that Jerusalem would be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, that does not imply that, following “the times of the Gentiles,” the city would be restored to some sort of divine glory. Proof for such a theory will have to be found somewhere other than in the word “until.” The truth of the matter is, God’s wrath has come upon Israel “to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:16).
In his letter to the Romans, Paul contends that “a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (11:25). There are several important matters that need to be noted here. First, the “hardening” was the Jewish disbelief in Christ. Second, the “in part” suggests that this lack of faith was characteristic of only a portion of the nation; there was a remnant that did believe (cf. 9:27; 11:5,14). Third, the verb “hath befallen” is a perfect tense form, stressing the abiding nature of that hardness—until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in. Fourth, “fulness of the Gentiles” simply denotes the accomplishment of Jehovah’s purpose among the Gentiles (or the “nations”). In other words, Israel’s hardness will remain until the end of the present dispensation. As B.M. Christiansen comments:
“This partial hardening will continue throughout the time of the Gentiles, i.e., until Christ’s return” (cf. Lenski 1961, 174).Since the hardening of Israel was not total, but only “in part,” there was/is still hope that many Jews may be saved. But how will the Jews be saved? They will be saved by their acceptance of the gospel (Romans 10:12-16), and their surrender to the Deliverer from Zion (11:26). This provides the correct meaning of “so all Israel shall be saved.” The word “so” is an adverb of manner, meaning, “in this way.” Hence, it is in this way (the way of obeying Christ) that all Israel (who are saved) shall be saved. This passage does not affirm a nation-wide conversion of the people of Israel.
The theory that Paul expected a mass conversion of Israel is flawed on several accounts:
- It contradicts his entire line of argument in Romans 9-11.
- It leaves as inexplicable the throbbing anguish for his brethren in the flesh, which saturates this entire section. For instance, Paul writes: “For I could wish [potential imperfect—”I kept being on point of wishing"] that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren’s sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Romans 9:3). Why—if he knew that a national conversion of Israel was an ultimate reality?
The premillennial concept of the “nation of Israel” is clearly erroneous. There is no promise of a national conversion of Israel in the Bible. The gospel is still God’s power to save both Jew and Greek (Romans 1:16), and all who possess hearts that are “honest and good” (Luke 8: 15) will accept it. The only “hope” for Israel is in the cross of Christ (see Acts 26:6-23).
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife and life-long partner, Betty.
In the late 1800s, a group in Europe decided to colonize this land. Known as "Zionists," this group consisted of an extremist minority of the Jewish population who wanted to create a Jewish homeland. They considered locations in Africa and the Americas before settling on Palestine, where the Jewish State of Israel was established in 1948.
Largely due to one-sided special-interest lobbying by AIPAC, the U.S. has given more funds to Israel than to any other nation: $85 billion in grants, loans and commodities since 1949, with an additional $50 billion in interest costs for advance payments, for a total cost of $135 billion or $23,240 per Israeli. During fiscal year 2007, the U.S. gave an average of $7 million per day to the State of Israel.
Palestinian Loss of Land 1946-2005
Jews Against Zionism
"We were given the Holy Land by God in order to be able to study and practice the Torah without disturbance and to attain levels of holiness difficult to attain outside of the Holy Land. We abused the privilege and we were expelled. That is exactly what all Jews say in their prayers on every Jewish festival, 'Umipnay chatoenu golinu mayartsaynu'—'Because of our sins, we were expelled from our land.'"
"We have been forsworn by God 'not to enter the Holy Land as a body before the predestined time;' 'not to rebel against the nations;' to be loyal citizens, not to do anything against the will of any nation or its honour; not to seek vengeance, discord, restitution or compensation; 'not to leave exile ahead of time.' On the contrary, we have to be humble and accept the yoke of exile. To violate the oaths would result in 'your flesh will be made prey as the deer and the antelope in the forest,' and the redemption will be delayed."
October 5, 2009
The Unacceptable Cost
Far and near, high and clear,
Hark to the call of War.
Over the gorse and the golden dells,
Ringing and swinging the clamorous bells,
Praying and saying of wild farewells:
War! War! War! (Robert W. Service - 1918)
No religious persuasion has ever been more clearly responsible for so much bloodshed and destruction as has “Christian Zionism.” This 100-year old offshoot of fundamental Christianity has almost single-handedly legitimized wars in Arab states since January 1991. Its destructive power is only now being understood.
We Hold These Truths’ objective for nine years has been to explain why members of this loosely knit group we call Judeo-Christianity thinks and acts as though political Israel was a god. We have documented how they have been misled, especially at the seminary level, by deliberately corrupted scripture and commentaries about scripture, which has then been taught from thousands of pulpits and media outlets. We have amply covered the changes made in the Bible(s) used by Christian Zionists in prior referenced works.
We note again that the grassroots individuals within this movement are almost always motivated by altruistic religious belief (this author was once one of these), while the driving force behind their leaders is almost always tainted by money and the power of fame.
This paper explores how Christian Zionism is co-opted by a foreign lobby, AIPAC, and used to carry out Israeli objectives. AIPAC and its powers were well documented in 1994, in One Nation under Israel by Andrew J Hurley, and published by We Hold These Truths.
Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell (who died in 2007) may have been the first leader to recognize the potential for linking dispensational Christianity with Zionism and harness its combined power into a political movement with loyalty to the state of Israel as its primary and passionate mission. In the early 1980s, Falwell called his fledgling army “The Moral Majority.” It was later referred to as the “Christian Right.” Today the millions of people who have made the present state of Israel the centerpiece of their Christian religion have been given the name “Christian Zionists.”
We Hold These Truths prefers to describe both the Christian Zionist leaders and their misled followers as “Judeo-Christians,” a broadly accepted term, to reflect the fact that the religion they are following is no longer traditional Christianity, but one into which Judaism was injected, producing a radically altered hybrid.
Essential Facts about Christian Zionism
First: It must be understood what Judeo-Christianity (also called “evangelicalism,” dispensationalism or Christian Zionism) is: by any name, a 20th Century phenomena, an apostate-cult, meaning it practices, in part, a deviant path of following Christ, and it relies upon many varied human sources other than the traditional bible(s) for its theology.
Second: Judeo-Christianity ascribes holiness to a foreign political state, Israel, as though it was itself a god. It placed political Israel on the throne along side of Jesus Christ, and, in so doing, its teachers ignore, if not annul, much of Jesus’ teachings.
Third: Rank and file churchgoers and many lesser known Judeo-Christian pastors think of themselves as moral, even when they are actively contributing to immoral acts, such as supporting mass military assassinations in Gaza and the West Bank. They do not consider these acts immoral because they believe events are ordained, or even demanded, by God.
Anger against Christian Zionists is misplaced, because they, too, are victims of their own acts. They probably bring more suffering upon themselves and their families than any other middle class group. Judeo-Christians parents rarely oppose any war that Israel favors, so it is quite likely more... [of their children] are killed in military combat than, for instance, the sons of agnostics or other religious groups. We have yet to find reliable data to support this argument, so it is offered strictly as this author’s observation and opinion based on many talks with parents and youths at churches where we have conducted vigils.
Finally, Judeo-Christianity is much larger than generally believed and is active in every state and community in the USA. The new CNN.com six-hour television feature, God's Warriors, hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, stated in the introductory segment:
“A recent poll found that 59 percent of American evangelicals believe Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. She also asserted: “The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates 85 million evangelicals believe God tells them to support Israel — more than six times the world's Jewish population."Several Pew Foundation polls have supported this statement over the last four years and, in fact, may suggest higher percentages than used by CNN.
For these several reasons Judeo-Christianity can easily be used by its leader, and by the leaders of Israel, to carry out a political agenda that favors that foreign political state over and ahead of the interests of America, and ahead of the interest of any humans in the USA or any other country except Israel.
For the most part, followers of the cult do not know they are being used. Without this understanding, many are confused between Judeo-Christian religion and its political agenda. Pro-Israel activists, including John Hagee, should rightly be registered as agents for a foreign government, so open are their objectives. Some of our allies against serial wars attribute them to Israel, working through its agents and lobbies for the purpose of gaining US dollar support and creating chaos in the Middle East for its own benefit.
Much is finally being exposed about the powerful Israeli lobby led by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC's agenda calls for the USA to finance and bless its occupation of its neighbors, and eventually control the oil of the Middle East, tactics that are contrary to American interests.
Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have written a powerful paper, The Israel Lobby, which tells us Israel has too much influence in US Foreign Policy. Their paper has led to a soon to be released and much anticipated book that is making giant waves across the world even before it is printed, as Israel seeks to prevent its promotion.
We Hold These Truths sees hope. Educating the laymen within our own churches, especially mainline churches, can break Israel’s power-hold over our politicians, and it can restore others to follow Christ instead of Israel. More important, we see no other way to do it!
Without the voting support of church, Israel’s well-established desire to see Iraq destroyed and its oil divided up resulted in the first gulf war in 1991, and the present contemplated devastation of Iran is nearly unstoppable. AIPAC and many American businessmen have profit interests in war and campaign for new wars as a matter of business, but it is the Judeo-Christians who have provided the grassroots clout to keep the War On Islam churning.
The Dollar Cost of Killing
The occupation of Iraq paralyzed the oil production from the second largest oil resource in the world. Before the occupation, it did not cost $50 to fill the family car. Before the occupation, Christian Zionist children and grandchildren could afford milk at a cost per gallon less than diesel fuel, and truck drivers could afford both milk and fuel. Before “wars” on Iraq, American industry was healthy and had not yet been shipped to China.
Our economic catastrophe is real, lead by the real estate and mortgage bubble. Why? Because the cost of a war is over 500 thousand million dollars and most of the money has been printed, so it will have to be repaid in higher prices later on. This judgment is like a foul smelling vapor that cannot be put back in the bottle. I use the word “catastrophe” where others talk of “crisis” because crisis can sometimes be avoided and often leads to practical solutions. Not so with our “catastrophe.” We have passed the crisis stage years ago when we began serial wars for economic purposes, printing the money to pay for them.
There is no end to the amount of price inflation we can expect -- food prices will surely be the next to skyrocket on our shopping list for reasons to be explained in our next issue. Judeo-Christians as a group are most responsible for our dollar dilution, because it is they that supported the wars for which all these dollars were wasted on killing people.
Christian Zionist leaders like Gary Bauer, John Hagee and Pat Robertson are not the only ones who believe the Christian Zionist vote controls the USA. Politician Tom Delay, who was an ardent supporter of every war against Islam, recently was quoted as saying at John Hagee’s Night to Honor Israel in Washington, DC, that he not only “believes in the Rapture, I live for it.” Too bad Delay left the world in such a mess just before his anticipated departure.
Israel Lobby Harness Judeo-Christianity
Every politician in Congress and those competing for the presidency know George W. Bush became president because he and Carl Rove found a way to identify Bush with the Christian Right, but to get this blessing one must also be Israel blessed. Even today 70% of Republicans support Bush and his war in Iraq because what is left of the Republican Party is predominantly Judeo-Christian.
The relationship between the Christian-Zionists leaders and AIPAC is simple and straightforward. AIPAC pressures Congressmen in Washington to give Israel what it wants, the Christian-Zionist celebrities brainwash the laymen in hometowns to pressure the Congressmen at the polls, and the Congressman takes a junket to Israel and complies. Congress is in the vice between the strongest lobby in Washington and the biggest lobbying voting block in the country. Why would they listen to you or me?
Christians Are Deceived By Zionism
Misguided Christians have been used to fight and support war from the 11th Century Crusades to Iraq. The names have changed but the message has not. A Pope who called himself Urban II is said to have told the bishop and earls, who were to lead the First Crusaders, that it was up to them to rid the Holy Land of infidels so “Jesus could return there.” They passed this message on to the peasants who suffered and died for this false cause for the better part of 200 years. The result was the feudal system in Europe.
Judeo-Christianity, like Pope Urban II, teaches we all must honor Israel ahead of America, and even rebuild a temple there before Jesus will come. The story has hardly changed in a thousand years. Never mind the fact that Jesus did not seem to say anything like this. Urban II did not share his private economic dreams with the peasants, but he did tell the leaders of the Crusade that the purpose of holy wars was for the loot, and the Crusaders proved to be expert looters.
The leaders of the Christian Zionists (Hagee, Robertson and a hundred more) are the knights and barons at the head of the Crusades’ columns. Their loot comes in the mail and in credit card contributions from the peasant foot soldiers.
Human Cost to the Judeo-Christian Families
Church-going Americans are not only going in debt for war, they supply their sons and daughters to be killed and maimed in the contest. Celebrity Zionists beat the drums for war that Israel wants, but I have not heard of Hagee’s or Farwell’s son enlisting, or any of the Congressmen’s children.
The scorched foot soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan include a disproportionately large number of Judeo-Christians who, we believe, often enlist because mom and dad raised them in the Judeo-Christian church where volunteering is considered noble, even today after Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Their youths are taught that if we honor Israel we earn blessings for America from God. It is these young men [and women] who pay with shattered bodies and broken minds for the free junkets to Israel taken by a reported 80 Congressmen in August 2007.
"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad,
On this glittering morn of May?"
"I'm going to join the Colors, Dad,
They're looking for men, they say."
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad,
You aren't obliged to go."
"Well, I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad,
And ever so strong, you know."
Recently I was introduced to a sandy-haired, smiling 26-year old with a crushing handshake. But he walked haltingly on two steel legs, and his hip joints are also man-made, so terrible were his wounds in a rocket attack in Iraq. He talked of friends who have died. He was 17 when he enlisted and the army is all he knows; he would go back to his unit. It did not surprise me when this clean cut young American told me he is a Southern Baptist… every bit a gentleman, he looked and acted the part. He confided that his mother has recently become adamantly against the War (though he could not bring himself to engage in “political talk”). I know that this mother must be thinking… if only she had been pro-peace before her young son enlisted seven years ago.
We Hold These Truths has heard other stories from boys with a Judeo-Christian upbringing whose parents did not know they needed to guard their children from recruiters. We owe it to every Judeo-Christian to tell them about the cost of our serial wars against Islamic non-enemies. The giant Israeli Lobby does what it wants in its own interest... in Israel's interest, and they will not stop, no matter what we do.
We must blame those who have influence, the Christ follower who mistakenly listens to the celebrity Christian leaders and who are themselves victims. What has the Judeo-Christian movement given back to America? It has sacrificed the value of loving your brother as yourself, as Jesus demanded… even loving your enemy. It has left in its place a legacy of hatred, war, violence, and diluted money, all in the name of Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. This can and must be changed from inside these apostate churches and media sources.
We need to appeal to the sense of morality of Judeo-Christians. Its members are directly responsible for the three current crises in American culture, these being the War, inflation, and the breakdown of morality that always accompanies war. They do it for only one reason: they are led into following an apostate Christianity that started only about 100 years ago, first legitimized by Cyrus I Scofield.
We conclude that there could have been no Shock and Awe or war of occupation in Iraq were it not for the Christian Zionists’ zealous campaign to destroy Muslim nations. The now publicly-acknowledged War on Islam is in fact already 17 years old. Project Strait Gate was started to challenge it in its very lair. Jesus and his disciples took their arguments to the temple and the synagogues. We are doing the same.
What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad?
No letter again to-day.
Why did the postman look so sad,
And sigh as he turned away?
Well, I hear them tell that we've gained new ground,
But a terrible price we've paid:
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound;
But oh I'm afraid, afraid.
Knox Theological Seminary
Originally Published in 2002
Recently a number of leaders in the Protestant community of the United States have urged the endorsement of far-reaching and unilateral political commitments to the people and land of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, citing Holy Scripture as the basis for those commitments. To strengthen their endorsement, several of these leaders have also insisted that they speak on behalf of the seventy million people who constitute the American evangelical community.
It is good and necessary for evangelical leaders to speak out on the great moral issues of our day in obedience to Christ's call for His disciples to be salt and light in the world. It is quite another thing, however, when leaders call for commitments that are based upon a serious misreading of Holy Scripture. In such instances, it is good and necessary for other evangelical leaders to speak out as well. We do so here in the hope that we may contribute to the cause of the Lord Christ, apart from whom there can never be true and lasting peace in the world.
At the heart of the political commitments in question are two fatally flawed propositions:
- First, some are teaching that God's alleged favor toward Israel today is based upon ethnic descent rather than upon the grace of Christ alone, as proclaimed in the Gospel.
- Second, others are teaching that the Bible's promises concerning the land are fulfilled in a special political region or "Holy Land" perpetually set apart by God for one ethnic group alone.
As a result of these false claims, large segments of the evangelical community, our fellow citizens, and our government are being misled with regard to the Bible's teachings concerning the people of God, the land of Israel, and the impartiality of the Gospel.
In what follows, we make our convictions public. We do so by acknowledging the genuine evangelical faith of many who will not agree with us. Knowing that we may incur their disfavor, we are nevertheless constrained by Scripture and by conscience to publish the following propositions for the cause of Christ and truth.
The Gospel offers eternal life in heaven to Jews and Gentiles alike as a free gift in Jesus Christ. Eternal life in heaven is not earned or deserved, nor is it based upon ethnic descent or natural birth.
All human beings, Jews and Gentiles alike, are sinners, and, as such, they are under God's judgment of death. Because God's standard is perfect obedience and all are sinners, it is impossible for anyone to gain temporal peace or eternal life by his own efforts. Moreover, apart from Christ, there is no special divine favor upon any member of any ethnic group; nor, apart from Christ, is there any divine promise of an earthly land or a heavenly inheritance to anyone, whether Jew or Gentile. To teach or imply otherwise is nothing less than to compromise the Gospel itself.
God, the Creator of all mankind, is merciful and takes no pleasure in punishing sinners. Yet God is also holy and just and must punish sin. Therefore, to satisfy both His justice and His mercy, God has appointed one way of salvation for all, whether Jew or Gentile, in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, came into the world to save sinners. In His death upon the cross, Jesus was the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world, of Jew and of Gentile alike.
The death of Jesus forever fulfilled and eternally ended the sacrifices of the Jewish temple. All who would worship God, whether Jew or Gentile, must now come to Him in spirit and truth through Jesus Christ alone. The worship of God is no longer identified with any specific earthly sanctuary. He receives worship only through Jesus Christ, the eternal and heavenly Temple. To as many as receive and rest upon Christ alone through faith alone, to Jews and Gentiles alike, God gives eternal life in His heavenly inheritance.
The inheritance promises that God gave to Abraham were made effective through Christ, Abraham's True Seed. These promises were not and cannot be made effective through sinful man's keeping of God's law. Rather, the promise of an inheritance is made to those only who have faith in Jesus, the True Heir of Abraham. All spiritual benefits are derived from Jesus, and apart from Him there is no participation in the promises.
Since Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the Abrahamic Covenant, all who bless Him and His people will be blessed of God, and all who curse Him and His people will be cursed of God. These promises do not apply to any particular ethnic group, but to the Church of Jesus Christ, the true Israel.
The people of God, whether the church of Israel in the wilderness in the Old Testament or the Israel of God among the Gentile Galatians in the New Testament, are one body who through Jesus will receive the promise of the heavenly city, the everlasting Zion. This heavenly inheritance has been the expectation of the people of God in all ages.
Jesus taught that His resurrection was the raising of the True Temple of Israel. He has replaced the priesthood, sacrifices, and sanctuary of Israel by fulfilling them in His own glorious priestly ministry and by offering, once and for all, His sacrifice for the world; that is, for both Jew and Gentile. Believers from all nations are now being built up through Him into this Third Temple, the Church that Jesus promised to build.
Simon Peter spoke of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus in conjunction with the final judgment and the punishment of sinners. Instructively, this same Simon Peter, the Apostle to the Circumcision, says nothing about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel in the land of Palestine. Instead, as his readers contemplate the promise of Jesus' Second Coming, he fixes their hope upon the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
The entitlement of any one ethnic or religious group to territory in the Middle East called the "Holy Land" cannot be supported by Scripture. In fact, the land promises specific to Israel in the Old Testament were fulfilled under Joshua. The New Testament speaks clearly and prophetically about the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. No New Testament writer foresees a regathering of ethnic Israel in the land, as did the prophets of the Old Testament after the destruction of the first temple in 586 B.C.
Moreover, the land promises of the Old Covenant are consistently and deliberately expanded in the New Testament to show the universal dominion of Jesus, who reigns from heaven upon the throne of David, inviting all the nations through the Gospel of Grace to partake of His universal and everlasting dominion.
Bad Christian theology regarding the "Holy Land" contributed to the tragic cruelty of the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Lamentably, bad Christian theology is today attributing to secular Israel a divine mandate to conquer and hold Palestine, with the consequence that the Palestinian people are marginalized and regarded as virtual "Canaanites." This doctrine is both contrary to the teaching of the New Testament and a violation of the Gospel mandate. In addition, this theology puts those Christians who are urging the violent seizure and occupation of Palestinian land in moral jeopardy of their own bloodguiltiness.
Are we as Christians not called to pray for and work for peace, warning both parties to this conflict that those who live by the sword will die by the sword? Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring both temporal reconciliation and the hope of an eternal and heavenly inheritance to the Israeli and the Palestinian. Only through Jesus Christ can anyone know peace on earth.
The promised Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ has been inaugurated. Its advent marks the focal point of human history. This kingdom of the Messiah is continuing to realize its fullness as believing Jews and Gentiles are added to the community of the redeemed in every generation. The same kingdom will be manifested in its final and eternal form with the return of Christ the King in all His glory.
Of all the nations, the Jewish people played the primary role in the coming of the Messianic kingdom. New Testament Scripture declares that to them were given the oracles of God, the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises. Theirs are the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from them, according to the flesh, came Christ. Salvation is, indeed, of the Jews.
While affirming the Scriptural teaching that there is no salvation outside of Christ, Christians should acknowledge with heartfelt sorrow and grief the frequent oppression of the Jews in history, sometimes tragically done in the name of the cross.
But what are we to make of the unbelief of Israel? Has their unbelief made the faithfulness of God without effect for them? No, God has not completely rejected the people of Israel, and we join the apostle Paul in his earnest prayer for the salvation of his Jewish kinsmen according to the flesh.
There always has been and always will be a remnant that is saved. While not all Israel will experience the blessing of participation in the Messianic kingdom, yet Jews who do come to faith in Christ will share in His reign throughout the present age and into eternity.
In addition, it is not as though the rejection of some in Israel for unbelief serves no purpose. On the contrary, because they were broken off in unbelief, the Gospel has gone to the Gentiles, who now, through faith, partake of the blessings to the fathers and join with believing Jews to constitute the true Israel of God, the Church of Jesus Christ.
The present secular state of Israel, however, is not an authentic or prophetic realization of the Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, a day should not be anticipated in which Christ's kingdom will manifest Jewish distinctives, whether by its location in "the land," by its constituency, or by its ceremonial institutions and practices.
Instead, this present age will come to a climactic conclusion with the arrival of the final, eternal phase of the kingdom of the Messiah. At that time, all eyes, even of those who pierced Him, will see the King in His glory. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.
In light of the grand prophetic expectation of the New Testament, we urge our evangelical brothers and sisters to return to the proclamation of the free offer of Christ's grace in the Gospel to all the children of Abraham, to pray for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and to promise all humanitarian sympathy and practical support for those on both sides who are suffering in this current vicious cycle of atrocity and displacement.
June 16, 2004
A powerful new lobby tells the world its purpose is to direct Congress to act on behalf of the State of Israel.
Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI)* is strictly an Israeli controlled organization that calls for a militant, no compromise solution to its Arab problem. What makes UCI unique among radical Israeli political groups is that it finds its support among prominent USA professing Christians.
Some stumping Americans raise the UCI agenda in colleges and churches. In fact, the UCI “Christians” go far beyond the Israelis in their call for Arab blood.
This paper examines who these Judeo-Christians are, their motives, and the impact on peace in the world.
Israeli political lobbies in the US Congress are hardly new. Upward to 100 pro-Israel PACs swarm over the American Washington, approaching every new candidate for Congress before his fur is dry. Most big campaigns, in the past, have been orchestrated by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). As detailed in Andrew Hurley's book, Holocaust II Saving Israel from Suicide, former Congressmen, for three decades, have privately and occasionally publicly, called AIPAC the most powerful lobby in Washington. Few dare talk about it in public.
What makes UCI different from AIPAC is that its lobbyists are mostly celebrity “Christians.” Nevertheless, strictly Israelis and American non-Christians control the organization. This might be likened to a flock of turkeys laboring for the elimination of fox skin coats.
UCI does not stop with bending Congress; it openly and without reservation seeks to re-define Christianity to conform to Judaic requirements, seeking Christian support for Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, while openly declaring that its aims are to control the rest of the Middle East. The foxes, it seems, pay the Christian turkeys to perch on the low limbs.
UCI’s attitude toward the Palestinians and Arabs, in general, suggests its solution can only be obtained by genocide. To some it would seem strange that prominent professing Christians would support this militant agenda, but in fact violence is endemic to a certain cult of militant-Christians, and they are those who are part of UCI. They help spread the justifications throughout evangelical churches, and lately in a major effort on college campuses, for the liquidation of the Palestinian people.
Let us first take a close look at what UCI tells us about itself.
According to its own claims, it is an Israeli Lobby in the US Congress, but it is much more an activist lightning rod to attract and promote Christians willing to support a violent solution in Palestine, including liquidation of the Palestinians. It is important to observe that UCI is strictly a Zionist-Jewish controlled business. Rabbis and self-proclaimed Israeli militants are listed as it directors with only two or three exceptions. In its own words, it seeks goals to end resistance in Palestine that can only be achieved militarily or by assassination. Individually these goals seem careless and incomplete, but let’s put these three goals together: they only work by killing and imprisoning Palestinians.Let us look at UCI’s stated purposes.
We quote from the UCI website: Who is Unity Coalition for Israel?Note, UCI does not say it seeks an end to the cause of “terrorism,” nor does it work to end Israeli occupant and assassination raids, which it obviously does consider “terrorism.” UCI wants only to end only Palestinian terrorism, not Israelis terrorism. It makes no pretense of compromise or concession, such as withdrawing 7,000 militant squatters (“settlers”) from Gaza, nor does it cite any goal that might bring a peaceful two state system.
“Since July 1991, the National Unity Coalition for Israel (now Unity Coalition for Israel) has cultivated American support for a strong and secure Israel,” and “Israel is not just a Jewish issue. Millions of Christians resolutely endorse the principle of peace with security for the state of Israel.”
One stated goal is:
“Cessation of Palestinian terrorism and incitement.”
In fact, UCI openly defies Ariel Sharon’s compromise aim of withdrawal of settlements from Gaza, a move that might be a frail gesture for peace. Most Israelis this author met recognize the need to end the settlements as a necessity for peace, and 150,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv for withdrawal on May 16th. Instead, UCI would eliminate Palestinian resistance to occupation, but it does not say how. Presumably it favors any acts by Israel that will bring this about and an end to resistance and what it calls “incitement.” Such acts as assassinating some 328 leaders, and many with their families, are not mentioned.
Another goal is:
“Not rewarding terrorism (jihad) with establishment of a Palestine.”But the UCI agenda does not stop with wiping Palestinians out of Israel, they also seek:
By “not rewarding terrorism” UCI obviously means they think Israel should take a stronger, not conciliatory position against Palestine. UCI also states it wants “no shared territory.” This can only means that UCI wants only one state, and that no Palestinian should be allowed in it. UCI intentions seem to be that there be no state of Palestine and no Palestinians in the Israeli’s state. One can only interpret its words to mean UCI wants them gone. Few Israeli dare whisper of a plan for total genocide of 3.5 million persons, but Judeo-Christians do not shudder at the thought.
UCI also wants: “An undivided Jerusalem.” This of course means UCI wants to take over all of Arab Jerusalem including the Dome of the Rock, which is in Arab Jerusalem! UCI’s soft words have a hard meaning: total conquest; total elimination.
“Establishing democracies throughout the Middle East.”AN AMERICAN LOBBY RUN BY ISRAELIS
This is what the USA says it is doing in Iraq, “Aren’t we ‘democratizing’ it?” UCI wants more wars like Iraq throughout the Middle East.
UCI states its goal to:
“Ensuring Israel's right to strategic water and land defense.”
But in this small country, all water and land can be said to be “strategic.” Israel’s farming practices have made good copy, but it has already pumped down the scanty aquifers to the point where there is a terrible water shortage. While “greening the land” it has all but dried up the Jordan River. Israeli management may even kill the Dead Sea, which is receding to a big puddle. Because both usable land and water are in very short supply, UCI lets you know it wants “strategic” to mean any and all the water, and all the land Israel has occupied since 1967, not only from the Golan Heights, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Goal: “Establishing democracies throughout the Middle East.”
Note that Israel has no constitution of it own. UCI shows its quaint Zionist way of saying they want to claim and control all the land from the Euphrates to the Nile by imposing its own style of government on others.
UCI’s Board of Directors appears to be about 85% American Jews and Israeli militarists, including several Rabbis. One militant Christian, Gary Bauer, is listed on the board, as is Leslie Stahl, a commentator on CBS 60 Minutes. One or two other board members are probably not Jewish. One way or the other, Israeli patriots have total control over UCI. Israelis Patriots run UCI, and celebrity “Christians” carry its agenda. Who is paying for all this occupation, death and war? Taxpayers.There is no better way to sum up the power of UCI than to quote a story found in the Jerusalem Post on April 8, 2004. Referring to the Unity Coalition for Israel, the Post states with some surprise:
“One of the largest grassroots pro-Israel groups in the United States has launched a nationwide effort to lobby the Bush Administration against offering support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate Gaza.”Why do American “Christian” leaders care if 7,000 Israelis withdraw from settlements inside the Gaza strip? UCI is hard line and hell bent on influencing Sharon not to withdraw. The Jerusalem Post seems puzzled by the Zionist zeal of the "Christians" that exceeds the worst of the Israelis. It states:
“Evangelical Christians, who number in the tens of millions in the US, are considered to be one of Bush's core constituencies, whose support is essential in the upcoming November Presidential election; many of them oppose an Israeli withdrawal from the territories, citing the Biblical promise of the land is to the Jewish people.” - Jerusalem PostIn a recent Associated Press story, author Josef Federman stated:
“Prominent Israeli rabbis are for the first time speaking out against Israel's profitable alliance with evangelical Christians in the United States who have funneled tens of millions of dollars to the Jewish state. The rabbis fear the Christians' real intent is to convert Jews, their aides said Monday. Others are concerned about the evangelicals' support for Israel's extreme right wing, opposing any compromise with the Palestinians. To see how Judeo-Christian (“evangelicals” as the J. Post calls them) sets up the systematic assassination and deportation of Arabs, we will look at the words of several professing Christian enablers who are stumping the colleges for UCI.”
Kay Arthur - Founder & President - Precept Ministries
Joseph Farah - Founder, Editor & CEO – World Net Daily
Chuck Missler - Author & Radio Show Host
Janet Parshall - Author & Host of 3 Radio Shows including "Janet Parshall's America"
Clarence H. Wagner, Jr. - International Director - Bridges for Peace, Israel
Joseph Farah’s unique success in the Internet media may well result from being an Arab who has supported both Bush “wars” and every act of Israel, sometimes overtly and sometimes with sly cleverness. Farah recently spoke at the University of Colorado campus sponsored by several Jewish student associations. This author’s friend, who attended, witnessed his shocking remarks about Iraq and Palestine, with horror.Farah discredited Palestinians any right to return to their farms and homes from which many were made refugees 50 years ago. We quote Farah’s militant words from his own article published just before the invasion of Fallujah in Iraq that has already claimed 900 Arab lives, including many women and children. Here is what Farah said about their rights:
“There are 250,000 people living in Fallujah. My guess is that the population is going to be reduced shortly... The U.S. should pound Fallujah like it has never been pounded before… We should not try to gain an international consensus for this action. We should not apologize for it. We should not restrain our Air Force and our artillery batteries from wreaking devastation.”Over 900 Iraqis are known to have died since Farah said this, but it is not hard to see that the Zionist-friendly US media would support Farah’s internet business, and why financing for his costly World Net Daily does not seem to be a problem. Farah is the number one Zionist Arab in the world today.
Kay Arthur is Precepts Ministries Bible Study business guru. She is just as influential as Farah, but in a very different and equally dangerous way. She heads up what may be the biggest mail order bible study group in the world, Precepts Ministries teaches that the State of Israel is the fulfillment of Bible prophesy and its inhabitants are “God’s chosen people;” therefore, they alone are the only people with a right to the Palestinians’ land. This author suffered through one of these classes as an educational experience. Kay Arthur is also a militant-Christian, violent only against those who oppose Israel.
Here is what Mrs. Arthur says about her organization:
“‘Precept Upon Precept’ Bible Studies are published by Precept Ministries. Precept Bible classes are held in all 50 states and are used in more than 118 foreign countries, 63 languages including Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Czech, German, and Russian.”Kay Arthur and Gary Bauer are among those on record as signing a pledge of allegiance to the state of Israel at the celebration of its 50th anniversary in 1998. Precepts Ministries teaches heresy to hundreds of thousands of devotees; Precepts is a life-costing ministry that is obsessed with accelerating the “end times.” It crosses lines into the Catholic, Mainline churches, and even Orthodox churchgoers. Precepts Ministries teach seekers the Scofield-concocted heresy of the land grant and the chosen people from day one. Spoon-fed Judeo-Christianity sounds something like this from the Precepts class coordinator:
“The land belongs to Israel, and the Palestinians have to go. (Sigh) It’s sad sometimes (another sigh), but it is God’s will; those people need to repent of Islam so God can save them!”Kay Arthur sells “end times” masked violence in the name of “God’s will.” Precepts’ precept is that the “end times are here.” It has no problem claiming it is empowered to know “God’s will” and feeds a diet of “chosen people” racism under the reluctantly disclosed label of “dispensationalist.” This author prefers the widely accepted and tragic Judeo-Christianity as a name for the inevitably violent, Christian heresy. Ariel Sharon fondly calls the same people Christian-Zionists.
It may seem strange to the casual observer that these who profess Christianity also advocate the genocidal acts of Israel, including torture of the Palestinians and the Iraqis. Some 3,000 political prisoners, including several hundred children, have been imprisoned and tortured as a method of extracting confessions. Torture is legal and not even denied in Israel; its military helps train the Americans, now about to be tried, who have been caught red-handed torturing Iraqi prisoners.
But how can Christian Celebrity ignore UCI’s stated aim of changing traditional Christianity into a form of Judaism? It is easy to understand why the State of Israel would use Christian front men when we consider the now accepted fact that G. W. Bush rode into office on the “Christian right” vote. Israel’s war policy and aims toward the Palestinian people have raised the ire of the entire civilized world against it.
Israel’s old excuse can be paraphrased:
Cut us some slack; we are the survivors of the Holocaust. If we are mean to others and sometimes brutal, it is because the world has been so mean to us. The world needs to understand us when it comes to human rights: we are only getting even.This argument comes with a Jewish curse placed on anyone who will not accept the Judeo-Christian concept of a "chosen race" supposedly based upon a bizarre theory of Israelite genetics. For those others who do not accept the Holocaust excuse or who oppose Israelis acts on humanitarian grounds, Judeo-christians have a curse to offer. That all purpose curse is: “anti-Semitism.” Anyone who does not recognize the nobility of the Serial Wars and of the occupation must be an anti-Semite.
The Palestinians and Iraqis point out they had nothing to do with the Holocaust, and are victims of one every day. Most holocaust survivors have now died of old age. The perpetrators are also gone and people are increasingly weary of hearing about anti-Semitism. And there is a growing mistrust of the extravagant Holocaust numbers. It is time for a new Israeli excuse, it seems.
The “Chosen” are Justified by:
“We do what we do because we are exempt from the rules; God gave us the right to defend ourselves and our land without reservation, and this land, from the River Euphrates to the River of Egypt is ours: a gift from Him; and everyone else must leave or we will help them to leave.” This is often paraphrased: “We are the chosen people.”Who would blame Israel for taking advantage of Christian heresy? Who would not like to be called “God’s chosen ones” by its ruinous cooperation? But, why would dozens of prominent and influential “Christians” lend their reputations (such as they may be), and their time, to supporting Israel’s claims to someone else’s land?
More puzzling: Why would they distort what their own Bible teaches and what their own professed faith demands of them. Jesus demands peace and love of all men, even one’s enemies. There is not one phrase in the Christian New Testament that supports anything Israel does to the Palestinians, including the claims of being a “chosen people.”
Judeo-Christianity is not Christian at all. It is a hodgepodge of bits from unrelated stories patched together to create an illusion. The illusion is of an “end times” apocalypse and a “chosen people” who enjoy the right to kill and imprison other people who are not “chosen.”
We must at least mention, in passing, that Israel’s evangelical support relies upon the word of a quack felon named Cyrus I. Scofield, who got rich writing a bible for Judeo-Christianity to follow.
Project Strait Gate has no real problem with the Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) any more than with other organizations that depend upon quarter truths, pressure and deception to get its way. UCI does what a certain faction thinks is in Israel’s interest. But we do have a problem with professing “Christians” who front for UCI and claim it is “Scriptural” to do so. Our difference is with those who attempt to dilute our own faith or to make us accomplices to murder. Our complaint is over the blood and pain these false prophets bring on generations of our own people and on the innocent non-Christian victims in the Middle East.
UCI has the arrogance to tell us Christianity has it all wrong. It accuses traditional Christ followers of what it calls “The Error of Replacement Theology.” This includes traditional Reformation theology, orthodoxy, and traditional Catholic theology for over 2,000 years, and others.
It uses professing Christians like Clarence Wagner to witness against Christianity.
UCI uses its “Christian resources” prop, Clarence Wagner, to spell out “The Error of Replacement Theology,” which we have discussed, and four other crucial areas where it seems to feel brainwashing is needed to anesthetize Christ seekers.Summarizing in UCI’s own words directly from its website, its desires are:
Wagner says:“Perhaps you have heard of the term Replacement Theology. However, if you look it up in a dictionary of Church history, you will not find it listed as a systematic study. Rather, it is a doctrinal teaching that originated in the early Church. It became the fertile soil from which Christian anti-Semitism grew, and has infected the Church for nearly 1,900 years.”According to Wagner, those who believe Jesus brought the New Covenant to his followers are into "replacement theology" and are “anti-Semitics” because they will not worship Israel. Wagner and this author once debated this subject formally with on KCRO radio program entitled, “Resolve: the State of Israel is (is not) the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy.” (A tape of the debate is on the WHTT bookstore.) It should surprise no one that The Tragedy of Anti-Semitism is listed as another UCI key topic for brainwashing colleges, churches and religious schools.
Having debated Wagner, this author has no problem understanding what he is talking about. Wagner interprets Genesis 12 to be a land grant of specific property in the Middle East to a specific country, Israel, forever. He also considers it “anti-Semitic” to believe that that is not what the passage says. It bothers him not in the least that Abraham and the State of Israel were born some 3,000 years apart.
Genesis 12:1-3 reads:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (KJV)
Wagner denies the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood. God’s promise to Abraham was not of real estate, but that he would start the lineage from which a Messiah that would come, who would be a light of peace to all men, even those who fail to follow him. Abraham was to produce the lineage of the Christ Child; this was the promise…this is Christianity!
Wagner makes God trivial. How demeaning it is to God, to put Him in the middle of a petty land scam. God does not parcel out little hunks of desert to former cronies!
Reverend Wagner corrupts the Christian concept of the covenant promise to Abraham into a schlock real estate scam favoring phony claimants 3,000 years after the fact. How disgusting. How insulting, to a Holy God. What UCI disparages as “Replacement Theology” is in fact traditional Christianity.
Wagner’s stand on the Jewish (land grant) interpretation of Genesis is destructive to mankind, of whom God made in the potential of His image. Rabbis, before whom Wagner grovels, do not believe Jesus is God, nor even a prophet blessed by God. To UCI, Genesis 12 is a good enough land title to drive the Palestinians into the sea or to Nuke-em, if need be. Israel has the “Nukes,” as Mordechai Vanunu told us 18 years ago, and went to prison for talking all about it.
“Israel's Right to the Land”Is UCI to carry out its agenda of building Islam and Palestine disenfranchisement, to control the entire Middle East in the name of Israel, and perpetual war in the name of Jesus Christ? UCI has an “Advocacy Manual”… “A Comprehensive Reference and Resource Guide for Colleges, Universities, Churches, Synagogues, Religious Schools, Prayer/Study Groups, Individuals.”
“End of Radical Islam and the Quest for World Domination”
“The Urgent Need for Action: Achieving a Safe and Secure Israel”
Christians must know from the New Testament that God is not into money or the property business. Wagner, who claims to be a Christian, also either ignores or denies that the Apostle Paul and Jesus Himself meant when they said: all who believe in Him inherit the promise of Abraham.
Grass Roots Support for War
Israel cannot continue to imprison the Palestinians without a broad base of public support in the USA. The rest of the world is turning against Israel, as is now commonly accepted -- everywhere but the USA. Only the influence of 40-70 million Judeo-Christians are keeping Israel’s war machine going. In the entire world, these millions of Americans are the ones duped into thinking God gave Israel the right to liquidate its enemies. Christian-Zionists do this dirty work for UCI by also selling Israel to churches as the “chosen people” heirs to the land.Professing “Christians” like Wagner, Kay Arthur, Gary Bauer, Janet Parshall, Joseph Farah, legitimize Israel’s fanciful claim to the Arab lands, "from the Euphrates to the River of Egypt,” by spinning Bible yarns that refute what Scripture has taught for 1,970 years.
Clearly these Evangelicals call for a violent solution, not a peaceful one as Jesus did. Judeo-Christians seem embarrassed when confronted about being followers of the Prince of Peace. This is why we think the term violent Christians can be synonymous with Judeo-Christians. By failing to oppose it, they support the UCI scantily hidden agenda of the liquidation or deporting 3.5 million people. A sad testimony… How do they expect a Holy God to forget it?
* Note on Unity Coalition for Israel: For the first nine years of its existence, NUCI was titled “National Unity Coalition for Israel (NUCI). This is a fraud and distortion because there is nothing “National” (or American) about this organization. Nor is it international, as it claims; NUCI-UCI is “Israel first, last, and always.” Its board members probably laugh themselves into delirium over the name, just as they do over the duplicity of those who call themselves by Jesus’ name and shill for UCI’s death games. The name change was disclosed while this story was in preparation.
Here is what UCI tells us on their website, which is adorned with both US and Israeli flags flying in tandem:
“The National Unity Coalition for Israel is no longer just national. We are broadening our outreach, and we are now 'Unity Coalition for Israel.' Please check back for more exciting things to come!”A true liar knows no shame.
© 2004, Strait Gate Ministries, All Rights Reserved
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
For Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. --Luke 1:33