[Below is just the beginning of this long article, but it is worth reading in full at this link]
By Matt Ward
Following the May 14th US Embassy transfer to Jerusalem, and the subsequent Palestinian provocations at the Israeli-Gazan border, Israel has been under intense worldwide scrutiny, and has suffered exceptionally harsh criticism for essentially defending her borders and her innocent communities within. This criticism has come, as expected, from a wide cross section in the Muslim and Arab world, but also and especially in the West, from those within the mainstream of the Christian church.
These seem to be men and women who have bought wholly into the false doctrine of replacement theology, and they are quite cynically using this recent crisis to further their ultimate goal of delegitimizing Israel.
This is an essential issue because there are many that stand on the fringes of Christianity who are confused and unsure over where they should stand on this issue. To be clear, as a Christian, where you stand on Israel is, I believe, an absolutely pivotal issue.
In my opinion, this is not even an issue about the Jews and whose land it actually is; it is much more important than that. At its heart, this is an issue that pertains to the integrity of God Himself.
At its core, this is an issue about trust; can we as Christians trust and take God at His word, or not? Simply put, does God lie? If the answer to that question is “no, God does not lie,” then one has to seriously ponder some of the positions professing Christians and Christian leaders have taken over the last week regarding Israel.
Israel is besieged all about, literally and metaphorically. Current issues over Israel’s recent use of force, and the perceived rights or wrongs of a US Embassy switch to Jerusalem, are now being used deceitfully and mixed up with replacement theology to further a clear anti-Israel agenda. To a great extent, this has always been so. But it should not be like this within the church.
Replacement theology is growing exponentially within our churches today. It the wholly unbiblical belief that the nation God once called the “apple of my eye” (Zechariah 2:8) has been replaced by the Church and that the current “entity” in the Middle East known as Israel is an unlawful, terrorist usurper of the innocent Palestinian people.
It is a lie spawned in the pit of hell. It is unbiblical; it’s demonstrably false and it is wrong.
I have actually read articles over the last week on mainstream Christian websites, not only bemoaning Israel generally but also openly questioning her legitimacy as a nation state. Tied into this, always subtly, is an insinuation that modern Christian advocates and supporters of Israel have to varying degrees “got it wrong” about Israel and her place in God’s order.
Some have even gone so far as to strongly suggest that the reason for God’s rejection of modern-day Israel is because of Israel’s past disobedience to God, and because of their rejection of Jesus Christ. This argument has been the classic basis of all true anti-Semitism for the last two thousand years, and has led to countless massacres, pogroms and holocausts because of it. Shamefully, we now find it commonplace in the mainstream Christian church.
If this is true, that Israel has been rejected because of her past disobedience and rejection of Jesus, then I say woe to the Church of today. Does our church today really look like an obedient one to you? Apostasy is rampant, as is compromise in all areas of life and seemingly at all levels of leadership, with one or two very notable exceptions. The Jesus taught in many pulpits today is a “different Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) from the one originally taught by the apostles of Our Lord.
My question here is a simple one: If God so readily abandoned Israel for disobedience, then why today do we believe that God will not also abandon us for our own rampant corporate disobedience? Why will God not just raise up another people for Himself who will be obedient, as they preach that He has done with Israel?
I want to be clear. If you are a Christian, then the very basis of your faith should be the words of God Himself, as recorded in scripture. There should be no other basis for revelation outside the Bible. If this is the case, and we are being intellectually honest, then the only conclusion you can draw regarding Israel is an unequivocal one. The land currently occupied by Israel belongs to them alone.
But the Bible goes further. It also states that the land due to Israel extends far, far beyond her present borders, deep into Egypt and out into present-day Iraq.
The Bible clearly teaches that “God does not change” (Malachi 3:6). In preaching, or subtly suggesting that God has essentially abandoned Israel for the Church, the church of today has robbed itself of its own assurance of its own eternal security in God. If God abandoned Israel because of sin and disobedience, then we in the church are doomed because God is an impartial God “who does not change.” The same standards He applied to Israel will be applied to us also.
The reality is that God has not abandoned Israel at all, just like He will not abandon us. Instead, God has allowed Israel to “…experience a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25). God has not forgotten about Israel. He is currently dealing with the Gentile world, and the signs all around us indicate strongly that this Gentile dispensation is about to come to an end.
After this, God will once again turn His full attention to dealing with the remnant of Israel, then finally “…all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).
Israel’s future is irrevocably bound up in the character of God. When Christians question the future of Israel in God’s plans, believing God to have abandoned his once “holy inheritance,” they are actually bringing into question the integrity of God Himself. They are calling God a liar and exposing Him to public shame, because God promised the children of Israel,