The nation of Israel and Genesis 12:3 (Series on Israel part 1)

The Birth Of Israel (2008) – Part 1/8

I can’t say I agree with every word from Chuck Colson’s words below but it is a good article though.

Covenant and Conflict

Israel’s Place in the World Today

By Chuck Colson|Published Date: February 18, 2003

When our BreakPoint Managing Editor Jim Tonkowich returned from this year’s National Religious Broadcasters convention, he told me that what struck him most was the emphasis on Israel. The Israeli tourist bureau had the largest booth at the trade show. Menorahs, Sabbath candles, and ram horns were being marketed to Christians. And unswerving political support for the contemporary state of Israel was trumpeted.

Ariel Sharon was repeatedly called a “hero.” All the land, they said, belongs to the Jews, and the Palestinians don’t belong at all. One speaker at a pro-Israel press conference told the cheering audience that the first question to ask any candidate running for any office is, “What do you think of Israel?” Somehow God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:3 has become a carte blanche for Ariel Sharon and his government. And what’s more, some Christians have been arguing that we should never evangelize Jews since they are already a covenant people and, thus, saved.

As a Christian and believer in the Abrahamic covenant, I’m a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. I take Genesis 12:3 literally. I also believe that Jesus will return and rule the earth for one thousand years from Jerusalem — a pre-millennial perspective on the second coming. I believe that God has a special plan for the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

But I think it is problematic to relate prophecy to current events unfolding in the nation-state of Israel. There may be some relationship, of course. Only God knows. But the secular state of Israel created in 1948 is not, in my understanding, identical with the Jewish people as God’s chosen and called-out covenant people.

God clearly has a distinct plan for the Jewish people that the secular state of Israel helps carry out. I don’t rule that out, of course. And I strongly support Israel because it is a haven for persecuted Jews — not because I think it fulfills biblical prophecy.

I also support a Palestinian state both from historical and prudential considerations. Given the state of affairs in the Middle East, a Palestinian state is the only practicable solution for peace.

By that, I do not mean a Palestinian state headed by Yasser Arafat, who is a terrorist and continues to allow — or at least refuses to discourage — brutal, vicious, unprincipled attacks on Israeli citizens. Instead we need an independent, self-governing Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. Prison Fellowship has a ministry with Palestinian Christians living in Israel who are working for peace and justice, and I’ve met many of them. They are beautiful brothers and sisters.

We need to remember that even God’s covenant people — a people to whom we in the Church belong — sin. And even if we could equate the covenant people of God with the state of Israel, we could be sure that like all states, churches, and people, it would be filled with sin. Human rights violations and violence occur on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. And all sinners, Jews included, need repentance and faith in Christ in order to enjoy full membership in God’s covenant.

Israel is a free nation, the only democracy in the Middle East, and a reliable ally. Politically, we stand with them. But our true hope for peace lies only in the warring parties’ turning to the one, true Prince of peace.

For further reading:Caryle Murphy, “Evangelical Leaders Ask Bush to Adopt Balanced Mideast Policy,” Washington Post, 27 July 2002.

The First Freedom of the Soul,” remarks by President George W. Bush to the American Jewish Committee, White House Office of the Press Secretary, 3 May 2001.

J. Budziszewski, “Loaded Questions,” Boundless, 12 September 2002 (see “Jerusalem, Jerusalem”).

Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2002).

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