Answering Those Who Oppose Israel

Dr. Thomas Ice

Some of the HTML versions of the articles have errors. If you have view problems try reading the PDF version.

"Then I willlet you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers foreverand ever."

—Jeremiah7:7

Ihave on more than one occasion heard Bible teacher Chuck Missler say that thereis only one piece of real estate on planet earth where God has specificallysaid that it belongs to a specific people and that is Israel. Yet, that specified land is the mostcontested on the entire planet. This is true because God has spoken specifically on the matter. The fact that God's clear Word iscontested by so many means that Satan is behind such a consensus.

Thedispersion of the Jewish people in a.d.70, their preservation as an ethnically distinct people during the nineteenhundred years of their scattering, and their regathering to form the modernstate of Israel is a miracle brought about by the hand of God. The arrival of the modern state ofIsrael on the world scene in 1948 was a big boon to the premillennialunderstanding of the Bible. Thisvindicates—in history—our biblical belief that God has a futureplan for the land of Israel and the Jewish people. In spite of these developments, there are a group ofevangelicals who think that the current state of Israel has nothing to do withGod's biblical promises. How couldanyone who claims to believe the Bible hold to such error? The current state of Israel isprophetically important because the Jewish people have been regathered in orderto fulfill events during the coming seven-year tribulation period, followingthe rapture.

GaryNorth has boasted that he has a book already in his computer for when "Israelgets pushed into the sea, or converted to Christ."[1] Lutheran Don Matzat has said,"The present-day nation of Israel is no more involved in God's plans for thefuture than is France, England, Germany, the United States, etc. The teaching of the New Testament isvery clear—Jesus fulfilled everything pertaining to Israel and formed theNew Israel."[2]

Perpetualcritic Gary DeMar adds:

Whereis this "super sign" found in the Bible? Not in the New Testament. There is not a single verse in the entire New Testament that saysanything about Israel becoming a nation again. Nothing prophetic in the New Testament depends on Israelbecoming a nation again. If Israelbecoming a nation again is such "a significant sign," then why doesn't the NewTestament specifically mention it?[3]

Oneof the most interesting books in my personal library is entitled God and theJew,[4]but William Thomas Rouse. It is awhole book about why Israel would never become a nation again. It has chapters like: "God and theRejection of the Jewish Nation," "Paul's Teaching Concerning God's Rejection ofthe Jews," and my favorite, "There Will Never Be a National Restoration of theJews." "When was this bookwritten," you may ask? Thecopyright is 1946. Apparently Mr.Rouse died some time in 1946 since the title page refers to him as, "LateProfessor of Bible . . ." He didnot live to see his book disproved by the events of history in 1948. Similarly, many objections to Zionismwill be disproved by future historical events.

Wedo not have to wait on history to know what the Bible teaches concerning thesesissues. Since Israel is one of themajor subjects of the Bible, we can know what Scripture teaches about herfuture.

Modern Israel IS a Work of God

Firstof all, Israel is not going to get pushed into the sea, God has other plans forher. I wish the critics would showme where such a scenario is found in the Bible. Those who say that modern Israel has no more propheticsignificance than France completely ignore a very significant fact. Israel is mentioned thousands of times throughout Scripture. France is nevermentioned.

TheBible insists many times that Israel is not finished in history. Paulsaid in Romans 11:1: "I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!" Paul continues in Romans 11 by saying:"From the standpoint of the gospel they [Israel] are enemies for your sake, butfrom the standpoint of God's choice they [Israel] are beloved for the sake ofthe fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (verses28–29). The New Testamentteaches that God cannot, therefore, will not revoke His promises from the OldTestament to Israel.

GaryDeMar cannot find a New Testament promise of Israel's future restoration. Yet I have just cited a strong NewTestament assertion—"May it never be!"—that God has not rejectedIsrael. Since we believe that allsixty-six books of the Bible are equally inspired and infallible, then OldTestament statements of Israel's national restoration will do just fine. What DeMar and any opponent of Zionismmust come up with is any single passage that teaches that God is forever finishedwith His chosen people. In fact,Romans 11:1 says just the opposite.

An Everlasting Promise

Zionistsoften point to the many times that the biblical text speaks of God's guaranteeof the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants as an everlasting promise. For example in Genesis 13:14–15 the Lord said to Abram: "Now liftup your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward andeastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you andto your descendants forever." (Italics added.) Later in Genesis, when the Lord sealedHis covenant promise to Abram by requiring circumcision, he said: "And I willestablish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after youthroughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendantsafter you. And I will give to youand to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the landof Canaan, for an everlastingpossession; and I will be their God" (Gen. 17:7–8). Similar everlasting promises are repeated many times throughout the OldTestament (Gen. 13:14–15; 17:7–8; 48:4; Ex. 32:13; Josh. 1:4, 9;2:1; 2 Sam. 7:13, 16, 24–26, 29; 1 Kings 2:45; 8:15; 9:3, 5; 10:9; 2Kings 21:7; 1 Chron. 16:17; 17:12, 14, 22–24; 27; 22:10; 23:25; 28:24;Isa. 34:17; 55:3, 13; 59:21; 60:21; 61:8; Jer. 17:25; 25:5; 32:40; 50:5; Ezek.16:60; 37:25, 26, 28; 43:7, 9; Joel 3:20; used dozens of times in the Psalms).

Howcan anyone who claims to be a Bible-believing individual not agree with theclear meaning of God's everlasting promises to His people Israel? The same Hebrew word translated everlasting is used many times to describe God Himself. Anti-Zionist Gary DeMar writesmockingly about the Zionist belief that God's promise to Abraham is aneverlasting one.[5] DeMar never tells his readers what hebelieves everlasting means,instead, he lashes out at others by beating up a straw man of his ownconstruction.

Someof the critics of Zionism argue that the word everlasting is used of manythings in the Old Testament that have not and will not last forever. Examples that they give include: manyof the specific temple ritual that the Levitical priests were to engage in wereto be carried out forever, yet they have not been able to do them since thetemple was destroyed in a.d. 70;ancient land boundaries were to remain in place forever; that the Aaronicpriesthood would last forever, yet it has been done away with according toHebrews and replaced by Christ's Melchizedekian priesthood; the Mosaic covenantis said to be everlasting, but it has been replaced by the New covenant,etc. Therefore, in the same waythat everlasting is used of the things mentioned above and did not really meaneverlasting, so also, the references to an everlasting land promise to Abraham,Isaac, Jacob and their descendants does not mean forever.[6] So what does everlasting really mean inits original Hebrew?

TheHebrew ('olam) is the word oftentranslated by the English word everlasting and occurs 439 times in the Hebrew Old Testament[7]and "20 times in the Aramaic parts of the Old Testament."[8] It is "probably derived from 'alam, 'to hide,' thus pointing to what is hidden in thedistant future or in the distant past."[9] Most scholars agree that "the basicmeaning . . . is farthest time, distant time."[10] The precise nuance of the word "is arelative concept in the context of the given temporal horizon for 'olam in reference both to the future and especially tothe past."[11] Maranatha!

ENDNOTES



[1]Personal letter from Gary North to Peter Lalonde, April 30, 1987 on file.

[2]Don Matzat, "The Great Premillennial HOAX," Issues, Etc. Journal (Internet edition,www.issuesetc.com/resource/journals/v1.htm).

[3]Gary DeMar, End Times Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of The Left Behind Theology (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), pp. 202-03.

[4] WilliamThomas Rouse, God and the Jew (Dallas:Helms Printing Co., 1946).

[5] Gary DeMar,"The Abrahamic Covenant: Fulfilled or Postponed?" (Parts 1 and 2), located onthe AmericanVision.org website. See at www.americanvision.org/articlearchive/08-22-05.asp.

[6] In additionto those like Gary DeMar, some who have made similar arguments are thefollowing: Roderick Campbell, Israel and The New Covenant (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed PublishingCompany, 1954), pp. 199–205; George L. Murray, MillennialStudies: A Search for Truth (Swengel PA:Bible Truth Depot, 1951), pp. 26–30; William W. Baker, Theft OfA Nation (Las Vegas: Defender'sPublications, 1982), pp. 89–92.

[7] From asearch conducted by the computer program Accordance, version 7.4.2.

[8] G. JohannesBotterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, Editors, TheologicalDictionary of The Old Testament, Vol. X(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), p. 531.

[9] R. LairdHarris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, Editors, 2 Vols., TheologicalWordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago:Moody Press, 1980), vol. II; p. 672.

[10] Willem A.VanGemeren, Editor, New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology& Exegesis, 5 Vols., (Grand Rapids,Zondervan, 1997), vol. 3; p. 346.

[11] Ernst Jenniand Claus Westermann, Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament, 3 Vols., (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publications,1997), vol. 2; p. 854.