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Is this biblical prophesy

Israel vs Palestine: Confronting Biblical Error

It’s important to be theologically transparent, especially during coverage for which theological views on secondary and tertiary views are relevant. But there are times where abuse of text to advance a Scriptural agenda are both newsworthy and necessary to confront in practicing discernment.

Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills did a short video titled, “The War in Israel: Are We Watching Bible Prophecy Unfold?” In this video, Jack Hibbs explained that Jesus said there will be wars and rumors of wars, but the end is not yet. He states that that these events should be thought as biblical prophesy being staged, not biblical prophesy being fulfilled. This is a reserved, well reasoned position, and is not what I am talking about with regards to abuse of Scripture.

In clownworld, also known as TBN, Rabbi Jason Sobel, a Messianic Jew, argues that Hamas is the spirit of Haman. This, however, misses the entire point of Esther, in which the message is that God will ensure that the Messiah will come and the schemes of man and Satan cannot thwart God’s plan. Sobel misses the entire point of Esther by making it about the Jews and not about Jesus.

Greg Laurie, of Harvest Bible Fellowship, similarly posted a video clip that appears to be mid-sermon addressing the relationship of prophesy and current events. In addition to reading the modern nation-state of Israel as Old Testament Israel, Greg Laurie reads Gog and Magog as Russia based on Russia being north of Israel. In the days when I was unwittingly dispensation, the more logical argument was that based on the other descriptive locations in Ezekiel 38 and 39, modern Turkey was “Gog of Magog”. The problem with this is that Russia, China, and the United States are the world powers now, yet none of them have references in  Scripture. So many dispensationalist try to read them into Scripture or attack America to Israel because of America’s support.

Ray Comfort uses the most Scripture in his video.

21 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;

Ezekiel 37:21 NASB1995

This passage in Ezekiel is interpreted as 1947 Israel rather than the return from exile which is how the original audience would have understood it.

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?
Can a land be born in one day?
Can a nation be brought forth all at once?
As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.

Isaiah 66:8 NASB1995

Next Comfort employs Isaiah 66, not including the childbearing imagery. Modern Israel was actually a long time coming rather than born in one day, whereas the birth of the church at Pentecost is one day, and it also took place in Jerusalem.

and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Luke 21:24 NASB1995

Both Jews and Gentiles will come to believe in Christ, thus the time of the gentiles being fulfilled. This verse is about AD 70, not an even more distant event.

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup [b]that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely [c]injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

Zachariah 12:2-3 NASB1995

Greg Laurie also brings this passage up. Again I would argue that this passage is about Christ’s church victorious, to be complete in final judgement. After even Germany was not destroyed following the Holocaust, and West Germany avoided Bolshevik rule. Nor have the neighbors of modern Israel been destroyed, as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan all remain.

Conclusions

Having been convinced of dispensational prophesy once, I completely understand the appeal of seeing modern events as the fulfillment of biblical prophesy. But I find it to be a shortcut method to recognizing the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. With regards to present day and biblical prophesy, the Bible tells us what always happens.

Therefore, this is not a heresy and I have grace for those on the other side of the issue, having once held the position myself. It’s still within the umbrella of orthodox views. And it’s necessary for a good faith debate on these subjects.

I am not dispensational for a few reasons. The preeminent one being: God only has one chosen people, and they do not go to hell. God fulfilled his promises in AD 70 ending Old Testament Judaism in a Deuteronomy 28 style judgement. Ultimately in the debate over eschatology, dispensationalist have to prove that Modern Day Israel is both Spiritual Israel and Ethnic Israel, and I am unconvinced that either are true.

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3 Responses

  1. People are all over the place. We’ve got some on one extreme who say the children of Jacob get a free pass to Heaven, some on the other extreme who say they don’t even exist and/or if they do, the lineage has no significance, they’ve been completely replaced by the church, and everywhere in between. We have no shortage of false dichotomies and wild finger-pointing on either side. It is important to hold to the proper rules for interpretation of scripture, even when it comes to prophecies. It should be taken literally unless otherwise indicated. Some prophecies may refer to the ethnic lineage, others may refer to the body of Christ, and others may refer to both.

    It’s also important to remember that Dispensationalism is a very broad general category that includes all sorts of interpretations and methods of interpretation. I’m not a scholar, but I would probably fall in that camp on the basis that I believe God dealt with mankind differently prior to the coming of the Messiah than He does thereafter, which is obvious enough, and that alone is basically two dispensations. Yet that may just as well mean that some prior to the coming of the Messiah who were under the law will make it to Heaven, yet after the coming of the Messiah, those who reject Him and remain under the law will not. And that is basically the opposite of dispensationalists who believe the sons of Jacob get a free pass. And an interpretation such as that is also in line with scripture starting the first time God showed His grace to Adam and Eve – they didn’t have a much of a free pass as they did before. It became more difficult. Because God extends His grace on His terms, not ours.

    I don’t know. But I think there is fairly broad consensus on certain facts, such as the fact that those who reject Jesus as the Messiah are therefore still under the Law, as reiterated in Romans chapters 2 and 3, and other scriptures. And I do not see the validity either/or propositions being put forward by many on either side of the debate. It makes sense to me that the ethnic lineage is still of significance, even though they do not get a free pass, and that Jesus is the one and only way.

    It takes some discernment to recognize who is genuinely, honestly, and humbly trying to understand what God is telling us through His word, and who is leaning on his own understanding and trying to make God’s word say what he wants it to say, often as a matter of grift, controlled opposition, and so on. And it takes some patience. None of us know all there is to know. I’m sure there are many applicable scriptures I don’t know, and there are many interpretations and ways of looking at it that I’ve never thought about. As Jesus said, iron sharpens iron.

    Who knows for certain whether or not what’s happening right now is the fulfillment of any prophecy, or is leading up to it. But I do find it interesting that, according to some scholars, Magog, the grandson of Noah, settled in what is now eastern Ukraine. Ezekiel 38 says they come from the geographic north and the far north. If you draw a line directly north of Israel, it runs just to the east of Crimean peninsula, and just west of Moscow. I also was taught that Magog was in what is now modern Turkey, but upon researching it I now believe it was on the northern shore of the Black Sea.

  2. “Rabbi Jason Sobel, a Messianic Jew”

    I thought the Messiah Jesus said “call no man rabbi.”

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