Trial Balloon

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While the world community publicly recoils at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stated desire to push Israel into the sea, secular humanists are nodding their heads with discreet approbation....

The worst-kept secret in the West is the growing anti-Israelism and/or anti-Semitism among the ranks of academics, media, and other assorted intellectual elite. Usually couched in terms of "measured concern for the stability of the Middle East (i.e. Israel is the real problem)," the rhetoric got a little less subtle this past week when Richard Cohen of the Washington Post dropped this trial balloon in his column:

The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.
Many capable counterpoints have been made to Cohen's assertions, including Eric Rosenman's response at CAMERA.org (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East reporting in America). Obviously, the secular media has found in Richard Cohen a perfect spokesperson for criticizing Israel without appearing anti-Semitic. In this case, Cohen pulls it off. But the fact remains, secularists still can't see beyond their materialistic worldview. Religions (and especially their spiritual underpinnings) are still a puzzling mystery to them.

Cohen was surely echoing the water-cooler chatter of like-minded colleagues. Was it newsworthy? Not really. This kind of pandering to moral equivalency and the Islamic Middle East is very much unsurprising these days.

The worst part is, these kinds of sentiments are heard more and more in Christian circles. Watch out.

7 comments:

mark said... on 7/27/2006 9:08 PM  

Israel is fighting for its survial without the support of Jesus Christ. Israel, as a nation rejected its King 2000 years ago and instead, nailed Him to a Cross. We all, everyone of us nailed Him there but in eschatalogical terms Israel rejected its King. There are people today who believe that Israel's charter of nationhood in 1948 is a fulfillment of prophecy. Yet, if a person reads the charter (refer to wikipedia) one will realize that the charter is a product of MAN not God. That being said, the re-gathering of Israel HAS NOT TAKEN PLACE YET!! The true Spiritual re-gathering of Israel will take place subsequent to the rapture of the church.
Leviticus 23 lists the various feasts that the Jews were commanded to observe during the age of Israel. The Feast of trumpets is a picture of two things: the rapture of the church and THE REGATHERING OF ISRAEL.

When oh when will we ever learn that God does not think like we do. That He has His own plan for the ages and that we have NOTHING to do with His planning. HE not us will call Israel back to the land. HE not us will arrange times and events to HIS plan not us......The events currently taking place in Israel are a result of the plan of God not man. Read Romans 11 and understand that the gentile nations are who we should watch, not Israel.
The supposed charter of Israeli nationhood in 1948 means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in Biblical prophecy is a FACT that must be understood. If you, as a believer in Jesus Christ would examine the facts and read the charter, you will understand that MAN not GOD brought the charter into existence.

Therefore, currents events in the middle east may well, and indeed are, likely end time birth pangs. But, I would venture that things will get MUCH WORSE before the rapture.

Remember: God is not into what we think or contemplate. God is all about HIS will and purpose.

Read the Scriptures and understand.

bellacqua said... on 7/30/2006 11:49 PM  

Dear Mark,

Perhaps you're taking an unnecessarily harsh tone with this group (or individual, whichever the case may be) of pretty obviously thoughtful Christians in your response, which for me makes it difficult to discuss these serious matters freely. I therefore exhort you to consider your motivation in making these remarks, as, at the end of the day, we believers in Jesus Christ are, all of us, recipients of undeserved grace, mercy, love and comfort (etc), and in turn are asked to love one another, rather than bash each over the head with a baseball bat any time a point is not interpreted identically as is done by ourselves.

That said, you raise some interesting points, about which I've got a question: how do you come to the conclusion that a state made by men could not somehow also be fulfillment of profecy, whether or not they were unwitting participants? Afterall, God used a donkey to convey his purpose. Not every detail is recorded in the Bible, and it is up to us to be mindful of God's Word in light of current events, and seek His understanding--whether we do so correctly 100% is then, in some regards, irrelevant. Similarly, I don't see how the statements made by Red Giants are somehow a breach of that agreement with God. God uses each of us to fulfill his purpose, and it's for that reason we are alive at this moment. But I daresay there are precious few (probably none!) of us who are somehow cosmically clear on every step we take as to how God is using us for His Good. Thus I would say this interpretation of the state of Israel (in its current status) is just as valid as anyone else's.

Scriptures ask us to pray for peace in Israel, and I think we'd be wise to heed that, regardless of its prophetical fulfillment. Furthermore, I believe they also tell us in the end days all nations would be set against Israel, so, at the very least, we should be questioning ourselves if this is what is occurring, and pray for God's protection of the nation, just in case--as God's heart is ultimately in Jerusalem and He will one day reign there physically!

While I think you're wise to caution us against presuming to know God's purpose, there are certain clues we can, and perhaps should, confidently follow.

Mark G. said... on 7/31/2006 6:16 AM  

Dear sir,
It is not my intention to bash anyone's head with a baseball bat. I can only speak of my own experience with mankind. I also do not disagree with Red Giants, in fact, I read the comments they make with great interest. This blog is one of the few out there that make any sense.
As far as the status of Israel I will say this. God, throughout the history of Israel, has always been the centerpoint of the equation. When He led them out of Egypt, they followed the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. During the time of the Mosaic law, the nation was to follow very precise plans and rituals laid out by God that all pointed to the coming Messiah. When Israel disobeyed God's plan, the five cycles of discipline ensued (leviticus 26).
There will come a time in the near future when Israel will once again be gathered together as a nation. There will be no doubt in anyone's mind that God is the initiator of the regathering. Just like when He led them out of Egypt there was no mistaking who led them. So also when He regathers them there will be no doubt that He did the regathering not men.

I do not mean to offend anyone but my goal is to persue the truth of God's word. If that makes me an outcast and a thorn I apologize but I have no intention of changing my goal. I will one day stand before Jesus Christ as my righteous judge (1 Corinthians 3.10-15). He will be seated at the Bema Seat and He is the only one I am concerned about answering to.
Too often, people bash me over the head with a baseball bat because I do not think like they do..

I have no interest in arguing with you or anyone else, none. I have better things to do with my time, and like you, I believe in the unity and harmony of the Holy Spirit. We worship the same God and are saved by the same Savior and are sustained by the same Holy Spirit.

If I have offended you that was not my intention.

Clues? there are myriads of them. Pray for peace in Israel, we do so regularly. All nations against Israel, no doubt about it. Maybe the USA will turn as well when all the Christians disappear at the rapture, I dont know for certain.

What I do know is that God will be the initiator and there will be no doubt in anyones mind.

You an I are brothers in the conflict of the ages. We call it the angelic conflict. We are to fight together against a common enemy. That appeals to me greatly. I would rather lift you up and encourage you as a brother in Christ then to debate matters of prophecy.

In Christ,
mark.

Anonymous said... on 7/31/2006 6:14 PM  

Mark, you've already acknowledged that your difference of opinion is minor. It's a matter of degrees. 1948 saw the formation of the modern state of Israel. It was a physical regathering, one that occurs to this day — the "valley of the dry bones" in Ezekiel 37. But it was also prophetic stage-setting. Indeed, the spiritual regathering to which you refer has yet to occur.

The physical regathering 58 years ago is significant. That such a singularly evil event like the Holocaust would precede Israel's statehood is one major spiritual indicator. Many Jews were immigrating to Palestine well before World War II. The irrational rage of Israel's enemies today is evidence that the conflict is about more than just physical borders.

All men, political and otherwise, have impure motives. Nonetheless, God uses them to His purpose. You mentioned the Jewish exodus from Egypt. God brought His people to their promised land even though unbelief was the hallmark of the exodus. For now, modern Israel is in a state of unbelief, but one day God will breathe life into those dry bones.

bellacqua said... on 7/31/2006 9:40 PM  

Dear Mark,

I appreciate your conciliatory gesture. There's nothing wrong with truth, and often our flesh is rather offended by it, but if there's something you feel God is telling you to tell us, then you've got to teach us, not use the proverbial bat. That was my point. Because we ARE listening.

Dear Red Giants,

We don't always have impure motives, I don't believe. God moves our hearts to pure places; that is the blessing of his love. But we must have a willing heart.

Nevertheless, I see your point, that God moves all toward His will, which is inalterably good. A relief for us all. "Praise the Lord! O, my soul!"

slumbley said... on 8/01/2006 6:02 PM  

OK I can’t stand it anymore. You guys are dancing all around this thing while missing a huge piece of the puzzle. We’re like the four blind men trying to describe an elephant. One has a hold of the trunk, another the tail, another, the tuck and another the leg. Each is convinced his description is accurate and the others must be wrong.

So let me describe my section of the elephant for you.

Mark is right when he says that the modern state of Israel is a man made counterfeit of the true fulfillment of prophecy. They do stand outside the promises of God. There is no covenant based on blood line. Period.

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: Rom 2:28

But Bellacqua is also correct when he states that the modern state of Israel, though made by men is being used as a fulfillment of prophecy by God.

How can both of these views be correct? Simple – The state made by men is simply an outward manifestation of the true fulfillment of prophecy which is even now occurring among the true Israel of God.

We must understand who is truly Israel and who is truly a Jew.

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, …..Rom 2:29

Paul tells us clearly in Romans 9-10-11 that only those who receive the promise by faith are truly Jews. Secondly those whose claim to Jewish-ness is solely by bloodline are not really Jews at all according to God’s reckoning. They have been cut off. God does desire to graft them back in but it can only be by their acceptance of the promised Messiah Jesus of Nazareth by faith. That is why the Jerusalem that now exists is not ‘holy’ but is in bondage with her children and is an allegory for Hagar or the covenant of the flesh which leads to death. (Gal 4:24-26)

Two covenants, two Israel’s. One, the Israel in the natural has a covenant with death. The other, spiritual Israel has the covenant of Life. Both exist now but the Israel we see in the natural is only for a sign to the Israel of the spirit.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1Cor 10:11

So, just as natural Israel is being gathered into her land for destruction, spiritual Israel is now being gathered into her land for life. This is not a future gathering. It is happening now! God is now gathering his sheep from among all the apostate churches, from the harlot institution that is masquerading as the church. He is bringing them together now!

This is why we are seeing the so called ‘home church’ movement. This is why we are seeing the multiplication of so many ‘out of church’ Christians. God is gathering his true sheep, the true Jerusalem, the true Israel of God.

Ok - That's my section of the elephant. Fire away!

Mark G. said... on 8/04/2006 7:10 PM  

I believe the Bible teaches a distinction between Israel and the church. When Jesus came the first time, He came preaching and teaching to Israel. He was offering the Kingdom of God, the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews. They rejected Him, crucified Him (we all did, our sins put Him there), buried Him; He rose from the dead, ascended to Heaven and is presently seated at the right hand of God. Of course He knew and has known since eternity past that this would happen. But the point is that He made the offer of the Kingdom to Israel and no one else.

After Jesus rose from the dead, the message changed. It became the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now the good news was not that the Kingdom was at hand but rather salvation was free to ALL who believe, Jew and Gentile. Accordingly, we have two distinct gospels; one for the Jews offering the kingdom, the other to all who believe offering eternal life.

This is the basis of Pauline Dispensationalism. In order to understand human history and the puzzles it presents one must see it through the glass of dispensations. At least this has been my experinece. I have been asking questions since I was a teenager and Pauline Dispensationalism is the only hermeneutic that makes sense, to me that is. When God calls Israel during the tribulation He will be calling Israel only, not the church. The church which is called the Bride of Christ in Paul's epistles is being formed at this moment and has been since the church age began at Pentecost 30 A.D. Every believer in Christ makes up the Bride of Christ. There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile but, this is only true during the church age or age of Grace.

The church age will end at the rapture. At that time the age of Israel will begin again but only for seven years (Daniel's 70th week). Then the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation will institue the age of Christ or the millineum.

Home churches? I love them.. We have been conducting Bible studies in our home for 7 years. I miss the fellowship of a church but I refuse to teach or hear anything but what I believe to be the truth.

 

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