The majority of Christians have been wrong about Israel for most of their history, according to a leading Anglican theologian and Israel scholar.
For many reasons, Christians ought to think differently about the land of Israel and the Jews as God’s covenant people, Gerald R. McDermott, Anglican chair at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, explains in a new book.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, McDermott explained that his latest work, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently About the People and the Land, articulates why it’s important for believers in Jesus to engage Israel with the utmost humility. This is necessary not only because of the geopolitical complexities present there but especially because “the Jews have been horribly wronged by Christians over the millennia.”
“Even before the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Jews were murdered over the last 1,800 years by Christians as “Christ-killers,” McDermott said, noting at the time of the Holocaust Germany was the most Christianized nation in the world.
“Jews know these things and are afraid of us,” he said.
The error in thinking that Jesus departed from Judaism and began a new religion furthers the distance between Christians and Jews and makes Jews into an “other,” he said.
Yet in the past several decades, especially in the United States, a resurgence of what is known as Christian Zionism, the view that the land of Israel and ethnic Jews remain central to God’s eternal purposes, has occurred.
McDermott did not personally subscribe to this perspective because he associated it with dispensationalism, theology that considers biblical history as divided intentionally by God into specific ages to each of which He has allotted distinctive administrative principles. This teaching was popularized in the 1800’s by Anglo-Irish preacher John Nelson Darby.
But all that began to change for him upon doing further study of the Bible and history and he found that throughout the ages a minority has believed that one day, in accordance with Scripture, a massive in gathering of Jewish people to their historic homeland would take place.
He realized he did not have to accept a dispensationalist approach to regard the land and people of Israel as an essential component of God’s ongoing work in the world. Nor did he have to subscribe to the often wild, apocalyptic end times scenarios some Christian Zionists have espoused in the past.
In Chapter 3 of Israel Matters the author showcases “Those Who Got It Right.”
From early Church fathers like Tertullian to more recent figures like American theologian Jonathan Edwards and Swiss theologian Karl Barth, each of these men believed that a day would come when the Jews would return to their ancient homeland.
During his ministry Edwards repeatedly warned against spiritualizing biblical promises to the Jews. When the modern state of Israel was established in 1948 Barth wrote that it was a “secular parable” and that the large numbers of Jews returning to the land was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
As is expressed throughout The New Christian Zionism, a volume of Christian scholarship on Israel released last year for which McDermott was the editor, Israel Matters argues strongly against supercessionism. This is also known as “replacement theology” which holds that the Church replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.
Today, what is known as “fulfillment theology,” which some assert is merely an updated form of replacement theology, also holds that Jews do not have a God-given destiny in their ancient land. But instead of the Church replacing Israel, its proponents contend that Jesus fulfills in his life and redemptive work all the promises that God ever made to the Jews, including the promise that the land of Canaan would be their everlasting possession.
This theology considers the land insignificant and that the only Jews who are now significant to God are Messianic Jews, those who believe Jesus is the Messiah.
But several passages in the New Testament suggest both beliefs are wrong, McDermott explained.
“Paul says in Romans 11:28 that the Jews who did not accept Jesus as Messiah were ‘enemies of the Gospel’ but nevertheless ‘are beloved’ to God, and that their ‘gifts and calling of God’ to be His special people ‘are irrevocable,'” he said.
Moreover, the Apostle Paul was writing to the Romans 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection but even then was still saying that God’s covenant with ethnic Israel remains in place. This did not mean that all Jews were saved, but that they were still special to God in a particular way.
Likewise, in his Beatitude in Matthew 5:5, Jesus was quoting Psalm 37:11 word for word when he said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the [earth.]” The Hebrew word for “earth,” which is used five times in Psalm 37, in every one of these five instances in Psalm 37 refers to the land of Israel, McDermott continued. So the Beatitude is better translated, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Land.”
And in Acts 1:6, “when Jesus’ disciples asked him just before his ascension, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ Jesus did not tell them they were wrong to think there would be a future Israel that God would establish,” he said.
“Instead, He (Jesus) said that the timing of that future was not to be known then.”
In addition to the theological objections McDermott unpacks in the book, he explores the modern political history of the region, which is often characterized by intense and bloody conflicts.
Yet unlike some Christian Zionists who appear to think that the nation of Israel can do no wrong, McDermott is not afraid to criticize the Israeli government when it’s warranted.
He acknowledges in the book where Palestinians have been mistreated at times, how the Israeli government has broken promises, and how certain policies have been unwise. He also writes that the state of Israel should do more to protect Messianic believers. Whether an unjust action is perpetrated by a Jew or an Arab, he says, Christians need to feel free to raise their voices to criticize whoever is responsible when it is clear such an injustice has occurred.
Although imperfect, the state of Israel, “an oasis of freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” is inextricably linked with the Jews, McDermott insists.
“Even if the covenanted people of Israel and the state of Israel are not one and the same, they are intertwined in a complex way,” he writes in the book.
“The state could not exist without its people, and the covenanted people could not survive or flourish without the state. The state shelters the people, and the people — though not all are religious Jews — support the state. One without the other is unthinkable and impossible.”
For Christians who care about the Palestinians and their rights, McDermott encourages them to visit Israel since tourism helps everyone there, and to support the largely-unreported incremental steps Israel is taking to improve the lot of Palestinians.
Written in a scholarly yet accessible tone, Israel Matters is likely to be a important resource for Christians looking to bring their faith to bear on current events unfolding in the United States and in the Middle East. Earlier this month President Donald Trump signed a waiver delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, skirting a key campaign promise that he might or might not revisit.
Such a move would “help the cause for peace, not hurt it,” he replied.
“First of all, it would be the simple recognition of reality: Jerusalem and no other city is Israel’s capital,” McDermott said.
“Second, the Palestinian leaders are thugs who would realize by this move that they can no longer dictate as they did to Obama, whose policies hurt both Jews and Arabs.”
The only hope for improvement is for [Palestinian President] Abbas to understand that he has to talk to the Israelis and moving the U.S. diplomatic outpost to the capital would signal to him that he can no longer circumvent the Israelis and try to get what he wants from the United Nations, he added.
Aside from the fulfillment of prophetic scriptures and political considerations, Christians need to think differently about the people and land of Israel because Jesus was and is Jewish, McDermott stressed. And in order to relate to Jewish friends, getting in touch with His Jewishness is essential.
“The Jews were raised up by God as representatives of humanity,” McDermott said. “So that if the Bible shows their departures from God, it is really illustrating ours.”
“Jesus prized Jewish law, said that salvation is from the Jews, predicted that one day Jerusalem will welcome Him, and foresaw that His Apostles will one day rule over the tribes of Israel,” McDermott said.
If Christians begin to think they are somehow better because they believe in Jesus as Messiah and the Jews do not, they fail to understand God’s grace, he added.
“When we realize how profoundly Jewish Jesus was and is, we will feel greater kinship with those for whom Paul said he had ‘unceasing anguish in his heart.'”
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
A wise steward will be humble before his lord.
The steward takes the position of weakness and helplessness before his Lord.
The wise steward will extend grace and mercy to others.
1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
Do we ever wonder why some seem to have much and others seem to have little.
God knows the ability of each of His children/stewards.
God will first test our faithfulness in little things.
Many never move beyond the first step of faithfulness.
God know those who are unjust with little, will always be unjust with much.
This applies to both the spiritual realm and the physical realm.
God desires that all of His children be good, faithful and wise stewards.
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
God gives to our ability to increase.
Here we have an example of three different servants / stewards, with three different abilities.
The first servant/steward was the most faithful and trustworthy. He had a true and faithful heart and took his responsibility very serious. therefore he was given the most to care for. (5 talents)
The second servant/ steward was also faithful with good integrity. But not to the extent of the first servant/steward. Therefore he was only given (2 talents) to be responsible for.
The third servant/steward was very irresponsible therefore he was given only 1 talent. Because his master knew he would do nothing with it.
So here we have the most reliable servant and the average mediocre servant and the unreliable servant.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
Some will do much with what God has entrusted to them.
some will do little with what God has entrusted to them.
Many will do nothing with what God has entrusted to them.
Few will give their full service to their Lord.
More will give some service to the Lord.
Many will do nothing for God.
The faithfully surrendered.
The average church going Christian.
The totally unbelieving.
Few will walk the narrow path.
Many will follow mainstream Christianity.
But many more are completely unbelieving.
Two of these peaces of thought are from two Old Testament Scripture, the first is part of a prayer from Moses in the Book of Psalms the 90th Chapter. I got this idea from another blog about 2 or 3 days ago but I don’t remember which one, this prayer was part of that article. In slots number 2 and 3 I am going to drop in a couple of pieces of thought that I have jotted down the past couple of days. Then I am going to finish off this article today with a ‘thought’ from the Prophet Daniel. Please feel free to leave me comments on your thoughts, it is good to try to learn what other people think, and sometimes maybe even why they think different from we do, or maybe the same as we do.
1). The very strength of age is sorrow. What then is its weakness? Covet not extreme old age; but know that if it comes God must be our portion, or else life will be a burden.
2). This is why the whole world needs to be under a Socialists system folks: because that at the end of the day the only thing counts is who made the most cash today! When the masses are not needed even if their labor were totally free. When you are not making anything and you are costing someone else, then why should the top .1% continue to pay your way. O, but now what? Do those “little people” get to live a free breath? Or to be allowed to breathe at all? If all do not care for each other than there is no chance for the whole to survive without massive bloodshed at some point in time to either eliminate, or to care for each other.
3). Should there be storage sheds filled with excess food set back for the wealthiest of the world’s population? Personally I don’t see anything wrong with that being reality for some people if that is what they wish to do. With one notable exception or disclaimer if you will. That being okay as long as there are no people in the world going hungry at this same snapshot in time. If I have extra food and water yet I allow my neighbors to die from starvation or thirst, I fear looking our Lord in His eyes if we are guilty of such at on our Judgement Day.
4). This is from the Book of Daniel 9:3-4
And I set my face unto the Lord, to seek by prayer an supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes:
And I prayed unto the Lord my G-d, and made my confession and said, O Lord, the Great and Dreadful G-d. Keeping the Covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His Commandments.
Just wondering what your thoughts on these pieces of thought are. I hope you are all able to have a great weekend, stay safe, God bless.
Faith is a beautiful word and if one truly has faith in what they are speaking or doing the chances are that they will do better regarding that subject matter than if they are lacking in the faith there of. Most of the time when I have heard the word faith it is being spoken of in a ‘religious’ context yet faith is not exclusive to religion. We can have faith in just about anything. We can have faith in our athletic ability, or our ability to make our car or house payment each month, or that our spouse will not cheat on us with another. It is not wrong to have faith in things other than God, yet if we have more faith in something above what we have in God then that subject has become our God. I have faith that the Sun will come up tomorrow just as it did today, but only if God ordains it to be so. I have faith that the Sun will set this evening yet I do not know if I will still be alive to see it, that is up to God. I have faith in God, not the Sun or the Moon, I by my own strength can not cause the Sun or the Moon to do anything, only by God’s strength do they or I exist.
There are a few Scriptures that I will add at the end of this article that concern ones faith in God that you can browse through if you wish to. But this article today is going to be about our faith in God and the main Scripture I am going to refer to is found in the Book of Hebrews, the 11th Chapter, verses 1-4 and 6-9.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.
For by faith the Elders won God’s approval.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: And by it he being dead yet speaks.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
By faith Noah, being warned by God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear. Prepared an Ark to the saving of his house (family), by which he condemned the world.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go into a place which he would later receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.
By faith he (Abraham) journeyed in the land of promise, as in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.
Okay, that is it for the Scripture quotes of this article today. In my belief there is one main theme that runs throughout those 8 verses and that theme is ‘faith’ in God our Creator. Faith, to me, is the actual base of each and every person. Each person has faith in something, the core of their personality is what their faith is in, even if one only has faith in themselves. I have met many people in my life who do not believe in “a God”, the government, their education system, or even in any member of their family. These tended to be people whom in their own eyes had been let down by pretty much everyone and everything they have experienced in their own lives. All of a persons possessions, all of our family and friends, just like our own bodies, will pass away. There is only one thing we have that is eternal and that is our own Soul and it came from God and after we die it will go back to God. So, personally, if I am going to have total faith in anything or anyone, it will be in He who created us, and who will judge us at the end of our life. He who will decide, from our own actions while we lived, as to where we will spend ‘forever’ at. Our actions while here in this life are dictated by the things we believe in, or do not believe in. I chose to have faith in God before and above all else. If a person has a ‘Godly’ Soul they will put God first and being that God is the foundation of all that is good, if we do honestly put God first then we will tend to walk the path of light that He request of us.
Concerning religion it is common to hear term’s concerning the ‘path’ of life that we are walking just as in the business world when it is spoken of our ‘career’ path which decides our advancement in the ‘firm’. What we want the most in our lives is what we tend to believe in most, even if that faith is only in ourselves. When we tell someone that we will walk somewhere with them, would it not help if we move our feet? Lip service to ones faith does not compute to actual faith if there is no physical movement toward that which we say we believe in. We can say we are a rocket scientist because we have done a lot of studying in that field and we may enjoy hearing all about the fields scientific accomplishments, but if all we do is sit on our behinds and do not engage that entity, are we really a rocket scientist?
Many people say they are Christians because they do believe that Jesus Christ and the Holy Father Jehovah do exist yet they do not study God’s ‘instruction’ Book at all nor do they attempt to walk a ‘Holy’ lifestyle. We all know of cases where Preachers/Ministers have seriously hurt peoples faith in God because of their personal horrible actions. I was once in the break room of a company I was visiting shortly after a certain well known Preacher in Baton Rouge Louisiana had disgraced himself by his personal actions and a lady in the break room said because of this Preachers action whom she had been a long time follower of that “I will will never believe in God again” because this ‘great’ man had fallen to his temptation.” Everyone of us a human, we all have weaknesses and the Devil and His Angles know exactly what those weaknesses are, this is where they attack us, in our weaknesses, not at our strengths.
There will be an event that all of us must face and that event is ‘The Judgement Seat Of Christ’. If our own personal faith was weak or non-existent during our lives, Jesus will know it. Our Creator knows how each of us think and how we believe, or don’t believe, concerning Him and His teachings that He left for us to learn and live by. Our faith toward something is measured by our actions, if we believe in something very strongly, our actions show that belief, that faith, to the rest of the world around us. If we are lacking in that faith, our actions show that to the rest of the world around us also. I will finish this article with one question, when Jesus looks us straight in our eyes, and He will, what then?
These are the Scripture verses I spoke to you about at the beginning of the second verse of this letter to you:
Galatians 5: 22-23
John 6: 29
Ephesians 2: 8
I appreciate your time folks, I hope that you obtained some enjoyment and maybe even a little knowledge from the article. I pray that you and your loved ones will choose to have faith in God and in His love for you.
I know that there are folks who have read this title and had all kinds of different emotions flow over them and this is understandable. Here in the U.S. big government and big media have a long history of distorting what the truth is concerning marijuana. I credit the mainstream media for simply being stupid and running with whatever the federal government tells them. Big government and by big government I do mean from city, county, state and federal organizations where some are just ignorant, some are corrupt, and some are both concerning the concept of making marijuana legal again for the people to consume like a lot of folks do wine, champagne or beer. Yet it has been in the interest of different governments, police agencies and some big lobbyist groups to keep marijuana illegal for their own financial profits they make from such an hypocritical system. Now I know that a lot of folks who read my articles are a bit confused about my stance on legalizing marijuana or even mad at me because the underlying theme on by blog is Christianity. This is true, yet what is the title of my blog site? It is Truth Troubles isn’t it? In my belief system Christianity is Truth so truth troubles is about speaking the truth even if it is something that goes against what we hear in Church, the media, or from the government. Throughout Scripture in the Old Testament and the New Testament we are told many times that wine and alcohol were given to us humans for our enjoyment, but we are also told not to be gluttonous when we are partaking of them. God also gave mankind plants like Mandrake for our enjoyment. Remember back to the founding Fathers of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, remember Isaac had two wives of which his favorite was Rebecka and how she gave his other wife some of her Mandrake so that she could get to sleep with Isaac that night even though it wasn’t her turn? Mandrake does the same type of things as marijuana does as far as giving a person a ‘buzz’, if it is okay for the founding Fathers of Israel and their wives, you get the picture? Even here in America our own Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin grew pot in their own personal gardens. Think about this for a moment, the night that Rebecca got to sleep with Isaac when it wasn’t her turn is the night she was impregnated with Jacob, the man who’s 12 sons the 12 tribes of Israel are named after. Remember that the first reported miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine and no it was obviously not ‘grape juice’ or the ‘governor’ of the party would not have referred to it as the best. As Christians we all have to quit acting like hypocrites on these issues.
I was born in 1956 and the first time I ever tried ‘pot’ was when I was 17, it was just some cheap homegrown that was so weak that it didn’t do anything to me. I was probably about 22 or 23 before I smoked marijuana again yet I was around lots of folks who did smoke it literally every day when they could afford to buy it. In fact just about everyone I knew smoked it at least every once in a while. Most all of these people that I have known throughout the years didn’t even drink alcohol and if they did it was just an occasional beer. None of these people used any of the ‘hard drugs’ like Crack, Heroin or were users of pills. A lot of the people that I have known throughout my life who were able to keep smoking a little ‘pot’ in the evenings and on weekends at their homes never ever did go onto other type of drugs, not even alcohol. The Government and the big Media like to call marijuana a “gateway” drug, saying that when most people start off smoking pot that they progress into the harder drugs, the way in which they frame their argument is a lie, period.
The people that I know who have gone onto harder drugs like Heroin and opioid pills is because those drugs tend to flush out of a person’s system in about 72 hours. People have always throughout human history have wanted to have something they can have for relaxation and for a gentle ‘buzz’. When the U.S. Government decided to act stupid and classify marijuana a level one drug like Heroin and encouraged all businesses to start doing pre-employment and random drug screens on their workers almost all of the people that I know quit smoking marijuana because it stays in a person’s system for at least 30 days and they could not afford to lose their jobs. Most all of the people that I know who did quit smoking pot started drinking alcohol in place of it. Unfortunately there are millions of people who instead of smoking marijuana did turn to the real hard drugs. So, in a since, yes marijuana did become a ‘gateway’ drug in that people quit using it because it stayed in their systems so long that millions of people who would have never gone onto drugs other than marijuana have done so and the result is thousands of people are dying every year because of these hard drugs. Marijuana has never ever even killed one person! Now let’s look at states like Colorado since they made marijuana legal for adults, checkout the amount of overdose deaths from before they made marijuana legal and then sense they made it legal. I am no computer whiz to say the least so I will leave your investigations up to you, but I do ask you to check out the stats. I remember reading a Colorado newspaper online about two or three months ago concerning this issue and the results were rather stark, the amount of overdose deaths are way down as they are in Washington State.
Truth is that all this “war on marijuana” has done is to put a lot of money into drug cartels pockets and cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. Our Nation’s policies are idiotic, un-Christian and un-Jewish as well as being immoral. If our government was really interested in cutting down on overdose deaths from these hard drugs thus cutting down on the amount of these drugs coming into our country and giving drug cartels billions of dollars each year then they would create a system where pot is treated like beer or wine. Marijuana should be made to be cheaper than Heroin, Morphine or Crack. States who have actually done what the people of their states have voted for (when they have been allowed to vote on the issue, places like here in Kentucky refuse to allow a vote on it) the States have benefited with hundreds of millions in new tax revenue along with creating thousands of new jobs to help spur their economies. When our Government decided to create this “war on drugs” they through their own ignorance and hypocrisy took a benign medically helpful God-given Erb away from the people and have been the driving force behind the reason that millions of people worldwide are now dead. If our Nation was actually serious about stopping thousands of people from dying each year to drug overdoses then they need to get a clue and make marijuana totally legal in Our Country just like beer and wine is.
(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.
Francis urged a packed St. Peter’s Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones.”
The message was a twist on Francis’ frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.
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