Hi gang! Over the past few days we’ve looked at the idea of Biblical Zionism and its basis. If you missed those posts, you may want to review:
With that as our foundation, let’s discuss Israel’s right to the land. As we have studied, God promised land to Abraham and his descendents in the Abrahamic Covenant, and it is an everlasting covenant. But Biblically, how should be view that promise?
Have you ever seen an airplane fly with only one wing? Neither have I! That’s because airplanes are meant to fly with both wings intact. Likewise, we must depend upon the two “wings” of the covenant promise of land to fully understand why, if God made a promise, Israel has not always dwelt in the land that was promised!
The two wings are principles, and here they are:
- Undoubtedly, the land of Canaan, known as Israel today, belongs to the Jewish people. (See Take Your Shoes Off ) God confirmed it in the Abrahamic Covenant, and it is an everlasting promise!
- The right to live in the land and enjoy its blessings are based on Israel’s obedience to the God who promised them the land! (Again, see Take Your Shoes Off )
So, what happens if we are imbalanced in our view of God’s promise? We fail to understand the Jewish roots of our Christian faith, and we put ourselves at risk of failing to rightly relate to our Jewish friends. It takes both wings of the airplane to stay aloft! If we neglect the first wing (God’s promise) and rely solely on the second wing (Israel’s required obedience), we may drift into false theology known as Replacement Theology, or into Anti-Semitism. On the other hand (or wing!), if we put stock only in God’s promise, and forget that obedience is required, we run the risk of embracing a right-wing nationalist perspective, which is political Zionism, but not Biblical.
To remain Biblical, we must fly with both wings!
Throughout history, when the Jews were faithful in their obedience to God, their borders expanded rapidly and they subdued their enemies. However, when Israel’s kings led them astray, God often stirred up resistance among Israel’s neighbors, and even re-arranged their territory at times. Think about what led up to the exile in Babylon. Or simply read what took place in Judges.
But, once Israel humbled herself and returned to her God, she found Him more than willing to restore and bless them once more! What a gloriously patient God!
Israel’s history is filled with such examples, but if you want big ones, consider the two exiles. In 586 BC, they were taken into captivity in Babylon after a string of evil kings led Judah into idolatry. Seventy years later, they returned to their land, where they were faithful for a season. However, in 70 AD Jerusalem was wiped out by the Romans and once again Jews were dispersed…this time all over the world. It wasn’t until May 14, 1948 that Ezekiel’s prophecy (chapters 36-37) were fulfilled and the nation of Israel was re-born!
You see, what goes on in the Middle East today is not so much a battle between Israel and her neighbors as it is between Israel and her God! Israel’s faithfulness will ALWAYS bring about God’s sovereign hand on their behalf. Should Israel continue to drift from her God, however, we can accurately predict that Israel’s enemies will edge toward having the upper hand!
Do you see the value in praying for Israel? (Psalm 122, Isaiah 62) Part of our prayer for Zion’s sake should be a prayer of repentance for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. As Israel seeks her God, He becomes a shield of protection all around His people! Let’s pray that, my friends!