by Thomas Williamson
In January of 1997, an Israeli
soldier opened fire on Arab civilians in the city of Hebron in
occupied Palestine, killing some and wounding others. His motive was
to prevent the return of Israeli-occupied lands to the Arabs.
This soldier was convinced that
God has given the land of Palestine to the Jews, and that it would
be a sin to return the land to the Arabs. Many evangelical
Christians, while not condoning the soldier's act of killing Arabs,
agree with him that the Jews have a divine title deed to Israel and
that the land must not be given back to the Palestinians.
Christian Zionists who believe
this way, when asked to cite a Biblical justification for their
views, usually go all the way back to Genesis 12 and 13 in the Old
Testament. Many such Zionists are dispensationalists, who teach that
the Old Testament and the Law of Moses are not for today, and that
only selected parts of the New Testament are to be followed in this
dispensation. However, they never quote from the New Testament to
justify their Zionist convictions, for the simple reason that no New
Testament teaching exists that would possibly back up such beliefs.
Zionists prefer to rely on the
Old Testament, citing Genesis 13:15 where God said to Abraham,
"For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and
to thy seed for ever." They construe this verse to teach that a
large chunk of the Middle East still belongs to the Jews today,
including the ancient lands of Edom and Moab, even though God said
in Deuteronomy 2:5, 9 that He would never give those lands to the
Christian Zionists regard God's
covenant with Abraham, including the land grant, as an unconditional
covenant. They admit that the Jews have broken that covenant, and
have rejected their Messiah, but insist that Palestine still belongs
to the Jews because God gave it to them "forever."
However, the Bible teaches that
God's covenant with Abraham and his descendants was a conditional
covenant, not unconditional. In Genesis 17:9-14 the Jews were warned
that they must keep the covenant or be cut off from God's people.
Leviticus 26:40-45 teaches that the Jews must confess and forsake
their sins in order to maintain the covenant. Deuteronomy 7:12, 1
Kings 9:6-9 and Exodus 19:5-6 all teach that the covenant was
conditional. Joshua 23:15-16 and 2 Chronicles 7:19-22 not only teach
that the covenant was conditional, but they also specify that the
Jews would lose their land grant if they broke the covenant.
As for the statement in Genesis
13:15 that God was giving the land to the Jews "forever,"
we must compare this with other uses of the same word in the Law of
Moses in order to understand what God is saying to us.
In Exodus 12:23-24, God
ordained the ordinance of the Passover to be observed
In Deuteronomy 18:3-5 the
Levites are ordained to be God's ministers, and to receive the
offerings of the people, "forever."
In Deuteronomy 23:3 we find
that an Ammonite or Moabite cannot join the congregation of the
Lord's people "forever."
In Leviticus 7:34 we find
that the peace-offering was to be observed "forever ."
In Leviticus 10:15 we are
told that the wave-offerings are to be observed
Leviticus 16:29 specifies
that the Day of Atonement is to be observed "forever."
In Leviticus 23:41 we are
commanded to observe the Feast of Tabernacles
Numbers 18:19 tells us that
we are to observe the heave-offerings "forever."
In Numbers 19:9-10 we are
instructed to use the ashes of a red heifer for purposes of
If we ask our dispensational
Zionist friends why they are not observing any of these commandments
today, they will explain that they are not for this dispensation,
that they were intended only for the observance of the Jews in the
dispensation of Law, before the coming of Christ.
The same reasoning applies to the
land grant of Palestine to the Jews. Not only is that land grant no
longer in effect in the new dispensation of grace, but it is also
very clear that the Jews were given that land under a conditional
covenant, and that they broke that covenant when they rejected and
crucified their Messiah.
The covenant and the land promise
to the Jews were not eternal, to last until the end of time. The
Jews did not keep the conditions of the covenant, and for this
reason God took away the kingdom of God from them, Matthew 21:42-45,
and gave it to the New Israel (Galatians 6:16,) the Church which
consists of believing Jews and Gentiles.
The inheritance of the new
Spiritual Israel is not land in the Middle East, but rather the new
Jerusalem in heaven. The old Jerusalem on earth is of absolutely no
importance to God's people, John 4:21, Galatians 4:24-28, Hebrews
12:18-24. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 4:25 condemns as children of
Hagar all those whose focus is on the earthly Jerusalem.
In Hebrews 8:13 we read that the
old covenant with Abraham was about to disappear. The final
disappearance of the old covenant took place in 70 AD when the
Romans destroyed the Temple, the City of Jerusalem, and the Jewish
state. The genealogical records of the Jews were destroyed also,
meaning there is no Jew alive today who can trace his ancestry back
to the Palestinian Jews of the First Century.
There is no statement or hint in
the New Testament that God will revive the Jewish state. It has been
revived by man twice, in 132 AD and in 1948 AD. There is no
prophetic significance in these human restorations of the Jewish
state, and Christians are under no obligation to support such a
Even our father Abraham has no
interest in a restored Jewish state, Hebrews 11:13-16. He is in a
much better place, the new Jerusalem. Instead of encouraging our
Jewish friends to seek out the earthly Jerusalem, we should point
them to the heavenly Jerusalem, available to them by faith in the
Messiah. Some Zionists accuse American Jews of greed, saying that
they belong in Israel and have stayed in America so they can make
more money here. Instead of telling American Jews that this is not
their country and that they should emigrate to Israel, we should
rather encourage them to stay here where they enjoy all the
blessings of religious freedom for their faith as well as a better
opportunity to convert to Christianity if they so desire
Nowadays there are prominent
evangelists who preach to their followers that God never fulfilled
His promise of giving all the land of Palestine to the Jews. They
support whatever action necessary, even nuclear war, to obtain Arab
lands in the Middle East and give them to the Jews.
This belief is not only a threat
to world peace, but it is also totally mistaken and unscriptural.
The Bible clearly teaches that God did keep His promise to His
chosen people the Jews, and that He did give them all the land that
was promised. The boundaries of the land promised are given in
Genesis 15:18 - from the river of Egypt (the Wadi El-Arish, not the
Nile) to the river Euphrates.
Read Joshua 11:23, Joshua
21:43-45, 2 Samuel 8:3, 1 Kings 4:21, 1 Kings 8:56, 2 Chronicles
9:26 and Nehemiah 9:7-8, 24 and it will become very clear that God
did give all of the land promised to the Jews. If God says that He
did, who are we to say that He did not?
It is not necessary for us to
start a war in the Middle East to fulfill a promise that God already
fulfilled 3400 years ago. As for the Old Testament promises that
Israel would be restored some day, these prophecies were fulfilled
by the return from the Babylonian Captivity in 536 BC. The prophet
Jeremiah is often quoted to prove that God promised a restoration of
the Jews to their land and that the promise began to be fulfilled in
1948 AD. However, Jeremiah very clearly said in 606 BC that this
prophesied national restoration of the Jews in their land would take
place within 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10, Daniel 9:2). Christian
Zionists need to study their Bibles more carefully, so that they
will realize that God already kept His promise, when He said that He
would, and that we do not need to stir up war and bloodshed in the
Middle East in order to fulfill the promise yet again.
Christian Zionism and
dispensationalism represent a giant step backward in our theological
progress. Instead of resting in the once-for-ever sacrifice by
Christ on the Cross for our sins, dispensational Zionists look
forward to the building of another temple in Jerusalem with animal
sacrifices. Instead of rejoicing in the New Covenant which was
promised to all God's people, Jeremiah 31:31-34, they want to go
back to the Old Covenant which has been forever abrogated. Instead
of inviting our precious, beloved Jewish friends to partake in the
eternal blessings of the heavenly Jerusalem, they try to send them
back to the Old Jerusalem, even though they believe that 2/3 of them
will be slaughtered in a 7-year period of Tribulation to come very
The entire tendency of this
theological system is to lead us all back to Judaism. The founder of
dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby, openly admitted that his
teaching would lead us back to Judaism. Let us rather heed the
exhortation of the apostle saying, "Let us go on," Hebrews
6:1, rather than turning back to the empty shadows of a religion
that was meant only to prepare mankind for the coming of Christ.
The duty of Christian churches
today is to seek the well-being of Jews according to the flesh,
Romans 9:3. We will accomplish that, not by lobbying for the
territorial expansion of Israel, but rather by preaching the Gospel
and planting churches, thereby giving all Jews and Gentiles an
opportunity to enter the heavenly Jerusalem for all eternity.
Mr. Thomas Willimasom is an
ordained Baptist minister who lives in Chicago, Illinois. He contributes
to Media Monitors Network (MMN)
from time to time.