Israel’s Rights vs. "Cast Out the Bondwoman" ?

In recent days, we’ve learned that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to a limited Palestinian state. (I myself was taken aback somewhat when I read this, as Mr. Netanyahu has been repeatedly described as ‘hawkish’. I’m assuming that his reversal of position here was a result of United States influence/pressure (?) experienced in his latest meeting with President Obama.) One of the conditions is that the Palestinians agree to remain un-armed. Not surprisingly, this is not going over too well on the Palestinian front, last I heard.

Having recently posted on viewing a situation from the opposing side (see article), thus getting a differing perspective from my earlier one, I’m more prone to attempt that same approach in other matters now. I can’t say I enjoy doing this, and I believe real caution is in order when so attempting, but in search of truth and justice, such investigations become mandatory. Issues can weigh heavy with me, even if I myself am not immediately involved. Or ever involved ! But sometimes I am compelled, as the apostle Paul wrote in Acts, to “search these things out for yourselves”.

President Obama’s Cairo address included the topic of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I believe. In posting about that speech, therefore, my thoughts turned in this direction. As a Bible-believing Christian, I pretty much had the basics down pat, I thought, regarding Israel’s right to its land. Numbers 34 opens with a clear and definite description of the boundaries of the land (Canaan) promised to the Israelites by God. It’s right there, in black and white. In fact, if you back up to Genesis 12, we see that Abraham (called Abram at the time) and his posse “went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” And at that point the LORD informed him that “…Unto thy seed will I give this land…” All you Bible students out there know the simple math of Abraham, Isaac, then Jacob – whose name was changed to Israel. Biblically, it was in the Divine cards, so to speak, for specific lands to belong to the Israeli people. And if you check out a basic map of this clearly-outlined-by-God territory and overlay it on a map of the Middle East today…do I really need to tell you where we find ourselves? (map)

About two years ago, I was thrown a curve.

Reading an article entitled “American Apocalypse” , I was presented with a perspective on ‘Biblical prophesy’ and ‘end-time events’ that seriously contradicted anything I’d ever heard, or been taught. The thing of it was, the article made sense to me. Still, I would’ve balked, kicked and screamed my way out of it, if relevant Scripture hadn’t been included. But it was. Now, I can’t quite accept the cut-and-dry version of evangelical, mainstream Bible teaching concerning certain events anymore. And one of those events is the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

It took a little doing to backtrack and locate this article, but I’ve done so, and am re-reading it. I’d forgotten the whole thrust of dispensationalism factoring into my newly-considered end-times position. I used to work in a Bible bookstore, and I remember seeing that volume (by Clarence Larkin, was it?) about dispensationalism. Never got into it, though. All things are summed up in Christ, and I’ve always felt that it’s all about Him. Other areas of Scriptural study just have never really appealed to me all that much. Too many charts or something, in this one. Plus, don’t call me a dispensationalist, or a Methodist, or a Baptist, or any other ‘ist’, thank you, I believe in Jesus, and Him alone. When it comes to Christ, why do we need to subscribe to the tenets of various movements, organizations, and denominations? Some form of identity security or what?
As I see I’m heading off on a tangent, let me rope myself back in. Because I really, really get aggravated when it comes to ‘religious organizations’, and rules, thou shalt’s and shalt not’s, and any other form of structure that can turn a living organism into an organization. Yeah, it’s the rebel in me, the wild child, but I want to be free! And when the Son sets you free…you don’t need an ‘ism’ or an ‘ist’. His grace is sufficient. (Too scary for some, I know, but He can help you get over that.)

So…back to dispensationalism.

The prodigy of John Nelson Darby’s theology, dispensationalism became more widely known through the publication of Charles Ingersoll Scofield’s Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. A key element of this teaching is that all Scripture, especially prophecy, is to be interpreted literally, and Scofield taught that a prophecy may never be ‘spiritualized’. With this in mind, then, the land promised by God to Abraham and Israel must ultimately come into their (Israel’s) physical possession, exactly as detailed by the LORD. Additionally, it is a Scriptural statement that God’s Word will not pass away, and that He never changes, nor lies. So, Scofield and Darby notwithstanding, most Christians would see things this way anyhow. As did I.

“Christian leaders are zealous to ensure that U.S. foreign policy continues to be dictated by the interests of Israel without regard for the consequences in terms of Islamic reaction,” writes Stephen Sizer, the above-mentioned article’s author. He adds that dispensational belief in the futility of peace treaties between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbors, and God’s blessings on America while she supports Israel in all endeavors, is “deeply destructive” to American interests worldwide.
I remember being floored when I read these statements a couple of years ago. They fly in the face of everything I’ve ever believed. Yes, they sound logical but are they spiritually accurate? How could I even dare to consider…but as I’ve moved on in my life, I try to squelch knee-jerk reactions. Give things time, let them marinate a bit…so, bug-eyed and in mild shock, I filed this in the back of my mind, to be re-examined at a later date.
Which seems to have arrived…
No doubt, the world appears to be heading towards an eventual Armageddon. John Hagee made a comment during one of his televised sermons that a weapon has never been developed that wasn’t eventually used. (I haven’t researched that, but he’s an intelligent man, and seems to know what he’s talking about. So I’m goin’ with, he’s right…) And Israel is the hot spot of the world. It’s not lookin’ good. When all nations converge on Jerusalem, right?
But I’ve often been unwilling, even unable to concede to what seems obvious to many, if not most. Those twelve spies sent out by Moses judged according to the obvious, and their demise was swift (Numbers 14:37) – but Caleb had a different spirit (v.24), speaking and believing in faith, and lived, entering the Promised Land with Joshua (v.30). (Now, these Scriptures do refer to obtaining the land promised, against all odds – they could be used to in fact disprove the point I’m trying to make. The angle from which I’m approaching this scenario is, not judging according to obvious circumstances. Daring to see a different way.) So I wonder, with the Lord a day is as a thousand years…there may be more time than we think, and it may be that events transpire in a manner other than what we have heretofore believed, or thought. I know this sounds blasphemous, and I am not saying anything other than, I wonder…either way, God’s plan and purposes will come to pass, of a surety, know this.
ooo
Now, one thing we all do know is that there exists an old and a new Covenant, Biblically speaking. We are told, in Galatians 4, that Abraham’s two sons, one by a bond woman and one by a free woman, represent these two Covenants. The son of the bond woman Hagar was in the same rank with the Jerusalem that then existed, the physical, earthly city, and a type of the old Covenant “…which gendereth to bondage” (v.24). Now that old Covenant was struck on Mt. Sinai, and gave us law. Not grace, people, law…! Be clear on that! “…which gendereth to bondage.” Scripture records here, “…Cast out the bondwoman and her son…” (v.30) (as was done to Hagar and her child {Genesis 21:10} ), because the slave child shall not inherit along with the child of freedom, the child of grace and promise, which is the new Covenant, the “Jerusalem which is above” (Gal.4:26).

There are two Jerusalems.

What I wonder is, when the bondwoman and her son were cast out, what they stood for was cast out as well – and since what they stood for was old Covenant, and the physical Promised Land description resides in old Covenant ‘territory’ language – is it possible that the temporal fulfilment of such language has also been invalidated? If this is so, then perhaps there really is a New Day for the Middle Eastern countries. Perhaps there will be another answer, a different and unexpected door that will open up.

ooo

I had never understood exactly what ‘Zionism’, or ‘Christian Zionism’, was. Now, Zion itself, I understand, with rejoicing! But this other…wasn’t sure, but figured it must be good…right? Now, I question that cautious conclusion.. Mr. Sizer has this to say: “Increasingly, Dispensational Christian Zionism is being perceived as a deviant heresy which is subservient to the political agenda of the State of Israel.” The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism denounces the movement as ‘extreme’, ‘detrimental to…peace’ between Palestine and Israel, and as reducing the Gospel of the grace of God in Christ to an ideology of empire and militarism. It rejects the teachings of Christian Zionism where they facilitate such action and attitude.
The good part is, and my heart thrills to this next – the Declaration doesn’t stop at just refuting Christian Zionism, but presents to us the better way. We are urged to pursue the ‘healing of the nations’ through the ‘gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.’
ooo

I suspect that I sound naive and uninitiated. This may be. But truth bears looking into, and one has to start somewhere. In the course of my doing so, I happened upon a site on which a statement was made about the disregard for the plight of the uprooted and homeless Palestinians. Considering this crisis from that perspective, I’ve began searching out information and articles relevant to this subject. Next on my agenda, approaching from the Palestinian perspective…

Having said all the above, I ask my readers to bear in mind that I’m only putting it out there – thoughts, ideas and questions. And if backed up against a wall, my only response, if one was required, is that I believe that Jesus Christ is the great I Am. He holds the future in His hands.

Advertisements

6 responses to “Israel’s Rights vs. "Cast Out the Bondwoman" ?

  1. "Which seems to have arrived…" Ya' think???"..there may be more time than we think, and it may be that events transpire in a manner other than what we have heretofore believed, or thought…"Ya' suppose??…" and since what they stood for was old Covenant, and the physical Promised Land description resides in old Covenant 'territory' language…", […]At this point in your essay I am asking myself… "Has anyone ever asked the question: 'Why do we still today live side by side with third world tribal people?'" [mostly asking this because for instance — evangelizing Spaniards intervening with those 3rd worlds destroyed them entirely .. with sexually transmutations of a mass destruction level event…] It would be better to never contact those folks… just provide clinics or something… "dispensationalism… as reducing the Gospel of the grace of God in Christ to an ideology of empire and militarism. It rejects the teachings of Christian Zionism where they facilitate such action and attitude."My understanding of 'Dispensational' [more or less] it is a method of understanding historical happenings.. good or bad. It sort of objectifies our path to 'Salvation.'.. no? as in what you wrote: "…We are urged to pursue the 'healing of the nations' through the 'gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.'"Finished Reading: As usual — excellent writing and I am third world next to your pen-sive self…I have two ideas in my head in the back files of the back forty:1) Jesus is at this very moment a 'anticipatory' groom, he is to return to be married… and in Hebrew tradition, a groom never knows when he will be sent by His Father to go collect his Bride.. so the tension has Jesus chomping at His bit… so to speak.2) As I look about I equate "end times" as not any end to anything… God is eternal… no? So, how can we expect end times? Are we able to make this decision in our present circumstance, when we cannot even decide on a reasonable timeline? …; I prefer to look at God's Nature… almost every form of life, goes through transformation, transfiguration, or metamorphosis in its travail toward "meaning and hope.." So too we go? So we are changed too… and placed in New Jerusalem? 3) [did I say two? sorry] And when God the Father Almighty "chose" the Hebrews, my understanding is that is because Hebrews were an obnoxious rabble of rastafarian, self-willed, trouble makers, and Hedonist complainers… though hardworking, that "if God could organize and turn this rabble group to Him… then all the people of earth shall find their way back to Him; ABBA… 4) [ibid] and only when all the peoples of earth have heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, then shall He return… as a Groom that is.Holy Cow — who rattled my cage?

  2. In response to my words preceding "Ya' suppose??" -Having no proof whatsoever, I've pretty much always felt that the 'Rapture' concept may not be the way things go down. Two close Christian friends from my past, w/o me ever mentioning this, both said the same thing. And, on TV, Arnold Murray of Shepherd's Chapel, Ark. expressed such belief,years back. So…that one verse, about being 'caught up' has morphed into a whole culture practically. (But of course, I do not know the truth for sure.)Re/your 3rd.comment – somewhere around here I have a book abt Columbus, the New World, etc. & that point was made, how disease was brought to these lands. Which had never occurred to me b4.As to your two (4!) final comments -#1 – what a way to see Jesus now! This also would never have occurred to me.#2 – 'end times' – one of the two above-mentioned friends told me that he believed that 'end times' refers to the actual end of the influence of law. Grace will reign. I am right there with that one! (You can see why satan would fight so hard to keep law in all forms operative.)#3 – "I prefer to look at God's Nature…" Keepin' our eyes on Jesus…the only way to fly!"So we are changed too… and placed in New Jerusalem?"Patrick, we become New Jerusalem.(Rev.21:2, 9-10))

  3. I am so happy to be in this discussion, something inside me is dancing in a wild state of agility that would make even a Hare Krshna hesitate and give up his bits… I am a God Particle-beam, and I say Alleluia!!!!! It only takes a spark."Keepin' our eyes on Jesus…the only way to fly!""So we are changed too… and placed in New Jerusalem?"Patrick, we become New Jerusalem.Amen, Bubbalin' and all the children go to bed with full bellies….!!!!GG — Thanks for being here… pdnf

  4. "… Still, I would've balked, kicked and screamed my way out of it, if relevant Scripture hadn't been included. But it was. Now, I can't quite accept the cut-and-dry version of evangelical, mainstream Bible teaching concerning certain events anymore. And one of those events is the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis…"This statement talks to me directly.. now because I am not an historian… it will be difficult to figure out why?… but that is the point … no? Happy 4OJ 2K9 !!! Ya know we send all our love and hugs to you.. Bubbalin' Extraordinaire.

  5. If I am anywhere near on the right track, then your spirit is probably responding to truth. Often ya can't explain those responses logically!I am on my way to compose an Independence Day post. Hopefully it will be done before this time next week! seeing's as how I'm always behind schedule…whose schedule is the question…!Happy Independence Day to the brothers Darnell and families.God bless America.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s