Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Have you been curious about what all the fuss with Israel is about, at least with many evangelicals? Gary North explains it all in a sobering way. North (who I have my own issues with) makes a point I had never considered before:
There are approximately 20 million people in the United States who devoutly believe that there is a very real possibility that they will not die. Their belief rests entirely on the existence of the State of Israel. This is why they regard current affairs in the Middle East as a life-and-no-death matter.

While I'm fairly familiar with the doctrine of dispensational premillenialism and its effect on the foreign policy position of many, a real obsession with not dying had not occurred to me. He also explains the rather grim repercussions for Jews in Israel in order for these eschatological fancies pan out.

I believe it is possible that I may not die, that the Lord may return in my lifetime. Paul's pleas of 'Maranatha' (Lord, come quickly) indicate to us that is something every Christian should legitimately look to. But there's no foreign policy position I can take that will have any effect on His timing. I believe the time is set, but I cannot know it. I must live my life as though it could end at any time, or that the Lord may return at any time. That has nothing to do with the state of Israel.

Strategically, Israel can be beneficial to U.S. interests. They are certainly a beseiged American ally. But I do not believe that the modern state of Israel is 'special' in any way. It is simply one nation among many in the world. They can also make mistakes.

The dispensationalists essentially hold that Jesus's work on earth in the first century was a failure; He meant to establish His kingdom, failed to do so so put a band-aid on the plan by establishing the church instead. Why, if God is so weak that man can thwart His plans, should we expect Him to be able to succeed with this fall-back premillenial plan I'm not sure. A weak God is not the God I serve, but that's the God of dispensational premillenialism.

[Here's a nice chart that helps explain dispensational eschatology. Think of it as an end-times flow chart.]

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