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Who Really Stands with Israel?

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David Brog has written Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State. The ten reviews I read on Amazon were quite favorable, and it is being advertised on WorldNetDaily. The fact that the Foreword was written by John Hagee, author of Jerusalem Countdown, From Daniel to Doomsday, Beginning of the End, and Final Dawn over Jerusalem, is a clear indication that the book’s thesis fits with the modern-day prophetic system known as dispensational premillennialism. I doubt that the book covers what this article reveals.

In my debate with Tommy Ice at American Vision’s Worldview Super Conference (May 26, 2006), Ice pointed out that one of the unique features of the dispensational system is that near the end of a future, post-rapture, seven-year tribulation period, Israel will be rescued by God. After nearly 2000 years of delayed promises, God will once again come to the rescue of His favored nation. Ice and other dispensationalists imply by this doctrine that they are Israel’s best friend, and anyone who does not adopt their way of interpreting the Bible is either anti-Semitic (Hal Lindsey) or a methodological naturalist (Tommy Ice).

In the debate, I wanted Tommy to explain how a belief in Israel’s glorious future results in the slaughter of two-thirds of the Jews living at the time the Great Tribulation nears the end of its seven-year run. I quoted the following dispensational writers to show that there is no glorious future for “all Jews who are under siege,” to use Tommy’s words, in the dispensational version of the Great Tribulation.

  • According to the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, of which Tommy is an editor, “Prior to Israel’s conversion, Zechariah [13:8] predicts that two-thirds (‘two parts’) of the Jewish people in the land will perish during the tribulation period. Only one third of the Jewish population will survive until Christ comes to establish His kingdom on earth” (991).
  • In his book The Living End, Charles Ryrie writes the following in a chapter he titles “A Bloodbath for Israel”: “Jacob’s trouble [Great Tribulation] is that coming period of distress described by Jesus as He spoke to His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Jeremiah labeled it ‘Jacob’s trouble’ and said it would be unique in all history (Jeremiah 30:7). Jesus called it a period of unprecedented tribulation (Matthew 24:21). This will be the time of Israel’s greatest bloodbath” (81).
  • In his Israel in Prophecy, John Walvoord writes: “The purge of Israel in their time of trouble is described by Zechariah in these words: ‘And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third Part 1nto the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried’ (Zechariah 13:8, 9). According to Zechariah’s prophecy, two thirds of the children of Israel in the land will perish, but the one third that are left will be refined and be awaiting the deliverance of God at the second coming of Christ which is described in the next chapter of Zechariah” (108).
  • Eugene Merrill, in his Exegetical Commentary: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, writes: “The restoration and dominion cannot come until all the forces of evil that seek to subvert it are put down once and for all. Specifically, the redemption of Israel will be accomplished on the ruins of her own suffering and those of the malevolent powers of this world that, in the last day, will consolidate themselves against her and seek to interdict forever any possibility of her success. The nations of the whole earth will come against Jerusalem, and, having defeated her, will divide up their spoils of war in her very midst” (342).

There are geopolitical implications to the dispensational system that some people have picked up on.

Convinced that a nuclear Armageddon is an inevitable event within the divine scheme of things, many evangelical dispensationalists have committed themselves to a course for Israel that, by their own admission, will lead directly to a holocaust indescribably more savage and widespread than any vision of carnage that could have generated in Adolf Hitler’s criminal mind.[1]

Dispensational theology as it relates to Israel is alarming to some Jewish leaders as well. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, asks, “To what extent will a theological view that calls for Armageddon in the Middle East lead [evangelicals] to support policies that may move in that direction, rather than toward stability and peaceful coexistence?”[2] The most probable scenario is that prophetic futurists will sit back and do nothing as they see Israel go up in smoke since the Bible predicts an inevitable holocaust. It is time to recognize that these so-called end-time biblical prophecies have been fulfilled, and Zechariah 13:7–9 is certainly one of them. Those Jews living in Judea prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and who fled before the assault on the temple were saved (Matt. 24:15–22).

Endnotes:

[1] Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1986), 195.
[2] Quoted in Jeffery L. Sheler, “Odd Bedfellows,” U.S. News & World Report (August 12, 2002), 35.

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