It’s as good a time as any to ponder the implications of the Bible for the political tensions in the Middle East, and to ponder what the Bible says about the future of Israel and the Land, and to do so right now because the situation in Egypt is volatile enough to make many of us wonder what will become of Israel if changes are too drastic.
To examine this question, I turn to the four theses of John Goldingay in his new book: Key Questions about Christian Faith: Old Testament Answers. Here are his four theses:
Which of these do you agree with? which not? What role does your view of the Bible play in your positions when it comes to politics in the Middle East?
1. The Jewish people is still God’s people but is destined to come to recognize Jesus. Here he argues that the church does not replace Israel; there is a place for the Jewish people; but they will find that place in Jesus Christ. Not a two-covenant approach. Here are his words:
In heaven I expect to meet Jews who have not recognized Jesus: not only Jews from First Testament times but also Jews who have lived since Jesus’ day, people who have perhaps been prevented from recognizing him by the church’s failure to reflect him. They will be there by God’s electing grace, as I will be, and they will be there because Jesus lived, died, and rose for them, as he did for me (even if it is only then that they recognize that this was so), and they will be there because they have put their trust in God and God’s grace, as I will be be (not because they have done their best; no one will be there on that basis). [p. 194]
2. The Jewish people still has a claim to a homeland in Palestine (I prefer to call it “the Land”.)
3. Commitment to the Jewish people does not imply commitment to the State of Israel.
4. Israel’s destiny is secure, but its present is dependent on its decisions — it’s moral fidelity to the Torah and Covenant.