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A Midwest bible college recently held a program on "Christian Zionism." Two presenters—whom I'll call Professor Jones, a New Testament scholar, and Professor Smith, a Hebrew Bible scholar—discussed the topic, "The Theology of Israel and its Political Implications."

"I see the Jewish Federation has sent someone here," Professor Jones began, noting my presence in the audience. He then explained that this was a Christian conversation, among those who share Christ, about Christian issues. Despite his admonition, I felt the evening's program concerned me, and I remained in my seat.

Professor Jones expressed the view of many who have come to see the failings of the State of Israel in theological terms. He argued that the Jewish people's use of the land of Israel was conditional on living up to biblical standards of national behavior set forth by the prophets, that contemporary Israel did not do this and was therefore unworthy of Christian support, and that Christians could not subscribe to a Jewish theological claim to the land of Israel because Christianity came to "reject the territorial religion of Judaism."

Comparing modern Israel to Ahab and Jezebel's regime, Professor Jones said that the State of Israel was built on the backs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. Israel, he said, is a nation-state whose borders were drawn by European colonial rulers who imposed a secular, colonial, socialist entity on the Middle East, of which the Arabs could not approve. He called Israel an apartheid state.

Professor Smith responded, setting forth the tenets of premillennial dispensationalism. The State of Israel, he said, is secured by the prophecies of God and the Hebrew Bible. Even if the whole world stands against ...

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February 2008

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