The chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East has been the Arab nations’ unwillingness to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a nation. Students of the present situation all speak of this difficulty. When Israel is mentioned, Arab leaders become so emotional that they cannot face the facts objectively. Despite their stunning military defeat, Arab leaders still call for the eventual annihilation of Israel.
Many Christian leaders also say that Israel is no longer a nation of destiny; that because of her rejection of Christ and the emergence of the Church, all of God’s promises once made to Israel now apply to the Church. I believe that this view ignores many clear statements of Scripture and encourages a misunderstanding of what is taking place in our own time.
The Apostle Paul says clearly that there is a spiritual Israel, the Church, and a physical Israel, the Jews. He says, “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but ‘Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants” (Rom. 9:6b–8, RSV).
In the eleventh chapter of Romans Paul goes on to make clear God’s calling to the Church and his immutable promises to Israel. He says, “Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in.… As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (11:25, 28, ...1
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