Sunday, March 02, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Exekiel 37:21-27(NASB)
21 "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 "They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. 24 "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 "And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."'"
This Damian Penny piece on some Anglican priests who are dissing Israel on the grounds that the Church superseded Israel once the Jews rejected Jesus. That piece got me wondering where the standard-issue premillennial view of Israel as a key end-times player comes from. This passage in Ezekiel seems to come the closest. The questions that were running through my mind last night were many. On what grounds do we justify backing Israel today if they've lost that status as God's people? If the majority of Jews in the first century gave Jesus the middle-digit salute, does that render null and void all the stuff God promised Israel? That makes God and Indian-giver, having a loose understanding of forever when he promised Abraham to be with his desendents. There's a powerful tug to give a selected reading of scripture making the modern church the new carriers of the Chosen People title, making those nasty Anglospherians even more cocky in their desire to spread the Anglo-American meme around the world. However, most of the write-ups I've seen of such Anglo-Isralism seem to put their heurmanutics way ahead of their exegesis. This verse seems to point to the people of Israel, not believers in God in general. It also seems to be a prophecy that hasn't happen yet; a preterist might point to the Ezra-Nehemiah era as its fulfillment, but that doesn't quite capture the grandeur of this passage. You can make a case (and many Jews do) that the current government in Israel isn't the one that God's talking about, but the idea that God will bring Israel back to the homeland someday seems to be a straight exegesis of this passage. If that's the case, than the foes of Israel aren't cast in that great of a light if you read on in Ezekiel. That might give us spiritual pause in backing the foes of Israel. We have humanitarian (helping out a crapped-on people) and geopolitical (the one democracy in the area) reasons to be helpful to the Jewish people; this adds the spiritual dimension. I'm not all that sound on my eschatology other than having a generic Premillennial belief; the other escatologies seem to have more holes. This is one passage that points away from a preterist or a post-millennial world-view. I'm still fleshing out a better understanding of those prophetic parts of scripture, and this seems to help.

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