Deeply Dismayed

I am deeply dismayed with some of my evangelical, Bible-believing brothers. The dismay comes from a letter written to President Bush and published in the New York Times on July 29, 2007 by a group of evangelicals who claim to be “committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures.” This letter supports President Bush’s two-state peace initiative for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While I absolutely and totally support the desire for peace in the region, the letter is extraordinarily flawed biblically and does not contribute to the advancement of God’s will and His Kingdom program. Why? Three Biblical issues come to mind 1) the premise, 2) ownership and 3) occupation.

The Premise

To begin with, the premise of the letter is flawed. The letter states that the only way to “achieve a lasting peace in the region… is to negotiate a just, lasting agreement that guarantees both sides viable, independent, secure states.” This premise is a non biblical pipe-dream. The Bible states that our world is not heading to a time of peace but a time of war. In fact, our age is characterized by warfare (Dan. 9:26; Matt. 24:7). Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the Times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24). The next major prophetic event will be the Russian coalition’s invasion of Israel (Ezk. 38-39) followed by the three world wars of the Tribulation period (I Thess. 5:2-3; Rev. 6:4; Dan. 11:40-45; Rev. 16:14).

The best we can hope for are temporary periods of peace in the Middle East. A two-state arrangement might provide such a temporary respite, but to hope for or expect anything more, is to deny Biblical reality. Lasting peace will only come to the Middle East and planet Earth when the Prince of Peace returns, inaugurates His Kingdom and rules the world with a “rod of iron” (Isa. 2:4, 9:6-7, 11:6-9; Psa. 2:9; Rev. 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). Man made agreements are made one day and broken the next.


The second issue in error is the issue of ownership. While my evangelical brothers affirm the truth of the “biblical promise to Abraham” and reference Genesis 12:3 in the letter, their understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant appears to be inadequate and shallow. This is ironic in light of their statement that they are “committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures” (emphasis mine).

In their letter, they ignore the fact that the Jewish people have been given the title deed to the Land of Israel by the Abrahamic Covenant and its subset, the Land Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3, 7, 13:14-17, 15, 17) is an unconditional and eternal covenant God made with the Jewish people that consists of three basic promises: 1) a seed promise, 2) a blessing promise, and 3) a land promise. This covenant established the nation of Israel.

These three basic promises are expanded and developed by three additional eternal and unconditional covenants God made with the Jewish people. The seed promise is expanded and developed by the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:24-28. The New Covenant establishes the salvation of the nation. The national promise is expanded and developed by the Davidic Covenant (II Sam. 7:10-17; I Chron. 17:10-15; Psa. 89). The Davidic Covenant establishes the leadership of the nation. Finally, the land promise is expanded and developed by the covenant that we are most concerned with here, the Land Covenant (Deut. 29-30, sometimes also called the Palestinian Covenant). The Land Covenant establishes the residence of the nation.

Inappropriate Terminology

Before I proceed, let me state that the common name used for the Land of Israel, Palestine, (and derivatives such as Palestinian Covenant) is an insulting and pejorative term that should never be employed. This title was given to the Land of Israel by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Harper’s Bible Dictionary explains the event:

After the suppression of the Bar-Kochba revolt in A.D. 135 the Roman emperor Hadrian expunged the name Provincia Judea and substituted Provincia Syria Palaestina or simply Palaestina (Palestine).[1]

It appears the Hadrian’s renaming of the territory was an act of Roman humiliation and revenge for the unrest that characterized Israel under Roman rule. To continue to use this term to identify the Land of Israel as well as an important biblical covenant is absolutely inappropriate because is perpetuates the attitude of disdain against God’s Chosen People demonstrated by Hadrian. The term is especially inappropriate for Christian theologians and Pastors to use considering the fact that the nation of Israel exists once again. Christian theologians and pastors sometimes forget that Jesus was a Jew who lived and walked in a land called Galilee, Samaria, and Judea, not Palestine. The appropriate terms to use to identify the “Promised Land” would be the biblical terms Judea, Samaria, Galilee, or Israel.

This expression is also an inappropriate name to use when identifying the Arabic peoples who occupy sections of Israel at the present time. The term “Palestine” means “Land of the Philistines.”[2] It does not mean “Land of the Arabs.” The Philistines disappeared from history during the Intertestamental Period.[3]The Arab peoples did not inhabit the land to any great extent until Islam swept out of the Arabian Peninsula 600 years later. The modern Arab peoples are not related to the ancient Philistines. With the above stated, let us return to the subject of the four covenants.

Four Covenants

The four covenants constitute an essential foundation for understanding the plan of God for Israel and mankind. If you do not have a firm grasp on the concepts found in them, you will misunderstand great blocks of Scripture, especially the books written by the prophets. As a result, you will either create your own theological (not biblical) covenants (Covenant Theology) or you will come to the conclusion that the church has replaced Israel in the plan of God (Replacement Theology) or you will drift into other biblical aberrations and church fads such as Process Theology, Open Theism, Liberation Theology, etc. In other words, exactly where a great bulk of the Church is today. Rather than embracing consistent, plain, literal interpretation (Dispensationalism) from a Jewish perspective (an often forgotten but critical interpretive factor), many in the Church are more interested in numerical growth and the latest fad than in making disciples.

Contained in the Abrahamic Covenant are explicit and clear statements that the Land of Israel was given to Abraham and his descendants. The Jewish people possess the title deed to the Promised Land. For example, God states to Abraham, “all the land you see, I will give to you and to your descendants forever” (Gen. 13:15) and “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Gen. 17:8). Other statements, among many, include the following:

  • Gen. 28:13-15 (NASB95)
  • And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

  • Gen. 35:11-12 (NASB95)
  • God also said to him, “I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you. “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, And I will give the land to your descendants after you.”

  • Gen. 50:24 (NASB95)
  • Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.”

  • Ex. 6:7-8 (NASB95)
  • “Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. ‘I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.’ ”

The Jewish people own the Land of Israel as God’s gracious gift to them. To deny or compromise that principle found in God’s holy and inerrant Word is to deny the full teaching of the Scriptures.


The final concept that has been overlooked in the evangelical letter is the concept of occupation. The principle I want to develop under the title “occupation” is the fact that while the Jewish people own the Land, Jewish enjoyment of the Land is conditional upon obedience. This is seen most clearly in the Abrahamic/Land Covenant of Deuteronomy 29 and 30.

The Land Covenant is a distinct covenant (Deut. 29:1) because it is states to be made “besides” or “in addition to” the Mosaic Covenant. It begins in verses 2-29 by chronicling Israel’s long history of disobedience. In Deuteronomy 30:1-2, the promise is made that the Jewish people will experience a world-wide dispersion because of disobedience but at the end of that world-wide dispersion they will repent of their rebellion against God. The covenant concludes with the promise of restoration to the Land of Israel (Deut. 30:3-10). The basis of the restoration to the Land is the fact that the Jewish people have been granted possession of the title deed to the Land. Verse 5 states, “The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.”
Some clear statements that likewise affirm Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel include the following:

  • Jer. 16:14-15 (NASB95)
  • “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.

  • Jer. 23:8 (NASB95)
  • But, ” ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”

  • Jer. 30:3 (NASB95)
  • ” ‘For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.'”

  • Ezk. 28:25 (NASB95)
  • “Thus says the Lord God, ‘When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and will manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob.'”

  • Ezk. 37:21-25 (NASB95)
  • “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; 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. 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. 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. 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.”‘”

The Mosaic Covenant similarly promised the Jewish people a world-wide dispersion out of the Land of Israel because of disobedience (Deut. 28:15-68; Lev. 26:14-39). However, please note, in a similar manner the Mosaic Covenant also contained the promise of a world-wide return to the land after repentance (Lev. 26:40-46). The two covenants are consistent on this point.

The Bible promised 3,400 years ago what we have seen take place before our eyes since 1948. The Jewish people, against all odds, have reoccupied a portion of the Land given to them and their fathers, by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A study of the boundaries of the Promised Land reveals that the modern nation of Israel only occupies approximately 30% of the territory promised by God. In fact, the Jewish people have never occupied all of the entire Promised Land and we do not do so today. Full reoccupation of the Land will not occur until the experience of the Tribulation period is completed, Jesus returns, and the Messianic Kingdom is established.

The Jewish experience of diaspora and regathering is fully in accord with God’s promised way of dealing with us. This principle must not be overlooked as it is part of the full teachings of the Scriptures.


Let me share an example of this phenomenon found in every day life. I hope the simplicity and relevance of this example will go far to make the issues involved clear.

Suppose you own your own home free and clear and enjoy the blessings of occupying that house and lot. Now, let’s supposed you acted in an irresponsible manner one day and got behind the wheel of your car drunk. Unfortunately, you caused an accident and you were sent to jail for three years. After living in jail you completed your sentence and you returned to live in your home.

This is similar to the experience of the Jewish people. We have received the title deed to the Promised Land and have occupied it, just as you occupied your home. Then, because we broke God’s law we could no longer enjoy the blessing of living in our land, just as you have to live in jail and were not allowed to experience the blessing of living in your home because you broke man’s law. When the Jewish people were exiled from our land, we did not lose the title deed to our land, only the blessing of living in our land for a period of time. In the same manner, when you were sent to jail, you did not loose the title deed to your home. You only lost the blessing of living in your home for a period of time. When our time of discipline was over, the Jewish people had every right to return to our property and occupy it. In the same manner, when you were released from jail you had every right to return to your home.

Please note, you would be very upset if someone moved into your home while you were in jail and proclaimed that it belonged to them. No one has the right to take over your home because you are absent for an extended period of time. The property belongs to you. The title deed has not been transferred to someone else. You would fight such a claim in court and produce your title deed as confirming evidence of your ownership of your property.

The same is true for the Jewish people. God has not transferred the title deed of the Land to anyone else, no matter what the claim may be. The title deed is on public record in the Bible as the Abrahamic Covenant.

Jewish absence from the Land does not give the Palestinians legitimate rights to the Land any more than your absence would give someone the right to appropriate your home. The last time I read “the full teaching of the Scriptures,” stealing was still a sin (Deut. 5:19; Lev. 19:10; Ex. 20:15). The Bible guards the right to private property (Ex. 20:17, 21-22, etc.) and the Land of Israel is the property of the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

They also state in their letter, “Historical honesty compels us to recognize that both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine.” This is a biblically and historically dishonest statement.

The Abrahamic Covenant was signed and sealed with Abraham some 4,000 years ago (Gen. 15). At that time the Canaanite tribes occupied the Promised Land, not the Arab tribes. These Canaanite tribes are expressly listed in the book of Genesis.

  • Gen. 15:18-21 (NASB95)
  • On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”

The title deed to the Land was taken from the Canaanites and given to the Jewish family (I Ki. 21:26; Lev. 18:24; Deut. 18:12, etc.) by the sovereign authority of God.

There was no major Arab influx into the Land of Israel until the Islamic hordes swept out of the Arabian peninsula bent on world domination some 1,300 years ago. They may have then occupied the Promised Land to a certain extent, but the title deed was not transferred to them. The Palestinians are relatively recent squatters who are simply stealing property. Squatting may exist, and even be legalized in some places, but that does not make it right. Squatting is simply theft.

My evangelical brothers are thinking quite inconsistently. They would present the valid, authoritative and legal title deed to their property in court as they sought to reoccupy their home. They would expect the judge to recognize their deed and rule accordingly. However, in the case of the Jewish people, my evangelical brothers are unwilling to accept the evidence of a much greater legal, valid and authoritative title deed — the Abrahamic Covenant. This is in spite of the fact that they affirm the Abrahamic Covenant in their letter and state that they are “committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures.” How ironic, what would be good for them is suddenly not good for the Jewish people even when it is clearly stated in the holy, inerrant and inspired Word of God.

Recent History

I am amazed that my evangelical brothers have short and selective memories as well. My evangelical brothers go on to state, “…both sides must …accept each others’ right to exist.” They have forgotten recent history. They seem to forget that only one side has been doing its dead level best to achieve a two-state solution since 1948 — Israel! Perhaps a short history lesson is in order at this point.

Over the past 2,000 years many governments have squatted on the Holy Land. In the mid-1800’s the modern Zionist movement began. At that time the Ottoman Empire trespassed on the Promised Land. In order to reclaim our biblical inheritance the Zionists had to buy back land that was biblically and rightfully ours already. Is that just and fair?

During the ensuing years, under the British Mandate, who consistently accepted a two state solution to the conflict — the Jewish community. Who rejected a two state solution — the Arab nations.

The Jewish community accepted a two state solution in spite of the fact that the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations mandate instructed Britain to establish a Jewish state, a one state solution, in the Promised Land.

Over the years that followed, the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations mandate was reinterpreted (broken) by Britain. Jewish territory was given away piece by piece. In 1923 70% of the mandate was given to the Hashemite King Abdullah for a “Palestinian State.” That country is known as Jordan today. Jordan is the “Palestinian State” set up by the British.

The Zionists accepted that reduction in Jewish territory. Proposal after proposal followed, each one seeking to reduce the Jewish homeland further and further (1937-The Peel Partition Plan, 1939 – The Woodhead Commission Plans A, B, C). The Zionists studied every proposal responsibly even though each meant a further reduction to the Jewish homeland. The Arab Stated rejected every proposal because every proposal established a Jewish state, no matter how tiny. Finally, exhausted over the ordeal, Britain turned the matter over to the United Nations. The United Nations voted to establish a two state solution (UN Partition Plan-Resolution 181, November 1947). The Zionists agreed even though the Jewish Homeland had been reduced to 20% of the original territory stated in the League of Nations Mandate.

The Arab nations refused, once again, to accept a two state solution. In May, 1948, when the British Mandate ended, six Arab armies, in violation of their United Nations membership commitment, defied the will of that world body and tried to destroy the nascent State of Israel. After the War of Independence Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Jordan occupied and eventually illegally annexed the West Bank. This status quo continued from 1948 until 1967. During those 19 years Jordan and Egypt did nothing to establish a “Palestinian State” even though they had a free hand to do so. During those years Israel’s Arab neighbors harassed Israel and continued attempts to undermine her viability through military and economic means.

The status quo was broken during the opening hours of the 1967 Six-Day War. Jordan entered the fray and attacked Israel even though Israel begged her to refrain. The Israelis counterattacked and conquered the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Did Israel annex these territories and make them part of Israel as Jordan had done to the West Bank? No. Israel administered these territories leaving the possibility of a two state solution an open option.

Then in October, 1991, with the convening of the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Framework, Israel began the process of “land for peace.” Over a five year period the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were to be handed over to Yassar Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization, now the Palestinian Authority, and a two state solution implemented. Israel followed through on all her Oslo obligations. The PA failed to implement the agreement.

The most graphic picture of Arab opposition to a two state solution in recent history came to light when the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, rejected Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David, in July 2000, that consisted of 98% of Arafat’s demands. Israel bent over backward to compromise with the Palestinians and was soundly rebuffed.

The Arab League has continued to oppose the right of the Jewish people to their own land for almost 60 years. Only a handful of Arab nations have signed a peace treaty with Israel. On Israel’s southeastern and southwestern borders, a very cold, resentful peace exists between Israel, Jordan and Egypt. On her northern borders Lebanon and Syria are still in a state of war with her. In addition, the PA, Hamas and Hezbollah continue to be committed to the total destruction of the State of Israel. Yet, Israel has made concession after concession to her enemies as she attempts to implement the UN’s original two state solution for 60 years. Who was it who unilaterally and totally pulled out of the Gaza strip in 2006? Israel! Did the Palestinians take advantage of that withdrawal to implement a viable Palestinian state? Absolutely not!

My evangelical brothers also appear to be ignorant or naïve of the realities present in Middle Eastern culture. In our western, democratic culture, compromise is desired, honored, and sought after. My brothers are blind to the fact that in the Arab mindset compromise is humiliating and despised. In the Arab mind, if you are strong, you do not compromise. You take what you want by force. You only compromise when you are weak. In the Arab mind, might makes right. This cultural mindset is blatantly self-evident when one looks at the sectarian civil war currently raging in Iraq. The same mindset that prevents peace and nation building in Iraq is the same mindset that prevents peace and nation building for the Palestinians.

In contrast, Israel is fully committed to the Palestinians’ right to a state and she has done all she can to facilitate that goal since 1948. It is the Arab League and Palestinians themselves who have thwarted that goal again and again.

At this writing (October, 2007), Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is attempting to establish an acceptable framework with the PA in the West Bank so a two state solution can be implemented. Consistently the Arabs have rejected a two state solution. Will it be different this time? If this little lesson in history is our guide the answer is no. The Arabs will reject the idea one more time. In contrast, Israel is fully committed to the Palestinian’s right to a state. She has done all she can to facilitate that goal since 1948. It is the Arab League and the Palestinians themselves who have thwarted that goal again and again.

However, if the unexpected occurs and a State of Palestine is created, we will probably experience a short respite from war. Eventually, fundamentalist Muslims will again take up their crusade to destroy the State of Israel. Make no mistake, the institution of a Palestinian state will be a temporary experience at best. Ultimately the Land belongs to the Jewish people. There will be no two state solution in the Messianic Kingdom. At that time the Jewish people will occupy 100% of our Promised Land. Any other group of people claiming ownership of the Promised Land are squatters. Even if a two state solution is implemented, they are squatters none the less.


After I have said all this, where should we be placing our efforts? Whether we support a two-state solution or oppose one, let’s put our efforts into what we do know rather than into what we do not know. We do not know the twists and turns and ups and downs that the road to the Second Coming will take. God has not shown us those details. A two-state solution may or may not be implemented. Currently, a three-state situation (Israel, The West Bank controlled by the PA, and Gaza controlled by Hamas) is the reality.

However, we possess at least two commandments in Scripture that are perfectly clear. First of all, we need to be placing our emphasis on obeying the Great Commission (Matt. 25:16-20). That is, we need to be reaching the world for the Messiah — to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16) — with the Good News of salvation that is graciously granted when you place your faith in the person and work of Israel’s Messiah. We need to follow that up by making disciples through in-depth study of the Word of God. If we get the Word of God right the rest will fall into place.

Second, we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psa. 122:6). “Lasting peace” will not come to the Middle East until the Prince of Peace rules in everyone’s heart — Jew and Gentile alike.

If we maintain our emphasis on evangelism, discipleship and prayer we will find ourselves biblically balanced when we have to confront issues like peace in the Middle East. We will find that we will calmly take daily events in stride, knowing that our God, not the leader of a world power, is in charge.

One issue remains that must be stated. Let me clearly state that although my evangelical brothers do not agree with my stand on Israel and the Middle East I do not believe they are anti-Semites. I do not believe that any of them would march me into the gas chambers. They are my brothers in the Messiah even though the are dead wrong on this issue.

However, with that clearly stated, they do have a biblical problem. That problem is arrogance. The word “arrogance” is not my word. The word arrogance is God’s description, mentioned twice, in the Book of Romans (emphasis mine).

  • Rom. 11:16-24 (NASB95)
  • If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum explains the significance of Romans 11:16-24 in his book Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.

Paul begins by giving the illustration and the principle (v. 16). The connecting for or if or now provides the reason for believing in a future national restoration. The illustration is that of the firstfruit and the root which refer to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Abrahamic Covenant. They are holy because they were separated and consecrated by God for a divine purpose. Israel as a nation is the lump and the branches. The principle, based on Numbers 15:17-21, is that the holiness or consecration of the firstfruits and the root is passed on to the lump and the branches. Just as the firstfruits sanctifies the whole harvest (lump), even some day all Israel will also be sanctified. The Abrahamic Covenant made with the patriarchs is the basis for the expectation of Israel’s future national salvation.

The natural branches are the Jews (Israel) and the wild olive branches are the Gentiles (v. 17). The Olive Tree in this passage does not represent Israel or the Church, but it represents the place of spiritual blessing. The root of this place of blessing is the Abrahamic Covenant. The point that Paul makes here is the same point that he made in Ephesians 2:11-16 and 3:5-6. The Gentiles, by their faith, have now become partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings. This Olive Tree represents the place of blessing, and now Gentiles have been grafted into this place of blessing and partaking of its sap. Gentiles have been made partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings as contained in the Abrahamic Covenant. The Gentiles are not taker-overs, but partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings. Paul spoke of the grafting of wild olive branches into a good olive tree. Critics of Paul have said that it is obvious that Paul did not understand horticulture, because you never graft a wild olive branch into a good olive tree, for this is unnatural. That is exactly the point Paul was making. It is unnatural for wild olive branches to be grafted into a good olive tree. It is unnatural for Gentiles to be grafted into this place of blessing that comes out of the Abrahamic Covenant. Paul does not say that this is normal, he says that this is abnormal. In verse 24, Paul states that this is contrary to nature. Normally, such a graft would be unfruitful. The point he is making is that God is doing something that is unnatural: He is bringing Gentiles into the place of blessing based on the Jewish covenants.

Then Paul gives a warning (vv. 18-22). The basis of Gentile blessing is faith and not merit. If the Gentiles are to remain in the place of blessing, they must continue in faith. Israel’s failure should be a lesson to them. He is not dealing with individuals as such; he is not dealing with individual believers and unbelievers, but with nationalities of Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were in the place of blessing as a nationality, but because of their unbelief they were broken off. Now Gentiles are to be found in the place of blessing; but if they fail in faith, they will also be broken off from the place of blessing. This is not a loss of salvation, but a removal from the place of blessing. The warning is that the basis of Gentile blessing is faith and not merit. Gentiles are warned against boasting over the natural branches, for they are not self-sustained, but are sustained by the root: the Abrahamic Covenant, which is a Jewish covenant.[4]

It is self-evident that this attitude of arrogance was already present in the character of the Gentile Christians fellowshipping in the church in Rome in the middle of the first century. Paul was led of the Holy Spirit to address the issue head on in Romans 11. The problem is still with us some 2,000 years later. Unfortunately, my evangelical brothers in the 21st century have not heeded the message of Romans 11:16-22. They will not loose their salvation, but they will find their rewards curtailed because of this attitude.

In their letter to President Bush, my Bible-believing, evangelical brothers clearly take an unbiblical and unbalanced position that is detrimental to the Jewish people. They refuse to acknowledge the God ordained, gracious, grant of land given to the Jewish people in the Bible. This is not an issue of Israel’s sin or lack of sin. Sin needs to be confronted and rebuked. I do not have a problem with rebuking my Jewish brothers because of unbelief or sin and neither does God (Lev. 26, Deut. 28). However, my evangelical brothers have gone beyond rebuke by nullifying the Land Covenant and asserting that the Arab peoples have an equal and valid claim to the land promised to the Jewish people.

Israel’s enjoyment of the Land Covenant is contingent upon her obedience, but the Land Covenant is eternal and unconditional in nature. God will see that it is fulfilled. To deny this truth, which is a major part of the “full teaching of the Scriptures” is an expression of arrogance against the Jewish people and ultimately against God Himself. I ask my Bible believing evangelical brothers to restudy the issue from a consistently literal position and repent. They are arrogant, not anti-Semitic, but arrogance against the Jewish people plants the seeds of anti-Semitism which results in horrifying fruit.

  1. ^ Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature (1985) Harper’s Bible dictionary Includes index (1st ed.) (740). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

  2. ^ “palestine.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 18 Oct. 2007. .

  3. ^ Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary: An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

  4. ^ Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1994). Israelology: The missing link in systematic theology. Previous ed.: 1993. (Rev. ed.) (743). Tustin, Calif.: Ariel Ministries.