Biblical Foreign Policy?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Last week (May 19, 2011), President Obama created controversy with his statement that any Israeli-Palestinian accord “must begin with a return to the 1967 borders.”  Besides Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, many evangelical leaders have been criticizing the statement over the last several days.

Foreign policy experts have been discussing and debating the conditions for a lasting accord, offering thoughtful analysis on complicated questions.  However, they are often drowned out by the background voices of those who insist, on biblical grounds, that any pressure put on Israel to keep its past pledges is tantamount to heresy.

Lacking both the qualifications and the authority to pronounce on the policy questions, my focus here is on the argument that many evangelicals have made over the years since dispensational premillennialism gained ascendence.

In a recent post for Charisma Magazine Online, Jack Hayford, pastor of Church on the Way (Van Nuys, California),  called President Obama’s announcement “a trumpet call from God’s Spirit: ‘Beware – Take Action!’”  He adds, “We are living in a sobering moment in history that calls us, as believers in Jesus Christ, to take a stand with Israel. We could be people of the last hour.”

To his credit, Mr. Hayford warned against disrespectful or violent responses.  However, he reiterated a familiar defense for a policy that would basically recognize Israel’s privileges as a “holy nation” and not simply as a secular nation that is one of the US’s closest friends.  Inasmuch as it has been embraced (at least publicly) by several recent presidents, the “Bible-based” argument that Mr. Hayford offers has had some influence on foreign policy.  But is it, in fact, biblical?

Like most dispensationalist brothers and sisters, Mr. Hayford’s main argument is the unconditional nature of God’s promise to Israel of an earthly land and kingdom.  “Israel is a land about which God says uniquely, prophetically, redemptively and repeatedly in the Bible This is Mine. God refers to Israel as He does to no other land on Earth. Israel was raised up to be a light to the Gentiles.”  He makes other arguments in favor of the special relationship of Christians and Jews.  “Salvation comes from the Jews,” the first church was Jewish, and Gentiles are the “wild branches” grafted onto the tree.  All of this is important to remember when we are thinking about the relationship between Christians and Jews.  However, does it have anything to do with the nation of Israel and Palestine or the United States?

The deeper problem in the argument supporting Mr. Hayford’s urgent call concerns the nature of the promise that God made to Abraham.  He writes, “The Lord selected a people … He began by selecting a man named Abraham. The Lord said that through the seed of Abraham (in relationship with his wife, Sarah, giving birth to the promised child, Isaac) all the nations of the Earth will be blessed … every human being having access to the divine blessing of Almighty God. In Genesis 12:3, the Lord says in the covenant He makes with Abraham: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”

I can agree with the point that “This relates not only to a people (the Jews), but it also relates to a land (Israel),” and that God did in fact judge Israel’s enemies.  Nevertheless, God’s covenant with Israel was itself conditional.  It is not Israel’s land, but God’s, and if Israel breaks the covenant, then the land will “vomit out” Israel as well (Lev 20:22).  God himself will lay the nation waste through other nations and send his people into exile “east of Eden.” The land will no longer be holy, but common, even though God continues to work through the holy line—the “stump of Jesse,” from whom David and eventually the greater David (the Messiah) would come.  Throughout the law (especially in Deuteronomy), the temporal promise of “long life in the land” is conditioned on Israel’s faithfulness to the covenant it swore at Mount Sinai.  It is distinct from the unconditional promise of everlasting life and peace through Abraham’s Seed, through whom all families of the earth will be blessed.

The way the Gospels, but especially Hebrews and Galatians, interpret these passages is to recognize that the Sinai covenant was temporary, conditional, and typological.  It was a shadow of the things to come—namely, Christ and his kingdom.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus announces a “regime change” from the civil laws of the theocracy.  Instead of driving out the enemies of God, the True Israel—those united to Christ—are to endure suffering for the gospel and to pray for their persecutors. God’s common grace is shed on the just and the unjust alike in this age.  Having fulfilled its job, like a trailer for a movie, the old covenant is now “obsolete” (Heb 8:13).  Christ’s ministry, far greater than that of Moses, fulfills the everlasting promise that God made to Abraham.  Now, blessing has come from the Jews to the ends of the earth in Jesus Christ, the true Israel, the true and faithful Son of David, the true Temple.

The church has therefore not replaced Israel; rather, the borders of Israel have now been extended.  No longer a geo-political nation, limited to one people, it is an international remnant “from every tribe, kindred, and nation” (Rev 5:9).  So while I do believe that Paul’s teaching in Romans 9-11 leads us to expect a great outpouring of God’s Spirit on ethnic Jews in the last days, this has nothing to do with the state of Israel.

A lot more could be—and should be—said (I treat this at length in The Christian Faith [535-47, 729-33, 919-90] and elsewhere). However, it’s worth concluding this brief response by mentioning that not even Orthodox Jews believe that the modern state of Israel is holy.  The messianic kingdom for which they long is strictly “from above.”  It comes with the Messiah and cannot be a secular democracy.  So they too realize that the state of Israel is not in any way a revival of the Mosaic theocracy.  They are still living in exile, even in Israel.

To conclude: God’s promise to Abraham included (1) and earthly land and (2) a heavenly land.  The central claim of the New Testament, anticipated by the prophets, is that although Israel (like Adam—Hosea 6:7) has thoroughly violated the conditions for inheriting the first, God has been faithful to keep history moving beyond the sinfulness of his human partner—including us.  Through Christ, he has fulfilled this promise, bringing blessing to all the families of the earth. All heirs of this kingdom are “a holy nation,” living in the common nations of this age.

Especially given the legacy of Christian persecution of Jews throughout the medieval and modern periods, there is a special obligation of Christians to defend the common rights of the Jewish people to a flourishing existence.  Yet, by acknowledging that God’s promise of a temporal, geo-political theocracy and land were conditional and that this covenant now lies in the past, we are free to support our friends in Israel and Palestine in their pursuit of a stable peace that will doubtless require trust and negotiation on both sides.

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Comments


  • 25 May 2011
    MRS says:

    When we can find “friends” in Palestine who aren’t committed to the destruction of Israel and are willing to reject Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood – without excuse – then we can talk…

  • 25 May 2011
    Horton on Modern Israel « The Misadventures of Captain Headknowledge says:

    […] Dont miss Dr. Michael Hortons great blog post responding to many Evangelicals negative reaction to President Obamas recent comments about the borders of Israel. Many Evangelicals react negatively because, due to a largely Dispensationalist method of interpreting Scripture, they see the modern state of Israel in identical terms as the Bible views ancient Israel back when they were actually in covenant with God. Dr. Horton presents a more biblical approach to what happened with ancient Israel and the Mosaic covenant, and applies it to how we ought to view modern Jews in modern Israel in light of the cross of Christ. Read, Biblical Foreign Policy? […]

  • 25 May 2011
    Chappy6 says:

    Indeed. For recognizing that he possesses neither qualification nor authority to speak on the matter, Horton puts his foot in it with that last statement.

    Although not a Dispensationalist, I would still fully back Israel against the Muslim rabble in Palestine. I know that most seminary profs have not spent time dealing with Muslims in-theater, but his last statement about compromise and hand-holding smells too much of sentimental mainline liberalism. A solid grasp of the nature of militant Islam, coupled with a more historic Reformed view of politics and the combatting of false religion, would cure that up right quick.

  • 25 May 2011
    Rana says:

    A few points:

    1. MRS, there are MANY in Palestinians committed to Peace, Non-violence, the Rule of International and Human Rights Law as a path to resolving the current “Peace Process Charade” which strips Palestinians of their Universal Rights under International Law. Many Palestinian non-violent leaders have been beaten, kidnapped and arrested by Israel without any hearing or trial for days, months and years. In fact one of the Presidential candidates, I favored was beaten by the Israeli army while attempting to campaign for his election, here’s a link to the news story on Democracy Now:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2004/12/10/palestinian_presidential_candidate_mustafa_barghouti_beaten

    Secondly, MRS, it is well known among the Peace movement that Israel in fact supported Hamas in its early days as a divide and conquer method to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. When the people are not united, they re more easily divided and conquered.

    2. Many Palestinians trace their history back to the Jewish people of 2,000 plus years ago. My own family history is archived in Jerusalem monasteries through baptismal and marriage records for over 20 generations. There is even a Jewish funded movement that is sifting through evidence that the majority of of Palestinians today are the Jews of the tribe of Judah (though from my reading their motivation seems to reinforce a tribal code of living rather than an ethical code of living which promotes love of neighbor). There is a lot of evidence to support this both culturally and genetically/ vis a vis chromosome evidence. So here’s the irony, American Christians are dividing a people based on a modern and mostly Zionist understanding/ definition of who/ what a Jewish person is.

    Peace to you. My hope is Christians will choose to support the Rule of Law, Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.

  • 25 May 2011
    Nick says:

    Just wanted to say this was a well thought out article and appreciate it because many within the Evangelical/Prostestant Reformed Christian community Eschatology is can be controversial uneasy to debate. I have been studying this on my own lately and am learning from both perspectives, and it does get complicated. I understand that Whitehorse Inn(I subscribe to Modern Reformation) is coming from an Amillinial/Postmillinial perspective, many that are Protestant/Reformed in their theology and hold this view so I understand why you would write this article. However, I have found within my solidly Reformed brother and sisters is that they can be unfair to dispensationalist and think they have always been wrong, and they simply affirm that all the Reformers/Post-Reformers were Amillinial,which is not entirely true some weren’t. I do agree that their is some sketchy theology within dispensationalism, like the “Left-Behind Series” or “Newspaper Eschatology etc, sadly confuses and misrepresent what traditional Pre-millinial Dispensationals actually teach. I come from John Macarthur’s camp of eshatology, I think he handles it very well and solid. Let me suggetst some great books for Whitehorse Inn read with and open mind, remember we all want to learn and grow in “grace and knowledge” of our Lord return, in great love. They: 1. “Has the Church Replaced Israel” by Dr. Micheal J. Vlach.
    2. “Future Israel” By Barry Horner
    3. “Isreal and the Church: By Ronald Diprose
    These books are exceptionally well done and scholarly, and they raise some challenging point

  • 25 May 2011
    Keith says:

    Concerning MRS’s comment,

    One challenge to finding “friends” in Palestine is that Israel puts the nonviolent activists organizing peaceful protests in jail.

    Israel secretly supported Hamas at its founding to weaken Fatah. I was a little skeptical about this till I read it in the Wall Street Journal.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

  • 25 May 2011
    sean mucci says:

    ON THIS ONE MIKE YOUR THEOLOGY IS CORRECT BUT YOUR POLITICS ARE SUSPECT AS AMERICANS WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO SUPPORT ISRAEL,THOUGH ALL NEED TO BOW TO THE NAME OF JESUS FOR SALVATION,AND WE SHOULD LOVE OUR ENEMIES(THE PALASTIANS),WE CANNOT SUPPORT THE ENEMIES AGENDA TO DESTROY ISRAEL.

  • 25 May 2011
    Paul says:

    >>>Yet, by acknowledging that God’s promise of a temporal, geo-political theocracy and land were conditional and that this covenant now lies in the past, we are free to support our friends in Israel and Palestine in their pursuit of a stable peace that will doubtless require trust and negotiation on both sides.ave friends among them?

    I find it hard to believe that conservative evangelical Christians support Israel primarily because TV evangelists say so. Israel is Pro-U.S., they are a democracy, they fight their own wars, secure their own borders and are faced with the ever present prospect of annihilation by their neighbors, many of whom hate the United States. We may have “friends” among the non-Jewish inhabitants of Israel, just like we have “friends” in Cuba, China, Syria and North Korea. But those “friends” have very little say so, if any at all, about peace.

    With respect to “negotiating a stable peace,” when has a stable peace ever been secured by mere negotiation? And since Israel doesn’t view itself the way American Evangelicals view it, what does dispensationalism have to do with the peace process? Have American Evangelicals been holding up the process because of their erroneous theological views? I tend to think that peace has been held up by terrorists seeking to eradicate the nation of Israel.

    I doubt very, very seriously that Israel will ever enjoy the kind of Peace that the U.S. enjoys with Canada. That is a relatively stable peace. But even that peace was not negotiated, it was won. Maybe if the non-Jewish inhabitants of Israel begin to support Israel and aid in the downfall of Hamas and other terrorist groups, there will be peace inside their borders. Until that happens, and I wouldn’t hold my breath, our “Palestinian friends” are going to remain out of sight.

  • 26 May 2011
    Alberto says:

    Even by some of Dispensationalism’s own assumptions, if the promise of a particular land is still in effect, why can the current “secular” state be viewed as a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham and his descendants? It’s my understanding that the “promised land” was always explicitly connected to a true commitment to Judaism. Also, such a state would reintroduce the specific laws which dealt with things like homosexuality and the presence of foreign religions; are those Christians comfortable supporting the reintroduction of the Mosaic law as the law of a state at this time with it’s specific penalties? It seems reasonable that such a theocracy would outlaw Christianity.

  • 26 May 2011
    Rebekah says:

    This is great. Thank you for taking a carefully Scriptural approach, rather than appealing to sentiment, as most rabidly pro-Israel arguments seem to do!

  • 26 May 2011
    GL says:

    Unfortunately, this piece does not account for Scripture, as is typical of Amillennialist arguments.

    He is correct that Heb says the Old covenant is obsolete and the New covenant has displaced it. But when you read the New Covenant, it clearly involves restoration to the land in peace (Jer 31:35-40). That restoration is part of the NC and it has not yet happened. The landmarks in that passage cannot be spiritualized into some sort of reference to heaven or the eternal state.

    The promises of God are yes in Christ. That includes the totality of the new covenant.

    Constantly in the Bible–from the Pentateuch to the Writings–the land that Israel is evicted from is the same land to which they are restored. It is not a different land.

    This article is a good reminder that while covenantalism has logical support, it cannot stand exegetically. The text precludes it.

    The modern nation of Israel has no claim to the land because they are still living in rejection of the Messiah. They do, however, have the common human rights of living in peace, and we should support that and should demand that the world support the right of all people to live in peace.

  • 26 May 2011
    Brian says:

    Dr. Horton nails it again! Thanks as always, Mike, very your enlightening insight!!

  • 26 May 2011
    Rachel says:

    I grew up in Israel and could say many things, but I just want to respond to the idea that we have no “friends” among the Palestinians. There are literally HUNDREDS, if not thousands, of Palestinian Christians – Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Evangelical. They live both in Israel proper and the occupied territories.

    I know a pastor of an evangelical home church whose house was destroyed by an Israeli rocket. He had seen people on various Christian television stations praying over Israeli rockets. His main question was, “How can my brothers and sisters in Christ be praying for something that is bringing hardship to fellow believers?”

  • 26 May 2011
    Boyd in KC says:

    One thing most of you are missing is Horton’s conclusion that as citizens we are FREE to support …; you’re all skipping past that and focusing on *who* our friends are (Israel vs. Palestine). Step back and think about the freedom we have under common grace that he is discussing. He’s not taking sides; he’s saying we’re free to work on peace without the (mis)guiding hand of a biblical mandate to support Israel. Given the circumstances and recent history over there, we likely should support Israel. But we are free to work with our Palestinian friends (wherever/whoever they may be), as well. We are free to do that because we don’t have that theocratic impulse driving us to support the holy land … You’re not engaging this portion of the argument. Go back and re-read the last two paragraphs of this article.

  • 26 May 2011
    Paul says:

    I don’t think Dr. Horton has liberated anybody to do anything. As I tried to point out in an earlier post, there are scores of reasons besides dispensational leanings as to why people support Israel. And there are scores of people everywhere that recognize that Christians live in every country on earth. But in the land of Israel, Israel makes the rules, they are the powers ordained by God and those that want to live within the borders need to respect the rule of law, even if they are unjustly beaten publicly and thrown into prison.

    Yes the article pointed out that a dispensational view as presented by Hayford and others does not fit. However, I agree with other posters that “friends” among the Palestinians is something of a reach. Israel is an ally of the U.S. Is Hamas or the PLO an ally of the U.S.? So then, the secular government of Israel is friendly to us and the Christian Palestinians are friendly too us, right? But what does Hamas and the PLO think about their Christians? Hmmmm. So who are these friends in Palestine that will come to the table with Israel? It ain’t going to be the Christians.

    Lastly, I do not put nearly as much faith in the “learned” foreign policy makers as does Michael Horton. All policy makers are not equal, i.e., Chamberlain and Churchill? If our country had been bombed into oblivion like Great Britain in WW2 that point would resound loudly and clearly. Of course, if your city, in a sovereign state, in a sovereign nation came under rocket attacks by your “friend’s” leaders, that don’t even recognize your right to exist, you’d probably also wonder how smart U.S. foreign policy makers really are as well.

    I appreciate the theological insight provided by this article. However, I don’t see a stable peace coming to Israel because friends on both sides can now get together. Them that owns the guns (Hamas, PLO) makes the rules and negotiating with Israel is against the rules.

  • 27 May 2011
    Peter Leavitt says:

    I agree with Dr. Horton that it is dubious theologically to support Israel as a chosen nation. However, Israel, a perfectly legitimate modern nation state, deserves support due to being a democratic nation surrounded by largely autocratic Arab Muslim nations who wish to destroy its existence.

    Christians do need to be aware that the Jewish people and Old Testament Bible laid a foundation for New Testament Christianity, as Dr. Horton made clear in his systematic theology. The Jewish people are at the heart of Western civilization.

    As Dietrich Bonhoeffer remarked with his theology and life, Christians are called on sometimes to stand up against radical evil. In my view the Muslim people and states, who wish for the most part to extinguish the Jewish nation and its people, are involved in radical evil and need to be fought with main moral and physical strength.

    The worst thing we could do would be, like Chamberlain, to appease the radical Muslims who clearly wish to destroy Israel.

  • 28 May 2011
    Rana says:

    A response and some questions for Paul’s false statements (I would appreciate a response from Paul):

    Paul said, “Israel is Pro-U.S.,”

    Paul tell me how Israel is pro-US, when in 1967 “Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II”?

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/margolis12.html

    and more info at the USS Liberty Memorial site: http://www.gtr5.com/

    Have you any idea how many DOZENS of Israeli spies the USA detained in the aftermath of 9-11? Do you not know of famous Israeli spies like Jonathan Jay Pollard and the Herzog Affair? here: http://www.jstor.org/pss/3011910

    Paul said, “they [Israel] are a democracy,”

    Really and you know this how? Would you mind defining what a democracy is because Israel certainly is not a democracy in my definition, Israel gives preference to their Jewish immigrant population in almost every aspect of life (in both civil and national gov’t policies) and denies the indigenous Palestinian Christians (like my own family) and Muslims the dignity of these same rights, is that how your democracy works? Sounds more like an ethno-theocracy.

    Paul said, “they fight their own wars,”

    Really Paul? Israel fights their own wars?

    Until 2010 Israel was the top most recipient USAID, most of which is military, funding than any other country in the world, yet Israel is quite prosperous and has a high standard of living. Israel has FREE healthcare, FREE university level education, as well FREE pensions, FREE mortgages or special mortgages to entice new immigrants but these benefits are only for Jewish citizens of Israel (this would be a good place to recall your comment about democracy).

    Do you know how much the USA funds per day, per year this Israel that you believe fights its own wars?

    In 2010 US funded Israel’s military by giving Israel 2.78 Billion USD that breaks down to 7.63 million dollars a day to a developed country the size of New Jersey and with the population number of New York City that has better health care and better educational opportunities for its citizens than the USA provides for our own people.

    Do you know how many Jewish American citizens join the Israeli military, including high ranking USA gov’t leaders? Answer : thousands, including former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who left the USA to serve in Israel NOT the other way around. Since we’re on the subject the New York Times journalist Ethan Bronner who writes on Israel-Palestine has a son in the Israeli military, do you think he might have some bias in his writing? Can you imagine if we had American citizens volunteering to serve in Arab/ Muslim militaries … oh wait we’ve had that and we call them “terrorist cells”.

    Paul said, “secure their own borders”

    Israel has borders? Wow this is news to me, when has Israel declared borders? Do you have any idea what the borders of Israel are? The only declared borders for Israel were drawn in 1947 under the UN Partition, please look at that map and I hope you do, you’ll see exactly who has been terrorizing and stealing from who. Here’s a map for you: http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/3cbe4ee1ef30169085256b98006f540d?OpenDocument

    and please carefully compare it with how much Israel keeps annexing through building settlements on Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territory, here’s a map explaining the history of Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territory:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/blogs/rosherove/image_H6xf7A.png

    Please tell me, who is driving out who? Who is annihilating who? Forced Migration is a type of Ethnic Cleansing. In the time around the UN’s creation of Israel, 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes in Palestine ALL of them thought they were returning, under International and Human Rights Law Palestinians have a Right to Return to their homes and a right to self-determination. Guess who lives in these Palestinian homes now? Jewish Israelis. Guess who still hold the keys and deeds to their homes and still want justice and their Universal Rights? Palestinian Christians like my own family who just by what my grandfather owns and was STOLEN from him, his children and grandchildren are acres of orange orchards, acres of olive orchards, businesses including an olive oil press, a olive soap factory, 3 houses -and this is just some of the material/ financial loss. Doesn’t include the emotional, mental and spiritual costs. And yet Palestinians are the terrorist because we dare fight for and assert our Universal Rights under the Rule of Law -the same Rule of Law that Israel refuses to comply with and the USA turns a blind eye to.

  • 28 May 2011
    Alberto says:

    Dr. Horton was not trying to argue against supporting the state of Israel, he was arguing against a bad reason which comes from bad theology, which is his area of expertise. And sure Dr. Horton could be wrong in his own personal opinions, but it is his job to keep Christians from having their conscience bound to what God does not require in the Scriptures.

    I am one person whose conscience has been liberated from supporting particular political policies due to the work of people like Dr. Horton.

  • 28 May 2011
    Biblical Foreign Policy « Sola Dei Gloria says:

    […] Horton has written a very good article, Biblical Foreign Policy. In light of the discussion in the post below (Is the President Inviting a Genesis 12:3 Curse?), […]

  • 28 May 2011
    Jim says:

    I wish I’d read article like this 20 years ago. Growing up as an evangelical, we were made to feel that we had to support Israel all the time, no questions asked. To not support Israel in everything leads to questioning if you’re a true Christian and a whole host of dysfunctional problems. Luckily, I visited Israel for a few months and was disillusioned by the secular-minded hedonistic citizens. I thought we’d have much in common in terms of decency and morality, but they were more like secular liberal humanists. This destroyed any notion of them being the Chosen People in my eyes.

  • 28 May 2011
    Paul says:

    @ Rana:

    You should post your own web page somewhere and get Google to link to your comments. I’m sure you’d get plenty of responses.

  • 29 May 2011
    Josh says:

    So what does he have to say about Joel 3:2 where God brings the nations down to the valley of Jehosaphat for judgment because they have parted His land?? If he is suggesting that crying peace and safety between Jews and Palestinians is possible without either side accepting Jesus, then he is doing exactly what the Bible says that the world will do. They will cry Peace and Safety and then sudden destruction will come upon them.

    I know that Jews still need Jesus, and that most of the nation of Israel rejects him. However, God has preserved the root of the tree according to his choosing and promise, not based on something they did. As time goes on, they will be without excuse and the Lord will allow the man of sin to completely rule over them for a little while. 2/3 will perish in the land while 1/3 will be preserved as a remnant. The Lord will return when it seems the man of sin will have won. The Lord will himself make the journey from Edom to the Mt. of Olives, destroying the Edomites along the way. The blood will flow for about 200 miles.

  • 29 May 2011
    Peter Leavitt says:

    Rana’s view of Israel is extremely biased. For example, the claim that during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty has been amply proved wrong. The Liberty was collecting electronic intelligence in a war zone without having informed Israel as to its location. An official American Navy investigation of the incident concluded that it was a regrettable case of mistaken identify.

    As with all fallen nations, Israel has made its share of errors, though on balance this legitimate nation, while vigorously defending its own vital interests, has attempted to live peacefully in the Middle East, though surrounded by Arab nations who wish to annihalate it.

    • 29 May 2011
      Eric Landry says:

      I’d like to see the comments redirected to the basic thrust of Mike’s post: improper hermeneutics. Further comments on Israel/US foreign policy will not make it through moderation. If any of you would like to continue the conversation off-line, send us an email and we’ll put you in contact with one another. Thanks all.

  • 29 May 2011
    Pastor David Pitman says:

    You have every right to hold any eschatology you “find” in the Bible but your political naivete on this issue is dangerous.

  • 29 May 2011
    Ian H Clary says:

    Just wanted to draw your attention to a fairly lengthy response from Craig Carter a professor at Tyndale University College in Toronto: http://politicsofthecrossresurrected.blogspot.com/2011/05/michael-horton-on-israel.html

  • 30 May 2011
    Chris E says:

    Hi Ian –

    I read the link – which to me smacked of theology in the service of a political – in this case conservative – argument.

    It isn’t Marcionism to say that the Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled eschatalogically in Christ (“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me”).

    On the political level, even granted that ALL palestinians are as hate ridden as he claims, a policy of settlement expansion doesn’t logically follow.

  • 30 May 2011
    Josh says:

    Michael says that the Jews are still living in exile in the land even today. I don’t agree with that statement. I think that they were brought back into the land as promised, but that they are living in rebellion (most Israelis reject Jesus as Messiah) and are ‘under the yoke of Babylon’ ever since Resolution 181 in 1948. God kept his promise with the natural branches, yet most of them have a veil over their eyes. If you look at what the desert was before, when the Ottoman Empire owned it, it was a desolate wasteland. Whenever the Jews were given this land, it bloomed. Whenever they turn the land over to Palestinians, they ruin it and desolate it and use money given to them for weapons or palaces for the corrupt leaders. Political correctness is just compromise with a lack of judgment. This only leads to more political naivety.

    This situation reminds me of what is going on in the visible church today. Compromise with Satan allows the mindset of the world to ‘change’ the church into something God did not intend. Politically correct preachers water down the message so as not to offend God’s enemies. And the cycle repeats until Satan has been given enough place to enter in and subdue the Word of God.

    Israel gives away its land because of pressure from the world. The church gives away its spiritual land by way of compromise and political correctness. God will allow Jerusalem to be the headquarters of the antichrist just before the coming of the Lord much like he will allow false prophets to enter the church and deceive many. Both will be playing the harlot at the very end as a form of God’s judgment. Christians who are sober, vigilant, and awake spiritually will be refined and made white.

    America (Babylon the Great) has been Israel’s protector since their birth. We are now more of an oppressor and betrayer to them than before. These are hards words to say, but once Israel loses its trust in America, it will be more likely for them to be driven to their knees and cry out to the Lord himself for protection. It is more likely that Jews will come to Jesus once Israel realizes that America is not the ally it thought it was. Jesus says, “wherever there is a carcass, there the eagles will gather together.” Matthew 24. He was warning of end time king/kingdom that would be brought against them much like the Romans and Babylon were. He says that he will bring a nation of fierce countenance against them from the end of the earth that will swoop down like the eagle (Deut. 28:49) Israel will not come out unscathed, but God will return as King and the Jews will cry out to him for deliverance. 2/3 will perish and 1/3 will remain and be refined (Zech. 13:8-9) He always preserves even a remnant of the natural branches even though he has not given them all of the land as promised up to the Euphrates River. We as Christians have not even inherited all of the spiritual land yet, but will one day and we will leap like calves who are let out from the stall.

  • 30 May 2011
    Rana says:

    Of course I am bias Peter, my family’s town was ethnically cleansed in 1948 by Isreali terrorist gangs (Hagganah, Stern Gang, Irgun)/ military and my family forced to migrate out of Lydda/ Lyd/ Lod because they’re Christians and NOT Jewish. 30% of Lydda was Christian and 90% of the population was forced out of their homes based on their religion. Then Israel implemented a “Law of Return” only for Jewish immigrants and refused my family’s Right to Return even though Right is guaranteed to them under Refugee/ International/ Human Rights Law. All because we’re Christian and not Jewish, is that right? And Christians support this?

  • 31 May 2011
    Does the Bible Obligate Christians to Support Israel? « Honey and Locusts says:

    […] Rather than try to answer this myself, let me direct you to a recent article by Michael Horton which addresses this very question. His answer and reasoning is excellent; I hope youll read it! (Biblical Foreign Policy?) […]

  • 31 May 2011
    Paul says:

    I like what Eric Landry posted on May 29th, 2011 at 4:14 p.m. He stated what he would like to see from this thread and then stated what he didn’t want to see anymore. He even offered to accommodate us if we wished to deviate from his request, something he did not have to do. Lastly, he thanked us for our cooperation ahead of time.

  • 03 Jun 2011
    Friday | Favorites | June 3, 2011 says:

    […] Biblical Foreign Policy?  Michael Horton addresses the perspective of Evangelical support for Israel as a holy nation in light of the influence of dispensational premillennialism. Related posts:Friday Favorites 10/01/10 […]

  • 04 Jun 2011
    Hillary Bowden says:

    Having come from a dispensational background, it has been difficult to rethink my understanding of Israel. But a lot of the responses here have been reactionary without much thought. In order to come to understanding one must look at both sides and see where the scriptures stand. Personally, I would like to thank Dr. Horton for his expertise on this subject and for having a lot to do with expanding my knowledge.

  • 15 Jun 2011
    On Dispensationalism (Part 3.5): Your One-Stop Shop for Rapture Resources « The Writers' Block says:

    […] Biblical Foreign Policy?: A post by Michael Horton, professor of theology at Westminster Seminary, addressing dispensationalist concern for the modern nation of Israel. A VERY IMPORTANT topic in light of President Obamas recent statement about redrawing the Israeli borders. […]

  • 16 Jun 2011
    The Wittenberg Door (Updated) says:

    […] Read the rest of Hortons article here: Biblical Foreign Policy? […]

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