Recovering Evangelicalism – Seeking a Justice-based peace in the Middle East –

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a diatribe about the state of Christianity in Britain, others can do that as well as or better than I. No, this is different. It occurred to me that not quite 70 years ago the United Nations, under pressure from America, voted immorally and almost certainly illegally to give Zionist Jews land that belonged to Palestinian Arabs. Then, 69 years ago Zionism declared war on the indigenous Palestinian people, which was a bit naughty because they had actually started attacking, emptying and destroying villages at least four months earlier.

Since none of the international ‘big boys’ (USA, China, Russia, EU) or their minions have seemed especially troubled by immoral and illegal behaviour I thought it time for ‘evangelical christianity’ to get a piece of the action. So today I declare the independence of ‘The Christian State of Britain’.

From today Britain will be a Christian State in the same sense that Israel is a ‘Jewish State’. If they can do it, why not we?  We shall benefit from their example and experience, so, our second act is to declare the First Basic Law, ‘1:Christians uniquely have the right to self-determination’.

Our Second Basic Law is an interim arrangement until such time as Christians are a majority, ‘2: Christian citizens shall have a single vote in elections. non-Christians shall be eligible to vote once Christians have achieved at least a 2/3 numerical majority.  To deal with the normal problems of ‘Law and Order’ it will be necessary to enact further laws. Our Third Basic Law sets the tone, 3: the age of criminal responsibility shall be set at 18 years of age for Christians and at 12 years of age for all others’. Experience has suggested a further, related law, so this will be 3.1., ‘3.1: It shall be illegal for non-Christians to purchase knives and carry them home in public. Arrangements shall be made for security checks on knives at all kitchen outlets and non-Christian purchasers will have to arrange for their cutlery to be delivered by a registered Christian secure courier service.’

Since land is vital for any nation our Fourth Basic Law deals with that issue, ‘4: Land not already owned by Christians shall be deemed state land for all purposes. Non-Christians may occupy such land temporarily subject to any decision by local Christians’.

Whilst we are dealing with fairly mundane matters it is vital we make adequate provision for education – for Christians. Therefore, education services for Christian children shall be fully funded up to tertiary level, with exclusions for pacifists. As a sign of our christian generosity we shall fund non-Christian education services up to secondary level at 25% of the fully funded level.

Since it is certain that anti-Christian critics will be upset we declare that ‘Christian Britain’ is in a state of permanent war with whoever dares to criticize us. Anti-Nazaritism will be objected to wherever we can define it.

If you are in favour of this declaration of the ‘Christian State of Britain’, please share widely.

Signed  David ben-Carter

(UKIP, NF & Britain First members need not apply)

I’m often told by Christian Zionists that ‘God cannot break covenant’ and that is why he must bring Jews back into the land. To plagiarize, there are almost as many errors in that argument as there are words. To begin with, it’s not a case of God breaking covenant, but his ‘people’. You only have to read the prophets to see that the people are faithless. And both the prophets and the history teach that faithlessness leads to punishment, leads to exile.

But, the people come back don’t they?  We seriously need a more careful reading of the history, as well as a more considered understanding of Ezra-Nehemiah -Haggai. First, or is it second, the majority of Israelites were not taken into exile, not even from the northern kingdom. Sargon II, who should know, claims to have taken fewer than 27,000, that’s about the population of Samaria at the time. Even allowing for death in battle it’s nothing like the total population which, archeologists reckon, would be about 250-350k. As to Judah, you can do the sums yourselves  (backend of 2 Chronicles). Then factor in that many exiles remained where they were. There were four ‘returns’ during a 100 year period.

So, God can’t break covenant, so that means, surely, that the covenant cannot be broken. The problem with that is that at least three prophets say it is. ‘One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law’, that’s Hoses (8:1).  Then, in chronological order, there’s Isaiah, who wrote, ‘And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; … The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.’ (Isaiah 24:1-5). Next up is Jeremiah in a chapter much misrepresented, ‘The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ (31:31-34). All these have parallels with other scriptures such as Amos 2 and 9 where the people reject God and face destruction. Or, say, Micah 2 where the people’s inheritance is altered, or Jeremiah 15 where we read,

‘You have rejected me, says the Lord,  you are going backward;  so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you— I am weary of relenting’.

Then there is Ezekiel, in the long chapter in which God compares Judah unfavourably with Sodom, we find, 

‘Yes, thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath, breaking the covenant; yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, in order that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God’. (16:59-63).

Since Jeremiah has already spoken of a ‘new covenant’ it is reasonable to suppose that ‘establish’  in Ezekiel, must refer to that new covenant, since the old one has been broken. So, is there any hope? Ezekiel spends half his book in condemnation, and half in restoration, (very broadly speaking). Uniformly the later prophets look forward to a time when Israel will again be strong. But uniformly that strength is predicated upon their sentence, their humility, their living according to God’s requirements of justice and righteousness.

So Jeremiah, ‘Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.’ (23); or Isaiah in chapter 59, ‘Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him.’ 

Look and see, it is always God’s action, never man’s. The return is in righteousness and with justice, and it is always a remnant, never the whole. Sinners will not get beyond the border, see Ezekiel 20. 

The testimony of the Old Testament can only be fully understood through the lens of the gospel. As the prophets foresaw, all nations will be brought under the Abraham blessing (Genesis 18:17-19; Isaiah 19:24-25). Paul understood this as we find in his reinterpretation of Genesis 12:3 in Romans 4.   We stand in God’s New Covenant of Grace freely available to all who believe that Jesus the Jewish messiah rose from the dead and lives as Lord and king. As Paul makes clear, it is to the Jew first, and there is no time limit on that. God has not rejected his people, but if people reject him….

The remnant of Israel, including those Israelites regrafted in, together with gentile believers grafted into Christ, constitute the Israel of God. Always, even in the Old Testament, only those with the faith of Abraham. 

Not Quite Balfour

The Balfour declaration was a disappointment for the Zionist organisation in London, as will be seen from the formula which their Political Committee agreed and submitted on July 18 1917.

The text can be found in Weizmann’s autobiography (trial and error, page 256) see below:

‘His Majesty’s Government, after considering the aims of the Zionist Organization, accept the principle of recognizing Palestine as the National Home of the Jewish people and the right of the Jewish people to build up its national life in Palestine under a protection to be established at the conclusion of peace,following upon the successful issue of the war.

His Majesty’s Government regard as essential for the realization of this principle the grant of internal autonomy to the Jewish nationality in Palestine, freedom of immigration for Jews, and the establishment of a Jewish National Colonizing Corporation for the re-establishment and economic development of the country.

The conditions and forms of the internal autonomy and a Charter for the Jewish National Colonizing Corporation should, in the view of His Majesty’s Government, be elaborated in detail and determined with the representatives of the Zionist Organization.’

This is the same Chain Weizmann who wrote of the Jewish settlement, ‘whose loyalty to the democratic cause was not merely verbal, but expressed itself in action’. That the colonization of Palestine was in fact an undemocratic invasion is beyond contradiction. Elsewhere Weizmann shows himself to be contemptuous of the Arabs. but, for those unclear about Zionism’s motivations the above text is crystal; not a mention, not a reference, to the 93% of the population who were not Jewish. It was to be a ‘colonizing’ project, without regard for the indigenous peoples. This draft was submitted to ‘Mr. Balfour’ on July 18th 1917.  When, in 2/3 days time there is celebration for the ‘independence’ of israel, we will be wise to reflect, not merely on the cost of Balfour, but on the anti-democratic essence of Zionism.

To the Jew first?

What does the gospel sound like to the Jew when the message they get from Christians is, “how can we help you get to Israel?” Doesn’t sound like the good news that Jesus brought, when the weak and disadvantaged get rolled over – again. Surely it is anti-prophetic and unChristian. Shouldn’t we be showing them how much God loves them by introducing them to their Jewish messiah, Jesus.

It’s a poor deal for both if the land is for Jews and heaven is for Christians. It leaves Jews sorting out our mess on earth while we Christians look down and sing hymns, and it leaves Jesus with a divided kingdom. But: ‘there is neither Jew nor gentile’, or was Paul wrong? It is unbiblical and anti gospel, God has not given up on his good creation, Gen 1; Rom 8; Rev 11. 

Rather than submitting to the false hopes of colonial imperialism through military might and economic power, Christians, whether Jewish or gentile must be working for the kingdom.  Heaven and earth reunited and restored, the spiritual and material anchored in the Trinity. That’s the God news and it was always, ‘to the Jew first’. 

Was Paul wrong?

Paul wrote that, if we are in Christ we are Abraham’s heirs, whether Jew or gentile. That being so, why should Jewish Christians have land priority over gentile Christians? After all, some of those ‘gentile Palestinian Christians’ may be more Jewish than the Jews who want to displace them.

Gralefrit Theology

May 15th is the anniversary of what the Palestinian people (Muslim, Christian, Other), call ‘Al Nakba’ meaning ‘The Catastrophe’. The day in 1948 when Israelis declared independence before systematically and brutally removing indigenous people from their ancestral land, beginning what we know as today, sixty-six years later, as ‘The Israeli-Palestine Conflict’.

John-Stott1Below is a sermon preached by John Stott.  It’s a great example of doing careful Bible word study.

By John Stott 

Rector Emeritus, All Souls Church
London, England
Our topic has been announced as “The Place of Israel,” and the topic that has been set for us is an object lesson in biblical hermeneutics as it‟s usually called in the principles of interpreting the Bible. But I would like to remind you right at the beginning that there are at least four ways in which the word “Israel,” whose place we are to investigate, can be used.

One: Israel…

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