Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Are We To Prefer Faithless Israel?

I was reading Thomas Ice's review of The Apocalypse Code by Hank Hanegraaff and just wanted to offer a few comments on the rhetoric and spin Ice uses in his review.

Ice says:
This book is not only filled with factual error throughout, but teaches that most Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled and advocates the following preterist viewpoints: Nero was the beast of Revelation (i.e., the antichrist), Christ's Olivet discourse and most of the Book of Revelation were fulfilled by events surrounding the a.d. 70 destruction of Jerusalem, and the tribulation was also fulfilled in the first century.
So far, so good... A nice summary. Ice continues:

Hanegraaff is certainly no lover of Israel since he teaches that God divorced the harlot Israel (he needs to read the end of Hosea) and took a new bride-the church, supports the pro-Palestinian claims against Israel, and even accuses Israel of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Hanegraaff embraces and argues for many viewpoints that are detrimental to sound Bible study and interpretation.
Just because Hanegraaff isn't actively supporting and exalting everything Israel does does not mean he is no lover of Israel. We, as Christians are called to love everyone, including those who are not in the faith - and therefore outside of the family of God. I am certain that even though Hanegraaff isn't waving the Israeli flag outside his house, it is fair to say that Hanegraaff doesn't hate Israel. He is simply saying that we, as Christians, should stop preferring one group of people because of their genetic lineage. That is racism, as he points out. Rather, all of the human race is on equal footing with God, in that our DNA does not decide whether he loves or hates us.

Also, the Bible does not teach that God has taken a new bride. Rather, God is staying true to the same covenant that He has always promised to follow: that he would be with his people. Who are his people? Those who love him and follow his commandments. If Israel has violated this agreement (by rejecting their Messiah), but many who are Gentiles have been "grafted in" (by believing in their Messiah) as it were, is it not safe to say that God is staying true to the same bride He has
always stayed true to?

Additionally, with regards to Ice's review, I would say that once one abandons this racist notion that Israelis are preferred by God because of their genetics (in spite of their rebellion against the Messiah) Hanegraaff's accusation of ethnic cleansing seems to make sense, to a certain degree.

This will possibly be (depending on who reads this) the most controversial thing I've said, but I agree with Hanegraaff that we as Christians now possess the full revelation of God, and as such, we know that God desires faith, and that His covenant between Abraham and his descendants is only for those descendants who are "true descendants" who have faith in the same savior whom Abraham looked forward to (Gal. 3:7-9).

[Edit: I would like to point everyone to a couple of articles on this subject. One is by Michael Horton entitled Remnant: Who is Israel? Another interesting article by Gary DeMar points out that given the dispensational hermeneutic, there is a massive holocaust awaiting the Jews in the Holy Land. I also want to clarify that my actual position is not that Israel is permanently cut off from ever being saved (many Jews become believers every day around the world, I'm sure). Rather, my point is that ethnic Israel now receives no special treatment if they persist in unbelief.]


  1. Any time I read a review that includes words such as: "______ needs to ______" I immediately stop reading. This is a clear sign that the reviewer is being unfair and is only concerned with polemics, rather than with giving an accurate, even handed assessment. It's appropriate to state one's disagreements in a review. It is abundantly inappropriate to assume based on this disagreement that one is more learned than the one being reviewed.

    Jonathan Bonomo

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