I ran across an article yesterday by a gentleman who refers to proponents of Fulfillment Theology as “peddlers of deception.” He also says in one of his other articles that this theology is “an instrument of the powers of darkness to frustrate the purpose of God.” This man has been involved in Christian Zionism for many years, and speaks and writes about it regularly. However, the articles on his website do nothing to disprove the validity that Israel has it fulfillment and continuation in Christ and His Church. Furthermore, using such language to describe those who oppose his viewpoint contributes nothing to the discussion and does nothing to strengthen his position. I could say the same thing about Dispensationalism, but that would serve no helpful purpose. The only thing that matters is the careful and honest and responsible and unbiased exegesis of Scripture.
I’m convinced that most dispensationalists – and those who use such phraseology as the above – don’t really understand the position that proponents of Fulfillment Theology have regarding Israel and the Church. After checking out the articles that the above author has written on his website, I’m convinced that that notion is certainly true of him.
If you read everything I’ve written on this subject, I could never be accused of being a “peddler of deception.” I try to teach systematically — laying a foundation and then building one truth upon another. What I’ve written on this subject not only makes sense, but it harmonizes with other doctrines such as election and the Kingdom of Christ (now). The theological puzzle pieces fit together so well that I sincerely believe it would be hard to make a reasonable case against it. While I’ve already written extensively on this subject, there’s still a lot more to be written about it…..which I plan to do for many years as the Lord leads and allows. In fact, I’ve already started writing a new series on Old Testament prophecy. Be watching for that.
The author of discussion here also insists (and often) that Fulfillment Theology (his favorite term is “Replacement Theology”) leads to or encourages anti-Semitism. While it may be true of some who hold to Fulfillment Theology, that is not something I condone. I say shame on those who do. I actually support Israel. I respect that they are a free country and are a strong ally of America. I love Netanyahu — one of my favorite people in the world.
If one understands the full scope of Scripture, the overall plan of God, there’s no way a Christian could ever be anti-Jew, especially when you consider the fact that Jesus Himself came through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob….and that the early membership of the Church consisted entirely or almost entirely of Jewish believers. Think about that!
However, one cannot or should not support or “bless” Israel (Ge 12:1-3) unconditionally. First of all, I believe that passage of scripture ultimately refers to Christ and to those who are in Him (the Church, Christians). However, if dispensationalists insist that this promise to bless or curse refers strictly to the treatment of the nation of Israel, then they have a real problem. What if Israel becomes a terrorist nation, such as Iran? While that may be highly unlikely, what if they did? What if they turn against Christians, like Iran? Are they going to continue to give their support to Israel? But if they don’t support Israel, aren’t they setting themselves up to be “cursed?” But how could they rightly give their support to a terrorist nation, who also outlaws Christianity? There is a real conflict here that dispensationalists must consider. I believe the only way that people could ever bless “Israel” unconditionally, is if that promise ultimately and actually has Christ and His Church in view. Christ’s Church will never become a terrorist organization, or anything else evil — for she is pure and holy, set-apart to Christ. That cannot be said of the nation of Israel. They are, in fact, already evil and always have been, and can possibly become much more evil. That is why God destroyed both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. Of course their greatest evil is their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. That is why He destroyed them in AD 70. That is their history. However, in modern times, they’re not evil in the same sense terrorist nations are, and certainly no more evil than the United States, or any other country — generally speaking (Ro 3:22-23; Ro 11:32).
In truth, if Israel ever turned completely against Christianity and America – which consists of many millions of Christians – I believe the “curse” of Genesis 12:3 would instead be upon them. In fact, because of their rejection of Jesus, the curse of that promise is already upon them (Ro 11:7-10,25; 2 Cor 3:13-16). But if they were to ever turn against Christians as many other countries have, then I believe the “curse” of that promise would increase further.
Now consider this! What an amazing revelation we have here. Israel rejected Christ and Christianity, and the result is that “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” (NRSV – Ro 11:25). Now I confess that I don’t understand all that is involved with this hardening, but I do know that there is a judgment involved — as evidenced by God’s judgement against them in AD 70 (see also Matt 21:42-44; Lu 17:25). Yet, according to Genesis 12:3, the “curse” is reserved for those who curse Israel! Yet, God destroyed Israel, for a third time! Does this not strongly indicate that that Genesis passage actually has Christ and His Church in view? His true people? When you stop and think about it, this is a very strong argument against Dispensationalism, is it not?
In regard to God’s rejection of Israel and turning to the Church (Matt 21:42-44) – which consists of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles – lest dispensationalists quote Romans 11:1-2, God has not rejected individual Jews; that is quite obvious. It was the corporate people of Israel that God rejected, and that is what Paul was talking about in Romans 11:1-2. God’s focus turned away from the nation of Israel to the Church, through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ would be spread to the whole world.
In regard to this “blessing and cursing” as it relates to America, let’s be clear about this; God has not historically blessed America because she supports Israel. God has blessed America because she has always supported Christianity. Dispensationalists seem to believe that if America turns against Israel, God will withdraw His blessing. First of all, I don’t believe America would ever do that without just cause (terrorism, attack on our country, etc). Secondly, God would only withdraw His blessing from America if they turned against Christ and His people — something we’re already seeing develop in our country, slowly but surely.
Therefore, the people who are ultimately in view in that passage of Genesis 12, are God’s true people, which are those who are in Christ under the New Covenant. Dispensationalists who are always quoting that Genesis 12:3 promise to “bless” Israel, seem to elevate the importance of that nation above the Church. While they may certainly deny such an idea, the reality is, we never hear them use that passage in regard to the Church, who are the true representatives of God in the world. At least I’ve never heard them make that reference. But why not? There should be no debate that the true people of God are those who have embraced His Son. So how does Genesis 12:3 not apply to God’s people in Christ during this present age?
So then, while I support Israel, I do so because they are a free country like America and are one of our strongest allies. But I don’t support them unconditionally. However, I do support Christ’s Church unconditionally — and that is the only way that Genesis 12:3 can ever be applied unconditionally.
For further discussion on anti-Semitism, I point you to an article I wrote when I was going through my Revelation preparatory series: