Possessing The Holy Land, The Divine City

For two thousand years - since Jesus Christ's death and resurrection - the world has been standing at the brink of its own demise, according to the Christian prophets within their chosen denominations. Not much is more important to many Christians than the question of the apocalypse, the moment when Christ returns to whisk away some Christians in an event called "the rapture" while a great tribulation awaits rest leading to the end.

For these events to occur, the majority of Evangelical Christians believe that Israel must be resident in the holy land and that their physical temple must be built on its previous site. And, there's the snag. It just so happens that the 3rd most holy site in Islam is the Dome of the Rock, which rests on that very site. That's a problem. How will the previous temple be built upon that site, without destroying the current structure and initiating a holy war?

The whole world is eager to see a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a "two-state solution," where Israel governs their part, and Palestinians govern their own part. But, some Christians are opposed to such a treaty, because they believe the land should belong only to Israel being a promise to Israel in the Bible. This is called Christian Zionism, the belief that Christians should have an active political role in preserving the land for Israel alone. If they are correct, then peace cannot be achieved, not as long as Palestinians desire to govern their own land. But, they are not correct, not politically, and not Biblically.

Before moving forward, this is not a political paper, neither anti-Israel or anti-Palestinian. The Gospel actually commands Christians to do good to ALL people, not to pick and choose. Instead, this paper will establish that no Christian is mandated by the Bible to support or oppose any nation either politically or monetarily. Their political leanings are their own business, but God does not require it. This paper opposes pressure by believers upon the remaining Body to side with any nation's political ambitions, especially at the expense of peace.

This paper is also about the total lack of race-based criteria in the Kingdom of God. All people are welcomed into God's Kingdom, from white to black, man to woman, Jew to Arab. God is not using race to define his Kingdom, only faith. Regrettably, race-based exclusivity results in a culture of oftentimes militaristic nationalism within the church today, that the Bible does not validate.

Christian Zionism

Let's define some terms. The Evangelical body which discourages a "two state solution" for Biblical reasons call themselves Christian Zionists. According to Encyclopedia Brittanica:

Zionism, Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, "the Land of Israel").

Christian Zionism is, in essence the fusion of the political agenda in support of Israel with Christian doctrine. The wikipedia entry for Christian Zionism reads:

Christian Zionism or Restorationism, is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. Some Christian Zionists also believe that the "ingathering" of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. This belief is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with Christian Dispensationalism, mainly in English-speaking countries outside Europe.

The idea that Christians should actively support a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, along with the parallel idea that the Jews ought to be encouraged to become Christian, as a means fulfilling a Biblical prophecy has been common in Protestant circles since the Reformation. The term Christian Zionism was popularized in the mid-twentieth century.

Christian Zionism, to varying degrees, has become the prevailing stance among Christians today, John Hagee, Jerry Falwell, Alan Keyes, Congressman Tom Delay, and Pat Robertson being among the preeminent.

The documentary called Rapture Ready by Max Blumenthal exposes a sinister mentality present in the Christian Zionist disposition toward Palestinians. Phrases from Christian Zionists like, "we have a common enemy" and that "we've got to fight the Muslim" and he who "forces a peace treaty with the Arabs is the one we have to watch out for (the anti-Christ)" expose a dangerous, militant stance against a group of people. Did Jesus Christ indend this, when he said "love your enemies?" We see that even peace itself is becomes suspect, the work of Satan, while armed conflict has become the Christian way, to the point that one member "looks forward to Armaggeddon and the cleansing of the earth."

What is to be cleansed, or who, and by what means? While Christian Zionism is not monolithic in belief and approach, make no mistake, war is how many of them believe that the earth will be cleansed of the Arab opposers, Muslims in particular.

According to the the Washington Report, "modern Israel is the catalyst for the countdown to the End Times (persecution, the Rapture, coming of the Antichrist, etc.), and that current political alignments will determine the future. A major contemporary belief is that the state of Israel (with financial backing from Christians) is destined to war with the pagan nations (Iraq, Iran, etc.), thus bringing about Armageddon, or the end of the world, and thus hasten the Second Coming of Jesus." (see article)

In this article, we will Scripturally examine:

  • The correct method of prophecy interpretation according to the Scripture
  • What "Israel" is, in Biblical terms
  • God's promises to Abraham in the Bible concerning "land and blessing"
  • How you, and anyone else, can inherit these promises to Abraham, through faith in Christ
  • What it means to be "a chosen people" and a "holy nation" through faith in Christ
  • Why these Scriptural truths make people so angry

Types and Shadows: “Not the Very Image”

The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, is filled with what are called "types and shadows." These are symbols which in themselves are, as the Bible says, "not the very image." The lamb sacrifices were types of Christ but not the very image, not the very thing, and that is why the early Christian Jews ceased to offer sacrifices when they believed in Christ. The "very thing" had come, so the shadow faded away. The shadow did not have the staying power of the very thing.

Hebrews 10:1
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form (KJV - image) of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Romans 5:14
Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come (Jesus Christ).

Even Adam represented Christ to come, and we know that, while Christ was sinless, Adam sinned. That which symbolizes the heavenly, does not bear the heavenly in its very nature, and so fades away. Suppose a child is looking for his baseball bat. He spots the shadow of the bat along the ground and follows it until he finds the bat. When he takes the bat, does he take special care preserve the shadow along with the object? No, that would be impossible. He simply takes the bat home with him and regards it as the true possession.

And, like the lamb sacrifices were types of Christ, so also the nation of Israel itself:

Matthew 2:13-15
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take (Jesus) and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, They stayed there until King Herod died. So the words the Lord had spoken through the prophet came true. He had said, "I chose to bring my son out of Egypt."

Matthew's reference:

Hosea 11:1-2
The LORD continues,"When Israel was a young nation, I loved them. I chose to bring my son out of Egypt. But the more I called out to Israel, the further they went away from me. They brought sacrifices to the statues of the gods that were named after Baal. And they burned incense to them.

You see that? Israel is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Israel.

Exodus 4:22-23
Then (Moses) say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.'"

Israel is God's firstborn son. If that is the case, wouldn't it make sense to say that if God says that Israel is Jesus Christ, then all those in Christ are therefore in Israel? That's not a viewpoint that many Christian Zionists might be comfortable with, but read on, and see the abundance of scriptures which testify to it.

1 Corinthians 2:11
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are FOOLISHNESS unto him: neither CAN he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To understand that scripture is to know the method by which the New Testament writers interpreted the Old Testament. This scripture says: They were given the Spirit "that they might know the things which are freely given to them of God." This means that without spiritual discernment, they could never have known what they have inherited. We can never know how God transferred the promises of Abraham to Christ and his followers, unless we know how they spiritually discerned. We will come back to that later.

"The Royal Land Grant" (Unconditional Vs Conditional Gifts)

Pastor John Hagee, founder of the Christian Zionist organization CUFI (Christians United for Israel) says:

"We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of men, but Israel was created by an act of God! The Royal Land Grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob with an everlasting and unconditional covenant."

This "royal land grant" premise is foundational to why Christian Zionists oppose Israeli concessions to Palestinians. Even more so, it is the reason Zionism was born at all. Zionists believe that the land was promised to Jewish people by God and it was theirs by divine right, and therefore, the native Arabs living there before 1948 were themselves the occupiers. This logic follows, therefore, that allowing a non-Jewish state in the West Bank and Gaza would be anti-Biblical. Even before the Holocaust occurred, Jewish Zionists were planning to expel the Arabs native to the land by any means necessary. This is according to their own words.

Either a two-state solution, or a one-state solution with shared power contradicts the Bible according to Christian Zionist doctrine, and so the only possibility left is managed conflict and a sustained occupation of the West Bank; To that point, John Hagee warns America against encouraging Israel to concede a national identity to Palestinians within the land, saying:

I want those of you in the State Department and in government in Washington to hear this: If America does not stop pressuring Israel to give up land, I believe that God will bring this nation into judgment, because I believe what this book says. And if God brings this nation into judgment, He will very likely release the terrorists that you've already let get here through the ridiculous immigration policy you refuse to stop, and this nation is going to go through a bloodbath that you have permitted because of what you have done. You have disobeyed the law of God, and now, we as a nation are going to pay a price for that.

Pressuring Israel to give up land? First of all, Israel itself agreed to the 1948 UN partition plan. Therefore, withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza would be to honor their own agreement, not giving up land. Regardless, many vocal Christian Zionists tell us "royal land grant" precludes even Israel to honor their own agreements. But how solid is their Biblical ground? Not at all. In fact, as you will see, they are building their ideas on sand. Let's put aside politics and focus solely on the Biblical arguement.

Genesis 12:7
The LORD appeared to Abram at Shechem. He said, "I will give this land to your children (seed) after you." So Abram built an altar there to honor the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Genesis 13:14, 16-17
The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring (seed) could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."

As presented in the Bible, the land is clearly promised as an unconditional gift to Abraham and "his seed." Christian Zionists claim that the land was promised to "to Abraham and Jewish people." However, in point of fact, Arabs (including Palestinians) trace their lineage to Abraham through his son Ishmael, and claim that they are included in the promise as well. Indeed, if the Bible ended with Genesis 12 and 13, ALL Abraham's children would indeed inherit the land... all 8 sons and all their descendants, Jews and Arabs together.

Here is where Christian Zionists unwittingly destroy their own argument. They point to the fact that God renewed the promise through Isaac:

Genesis 26:3 
Sojourn in this land (Isaac), and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.

And by pointing to that scripture, they have unravelled their own argument. Indeed, this scripture excludes Ishmael and his brothers from the promises of Genesis 12 &13, and upholds Isaac and his descendants as the only inheritors. This is why John Hagee included the phrase "through Isaac and Jacob" in his land grant statement. But, notice that God disregarded Ishmael's genetic heritage to Abraham when he chose Isaac. In fact, later in the New Testament, Apostle Paul declares that Christians are the seed of Abraham, and denies the the genetic hertiage as basis for that identity.

So, while Christian Zionists prove that Ishmael's genetic heritage does not seal Arabs as "the seed" of the promise, they inevitably destroy their own arguement that it does seal the Israelites as the seed of the promise. What we have here is proof that the identity of "Abraham's seed" is based upon election, not genetic heritage. What happens if God renews the promise again through another Son of Abraham, and again disregards genetic heritage? Will the Christian Zionists complain? They didn't complain when it happened to Ishmael and his seed.

Notice again what John Hagee said, "The Royal Land Grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob..through an unconditional covenant." He doesn't even see the implication of that. If Arabs were not included in the promise - because Ishmael and his children was disregarded for the seed - why does God not have the same prerogative to define "the seed" through Christ alone, another son of Abraham?

This election-based status as Abraham's seed had been established within the first book of the Bible. The reason Mr. Hagee carefully includes Isaac and Jacob in his statement about the "royal land grant" is because he is aware that Arabs trace their lineage to Abraham as well. So, he means to Biblically delineate the identity of the seed through a chosen lineage, maybe not comprehending that he has offered a self-refuting argument. Apostle Paul would have taken him to school on that.

By even mentioning Isaac in accordance with the promise, he is affirming the conditional, election-based quality of the promises to Abraham. Therefore, neither Mr. Hagee, or any other Christian Zionist can complain if the Bible is shown to declare that God has chosen Abraham's lineage through Christ alone. If they do, they have hypocrisy on their hands. But if God has done this, then both Jews and Arabs can peacefully share the land without Zionist shaming.

God is, and always has been, in control of defining "the seed" identity through his own sovereign choices: election according to a chosen son, and not by genetic heritage itself. You see, Christian Zionist doctrine goes sideways when it assumes that the identity of "the seed of Abraham" is unconditional when it never was. The land grant is unconditional, but the seed identity is not.

Exodus 19:5-6
Now IF you obey me fully and keep my covenant, THEN out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."

Deuteronomy 28:2
IF you obey the LORD your God, here are the blessings that will come to you and remain with you. The LORD your God will make you his holy people. He will set you apart for himself. He took an oath and promised to do that. He promised to do it if you would keep his commands and live exactly as he wants you to live.

If God gives you a cupcake and says, "you may have this cupcake IF you give your mom a hug" does God have a right to take the cupcake away if you refuse to hug your mom? If the answer is yes, then you understand the differences between conditional gifts and unconditional gifts. Here is an example of an unconditional promise:

Romans 11:27-29
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

The gifts and calling of God are without repentance, obviously referring to unconditional gifts. This irrevocable gift and calling refers to the applicable covenant: a deliverer SHALL turn ungodliness from Jacob. All Israel SHALL be saved. That is an unconditional promise. However, the identity of the seed inheritor and their status as a chosen people were always conditioned on obedience. Christian Zionists constantly confuse the two when attempting to use this scripture to prove that they are still the seed and that the world owes them the land without question.

Conditional gifts are subject to compliance to a satisfied criteria, whereas unconditional gifts are "unrepentant" without subject to change. Notice the conditions placed upon their status as "his holy people" from the very beginning of their journey with God. Does that look like a conditional gift, or an unconditional one? It's fairly obviously conditional, isn't it? But a Christian Zionist will not accept that.

Consider the prophets:

Exodus: "And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people" 32:8
Deuteronomy: "Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer." 10:17
2 Kings: "(Israel) rejected his decrees. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless." 17:15
Judges: "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD,
and served Baalim" 2:11
Isaiah: "Ah, sinful nation (Israel), a people loaded with guilt,
a brood of evildoers" 1:4
Jeremiah: "They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger." 7:18
Lamentations: "Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean." 1:8
Ezekiel: "they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day." 2:3
Daniel: "All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to
obey you." 9:10
Hosea: "I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel." 1:4
Joel: "The Mighty One is coming to destroy you." 1:4
Amos: "The people of Israel have sinned again and again. So I will punish them." 2:6
Micah: "you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all
that is right" 3:9
Zephaniah: "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who
live in Jerusalem" 1:4
Haggai: "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little...Because of my house, which remains a ruin" 1:9
Zechariah: "I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt"
Malachi: "You are under a curse—the whole nation of you" 3:13 Malachi was the last prophet before Jesus Christ. Does it appear before you that the "natural branches" remained faithful to Israel's root, which is God? They never became a "holy nation" of priests, as they incessantly struggled with God, and constantly aroused His anger.

Jesus Christ reaffirmed the conditional covenant in his ministry:

Matthew 12:49-50
And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

So being Christ's brother has nothing to do with physical descent, at least not according to him. Under the conditions he set forth, even Gentiles could be his brothers, and disobedient Israelites, not so much. Given that God set forth a requirement of obedience to be considered his chosen people - from the beginning - would he then retain the right to retract that status if he determined them to be disobedient? Naturally. Obviously. How would that be a violation of a promise if the promise was contingent on obedience?

Paul himself professed anguish regarding his "kinsmen according to the flesh,"

Romans 9:4-5
Who are Israelites, to whom pertains the adoption as sons, and the glory and; the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever.

Paul's anguish stemmed from his knowledge that the flesh profits nothing to be counted for the seed. It profited nothing with Ishmael, and nothing with anyone who rejects Christ. While affirming their reception of these conditional covenants he goes on to reject their status as the seed of Abraham:

Romans 9:6-8
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Don't kill the messenger. I'm just presenting what the Bible says. "Neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children." Why? Because in Isaac thy seed shall be called. In other words, just as Ishmael was not counted as the seed of Abraham, neither are Israelites who disobey God. And, that's all regardless of genetic heritage.

That's why God can consider Gentiles to be the seed of Abraham, because they are all in Christ, the seed of Abraham. They are the body of Abraham's son as chosen by God. That is also why God can count those who reject Christ as not the seed of Abraham, and Christian Zionists can have no complaint. They use the same logic to deny Ishmael and his seed, the Arabs. But remember, "Israel is God's firstborn son."

How can anyone not counted for the seed of Abraham claim a Biblical inheritance of the land, as Christian Zionists allege?

Genesis 22:2
And (God) said (to Abraham), Take now thy son, THINE ONLY SON Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah
Genesis 22:10-12
Then (Abraham) reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son (Isaac). But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, YOUR ONLY SON."

In God's eyes, Abraham only had one son. It's not that Ishmael didn't literally exist. He did. But he was not counted (or considered) to be Abraham's seed because God is letting us know that he retains authority over his elect. He does not let genetic heritage determine that, but the long arm of his authority determines it. The phrase "in Isaac thy seed shall be called" would be no different than saying, "In Christ thy seed shall be called."

1 Peter 2:6-8
For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Notice that the ones who disobeyed were destined for it. The King James version says "whereunto they were also appointed." This appointment, that they should reject the Savior resulted in His death, and resurrection. By their rejection, the foundation for a New Jerusalem, a new Israel, would be birthed.

1 Peter 2:9-10
But YOU ARE a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1Pe 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Clearly, Peter is recalling God's condition set forth by Exodus 19:5-6, using the same language to refer to the Gentiles. The reason Peter is able to do this is because believers were obedient. They did not reject the Prophet, so God fulfilled the promise to establish a nation and a chosen people from out of the obedient, even those not physically descended from Abraham. Speaking to the Israelites referring to Christ, Peter said:

Acts 3:22-23
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

So, not only was identity as "the seed" conditional upon God's election, but obedience to Christ was itself written into the first covenant securing an Israelite's place among the people. They were notified of this conditional from the very beginning.

1 Kings 9:6-7
But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,
 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight.

Now, if genetic Israel was given an unconditional land grant, how can God cut them off from the land for disobedience? That's because, again, while the land grant is unconditional, the definition of Israel as an inheritor was predicated upon obedience. And because the identity of Abraham's seed is based on God's choices, here is who the promises apply to today:

Galatians 3:16,19
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.

We see why those who believe in Christ are counted for the seed. That's because God counts Christ to be only seed, just like he counted Isaac to be Abraham's only son. Only by being in Christ can we inherit Christ's identity as the only seed of Abraham, therefore becoming the only people of God. To be in Christ is to be in Israel.

The "royal land grant" is actually promised directly to Jesus Christ. It's his land and he said "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)

Israel is . . . Whatever God Says It Is

Should we ever presume that God is under constraint to count genetic heritage for the seed, observe John the Baptist's view on it:

Matthew 3:7-9
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our father; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

Let's really think about that for a moment. God can raise up children from stones? How could that be if genetic heritage is the sticking point? If Christian Zionists were correct, God couldn't do that because it would void the promise. Indeed, God could point to a flock of birds and declare it to be Israel. As we have seen, obedience is really the sticking point, not the flesh.

Some might characterize this as "Replacement Theology," or that "the church has replaced Israel." In reality, the very use of the term "replacement" in that context demonstrates a bottom-line misconception of what is Israel. Israel is God's son. He cannot be replaced. But, like a tree, he can add and subtract branches from himself. At one time, there were natural branches. But when they were cut off, wild branches were grafted on. Israel has always been a steady tree firmly planted in the soil. But, the branches are subject to change according to God's authority.

After all, God refers to Israel in the Bible as as house, as in "the house of Israel." A house, in that usage, is like a dynasty, or kingdom, or essentially a group of people under one name. What's very important to understand is that while the chosen people are the house, Jesus Christ is the name. As king of the universe, God has sole discretion to define his rules, by which to determine what defines the "house of Israel."

In England, this is called "house law," defining who is eligible for succession, and who is considered a member. In God's terms, "house law" is his own discretion, and he defined his discretionary rules in the Bible. In terms of a house as a dwelling place, think of God as the ultimate landlord of the house.

The house is always called "Israel" but some tenants might be removed for lack of compliance to the rules set out by the landlord. If the landlord evicts the individual tenants, he may also receive new tenants who agree to live by the rules set forth by the landlord. You can imagine how Paul's "spiritualizing" of Abraham's seed would would be received by the Jews in those days.

The very notion that a Gentile could be declared by God to be a Jew by the Spirit, was profane and grounds for whipping and stoning. Not only were these seeming oddball early Christians spiritualizing the law, but also fatherhood to include the Gentiles among Abraham's seed! In the Jews' eyes, by claiming that fatherhood is spiritual, these blasphemous Christians were attempting to negate centuries-old traditions!

Regarding spiritual fatherhood, Jesus expressed the critical difference between flesh and spirit through an intentional contradiction:

John 8:37,39
"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you." They answered and said unto him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus saith unto them, "IF YE WERE Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."

Here, Jesus recognizes their lineage in Abraham, in one breath, only to deny it in the next by saying "If you were Abraham's children."

John 6:49
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
John 6:32
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you NOT that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

Here again we see carnal things recognized, then repudiated as irrelevent. They DID eat manna. But, they DID NOT eat manna, not that true manna which comes from Heaven, because they did not receive the "the true bread," which is the Spirit.

The physical bread is as useless to feed spiritual needs as is the flesh to determine the identitity of the seed.

Rom 2:28
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Few Christians appreciate the gravity of Circumcision to Jewish identification. It wasn't just any old ordinance. God told Abraham that his children MUST be circumcised: "Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." (Genesis 17:14). In fact, God was about to kill Moses because he was not circumcised (Exodus 4:24-26). Simply put, without circumcision, one was not a Jew in God's eyes. So again, being considered God's chosen people was based on a conditional criteria of obedience and faith, not the flesh.

Isaac was born by the work of the Spirit, and so was Christ, and so are those who are born-again into Christ. Being so, the sons who rejected Christ have themselves rejected being born in the manner Isaac was, and that is why Paul says that a Jew is not outwardly. It can't be. A Jew can only be one who was born by the work of the Spirit, which is why believers are called the seed of Abraham, because they are the only ones with the required circumcision.

Watch how God flips racial identity upside down:

Galatians 4:22-26
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman (who bore Ishmael) and the other by the free woman (who bore Isaac). His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman through the promise.

These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

Ok, that was alot of information in two paragraphs, so let's break it down.

1. Abraham had two sons by two different women (Hagar and Sarah)
2. Each woman represents two covenants (the Old and the New)
3. Hagar was a slave woman who represents Mt. Sinai where the Jews recieved the Law
4. The Jews in Jerusalem, therefore, being in slavery to the Law are children of Hagar, not Sarah, and Jerusalem, therefore, corresponds to Egypt
5. Sarah, mother of Isaac, is therefore the mother of those who are free under the New Covenant.

Did you get all that? God exchanged the line of descent. I'll make it even simpler: Paul just said that the Jews were Arabs and that Jerusalem is Egypt. A 180 degree flip. He said that Hagar is the mother of those of all those in slavery to the Law, rejecting the New Covenant in Christ. Remember? Hagar was the mother of Ishmael, the father of Arabs.

Here's another way to put it:

Revelation 11:8
Their bodies (the two witnesses) will lie in the public square of the great city--which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt--where also their Lord was crucified.

We know that Christ was crucified in the great city of Jerusalem. But, according to this, he was crucified in Sodom and Egypt. Either that's an aberration or it goes along with what Paul said. "Mt. Sinai in Arabia corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem." Inasmuch as a Jew is not outwardly according to the flesh, neither is a Gentile. A Gentile is whoever rejects Christ and therefore does not inherit the Spirit.

Do you see how God takes the concept of racial identification and flips it on its head and shakes out all the change? The above scripture is offensive! But why? Paul's essential message was: Race doesn't matter, but that faith does matter. He never shrank away from that, and it is inherently a non-racist message. Race scores you no points with God, and neither does it count against you. It holds no weight at all. This concept was not unique to the New Testament.

Jeremiah 9
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.

You see how God lumps them all together as one? They are all Gentiles to God, having nothing to do with physical descent, and everything to do with obedience and love, fidelity to God (or lack thereof). Disobedience to God constitutes uncircumcision. Obedience constitutes circumcision. It's right there, even in the Hebrew Bible. By the New Covenant, he is drawing the line in the sand, and that line is Jesus Christ.

While everyone claims that race shouldn't matter, we make it matter by taking pride in it. "Proud to be this." "Proud to be that." But, when one comes along and flips race around on its head the natural result, therefore, will be the wrath upon who is professing the truth. If nobody had boasting in the flesh, nobody could be offended when racial identity is flipped. That anyone could be offended by this exposes their boasting in the flesh. And, since pretty much everyone boasts in the flesh, you can see why the Gospel caused such upheaval and offense in its early days and now.

The half baked "royal land grant" theory is invalid support to pressure Christians away from supporting peace in that area through a treaty. That land belongs to Jesus Christ. But don't worry. Nobody is starting another Crusade. There is a much better land from above. Attack begets counter-attack. Both sides are pointing the finger, and both have a side to the story. But Christian Zionists should not be butting their noses into an already volitile situation with their unscriptural ideologies.

The "present city of Jerusalem" is the very city that both Jews and Palestinians are fighting to the death to possess. That is the brick-and-mortar city over which nuclear hostility threatens the livelyhood of all the world. The bondwoman Hagar spiritually abides there. But "Jerusalem from above" is populated by the free, by the peacemakers for "they shall called the children of God." You didn't think Jesus was bluffing about that, did you?

Hebrews 12:22
But YOU have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

This is not a future-tense promise, but something that carriers of the Holy Spirit have come to: the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the firstborn. In every way, Mount Zion can be contrasted with Mount Sinai, including its metaphysical nature. According to the previous verses in chapter 12: "You have not come to a mountain that can be touched" (Hebrews 12:19). According to the Bible, this intangible mountain and the "Jerusalem from above" has something to do with the "church of the firstborn" who come in "joyful assembly." Are you beginning to see how "spiritual discernment" has much to do with "knowing the things which are freely given to us by God?"

According to the Bible, to have "come to Mount Zion" and to "the heavenly Jerusalem" which is the "church of the firstborn" is to have "come to God." Christian Zionists ought to know, this being true, entry into Jerusalem comes by one gate: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6). Nobody will ever enter Jerusalem but by Christ and nobody enters Christ but by faith. Where is Jerusalem located? Why, Israel of course! Do you remember what God says Israel is? Israel is my firstborn son. (Exodus 4:22). Heavenly Jerusalem is in Israel. The "church of the firstborn" is in Christ. Israel from above is in Christ.

In his vision, John saw the Christ's bride, "the church of the firstborn" typified:

Revelation 21:2
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

God prepares a New Jerusalem for those who are live in "the dwelling place of God." This "Jerusalem from above who is our mother" is the heavenly Jerusalem which no man may forcefully occupy. This city is given only to the humble in spirit, the meek, and the oppressed.

Ephesians 5:29
After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

This beautiful Bride, this New Jerusalem, has inherited a City within an Israel built with God's hands, the firstborn Son. This city is a many-membered body, a New Jerusalem walking the earth, descendants from heaven because the Spirit is within them. This Jerusalem is a city of peace, and no man may conquer it, no man may seek its territory by anything but a humbled heart. This city, which will be glorified by God for the world to see in due time.

1 John 3:10
Here is how you can tell the difference between the children of God and the children of the devil. Those who don't do what is right do not belong to God. Those who don't love their brothers and sisters do not belong to him either.
Mat 5:43-45
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor. Hate your enemy.' But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. THEN you will be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

To be a son of God, and a brother to Christ, in spiritual terms, is not genetic, but is determined by following Christ's example. We know that GOD physically creates everyone and everything, but abandoning man's natural wisdom, and adopting "spiritual discernment" proscribed by the Bible, John demonstrates the true model of a parent/child relationship not related to physicality.

Rom 4:12-13
And (Abraham) is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Well, there you go. Abraham is the father of those who follow in the footsteps of the faith. He is therefore not a father to those who do not. Controversial? Yes. In those days, most definitely. Nevertheless, it's what the scripture says, and what scripture says tends to be an offense to those who reject it.

We are left with a choice: man's definition of the seed, or God's definition of the seed. If the Bible is the arbiter of truth in these matters, then God's definition of Abraham's seed prevails, as it should.

"He Teaches Against The People!"

Some Christians have a real problem with what the Bible says. These things are not soft and soothing, and definitely not politically correct. Inevitably, unto anyone who affirms the teachings of the Bible, the emotional Christian Zionists will bring down an accusation of teaching against Jewish people. That's utter nonsense. These teachings are in regard to God's plan to bring the Gentiles into salvation, then bring the Jewish people right back to the Olive Tree. It's a call to disregard the flesh as a way to value people, essentially as anti-racist a message as you could get. There's NEVER a call in the New Testament to do any harm to people, but in fact to do good.

But, hasty accusations occur when people find they cannot reason from the scriptures alone, so they retreat to character defamation. This isn't new. In fact, everything Paul taught on the seed of Abraham and the inheritors drew a similar backlash in his own day.

Act 21:27-28
Some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, "Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place."

Paul was accused of teaching "against the people," the Jewish people. In this way, some Christian Zionists make their own beds with false accusers. Theirs is, of course, a knee-jerk reaction based on emotion rather than the scripture. The church is called to make peace, and to do good to all men, both Jews and Arabs. But that doesn't mean that God respects the flesh, or ever has respected it.

Why do you suppose that Paul's "kinsmen according to the flesh" accused him of "teaching all men against the people, their law and this place?" It's because Paul "spiritually discerned" that "this place," meaning the temple and the land, was an earthly representation with a higher, spiritual meaning, and that to be a Jew was inward according to the Spirit, not outward according to the flesh.

Galatians 4:28-31
Now YOU, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way (Ishmael) persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son." Therefore, brothers, WE ARE NOT children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Yes, Ishmael persecuted Isaac, the very picture Paul uses to explain to the church why they were enduring the same treatment in Christ from Israelites of his day. That's not to say that Christians haven't persecuted Jews also. The atrocities committed by Christians is clearly evident throughout history, because Christians have been disobedient to Christ's commandments to love their neighbors to their own shame. Those who affirm Biblical teachings to Christian Zionists, who have apparently no use for Biblical truth, will be wrongly treated the same way Ishmael persecuted Isaac.

To deny their false "land grant" doctrine is equal to "speak against the people" in their minds. That's the extent of their willingness to engage in honest analysis. So, they verbally persecute those who "spiritually discern," labeling them anti-Semitic, while collecting war money to clench material Jerusalem against the evil Palestinians, even costing innocent lives. What does Jesus think about a war-torn child dead in the earthly streets? Is that money well spent?

Anyone who affirms Scriptural truth will be accused of "teaching against the people" and against "this place" meaning the modern Israeli nation and its inhabitants. That is what Paul means when he said "as he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now." This is what Paul was referencing:

Gen 21:8-10
And (Isaac) grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian (Ishmael), whom she had borne to Abraham, LAUGHING. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac."

The natural child, born of the flesh, persecuted (mocked) the child that was born of the Spirit. How well certain Christians play the role of Ishmael today. How ironic. Because they align themselves with Israel of the flesh, kinsmen according to the flesh, and Jews which are outwardly, they easily slip into Ishmael's role and persecute those who "spiritually discern." This is why they mock, ridicule and deride "spiritual discernment." They have a role to play.

As it is, Paul directly confronted the evil of anti-Semitism, but not by betraying the truths he established in Christ, that you have so far witnessed. Read it for yourselves:

Rom 11:7-8, 17-9
What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted.

But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the NATURAL branches, he will not spare you either.

There is your answer to anti-Semitism Paul did not fight that evil by reversing himself and claiming that the "natural branches" do constitute Israel, because they do not. Israel is in the Spirit, in the firstborn Son, and not of the flesh. Rather, to preach against racism, Paul simply said that if anyone "boasts against" the cut-off "natural branches" the boasters themselves will be cut off. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. If that happens, and if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Rom 11:22-23).

What it Means to Inherit The Holy Land

Christ is the true inheritor of all the promises of Abraham, and therefore those who are in him inherit the land as he did. But what we need to have, in order to know what is promised to us, is spiritual discernment.

Romans 4:13
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.

According to Paul, there is no co-heir situation here. There is ONE heir and the qualification of being an heir is faith. Christian Zionists do not comprehend that if "adherents to the law" remain heirs to Abraham's promises, not only would that nullify faith, it VOIDS THE PROMISE altogether! Paul resolved this when he Christ showed him that the promises to Abraham were not about temporal, earthy things, as they had all expected, and as Zionists still do:

Galatians 3:1
(God) redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, SO THAT by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Search the Old Testament. You will not see "the promise of the Spirit" literally pledged to Abraham even once. Land is land, or is it? That the "promise of the Spirit" was "the blessing given to Abraham" is the exact reason that adherents to the Law have no inheritance, regardless of their genetics. This is why the faith is nullified when we preach that unnecessary to be heirs to Abraham's promise. Do you not know that the Spirit comes ONLY by faith? This is why no inheritance exists outside Christ, and why the blessing to Abraham comes THROUGH Him.

Why do you suppose the Jewish people - who believed Jesus was the Messiah - were ultimately disillusioned, and betrayed him? Because according to "man's wisdom," they expected Jesus to fulfill their "royal land grant" by defeating Rome. When He stood captive in Jerusalem, they saw their power slipping away, so they cried out for his death. Yet, in killing their kinsman Jesus, they facilitated His Resurrection so that Christ could fulfill what carnal discernment had veiled in a mystery: the promise of the Spirit.

Among the best ways to determine a fad's validity, like Christian Zionism, is to compare their primary concerns with the Gospel. How often did the apostles admonish the church to protect the land for the Jewish people? NEVER. Not once. But if "supporting Israel" really is God's command to the church, why are the New Testament letters to them utterly devoid of the same passionate admonitions? Did the apostles miss what Zionists get?

That is your first clue in knowing how far Christian Zionism strays from the pure Gospel message. The apostles simply weren't interested in championing the cause for Israel's national goals. And, that was a time when Rome controlled the physical land. Regarding the "blessing of Abraham" the apostles always pointed to "the promise of the Spirit."

Galatians 3:1
(God) redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, SO THAT by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

This was the promise: Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." (Genesis 13:17)

Can natural discernment about the "royal land grant" in Genesis lead to the revelation of "the promise of the Spirit?" The Bible says no. The natural man will always conclude that spiritual discernment is foolishness, and he cannot receive it. What does the "breadth of the land" have to do with "the promise of the Spirit?"

Numbers 14:22-23
Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it.

Watch how "the land" was spiritually discerned:

Hebrews 3:7-11
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.' As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest.'"
Hebrews 3:16-18
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?

God swore: "they shall not enter into my rest." When did God mention "my rest" in the book of Numbers? Well never, if speaking in natural terms. But, the author of Hebrews wasn't employing natural discernment. Spiritual discernment reveals why ONLY the seed of Abraham may inherit the promises, and that means only ONE people of God, not two. Only believers can inherit the Holy Spirit, which means only believers are counted for the seed of Abraham to inherit ANY of his promises.

The scripture reveals that God's promises to Abraham are about something much bigger, much greater, and more powerful than a plot of land: His own Spirit living within man. Paul claimed this a new revelation, a great mystery concealed from ages past.

Romans 16:25-26
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him.

Can you see God's method in keeping this a closely guarded secret until Lord Jesus came to fulfill the promises? The carnal mind cannot receive the things of the spirit, and the mind which carnally discerns cannot grasp what is plainly written to them that spiritually discern. By "the prophetic writings," like the Psalms, the Christian apostles revealed the true meaning of the promises: "Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest." (Psalm 95:10).

The prophets testified about Jesus Christ! By inspiration of the Spirit, David interpreted "the land" and revealed this secret to the Jews hundreds of years before Jesus was born. But, the natural man could not receive it.

Mat 11:28-29
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Jesus Christ is responsible for delivering the promises of Abraham to heirs who are, by faith, Abraham's seed. This level of "spiritualizing" is what garnered early Christians such persecution. According to Jewish Zionists, the "blessing given to Abraham" is the land. That is where they base their manifest destiny. Like them, Christian Zionists can only see that "royal land grant," that earth plot miles away. So doing, they will continually deny that if anyone absent of faith receives the promises of Abraham, "the promises are VOID," and faith is nullified, because a man's genetic make-up does not secure those promises as previously believed. Only faith secures the promise of Abraham, BECAUSE the promise was never about land in the first place, but about the Spirit.

The seed is God's firstborn son, who Israel itself foreshadowed. Can you imagine how this message was received among Jews living in Jerusalem under the Law? It was received the same way Christian Zionists receive it today: truth rejected. So, if the promises spoken to Abraham were spoken to one man, the very Christ, they had put to death, how does anyone else inherit them?

Galatians 3:26-29
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Just like Isaac, Jesus is a seed of Abraham, and just like Isaac, God has chosen to define the inheritors of the promises spoken in Genesis 12 through him. But God has chosen to identify the seed also as those who are in Christ. Whoever has been baptized into his Spirit are in Christ, and therefore they are Abraham's seed like Him. The identification of the seed inheritor is, therefore, based on Christ's own characteristics and not one's own personal characteristics. That is what makes Israel all of Christ and not of man's self.

Consider what it means to be born the ordinary way. A man and a woman have sexual intercourse and 9 months later a baby is born. In other words, the child is born through the works of man. Surely, God has ultimately created the child himself, but he has rejected the ordinary birthing pattern as a way to be counted for the seed of Abraham. Rather, God has preferred the kind of birth associated with Isaac, which is one that can only be done by a work of the Spirit, where man's own works cannot suffice.That's called being "born again," through the Holy Spirit, something which is accomplished by the grace of a likewise begotten Son. That's the kind of birth which is not by man's works, but by the Spirit, making them the children of the Promise like Isaac was. Whereas birthing Isaac was impossible by Sarah's own works, it was made possible by God and was therefore an act of grace, the same way being born again is an act of grace and not of man's own work.

This is why the promise of Genesis 12 does not promise anything to Abraham and "the genetically Jewish people" but to Abraham "and his seed." The seed is always according to God's determination and not of man's works. Zionists hate this because they understand the implications it has on their political maneuvering concerning the identity of Abraham's seed.

They understand it means that peace in the Middle East can be achieved without violating God's promises to Abraham. This means Israel has every scriptural right to settle with Palestine as its own nation without violating the promise, because the land belongs to Jesus, and he blesses the peacemakers. There are no promises for those who reject him, but neither is there a cause to kill eachother over land. Abraham's seed, those in Christ, are looking toward a better land, a heavenly land which was always the foundation of the promise, expressed through the type and shadow of the earth-bound land.

Can you see why spreading the Gospel produced so much persecution upon the church in the early days? The Apostles were telling the Israelites that they had to count all their identification as Jews as loss to win Christ (Philippians 3:8), because without belief in Christ, nobody has any claim to Abraham's promises, or may enter into God's rest ("the land") which is the Spirit, and nobody is even counted as the children of Abraham.What do you think will happen when you take away everything upon which one builds the house of his pride?

Hebrews 11:13-16
All these people (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Noah etc) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

For all their zeal, do Zionists not realize that the Biblical patriarchs were longing for a better country - a heavenly one, which they died in faith having not received? They set their sights much higher than contemporary Zionists. God has "prepared a city for them" and it has nothing to do with the brick and mortar "Jerusalem that now is." The city he has prepared for them is "Jerusalem from above" who is our spiritual mother, "the church of the firstborn." That is the true land grant, a much higher "land" which lives within us.

Hebrews 11:39
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

The promises have to do with them being "made perfect together with us." Being made perfect is what the promises were for. When God veiled the "promise of the Spirit" within the promise of physical land, hewas promising his Son to the world. Zionists don't realize that because they set their affections on things of the earth. When Jesus came, the Jews assumed He was there to deliver them from Roman rule, based on the same scriptures Christian Zionists use to present the same argument, so that they could control the physical land. Jesus was not there to deliver carnal things, but to deliver Spiritual things. Being sorely grieved by Christ's refusal to satisfy their ambitions, they (along with the Romans of course) murdered him. In so doing, Christ was able to fulfill Abraham's promises to believers, by giving them his resurrected Spirit, that they may "enter into his rest."

1 Corinthians 2:7
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The wisdom of God is a mystery, a hidden wisdom. The promises to Abraham appear to be in regard to physical things. That physical things are "types and shadows" of higher things, is what veiled the promises in a mystery. And if "the princes of this world" would have known what the promises were, they would not have killed Jesus. But, had they not killed the Messiah, the promise of the Spirit through Abraham would not be available to anyone. They thought that the Messiah was sent to deliver an earthly payload promised to Israel.

Hebrews 10:19-20
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

To enter into the Holy Place, we MUST pass "through the veil," which is "the flesh." To seek profit in earthy things, like genealogy, is to remain in darkness outside the Holy Place. Natural people seek after lower things. Spiritual people seek after higher things. This is a basic Biblical truth. So God, according to His plan, veiled the Spirit within in a promise pertaining to flesh, the earthy land. Physical lambs, physical alters, physical fire, physical tabernacles, physical priesthoods, physical waters, physical meats and drinks, physical land: these things are a veil, that when torn away reveal the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says that when Jesus died, the veil (the curtain) in the temple was ripped in two (Mat 27:51). When the flesh dies (like Christ's flesh died), when carnal discernment vanishes, when carnal lusts abate, then the veil is torn in two, for the Spirit to emerge.

Even Jesus Christ's own flesh is that veil! His body was ripped open on the cross so that he may reveal what? His resurrected Spirit! When the flesh is torn away in our minds, we can better see that Spirit. That is why we pass THROUGH the veil to enter into the holiest place. The flesh keeps us out, but when torn in two and put aside, we go deeper. Too many Christians still lovingly gazing upon the veil without passing through it, so they may know the Spirit and be given "spiritual discernment:"

2 Corinthians 3:13-14
And (we are) not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh (the VEIL), we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

What was the promise in the Old Testament? The land. That's a veil. It is earthly; it is the flesh. But, in Christ the veil is removed, that we may understand the Spirit. In the New Testament, what is the promise? God's rest. Do you see the unfolding? Do you see why "we speak things in a mystery?" We carnal minded humans, who see only earthly things, do also LUST after earthly things. But, when the flesh is torn in two, like the veil in the temple, the Spirit is manifested.

2 Corinthians 3:13-14
And (we are) not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh (the VEIL), we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

That is why, when flesh-centered Christians crack open the Old Testament to read God's promises of a "royal land grant" they cannot not see "the inheritance of the Spirit" in that promise. When you tell a Christian Zionist that "the land" we must enter into by faith actually represents "God's rest" in His own Spirit, they will mock and persecute you in their synagogues. They will accuse you of "speaking against the people" when really you are sharing good news. I assure you, many will take physical land as a more alluring, more tangible inheritance, because it can be discerned with our material senses, requiring no faith to inherit, only war. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Mat 5:7-9)

I assert to anyone who can receive it: We have known the promised Holy Land after the flesh. Now, we no longer know it after the flesh, but the Spirit. The Heavenly land the patriarchs sought without obtaining, which the elect obtained, is what God had better in mind that "they not be made perfect without us. Do not persist in the shadows of the veil when reading the ancient words. By his Spirit, God has invalidated the compulsion to fight and kill eachother over scraps of earth.

2 Corinthians 6:8-10
We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

How Israel Returns to the Land

As I mentioned earlier, the reason many Christian Zionists are adamant about the land of Israel is because they view the return of Israel as the first step in the coming apocalypse to engulf all mankind (including Jewish non-Christians), and usher Christians into heaven. They interpret Israel's return to the land as an occurrence for the Last Days. But is that viewpoint true? Let's consider Hosea 2 for an example.

Rom 9:23-25
What if he did that to show the riches of his glory to others? Those are the people he shows his mercy to. He had prepared them to receive his glory. We are those people. He has chosen us. We do not come only from the Jewish race. Many of us are not Jews. God says in Hosea, "I will call those who are not my people 'my people.' I will call the one who is not my loved one 'my loved one.'" He also says, "Once it was said to them, "You are not my people.' In that very place they will be called 'children of the living God.'"

Obviously, Paul is applying that scripture to Gentile believers. What they might not have caught is the actual context of Hosea that Paul is quoting. It might surprise you.

Hosea 2:9-13
"Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her (Israel's) nakedness.

So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers (their idols); no one will take her out of my hands. I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the LORD.

God declares judgment. Then, a restoration.

Hosea 2:14-17, 20-23
I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. "In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.' I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.

I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. "In that day I will respond," declares the LORD— "I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one.' I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'"

In Romans 9, that is the same passage Paul applies to Gentiles, who God said were once "not My people" but have become "My people" by faith in Christ! About Gentiles, Hosea says nothing literally at all! God says to Israel in Hosea: "You are not my people, and I am not your God." Now, it would be impossible for God to say that, if he had bound their status as his people to genetic heritage. The very fact that God says he will tell Israel "you are not my people" is because of the conditions he set forth in the beginning: that if they obey his commandments he would make them his people.

Therefore, God has always reserved the right to reject their status as his people based on the criteria of obedience, rather than the flesh.

But, in Hosea, when He brings Israel back, He says "I will say to those called 'not my people' 'you are my people.'" Why does Paul apply that to Gentiles? Because, in another form, no longer of the earth, Israel did return. Watch what the prophecy says in Isaiah:

Isaiah 56:6-8
“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath and holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain (Zion) And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

This is why Paul applied Hosea to the Gentiles. The dispersed of Israel are all the people that God foreknew in Romans 8:29-30. Those he foreknew. It's saying that God will take those who are gathered already, (think about the upper room on Pentecost with Peter and the rest of the disciples receiving the Spirit) and adding to them those who God foreknew but where dispersed, Gentiles. Thus, Israel will be gathered up in Christ. Gathering them into the land signifies gathering them together in the Spirit. See the conditional statements still applying? The sabbath represents Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30), and the burnt offerings and sacrifices represent prayer (Hebrews 13:15).

God returned - and is still returning - "the house of Israel" to his favor as a new creation in Christ. Remember, God sets the house laws. He defines who Israel is. "A Jew is not one outwardly, just like circumcision is not of the flesh. A Jew is one that is inwardly, by circumcision of the heart through the Spirit."Take heed of that truth, because it will not change into an untruth in order to validate the interpretations of Christian Zionists concerning the prophets. People just assumed the gathering of Israel would be fulfilled according the flesh.

They make the same error that the Israelites made about Christ in his earthly ministry, assuming he would free them from Rome's rule. Why? Because, they didn't realize that the gathering of Israel was to be done according to the Spirit, and that is why Christ had to die. To be born as a life giving Spirit.

The prophets all carried the same testimony from age to age:

Amos (selections up to ch. 9)
I (God) will send fire ...I will send fire. I will send fire ... I will send fire ... I will send fire ... Seek the Lord and live, or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire ... the Lord will smash the great house into pieces ... I will spare my people Israel no longer ...The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer ... Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites ... I will destroy it from the face of the earth on that day I will restore David's fallen tent ... I will bring back my exiled people Israel. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted. (NIV)

Watch how James interprets that prophecy about Israel in the New Testament:

Acts 15:13
When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: "'After this (ie sending fire) I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things'

Do you see that part about "the remnant of men and all the Gentiles?" That is how the Lord prophesied the rebuilding of Israel. That a certain judgment would come upon Israel but then, a remainder of Israelites would be saved from being cut off as natural branches. Then, the remainder of natural branches would have a hand in grafting the wild branches (Gentiles) onto the Israel tree by preaching the Gospel.

Romans 11:1-7
I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel“Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.
 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened.

The reason God has not rejected his people is because he saved a remnant. Paul. Elijah. The 7,000 faithful Israelites. Even some priests in Jerusalem became believers (Acts 6:7). These were all Israelites not rejected. Those were the ones who survived the judgment against Israel prophesied in scripture, "and the rest were hardened." All through the Bible, the concept of a remnant is a running theme. The prophecies state that God would save a remnant of Jews from a coming judgment of Israel, by which to add Gentiles into Israel, and Israel is thus being restored and grows to this very day. Notice again, "those who were chosen obtained it." It was not according to their flesh (genetic heritage) but through election, as with Isaac.

The rebuilding of Israel is IN CHRIST, not outside of him. He is the chief cornerstone. According to James, THE WORDS OF THE PROPHETS ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS: God is rebuilding Israel, David's tent, in the Spirit with the Gentiles and a remnant of ethnic Jewish believers who are one in Christ. The Gentiles now bear His name, the name of the "house of Israel," which is Christ the firstborn son.

The words of the prophets all agree with this? Do you want more proof? He said to them, "This is what I (Jesus) told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." (Luke 24:44)

The name Israel once referred to ethnic Israelites, but while we once knew Israel after the flesh, we no longer know it that way, but after the Spirit. In the body is no Jew or Gentile. If the flesh-veil has been taken from our minds, we now see that "the flesh profits nothing."

Deuteronomy 30:5-6
He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

Do you see that God's promise to restore Israel to "the land" is predicated on a "circumcision of the heart?" Not only did Israel return, but she is still being reformed, as God leads them deeper into the Holy Land by the Spirit. According to Hosea, when Israel returns, the earth "will respond to the grain" and the "new wine." Jesus Christ called himself "the bread of life" and addressed the new covenant as "new wine."

He is the grain and the wine that the new Israel responds to, and rejoices within. In that day, according to the prophet, Israel will call God "My husband." What does Christ's bride call Him? What does the heavenly city of New Jerusalem who has been prepared as a bride for her husband call themselves?

We see this pattern extended across other prophecies as well. Consider Isaiah 60, and Isaiah 62, and Isaiah 65, which speak about Israel's rebuilding. Let's gather some word patterns together and see if they are repeated elsewhere in the New Testament.

Isaiah 60:11-14
Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you (Israel) the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession. "For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you (Israel) will perish, And the nations will be utterly ruined. "The glory of Lebanon will come to you, The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious. "The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; And they will call you the city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel."

------

Isaiah 62:1,5
For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 5For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

-----

Isaiah 65
17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18 "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.

-----

All very interesting. Those who are familiar with the book of Revelation might have picked up on some of the references. Here are some things we can pick up upon in these Isaiah scriptures:

1. "Your gates will be open continually"
2. "Men may bring into you the wealth of the nations"
3. "As a lamp that burneth"
4. "As a young man marrieth a virgin, and as a bride groom rejoices over the bride"
5. "a new heaven and a new earth created for rejoicing"

This is the pattern of speech found in Isaiah 60, 62, and 65. Is this referring to the modern state of Israel? Or is it referring to a Jerusalem which is built in Christ?

Revelation 21:21-25
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a BRIDE adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;

Isaiah was prophesying about The Bride of Christ, the church. Christ gave John his vision in Revelation, incorporating these prophecies to reveal that HE IS the fulfillment of prophecy. New Jerusalem is the "city from above" who is our mother that Paul spoke about. Those who are one with Christ are New Jerusalem. Consider another example:

Isaiah 60:12
For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you (Israel) will perish, And the nations will be utterly ruined.

Compare to:

1 Cor 6:2-3
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Remember when Jesus said that the Old Testament scripture spoke about himself, that he came to fulfill the prophets? Christian Zionists think that Isaiah was prophesying, not about Jesus himself, but about the modern state of Israel. My friends, Jesus IS Israel. The prophets are about Christ and his increase, those who are in him, who are of his Body. "The lamp that burneth" concerning Israel is the same as in Revelation 1:20. There is no Israel outside Christ. Jesus IS the fulfillment of the prophets, without fail and without exception.

But, Christian Zionists see an exception. According to them, the prophets were speaking about future politics. No. Future national politics are not the fulfillment of the prophets, at least not according to Jesus. According to him "I have come to fulfill (the prophets)" (Matthew 5:17). JESUS CHRIST is the fulfillment of prophecy. He is the chief - the ONLY - cornerstone of Israel. He IS the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the rebirth and reinstitution of Israel!

Christians claim that the Old Testament prophecies that Israel will be scattered from the land, then returned, was fulfilled in 1948. But how does that idea compare to Christ's words, that the prophecies testify about HIM? Take a look:

Jeremiah 31:9-10
“With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.” 10 Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, And declare in the coastlands afar off, And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

Who is this prophecy about? The same Israel who is God's firstborn son, of course. To whom is God a Father? Who is his firstborn? Jesus Christ, of course. Didn't Jesus Christ call himself a shepherd? So who are his sheep? The Body of Christ, of course. This is probably why Jeremiah takes the time to explain the New Covenant a few verses later:

Jeremiah 31:33 
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Paul applies this prophecy directly to Gentiles who have received the Holy Spirit in Romans 2:12-19. See for yourselves. So why are Gentiles inheriting promises which were promised to Israel? It's very simple. Because Israel is God's firstborn son, and they are Israel if they are in Christ. There is no Israel outside of Christ. There is no other firstborn Son, only one.

These prophecies are fulfilled only in HIM, and nowhere else. And the house of Israel is being gathered together in Christ to this very day under the noses of both Israelites and Arabs of the flesh. It is being gathered up in Christ who both Jews and Arabs reject as they are fighting eachother bloody over a piece of land, killing children and regarding it as necessary casualties to their respective causes.

Why is it that people with fancy degrees in theology keep looking outside of Christ for fulfillment of scripture, when Jesus plainly states that he IS the fulfillment? Is it so difficult to believe him about that? We need to STOP looking past Jesus for scripture fulfillment than unto him right now.

Zec 6:12
the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch (Jesus), and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.' Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the LORD, and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the LORD your God."

These are a few of the scriptures that Zionists use to prove that Jesus will return to earthy Jerusalem, build an earthy temple, and rule in the earthy land. This is why they join the hard fight against the Arabs who claim Jerusalem for their capital and desire a place in the land for their nation. If that happens, according to Zionists, prophecy will fail because the temple must be rebuilt, so Jesus will have a place to rule from. That flesh-veil is so powerful, and so difficult to remove. That carnal mind of man! That is why God Himself must remove the scales, that flesh might fall from our eyes. Only when the flesh is ripped in half can we see the Spirit in the holiest place, living within us.

God said that he will "make his tabernacle with man." After everything we discussed about "the land" and "the temple" in "the city" what do you see in the above prophecy? Where will Jesus sit and rule? Where is the city? Where is the land? Know ye not that ye are the temple of God? Incidentally, God does say where He does NOT rule from: "the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48).

If that is true, why are Christian Zionists waiting for Jesus to rule from a handmade temple in a physical city in a physical land when prophecy states that GOD Himself will build the temple. It says "In him, the building is joined together and rises, to become a holy temple to the Lord."

According to that Bible, He has been building His temple with his Spirit, ever since Pentecost two-thousand years ago. But, the fulfillment is not complete. That is why the Bible says that God is BUILDING the temple, which we are. It says that we have been sealed with the Spirit until God comes back to gather the possession Christ purchased through his death (Rom 8:23,
Eph 1:13-14, 2 Cor 5:4-5).

John 3:13
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which IS in heaven.

Ephesians 2:6-7
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

How could Jesus say He was in Heaven as he stood on the earth? Because the Spirit of God was in heaven and in Christ, and Christ dwelled with His Father. In like manner, Jesus Christ is in heaven, and He is within us. That is what makes New Jerusalem, the Bride, a heavenly city even as it is being built as a temple in this earth.

God is in heaven. God is in his people. Therefore, we ARE seated in heavenly places, because Christ is in us, and He is in heaven seated on the throne. New Jerusalem is where Christ reigns. He does NOTHING without his body. Christ is the head, and the body follows him everywhere he goes.

Christian Zionism Philosophy As Applied In The Church

With the truth in mind respecting God's plan to refine and redefine Israel by birthing both Jews and Gentiles into Christ, let us complete this study by examining the extent to which church leaders are enforcing the Zionist doctrine upon the congregation of believers.

Let us examine John Hagee's additional claims regarding Israel. These are several points from his website which supposedly justifies a necessity for Christians to "bless" Israel with practical needs (like supporting their war) to remain in God's favor:

----------------

1) Genesis 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed." Point: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People. History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.

2) St. Paul recorded in Romans 15:27 "For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."

3) Jesus considered the Jewish people His family. Jesus said (Matthew 25:40) "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren (the Jewish people… Gentiles were never called His brethren), ye have done it unto me.

4) Why did Jesus Christ go to the house of Cornelius in Capernaum and heal his servant, which was ready to die? What logic did the Jewish elders use with Jesus to convince Him to come into the house of a Gentile and perform a miracle? The logic they used is recorded in Luke 7:5; "For He loveth our nation, and He hath built us a synagogue." The message? This Gentile deserves the blessing of God because he loves our nation and has done something practical to bless the Jewish people.

----------------

With the above rationalizing, Hagee, and his contemporaries create an arena of fear surrounding your well-being. If a person knew nothing about Christianity, and they saw that theology, that person would think that to receive the Holy Spirit, requires a monetary donation to Israel of the flesh! Of course, these false teachers would deny this claim with their lips, but their doctrines affirm it. Let's take each point and make short work of it:

Point 1 (blessings and cursings?)
According to Hagee, to gain God's blessing, the church must bless Israel according to God's promises to them Genesis 12. Actually, the first words in Genesis 12: "And the Lord said unto Abram (later named "Abraham")...

The promises to follow are addressed to him: "And I will bless them that bless thee (Abraham) and curse him that curseth thee (Abraham); and in thee (Abraham) shall all nations of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:3).

If God's blessing depends on how much Christians bless Israel of the flesh, then show me this admonition in the New Testament. Wouldn't Paul, Peter, John, James diligently bolster that teaching for the church's sake? Where do we see ANYWHERE in their letters any admonition like those so tirelessly enforced by Hagee upon his adherents? Nowhere. But we do see this:

Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Apparently, Paul didn't get John Hagee's memo that Christians must "especially" bless his "kinsmen according to the flesh." According to him, Christians should be "especially" blessing the "household of faith." Curiously, since Hagee and other Christian Zionists dogmatically press the point, the apostles NEVER likewise admonish the church to bless Israel of the flesh. Paul taught that neither "Jew" or "circumcision" is outwardly according to the flesh, but by circumcision of the Spirit is one a Jew. The Bible teaches that the inheritance is found in Christ, and not outside Him. That is why the Bible says: "IF you be Christ's, THEN you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29). That's a big "if."

Point 2 (Gentiles indebted to Jews?)
Consider the outlying context of Romans 15:27, which Hagee points to as proof that Gentiles must bless Israelis: "Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."

Could it be that the Christian "saints in Jerusalem" were Jewish in descent according to the flesh? Hagee only quotes the tail-end of that sentence. The book of Romans is addressed "to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)."

Paul's point: according to the flesh, the "household of faith" is composed of both Gentiles and Jews who are "called to be saints" according to faith in Christ. The gentile saints, having received Spiritual blessings - resulting from the process God had dealt among Jewish people until Christ - ought to do good to all people, especially the household of faith; in this case, Gentiles should bless Jewish saints in Christ, by administering material blessings to them.

Point 3 (who are Christ's brothers?)
Hagee says: "Gentiles were never called His brethren." In his earthly ministry - in the flesh - Jesus rarely spoke to a Gentile. That is because the free gift of the Holy Spirit was to be offered to the Jews first. Since Christ only spoke to Jews in his ministry, does that mean all his teachings may ONLY be applied to Jewish people? How far does that teaching go? Pointing to his disciples, Jesus said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Mat 12:49-50).

Rom 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Eph 2:18-19
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Therefore when Jesus says: "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" we can spiritually discern - by comparing spiritual (words), to spiritual (meaning). If someone does something wrong to Christ's brothers, why are they doing it to Him? Because Christ's spiritual brothers...are...his...Body.

Point 4 (blessing Israel as a means to deserve Grace?)
Regarding Cornelius, Hagee says: "The message? This Gentile deserves the blessing of God because he loves our nation and has done something practical to bless the Jewish people." God is clear, and I don't think I need to quote the scriptures, that the Holy Spirit is a free gift, according to God's grace received by faith, and not according to works. The reason Cornelius received God's favor was not due to the practical blessings given to Jewish people. Hagee is missing the point. It happened because "God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud." That is the message we get from Cornelius' experience.

The Apostle Paul was given grace after he was knocked off his horse, and after he showed humility to Christ. This lesson shows us that if God has ordained someone to be his servant, He will bring his chosen ones to a place of humility, then reveal His grace by giving them His Spirit. This is all God's working, according to election, not by works. Nobody can work to gain the Spirit, otherwise it isn't a free gift, but something earned. So, according to God's plan, He will bring them to humility himself, by any means necessary (even if apart from providing money to Israel), then provide the Spirit blessing.

Hagee stops just short of declaring that the Spirit will be withheld from people who do not "practically bless" Israel of the flesh. But, the implication is obvious. The Holy Spirit is free, and is freely given to anyone who has faith in Christ, according to the humble place God has brought them to. As the Scripture says: "It is the goodness of God that brings thee to repentance."