With Bill Feltner On Distinguishing The Jerusalem From Above From The Jerusalem That Is Below

There is much consternation and joy about the announcement that the United States intends to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Some evangelicals and fundamentalists, perhaps inspired by a Dispensational understanding of redemptive history and their pre-millennial hermeneutic, are overjoyed with the move. They see this as the U. S. aligning itself with God’s plan in history, which they identify with national Israel and ethnic Jews, and perhaps a step toward the future re-institution of the sacrificial system. Some to the left of center theologically are dismayed by this move which they see as unduly provocative, Zionist, and tending toward the marginalization of the Palestinian cause, which they tend to see through the lens of their anti-colonial reading of history. Still others, e.g., those aligned with the Greek and Middle Eastern Orthodox traditions see this as a rejection of what they regard as their historic claim to Israel. Of course, Muslims of various sects are outraged at this move, which they regard as a betrayal of the “peace process” and an assault on their claim to Israel.

In this interview Bill Feltner (of the Pilgrim Radio Network) and I discuss these issues:

Here is the essay that stimulated the interview.

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One comment

  1. Well, maybe it’s because I’m a [Reformed] Christian who is partly ek peritome, and am open to a Christianization of the Jews [with a possible return to their ancestral land] prior to the return of Christ (cf, _The Puritan Hope_), but…

    The movement of the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is also an overdue recognition that the original UN Partition Plan has been a dead letter for some time. Think something like switching recognition from Taipei to Beijing under Carter; or Trump’s applying the “strike-strike-talk-talk” negotiation with Pyongyang to see if the Korean War can’t finally be brought to an end. And I am not one who thinks that everything the US Government says or does is necessarily right.

    Sympathetic as I may be to the plight of the Falastin Arabs, there is no room for realistic diplomatic compromise when one side is determined to exterminate the other, while on the other side, a slight majority of its population has an ethnic memory of what it’s like to live as a Dhimmi population under Islam (NOT pleasant–ask the Armenian Christians). Further, that the Arab states have made no move to naturalize the “refugee” population that is now in its fifth generation is shameful. Official Arab media use the plight of the Palestinians to justify the Arab street’s occasional trashing of a US embassy or consulate or even assassination of our diplomats, yet our fifteen-times-accursed “oppressor” nation has given passport-holding, voting rights, property rights, public office eligible citizenship to more immediate victims of an-Nakhbar (and, by our Fourteenth Amendment’s definition of citizenship, their descendants) than any seven Arabic-speaking nations put together, if you exclude Hashemite Jordan and Israel itself. Even the PA has wanted to deny property rights to persons whose families came to the West Bank and Gaza from pre-1967 Israel, but the US threatened to cut off support in that event.

    This is all the worse when you consider that the slight majority of no-questions-asked Israeli Jews descends from the Maghreb, Yemen, Misr, Iraq, and other Arab and Islamic lands. Further, the partition of the Indian subcontinent at the same time resulted in tens of millions of refugees who, with their descendants, have become no-questions-asked Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis respectively (and without a penny of the international community’s money or resources); even to the point where a decade or more ago, Delhi-born Parviz Musharaf sat down with Lahore-born Manmohan Singh to discuss lessening tensions between Pakistan and India.

    And what strip of land is there on our fallen, sinful globe that hasn’t been fought over? If you look at all nations of a high, urban civilization, probably only the Han Chinese in the immediate area of the Huang and Wei Rivers (NOT south of the Chang Jiang), the Khmer, the Mon, and the Dravidians are still living in their ancestral patrimonies that they inhabited at the time of the agricultural revolution (a generation or two after Noah, if we wish to be biblicist?) We non-indigenous Americans (conscientious Reformed folk, even) have been castigated for being a “settler state” for as long as I can remember; and it is done by Arabs who stole the northern littoral of Africa from the Amazigh and Copts, by Viets who stole two-thirds of their land from the Degar, Cham, and Khmer, and Chinese who stole five-sixths of their current territory from everyone from the Bai Yue and Miao to the Tibetans and Turkistanis, and by Russians who, even with the loss of Central Asia, the Baltics, etc., are settlers everywhere from just east of the Volga to the Pacific.

    I’m also of the mind that God’s plan for the ages centers on those gathered about the Messiah (who is inheritor of even the ends of the earth) rather than those gathered in the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. I certainly do not believe that a Third Temple will rise in an era long after the final and perfect sacrifice has been offered for our sins. Yet, given that we Reformed Christian pride ourselves on being “engaged” with current questions, there are issues of present-day politics and the history of nation rising against nation to consider as well. Just maybe we need to think beyond what a fickle, shallow, often anti-Christian major media presents to us.

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