I hear a lot of talk about prophecy concerning Israeland that what is
going on with current events invloving Israelas fulfilling this prophecy.
I suppose they are referring to scriptures such as Ezekiel 37:21 and Psalm
83:4. I always interpret these scriptures about the “nation” or “people
Israel” as being symbolic for true Christians, such as 1 Peter 2:9
describes- we are “A Holy Nation” “A people belonging to God”. From my
understanding we are God’s chosen people now – Gentiles and any Jew who
accepts Jesus Christ that is. My question then is, what is the prophecy
that many Evangelical Christians are referring to exactly and is Israel’s
statehood, domination and the current violence really fulfilling that
prophecy they refer to?


You ask a rather broad question, so I will give a rather broad answer. I
invite you to ask a more specific question if you can think of one. I
believe that many Evangelical Christians are way off on their
interpretation of books such as Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation. You are
correct that many prophetic passages refer to the spiritual nation of
Israel, which is the Christian church. For example, the prophecy in
Ezekiel 37:21f is not about some end-time events. It is a prophecy of the
churchof Christ, which had its beginnings in the first century AD. “I
will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There
will be one king?.” This is a reference to the kingdomof Godas it was
realized in Christ and in his church. It is not about end times, or more
carefully, it is not principally about end times. In John 18:36 Jesus
said “My kingdom is not of this world.” To verify this designation, we
can move back to Ezekiel 36:24, which even most evangelicals admit is
about salvation in Jesus Christ which is available today. “For I will take
you out of the nations?. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit
in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of
flesh?.” As far as I know, there is no clear prophecy concerning what is
happening in Israeltoday. Given the “Biblical” proportions of what is
happening there, and given the implications of God allowing a Jewish state
to be reestablished, I understand why some are tempted to assume that
biblical prophecy predicts these events, but I am not aware of a single
Old Testament prophecy which is uniquely descriptive of events in the
Middle Easttoday. I know that this flies in the face of a lot of popular
teaching, but I have read and listened to such teachers extensively and
believe they are deceiving themselves. For example, in my book on Daniel
I believe I show conclusively that the visions in Daniel (other than
chapter 12) involve events which were fulfilled during the Persian, Greek
and Roman periods. Applications of these passages to modern events simply
do not work. The same can be said of Revelation (except that it is about
Romeonly). The author tells us as much. “The revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.”
(Revelation 1:1). Of course, to God a day is like a thousand years, but
those who would apply the prophecies to current events need to provide
good evidence. I have not seen such evidence. Revelation is about the
persecutions of Romeand God?s judgment on the persecutors.

The problem with all this wrong interpretation is that it is a distraction
for many people for living out daily Christianity. It is more fun to
think about end times than it is to repent of our sins and give our life
to God. I do not believe these false interpretations are a matter of
salvation, but they do harm to the kingdomof God.

John Oakes, PhD

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