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It’s probably pretty accurate to say that most traditional marriage ceremonies in this country have some part of the marriage vows that include a statement about forsaking all others and being faithful to their partner.

Many young people hope, or believe, that when a person gets married they will no longer have romantic feelings or feel sexually attracted to any other than their spouse. Older heads realise that this just isn’t the case no matter how much you feel that you are in love when you get married. It is because of the fact that people feel attraction and feelings of love for others they are not married to that such marriage vows are even needed. The simple fact is that God allows people to be unfaithful in their marriages. This is obviously not because we believe God endorses such behaviour, but that God places responsibility on faithfulness in marriage on our shoulders while still being sovereign over His creation. If God had promised that somehow, He would never let Christian couples fall into the sin of unfaithfulness in marriage, then we wouldn’t need to make such vows at all!

It follows that we only need make vows regarding things that are actually possible to even occur in our world and conversely, vows to not commit any particular sin presuppose the possibility that such a sin can occur in reality.

I mention all this to make a point that Christian Zionists seem to stubbornly ignore.

The conditional nature of the relationship between Jewish people as a whole, and the Promised Land is explicitly and implicitly stated in scripture in so many places, and is an essential part of so many Biblical narratives that its denial is both incomprehensible and unacceptable. I have covered this point in my book, as well as so many of my posts, that I won’t bother going through it here.

In 130 AD, a tumultuous event occurred in the history of the Jewish people. After many years of brutal occupation of their land by a Pagan Roman empire, which they sorely resented and resisted in various forms for many decades, the Roman Emperor decided that the Kingdom of Israel be destroyed and its people scattered to the four corners of the Earth. Orthodox Judaism has traditionally seen this as an act of God, sending the Jewish people into exile. This exile continues up until this day. No Jewish Rabbi of any type has, or would, declare the Exile to be over. According to Orthodox Judaism, exile is a spiritual, rather than political or military problem and hence requires a spiritual solution. The solution would be the coming of the Messiah. This would be a supernatural event that would bring in the redemption of all God’s creation, not just the re-instalment of Jews in the Promised Land.

In 130 AD, the Rabbis of the time made oaths concerning their return to the promised land that were eventually recorded in the book known as the Talmud. The Talmud is a religious text that most Christians are not familiar with. It is central to Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source for Jewish religious law and theology.

The content of the oaths boils down to the fact that Jews vowed not to return to the promised land on mass, to create a Jewish state. They should not even try to bring this return about whether it be by force or diplomacy. They should not enter the land even if it were completely empty and or even if all the Kings, Queens and rulers of the Earth gave permission or even demanded it! They also vowed not to stir the nations up to persecute them and that the nations not persecute them.

Orthodox Judaism has taken these oaths very seriously for many centuries. It was Zionists, not Orthodox Jews, who initiated the creation of the State of Israel as it is today. Jewish law forbade such endeavours. It was even forbidden to pray too loudly or too fervently for the exile to finish lest anyone think that their efforts brought about the end of the Exile. The Exile was to be ended by God and God alone! No attempt was to be made to retake the land even in the face of harsh persecution. Jewish people were to remain in Exile as loyal and law -abiding subjects of their country of  exile. The traditional means of dealing with anti-Semitic persecution was to seek refuge in other countries of exile where other Jews could offer them safe haven.

The point that I am trying to make is that the very existence of these vows presupposes that Jews could, in fact, not only attemptto take control of the Promised Land illegitimately, but they could actuallytake control of it illegitimately. If God had somehow promised that such an action would never be allowed, then two things must follow. The first is that no such vows should have ever been taken, let alone them being put in the Talmud and secondly that any attempt, successful or not, of Jews taking control of the Promised Land must be endorsed by God and hence a fulfilment of prophecy.

The simple fact is that these vows were taken and have been a pillar of Jewish Law and theology and hence are not contradictory to any teachings of the Old Testament. Hence, they do not contradict New Testament teachings either.

The following statements can be made with full confidence from a Biblical perspective that I believe all Christian Zionists must agree with.

The entrance and occupation of Jewish people into the Promised Land in order to take control of it is conditional upon their obedience to the clearly stated commands of God in the Old Testament. Many of these statements relate to the fair and equal treatment of non-Jews living in the land with them. It is clear that oppression of non-Jews living in the Promised Land can result in the expulsion of Jews from the land.

The mere fact of the current occupation, or partial occupation, of the Promised Land by the Zionist regime is in no way an automatic sign of God’s endorsement of the Israeli State.

Israel is a Zionist State, a secular state that has, from its inception, sort to transform Jewish Identity from its traditional roots in the Torah, and hence the Bible, to a secular national identity so as to be “as the nations” surrounding them. While Zionism repudiated the Judaism of old, it does not embrace the Christian faith either.

Palestinians have a long history of respect and co-operation with the Jews of the Promised Land before the current Zionist era. Before the Zionist era, Jews and Arabs had good relations in the Middle East. Antisemitism was never a part of popular or elite culture in the Middle East. Christian Europe has always been the home of antisemitism and European nations bare responsibility for the Holocaust, not Arabs, be they Muslim, Christian or otherwise.

The above statements make it clear that no Christian has any absolute Biblical obligation to support the Zionist State of Israel or claim it to be the result of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham or any New Testament prophecy.


December 2019











A Foolish Gospel

If you are reading this blog you have probably realized that prophecies of the latest, rescheduled, return of Jesus, are in fact…false. May 21st 2011 did not end up being the end of the age. According to the latest news from Yahoo…

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Warnings by a US fundamentalist preacher that Saturday is Judgment Day have sent some people into hiding or scrambling to repent, while others are planning parties to wave off good Christians.

Eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist Harold Camping’s prophecy says the Rapture will begin with powerful earthquakes at 6:00 pm local time in each of the world’s regions, after which the good will be beamed up to heaven.  Source

These sort of predictions (with the obvious back peddling after the fatal day passed without the prophetic words of the faithful revealing anything but the tragic and gullible nature of evangelical Christians) are not new. By 1989, the book entitled, “12 Reasons why Jesus is coming in 1988”, strangely had no more sales, but the theological position that lay behind the publication continues to march on with never a glimmer of  questioning by its adherents. The “Left Behind”  series of books continued to sell like hot cakes. Perhaps if the writer of the 1988 book had failed to make a prediction in the form of a concrete date, he may still be getting royalties to this day. But the issue with Christian Zionist credibility does not rest on its so far inability to predict the correct date for Jesus return (they’ll probably get it right sooner or later!).

The consensus view of the Christian Church over 2,000 years has been that Christ can return  any day, and that no one knows the hour or the day of Jesus return. The very words of the Messiah that we wait for declare that there is no particular sign of Jesus return that we are waiting for. If such a sign did exist, then in times prior to the arrival of that sign, we could surely say in unison, “He’s not coming today!”, an attitude not endorsed by any of the Gospel narratives.

In Old Testament times, the prophets were social critics rather than soothsayers. Their concern was Israel’s conformity to the ethical and religious traditions of the Torah. They were not Judaic versions of Nostradamus. Eschatology in the Jewish religious tradition is based on the premise of the hope that tomorrow can be a better day than today. Christian Zionist Eschatology, with its longing for the rapture, Armageddon and world Judgment, produces an indifference to all attempts at making peace in the Middle East.  In some extreme versions, it encourages all out war-mongering. You can’t have Armageddon if we get rid of the world’s nuclear arsenals!A wise man once said to me that if your view of eschatology leads you to become indifferent to the cause of peace and reconciliation in the world, then regardless of the seemingly endless “proof texts” touted by Christian prophets of doom, your Eschatology is going in the wrong direction. The Gospel calls us not just to be peace lovers, but peace makers. Jesus said:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

The sum of the Law and the Prophets is a statement of ethics, not doomsday predictions. This ethic is not conditioned upon whether or not one is on the right or wrong side of the Christian Zionist Eschatalogical blanket.

The words of an anti-Zionist Haredi from the True Torah Jews against Zionism website are very apt for anyone whose view of the Middle East is driven by Christian Zionist Eschatology:

“Our business is only to follow the laws of the Torah. Of course, often when people try to fulfil scriptural prophecies they end up violating G_d’s laws on the way. Our opposition to Zionism is based on the laws of the Torah, which obligate Jews to be in exile until the messiah comes “. Source

Craig Nielsen


Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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May 2023