Dispensationalism And Love For Israel -- By: Paul R. Wilkinson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 169:676 (Oct 2012)
Article: Dispensationalism And Love For Israel
Author: Paul R. Wilkinson

Dispensationalism And Love For Israel

Paul R. Wilkinson

Paul R. Wilkinson is Associate Minister, Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, Stockport, Cheshire, England.

“Now the simple question for each of you is, and for our beloved Church, Should we not share with God in His peculiar affection for Israel? If we are filled with the Spirit of God, should we not love as He loves?”1


Historians have frequently juggled with labels in attempting to classify sympathetic Gentile interest in the Jewish people, or more specifically in Jewish history, religion, and culture. Labels have included “Judeophile,” “phileo-Semite,” “proto-Zionist,” “Gentile Zionist,” “Protestant Zionist,” “Christian Zionist,” “Dispensational Zionist,” and “Christian Restorationist.” Some of these labels have been conceived and employed for the purpose of highlighting interest in the religious or political connection the Jewish people have had to the land or state of Israel, but they have not always been carefully defined or correctly applied. This has resulted in the often misleading and meaningless categorization of individuals, organizations, and movements. When applied correctly, however, “philo-Semitism” helps state what a Christian response to the Jewish people should be.

This label provides a necessary foil to the more familiar term “anti-Semitism,” and in turn helps distinguish individuals and groups not only within society as a whole but also within the church, where for centuries anti-Semitism has been clothed in theological garments. Also the term “philo-Semitism” encourages believers

to think biblically about the Jewish people and their origins, the word “Semitism” taking the reader back to Genesis and the genealogy of Shem, son of Noah. The use of the Greek prefix φίλο- (“love of”) focuses attention on “loving” the Jewish people, and thus it appeals to something more than a purely academic or intellectual engagement with God’s ancient covenant people.

In his book He That Is Spiritual Lewis Sperry Chafer outlined seven characteristics of the love of God. He described the sixth as follows: “The love of God is toward Israel: ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). So the Spirit-filled believer will learn to rejoice in the great prophecies and purposes of God for that people with whom He is in everlasting covenants, and for whom He has an everlasting love.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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