The Table Briefing: Does Israel Have A Future In God’s Program? -- By: Darrell L. Bock
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The Table Briefing: Does Israel Have A Future In God’s Program?
Mikel Del Rosario
Darrell L. Bock is Senior Research Professor in New Testament Studies and Executive Director of Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Mikel Del Rosario is cultural engagement assistant.
Today the Jewish people and the role of Israel as a nation are often plagued by misunderstanding—and even undercurrents of anti-Semitism—within the context of evangelical Christianity. While some scholars suggest that the church has replaced Israel, others hold that God continues to have a place for Israel in His divine program. What does Scripture teach about Israel’s future?
In a Table Podcast series on Judaism and Anti-Semitism, Darrell Bock, David Brickner, and Mitch Glaser discuss this question. Brickner is the head of Jews for Jesus, perhaps the most recognizable Messianic Jewish missionary agency in the world. Glaser is the president of Chosen People Ministries, a Messianic Jewish organization active in thirteen countries around the globe.
One of the major points that came out of this conversation was that despite an apparent shift in evangelical attitudes toward the Jewish people, Scripture affirms a future for Israel in God’s program. But how have evangelicals viewed Israel in the twentieth century? How has this changed in the twenty-first century?
A Shift In Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel
The rise of Israel as a nation in 1948 brought a new level of excitement for many evangelicals, who saw this historic event as at least a partial fulfillment of Scripture. Indeed, the church’s enthusiasm and general support for Israel carried well into the 1970s
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and 1980s. However, as the general excitement subsided over the past two decades, evangelical attitudes towards Israel seem to have shifted in many churches across the United States. Today, Messianic leaders continue to detect an underlying resentment towards the Jewish people within certain segments of the evangelical church.
What has contributed to this shift? Brickner suggests that social concern related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as well as polarizing voices have influenced changing evangelical attitudes towards Israel. He explains:
Brickner: It’s become more complex because of the awareness in the church of the plight of the Palestinians. . . . For many, it’s not a biblically based viewpoint, but rather a social consciousness-based tangle, that we really need to help Christians to untangle, and recognize that Go...
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