I’m a proponent of Fulfillment Theology, which teaches that Israel has it’s fulfillment and continuation in Christ and His Church as a spiritual people and a spiritual nation (1 Peter 2:4-10).
[Fulfillment Theology is a component of Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology. I fall more in line with NCT]
Dispensational Theology teaches that God still has a plan for the nation of Israel that is separate from the Church, and is a key component of end time prophecy.
I ran across an article by a gentleman (dispensationalist) who refers to proponents of Fulfillment Theology as “peddlers of deception.” He also says in one of his other articles that this theology is “an instrument of the powers of darkness to frustrate the purpose of God.” Wow. Imagine a Christocentric theology being described in such a manner!
This man has been involved in Christian Zionism for many years, and speaks and writes about it regularly. However, the articles on his website do nothing to disprove the validity that God’s plan for Israel has already been fulfilled in Christ and His Church, of whom He is Head. Furthermore, using such extreme language to describe those who oppose his viewpoint contributes nothing to the discussion and does nothing to strengthen his position. Instead, we must extend grace to one another.
I’m convinced that most dispensationalists don’t really understand the position that proponents of Fulfillment Theology have regarding Israel and the Church. After checking out the articles that the above author has written on his website, I’m convinced that that notion is certainly true of him.
If you read everything I’ve written on this subject, I could never be accused of being a “peddler of deception.” I try to teach systematically, laying a foundation and then building one truth upon another. What I’ve written on this subject not only makes sense, but it harmonizes with other doctrines of the Christian faith. The theological puzzle pieces fit together so well that I believe it’s hard to make a reasonable case against Fulfillment Theology, without making a lot of major assumptions — which must be based primarily on an Old Testament understanding. A proper understanding of all doctrine must begin with a proper understanding of the New Testament. The NT fulfills the OT, therefore, we must allow the NT to interpret the OT.
The author of discussion in this article, also insists (and often) that Fulfillment Theology (his favorite term is “Replacement Theology”) leads to or encourages anti-Semitism. While it may be true of some who hold to Fulfillment Theology, that is not something I condone. I say shame on those who do. I actually support Israel. I respect that they are a free country and are a strong ally of America, and that they allow Christianity to be practised in their country.
If one understands the unity between the OT and the NT, there’s no way a Christian could ever be anti-Jew, especially when you consider the fact that Jesus Himself came through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — and that the early membership of the Church consisted entirely or almost entirely of Jewish believers. Think about that!
However, one cannot or should not support or “bless” Israel (Ge 12:2-3) unconditionally. First of all, I believe that that passage of scripture ultimately refers to Christ and His Church — all those who are in Him, both Jew and Gentile.
However, if dispensationalists insist that this promise to bless or curse refers strictly to the treatment of the nation of Israel, then they have a real problem. What if Israel becomes a terrorist nation, such as Iran? While that may be highly unlikely, what if they did? What if they turn against Christians, like Iran? Are dispensational Christians going to continue to give their support to Israel? But if they don’t support Israel, aren’t they setting themselves up to be “cursed?” But how could they rightly give their support (blessing) to a terrorist nation, who also outlaws Christianity? There is a real conflict here that dispensationalists must consider.
I believe the only way that people could ever bless “Israel” unconditionally, is if that promise ultimately and actually has Christ and His Church in view. Christ’s Church will never become a terrorist organization, or anything else evil — for she is pure and holy, set-apart to Christ. This cannot be said of the nation of Israel. They are, in fact, already evil and always have been, and can possibly become much more evil. That is why God destroyed both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. Of course their greatest evil is their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. That is why He destroyed them in AD 70. That is their history. However, in modern times, they’re not evil in the same sense terrorist nations are, and certainly no more evil than the United States, or any other country, generally speaking (Ro 3:22-23; Ro 11:32).
In truth, if Israel ever turned completely against Christianity and America – which consists of many millions of Christians – I believe the “curse” of Genesis 12:3 would instead be upon them. In fact, because of their rejection of Jesus, the curse of that promise is already upon them (Ro 11:7-10,25; 2 Cor 3:13-16). But if they were to ever turn against Christians as many other countries have, then I believe the “curse” of that promise would increase further.
Now consider this! What an amazing revelation we have here. Israel rejected Christ and Christianity, and the result is that “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” (NRSV – Ro 11:25). Now I confess that I don’t understand all that is involved with this hardening, but I do know that it’s a judgment against this people — as evidenced by God’s judgement against them in AD 70 (Matt 21:42-44; Lu 17:25). Yet, according to Genesis 12:3, the “curse” is reserved for those who curse Israel! Yet, God destroyed Israel, for a third time! Does this not strongly (if not obviously) indicate that that Genesis passage actually has Christ and His Church in view? The true people God? When you stop and think about it, this is a very strong argument against Dispensationalism, is it not?
In regard to God’s rejection of Israel and turning to the Church (Matt 21:42-44) – consisting of both believing Jews and Gentiles – lest dispensationalists quote Romans 11:1-2, God has not rejected individual Jews. That is quite obvious. It was the corporate people of Israel that God rejected, not individual Jews. That’s what Paul is referring to in Romans 11:1-2. God’s focus turned away from the nation of Israel to the Church, through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ would be spread to the whole world.
In regard to this “blessing and cursing” as it relates to America, let’s be clear about this. God has not historically blessed America because she supports Israel. God has blessed America because she has always supported Christianity. Dispensationalists seem to believe that if America turns against Israel, God will withdraw His blessing. First of all, I don’t believe America would ever do that without just cause (terrorism, attack on our country, etc). Secondly, I believe God would only withdraw His blessing from America if they turned against Christ and His people — something we’re already seeing develop, more and more.
Therefore, the people who are ultimately in view in Genesis 12:2-3, are God’s true people, which are those who are in Christ of the New Covenant. Dispensationalists who are always quoting that Genesis promise to “bless” Israel, seem to elevate the importance of that nation above the Church. While they may certainly deny such an idea, the reality is, we never hear them use that passage in regard to the Church, who are the true representatives of God in the world. At least I’ve never heard them make that reference. But why not? There should be no debate about who the true people of God are, that they are those who have embraced His Son — whom Israel rejects. So how does Genesis 12:3 not apply to God’s people in Christ during this present age?
So then, while I support Israel, I do so because they are a free country like America — which allows Christianity to be practiced — and are one of our strongest allies. But I don’t support them unconditionally. However, I do support Christ’s Church unconditionally — and that is the only way that Genesis 12:3 can ever be applied unconditionally, and for all time.