October 6, 2019 Steve Sabz
Bunches of grapes in rows of vineyard at sunset (Photo by Stefano Garau)

Bunches of grapes in rows of vineyard at sunset (Photo by Stefano Garau)

For all the wrong reasons, the modern, secular, Christ-rejecting State of Israel is the adoration of Christian Zionists. This small sect of Christianity believes that modern Jews have a God-given mandate to reclaim the land of Palestine for themselves by brute force, and that its conquest of the land in 1948 and their current occupation is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This concept was at odds with the majority, religious Jews who believed that the so-called holy land would be awarded to them when the Messiah comes. This latter and more biblically-based view changed after the Holocaust (1939-1945), when most of the non-Zionist Jews were slaughtered by the Nazi's. 

When reading the Old Testament in light of the New Testament (Luk 24:27), we know that Jesus is the true Israel whom God called out of Egypt (Mat 2:15, Cf., Hos 11:1). Several passages throughout the Old Testament speak of Israel as a God's vineyard (Isa 5:7, 27:2, Psa 80:8). But national Israel failed to yield fruit unto the Lord (Jer 8:13). This is why Jesus declared himself to be the "true vine" and his Father is the vine dresser (Jhn 15:1). By his Spirit and in his name there is fruit all over the world (Isa 27:6, Col 1:5-6)!

Sadly, the treacherous tentacles of late 19th century Zionism still finds its way into some churches. For example, Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel, who spoke at the 2019 Understanding the Times Conference in Lakeville, Minnesota, made the audacious claim that, only if the moon, stars and the sun ceased to exist, would the Israeli nation cease to stand before God.

Now a lot of churches now-a-days suggest that God has changed, or at least changed his mind when it comes to Israel. Well, I have bad news for them, he did not. And the good news is, thank God he did not or else he could have changed his mind about you. The choice of Israel as God’s people cannot and will not change as long as the moon, the stars, and the sun are right there. When they’re no longer there, then the people of Israel will no longer stand before God as his people. Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel speaking at the Understanding the Times Conference in Lakeville, Minnesota on 9/21/2019 (time 7:40 video source)

Tsarfati’s statement contains a soteriological fallacy when he says, "And the good news is, thank God he did not [change his mind about keeping his promises to Israel] or else he could have changed his mind about you." The fact of the matter is, God already fulfilled every promise to national Israel. Jesus promises eternal security to all believers in him and "no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" (Jhn 10:28-29).

Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries and hostess of the conference, boldly seconds Tsarfati’s assertion on why Christians should love and support Israel. She also echoes Tsarfati's statement about God's covenant-keeping character to Christians being dependent on his faithfulness to national Israel saying, "If he's [God] gonna keep his covenant with Israel he's gonna keep his covenant with you [the Christian]" (time 23:25).

If the Mullah’s of Iran want to destroy Israel, they should take there rockets and aim them at the sun and the moon and the stars to knock them out of the heavens. Then Israel will be destroyed. Until then, not gonna happen. Not gonna happen. Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries speaking at the Understanding the Times Conference in Lakeville, Minnesota on 9/21/2019 (time 38:50 video source)

Both Markell's and Tsarfati's proof text for God's supposed unchanging preference for Jewish Israel comes from Jeremiah 31:35-36.

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-the Lord of hosts is his name: If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever. The prophet Jeremiah to the Jews who survived the Babylonian conquest of Israel in Jer 31:35-36.

The fallacy of their assertion is obvious when one considers the timeframe of Jeremiah's prophecy and subsequent Middle Eastern events. You see, Jeremiah was addressing the remnant of Jews who the Babylonians allowed to live in the land after Jerusalem's destruction circa 586 BC. The Babylonian exiled ended in 538 BC when King Cyrus of Persia (Isa 45:1) allowed Jews to return home to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. Then in 70 AD, the Roman armies led by general Titus again destroyed Jerusalem and its temple. This was in fulfillment of Jesus' prediction 40 years (the timespan of a biblical generation) earlier (Mat 24:1-35, Mar 13:1-31, Luk 19:41-44, 21:5-32). Hence, if we follow Markell's and Tsarfati's interpretation, "this fixed order" (Jer 31:36) ceased for 1,878 years because the nation of Israel ceased to be a nation from 70 AD until 1948 when the land of Palestine was conquered by militant Zionists. Thus, no one was born an Israeli Jew until after 1948. This means that Jeremiah 31:35-36 cannot be referring to national Israel or else God's promise was ineffectual for 1,878 years.

If the Christian Zionist interpretation is wrong then how do we interpret Jeremiah 31:35-36? First of all, we must consult the context of the entire chapter as well as the New Testament, rather than just a couple of isolated verses as per Markell's and Tsarfati's fallacious method. For example, only four verses prior, Jeremiah speaks of the coming of a "new covenant" (Jer 31:31) when the Lord will "put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jer 31:33). This new covenant was inaugurated by Jesus Christ at his last supper before his crucifixion (Luk 22:20, Cf., 1Co 11:25, 2Co 3:6, Heb 8:8-13).

The next clue as to the actual identity of Israel in the passage is found in the phrase "offspring of Israel" (Jer 31:36-37). The Hebrew word for "offspring" is זֶרַע. It is a masculine noun referring to a singular "seed" or "child" according to Strong's Lexicon . This is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 22:18 where the apostle Paul deliberates on the word seed (σπέρμα) "referring to one... who is Christ" (Gal 3:16). Elsewhere, Paul states that a true Jew is one "inwardly... by the Spirit, not by the letter" (Rom 2:29). This is the "remnant of Israel" which the Lord promised to save (Jer 31:7). Even the Greek Septuagint (the version of the Old Testament from which the New Testament writers quoted) uses the singular noun γένος for "offspring."  The offspring of Israel as a "nation" (Jer 31:36) refers to the individuals of the new covenant mentioned in Jer 31:33 who have the law of God written on their hearts. This is why the apostle Peter refers to Christ-believing Jews and Gentiles as a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession..." (1Pe 2:9).

Sabz, S. (2019, October 6). Behold Jesus! The true Israel of God. Retrieved from https://scienceandbibleresearch.com/behold-jesus-the-true-israel-of-god.html

Steve Sabz

Steve Sabz

Steve Sabz is the author and founder of Science and Bible Research. He is a professional educator with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from William Paterson University, where he also completed graduate level courses in Human Physiology and Endocrinology. Steve has been studying theology since 2015 and has successfully completed seminary level courses in Textual Criticism, Biblical Hermeneutics, Eschatology, Puritan Theology, Ancient Church History, Soteriology, Biblical Theology, Prolegomena, and Biblical Greek from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve is also the author of Evolution's Complexity Problem: See How Evolution Falls Apart At Its Beginning and End Time Rewind: An Exploration In Bible Prophecy And The Fate Of The World.