He told a seminar organised by the Jerusalem Post - "All the expressions and promises of commitment to Israel's security from all around the world remind me of similar commitments made to Czechoslovakia in 1938 …. many key leaders would be willing to sacrifice Israel in order to appease the radical Islamist militants and ensure quiet for themselves."
Yesterday we concluded with: Appeasement holds weight where there is a theological position of Replacement Theology, as Israel is nothing more than any other nation state and a world weight will come upon them to acquiesces to the demands of world opinion. If however, the Jews retain a special position in the heart of God, then a very different philosophy will be espoused on the nature of appeasement.
Should the Jews retain this special relationship with God as evidenced by specific Scriptures, this view demonstrates that the Old Covenant's promises still stand. The Biblical announcement supports God's unchanging nature as revealed in the Covenants, and show that His purpose was made very clear about his ongoing relationship with His People (the Jews). He confirmed it with an oath' (Hebrews 6 verse 17). God bound Himself by an oath!
This view holds that God's covenant with Israel was affirmed by Jesus (Matthew 19 verse 28), Paul articulated it (Romans Chapters 9-11) and the gates of the New Jerusalem announce it forever (The Revelation 22 verses 11-12). Israel is God's covenant people. "Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you." (Jeremiah 30 verse 11). "Will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before Me" declares the LORD (Jeremiah 31 verses 35-37). "For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them" (Jeremiah 33 verses 23-26)
What exactly were the promises
What exactly did God promise Abraham and his descendants? How long are His promises good for? We can recount this text: "He remembers His covenant forever" (Psalm 105 verses 8-11). "They (Jews) are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and His call are irrevocable" (Romans 11 verses 28-29).
God's covenant with Abraham is just as unconditional and everlasting as His covenant with the Church. The Lord "saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy" (Titus 3 verse 5).
God's covenants with Israel and with the Church are based on His promise, not our performance. Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church both stood, and still stand, by grace. It is noteworthy, that a fundamental tenet of the Koran is that both Israel and the Church failed and now they have "replaced" both the Jews and the Church. If God could replace Israel, in spite of His unconditional, everlasting promises, then He could replace the Church! If you hold to a theology that says, "God has forsaken physical Israel," or "The Church has replaced Israel," maybe the Koran is right!
Old Simeon in Luke 2, reveals a link between the Old and New Covenant: Verse 26 – "And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Verse 32 – Simeon's prophecy – "A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel."
Simeon was assured by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died. This is where dreams and visions come into play. Dr Stuart Robinson in his book "Mosques and Miracles" details some extraordinary stories of how Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ through dreams. Like Aboriginal people, they believe that dreams are often predictive, whereas we westerners might only think that we had too much hot chocolate the night before. We have no English language syntax equivalent to the New Testament Greek language, to help us consider such things that are so strange to us.
Some examples: Matthew 22 verse 32 "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Issac and the God of Jacob - God is not the God of the dead but of the Living." Mark 9 verse 4 "And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus." John 10 verse 39 – "Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but he escaped out of their hand." Acts 9 - Philip with the Ethiopian Eunuch – again he disappeared.
These and many other examples reveal the "supernatural" which to the western mind finds difficult. Yet, it is to these very truths of the supernatural that we hold and attest as central to our beliefs, the key example is the "resurrection of Jesus".
This strange supernatural context for which our western minds are so unfamiliar provides a Salvation story from the viewpoint as "Jews of the Covenant" which we will look at tomorrow. It involves a mindset change that will expand your reflections as reflected in Isaiah 54 verses 2-3: "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited."
Appeasement therefore is looking more and more suspect as a philosophy under the weight of such Biblical input. Moreover as today recalls D-Day (6 June 1944) and how devastating appeasement ultimately proved.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html