Email Exchanges

Email Exchange: Israel and the Land

I recently received the following request for information on the land promises to Israel, and sent my response. We have removed the personal names, for privacy issues, but, hope you enjoy and benefit from the information. The issue of Israel and the Land promises are a critical, relevant issue in our world. I would remind the readers that I have two works that directly address this important issue. We have the 6 part DVD presentation Israel and the Land Promises: Failed, Fulfilled or Future? and, our book Israel 1948, Countdown to NoWhere. Both of these works give you a wealth of information, and proof positive that YHVH did indeed keep His promises to Israel!  
Hello, ——! Please forgive the delay in response. I have been totally covered up at work, with preparation for a four day formal debate, and then our conference, as well as a seminar this weekend in Brady, Tx.
Anyway, see my comments below.
Good to hear from you!
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 9:16 PM
Subject: 1948 Israel prophecy
Don, my Bible study teacher, ——–, DTS guy, said a few weeks ago that the regathering of Israel in 1948 was prophesied in Scripture. I asked him where, and he said Ezek 36 and 37. He didn’t mention Ezek 22 which you cover in your booklet.
Response: I am not too surprised that he would not mention Ezekiel 20, or 22! It is a lot safer for them that way!
But, Ezekiel 37 and 38 does not help them either.
Here are a few thoughts:
1.) Paul preached nothing but the hope of Israel. It is a tragedy of horrible proportions that in the millennial view Paul’s mission is seen as a direct result of God’s failed promises to Israel. Paul preached the message of the gospel of Grace, in the body of Christ, the church, which, per the millennial view, was never foreseen, never foretold, never predicted by the O. T. prophets. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Paul said his proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles was in direct fulfillment of God’s last days promises to Israel (see Deuteronomy 32:21f– Romans 10-11!), and that the Gospel he preached, he preached it from the Old Testament prophets! Now, if Paul’s Gospel was not predicted anywhere in the O. T., how in the name of reason could Paul preach his Gospel from the O.T.?
2.) By the way, to show you the self-contradictory nature of the millennial view, in Charting the End Times, (P. 48, and in other places as well, e.g., Fast Facts on Bible Prophecy, p. 43), LaHaye and Ice say that the church was an unforeseen mystery in the Old Testament.
However, on page 28, they say that Isaiah 61 actually foretold the church and the church age!
That is a glaring, blatant, and fatal admission.
3.) Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3-7, cites, alludes to, and quotes from Ezekiel 37, and the promise of the restoration of Israel– and I don’t have time to develop it here, but, he also quotes verbatim from Isaiah 49 and Isaiah 61, and the promises of the restoration of Israel.
In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul directly quotes from Ezekiel 37:26 and the promise of YHVH’s Messianic Temple being established, and says to the church at Corinth: "You are the temple of the living God, as it is written…" Now, Paul was either right or wrong when he said the Corinthians were the fulfillment of Ezekiel! Your friend and teacher needs to confront the apostle in this regard. Paul did not pervert Israel’s hope. He did not change Israel’s hope. He did not say the Corinthians were like what Ezekiel foretold. He said "You are, as it is written…" How much clearer could inspiration be?
4.) Mr.—— cannot make Ezekiel 37-38 say something that violates Ezekiel 20-22! These earlier chapters– which by the way are the key texts cited by Ice and LaHaye in Charting the End Times— flat out deny a regathering of Israel in unbelief! So, however a person wishes to view Ezekiel 37-38, they must be harmonized with the earlier chapters.
5.) As I point out in Countdown to NoWhere, YHVH’s invariable conditions for Israel’s return to the Land was repentance and obedience to the Law of Moses. See Leviticus 26, which I cite in NoWhere, as demonstration of this.
6.) This demands that we ask: Was Israel obedient to the Law of Moses in 1948? We know the answer to that!
7.) Here is where it gets very sticky for your friend. Ezekiel 37 says that Israel would be regathered into the Land under Messiah, under the New Covenant! It does not say that Israel would be regathered in unbelief, then converted, then the New Covenant would be made with them. All of these tenets are viewed as synchronous events, not fulfilled in some historical panoramic flow of time.
I just read your "Countdown to Nowhere" booklet to get ideas on how to respond. You cover Ezek 36:22-25 but leave out the rest of the verses.
1. How do you explain v 28: 

 

"You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

Response:
I am assuming that the question has to do with the Land promise? This is where the inspired commentary of the New Testament authors must be taken to heart. Remember what I noted above: Paul (and the other apostles), say that they preached nothing but the hope of Israel. They never, and this is so critical, they never say that Israel’s promises were postponed, delayed, or failed! The invariably tell is that what they were preaching, and that what was happening in their time, was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. Remember that in Acts 2:15, Peter affirmed in the clearest terms possible "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." Peter did not say "This is like that"; he did not say, "This is like it will be"; he did not say, as Fruchtenbaum claims, that, virtually nothing predicted by Joel was fulfilled on Pentecost; he did not say, "What is happening here proves that Joel will be fulfilled." You cannot turn "This is that" into, "This is not that! no matter how you try.
My point here is this: When the N. T
. writers affirm, as they do repeatedly, that the time and predictions of the O.T. prophecies– including those about the restoration to the Land– were being fulfilled in Christ and the church, then we must either bow to their authority as the divine interpreters of the O.T. prophecies, or, we must, as Fruchtenbaum borders on doing, say that the apostles had no right to interpret the Old Testament prophets in any other than a literal manner!
Here is the thing, and, I develop this extensively in my DVD presentation on Israel and the Land: Failed, Fulfilled, or Future?– the N.T. writers emphatically tell us that the O.T. prophets did not fully understand what they were predicting, but, that they, the apostles of Jesus, were revealing what the it was the prophets actually meant! This is a huge oversight in the millennial paradigm!
If the N. T. writers tell us that they were revealing what was actually intended by the O.T. prophets, then they either lied, or they were the ones confused. I prefer to accept their inspired word on this issue.
Thus, when Paul quotes verbataim, for instance, from Isaiah 49, the prediction that in the Day of Salvation, Israel was restored, and then Paul says that the Day of Salvation was present (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)– 2000 years ago– then again, I must either accept the inspired apostolic authority of Paul, or deny it. There is no middle ground. But, if Paul was right, and of course he was, then this means that since interprets Israel’s promises spiritually, that the Messianic Land promises were never intended to be taken literally, but, spiritually of our dwelling place "in Christ."
2. Where does it say in Scripture that Israel was cured of her idolatry in Babylon?
Response: Actually, I do not know of any specific text that emphatically says that Israel was cured of idolatry due to the Babylonian captivity. I do know that historically, Josephus and others testify to this, and we even find hints of it in the N. T. and post exilic texts, in the absolute prohibition of making anything resembling a figure. Even millennialists admit that this is true, by the way, and I cite some in my Countdown to NoWhere book.
I hope that this helps somewhat. So good to hear from you again!
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston
Thanks in advance.
——

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