A political post with theological undercurrents

This is a political post. I don’t plan on turning this into a political blog, but I have been taking a renewed look at politics recently in light of some verses I’ve reread.

There are a great many candidates in the race for the republican party. Many of them take a good stand on many things. Most of them are off on things. As I look at the field and do my research on the subjects, candidates, and what our nation needs I have come to support Ron Paul. I believe that he offers something no one else does — an authoritative stance based solely on the constitution. This appeals to me as I base all authority in my life on the Scriptures. Having a source of authority different from myself and my personal opinions is huge. The difference between us of course is one is infallible, while the other is written and made by men.

The Constitution could and does have errors in it. Judging the constitution in the same way as one might look at Scripture would be a major mistake, but it is still a point to be commended that he holds to something other than himself.

He seems to be well educated and intelligent. He is a strong economist. He is for states rights. He seems to have a good plan to turn the country around and hes bold enough to actually do it. He is honest. This is huge for me since many people that go to Washington do not do what they say. If I can’t trust the guy telling me, then it doesn’t matter how good he sounds.

He seems to be right on so much, but there is a slight problem — foreign policy. His policy has many benefits to it. Looking at it from a constitutional stand point, he is probably correct. Viewing it from a security standpoint, I think that he may very well be on about that as well.

My problem is the consideration that his policy would no longer have the US as a firm supporter (were we or are we now?) of Israel. Now, there are national, and global reasons to support Israel as well. They are the only country over there with the same form of government and drive for freedom. They are like us in many ways, etc.

I want to consider the Biblical implications of no longer supporting Israel. How big an issue is this? Is it worth getting someone who is off on it if they are right on everything else? Is this the issue that would really remove God’s blessing from us, and though everything else turns around, we get cursed? Is this really a non-issue that we have looked at incorrectly for years? I don’t know that I have all the answers. I’ll give you what I do have though.

“Blessed is he that blesses thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.”

This proclamation is first given to Abraham in Genesis 12. After, Isaac blesses Jacob this way. Later, Balaam proclaims the same thing when he blesses Israel. This last is important since the others are spoken directly to individuals rather than about the nation as a whole. The blessing was meant to continue past the individuals of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to the nation. Several questions bear asking as we examine these verses.

Does this blessing only apply to the nation of Israel in the OT? This seems unlikely as there is no time frame or condition put upon the blessing. It is given to Israel, and though Israel at times was not a nation, and then was once again humanly speaking, in the eyes of God, it is still Israel, His people, and so the blessing still applies.

Should we only bless Israel when Israel is doing right as a nation? This one is more interesting and an easy “way out” if we are looking for a reason to not support Israel. Israel has rejected the Messiah. They have refused the promised Seed that they had been waiting for. But, consider that in the OT, any nation whom God used to punish Israel for sin was still judged for harming Israel. Israel deserved it, and God punished them, but those that dared to touch Israel were punished because that was the people of God. Those that cursed Israel were cursed. Those that bless Israel were blessed. So, we cannot abandon the blessing because of Israel’s morality.

What exactly constitutes blessing? This one is harder to pin down. Certainly what President Obama is doing has not been blessing. But looking back on our country, I wonder how much we have ever actually “blessed” Israel.

In 1922 Congress passed a resolution to support an established nation of Jews. When Israel became a nation, we were the first to recognize that. Since that time, we have supported them verbally, though through many of their conflicts we have done nothing else. We have helped with economic stability and food, but France provided the majority of their weapons for several decades. The Arab nations considered us fair to deal with until 1967 when we sided with Israel. Now they hate us. LBJ was a strong supporter of Israel as President and took us from the place of moderate support to wholehearted support. In ’68 we began the policy of giving Israel more qualitative military support than the nations around it though we still provided the other nations with weapons. With over 40 more years of history to cover, I will stop here.

What constitutes blessing? We supply them and their enemies with weapons and funding. We supply them with more than any individual country around them, but combined we supply their enemies with more than we do them. Are we trying to bless and curse them at the same time? Ron Paul (RP) is probably correct that the main reason the Arab nations hate us is because we support Israel, but looking at what we do, I wonder if that is something that can stop. It appears to be something that happened several decades ago that will not be forgotten and even if we do what RP suggests (drop all support for everyone) they will still hate us. But does that mean we have stopped blessing Israel? Are we no longer cursing them by supplying their enemies?

Paul derives some amazing things about Israel that I believe are often over-looked. In Romans 15:26-27

“For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”

It is the duty of Gentiles to support the Jews in material things, because we are indebted to them for our salvation. Wow. That is not opinion. That is Paul by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In what way does this duty connect to the blessing that we should give, and then will receive?

It appears to me that the best foreign policy for any nation is to operate in complete agreement with Israel and give no support to any of their enemies. No one takes that stand.

Second, if we remove support from everyone over there, US and Israeli economists have predicted that a stronger Israel will arise from that.

Third, if we remove our support of everyone, Israel will come out on top. I tend to think our current support of Israel constitutes little blessing, but our support of the Arab nations might constitute a greater curse. By removing all, we put ourselves in a neutral position.

Fourth, no one else (that I know of right now…and this could change) has a plan to strengthen our ties with Israel in regards to our funding of the Arab nations. Cain (and possibly others) is definitely more friendly verbally and in some decisive matters, but I don’t know that it is enough “blessing” to differ from the past several administrations, which seems pitiful to me.

Finally, where does this foreign policy argument rank among top political concerns? Well, it should rank very high. Our nations blessing or cursing can be found here. It is an abnormality in this dispensation since most promises we have are individual today, but the blessing of Israel can be a national thing. But, though it ranks high, it seems no candidates have a clear sense of how high it should rank, and thus they are all close to the same opinion, RP being on the weak end.

Is he so far to the weak end and another to the strong end that it discounts the big lead he has on them in other areas? For me, I’m honestly struggling. I like him and his stuff, but this is huge. If Israel gets attacked, he is not going to help them. Now that isn’t a big difference than other presidents who have done nothing, but is that something we can avoid? Possibly. If Israel goes on the offensive, he will do nothing, when in the past we have intervened to tell them they can’t do this or that. So that’s better for them. It is a double-edged sword.

We are in the last days. And though scholars and pastors have for decades guessed how “the end” will go, we really don’t know. It could very well be that RP wins, institutes his policy, Israel gets overwhelmed and we do nothing and the tribulation comes in with America not being destroyed or attacked or anything. We could get the best person for our country and still be a major factor in the end of this dispensation.

Of course, I’m of the opinion that without RP we will most likely crash as a country and be in a depression worse than the first one. This could have the same affect on the tribulation or not. Either way, I see us having little hope.

My head says there is little difference between any of these guys on whether or not we are really blessing Israel or cursing Israel. It says that Ron Paul is a neutral, while most other people try to play both sides. But my gut says that Cain will be a true strong supporter of Israel.

I’m conflicted, and I’m sorry to leave it that way. Hopefully there was some information here that was helpful to someone.

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6 thoughts on “A political post with theological undercurrents

  1. Even if you believe that the nation of Israel in the Old Testament is what was completely in view by those verses (and not, as my non-dispensational, promise theology bent would interpret it is referring to God’s people in general – which is expounded on much more by Paul), you still have to keep in mind that the nation of Israel mentioned IN the Old Testament and the nation of Israel in modern times are completely different. The Old Testament nation of Israel had everything to do with being a descendant of Abraham – of being a Jew. This is not the case today. Being an Israelite has nothing to do with being a descendant of Abraham. It has to do with what plot of land you were born on. There are many Israelites who are not Jews and are completely unrelated to Abraham, and there are also many non-Israelites who ARE descendants of Abraham. If scripture is referring to PHYSICAL descendants of Abraham needing to be blessed, our nation blessing the current nation of Israel does not accomplish this. If it is referring to the SPIRITUAL descendants of Abraham needing to be blessed, our nation blessing the current nation of Israel STILL does not accomplish this. Just my two (or more) cents on the matter.

    Your brother,
    Zack

  2. I think I would disagree on who inhabits Israel today. Multiple sources I have looked (online census information, newpapers, etc.) have stated that in ’48 and through 2010 the percentage of Jews that made up the residents of Israel is over 75%. That is mostly Israel. The point of the nation back in 1948 was to create a place for the Jews, and though not every Jew goes or is there, Jews, not just citizens of Israel, are the majority. The numbers don’t talk about “Israelites” but about Jews in the land of Israel. I think the Jews are keeping count. Even when the nation was in captivity God knew where the Jews were as scattered and though not everyone went back the nation still counted as the nation of Israel in God’s eyes. If this is the case, then it does matter if our nation blesses Israel the nation of today.

    Yes, from a non-dispensational stand point this post may seem silly, but that discussion will need to be at anther time.

  3. Not silly at all – but Ron Paul’s foreign policies aren’t as troubling for me because of it. 😉

    I have not done the research on the nation of Israel that you have – but I would still think that what we call the nation of Israel today and what they called the nation of Israel meant two different things: then it meant being a descendant of Abraham, and now it means being a physical citizen of that country – you were born there (or, I assume, you become a legal resident). Would you disagree?

    Here is some other food for thought. Off the top of my head all the passages I can think of that speak of the blessing and cursing are all talking about individuals blessing Israel and thereby being blessed and individuals cursing Israel and thereby being cursed. This would indicate to me that it is not a nation to nation thing. Depending on your point of view it could be person to person, person to nation, person to people group – but I can’t think of anything that would indicate to me a nation to nation interaction here.

    Your brother,
    Zack

  4. From everything I know (which admittedly is not a lot), there are non-Jews in Israel, but so were there in the OT. They just became Israelites. I would think the nation of Israel today would still apply.

    The passage I mentioned from Numbers (24:9) is Balak as the head of a nation asking Balaam to curse the nation for him. I see it as a nation to nation in that passage, which is why that passage is key, because otherwise it is very much on an individual basis. But the implication seems to be to any other nations seeking to bless/curse Israel, there is a response to be expected.

  5. Bah – it is hard to write this rather than just talk in person, but I will try. Haha.

    My point is not that the nation of Israel in the OT times was 100% comprised of Jews. But, I do know that, even when in captivity in Egypt, Babylon, etc… they were referred to as Israelites. This of course had nothing to do with what land they inhabit, or where they were born. They hadn’t even BEEN to the promised land while in Egypt of course (in fact most would have been born in Egypt). They were Israelites because they were direct descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    This is not the case today. It isn’t even how any Jews that I know refer to themselves – and I am pretty familiar with a number of born again Jews – our church supports a woman who is a missionary working for a group called Jews for Jesus, so we are able to interact quite a bit with them. The ONLY Jews that are considered Israeli are those who are born in Israel. There are American Jews, German Jews, Russian Jews, etc… AS WELL AS Israeli Jews. Israel is now not some blanket nation that covers all Jews everywhere anymore.

    Our governmental support of the Israeli government does nothing to bless any Jews aside from the ones who are Israeli. In fact, it is very easy to think of situations in which governmental support to Israel could bless Israeli Jews at the expense of American Jews – and that is my point. Governmental support to the modern nation Israel does not constitute a blessing on the seed of Abraham a la Gen 12 beyond. I hope I am clear – for some reason it gets hard to write it out – I think it is because I have too much to try and say. Haha.

    As far as the nation to nation point – I see what you are getting at but I don’t think it is at all necessary to interpret Balaam’s statement as anything other than HIM blessing the nation of Israel and not cursing it, because if he curses it he will be cursed, and if he blesses it, he will be blessed. Even though Balak procured Balaam to curse Israel for him, it was still Balaam who would pronounce the curse. Given the rest of the context with that particular aspect of God’s promise to Abraham, I just don’t see any reason for it to be any different here, so I will have to disagree with you on that point.

    Interesting stuff though – I very much enjoy reading these posts!

  6. Yeah, writing this might be making it more confusing…Going to try again though. 😉

    I agree that “Israel” now does not cover all Jews everywhere. But my eschatology (which might be why we are differing so) says there are a couple problems with saying the present day nation known to the world is not the same as the nation from the Scriptures.

    1) God will gather Israel together as a nation. This is to the land. This does not require that every single Jew go, but it does require that there be a nation again.

    2) Said nation will be confronted, surrounded, and attacked. This can only happen if the nation exists literally in a place rather than in all the Jews around the world.

    Second, when the Jews returned to the land under Cyrus et al, not every Jew returned, yet those that go are referred to as Israel. This may be an inclusion of all Jews still (though I think that is hard to make in every case), but that would not neglect the same pronouncement upon the present nation as the same Israel despite the Jews around the world, or how Jews see themselves today.

    Being a Jew means something. The Jews do trace their lineage and whether each one goes back to Jacob does not mean that they don’t know they are Jews, and Israel is a nation of Jews. This asks a question that I don’t know the answer to: what then does God think of the Jews who are not of the nation of Israel today? They are still from Jacob (Israel). I don’t know, though I do wonder of the Samaritans of Christ’s day.

    As far as Balaam, I don’t know that it is necessary, but think it is just as viable. Balaam could be saying as you pointed out: “I won’t curse you because I don’t want to be cursed.” Or he could be saying “Here is one nation trying to curse Israel as they come into the land, and other might be thinking the same thing, but the nation that blesses them will be blessed.” I don’t know that either one can be ruled out.

    I too have enjoyed this discussion.

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