Sunday, 9 January 2011

Pastor John Hagee rejects a peace deal that divides Jerusalem

This news, that John Hagee has repeated his belief that God does not wish a peace deal that divides Jerusalem, comes from a report in the Christian Today website. Hagee says dividing Israel is not God's will but other evangelicals disagree

In a webcast for the New Year Hagee applied Genesis 13:14-17 and Genesis 17:7-8 to the present day situation. The first passage reads as follows, “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Genesis 17 claims that the land will be an “everlasting covenant” to Abraham and his offspring, and Hagee applies this to the present day State of Israel.

He believes therefore that “Jerusalem should never be divided for any reason. It is the property of the people of Israel. The president of the United States has no authority to tell the people of Israel what they can and cannot do with the city of Jerusalem” in a webcast. “God...made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And that covenant stands. It is still the covenant.” he continued. It is though noteworthy that Dr Richard J Mouw, who is president of Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, California) disagrees. Mouw objection is on the basis that God also promised a blessing to Ishmael.

However, I want to respond to Hagee by looking to Paul's writing to the Galatians about who is/are Abraham's offspring, and therefore the inheritors of the promises.

Galatians 3:7 reads as follows "Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."

It is those who have faith in Christ who are the true children of Abraham today.

"He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." (Gal. 3:14)

This is because Christ is the 'seed' of Abraham.

"The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ." (Gal. 3:16). And "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal.3:26-29).

So Christians, both Jews and Gentiles in Christ, are the true inheritors of the Promised Land. The State of Israel has no right to claim exclusive rights to the land outside of Jesus. In chapter 4 of Galatians Paul writes that Old Jerusalem is in fact a slave city and comparable to Hagar the slave woman. Those who are in Christ are like Sarah’s children of promise and therefore spiritually like Isaac. Therefore Paul tells us to;

“Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” (Gal.4:30).

So Hagee is I believe ignoring Pauline doctrine about the status of Jerusalem and the inheritors of Abraham's promises and seeking to give Abraham's blessing to Hagar and Ishmael, the slave woman and her son. Now that the whole earth has come under Abraham's promise we have a duty as Christians to bring peace and freedom to the earth; that is to 'all nations' (Gal.3:7). Christians have a duty to speak prophetically into the Middle East situation in order to bring about a just peace settlement and challenge the Israeli government to act justly as well as calling Palestinians to meaningful peace negotiations.

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