Sunday, 29 December 2013

Understanding Israel - The Church, The Jewish People, and the Struggle for Identity - Coming Soon.

A new book is coming soon. It is heavily revised from Zion's New Name to the point where a new title was considered necessary.

From the back Cover:

This book seeks a biblical approach to the identity of Israel, and grew out of the previous title Zion’s New Name as a heavily revised work. There is polarised opinion between Christian Zionists on one side, and sceptics of the State of Israel on the other. These sceptics are usually accused of holding to Replacement Theology, but this is often rhetorical and fails to address the issues.  Here the aim is to get to the heart of Scripture through a careful analysis of the Prophets and the New Testament. In this sense I am taking a broadly classical Reformed approach, but also seeking to get to the truth of Scripture. I seek to avoid the excessive political activity of both sides of this debate on the left and right.

Scripture reveals clearly that a remnant of Jews continued from the Old to the New Covenant, as evidenced by the 120 in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. During the first century Jewish believers in the Messiah helped to lay the foundation of the Church, and we should not overlook their hard work and sacrifice for Jesus. Later, the outward Jewish identity of the growing Church was overshadowed as more Gentiles joined, but the Church remained as the called-out remnant of Israel, formed in the Messiah. In this light I discuss the theological themes of remnant and continuity in relation to Israel.

However, we need to remember to express love to the Jewish people and offer regret for their suffering through history. The final great hope is that they will experience a great revival before the Messiah returns, and come to experience the fullness of life in Jesus.

Why do many Christian Zionists undermine the Church? GOD TV

I have blogged about this before. But why do Christian Zionists spend so much time attacking the Christian Church? I can understand a desire to seek peace and security for the State of Israel, who doesn't want that? But Zionism goes further. It must justify Israel's existence spiritually, and this to the detriment of the Christian Church. So Zionist' Christians will travel about taking conferences, go on TV, and attack what they characterise as Replacement Theology.

Now Replacement Theology does exist, and some Reformers have made anti-Semitic comments, and this needs identifying and challenging, but what is attacked in essence is a strawman position. Zionist' Christians then suggest that those who hold to Covenantal Theology are somehow on the edge of anti-Semitism. And this is on popular Christian TV. I have for instance recently watched a video by Ron Matsen, linked with Koinonia House, on GOD TV.

However, Reformed Covenantal theology is much more nuanced that Zionists would have us believe. So what is set-up and challenged is a misrepresentation of the truth. Christian TV in the UK generally supports Christian Zionism and gives little time to alternatives, although Revelation TV had a good debate with Stephen Sizer and Calvin L.Smith a while ago. But let us have a wider debate about the impact that certain teaching has on the health of the Church. Should we not be building up the Church instead of tearing it down?    

I am in the process of releasing a new book Understanding Israel that looks at the question of identity in relation to Israel. More news on that soon.

No place for offensive Nazi-like salutes in football - Anelka in trouble

Nicolas Anelka has been accused of a Nazi salute, although he defends his actions. This is reported on the BBC website.

This salute has been popularised amongst a section of Muslims by the French comedian Dieudonne M'bala. The French government minister, Valerie Fourneyro, however is trying to ban use of this symbolic act because of its anti-Semitic overtones. Although in response it is claimed to be anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. Fourneyron however wrote  : "Anelka's gesture is a shocking provocation, disgusting. There's no place for anti-Semitism on the football field."

For those of us who wish to challenge Zionism in a rational manner, this sort of salute does not help at all and is objectionable. It does nothing for the Middle East peace process, and nothing for the Palestinian cause. It is deliberately offensive, and any justification is mere window dressing.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Last chance for a peaceful two-state solution?

David Blair, writing in the Telegraph, asks if the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is ultimately undermining the legitimacy of the Israeli state as a Jewish democracy.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Smith Wigglesworth's Prophecy of 1947

Peter Kirk has been looking for the date and source of the 1947 prophecy of Smith Wigglesworth that spoke of a coming great revival when the Church embraces the Word and Spirit. See:

He writes a couple of years later in the same thread - 13 March 2013 "I just received a newsletter which quotes this prophecy, in abbreviated form, with the reference “George Stormont: Wigglesworth – a man who walked with God, 1989, p.114″. According to the book description quoted at, Stormont was “a personal friend of Smith Wigglesworth”. Further research led me to the relevant page of Stormont’s book at Google Books, in fact p.123 in this edition. The full prophecy is not given in this book, so this cannot be the original source. I wonder if the full prophecy comes from Stormont’s series of tapes ‘SPIRITUAL SECRETS OF THE MAN WHO WALKED WITH GOD – SMITH WIGGLESWORTH.’"

According to George Stormont the prophecy was given a week before his death at a week long crusade and involved two moves of God. The first move involved an emphasis on the work of the Spirit, the second on the Word of God. When these two moves come together there shall be '...the greatest move the Church of Jesus Christ has ever seen.'

We could at this point ask what it means to be commited to the Word of God. Christian Zionists and those who hold to Covenantal theology disagree about certain things in relation to the Church and Israel, as do Christians over the question of creation versus evolution. Perhaps we need to start a debate about what it means to have an emphasis on the Word of God, and what intepretation of Scripture is necessary. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

EU imposes sanctions against the State of Israel

The EU is to impose sanctions against the State of Israel on post-1949 occupied territory.

This link was taken from Stephen E.Jones blog where you can read more. Personally speaking I am not convinced that sanctions always do much good because they are often politically motivated and not always directed at establishing true peace, justice and reconcilliation. We shall see what transpires. But we see here the worldy system in the UN putting pressure on Israel to comply with its resolutions. There are also questions about the Mosiac Law and the State of Israel. There is a need to trade fairly with the foreigners who live within the land, the need to respect ancient boundary stones, and whether it is right for people to receive goods from stolen land. Israel is largely secular and disregards the Law of Moses on many social issues, and we should not be naive. We need to remember that God establishes various authorities on earth to bring a semblence of order including the UN. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Syrian Rebels Behead Catholic Priest

Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime have beheaded a Catholic Priest - Father Francois Murad. This is reported in the Daily Mail

So why are western countries supporting these groups, some linked to Al Qaeda, and giving them arms if they react in such a brutal manner against Christians? The western governments seem to have descended to the level of Lenin's 'useful idiots,' whereby we are in danger of selling rope to our enemies so that they can return and hang us.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Remnant Theology versus Supercessionism

I have recently been looking at the concept of Remnant theology in regard to the relationship between Israel and the Church following a discussion with a Bible College lecturer. This is something that needs development I believe. The picture of God calling out a Remnant of Israelites who are faithful to Him is found throughout the Old Testament. In the New Testament a faithful remnant for instance is mentioned in Romans 11 'So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.' (Romans 11:5).

John J. Parsons has a useful article online that discusses this in a reasonable manner Remnant Theology versus Replacement Theology, although it is necessary to do some more work in defining exactly what is meant by Replacement theology and the Church, and Remnant theology and Israel. Too often this debate is coloured by inaccurate stereotypes and woolly definitions. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Israel and World War Three

In the 1950s William Carr outlined a plan that Albert Pike - Freemason and Satanist - developed for three world wars. Commonly, known as the Pike - Mazzini letter of 1871. For lovers of conspiracy theories this is an intriguing topic (William Guy Carr, Pawns in the Game (CPA Book Publisher reprint (nd), (although Carr signs his introduction Oct. 13, 1958), p. XV).
The website ThreeWorldWars quotes Carr as follows 'Albert Pike received a vision, which he described in a letter that he wrote to Mazzini, dated August 15, 1871. This letter graphically outlined plans for three world wars...' See
It goes on 'The Second World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences between the Fascists and the political Zionists. This war must be brought about so that Nazism is destroyed and that the political Zionism be strong enough to institute a sovereign state of Israel in Palestine...'
'The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the "agentur" of the "Illuminati" between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other...'

So, if this letter is to believed then the second world war was fought to help establish the State of Israel, while the third war is to be fought to destroy Israel and Islam - and also destroy the faith of Christians through new atheism and nihilism.
Terry Melanson has however done a good job in highlighting the problems with this thesis, tracing the ideas back to the suspect work of Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez of Santiago.
However, Melanson's work is incomplete and the source of Carr's research has not yet been identified because Carr makes different claims than the threeworldwar website claims. According to Carr the blue-print was worked out between 1859, and 1871 for three world wars.
Whether or not the work is real and genuinely attributed to Pike, it does make testable predictions about future events. Watching events unfold in the Middle East one wonders if the blue-print is being followed carefully and that there is great danger for the State of Israel, Islamic states, and for Christians who have placed such faith in that State. Many of us who are concerned with the direction the Zionist project is heading have called for peace, justice and reconciliation, but is another agenda unfolding? Time will tell. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

BBC bans film that discusses Jewish presence in Holy Land post AD70

The BBC has banned a film that discusses continued Jewish presence in the Holy Land post AD70. This film seems to challenge the origin of the modern Palestinian populace, suggesting in part it derives from an ethnic Jewish community. Dr Siam Bhayro finds the decision strange even though he doesn't agree fully with the conclusions. BBC criticised for banning a controversial film on the history of Palestinians and Jews

Monday, 1 April 2013

Passover and Easter

It is noteworthy that a number of Christians today enjoy partaking in Jewish Passover or Seder meals. Is this appropriate for Christians? I would suggest that if this is an act of remembrance of the work of Jesus upon the cross then there is essentially little wrong with it. Jews remember their ancestors’ slavery in Egypt as they take part in this community meal, and for Christians the communion is a remembrance of the work of Christ upon the cross. There is then a close correlation between communion and the Seder meal. Indeed the symbolism is clearly there in the New Testament, just as Moses led the people out of slavery in Egypt so Jesus leads us out of the bondage to sin and death. However, there are a couple of comments that might be raised. Firstly, some of the traditions of the Jewish Seder meal seem to be an elaboration on the Exodus account, although not necessarily wrong. But I would suggest there is a lot to be said for the simplicity of the Mosaic account. Secondly, there is some debate over whether the last supper is really a Passover meal, or just a traditional Jewish meal. This is because Jesus was seemingly crucified on the eve of Passover, and the meal took place the day before. At the meal Jesus explained the symbolism of the wine as his blood poured out and the bread as his body broken for us.
   The account of the Passover meal can be found in Exodus 12. We see the Israelites in Egypt are told to prepare a meal and eat it in haste. They are instructed to kill and roast a year old lamb over an open fire during the evening, and then eat all of it after sunset. That which is not eaten should be burnt. The meal should also consist of unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The blood was to be applied to the doorpost and lintel with a sprig of hyssop.
   We can see imagery of Christ’s sacrifice in the Passover, but as noted there is a debate around the last supper and whether it really was the Passover meal, or just a traditional Jewish meal. At the last supper we read of the bread and wine, but no lamb or bitter herbs. However, Christ was himself the sacrificial lamb, and just as the Passover lamb was tied to a stick and roasted over the fire, so too Jesus was nailed to the cross and raised up in darkness, but what of the fire? In some sense the Law of Moses is a fire. Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly and then was roasted in front of the Law of God as he bore our sins upon the cross. Jesus was also offered the bitter herb of hyssop mixed with vinegar. Remember, Moses told the Israelites to paint the blood on the doorposts using hyssop. And as Jesus said at the last supper, the fruit of the vine was symbolic of his blood. Jesus then tasted the bitter herb as the ‘blood’ was applied to his head and he provided the bread of his body.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Galloway scores an own goal...

George Galloway, Respect Party MP for Bradford West, has missed an opportunity to debate the Middle East crisis, and speak up for Palestinians. Instead he stormed out of a debate in Oxford University Christ Church College because he found out late that his opponent was an Israeli citizen. Bloggers have accused him of being anti-Semitic as a result, and there is little defence I wish to offer here. Surely, in Respect, one should be willing to argue a case against opponents.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Israel - William Hague, The Hague and political fears

The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has recently spoken out in support the two state solution and urged Israel to seek peace - this because Israel's policy of building on Palestinian land (especially the area known as E1 which will divide the Palestinian area) is losing it international support Hague warns Israel is losing international support over Palestine as people vote in General Election Hague points out that "An independent Palestinian state alongside Israel has been the basis of the US-backed Middle East peace process for almost 20 years." The State of Israel has of course just had elections, and we will wait and see what the policy of the new administration is, but it seems Netanyahu will be Prime Minister once again. In a further development Reuters reports that The Palestinian Authority may take Israel to the Hague Court over its building policy.