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Supersessionist Fascination with the Holy Land, and Israel’s Great Future

May 24, 2013

Another true and timeless quote from Alva McClain’s “Greatness of the Kingdom” (p. 253):

some of the most incorrigible opponents of a millennial religious center in Jerusalem, at the same time have an untiring enthusiasm for “trips” to the Holy Land here and now.  Surely it is a great privilege to walk where the Son of God once lived, suffered, and died. If this be so, how much more wonderful it will be to go there when He is once more there in visible manifestation and glory.

In recent months I have observed this very phenomenon: a church pastor —  strong supersessionist (no future for Israel), Amillennial Preterist, old-earth creationist — who yet shows “untiring enthusiasm” in sharing pictures from his trip to the Holy Land last year.  Such interest has even resulted in a lengthy Sunday School series for the main adult Sunday School class, complete with slides, diagram drawings and general geography and archeology sessions, and such trivia as the size of Jerusalem (in acres) at various times in biblical history. (Among the trivia: Jerusalem was 44 acres in size in Jesus’ day.)  The lessons go into all the details in the biblical accounts of how the men in Hezekiah’s day affected the water supply, and other basic information that I tend to think of as appropriate for general, secular education.  Certainly geography and archeology of the Holy Land is of some interest, even to natural man, as something concrete and part of our natural world.  Yet where is the spiritual content of such a series, in light of the massive biblical revelation?

The biblical references in this series are basic and well-known to serious students of God’s word, but such a topical series comes across as disappointingly shallow.  Consider the great depth and riches of what God’s word has to say regarding Israel (past, present and future): the great biblical covenants (especially the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants), and (as especially brought out in Alva McClain’s great work) the beginnings and details of God’s Mediatorial Kingdom in Israel, in Old Testament History and Prophecy.  Then Israel’s apostasy and what that actually meant: not that the nation itself was completely cut-off and divorced from God, but that judgment fell on particular generations – and yet, as SLJ observed:

There are people who look at the Old Testament and say, ‘All fulfilled, of no real use to us today.’ That, the apostles would have been strongly against, for that was their Bible. And all that they taught they related to the Old Testament teaching. In fact, the epistle to the Romans is really nothing more than an Old Testament theology written in the light of the coming of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of those promises in Him. The Jews have a future. Their place in the program of God in the present time is similar to that of a train which is passed onto a siding — the purpose of God has passed them by, not because they have no future but because they did not believe.

Also the prophecies regarding Israel’s present condition, such as the prophecies of Balaam, and especially of Hosea (Hosea 3:4-5):

For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

Oh the great riches in God’s word concerning Israel past, present, and especially future in the kingdom of God upon the earth, as described in so many passages of scripture, the Old Testament prophecies as well as great references in the gospels and New Testament passages.  Yet, as Alva McClain observed over half a century ago (that which is still true) some professed believers rigorously oppose the idea of God having anything future to do with Israel, and yet they are content with and even have unending enthusiasm for trips to the Holy Land.  Many of us have never had opportunity to visit the physical sites of the Holy Land, and perhaps never will get that opportunity in this life, yet we can dig into the treasures of God’s word regarding the nation Israel, and God’s purposes for Israel and the Gentile nations in the future Kingdom of God upon the earth. Indeed, “how much more wonderful it will be to go there when He is once more there in visible manifestation and glory.”

  1. Pauline
    May 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Strange isn’t it ? I know in the sDA. They used to do the same thing , go to the Holy Land and take myriads of pictures and slides , and then use them at their prophecy conferences to attract the unsaved to the history of it all. ( They were replacement theology ) I think it makes them more spiritual to have been where Jesus went and see what Jesus saw. I think they would happily not remember that Jesus was Jewish. And then you have the other extreme where Gentile believers in some churches hold Jewish feasts and such like and that makes them more spiritual do be doing the Jewish stuff.
    I will wait till I can experience it all with the true King in the Holy Land with all the chosen people of our Lord God.

    • May 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Thanks, Pauline, and good observations. That’s interesting about the SDA. Yes, here too (the Sunday School class group) I observe that they downplay the Jewishness of Jesus while spending great time on the geography and places of the Holy Land for Christians, as if that is the only importance of Israel, where all the Bible stories took place.

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