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The Bible and Prophecy (1 of 3)
Israel in Prophecy
Zechariah 13:6-9; Ezekiel 37:4-12, 21-22, 26-28; Romans 11:25-34
Israel in Prophecy
It is often argued that the futurist view of prophecy is a modern view, therefore it has less merit. This is partially true. Even though we can find 1st and 2nd century writings that agree with the futurist view point, it was the focal point during the Reformation Period and did not regain popularity until the last 100 years. It is also pointed out that the great theologians in the Reformation Period in the church rarely address prophecy. This is true. However, if we look at the focus of the reformers we can see why prophecy had such a low priority. Why were they called reformers? The church was split because the reformers were looking at the church of the day and the church of scripture and they did not agree. The focus of the Reformation was to straighten out doctrinal differences. Martin Luther was excommunicated because of his famous stance. When opposing the church, he pointed at scripture and stated, "Here I stand, I can do no other". Church traditions had replaced scriptural doctrine. When the two disagreed, the church of the day would not budge. In protest, the Protestant movement was born.
The focus of the Reformers was on the doctrines of the church and the doctrines that applied to salvation and Christian living. Understanding prophecy took a back seat and rightfully so. If the church is has confusion within its doctrine, all other issues, including prophecy, are meaningless. After the foundational doctrinal issues were hashed out, then we begin to see doctrines concerning prophecy to reemerge. After the turn of the 20th century, modern technology and the first World War began to shed light on prophecy. The book of Revelation speaks of world conflicts, but until WWI this was unheard of.
We also should remember that Israel was no longer on the scene. Sixty years ago, when someone looked at prophecy and saw Israel mentioned, it never quite fit. Church leaders tried to fit the church into Israel's roles. The problem with this is that many, many scriptures have to be explained away in order to rationalize this view. Whenever Israel is mentioned by name, many people claimed that it was symbolic of the church. Some teachers went out on a limb and actually claimed that Israel was Israel and not the church. Sixty years ago, this seemed to be an impossible idea. How could a nation destroyed and scattered 2,000 years ago revive and return to their homeland? How could a people who were hated by the world and had no political clout possibly gain the power to reclaim their land? It was a preposterous idea. Yet theologians like H. A. Ironside claimed that this would happen. Ironside looked at the scriptures and stated that the only way prophecy could be fulfilled is that Israel must return to their homeland. If the Bible is true, he claimed that Israel must become a nation again. He made ...
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