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Thursday 28 March 2024

Of The Antichrist


Israel really shouldn't be divisive for Christians.

Judaism is an antichrist religion (1 John 2:22). In fact, it is by definition, as it was the very first religion to reject Christ, and the example to those other religions that did so. This is a core tenet of Christianity and Orthodox Judaism.

Israel is not a Christian country. It is a country where Christians are barely permitted at best and sometimes persecuted. Only Christians are God's people (1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 John 3), so we have no natural affinity with the country, either spiritually or ethnically, it's just another country filled with lost people. 

Therefore, all Christians should see Israel as a largely godless country, just like Australia, Belgium, Canada or Vietnam, that needs vast missionary work to bring back to Christ. A nation in need of hearing about God, because if you don't know Jesus, you can't know God. This is all basic Christian stuff.

So why is it so divisive?

Because a large segment of the Church, mostly influenced by American teaching, from a theology that originated in Britain, has taken the most divisive thing in Christianity, eschatology, or end times teaching, and dragged it into the foreground of the present day and said, "See, we are in the final, or close to final generation, because this has all been fulfilled." They have made a tertiary thing, almost a primary emphasis.

In other words, a large section of the church has taken the most disputable parts of Scripture, developed a novel interpretation that dates back less than 200 years, and brought it to the forefront of their emphasis in a major way. As if theology were not already divisive enough, it gets far worse when people bring to the forefront the most difficult passages in the Bible, which have always caused massive disagreement in the church.

This has happened before. In the Reformation many chiliastic groups believed they were in the actual fulfilment of Revelation, that the pope was clearly the last Antichrist, and they got behind all sorts of political expressions of this theology, and the result was war (see the Debacle at Muster as one example), divisions like the Church had never seen, and disasters across Christendom. In fact, these disasters helped ensure the decline of Christendom. Because the divisive nature of it all drove much of Europe, especially among the powerful and influential, to Deism. The exact nature of these groups beliefs is not relevant. What is relevant is how they brought the most divisive passages of Scripture to the foreground and made them their focus.

Large segments of the Church are doing this today.

Take eschatology out of the picture, and Israel are an unsaved nation that needs evangelising just like any other nation. Any Christian of any theology can see this.

But bring back in a radical interpretation of Eschatology, that steps outside of Church history, and now Israel are God's people in a desperate fight to reclaim the Holy Land. And those who criticize them are attacking God's people. Therefore, beware!

Eschatology has always been divisive. Through most of Church history, the church teachers put it to the side as a second order or even third order doctrine. Orthodox Churches simply proclaimed the return of Christ. But when enough of the Church forgets how important it is to do this, it can have massive negative political implications which even effect world politics.

This is something to think about.

Even if your eschatology is right, and it's presumptuous for any of us to think that way, when an eschatology creates such an unhealthy focus, that should be a warning sign that something is amiss. Especially if it changes your view on who the people of God are. The Bible is not unclear about that. All who are in Christ are of God, all who are not are not of God. This clarity should be prioritized over the unclarity of eschatology.

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