Monday, July 09, 2007

What Is Israel?

Israel” can mean many different things. It can mean the Jewish people, wherever they might live. It can mean Jewish Christians and gentile Christians, in an allegorical sense. It can mean the political Nation-State currently exercising jurisdiction over Palestine, or Caanan, or whatever you want to call it. It might also refer to the Jewish people living in said land, not necessarily its government.

Of these the only one I can’t support is the political entity. God never intended for Israel to have a centralized government, let alone a secular one with the power to write arbitrary laws. God intended for Israel to be a loose federation of cooperating tribes, welcoming to strangers, and united under a single rule of law interpreted and enforced by judges.

If your eschatology is dependent upon a political entity utilizing force to harm innocents I have to question whether you can mesh it neatly with the non – aggression principle implicit in the Christian ethic. I don’t like to get into eschatology too much, but adoption of non – aggression led me away from statism and simultaneously away from dispensationalism, premillenialism, and Zionism. It was frustrating to me because I had to discover the common bond among these outside the Church, and many churches teach a statism alongside non – aggression and amillenialism. Indeed, Sojourner’s seems to adopt such a position.

Again, I support the right of Jews to voluntarily purchase property anywhere in the world they choose to do so. I believe it is a good idea for them to do so in Palestine. I believe there is a mystical purpose in Jews, but only believing Jews, occupying that land. But I oppose the use of force first and foremost. This is the single most important ethic, to love one’s neighbor as one self in order to demonstrate one’s love of God. Justification for breaking this code results in myriad convoluted theologies and political philosophies. It is just so difficult to give up the pagan worship of the state. The cry always goes out, “Give us a king.” Or, as Derek Webb has put it, “I want a new law!”

Nathanael Snow

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