Some Christians See a 'Road Map' to End Times

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Occupation Views: 4214
4214

In recent years, conservative Christians across the country have grown increasingly involved in the Mideast peace process. Even though the conflict in the region is nominally one between Jews and Muslims - in which Christians appear to have less of a stake - conservative Christians have been drawn in for a variety of reasons, both biblical and practical.

Not all of us believe the same thing, of course. Many believe that God has given much of what we call the Holy Land to Israel. Genesis 12:1-3 makes a promise of land to the seed of Abraham that became the Jewish people. In addition, God promised in the same passage that those who blessed Israel would be blessed and those who cursed Israel would be cursed.

This promise is reaffirmed many times throughout the Bible and in the New Testament (Romans 11; Acts 3:18-22). God's commitment to Israel means that the Jewish nation has a God-given right to the land.

The Bible predicted that one day, the nation of Israel would be reestablished in the land. When Israel declared independence in 1948, many interpreted the event to mean the beginning of the "last days" prophecy, even though many of those same Christians believe that the bulk of biblical prophecy will not be fulfilled until all or most Jews accept Jesus as the messiah.

The logic goes that if God has given the land to Israel, then asking Israel to give away that land for peace is going against the Bible. Hence, these believers oppose any effort to give land to the Palestinians.

Other Christians believe that just before the "last days" there will be a treaty that will give Israel peace for a time - but that the pact will ultimately break down and set off catastrophe in the Middle East. For these believers it is not a matter of if there is a peace treaty but when.

Some believe that if the "road map" peace plan which is currently being discussed is in fact the treaty mentioned in Daniel 9:27, then there will be peace for 3 1/2 years before there is a major war - Armageddon - for another 3 1/2 years.

This prophecy is known as Daniel's 70 weeks, wherein each week equals seven years, and we are in Daniel's last week. These conservatives are not necessarily for or against the "road map"; they simply believe that if this is the biblically predicted treaty, then it will not bring a permanent peace to the region.

Still others believe that Israel has the right to the land, but that it also has a responsibility to treat the foreigner with justice (Exodus 23:9). They also consider it possible that if God has given the land to Israel to secure peace, then Israel has the right to do what it wishes, including negotiate territory in exchange for peace with the Palestinians.

In this case, negotiation is possible but needs to be conducted carefully. Such Christians also believe that one day Israel will make a peace treaty that will not last. The question is whether any treaty Israel makes is that treaty.

Still other conservative Christians do not believe that the state of Israel still has a right to the land because the Jews have not accepted Jesus as the messiah, and hence Israel has forfeited God's promises. For these believers, there is a heavy concern for Palestinians, especially Palestinian Christians, that leaves them more inclined to support the road map.

Finally there are practical concerns by almost all of these groups about whether any agreement can be signed that will truly give Israel peace. When so many radical Muslims believe that mere Jewish presence defiles the Holy Land - and thus Israel as the Jewish state must be removed and the Palestinians liberated - then one wonders whether peace in fact would result. Some of the violence we see now is the result of those who deny Israel's right to exist.

What does this all mean? It means that many Christians are disposed to favor Israel, but for a variety of reasons.

The situation in the Middle East is exceedingly complex, even when it is viewed biblically. In fact, when Jesus made predictions about the end and told believers to keep watch for his return, he stressed that they should not obsess about trying to figure out when the exact time would be because that could not be known. Rather, they should live faithful, Christian lives until he returns. That may be the best advice of all, even while everyone keeps a careful and cautious eye on events in a land that is sacred and so volatile to so many.

Darrell L. Bock is research professor of New Testament studies at the Dallas Theological Seminary and a professor of spiritual development and culture.


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Occupation
Views: 4214

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Older Comments:
DEEDAT FROM USA said:
The reality of any of this is simply, Allah knows best. I really think that if Christians and Jews alike stop trying to make some of their scriptural predictions come true, then we can probably see what is really to come with clear eyes instead of bias vails which cover our eyes from the true light. This I hope will allow the People of the Book to be able to respect Islam and see the Peace, Love, Honesty, and Brotherhood that TRUE ISLAM holds within its womb.
2003-06-25

WAQAS AHMAD FROM PAKISTAN said:
I Also agree not because it is in bible but because it is also proved from the Ahadith (Saying of our prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) and I strongly beleive that the time for ESA Alaih-is-Salaam (jesus) to come and Insha Allah it will occur within next 5 to 10 years and I am waiting for that time to come so that we can be one of those who are promised paradise.
2003-06-24

SAJID FROM USA said:
Bible is not the last revelation from God, it is the Quran and whoever belives in all the prophets of God , belives Jesus is the promised Messiah and Prophet Mohamed is the last and final messanger of God is the true follower of the religion of Abraham. Accept Islam for we respect and love Jesus in the true essence.
2003-06-24

IAGREE FROM USA said:
Article was almost well written. Its amazing how the developments in the middle east are so in-line with the bible (Daniel and Revelation). After doing an intense study of revelation at my local church, I totally believe what is going on is what God intended to the world. The Jews are a chosen priesthood. They will come to know Christ eventually. Understandibly they have enemies in every direction that they go. Hope muslims come to understand that there is nothing they can do about it since it is in God's hands. God Bless.
2003-06-24

ABDULLAH HOWEIDI FROM SAUDIARABIA said:
Well, ALLAH promise us that, the Palastian belongs to Moslums, not to jews. One day inshallah all jews will be forced to leave palastine and returned to where, they did come from.
Some jwes are against the existing of Jew State, because, they think that, it's the end of all jews.
We should not listen, what ever they beleive.
Hope one day, i will pray in ALQUDS and the whole palastine, will be for palastinian, muslums or cherecians
2003-06-24

MOHAMMED HAFIZ ABDULRAHMAN FROM COSTA RICA said:
Only Allah the merciful knows exactly the end of times, I dont believe that stoling the islam land is fair even when there were thousands palestinan villages in this land. Some christians and evil sionists thinks that occupation of gaza, cisjordan, and Akka belongs to people that came from Europe and USA.
As new muslim who believes in the only one, think that with this kind of violence, with hipocrecy and preventive war even Jesus would not know when the end of the times are going to happen
2003-06-24

AHMED FROM USA said:
Is the end of the world. just like allah said:they will inter the masqou (is one of the sign that come before the judgement) as they do before;surat israa.
2003-06-23

BRIAN FROM USA said:
I thought this was a well written explanation of Christian beliefs. I hope it will help Muslims understand the reasons behind Christian support for Israel. It isn't that Christians hate Muslims, we just believe we have a religious obligation to support Israel.
2003-06-23

GUEST FROM UNITED STATES said:
NO ONE KNOWS THE END OF TIME EXCEPT ALLAH (SWA), EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT 9/11, WAS THE ENDING. AND WHERE ARE THEY GETTING THERE INFO, ANYHOW, IF THE QURAN DOESNT TELL US WHEN, THEN HOW IS THE BIBLE GOING TO TELL US. WE ARE ONLY GIVEN DESCRIPTIONS OF ENDING OF TIME BUT THE EXACT OCCURANCE IS UNKNOWN TO MAN. MAY ALLAH MAKE IT EASY ON US.
2003-06-23

CHARLES JACKS FROM USA said:
Well won't the Christians be surprised when Jesus comes back and teaches monotheism instead of tritheism. Instead of converting the Jews to worshiping (what?) Jesus will likely confirm Islam and convert the remaining Jews to Islam. Not sure what they would say to that.
But then many support the Jews because they don't know that Jesus said the Jews were no longer the chosen people. That that status would be given to another people. They also don't realize Jesus was tried by the Jews for what they say about him and he refuted what they say.
If one could get then to pay attention to what Jesus said more than what others say about Jesus, things would be a lot better off.
But God's plan will come about as God set it to, not as they wish it to. In some ways that will likely be used to separate the wheat from the chaff.
2003-06-23

ANISULLA KHAN FROM CANADA said:
I disagree because I believe that Jesus (Eesa alaihissalaam) has to decend on earth, which is the beliefe of a Muslim, is not mentioned in the article.
2003-06-22

SALEH FROM UNITED STATES said:
Dr. Bock,

In the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, in Chapter 17 the verse you refer to says (Gen 17:8) "and I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." This verse can also be found in the Torah. Here Jehovah is addressing Abraham the Patriarch. Because Jehovah was please with Abraham, He wishes to give the children (seed) of Abraham the Land of Canaan as an everlasting possession. Jews interpret the "seed" to be the Children of Israel. Israel was the second son of Isaac, and Isaac was the second son of Abraham. However, they seem to forget that Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. They reject Ishmael's claims because he was the son of a slave women, Hagar, whereas Isaac was the son of a free women Sarah. But in the Torah, it is clearly stated that the first born is to receive double the portion of his father's share even if his mother has a lower status. You'll find this in the Book of Deuteronomy 21: 15 to 17. The ironic thing here is that even if we appeal to the Torah, the Jews have no exclusive right to Palestine. The fun of the matter is that Christians of the world, with the exception of the Palestinian Christians have accepted the claims of the Jews even when there own Bible is against it.
2003-06-21

KHIR FROM UK said:
Some of the violence we see now is the result of those who deny Israel's right to exist.

This is truly a biased view. Contrary to the above false statement, violence has occured due to the Israelis' total failure to recognise the Palestenians' rights to their own land.
2003-06-21

CRUSADER FROM UK said:
The "christian right" makes the Taliban look like radical leftists. It is obvious to anyone of sound ming and decent character that these "Christians" are a threat to freedom. Be careful what you wish for, there will be hell to pay once the historical Christ returns.
2003-06-21

AKBAR KHAN FROM CANADA said:
To "A Muslim": Previously in the article entitled "Strategic Culture of India, you referred to all Pakistani's as "beggars of the United States." Is that why Pakistan has the highest population of people who are completely outraged and opposed to US Foreign Policy? Firstly, you have no right to make a generalized statement like that because it has no basis, and also you are inflicting your hatred on other Muslims, how dare you?? And further you said things like Pakistani's like me are not grateful to Allah (SWT) for Pakistan. Are you out of your mind? Who do you think you are to judge other Muslims in such an obsene way? Go back to that article and see the way you talk, and my respones to you on there. I sincerely hope you learn to respect other people. By the way, THIS article is written by a Christian, who is trying to say that too many Christians are already HUNG UP on the thought that they should favour the Illegal state of Israel no matter what, yet I also know that I do not share these views as they are not part of Islam. But you know what, try to read articles and comments with better comprehension, and maybe you will stop bringing your hate here on other Muslims who probably see things like you, instead you call people names like beggars, how dare you....use your real name don't hide in the shadows. You are so ignorant you assume i'm from Pakistan...born in Canada, lived in Canada all my life, are you trying to justify some false sense of superiority over others by name calling and hateful comments? Go learn the actions of Prophet Muhammad, Sal-Allahu Alaiyhi Wa-Salaam and learn about his patience and kindness he taught through his actions and words. There are good and bad people everywhere, but you have no right to condemn all of Pakistan, in fact you have no right to condemn even one Muslim, unless Shari'ah and Fiqh play some role. You're not authority, stop acting like one.
2003-06-20

TAHIR N. GHAZNAVI FROM USA said:
There was a programme on PBS Channel 13 in the 1st week of June wherein an American Journalist interviewed American Baptists (Christian zealots) who were living in occupied territories in Jerusalem. They did so on the firm conviction that all the Jews are the favoured people, who will convert to Christianity when Jesus returns and their presence in Jerusalem was needed and imperative to Jesus' cause. Hence to precipitate and accelerate Jesus' return they intend to do anything and everything to facilitate the cause of the occupying Jews no matter how unjustified and how violent it may get- note Palestinian lives or rights do not matter, they have been rendered second class citizens by God as they see it-nice God. Even if that means fighting alongside Jews against the Palestinians and anyone else who would oppose them.
This means bringing about Armageddon. I guess since God is not working fast enough he needs their assistance

To these enlightened Christians who so firmly believe in their truth, I would quote from the Quran the following passage and that just about clinches the debate, but sadly yet no one will believe because the world's eyes and ears have been programmed by Western media to regard Islam as a hostile, demonic and brutal faith when truly just the contrary is true -after all history is just a means to an end; to establish facts or the truth - right ?

Quran Chapter 62 Verse 11:

As Translated by PICKTHAL:

Say (O Muhammad): O ye who are Jews! If ye claim that ye are favoured of Allah apart from (all) mankind, then long for death if ye are truthful.

But they will never long for it because of all that their own hands have sent before, and Allah is Aware of evil-doers.

Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Lo! the death from which ye shrink will surely meet you, and afterward ye will be returned unto the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, and He will tell you what ye used to do.
2003-06-20

A MUSLIM FROM DOMAIN OF ALLAH said:
This article is compeletely bias and sided I think also we need to study islam says about the Armagadon and one of his beloved prophet JESUS (pbuh). Pls go to this website http://www.angelfire.com/al/islaam/10.html
it has islamic prediction about the armagadon and the second coming of Jesus (pbuh).

I think it will open your eyes as what exactly take place before armagadon. Even sanctions on iraq were predicted by prophet Mohammed (pbuh) which are just fullfilled. So we also need search for truth before coming to a final decision. So we need to study the islamic predictions which are 100% true.

The most important sign before the second coming of JESUS, is the coming Imam Mahdi (a.s.) a leader of the muslim ummah. Allah know best.

Thanks
2003-06-20

ROMESH CHANDER FROM US said:
Armageddon! Does that mean the end of Jews, Muslims and Christians living in Israel and lands near to it? Or does it mean the end of Jews, Muslims, and Christians living all over the world?

In my opinion, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have ruled the world just too long, and made a big mess of it; actually, they have misruled the world just too damn long.

So, I welcome Armageddon as long as it spares everybody who is not Christian/Jew/Muslim.

Don't you think, others should get an equal chance at MISRULE?.
2003-06-20

MAT FROM MALAYSIA said:
I'm fully agreed with you Mr.Kovitz.A blunt fact that we should paste on the journalists' foreheads.
2003-06-20

KOVITZ FROM CANADA said:
Jews have taken over palestinian's land, confescating their property, and kicked them out from their homeland. In the eyes of the West, they are not considered theives because they believed that God has given that land to them. They are the believers. This has been supported by even some Cristian believers. The same God, who told muslims to "fight back against those who expel you out from your homeland". They also are the believers. So when we support Jews on the religious claim of the land being rightfully theirs, we should also support the religious claim of Muslims in that they are to protect themselves. They are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
2003-06-19

AQ said:
Arabs are also the seed of Abraham(peace be upon him) through Ismael(peace be upon him)
Thanks.
2003-06-19

SAID S FROM USA said:
As a reader, I appreciate having read this article. My thanks are to the author. I am glad that we have Christians, Jews, and Muslims contribute incessantly to this Website. No matter what we believe as people of the book, we should embrace one another with the love that the prophets have used to embrace all of us and lead us to the gate of Heaven. Many of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been sacrificed because of the bottomless greed of those at the top of the politico-economic and social echelons of the human society as a whole. Many of us tend to be "true believers" and therefore they do not give way to compromise. No matter where we come from or what we believe in, logic dictates that we should put our efforts together to find the truth about God's will. Any one could claim anything including the right to take hold of and rule the entire world with no regard to human dignity. We keep talking about Armageddon and we have never encountered it. I believe that this Armageddon is a self-prophetic concept which might materialize because the human inclinations for evil and destruction are rampant and have been throughout history. Sharing the land or giving an entire population its right to live on a piece of it is by all means encouraged by the Almighty. Thus, sharing does not contravene the will the God in the Bible. Otherwise, the latter will be a farce and God will stand for bias and prejudice, which none of the three Divine religions uphold.
2003-06-19

GREGORY MUHAMMAD FROM ATLANTA,GA. said:
SALAAM-ALIAKUM,
AS A STUDENT IN THE NATION OF ISLAM, UNDER THE TEACHINGS. OF THE HONORABLE LOUIS FARRKHAN. THE JESUS OF TWO THOUSANDS YEARS AGO, IS NOT COMING BACK. AND THIS IS A KNOWN FACT REAL AND REALITY WE MUST FACE AND UNDERSTAND. HOWEVER, IT WILL BE SOMEONE LIKE JESUS ALIVE TODAY. SPEAKING TO THE MASSES OF THE PEOPLE OF ALLAH(GOD). NOW, CHRISTANITY IS A MADE UP RELIGION, THIS IS A KNOWN FACT. THE WHITEMAN(ENEMY) MADE IT UP FROM DAY ONE TO USE THE NAME TO CONTROL THE WORLD. BUT ALLAH IS THE MIGHTY AND POWERFUL, HE IS IN CONTROL.............
SALAAM-ALAIKUM !
G.MUHAMMAD
2003-06-19

ROMESH CHANDER FROM US said:
Israel. Which Israel? Is the current State of Israel the same as the Bible mentions or is it something else? What would have beeen our interpretation, if the Jews occupied the same land but did not call it Israel but used some othe name?

Let us call the current Israel by some other name and avoid the Armaggedon.

Bluntly speaking, these biblical interpretations by some scholars (or they really scholars) has no intellectual basis.
2003-06-19

DAVIDC FROM USA said:
A weak and diffused article, but it is no secret
why we Christians have an affinity for Israel -
Jesus (pbuh) was a Jew and we share a
book.

If some Christians are fascinated with the end
of time there is an obvious opportunity to
share the Muslim version. I believe when they
hear that story and how important Jesus
(pbuh) is to Islam they will begin to open up to
the Muslim viewpoint.
2003-06-19

ABDULMUIZZ FROM NIGERIA said:
The crisis is truly mainly between Muslims and the Jews and you are rigth that most christians quoting their sciptures are always biased.
I understan that crisis is a very BIG one. Muslims, christins and the jews all have certain relegious ties to the land. For muslims, we have a good example of how to live together with people of other beliefs from prophect Muhammad(PBUH). I don't know how others see it.
We can only bring peace by beign just. Favouring a group of people for certain reasons will never bring about peace in the region,and indeed peace on earth.
For those who are realy working heard so that their gospel's profecies'll be fulfilled, I tell them that no matter how hard they try, they can not draw nearer or push further the end of days. It is a spriritual thing. God created everything at His will and everything will come to an end when He wills. The time is known to Him and Him alone. Each individual will be punished for the bad deeds he does, hoping to hasten the time(the coming of the messiah as some people put it) or as a result of his selfish "oilly" intrests or hoping to fulfill one prophecy.
I conclude that we should all be just in handling these issue.
2003-06-19

ALAIN JEAN-MAIRET FROM CH said:
If there is a holy land, a gift of god to mankind, it is the earth, or the universe, as a whole, not just a few spots of it.
If there is a true religion, it is one that can reach the heart of anyone of us without human help (e.g. scriptures, clerics, propaganda, promises, threats ...) and doesn't create any separation between beings.

The Two Prophets

Two men walk into the desert, from two different places. They walk for days, alone. They watch the horizon, the sky at night, and find god, each on their own.

One of them decides to establish a cult for remembering that magic moment. He writes extensively and imposes himself a strict code of conduct for maintaining the strength of his faith. The other just keeps watching the horizon and the sky, hoping he will find god again. And, indeed, from time to time, he comes very close to that feeling of knowing god.

Then they met, somewhere in the desert. The first one says he found god. The other says he found him too. The first one shows his writings, explains his code of conduct, tell this was what god inspired him, dictated him to do, in order to stay with him. The other one is confused. Why didn't god talk to him like that too? Why didn't he give him such a system, such good rules, such wise laws? After long talks, he will accept the superiority of the first man, and become his follower.

But who, of the two, actually had the best approach of god?

And what will happen if, in some other desert, some other man finds god too, and decides too to establish a cult for remembering that magic moment ... and makes followers, and then meets the first man? They will argue. Endlessly.
2003-06-19

ADNAN AHMED KHAN FROM PAKISTAN said:
Keeping in view the current world crisis , where big nations trying to rule the World, increased terrorism, natural disasters,wars, famines , diseases, regional and religion conflicts,fears of nuclear attacks, Mideast current crsisis and so many others , it looks like that we are in the end times but we believe as a Muslim that the first clear indication of end times will be the appearance of Hazrat Imam Mahdi and his followers.No one can exactly predict about the times of his apperanace and the end times but can only give the comments on the basis of Holy Books like "Quran".
So many people believes that there will be a peace in the Middle East and the conflict of Palestine/Israel will be resolved before his appearance and War of Armegaddon.Also there are beliefs that an Arab King will expire before his appearance.But again God knows better any incomming event and the future of the World.
2003-06-19