Part II: The Attitude of Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Most Baptists
Baptist Bible Tribune, November 15, 1957
(Used by permission)
On this page last October 4 there appeared the first of four articles by me on the question, “Who Owns Palestine?” The first article on Palestine was built around the proposition that the Bible teaches that Palestine belongs to the descendants of Abraham through the line of Isaac. And that the territory conveyed and deeded to Abraham, by God, not only embraces the 12,000 miles universally recognized as The Holy Land, but includes all the territory between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers.
Today I deal with the attitude of most Christians toward this proposition; next week I shall deal with the attitude of the Arabs, and the following week I shall deal with the attitude of the Jews themselves.
First of all, let us go back to the Abraham Covenant:
And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. Genesis 13:14-18.
In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: Gen. 15:18.
Both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism take the position that this covenant has been fulfilled by Christianity. And the majority of Baptists take this position---at least those who know enough and care enough about the issue to take any kind of position regarding it.
They say that Galatians 3:16 plainly teaches that this covenant never did have, and certainly does not today have, any references to the physical descendants of Abraham, that the covenant pointed to Christ alone, and to Christ’s seed—Christians. For coroboration, the position contends that the New Testament impliedly repudiates any physical aspect of the covenant by emphasizing that “he most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? Saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:47).
As to Galatians 3:16, the verse reads as follows:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
What about it? Does this verse teach that the Abrahamic Covenant has been completely fulfilled by Christianity? Does this verse teach that Christians, and Christians, alone, are the only descendants of Abraham within the meaning and purpose of the covenant? Does this verse teach that the natural posterity of Abraham have no valid claims to Palestine? Does this verse teach that the natural descendants of Abraham as a corporate entity have no future beyond Christianity?
This verse teaches these things or it does not teach them. Everybody is forced to agree on that proposition. And we have made some progress when we can get down to at least one clear-cut proposition.
Whatever the Apostle Paul meant to emphasize in Galatians 3:16, we have clear, positive evidence, and from is own pen, that he had no thought of saying or implying that the Abrahamic Covenant had been completely fulfilled by Christianity, and that therefore there is nothing in that covenant that today applies to the natural descendants of Abraham.
Paul not only wrote Galatians, he also wrote Romans. The evidence is that he wrote Romans at about the same time he wrote Galatians. I challenge any man to stand on the eleventh chapter of Romans and try to convince an intelligent audience that the Apostle Paul therein teaches that there is no future beyond Christianity for the natural descendants of Abraham as such.
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Rom. 11:1-5.
And he goes on in that chapter and makes a clear distinction between the natural descendants of Abraham and the Roman Christians. In that chapter blind Israel is one thing and Christians are another thin. “For if thou [Gentiles] wet cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these [Israel] according to the flesh, which be natural branches, be graffed into THEIR OWN OLIVE TREE?” (V-24). And in the 26th through the 28th verses:
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
He says, “as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:”
Now where is that written? It is written in the fifty-ninth chapter of Isaiah, the twentieth verse. And the context of that verse is the chapters preceding and following it; in the original manuscript there were no chapter divisions. Now go back to the fifty-ninth chapter of Isaiah, begin with the twentieth verse, and read clear on through the verse of the following chapter. Here it is:
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.
And now, when does the Redeemer (Deliverer) come out of Zion to Jacob to turn away his ungodliness? The first part of the fity-ninth chapter plainly shows that He comes when Jacob is hopelessly crushed under the iron heels of his enemies, when “he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore his arm brought salvation unto him [Jacob]; and his righteousness, it sustained him” [Jacob].
And according to the context, what are some of the results of the Deliverer coming to Jacob at that time and turning away his ungodliness?
God’s spirit is put upon Jacob, and God’s words are put in Jacob’s mouth, never again to depart from him and his seed.
And when has that ever been fulfilled in the descendants of Abraham? Today the Jews scoff at the mention of the Holy Spirit. Today the Jews, for the most part, take the position that the Old Testament is largely the poetic form of the conjectures and speculations of ancient Jews about God and His world. And they reject the New Testament altogether as the Word of God!
What else? When that time comes, Israel rises and shines, and the glory of the Lord is upon them.
They are not rising and shining today. Today they are hemmed in between atom bombs of the Communists and the newly sharpened knives of the Arabs. And the rest of them, scattered all over the world, are as frustrated and hysterical as a yard of leghorn chickens in the fae of an approaching weasel. And the glory of the Lord certainly is not upon them. As a member of a committee on decent literature, I have had the disgusting task of examining loathsome stuff between slick covers, which is being sold all over this land to children as well as adults. The other day a pile of it showed that every one of the dirty magazines but one or two was published by eastern Jews. Most of it is sold by Jews. Published and sold by Jews whose God said, “Be ye holy, as I am holy”!
Today the vast descendants of Abraham are not interested in ungodliness being turned away from Jacob; they are interested in making a ” fast buck.” And I am not the kind of Christian Science Premillennialist to try to conceal or smile away the degrading fact.
Today the descendants of Abraham are doing what they always have, with few exceptions, done: they are profaning the name of their God among the nations which they dwell.
But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. Ezekiel 36:21-22
And what else? “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despise thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The City of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
But why go on? Here is the question: When has any of these promises ever been fulfilled---these promises that the author of Galatians 3:16would be fulfilled upon Israel as a corporate entity?
You say these promises never were meant for the physical descendants of Abraham, but that they were meant for the seed of Christ----Christians!
Then when has a single one of these promises ever been fulfilled upon Christians? If the Church is Zion, where is the universal praise of the Church? Where are the sons and daughters and nations of the earth coming to the Church in the manner predicted by Isaiah?
What nonsense it makes. And where is there any evidence that these promises ever will be fulfilled of the Church? The Bible tells us that this age will end under a sunset red and lowering, and that in the closing days of the age the true people of God will be hated, despised, hounded, persecuted, and even killed. And the Son of God Himself suggested that when He returned He would not find the faith on earth.
Not only the Apostle Paul, but the New Testament as a whole affirms that the Abrahamic Covenant never has been completely fulfilled, and never will be until the primary heirs of that promise are back in their own God-given land and united under their own King, Great David’s Greater Son.
Why is it that Protestants, Roman Catholics, and most Baptists never preach on the thirty-second and thirty-third verses of the first chapter of Luke? “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
When has any but a handful of this world ever called Him great? When did He ever sit a single day on the throne of David?
And if the thirty-first verse of that chapter has been literally fulfilled, and the two following verses have never been fulfilled, by what rule of logic, exegesis, interpretation, or common sense, does anybody argue that the latter two verses will not be fulfilled?
And why is it that Roman Catholics, Protestants, and most Baptists, never preach on Acts 15:13-18? Here are the verses:
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
And so James who knew something about Christ and Christianity, reminds the multitude of Jewish Christians—right there in Jerusalem—right there in the Mother Church—that they are not the complete fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. And Paul and Peter are there, and all the other Apostles are there, and all the elders are there, --and –
The whole multitude, without a recorded dissenting voice, conceded that James is expounding an Old Testament truth taken for granted by them all.
The Abrahamic Covenant, as every other good thing in the Old Testament, realizes its complete fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate seed of Abraham, after the flesh. He is the end of all things.
But the question is this: Has the seed of Abraham, in Christianity, done all that the Bible says the Seed of Abraham will do? Has the seed of Abraham, in Christianity, completely fulfilled the Abrahamic Covenant?
As has already been clearly shown, He has not, He has not anything like done so.
For example, that covenant says” …in thee shall all [the families] of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3).
There, it is clearly stated that through the seed of Abraham ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH will be blessed; that ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH will be blessed through Christ.
Now let’s stop preaching and singing long enough to face a few facts of history. When has Christ, the true Seed of Abraham, ever blessed all the families of the earth? When has Christ, the true Seed of Abraham, ever blessed even a handful of the families of the earth? When has Christ, the true Seed of Abraham, ever blessed even a handful of he families of the earth? When he was on earth He had but a “little flock.” Did he bless all the families of the Roman Empire? Did He bless all the families of the Middle Ages? After 2,000 years, is He blessing all the families of Asia? Is He blessing all the families in Africa? All the families behind the Iron curtain? All the families of the Mohammedan world? All the families of the crime-ridden, licentious, atheistic, moronic English speaking world?
The Bible won’t let you get away with the smiling evasion that He blessed all the families indirectly. Not at all; the Bible is not speaking of a few drops of blessing and there; and, finally, the drops ceasing altogether. The Bible is speaking of the Seed of Abraham blessing all the families of the earth in the sense that Laban was blessed when Jacob was with him, in the sense that Pharaoh and all Egypt were blessed when Joseph was among them. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. (Gen. 39:5).
All the families of the earth are going to be blessed when the Abrahamic Covenant is completely fulfilled: when the natural descendants of Abraham are gathered into their own land; when they accept the Seed of Abraham as their Messiah; when all the tribes are united, in their own land, under their one King, as it is written: “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them [written more than 400 years after the death of David, and more than 300 years after the death of Solomon] and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. (Ezekiel 37:21-14); when the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, written by a Jew and primarily of Jews, will become the national anthem of this redeemed and purified nation; when the law will go forth from a redeemed and purified and rebuilt Jerusalem; when the Gentile nations “shall come to thy light, and [Gentile] Kings as to the brightness of thy rising; when the knowledge of God covers the earth as the waters cover the seas, when swords are beaten into plowshares and spears are beaten into pruning hooks”
That will be the complete fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.
The Abrahamic Covenant demands an age of righteousness on this earth between time and eternity. The Old and New Testaments demand that age of righteousness. And when God speaks, it is as good as done.
Aside from the urging of such a passage as Galatians against it, the only serious argument I ever hard against a literal age of literal righteousness on this earth is that such a proposition “doesn’t make sense to a practical minded man” for the Father of Eternity to transform Himself to transform Himself into an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, strained to the breast of a pure-minded, sweet spirited Oriental girl? Does it “make sense to a practical-minded man” for this same girl to gather Omnipotence to herself, mount a lowly ass, and flee into Egypt?
Incidentally, the last word I had of Nikita S. Kruschev was that he had not become the father of eternity, and is Sputniks had not become a solar system filling infinite space.