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In past posts on this blog, I have emphasized the fact that I am NOT an evangelical. In short, I am NOT interested in converting anyone. As ...

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Is It Appropriate to Appropriate Prophecies Intended for Israel?

Alright, so you've demonstrated that Armstrong's brand of Anglo-Israelism is NOT consistent with Scripture, but what about America as a type of Israel? After all, didn't the founders of the United States see themselves as God's "chosen" people? And didn't they regard themselves as planting a "Christian" nation in the wilderness of a new "Promised Land"? Isn't it reasonable to assume that God would hold the United States and its leaders to the same standard that he instituted for ancient Israel and its leaders? Haven't the English-speaking nations of the world embraced Israel's Bible and been its greatest proponents around the globe? So, isn't the entire question of whether or not the English-speaking peoples of the earth are the physical descendants of Abraham irrelevant?

Herbert Armstrong and his followers have traditionally regarded Anglo-Israelism as the key to understanding Bible prophecy. Indeed, they think that this "understanding" gives them a "prophetic advantage" over all other Christians! Moreover, these folks have used this teaching to justify their focus on the English-speaking folks of the earth! Hence, we should not be surprised that Armstrongites would be extremely reluctant to give up something which has proven to be one of their trademarks - one of the things that has set them apart from the crowd!

However, it is as they say: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. In order for someone or something to by a type of someone or something, there must be some clear and convincing parallels/similarities between the two. Hence, it is entirely appropriate to point out that the United States is very different from ancient Israel. To begin with, there are the obvious differences between a Bronze-Iron Age, agrarian-based economy and a modern, industrialized, technologically advanced nation. The big differences relative to size of the population, territory, and military power of the two nations is also rather glaring. Likewise, Israel was an absolute monarchy with a state religion, and the United States is a democratic republic which has eschewed the establishment of a state religion. Israel was a party to a formal covenant/agreement with God and was subject to the terms outlined in the Torah, and the United States is governed by a constitution which is more in the nature of a contract/covenant between the people and their government. Israel was subject to the imperialism of its much stronger neighbors throughout its history as a nation, while the United States has actively participated in the Imperialism which engulfed the Western World in the 19th and 20th Centuries! Israel was guilty of idolatry and breaking the terms of their covenant with God, and the United States has been accused of killing its unborn, tolerating homosexuality, and racism by its critics. In other words, there are some very profound differences between the ancient nation of Israel and the modern nation of the United States!

What about the similarities in the religious and political leadership of ancient Israel compared to that of the United States? Aren't the abuses of power, lying, hypocrisy, wickedness, and bad examples exhibited by the leaders of ancient Israel also present in the religious and political leadership of the United States? Yes, but couldn't we characterize the leadership of every other country on the face of the earth in exactly the same way? Moreover, very unlike ancient Israel, the people of the United States can periodically vote to remove their leaders and replace them.

In terms of the Hebrew Bible, we should also point out that the entire Western World has adopted that book! Hence, the suggestion that the United States and other English-speaking nations are unique in this regard is shown to be absurd. Indeed, Christianity has the MOST adherents of any other religion on the face of the earth! Also, in this connection, we must not forget that Judaism is an active religion, and that a nation of Jews named "Israel" currently exists within the boundaries of the ancient nation of the same name!

I would also point out that one of the primary rules of biblical interpretation is CONTEXT. How do we justify taking something that was clearly addressed to a particular people in a specific time and place and applying it to someone else in another time and place? Moreover, if we are serious about trying to find a place for the United States in the context of biblical prophecy, isn't the Babylonian/Beast system of the book of Revelation infinitely more appropriate? Take a look at Babylon as a prophetic template and let me know what you think!

1 comment:

  1. For those who may be interested, there is an extensive comment thread associated with this post over at Banned by HWA: