Is the doctrine of eschatology important? Eschatology is the study of end times. So, is it important, does it matter? I get the question a lot: "Why is this important? Why does eschatology matter?" My answer is always the same, "Does truth matter?" If it doesn't, we don't need to study the Bible at all. But if truth does matter, then eschatology matters.
This morning for our study I'd like to give you several reasons why your view of eschatology matters and why Preterism is important.
1. Eschatology is a major theological issue in the Scriptures. R.C. Sproul says that two thirds of the New Testament is either directly or indirectly eschatological. Other experts say that 25 to 30 percent of the whole bible is eschatological.
James Boice writes, "In the New Testament one verse in twenty-five deals with the Lord's return. It is mentioned 318 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament. It is mentioned in every one of the New Testament books, with the exception of Galatians, which deals with a particular doctrinal problem, and the very short books such as 2 and 3 John and Philemon." [The Epistles of John (Zondervan), p. 96]
Ray Steadman writes, "Perhaps you have recognized in reading your Bible that this is the most frequently mentioned truth in all of the New Testament. This great hope of the appearing again of Jesus Christ underlies every other truth in the New Testament. It is found on almost every page of our New Testament."
The second coming of Christ is a very important subject. It is something that we should understand. Yet it is a subject that Michael Heiser says he does not care about. How can we ignore something that is mentioned so often in the New Testament? How can we not care to understand something that is addressed 318 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament?
2. Salvation is tied to eschatology. How much salvation you currently think you have depends on your eschatological view. If you were to die right now, where would you go? How you answer that should depend on your eschatology. According to the Bible no one goes to heaven prior to the second coming. Look at what Yeshua said:
who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:30 ESV
I want you to notice the last phrase in this verse: "And in the age to come, eternal life" Luke uses these same words:
who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." Luke 18:30 ESV
What does Yeshua mean when He says they will receive "eternal life" in the age to come? Commenting on "and in the age to come eternal life" Swete says, "The age which is to follow the Parousia." Is he saying that no one has eternal life until the Second Coming of Christ? Sounds like it.
Commenting on "and in the age to come eternal life," Wuest Word Studies says that "The authorities are silent on all this, and the present writer confesses that he is at a loss to suggest an interpretation. The best he can do is offer the usage of the Greek words in question."
As is obvious, this phrase is troubling to many. To understand what Yeshua is saying, we need to understand that all through the New Testament we see two ages in contrast: "This age," and the "age to come." The understanding of these two ages and when they changed is fundamental to interpreting the Bible and understanding when eternal life is received. (for further details on this see https://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/john-epistles/1john_03_01-03_transformed-at-the-second-coming.htm)
The New Testament writers lived in the age that they called "this age." To the New Testament writers, "the age to come" was future, but it was very near because "this age," the age they lived in, was about to end.
"This age" came to an end with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. So, the New Testament writers lived in what the Bible calls "this age." "This age" of the Bible is the age of the Old Covenant that was about to pass away in the first century. It should be clear to you that "this age" is not the Christian age in which we live. In the first century, the age of the Old Covenant was fading away and would end completely when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70.
If eternal life was a condition of the "age to come," then does this mean that the New Testament saints who lived in "this age" did not yet have eternal life? Or we could ask the question this way: When did believers receive eternal life? To answer that question, we first need to understand that prior to Yeshua's messianic work, man did not go to Heaven. When men died, they went to a holding place of the dead and waited for the atoning work of Christ and the resurrection from the dead. In the Tanakh, the Hebrew word for where they were prior to the resurrection is Sheol. In the New Testament, the Greek word is Hades.
If Yeshua has not yet returned in his second coming, then no one has eternal life. Look also at:
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ESV
If the dead have not yet been resurrected, which happens at the Second Coming, then no one is yet in heaven. But where do most Christians believe that they go at death? Heaven! Have you ever been to a Christian funeral?
Heaven was not opened until the Second Coming because salvation was not complete until the return of Christ:
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28 ESV
This is the only place in the New Testament where the return of Christ is called a Second Coming. His appearing is said to be "for salvation."
Peter states that their salvation was not yet complete:
who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5 ESV
When was salvation ready to be revealed? In the last time—which would happen at the return of Christ. If Christ has not returned, salvation is incomplete, and no one has yet gone to heaven.
Salvation is tied to eschatology in that the second coming brought the fullness of salvation. Some today believe that your personal salvation is dependent upon a correct belief of eschatology. They believe that if you hold to the preterist view, you are not saved. This means that you cannot be saved without a correct eschatology.
We Preterists have been labeled as non-Christians because of our view of eschatology. But is eschatology part of the Gospel? This question is easily answered by going to the words that Peter preached to Cornelius. Because Cornelius was saved by these words, we know that they contain the Gospel. Look at what happened:
While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. Acts 10:44 ESV
To have the Holy Spirit fall on them is to have salvation. To have the Spirit is to have life.
In this message Peter lays out the Gospel. Do we see anything in this Gospel message about works, or repentance, or eschatology? No, we see that Yeshua is the Peacemaker who reconciles us to Yahweh through His death and resurrection. God accepts Yeshua's sinless life and substitutionary death on our behalf. We have to believe that Yeshua can do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. We have to believe that He overcame death, and He can do the same for us. Faith is trusting in Yeshua, and in Him alone, for our salvation. We must know Him in order to trust Him, and we can only know Him as He is revealed in the Word.
So, eschatology is important because:
1. It is found on almost every page of our New Testament.
2. Salvation is tied to eschatology.
3. It affects your worldview. If we are living in the last days and this world is about to end any moment, why should we work for social change? Why should we make plans? Why should we save money? Why don't we just go into debt? Because we are not living in the last days. We live in the kingdom of God and we are to be affecting the world in which we live by the power of God. The Kingdom of God has no end; it is an eternal kingdom. As a young Christian, I never really planned for the future because I believed the Lord would return at any moment. Why should I bother with the future?
Not only is eschatology important because (1) It is found on almost every page of our New Testament, (2) Salvation is tied to eschatology, and (3) It affects your worldview. There is an important fourth reason as well.
4. It affects you view of the modern-day nation of Israel!
Is God's prophetic calendar tied to the modern-day nation of Israel? No! God is through with national Israel. A faulty eschatology is affecting our foreign policy. Let me go further and say that I believe there is an inseparable link between Zionism and terrorism. You may not agree with my conclusions, but at least hear me out. I believe the war on terrorism will only be won theologically. And, therefore, I very strongly believe that eschatology matters. If our leaders were to hold to a preterist view of eschatology, it would drastically affect not only the middle east, but the world as well.
You may be wondering how I can make the connection between eschatology and terrorism. It really all revolves around Israel. What do you believe the Bible says about the modern state of Israel?
Let me give you some quotes from Osama Bin Laden: "Our terrorism is a good accepted terrorism, because it's against America, it's for the purpose of defeating oppression so America would stop supporting Israel, who is killing our children."
Bin Laden said that terrorism was connected to America's support of Israel. And I say that America's support of Israel is tied to eschatology.
Listen to this quote from Bin Laden on September 23, 2001: "We hope that these brothers (Muslim casualties in Pakistan) are among the first martyrs in Islam's battle in this era against the new Christian-Jewish crusade led by the big crusader Bush under the flag of the Cross; this battle is considered one of Islam's battles."
He saw the war on terrorism to be a Christian-Jewish (American and Israel) crusade. He said that Bush was waging this war "under the flag of the Cross." He viewed this war to be religious in nature. I believe this war was religious in nature; it was driven by bad eschatology.
In May 1997, during an interview with CNN, Bin Laden reaffirmed his call for a holy war against Americans: "We have focused our declaration of jihad on the U.S. soldiers inside Arabia. The U.S. government has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous, and criminal through its support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine."
On Sunday November 24, 2002, was asked why he was fighting us. Bin Laden's first response was this: "Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction, and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And, of course, there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its price, and pay for it heavily."
According to Bin Laden, terrorism is a result of America's support of Israel. And, as I have said, America's support of Israel is eschatological. Because of Dispensationalism and Christian Zionism, most American Christians believe that we have a biblical mandate to stand with and to protect Israel.
Are Bible-believing Christians supposed to support a Jewish State for theological reasons? Such was the assertion of the late Jerry Falwell. It is also the assertion of John Hagee and many other Christian leaders who could be called "Christian Zionists." While related to the theology of Dispensationalism, Christian Zionism is actually something different theologically.
Let's define our terms. Zionism is a political movement built on the belief that the Jewish people have the right to possess the land of Palestine as their own. Christian Zionism is essentially a Christian prophetic support for Zionism. It views the modern state of Israel as the equivalent of the biblical Israel and, therefore, the forerunner of the return of Yeshua. Grace Halsell summarizes the message of the Christian Zionist in this way: "Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us."
"Never mind what Israel does," say the Christian Zionists. "God wants us to support them." This includes the invasion of Lebanon which resulted in the killing and/or injury of an estimated 100,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, most of them civilians, and the bombing of sovereign nations such as Iraq. It also led to the deliberate and methodical brutalizing of the Palestinians which involved the breaking of bones, the shooting of children, the demolishing homes, and the expulsion of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from a land they have occupied for over 2,000 years.
Dispensational Christian Zionism, which is the dominant form, is pervasive within mainline evangelical, charismatic, and independent mega-churches. Two evangelical Christian megachurch pastors from Texas are Robert Jeffress and John Hagee. Hagee is the founder of the main US Christian Zionist organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and Jeffress regularly preaches the ideology on Fox News. These men believe that the modern state of Israel is the result of biblical prophecy.
Advocates such as Robert Jeffress and John Hagee claim that the number of Christian Zionists adds up to tens of millions of voters. They provide significant financial resources and a great deal of lobbying influence. Hagee has boasted that his powerful organization has more influence than the famous Jewish lobbying group AIPAC. "When a congressman sees someone from AIPAC coming through the door, he knows he represents six million people. We represent 40 million people," the televangelist said.
For some history on how Zionism came about, let me give you some quotes from Donald Wagner, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University in Chicago and director of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. In his book, Evangelicals and Israel: Theological Roots of a Political Alliance, he writes: "Through Darby's influence, premillennial dispensationalism became a dominant method of biblical interpretation and influenced a generation of evangelical leaders, including Dwight L. Moody. Perhaps the most influential instrument of dispensational thinking was the Scofield Bible (1909) which included a commentary that interpreted prophetic texts according to a premillennial hermeneutic. Another early Darby disciple, William E. Blackstone, brought dispensationalism to millions of Americans through his best seller, Jesus Is Coming (1882)."
By 1927, Blackstone's book had been translated into thirty-six languages. The book took a premillennial dispensational view of the Second Coming, emphasizing that the Jews had a biblical right to Palestine and would soon be restored there. Blackstone became one of the first Christian Zionists in America to actively lobby for the Zionist cause. Blackstone took the Zionist movement to be a "sign" of the imminent return of Christ.
Wagner writes: "Blackstone organized the first Zionist lobbying effort in the U.S. in 1891 when he enlisted J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Charles B. Scribner and other financiers to underwrite a massive newspaper campaign requesting President Benjamin Harrison to support the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Similar efforts were under way in England, led by the social reformer Lord Shaftesbury, who, like Blackstone, was so taken with Darby's eschatology that he translated it into a political agenda. These seeds of the Christian Zionist movement preceded Jewish Zionism by several years. Loni Shaftesbury is also credited with coining an early version of the slogan adopted by Jewish Zionist fathers Max Nordau and Theodor Herzl: "A land of no people for a people with no land." Both Lord Arthur Balfour, author of the famous 1917 Balfour Declaration, and Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the two most powerful men in British foreign policy at the close of World War I, were raised in dispensationalist churches and were publicly committed to the Zionist agenda for 'biblical' and colonialist reasons.
The Balfour Declaration was an official statement issued on behalf of the British government in 1917, announcing its support in principle of a proposed home for the Jewish people in Palestine. It was drafted by British Foreign Minister Arthur J. Balfour in concert with prominent Jewish leaders and the British cabinet and was issued by Balfour in the following communication to the 2nd Baron Rothschild on November 2, 1917: I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of his Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
His Majesty's Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object. It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
This declaration, which Zionists interpreted as a promise for a Jewish state in Palestine, was formally approved by representatives of the Allied governments at Versailles in 1919 and was the basis of the League of Nations mandate for Palestine.
Please notice Balfour's statement, "It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…" This was totally ignored, and during the late 1940s, Zionist guerrillas succeeded in throwing Palestine into havoc and eventually took over that land. The result was the disenfranchisement of the people who had historically dwelt there.
Elias Chacour, in his book, Blood Brothers, which I highly recommend, talks about what it was like for the Palestinians as the Zionist guerrillas took over their land, driving them from their homes and murdering whole villages. This is what Bin Laden was talking about when he said, "The British handed over Palestine, with your (Americas) help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation."
Wagner goes on to say: "By the early 1970s numerous books, films and television specials publicized the premillennial dispensationalist perspective. Hal Lindsay made a virtual industry out of his book, The Late Great Planet Earth: it sold more than 25 million copies and led to two films, as well as a consulting business with a clientele that has included several members of Congress, the Pentagon, and Ronald Reagan."
The fourth factor that stimulated the emerging evangelical Christian Zionist movement's political agenda was the election of Menachem Begin as Israel's prime minister in May 1977. Prior to Begin's election, Israeli politics had been dominated by the secular Labor Party. Begin's Likud (Lie kude) Party was dominated by hardline military figures such as Raphael Eitan and Ariel Sharon, and supported by the increasingly powerful settler movement and by small Orthodox religious parties. Likud constituencies used the biblical names "Judea and Samaria" for the West Bank and employed a religious argument to justify Israel's confiscation of Arab land for settlements: since God gave the land exclusively to Jews, they have a divine right to settle anywhere in Eretz Israel. Evangelicals welcomed the Likud leaders and endorsed their political and religious agendas.
The final development that accelerated the alliance between Likud and the Religious Right was Carter's March 1977 statement that he supported Palestinian human rights, including the "right to a homeland." Likud, when it came to power just two months later, immediately reached out to Christian evangelicals. Likud's strategy was simple: split evangelical and fundamentalist Christians from Carter's political base and rally support among conservative Christians for Israel's opposition to the United Nations' proposed Middle East Peace Conference.
Within weeks, full-page advertisements appeared in major U.S. newspapers stating, 'The time has come for evangelical Christians to affirm their belief in biblical prophecy and Israel's divine right to the land.' Targeting Soviet involvement in the UN conference, the ad went on to say: 'We affirm as evangelicals our belief in the promised land to the Jewish people … We would view with grave concern any effort to carve out of the Jewish homeland another nation or political entity.'
The ad was financed and coordinated by Jerusalem's Institute for Holy Land Studies, an evangelical organization with a Christian Zionist orientation. Several leading dispensationalists signed the ad, including Kenneth Kantzer of Christianity Today and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, singer Pat Boone, and dispensationalist theologian and Dallas Theological Seminary president, John Walvoord.
Evangelicals, major Jewish organizations, and the pro-Israel lobby supported Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. Carter's loss of the evangelical vote played a significant role in his defeat. Likud policy was aggressively represented by AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) both on Capitol Hill and within the Reagan administration. For example, when Israel decided to invade Lebanon in the spring of 1982, Begin sent Ariel Sharon, his defense minister, to Washington to enlist the Reagan administration's support. By late May, Sharon was reportedly given the green light by Secretary of State, Alexander Haig. Within days of the June invasion, full-page ads appeared in leading newspapers requesting evangelical support for the invasion.
Begin developed a unique relationship with Reagan and many fundamentalist leaders, especially Jerry Falwell. Falwell and his Moral Majority had long supported Israel. In 1979, Grace Halsell reports, Israel gave Falwell a Lear jet and in 1981 gave him the prestigious Jabotinsky Award during an elaborate dinner ceremony in New York. When Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear plant in 1981, Begin called Falwell before he called Reagan. He requested that Falwell 'explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombing.'
In March 1985, while speaking to the conservative Rabbinical Assembly in Miami, Falwell pledged to 'mobilize 70 million conservative Christians for Israel and against anti-Semitism.' He also takes credit for converting Senator Jesse Helms (R., N.C.) into one of Israel's staunchest allies. Helms soon became chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Reagan administration regularly conducted briefings and seminars for its Christian Right supporters, briefings in which the pro-Likud lobby (Americans for a Safe Israel and AIPAC) participated. Among the approximately 150 Christian fundamentalist leaders invited to each event were Hal Lindsay, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Bakker; Pat Robertson, and Tim and Bev LaHaye.
Reagan himself was a committed Christian Zionist. His support for Israel derived from both strategic political concerns and a vague dispensationalist perspective. The same can be said about President Trump. At the May 2018 ceremony marking the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, Robert Jeffress and John Hagee, who both advise Trump, earnestly prayed and thanked God for making the state of Israel possible and Trump for having the courage to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people.
In an interview (https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/05/11/john-hagee-trump-jerusalem-embassy/) with the Breitbart news, Hagee related that he had told Trump: "The moment that you [move the embassy], I believe that you will step into political immortality." The Palestinian Christian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab argued in a Jewish Voice for Peace webinar that Trump's embassy move was done to please his Christian Zionist base, rather than AIPAC or Netanyahu.
Just to show you how messed up Hagee's theology is, he says, "I'm not trying to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith." And further revealed: "In fact, trying to convert Jews is a 'waste of time,' he said. "The Jewish person who has his roots in Judaism is not going to convert to Christianity. There is no form of Christian evangelism that has failed so miserably as evangelizing the Jewish people. They (already) have a faith structure. Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha'i, needs to believe in Jesus," he says. "But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced by Christianity." Yeshua did not agree with Hagee:
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." John 8:24 ESV
Whom did Yeshua say this to? Jews!
Now let me ask you a question, "Why are all these Christian leaders so supportive of Israel?" Where do they get the idea that Christians are to stand in support of Israel? Well, the whole Tanakh is filled with promises that God made to Israel. The nation was uniquely chosen by God to be blessed and to be a source of blessing to the whole world:
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3 ESV
It was to Israel that God revealed himself, it was Israel that received the Messianic promises. To mess with Israel is to mess with God himself according to:
For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: Zechariah 2:8 ESV
They were God's chosen people:
Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities. Amos 3:1-2 ESV
The word "known" indicates an intimate relationship. Out of all the families of the earth, God chose Israel. They had a very privileged position. Now, with privilege comes responsibility. Look at the last part of the verse in Amos 3:2. This seems to be something the Zionist's miss. "Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities." With great privilege comes great responsibility. Israel became proud and missed the true end of all they had—the coming of the Lord Yeshua Christ to atone for their sins.
The Christian Zionist doesn't seem to realize that because of Israel's disobedience, God is finished with national Israel. Let's look at what Yeshua had to say to the nation of Israel:
And again Yeshua spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Matthew 22:1-3 ESV
The king is God, the son is Christ, and those invited are the nation Israel:
Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast."' But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Matthew 22:4-7 ESV
What is verse even speaking of? Yes, it very clearly is a prediction of the A.D. 70 judgment of Jerusalem.
Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. Matthew 22:8-10 ESV
Israel lost its privilege, and all nations were invited to come to the wedding celebration of the Lamb. This destruction of the nation, because of their rejection of Christ, was prophesied from the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:9-10 ESV
Yeshua came in judgment on the nation Israel in A.D. 70, ending forever the nation and its physical temple and sacrifices. So, God is through with Israel. But most Christians think that the Jews are God's special people and must be protected.
The Bible clearly speaks of Israel's total destruction as a judgment of God. Yet most Christians still believe they are God's chosen people. Here is a list of scriptures that show that the Promised Land and blessings were indeed conditional. Deuteronomy 4:23-27, 7:12, 8:1, 18-20, 29:25-28, 30:15, Exodus 19:5-6. Physical Israel was destroyed because of her disobedience and She was never to arise again.
Yeshua predicted that the Temple would be destroyed and that the Jews would be exiled from the land as God's judgment for their failure to recognize Him as the Messiah:
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:41-44 ESV
In A.D. 70 the lights went out in Israel for good. When the tribulation was over, physical Israel ceased to exist. The Old Covenant was over and the New fully instituted. The promises God made to Old Covenant Israel are fulfilled in the church of Yeshua:
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ. Galatians 3:16 ESV
We read some of these promises in Genesis 12:3. The promises were to one Seed, who was Christ. Yeshua is the seed of Abraham and if you by faith belong to Christ, you are Abraham's seed and an heir according to the promise. It doesn't matter whose blood you have in your veins, but whose faith you have in your heart. It is covenant, not race, that makes one a child of God.
We inherit all the promises made to Abraham through Christ. Everything we are and have is by virtue of our union with Christ, which only comes by faith. Listen carefully, the Abrahamic Covenant was a promise made to Abraham and to Yeshua, the seed of Abraham, that he would be made great, the father of many nations, and that in him would all the nations of the earth be blessed. This promise was fulfilled physically in Abraham, and spiritually and ultimately in Christ.
The promise was always to the spiritual descendants of Abraham, the Church. The Church is not a temporary interruption in God's prophetic program for Israel as the dispensationalists teach. The Church is the prophetic fulfillment of that program because the Church is true Israel. Covenant, not race, has always been the defining mark of the true Israel of God.
Millions of 21st-century Christians have allowed themselves to be robbed of one of the most precious and vital beliefs of historical Christian teaching, namely, that the church is the true Israel of God and the ONLY Israel through which God's eternal purpose is be consummated.
Does eschatology matter? It sure does. Probably more than any of us realize. If we are to ever have peace in the middle-east and if we are ever to see an end of terrorism, we must have an impact on American foreign policy. If we are to have an impact on American foreign policy, we must have an impact on American politicians. If we are to have an impact on American politicians, we must have an impact on Christian Zionists. We