As we get closer to the next Christ at the Checkpoint conference, a conference dedicated to convincing people that Israel is an illegitimate, oppressive and unbiblical nation, it is important to take a fresh look at their claims, that the New Testament changes the land promises to Israel. Dr. Gary Burge, a proponent of Fulfillment Theology (just like Replacement Theology—the Jews have been replaced by Church), believes:
“the Holy Land is now the whole world and is no longer the privilege of an ethnic few [Jews]. In a word, the New Testament is globalizing the blessing of Abraham; earlier it had been tribal and local, now it is global and universal.” (From COCP 2014)
Proponents of Fulfillment Theology teach that all of the Old Testament promises to Israel are fulfilled in Yeshua (hence the name, Fulfillment Theology). Classical Replacement Theology teaches the Church has replaced Israel, whereas now they are saying it is Yeshua who takes Israel’s promise.
This time around it is not the Church that replaces Israel and takes over all her promises in scripture but in fact Jesus. He fulfills in His life and redemptive work all the promises that God ever made to the Jews; even the promise that Canaan would be the everlasting possession of the Jewish people! (Malcolm Hedding)
Burge teaches that when God spoke of Abraham’s seed, it was only a singular seed promised to Yeshua and not to all of Abraham’s physical descendants through Isaac.
The problem with Burge’s approach is that he doesn’t deal with passages that completely contradict his theory.
1, In Genesis 13 we find this passage:
“All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Gen. 13:15-17)
Notice a few words: offspring, forever, and the phrase: dust of the earth.
First, it is true that offspring in Hebrew is seed or zerah, which is always in the singular form, even when used in plural. But the very next verse says that his seed, that inherits the land of Israel, will be “like the dust of the earth,” meaning a whole lot of people. It seems that Burge bases his supposition on one verse, Gal. 3:16, that I deal with in depth, here.
We see this in Genesis 15 as well.
“Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Gen. 15:5)
So Abraham’s offspring is clearly more than one person. I know Dr. Burge has a Ph.D. but we can read. And then, later in this chapter, during the same event, God says:
“To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites,Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (Gen. 15:18-21)
The descendants of v. 18 are the same offspring of v. 5, who will be numbered as the stars in the skies—too many to count. So Burge’s claim that the promise of the Land was to Yeshua alone, makes no sense. God is promising it to himself? No.
Secondly, this promise of land to Abraham’s descendants is forever—not just until the Messiah comes. The Hebrew is ad olam and it absolutely means “forever”.
2, In Burge’s book, Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology, he was criticized for failing to deal with key end-times passages that place the Jewish people in their own land at the coming of the Lord. Ezekiel speaks of the dry bones coming to life. Who are these dry bones that come to life? The Lord tells Ezekiel, in v. 11, “These bones are the people of Israel.”
Zechariah speaks of the Lord returning to Jerusalem to fight for Israel in chapter 14. (Just a note, if all the Old Testament promises to Israel were fulfilled in Yeshua two thousand years ago, what do you do with all the end-times prophecies?) Zechariah 12 talks about all nations coming against Jerusalem. We can see that happening in our lifetime, yet Burge teaches that there is no future Jerusalem.
3, Even if you discount every Old Testament verse that points to Jews in Israel, in the end times (of which there are a plethora), by coming up with some crazy idea that God was secretly referring to something else, we see Yeshua Himself warning end-time believers that when the anti-Christ takes over the Temple (2 Thes. 2:3-4), “let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Judea is in Israel.
Yeshua seems to think that there will be an Israel when He returns. And how can the anti-Christ desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:26), if there is no Jerusalem? According to this verse, he destroys the city. What city? Without a doubt, Jerusalem, as Zechariah 14:1-2 confirms. The two witnesses of Revelation 11, prophecy in the same city, “where also their Lord was crucified” (v.8), a clear reference to Jerusalem. And Revelation 16:16 speaks of the armies of the world gathering in the valley of Har Megiddo (Armageddon), smack dab in the middle of Israel.
In conclusion, the idea that the promises of the land of Israel to the people of Israel were fulfilled on the cross, goes against God’s clear promise to Abraham and his seed, plural (stars of the sky, etc.). It ignores all the Old Covenant prophecies of the Messiah returning Israel and contradicts the New Testament’s clear claim that there is an Israel in the end times.
Beyond that, it goes against our common sense. God said that He would bring the Jewish people back to their own land in the end times. If he did not mean that specifically, then how in the world could the Jewish people, who wandered for 2,000 years, remain a people and even come back to their own land and create one of the most prosperous countries on earth, in the midst of her mortal enemies? Do you think we are stupid?
The fact is that the theology coming out of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference is not sound at all, but manipulates Scripture to get a desired outcome: Israel is not a fulfillment of prophecy. This conference is a political conference disguised as a theological one.