During his recent trip to East Jerusalem, Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate, longtime friend of Chuck Norris, made a point of criticizing President Obama’s demand that Israel halt settlement expansion. According to Huckabee, the US government shouldn’t “be telling Jewish people in Israel where they should and should not live.”
Though Huckabee’s statements have shocked much of the blogosphere, he’s previously made it clear that he doesn’t think Israel should return any of the West Bank to the Palestinians. In his opinion, it’s all Israel’s land, and if the Palestinians want a state of their own they should see if they can establish one somewhere in Egypt or Saudi Arabia.
Needless to say, Huck’s views aren’t based on international law. As the International Court of Justice declared in 2004, all of the West Bank is Occupied Palestinian Territory and therefore all Israeli settlements there are illegal. And I don’t see how Huck’s views could be based on American national interests. By now it seems beyond dispute that America’s nearly unwavering support of the Israeli occupation has fueled anti-American terrorism.
If I had to guess, I’d say that Huck’s views on the matter are derived from his theology. I could be wrong here, but, given his close association with the likes of John Hagee and Tim LaHaye, it seems clear that he’s a dispensationalist.
Dispensationalism, in case you don’t know, is the end times theology made popular by the Left Behind series.
Best known for its literal reading of certain Old Testament prophesies, as well as its belief that the secret rapture of the Church is drawing near, dispensationalsim contends that God has separate plans for the Church and for Israel. To be more specific, it rejects the traditional Christian view that God’s promises to Abraham have found their fulfillment in Christ. Among other things, this means that the modern State of Israel is entitled to the land promised to Abraham (never mind all the Arabs living there now, never mind all the Arabs living there before 1948), and that the United States, or any nation for that matter, cannot be blessed unless it blesses Israel (even if blessing Israel involves turning a blind eye to IDF war crimes).
The problem with dispensationalism is that it’s woefully ignorant of the Bible. Nothing against Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins; I understand they’ve written some spellbinding books—but their end times scheme is clearly unbiblical. As biblical scholar Loraine Boettner notes, God’s promises to Israel “were always conditioned on obedience, either expressly stated or clearly implied. Time and again the people were warned that apostasy would cancel the promise of future blessing, that promised blessing could be forfeited. The land of Palestine, for instance, was given to Abraham and to his seed ‘for an everlasting possession’ (Gen. 17:8). But the same thing is said of the perpetual duration of the priesthood of Aaron (Ex. 40:15), the Passover (Ex. 12:14), the Sabbath (Ex. 31:17) and David’s throne (2 Sam. 7:13, 16, 24). But in the light of the New Testament all of those things have passed away.”
Boettner’s latter point finds support in such passages as Hebrews 8:7-13, which states that, because the Jews were disobedient, God made a new covenant with humanity and in so doing rendered the old covenant “obsolete.” The new covenant, of course, is between God and all people, not just God and the Jews. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise [which God made to Abraham].”
Now I’ll be the first to admit that dispensationalists know how to make good movies. Anyone remember this one from the early 1970s?
But they’re obviously not getting any of this from the Bible. Because, again, it just ain’t there. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to go to the Bible yourself. Show me that I’m wrong.
But once you’ve seen that I’m not making this up, do me a favor, will you? Somebody, anybody, I don’t care who—somebody just make sure you have a talk with the Huckster.