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  • Writer's pictureMatthew L. Tinkham Jr.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Bible Prophecy

“‘6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains’” (Matt 24:6–8 ESV).



Saturday, October 07, 2023, was a world-history-making day but not in the good way. On that day, a new phase of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict erupted with Ḥamās-led militant groups launching a new assault against Israel that breached the Gaza barrier, attacked Israeli military bases, massacred Israeli civilians, and captured around 200 Israeli civilians and soldiers as hostages (though mostly civilians) who were transported to Gaza. More than 1,400 people were killed and over 5,000 wounded in Israel, resulting in October 07, 2023, being described by some commentators as the bloodiest day in Israel’s history and the worst single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.


The date of this Palestinian military effort was chosen intentionally; it was a seventh-day Sabbath, the sacred rest day of the Jews. Furthermore, it was a “high” Sabbath in Israel, being also a special holy day—namely, the eighth day of assembly called Šəmînî ʿĂṣeret̲ (שְׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת) that follows the seven days of Sukkôt̲ (סֻכּוֹת), the Feast of Tabernacles.1 It also marked fifty years since the start of the 1973 Yôm Kippûr War (i.e., Ramadan War or 1973 [Fourth] Arab-Israeli War)—that was fought October 06–25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria that primarily took place in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights (which have been occupied by Israel since 1967).2


The responsible party for this attack, Ḥamās, officially called the Islamic Resistance Movement, is a Sunni Islamist political and military organization governing the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian territories. While headquartered in Gaza City, it also has a strong presence in the West Bank, in which its secular rival Fatḥ, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, exercises control. Ḥamās is widely considered to be the largest and most capable military force within the Palestinian territories, having won control over Gaza in 2007 in a civil war against Fatḥ. Because of its anti-Israeli stance, its militant policy of jihad (i.e., “armed struggle”), and its indiscriminate use of suicide bombing and other violent means against military and civilian targets, many countries, including the United States of America have designated Ḥamās a terrorist organization.


The stated purpose of Ḥamās in its violent conflict against Israel is to liberate the land of Palestine from Israeli occupation and transform it into an Islamic State that would coercively enforce sharīʿa law, including Islamic religion and culture, upon those dwelling in that region.3


Since the initial assault of October 07, 2023, Israel has launched a counter attack of aerial bombardment and ground attacks by the Israel Defense Forces against Ḥamās in Gaza. So far, well over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli counter assault, including many civilians. Current estimates suggest that about seventy percent of those deceased were women and children. It is also reported that fifty of the original hostages abducted by Ḥamās from Israel on October 07, 2023, have been killed during these Israeli counter strikes.


Of course, cease fires have been demanded by the United Nations and other organizations and nations so that the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza can receive the desperately needed aid. Famine and other life threats are making the warring conditions even more difficult for innocent civilians. Nevertheless, the war has continued now for nearly three months.


This bloody and religiously motivated conflict in the Middle East has raised numerous questions for Christians. Perhaps, one of the most prominent inquiries pertains to Israel’s role in Bible prophecy.

  • Does Bible prophecy have anything to say about this present Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? If so, what?

  • Does Israel play any significant role in the eschatological events of the time of the end, according to the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation?

These and others are important questions that merit expansive answers. However, due to the constraints of this essay, only brief, summative answers can be supplied that will hopefully spark an interest in you, the reader, for further Bible study on this topic.


Israel in Bible Prophecy


When exploring the nature of national Israel's role in Bible prophecy, it is important to realize that there are three overarching perspectives among Evangelical Christians for how to answer these questions. These three points of view stem from vastly different hermeneutical-methodological approaches to understanding the covenants found throughout Scripture and interpreting Bible prophecy, especially the apocalyptic variety found predominately in the books of Daniel and Revelation.


Preterism

The first of these perspectives is called preterism. This term derives from the Latin word praeteritus (meaning “gone by"), the past participle of praeterire (composed of praeter “past, beyond” and ire “go”). Those who subscribe to preterism hold that the function of apocalyptic prophecy in the Bible is strictly forthtelling (as opposed foretelling)—that is, addressing social, political, and religious issues in Israel and Judah (in the Old Testament) and in the fledgling Christian church (in the New Testament). Accordingly, preterists understand the apocalyptic events that are described in the prophecies of Daniel were written and/or fulfilled already in the second century BC and that those in the book of Revelation in the first century AD. In other words, on this view, Bible prophecy has no predictive power but merely depicts through symbols people, places, and events that existed/occurred in the times at which it was written (i.e., the past).


In light of this, how do preterists view the role of national Israel in Bible prophecy? Because preterism heavily emphasizes the past, its exponents do not believe that the Bible delineates a role for national Israel in apocalyptic prophecy in any way beyond the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple by the Romans in AD 70. The significance of the nation of Israel fades out of focus after the first century AD. However, remember that any role that national Israel played prior to AD 70 in Bible prophecy, according to preterism, was not prophetically predicted but merely described.


It is interesting to note briefly the origins of the preterist approach, as its inception reveals the original underlining purpose, which was more political than theological in nature. Preterism was first expounded by a Spanish Jesuit theologian named Luis de Alcasar in his posthumously published work Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (1614) during the time of the Counter-Reformation. This novel interpretation was intended as a rebuttal to the historicist approach of the Protestants that identified the Roman Catholic papacy as antichrist. Preterism effectively took the prophetic spotlight off of the pope and redirected it to persons and entities who lived many centuries in the past. It seems that this purpose was fulfilled, since there are large groups of adherents to this hermeneutical perspective today among Christians generally and Protestants specifically, especially in higher-critical academic circles.


Nevertheless, many Christians find themselves dissatisfied with preterist answers to the above questions about Bible prophecy largely because of preterism’s elimination of one of the key self-stated purposes of apocalyptic prophecy—foretelling the future, especially the events of the time of the end (e.g., Deut 18:21–22; Dan 2:28; 12:4, 9; Rev 1:1–3; 22:6, 10). Preterism strips Bible prophecy of its predictive power, the accuracy of which serves as a stirring testament to the divine inspiration of Scripture. As such, they have looked for answers elsewhere.


Dispensationalist Futurism

A second and very popular approach to the interpretation of Bible prophecy is futurism. As its name indicates, futurism holds that the purpose of Bible prophecy is both forthtelling and foretelling, particularly predicting events that will be fulfilled literally and globally in the future apocalyptic age of the end of time.


Not unlike preterism, futurism did not appear upon the theological scene in a “vacuum,” but it has a historical context to its origins that is quite telling about the purpose of this competing interpretative option—which, again, was largely political in nature. While there were some proto-futurist interpretations of Bible prophecy in use in the early centuries of church history, it was not popular by any means and largely shunned. The first developed forms of futurism came from the pens of two Spanish Jesuits, Francisco Ribera in In sacrum beati Ioannis Apostoli & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarii (1590) during the Counter-Reformation and Manuel de Lacunza4 in La venida del Mesías en gloria y majestad (1790). While futurism caught the attention of some, Protestants nearly (if not entirely) rejected it in full, seeing it as another papal attempt to counter their historicist interpretation by casting the apocalyptic figure of the antichrist not in the present as the pope himself (as Protestants taught) but far into the future, identifying him with a single person of Jewish decent who would rise up at the time of the end and lead many away from Christ.


Futurism really did not make major theological inroads into Protestant thought until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with the rise of a revamped form of it—dispensationalist futurism (or simply dispensationalism). Thus, it is a relatively new and prevalent methodology primarily accepted by Evangelical Christians (e.g., non-denominational Christians, some Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.).5 First systematized by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren in the mid-nineteenth century, dispensationalism was popularized in the United States and disseminated rapidly by James Inglis, James H. Brookes, and Dwight L. Moody in the late-nineteenth century; C. I. Scofield with his Scofield Reference Bible in the early-twentieth century; and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins with their Left Behind fictional book series in the late-twentieth century—as well as by other prominent Evangelical leaders and evangelists, such as, Jimmy Swaggart, Perry Stone, Hal Lindsey, David Jeremiah, John F. MacArthur, John Hagee, and the teaching faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas.


Concerning the biblical covenants of Scripture, dispensationalism holds that biblical history is composed of different covenants that divide it into multiple distinguishable ages or “dispensations” in which God acts with his chosen people in different ways. Proponents of dispensationalism usually divide the biblical timeline into seven or eight dispensations—but sometimes more or less, depending upon the particular exponent of this perspective.6 Below is an example of how some dispensationalists carve up bible history and its various covenants.

  • The Dispensation of Innocence or the Edenic/Adamic Covenant of Works (Gen 1–3)

  • The Dispensation of the Antediluvian Covenant (Gen 3–8)

  • The Dispensation of the Noahic Covenant (Gen 9–11)

  • The Dispensation of the Patriarchal/Abrahamic Covenant or the Covenant of Promise (Gen 12–Exod 19)

  • The Dispensation of the Sinaitic/Mosaic Covenant or the Covenant of Law or the Old Covenant (Exod 20–Gospels and Acts 1)7

  • The Dispensation of the Ecclesial/Pneumatic Covenant or Covenant of Grace or the New Covenant (Acts 2–Rev 19)

  • The Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom (Rev 20)

  • The Dispensation of the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven (Rev 21–22)

Within this overarching systematic view of theology and history, dispensationalists have some unique understandings of the events to occur at the time of the end and national Israel’s eschatalogical role therein.


First of all, as a variety of futurism, dispensationalism is futurist in the way its exponents interpret the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. These prophecies are seen as revealing events that have not already happened in the past (contra preterism) or throughout the course of human history (contra historicism) but primarily in the future at the time of the end.


Second, dispensationalists are pretribulationist, meaning that they believe that the rapture of the Christian Church to heaven is distinct from the second advent of Christ, secret in nature, and occurs prior to a supposed seven-year Great Tribulation.8 During this tempestuous time, (1) national Israel is said to be completely restored in the Promised Land and the Old Testament sacrificial rituals are reinstated in a freshly built and reconsecrated Jewish temple in Jerusalem, (2) more conversions to Christianity occur, and (3) the final anti-Christ power arises and he initiates a global persecution against newly converted Christians and Jews.


National Israel’s full end-time restoration is said to occur in two distinct phases. First, Israel has already returned to sovereignty in their ancient Promised Land with their victory in the First Arab-Israeli War of 1948. In 1949, the United Nations voted to admit Israel as a full member state, solidifying the end of this first phase of restoration. Countries given over to the politics of Christian Zionist ideology, such as the United States, have been instrumental in Israel’s success of maintaining its national sovereignty of their land through the many wars of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The second phase of Jewish restoration will result in a spiritual return of Israel to God. Exactly 144,000 Jews (see Rev 7:1–8; 14:1–5) will repent of their sin, embrace Jesus as their Messiah, rebuilt the Jerusalem temple, and recommence the sacrificial system of the Old Testament—all the while opposing the usurping power of the anti-Christ, who will sit on David’s literal throne at that time.


Finally, dispensationalism is premillennialist. Its adherents believe that the second advent of Christ to the earth will occur after the seven-year Great Tribulation but before the millennial reign of Christ and his people upon the earth. The millennial kingdom will be distinctly Jewish in character, with the throne of David being restored to its rightful regent, the true Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ.


While dispensationalism has much to say about an eschatalogical role for national Israel, many Christians struggle to accept its strong view of discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments that practically renders the teachings of the Old Testament valueless and useless for Christian life in the present so-called "Dispensation of Grace." Furthermore, dispensationalism lacks a sense of urgency for conversion of the non-Christian world and readiness for the second coming of Christ. For example, if one misses the rapture, they'll get a second chance at salvation during the seven-year Great Tribulation. Yet, the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation do not allow for any second chances for salvation at the end of time.


Covenantal Historicism

In stark contrast to both preterism and dispensationalist futurism, stands covenantal historicism. Let us define the two aspects of these view in turn.


First of all, covenantalism in its more modern form stems from the thought of the Protestant reformers, especially that of John Calvin. Seventh-day Adventist Christians adhere to a Wesleyan form of covenantal theology that sees significant continuity among the various covenants of the Old and New Testaments. These covenants interlock with one another as links in a chain and span from Genesis to Revelation to form the single eternal covenant of redemption established in eternity by the divine persons of the Trinity. While the existence of some discontinuity between the covenants is certainly acknowledged on this view (e.g., the abolishment of circumcision, the christological fulfillment and nullification of the sacrificial system, etc.), an overwhelming continuity is recognized among them. God’s promises to Israel are understood as historically fulfilled in the person and the work of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who established the New Testament Church in organic unity and continuity with Israel, not as a separate replacement entity.


In connection with covenantalism, historicism espouses an ancient interpretive method for the books of Daniel and Revelation that was upheld throughout the history of the Christian Church by many early Church fathers and, especially the Protestant reformers. This approach views the fulfillments of biblical apocalyptic prophecy as sweeping across the vast span of human history sequentially from past to present to future without large gaps in time.9 Thus, historicism can be seen as a “middle-of-the-road” approach that bridges together the positive biblical elements of preterism (i.e., past, forthtelling prophecy) and futurism (i.e., future, foretelling prophecy)—temporally locating them on the chronological, consecutive continuum of history—while avoiding their unbiblical excesses and exegetical oversights (e.g., higher criticism, amillennialism, dispensationalism, pretribulationism, etc.), including their sometimes corresponding supersessionism and accompanying anti-Semitism.10


Perhaps, the most prominent Evangelical Protestants who embrace the covenantal-historicist interpretation of Daniel and Revelation contemporaneously are Seventh-day Adventist Christians. As such, I personally see covenantal historicism as the best of these three options. It upholds the predictive power of prophecy and the inspiration of the Bible (contra preterism), validates the present relevance of the Old Testament Scriptures and creates urgency for salvation (contra dispensationalism), and interprets the Bible’s apocalyptic prophecies on their own terms. How so?


The first and foundational apocalyptic dream of the multi-metaled image of Dan 2 provides a patterned schema at the outset for all subsequent apocalyptic visions and dreams, especially those given in Dan 7, 8, and 11:1–12:4. Symbolically, the dream predictively points to a historical succession of empires (without gaps) until the return of Christ with each successive material—gold for Neo-Babylonia (605–539 BC), silver for Medo-Persia (539–331 BC), bronze for Greece/Macedonia (331–168 BC), iron for Rome (168 BC–AD 476), iron and clay for divided Europe (AD 467–second advent of Christ), and a rock for the eternal kingdom of God. All of the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation exposit this same historical progression of events from past to present to future prophesied in Dan 2— repeating and enlarging upon its content in varied ways (i.e., recapitulation).11 Therefore, Dan 2 sets forth a historicist methodology for the interpretation of its own prophecy, as well as all those that follow.12


In light of the above, how does covenantal historicism understand the events of the end in relation to the nation of Israel? On this view, national Israel is seen as having played a crucially important prophetic role. Israel was responsible for the extension of the Abrahamic blessing and covenant given in Gen 12:1–3 to all the nations of the world. Moreover, Israel was given the prophetic task of the proclamation and celebration of the arrival of the Messiah, as foretold in the typological rites and rituals of the wilderness sanctuary and the later Jewish temples of the Old Testament and by the seventy-week prophecy in Dan 9:24–27—which prophetically announced Christ's anointing baptism by immersion in AD 27 and the ratification of the New Covenant with his blood by crucifixion in AD 31.


Heartbreakingly, the Jewish nation and its political and religious leaders failed to recognize Jesus as the prophesied Messiah and had him crucified by the Romans. The nation of Judah sealed its corporate rejection of the Christ by its refusal to welcome Gentiles into full fellowship with the people of God. The pinnacle of Israel's spurning of Jesus was its political execution of Stephen in AD 34, who became the first martyr in history of the Messiah (Acts 6:8–7:60), and subsequent persecution of Christians that led to their dispersion throughout the Roman Empire (Acts 8:1–4). This brought a sad and solemn end to the seventy-week prophecy of Dan 9:24–27, beginning in 457 BC with the decree of Artaxerxes I to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and ending in AD 34 with the stoning of Stephen (a total of 490 literal, historical years).13


The continued national spurning of the Messiah and his Gentile proselytes, its nationalistic pride, and its Zionist attempts at liberation in the First Jewish Roman War (AD 66–74) caused the significance of Judaism in apocalyptic prophecy to wain throughout history and ultimately cease in AD 70, when Jerusalem and its temple were razed to the ground by the Roman military under the leadership of General Titus and Emperor Vespasian. This occurred just as Jesus had predictively prophesied it would happen in Matt 24:1–28.


Therefore, covenantal historicists (contra dispensationalists) see no significant role of national Israel in Bible prophecy following the final destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. However, the spiritual legacy of Israel is perpetuated into the present and unto the eschaton through the New Testament fulfillments of the Old Testament promises in the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, incorporating both Jew and Gentile into the elect people of God.


The Current Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Bible Prophecy


Now, with that background, we are better positioned to explore the questions presented in the introduction. Does national Israel have a role to play at the end of human history and does the present Israeli-Palestinian Conflict have anything to do with Bible prophecy and the time of the end?


As a firm believer in covenantal historicism, I am proposing to the reader that national Israel’s prophetic significance terminated in AD 70. This fate was sealed through the legal judiciary speech and martyrdom of Stephen (a Hellenist Jew; Acts 6:1–7) in AD 34 that condemned the nation for its repudiation of Jesus as the Messiah and its rejection of the Gentiles as fellow heirs of the messianic kingdom. However, Israel’s spiritual legacy continues under the New Covenant with those of Jewish ethnic/national decent and those of the Gentiles, who have embraced Jesus Christ as their saving Messiah and been assimilated into the community of spiritual Israel, the body of Christ, the Church, awaiting the second advent. 


Since national Israel is no longer a prophetically significant entity, is the ongoing conflict between Israel and Ḥamās unimportant? Not at all! In fact, this Middle Eastern war is a direct fulfillment of what Jesus foretold in his apocalyptic teaching on the Mount of Olives. He said in Matt 24:6–8 ESV: “‘6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.’” The increase in frequency and intensity of national and global warfare, including the present war between Israel and Ḥamās, are all signs of the soon-coming end to earth’s history as we know it. These wars are clear indicators that we are indeed living in the time of the end and that the return of Jesus is imminent!


For this reason, it is imperative that we pray fervently and urgently for ourselves to remain perseveringly close to Jesus in constant readiness for his second advent. Furthermore, Christians should prayerfully intercede for all those involved in the present conflict—Israelis and Palestinians—especially the innocent. This senseless bloodshed, that ultimately stems from the ongoing cosmic conflict between good and evil, should bring tears to our eyes, stir great anguish in our hearts, and sprout supplicant prayers from our lips for peace and the end of warfare in harmony with the peace-making ethic of our Savior (Matt 5:9).


Meanwhile, we must remember that these violent conflicts are only the beginning of the earth’s metaphorical “birth pains.” Jesus said that the true sign of the end can be found in something else: “‘14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’” (Matt 24:14 ESV). When the good news of Jesus Christ and the redemption and reconciliation he has wrought for humankind has reached all of the people groups of the earth (ἔθνεσιν [ethnesin])14—Israelites (i.e., Jews), Ishmaelites (i.e., Muslims), and Gentiles of all kinds—then we’ll know that the figurative “labor pains” of the earth are over and the newborn has arrived. Herein we all have a prophetic part to play! As we await the second advent of Christ, may each one of us pray and work for the Jewish children of Isaac, the Islamic children of Ishmael, and the Gentile children of all nations to find the blessing of father Abraham along with their Christian brothers and sisters through an united embrace of Jesus as their messianic prophet, priest, and king. Furthermore, may this present conflict direct our attention heavenward in hope, as we see in this terrible war a reminder of the nearness of Christ’s return, at which time he will bring forth righteousness, justice, truth, and love to once again reign peacefully and eternally on the earth!


____________________

Footnotes

1 Sukkôt̲ (i.e., “the Feat of Ingathering” or “the Feast of Booths”), literally meaning “booths,” “tents,” or “tabernacles,” is the seventh and last annual feast that the Lord commanded Israel to observe in the Torah. It begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh Hebrew month called Tišrê (תִּשְׁרֵי; usually occurring in late September to mid-October on modern calendars), five days after Yôm Kippûr (יוֹם כִּפּוּר) or the Day of Atonement. It marks and joyously celebrates God’s provision in the completion of the autumn harvest. It was one of three feasts that Jews were commanded by the Lord to observe each year by making pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Deut 16:16).

2 The first attacks of this war began on the Jewish feast of Yôm Kippûr (יוֹם כִּפּוּר), meaning “Day of Atonement”—the most solemn and sacred of the annual feasts in Judaism. Occurring on the tenth day of the seventh Hebrew month called Tišrê (תִּשְׁרֵי), Yôm Kippûr is a day for repentance, atonement, and judgment upon which the sins of repentant Israel are atoned, the sanctuary is cleansed/purified and restored from the defilement of sin-remitting blood, and the “scapegoat” is judged along with those Israelites who were unrepentant on this day (Lev 16). Moreover, this was the only day of the year during which the high priest was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place of the Jewish tabernacle or temple without immediately perishing in the Lord’s glorious presence.

3 See “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement” that was published in 1988 (“Hamas Covenant 1988, The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy [2008], https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp).

4 He used the pseudonym Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra.

5 Dispensationalism today is still generally rejected by Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, and Reformed Protestantism.

6 For example, some Dispensationalists have identified ten or even twelve distinct dispensations of biblical history.

7 Some Dispensationalists breakdown this period further, asserting that the Sinaitic/Mosaic Covenant terminated in 2 Sam 6, and the Dispensation of the Davidic Covenant was in effect in 2 Sam 7–Gospels and Acts 1.

8 The seven-year length of the Great Tribulation is understood to be the seventieth week of the seventy-week prophecy of Dan 9:24–27. These seventy weeks are “weeks of years” and are not viewed as consecutive. Dispensationalists believe there is a long gap of time between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks, moving the final week forward into the time of the end.

9  For example, in contrast to dispensationalism’s insertion of a gap between the final two weeks of the seventy-week prophecy in Dan 9:24–27, historicists understand the weeks of this prophecy sequentially and consecutively as spanning from the decree of Artaxerxes I to rebuild the city of Jerusalem in 457 BC to the martyrdom of Stephen in AD 34—seventy weeks of years or 490 years.

10 Accordingly, Seventh-day Adventist Christians reject supersessionism (i.e., Replacement Theology), a type of ecclesiology that asserts that God has abandoned his covenantal promises to national Israel and has replaced the Jews with the Christian Church that now supersedes them as the new chosen people of God. Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant churches view themselves as replacements of Israel. For example, the Roman Catholic priesthood exists today in place of the Levitical priesthood and continues to practice rites and rituals of the Old Testament sacrificial system in light of Christ (e.g., the sacrifice of Mass) within elaborate cathedrals that are architecturally designed to reflect the elements of the wilderness tabernacle and Jewish temple of the Old Testament (e.g., the holy water stoup placed at the entrances of the cathedrals, their central altar, etc.).

Conversely, in Rom 11:1–2, 5 ESV, the apostle Paul wrote, “1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. ... 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” Further into this chapter, Rom 11:11–24, Paul employed a metaphor of an olive tree that has Jewish roots and trunk but is missing some of its original Jewish branches, which were pruned for their adamant rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. However, many Jewish branches remained. Furthermore, wild branches were grafted into the tree, symbolizing Gentile conversions to the new messianic Jewish faith that was eventually called Christianity.

As such, Seventh-day Adventists is a ethnically and culturally diverse denomination that rejects the anti-Semitism that has emerged in Christian Church history due to the development and spread of supersessionist ideology that eventually resulted in the atrocities of the Holocaust. Christians should recognize the “Jewishness” of the roots of the Christian Church, harken back to those previous teachings of the Old and New Testaments, and lovingly embrace Jewish people as our fellow brothers and sisters, inviting them into deeper communion with us through acceptance of Jesus as the true Messiah of both literal and spiritual Israel.

11 For example, the vision recorded in Dan 7 repeats the four world empires mentioned in the dream of Dan 2 through the symbols of unclean, amalgamated beasts (a winged lion for Neo-Babylonia, a humpbacked bear for Medo-Persia, a four-headed leopard for Greece/Macedonia, a dreadful indescribable beast [presumably a dragon] for Rome, and ten horns for divided Europe). However, the vision of Dan 7 enlarges upon the dream of Dan 2 by adding another entity in the symbolism of a little horn (Dan 7:8) and inserting a judgment scene (Dan 7:9–10) after the little horn's destructive activity but prior to the arrival of the kingdom of God (Dan 7:13–14).

12 Unfortunately, present restrains prohibit a more thorough-going apologetic defense of my preference for covenantal historicism from Scripture than this.

13 Seventy weeks is composed of 490 days (having seven days per week). These prophetic days are understood to represent symbolically 490 literal, historical years, in alignment with the day-year principle for interpreting symbolic apocalyptic prophecies of time (see e.g., Num 14:34; Ezek 4:4–6).

14 From ἔθνος, meaning a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions and language. This term is also used in specific reference to Gentiles or non-Israelite persons.

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