In our press release about D2B–the UMJC Dan-to-Beersheva prayer ride (see my last post)–I’m quoted as saying, “the phrase ‘Dan to Beersheva’ expresses a vision for a unified people of Israel living in the land of Israel,” and then adding that this is not a political statement, but a spiritual one. My point was that our vision for “all Israel” doesn’t imply a political position on a possible two-state solution or any other resolution of the current Israeli-Arab conflict. My own view is that if the state of Israel could attain a genuine peace with a genuine partner for peace, then territorial concessions would be worth it. In the age to come the Jewish people gain full possession of the whole land promised to Abraham, but that has rarely meant full possession in this age. So, another reason for the Messiah to return . . .
On the other hand, I have to admit that anything you say about the state of Israel today has political implications. When Israel is in view, it’s always political.
So, one of my team members who is helping coordinate the ride points out that our tagline could be construed or misconstrued politically: “Dan to Beersheva–a prayer ride through all Israel.” All Israel?! Are we saying that Dan to Beersheva is all the land promised to Abraham, when the state of Israel stretches way beyond Beersheva all the way to Eilat? My right-leaning friends might raise a question like that. And from the other side–“All Israel?! Are you laying claim to some Greater Israel on this bike ride? Are you praying that the state of Israel today should annex all the land promised to Abraham 4000 years ago?”
My answer is that our eyes will be on something else as we make our ride (in addition to the road ahead of us), namely the divine purpose for all Israel that is to be accomplished through Israel Messiah, Yeshua. One of Messiah’s Jewish followers put it this way–
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;
and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.
. . . For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:26-27, 29)
I believe that confidence about the final outworking of this story gives us great flexibility in facing current affairs. This confidence applies to Israel’s grant to the Land of Israel–“the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”–and it doesn’t rest on military or political prowess. We might need military and political systems, but they are at best provisional, partial, and bound to fade away . . . thank God!
Another wise Jew, though not a follower of Yeshua, summed up this reality better than I can:
I preach . . . a love of the land combined with a high degree of non-violence, a largely non-violent Zionism, a messianic Judaism that keeps alive the living expectation of the Messiah but also the messianic repudiation of violence, a love of all human beings whether Jewish or non-Jewish, a willingness to wait and even temporarily yield territory if this will save us from bloodshed. [Michael Wyschogrod, Abraham’s Promise, p. 106]
So, when you talk about Israel in light of God’s promises, perhaps it’s not always political.