Jews, Gentiles, and Arabs (Eph. 2:11-22)

July 14: Israeli air strike hits the runway of Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut. (AP)

I saw on Drudge this morning that Newt Gingrich is calling for President Bush to admit that we’re already in World War III. Maybe he knows about massive troop movements that I don’t, but short of that, this sounds premature, albeit not out of the realm of near-term possibility. Amidst the present conflicts and risks, it is important to remember that there is hope for us all in … I’m hesitant to bring this up again so soon after my recent post … the blood of Christ. (Hey, I didn’t pick the passage, okay?). “Remember that you were excluded from citizenship in Israel . . . but now you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace.”

I long for peace for both Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East. Hopefully a mutual understanding can be re-established. Yet regardless, remember that Christ has died to put an end to the most deep-seated of conflicts, and our Heavenly Father is committed to an outcome in which every tribe, tongue and nation will have its place of redemption before his throne.

Note too what ‘Israel’ has come to mean for Paul in this passage. “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens in God’s household . . . to become a holy temple in the Lord.” Paul is not talking here about Christians emigrating to 21st century Israel to become a human pyramid on Temple Mount. He is talking about a deeper fulfillment of what ‘Israel’ actually means. Some denigrate this as “replacement” theology, but the issue is actually progressive fulfillment. We must be able to read all of Scripture into context, and appreciate both the continuities and discontinuities from old covenant to new. When we do so, and come to realize that the church is actually central to God’s redemptive-historical plan, we no longer need to confine our hope to the EU, United Nations, or even the United States of America.

I hope that in the way we Christians communicate, relate, and engage politically, that we will advocate for a place at God’s table for every people, including Jews, Gentiles, and Arabs.

I would agree with Newt to this extent: we are at a greater risk of nuclear war than at any time in the history of the world. Father, deliver us all from evil. May voices of reason and moderation be in the ascendant on all sides.

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