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(The following study notes are quoted and adapted from Russell Burrill, The New World Order Seminars Unlimited, Keene, TX 76059, 1992. 187 pp. Click here for information on where to get this book.)


THE GLORIOUS HOLY MOUNTAIN

Literal Palestine?

For many years there has been confusion over the term used in verse 43 of Daniel 11. The popular opinion has been that it refers to literal Palestine and in particular the old temple site in Jerusalem. If this is so then we are bound by principles of prophetic interpretation that would require all prophecies concerning New Testament time fulfillments to be interpreted in a literal sense. This idea is responsible for most of the confusion that exists within Christendom today.

Any Israelite would know there is only one glorious holy mountain, Mount Zion, and the Bible indicates that salvation will come to Mount Zion. As most of us would realize, this is impossible from a literal standpoint, so we must begin to look for a more logical interpretation. In brief, the principle of interpretation of Old Testament prophecies that find their fulfillment in New Testament times should be applied to the Christian church. We shall now give some reasons why this is so.

Many who preach about last day events envision a gigantic battle in the Middle East between Arabs and Israelis, or a battle that in some way includes the nation of Israel now located in Palestine. Some governments have even set their foreign policy around this belief. They think that if they throw up an umbrella of protection over Israel, that somehow God will throw up an umbrella of protection over them when this battle begins.

However, if we apply the term "Israel" only to the people residing in Palestine we have interpreted it in a strictly geographical sense. If we apply the term to all of Jewish descent, then we have applied the term racially. However, if we apply the term spiritually, as the Bible does, we may well arrive at an entirely different conclusion than those who interpret it in a geographical or racial sense.

The Bible defines "Israel"

So how does the Bible define the term "Israel"? Around 2,000 B.C. God called a man by the name of Abram, later called Abraham, to travel to a land called Canaan. When he arrived God made him two promises (Genesis 13:14-16). These promises were "land" and "offspring." In other words he would possess the land of Canaan and would have many offspring, or become the father of a great nation. Normal promises, you might say.

When we come to the New Testament our understanding is amplified as these promises are the basis of the covenant and must be seen in the light of the New Testament. In Galatians 3:16 and Hebrews 11:10, 16 we find that what appeared to be literal physical promises at first glance are really spiritual promises when seen through God's eyes. Not only were offspring promised to Abraham, but the Offspring óChrist.

It wasn't just the deserts of the Middle East that were promised but the heavenly Canaan itself. The promised land on earth was just a type of the heavenly land itself. These promises were given to all who had entered into a covenant relationship with God. The promises cannot be inherited genetically.

Origin of "Israel"

The name Israel originated in a spiritual context, given to a spiritual person when he was converted to God. To belong to Israel was to receive the spiritual promises made to Abraham (Genesis 32:25-28). In these verses we discover the first time that the name "Israel" was given.

The experience of Jacob, whose name meant "supplanter" or "cheat," having wrestled with the angel all night, was to prevail with God. Jacob is now numbered with the overcomers. So he was given a name that would represent a redeemed person. That name was "Israel." Therefore, these promises cannot apply geographically or racially. The origin of Israel requires a spiritual application of the term.

As the descendants of Jacob formed themselves into a nation they took upon themselves the name of their father, "Israel." As they became the converted people of God they rightfully assumed the name of the covenant people. As long as they remained faithful they could rightfully be called Israel. If they left the covenant they could no longer be called by that name, even though they racially belonged to the descendants of Abraham.

When the literal nation of Israel in the Old Testament sinned and left God, He sent His prophet to inform them that they had become a harlot, for they were claiming to be Israelites, a spiritual people, when they were not converted. A person cannot lay claim to the spiritual title unless he or she is a converted person.

In Luke 13:34, 35, and Luke 19:41-44, we notice that the nation of Israel was rejected because they knew not the time of their visitation. The issue was clear, only those that accepted the Messiah could still be called Israelites.

A new "Israel"

In Galatians 3:28, 29 Paul announces just who would constitute the new Israel. There was no salvation by race because with Jesus all people are one in Christ Jesus. Paul's startling conclusion was that this new "Israel" was the Christian church, and any prophecy referring to Israel that is fulfilled after the cross will not be fulfilled to ethnic Israel but to the new Israel, the Christian church. Now how does this principle work?

In Joel 2:32 is a prophecy reaching the end time. This prophecy focuses specifically on a geographical location, Mount Zion and Jerusalem.

"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call" Joel 2:32.

If we take this passage literally, it would be easy to conclude that deliverance shall only come to those who travel to Jerusalem and stand on Mount Zion. However, if we accept the New Testament teaching that Israel after the cross refers to the Christian Church then we can conclude that deliverance in the last days will come to the Christian church. There is no need to buy a plane ticket, for the prophecy does not refer to a geographical city.

Return to Info Guide near end of Question 8


Created: 7/17/97 Updated: 07/15/2007