Review: THE PEOPLE, THE LAND, AND THE FUTURE OF
ISRAEL Editors Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser,
Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids,
There could not be a better time for the publication of this book.
and the conflict in the Middle East have renewed
the interest in what the Bible teaches concerning this nation. It is also a
time where there has been an increased support for the Palestinian political
view. The book is an outgrowth of a conference of the same name in October 2013
by pastors, theologians, and biblical scholars. It is a call of support and to
clarify what the Bible teaches about the people and land. This book is the
publication of the subjects covered in that conference.
This fresh look concerning
is divided into sections:
- Hebrew Scriptures. This section is subdivided in 4 chapters:
according to the Torah (Eugene Merrill). Showing that the nation of Israel
is founded upon the unconditional covenants which guarantee they will be
redeemed and returned to the land to fulfill these covenants.
according to the Writings (Walter Kaiser Jr). He continues the trajectory from
the Torah, seeing the continuation and climax with the Davidic Covenant and its
emphasis on the coming kingdom. The emphasis is on the reunited Israel.
according to the Prophets (Robert b. Chisholm Jr). The trajectory of the
prophet’s vision is that of Israel’s
future restoration. The prophets gave the main features as return,
reunification, repentance, restoration, and worship of the nations. The
prophets looked forward to fulfillment.
4. The People and
in Jewish Tradition (Michael L. Brown). This deals with the Jewish
understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures. Land of Israel
- New Testament. This section is also subdivided into 4 chapters.
according to the Gospels (Michael J. Wilkins). Wilkins centers mostly on
Matthew. There are two vital truths that he brings out. First, the disciples
preach the messianic aspects of the kingdom. Second, Israel was not replaced by the
church. The future of the messianic kingdom stands. There is still an
eschatological fulfillment for Israel,
including both the land of the kingdom and the mediation of the kingdom.
in Luke-Acts (Darrell L. Bock). He points out that though Luke-Acts has not
story has not changed in its hope. Gentile inclusion did not mean Israel’s
exclusion from God’s future plans.
7. The Jewish people according to the book of Romans (Michael G. Vanlaningham). He rejects that the Church fulfills the eschatological promises of
He sees Romans as a key to the future of Israel, especially Romans 4; 9; 11;
15. He attempts to show continuity between the Old Testament and Paul
To me this is the key chapter of the book for the future position—worthy of
time and study.
according to the book of Hebrews and the General Epistles (Graig A. Evans). He
deals with authorship of these epistles showing clear Jewish authorship of
these books. He shows that each epistle identified ethnic Israel explicitly or implicitly
Hermeneutics, Theology, and Church History
and Hermeneutics (Craig A. Blaising). He points out that how one perceives the
end of the story will affect how one perceives the whole story. In this chapter
he recaps the historical approaches to Scripture. He concludes any approach
need a “holistic eschatology” which includes the fulfillment of all of God’s
Israel as a
necessary theme in Biblical Theology (Mark R Saucy). Dr Saucy traces the fabric
that is woven throughout Biblical history and story. It is an unfinished but
Israel in the
Land as an Eschatological Necessity? (John S. Feinberg). To me this is one of
the best chapters of the book. Feinberg shows that the OT Prophecies demand a
literal fulfillment of Israel
being in the land. He keys on Daniel 9, Zechariah 12, and Isaiah 19, which all
predict end-time events that involve national Israel.
in Church History (Michael J. Vlach). This is an overview of how the church has
over time. He centers upon the concepts replacement and restoration conflict and
traces it in the history of the church.
in light of the Holocaust (Barry R. Leventhal). Today, when the Holocaust
remembrance is being lost, Dr. Lenenthal shows the significance of this event
in present events and thinking.
- Practical Theology
14. The Jewish people: Evidence for the Truth of Scripture (Michael Rydelnik). The only hope for finding a reason for
continued existence is through the Bible. Civilizations have come and gone, but
remains. It is a tribute to the preservation, power, and faithfulness of God.
This should lead all believers to give God the glory for his faithfulness, to
trust God’s Word, and to stand up for the Jewish people.
Jewish Evangelism today (Mitch Glaser). He pleads that the eschatological
argument should motivate us to evangelize the Jewish people, not to minimize
Israel and the
Local Pastor (David Epstein). He serves in a Jewish community of New York. This chapter
is somewhat a testimony as to why a local pastor should reach out to the Jews.
With him it is personal, moral, political (i.e. the smart thing), and Biblical.
What was interesting to me was his comments concerning Islam. It is the most
inspiring chapter in the book.
17. A survey of Positions on
Currently Taught at Theological Schools (Gregory Hagg). Results of this survey
were not surprising. It clearly shows a waning of the importance of Israel
and its future in today’s seminaries. However, I would suggest it is worst than
indicated, since only 14 out of 70 schools responded. Not sure why this chapter
was added except to show the reason for the overall waning of the subject among
the pulpits of today. It could have been omitted without taking away from the
overall significance of the book.
18. Conclusion (Darrell L. Bock). This chapter deals with why this subject matters. He draws five conclusions from this book.
I took the time to survey each chapter for the reader of this review because I wanted to show the vital subjects it deals with, and the tone of the book. It represents some of the best thinking from a premillennial and dispensational view. The value of the book is seen in its depth of the subjects covered. It is also intended to be studied not simple read. Each chapter ends with study questions to stimulate the reader. I would encourage everyone interested in eschatology, no matter their viewpoint, to read and study this book. That is not to say that the book is without some weaknesses, for example I wonder why there was no study of Pauline thought, except for Romans. Key as that chapter is, I think the book needs a stronger emphasis on Pauline thought. Also more could have been said on unity and disunity between the church and
There is also no chapter on the book of Revelation showing the climax of the
promise to the people, the land, and the future of Israel in its fulfillment. However
this does not hinder the importance of the overall significance of the book.
I found it stimulating to both reevaluate my own position on the subject and do further study. It is also a timely study that was sorely needed in light of the theological and political atmosphere of today. It should be in every Pastor’s and Bible student’s shelf.
[I received this book free from Kregel Academic in exchange for the review. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions are my own].