Many evangelical Christians believe (wrongly) that the "Great City" in the Book of Revelation (chapter 14, verse 8) which God destroys in His wrath and which is referred to figuratively as Babylon is Rome. They believe it is Rome because the city is described as being surrounded by seven hills.
However, Jerusalem, also, is surrounded by seven hills. The proof that Jerusalem is the city and not Rome is found in Revelation 11:8 where we read "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the Great City, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." Was the Lord crucified in Rome or in Jerusalem? The wrath of God against Jerusalem for its apostate Judaism is what the early portions of the Book of Revelation are all about.
The problem with most evangelical Christians today is that they interpret the Book of Revelation literally. Revelation is primarily a book of symbolism and not to be interpreted, for the most part, literally. The Book itself tells us not to interpret it literally.
In the very first verse of the very first chapter we read, "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God (the Father) gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John" (Revelation 1:1, KJV). The word "signified" in the passage comes from a Greek word meaning "signs" or "symbols." Thus, Revelation was meant by Christ to be interpreted symbolically, not literally! The Book of Revelation, like the rest of the New Testament, was originally written in Greek so sometimes we must go to the Greek language to have a more precise understanding of certain words.
The New Jerusalem in Revelation is described as being God's bride. Scripture teaches that God's bride is the Church (the spiritual body of Jew and Gentile believers in Christ). The New Testament, spiritually speaking, teaches that the Church now is the "Israel of God". The New Testament teaches that the Church is a mystery not taught or revealed in Old Testament Scripture.
Many evangelical Christians today are looking forward to the seven year tribulation period of Israel which would require for the Jews to be in the land. But this period had already occurred in history during 63 A.D. to 70 A.D. (seven years) when the Roman army besieged and destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. It was this destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus said would mark the end of the age (the Jewish Age, that is). During these seven years, there was a brief respite from the attacking Roman army and this respite gave an opportunity for believing Jews (Christians) of this time to escape the final destruction of Jerusalem and have their lives spared.
Evangelical Christians, who are dispensationalists, are still seeking for an Israel that the New Testament says is the spiritual body of Christ made up of both Jew and Gentile believers in Jesus Christ and who together inherit the same (not different) promises.
What about the modern state of Israel?
Although the modern state of Israel now has every right to exist as any other nation (as long as it honors the UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights) this does not mean that Zionism ( the belief that Jews have a biblical right to all of Palestine ) is correct. And it is Zionism that is primarily fueling the building and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Arab land (the West Bank).
As an evangelical Christian, of Indian origin, I wish to set the biblical issue in proper perspective.
From a purely biblical perspective Zionism has enormous problems.
The fact is that almost none of the Jews in modern Israel today are descendants of the original Jews of Palestine thousands of years ago. Most of the Jews in Israel today are descendants of Europeans who had converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages (known as Khazar or Ashkenazi Jews).
The last time that God had promised in Scripture to bring the Jews back to their ancestral homeland was already fulfilled centuries ago when He brought them back from their Babylonian captivity. Thus, the Jews in present day modern Israel are not a fulfillment of that ancient promise.
Furthermore, God's promises concerning the land to the Jews in the Old Testament were conditional - only so long as they continued to obey Him were those promises concerning the land binding (Read Deuteronomy 28). In any case, God had already fulfilled centuries ago His promise concerning the land to the Jews. We read in the Book of Joshua 21:43, 45 "And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass". Thus, there is no promise concerning the land that still awaits any fulfillment.
The best way for Israel to stop terrorist attacks in its territory is by first ceasing its occupation of all Arab lands and the continual, unrestrained building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. In 1967 Israel went to war in self-defense and captured Arab land. Israel was right in defending itself.
However, the issue now is no longer so much self-defense. The problem is that Israel will not pull back to its pre-1967 borders so long as many Israelis and most evangelical Christians in America continue to believe that present day Jews have a biblical right to all of Arab territory in Palestine.
The modern state of Israel, now that it has been established, has every right to exist, but Israel should also be made to uphold the UN resolutions concerning Palestinian inalienable rights. Unlike before, almost all Arabs, including Palestinians, now will recognize Israel's right to exist or, at least, will not wage war with Israel if Israel completely withdraws to its pre-1967 borders. But, what Palestinians and other Arabs cannot live with is Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and Israel's continued building of settlements there. Most Palestinians will stop their resistance and even go after the terrorists themselves if Israel simply gets out of their way (the West Bank) and that is the best way for Israel to stop the resistance and preserve its security and peace - not to mention the security and peace of others.
It is important, however, to have some basic background knowledge of how the modern state of Israel was founded.
As one writer points out: "Israel was created (in the beginning) not by force of arms or military invasion, but terrorist activity advocated by Jewish immigrants, in an effort to get rid of the British Administration (the lawful government of the day, as sanctioned by the predecessor to the U.N). Britain abandoned its mandate and Israel was created by the U.N."
Any solution to the present crisis must also involve monetary or financial compensation being made by Israel to Palestinian families who have had their homes and lands seized and taken away during the formation of the modern state of Israel in the 1940's. (According to the UN resolution 194, Palestinian refugees have the right for compensation and repatriation).
During that time Palestinian families suffered huge atrocities at the hands of Jewish immigrants including many pregnant Palestinian Arab women having their wombs ripped open alive and their babies slaughtered before their very eyes. This was one of the many horrible crimes committed against Palestinians by even by such notable political figures as former Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin, and the Palestinians should be compensated by the modern state of Israel for these crimes. That is only right. The terrorism committed by Jewish immigrants against Palestinian Arabs in the late 1940's is a major reason for why many Palestinian Arabs fled their homes and land and became refugees.
However, as long as most evangelical Christians in America believe modern Zionism is biblical they will continue to exert one-sided pressure in Washington D.C. in support of Israel's status quo in the region and prevent any pressure on Israel to pull back to its pre-1967 borders and discontinue building settlements on Arab land. That is why the information contained in this article is very important so that others, especially evangelical Christians, may see that there is no biblical basis for modern Zionism.
If America does right by insisting Israel be fair with Palestinians it will not only help towards peace in the Middle East but reduce Muslim extremism, and even terrorism, against the United States. The Israeli lobby in Washington D.C. makes sure that the U.S. will never put any pressure on Israel to stop more and more developments of Jewish settlements on Arab land in the West Bank.
More and more Palestinians are seeing their land and life's work being taken away by Zionist Jews with the support or permission of the U.S. and its majority of dispensationalist evangelical Christians. This is very tragic and sad and may cause Muslims to continue to condone or support Islamic terrorism against the United States because of continued U.S. military aid and billions of dollars in economic aid for Israel each year while Israel continues to support Jewish settlers' unrestricted claims for more and more Arab land on the West Bank. A good percentage (around fifteen percent) of Palestinians are of Christian heritage and respect expressions and sharing of the Christian faith while Israel continues to makes it illegal for Christians to share publicly their faith in Christ. How long will the United States continue to support such injustices? How can the U.S expect respect from the Arab world when we behave in this way?
There is never an excuse for terrorism or the killing of civilians in society regardless of the injustice. But let us understand that our unjust policy of unconditionally and always, without exception, supporting Israel while it continues to expand Jewish settlements in Arab land (the West Bank) and while Israel continues to oppress and demean an entire people will only be met with sympathy for the terrorists who attack us. The Islamic fundamentalists and jihadis will continue to use the Palestinians and their suffering for garnering moral support for their cause even though their cause goes way beyond the Israeli/Palestinian issue.
Ultimately, the Islamic jihadis are interested in imposing a theocracy of their fundamentalist version of Islam on all Muslims and eventually the wole world, but they will continue to win hearts and minds in the Islamic world against the U.S. so long as we continue to let Palestine be raped by Jewish Zionists. Thank God that many Israeli and U.S. Jews are not Zionists and are starting to vocally and politically oppose the politics of Zionism.
The U.S. can do its part by immediately recognizing those areas of land already occupied by Palestinians as an independent and sovereign nation and then from that base work with Israel and the Palestinians towards a compromise or some mutual solution over their differences. Such immediate political recognition of the nation of Palestine would not only be just and right but would immediately give the U.S. the political boost it so desperately needs in the Middle East. Such immediate recognition would also prevent Israelis from grabbing more and more Arab land for Jewish settlements.
For those interested in a biblical study of the historic Christian preterist view and interpretation of the Book of Revelation and Bible prophecy concerning the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ an excellent site to visit is http://www.preteristarchive.com where various links and resources are available on the subject.
*Some other Internet articles by the author are: "Why The Traditional View of Hell Is Not Biblical", "Artificial Life By Intelligent Design", "Any Life On Mars Came From Earth!", "Creationists Right On Entropy, Evolution", "Are There Natural Limits To Evolution?","Intelligent Design On Another Planet?", "Where Are All The Half-Evolved Dinosaurs?", "Christ Was Begotten, Not Made". The most up-to-date versions of these and other articles may be accessed at: Babu G. Ranganathan's Articles.
The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, is an experienced Christian writer. Mr. Ranganathan has his B.A. with academic concentrations in Bible and Biology from Bob Jones University. As a religion and science writer he has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East. The author's articles have been published in various publications including Russia's Pravda and South Korea's The Seoul Times. The author's website may be accessed at: www.religionscience.com .