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Friday, January 06, 2006

Examining Robertson's Supporting Text

God has been known to end someone's life prematurely for one reason or another. My first thoughts are Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5). I really have questions, however, regarding these comments by Pat Robertson's:
"The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his.

"You read the Bible, he says, 'This is my land.' And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he's going carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No. This is mine.'"

Robertson, who frequently provokes outrage with his remarks, said he was "sad" to see Sharon fall sick, and that he was a "very likeable person."

"I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or the United States of America."

"God said, 'This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.'" (cite)
The Bible says that God loves the Jewish people though he has been often angry at their rejection of Him. What makes him even more angry is when other people act against Israel. Pat Robertson in his comments was talking about the verse in Joel 3:2, "I will gather all the nations and take them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. I will enter into judgment with them there because of My people, My inheritance Israel. The nations have scattered the Israelites in foreign countries and divided up My land." From a preliminary interpretation, it looks like Joel is talking about judgment upon other nations; however, from this verse we definitely know that God doesn't like it when people divide up the land given to the Jews.

Yet, this verse is clear that Joel is talking about a widespread judgment coming to nations in the future, at a specific time, when God begins to restore to the Jews the riches he has for them (3:1). So, what Pat Robertson did was take "God doesn't like dividing land" and applied a prophecy about a general judgment to a specific person. (Was that called illegitimate totality transfer?)

The lesson is there, don't divide the land; but, his application isn't explicitly supported in Scripture. Maybe Mr. Sharon's stroke is because he's old, and old people have strokes--or a host of other possibilities. I'll stand by the inerrancy of the Bible and the application of its explicit texts; I'll refrain from going out on a limb for support my own application.

I don't believe Robertson's intentions were ignoble; he wanted to draw attention to how the Bible speaks to today's situation (of course, I really don't know his motive). It's enough to say that Pat Robertson doesn't speak for me this time, either.

Linked: The Rogue Angel

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