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WHY PRESIDENT NIXON WAS WRONG ABOUT ISRAEL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, February 17, 2002


"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3).

This is called the "Abrahamic Covenant." It is God's covenant with Israel and the Jewish people. As an unashamed believer in a literal interpretation of the Bible, I am convinced that this covenant of God with the Jewish people is still in full force. God has not broken it, and will not break it in the future.

President Nixon is one of the most hated men in history by the secular humanists. They hated him while he was alive, and they hate him now that he is dead. I believe that the source of their hatred toward Nixon is simple: he was first and last an enemy of Communism. They never forgave him for being right about Alger Hiss and other Communists. Why? Because in their hearts they were pro-Communist themselves.

But Nixon was never the antisemite they claim he was. The mere fact that his name is forever linked with that of Henry Kissinger, a Jew who supported him in life and in death, shows that quite clearly. But Nixon was not a solid Bible-believing Christian. He did not understand Bible prophecy clearly, and this clouded his vision concerning the future of Israel.

In his book, The Death of the West (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002), Patrick J. Buchanan tells us,

Golda Meir once said, Israel never had a better friend than Richard Nixon, who rescued her nation in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. But, the Richard Nixon the author recalls was not blind to the forces of history. He used to say, "A statesman must take the long view." In San Clemente once, after he hung up from a courtesy call from Yitzhak Rabin, a friend we had met in Israel days after the Six-Day War, my wife, Shelley, asked the ex-president what the prospects for Israel were.

"The long run?" Nixon responded. He extended his right fist, thumb up, in the manner of a Roman emperor passing sentence on a gladiator, and slowly turned his thumb over and down (p. 122).

In the context of Buchanan's book, this is given as Nixon's view that Israel would eventually be swallowed up in a sea of Muslims, whose exploding population would eventually overcome Israel as a nation and people.

"In the long run?" Nixon asked Mrs. Buchanan. Then he turned his thumb down. But Nixon was wrong. And he was wrong simply because God has said otherwise in the Bible. Now, I cannot go very deeply into these subjects in one sermon, but I will give you an overview, so you can understand what the Bible teaches about Israel and the Jewish people. I am not giving you some obscure teaching, held by a few overzealous people. I am giving you the basic view taught in the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1909, 1917). This is the most widely used study Bible of all time, and has had a greater effect on the thinking of Bible-believing Christians than any other study Bible. Its basic ideas are held by hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world. It is nearly one hundred years old, so it has stood the test of time. Conservative evangelicals and Fundamentalists are strong supporters of Israel and the Jewish people because they believe what is taught in this study Bible, which is read by vast multitudes even today. If Nixon had known the ideas of the Scofield notes, he would not have made the mistake of telling Shelly Buchanan that Israel has no future.

I. First, Nixon did not understand the Abrahamic Covenant.

The Abrahamic Covenant was given and amplified four times to Abraham, in Genesis 12:1-4; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:1-7; and Genesis 17:1-8. The world-famous Bible teacher Dr. J. Vernon McGee said:

God has made a covenant with these people [the Jews] that is an everlasting covenant…God did not give them a ninety-nine-year lease on the land. God gave them an everlasting possession (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, vol. I, p. 74).

The Scofield note, as given in the 1917 edition of The Scofield Reference Bible, tells us that the Abrahamic Covenant with the Jews has seven parts:


1. "I will make of thee a great nation" [Genesis 12:2].

2. "I will bless thee" [Genesis 12:2).

3. "And make thy name great" [Genesis 12:2].

4. "And thou shalt be a blessing" [Genesis 12:2].

5. "I will bless them that bless thee" [Genesis 12:3]. In fulfillment closely related to the next clause.

6. "And curse him that curseth thee" [Genesis 12:3]. Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew - well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle.

7. "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" [Genesis 12:3]. (The Scofield Reference Bible, p. 25).

It doesn't take a genius, or a great Bible scholar, to see that the promises in the Abrahamic Covenant have been, and still are, being literally fulfilled, just as God in His sovereignty said they would be.

God did make Abraham's offspring into a great nation, and they are still a great nation.

God did bless them, as He promised. God did make Abraham's name great. His name is more well known around the world than any other person of antiquity. A little Chinese boy in our church is named after him. His name is Abraham Song. Our greatest President was named after him - Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator of the slaves in America. Abraham's name is known around the world, as God promised in the Abrahamic Covenant, "I will make thy name great" (Genesis 12:2).

God then promised that He would make Abraham and his offspring a blessing to the world, "And thou shalt be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2).

Then God told Abraham,

"I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" (Genesis 12:3).

This has proved true time and again in history. God cursed Spain for persecuting the Jews, and Spain has never risen to her former glory. God cursed Germany for persecuting the Jews during World War II, and Germany failed in her dream of world conquest, and remains a second-rate country even today.

On the other hand, God blessed England for protecting the Jews and (sometimes haltingly) helping them to establish a homeland in Israel. As a direct result of his support for the Jews, God blessed Winston Churchill and helped his nation overcome Hitler's great military might with a few old airplanes, and an antiquated navy. On the day that World War II ended, Churchill stood on a balcony with the King and Queen of England. Tens of thousands of people in London and around the world cheered as Churchill raised his fingers in the "V for victory sign" he had made famous during World War II. Nothing, in my judgment, can account for England's victory over the Nazi menace but this promise from God, "I will bless them that bless thee" (Genesis 12:3). How England stood for five years against the most powerful military machine in history, with only a few old airplanes and antiquated ships, is one of the great surprises of World War II.  But I believe that it is explained by Genesis 12:3.  Churchill had been kind to the Jews, and had time and again spoken out in favor of a Jewish homeland for them in Israel. He also spoke out strongly and repeatedly against Hitler's atrocities against the Jews. And God blessed England with victory because "I will bless them that bless thee" (Genesis 12:3).

America has made many mistakes in the last fifty years. But our nation has consistently supported the new and struggling nation of Israel. And because we did that, as a direct result, God has blessed us in spite of our other faults, until we have become the only superpower on earth.

And you can be certain of this: if America ever turns against Israel, we are finished. God says so, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" (Genesis 12:3). It's in the Bible. God says so.

The Egyptians enslaved the Jewish people and tried to destroy them.  You can read about it in the Book of Exodus.  But God cursed the Egyptians and their great empire fell.  It has never risen again.  The Romans persecuted the Jews horribly and drove them out of their homeland in 70 A.D., but God took His hand off of the Roman Empire and it fell to pieces.  God cursed Rome.  Spain persecuted the Jews, forcing them to become Catholics, killing many others, and expelling the rest.  God cursed Spain.  They lost their empire and their power when God took His hand off of them.  The Russians hounded and persecuted the Jews in the pogroms of the 19th Century.  God destroyed Russia and put it under the yoke of Communism for 70 years.  This 70-year curse fell on Russia because they persecuted the Jews.  Hitler had the greatest military machine in the history of the world, but because he persecuted the Jews God destroyed him, and divided the German nation.  Germany has never fully recovered from the curse of God.  God said to Abraham, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" (Genesis 12:3).

Nixon said they had no future because he didn't fully understand the Abrahamic Covenant in the Bible. Dr. McGee said, "God has made a covenant with these people that is an everlasting covenant." In the fourth declaration of the Abrahamic Covenant, God said:

"And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God"

(Genesis 17:8).

The Jews have been dispersed from their land three times. First they went into Egypt. Second, they went into Babylonian captivity. Third, they were dispersed out of their land in 70 AD. But each of these three times God has brought them back to the land, just as He promised Abraham. We are seeing God's hand in bringing them back to Israel right now, in our time, and He is by no means finished drawing them back there.

Frederick II lived from 1712 until 1786. As the king of Prussia, he became known as Frederick the Great. He lived in an age of skepticism. One evening he called out to those in his court, "Can anyone give me a solid argument for the existence of God?" The king's chaplain replied, "The Jews, Your Majesty."

That chaplain's brave answer to the king is now famous. His answer is indeed a great proof of God's existence. The God who made a covenant with Abraham has kept His word. The preservation of Israel and the Jews is a great argument for the existence of God.

Dr. McGee tells us that the entire land God promised will be restored to them in the future, according to the Bible:

Don't say that God is not making good His promise. The fact of the matter is that God is doing exactly what He said He would do. The day will come when God will put the people of Israel back in the land [fully], and when He does it, they won't have a toehold. They will have the land all the way east to the Euphrates River and all the way north as far as the Hittite nation was and all the way south to the river of Egypt…Actually, He gave them 300,000 square miles. They have a long way to go, but they will have to get it on God's terms and in God's appointed time. The United Nations can't do anything about it, and neither can the United States or Russia settle their problem…God is in control, and He is going to work things out His way (ibid., p. 57).

If Nixon had understood the current and historical movements of God to uphold His Abrahamic Covenant with the Nation Israel and the Jewish people, he would never have turned his thumb down when asked about Israel's future "in the long run."

II. Second, Nixon did not understand the teachings of the
New Testament regarding Israel and the Jews.

Jesus told the woman of Samaria, "Salvation is of [from] the Jews" (John 4:22). One of the great reasons that God has preserved, and will continue to preserve, the Jews is simply because salvation is from the Jews.

Dr. Charles L. Feinberg was the long-time dean of Talbot Theological Seminary, in La Mirada, California. He was born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish home. He studied Hebrew and related subjects for fourteen years of preparation to be a rabbi, before he became a Christian. Dr. Feinberg was a graduate of the Hebrew Institute of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D. in Archaeology and Semitic Languages), and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., Th.D.).

In his book, Israel at the Center of History and Revelation (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1980), Dr. Feinberg has a chapter titled, "Why God Needs Israel." He gives five major reasons for the existence of Israel (pp. 175-189).

Feinberg points out that the Bible teaches that Adam plunged the human race into sin. God destroyed nearly the whole human race in the deluge of Noah's time. God scattered the nations for their arrogance at the Tower of Babel. Then Feinberg says:

From this great mass of human wreckage and sin God called one man, Abraham, and His promise to him was… "I will make you a great nation"…God, then, had purposed to use a nation as the channel of His purposes in the earth. Nothing could be more clear than this from a study of the very structure of the book of Genesis…

When we thus consider the origin of this miracle nation and then further note its history and God's dealing with it throughout the centuries, we are constrained to say that Israel means a great deal to God. Furthermore, we are emboldened to assert - and we do it with all reverence - that God, since He has condescended to use secondary means and agents, has needed and does need Israel for several specific purposes (ibid., pp. 175-176).

Dr. Feinberg then gives five of these reasons:

1. First, for a witness and service. Even in the worst periods of declension Israel has been aware of her calling to witness to the fact that there is one God. Ever since the return from Babylon, Israel could not be accused of idolatry or the worship of more than one God. "To this day the national motto of Israel is: 'Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah'." (ibid., p. 177). "As long as Israel remained in the path of God's will and served Him, they were an example to all the surrounding nations and to us of how God will bless such" (ibid., p. 198).

2. Second, for the sake of the Scriptures. God gave the Scriptures, and transmitted and preserved them, through Israel. Every word of both the Old and New Testaments came to us through the Jewish people. "What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles [words] of God" (Romans 3:1-2).

3. Third, for the channel of the Messiah. In Galatians, chapter three, Paul tells us that the Messiah, Jesus, came to the world through Israel: "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" (Galatians 3:14). In the Abrahamic Covenant, God said, "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). Dr. Feinberg says, "Such was Christ: He alone of all who have walked the earth fulfilled all the blueprint specifications for the Messiah explicitly laid down in the Old Testament Scriptures. And He was of the nation Israel. Truly, Israel must mean much to God when He found that He could use them as the channel for the incarnation of His own ever blessed and well-beloved and only begotten Son" (ibid., pp. 181-182).

4. Fourth, for an example to men. Dr. Feinberg says, "But God has had and does have further purposes in Israel. He chose them to show all men His graciousness and longsuffering in dealing with sinful man. When God purposed to show the exceeding riches of His goodness to sinful man, He decided to do so on a national scale with Israel as the nation of His choice" (ibid., p. 182). "In fact, the main design of the three chapters on Israel in the Epistle to the Romans, chapters 9, 10, and 11, is to show that, in spite of the fact that God has placed both Jew and Gentile in the same need of salvation and has placed salvation on a basis where it is free to both, yet God has abrogated [abolished] none of His precious promises to Israel…God is faithful to all His unconditional promises" (ibid. pp. 186-187). Since God is faithful in all of His unconditional promises to Israel, we can be certain that He will be faithful to us as Christians as well.

5. Fifth, for the Gospel and God's glory. Dr. Feinberg tells us, "All these features that have been discussed thus far have been more or less with regard to the past of Israel's history. But the Word reveals that Israel will mean much to God in the future, when He uses them as worldwide missionaries" (ibid. p. 187). "When God wants worldwide missionaries, He will again take up Israel. They will be a host of Jonahs back on their right jobs. Note it as a Scriptural truth: Whenever God wants things done on a national scale or desires a national testimony, He always chooses Israel. Then, do you not think that Israel means much to Him?" (ibid. p. 188).

President Nixon was wrong to think that Israel has no future. He was wrong because he did not fully comprehend the Abrahamic Covenant or the teaching of the New Testament regarding Israel and the Jews. But there is a third reason why he was wrong.

III. Third, Nixon did not understand the prophecy of the Bible
concerning Israel and the Jews.

The Bible teaches that the entire world will be evangelized before Christ comes to set up His Kingdom:

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).

What many people do not realize is that much of this world-wide preaching, indeed most of it, will be done by the Jews.

During the "Christian era" or the current dispensation, the New Testament teaches that there "is a remnant according to the election of grace" among the Jewish people (Romans 11:1-6). Just as there was a "remnant" of seven thousand true believers in Israel during the time of Elijah (I Kings 19:18), so there has been a "remnant" of Jewish believers in Jesus throughout Christian history. Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England under Queen Victoria, and the great composer Felix Mendelssohn are famous examples of this "remnant" of Jewish believers in Jesus.

A friend of mine who is not a dispensationalist accused dispensationalists of thinking that God doesn't use the Jewish people in this age. But I believe my friend is wrong. We teach that God uses Israel for the reasons Dr. Feinberg gave, and also, God uses them as the "remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). The English word "remnant" means "a small remaining part." Just as there were seven thousand in "the small remaining part" in Elijah's time (I Kings 19:18), so there has been a "remnant" throughout this present age. What did the remnant do in the days of Elijah? They remained. That was plenty! It took great courage and great grace for them just to exist as the remnant. And in this present age it is enough that the remnant of believing Jews has remained. They have often endured great persecution from other Jews when they believed in Jesus. They have always had to endure the intolerance and ignorant antisemitic hatred of so-called "Christians," yet this remnant of Jewish believers has remained faithful to Jesus Christ. It is enough, in my thinking, that they did so. What more could we ask of those Jewish believers who have suffered so greatly for Christ? At the Passover, the Jews say, "Dayenu" - "It would have been enough!" And I say that it is enough that the remnant has remained faithful.

But in the future, this remnant will explode in the greatest movement of God among the Jewish people since Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:5, 37-41). In Revelation 7:1-8 we are told that 144,000 Jews will turn to Jesus. In Revelation 14:1-5 we are told that these 144,000 Jews will be followers of Jesus, "the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4). The "woman" of Revelation 12:17 is Israel. In this verse we are told that the "remnant" (the 144,000 Jewish believers) will "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17). It is through the testimony and preaching of these Jewish believers in Jesus that "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations" (Revelation 7:9) will be turned fully to Christ. These Gentiles who hear the gospel from the 144,000 Jewish evangelists "are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14). Later, after Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth, the entire nation of Israel will evangelize the world:

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you" (Zechariah 8:23).

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10).

"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness" (Zechariah 13:1).

President Nixon should have known these Scriptures. His father was a conservative evangelical Christian who often took him to hear "Fighting Bob" Shuler and evangelist Paul Rader (cf. Jonathan Aitken, Nixon: A Life, Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 1993, p. 48). Nixon "went forward" after hearing Paul Rader at the conservative evangelical Church of the Open Door, in downtown Los Angeles, in 1926. Dr. R. A. Torrey was pastor. Dr. Torrey would have agreed with every idea I have given in this sermon. But somehow these Scriptures concerning Israel didn't stick in Richard Nixon's mind. Personally, I don't think Nixon was inwardly converted, although I hold him in admiration as President. I believe that he was one of the most gifted Presidents we have ever had. But he was wrong about this subject.

So Richard Nixon turned his thumb down regarding the future of Israel. In the days ahead every person hearing or reading this sermon will find out who was right - Richard Nixon, or the God of Scripture.

The only safe thing to do is to believe what God has said about Israel, the Jews - and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that he died for you on the Cross, to pay the penalty for your sin. The Bible teaches that He rose physically from the dead and is now alive in Heaven, at the right hand of God. If you trust Him, Jesus will forgive all your sins and save you. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Romans 11:26-29.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"The God of Abraham Praise" by Daniel ben Judah, 14th century,
revised version of "The Yigdal," by Thomas Olivers (1725-1799).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

WHY PRESIDENT NIXON WAS WRONG ABOUT ISRAEL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3).

I.   Nixon did not understand the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 12:1-4;
Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:1-7; Genesis 17:1-8;
Genesis 12:3; Genesis 17:8.

II.  Nixon did not understand the teachings of the New Testament
regarding Israel and the Jews, John 4:22; Romans 3:1-2;
Galatians 3:14; Genesis 12:3.

III. Nixon did not understand the prophecy of the Bible concerning
Israel and the Jews, Matthew 24:14; Romans 11:1-6;
I Kings 19:18; Acts 2:5, 37-41; Revelation 7:1-8;
Revelation 14:1-5; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 7:9, 14;
Zechariah 8:23; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1; Acts 16:31.