Debut author and pastor Coates offers a spirited defense of Israel as both a modern nation and a holy land.
Israel has been a lightning rod for political debate since its 1948 creation as a state, but its fraught history reaches back thousands of years. In this book, the author begins with an interpretation of the biblical covenant forged between Abraham and God—an election of a people and a divine promise which, he asserts, God maintains today. He then takes readers on a tour of Israel’s history in the Bible and in modern times, asserting that its successes, including a vibrant economy and dynamic democracy, are the result of its special place in God’s plan. Also, Coates argues that Christians should care about the plight of Israel because their own spiritual tradition is deeply entangled with Judaism, and that Jesus’ expected return may only be understood in light of Israel’s privileged status. Furthermore, the author examines the enmity that some groups have against the Jewish people, and asserts that political Zionism is a proper response to it. The backbone of the entire study is a meticulous accounting of the biblical treatment of Israel, and the connections between the Old and New Testaments. Coates writes in an accessible prose style, and despite his close exegetical investigation of Scripture, the book’s tone is more popular than academic. He also expertly demonstrates the profound theological debt that Christianity owes to Jewish predecessors. Finally, he delivers a remarkably concise account of Israel’s birth as a modern nation and the opposition to it. Unfortunately, Coates’ rhetoric can take turns toward the polemical, sometimes expressed as breathless hyperbole: “In an increasingly crazy world, there is one unfortunate constant: the universal hatred of the Jews.” Readers will also find some lines offensive, as when Islam is called a “perversion of Judaism.”
A thorough historical account, undermined by strident political editorializing.