Is Israel the nation to support? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Israel is facing trouble again and that means Christians in America have taken sides, as well as no doubt many other places in the world. However, America has a strong connection to futurism and dispensationalism especially. We often see ourselves as a chosen people and our ability to function is somehow tied to Israel. After all, aren’t the Jews the people of God?
Now in this, I am not going to even begin to recommend solutions regarding conflict between Christians and Palestinians. I know some Christians who do think Palestine has a case and they are not anti-Semitic. That’s something else that needs to be said. Just because someone thinks the Jews could be in the wrong does not mean you can go and kill all the Jews you want and treat them horribly.
A few weeks before this all broke out, I remember being on Facebook and seeing a post asking something along the lines of how Christians should see Jews today. I answered, “People who need Jesus just like everyone else does.” I stand by that 100%. Jews need their Messiah.
However, any support I would give to Israel is not for theological reasons. Again, it seems to need to be constantly said that just because you do not support for theological reasons does not mean that you cannot support for any other reasons. It also doesn’t mean that you immediately jump over to the other side and think they’re all just fine.
Modern end-times people have often tried to connect end-times prophecy with the formation of the state of Israel, but that has not been too successful. Some were speculating it would be within a generation, vis a vis the “this generation” prophecy of Jesus, of the founding of Israel that the “rapture” would take place. Well, that hasn’t happened. Then it was the Six-Day War which turned out to be a swing and a miss. So far, this hasn’t worked well.
But isn’t Israel in the land? That means God was behind it. Right?
I find it strange that the people in end-times circles who want to take the Bible so “literally” often ignore how the text makes repentance a constant requirement for returning to the land.
25 “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, 2 and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. 5 And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. 7 And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. 8 And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. 9 The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
1 Kings 8
46 “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, 47 yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 48 if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, 49 then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause 50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are your people, and your heritage, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace). 52 Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you. 53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”
Has anybody seen the nation en masse turning to Jesus as Messiah? I know several Jews are, but for the most part, Israel is still a secular nation. Now if you want to take the text literally, then that would indicate God is not the one directly behind this. That does not mean that you cannot support Israel. You can do so for other reasons. For example, I think Israel is a helpful buffer to have against Islam in the Middle East. Before anyone asks, I have not looked at the conflict between Israel and Palestine so I have no opinion on that one.
We should also see if our interests are in line with Israel or not. Do we have the same goals? Are we truly friends or not? If Israel was doing something that was wrong, would we support them because they are Israel? Let’s suppose for some reason Israel had invaded Kuwait instead of Iraq around 30 years ago. Would we be supporting Israel then and attacking Kuwait? Would we ignore an SOS from Kuwait asking for help because Israel are our allies?
None of this is also to speak ill of my dispensationalist friends. Most know that I don’t consider the view to have any Biblical credibility, but I am thankful for my brothers and sisters who hold this position not because they hold it, but because we’re all one in Christ. I also recommend they go and look at the passages about returning to the land and see how often repentance is mentioned.
By all means also, pray for Israel if you desire, but I would also add to pray that everyone over there, Jew and Gentile both, come to Messiah Jesus.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)