Should Christians Support Israel

Should Christians Support Israel?

One of the hallmarks of conservative Christianity is an unwavering support for the nation of Israel. Through conservative eyes, Israel is God’s chosen nation, so if a nation wants to be blessed by God, she must stand with Israel through thick and through thin. Exactly how biblical, we might ask, is the conservative position?

The Jewish people are the physical descendants of Abraham, to whom God gave the following promise:

I will make you into a great nation,
I will bless you,
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
I will curse those who treat you with contempt,
and all the peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:2-3 (HCSB)

In the eyes of many conservatives, this promise still stands, as evidenced by the miraculous rebirth of the country of Israel in 1948. However, a “chance” encounter with a Palestinian Christian challenged me to rethink my understanding of the conservative perspective on this crucial issue.

The young, devoted believer told me of Jewish and Palestinian Christians worshiping side by side in his local church. The very thought of such awesome unity enlivened my heart, but the conversation that followed had the opposite effect.

The Israeli government, he went on to explain, was terribly oppressive of all Palestinians, Christian or not. The young man bore no ill will, but still was heartbroken for the plight of his people. He wanted Western evangelicals to understand the heart of the matter. That conversation marked me as I began to wonder what the Bible really had to say about the evangelical support of Israel.

The full explanation is a little involved, but I’ll summarize my ideas based on a couple of New Testament passages from Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 2:28-29 and 11:25-32).

  1. The Jewish nation rejected Jesus, thereby making themselves to be enemies of the gospel.
  2. With regards to salvation, people become Abraham’s descendants not through physical linage, but through faith in Christ. Thus, non-Jews—like the young Palestinian I met—can become spiritual Jews.
  3. When the time of the Gentiles (non-Jews) is fulfilled, God will begin to bring the nation of Israel back to Himself through faith in Christ and only through faith in Christ.
  4. The Jewish and Gentile churches will join together as one glorious reflection of God’s manifest goodness on earth.

Terrorist organizations like Hamas are evil to their core and so the Israeli government has every right to defend itself. At the same time, Palestinian Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ, while unsaved Jews are still enemies of the gospel. Giving unquestioning support to the nation of Israel is a well-intentioned mistake on the part of conservatives. It’s not a government that we are called to bless, but a people.

God rebirthed the nation of Israel so that He could soften the hearts of Abraham’s physical descendants and draw them back to Himself—something that is now happening with increased frequency. Those who seek to stay true to the heart of the gospel would do well to consider the following actions:

  1. Actively pray for God to soften the hearts of the Jewish people and draw them back to Himself.
  2. Actively pray for God to pour out His saving grace on the Palestinians in the region.
  3. Help fund evangelistic endeavors toward Jews and toward Palestinians.
  4. Help fund Christian humanitarian efforts toward the Middle East region.

I think it’s awesome that many conservatives feel an affinity toward the Jewish people and I would certainly encourage every reasonable effort to help foster God’s work in their hearts during these last days. At the same time, it’s a huge mistake to think that God cares more about a Jewish soul than He does about a Palestinian one.

 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Romans 11:32 (NASB)

original photo credit: shyb via photopin cc

2 Responses

  1. Jason

    This is such a sensitive issue, but I think you’ve handled it very well. It is true that there is a distinction between a nation and its people. Do you think that is a modern distinction? Considering the covenant mindset of the Ancient Near Eastern world, it would make sense if people were equated with their nations.

  2. Bob

    Jason, you make an excellent point. I don’t think I know enough to give you an intelligent answer. It would be interesting to know how righteous Jews felt under the reigns of unrighteous kings. In the end, the probably didn’t have the right to question.