Due to all the “saber-rattling” going on recently, plus calls to “Support Israel,” I thought it might be time to run this article again. Israel bullies and blockades the Gaza Strip and Gaza responds by firing rockets into Israel. I can see this going on forever with great loss of life. But what really bothers me is that evangelical Christianity seems to be blind to both the realities of the sins of both sides and yet sides with Israel because of a major misinterpretation of prophecy and fulfillment. Let me challenge you to take another look at the facts. If, after reading this short treatise, you still disagree, please feel free to put it into words in the comment section of this blog. But, be nice, or I will delete your comment.
Do Israelis have a divine right to what is now called Israel? Who does the land occupied by the modern state of Israel belong to? Should Christians support Israel’s right to exist as a divine right? Are the Jews still God’s separate chosen people? Consider the following points:
- The promise of the land of Palestine (Canaan) to the Jews has been fulfilled (Joshua 21:43-45; 23:14; Nehemiah 9:7,8). The Jews received what they were promised in full. The occupation of the land by modern Israel has nothing to do with God’s promises. It has to do with modern Israel’s alliances and the fact that the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world can’t get along with each other and get their act together.
- The Jews were originally deported from the land for their disobedience just as God promised (Leviticus 26:33; Nehemiah 1:8,9 and many others).
- Any restoration to the land was predicated upon their returning to belief and obedience (Deuteronomy 30; Ezekiel 36:22-38; Nehemiah 1:8,9). Most of those who now occupy Palestine are not believers and are certainly not obedient. Many, in fact, are atheists. How can modern Israel be the fulfillment of any promise of restoration?
- God has not rejected His people but only those who become believers in Messiah Christ are the “Israel of God” (Galatians 3:29; 6:15-17).
- Only those Jews who accept Jesus as Messiah can continue in covenant relationship with Yahweh (Romans 9-12) and receive any promise.
- Because Christ has fulfilled the Law of Moses, there is no longer a division between Jew and Gentile…we are one in Christ and Abraham’s spiritual offspring (Ephesians 2:11-22; Galatians 3:28,29). So, who will be restored to the land?
- The Old Covenant given to the Jews alone has been superseded by a new covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13) made by God with all who believe. Since there is no separation between ethnic Jews and believing Gentiles, who will receive the alleged promises of restoration to the land?
The truth is that modern unbelieving, disobedient Israel has no more right to the land that belonged to the Palestinians than European Americans have to the land that belonged to the Native Americans. Throughout history, one group has driven out another and occupied their land. If we are going to restore all of earth’s lands to those who originally possessed it, absolute turmoil will result. Let me make a few alternative suggestions:
- Leave the Israelis alone. They fought for the land they have and they won. It is not the fulfillment of prophecy; it is the work of the United Nations and the spoils of war.
- Palestinians and Arabs, get your act together and be nice to your neighbors. The world will be a much better place and nobody will have to blow up themselves and others. You think God likes what you’re doing? Neither do I. And, while you’re at it, do something about this madman dictator of Iran. He’s not helping your cause at all.
- Israelis, quit bullying the Palestinians and give them a homeland. One of the reasons they hate you is your mistreatment of them. They will probably never love you, but they might learn to abide you. One thing for sure, killing children and leveling houses will not win you any points.
- Christians, you’re not helping anything with your misinterpretation of prophecy. Instead of this ridiculous “Christians United for Israel,” and “Christian Zionism” put your efforts into preaching and modeling Christ to both Jews and Arabs. Are you doing what Jesus would do? I don’t think so either. Start preaching the peace that only the Prince of Peace can give. Instead of lobbying with the Jews, preach Christ to them. And don’t you want the Arabs to be saved? Well, you don’t act like it.
- How do we win them over? By being salt and light and letting our good works toward these very needy people bring glory to god. Guns, bombs and missiles will never accomplish anything but death and continued hatred and division and the loss of souls to the author of all that is ungodly.