Kevin’s Conversations: What About Israel?
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:2-3
We have seen these verses referenced many times. Often in the appeal that we need to support Israel. Who the “we” is that is supposed to support Israel is not always clarified.
But the implication would seem to be that it would include the United States, all other countries, the Church, and all individuals, especially Christians. So essentially, everybody and everything under the sun.
As to who is “Israel”, the implication if not outright specification is the modern day nation of Israel. Additionally, the implication frequently seems to include any person of Jewish ethnicity, especially those who are practicing the Jewish religion. Maybe even include those who aren’t ethnically Jewish but are practicing Jews. And let’s throw in Messianic Judaism just to complicate the subject even further.
But I don’t want to get caught up in those details. I do not subscribe to the notion that “we” have some sort of current biblical, spiritual, or moral requirement to support “Israel”. I am more inclined to believe that the heirs of the promises of blessing given to Abraham are those who have faith in God, specifically in Jesus Christ. And the heirs are not necessarily ethnic Jews. Several passages in the New Testament such as Romans 9:6-8, Galatians 3:6-14, and John 8:39-47 would seem to indicate this.
I do believe that God still has significant plans for Israel and Jewish people in the lead up to and fulfillment of His Second Coming. So I don’t see God being completely done with the Jewish people as some may. Perhaps this all leads some to believe that I’m just a confused theological jumble when it comes to Israel.
Now this is what I believe, but it is not a hill on which I’m going to die. I will let the heavyweights with much deeper theological and educational knowledge battle it out – clashes over the minutiae of the covenant(s) with Israel in the Old Testament and what was/is conditional or unconditional and what exactly has already been fulfilled or yet to come. I would not have the depth and breadth of expertise on these subjects to hold court.
One of my big concerns, however, is when those who believe we still need to support Israel apply it wholeheartedly and indiscriminately to the current modern day nation of Israel.
This is what I just don’t get. The modern manifestation of the nation of Israel is a secular state. It is not a theocracy. It is not being ruled by God nor following after Him. Even more, the large, large majority of the people who make up the nation of Israel reject God because they reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In the Old Testament, many times when the Jewish people disobeyed God they brought judgment upon themselves and lost their land and freedoms and blessings. And so, why would there be a requirement on us to support such a current state?
Now from a moral standpoint, I think we should support (or oppose) any country based on the justness or righteousness of their actions. Or in how unjustly they may get treated by others and are in need of backing or protection. With all the evil and chaos that engulfs the Middle East, although they are far from blameless, it would appear that supporting modern day Israel in various manners would be the proper thing to do.
Carrying this into a political perspective, it would seem to be an astute idea for the United States to keep Israel as an ally and support her as we can and as is appropriate. Both from a moral standpoint and for what is best for our country from a global political perspective.
What I just don’t get is those who preach that we must support this current state of Israel just because it is Israel. That we must support the nation 100% in all matters. That we will bring judgment upon our own nation (or church or individual) if we do not. And God forbid if we would ever consider a two state solution.
Again, I ask, why must we be unconditionally supportive of a secular state whose people largely reject God? Because when we do, we very well may be forsaking righteousness in other ways.
For instance, I earlier referred to Israel as being worthy of support in many manners, but still not blameless. What about those times when Israel is in the wrong. When they mistreat Palestinians or others, sometimes even Christians. Do we say they are right to do whatever they want and we will support them because they are Israel? What if we believe that some form of a two state solution could help bring a level of peace to the people and reduce unnecessary and immoral violence? What about “blessed are the peacemakers”? Do we reject out of hand any possible thought of a two state solution because, Israel?
What if the promise to support Israel is the tipping point for some to support an immoral political plan or politician? Is this right? What about when judgments are cast that some calamity happened because the victims of said calamity didn’t support Israel? What about when one seems to be more concerned with getting a Jewish person back to their “homeland” than they are with their salvation? And what about when, as I once observed, a co-worker verbally and emphatically attacks another co-worker with charges of blasphemy and heresy when the other co-worker (who is of a Egyptian Christian heritage) says he doesn’t think we need to support Israel? Is this moral and righteous behavior?
Again, I am sure there are many who could take me to task because I am a theological lightweight on the subject. I could not write a thorough and cogent dissertation on the covenants of God with Israel in the Old Testament, including how it all relates to today. But there are what I see as some disturbing unhealthy excesses on this subject. And I bring them up for our care and consideration. Maybe somebody can explain the rationale more comprehensibly as to why we need to be exceedingly supportive of this modern actualization of Israel.
Lord, help us to stay vigilant in our words and actions as we consider a subject such as this and work through our theological agreements and disagreements.