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« Shabbat and the Stars | Main | Words Have Consequences -- II »

September 05, 2006

Comments

Brother Mel

HI Rick,

Every Christian I know fervently supports Israel. Indeed, we consider it incomprehensible NOT to support Israel.

I've heard critics of "Christian Zionism"--if you want to use that term--say that Christians have an ulterior motive in supporting Israel. They argue that the support is based on Christians' belief that the Jews must return to Israel before the Messiah can come.

I've attended many Christian services and conventions, and private ministers' meetings over the last 26 years, and I have never heard anyone argue that we should support the Jews returning to Israel in order to speed the coming of the Messiah.

God has His own timetable, and the Messiah will come whenever God chooses for him to come.

Every Christian I know or have ever heard, support the Jews returning to Israel because: One, God gave them that land, and who are we to second-guess God? Two, the Jews suffered greatly in the Holocaust, and they need a land of refuge of their own, and what more logical place than the land of Israel? Three, as your article states, most non-Liberal Christians take very seriously the Scripture in Genesis that says, "...I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse them that curse thee..." We cannot possibly have the blessing or help of God if we individually or as a nation do not support the Jews both in our own country and in Israel. And four, it's just the right thing to do.

I agree entirely with these sentiments, and teach them to others when I hold services.

There is only one aspect of our support of Israel in which I believe that SOME Christians make a very severe mistake. In their zeal to support Israel, sometimes they intrude into Israeli politics.

For instance, they look at the boundry lines for Israel that God lays down in the Books of Moses. Then if a current peace plan guarantees all of that land to the Jews, they say, "This is God's plan." If it doesn't guarantee the Jews all of their historic land, they say, "God is against that plan." And they say that if an Israeli politican favors where they believe the boundry lines should be drawn, then they say "This is God's chosen leader for Israel." If he believes in different boundry lines, "Well, God isn't with that man."

The most flagrant example was Pat Robertson's recent public announcement that God had given Ariel Sharon a stroke to keep him from giving away historic Jewish lands. He has since profusely apologized to Sharon's family. But his ridiculous statement reveals a mind-set that some--not all--Christians have. Namely, they endorse or reject fleeting Israeli political positions based on whether the position of the moment agrees with their interpretation of the Torah.

I believe it is a grave mistake that some Christians make in intruding into Israeli politics in this way.

I have no idea whether the Camp David Accords pleased God or not. Neither does anyone else. I see only that they have brought a measure of relative peace between Egypt and Israel, for which I am grateful.

I don't know whether God wants Israel to give back the Golan Heights to Syria or not. If Syria would cease sponsoring terrorism, not use the land to fire missles into Israel, and if they would live at peace with Israel, logic--I think--would argue for the land to be returned. But for Christians or anyone else to state that God wants Israel to give back the Golan Heights or not give it back is presumptuous indeed.

To endorse or condemn individual Israeli politicians or political positions is simply nor our role--as Christians--to play. Israelis must elect leaders of their choosing, not of our choosing, and develop policies that they believe to be in their own best interest.

I think that we as Christians must first of all be supportive of Israel in an over-all and unconditonal manner. And secondly, we need to encourage an Israeli political decision, or peace treaty, or negotiation be based on logic, security, and verification, not upon anyone's personal interpretation of Scripture.

Kind Regards,
Brother Mel

edfred

Hi Rick,
Great post on the importance of evangelicals to the future of Israel. There are many myths circulating about the reasons why Christians support Israel. I recommend a very well-written book by David Brog, "Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support Israel" as providing a useful antidote to some of the misinformation that unfortnately tends to creep into any discussion about these growing ties. Contrary to critics, the loyalty to Israel is not based on end-of-days scenarios. Instead it stems from many factors-mostly based on Biblical calls to honor and bless the Jewish people. I am involved in the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews-a charity that is on course to raise more than 60 million dollars this year (the bulk from Christian donors); most of this money will go to help needy Israelis. Some of it will go to help poor Jews throughout the world who intend to stay in their current nations.Some fo the support is also based on a recognition that the Judeo-Christian world faces threats from extremists in the Islamic world and we must join together for our own peace and security.I am Jewish and can state that
my experience with Evangelical Christians has been nothing but positive and filled with warmth. In these days, warmth towards the Jewish people should be welcomed and not shunned.

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