Should Christians support Israel? Part 1
May 26, 2011
President Obama's recent speeches have continued America's Mideast lip-service policy to establish a Palestinian state, using the 1967 borders as the basis of negotiations.
This is not a new policy. But as previous presidents have discovered, it is a policy that is dead in the water. It has support in Europe, but nowhere else, not even in our own legislature. When Netanyahu spoke to Congress the other day, the applause on both sides of the aisle made it clear that President Obama was out on a limb all by himself.
Even Harry Reid, the Democrat's Senate Majority Leader, made it clear that only the Israelis and Palestinians ought to be part of the negotiations, and everyone else should keep their nose out of it. He was telling President Obama to stay out of it and to take no leadership role in the Mideast peace plan. He can say that as long as the Israelis remain the most powerful military force in the region. You can be sure that if they were genuinely threatened, the US Congress would take a far bigger lead in this.
What upsets the Mideast is America's obvious bias. What makes America biased is its Christians who believe that the Jews are Israel and who must be protected at all costs--or face a wrathful God for failing to do so. This is, in fact, the basis of the whole conflict since its beginning. It is the belief that God gave the land to the Jews, and that anyone who fails to support them will be cursed by God.
The root problem is that Christians do not know the divine Law, nor do they have any serious knowledge of biblical history.
The Laws of Tribulation
The Law of Tribulation makes it clear that when Israel violates its Covenant with God, then God will judge them by putting them into captivity. See Lev. 26 and Deut. 28. So we see in Scripture that when Israel was continually disobedient, God threatened them with captivity to many different nations over the course of time. Unfortunately, Israel always built up its military to defend itself from God.
Isaiah 30:1-3 says that these "rebellious children" of Israel took refuge in the safety of Pharaoh. In Isaiah 31 the prophet continues,
(1) Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen, because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord! (2) Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, and does not retract His words, but will arise against the house of evildoers, and against the help of the workers of iniquity. (3) Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses are flesh and not spirit; so the Lord will stretch out His hand, and he who helps will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and all of them will come to an end together.
The solution is not a strong military, but faith in God--expressed by obedience to His Law (James 2:18).
Israel went into six distinct captivities in the book of Judges, and each time the reason was the same. Israel was in disobedience to God. It was not that their enemies were so powerful, but that Israel refused to live up to their Covenant vow/agreement. God always took full credit for every captivity.
Finally, in the days of Hezekiah, God put Israel into captivity to Assyria and actually divorced them as a nation (Jer. 3:8; Hos. 2:2). When the nation of Judah persisted in its hypocritical religious practices in Jerusalem, God finally sent that nation into captivity to Babylon in the days of Jeremiah. The only difference is that God did not divorce Judah, because she yet had to bring forth the Son of God in Bethlehem. Jesus could not be born illegitimately (outside of marriage).
So Judah's stay in Babylon was only temporary, for God then allowed her to return after 70 years. Even so, Judah was not given full independence, but remained under the Persian kings for the next two centuries. Then Persia fell to Greece, and Judah remained under Grecian rule for another 170 years or so.
There are two kinds of captivity in Scripture. Deut. 28:48 speaks of "an iron yoke" that involves war, destruction, and deportation to another country. Jeremiah 27 shows us that if the people repented--even after the sentence of God had been passed upon them--they could lighten their sentence to a wooden yoke (Jer. 28:13). A wooden yoke meant that they could remain in their land and serve their sentence there without any major destruction. It was primarily a taxation judgment (paying "tribute").
Judah refused the wooden yoke, so God imposed an iron yoke upon them for their 70-year captivity. Hence, they were deported to Babylon. When they returned, they remained under a wooden yoke under Persia, then later under Greece and Rome.
But in the days of their Roman yoke, they rejected Jesus Christ and thus incurred another iron yoke judgment. Their rejection of Jesus was due to their desire for a military messiah who would throw off the wooden yoke of Rome. They rejected the Prince of Peace who befriended the Roman soldiers and had no interest in using His miraculous power to overthrow Rome (before their time).
So their rejection of Jesus was due to their rebellious hearts. This was the equivalent of Hananiah breaking the wooden yoke from Jeremiah's neck in Jer. 28:10. That was an act of rebellion that exposed the hearts of the people.
So in 70 A.D. God put Judah back under the iron yoke and expelled them from the city and ultimately from the land itself. They became wanderers among the nations. While this may evoke sympathy, we cannot lose sight of the fact that God did this as a matter of divine judgment for rebelling against Him.
Even as Jeremiah's original pronouncement against Judah was on account of their turning the temple into "a den of robbers" (Jer. 7:11), so also did Jesus pronounce the same judgment over them in Matt. 21:13. The city was then given a grace period of 40 years in which to repent, according to the intercession of Ezekiel (4:6, 7). When the people still refused to repent, choosing instead to persecute the followers of Jesus Christ, God sent His armies to destroy their city. In His parable, Jesus said of them in Matt. 22:7,
"But the King was enraged and sent His armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire."
Furthermore, Jesus cursed the fig tree, which was the national symbol of Judah, saying, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you" (Matt. 21:19). Later, He qualified this, saying that the fig tree would bring forth LEAVES toward the end of the age (Matt. 24:32). Keep in mind, however, that the fig tree had plenty of leaves when Jesus first cursed it. Jesus was looking for fruit, not leaves. In fact, fig leaves have been the problem since Adam and Eve. Fig leaves are a false covering for sin, representing self-justification, excuses for sin, and an attempt to appear clothed in righteousness by one's own works.
Modern Zionism is a Jewish attempt to break the iron yoke without first repenting. Zionism is an unlawful attempt to bypass Lev. 26:40-42. The Law says that if they repent of their "hostility" against Yahweh, then God will remember the Covenant with them. Isaiah 12:2 says that "Yahweh ... has become my Yeshua." Hence, to reject Yeshua (Jesus) is to reject Yahweh, for Jesus is the incarnation of Yahweh.
The Jewish state has never ceased to be hostile to Jesus Christ. But then, this is to be expected, because Jesus said that "fig tree" will never bear fruit. That fig tree will be chopped down (Luke 3:9). The city will be destroyed.
This is the first part of a series titled "Should Christians Support Israel?." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones