Should Christians Support Israel? Part 5
May 31, 2011
I do believe that Christians should support Israel. The problem is that most Christians support a counterfeit Israel. It is a case of mistaken identity.
So what happens if Christians support those who claim to be Israel but who are actually not Israelites at all? All their beliefs about God blessing those who bless Israel are moot if they do not support the real Israel.
The same is true if Christians support "those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9; 3:9). It is plain that John understood that this was a case of mistaken identity. Two groups of people were claiming to be the real "Jews" (i.e., tribe of Judah). Only one of them was the real Judah; the others were of "a synagogue of Satan."
If you had lived in the time of Absalom's revolt against his father, David, which side would you have supported? Both were genetically of the tribe of Judah. Did that help Absalom's case for kingship? It certainly did as far as the majority of the Judahites were concerned. But only God's opinion really counts. What did God think of the situation? Was God swayed by the majority opinion? I think not. God always remains true to His Word, and He had given His promise to David. In Psalm 89:3, 4 God says,
(3) I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, (4) I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations.
And so, when this prophetic type played out in the New Testament, we find once again that the majority of the people "did not receive Him" (John 1:12). The majority followed the leadership of Absalom--that is, the rulers of the people playing the role of Absalom in Jesus' day.
Genealogically speaking, both groups were Judah. But only one was legitimate. Only the group who followed the King of Judah was the real Judah. Why? Because the Scepter that was promised to Judah (Gen. 49:10) and later to David (Ps. 89:20) also passed to Jesus Christ, the "Son of David." To Him was given the Scepter and in Him was the tribe itself.
Yet the controversy has remained with us for nearly 2000 years. This fulfills the indefinite time frame when David was in exile. Absalom ruled his followers in Jerusalem, who thought he was the rightful king. They all thought of themselves as Judahites ("Jews"), but God saw it differently. Eventually, David returned, and Absalom was killed. Even though David loved his son and gave orders that he was not to be harmed, nonetheless, David could not thwart the divine plan. They were all functioning as prophetic types in a much bigger Plan, and thus even David Himself could not change it.
Even so, there was always a way of escape. Absalom's followers could have joined David's camp in exile. I doubt that any were forced to remain under Absalom. They remained with Absalom only because they were under a great delusion that David was unjust (2 Sam. 15:3, 4).
That raises a very important question, and we can only give a partial answer. The same accusations against David were made against Jesus. Jesus was accused of violating the traditions of the elders (Matt. 15:2). Most often, they accused Him of violating the Sabbath (John 5:9, 10). Both David and Jesus were accused of disregarding the Law. In both cases, their accusers did not have a proper understanding of the Law, and therein was the dispute.
One of the really big disagreements was about how to treat non-Jews. The traditions of men told Jews that they were better than other ethnic groups and that the promises of God were meant only for their own genealogical group. Jesus said that such a view was dung coming out of the mouth (Matt. 15:18). There is nothing wrong with eating fiber (that which cannot be digested and assimilated), but it had to proceed to the dung gate. If digested, it would soon come out of the wrong gate (the mouth) and defile us.
When Jesus taught this to His disciples, He knew that they could not possibly overcome all of the teaching that their culture had taught them for so long. So He took them on a field trip from Galilee to the coast of Tyre and Sidon (Matt. 15:21). There they met a Canaanite woman who asked for help. Jesus pretended to ignore her. Then He verbalized the viewpoint of the disciples: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:24).
The Canaanite woman persisted.
Then Jesus said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (15:26).
The woman apparently knew the Law of Gleanings and understood how to apply it to her situation. The Law of Gleanings says that one cannot harvest everything on the tree or in the field. One must leave some "crumbs" for the widows, orphans, aliens, and beasts (Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19). The Canaanite woman was an alien (foreigner), so she qualified for the gleanings, or "crumbs" from the table.
I can see Jesus' disciples standing there speechless after witnessing such faith in a woman of Canaan. The point was made. The traditions of men were cast down. Mission accomplished. Jesus then turned around and took the disciples back to Galilee (15:29).
The woman of Canaan was the only purpose for Jesus' trip to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. It was one of the most important lessons that He could teach His disciples. Even so, that lesson would prove difficult to enforce in the Church after Pentecost. Philip seems to have been the first to digest it and assimilate it into his character, for he was the first to go to Samaria to preach the gospel (Acts 8).
Peter was next to learn it. Acts 10:34 says,
(34) And opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (35) but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him."
Peter was not bold enough to take a firm stand on this issue, and so Paul had to confront him for his hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11). Throughout Paul's entire ministry, he was able to present Jesus' credentials as Messiah to those in the synagogues; but when he came to the part about equal rights and equality for all men, they always became very angry and rejected Christ.
Paul insisted that Jesus Christ had broken down the middle wall of partition in the temple. It was the wall that separated the Jewish men from the women and non-Jews. He insisted that God had made the two groups one, that all were fellowcitizens of the Kingdom, and that all were being built up into the same true temple of God (Eph. 2:13-22).
In other words, everyone who believed in the King of Judah--the rightful Heir to the throne of David--was a citizen of the Kingdom. Citizenship was not based upon ethnicity or genealogy, but upon faith in Jesus Christ. Conversely, Judahite ancestry did not give anyone automatic citizenship in Christ's Kingdom. All men had to receive citizenship by the same Door, and that Door is Christ.
Many Christians today have rebuilt the dividing wall that Jesus Christ abolished. They have again placed distinctions between "Jews and Gentiles." They have made Jews chosen, and Gentiles not. They have conceded that those Jews who reject Jesus as the Christ are more chosen even than non-Jews who believe in Christ.
Some have even taught that Jews are saved by being "good Jews" (i.e., by the Old Covenant), and that only "gentiles" are saved by the New Covenant. This Dual Covenant Theology destroys the entire New Testament and goes totally against the purpose of Jesus Christ in abolishing the dividing wall.
A large part of the solution is to understand the story of David and Absalom and to see how it applies in the New Testament conflict.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "Should Christians Support Israel?." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones