The popular Christian magazine Christianity Today recently lent its support to a letter signed by 34 US Evangelical leaders urging President George W. Bush to continue down his path of dividing the Land of Israel. The magazine then carried an article defending its decision to support that call.
With all due respect, it appears Christianity Today has, like so many American churches, allowed secular humanism to creep in and influence its views on the current conflict.
The author of the recent Christianity Today article says a lot that I can agree with pertaining to the continued position of the Children of Israel as the apple of God’s eye and of the necessity for us as Gentile believers to realize that we have been grafted into Israel’s tree of faith.
We cannot read the New Testament without seeing that the Jews continue to have a place in God’s economy. Gentile Christians do not replace the Jews, but are joint heirs and wild branches grafted onto the Jewish olive tree. God’s ultimate purpose in saving Gentile Christians is to save the Jews (Rom. 11).
OK so far, but that is where it starts to break down for me.
The author goes on to suggest that while the Bible may deed a far greater area of land to Israel than what it today has full sovereignty over, our Christian obligations toward others forbid us to support Israel’s rule over a “Palestinian” population that does not desire it.
While the most vocal Christian Zionists call for Israel to possess all of the Davidic “Greater Israel,“ such goals come at too high a price.
The author justifies this position by noting that the majority of Israelis, even those who do dream of possessing all of the Promised Land, realize they cannot rule over such a large population of Arabs and therefore must abandon the hope of a complete fulfillment of God’s promises. They must abandon the borders that God Himself drew for Israel because of the sensitivities and protests of the Muslim world.
This is a very wrong position for a Bible-believer to take. The Israelis who think this way, even if they are a majority, are failing to fully put their faith in God and in His promises. We should not be encouraging them to behave in such a way, and we certainly should not be joining them in doing so.
Fortunately, David Ben Gurion and his contemporaries did not allow themselves to be influenced by such demographic nonsense and declared independence despite the Jews being a minority west of the Jordan River at the time. Trust in God and in His Word should cause us to stand firm on His promises even when present circumstances don’t appear to be in our favor.
The editors of Christianity Today, while they seem to recognize the continued central importance of Israel and her restoration in God’s plans, apparently fail to realize that the enemy is naturally doing everything in his power to thwart or at least stall the fulfillment of those plans. That means hindering the restoration of the land to Israel and of Israel to the land.
It is not wrong to hope and pray for and even try to facilitate a better life for the Arabs, though their salvation from Islam should be our first concern. However, by giving succor to the Arab “cause” of dividing and eventually overrunning the Land of Israel, these Christians are in fact aiding the schemes of the enemy of our Lord.
Another couple of biblical points I would like to make that contradict the position Christianity Today has taken are these:
The Lord clearly warns against efforts to divide “My land,” and speaks of severe judgement for those who do (Joel 3:2). By urging Bush to press on with his “two-state solution,” these Christians are urging their leader to become one of those the Lord speaks out against.
As Christians, we should recognize that there will be no peace in the Middle East between Israel and her neighbors until Messiah returns (Isaiah 2:2, 4) and establishes his rule with an iron rod (Psalm 2:9). We are called to be peacemakers, but not in a manner that runs contrary to the rest of God’s Word and puts us in the camp of those scorned by the prophets and destined to suffer severe judgement.
That last point speaks to an issue regarding the Church in America that has bothered me for some time, and that is the fingerprints of secular humanism that can be seen in so many of the Church’s views regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict.
God has determined quite clearly that this land belongs to Him (Leviticus 25:23), and that His intention is to restore it to Israel (Amos 9:14-15). While God does care about each of us personally, the fulfillment of our personal desires is far less important than the fulfillment of His divine will. That the Palestinian Arabs desire to have their own sovereign nation on this small piece of land should for us pale in comparison to the expressed will of God. It is secular humanism that denies Israel its biblical birthright as a result of Arab whining. Those Arabs refuse to accept the word, promises and will of God. We should not join them.
The Palestinians’ plight is not rooted in Israel’s restoration, but rather in their failure to accept the Lord God of Israel and get in line with His will. At present, they are pawns of the enemy in his effort to thwart and hinder God’s plans. It is wrong for us as Christians to help keep the Palestinians in this state, when we should be seeking their salvation from Islam and the clutches of Allah.
The position represented by the editors of Christianity Today and those other Evangelical leaders who signed that ill-advised letter to Bush is more in line with politically correct secular humanism than with the Word of God.
Christianity Today’s Israel-Bashing: This is Loving Israel? by Jan Merkel of Olive Tree Ministries
Christianity Today? Or Politics Today? by Joseph Farah
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