Unless one has lived in a cave with no access to any type of internet, television, radio, or print journalism, then one probably knows that there are currently problems in Israel. Actually, to say there are problems may be putting it too mildly. The Palestinians, spurred on by a Palestinian terrorist group known as Hamas, are seeking to once again lay ownership to at least a part of Israel. Really, the bitter truth is that Hamas wants to destroy Israel. There is another truth in this whole debacle in the Middle East which is that those who claim to be part of Christianity cannot support the agenda of Hamas and Christians must stand firm in their support of Israel.
Christians that have supported allowing the Jews to once again lay claim to their ancient motherland have been around for as long as those claiming to be Christians have been able to read the scripture on their own. Once Christians understood scripture on their own merit, it became clear about God’s agreement with Abraham in which he promised him and all in his future bloodline a land that was known as Canaan. Canaan would eventually be called Israel. It became apparent through the reading of the Hebrew prophets that even though the citizens of Israel might be displaced from their land for a period of time, God was going to eventually return them to what the Bible calls the “promised land” one final time.
Of course, since a large portion of the history of Christianity is against the Jewish faith, a first glance at the current support of Israel from Christians may appear to be new. It may even to appear to be something that is a passing fad and will not last long. However, it is important to realize that it came about over 500 years ago with an event that would forever alter the relationship between Christianity and the nation of Israel. That event was the translation of the scripture into a language that could be understood by the average layperson. This had a huge impact. Once the average layperson could understand scripture, attempts were made to change the state church. Christians fled from their homes as a result of this new revelation because of disagreements with their own families over attitudes toward the nation of Israel.
With the understanding of the scripture came an awareness of the Hebrew origins of Christianity. This led to studying the Hebraic language and gaining knowledge about the Jewish Feasts. Soon, Christians found themselves empathizing with the persecuted citizens of Israel. An understanding was also gained concerning God’s promise to one day restore the Jewish people to their homeland. Christians began praying to this end. The reality is that four hundred years before Israel actually was reestablished as a nation, Christians were already praying to that end.
In time, the number of Christians who supported the inerrancy of scripture would grow. As that number grew, the sphere of Christian influence broadened. As the sphere of influence broadened, so did the involvement in seeing Israel once again reestablished. Soon, Theodore Herzl would coin the term “Christian Zionists” at a meeting in 1897.
Scripture is black and white that the nation of Israel was given a land known as Canaan and that the gift came directly from God himself. It was given to Abraham and to all of his descendants through his son Isaac because God had plans to form a nation that he would eventually use to reach the world with his plan of redemption.
The existence of Canaan as a homeland for the nation of Israel was crucial to God’s ultimate purpose of redemption. It was through the nation of Israel that he made known to the world the truth of the scripture with all of its prophecies, promises, and especially the prophecy, promises, and ultimate story of the Messiah.
Scripture foretold that the nation of Israel would be exiled into captivity as a result of their own disobedience. However, it also tells of God’s promise to return them to their land. This would not be a one-time occurrence. It would actually occur twice.
The story of God’s plan for Israel is not yet over. In fact one day, she is supposed to become the chief of all of the countries of the world. God’s word is expected to come out of Jerusalem and go all over the world with the message of Jesus Christ. The Savior of Israel is expected to return and rule with a righteous hand over all the nations of the world. There will be no more war. There will be only peace.
For this reason, the majority of people who wear the title of Christian will always support the return of the Israelites to their homeland to begin the rebuilding of their country. Today, just as it has always been, the enemies of Israel are seeking to destroy Israel and remove it from the face of the planet in such a way that it can never exist again. Christians feel they have no choice but to be outspoken in their support and continue to stand with Israel. They see part of their calling as being on a mission to comfort, bless, pray for, and encourage Israel.
Without the nation of Israel, Christians believe they would have never heard the message. God uses the nation of Israel to send his message. Christians believe that for this reason, they owe Israel a huge debt of a spiritual nature. To that end, they offer the Israeli people their respect, support, and honor.
At the same time, Christians also are sorrowful and repentant concerning the part that many Christians have had in the persecuting throughout history of the Jewish people. It is their desire to right this wrong and forge a new relationship based on a shared understanding and respect.
There is a reason that Christians support Israel that goes beyond the scripture. Christians know the historical background of the modern nation of Israel. A careful examination of undisputable historical facts make Israel the clear victor. Israel has legally acquired its status as a nation. It acquired its territory through legal channels. For this reason, it is right to want to continue to exist and especially to maintain that existence in legally protected borders.
Israel is not a perfect nation. The people of Israel are not always right in the policies they enact. However, Israel is a nation that is morally and legally correct in its existence and establishment. It is sad that the land surrounded on all sides by countries that want Israel completely destroyed. Christians must always stand for the right of this long persecuted nation to exist.
Opinion by Rick Hope