America has been the chief financial supporter of Israel in recent years. Since the 18th century, Jews from around the world have viewed America as a place of refuge. But today, many American politicians and prominent business leaders argue that businesses and governments should punish and protest Israel. There have been attempts to thwart trade deals, undermine Israel’s security interests, and demonstrations against moving embassies to Jerusalem.
Showing support to Israel is not the popular choice
Many argue that Israel is belligerent and should be sanctioned rather than supported. As an American, I note that my country has given more than 100 billion dollars in various forms of aid to Israel in the last 40 years. A few applaud, but a growing number are aghast. Many are shouting, ”enough is enough,” alleging that Israel oppresses Palestinians and is guilty of crimes against humanity. Others, fearing a war with Iran (which could draw-in many nations) advocate economic sanctions for they want to see Israel weakened, not emboldened.
Most Arab States do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Several countries call for the destruction of Israel in their Constitutions. The United Nations has been hostile to Israel as well. It has refused to recognize Israel’s right to parts of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and officially reprimanded Israel more times in the last 40 years than it has all other nations combined. Few countries stand with Israel. Should America? Should Christians?
American support for Israel has decreased in recent years
In the last 15 years or so, mainstream news sources have shifted left and generally present Israel as the bully on the block. This has led to a significant shift in public opinion. Further shifting public opinion away from support of Israel was the remarkable souring of the relationship between Israel and America during the Obama administration. Some of the notable low-points include:
- America’s government leaders leaked military information in a way that supported the enemies of Israel (Iran in particular).
- During the Obama administration, America’s government worked to sway Israel’s election (which Benjamin Netanyahu won despite our efforts to undermine him).
- More than 50 of America’s congressional leaders boycotted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in 2015. The New Yorker stated that Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress was “a political stunt.” The Atlantic publication characterized the speech as a “disaster.”
Should the Christians respect or rebuke Israel? A few considerations are noted below:
The historical right for Israel to exist
Though Hebrews were granted the land of Israel as part of a formal UN Charter 1948, most Arab nations refuse to recognize Israel as a sovereign and independent nation. Just as Iran has denied the Holocaust, some Arab States deny there was a nation of Israel in Palestine in ancient times. This assertion stands in stark contrast to the biblical record. However, archaeological finds validate the biblical narrative, and recent discoveries verify Israel’s historical claim to the area known as the Temple Mount.
Does Israel actively provoke or instigate trouble in the region?
It is true that Israel has gone to war in 1969 and 1973, and has coordinated many military engagements over the last 30 years. Some military aircraft have bombed targets in other countries. Further, at times Israel has cut-off power and water to the Palestinians, restricted travel the rights of Palestinians, and temporarily withheld payments to the Palestinian government. The question is: Is there any justification for the above?
The answer is ‘Yes.’ Israel did go to war in 1969 and 1973, but only because a coalition of nations attacked first—without warning or justification. Israel fought back to keep from being annihilated (which to this day is a stated goal of Iran and several other nations and groups). The West Bank was a former buffer zone—which Israel pledged to respect. But when that area was used multiple times as a staging area for attacks, Israel was obliged to seize control of it after the 1969 war. And yes, Israel has bombed targets in foreign countries, but only after warning nations not to set-up facilities that develop, sell, store or transport weapons earmarked for use against Israel. When governments and terrorist groups choose to ignore Israel’s warnings and position to be a clear and present danger, then Israel moves to eliminate the threat. Israel does authorize military engagements, but only when their existence is threatened or in response to an attack on her people. Israel is not a belligerent. Israel exercises the right to defend itself—a right every sovereign country enjoys.
The compelling argument for supporting Israel
When considering if it is proper to support Israel, the most important consideration is: What does the Bible say? Though high-profile publications and politicians seek to move public opinion away from supporting Israel, it is important to remember that supporting Israel is a faith issue. Every believer from every nation should stand with Israel. The following Scriptures note why:
- God will bless those who bless Israel (Genesis 12:3). “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.”
- Those who move against Israel will suffer harm (Zechariah 12:2-3). “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling…I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.”
- Israel is close to the heart of God (Zechariah 2:8). “For thus said the Lord of hosts…He who touches you [Israel] touches the apple of his eye…”
- God has pledged to protect Israel (Numbers 24:9). “He crouched, he lay down like a lion and like a lioness; who will rouse him up? Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you.”
- God will bring judgment upon those who mistreat Israel (Joel 3:1-3). “For behold, in those days…[I will] restore…Judah and Jerusalem…I will gather [their enemies] to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and there will I…execute judgment upon them for their treatment of My people and of My heritage Israel…”
- God will prosper those who support Israel (Psalm 122:6). “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee.”
- God has a special love for Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD, your God, has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession…The LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers…”
- God has used Israel as a vessel to bless the world—and He will continue to do so (John 4:22). “God’s eternal purpose is to bless the world through Israel. Already He has done so for “salvation is from the Jews.”
- God has entered into a covenant with Israel and will move against any who try to put that covenant in jeopardy (Judges 2:1). “Now the angel of the Lord …said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you…’”
- Israel is ‘precious’ in the eye of God (Isaiah 43:1-7). “O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you… Fear not, for I am with you…”
- God has a special love and compassion for Israel (Hosea 11:8-9). “How can I give you up, how can I hand you over, Israel? All my compassion is aroused…For I am God…”
- God has an ‘everlasting love’ for Israel (Jeremiah 31:3). “I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore, I continue to extend my grace to you.”
- The Lord will rescue Israel from enemies who believe themselves stronger (Jeremiah 31:10-11). “He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’ For the LORD will ransom and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.”
- Those who do not serve (and support the interests of) God will perish (Isaiah 60:12). “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste.”
- Those who move against Israel will be put to shame (Isaiah 41:11-12). “Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing…”
- War against Israel is coming—Israel will prevail (Ezekiel 38-39).
“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God…” (Ezekiel 39:1-29).
This article is not presented to advance a political agenda—it is presented to advance an understanding of Scripture which encourages the support of Israel. The adage is true, “The friend of Israel is the friend of God.”
The political climate in the last days will become increasingly turbulent. There will be troubles. In the name of tolerance, Christian views will become marginalized. There will be penalties for those who are bold in their faith. What should the believer do? The call is not to fear, but to have faith. True peace comes when one accepts Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior and puts their faith in Him. From that decision flows forgiveness, joy, hope, and the promise of eternity in heaven. Bible prophecy reveals how God will move in the last days—though we may not understand every aspect of His plan, we can be confident that God is good and that His will, will prevail.
There will be unrest. There will be wars and rumors of wars; Jesus will return. Are you ready? Will you commit to being ALL IN for Him (which means you are committed to making serving Him, growing in Him and witnessing for Him the priority of your life)? God expects believers to be active in well-doing (Galatians 6:9). And know this: A great reward awaits those found doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, at the right place, and with the right heart when the Lord returns.
“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” Matthew 24:44-46
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