Everyone Loves Israel
Israel - Middle East
Friday, September 23, 2016
Everyone loves Israel. Sure they do. Not just Israel - the Jews as well. They love them to death. Forgive me; my sarcasm just spilled onto my keyboard. I hate it when that happens.
An interesting thing happened the other day. I discovered something about a long-time opponent who contended with me on a certain forum. He and another professing Christian badgered me for two years over my support for Israel and the Jews.
They eventually taught me a valuable lesson about when to walk away from certain conversations. When Scripture and reason can't overcome hate, you have to leave the mud pit or it sticks to you. It can rob you of your joy.
As it turns out, one of these gentlemen came out as an unabashed lover of all things Hitler and now identifies as a "Supremacist." I'd quoted Scripture but he preferred his list of anti-Jewish conspiracies. You can't argue with that. Conspiracies don't need evidence when people are determined to believe them.
The other gentleman also claimed to be a Christian. Unfortunately his extreme version of supersessionism led him to hatred of Israel and the Jews. He went so far as to question the salvation of anyone who believed God wasn't finished with national Israel.
Let me affirm this - you cannot separate hatred of Israel from anti-Semitism. Those who do are kidding themselves. Not only are the typical charges against Israel trumped up but the very reason Israel attracts negative attention is related to its Jewishness.
Why else would the concept of a Jewish State be so offensive to Christian activists? Why do Palestinian Christians prefer a Palestinian Jesus rather than the biblical Jewish one? Why else would so many churches pursue BDS against Israel, yet ignore nations such as Iran or Saudi Arabia?
I understand that many Jews oppose Israel. This is a different category which deserves its own attention. You can read a brief essay about it HERE.
Bias against Israel and Jews isn't always explicit. Sometimes it's subtle. One example is the recent World Vision-Hamas fiasco. Even before the facts emerged, many gave World Vision (WV) the benefit of the doubt. They hinted at Israeli subterfuge. In fact, WV has a history of problems.
One morning I was breakfasting with friends when the genial restaurant owner came by for a brief chat. He's an American with a Christian-Lebanese heritage. My friend engaged him on Lebanon. Without solicitation, the owner informed us that Lebanon was the true democracy in the region, not Israel - the "apartheid state."
When I asked about Hezbollah my friend wisely kicked me under the table. I didn't press it further after he confidently asserted that Hezbollah existed to protect Lebanon against Israeli aggression. I suppose that's why Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy supplying weapons to Hamas. And protecting Lebanon must also be central to its connections with Latin America! I digress.
We have nurtured a cancerous global environment for another surge in Jew hatred. The recent anti-Semitic scandals surrounding the British Labour Party will blow away eventually. Anti-Semitism is losing its stigma. We're becoming desensitized to it.
Amidst a recent resurgence in Hitler's Mein Kampf and anti-Israel activism, Giulio Meotti warns us about the "Virtuous" New Nazis:
These new Nazis serve up, instead of an argument, untrue and deceptive slogans such as "apartheid state", "occupation", "repressive", "violator of international law" (which Israel meticulously is not). Their goal, like that of the original Nazis, is to manipulate people, and instill in them bias and hate against Israel, and just behind this subterfuge, against the Jews.
No, not everyone loves Israel. The world at large doesn't. Its neighbors in the region want to see it disappear. But God loves Israel, His elect (Deut 7:6-7; Isaiah 43:1-7). And, frankly, I want to be on God's side. It's safer.
When God punished Israel in the Old Testament, He used Assyria (Isaiah 10:4-5). The prophet Habakkuk complained that a nation worse than Israel was used as an instrument of God's wrath (Habakkuk 1:6, 13). After God sovereignly used Assyria to punish Israel, He then turned His wrath on that nation (Isaiah 10:12-15; Hab 2:2-20).
God loves Israel, even when He punishes her (Psalm 117:1-2; 137:5). God also avenges Israel on those He uses. This is an important lesson. The dangerous irony is that many churches who promote BDS against Israel are also rapidly falling into outright apostasy (e.g., PCUSA, ELCA etc). Think about it.
The LORD has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst. You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear, Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zep 3:15-17
See also Isaiah 62:1-4. Unfortunately many Christian commentaries apply the benevolent portions of passages such as these to the church.
While commenting on Zechariah, Puritan T. V. Moore wrote that the prophet accommodated his language "to the understanding of his own times in order to express New Testament truths." In other words, Moore inserted Zechariah's Israel into the NT church. He later admitted that the closing chapters of Zechariah, involving events yet to be accomplished, "are notoriously difficult."
The difficulty only arises when one changes the natural understanding of Israel's identity into the church. This is the grave mistake many godly Bible believing men have made. God elected national Israel for a purpose.
Regarding this election, Robert L. Saucy noted:
God's election of Israel brought distinction among the nations, but not superiority. Despite Israel's frequent perversion of her elective privilege through national pride, Scripture declares that apart from God's grace she was not different from other nations. ~ The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism (p 302) [See also Amos 9:7; Matt 23:39]
On Israel's election, Saucy cites H. H. Rowley (The Biblical Doctrine of Election):
Nations shall honour her [Israel] because she is His people, and therefore in honouring her they will really honour Him. This is not the climax of Old Testament teaching, which is concerned only with the honour of God, and which thinks of Israel not so much destined to receive honour from men as to fulfill the purpose of her election in the service of men. ~ (p 305, emphasis mine)
So Israel wasn't chosen because she was special. She was sovereignly chosen to serve the nations to the glory of God. Moreover, God promised that she would be redeemed for the sake of His holy name (Ezekiel 36:21-36). God cannot break His word. Calvinists shouldn't have any problems with that concept.
If we fail to understand that God hasn't forsaken Israel, we will miss the possible import of what we're witnessing in these times. The Middle East is experiencing a meltdown which cannot be reversed. The following video captures the chaotic confusion very well: Syria: who is fighting whom? (Hat tip John Haller)
Are we seeing end-time events in our day? Maybe!
Let's recap: Syria has fallen and the Middle East is on fire. Anti-Semitism is rapidly rising and existential threats to Israel occur almost on a daily basis. We haven't even discussed globalism, the push for interfaith dialogue, and troubling scenarios involving ISIS, Europe, Russia, North Korea and China. Have I left anything out?
Those "nutty dispensationalists" haven't orchestrated all this just to prove prophecy (Zec 12:3). You know, like they "helped create the Zionist state." These things haven't been coaxed into existence by Hal Lindsey, so he could sell books.
But God will use dynamics such as these to bring tribulation to Israel in order to redeem her (Hos 5:15). And woe to those who God uses to bring this to pass (Zech 14:2-3)!
Are you ready for what may come soon? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ?
Now is the time.
About Alf Cengia
Last article: Jesus and Budda
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