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The Jewish Arab Conflict

As tensions rise between Israel and her neighbors, the ancient story of the Bible threatens once again to involve all of us.

Conflict in the Middle East flows from generation to generation like a river of tears and bad blood. From the days of Abram there has been an unending current of personal rejection, revenge, and mutual loss.

The Jewish and Arab problem affects all of us. It costs us at the gas pump. It divides us at church. Some of us think our faith leads us to be pro-Israel. Others are just as sure that the Bible gives us reason to support those who feel wronged by Israel’s return to the land.

An inclination to side with Israel

For several reasons I’ve sided over the years with those who are sympathetic to the Jewish struggle for a homeland. (1) We are embarrassed by the anti-Semitism of church fathers who saw all Jewish people as Christ-killers. (2) We think we can see God’s hand in Israel’s rebirth and believe it is His purpose to restore Israel in the last days (Isaiah 11:12). (3) And we hear God say to Abram, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

A tendency to forget Arab interests

I’m beginning to see, though, that over the years I have used God’s prophetic “final solution” for the world as an excuse to care more for Jewish families than for their neighbors. At this I think I’ve been slow to see the difference between what God may be doing in Israel and what Israel herself is doing with or without the approval of God.

As a result I’d like to take some time to think together about whether it is necessary for followers of Christ to take sides now in brought inexpressible grief and suffering to families on both sides of the Israel-Arab conflict.

Before we move ahead, I’d like to know whether you think followers of Christ should align with either Israel or the Palestinians?

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17 Responses to “The Jewish Arab Conflict”

  1. Ted M. Gossard says:

    No. Neither.

    But that’s much easier for me to answer since what I understand of Biblical eschatology is not that God is necessarily going to restore Israel in its old covenant national identity.

    That surely seems a contradiction, as indeed it looks like over the past sixty years, God has done, just that.

    Of course God is at work to bring ethnic Jews and Palestinians and all the rest of us into the one people of God through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

    I think it’s a mistake for Christians to take either side. Rather we should, in Jesus seek to help them both. We should seek to be for them both. And this requires more than what either of them have, found only in Jesus, in the gospel and the message Jesus spoke and lived out to the end.

    We must seek to be for both in a way that promotes what is really only found in Jesus. Forgivness, reconciliation and peace. While it will never be realized perfecly until Jesus returns, it can begin and should begin through those in Jesus. But this is a tough one. And I’m confident you have so many more thoughts, right questions and better thought out answers on this.

  2. queenesther says:

    Sometimes Iam not sure how I feel about this conflict. My pastor told us that anyone who helps Israel will be blessed. Iam not sure of who is right or who is wrong.
    Then also will there always be conflict in the middle east starting with Ishamel?

  3. Yemmy says:

    Hi Ted, I am on your side.
    Quoted: That, we must seek to be for both in a way that promotes what is really only found in Jesus. Forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. While it will never be realized perfecly until Jesus returns, it can begin and should begin through those in Jesus.
    Now, I hope I know what I should do to begin with, besides tru’ prayer.

  4. bettylonis says:

    I believe that the Bible is clear in saying who ever bless Israel God will bless. But I am also sure that does not mean who ever causes Israel’s enemies God will bless. As a christian I always wish that Israel dont have to suffer the way they are suffering, but at the same time their neigbours also are created by God and are included in Gen 3:16, that means God loves them, so we can not support that they are being killed daily and have really hard life. My position is that we need to pray for peace in that region, God in his mercy will bring peace to an extent that people dont have to live their day to day life in danger and fear of being killed.

  5. spooks101 says:

    reference queenesthers response, thats a simular problem I have. “bless them and I will bless you, curse them and I will curse you”. At the same time Christ taught us caring for others particularly ‘our neighbours’. I doubt taking sides will assist in the situation, only put more pressure on the other side and cause possibily further conflict.

  6. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Mart, Great thought, a thought we as God’s children need to have an answer we know comes from God when others ask our opinion, great answers from everyone, and the Lord has convinced me that He desires for me to not just love my enemies, but pray for them, taking sides is not what God desires from me, God knows who starts these conflicts, i do not believe it is one sided, God will judge all of this rightly, i will not have this power in this life to judge any thing righteously such as these conflices to make a judgement.
    The news media can and does destroy who ever they desire to destroy, and the only judgement i can have is what i see they want me to see, this is foolish i believe, to take a stand on such issues.

  7. brownsfan1642 says:

    The fact is that God loves the Jewish and Palestinian people—and Christ died for both. While the chosen people have special place in the plan of God, that does not diminish His love for all.

  8. Richard Hopkins says:

    I think there are Divine reasons for our supporting and defending Israel as a nation, such as their rebirth in 1948 as a fulfillment of prophecy. Then there is the Scripture “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you”. Also, there is the miracle of Israel’s victory against heavy odds in the 1967 “six-day war”. As a friend of Israel, has God not greatly blessed the USA? I pray we continue to defend them because they have few other friends.

  9. hal.fshr says:

    It is a mark of maturity to struggle with discernment over different principles (Hebrews 4:12-14). It is important for use to try to see both sides of the issue. However, I was taken aback by the statement – ” We are embarrassed by the anti-Semitism of church fathers who saw all Jewish people as Christ-killers.” As I checked various sources on the internet, though I found much support for the statement. In fairness to the Church Fathers, it might be best to say “some of the Church Fathers.” Clearly, their personalities, cultures and historic context did differ and would affect their attitude toward the Jewish people.

  10. Niivam says:

    I personally think there is nothing wrong in taking sides on the Arab/Jewish issue as long as we do it God’s way. I believe we as Christians have an opportunity here to use our influence to let these two religious tribes or nations know what it means to be a true follower of God and Christ. Which ever side you support, be it Arabs or Jews, remember God loves them both and won’t want any of them to perish so as a Christ follower, we are to pray for them and help them see things through the love of God. It will not be easy but remember, God’s love conquers all. Let advise our fellow Christians who flame things up by their utterance.

  11. daisymarygoldr says:

    The Bible speaks very clearly about God’s promises regarding Israel’s restoration (Romans 11). However, there is no scripture that directs Christ’s followers to accomplish this task. Rather, we are asked to love all men (1 Thessalonians 3:12) including our enemies. The Old Testament has a perfect example in King David who spared Saul’s life even when his men reminded him of God’s promise (I Sam 24:4). Therefore, a Christian is not called to execute prophecy but use the knowledge to PRAY for peace… both for Israel and her enemies. It is God who works out His will in His way and in His time!

  12. zionscornerstone says:

    Romans 4:13-18 especially 4:18 and especially Romans 9:8. I agree again.

  13. ilovegod says:

    Whether Jew or Gentile, descendants of Isaac or Ishmael, the bible seems clear on the faith of Israel and all their enemies. I like to keep it simple.
    “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” MATH 5:8-9
    I too am a little confused as to who really is who. In a multi-cultural world and coming from the four corners of the world, has Israel really been restored to a nation? Were there not 12 tribes? Did 1 tribe return and this makes up the remnant? Are the other tribes lost forever? Are we, the Christians in other parts of the world, to be considered 2nd class children of the
    Most High? I thought, “God is not a repector of persons.” Keeping it simple: I am blessed to be a blessing, whether Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, bond or free. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I pray for the less fortunate, missionaries, spiritual leader, government representatives, etc. It is not I who will do the separating. “Let God;s will be done.”

  14. mpoteet says:

    The root of the conflict is Biblical, in that God created both Ishmael and Isaac. An important thing to remember is that they are both God’s children.

  15. sroesser says:

    We must as Christians have a heart for Israel and the Jewish People, because…God has a heart for Israel.Hear what the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle Paul, in Romans 9:1-8: I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. Restated this way God’s covenant promises to Israel have not failed. They have always and only included physical Jews in the physical aspects of the covenant, and always and only included spiritual Jews in the spiritual aspects of the covenant (Romans 9:6-8) Read Romans 11:1-7 God is very clear about this truth in these verses. Let’s talk about the historical perspective about why the church should have a heart for Israel. Romans 1:16,”..to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The truth be known is that poor blinded Israel (2Corinthians 3:12-17) will be the first to stand in judgment before God. Shouldn’t we engrave Israel upon the palms of our hands and resolve that through our mercy, they also may obtain mercy (Romans 11:31)?” There is still unusual access to the Jewish people, in almost all countries,it seems in many places as if the only door left opne to the Christian missionary is the door of preching to the Jewish people. This is not the case in Egypt and in Palestine, you dare not preach the gospel to the deceived followers of Mohammed; but you may stand in the open marketplace and preach the gospel to the Jewish people, no one forbidding you. As a nation they are the only true ally to the USA, the only truly free nation, little Israel the apple of God’s eye. In the center of the name Jerusalem are the three letters usa, hmmm what is God saying to America as a nation. Does Israel have the right to exist, ABSOLUTELY, it is their God given right. There are enough Arab nations in the Middle East to accomodate all Palestinians. The fact is Israel is a country that would never take away the right of Palestinians to worship their God as they see fit. Yes we must take a side in support of the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people, WE MUST!!!!

  16. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks, sroesser,for taking the time to express your concern and convictions about the rightness of our love for the Jewish people.

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