This question is important not only for followers of Christ, but for people of all religions and points of view.
Ultimately, it is not just about God’s promise to Abraham that he would bless those who blessed him, and curse those who cursed him (Gen 12:3). It also raises the question of what the Apostle Paul is asking when he says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
By the way, if you are just coming into this discussion, it might be helpful for you to check out the conversation and comments that followed the previous post regarding the Schalit Palestinian Prisoner Exchange.
But at this point let’s review a couple of the many biblical issues that make this such a significant matter, and why followers of Christ are among those divided regarding the support of Israel.
For example, according to the Jewish prophet, Joel, in the last days God will judge the nations of the earth who have joined together to destroy Israel (Joel 3:2). The prophet Zechariah was even clearer in describing how, in the end times, Israel will drive the nations of the world mad; that those nations will gather to destroy Jerusalem; and that they in turn will be judged by God for hating the nation that bears his name (Zechariah 12:1-9).
In many ways this sounds like a fulfillment of what God said when he promised Abraham that he would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him.
The result is that many have concluded in our day that it makes sense to align ourselves with Israel in the current international conflict– even before God opens the eyes of this nation regarding what their leaders once did in calling for the death of the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-11).
So before going any further, that’s why I believe all of us need to take seriously not only the history of this issue, but also the personal and future implications.
The reason for not stopping at this point is that the God of Abraham did not stop here. He had more to say. The God of Abraham later spoke through Jeremiah saying that he had (at least in some ways and for some reasons) turned against Jerusalem (the city that bore his name and history). (Jeremiah 21:13). To that, the prophet Ezekiel added that Jerusalem had become so unfaithful that she made her sisters Samaria and Sodom look good by comparison (Ezekiel 16:49-52).
Then, eventually, in two widely separated acts of judgment, God honored the warnings he had given through Moses to scatter his people to the four corners of the earth if they did not remain faithful to him. In the days of the Assyrians and Babylonians, and then again by the armies of Rome, God used pagan nations to judge his people (Deut 28:1-68), while still promising to return them to their homeland, and to himself, in the last days (i.e. Deut 30:1-3).
So how then do we begin to sort all of this out? In the previous post, I mentioned the story of what happened when Joshua asked a divine messenger whether he was “for us, or against us?” (Joshua 5:13-15) To this I’ll now add the question and implications of what the Apostle Paul was thinking when he asked followers of Christ, “If God is for us who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31-32).
Maybe we need to begin with ourselves. If God is for those who are in Christ, does this mean that we should be for, and never against, all who bear the name of Christ—in all their ways, and in every issue?
Maybe if we begin with ourselves first, and weigh what we have been taught by Christ regarding blessing and cursing, we will find the light we need to consider the way we relate to the nation of Israel in her present political, military, moral, spiritual, and increasingly international issues.
I’ll try to stay with the discussion on this one and let it play out. Let’s all try to ask our Lord for discernment, and try not to be heavy handed with one another as we try to do justice to the different sides of this issue.
Let’s also not be surprised or too alarmed if we hear some strong emotions expressed in the process. This can be a good time to step up to the challenge of wanting to know and speak the truth in love.