I want to tackle a topic that demands 170,000 words and yet I’ll do it in 1,700. So obviously I’m going to simplify, generalize, and summarize. This past week the UN passed a proposal that essentially inches Israel closer to accepting a 2-state solution. Right now, Palestine is a de jure sovereign state. Basically some nations recognize them as a real government, except all the land they govern is technically governed by Israel. What I find interesting is that I saw a ton of Christians on social media condemn that UN resolution and the US for abandoning Israel and calling on Genesis 12 declaring that because we have cursed Israel, we too have been cursed. To be honest, my first reaction to it was negative. I don’t like a 2-state solution, but why? Is it a biblical belief or a global-political one? Well, let’s start biblically.
The Old Testament is very clear. Anyone who blesses or helps Israel, God blesses. Anyone who wants to be a part of Israel, God blesses. Anyone who curses, tricks, attacks, or destroys Israel, God (eventually) curses or punishes them. So is that still true after the New Covenant? This is where theologians are divided. The line that separates a scholar from being either on the Dispensational or Covenant Theology spectrum is based on this subject. A dispensationalist believes that the promises made to Israel will be fulfilled by Israel; whereas a covenant theologian believes the promises made to Israel are now fulfilled by the church through the new covenant in Jesus Christ’s blood. Each side can argue their point-of-view effectively from the Word of God, but there are a couple passages that specifically lean me personally toward the Dispensationalist spectrum. I do believe that national Israel still has a part to play in God’s Narrative. I would suppose a person that holds to Covenant Theology doesn’t have any specific biblical evidence to compel them to support the Nation of Israel (they may see specific interest in sharing the Gospel with a Jewish person but would be totally devoid of any kind of political support.)
So if you do align with a Dispensational belief, what does that then mean for your support of the present day Jewish and Democratic State of Israel? Honestly, I don’t really know. I guess I have a few ideas, opinions, and hypotheticals. I’ll share them, because otherwise this blog would be kind of short and definitely pointless.
Are we compelled to financially support Israel?
No. There would be no biblical mandate to specifically support Israel. America gives quite a bit of money to Israel. Are we being blessed for that? I honestly just have no gauge to judge that. The New Testament especially is written to churches and not governments. So I think it’s even easier to answer the question of whether or not Christians are called to specifically support Jewish causes. Again, I say “no.” Obviously if God were calling you individually to give towards something like that, you should be obedient, but that call isn’t universal.
Is everything that the State of Israel does “Right”?
No, of course not. They are not a theocracy like in the time of Moses. Even then, the Jewish people have a documented history of being disobedient (as would we, if our heritage were tracked throughout Scripture.) So yes, the Israeli parliament might write a terrible law, or the Prime Minister might make a foolish statement. They’re human. Unconditional support of a human entity is never called upon in Scripture.
Should we ever go to war with Israel?
Oh, gosh. I want to say “No.” (But I don’t really want to go to war with anyone.) Total hypothetical. What if Israel declared war on us and invaded Key West or Puerto Rico or Guam or some other tiny island America owns (for some reason or another). We really shouldn’t go to war with them? We’ll just let them kill our people and occupy our land? I think many tunes would change. Now rightfully so, the objection here would be that is extremely unlikely. I think we could label that at a 0% chance of happening. But hypothetically, is it possible? I guess. Could God be then using us to defeat Israel? He’s done it before. The Philistines, Assyrians, and Babylonians were all specifically mentioned as being used as the judgment-hand of God. (Now all those nations were still punished for attacking Israel so keep that in mind.) So I guess there’s a soft “no” in there somewhere. Unless we want to face punishment, we should avoid war with Israel at all cost.
Should we always defend Israel if they are attacked?
Man, I wrote tough questions. I don’t feel like I can answer this with a simple “yes” or “no.” Hypothetically speaking, Israel could do something wrong – commit mass genocide, invade another nation, or the like. (Some believe Israel has already done those things and I would disagree, but that would head us toward a political discussion that we would have to have on another day.) Does God want America to defend them no matter what? I feel like I have a hard time saying that. But putting us in a very plausible scenario, what if another Middle East nation such as Iran invades Israel on some sort of trumped up charges. From a non-political, but rather a biblical perspective, should America join that fight? Let me first state, that I don’t want to be President because making both biblical and political decisions seems impossible. But I would say, in our present, real world, I think we should join the fight. The reason being, we promised to. We have made several promises to Israel about coming to their aid, and we shouldn’t break that promise.
Should we break our promises made to Israel?
Um, I just answered that. Are you even paying attention? America is a strange nation. Presidents make promises that future Presidents decades later have to decide on whether or not they’re going to keep them. Changes can be pretty dramatic in just a few years. My grandfather never would have thought we’d be homeboys with Japan. They bombed us, we Atomic bombed them; but we seem pretty cool with each other today. Who’d have thought? But America did promise Israel that we would never ask them to give back their 1967 borders. And what this UN accord did is essentially that. Now technically we abstained from the vote (yeah and Ross and Rachel were technically “on a break”), but the rumors are we helped craft the legislation. Whether I agree or disagree with a 2-state solution, we shouldn’t publically break promises we have made. We also shouldn’t make many promises, so we don’t break them in future administrations. This is why we should follow the Constitution. Congress should be the only ones to set terms in treatise, and when Presidents shoot their mouths off, they complicate negotiations for future POTUS’s but I digress.
Should we always reject a 2-state solution?
Again, I’m only trying to deal with this Biblically but it’s getting harder. The Bible states that Israel’s promised land is from Egypt to Turkey and covers most of Iraq. Israel has never possessed all of the promised land. They stopped short during the conquest because they felt they had more land than they could ever occupy, but the peoples that were left have been enemies of Israel for the last 3,400 years. So do I personally believe that Israel will one-day possess all that land? I do. I think it will happen during the Tribulation but I’m not 100% on it. (I don’t like being 100% on anything when it comes to future events.) So is a 2-state solution the opposite direction from that? Sounds like it. We’re adding another country (on top of Lebanon, Jordon, Kuwait as well as parts of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey) that would eventually “secede” its land to Israel. This is the reason why I say the Tribulation because that is not going to be happy times for the Middle East. But saying all that, a 2-state solution in itself is not blatantly anti-biblical. No, most Israelis (not all) don’t want it, but that can’t be our basis. My personal concern is looking at the history of this conflict. I think a Palestinian State would be worse for stability in the region. Most people’s arguments are “come on we have to try something different.” I understand the sentiment, but I think there’s way more at play here. I feel bad for the Palestinian people who I am sure are beautiful and kind. But the Palestinian Authority has been in bed with the terrorist organization Hezbollah, has continually asked for more and more with every negotiation, were the ones who made it illegal to work in Israel (yeah that was Yasser Arafat, not Israel), oh and as part of their constitutional charter they have “death to Israel” as a core tenet (not a nice place to start negotiations.) But all that was a little too political and I guess I’ll pay for that in the comments.
All in all, I find this discussion as more challenging than I originally thought it would be. I want to definitely be careful to not make Israel’s actions as the Will of God. No doubt, God is in control, and is going to accomplish His purposes for His people. We must remember that His first goal will be to bring His people to repentance. I believe we will see a revival the likes of which the world has never seen. The one positive that is going to occur during the Tribulation (if you hold to a dispensational viewpoint) is that literally millions of Jews are going to be saved. There will be 144,000 that will be the greatest witnesses the world has ever seen. The fact that Israel is even a nation right now, causes me to interpret many of the events in Revelation as more literally than I probably would have if the Jews were still just scattered around the earth. We must say that God’s Providence has been seen with Israel being a literal nation again. We just must be careful to not put God on the actual, physical throne in Jerusalem. Jesus will be there soon enough, but He’s not there yet. Let’s not deify Israel’s actions until that day comes.
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