Ten Reasons to Support Israel
There is no doubt that Israel enjoys growing support from the Evangelical movement today. At times this support is little understood, especially since the Church struggled for centuries to accept the Jewish people and even engaged in antisemitic actions against them. Many Church fathers taught that God was finished with the Jews, and left them in exile as a sign of their divine rejection. However, this all changed dramatically with Israel’s restoration as a nation back in their ancestral homeland. Yet the question remains: Why should we support Israel today?
The Theological Challenge of Israel for the Church
We are the first generation of Christians who have had to deal theologically with a phenomenon that did not exist for 1900 years of Church history – Israel’s re-emergence as a nation back in their ancient homeland. This fulfilled biblical prophecies which the early Apostles longed to see (Acts 1:6-7). Are we in the days they hoped for when God would restore the kingdom to Israel? And how should the Church relate to this new situation?
Comforting the People of Israel
That heavenly mandate continues to motivate the Christian Embassy until this day. It is a Scriptural command to stand in love, kindness, and hope with God’s people. It was ignored for far too long, by too many churches. Yet it still rings forth today, more relevant and timely than ever. And it still inspires the vision of the ICEJ, as we seek to connect Christians from every nation with every segment of Israeli society, through acts of genuine love and concern for their welfare and destiny.
Jesus and the Palestinians
For many decades, Evangelical support for Israel seemed rock solid. Today, however, many younger Christians in Western churches are hesitant to give Israel the same unconditional support that their parents did. Stories of Palestinian suffering have attracted the sympathy of young Evangelicals, rather than the struggles and triumphs of Israel.
The Restoration of Israel
Throughout Scripture, Israel is promised a last-day restoration in the land. This promise rests on the faithful character of God, that He can be trusted to carry out His promises because He cannot lie. This is especially true if it is a covenant promise sworn to by divine oath.
The Great Ingathering
The Jews are a remarkable people. Consider, for instance, that they are the only people who have been violently uprooted from their homeland not once but twice, only to return to that land each time to re-establish their national sovereignty. You could search far and wide and still not find another people who have managed to do this even once, and yet the Jews have done it twice!
Why We Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles
Some may ask why are thousands of Christians coming up to Jerusalem each year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles? After all, isn’t this a “Jewish holiday”? The answer lies in the unique universal significance of this ancient biblical festival and its past, present, and future relevance for all nations.
Christian Zionism 101
If Zionism is the belief in the Jewish people’s right to return to their homeland, then a Christian Zionist should simply be defined as a Christian who supports the Jewish people’s right to return to their homeland. Under this broad and simple definition, many Christians would qualify no matter what the reasons are for their support. Just as Jews of all persuasions formed the Zionist movement, then Christians of all persuasion can also fall within this broad definition of a Christian Zionist.
The Challenge of Replacement Theology
In essence, Replacement theology removes from Israel a national destiny back in the land of Canaan because of her rejection of Jesus and his Messianic credentials. All the biblical statements of Israel enjoying future blessings in the land of Canaan are said to be descriptions of the spiritual blessings that now accrue to the Church. The expectation of a physical kingdom has been spiritualized, taken from Israel and given to the Gentiles (Matthew 21:43), even though Jesus never denied that the physical kingdom would be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6-7).