Can anyone provide me with unbiased, non-political information on the state of Israel and the Palestinian people. Why are some Christians placing Israel as “the chosen nation” today? I am not sure what my question is but I am very confused at the hatred, misinformation and un-biblical propaganda being taught at some of our churches. We are told we must support Israel at any cost but some of the actions of the government is wrong and illegal.
@Abby That is a great question. The short answer is that some Christians believe that ethnic Israel is still God’s chosen people and that when Israel became a nation again in the 1948 it was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. As a result of this belief, they say that we should support the nation of Israel because God is fulfilling His end time promises through them during our generation. Others, like myself, believe that the Church is the new Israel and all are one, both Jew and Greek, in Christ. The old covenant is ended - the new has come.
Regardless of your belief on that topic, however, I think that we can all agree Israel has behaved in ways that are not in keeping with God’s commandments on occasion. Here is a podcast from Phil Vischer where he interviews a scholar Gary Burge who has a more balanced view on the topic of Israel and Palestine.
What are your personal beliefs regarding the modern nation of Israel? Have you ever heard of these particular teachings before? Christ grant you wisdom.
I recently visited Israel last spring. I expected to see important Christian sites and visit normal tourist destinations. I was shocked to see a different reality. The entire trip I could feel that something was not right, and coming in as pro-Israel I think it says a lot.
@ellie. Are you comfortable sharing the things that were shockingly different for you?
I visited Israel and stayed in The West Bank. I crossed the border every day into Jerusalem, walked the streets of Bethlehem, touched the wall and ate with the Palestinian people, both Muslim and Christian. It is so easy to draw erroneous conclusions of a group of people when you have never sat down and listened to their stories. The bible must be read as one continuous story and in context. We cannot presume to bring in 21 century thinking into a 1st century document. Cultural, grammatical etc is the correct way to learn about the best story ever told. This being said, I agree with you Sean, we are all the chosen people. History is full of tragic crimes all done in the name of God. We cannot give license to the Israeli govt to commit illegal and heinous crimes against Arabs, Ethiopians(or anyone non-jewish) and the Palestinian people because they are “God’s chosen”. What did we learn from the crusades?
@Abby Thank you for sharing your experience. At the end of the day, we are all people in need of the love of Jesus and made in God’s image. This particular topic is such a difficult one and the political climate in the Middle East so complex that I think we must be quick to listen and slow to judge. Israel is in a very difficult geopolitical climate and yet Jesus calls us to love even our enemies. It is topics like this one that make me pray with ever more fervency “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven”.
I don’t think there is such a thing as unbiased perspective on this, but I will try to give some of what I understand regarding the nation of Israel today and it’s position before God.
When people talk about Israel as God’s chosen people, they probably believe that Israel has a unique future place in God’s as an ethnic nation. I happen to hold that view as well. I find the whole subject of Israel fascinating though and the division it causes, because it seems to bear out much of what has been spoken regarding the nation.
In Daniel chapter 9 a vision is given to Daniel about “your people and your holy city”, that has in view 70 weeks. Basically at the end of 69 weeks “an anointed one” aka Messiah, will be cut off. This is taken to be Christ’s rejection at his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The math apparently works out so that the exact day of Christ entry is predicted. I can post more on that if there is interest. But there is then a 70th week, which has not occurred yet. When we get into Revelation, much of the material has to do with that 70th week.
Bottom line: this is one of the major places where the belief that God has a unique place for the ethnic nation of Israel in his future plans, comes from. It’s a passage to be familiar with if you want to understand those who take that view
Some other verses from those who want to support Israel Number 24:8
God brought him out of Egypt;
he is like the horns of a wild ox for them.
He will feed on enemy nations
and gnaw their bones;
he will strike them with his arrows.
9 He crouches, he lies down like a lion
or a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
Those who bless you will be blessed,
and those who curse you will be cursed.
Because of the above verses, many will say we need to support Israel period. That’s a debatable interpretation, but maybe not one to be completely scoffed at.
23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will be killed by the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
So it seems, that at some point Jerusalem will back under Israel’s control. That’s how I understand that section.
Also Romans 11 verses 25-29,
25 I don’t want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you will not be conceited: A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all[i] Israel will be saved, as it is written,
The Deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this will be my covenant with them[j]
when I take away their sins.[k]
28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs, 29 since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.[l]
So to many that passage indicates that Israel will indeed have a place in the future although that time is not yet. There are many other passages to point to, but that might a couple places to look to understand how some see the nation of Israel as still “chosen”.
@Abby and @Ted_Kilcup. I think Ted has a valid point. There does not seem to be a way to talk about Israel without engaging the political or bias rhetoric. But I think it oversimplifies the behavior of 21st century ethnic Israelis to say that they should not be supported because of the wrong for which they are guilty. I think it is safe to say that in every segment of our shared history, every nation has been guilty of both wrong and good. The church would be wrong to give a pass to sin or to pass by the sinner.
I don’t think anyone is deceived concerning any secular nation. Certainly not here in America. Where we have a long history of holding the truth in one hand and filth in the other. It is why we became a democracy at the same time we held men, women, and children in slavery.
What I do believe is, the voice of a friend is more easily heard than the voice of an enemy. What we should be engaged in is prayer and a persistent voice that calls upon, even a secular friend, to live with honesty and fairness. Surely that will cover all scriptural and social edicts.
I arrived in Israel with frankly an anti-Palestinian view. All I had heard becore in school and at home in the United States was that the Palestinians were terrorists constantly blowing Israelis up. However, I discovered a much different reality. I do not want to go over the history of the founding of Israel, but I encourage you to do some research yourself. Palestinians were pushed out of their homes and the Israeli government continues to invade designated land and make life as difficult as possible.
I am sure that the Israelis are not innocent. But I notice no one talks about the war the Palestinians lost that led to the occupation by Israel. I don’t protest the legitimacy of the Palestinians complaint. But unless we are open and honest about wrong doing from both parties, we only add to the conflict. We don’t stand as agents of conciliation, healing or forgiveness. I have neither an anti-Palestinian nor anti-Israeli view. There is sin and there is non-sin we all can own those sentiments.
I agree with you that we should bring peace and not aggravate the conflict. However, why did the war begin in the 1st place? and why does the world watch a million Palestinians sit in Gaza without doctors?
Ellie. Perhaps there is a call on your life to answer the need you observed. I would not be as concerned about the wrong of any nation, just the need that should be met. If my personal investment and my prayer life can not bring healing, who can I be angry with? Who should I blame? Maybe the answer is seeing how we can ease the misery. It is a perfect opportunity to show forth the heart of GOD. The politics are not worthy of the energy. I have never known them to do a credible job. But if a need is identified than the next question has to be how can I help, not who is to blame.
C Rhodes, I don’t hear blame, what I hear is a call for Christians to study and research the history of the area. The Palestinians never lost a war because they were never in a war. Please study how the area became a Jewish state. In reference to your comment about the needs that should be acted on, the Israeli govt makes it impossible for help and relief to be sent to the Gaza strip. Yes, atrocities have been perpetrated on both sides, I don’t hear anyone disputing that. Prayer and knowledge of what is happening is so very important. How do we know what to pray for if we do not know the truth and the realities of the area? I know God is grieved and loves everyone involved in this crisis. If our hearts break, imagine our Gods.
@Abby. Okay, now we have reduced our conversation to an interpretation of what blame means. That is not what was meant. Studying history does not illuminate for me what is needed today. I don’t need the political, historical, or popular references. I really don’t. The need today is the cry to be answered. If this was not true for me, then the atrocities of my own country’s history would threaten my peace and willingness to forgive.
I am a descendant of American Indians and African Slaves. The problem for me in a focus that centers around history is that it locks me into perpetual victimization. The American government owes me and mine because of one thing or another. Even the daily occurrences of unfairness because of what I look like, where I come from, who my people are, can threaten my progress if it becomes my focus. However, I am not powerless. I possess the authority of heart of GOD.
Human beings who and what we are and are not, are an given in a fallen world. It will always be. But what GOD has for me is mine. And unless I am depending on others to justly provide what is mine, then my trust in GOD makes my claim one that can be obstructed but never denied.
If I am hoping and praying for anything in the Middle East it is that all will learn of a relationship with GOD that makes it impossible for them not to succeed even in the face of unfairness or even evil. I will never pray about historical accounts, those are done. I am striving every day to not hold any present-day human unworthy; because, of the persistent and very human things we do to one another. It takes all I am willing for GOD to grow in me to love others in the way that He does. But by His grace I will bear those fruits, despite history, despite current sorrows.
C Rhodes I am sorry you misunderstood my response. It was never meant to cause hurt. My intent was to try to shed light on a very complex issue. Sometimes history can be very helpful to show us where not to tread and how to pray.
No Abby, let me apologize if I seemed hurt. I understand what you are saying. I just wanted to stress what works for me. No harm done and no harm was intended. Thank you for marvelous conversation!