April 11, 2007|
As Evangelical Christian Support for Israel Grows, Jews Needn’t Be Puzzled . . . or Suspicious
Dear Friend of FLAME:
After thousands of years of anti-Semitism, persecution and genocide at the hands of Christians, it’s no surprise that many Jews question the motivations of Christians who support Israel today. Most Jews simply cannot understand how the tiger could change his stripes---and many Jews harbor more than a small suspicion that pro-Israel Christians have an unspoken ulterior motive, that their support of Israel primarily serves “selfish” interests.
After attending a number of sessions featuring pro-Israel Christians at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Annual Policy Conference a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C., I came away with a radically different understanding. (Of course Christian support of Israel is nothing new to us at FLAME---a large proportion of our contributors are Christians---and we have always heartily welcomed their blessings.) At AIPAC, for the first time, I heard a methodical explanation of why Christians do and should support Israel. Note that these reasons have nothing to do with hastening the Apocalypse, a myth often repeated in Jewish circles, but which has no part in the thinking of most Evangelical Christians.
In fact, a major source of the misunderstanding Jews have about pro-Israel Christians stems from ignorance about the many sects within the Christian community. Most Jews do not understand the profound difference, even occasional enmity, between Catholics and Protestants---they can’t comprehend why many Protestants would sooner vote for a Jew than a Catholic. Even fewer Jews understand the variations among Protestant sects---the huge difference between an Episcopalian and a Baptist, and the substantial chasm between most mainstream Protestants, like Methodists and Presbyterians, and Evangelicals, or born-again Christians. Suffice it to say, Evangelical Christians are by far the most assertive in their support of Israel because of their strict interpretation of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Evangelicals are important to the pro-Israel movement because they number some 50 million in the U.S. alone, compared with five million U.S. Jews, many of whose support for Israel is tentative at best.
One of the most moving speakers at the AIPAC conference was the Reverend John Hagee of the John Hagee Ministries out of San Antonio, Texas. Hagee is a powerful orator, whose declaration of love for Israel and the Jewish people provoked numerous standing ovations. I urge you to view a segment of this speech right now by going to http://www.jerusalemonline.com/specials12.asp. When you’ve listened to Hagee’s inspiring address, please return to this letter.
Below you’ll find a detailed, seven-point explanation by Hagee, based in Torah and New Testament texts, as to why Christians should support Israel. Hagee also heads up an organization called Christians United for Israel (www.cufi.org), which advocates and lobbies Congress on behalf of the Jewish state. Whether you’re a Jew or a Christian, I think you’ll find Hagee’s exegesis eye-opening and useful.
Apple of HIS eye...
Everything Christians do should be based upon the Biblical text. Here are seven solid Bible reasons why Christians should support Israel.
1. Genesis 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed." Point: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People. History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.
2. St. Paul recorded in Romans 15:27 "For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things."
Christians owe a debt of eternal gratitude to the Jewish people for their contributions that gave birth to the Christian faith. Jesus Christ, a prominent Rabbi from Nazareth said, "Salvation is of the Jews!" (St. John 4:22) Consider what the Jewish people have given to Christianity:
a) The Sacred Scripture
It is not possible to say, "I am a Christian" and not love the Jewish people. The Bible teaches that love is not what you say, but what you do. (1 John 3:18) "A bell is not a bell until you ring it, a song is not a song until you sing it, love is not love until you share it."
3. While some Christians try to deny the connection between Jesus of Nazareth and the Jews of the world, Jesus never denied his Jewishness. He was born Jewish, He was circumcised on the eighth day in keeping with Jewish tradition, He had his Bar Mitzvah on his 13th birthday, He kept the law of Moses, He wore the Prayer Shawl Moses commanded all Jewish men to wear, He died on a cross with an inscription over His head, "King of the Jews!"
Jesus considered the Jewish people His family. Jesus said (Matthew 25:40) "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren (the Jewish people… Gentiles were never called His brethren), ye have done it unto me."
4. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee." (Psalm 122:6) the scriptural principle of prosperity is tied to blessing Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
5. Why did Jesus Christ go to the house of Cornelius in Capernaum and heal his servant, which was ready to die? What logic did the Jewish elders use with Jesus to convince Him to come into the house of a Gentile and perform a miracle?
The logic they used is recorded in Luke 7:5; "For He loveth our nation, and He hath built us a synagogue." The message? This Gentile deserves the blessing of God because he loves our nation and has done something practical to bless the Jewish people.
6. Why did God the Father select the house of Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts Chapter 10) to be the first Gentile house in Israel to receive the Gospel? The answer is given repeatedly in Acts 10.
Acts 10:2 "a devout man, (Cornelius) and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always." Who were the people to whom Cornelius gave these alms? They were the Jews!
Again is Acts 10:4 "… thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God."
Again in Acts 10:31 "… and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God."
The point is made three times in the same chapter. A godly Gentile who expressed his unconditional love for the Jewish people in a practical manner was divinely selected by heaven to be the first Gentile house to receive the Gospel and the first to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
These combined Scriptures verify that PROSPERITY (Genesis 12:3 and Psalm 122:6), HEALING (Luke 7:1-5) and the OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT came first to Gentiles that blessed the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in a practical manner.
7. We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of men, but Israel was created by an act of God! The Royal Land Grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob with an everlasting and unconditional covenant. (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-18, 15:1-21, 17:4-8, 22:15-18, 26:1-5 and Psalm 89:28-37.)
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