Must Christians Condone ALL Israel's Policies?
by Patricia Backora
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Any decent parent will not turn a blind eye to signs his/her child is bullying someone else’s child. That parent won’t endorse the cruel deeds of a beloved child, not even out of family loyalty and love. The Love of God condemns wickedness wherever it is found, even if it is found among those who profess to be His special people. In the Old Testament God rebuked and dealt with Israel repeatedly for her sin. That, despite God’s clear statement that Israel is the apple of His eye (Zech.2:8).
God has promised a blessing to those who bless Israel (Gen.12:3). In the same breath God not only promised curses to those who cursed Israel but declared His intention that ALL families of the earth would be blessed through Israel (ALL includes the Arab nations, too). We bless Israel as we pray for God to protect her from foes near and far, and to reveal the riches of His goodness to her. But does blessing Israel mean condoning ALL her actions and saying “amen” to cruel acts carried out by this country? Does disagreeing with Israel’s inhumane treatment of neighboring populations amount to cursing Israel? Must we rubberstamp everything Israel does out of fear of invoking this terrible curse? I don’t think so, although countless Christians would insist that we are NEVER to criticize any atrocity carried out by Israelis. Some Christians are afraid to peep a protest whenever Israel does something contrary to God’s Law of Love as revealed in the Bible. Because Jews suffered unspeakable horrors during the Holocaust, Israel must never be held to the same standards of conduct as other nations. But one sin doesn’t justify another sin. If a parent gets chewed out at work, he might take it out on his kid at home. Then the kid will take it out on the little puppy in the back yard, knowing it’s too small and powerless to defend itself, and the puppy can’t escape from the chain link fence to get away from his cruel master.
I fear that in the past few decades Christians have USED Israel and prophecies surrounding Israel as a pacifier to reassure themselves that the Rapture is near and they’re about to go home to heaven and escape this mess down here below. What glee fills some believers’ hearts as they read about the friction breaking out in the Middle East. They swear up and down they LOVE the Jewish people, but do they really? Or do they only value the Jews as being God’s “sign people” pointing to the long-awaited End of the World and Coming of Christ? Would Christians “love” Israel nearly so much if their ups and downs offered no reassurance of the nearness of Christ’s return? Some believers ARE selfish enough to think in the back of their minds: “Thank God I’M over here watching that mess over in the Middle East from a safe distance, and when the worst of these world conflicts come, I’ll be home in heaven.”
It helps to try to see things from other people’s perspective. Even though the Jews MUST be scared and feel like they’re living in a fish bowl surrounded by hostile enemies, constantly in a state of fear, people who live clear across the world surrounded by water on three sides just can’t identify with such a precarious existence as tiny Israel has. We must pray for the precious Jewish people who are now back in the land promised to their forefathers. Outrages have been perpetrated on both sides of this Mideast conflict. There have been no winners in this endless war of nerves. The need for constant vigilance against outbreaks of enemy unrest must be very trying for the Israelis.
Yet in our eagerness to properly love the Nation of Israel and affirm its Biblical right to the land promised to Abraham by God, we must not close our eyes to the cruelties being inflicted upon the Palestinian people. The Gaza strip is a big refugee camp full of dispossessed, jobless, hungry souls who seem to belong nowhere in the world. The huge Arab nations bordering tiny Israel are brimming over with oil wealth. But they haven’t offered to take their poorer Muslim brethren in.
At the time of this writing Israel has closed off tiny, overcrowded Gaza from receiving foreign aid food supplies to feed its burgeoning population. How can Christians turn a blind eye to such cruelty? Tiny Palestinian children, pregnant women, old men and women who would never even think of committing any act of war against mighty Israel are being starved to death in their 850-square-mile prison camp of misery. These people didn’t ask to be born as Palestinians. They shouldn’t be demonized as being on God’s reject pile just because some of them react violently after Israel uses a few Palestinians as target practice. How would YOU feel if your next-door neighbor cut off YOUR food supply and prevented you from leaving the country to find relief elsewhere?
Some Christians have the impression that the Palestinians are accursed of God on account of their race. NOBODY chooses where they’re born. NO baby decides from the womb who their historical enemies will be. Each person, whether Jew or Gentile, is accountable to God only for his or her own actions (Jere.31:29-30). Scripture plainly states that it’s unfair for the children to be punished for the actions of their fathers, and this ought to apply to the situation in Gaza. Instead of Israel honoring their God by sharing its bread with the hungry (Isa.58:7,10), Israel’s blockade of food aid is creating a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. God promised that if Israel would feed the hungry and show compassion to the poor, He would make her a shining light among the nations. This particular promise will not be fulfilled until the Millennial Reign of Christ (Isaiah 60:20; Zech.8:23).
Far from exempting the Nation of Israel from moral accountability on account of its physical descent from Abraham, this particular nation is held to an even higher standard because of the light it has received. Jesus Christ has this to say about various towns of Israel:
Matt.11:21: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Sodom was a Gentile city, and the most wicked place you could imagine. But if God could have found even ten righteous people there, He wouldn’t have destroyed it (Gen.18:32). Abraham, patriarch of the Jewish race, was the one who interceded for this evil city. Abraham might have simply asked God to take Lot and his family out, but Abraham was concerned for other souls as well.
The prophet Jonah hated the Ninevites because he knew they weren’t friends of Israel. Jonah wanted the Ninevites to die, and he got fuming mad after they repented and God spared them judgment. But God declared his love and concern for the Ninevites in Jonah 4:11.
John the Baptist discouraged pride in race and feelings of national superiority. He had this to say:
Matt.3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Verse 10: And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Jesus didn’t believe a person’s nationality gave them automatic favor with God:
Matt.8:11: And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 4:25: But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
Verse 26: But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
Verse 27: And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
Jesus taught the parable of the Good Samaritan, showing His disciples that people of all ethnic groups are our neighbors and should be treated with kindness as our neighbors (Luke 10:33-37). We are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt.19:19).
Matt.7:12: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. ***Jesus was addressing Jews here, since the Church Age hadn’t begun and Gentile converts hadn’t yet come into the church. Jesus doesn’t say “Jewish men”. He says simply “whatsoever ye would that men (people in general) should do to you”. Period. I’m sure no Israeli parent would want their child to starve because some other nation blockaded its territory, so where is the moral justification for starving Palestinian infants?
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.***If God is kind to people who don’t give Him thanks for His provision and are downright hostile toward Him, then what right has any country to stand in the way of innocent infants, women and old people being fed? Any people claiming to be God’s chosen nation ought to question whether they’re walking in His ways or in the ways of Abraham, His servant. There’s no record of Abraham cutting off food supplies to helpless people starving in a refugee camp.
Luke 6: 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
The Apostle Paul, one of the strictest Jewish Pharisees ever, held this opinion:
Rom.12:20: Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.***Again, Paul doesn’t limit such acts of mercy to enemies who belong to his own race.
Paul couldn’t have made it clearer that God holds all nations to the same standard:
Rom.1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Verse 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Verse 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Verse 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, UNMERCIFUL:
Verse 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Rom.2:9: Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Verse 2: But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
Verse 3: And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Verse 4: Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Verse 5: But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Verse 6: Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
Verse 7: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Verse 8: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Verse 9: Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Verse 10: But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Verse 11: FOR THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD.
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