Israel

At this time in world history there doesn’t seem to be a day that passes where the State of Israel is not in the news in some way. It is my conviction that this is exactly as scripture foretold (Zechariah 12:2), and is key to the belief of many evangelicals—including myself—that we may be living in the very last of the last days. But convictions such as these and recent correspondence with other evangelical leaders has caused several questions to come to my mind.

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  • What should be the response of the church to National Israel in the last days?
  • How should we interpret and apply Paul’s words “To the Jew first” in the context of 21st century Christianity?
  • Should the evangelization of lost Israel take precedent over other lost peoples?
  • Does the promise of Genesis 12:3 (i.e. “I will bless those who bless you…”) mean that we—the church—should seek to bless, monetarily, the nation of Israel to receive a blessing ourselves?
  • Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? Do Muslims?

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I would love your thoughts, add your’s below. (click here to comment)

8 replies
  1. Gunnar Hanson
    Gunnar Hanson says:

    Great short post. Great devotional to start the day. We need to be on our knees praying for Israel at this very moment. Iran is developing nukes and Israel is about to respond by force to protect themselves. If Israel is forced to attack, this will certainly escalate things in the world…

    “What should be the response of the church to National Israel in the last days?”

    First, I believe, we need to pray for the people of Israel. In a world where most want to wipe them off of the map, I think we need to stand with them. I don’t know what this looks like practically as an individual, but it certainly affects my vote as an American. I have a great trip to Israel with ICEJ a couple of years ago and they are practically reaching out to Israel. I think every Christian needs to make a trip out there for sure.

    “How should we interpret and apply Paul’s words “To the Jew first” in the context of 21st century Christianity?”

    I think the most important part of this question is the interpretation part. I think John 1:11…that He came to them first, but was rejected. The application is harder, but in my own life I have come to understand that if God loves and has a special place for Israel in His heart, so should we.

    “Should the evangelization of lost Israel take precedent over other lost peoples?”

    As a general statement no. Israeli people are under the same rule as the Gentiles. However, God will certainly call some who have an extreme burden to reach Israelis as he has given others the burden to reach Mongolians…

    “Does the promise of Genesis 12:3 (i.e. “I will bless those who bless you…”) mean that we—the church—should seek to bless, monetarily, the nation of Israel to receive a blessing ourselves?”

    I think so…that is I think we should seek to bless Israel. Paul, the apostle to the Gentles, said that he would be willing to give up his salvation if his Jewish brothers would accept Christ. That is pretty bold…do we feel the same for Jews…or anyone for that matter? Romans 9:1-5

    “Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? Do Muslims?”

    Too broad of a question. A simplistic answer would be “No.” But I believe there are people within all these groups who do…BUT BEFORE YOU JUMP ALL OVER ME let me finish. I think there are Jews and Muslims whose hearts are right and are genuinely seeking God. For those whose hearts are this way, I believe God supernaturally (through dream, radio, literature, or missionary…) reveals Christ to them so they can truly worship Him. It is clear that there is only ONE mediator between God and man…. 1 Timothy 2:5.

    Reply
  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    I am in agreement with your thoughts. I think the Church and some indivduals specific are called to be almost like the prophets of old, calling Israel to repent and turn to God, to believe in Christ. But I think we should have a heart for all the lost sheep, not just Isreal. I know many Christians that take the Israel issue to the extreme, thinking they can do no wrong. Do we need to bless Israel yes! Do we need to as a Church call them out if they are doing a people wrong, yes! I think so, I know the Palestinian issue is very complex, but there are things Israel could be doing to help those in Gaza and the West Bank. And before anyone jumps on me, the Palestinians do their wrongs also I am not defending them. But I have meet some dear brothers and sisters in the Lord who are Palestinian, and they are suffering daily, there is no jobs, health care isnt very good, and there own peopel even hate them. Its such a complex isssue, I think this is why
    God commands us to pay for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Only God can change the landscape of the Middle East.

    Reply
  3. Daniel Balcombe
    Daniel Balcombe says:

    What should be the response of the church to National Israel in the last days?
    Nothing different than any other nation.

    How should we interpret and apply Paul’s words “To the Jew first” in the context of 21st century Christianity?
    Contextually Romans is written to Greeks (Gentiles). their racist attitudes were put on blast just like the Jews racist attitudes were put on blast in other parts of Paul’s writings (Gal 2:11ff). As the apostle to the Gentiles Paul carefully crafted words to make both Jew and Gentile equal (Gal 3:28). The mere fact that the Jews were the first to receive the gospel and to be the

    Should the evangelization of lost Israel take precedent over other lost peoples?
    Absolutely not.

    Does the promise of Genesis 12:3 (i.e. “I will bless those who bless you…”) mean that we—the church—should seek to bless, monetarily, the nation of Israel to receive a blessing ourselves?
    Absolutely not. Sons of Abraham (Gal 3:7)! Jerusalem above (4:26)! Israel of God (6:16)! She is blessed!

    Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? Do Muslims?
    Absolutely not.

    Love ya brother, we need to get some tacos.

    Reply
  4. James Class
    James Class says:

    Maybe the first question should have been, has the church replaced Israel? If we don’t agree on that question there is little point in discussing the others. There are spiritual blessings and promises for those who are sons of Abraham by faith, who are circumcised in the heart, absolutely. But God did not just make spiritual promises to Israel, He attached His name to them as a people in a very special way. In the beginning of Daniel 9 there is an awesome prayer that Daniel makes, I think he really grasped this idea…. “these are Your people… called by Your name… Your holy city Jerusalem…” The issue back then is the same issue today, will God show Himself strong on behalf of a nation that He has connected His name to? The issue is God’s great name.

    If the church has replaced Israel and God is no longer actively involved with them as a nation, how could we explain the last 60 years of their history? What other people group on the planet went nearly 2,000 years without a homeland, scattered in various nations, somehow maintained their identity, and were re-established again as a nation? And the way that God has protected and fought for them since that point is like something right out of the Old Testament.

    It’s not an issue of superior/inferior, it’s an order God has established. Rom.1:16b “….to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Acts 1:8b “..you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Global missions has to begin somewhere, why not Israel? Could it be that God has established this as His divine order for all generations?

    Does Genesis 12 mean the church should bless Israel? Is the pope catholic? Does Genesis 12 mean that all nations including our own should bless Israel? Absolutely. Should we bless local Jewish people and synagogues? For sure we should.

    To “bless” means to kneel. Sometimes it used of kneeling while presenting a gift. It’s about respect. It’s an acknowledgement that we experience many of the blessings that we do because of God’s working with the Jewish people. Rom 8:26-27 “For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.”

    Miles mentioned his belief that we are living in the last days, I agree. As the church blesses Israel she is aware that time is short. As we bless the Jewish people we are close to the heart of God and we will walk powerfully in the Spirit. We will have a renewed sense of purpose and order, to not only got to Jerusalem, but to the ends of the earth.

    Reply
  5. Don Steigerwald
    Don Steigerwald says:

    I believe the Church and The nation Israel are tied together by the cord of Gods faithfulness. While we have inherited all things in Christ, this does not negate the promises made to the people of Isreal and the actual land He calls His own.

    Our response to National Israel is to speak the truth in love. If they are at fault, let them know it. However, as we should always; be slow to judge, make sure your judgment is in line with Gods will and purposes, and not based on the fear of man. Then act.

    God gave the promise of blessing to Abraham, not to others. That is, He didn’t give the promise as a means for people to enrich themselves, He gave it as a promise that Abraham was covered, that God “had his back”.

    Why? Because God called Abraham. Not because he was a great man, but because God had a purpose and through Abraham, all the world would be blessed.

    Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? One ignorantly, the other in Spirit.
    Is the worship of either acceptable to God? That’s the real question.

    What makes one’s faith superior to the others, or in other words, what makes one’s worship acceptable to God?

    All, presumably, are ascribing great worth to God, but is this what He longs for?

    No. To obey is better than sacrifice.” I don’t need your money, I want your life. If you can’t come to Me everyday, then don’t bother coming at all.” (thanks to Kieth Green here).

    So it’s not just lip service worship that God is looking for, it is a heart that forsakes all others and puts Him first. If one is doing this, then they will believe on His Given One. For God commands that we do, and if we love Him, we obey. Outside the kingdom are the fearful and unbelieving. (revelation 21:8)

    Bless Israel? Absolutely, both physical and spiritual Israel.

    Who should the church be evangelizing? Our families, neighbors, co-workers. If we aren’t doing that here and now, why in the world would we think we’d do that in Israel?

    The commission? In a word:

    Go.

    Reply

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