You Don't Have to Support Israel

God's done a pretty good job for thousands of years.

As a Millennial, a liberal, and a Christian, I'm one of the least likely candidates to support Israel.

According to Pew Research, support for Israel among Millennials has dropped 8 percentage points in the last ten years while support for Palestine has tripled. Likewise support for Israel among liberal Democrats has dropped 15 points during that same time and support for Palestine has more than doubled.

Christians, too, have not historically supported Israel. Less than twenty years after Israel's sovereignty was recognized, the Roman Catholic Church declared that the church is the new people of God. Though evangelicals will emphatically disagree, as some of Israel's most vocal supporters, they're technically in the minority.

Since the second century, Christians like Justin Martyr have referred to the church as "the true spiritual Israel". The belief is primarily based on the Christian teaching that the new covenant in Christ replaced the older covenant given through Moses. For example, when Jeremiah prophesied of a new covenant, the writer of Hebrews said this made the old one obsolete. Thus, a "replacement" theology has governed the church's view of Israel for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, the Christian superiority complex quickly deteriorated into outright anti-Semitism. By the fourth century, preachers like John Chrysostom were saying that Christians, "must hate both them [the Jews] and their synagogue all the more because of their offensive treatment of those holy men [Moses and the prophets]." In his book, "On the Jews and their Lies", Martin Luther offered a more practical response:
First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn... Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed... Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings be taken from them... Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb.
The venom in Luther's words is only overshadowed by the thousands of years of persecution inflicted upon the Jewish people. It is with no pleasant hyperbole that we must confess the Jews are the most hated and oppressed people group in history.

If you accept the Bible's account of the Egyptian captivity in the book of Exodus, then the Jews' oppression dates back thousands of years. But even history corroborates the biblical accounts and prophecies of the Babylonian captivity and the Seleucid oppression, which predate Christianity by hundreds of years.

The next two thousand years were a delightful combination of expulsions (Alexandra, Spain, Italy, England, France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Russia), burnings (Rome, Jerusalem, Austria, Germany, Venice, Toledo, Lisbon, Seville), and massacres (Castile, Toledo, Poland). And those are only the major ones before the Holocaust--a time when concentration camps and gas chambers made the other horrors look mild, like using children as skeet shooting targets.

The history of the Jewish people hardly paints them as the aggressors or bullies that the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have you believe. Indeed, the Israeli government has never called for the extermination of Palestinians. Whereas Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, supports neither a two-state solution or even an expulsion of the Jews:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.
Quoting Muhammed, their charter goes on to call for the genocide of the Jewish people and chides peace talks as contradictory to their principles. They're not the first group of anti-Semitic radicals driven by hate rather than religion, and they certainly won't be the last.

The surprising part of Jewish history and current events is that they remain. Despite the numerous attempts to destroy these people, the Jews are still here. The Millennials and liberals who follow Huffington Post more than history will likely credit America's unwavering support in recent years, but that doesn't account for the hundreds of years that America didn't exist. A better explanation is that God never gave up on them.

According to replacement theology, God turned his back on the children of Israel in favor of a new, spiritual Israel through his Spirit. This effectively nullified his previous promises and covenants with them (something the apostle Paul said God will never do) making any divine support for a geopolitical state of Israel impossible.

However, in speaking of Jacob's (Israel's name before God changed it) descendants, the prophet Isaiah makes the eternality of God's promises very clear:
As for me, this is my covenant with them. My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants--from this time on and forever.
It should be noted that while Paul does refer to Christians as children of Abraham, he never refers to us as children of Israel. Abraham had lots of other descendants besides Jacob, but Paul calls us Abraham's children because of our faith, not our lineage. Children of Jacob or children of Israel are terms reserved for the Jewish people alone.

The Jews are God's chosen people and will always be his chosen people. Their persistent existence in the face of tragedy after tragedy cannot be ascribed to chance--not after thousands of years. And like it or not, that means their claim to the land still has God's signature. Furthermore, there isn't a single nation on this planet that can boast a longer, historical claim to a piece of land. No one can contend this, especially those from a country built on stolen land.

Of course, the Jews' spiritual pedigree doesn't make them perfect (the prophets of old made that abundantly clear) and the state of Israel has made mistakes like any other nation. No amount of divine ordinance calls for carte blanche support. But opposing Israel is literally opposing God. If you don't believe that, tell it to all the people who failed to destroy his people.

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Go ahead and like this Stand for Israel page if you support Israel. Or actually help the 75,000 Jews displaced by the recent wildfires started by terrorists.

photo credit: Jack Zalium Flag on the Wall via photopin (license)


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