Should Christians Support Israel?
As Israel and Hamas continue their conflict in Gaza, the rest of the world argues over which group to support. Much of the mainstream media portrays Israel as the aggressor, while other sources affirm Israel’s right to defend its land and people. What view should Christians have regarding Israel?
First, it’s clear the land and people of Israel (Jews and all others) are of great importance to God. The Bible calls Israel the Promised Land of the Jews. Abraham first came to the land where it was included as part of God’s blessing to him and his descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). Joshua led the Israelites into this same land generations later. The judges and kings of Israel ruled the land for centuries before God judged the land through Babylonian invasion. Even at that time, God promised to later return them to the land of Israel, a prophecy fulfilled 70 years later.
In the first century, Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 A.D. The nation of Israel then ceased to exist until its modern re-establishment following World War II that took place in 1948. Since then, Israel has become a major economic and technological player among the nations of the Middle East.
Second, Israel is a land rich in religious value for Jews, Christians, and even Muslims. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, the Judges, David, Solomon, Jesus, and the early church all lived in this land. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, while many of the Bible’s major events took place in Jerusalem.
Third, Israel is the longest-standing democracy in the Middle East. This alone should warrant some level of support from Western democratic nations. Both Christians and non-Christians who support democratic societies in which government is led by the people and for the people can support the modern nation of Israel.
Fourth, God has a future plan for Israel according to the Bible. Revelation 21 and 22 speak of a New Jerusalem, a heavenly city where God dwells with His people. Prior to this time, Scripture also speaks of a future Jewish temple in Jerusalem that will be defiled by the Antichrist (Daniel 8:13; 9:17; 11:31; Matthew 24:15).
While Christians need not support every policy and decision made by the government of Israel, there are certainly several reasons Christians can support the nation of Israel and its people. It’s importance to God, its historical significance, its long-lasting democracy, and future role in Scripture all highlight the great value of Israel in Christian history and beliefs.
The Bible teaches God’s people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), a principle that can also certainly extend to the entire nation. We are to pray for peace, for the spiritual and physical condition of those on all sides, and seek to help in practical ways as we are able.
We can begin today by praying about the current conflict involving Israel and encourage others to support Israel and peace in the region. While lasting peace may not take place until Christ’s return, we can still work toward making a difference now in whatever ways we can, seeking the good of the land where our Lord Jesus was born, lived, and served.