It’s one of the unspoken truths in the Christian mainstream: Israel is important. Pray for Israel, stand for Israel, send support to Israel.
But allow me to humbly provoke you by asking…why?
Half the time, this is not discussed. You just support Israel if you’re a Christian. However, doing things without thought is not Godly. Remember when God said that people “…honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13, NIV)?
You there, if you are a Christian, think about why Israel is important. If you have an answer, well. If you don’t know why, I’d encourage some self-examination. “Blind faith” is not literal. We have faith in God.
So why are Christians “supposed to” revere Israel? In my experience, the answer seems to be “Because they are God’s people.”
From a Jew, this answer makes sense. But from a Christian, I don’t understand it.
Have you not read the New Testament?
The entire point of Christ’s death was to break the barriers between God and man. This includes nationality.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:19–as part of his Great Commission–“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (NKJV)
Peter had to relearn this lesson in Acts 10 when he was instructed to bring the gospel to the gentile (non-Jew) Cornelius. God showed him an illustration, saying “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” (v.15, NIV)
Virtually all of Paul’s ministry was bringing the gospel to the gentiles. He wrote letters to churches in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica, none of which are in Israel. Oh, and fun fact: Jesus told John to write Revelation directly to seven churches, NONE of which were in Israel (Revelation 2-3).
It seems Israel’s entire significance (or at least most of it) comes from the Old Testament. Now I am not one of those who thinks we should drop the OT–Jesus said he came to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). However, there’s a reason it’s called the OLD Testament.
A testament is a covenant. The Old covenant was between Israel and God, as outlined in the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy). The New covenant is a covenant between God and mankind as a whole, as evidenced by the blood of Christ paying for the sins of all mankind (John 3:16).
God does not wave a flag. Even in the Old Testament, God was not above striking Israel down (The books of Judges, 1/2 Kings, 1/2 Chronicles, Jeremiah, Lamentations). God is above nationality.
The doors are open. Everybody’s welcome.
No Second-Class Citizens
Talk to a Christian who holds to Israel’s holiness and you’ll get hear something along these lines: “Israel is more important.”
Says who? Not the Bible.
If you’re quoting the Old Testament covenant, that covenant is nullified by the blood of Christ and the New is in place until the second coming (Matthew 26:27-29, Mark 14:23-25, Luke 22:17-20).
Perhaps you’re referring to Romans 1:16, in which Paul says Christ is salvation “first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” That puts Jews first, right?
Yes…chronologically. Jews had first access to God via the Old Testament, so the Messiah (Christ) has significance first to them because of their own scriptures. But then that blood poured out beyond the boundaries of Jerusalem and became available for all. Christ first appeared to the Jews, such as his disciples, but then commanded them to take it elsewhere.
That’s not preference. That’s just logical order.
There are no second-class citizens in Heaven. When the Bible speaks of rewards in Heaven, it refers to good deeds and faithfulness, not nationality. One could say the Jews will be honored for all they’ve suffered in this life (and they certainly have), but these are matters of reward, not preference. And it’s certainly not about salvation.
Christ’s blood is the bringer of salvation, nothing else. You are no holier at the Wailing Wall than you are in your own bedroom because Christ resides in you personally (John 14:20 and 23, 16:20-23).
Let that sink in for a second. God is in you. YOU. You in the mansion, you in the gutter, you with black skin, you with white skin, you man, you woman, you somewhere in the middle of any of these things. If you call Christ your God, then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make their home in you.
All that power, that holiness, is at your fingertips. It’s not across the ocean or the borderline, it’s right there inside you, given by God himself.
So how can we possibly say that God values Israel over any other country with so much evidence to the contrary? Much less every country?
I am not saying that Israel is worthless or that the Jews should be ignored–I’m certainly not condoning violence or hatred against Jews. We should love them and include them by all means. But not at the expense of others.
Christ died to break all boundaries between him and us. I dare not erect any more. The door is open. All you need to do is go in.
So let all Christians stop cursing and criticizing friends and leaders who do not support Israel first–or at all. Let us stop saying some people are better than others or more holy than others “because God says so” when clearly he does not say so.
Let’s take advantage of Immanuel, God With Us. Let’s tap into the goodness and power we all have.
In the verse right after Paul said “to the Jew first and then the Gentile,” he said, “the just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) Faith, not blood. Faith, not nationality.
Sola fide. Faith alone.