The modern state of Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary on May 14. From its reestablishment in 1948 there has been war, contention and controversy. To be honest, that parcel of land has been a source of contention pretty much since the times of ancient Israel.
This is further complicated by the strong polarized views held by many in the church. Battle lines over support or condemnation of the modern state of Israel have pretty much fallen along political lines, which have forced us to either care for Israel or care for the Palestinians. To me this is the symptom of a deeper problem within our culture, which is not willing to cordially dialogue, respect the opinions of others or try to find middle ground. It is also muddied by a growing inability to see the role of the nation of Israel in the story of the Scriptures.
Finally, there are many who feel we are in the end days and are looking for signs and speculations concerning current events and what the Scriptures point to in the prophetic future.
Although I personally believe the return of the Lord is near and current events are leading us in the direction of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, I am not going to spend time in speculation now. Also, I am not going to attempt to heal the breech of the political divide except to say I believe we can support Israel and its right to exist without agreeing with every decision the government of Israel makes and also loving the Palestinian people as the Scriptures call us to.
To me, the anniversary of Israel affirms the following Biblical truths to me: First, God is faithful. God made promises to Abraham and his descendants that He continues to be bound to keep. Although the Law of Moses was conditional, many of the promises to Abraham and his descendants were not. God through Jeremiah said to a rebellious Israel that was about to go into captivity, “Thus says the Lord, ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness — Israel, when it went to find its rest.’ The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’”
God has an everlasting love for Israel and has promises yet to keep. We must consider that if God has the ability to change His mind concerning His love and His promises to them; what makes us think that He will not change His mind concerning us?
Second, God has future plans for Israel. There is really too much Scripture to share here of prophecy concerning the future, which deals specifically with Israel as a nation, but one is worthy of mention particularly. Jeremiah 31:31-37 speaks of a covenant that God would make with the house of Israel and the house of Judah where they would all know Him from the least of them to the greatest. Although I think we as Christians have entered into some of the blessings of this New Covenant, it was not made initially with us and certainly has not been fulfilled for Israel as a nation. I believe this is one of the many promises that still needs to be fulfilled for them (ultimately in their turning to Jesus – Zechariah 12:10). This is affirmed by the statements that Paul makes in Romans 11 (particularly verses 2, 25, and 29).
Finally, we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The Psalmist urges us to do this in Psalm 122:6. I hope we all desire to see peace in the Middle East and that we hopefully all believe that the Gospel is the final and ultimate source of peace for all.
For more information on how we should view the modern state of Israel through the lens of Scripture and pursue peace in the Middle East please visit allianceforthepeaceofjerusalem.com.
Jim Fox is a ministry representative of Chosen People Ministries, an international ministry reaching out to the Jewish community with the Gospel and teaching the Church to do the same. Jim has close to 30 years of ministry experience through his work with Chosen People Ministries and as a pastor.