Saturday, August 30, 2014
support for Israel?
I posted a video on Facebook in support of Israel keeping current boundaries rather than reverting to those of 1948. A friend posted the following in answer...
"Bogus. They are in violation of international law. The U.S. Knows it. That's why our embassy is in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem. They are harassing and killing Christians, Palestinian and otherwise. Anyone who goes there with their eyes open and talks to people, especially in the West Bank will see clearly what the situation is. Our support of Israel is a huge reason for much of the international hatred of our country worldwide."
Now I don't usually debate issues on Facebook, but thought I might respond to this, or maybe just to say what I mean, and don't mean, about supporting Israel.
I do not support or approve of everything that Israel does, any more than I do for our own country. Israel offers freedom of religion within its boundaries, but I know that there are restrictions in outreach. And there are injustices.
Yes, I have met and had fellowship with Arab Christians living in the West Bank. It is difficult for them, and there is unjust treatment. Yet, I dare say they would prefer the Israeli government rule over them than any of the other current governments or religious authorities in the Middle East.
I do support Israel's right to exist and to defend its boundaries from hostile attacks. They are surrounded by enemies that seek to destroy them completely. Even though many in Israel still reject the Messiah, the nation still has a special place in God's redemptive history, and they have the right to that land.
But the question remains, which boundaries? I think Israel is seeking to have defensible borders and keeping the land given to them as a people under the Mosaic Covenant (Ex 6:4; Josh 13). International law, then, would be secondary. Ultimately, Israel's accountability regarding borders is to the decree of God rather than to the laws of other nations.
So, my support of Israel is qualified. In speaking of unbelieving ethnic Israel, Paul writes, "As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Romans 11:28-29 ESV) Note, the same people -- Jewish opponents of the gospel -- are called "enemies" and "beloved." They are both opponents of the gospel and yet elect for God's purpose.
I have to embrace that tension. This obviously means there will be much that should be opposed. But one thing I believe is that God gave them that land. And their Messiah (and mine!) will return to Jerusalem, and then will be fulfilled the word of Zechariah...
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10 ESV)