Why Evangelicals Support Israel

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“Israel is not just necessary to the return of Christ, it is essential to it.” So says the Rev. A. R. Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in New York City.

His sentiments are shared by millions of Christians around the world who steadfastly believe that a Jewish state is necessary for the Second Coming of Jesus. Their fervent support for Israel is buoyed by Old Testament passages that anoint Israel to the Jewish people, refer to the Jews as God’s “chosen people,” and promise that God will bless those who bless the Jewish people (Gen 12:3).

Other Christians support Israel out of a sense of spiritual debt to the Jews, noting that the majority of the Bible was written in Hebrew and ordained by God to the Jews. It is through this original covenant between God and His “chosen people” that Gentiles are able to come to God. Paul speaks of this spiritual debt and instructs us to assist the Jews (Rom 15:27).

Other Christians have more secular reasons for supporting Israel. They believe that a united Jewish state represents the best hope of preserving the Holy Land and curbing the persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East.

Whether religious or secular in nature, a deep support for Israel resonates with millions of Christians. Undeterred by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the widespread hostility toward Christians in the Middle East, throngs of Christians immigrate each year to the Holy Land. Indeed, Israel is the only state in the Middle East where the Christian population is actually growing.

So widespread has this support for Israel become that there are far more Christians than Jewish Zionists in North America. This is particularly true among evangelical Christians.

 

Of course, not all Christians share their fervor. Many Orthodox Christians and Catholics, for example, subscribe to replacement theology, or the belief that the Christian Church supplanted the Jews as God’s “chosen people” when the latter refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

To the evangelicals, there is a certain sublime arrogance involved in crowning oneself “God’s chosen people.” Indeed, lacking any definitive new word from God, it would seem supremely smug — and human — to presume that the original covenant between God and the Jews no longer exists. Furthermore, it would entail ignoring roughly 80 percent of the Bible — the Old Testament — and the biblical prophesies, all of which talk about the restoration of Israel prior to the Second Coming.

Isaiah, for example, foretold that, in the last days, “The Lord shall set his hand again the second time . . . and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel . . . from the four corners of the earth . . . and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off” (Is 11:11-13). Ezekiel 37:22 proclaims that God will “make them one nation in the land of Israel . . . and they all shall have one shepherd. . . . They shall be my people and the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel.” The New Testament speaks of the dismantling of Israel (which occurred in 69 AD) and the scattering of the Jews across the earth. Both Luke and Matthew prophesize that the Jews will gather again in Israel prior to the advent of Christ’s Second Coming.

Clearly, then, Israel is to be a major player in the last judgment — hence the support among evangelicals.
While the restoration of Israel seemed inconceivable for much of Western history, it became a reality in our generation. In 1948, Israel was reestablished as a nation. In 1967, the Holy Land was restored when Israel regained Jerusalem.

Thus continues the restoration — hauled along, in part, by the evangelicals’ unwavering faith in God’s duty to fulfill His words.

Armstrong Williams

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"The Armstrong Williams Show" is broadcast daily on XM Satellite Power 169 from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST. Visit his Web site at www.armstrongwilliams.com.

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