The State of Israel and its direct connection with the Jewish people around the world is arguably among the most debated issues in Christianity today. Believing Israel presently has, and will always have a special place in God’s economy — is one of those things about which people seem to be either “all in” or “all out.”
The folks in the “all out” crowd often look at it from a secular perspective with only a shrug of the shoulder given to scripture. As they sometimes say, “God has no special future for Israel, and it is none of their business what our (America’s) relationship is with Arab nations.”
On the other side of the coin is the “all in” crowd. Those folks mostly root their opinions in Scripture, and that is a good thing. That is, as long as they are rooted in the whole of Scripture and not in texts that have been embellished with political emotion. To get to the point, Israel is in very, very deep trouble and no evangelical cheering squad can stop the inevitable horrors that are coming to them, and no evangelically-endorsed American president is going to fix it.
This in no way means we should slack up in our support of Israel, but it does mean that Israel’s future tribulation cannot be blocked by evangelical intercession, though well intended.
I know of no Christians who specifically say that the U.S. can or will save Israel. But they don’t have to actually say it. Two things betray their belief system. First is their relative silence on God’s coming judgment upon the Jesus-rejecting Jewish people and their nation. Second is that their emphasis upon American support of Israel is so boisterous that it drowns out most everything being said about the need to evangelize the Jews.
Some very heavy hitters in the world of TV evangelism are in this group. They are not heretics or anything like that. They just seem to have tunnel vision, and their tunnel vision influences a lot of people. To them Genesis 12:3 trumps Zechariah 13:7-14:3. Even now some of them are gearing up for the 2016 presidential elections by pointing to a possible candidate and singing his praises because he is a strong supporter of Israel.
But, before continuing it is necessary to issue a disclaimer of sorts to head off wrong conclusions. From the whole of Scripture we can infer some principles: Christians should love both the State of Israel and the Jewish people. We should pray that God would allow the election of a U.S. president that will narrow the gap that has been created of late between our country and Israel. For those of us so inclined, we should exercise our right to actively work toward that end. We should point out at every opportunity that at least one reason God has so smiled upon our Republic through the years is our support of the Jewish state.
Further, we Christians should be supporting those efforts we can to evangelize the Jewish people wherever they are found and that includes in the State of Israel. We must give no grounds to the “dual covenant” preachers who say Jews are saved through keeping the Torah and Gentiles through the blood of Jesus.
And still further, we should categorically reject any association (political or religious) with the BDS movement, which is a global campaign of boycotting, divesting and sanctioning of Israel in an effort to force her to bow to Arab pressure. BDS is a page from the old Nazi playbook. Regrettably some of those churches involved know this but simply do not care that it reeks of Nazism.
As a nation among the nations of the world, America would do well to give attention to God’s promise regarding these matters along with His warning. And as Christians on an individual level we should do likewise. So, with these things having been emphasized in order to avoid mistaken conclusions we continue.
Israel is quite the nation. It is among the most progressive and innovative nations on this planet and is the 43rd largest economy in the world. It has the highest standard of living in the Middle East, the 5th highest in Asia and her people have the 14th highest life expectancy in the world. Amazingly, six Israeli scientists have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in less than 10 years.
The Israel Defense Forces is not only among the most capable militaries in the world, but has one of the most difficult missions due to the geographical makeup of the country and the presence of avowed enemies living within her borders.
Still, the State of Israel and the Jewish people reject the Bible’s warning that very dark days are looming. In fact, the darkest days of her history. That time is commonly called “The Tribulation” and closely follows the removal of the church. Jesus said it would be a time of trouble that has no equal, neither in history nor at any time after its visitation.
There are several reasons for this time of global trouble, but what must be understood presently is that those seven years is the final installment in which God will accomplish the six things He listed in Daniel 9:24. God has set apart a block of 490 years within human history in which He will deal specifically with Israel in accomplishing those six things. Seven of those years are yet to be fulfilled.
At some point in the near future Jesus will return to remove His church from the earth. That event is imminent and is called the Rapture, or our “Blessed Hope.” Until that time Christians worldwide should be praying that America will stop its slide into national anti-Semitism and recommit to being a close ally of Israel. Unfortunately that will probably not happen. After the removal of the church it will not matter because America will quickly become simply another nation among those in the global community that will take a strong stand against Israel.
Soon after the taking of the church a politician, probably from Europe and perhaps relatively unknown at this time, will devise some kind of brilliant plan that will specifically include Israel and that region. We are not given the details but it seems his plan, in some way associated with a duration of seven years, will not only guarantee Israel’s right to exist and prosper, but will be received by her Arab neighbors, though perhaps under a measure of duress.
In the middle of that seven years Antichrist, then in a position of global power, will break the provisions of the deal and will turn on the Jewish people and their nation with a vengeance. The first half of that period will be filled with worldwide suffering and judgments. The last half will see those sufferings intensify, and will include an orchestrated attempt by Antichrist to annihilate the Jewish race; 66% of world Jewry will be killed.
Christians must understand that there will be no recourse whatsoever for Israel and the Jews in those years. An appeal to the United Nations (or whatever that world body will be called in that time) will not be an option because Jew-killing will be international policy. The only ones who will give aid to the hounded Jew will be individuals and small groups of people who will, at the judgment following the tribulation, be the “sheep nations” whom Jesus will bless accordingly.
Interestingly, the word for “nations” in Matthew 25:32 is broad enough to include certain groups of people within the Gentile world. Basically, the “sheep nations” will consist of specific ethnic groups favorable to Jews during that time of trouble and not just individuals acting benevolently on their own. It will be interesting to see how the sheep/goat judgment in that text will play out.
There certainly will be no help found among those nations with official Antichrist recognition, for they will all be in his camp. For some American Christians this is unnerving, because it seems clear this nation will be in that camp, also. Nationally we are leaning heavily in that direction already, and there is no logical reason the Rapture of the church will cause a dramatic reversal of that policy.
We do not know who will be president when Jesus takes His church out, but that really does not matter. If that man or woman is not a Christian he or she will be left behind and will put their administration fully behind bringing America into alignment with the global authority. If they balk, even for non-biblical reasons, they will be replaced by someone who will.
This should cause us to stop and consider more closely what it all means. Basically, the whole world will be in a state of serious instability at the removal of the church, and with the relatively large number of Christians in America the instability will be magnified here. Nobody today knows exactly what will happen, or who will be in charge following the taking out of the church.
We learn in high school civics classes about the chain of command in the U.S. Government, but we have already seen that the Constitution is not a serious obstacle to a man exercising power by mere decree. The immediate imposition of martial law is a good probability, but that will only be the tip of the political/economic iceberg. America will be in no position to help Israel, nor will she have an inclination to do so.
We should be hesitant to make a lot of detailed, definitive statements regarding the Tribulation period because God has not given us enough details. But there are some things we can feel pretty sure about. First, America will probably not be a super power, at least nothing like she is today. Whether that is true or not there is nothing any U.S. president will be able to do, or will want to do to ensure Israel’s safety during those dark years.
Second, even if the Rapture comes after the next election and even if the next president is an evangelical Christian with strong ties to Israel, his absence post-rapture will negate any good he might have done prior to that time. His replacement will obviously be a non-Christian and will not give a hoot about the safety of the Jews.
So, if things are that gloomy what should Christians be doing? In order to get to the answer people must admit that, except for Christians whose hope is the coming of Jesus, the future is gloomy for the world and especially for Israel and the Jews. Those who are secular optimists among us do not have a clue about reality. And that especially applies to those churches that preach the it’s-all-about-making-the-world-a-better-place social gospel.
It is amazing that someone can read Scripture and conclude that the church is going to bring peace to the world. Remember folks, the Christmas song “Joy to the World” is not at all about Jesus’ First Coming.
Should Christians work toward the election of “the right president” or for other noble causes? Yes, but not at the expense of losing sight of this fact: Our country is far past the point where “the right president” will be able to change the course of our country, or somehow insulate Israel from what is coming because of administration policy. Yes, we will take whatever good we can get, but such minor respites will have no lasting impact.
Our responsibility is to evangelize people, Jew and Gentile. And yes, praying that America will adhere to the Genesis 12:3 terms with Israel can be part of that effort. But trying to build a fail-safe hedge around Israel with our national policy cannot be done, now or then. The unfixable can’t be fixed.