Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What say you: Support for Israel?

Here's a transcript of a recent item on Nightline.

The premise: "The end of times, as foretold in the scriptures, is a theological reason to support Israel unconditionally so as to help bring about the return of Jesus Christ."

Or, how about these quotes:
"America needs to stand with Israel according to the word of God, and for victory," Gwen Resser said. "I mean, it's for victory. It's not a time for concessions."

"If you support Israel, you will be blessed, and if you don't support Israel, you will be cursed," Dean Resser added.

So here's my question: while it may be right to support Israel, are we bound by Scripture to do so? Consider: Israel right now is an apostate nation, not at all the true Israel we see described in Scripture. So, while there may be many reasons to support them, is Biblical fiat one of them?

(Oh, and while you're at it, can you tell me which prophecy people are referring to when they look at Lebanon incursions as being the sign of the end times?)

1 comment:

Patrick Chan said...

Sorry if this is more soapboxing than sound argumentation, but I'm a bit rushed at the moment:

If the true Israel of the Bible is spiritual Israel, and not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, then I don't see how we are "bound" by Scripture to an unconditional support of Israel.

Of course, we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Ultimately, only Christ's return will bring lasting peace, but that doesn't mean we can't pray for peace. In this sense we are crying "maranatha" as well. Also it doesn't mean we aren't to preach the gospel to Israelis (Jews or Palestinians or others); in fact we are commanded to do so, that the peace of the gospel would establish their hearts.

Nevertheless I would think our grounds for supporting the modern nation of Israel can legitimately be based on principles outside the Bible. For example, since Israel is largely a democratic nation akin to Western Europe or the United States, our support could be grounded in a shared democratic tradition. (Although I realize Israel was baptized in Zionism which in turn was baptized in socialism.) Or on the reality that Americans and Israelis of all religious stripes and persuasions are allies in the war against the Islamo-fascist jihadists. Etc.

But regarding a physical-only, gospel-less, unconditional support of the modern nation of Israel, by Americans or American evangelicals, personally speaking, I don't see any Biblical grounds for it.