Israel Palestine Flag

Israeli – For The Sake of The Gospel

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” This is what a U.S. Republican Senator told me and a group that was visiting with him in his office last month. He is a conservative Christian who loves Israel. It was in response to my question about how we should be thinking of Israel in light of the Palestinian issue. He said, “Of course Israel is our friend. They are America’s friend. They are my friends. But good friends don’t let friends drive drunk and Israel is a drunk driver.” Wow!

As you know, I’ve stayed far away from such topics for all the years we’ve been doing what we do. It’s just too hot to touch. But for the sake of the gospel – to the Jews and the Arabs – I don’t feel I can any more.

Israel is hurting themselves. And we are helping!

By not holding them accountable for their irresponsible and oppressive actions towards the Palestinians, we hurt them and we hinder the gospel from going forward among both groups. How so, you may ask? Here are the ways we stop the gospel from going forward on both sides when we don’t acknowledge and then do something about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians:

  1. The Palestinians confuse American politics (in this case, pro-Israel) with the gospel. So…since they’re mad at the West for their one-sided treatment of the issue, they also won’t listen to anyone coming from the West bearing good news. The two separate issues (in our minds) are the same in theirs.
  2. It hurts Israel because they know they’re using the Western church to further their political goals without restraint. I’ve had several Israeli leaders over the years tell me that they think of the American church as “in their back pocket.” Again, this confuses their real need for Jesus with simply seeing the Church as a money pot.
  3. Because God loves justice and has a heart for the poor, he wants to see his church fighting for the things on his heart. When we don’t do that, we hinder the purposes of God.
  4. The only time the word “religion” is used in the bible is in James when he says that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. There are many widows and orphans among the Palestinians. Politics aside, we need to serve them!
  5. The Christian church among the Palestinian is alive and well, but shrinking. They feel abandoned by their western brothers and sisters. We need to remember that in the West Bank and Gaza there are Baptists and Pentecostals. Presbyterians and Lutherans. Brethren and Charismatics. Catholics and Orthodox. Assemblies of God and Christian Missionary Alliance. Along with many others… There is an Evangelical Bible College in Bethlehem that trains young men and women for the ministry. These are our family.

Let’s love Israel. Be Pro-Israel. But don’t let your friends drive drunk. Over the next weeks, I’ll be suggesting ways you can get involved!

Comments

  1. Katherine Anderson says:

    Yes. A much needed conversation, Carl. Thanks!

  2. jimmo says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Very balanced. I for one believe the Abrahamic Covenant to be true, but the promise to Abraham was that he would be a BLESSING to the nations.

    On the other hand, the fault is not Israel’s alone. But I think doing good religion, as you mention, is not about taking sides or casting blame. God is the judge. Ours is to do as he says. And that means I need to look at ol’ narcissitic MOI.

  3. Sara says:

    I like your approach. It seems that American Christians often feel the need to take sides, forgetting that people make up that equation. Look forward to hearing what you have to say and learning from you.

  4. Susanne says:

    I’m so glad to see you finally address this topic!! Hooray! 🙂

  5. Dave Woodyard says:

    The issues surrounding this topic are multi-sided and can be very complex. But I do not believe we should shrink from addressing the issues. The difficulty is, what is our baseline to start from? Trying to establish this is where we get bogged down.

    In my mind, in keeping the essence of the present difficulty in clear focus, I see Israel as the scapegoat for just about everything wrong in the world. Who has asked for the total destruction and elimination of the Palestinians? Or the Egyptians? Or the Iranians? What about Israel?

    Is it Israel that sends suicide bombers to the Palestinians to blow up their women and children, and then look to the world for sympathy when they counter-attack?

    Something tells me that the salient issue of today is the extreme hatred toward a nation that is trying to survive. I do not see it using its nuclear power to dominate the Mid-east, nor to intimidate the nations around it. I do see it using its military might to protect not only itself but to keep that region safe from those fanatics using religion as a rallying point to spread their hatred and maniacal beliefs.

    True, as with every nation, there are some, perhaps many, that share the same faith as we do. But, one cannot make policy with a nation/people who are bent on your destruction, even if many are not the enemy within that system. And Israel is dealing with the “crazies” at this time, not the sane, sensible, human beings. Zealotry is alive and well in that region.

    Israel has shown restraint in almost every way to live at peace with its neighbors. Look at the 6 Day War. Did they keep the territories that they fought and won? Most all nations know that, if one is attacked, and loses the battle, the victors keep the land. But not Israel. Those defeated countries were given their land back, and what was their thanks? Violence and constant war ever since. Look carefully at most all of the battles Israel has had to fight; most all have been defensive. Even when they went into Lebanon, it was to try to end the militant groups who used the country as a launching site to continue to harass Israel.

    No, although there is always room for improvement to most all sides of all issues, before I would want to address them I would want the neighbors who find Israel so deplorable to “relax their grip on their rifles” a bit, and to show serious evidence that peace was for all in the area, not all except one!

    Until that happens — which I believe will not happen until the Prince of Peace returns — I would stand by Israel through thick and thin. To me, the “drunk” is not Israel but the one driving Iran and Korea . . . . . Pull them over and get them off the road, then I believe we could deal with the next issue. But, not until then.

    1. Dave, good comments. I would encourage us, however, to keep this blog string as focused on what will help both sides hear the good news of Jesus, rather than the politics of who’s to blame.

      That’s been one of the big disadvantages over the years of even having this discussion, is that it quickly devolves into a tit for tat political discussion of who started what when and why.

      While I would disagree with some of your assessment of the situation, (and you would disagree with some of mine), where we can agree is that both sides need Jesus. So the question at hand is whether or not the politics of the region and our politics toward the region, hinder or help. That’s the big issue (or at least this issue).

      Make any sense?
      carl

      1. robert gerwig says:

        It may seem like an impossiblity to some, but I love the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Iranians, AND the North Koreans. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything they do. For that matter, I don’t agree with everything I do (nor did the Apostle Paul). We all err, make mistakes. Sin.

        Jesus called us to love all people, not just those who are like us or agree with us. Right?

        I recognize the situation is complex and that perspective is important. I also recognize that individuals are not the same as the government. While I’m proud to be a US citizen (and enjoy all the priviledges associated with citizenship), I don’t agree with every foreign policy decision. There are many different views (at the individual level) in the US as there are in North Korea, Isreal, Iran, etc.

        Yet what I’ve found at an individual level, is that people cry, laugh, eat, drink, and sleep. They want a job and a future for their families that is prosperous and peaceful.

        There are good and bad policies/actions at the national and individual level. Yet in the end, I believe our needs and desires are similar (once we get past the “posturing”, misinformation and baggage).

        We all need Jesus and we need to love each other (regardless of any “differences”). I don’t have to agree with someone to love them. But if I love them, we can have a dialogue and build a relationship. Through this relationship I role-model Jesus and point the way to Him. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit. If I close my ears/heart and decide not to develop relationships with others who aren’t like me, how can I ever share Jesus with them or demonstrate His love?

        robert

        1. Robert, very well said….

  6. Stella Williams says:

    I agree with Dave. His comments didn’t seem like politics to me, they seemed like facts that are very much part of the issue.

  7. Andrew Cochran says:

    I just finished your book, Muslims, Christians & Jesus, the morning of March 11th. I jumped on line to do some more research on your organizations and found this post. I have a few comments, concerns & questions about your post on the nation of Israel & the Palestinian people.

    First of all, if you don’t mind, I would love to have the name of the U.S. Senator that said the nation of Israel is a drunk driver. What do you think that Senator meant by that? Are the Jewish Leadership of the nation of Israel drunk with Power? Is the nation of Israel irresponsible to hold the power of nationhood? To call our ally, Israel, “Drunk” is a very drastic thing. That statement is a wide open declaration and without clarification from the source we are left to assume some pretty drastic things concerning his (the senators) attitude towards Israel. I would like for you to let me know the Senator who said it, and it would save me a lot of leg work to find out. Thank you for your friendly cooperation.

    While reading the book Muslims, Christians & Jesus, I was pleasantly surprised by your general thesis that we should just bring Jesus into the Muslim world. I was blessed by that and think that is a wonderful goal to have. Also, I was amazed and astounded by your ability to flee from politics. Treating politics in the Middle East as a leper is an amazing thing to do and almost impossible… yet you did it… Until now. This post is VERY political and even though you did explain yourself as to why you have to address it now, I am very shocked that you did, in light of your book. Carl, what caused you to finally speak against the Jewish Nation? I know that you related it to the gospel, being preached to both groups, yet is there any other reason? How long have you held this position towards the nation of Israel in your heart?

    I applaud your concern, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not going forth… yet can the Gospel be hindered by anything on this planet? Can anything stop the message going out into the ears of humans? I don’t think so. Communism or any “ism” in the world has never stopped or hindered the Gospel going forth and our support of the Jewish State will not hinder it either, nor will Islam or terrorists. The Gospel is fueled by the Holy Spirit and therefore cannot be hindered. The only thing that can keep the Gospel going forth into a mind or into a soul is individual choice… not a political stance. If a person decides to become a Disciple/ Slave of Jesus it is because of a move of the Spirit upon their hearts not because we took a stand against Israel.

    My Jewish friends thought it quite amusing, when they read the phrase, “irresponsible and oppressive actions towards the Palestinians”. They have heard this phrase before, over and over again. My question is this: what is irresponsible with protecting yourself from a terrorist state? What is irresponsible with building on your own land? Why do the Palestinians say that oppression comes from Israel when the true oppression is from their own government, that they voted in, Hammas?

    Also, why can’t we do something about the treatment of Hammas, and the whole Palestinian leadership for that matter, towards its own people? I never hear that idea! People often rest the problem on the door step of the nation of Israel & not the Palestinian Leadership.

    In comment number two you say that the nation of Israel is using the Church as a money pot. While reading your book I was struck by your sensitivity to not offend Arabs. Not eating pork or drinking alcohol… so on & so on. I wish you would have the same decorum when it comes to Jews. That comment plays into the hands of those who say that Jews are just money hungry merchants. A Jewish friend of mine, when he read that statement, said that you were influenced by the very popular book in the Islamic world, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I could not give a defense.

    In comment number three, you extol justice & helping the poor. There is no other nation that helps the poor of Palestine more than the Israel Government. Do the research, and you will be shocked at how much the Israeli gov’t & people help them. To support Israel is to support the greatest arm of help the Palestinian people have.

    In comment number four, you talk about how we need to help the orphan & widow. SO TRUE, yet… are there no Jewish Orphans? Are there no Jewish Widows? There are many orphans & widows that have been created by the hand of the people & government of the Palestinians & surrounding Arab counties. Carl, do you think that the Arab people are innocent of war & acts of violence towards Jews? I don’t think you do yet it sure sounds that way.

    Concerning comment number five, the Palestinian Church IS alive and in many peoples prayers. Yet why is it shrinking? It is shrinking because of the persecution of the followers of the prophet Mohammed. Our “family” is hurting more from Muslim persecution than it is from the abandonment of the Western Church.

    My point is this… why not speak out against the Leadership of the Palestinian people than the Israeli Government? Yes, the Israelis built a wall for security, yes… they have check points… yes, they go after Islamic Terrorists and innocent civilians are hurt because they hide in the general population. Yet wouldn’t we if we face the terror of the Palestinian Government? Why can’t the blame fall upon someone else besides the Jews?

    These were my thoughts after reading this post. I look forward to your other posts on this topic.

    1. robert gerwig says:

      Not that Carl needs me to defend him in any way (nor put words in his mouth), but it doesn’t seem to me that Carl is against the nation of Israel at all. He actually said let’s be pro-Israel and love them.

      My takeaway from his posts and books is to love people. Period. Whether Israel or Palestinian. Christian or Muslim. Atheist or Jew. Arab or North Korean.

      I don’t think the point is do we love Jewish orphans OR Palestinian orphans. It seems to me that we should love BOTH. Jesus did.

      Just because I love a person, organization, or country doesn’t mean that I agree with everthing they do. I love myself, but fall short every day. I love my family, but don’t agree with everything they do. I love my country, but don’t agree with every policy (domestic and international). Regardless of national politics, we’re called to love our neighbor (including Jews, Muslims, and Christians).

      Is anyone (individual or nation) righteous or without sin? If so, Jesus said they could cast the first stone. I, for one, confess that I’m not perfect and yet I covet “love” from my neighbors. I intend to do likewise (though even my love is not perfect nor perfectly unconditional). Jesus is still working on me.

    2. richard says:

      Andrew:

      If it’s any consolation, check out Thomas Friedman’s column (March 13 — two days after Carl wrote what he did).

      Seems more than one person has thought about drunk driving.

      1. Andrew Cochran says:

        AMAZING!!! I wonder where Friedman got that or was he the originator… OR is it something that is just a catchy phrase around the Liberal Political Salons? Thanks Richard… I will pass it on.

  8. Andrew, thanks for the well-thought-through email. Appreciate the time you took on it.

    Yes, it’s a tough subject. The reason I haven’t said a lot about these issues in writing, is evident here. It’s just so controversial for some. And if you haven’t spent time there, then there’s really no way for you to understand. All I can say is this – when you actually visit the land, it shocking what you see going on.

    But if someone says anything about holding the Israelis accountable for this actions, then others immediately (and loudly) cry foul.

    Andrew, of course we know the atrocities on the Hamas side. We hear those constantly. So to say nothing about the Palestinians sins, really isn’t a big deal, because we all know those. And there is NO justification ever for acts of terror against innocents.

    But the back and forth about why the wall is there, or who started what and who’s to blame, is endless. I don’t and won’t go there. It’s totally unproductive.

    Robert is right – the issue I am highlighting is NOT the politics of it – however, we must be even-handed for the sake of Christ. Otherwise we lose all credibility in the Muslim world (which is currently the case due to our blind support of all that Israel does).

    Perhaps the reasons I list over the next days and weeks will be helpful for us all to see these issues more clearly. But they won’t solve much. That has to happen by real people like us, on the ground, loving in the name of Jesus. Both sides. Very hard to do, but that’s what Jesus did. And I think we have the power to do it as well…

  9. dee says:

    Would there be any “oppression” at all if the land that God gave to Israel was actually Israel’s?

    Um. NO.

    Christians aren’t told to point out the faults of Israel and lecture them about it.

    The Palestinians should get out of the land that God gave to Israel.

    Period.

    It has NOTHING to do with the Gospel!!

    1. Tom says:

      Hello Dee,

      I’m no theologian 🙂 , but scripture seem to say that the land was promised to Abraham’s offspring, and not “Israel” – Israel didn’t exist at the time (Gen chps. 12 & 15). Galatians chp 3 might give some insight as to why the Gospel might have something to do with the land promised to Abraham’s offspring.

      I’m sure there is much more to it, but those are the things came to mind.

      Best,
      Tom

      1. Susanne says:

        And whatever happened to the MEEK inheriting the earth? Jesus didn’t limit it to his race – the “chosen people,” did he? The MEEK is pretty specific, but not in an ethnic-kind of way. It seems Christians believe things changed after Jesus came (no more sacrifice system, kosher eating, etc.) yet they always revert back to the OT when it comes to that strip of land in the Middle East.

        Let hear it for the meek inheriting the earth and not limit God to Palestine/Israel. 🙂

    2. flora says:

      this answer is to DEE
      With do respect ! Palestinian has the same right to be there! More likely in the old time was jews from the area! your are one of the blind lead other blind

  10. dee says:

    Tom,

    Isaac is the promised seed. The land that is currently cause for such division belongs to the Jews/Israel.

    It doesn’t take a theologian to know this. The trouble is we listen to too many theologians.

    Just listen to the Bible.

    Reach the lost with the Gospel but for goodness sake, don’t follow someone who is hinting that we should not blindly support Israel.

    We should stand with Israel because God told us to. I think God knew what He talking about. Did HE blindly tell us that those who touch Israel touch the apple of HIS eye?

    We should NOT stand for anyone telling us in anyway that we should not support Israel.

    1. robert gerwig says:

      It seems that there is a difference between loving/supporting someone (person or nation) and “blindly” supporting them no matter what they do. Jesus chose Peter, called him the Rock, and yet said, “get behind me Satan” when Peter was out of line. Jesus chose Peter and supported him, yet He also loved him enough to correct him when he was out of line. I do the same with my children because I love them too much to let them do whatever they want.

      I hope we, as followers of Jesus, aren’t saying that Israel can do no wrong. Are they God’s people? Yes. Are they His chosen? Yes. Are they fallible? Yes. Should we blindly follow/support Israel (or any person/nation other than Jesus)? No.

      Israel was also punished/corrected many times by God in the Old Testament for their sin and waywardness. To love and support Israel and the Jewish people doesn’t mean they are without sin. Nor does it mean that we should give them our love/support to the exclusion of all others.

      Jesus loved the apostles (His chosen) AND he loved His enemies. Shouldn’t we be doing the same?

      1. Andrew Cochran says:

        The thought that the nation of Israel is Fallible is true. All of human government is fallible. But the one thing that we must realize is that greatest arm of correcting the fallibility of the Israeli government is the Israelis themselves. If there is any breach of conduct, any unwarranted & malicious acts against Palestinians… the Israeli Government & people are the first to respond, to correct their own wrongs. It’s sad to say that the Government of the Palestinian people does not have this same trait towards its own, who attack & kill Jews.

        As for the land issue, the Land does belong to the Jewish descendants of Abraham. It is an Everlasting Covenant that was made upon the strength of God to keep it & not by the strength of the Jewish people. God throughout the scriptures testifies of this everlasting, unbreakable covenant that the Jewish people have with God. Part of the Covenant has to do with the Land of Israel belonging to the Jewish people.

        Also, there are more than just a theological/Biblical reason why the Jews have a right to the land known as Israel, and not the Palestinians.

  11. Andrew Cochran says:

    Dear Carl, I have spent a lot of time in Israel and not just on the tourist trail… but what things are you seeing going on? What are the shocking things? If they are happening, are you making them aware to the Israeli Government? Also, when you see those shocking things, are you getting the full story? We can see something go down, be shocked, yet not have all of the information regarding the event for a clear explanation.

    Israel should be held accountable, and the greatest arm of accountability in these things is the Israeli people & the Israeli Government. As I have just stated, lets get the full story before we judge Israel to be the aggressor. And if, in the long run, we find out that Israel is wrong, then we need to seek those changes, but if we find out that Israel is in the right we need to seek correction from those who seek to case blame on the innocent.

    Carl, I would have to disagree with you on the public knowledge of the atrocities of the Hamas & the Palestinian Leadership. We hear of Terrorism towards Jews, YES, but we do not hear of the atrocities of the Hamas, & PA leadership towards its own people & the Jews. I watch & read the news constantly… and hear very little of those things that actually happen at the hands of the leadership of the Palestinian People. Even if we did hear a lot… should we not hear all information regarding this situation? The more information the better.

    Discussion about the Security wall/Fence could not or can be productive. All I know is that my Jewish friends are less afraid to enjoy the public transportation system & Jewish cafes since it has been established. The drastic drop of bloody attacks against Jews is a testament to its efficiency. The Palestinian Government & people built the wall… not Israel.

    On the issue of loving the Palestinian people & the whole Muslim world for that matter is wonderful. I will join you in loving them. My heart felt pray is that EVERY Muslim would come to know Jesus in a true and intimate way, become a follower and disciple of Jesus, and submit themselves to the loving will of Jehovah. This must be our loving goal… yet we must not do this buy evading truth and jumping on the popular bandwagon of attacking the nation of Israel. We are smarter Christians than that.

  12. dee says:

    “On the issue of loving the Palestinian people & the whole Muslim world for that matter is wonderful. I will join you in loving them. My heart felt pray is that EVERY Muslim would come to know Jesus in a true and intimate way, become a follower and disciple of Jesus, and submit themselves to the loving will of Jehovah. This must be our loving goal… yet we must not do this buy evading truth and jumping on the popular bandwagon of attacking the nation of Israel. We are smarter Christians than that.”

    We should be smarter Christians than that.

    Very well said. 🙂

  13. Since the offspring of Abraham – who the land was promised to – were both Isaac and Ishmael, it’s reasonable to believe that the promise has been fulfilled. That both Isaac and Ishmael are in the land and the land belongs to them. Thank God he has the power to fulfill his own promises….

    When we continue to favor the one side over the other, it damages our ability to bring the real Gospel of Christ to either side. Since they (both sides) see us as dishonest brokers.

    I’ve never seen nor been part of any “popular bandwagon of attacking Israel.” But if I notice that happening, I won’t join in….

    May the people of both sides choose to stop living in rebellion to the God/Allah/Jehovah who loves them. And may we be able to discern the difference between divisive and one-sided politics, and the truth that Jesus offers the outsiders and insiders. Since there is neither Jew nor Gentile in God’s Kingdom.

  14. Albert K says:

    NY Times Columnist Thomas Friedman came out with a column a few days after Carl’s with a very similar title.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/opinion/14friedman.html

    And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ… There is no longer Jew or Gentile(or Arab)…And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. Gal 3:28-29

    May both sides seek to behave like the TRUE children of Abraham… especially his example of how to settle a land dispute.

  15. Andrew Cochran says:

    Carl, concerning what you said that the land was for both of the offspring of Abraham (Arab & Jews)… then what do we do with these very pointed verses from the Bible?

    “Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” ~ Galatians 4:30

    What about the rejection of Ishmael by God which is seen in the first part of Genesis 21.

    Also what about Genesis 17:18-19, “And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You! Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his descendants after him.”

    The Promise of an Everlasting Covenant is for the seed of Sarah… the Jewish people… isn’t?

  16. Robin says:

    Carl, you sure know how to stir things up!

  17. Richard says:

    When I read Jesus’ conversation with the woman from Samaria, I loose my enthusiasm for supporting Israel’s perpetual land covenant.

    Jesus himself didn’t seem to be too fond of the idea of building a political empire. He didn’t even seem to mind that Rome was occupying the land at that time.

    The only prospect I see for peace on earth is the everlasting, sacrificial love of Jesus, the Messiah.

    I think Israel is a little like the Church of Ephasus —- they’ve lost their first love.

    I encourage them to search their hearts and find it, again. I also hope the militant from Hamas will do the same.

    1. Andrew Cochran says:

      Richard, you are so right, the Jews have lost their first love & Jesus is the only means by which true peace will enter the Middle Eastern world. Yet, the Jews do have an Everlasting Covenant with God. It was seen in Genesis and seen repeated over and over again through scripture. If God breaks this covenant with the Jews, the Apple of His eye… then He is a liar. Also, there are more than just this Biblical/Spiritual reason why Jews have the right to the Land more than the Palestinians… yet the Biblical reason is the First reason why.

  18. Wael Qahoush says:

    Thank you Carl for your courage to state what Jesus would have most likely taught, if He was with us here on earth today commenting ont he current situation.

    It’s interesting though to see that many of the anti-Palestinians and pro-Israelis who have commented so far seem more interested in the “promised land of the Jews” rather than the Jews’ eternal fate and salvation. If you truly care and love the Jews, then you should be praying for their salvation and their conversion to Christianity. You are not doing the Jews any favors if you continue to support them politically, financially, or morally, unless you pray for their salvation.

    For those who believe that the current land occupied by the Israelis is the promised land by God to the Israelites/Hebrews in the Old Testament, then what happens if a Jew converts to Christianity? Does he lose the promise? The last time I checked, Judaism is a religion and not a race. So if you convert your religion, then you should automatically lose the promise no? On the other hand, if you think the promise is racially based, then you have another problem, since the Jews today come from many races. So who is the beneficiary of the promise, is it the people who claim Judaism as their religion, or is it people who claim to be descendants of Abraham? How many people can actually prove their ancestry going back to Abraham and Isaac? It is a well known fact that many, if not most Jews today are simply converts to Judaism, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. So, are those converted “Jews” then entitled to the promise? Alternatively, it is a fact that many Jews throughout history either voluntarily or involuntarily converted to other religions, including Christianity. So, if I am a Christian now, and I am somehow able to prove and discover that my ancestors are Jews, and therefore I am 100% Jewish, am I entitled to the promise, and am I entitled to move to Israel and displace a Palestinian from his land to make room for myself and my family? Is that what Jesus would have me do? Where does this stop?
    The borders of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and his descendants in the Old Testament surely extend beyond the current borders of Israel, and extend to areas in modern day Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. If you truly believe that the promise still applies to the
    “Jews” of today, then you should certainly be campaigning for Israel to fight for and take over that land, no? After all, you cannot be selective about obeying what God has intended.
    I hope that these questions can at least make those who blindly support Israel and their policies, think about what God has intended, vs. what is actually happening today.

    1. Yes, it is noteworthy that neither Jesus nor Paul ever mention the ownership of the land. In fact, quite the opposite. Any time they have the opportunity to talk about a physical kingdom, they clearly point to the spiritual one.

      But we have been blinded by false teaching on this issue for years. And it’s very deeply rooted. Ironically, more in Christians than with Jews.

      Let’s concern ourselves with the issues of the Kingdom of God and how we can be sure to be “in” that, rather than who owns a piece of land.

    2. Andrew Cochran says:

      Excuse me Wael, but I resent you using the phrase “Anti-Palestinian”… I am “Anti-Hammas”, I am “Anti-Hezbollah”, I am “Anti-PLO”, I am “Anti-Supporters of Terror Organizations and those who seek their good” I pray for the Palestinian People every day and I pray for the Terrorist who are in their midst and who lead these blood thirsty, Jew-Hating organizations. I pray that they leave Islam and come to a submission at the Cross of Jesus, and make Jesus the King/ Master of their lives. I pray the same thing for the Jewish people. I pray that daily that their eyes may be opened and that they may see their Jewish Messiah, Jesus! Now that you know that I pray for them and share the good news of Jesus with them… do I now have your permission to continue my support of the State of Israel?
      Wael, great questions!!! Let me do my best to answer each of them: No, if you convert you do not loose the promise of the Land of Israel… it is racially based. Check out Genesis 17:7, “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Notice in that chapter and all the Chapters in Genesis where the Covenant is mentioned (and elsewhere through the Scriptures) the use of the word DESCENDANTS…. And what descendants is he referring to??? The descendants through Isaac, the JEWS… NOT Ishmael.
      A LOT of Jews can prove their lineage. One of the big things now a days is the study of Jewish DNA… fascinating read!!! And if you find out that you are Jewish, yes, the Land is promised by God to you!!! Praise the Lord.
      You said that “most Jews today are simply converts to Judaism”… I am sorry to say that you are highly misinformed. The Jews, especially the Israelis, have been Jews because of their race, not because of their faith. The fact that a small majority of Israelis are Atheists disprove that stance. Where did you get that fact? Could you please source the fact that most Jews are not really Jews at all? In light of this, you should read the book “From Time Immemorial” by Joan Peters. It is an amazing book about how “Palestinians” are a mixture of the surrounding Arab populations of Israel and not “Palestinian”… there was no such thing as Palestinians until Jews showed up and made a state! A very enlightening book!!!
      As for the true boarders of the Land of Israel… that would be true, the boarder do reach to those areas. The Jewish people have failed in conquering the whole promised land, but why can’t they have their own SMALL land? Why is it that they cannot have even that? Why is it that the Palestinian Terrorist Leadership and those who VOTED them in, continually call for the annihilation of the State of Israel and that they should be pushed into the Sea? Wael… where is your outrage towards the Palestinian Leadership? Where is your outrage of Islamic atrocities performed by the Palestinian Leadership? Where is your outrage of the hatred of the Palestinian People towards JEWS!?!?! Wael, you would serve the interest of the Palestinian people more if you would focus your outrage on those who hate, and those who seek Jewish blood, than blindly accusing the State of Israel of being the evil oppressors. Do you know Wael, that the “Palestinian” people would have a state TOMORROW if they would simply kick out all terrorist, stop propagating hate, and truly acknowledge a Jewish State? The oppression of the Palestinian people is not committed by Israel, it is by the Palestinian leadership. Please stop blaming Israel!!!
      If we are truly to love our enemies… and the Muslim people of the world say that they follow that principle… then Why can’t their enemies… the Jews… have a land of their own, free of terror or the threat of annihilation? Also, if we are to love our neighbor, why can’t we help our neighbor by seeking to stop those that harm them… the Palestinian Leadership needs to be stopped. Yet, its all Israel’s fault… right Wael????

      1. Wael Qahoush says:

        You are selectively answering my questions without really addressing all the issues I brought up. If you were to re-read my post, you will not even find one hint of outrage on my part, whereas your post is full of rage and hate. What you are implying is that God cares more about non-believing atheists, including those who may not even be “real Jews” than the true children of God, those who have been saved by his love and grace (born again Palestinians). Do you realize how many born again Palestinian believers, true children of God, have been victimized by Israelis? You obviously have never placed yourself in the Palestinians’ shoes to try to imagine what you would do. However, from reading your post, and the rage that you display, I wouldn’t want to know how you’d react if you were a Palestinian, completely deprived of your rights and your home.

  19. Jonathan Moreno says:

    Great post, Carl

    Romans 9:6-8 6It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[a] 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. (We are children through Faith)

    Galatians 3:6-9 6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

    Joshua 21:43-45 43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45 Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Land given…promise already fulfilled)

    1. Andrew Cochran says:

      Jonathan… So true!!! We have been, as non Jews/ Gentiles, grafted into the Olive Tree which is Israel (Romans 11). Through Jesus we have become part of the people of God and partakers of His blessings. As for the Land… it belongs to the Jews as an “everlasting possession”… Genesis 17:8.

  20. Andrew

    Oh…so much to be said. And i hate to even start because it’s such a huge discussion. But here are a few points:

    1. We must read the Old Testament with the light provided by the New. Not the other way around.

    2. The promise you cite was to the descendants of Abraham (plural). That’s who lives there now. The sons of Isaac and Ishmael.

    3. The covenant was conditional. God’s side stands, I agree. But Israel has long since lost her way. When the people return to God, then the covenant becomes effective again.

    4. The modern secular state called Israel has very little to do with the Jewish people of the Old Testament.

    5. Neither Jesus nor Paul even mention the land. In fact they go to great lengths to explain that the Kingdom of God is NOT about land and physical things but resides in the hearts of His people.

    6. There is one covenant, not two. We have inherited that covenant. Paul clearly states in Galatians that the physical descendants of Abraham are NOT the children of the promise. We are.

    7. The term “Chosen People” in the New Testament never refers to the Jews or Israel. It only refers to the household of God. The believers. Those in Christ.

    Andrew, I don’t know you, and you’ve felt very free to give your opinions on my sites – which I like. But please read this carefully and read the New Testament and see what it actually says – not what we want it to say.

    It’s not easy to do that. I learned so much by living in the Middle East. I grew up thinking that dispensationalism was right. Never questioning the Israel piece. I just thought “they’re God’s chosen so we don’t mess with them.” But it’s not so simple,

    And it is possible to say these things and NOT be “anti-semitic.” This has nothing to do with that. This is about having good biblical theology. Which I’m sure you desire to have as much as I do. Thanks for your love for God and all his people.

    carl

    1. Wael Qahoush says:

      Thanks Carl for your succinct, accurate, and eloquent response.

  21. Hannah says:

    I’ve been wrestling through this issue over the past few days and wondering how I can share concern for the rights of the Palestinians without seeming to be anti-Israel. This post really expresses what I want to communicate. So thanks!

  22. It’s a tough one because if you say anything that might possibly sound “anti-Israel” you get labeled with the “anti-semitic” thing and you’re toast. Bottom line – Jesus loves and died for all people. And this form of Zionism denies a lot of people the possibility of hearing this good news.

  23. Taylor says:

    Carl, I absolutely love this post! However, I recently watched a Canadian news interview with Mosab Yousef and after hearing him speak and on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, it raised a question within me. I hope you can answer it. Is it right or wrong to be pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian? Can/should one be both or should one be neither? Mosab seemed to imply that we should be neither. What is your opinion on this?