March 24, 2015
Why do so many Evangelicals so strongly support Israel? The answer is that a significant majority of American Evangelicals believe that the Abrahamic Covenant is still in force.
Why do so many Evangelicals so strongly support Israel? The answer is that a significant majority of American Evangelicals believe that the Abrahamic Covenant is still in force. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3) says, among other things, that God promised the land of Canaan to the Jews forever. A significant majority of American Evangelicals believe that God is a keeper of His promises and that the "Promised Land" belongs to the Jews in belief and unbelief, in obedience and in disobedience, forever. (It is an unconditional promise, with no time limits or conditions.)
The Abrahamic Covenant also promises that "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).
The second half of the verse is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, the promised Messiah and Savior of the world. The first half of the verse clearly means that God will bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them.
For millions of American Evangelicals this promise is still in force. We should not only reject and oppose anti-Semitism wherever it rears its malignant head, but we are also admonished to support the Jews if we want to be blessed individually and collectively as a nation. Almost all Evangelicals regularly pray fervently for God to bless America. God has promised to bless those who bless the Jews.
I believe, as an Evangelical Christian, that the Jewish return to their current homeland in the twentieth century was, and is, a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
I also believe that the twentieth century furnishes vivid and instructive illustration of the truth that God blesses those who bless the Jews and vice versa.
Perhaps the three most virulently anti-Semitic countries in the last hundred years have been Germany, Poland, and Russia. All three experienced a terrible and tragic twentieth century compared with the two least anti-Semitic countries in the West, the United States and the United Kingdom, who both experienced a far more blessed twentieth century.
Evangelicals' belief that they are to bless the Jews does not mean that we are to blindly affirm and support everything Israel does. If we really care about Israel, we are compelled to tell her when we believe she is acting wrongly or contrary to her self-interest. Those you really love, you tell the truth as you believe it to be, even when it hurts and causes offense. However, supporting Israel does mean that you don't try to coerce her to take actions she feels will endanger her national security.
A reporter once asked me, "What do you do when the fundamental national interest of America and Israel diverge or conflict?" I answered, "That's a trick question. Since the Abrahamic Covenant's promises are still in force, thefundamental interests of America and Israel cannot diverge. If Americans want America to be blessed, they must bless Israel."
Often American Jews respond to manifestations of Evangelicals' fervent support for Jews and Israel by objecting, "You are just trying to hasten what you believe to be the end time of apocalyptic judgment and the end of history. People who make that assertion know little, if anything, about Evangelicals' theology or worldview. Most Evangelicals would affirm adamantly that God is Sovereign and that there is very little, if anything, human beings, Christians or otherwise, can do to speed up or slow down the divine time table.
Many Jews also object to Evangelicals' insistence on sharing their faith with Jews and declaring that Jesus is the one mediator between God and men and "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6) and that those who do not accept Him as Lord and Savior will spend eternity in perdition.
As one rabbi once said to me, "I know that's what you believe, but do you have to say it?" I replied, "Yes, I do. My faith has in it something called the Great Commission, which is a divine command to share the Gospel with everyone. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul has commanded Christians to go 'to the Jew first and also to the Greek' (Rom. 1:16), so I am specifically called to witness to the Jews, God's chosen people, that Jesus is the promised Messiah and Savior. If the price of respecting your faith is to disregard the commands of mine, then the price is too high."
For Evangelicals, witnessing to Christ as the Savior for all men is an act of love, not intolerance or hostility. And we witness of our faith to family members, parents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as in-laws and complete strangers.
However, it should always be remembered by Evangelicals that we are to follow the admonition and command of the Apostle Peter, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).