The role of Israel and the Jewish people are a central and fundamental topic, or at least should be, in any Christians' formulation of their theology and worldview.
Many of us believe that the promises God made to Abraham and Israel in the Old Testament are no longer applicable to them and have been transferred to the Church. Then there are other Christians who believe that the emergence of the state of Israel is a fulfillment of prophecy and therefore part of God's end-time plan signalling the advancing denouement or conclusion of world history.
Since God's promises still apply to Israel God remains unfinished in his plans concerning them corporately as His children--in distinction to His work and plan for the church.
A handful of Christian Israel supporters are literally funding the temple institute in Israel, which exists for the specific purpose of rebuilding the ancient Jewish Temple. The intended rebuild probably targetting the disputed lands where the Herodian Temple once stood, whenever some agreement or opportunity arises for this to happen.
Then there are other Christians who fully support the Palestinian movement, who attend conferences like Christ at the Checkpoint and are immersed in liberation theology. Liberation theology incorporates aspects of social marxism into the gospel, to seek out social justice as part of their Christian walk.
For them this means taking up the cause of the oppressed and marginalised--Palestinians being members of this category. Many on the Christian right suggest that this social justice mandate overshadows the efforts or requirement to share the gospel and teach repentance, instead focusing on material issues of land ownership, freedom of movement, entitlements, politics etc.
The “Zionists” on the other hand are sometimes accused of Israel worship; wanting to bring back old covenant worship by rebuilding the temple and giving Israel special omission from the great commission, because “all Israel will be saved”. The average Zionist Christian is a passionate advocate of Israel, while some verge on obsession, to the exclusion of attention to other important issues of doctrine and faith. Those who believe Jews have rights to the land due to ancestral ties and history there, are designated as Zionists.
The progressive leaning Christians are skeptical of Israel if not downright hostile, buying into the Palestinian narrative hook line and sinker. Such people believe Israel is an apartheid state despite its ethically and religiously diverse population, and equality under law enshrined as a nation based on western institutions.
They see the Israeli government and IDF as murderers of innocent Palestinian children, acting without any rule of law or modern military rules of engagement. That this is a simple equation of innocent refugee vs despotic apartheid regime, despite the nuances and history being more complicated. On top of this they seem to ignore the terrorists, extremist ideology, and religious motivations of Muslims.
I personally still believe Israel has special significance to God despite their unsaved condition. They are a wayward child, but God doesn't forsake them forever as He promises. I believe God has been returning them to the land and will soften their hearts and return many to righteousness before Christ returns.
Some of the so called Zionist and rapture crowd also believe that Israel will suffer many dire tribulations and even massacres before the end, based on some passages in Revelation.
So is God gathering and protecting them now, or not? I find it difficult to believe that the miracle of their gathering and nascent nationhood transpiring, despite astounding odds stacked against them, that God would allow the overwhelming global and local opposition enclosing them to win.
Despite their tiny size they possess the clout of a technologically advanced world power. Yet against such tremendous odds, it seems only God's intervention could save Israel if a great alliance was to strike them (Ezekiel 38). Time will tell.
Everyone seems to be against Israel except some evangelical Christians and conservatives. The Muslims, Progressives, the Christian Left and the Far Right in general are contrary if not outright hostile toward Israel. And that makes me think that satan is employing some serious demon power in effort at destroying them - as history Is routinely poised to kill the Jew at every opportunity.
In short time we will see if God steps in once again to protect Israel and thereby verify if gathering this new nation from the diaspora was His plan all along as we suspect in prophecy. When a tiny nation survives another war against overwhelming odds, it will make plain which side God is on--and whom is theologically sound concerning Israel.
Amos Sale is a Press Service International young writer from Auckland
Amos Sale is an evangelical conservative who considers himself a defender of traditional Christian values, liberal democracy and the unprecedented freedom and liberty established and defended by our forebears—which is being eroded.
Amos Sale previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/amos-sale.html