OpinionReligion

Christians should support, and not criticize, Israel

Our task is to mobilize Christians in action and prayer, as well as to fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Evangelical Christians wave their national flags alongside the Israeli flag as they march in Jerusalem for International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration in October 2016. Credit: Sebi Berens/Flash90.
Evangelical Christians wave their national flags alongside the Israeli flag as they march in Jerusalem for International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration in October 2016. Credit: Sebi Berens/Flash90.
Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer and Rev. Cornelis Kant

Since our establishment in 1979, Christians for Israel International has always stood in unconditional solidarity and friendship with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. We do so regardless of its governmental leadership are. In the democratic State of Israel, the people are free to elect their own prime minister, president and other officials.

Our friendship and solidarity with Israel are based on two foundations: the everlasting biblical covenants that God made with the nation of Israel, and the promises that He gave to the Jewish people that will all be fulfilled. We believe that God is bringing His people back to the land of their forefathers, and that He will protect and guide His people to their ultimate destination.

As the prophet Micah says: “Instead, each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, because the mouth of the Lord of armies has spoken” (Micah 4:4). God can use governments and leaders, but is not dependent on them. He is in control. The Lord reminds us in Jeremiah 30 that the regathering of the 12 tribes of Israel into the land is ultimately a spiritual work that is deeply connected with the Lord’s purposes in relation to the nations.

The restoration to the land is not the goal. The goal is that Israel and Judah will fulfil their calling, which is to “serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them” (Jeremiah 30:9).

It is through the restoration of Israel that the nations will also enter into their true calling. Israel will be a banner to the nations. When Messiah comes (“David, their king”) the word of the Lord shall go forth from Jerusalem, and the nations shall train for war no more (Isaiah 2).

Israel today is in a very precarious situation. Yes, the country has become strong and successful. But as the current formation of a new government shows, it is deeply divided politically. There are sharp divisions between Jews. There is great distrust, animosity and even violence between Jews and Arabs in many places. Some in the land even speak of the possibility of civil war.

In addition to its internal struggle, Israel continues to face major threats from outside its borders. Recently, allegations that Israel is an “apartheid state” have increased, notably as a result of a Human Rights Watch report. The secular media is complicit in framing Israel as an illegitimate state that is grossly breaching international law and norms.

These claims, together with recent conflict with Hamas, seem to have unleashed a new wave of anti-Semitism worldwide.

We are in the midst of what the Bible calls “the controversy of Zion.” We need to look at these unfolding events through God’s eyes, understand with His mind and feel with His heart.

As Christians, our task is not to criticize the people of Israel or tell them what to do. Recognizing our own failures and shortcomings, we believe that the church should comfort the Jewish people in their time of difficulty, and encourage and support them to live up to their calling.

Christians for Israel International represents hundreds of thousands of Christians worldwide. We have operations in more than 40 countries. In places as close as the Netherlands, Italy and Austria, and as far away as Nepal, Vietnam and the Solomon Islands, are literally hundreds of thousands of Christians who believe the Bible is true and pray for the restoration of Israel.

The key mission of our national teams is to provide teaching in Christian churches about God’s everlasting faithfulness to the Jewish people and about the everlasting position of Israel in God’s redemptive plan for the world. Furthermore, we mobilize Christians to support Israel in action and prayer, and to fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

We share our solidarity with the Jewish people by supporting aliyah, as well as many humanitarian projects in Israel. We have a large team of dedicated people working in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency to serve Holocaust survivors and Jewish families living in poverty in Ukraine and help them come to Israel.

We Christians have centuries of blood on our hands. Our responsibility is not to criticize Israel, but to intercede more fervently than ever before for the “Peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122). Together with Israel, we eagerly await Isaiah 2:2-4 to come into fulfillment.

Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer is president and Rev. Cornelis Kant is executive director of Christians for Israel International.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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