From Bill Sutter’s Desk May/Jun 2008
Widespread “Israel at 60” celebrations in Jewish communities this year are reminders of the certainty of God’s promises to the Jewish people. Christians who have been participating in these events realize they are expressing their solidarity with those whom the Lord declares are the “apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8).
Bible-believing Christians know that Israel is more than just another country and that the Jewish people are more than just another ethnic group. Israel is God’s national people, chosen by Him to bring blessing to the entire world, for His glory (Gen. 12:3; Isa. 43:7).
Abraham had his doubts about God’s promise, and Sarah joined in disbelieving laughter (Gen. 17:17; 18:12). But God, ever true to His Word, established His covenant with Abraham and his descendants through Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob (17:21; 28:4).
Isaac’s miraculous birth has been followed by millennia of evidences of God’s marvelous preservation of His ancient people. He has preserved them through conflict and captivity, war and devastation, pogroms and holocaust. They have even survived worldwide dispersion, which would have put an end to a people who were anything but the special recipients of God’s blessing.
No one could have accurately scripted the rebirth and survival of the modern State of Israel. From the most meager of beginnings in 1948, facing seemingly insurmountable odds, it has developed into nothing less than the showcase of the Middle East.
In Genesis 12:2 God promised Abraham, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” And in Ezekiel 11:17 He said, “Thus says the Lord Gᴏᴅ: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’” The very existence of modern Israel demonstrates that God is true to His promises.
As Christians join their Jewish friends in celebrating the State of Israel’s 60th anniversary, many in the world have alternative designs. Israel’s adversaries, especially those in the Middle East, use language strikingly similar to the rants of Israel’s enemies recorded in the Bible some 3,000 years ago: “They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more’” (Ps. 83:4).
Today, throughout Europe, Canada, and even here in the United States, the erroneous teachings of Replacement Theology assert that Israel and the Jewish people are no longer the recipients of the promises God made to them. Through creative gymnastics of biblical interpretation, replacement theologians have found a way to give the church the biblical promises, covenants, and blessings that God reserved for Israel.
This fallacious teaching, which characterizes mainline Protestant denominations, frequently migrates into hatred for Israel. For example, the United Methodist Church’s recent Israel-Palestine: 2007–2008 Mission Study, offered as a teaching resource to congregations throughout the United Methodist Church, portrays Israel as a violent occupier that snatches hope and livelihood from the Palestinian people. Absent is an understanding of the real problem in the Middle East: Israel’s enemies’ refusal to accept the existence of the Jewish state.
In response, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has prepared a comprehensive analysis of the Methodist study. The JCPA has documented hundreds of factual errors, historical misrepresentations, inconsistencies, fabrications, significant omissions, logical fallacies, and inflammatory statements against Israel. This analysis may be viewed online at http://snipurl.com/img663.
Even among evangelical Christians there have been recent attempts to peddle the teaching that God is finished with the Jewish people. This view forces allegorical or nonliteral interpretations of texts throughout Scripture. And it denies promises that God calls “everlasting” (Ps. 105:10).
We at The Friends of Israel see things quite differently. We affirm God’s eternal promises to His covenant people, the Jewish people. Furthermore, our support for Israel is anchored in the literal and normal interpretation of the Word of God.
By visiting Israel, participating in “Israel at 60” celebrations, speaking up on behalf of the Jewish state, and distributing this issue of Israel My Glory magazine into 151 countries, The Friends of Israel boldly proclaims, “We salute Israel at 60!”