Five myths about Christians’ support for Israel

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By Mark EllisIsraeli settlers protest in West Bank

There is mounting concern that something has been chipping away at Christians’ rock-solid support for Israel. One ministry leader sees several reasons behind the shift.

“There has been a bit of a retreat by evangelicals on support for Israel,” says Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries. “Christians are walking through the valley of decision regarding Israel, and many of our brothers and sisters are making the wrong choice.”

Dr. Glaser points to several misconceptions behind the shift.

Myth #1 – Christians who love Israel do not care about Arabs, Muslims, or Palestinians. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Dr. Glaser says. “There is no negotiating on love and loving those you find unlovable,” he says. “It’s really important we love Israelis and Palestinians. One can be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.”

Myth #2 – Christians who believe that Modern Israel is the fulfillment of prophecy believe that the government of Israel “can do no wrong.”

“I don’t know any Jewish people or Christians who believe that any human government can do no wrong. This is a false argument designed to bolster a more radical fundamentalist Muslim narrative of the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” he says.

Myth #3 – Christians unfairly favor the Jewish people over the Palestinians because they believe the Land belongs to the Jewish people. “It was not man’s idea to choose the Jewish people and give them a Land—it was God’s,” Dr. Glaser notes. “This is not a question of fairness or unfairness. This simply demonstrates that God treats different groups according to His holy purposes. He is God—it is His prerogative.”

“People are not reading their Bibles as literally as they did in previous years,” Dr. Glaser observes. As a result, some Christians do not believe Israel was promised the land.

Myth #4 – Israel and the Jewish people do not have a right to the Land because the Jewish people have not yet come to Christ. “It is true that the majority of Jewish people alive today have not yet come to know Jesus as Messiah. However, our God of grace did not promise the Land to the Jewish people on the basis of their deserving it—any more than the salvation we enjoy was earned,” he says, referencing Ephesians 2:9-10.

“The Covenant made with Abraham stands from generation to generation. The Jewish people do not need to earn the right to the Land, as it was given by God as a gift.”

Myth #5 – The Jewish people lost their election and any rights to the land when they rejected Jesus. Dr. Glaser says the budding influence of replacement theology has led to this growing misconception.

“Their teaching goes like this: the Jewish people rejected Jesus, so God rejected the Jewish people – the Church then is the new Israel and has replaced Israel. Therefore, all the promises of God to the Jewish people are fulfilled in the Church. As a result, the promise of the Land of Israel has been taken away from the Jewish people and it can no longer be taken literally,” he says.

Dr. Glaser believes New Testament scholar and former Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright has influenced many with his eschatology. “He has a concept of a reformed, renewed creation,” Dr. Glaser observes. He teaches that at the Second Coming, all ethnic distinctions are obliterated.

“There is no literal fulfillment, no land promises. Everybody who names the name of Jesus inherits a renewed earth, so none of the prophecies are still attached to Israel and the Jewish people.”

In response to this interpretive drift, Dr. Glaser quotes the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:28-29: “From the standpoint of the gospel they (the Jewish people) are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

There is also a growing segment in the Church who devotes less time and attention to End Times debates. “They say eschatology is not important. People over-reacted to Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Plane Earth” and Tim Le Haye’s “Left Behind” series. The pendulum has swung a little bit where people are less interested in the End Times, so people don’t talk about it.”

Some in this camp have a heightened interest in social justice. “Mission in some circles has been re-interpreted as social change,” Dr. Glaser observes. “Because they don’t have strong views about what the Bible teaches about God’s ongoing covenant with Israel, it becomes a matter of politics.”

“If it is a matter of politics,” he adds, “they are persuaded to go for the alleged underdog Palestinians. Many younger generation evangelicals have made social justice a primary hermeneutical tool to understand the Bible.”

Dr. Glaser believes in social justice.“But don’t throw the Jewish baby out with the social justice bathwater,” he says.

Dr. Glaser says it is time for those who believe in the literal promises of God to the Jewish people to raise their voices and be heard. “Loving Israel and the Jewish people is an affirmation of God’s promises in the Bible, and this love and support prepares Jewish hearts for the Gospel!

“My hope is all this discussion will lead to greater love for the Jews and the Palestinians.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. By the Providential Grace of “THE LORD JEHOVAH” I have been a staunch supporter of Israel for 45+ years – since before ‘The 6 Day War of 1967’ – and many years before I became a CHRISTian (just after 9/11/01)!
    My support of Israel is based upon what the Holy Word of GOD tells me as a follower of
    The LORD Jesus Christ – a CHRISTian to do – not upon what fallen men do or say – past / present / OR future.

    Do I condone all that Israel does? – NO!
    HOWEVER I will joyfully continue to do as “THE ONLY WISE GOD” commands in His Holy Word about Israel and the Jewish people:

    “1) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
    (Genesis 12:1-3 – KJV)

    “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”
    (Psalm 122:6 – KJV)

    “1) I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2) Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3) And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4) And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: 5) For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
    6 ¶ Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. 7) Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8) For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9) For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
    10 ¶ Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11) And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. 12) And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. 13) Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
    (Zechariah?? 2: 1-13 – KJV)

    By the Grace of “THE EVERLASTING GOD” I have also been led to pray for and help in very small ways all of my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ (Eph 6:18) – whoever they are. or wherever the “THE LORD GOD” put them – and for the Biblical Salvation of all men, women, boys and girls – wherever they may live, whatever their ethnicity, etc… remembering what He says in His Holy Word – that:

    “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:9 – KJV)

    “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
    (1 Tim 2:4-6 – KJV)

    • To Rhondar: You may not have read my response to your statement about taking the Old Testament literally being folly. That’s because I failed to put in the reply box to you; rather I just left it as a comment in general. By the way, how “many things did God call Israel”?

  2. I’m glad to see the emphasis on loving both Jews and Palestinians. Among those who strongly support the nation of Israel, I know there are those who love both peoples, by God’s grace. Since this article deals with myths, though, there really are many strong supporters of Israel who constantly spew anti-Palestinian venom, even targeting fellow Christian Palestinians in the process. It’s not hard to find such thoughts online, even at a few of the largest Christian Zionist news sites. I believe that a lot of work needs to be done within the Christian Zionist community before Myth #1 can be dispelled.

    The same goes for Myth #2. If John Hagee (founder of CUFI), for example, with all of his influence, has ever disagreed with any of the policies of Israel’s government, I’ve sure never seen it. On the other hand, and this can also easily be found online, the slightest questioning of Israel’s policies and behavior can get someone labeled as “anti-Semitic” by the Christian Zionist crowd. Ironically, the anti-Palestinian bashing so often gets a free pass, even though the Palestinians are also Semitic peoples.

    As far as the definition of “replacement theology” goes, I don’t know any professing Christian who would say that God has rejected the Jewish people entirely. Are there Jews who are cut off from among God’s people, and from the promises of God? Absolutely. “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people’” (Acts 3:22-23).

    There certainly is a form of “replacement theology” that is dangerous, and ought to be rejected. It’s the replacement theology that takes the role belonging to Jesus and assigns it to a political nation whose population generally has nothing to do with Him:

    http://kloposmasm.com/2013/02/13/why-i-abandoned-replacement-theology/

    • Bro Adam – AMEN on “the emphasis on loving both Jews and Palestinians” – and every other CHRISTian (Eph 6:18)
      CHRISTians should also sincerely and often pray for the Salvation of lost souls, whoever and wherever they may be – NOT the all too common ‘us four and no more’!
      – for “THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY” said:

      “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
      (1 Tim 2:4 – KJV)
      – AND –
      “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
      (2 Pet 3:9 – KJV)

  3. I want to commend Dr. Glaser for his fair and Balanced presentation of these 5 myths he enumerates. Furthermore, I want make a couple of points:
    1. To the person who feels we can’t take the O.T literally I would say to Rhondar first of all, I believe the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture and the historical-grammatical method of interpretation of Scripture would disagree with that position. Secondly, are we to say nothing in the O.T. is literal? Are the persons of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, King David, and King Solomon, for example, not real people who lived in Israel’ history at a specific time? Is Creation not to be taken literally (regardless of how one believes it was done)? The Exodus from Egypt, is that allegorical? Are the prophecies in Scripture about Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and soon to be 2nd Coming not literal? The N.T. makes it clear they were literal.
    2. If the O.T. is not literal why did both Christ and the Apostles quote from it and support it as being inspired (See Luke 24:25-27; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)?
    3. If the O.T. is not literal, how does one then explain the many archaeological discoveries that confirm specific O.T. events, for example the Lachish Letters confirming Jer. 34:7?
    4. I would say this to the person who says he doesn’t know of any professing Christian who would say that God has rejected the Jewish people entirely: take a look at A millennialism, the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture which some professing Christians use to support “replacement theology”, the Preterist view of the Book of Revelation., as examples.
    5. Reading Romans 9-11 is proof enough for me (although there are numerous other Scriptures that do as well) to support unquestioningly Israel’s future role in the unfolding of end-time events and that God has not, nor will He ever, replace Israel with the Church. Read Jeremiah 30-31, 33. For God to replace Israel with any other entity would mean He would have to abandon His eternal covenant promise to the Patriarchs.
    6. If the Church has replaced Israel as the “new chosen people of God”, when is the Church going to take possession of the land of Israel that is promised in the Abrahamic Covenant.
    7. Finally, I do not believe that every decision and action of the Israeli government is ordained or blessed by God; I believe that for any Jew to become a Christian, he/she MUST accept Jesus Christ as the Maschiach.
    8. When I pray for the “peace of Jerusalem”, I always pray for Palestinians as well, and I financially support a Messianic ministry in Israel that reaches out to both Israelis and Palestinians. I am honored to do so!

    • Dwaine, I’m very familiar with the preterist view of the book of Revelation, and have written a series on Revelation from that perspective myself:

      http://kloposmasm.com/revelation/

      At no point in that series will you find anything suggesting that God has rejected Jews entirely, nor have I heard any such claim from the many preterist or amillennial believers I know. The new covenant church began with 3000 Jews saved on the Day of Pentecost, and God has been saving Jews in every generation since. What I and others reject is the idea that ethnic Jews have an elevated status above other peoples, and that they – as a race – are God’s chosen people (rather than all who belong to Jesus, regardless of race). The New Testament rejects these ideas as well.

      The church hasn’t replaced Israel. The church, followers of Jesus from many nations, is the Israel of God because we abide in Jesus, who is true Israel.

      • Regarding your statement about “ethnic Jews [not] having an elevated status . . . .”, I firmly believe that they as a race are still God’s chosen people. I do not believe the O.T. and the N.T. reject that position, but that they teach God will in the “last days” turn once again to them as a race according to His covenant promise.

        I have read some a millennial positions that certainly led me to conclude they see no place for national Israel in end time biblical prophetic events.

        Your last sentence is ambiguous to me. But we are brothers in Christ, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. Blessings on you and your ministry. Shalom!

        • Hi Dwaine,

          What I see is that whenever the New Testament speaks of God’s chosen people (e.g. Ephesians 1:11-12, Colossians 3:12-13, I Peter 2:9-10), it speaks of those who are in Christ, regardless of race. Furthermore, the purpose for which God’s people are chosen has everything to do with obedience to Christ (being holy, proclaiming the excellencies of Christ, being light in the midst of darkness, etc.). Unbelieving Jews are themselves walking in darkness, so how can they live out the role of God’s chosen people?

          It appears that you and I have different ideas on what “the last days” are/were. I believe they were the last days of the old covenant age. That’s why Hebrews 1 says that Jesus spoke “in the last days,” and why Hebrews 9:26 says that He was manifest “in the last days” to take away sin through the sacrifice of Himself. It’s why Peter proclaimed that the last days prophesied by Joel were present on the day of his sermon (Acts 2). It’s why John said that it was the last hour in his time (I John 1:18), and why Peter said that “the end of all things is at hand” (I Peter 4:7).

          I believe that national Israel did have a place in “the time of the end” (Daniel’s words). National Israel was judged and Jerusalem and the temple were burned to the ground in 70 AD, just as Jesus predicted numerous times. A remnant from that nation was saved and delivered, however, and the people of God have been found ever since representing many nations, peoples, and languages.

          Regarding Jesus being true Israel, my thoughts are laid out more fully and clearly here (I believe this is demonstrated by Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, and John):

          http://kloposmasm.com/2014/04/03/why-i-stand-with-israel/

          Blessings and peace to you as well, brother.

    • Bro. Dwaine – AMEN on ALL Scripture: Gen 1:1 – Mal 4:6 – AND – Matt 1:1 – Rev 22:21

      “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
      (2 Tim 3:16-17 – KJV)

      “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15 – KJV)

      “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
      (Matt 5:17-18 – KJV)

      “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
      For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
      That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
      Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
      That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?”
      (Prov 22:17-21 – KJV)

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