STANDING WITH ISRAEL – WHY WE MUST
Dear Church Family,
I think most of you are aware that Jer and I have recently returned from spending several weeks in Israel. It was great to be back, and it was also concerning with some of the recent terror activity as Passover was approaching. It seems that Israel is constantly on the defensive. Each year, we set aside a Sunday to remember Israel, educate people about Israel, and look into God’s Word and see what God has to say about Israel. This year, it seems to be more needed than ever. Anti-semitism has reached rates that match the same levels it was at just before the Holocaust. There seems to be no stopping it.
Israel is a land about which God says uniquely, prophetically, redemptively, and repeatedly in the Bible This is Mine. God refers to Israel as He does to no other land on Earth. Israel was raised up to be a light to the Gentiles.
The Church at its inception was virtually entirely Jewish, and it remained so until the Gospel began to spread. Ultimately the Gospel spread to Antioch, where the first Gentile congregation began, the base from which the Gospel spread into all the world.
In the book of Romans, chapters 9 through 11, the apostle Paul deals with the question of the Jews in God’s providence and purpose. Within the whole of the Bible, these three chapters virtually stand alone as an elaboration of the theology of God’s dealing with Jews. The Jews were the “firstfruit” …the “first people” (through Abraham) to understand a covenant God. They then relayed the riches of that truth to the world, and through their agency, the Messiah came into the world.
The Word of God calls Jews the “root” and Gentiles the “branches.” We’re reminded that while “because of unbelief, some of them were broken off and you stand by faith,” we are not to become haughty but to fear: “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.” When the fullness of the Gentiles is completed, “all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:16-27)
So, Why stand with Israel today? Great question…
We are living in a sobering moment in history that calls us, as believers in Jesus Christ, to take a stand with Israel. We could be people of the last hour. We are not to be passive in the face of prophecy; we are called to pray with passion, to intercede, and to minister according to the words of the Savior who said it is not our task to speculate when the end will be. It is our responsibility to do Kingdom business until He comes (Luke 19:13).
This is not about politics; this is about the Word of God, but the political ramifications are extremely dramatic. Scripture declares there will come a time when all the nations of the world will turn against Israel. It is so highly conceivable this could happen in our time that it is critical to outline why we should stand with Israel today.
Just a few weeks ago, Jer and I had the dreadful privilege of standing just feet away from the Gaza Strip in Israel as we spoke to people in the Jewish community about the horrors of usual bombings in that region. It appears that over 90% of the children in that region suffer from PTSD due to the regular sirens and sprints to the bomb shelter, with just 15 seconds to go from certain death to safety.
While a number of the things I’ve learned across the years traveling to Israel were chilling, those fears don’t begin to compare with the prophetic heaviness I feel for the Christian leaders here in the U.S., especially those with younger congregations and large social media platforms, who have no real knowledge or interest in Israel, even though it’s very close to God’s heart.
Genesis 12:2-3 still stands as a covenant between God and Abram, and involves both you and me.
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
I’ll close with these final thoughts:
1st – Let me be clear: If you are not actively and substantively blessing Israel, you are missing out on a move of the Holy Spirit in your life or your ministry you cannot imagine. There are no words to describe the things the Lord has done for our church and for Jer and I personally that are directly related to our commitment to blessing Israel—and we are just scratching the surface.
We endeavor to bless Israel however we can. When we go there, the Lord opens door after door to help the people and connect with both history and prophecy in ways I could have never imagined—and He will do the same for you.
2nd – The nation of Israel is currently under attack physically, spiritually and politically, and it’s time for the U.S. pastors to get back to teaching and preaching the importance of standing with Israel. Any other nation would have buckled under by now, and many throughout history have done just that—especially those who have oppressed or wounded the Jews. Babylon was especially cruel, as was Rome. Both are gone—Israel stands. Hitler mounted the greatest attack in history, killing over 6 million Jews while American pastors never so much as lifted a hand of protest before millions had been slaughtered. Only a nation sustained by God could have survived all that and yet enjoy the international standing and the national resolve that Israel has today.
God is calling us to come out from our shadows and busyness and stand with Israel in ways no previous generation ever could have. These are extraordinary times, and the hand of God is with us in extraordinary ways. But it’s a different kind of carnal that turns a deaf ear to the very people it owes for its salvation. The Bible that we declare as essential for living was written entirely by Jews. The one we call Savior and Lord—Jesus Christ—was a Jew. Our entire Christian heritage was forged through God’s chosen people: the Jews.
So many live as though God has cast aside the Jews and Israel, acting as if we have replaced the people God called originally (replacement theology). But what a tragic and misguided theology that is. A simple reading of Romans 11 makes it clear that God is not done with the Jewish people.
Israel has survived as a people and as a nation against all odds. The nation has suffered unprovoked wars, genocide, slavery and every physical and rhetorical attack imaginable. The reasons for standing with Israel are clear and overwhelming.
We will be talking about these reasons this Sunday as we STAND WITH ISRAEL, and celebrate her 75th anniversary as a Nation. Special Guest Congressman Russ Fulcher will share about why we should care about Israel and what we can do to support her. Israel is a strategic ally—helping them helps us.
They need us now more than ever—and we need them. Join me, then, as we are instructed in Psalm 122:6-7: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” Let’s come expecting a great Lord’s Day!
I Love My Church