Why should we as American Christians worry about what is going on in Israel? I mean after all it doesn’t have anything to do with us way over here in America right? WRONG! It has everything to do with us as Christians because an attack on Israel is a direct attack on the foundation of our faith.
Israel and the Jewish people are where Christianity began. The name Israel was given to Jacob by God is Genesis 32:28:
“Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’” (NIV)
It was the land promised by God to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3:
“Now Adonai said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (CJB)
It was the land that God led the Jewish people to when they came out of Egypt in Exodus:
“God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
The Jewish people were God’s chosen people. He appeared to them, spoke to them, walked with them, and entered into an everlasting covenant with them. He also promised them land that modern day Israel is part of. Then He sent His only Son Yeshua (Jesus) to the Jewish people. Yeshua’s disciples spread the news of salvation to the Jews first before spreading out to enlighten the Gentiles (non-Jews).
Yeshua never meant to start a new religion but instead to evolve Judaism.
“Also I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16 CJB)
As Christians we trace back our faith to the Jewish people and to Israel itself and this is why Hamas’s attack on Israel on Saturday should affect all Christians. It is not a new conflict and actually originates in Genesis 14 when Abraham sends his maid servant Hagar and the son that he had with her named Ishmael away into the wilderness. The descendants of Abraham’s other son Isaac, whom he had with his wife Sarah became the Jewish people and the descendants of Ismael became the Muslim people.
Muslims and Jews have stood in conflict since this time and Genesis 16:12 says of Ishmael:
“He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
The Qur’an, which is the holy book of Islam, contains contradictory instructions for Muslims regarding how Jews should be treated. One part instructs Muslims to treat Jews as brothers and another part commands Muslims to attack Jews who refuse to convert to Islam. The Qur’an also introduces a conflict as to which of Abrahams sons was truly heir of God’s promise. The Hebrew Scriptures say it was Isaac and the Qur’an says it was Ishmael. The Qur’an teaches that it was Ishmael , not Isaac, that Abraham almost sacrificed to the Lord. This debate over who was true heir of God’s promise is what contributes to the hostility between Muslims and Jews and the fight over ownership of land.
Unfortunately Israel is a small country surrounded on three sides by Arab countries who are followers of Islam but it is the Jewish and Christian viewpoint that Israel has a right to exist as a nation in its own land that God gave to the descendants of Jacob, grandson of Abraham.
“He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12:5-7 NIV)
Israel is our Holy Land as well so, when Israel is attacked, Christians should take it personally. It is an attack on our faith, our heritage, and our spiritual homeland. I take it personally because my salvation originated in a place just outside Jerusalem called Golgotha!