Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it himself:
I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy.
That may be a contender for understatement of the year. I’ve seen conservatives using Bibi’s speech to blast President Obama (“This is what a real leader sounds like,” “It’s about time a strong leader spoke in Congress,” and on and on). I’ve seen liberals belittling Israel and conservatives as using this opportunity to undermine the President.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in political science or foreign affairs. That’s not my primary concern. Like many people, though, I am concerned about a nuclear Iran. As Netanyahu notes:
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.
I am against the slaughter of people groups. I am also pro-democracy. For those reasons I tend to be pro-Israel. But political science and foreign affairs is not my primary concern nor is it the focus of this blog. The focus on The Bible Blotter is the Bible and letting the Bible influence our behavior.
That being said, I think it’s time American Christians separate our support of Israel from our idea that Israel is God’s special nation. We must realize that the Israel of God’s Old Testament promises is not the geo-political entity we call Israel today. We who believe in the one true God have been “grafted in the vine” and are now part of God’s chosen people. Blood line does not matter – faith matters.
As Paul says in Galatians 3:28-29 ~
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
I understand this is not a popular opinion. I know many Americans consider supporting Israel to be a God-honoring biblical mandate. In the grand scheme of things, though, the nation of Israel is simply one of the nations of the world.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 9:6-8 ~
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
Being born Jewish doesn’t make you a child of Abraham any more. We are of Abraham through faith. The citizens of Israel need to respond to the Gospel of Jesus just as the citizens of any nation must.
God is not the God of America. God is not the God of Israel. God is the God of ALL nations. Christians in America and Israel are on the same spiritual footing as Christians in China, Thailand, Russia, Cuba, France, and every other nation on earth.
Jesus is the great equalizer. It is our faith that binds us together – not our bloodlines. This is a hard concept for us to embrace. Jesus took it to a radical degree. Once when his family came looking for him to try to “manage” him, the crowd told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.” Jesus’s response?
Who is my mother, or my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother. (Mark 3:32-35)
In a society where family is everything Jesus sets a new standard. This is the standard that is upheld in the rest of the New Testament. God’s people are not so by birth into the Jewish nation.
We are God’s people by our spiritual birth into God’s kingdom through our faith.
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I welcome all discussion, just keep it civil and polite. If this post resonates with you in any way, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email!