It’s always soooo smart to post political and religious opinions on Facebook. It gets you into all kinds of trouble. And yet, I still can’t help myself! So here’s my Facebook post from earlier this week:
God’s very clear in the Bible about his plan for Israel, and I am pro-Israel. BUT let us not forget that God loves both Israelis and Palestinians. He has created each of us to bear His image.
I have seen Jesus restore many lives over the years. Let’s pray that eyes will be opened, keeping in mind that God’s heart is to restore and reconcile all of us to Him.
Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem…And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Luke 19:41-42
And my Auntie responded, “What is God’s plan for Israel? How do you see the Palestinians role in it?”
Reallllly good question. My first basic thought was this:
Throughout history, the Jews have been God’s chosen way to demonstrate His love, justice and salvation for all people. When Jesus came, he demonstrated God’s love for both Jews and Gentiles. Palestinians, and you and I are included in this opportunity.
Maybe that’s a start. But holy moly, there’s a lot more to it.
First, I realize that even within the Christian community, there are plenty of differing opinions on how to view the what the Bible says about Israel. So let me say: this is what I believe.
To understand what the Bible says about Israel, it is key to understand two of God’s promises: 1) the Abrahamic Covenant, and 2) the Mosaic Covenant. A covenant is simply a promise, an agreement between two parties. The cool thing about God is that he KEEPS his promises. Psalm 145:13 says that God is faithful to all his promises (and so much more–I LOVE Psalm 145 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+145). So this is no human promise where you’re sure to be disappointed.
However, a covenant can be conditional or unconditional, based on our response. In these two covenants, we have an example of each.
The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional, meaning that both parties agreed on it, but only God is bound to the promise. God’s promises to Abraham required nothing of Abraham.
Conversely, the Mosaic Covenant is conditional, meaning both parties agreed on it, but it is solely based on the obedience of the Jewish people. If the people continually obeyed it, there would be great blessing for them. If they did not obey it, all promises were off.
The Abrahamic Covenant can be found in Genesis 12:1-3. God promises three things to Abram, (whose name God will soon change to Abraham–another cool part of the story) :
1) I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.
2) I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.
3) I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and all people on earth will be blessed by you.
The Mosaic Covenant can be found in Exodus 19-24. This covenant made with Moses and the Israelites specifies obligations of both parties, of God and of Israel. It is abundantly clear that the promise is related to Israel’s obedience. If they are faithful to what God asks, then God will bless. If they are disobedient, God will punish. Israel is chosen and set apart from other nations so that the world would know God, or Yahweh, the Hebrew name for God.
God tells his people in Exodus 19:5-6, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” God was planning to use Israel to demonstrate his love and light to the rest of the world, which he loves.
Let’s pause for a moment.
Has Israel succeeded in keeping this covenant? Nope. Is Israel perfect? Nope. Has God punished over the years? Yep. Are they still God’s chosen people? Yep. The Abrahamic Covenant promises it, and God is faithful to His promises.
God’s pretty smart. The Mosaic law had to be written and required in order for all of us to see that the law is IMPOSSIBLE to keep. Impossible. Ever tried being perfect?
The Mosaic Covenant exposed our humanity. It highlights our inability to perfectly keep the law. The law cannot save us. Rules cannot save us. Gritting it out, striving to keep up, hanging tough with blood, sweat, tears…our efforts will not save us. It becomes very clear that humanity needs a Savior.
The Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants are found in the Old Testament. They remain very important to both Jews and Christians.
However, Christians believe that there is more to the story. There is a NEW COVENANT, and it is found in the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Because humanity could not keep up with the law, God sent his only Son to us to demonstrate His love in a new way. Jesus was to be a new promise to us. God wanted to make known the mystery of the hope of glory, Christ in us.
When God gave us a new covenant, he abolished the old Mosaic Covenant. Remember–it was a conditional covenant and the human party had not been able to keep their promises. They had failed to keep all the impossible laws. God, in his amazing grace, said, “It’s ok–I’ve got something so much better for you.
This New Covenant is a whole new approach to God. It is personal. It is available to all. It is internal instead of external, a new heart. It provides unlimited access to God. It is once for all, completed by Jesus’s willing death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.
The Abrahamic Covenant, on the other hand, is still a promise kept by God because it is an unconditional promise. This is why I stated on Facebook that God is clear about his plan for Israel. God will still bless Israel and make it into a great nation. Against all odds, Israel has flourished since 1948 when it became an independent nation for the 2nd time in history.
How is it that the Jews have survived every attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth? Countless stories and times in history, Jewish people have been hunted and killed. Every time, a remnant has survived to carry on. This is a miracle only God can do. Ezekiel 6:8 says, “…I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries./p>
So my answer to my Auntie–God has used Israel to bless the nations by Jesus’ bloodline. Through Jesus, God became available to all of us–Jews, Gentiles, Palestinians, you & I. That’s all for now–I’m not sure I want to get into the current conflict except to say that neither side is perfect.
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I know. I realize to my friends who don’t believe, it seems mysteriously easy or kooky. For those who have questions, God says this in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Ask Him and keep your eyes open. He’s so faithful to his promises.
In my last post, I mentioned a conversation around the dinner table. Just for a moment, go back to that table, when I was so sure that I knew all there was to know in the world. Of course I don’t. I hate it when Christians act like they have the corner on all truth in the world. It pushes all my buttons. I don’t want to come across like that, though I realize that I sometimes do. Above is my perspective on what the Bible says about Israel. There are others who interpret these things differently. If you want to talk about it, leave me a comment. Thanks to those conversations around the table, I like that kind of thing.