This post first appeared on Kineti and is authored by Judah Gabriel Himango, one of Tabernacle of David’s teachers.
|A display of American support for Israel (Illustrative.)|
For many years, legendary Christian journalist Earl Cox hosted a weekly half-hour news analysis segment called “Front Page Jerusalem” which was recorded in Jerusalem and broadcast on Christian radio stations worldwide. Earl’s policy was, to tell the truth about what was going on in this country, even if it might not always have made the sitting government or the military look good. However, at the show’s end, he would always sign off with the words “Remember, because God loves Israel, I do too.”
I think that’s the proper attitude for a Christian supporter of Israel to have.
A commitment to the truth, no matter how inconvenient it might be to whoever it might be inconvenient to, is something that should be axiomatic for anyone who describes themself as a follower of the man who said of Himself “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
Also, supporting Israel without trying to hide or be deliberately dishonest about all this country’s flaws, imperfections, and shortcomings, is very Biblical. The Bible stories about the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel and the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel don’t hide their many flaws and mistakes. The Bible tells us the truth about these men, and about their descendants who became kings of Israel and Judah as well as all the prophets who God used to speak to the people of Israel and for that matter write the Bible. All of them had flaws, and the Bible doesn’t pretend otherwise.
I think the reason the Bible tells us about the imperfections of these men and women (and, indeed, the entire nation of Israel) is that God doesn’t want us to worship them. The only Man in the Bible who deserves to be worshipped is Yeshua Himself, and that is as true today as it was at the time the Bible was being written, both the Old and the New Testament.
But in the 20+ years I’ve lived in this country, with most of those years spent working for and with some of the largest Christian Zionist organizations which operate in Israel, I have seen, heard from, and met many people who call themselves “Christian Zionists” but that means something very different from what Earl Cox said. The sad but undeniable fact is that many people have made an idol out of Israel, and what’s worse, they’ve even made an idol out of just one specific part of Israel and now we’re seeing increasingly common expressions of hatred and contempt for other parts of Israel.
In other words, there actually is such a thing as anti-Israel and even Jew-hating Christian Zionists.
Let me explain.
Years ago I wrote a blog entitled “How much do you really know about Israel” in which I lamented this huge gap between “Christian Zionist” rhetoric and reality.
If you don’t want to go read that blog, the short version is that most “Christian Zionists” only love and support those parts of Israel that they’re familiar with and/or have directly experienced. Since most Christian pilgrimage tours of Israel only include Jerusalem and the Galilee, and stay far away from the Coastal Plain where about 75% of Israelis actually live, work, go to school, etc. most “Christian Zionists” know very little about this country which they claim to be such strong supporters of.
Therefore, I long ago learned to stop getting my hopes up when I heard these “Christian Zionists” talking about their love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. I know from first-hand experience that there’s a lot of “Israel and the Jewish people” these folks know little about and what they do know doesn’t interest them.
But when they say they love and support Israel and the Jewish people, they’re not consciously lying so much as they just really don’t know what they’re talking about.
The “Israel” they love and support is often a figment of their imaginations which bears little resemblance to the real life, flesh, and blood country that goes by the name of “Israel” or the actual “Jewish people” who actually live here (not to mention the Diaspora Jews who mostly live in Western Europe and North America.) So, in actuality, when they say they love and support Israel and the Jewish people, they mean they love and support the National Religious/Modern Orthodox Jews who mostly live in Jerusalem as well as the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (known to most of the world as “West Bank settlers.”)
The National Religious/Modern Orthodox Jews make up a very small percentage of the population of Israel, but they get the overwhelming majority of “love and support” that “Christian Zionists” say they’re giving to “Israel and the Jewish people.” The other 90% or so of the Jewish population of Israel that isn’t part of the National Religious/Modern Orthodox community sees little if any “love and support” from these “Christian Zionists”. They are regarded as abstract background noise at best, easy to ignore.
However, in the last few months, this side of Israel which most “Christian Zionists” never bothered to learn much about has been much in the news, and “Christian Zionists” aren’t ignoring them anymore. That’s because the attempts by the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pass sweeping reforms to the Judicial system have brought large numbers of Israelis out into the streets to protest. Most of those who are opposed to the Judicial reforms live in Gush Dan (Tel Aviv and its suburbs) which, as I mentioned before, is a part of Israel that most Christian tourists never bother to visit.
To make matters worse, the “Christian Zionist” media (which includes many good friends of mine) have done an appallingly poor job of covering these events. With a few exceptions, the reports about these protests have been very dishonest and one-sided, with lots of spin and innuendo to make Netanyahu and his coalition allies look good and anyone who opposes them look bad.
In fact, some “Christian Zionist” reporting on these events adds up to little more than a mindless regurgitation of the governing coalition’s talking points. This includes some of the most shameful and horrifying aspects of Israel’s internal political debates, especially the branding of anyone who opposes Netanyahu as a (dirty, stinking, lousy, rotten) “leftist” and/or a “self-hating Jew” who wants Israel to stop being a Jewish country and become part of the “globalist” conspiracy, etc.
The “Christian Zionist” news outlets which are engaging in this shameful pandering to the Q’anon crowd (you know who you are) are simply giving their supporters what they want, which isn’t the truth, but rather an affirmation of the lies and delusions they’ve become so deeply invested in.
|The “MAGA Jesus” so many deluded people in America worship after having forsaken, if they ever knew Him, the Jesus described in the Gospels.|
Speaking of which, I got a chance to meet some of these folks recently in a most unexpected way. A (very flawed) story about the protests against judicial reforms in Israel, which centered around the tactic used by many protesters to stand in the road and block traffic, was run by a large CZ news organization and posted on their Facebook page. As bad as the “news” article was, the comments left by many “Christian Zionists” were even worse.
Here’s a sampling of some of the comments.
“Nice collection of speed bumps…time for some vehicular bowling.”
“Splat splat! No one has the right to stop freedom of movement!”
“These Radical Brainless Leftists need to be expelled from Israel and sent to Lebanon where their allies live.”
“Get the police and army and them off the roads. deport.”
Then there were the comments which included prayer points.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for unity against internal enemies and all the external enemies of Israel”
“May Father GOD bless Israel and Protect Her from all Enemies, foreign and domestic”
Once again, some “Christian Zionists” have apparently come to the conclusion that any Israeli citizen who opposes the agenda of Netanyahu’s governing coalition is actually an “enemy” of Israel.
There were also a lot of comments which linked the protests to American domestic political issues, even though the article, for all its flaws, didn’t even mention the US.
“Netanyahu must use all the necessary means to protect Israel’s safety & security. Do not trust in Cocaine Joe & his Drug House at Washington, DC. The far Left political mafia & its politburo standing committee in Washington are essentially unAmerican & anti-Israeli.”
“My Vote Belongs To President Trump” (34 likes)
“Trump 24, libs are not pro-Israel, Israel needs the USA as an ally in these times.”
Finally, there was one really irrelevant and somewhat bizarre comment that caught my eye.
“And remember, if you scramble the letters of Yemen, you get…enemy!”
Now, it must be said that these comments are anecdotal, and also…y’know, it’s the internet.
But I would still say that these comments demonstrate a disturbing trend of so-called “Christian Zionists” becoming more willing to show their true colors. Whereas in the past they would simply declare their “undying, unconditional support for Israel and the Jewish people” while in actual fact treating most of the Jewish people who didn’t live in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria with benign neglect, now at least some of them feel comfortable displaying not “love and support” but rather withering contempt for these Jewish Israelis.
Brothers and sisters, if you’re still reading this blog, I have two requests to make of you.
First, examine your own heart and see if anything I’ve said in this blog applies to you. Are you one of those “Christian Zionists” who “love and support Israel and the Jewish people” but you also kind of like the idea of playing “vehicular bowling” with anti-Netanyahu protesters on the Ayalon freeway?
If so, the Bible has a procedure for you to follow and it can be summed up in one word, “repentance”.
Yes, you need to repent and you need to ask God to take away the hatred and contempt you have for these Jewish Israelis whose only crime is that they are not in favor of the legislative agenda of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Orthodox religious parties who he sits in a governing coalition with.
Second, I’m sorry for repeating myself but I am going to once again ask anyone reading this blog who gives any kind of support, whether it’s prayer, donations, volunteer work, or anything else, to any Christian ministry or organization which is involved in Israel.
Make an effort to find out what that support is being used for!!!
A LOT of money that gets sent to “Christian Zionist” organizations here in Israel is spent on stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the Gospel. But there’s also a lot of money donated by Christians which gets spent on stuff that would definitely qualify as internal, partisan political activities that help one segment of the Israeli population while damaging the interests of other segments. This is deeply wrong, in so many ways, and it’s long past time for it to stop. The only way it’s ever going to stop is if the people who send in the donations hold these organizations accountable.
To summarize, brothers and sisters, Earl Cox showed us the right attitude to have regarding Christian support for Israel. If you are one of those Christian Zionists who love and support Israel because God does but you’re not blind to all of Israel’s many flaws and shortcomings, congratulations, you’re doing it right.
If you’re one of those Christian Zionists who love and support Israel because Benjamin Netanyahu is a friend of Donald Trump and some of the same American Jews who oppose Trump also oppose Netanyahu, you’re doing it wrong. If by “love and support Israel” you mean you “love and support” the National Religious/Modern Orthodox settlers who live in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria while the idea of deporting any Israelis who vote for Left of Center political parties appeals to you, you’re REALLY doing it wrong!
Brothers and sisters, you’re either part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.
As I said in previous blogs, you don’t want to be one of those “Christian Zionists” who worship a modern-day golden calf and we all have to remember that God is on His own side. He’s not on the side of Netanyahu against the dirty, stinking, lousy, rotten “leftists” in Tel Aviv. He’s on His own side, and He’s inviting us to be on His side. Recruiting God to be on our side is REALLY not an option, although many have tried to do that, from ancient times down to the present day.
This is a very big mistake.
Instead of making that mistake, we need to remember that God loves Israel (all of it, including the dirty, rotten leftists in Tel Aviv) so we should too.