Monday, September 10, 2012

Should Christians support the nation of Israel?

Christians should definitely support the nation of Israel. We must remember that Israel, the nation, is very special to God. We read in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 these words: "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt."

God's eternal purpose is to bless the world through Israel. Already He has done so in measure, for "salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22), but the fullness of future blessing is indicated in the wondrous promise of Isaiah 27:6: "In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit."

The declaration that "salvation is from the Jews” suggests our immeasurable debt to Israel. All that we have worth having has come to us through the Jews. Our Bible is a Jewish Book, and our Savior is a Jewish Savior. Let us never forget to pray for God's chosen people. It is true that Israel, today, is in the place of rejection. The nation is a secular, unbelieving (as to the claims of Scripture and their Messiah, Jesus Christ) nation; but "…at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace" (Romans 11:5). Some Jews are being saved and are becoming members of the body of Christ through faith in their Messiah.

Jews are, biblically speaking, the "chosen people of God" and dearly loved by Him. Another reason for Christians to support the nation of Israel is because of the Abrahamic Covenant. We read of God’s promise in Genesis 12:2-3, "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" (see also Genesis 27:29; Numbers 24:9).

One of the United States’ most worthwhile accomplishments has been its consistent regard for the plight of the Jewish nation. No nation in the history of the world has a better record of treating individual Jews with respect than does America. The same can be said for our befriending Israel as a nation. America has committed many sins for which we may well deserve judgment, but as a nation, we have been a consistent friend of the Jews and the nation of Israel, as well as a benefactor. In 1948, President Harry Truman helped persuade the United Nations to recognize Israel as a nation. Since then, the United States has contributed billions of dollars in aid to Israel.

From the biblical declarations of God's love and care for His chosen people, the nation of Israel, and from the history of nations being destroyed because of their evil dealings with God's chosen people, the Jews, Christian believers should give support to the chosen people of God. This is not to say that we support necessarily the methods they use in their relationships with the Arab nations. The Bible warned that conflict would always characterize the relations between the descendents of Isaac and Ishmael. Sadly, this conflict will continue until Jesus comes back to judge the nations and sets up His 1,000-year reign of peace on earth. We must look at the "big picture” with a biblical worldview. While we do not have to support everything Israel does as a nation, we most definitely should support Israel’s right to exist. God will fulfill His promises and covenants with Israel. God still has a plan for Israel. Woe to anyone who seeks to defeat that plan; “whoever curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3).

Recommended Resources: Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict: What the Headlines Haven't Told You, Revised and Updated, by Michael Rydelnik.

Why is Biblical Creationism so important?

Asking why biblical creationism is important is like asking why a foundation is important to a building. Biblical creationism is foundational to the Christian faith. Christianity is established in the book of Genesis chapter one, with “in the beginning God created . . .” This one statement affirms creationism and opposes any view that embraces evolutionism (the belief that the universe started with a “big bang” and has been constantly evolving ever since). The way we answer this question reflects whether we believe the Word of God or call its truthfulness into question. As Christians, we must differentiate between creationism and evolutionism; i.e. how are they different, which one is true, and as Christians, come to terms with whether it is possible to believe in both. Those questions can be answered by defining what biblical creationism is and how it affects our fundamental belief system.

The importance of biblical creationism is that it answers the fundamental questions of human existence. 1. How did we get here? Where did we come from? 2. Why are we here? Do we have a purpose, and what is the cause of all or our problems? Are the issues of sin and salvation important? 3. What happens to us when we die? Is there life after death? Genesis is the foundation for the rest of Scripture in which these questions are answered. Genesis has been likened to the root of a tree in that it is the spiritual life-blood of Scripture. If you cut the root from a tree, it dies. If you discredit Genesis, you remove the authoritative value of all Scripture.

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” gives us three great truths which are the foundations of biblical creationism and the Christian faith. First, we learn of the oneness of God. This stands in contrast to the polytheism and dualism of modern humanist philosophy. Second, we learn of the personality and attributes of God in contrast to pantheism, where God is imminent in the world but is not transcendent to the world. Last, we learn of the omnipotence of God in contrast to the idols that modern humanists hang on to and worship. This one verse tells us that God is eternal—He was before, is now, and always will be—and that He created all that is out of nothing by His spoken word. This answers our creation question of beginnings, but what about our second question, why are we here?

Biblical creationism and the Genesis narrative answer the question of the condition of the human race. It deals with the fall of man but also leaves us with the hope of redemption. It is important that we understand we are unified in one man, Adam—a literal, real-life person. If Adam is not a literal person, then we have no plausible explanation for how sin entered into the world. If mankind did not fall from grace by Adam, then mankind cannot be saved by grace through Jesus Christ. First Corinthians 15:22 (NKJV): “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” This parallel of Adam as head of the fallen race and Christ as head of a redeemed race is important to our understanding of the salvation process, and it is essential to understanding its efficacy. “Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous” Romans 5:18-19 (NKJV).

Considering this, we must then look upon biblical creationism as not only the basis for our value system, but we must look at the creation narrative as factual and not just a story, for if it is a fictional story, then the values it imports are man-reasoned, subject to change as man “evolves,” and therefore invalid. This is the basis of the conflict between science and religion (especially Christianity), that science is fact and religion is philosophy. If this is true, then our Christian values are just that, values for Christians, but they have no relevance in the secular world.

The last question for mankind is what happens to us when we die? If man is merely part of the evolved universe and returns to the dirt of the ground when he dies, we must contend that we have no soul or spirit and this life is all there is. This belief leaves us with only one purpose in life, that is following the plan of evolution—survival of the fittest. Christianity, on the other hand, presents us with a moral good that has been established by a higher, transcendent, supernatural Being. The morality of God sets an unchanging standard that not only promotes a better life for us personally, but teaches us how to love others and ultimately bring glory to God, which is our highest calling. This standard is exemplified by the life and work of Christ on the cross. It is through His life, death, and resurrection that we find purpose for this life and hope of a future life with God in heaven.

Biblical creationism is important because it is the only system that answers the basic questions of life and gives us significance greater than ourselves to live for and by. It should be clear to all Christians that we cannot believe in both systems as being true; they are mutually exclusive, and stand in opposition to one another.

Recommended Resource: Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution, and the Bible by John MacArthur.