Why Stand with Israel?: Reasons why it is important to stand with Israel and the Jewish people and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
On August 4, 1991 I boarded an American Airlines flight for Uppsala, Sweden to attend Livets Ord Bibelcenter. It was a pivotal moment for me as I left behind everything that was familiar to follow the call of God knowing I would never return to life as it was. As a Bible School student I had the wonderful privilege of devoting an entire year to studying God’s word, solidifying the foundations of my faith, getting acquainted with my unique identity in Christ, and ultimately reaching back to my heritage as a Jew, but more on that later.
A few years prior to my moving to Sweden, the Lord began to open my heart to the fact that Israel is very much in His heart, and it was during the year in Sweden that I began to understand God’s heart for Israel and how important it is for the Church to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and stand with the Jewish people as well as to pray for all nations to support Israel. In the years since, there has been little else that has so captivated my attention than what is happening in Israel today, piecing together Israel’s miraculous history, understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity, praying for Israel and seeking the Lord for direction as to the role He cast me into in this unfolding drama.
Why should we stand with Israel?
God stands with Israel. The Bible is so clear about God’s faithfulness to the covenant He entered into with Himself, with Abraham as witness, pertaining to the land and people of Israel. God spoke to Abraham saying, “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2,3) God later reconfirmed this covenant with Abraham’s son, Isaac, when He said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, for the sake of My servant Abraham.” (Genesis 26:24). Yet again, God reconfirmed His covenant with Jacob saying, “…I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:13,14). God, in His kindness, personally reconfirmed His covenant with succeeding generations so that they would know how serious He was about this covenant. God didn’t just leave it to oral tradition to pass it down; He did it Himself.
Tom Hess, the founder of the Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations, in his book, “Let My People Go,” lists over 700 verses of Scripture stating God’s commitment to the land and people of Israel. It is often said that if someone repeats something more than once they really mean it. I think God means it!
Jesus is Jewish and is returning as the Jewish Messiah to a Jewish Land. I truly believe that in an effort to be “New Testament Believers” many Christians discount the validity of the fact that Jesus is in fact Jewish. He lived a Jewish life. He fulfilled Jewish prophesy. Embracing Jesus’ Jewishness enlightens our understanding of Scripture.When we come to understand the Jewishness of Jesus we will come to know Him, understand Him, and experience Him in such a deep way.
As a Christian, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Jewish people. The Jewish people, in their tenacious zeal to hold onto tradition, have preserved Scripture, kept their generational bloodlines pure for the Messiah to be born, preserved their unique cultural identity even in 2,000 years of exile, and have served the nations of the earth as a light and as priests (which is their calling). It is through the Jewish people that Messiah Jesus came to earth, and their preservation of God’s covenant made it possible to recognize Him. It is as I begin to understand Jewish traditions and who these wonderful people are that I can truly experience and understand who Jesus really is and what He came to do and what He is coming back for.
As a Christian, my heart burns to vindicate Jesus’ Name as there were many atrocities committed against Jews in the Name of Jesus, but not in the character of Jesus. It sickens me to know that there was a time in history when the Church was the leading terrorist organization in the earth. Atrocious acts were perpetrated on the Jews in the Name of Jesus. Killing. Torture. Destruction. All done in the Name of Jesus, and it is because of these atrocities that there are many Jewish people who have vowed never to accept the Gospel of Jesus because they believe it would be a betrayal to their identity as a Jew. We in the Church need to come to terms with our history, repent of anti-Semitism, and reach out a genuine loving hand to the Jewish people. I also pray for the Jewish people to see our sincerity to right the wrongs committed against them, and that they would see and experience the true Jesus through us.
Where was Love and Mercy?: Christian Anti-Semitism, Overcoming the Curse, by Clarence Wagner
As a member of the human race, I owe the Jewish people a debt of gratitude for all their contributions to humanity. What other people group has made so many contributions to humanity in so many fields such as technology, medicine, agriculture and the arts? I daily use my cell phone, Windows XP, and see drip irrigation systems in the fields surrounding my home. During my first trip to Israel in 1992 I was surprised to learn that Israel exports more than they import, even supplying tulips to Holland, and they are the major supplier of fruits and vegetables throughout Europe. When I read about all of the inventions that have come from the creativity of the Jewish people, the technological and medical advances made that were developed in Israel, and the number of Jewish and Israeli Nobel Laureates, it makes me smile.
God’s plan for Israel and the Jewish people is still playing out. We are continuing to witness the fulfillment of prophesy as we pay attention to the current events in the land of Israel and with the Jewish people in all nations. Some of what we see isn’t pretty, and we need to stand and pray and support and love them. God is by no means finished with them, and the culmination of His plan for them will have such incredible blessing for all of us.
“For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?…And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:15, 23)
I am Jewish, and as a Jew, I cannot deny my heritage. Earlier, I alluded to the fact that my year in Sweden was a time when I reached back to my heritage as a Jew. Here’s what happened:
My father was a Jew, albeit a secular Jew. My mother was raised in a Methodist church. When they married they agreed that God would never be spoken of in our home. Christmas was all about Santa Claus and Easter was the Easter Bunny. To make a long story short, my father, upon receiving a diagnosis of malignant melanoma, called out to the Lord and received Jesus as his Savior and Messiah. My mother too received Jesus. I already received Jesus a few years prior thanks to the witnessing of one of my school friends. My father died one year later when I was twelve years old.
In the next few years, I became familiar with the events of the Holocaust by reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Diary of Ann Frank. I read many other books on the subject as well as watched movies and documentaries to educate myself. I was so fascinated with how such evil could be allowed by a seemingly civilized people. As I learned about the tremendous suffering the Jewish people endured during that time, I always thought, “Those poor people.”
Then I grew up and learned a whole lot more. There was a lot of teaching about this during my time in Sweden, and I continuously found myself struck by the many accounts of Christians who risked their lives to hide the Jews during this time. One day, while waiting for a bus in downtown Uppsala, I found myself praying, “Do I have what it takes? If Hitler were to rise to power today, do I have the character of Jesus to the degree that I would risk my life to hide the Jews?” The Lord spoke to me, and what He said shook me to my core and completely changed my paradigm. He said, “You’re Jewish. You would have had to be hidden.”
That truly never occurred to me. “Those poor people” could have been me and my family!
I have spent the greater part of the last 20 plus years studying to gain an understanding of all of this Scripturally and historically, and I feel that I’m just beginning to scratch the surface.