Our stand on the question of Israel is a matter of life or death.
by Charles Gardner.
When a Turkish member of parliament rounded off a fiery speech with a strong condemnation of Israel, he was struck down with a heart attack and later died in hospital.
“You will not escape the wrath of Allah,” were to be the last words spoken by 53-year-old Hasan Bitmez before he collapsed to the floor, much to the shock of his fellow assembly members who rushed to his aid.1
I believe the whole world should take note of this incident which happened in the run-up to Christmas. At the same time, I also came across social media videos of a series of rants from imams, mullahs and others calling for the wholesale murder of Jews. What chance is there of peace amidst this kind of hate talk?
The Bible has much to say about blessings and curses. The former comes from obedience to God’s laws, the latter from disobedience. There is also the golden rule of Genesis 12:3 – that if you bless the seed of Abraham, you too will be blessed; but if you curse them, you will come under the judgment of God. I suggest Mr Bitmez suffered the last-mentioned fate.
Sooner or later, those who pronounce curses on the Jewish people will hang from the rope they have made for their enemies, as Haman was at the time of Queen Esther.
The now global Palestinian narrative that accuses Israel of stealing their land is entirely based on a lie. The land belongs to Israel, according to both biblical and international law – check out, for example, Genesis 17:8 and the San Remo Treaty of 1920. Politicians, including our own, who keep promoting a ‘two-state solution’ need to wake up and smell the coffee.
What chance is there of such a solution when Palestinian leaders and their supporters insist on destroying the only national home for Jewish people; the only refuge where they should be safe from their predators?
Many Christians are also taken in by this deceit. They too must beware, for lying followers of Jesus will also be judged, as Ananias and his wife Sapphira were struck down for pretending to be more generous than they actually were – lying to the Holy Spirit, in other words (see Acts 5:1-11).
We must surely be aware of colluding with the lies of those who seek to wipe out the Jewish people, as Hitler had also intended. It’s time to bless, not curse. As our Lord Jesus put it, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Or as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14)
As two contributors to Evangelicals Now2 have both stated, evangelical Christians here in the UK have been largely silent in their support of Israel in the wake of October 7th.
Joel Barder, a Jewish believer, asked: “Is it because we have somehow become so divorced from the heritage and origins of our faith that, as the wonderful [comedian] David Baddiel phrased it, ‘Jews don’t count’?”
Joel asserts that it is on our behalf that Israel is fighting for our freedoms against the evils of terror.
TV presenter Regan Blanton King, in the same issue, points out that there was much church response to the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, and to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but relative silence following the October 7th massacre in Israel.
“This is a matter for discipleship,” he wrote. “To remind people of the promises God made to ethnic Israel – even eternal promises in some cases; to reflect on the historic evangelical support for a Jewish return to the land of Israel (including C H Spurgeon, J C Ryle and R M McCheyne).”
In fact, Britain ruled the world when they blessed Israel by promising, and then preparing, them for statehood in their ancient land from which they had been exiled for nearly 2,000 years.
But as soon as we withdrew our commitment in 1947, our empire began to collapse as, first India, then many others under our influence, sought and gained independence.
While we were spreading the gospel and blessing Israel, our star shone brightly, but as soon as we cut ourselves off from our Judaic roots, our empirical tree began to wither and die.
Niall Ferguson, in a Daily Mail essay shortly before Christmas, wrote: “Most of us have strongly held but casually informed political opinions on the Middle East.”3
That neatly sums up the problem pertaining to the propaganda to which so many have succumbed. But I love the way Messianic author Steve Maltz succinctly described the dilemma, thus: “The reason that the Jews have survived for so long is that a great power has been protecting them, and the reason that they have been hated for so long is that another great power has been attacking them.”4
Meanwhile lying prophets (often disguised as priests and politicians) have consistently been telling us that there is “peace, peace, where there is no peace” in the words of Jeremiah. (See Jer chapters 6 & 23) But they fill us with false hopes.
Peace will not come through political negotiations designed to placate and appease, but through the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Whether they realise it or not, the Jewish people over the years have inadvertently followed the path of their Messiah who, like them, was falsely accused, misrepresented, hated and persecuted, largely friendless and alone, and finally crucified. For the Holocaust was something of a picture of what Jesus suffered for us all. And yet, also like their Messiah, they were raised from the dead as a re-born nation came to life 75 years ago.
Bless, and do not curse, Israel. It’s a matter of life or death!
1God Reports, December 14, 2023
2Evangelicals Now, January 2024 edition
3Daily Mail, December 23, 2023
4www.premierchristianity.com October 20, 2023
Peace will not come to the Middle East until Jesus, the Prince of Peace, returns as he promised to the Mount of Olives, pictured here. Photo: Charles Gardner