Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich explained the crisis in the Middle East in stark terms that few politicians are willing to contemplate. However, I believe his analysis is accurate.
He noted, “There is an Iran/Syria/Hezbollah and Hamas alliance trying to destroy Israel. I mean, this is absolutely a question of the survival of Israel, but it’s also a question of what is really a world war.”
A world war is something Americans have not had to face since Dec. 7, 1941. But I believe we are on the verge of a war without borders, one that could bring bouts of violence and bloodshed into our lives. Remember that Iran’s Ahmadinejad has not only threatened to destroy Israel, but has also threatened to nuke the United States.
One chief reason America is in the crosshairs is its relationship with Israel. Dick Morris stated on the Fox News Channel this week that American evangelicals (or “the old Moral Majority,” as he called us) are a better friend to Israel than many American Jews.
As an evangelical pastor, I’m proud of this legacy. The Bible compels Christians to “pray for the peace of Israel,” and millions of Christians do this every day. We must never abandon our friend Israel, even though much of the world despises this nation and wants to obliterate it from the earth.
A history of turmoil
The problems in the Middle East are of ancient origin. We must look back into the Old Testament to the birth of Ishmael, son of Abraham through Hagar, his maidservant (Genesis 16:15) to understand the deep-seated roots of this crisis. Later, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, in her old age, bore Abraham another son, Isaac, according to God’s prophetic Word.
History has shown that Ishmael became the father of the Arabic people, while Isaac became the father of the Jewish people. Thus, the enmity that began between these two boys continues today.
As such, Jerusalem has been a frequent target throughout history. It was completely destroyed by the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70. Since that time, the fig tree of Israel stood alone, without fruit and almost without hope, until a miracle happened. Quite likely, the most important date of the past 20 centuries, since the resurrection of Christ, is May 14, 1948, when Israel officially became a nation again.
It is apparent, in light of the rebirth of the state of Israel, that the present-day events in the Holy Land may very well serve as a prelude or forerunner to the future Battle of Armageddon and the glorious return of Jesus Christ.
The Christians and the Jews
Frequently, those of us who are pro-Israel have been falsely accused of being anti-Arab. Let me state as strongly as possible that the God of the Bible is pro-people!
The wonderful Old Testament story of Ruth is a great example of this. She was from ancient Moab, which is now modern Jordan. By the marvelous grace of God, Ruth would become the wife of Boaz, and the great-grandmother of King David himself.
What about Jonah? He is often thought of as history’s first missionary. And where did God send him? To Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire, which today includes a number of Arab nations.
There are three key reasons why Christians must support Israel:
- For humanitarian reasons.
- For political reasons. The state of Israel has the only true democratic system of government in the entire Middle East and has been America’s most faithful supporter in the region.
- For religious reasons. The founding of Israel as a nation in 1948 was ordained of God to provide a homeland for the Jewish people and to prepare for the future return of Jesus Christ. The Abrahamic Covenant demands it.
The role of Christians
So, what should Christians be doing during this time of global unrest?
First, we should continue to pray for Israel as Psalms 122:6 instructs. (“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”)
Second, we should purify our lives.
And third, we should proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and prepare hearts for His imminent return. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13)
With the world on the brink of pandemonium, it is our responsibility to point people – no matter their heritage, ethnicity or religion – to the one and only solution, Jesus Christ. May we work while it is yet day, for the night approaches when no man can work. (John 9:4)
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