Should we as Christians care about Israel?
If God cares about something, or someone, Christians should too. This would be a logical conclusion, right? Therefore, if Christians care about God, they should care about Israel, too.
Is this a logical conclusion also? When believers understand that Israel is all about Him, then yes, it is.
Why should believers care about Israel? The number of Christians today who disregard and dismiss Israel, who consider God’s promises to her as null and void, is growing. Antisemitic acts are on the rise and Israel is under attack constantly. What’s so important about this nation, the land of Israel, and this tribe – the people of Israel?
1. God’s Covenant with Abraham
The primary and arguably the most compelling reason we should care about Israel, is because of a covenant. This irrevocable bond between two parties, in this case between God and the descendants of Abraham, is directly related to us.
Consider Israel as a microcosm of all mankind. How God speaks, relates to, and deals with Israel is a pattern for how He speaks, relates to, and deals with the rest of the world.
Israel was chosen by God for a purpose, to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:3). This is an election, an honor, and a responsibility all in one.
As we examine the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Scriptures, we witness failure after failure on Israel’s part. They continually failed at keeping their end of the deal. Israelites did not keep the commandments God ordained. They exhibited time and again a refusal to obey Him.
What does God do about this unfaithfulness? He gives them another chance. And another. He disciplines Israel, then reiterates His love, expectation, and desire for them.
The love story between God and Israel helps us grasp the character of God. As we learn of His enduring compassion and mercy towards His people, we better understand His compassion and mercy towards us. We also witness His standards and guidelines for how to live.
In spite of the repeated failings of Israel, there remains a plan and purpose for this nation. Despite the failings in my life and in your life, there remains a plan and a purpose for each of us. Man’s faithlessness thankfully does not nullify the faithfulness of God (see 2 Timothy 2:13).
2. Spiritual inheritance through the Jewish people
The second reason to support Israel is the spiritual connection all believers have to the land and the people of Israel.
As the birthplace of the Christian faith, followers of Jesus are drawn to visit Israel because they want to see and experience locations where much of Scripture took place.
Being able to visit the places where Jesus lived, and where He will return to establish His future kingdom, provides believers with a tangible connection to God. It gives them also a more intimate understanding of Scripture.
While visiting the land and studying the Bible, many Christians recognize there is a certain indebtedness related to the Jewish People. Consider that through the Jewish People we have the message of the prophets, the Scriptures, and the Messiah. Many Jewish People throughout history have given or risked their lives for the Word of God to continue to spread.
This awareness should evoke a sense of humility and gratitude towards Israel. It should prompt an affectionate love for our Jewish brothers and sisters. And it should propel us to express that love by praying for and seeking ways to stand with them.
Gentile believers are dependent upon the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As Paul lays out for us in Romans 11:17-21, the Jewish people are the support system of the Gentile believers. We begin to care about Israel when we understand Paul’s words:
Let us not be arrogant and cut ourselves off from the nourishing root. Respond with humility and love. The nations have a calling in this equation as well- to make Israel jealous, in the best way. Romans 11:11
3. The Restoration of Israel
Which leads us to a third, yet equally important point: revival. Beyond just caring for and about the Jewish people, generally speaking, believers in Jesus are called to provoke the Jewish people to godly jealousy.
In the same manner in which God is jealous for us and desires our committed love, so is the heart of a Jewish person pricked when they witness the relationship a believer has with God. Maybe even when they witness the believer’s knowledge of Scripture.
It is through the love of God, and loving and honoring His people, that the flames of Jewish revival will come forth. This is a responsibility that Gentile believers carry, one that has been entrusted to them by God.
“Gentile believers have a primary mission to love, affirm, and stand with the Jewish people,” says Pastor Jack Hayford, in Unity: Awakening the One New Man.
This is a really beautiful truth. When Gentile followers of God embrace this mission, the results are magnificent. Not only are Jewish people wooed by their Messiah, but healing and restoration between Jews and Gentiles can flow. Gentile believers can repent and rise from the destruction caused by antisemitic hatred has unfortunately been prevalent throughout history.
The Apostle Paul shares that Israel’s collective salvation will result in a great magnitude of blessing for the whole world:
Now, I speak to you who are not Jewish, since I am an apostle to reach the non-Jewish people. And I draw attention to this ministry as much as I can when I am among the Jews, hoping to make them jealous of what God has given to those who are not Jews, winning some of my people to salvation. For if their temporary rejection released the reconciling power of grace into the world, what will happen when Israel is reinstated and reconciled to God? It will unleash resurrection power throughout the whole earth! (Romans 11:13-15)
There is a unique parallel between the restoration of the Church and the salvation of Israel. In her book, Why Care About Israel?, the author Sandra Teplinsky puts it this way: “the blessings of Gentile and Jew are reciprocal. God’s plan of redemption depends on it.”
Christians should care about Israel because Israel is the key to understanding God’s love, purpose, and desire for humanity. He has established Israel to convey His love for all people. He has ordained Israel to bring His Word and the Messiah to Jewish and non-Jewish people. And He is beckoning Gentile Christians to participate in winning their Jewish brothers and sisters back to the God of their fathers.
Caring about Israel is the heart of God radiating forth through the generations! Want to know how you can make a difference?