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Tips on How to Talk about Israel According to the Bible

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May 19th, 2015
  

How to Talk about Israel

In today’s world, Israel is a controversial topic, even in relation to the Bible. It is sometimes hard to keep our conversations free of politics but filled with faith.

We believe God when He said that He will never turn His back on His chosen people. But it is much harder to explain it to a fellow believer, not to mention a pastor or a leader.

So, how do we talk to others about Israel? How do we explain that the Biblical promises for Israel remain intact until fulfilled? 

men talking at je conference

Israel in the Bible

You are probably here, because you have a love for Israel and the Jewish people. And you are in good company – because God has a heart for Israel, too! We see it emphasized in Deuteronomy, where we can read some beautiful words spoken over the Jewish people:

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you…” Deuteronomy 7:6-8

And this love doesn’t end there. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul explains his stance: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)

Paul reveals how Gentile followers of the Messiah have an obligation to the Jewish people, for “salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous.” (Romans 11:11) 

How Pastors Talk about Israel

There are pastors who believe God has cast away the Jews and replaced them with the Church — as the “new and true Israel.” This heresy about Israel is nowhere to find in the Bible.

But there are also pastors who have a genuine heart for Israel – and yet they are reluctant to support Israel for very natural reasons. Many didn’t hear much about Israel where they studied theology and feel ill-equipped to teach on the subject. 

Other pastors worry that if they teach about Israel, they will stir up controversy in their congregation. And there are also the pastors who have had a bad experience with Israel-lovers, who may be well-meaning, but their tambourines and oversized shofars get others completely weirded out.

And finally, many pastors have met people who love Israel, but their focus is almost entirely on political support. They have little concern for the spiritual state of Israel, so unsurprisingly, they are not getting the church’s attention. 

pastors talking at jerusalem encounter

How Can YOU Help?

First of all, be supportive and do not share the conversation with your leader or pastor with others without their permission. If you are part of a home or prayer group, don’t talk negatively about your leaders. Affirm them when possible.

And if they mention something enlightening about Israel in the Bible publicly or in a sermon, tell them that you appreciate it.

Paul writes concerning the subject of Israel, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery” (Romans 11:25). The key word here is “mystery”! So, don’t pretend that you’ve got it all figured out. And knowing this, don’t expect your pastor or leader or friend to have complete clarity on Israel either.

“For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Ultimately, it is the Spirit of God who reveals all truth. We are only His instruments. As you prepare on how to talk about Israel, pray for the Holy Spirit to give you supernatural insight.

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Wayne Hilsden
Dr. Wayne Hilsden and his wife Ann co-founded King of Kings Community Jerusalem in 1983. They are co-founders of FIRM. Wayne regularly speaks at Christian conferences around the world, focusing on Israel and God’s heart for the Jewish people. Wayne and Ann have four sons and several grandkids, and they continue to serve in Jerusalem today.
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