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AThis question is hard to answer without going into dispensational truth and prophecy. First we must see the difference between the Nation of Israel and individuals who are of Jewish ethnicity. Israel as a nation stands guilty of the blood of Christ (Zech. 12; Matt. 27:25), but as individuals the Jews are in the same position as the Gentiles. Concerning the Jews today, Paul clearly states that “there is no difference” (Rom. 3:22; 10:12). Jews are in need of a Savior just like the Gentiles. Paul could say, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved” (Rom. 10:1).
The Present and Future Condition of the Nation
As a nation, God has purposed to bring the Jews into a position of blessing in the future kingdom and reign of Christ. However, there are two great issues that need to be settled before that can occur. The first issue is idolatry, and the second is their blood-guiltiness in connection with crucifying Christ. Because of idolatry, the Jews were cast out of their land by the Babylonians, although a remnant was later allowed to return. Because they crucified the Messiah, the Jews were cast out of their land by the Romans in 70 A.D. These two issues must be dealt with before the Jews can be established in Palestine with the blessing of God. There is a nation of Israel living in Palestine today, but without God’s blessing, according to Dan. 9:26 “…unto the end, war… the desolations determined.”
Today Israel is outwardly in the state of “Lo-ammi” (Hos. 1:9), which means “not my people”. But God has a purpose to bless and restore them; “it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, it shall be said unto them, Sons of the living God” (Hos. 1:10). The future blessing of Israel is unshakably secured by the faithfulness of God:
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. (Jer. 31:35-37)
Persecution of the Jews by Christians
Down through the centuries “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25) has been used by Christians and antisemitic groups to justify the genocide of the Jews. The Crusaders used it to justify the massacre of thousands. The Nazi’s used it to stir up German anger against the Jews. In their propaganda, they called the Jews “Christ-killers”. This is nothing more than man seeking religious justification for his murderous agenda. Sadly, many Christians have been affected by antisemitic propaganda down through the years. Even Martin Luther grew weary with the Jews’ rejection of the gospel, and wrote a 65,000-word book titled ‘On the Jews and Their Lies’ in 1543:
“What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? … I shall give you my sincere advice: First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians… Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. … Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, [etc.] be taken from them. Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. … Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. … Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. … Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow [i.e. forced labor]. … Burn down their synagogues, … force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did in the wilderness, slaying three thousand lest the whole people perish.”
— Martin Luther, 1543
Importance of Sound Dispensational and Church Doctrine
Having a sound understanding of dispensational truth, Church truth, and prophetic truth will preserve us from getting caught up in wrong thoughts about the earthly people of God. God is not finished with Israel, and we should look upon them with love, not hatred. Luther and others did not understand the scheme of God’s ways with men on the earth. He did not understand that God will one day restore and bless the nation of Israel.
Understanding dispensational truth goes hand-in-hand with understanding Church truth. Luther also did not properly understand the nature and role of the Church in the world. He did progress a good deal from the Roman Catholic position by positing the doctrine of the two governments (or two kingdoms), but only went so far as to say that the Church should keep its hands off the secular governments and the secular governments should not interfere with the Church. But he never really embraced the true character of the Church; i.e. her heavenly calling, and place altogether outside the arena of God’s governmental dealings with the earth. The Church should never take it on herself to execute the judgment of God on the world (1 Cor. 6). She should never view herself as a sword or scourge used by God for the restraint or punishment of evil (Matt. 13:30).
We are to be intelligent about our own position as a heavenly people, and about Israel as an earthly people. We can see the troubles that the Jews have fallen into down through the centuries are part of the government of God. But while we acknowledge that God’s government exists, we know that the Church has no business executing His judgment. We will be involved in government in the Millennium, but not today.
Christian Zionism without Moderation
Should Christians be involved with giving financial and military support to the nation of Israel today? To be clear, we are not talking about showing love and kindness to individual Jews, nor are we talking about preaching the gospel to them. We are talking about large movements within Christianity to influence the governments of the West (especially the United States) to support and offer protection to the Nation of Israel from their enemies.
Isaiah 18 bears on this point. Isaiah 18 warns of a far off country “beyond the rivers of Cush” or outside the regions between the Nile and Euphrates that “shadows with wings” (extends protection to) the nation of Israel. God has a controversy with Israel, and this outside entity is reaching in to interfere with the government of God. This action on the part of the West to protect the nation of Israel will culminate in a covenant of protection (Dan. 9:27) for seven years. But it will not be enough to shield them from what is coming. The remainder of Isa. 18 shows that all of man’s efforts to protect and nourish the land of Israel will fail due to a crushing wave of judgment. Should Christians be involved in activity that God condemns? No. We need to be careful that we do not attempt to interfere with the government of God.
Summary and Conclusion
My conviction is that our position toward the Jews in lieu of Matt. 27:25 ought to be:
- motivated by love, to present the gospel to the Jews as individuals, and
- to recognize that the nation today is under the government of God, but will one day be restored.