A gracEmail subscriber asks: “What is your biblical perspective on the Middle East situation — the tension between Israel and the Palestinians, the militant Muslims?”
* * *
In general, I have the same biblical perspective regarding the Middle East that I have about any other part of the world. I do not believe that the modern political state of Israel has any special standing in God’s eyes and I do not see it as the fulfillment of any particular biblical prophecy — concerning either the restoration of the people of Israel and Judah to their ancient homeland or concerning their “resurrection” by a supernatural spiritual enlightenment and conversion. The prophets foresaw a society in which every participant personally knows and obeys God. Present-day Israel does not fit that biblical description. Instead, it is home to an overwhelming number of secular Jews and to a surprising number of atheists. If these prophecies are to be fulfilled literally, that fulfillment awaits a later day than this.
I do firmly believe that as a nation and as individuals, we should in every situation and circumstance seek justice, promote peace and work to relieve human suffering. That ought to characterize our attitude toward Israelis and our attitude toward Palestinians. Many Palestinians are Christians and so our brothers and sisters. Bombing and terrorist acts are always wrong but not every Palestinian commits those acts or approves of them. Israel is sometimes in the right and sometimes in the wrong. Terrorists and murderers (Muslims or otherwise) are always wrong. We can “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and at the same time hold the Israeli government to a righteous standard.
It grieves me when our nation takes actions based on what I believe are motives other than promoting justice, peace and helping the truly needy. It grieves me when our government supports foreign rulers who deny their people religious freedom — Saudi Arabia being one prime example. However, that is what nations have always done because no nation, including ours, is the Kingdom of God.