Confused About The Middle East
Everyday it headlines the news: the conflict between Israel and Hamas that is being played out primarily in Gaza. Hamas is firing countless missiles into Israel and Israel is responding with air strikes and a significant ground invasion. Many are dying. Mostly Palestinians. Politically, the conflict is a hot topic as some see Israel as an important ally while others see them acting with a heavy, insensitive hand. While there are no easy answers to the political dilemma, there are Biblical insights into the spiritual relationship some Christians believe they have with God’s original “Chosen People.”
John Piper, a highly regarded pastor and author, spoke years ago about Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East. In his sermon he offered seven principles concerning the ever-contentious issue of “the Land.” He said,
1. God chose Israel from all the peoples of the world to be his own possession.
2. The Land was part of the inheritance he promised to Abraham and his descendants forever.
3. The promises made to Abraham, including the promise of the Land, will be inherited as an everlasting gift only by true, spiritual Israel, not disobedient, unbelieving Israel.
4. Jesus Christ has come into the world as the Jewish Messiah, and his own people rejected him and broke covenant with their God
5. Therefore, the secular state of Israel today may not claim a present divine right to the Land, but they and we should seek a peaceful settlement not based on present divine rights, but on international principles of justice, mercy, and practical feasibility.
6. By faith in Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, Gentiles become heirs of the promise of Abraham, including the promise of the Land.
7. Finally, this inheritance of Christ’s people will happen at the Second Coming of Christ to establish his kingdom, not before; and till then, we Christians must not take up arms to claim our inheritance; but rather lay down our lives to share our inheritance with as many as we can.
Piper’s words are certainly thought provoking as we continue to pray for peace in the Middle East.