In light of God’s promise/warning in Genesis 12:3, what you think and where you stand on Israel are very important matters! Here is the double-edged sword found in that verse:
I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you.~Genesis 12:3
Contextually, the writer is talking about God’s covenant with Abraham, and by extension, the nation of Israel. (Abraham is father of the Jewish people.) Interestingly, Deuteronomy 30:19 lays out distinctions between life and death, and blessing and curses:
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.~Deuteronomy 30:19 (for context, read verses 11-20)
When God calls heaven and earth as witnesses, we should take notice! In very certain terms, those passages tell us the importance of choosing blessings, which lead to life! The only other alternative is curses and death.
So, given that, what do evangelicals think about Israel? The Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem recently released statistics which shine light on that question. Thankfully, just over 2/3 of American evangelicals believe God’s covenant with Abraham and the Jewish people is still intact today. They also believe, due to that covenant, the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
That is heartening news, indeed! However, don’t get too comfortable in that just yet! That same poll revealed a 10% decrease in those beliefs for young people less than 30 years old. Why is that?
Many (including me) believe it is a combination of factors such as churches failing to be relevant to young people, lack of in-depth solid teaching in the church today and unprecedented competition for the heart and soul of our young people. Our enemy is at work and it is showing in our young people. Here are some telling statements, offered by Joel Rosenberg in a recent article:
[Younger Evangelicals] are sending the Church a sobering message. They’re not against Israel. Not yet. Not at all. But the survey makes it clear that many of them really don’t understand Israel’s place in the biblical narrative. Thus, their support for Israel is nearly 20 points less than their parents and grandparents [based on a previous poll]. Now, extrapolate that going forward. Unless the Church gives younger believers a healthy, balanced, solidly biblical understanding of God’s love and plan for Israel, overall Evangelical support for the Jewish State could very well plummet over the next decade as Millennials and Gen Z represent an ever-larger percentage of the overall Church body.
How will we respond in the new year? Will we continue to be satisfied with the status quo in our churches or will we make a difference? I hope to make a difference!