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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

The Biblical Case Against Supporting Israel

March 13, 2012|9:14 am

There are certain times in a man's life when his fingers tremble to type a thought, when the weight of a declaration lies so heavily upon his heart, that he can only with great difficulty and precaution bring himself to write it. In this particular case, the writer treads carefully knowing that two paths lie before him, both, in a sense, approved in specific circumstances by God Himself, but human reason and spiritual enlightenment determining which of the two is viable. I speak, in this case, of the decision of whether to support Israel militarily or not.

Israel, from an entirely secular standpoint, is a faithful ally in a territory plagued with treacherously barbarous enemies. Her neighbors, almost entirely opposed to the Laws of Liberty and even amongst themselves considered suspicious, cannot be relied upon for any kind of fidelity. Even with leadership favorable to Westerners, the people of the Middle East – within whom the source of Middle Eastern power lies – stand increasingly opposed to reason and justice, their psychotically frenzied mobs marching on dictators who can only be replaced with other dictators, shedders of blood replaced by more bloodshed, the cycle of inhumanity seeming to only increase with each and every revolution. And yet amongst these, there is a voice most amicable and a people most sane, a flower in the desert wilderness, a nation whose level of comparable civilization is denied only by peoples untrustworthy and devoid of sensibility.

Such relative civility, though Israel is far from perfection, should alone convince men that Israel's defense is worth the cost. But it is well known that in America, devout Christians add atop these reasons another, entirely religious in its nature, and potentially dangerous in its misapplication. There is a passage in the book of Genesis in which the Almighty speaks to His servant Abraham, a formal declaration of protection and blessing which has not failed Israel to the present day. Jehovah declares "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." This, and this alone, oftentimes provides the sole reason why a great many devout Christians support the Israeli state, and perhaps if entirely isolated from the rest of Scripture, the passage would suffice as a reason to maintain an eternally positive relation to her.

But though it must never be taken as a call to curse (it would be better to cut one's own tongue out than to curse a son of Abraham), other Biblical passages exist which at the very least call men to dissociate themselves from the nation. After Israel had divided into Israel and Judah, the righteous king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, allied himself with the apostate Israeli kingdom, an act which brought the curse of Jehovah upon a sizable economic investment. Jehoshaphat's own religious devotion was not itself enough for the Lord to bless his decision: a mere alliance with an openly disobedient Israel was enough to punish his entire state. And the prophet Jeremiah, unheeded throughout his entire ministry, begged the children of Judah not to stand with their king, but rather to flee Jerusalem into the custody of their besiegers, where they would be protected. This act, commonly recognized as an act of defection, was entirely righteous, and blessed by God Himself.

There are other instances, as well, which plainly record the failures of a disobedient Israel's allies, who not only suffered, but were conquered as a result of that alliance. Judah's king Amaziah was specifically instructed that entering battle alongside the children of Israel would result in military defeat, and other kingdoms – Egypt, specifically – though attempting to protect Judah from being destroyed, suffered losses which resulted in their subjection to peoples perhaps more barbaric than they. The prophet Isaiah's voice cries from centuries past,

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the LORD.

Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster;
he does not take back his words.
He will rise up against the house of the wicked,
against those who help evildoers.
But the Egyptians are mortals and not God;
their horses are flesh and not spirit.
When the LORD stretches out his hand,
those who help will stumble,
those who are helped will fall;
all will perish together.

The question which must be asked, then, is not so much whether we must ally ourselves with Israel, but rather how closely Israel allies herself with Jehovah (particularly if we are to believe that Israel remains a people before God, and that He concerns Himself specially with them). Should it be found that her leaders openly support the violation of Mosaic Law, permitting injustices and abominations which God Himself detests and forbids, her disobedience should sound an alarm which cannot be muffled, and which strikes a sense of fear into the heart of every believer. In short, men of God should retract their hand so nobly extended for so long, knowing that Jehovah's heavenly magazine will empty, and that when it does, anything up to the very destruction of Israel herself is possible, regardless of the economic and military power of her allies.

It is not my intention to refuse protection to any faithful son of Abraham, men made more precious by their increasing rarity, and sensible in their reverence toward the Laws of Liberty. Rather, I ask the reader to humbly consider whether Israel's amicability and similarity alone is reason for their defense, and whether or not there is another more viable heavenly perspective. For Israel herself, by herself, is nothing. She derives her identity, value, and purpose from the mouth of Jehovah, a God who has already proclaimed without any degree of uncertainty that His perspective alone determines the circumstances in which men should ally themselves with that people.

What perspective will ours be, then? Let ours be harmonized with His, and may His will alone stand. Bless, and do not curse, but tread reverently, knowing that God Himself at times empowers the barbarous for His purposes.

Jeremy Egerer is a recent convert to Christian conservatism from radical liberalism and the editor of the Seattle website www.americanclarity.com.
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