Robert Jeffress: Christians who fail to support Israel are on the 'wrong side of God' (part 3)

Israel flag with a view of old city Jerusalem and the Western Wall.
Israel flag with a view of old city Jerusalem and the Western Wall. | Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, believes Christians have a “moral and spiritual” obligation to support Israel — and those who fail to do so are on the “wrong side of God.”

“We have a moral and spiritual responsibility to support Israel,” the 68-year-old megachurch pastor told The Christian Post in a sit-down interview at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention last month (you can read parts 1 and 2 here and here).

“To be on the wrong side of Israel is not only to be on the wrong side of history, it's more importantly to be on the wrong side of God,” he warned. 

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Jeffress recalled leading the opening prayer at the dedication of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in 2018, an event that was symbolic of the Trump administration's robust support for Israel. The ceremony was attended by Jewish leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives from various Christian denominations, including Pastors John Hagee and Greg Laurie.

At the time, Jeffress invoked the words God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12: "I will bless those who bless you and your descendants, and I will curse those who curse you and your descendants."

He called the event a “momentous occasion in the life of your people and in the history of our world,” adding: “Four thousand years ago, you said to your servant Abraham that you would make him the father of a great nation, a nation through whom the whole world would be blessed.”

“Most of all, Israel has blessed this world by pointing us to you, the one true God, through the message of her prophets, the scriptures and the Messiah.”

Jeffress’ comments on Israel come as the Israel-Hamas war continues after Hamas launched one of the deadliest attacks in Israel’s history on Oct. 7, slaughtering at least 1,200 people, primarily civilians, including 31 Americans, and abducting around 240 others. 

In response, Israel declared itself in a state of war and launched an offensive in Gaza to eradicate Hamas, a terror group that has run Gaza since 2007, and secure the release of the hostages. The Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry has claimed that more than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel embarked on retaliatory strikes. However, those numbers have been disputed because Hamas doesn't distinguish between civilians and terrorist fighters and has been accused of faking its casualty numbers

Lifeway Research, in collaboration with The Philos Project, recently found that 50% of U.S. Christians believe their government is adequately supporting Israel, while a quarter (26%) say the U.S. does too much to support Israel. 

Interestingly, when asked about what has "influenced" their views about Israel, only 27% of Christians selected the Bible, while 56% cited the news media as their primary influence. 

When asked what they believe to be the "optimal outcome to the war between Hamas and Israel," 29% responded, "Israel and Hamas negotiate an enduring cease fire that results in the release of hostages,” while 12% said, "Israel subdues Hamas and consolidates civil and military control over both Gaza and the West Bank."

"While a noticeable minority of American Christians are critical of some of Israel's policies prior to October 7, 2023, a majority have positive views of Israel and feel a strong response to the terrorist attack is warranted," Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell said. "Support for the defense of Israel does not supersede American Christians' desire for civilian lives to be preserved, for negotiations to take place and to continue praying for peace."

U.S. Christians were also found to be divided on whether Israeli control of Gaza and the West Bank is an illegal occupation (36% agree, 40% disagree). Nearly half (45%) say Israeli settlements beyond the agreed-upon borders are illegal, but 24% disagree and 31% aren’t sure. 

David Friedman, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, previously told CP that while mainstream narratives often present the West Bank as an "illegally occupied territory," such labels ignore the region's historic and religious significance for the Jewish and Christian faiths, which both trace their origins back to these ancient lands. 

"It's antithetical to the Jewish faith, and it's antithetical to the Christian faith because at the very core of the Bible is the grant of this land to the Jewish people," he said. "It's also antithetical to the interest of making peace. … I am convinced that the Palestinian people themselves would be ill-served if Israel were to walk away from this holy region. Israel is the only force within the region that presents an opportunity and a potential for Palestinian people to live with dignity and with prosperity."

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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