If You’re Going to Stand, Now Is the Time


The United States was attacked in unprecedented waves of terrorism on Sept. 11, 2001. What followed was an immediate, passionate surge of patriotism, mingled with religious fervor. Many of us remember those days very clearly.

Our patriotism ran only so deep, however, and the spiritual connection was extremely shallow. After six months, the enthusiasm had largely faded away.

When Israel was attacked by Hamas in unprecedented waves of terrorism on Oct. 7, 2023, we would have expected a passionate surge of support for Israel, grounded in Biblical understanding.

But that support never came—at least not from society as a whole. What happened instead was near-instant handwringing driven by concern that Israel would respond with a heavy hand—far beyond that which such barbaric acts, including the taking of at least 250 Israeli (and American) hostages, might deserve.

Now, more than six months later, the enthusiasm is just beginning to build—against Israel—with no signs of slowing down. We are moving into an era of an unprecedented, irrational, demonic antisemitism, causing fear in the hearts of many Jewish people. Those spouting the toxic rhetoric run within the highest levels of our government, and apparently fill the hallways and faculty lounges of historically prestigious academic institutions.

The themes of the chanting crowds are as pompous as they are poison. The most gracious interpretation I can offer is that these young people simply have no earthly idea what they are caught up in. So, for the sake of clarity, let me provide a few explanations:

  • When you identify with Hamas, you are admitting to be part of an international terrorist organization—declared to be so by the United States Department of State.
  • When you cry out “From the River to the Sea,” you are referring to the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The phrase is shorthand for the eradication of Israel and, ultimately, all Jewish people.
  • If you call out “Death to America,” I can only understand you to mean that you wish for a violent and gruesome annihilation of the United States—its system and her citizens.

We watch with horror as these demonstrations unfold. Perhaps more stunning than the acts of the protesters is the lack of a dignified response from those in charge at all levels of our society.

We may indeed be sickened by what we see, but we should not be surprised, and need not be fearful or frustrated. The prophet Zechariah warned us twice that, just before Christ’s return, the entire world would be drawn inexplicably toward Israel—and all would come to oppose her. “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:2; see also Zech. 12:3). This will certainly include the United States—in whatever condition she exists following the rapture of the church. As we witness the spiritual status of many of our allegedly best and brightest—our nation’s future leaders—on our college campuses, it does not take much to imagine our impending demise.

None of this is shocking if we understand the prophetic Scriptures. What really ought to haunt us is this question: What has your church had to say regarding these happenings? If the answer is nothing, you have cause for deep concern.

May I ask, dear pastors, what you are teaching about these issues? Certainly, the people in your pews are looking for answers, and they are looking to you for leadership. What have you been offering them? Have you devoted even one message to this timely topic?

I would say to all Americans, but especially to all Christians, if ever you are going to stand for the people of Israel, now is the time. If you keep silent now, you may not have another opportunity. As Nazi-era Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller famously stated:

… Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.*

My friend Dr. Tim Sigler puts it this way: Do you wonder what you would have done if you had been alive during the Holocaust? Watch what you are doing right now. You will likely find the answer to your question in the response you are offering at the present.

Finally, to anyone reading these words with a sigh and a shrug, still unconvinced about the whole issue of Israel’s importance, I would simply challenge you to consider God’s Holy Word through, again, the prophet Zechariah: “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:9).

I know where I stand.

How about you?

* Martin Niemöller; “Quotation from Martin Niemöller.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; n.d.; https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/quotation-from-martin-n…; Internet; accessed 25 April 2024.

NKJV - Source

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


What does "stand for the people of Israel", look like? I keep hearing things like, "we need to stand", but no one can really articulate what that means. Is it to go march! Give money? Vote for new officials?

I, too, want to know what it means to "stand for the people of Israel." There were times when God himself did not stand for the people of Israel in the way some suggest Christians should.

I view the current national entity of Israel as separate and distinct from the Israel of God.

The challenge that I have with these articles is that they are myopic, with a sole focus on Israel as God's chosen people. Is our focus as the church to call out sin, or stand with Israel? Which one takes prevelance? Can Israel do anything that would necessitate the church from calling out the sin? It has turned its back on God, utterly rejects and detests Christ, it flagrantly embraces abhorrent sinful lifestyle behaviors, it disregards life. What does it mean to stand for Israel?

We can debate, really, whether a nation that's something like 65% secular can really be said to be fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies about Israel, but what I can't see debating is whether we would stand against a government (Hamas) that sends hundreds of terrorists into civilian areas to kill, rape, and otherwise violate civilians--and then puts it on the Internet to brag about it.

More or less, I don't think any government that does that kind of thing--and also has been waging war on civilians for three quarters of a century by siting weapons systems in hospitals and elementary schools to fire on Israeli hospitals and elementary schools--belongs on the face of this earth, and those who would vote for such a government need to be treated exactly the same way citizens of West Germany were treated after World War Two.

Specifically, show them videos of the atrocities committed by their government, ban the ownership of books like Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Zion, remove pro-Hamas textbooks from schools, and the like. There is a rot in the minds and souls of too many Gazans.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Hey Guys,

I appreciate the comments!

Particularly, with regard to the inquiries (and difficulties and objections) raised about what it means to stand with Israel, or why we should do so Biblically, here is a quick response.

These questions and difficulties have been addressed over and over again, by me, and by many other dispensationalists. We have dealt with all these kinds of issues and objections many times. If you really want to delve into these "problem areas" in a serious way—or be reminded of what we are and are not saying when we talk about standing with Israel (a nation currently in unbelief ... which is part of the point)—it's all out there for you with a minimal amount of digging.

So, what does it mean to stand with Israel today? The answer to that question will be a little bit like applying a sermon ... it is probably different for every individual person. But it deserves a good answer, so I will attempt to make it the subject of my next column.

Thanks, and God Bless!

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

But that support never came—at least not from society as a whole. What happened instead was near-instant handwringing driven by concern that Israel would respond with a heavy hand—far beyond that which such barbaric acts, including the taking of at least 250 Israeli (and American) hostages, might deserve.

Israel has killed 34,000 Palestinians since this started. Granted they needed to respond firmly after the Hamas attack, but I'd say that's a pretty heavy hand.

I really appreciated this article. I agree it is important to stand for Israel.

Part of how we stand is to educate our people on God’s purposes for Israel and the centuries-long attempt Satan has orchestrated to annihilate the Jews, beginning most clearly perhaps with the Book of Esther — if that is part of our belief system (it is mine, but I recognize many Christians do not believe God has a future plan for Israel, or, if He does, not much of one). Whatever our views, we need to teach against stereotyping, prejudice, and bigotry.

We can write our elected officials, talk to our friends, and speak out against bigotry.

All of us can take a firm stand against Anti-semitism. This is true even if we do not approve of Israel’s response to Hamas. Many Jews and many Israelis, for example, do not approved of the current strategy, but that doesn’t mean they have turned against their people. In like manner, if believers do not agree with Israel’s response, they have a right to voice that. Peaceful protests are everyone’s right. But to condemn all Jews because they are Jews — well, try doing condemning all all the Blacks because of the behavior of some and see what happens! Why should we tolerate such bigotry and hatred against the Jews just for being Jews? Whether Blacks, Native Americans, Muslims, or Jews — wishing death upon an entire ethnic group is pretty nasty stuff.

"The Midrash Detective"

The 34,000 death toll isn't being disputed by most Jewish media sources. What is being disputed is the actual percentage of Palestinian women and children that have died. The numbers provided by the ministry of Health in Gaza usually range between 66% to 70% being women and children but these numbers aren't adding up. Hamas claimed that 6,000 of its fighters had died in the fighting back in February while only 8-10% of the Palestinian adult men death casualties were non-combatant males. This skews the 66% to 70% number because it doesn't correllate with the Palestine population (there should be a much bigger death toll of adult male non-combatants if the 66% to 70% death toll among women and children was true).

They come from the "Health Ministry" of Gaza, which is run by Hamas. It's been publicly doubted by both the Israeli and U.S. State Departments, but endorsed by the same U.N. agencies who....had some of their own employees "hard at work" on October 7, if you catch my drift. Hamas has also been caught portraying their own missile landing in a parking lot as if it were an Israeli attack on a nearby hospital killing 500 people.

Unfortunately, there is no good, untainted data about this. My take is simple; I don't want groups like Hamas to survive. Unfortunately, Hamas, like many barbarian groups, sites their military in civilian areas, making it difficult to target their military alone. So it does not surprise me that there are a lot of civilian dead. It's by the will of their own government, and is solely Hamas' fault.

Also worth noting is that people are using "proportionality" as a rule for war, but I don't remember that rule being applied when we declared war on Germany and Japan in 1941, or in other just wars our country has fought. We killed a lot more Germans and Japanese in WW2 than the 2500 or so we lost at Pearl Harbor, but thankfully nobody complained about proportionality. Instead, we pointed out the atrocities of both countries and the existential threat they posed to freedom.

Same basic thing with Hamas.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.


I find very little out there that says what "standing with Israel" looks like. There is much out there in "why" we should stand with Israel. The best that I have seen is to 1) Preach about the purpose of Israel, and 2) fight antisemitism. The first is really focused around dispensationalist, which based on the articles found here and elsewhere, as well as what we see in seminaries is a dwindling construct. What I find problematic with #1, is that often the preaching is really poor. The pastor tries to tie what is going on today with a web of passages that are trying to outline how it is foretold in Scripture. I don't think #2 is to controversial.

So I am still left with this vague call to "stand with Israel". While most of your audience is most likely not for the rise of Hamas and what the terrorist organization does, nor is your audience seeking to destroy the nation of Israel, it is hard to understand what we should stand with Israel for. It is a secular nation, that rejects God, vehemently rejects Christ, openly practices and strongly supports abhorrent behaviors. Many Jews aren't even of the bloodline of Abraham. So do I support their right to exist? Yes, just like I do for all peoples. Do I support the current nation state as some type of continuation of the theocracy of the Old Testament? Hmmmm. Does stand mean that I need to go and protest the Palestinians on campus? Devote sermons to the modern nation state of Israel? Donate money to antisemetism?

As I watch the carnage in Gaza unfold, here are the thoughts running through my head:

  1. Hamas is a terrorist organization. The Oct 7 attacks and subsequent hostage taking were evil. Hamas needs to be eliminated.
  2. The Palestinian people are pawns used and abused by both Israel and Hamas. The majority of the Palestinians living in Gaza supported Hamas, according to polling done before the Oct 7 attacks. They knew the goals of Hamas (i.e., the eradication of Israel). They knew the methods Hamas used (e.g., hiding weapons in hospitals, schools, building tunnels near and under civilian areas, etc.). They celebrated when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct 7. (By "they," I'm generalizing to the majority of Palestinians. I'm sure some were not in favor of any of this.)
  3. Israel has not done itself any favors in how it has treated the Palestinians over the years. It has basically segregated the Palestinians into two ghettos and allowed settlers to run roughshod over agreed upon Palestinian land and people. Meanwhile, it continues to pay lip service to a two-state solution: "If only x happened, then we would implement the two-state solution." Israel will never give up Jerusalem (one of the Palestinian demands).
  4. If "standing with Israel" means we should equate the current nation state of Israel with biblical Israel and thus treat it as special from another nation state, I'm not following. If the nation state of Israel is perpetuating evil, "standing with Israel" does not mean we should justify that evil or not allow the nation state to experience the consequences of its policies, either locally or at the UN.
  5. Dispensationalism, because Israel is key to its eschatology, appears to have a blind spot to the evils perpetuated by the nation state of Israel.

Last week, some church members expressed the need to support Israel as it was under attack by drones and missiles from Iran. I remarked that I wasn’t sure what Israel thought would happen when it killed three very senior IRG members in Damascus earlier in the month. This is the fruit of an Israeli government that suffered a colossal intel failure, and was now trying to compensate with a show of toughness. Understandable. But, Iran’s response was not unanticipated.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Regarding "Gazans in ghettos", the interesting thing about the matter is that Palestinian terrorists have been attacking Israel since 1948, including attacks on civilians. The ugly reality is that Israel's choice is either enforce its borders (and note; they moved out of Gaza in 2006), or national suicide. Hamas and Hezbollah are serious about "from the river to the sea", after all.

Regarding the condition of those areas, it's worth noting that when Israel moved out of Gaza in 2006, one of the first things Hamas did was to destroy a tremendous amount of capital--greenhouses, factories, and the like--that Israel left behind. They then proceeded to pillage aid money intended to build Gaza to instead build their infamous network of tunnels, while stocking them with rocket launchers and the like.

More or less, Hamas is saying "life stinks here because of what we did, so blame Israel." Thinking people say "no" to that deal.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.