What Does It Mean to Stand with Israel? (Part 1)


Tel Aviv-Yafo

My previous column challenged Bible-believing Christians—and all Americans—to stand with the people, nation and land of Israel during these times of unprecedented hatred aimed at Jewish people around the world.

During the past week, the animosity and hostility spouted against the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have grown to a level that we might have considered unfathomable, making such pleas all the more necessary. This story is not going away anytime soon. The acrimony is spreading like wildfire.

And, make no mistake about it: This is not simply an attack on Israel and the Jewish people. It is an attack on America, our Christian worldview and everything we hold dear—coming from those who identify proudly (even if unwittingly) with the Hamas terrorists. If this is not a struggle between good and evil, then I don’t know what is.*

But what does it really mean to stand with this “holy people” (Deut. 7:6)? It’s easy enough to say the words, but what actions do they represent? Additionally, the mere mention of the concept seems to draw out every imaginable objection. The dissent ranges from a soft antisemitism—rooted in the worst traditions of Catholic and Protestant Christendom—to the musings of professing dispensationalists who simply cannot be convinced that the Israel now returned to its land is related to Biblical Israel.

So, what do I mean when I talk about standing with God’s chosen people? Let’s set up the answer in this installment by thinking about a few things that this does not mean.

Standing with Israel does not mean that we believe her to be inherently worthy of God’s blessing. Israelites, like everyone else on this planet, are worthy of God’s judgment, not His favor—and they certainly have received His chastening in heavy doses throughout their history (see Jer. 31:18). The Apostle Paul made it clear in Rom. 3:9 that “both Jews and Greeks … are all under sin.” And God made it plain from the beginning that He never chose Israel because of any intrinsic goodness within them, “but because the LORD loves you” (Deut. 7:8). So, let’s rule this one out right away—and, while we’re at it, let’s hope that none of us ever have to worry about God giving us what we deserve.

Standing with Israel also does not mean that we discount the fact that Israel today is a nation in unbelief. Having largely rejected their Messiah, the Jewish people suffer under spiritual “blindness” (Rom. 11:25). They live in spiritual apostasy (see Rev. 11:8). Yet, thank God, this blindness is only “in part” and only for a limited period of time (Rom. 11:25)! One day, their return in faith will be complete and eternal (see Rom. 11:26; cf. Zech. 13:9). But, now, Israel is one of “the kingdoms of this world” (Rev. 11:15) which remain “under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19)—just as our own beloved United States does, also (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4). Sadly, this is going to get worse before it gets better. In fact, it is going to be so bad that Israel will literally cut a deal with the devil. They will make a seven-year covenant with the antichrist, which will officially begin the seven-year period of tribulation (see Dan. 9:26-27; John 5:43). So, if you think Israel has failed spiritually in the past, just hang on. You haven’t seen anything yet!

Israel as a whole today is a bit like the northern kingdom following the split that took place under Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 10. Those 10 northern tribes chose to go into apostasy. They had no temple, no legitimate king, no hope of bringing the Messiah into their nation, and just a handful of true, Biblical prophets. They were a people in rebellion. And yet, God’s concern for them was overwhelming, because of His covenant promises to “their forefathers” (Jer. 11:10; cf. Isa. 54:10; Hos. 1:10-11; 14:4).

And here is where evangelicals—even some dispensationalists—seem to drive over the metaphorical cliff. If Israel is apostate during this present time, they reason that Christians have no business supporting such a nation—or even that it is sinful to do so! Now, indeed, there is lots of sin in Israel, just as there is in our homeland. Yet, we certainly love our country, do we not? When we stand with Israel, we stand with her in spite of her flaws, and in light of God’s promises and plans for her.

In fact, shouldn’t we be concerned for all unbelievers? Doesn’t God work in the lives of unbelievers? I hope so—or you and I wouldn’t be here right now! But when we concern ourselves with blessing the Jewish people, even in their unbelief, we have a promise of something much greater. We know that we are part of a chain of events that will one day culminate in their ultimate and complete salvation (see Isa. 4:3-4).

One final thought. Standing with the people of Israel does not mean that we endorse everything that the Israeli government or military does. The Israeli government is a complex subject, but I know enough about it to say this: Israel’s leaders do not always agree with one another! So how could I ever agree with all of them?

I am no military expert, by any means. I do admire the Israeli military—it is surely one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled in the history of the world. But is it perfect? By no means. Does it claim to be? Not at all.

You see, I do not hold to any of these ideas, yet I still stand solidly with the people, nation and land of Israel. So, what does that mean, in a positive sense?

We’ll take up that question in the next installment.

* For anyone seeking a greater understanding of the origin and nature of the current conflict in Gaza, I would highly recommend the three keynote lectures that Dr. Randall Price delivered on March 4-6, 2024, at the Chafer Theological Seminary Pastors’ Conference. His messages on “The Truth Behind the Headlines” and “How the Middle East Conflict is Preparing the World for the End Time” go to the heart of the of the issues at hand, in light of Biblical history and prophecy. You can find them at “2024 Chafer Theological Seminary Pastors’ Conference;” Dean Bible Ministries; https://deanbibleministries.org/presentations/messages/series/2024-chaf…; Internet, accessed 2 May 2024.

NKJV - Source

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


Appreciate this. “Taking a stand” for a lot of things is often encouraged or demanded these days, without any clue what it means other than messaging what side of a controversy you’re on. Maybe a lot of the time, that’s all people mean: signal your views.

But I like the approach here: thanks for clarifying what you do not mean by it in reference to Israel. It helps avoid misunderstanding and straw-manning against pro-Israel views of what’s going on over there.

I personally see two really important factors. I’ll put them in question form:

  • What are the rights and duties of a nation facing the kinds of challenges Israel faces (and has for a long, long time)?
  • What is the relationship between the nation called Israel today and promises connected to the entity called Israel in the Bible?

To me, the second factor is complex and carries a lot of uncertainty. The first one, though, seems obvious to me. So I emphasize that one. There’s literally no other nation on earth that faces the kinds of existential dangers Israel does every day and then is held to the kind of standards people hold Israel do, when acting nationally in self-preservation. There are nations that are far more fragile, sure. But they tend to be more fragile due to internal factors.

Anyway, short version: What critics seem to expect from Israel is just not fair or reasonable given the conditions they exist under. That’s all I need to warrant “standing with” them. There is certainly more, biblically, but I find that piece more difficult.

(Edit to add: I see a lot of similarities with Taiwan and South Korea. So many enemies right at the doorstep. But even SK an Taiwan aren’t as geographically and ideologically beleaguered as Israel—not today, at least.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul, I so appreciate the way you think, which, to me, seems quite biblical. Looking forward the next installment.

"The Midrash Detective"