By Susan Michael, Intl. Christian Embassy Jerusalem—
Why do hundreds of millions of Christians around the world stand with Israel? There is no one answer. The truth of the matter is that the bond between Christians and Israel is as multifaceted as it is strong.
Theologically, Christian Zionism is the belief that in the Abrahamic Covenant God bequeathed the land of Canaan to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession for the purposes of world redemption. Therefore, the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland represents the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and as such, demands Christian support.
Christians who know their Bible will also point out that the text commands us to pray for the peace and well-being of Jerusalem in Psalm 122:6, and to serve as watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem in Isaiah 62:6-7. In Romans 9-11, the Apostle Paul is clear that the church should honor the Jewish people for their theological contributions to the foundations of Christianity.
Historically, the Bible-based Evangelical Christian movement has preached from the scriptures that the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland would bring a great blessing upon the world. Modern Christian supporters of Israel follow in the steps of great Christian leaders such as John and Charles Wesley, Robert Murray MacCheynne, Charles Spurgeon and many other Puritan preachers.
Morally, after centuries of Christian anti-Semitism, many Christians seek to foster a new relationship with the Jewish people built on mutual respect. They condemn the demonization of the Jewish people and delegitimization of the Jewish state as nothing more than modern expressions of anti-Semitism and, instead, see Israel as a champion of the Christian values of freedom, democracy, and human rights.
Gratefully, Christians should also support Israel in gratitude for the protection of their Christian brothers and sisters living in the Jewish state. While religious minorities face intense persecution across the Middle East, Israel provides the only safe haven for Christians and is consequently the only country in the region where the Christian community is growing.
Personally, for millions of Christians, the Bible has come alive on their life-changing visits to Israel, which instills an enduring love for the Jewish state.