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Christian Bias in Favor of Israel
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March 7, 2008

 

                    Christian Bias in Favor of Israel

 

Many Christians are taught that because Jesus Christ will return and sit on the throne of His kingdom in Jerusalem, and because the people of Israel are God’s “chosen people,” that the modern state of Israel is to be accorded special treatment.

This is a mischaracterization of the import of Holy Scripture.

A fair reading of the bible is that Christian believers are to transform themselves into vessels of love, spread the gospel and try to save souls by sharing love.  This is the manifestation of glorifying God.  He, being omnipotent, needs no other help than this in reclaiming His throne.  In fact, He doesn’t really “need” us, but these are the rules He has ordained that we live by.  By treating Israel with kid gloves the body of Christ cannot accelerate the hour of His return.

Some Christians are also taught that Jews will be easier to convert than Muslims and that this is sufficient reason for favoring the former.  There is no support for this in scripture, either.

What are the facts?

First of all, Jews have already had almost 2000 years to accept the gospel, having had first crack at it.  By and large, they have failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah for various reasons.  One, He didn’t establish an earthly kingdom as they expected.  Two, He changed many aspects of the Law of Moses that Jews had been instructed to follow “forever.”  To them, it didn’t matter that He came in fulfillment of the Law, only that He violated it.  Jews do consider Jesus a prophet, but not divine.

Muslims also accept Jesus as a prophet.  Learned Muslims also bestow upon Him the honorific, “peace be upon Him” when invoking His name.  Muslims are often stereotyped as being violent, as is the Quran, their holy book.  This overlooks the fact that much of the violent language in the Quran is very similar to language in the Old Testament, the Jews holy book and the first “half” of the Christian bible.

What else do Muslims believe?

Muslims believe that Adam was created by God as the first man.  The Quran also has the stories of Abraham and Isaac.  It is true that, like with Moses (also accepted in Islam as a prophet), the emphasis is different, but the similarity remains.

Furthermore, the black cubed-shaped building circled by Muslims during their pilgrimage to Mecca is revered as being built on a spot where Abraham worshipped.  In addition, the Quran contains the story of Jonah and the whale.

Significantly, Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.  Jews do not.  In fact, Mary, the mother of God, is viewed in Islam as a symbol for women of purity and she is discussed more than any other woman in the Quran.

Most importantly, the Quran describes judgment at the end of time; like the bible.  In Islam, the era that ushers in the last days will be ruled by Issa.  Who is Issa?  Issa is Jesus Christ of Nazareth!  The Muslims do not recognize Him as the Son of God, but from their point of view He must be an incredible man to come back again and rule.  You could say that this scenario is like a resurrection.

Far from being unconvertible, you can make a strong argument that in many ways Islam has more in common with Christianity than present-day Judaism.  Muslim scripture already accords the Lord a special status, most Jews do not.  Indeed, a wave of secularism has swept over Judaism that also stands in the way of preaching the gospel to them.  Indeed, missionary work in Israel is illegal.  Muslims, on the other hand, are widely known as already being devout believers in God.

Some Christians make the argument that this similarity between the Holy Bible and the Quran is nothing more than evidence of the craftiness of the devil.  They say, “He’s trying to fool us.”  I believe that this is ignorant.  More likely than this explanation is that the omnipotent God preordained these similarities to make it easier for us to talk about our faith and to see how much we have in common.

Others often point out that some Arabs are descendants of Lot’s immoral daughters and others the progeny of Ishmael, Abraham’s bastard son with Hagar.  The argument goes that once bad these peoples are cursed throughout eternity.  I don’t buy it. 

Besides; speaking of Ishmael, the bible says that, “…God was with the lad” as he grew up (Genesis 21:20).  God also promises Abraham that He will make a nation out of Ishmael.  Although not the same covenant as with Israel, this hardly sounds like a curse.  Moreover, in Deuteronomy, Moses makes a point of saying that “the Lord spoke to” him and said that certain land in Canaan was not to be Israel’s but set aside for the “descendants of Lot” (2:17, 19).

The extremist Muslims associated with terrorist bombings are not a majority of Muslims.  Many Muslims take the traditional view that Muslims, Jews and Christians are all “people of the book” and under God’s guidance.  In their view, this makes us all special and worthy of respect.  We must build upon this common monotheism.

Far from being always intolerant, history has shown that Muslim civilizations have accepted Jews and Christians as neighbors under numerous circumstances.  The Ottoman Empire and the period of Islamic rule in Spain are probably the best examples.  Similarly, there are several pockets of Jews and Christians throughout the Middle East who have lived in peace with their Islamic brothers and sisters for centuries.

As Christians; we don’t have to be at odds with Muslims and there doesn’t have to be a “war of civilizations.”  If you take an honest, sober and reasonable look at the facts you will find that there is no basis in scripture for discrimination against Muslims or bias in favor of Israel.

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