In my earliest memories, “church” is always part of the picture—playing hide and seek in a dusty choir loft—attempting a jump from a steeple using bed sheets for a parachute—exiting a front row seat in the packed sanctuary because I thought the sermon was boring—I was in church for every service and event that took place. Yes, I was the pastor’s kid.
Regular church attendance did not, however, automatically make me a Christian. Sound teaching helped guide me to the truth, but it’s no guarantee.
I made the decision to become a Christian at a young age; it’s a choice that has to be made personally. Even though I wasn’t there any more or less, following that decision, church provided opportunities to absorb the principles of God’s Word. Sunday school, worship service, training hour, mid-week Bible study, Boys Brigade, Bible school and entire summers at Bible camp shaped my perceptions of Scripture. It wasn’t until my teen years, though, that I began grasping that those principles are firmly rooted in the foundation of the Old Testament and the rich Jewish heritage of the Bible.
Subsequently, I realized that authentic Bible teaching—using the historical, cultural and grammatical context of Scripture as the basis for interpretation—produces fervent solidarity with the Jewish people and Israel. That discovery ignited a passion for God’s Word that has persisted through 40 plus years of ministry. Biblically Authentic – Standing with Israel isn’t a catchphrase; it’s how I live my life.
First, think about it . . . the fact that there are Jewish people actually validates the veracity of the Bible!
Even a casual reading of the Bible during my teen years underscored that the narrative centers on the Jewish people and their unique relationship with God. Israel’s ancient neighbors no longer exist as identifiable people groups; yet, Israel maintains its distinction, worship and identity to the present day.
Those who do not accept the validity of the Bible are confronted with the impossible dilemma of explaining the existence of the nation of Israel and why Abraham and his descendants are the only ethnic group with a biblically documented genealogy.
Second, despite their varied and innumerable contributions to the well-being of the planet, the Jewish people have been the target of repeated extermination attempts throughout their 4,000-year history.
Why this people group?
Why the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
Why, when the vast majority of people alive today desire peace, does the nightmare of anti-Semitic terrorism persist in the 21st century?
The Nazi Holocaust was the most widespread calculated attempt in modern times, but the threat of annihilation of the Jewish people spans recorded history. The recent rise of anti-Semitic terrorism by hostile neighbors continually voicing their intentions to drive Israel into the sea is unprecedented—no other people group or nation has lived under such duress, nor should they.
God said He would return the Jewish people to the land of Israel in the latter days (Jer. 16:14-15). The fact that there are nearly 7 million Jewish people living in the land of Israel—in spite of relentless aggression by determined enemies seeking the modern nation’s destruction—ironically confirms the veracity of the Bible.
Third, the reborn nation of Israel is a vibrant reminder that God has not reneged on His promises to Abraham!
All of history is accelerating toward the literal fulfillment of the promises given to Abraham and the Jewish people. God never rescinded or revoked His covenants with Israel; but, in point of fact, defines His plan for blessing Israel beyond the end of this age and into the infinity of eternity.
The rebirth of the modern State of Israel provides unequivocal proof that the Bible is true.
Fourth, the Bible communicates a clear distinction between Israel and the church in God’s plan and purpose for history.
The church has not replaced Israel (Rm. 11:1, 11, 26). Although the church functions on the earth for a specified period of time, national Israel endures through the entirety of earth’s future history to be exalted in the Messianic Kingdom. No amount of theological gymnastics bears any effect on God’s intended outcome.
Fifth, what does my Scottish-Irish-Norwegian background bring to the discussion about Israel, you ask?
Loving Israel and the Jewish people is a personal choice based on faith in the fidelity of God’s Word—the Bible.
As a born-again evangelical Christian, I am convinced that the Bible is more than historically accurate; it is God’s Word detailing His plan and purpose for humanity. Israel and the Jewish people are at the epicenter of that plan. Although men—from Haman to Hitler to a still future Antichrist—may attempt to thwart His sovereign plan for the Jewish people, God supersedes man’s puny attempts to circumvent His purposes and will ultimately exalt Israel as prophesied.
As a biblically authentic Christian committed to a literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of Scripture, standing in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people is the only morally viable response.
—Charles E. McCracken
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author.