Torah-seeking Messianic gentiles are a work of God

"I am a non-Jewish Messianic Believer, and have been told that my calling as a 'Messianic Gentile' is to go back to a church and not become Torah observant."

In the broad Messianic world, there has been a large movement of Torah-seeking gentiles.

In fact, many Messianic ministries like First Fruits of Zion, Outreach Israel Ministries, and Torah Resource, are supported largely by non-Jews who are seeking a Torah-based lifestyle.

This was unexpected. The Jesus Movement of the 1970s, when God’s spirit was poured out on millions of Jews and gentiles, spurring the birth of the modern Messianic movement, did not anticipate all these non-Jews seeking Torah. It’s been my experience that Messianic Jews don’t really know what to do with all the Torah-seeking gentiles, except be ashamed of them.

Some Messianic believers, particularly those in the Messianic Judaism sub-movement, have reacted negatively. “You’re Torah observant? Pfft! You’re just playing Torah, not following it in the proper manner. Go back to the Church!”

Such people will cite 1 Corinthians 7, Paul’s recommendation to “remain as you were called.”

You know, where Paul says, paraphrasing,

“Circumcised? Stay that way! Uncircumcised? Stay that way! Slave? Stay that way! Free man? Stay that way! Unmarried? Stay that way! Married? Stay that way!”

Each person should remain in the situation in which God called him.

This is now being used against Torah-seeking, Jesus-following gentiles.

Should Messianic gentiles remain as they are, and cease seeking Torah?

My friend and Messianic scholar J.K. McKee has an excellent response.

J.K. McKee – Examining Paul’s Rule in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

He notes how this same passage in 1 Corinthians has historically been used to justify slavery and theologically chastise those slaves who sought freedom: "Were you called while a slave? Remain as you are.”

It has been used to chastise women who leave abusive marriages: "You’re married - remain in the condition you are called!"

Religious authorities have repeatedly abused 1 Corinthians 7 to put less favorable believers – slaves, women, and gentiles – in their place.

McKee cites Christian bible scholarship and teaching which notes, and commends avoiding, the historic abuse of this passage:

“Paul’s...counsel...[in 7:24] can be mistaken as a call to inaction, to do nothing, or even to embrace the status quo. There are circumstances that the gospel cannot abide and we must be unmistakably clear about that. For example, no one should remain in a physically or emotionally abusive situation. The gospel does not call for one to do that. In a similar way, Paul’s counsel to ‘remain’ should not be used as a justification for not seeking better circumstances for oneself and an improvement of one’s circumstances.”

McKee digs further, getting into the Greek linguistics to answer whether the “remain (abide) as you are” pertains to a vocational calling of one’s status in life, or a calling by God to salvation and sanctification.

The takeaway is this:

Non-Jewish believers who are seeking God’s Torah – and for the first time in a long while, recognizing the whole of Scripture as holy and good and righteous – are drawn by God to live a life characterized by the Scriptures more than the secular world. Divine spiritual betterment. Messianic gentiles are evidence of God-at-work in the nations.

That confounds some who don’t understand what God is doing.

Perhaps Messianic Judaism should remain in the condition in which it was called: bringing Jews to the Jewish Messiah and Jewish Torah. It’s a righteous and holy mission. But legislating and regulating and discouraging God’s move among gentiles is a wild tangent and a distraction, and ultimately opposes a work of God in the world.

The historical, verifiable, melancholy miracle that is Tisha B’Av

Tl;dr: Tisha B’Av – the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av – has an amazing, horrific history behind it, and it occurs today. It simultaneously gives evidence of God and makes us question Him.

We often think of miracles as positive events, like a miraculous healing, or a resurrection; something good for humans.

But miracles are more broadly – and in my opinion, more accurately – described as any divine intervention in the natural world, whether positive (healings, etc.) or negative (judgment).

The Bible gives us examples of both:

  • God acts through Elijah to resurrect a dead girl – positive.
  • God sends a string of plagues and death on the hard-hearted Egyptians – negative.
  • God proves himself by sending fire from heaven, and all of idolatrous Israel sees it and repents – positive.
  • God sends the Babylonians after the nation of Judah after their repeated rebellion – negative.
  • God works through Yeshua the Messiah to restore vision to a blind man – positive.

Tisha B'Av – the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av – which began last night and continues through tonight (August 5, 2014), is an instance of a negative miracle. At least 15 negative events have afflicted Israel and the Jewish people on or around the 9th of Av.

And intriguingly, many of these negative events are verifiable. We can actually look at the events that have occurred on Tisha B’Av, and verify them through secular history and scholarship.

If these negative events have all occurred on this date, I believe it is a kind of miracle; God intervened in the natural world and caused the great negative events – many of them negative miracles in themselves – to coincide on this date, making it a verifiable miracle.

Verifiable, because most of the events can be verified to happen on this date.

Miraculous, because  such great tragedies occurring all on the same date in history, repeated in multiple generations, is either the most amazing string of horrific coincidences, or an act of divine intervention. I believe Judaism is right in choosing the latter.

Despite the verifiable, negative miracle that is Tisha B’Av, it’s largely discarded by Messianics here in the US; very few of even the Messianic leaders here in my corner of the world mention Tisha B’Av, let alone observe the traditional fast.

In this post, I wanted to look again at Tisha B’Av and suggest that Messianics and Hebrew Roots Christians ought to remember this day with mourning, in unison with the Jewish people. Tisha B’Av leaves me with some puzzling questions, too, which I’ll pose at the conclusion of this post.

But first, here’s the list of events that have occurred on, or around, Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av, in chronological order:

Key:
Orange
= traditional, unverifiable
Purple = Biblical
Blue = historical, verifiable

  • Israel worshiped the golden calf on their way to the land of Israel on the 9th of Av, around 1446 BC.
  • 10 of the 12 spies sent into the land of Israel return with a bad report, preventing that generation from entering.
  • The Babylonians destroyed the first Temple in Jerusalem, 7th of Av through 10th of Av, 587 BC (2 Kings 25, Jeremiah 52)
  • Roman soldiers carrying off the 2nd Temple artifactsThe Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem, 9th of Av, 70 AD
  • 100,000 Jews killed in Bar Kokhba's revolt, 9th of Av, 132 AD
  • Roman commander Turnus Rufus destroyed Jerusalem and plowed the site of the Temple, 9th of Av 133 AD
  • The First Crusade began, killing 10,000 Jews in the first month, 9th of Av through 24th of Av (July 31st through August 15), 1096 AD
  • Jews expelled from England, 9th of Av (July 18th) 1290 AD
  • Jews expelled from France, 9th of Av (July 21st) 1306 AD
  • Jews expelled from Spain, 9th of Av 1492 AD
  • Germany entered World War I, 9th of Av 1914 AD
  • Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler received approval for the Holocaust, 9th of Av 1941 AD
  • Jews deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to Nazi concentration camps, 9th of Av 1942 AD
  • The Jewish community in Buenos Aires was bombed, 10th of Av, 1994.
  • Jewish expulsion from Gaza and the subsequent destruction of Gush Katif, 10th of Av, 2005.

Notice that the last 11 events or so are known to be historical; verified as occurring on or around the 9th of Av. The Bible actually records the date of the destruction of the First Temple. The 2nd Temple’s destruction is known to historically occur in 70AD, but I can’t find secular histories verifying the 9th of Av traditional dating.

Several of these events directly impact Messianics.

For example, Linda Davidson’s Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland reports that Jewish followers of Jesus, even though they did not support Bar Kokhba’s rebellion, were barred from Jerusalem along with the rest of the Jewish people, being allowed to visit Jerusalem only on Tisha B’Av.

As I did my research for these dates, I noticed that many of them fall around Tisha B’Av. For example, the first temple was besieged on the 7th of Av according to 2nd Chronicles 25, while Jeremiah reports the same events occurring through the 10th of Av. The First Crusade officially began on the 24th of Av. And of course, things like the Jewish expulsion from Gaza occurred on the 10th of Av.

Still others, such as the Jewish expulsion from England, are certain to have happened during the 9th of Av. I just wonder if Jewish reckoning tries very hard to align the events on the 9th, when in fact they take place around that date.

Why the 9th of Av, why Jews, why judgment?

One of the top search results on Google for the 9th of Av is a Christian web page claiming “God has cursed Judaism and the Jews” and that the 9th of Av is evidence that “God is done with the Jews” and has since moved onto non-Jews via Jesus.

Of course, that is an easily-rebuffed argument, since these events happened prior Jesus, and God still wasn’t “done” with the Jews. (Not to mention, the Christian bible makes no claim about God being “done with the Jews”, and in fact, makes claims to the contrary.)

Traditional Jewish speculation claims this day is cursed by God, having forever been cursed since that first instance with the 12 spies and the bad/false report of the land of Israel.

Picture of Andrew Gabriel Roth, Micha'el Ben David, myself (2nd from left) and my older brother JesseI happened to have as guests two holy brothers in Messiah this week, Israeli musician Micha’el Ben David, and Messianic Jewish teacher Andrew Gabriel Roth. I asked them both this same question: why the 9th of Av?

Ben David suggested that because God works in cycles, he has brought judgment on Israel during that particular date, beginning, perhaps, with the 12 spies and the false report.

Roth concurred with the traditional Jewish view that the day is cursed by God.

Conclusion

Whatever the case, fine Kineti readers, we are left with a verifiable reality that tragic events – some of the very worst events in human history, including the Holocaust – began on the 9th of Av.

If anything, the 9th of Av is evidence of God at work – miracles.

Going deeper, it’s evidence that God’s vehicle of work in the earth is Israel and the Jewish people.

Going deeper still, I question why God would bring judgment to Jewish people at these times, when Jewish people committed no great sin at those times in history. For what great sin of the Jewish people did the Holocaust begin on the 9th of Av? (Or was it the sin of humanity, and God’s people were suffering vicariously?)

Was it merely God’s signature in history, hinting he’s still there despite the evil going on? Or was it really judgment against Jews for something? I cannot imagine the latter.

Or, perhaps these great evils were necessary to bring about a greater good; destruction leads to creation; the Holocaust creating the conditions for the recreation of the State of Israel in 1948?

I don’t have those answers. I’d love to hear your thoughts, fine Kineti readers – why are these great evils perpetrated on the 9th of Av? And why are the Jewish people almost always on the receiving end?

The exhaustive, canonical FAQ on Israel and Palestine, in plain English

Each time a conflict arises in Israel (seemingly every year or so!), I hear the same questions and challenges. Below is a single, canonical list attempting to answer them. I intend to keep this list up-to-date in the years to come, referring back to it as needed.


# Why are they fighting again?

A. [Circa 2014] Because of Hamas, the Palestinian group governing half of Palestine.


# What’s so bad about Hamas?

A. Nothing, if you’re cool with forced conversion to Islam under threat of death, firing rockets at civilians, instituting fundamentalist Islamic law, using kids as human shields, a special Hamas-version of Mickey Mouse, and a culture that loves murder in the name of God.


# How did this war start?

A. [Circa 2014] Hamas increased rocket fire into Israeli towns, formed a unity government with Fatah, and kidnapped 3 Israeli teenagers and executed them. Israel is now bombing Gaza in an effort to stop the rockets.


# Isn’t Israel just as evil as Hamas? They killed that Palestinian civilian teenager!

A. No, the State of Israel arrested several Jewish teens who murdered a Palestinian teen in a revenge killing for the murder of 3 Jewish teens the week prior. The Israeli Prime Minister condemned the murder, calling it no different than Palestinian terror, and prosecuted them to the fullest extent of law. By contrast, when the Jewish teens were kidnapped and executed, Palestinian civilians celebrated by handing out candy on the streets, and Hamas publicly praised it.

10536517_893344737346939_5653357215144435197_o


# Isn’t that a one-sided view?

A. Yes, that is one side. The other side is, “Israel has no right to exist, therefore, we wage religious war.”


# Maybe Israel doesn’t have a right to exist. Didn’t Israel steal Palestinian land?

image

A. No, Jews have lived there before the modern term ‘Palestine’ came into existence. If we’re going by “who lived there first”, then it is Arabs who stole it from Jews.


# Palestinians may have stole it from Jews, but Jews first stole it from Philistines, the ancient Palestinians!
JewsStoleItFromPhilistines

A. You’re mistaken, and need a history lesson. Philistines were a Canaanite people in the late Bronze Age, with no relation to Palestinians.

(Ironically, if the ancient Philistines were alive today, Palestinian Hamas would have them put to death for worshiping Baal, Astarte, and Dagon.)

Jews are the oldest surviving people group indigenous to Israel. Philistines don’t exist today.


# If they’re not related to the ancient Philistines, then why are they called “Palestinians”?

A. Because Rome once hated Jews almost as much as Hamas does. Rome renamed Israel to Syria Palestina in an effort to suppress Jewish ties to Israel. 

Having sacked Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD, and just prior to the failed Jewish revolt against the Romans in 135 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina in honor of one of his Roman gods. Scholars believe it was around this time the Roman province of Judea was renamed to Syria Palestina, in honor of the Bronze Age enemy of ancient Israel.


# And that’s where the Palestinians come in? Right after the Roman conquest?

A. No. There has never been, in the history of humanity, an independent state called Palestine. Even when it was Syria Palestina, it was merely a province of the Roman Empire. Ditto for when it was Mandate Palestine under the British.


# But now the State of Palestine exists! #FreePalestine

A. After World War I, the British took over the land of Israel from the Ottoman Empire, and divided the land into Palestine – a national home for Jews – and Transjordan, a land for the Arabs living there.


# So modern “Palestine” was actually created as a home for Jews?

A. Yes, in fact, Jews that lived under the British Palestine mandate were known as Palestinian Jews. The preamble to the British mandate document is explicit about its intentions for a Jewish homeland called Palestine:

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.


# When was the modern state of Palestine created?

A. After the British created Palestine as a national home for Jews, the Arab League created a faux-government called All Palestine in 1949. It was a mostly symbolic government, and was dissolved and absorbed back into Egypt within a decade. While All Palestine claimed authority over all the land of Israel, no one recognized it except Arabs in a strip of land in Israel called Gaza.


# So Gaza was the home of the first Palestinian government?

A. Yes; sort of. All Palestine was an attempt by Egypt and the Arab League to create an Arab state in the land of Israel. It remained in Egyptian control until the failed Egyptian invasion of Israel in 1967. (An invasion that went so terrible, to this day Arabs refer to it as An Naksa, “the setback”.) After the failed invasion, Egypt renounced all territorial claims to Gaza, passing it back to Israel. And after a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, Israel began building homes in Gaza.


# Gaza was conquered by Israel.

A. No, Egypt held Gaza and relinquished control to Israel after the failed Egyptian invasion of Israel in 1967.


# Israel occupied Gaza! Israel is the evil occupier!

A. Countries which own land tend to fill that land with its own citizens. Calling Israel “occupiers” is like calling Native Americans occupiers of the United States. Jews are the Native Americans of Israel: the oldest living inheritors of an ancient land.


# How you can blame the Palestinians for violence when Israel is an evil occupier, building Jewish settlements on Palestinian land?

A. “How can you blame the German Socialists when the Jews are occupying German land?!” Except your argument is worse, since Jews are the oldest surviving natives of the land of Israel.


# If Israel just demolished their settlements and ceased their occupation, we’d have peace.

A. No. To convince yourself, consider this was already attempted in 1994: Israel transferred Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. And within a decade, Israel demolished the home of every Jewish person who lived in Gaza. The outcome is what we are seeing today: a never-ending barrage of rockets from groups whose mission is to destroy the world’s only Jewish state. If the problem was settlements and occupation, Gaza should be an exemplary peaceful region. But it’s utterly violent and chaotic and despotic, because the problem is neither settlements nor occupation.


# What’s causing war in Israel?

A. Armed fundamentalist Islamic groups whose raison d’etre is destruction of the world’s only Jewish state. It is a spiritual battle manifesting as a religious war, where one side is trying to defend itself from rockets and suicide bombs, while the other works towards its goals of Islamic domination meanwhile drawing sympathy from the secular West.

Dennis Prager’s short and concise lesson will fill you in quickly enough.


# How did Gaza end up in Hamas’ hands?

A. The failed land-for-peace deals. Yasser Arafat’s Islamic political organization, the PLO (now called Fatah) launched suicide bombing attacks at Israel civilians, then sued for land. Israel gave away Gaza in 1994 to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for peace. Then, in 2007, the Palestinian civilians voted Hamas into power, who subsequently gunned down their rival Palestinians, and, ahem, threw them off of rooftops:

image


# Israel gave away Gaza in exchange for peace?

A. The trade was Israel gives Gaza goes to the Palestinian Authority, and Israel gets peace in return. The land trade happened and stands to this day. But the peace part hasn’t stood, because Fatah and Hamas do not want peace.


# Can’t both Arabs and Jews share the land and be at peace?

A. Israel is willing to make this happen: as proof, consider there are thousands of Arab Israelis, and several Arab Israeli parties hold seats in the Israeli government. But Hamas and Fatah, the 2 ruling Palestinian parties, exist to ensure Israel is destroyed and replaced with a fundamentalist Islamic state, so peace is about as likely as snowfall in a Jerusalem summer.


# If Hamas controls Gaza, what about the other part of Palestine?

A. The other part of Palestine, the West Bank, is controlled by Fatah. Fatah is the original group formed by Yasser Arafat; you might call them the “original” Palestinians. Their charter calls for the destruction of Israel, stating, “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine” from “the Zionist aggression”.


# Yeah! Those evil Zionists and their aggression! Shame on them! Umm, what is a Zionist, again?

A. A Zionist is someone who loves the land of Israel (Zion). Most of the early Zionists were secular Jews – Theodore Herzl (founder of Zionism), Eliezar Ben Yehuda (revived the Hebrew language and an early settler in Jewish Palestine), David Ben Gurion (first Prime Minister of Israel). These were non-religious people who loved the land of Israel so much, they devoted their lives to restoring it and bringing Jewish people back to it.


# Why bring Jewish people back to Israel?

A. Anti-Semitism – hatred of Jews – forced Jews to go back to their historic homeland. Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, was a non-religious Jewish journalist in the late 1800s. On a journalist assignment in 1890s France, he witnessed French mobs shouting “Death to Jews” during the Dreyfus Affair. Upon seeing this, he realized Jews needed to return to their ancient homeland to escape anti-Semitism, devoting the rest of his life towards Jewish return to Zion. Little did he know that 30 years later, Adolf Hitler would capitalize on Europe’s anti-Semitism in the form of the Holocaust, killing 2/3rds of all Jews.


# That’s all secular fluff; there are no Biblical reasons for bringing Jews back to Israel.

Secular reasons are important. But there are also religious reasons for bringing Jews back to Israel.

First, nearly the whole of the Torah (the first 5 books of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, the core of Judaism) is Israel-centric. Jews cannot fully practice Judaism without the land of Israel. Examples: Deut. 16, Ex. 23, Lev. 23, Num. 29. To this day, the daily prayers of Judaism remain Israel-centered.

Additionally, the Jewish and Christian Bibles record God giving the land of Israel to the Jewish people as an “eternal possession”, that is, it belongs to Jews forever. See Gen. 17 and I Chronicles 16.

Furthermore, the Jewish return to Israel was spoken by God and recorded by prophets like Ezekiel:

“I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.”

-Ezekiel 37

One Bible scholar puts it like this: “[In the Bible], habitation of the Land of Israel is contingent on obedience to God, possession of the Land is based solely on the patriarchal/matriarchal obedience and on God’s irrevocable oath.”


# I feel bad for the Jews. The Holocaust was bad. But anti-Semitism doesn’t exist anymore, so stop using it as a crutch!

A. It’s stronger than ever, and this time it’s disguised: Universities in the United States and Europe have pushed the BDS movement – the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction the world’s only Jewish state. Numerous Christian Churches, mostly recently the Presbyterian Church of the USA, have joined the boycott, while Christian leaders like Stephen Sizer are working to demonize Zionism and turn Christianity against Jewish Israel. Pro-Israel views are shouted down, silenced, and labeled apartheid.

At an anti-Israel protest in Boston on Friday, pro-Palestinian activists surrounded several Israel supporters, hurling insults and allegedly physically assaulting pro-Israel students (photo credit: Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)


# Yeah, death to apartheid Israel! Umm…what’s apartheid again?

A. Racial segregation. Palestinian propaganda claims Israel is an apartheid state. Consider, however, that Israel is comprised of Jews and Arabs (and Christians and Armenians and Bedouins and…). Consider that Israel’s government is comprised of non-Jewish parties. Consider that Israel allows its holiest site – The Temple Mount – to be controlled by Islamic Arabs. Consider that none of this is true for the Palestinians, where virtually everyone is Sunni Muslim and there is no room for diversity or debate. If there is state-sponsored racial segregation, it is happening among the fundamentalist Islamic imperialists, not secular Jewish state.


# OK, but isn’t Palestine holy to Muslims?

A. Palestine is mentioned in the Quran -- written 2500 years after Israel was founded -- and when it is mentioned, it’s in reference to God giving that land to Musa (Moses) and the children of Israel.

By contrast, in Judaism, Israel is central and can hardly function outside of it: kings like David and Solomon were kings of Israel, prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah were prophets of Israel sent to Israel, the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers) were given to the people of Israel on their way to the land of Israel. Basically, the whole of the Hebrew Bible is centered around Israel, Jewish life and daily prayers have Jerusalem as their locus.


# Israeli Jews are Europeans, not true Middle Easterners, so they cannot claim any historical rights to the Holy Land.

A. No. Demographic statistics show that 61% of Israeli Jews are Mizrahi, that is, of Middle Eastern descent.

The argument is also a non-sequitur: why should Jews who were forced to emigrate to Europe or the New World be denied access to their historic homeland? There is no good reason.


# Jews have no claim to Israel because they aren’t actually Jewish, but rather, converts from the Khazarian Empire.

A. First, converts to Judaism are considered Jewish, and their bloodline is soon mixed with the rest of Israel, and they have the same rights as a native. Secondly, the theory here, dubbed the Khazarian theory, is largely rejected by scholars as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. (Indeed, this theory is popular primarily with neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups, which is ironic, seeing as how Hitler certainly considered European Jews to be Jewish.)

The idea behind this theory is that European Jews aren’t Jewish, but were just converts to Judaism from the Khazarian Empire circa 990 AD. There is a kernel of truth here: that about 1000 years ago, some Khazarians converted to Judaism. And it’s true that modern DNA research on European Jews suggests a mix of paternal DNA from an ancestor in the Near East (likely Israel), and maternal DNA from European ancestors (likely converts or intermarriage).

More importantly, none of this matters. Suppose that all European Jews were ancient converts to Judaism some millennia ago, with no physical descent from Jacob, no Jewish bloodline. Would this change their rights to the land of Israel? Can we say those European Jews who have lived as Jews for generations, suffered as Jews for a thousand years through pogroms, crusades, expulsions, and the Holocaust, can we say they have no rights as Jews?

No, of course not. Israel is, and always has been, comprised not only of Jacob’s descendants, but also converts and people who joined Israel over the ages. Adolf Hitler certainly considered them Jewish enough to murder 6 million of them; those who say otherwise likely have ulterior motives, likely delegitimizing Jews in Israel.

Ashkenazi (European) Jews are Jews, even if their bloodlines are mixed with non-Jews.


# More Palestinians civilians die than Israeli civilians. This shows who is really evil.

A. It is foolish to judge right and wrong merely by civilian deaths.

Consider that more German civilians died in World War II – roughly 5 million – whereas the United States lost only 1/10th of that number. Does that mean Nazi Germany was good, and the United States evil?

Of course not. We must judge the motives and actions of each side. The motive of Hamas and Fatah is primarily Islamic conquest, and their actions align accordingly. By contrast, Israel’s motive is to live free and at peace in their historic homeland, and their actions align with accordingly.


# If Israel’s intentions are so pure, how do you explain the lopsided casualties between Palestinians and Israelis?

Israeli technology, and Hamas hating Israel more than it loves Palestinian children.

Israeli defense technology – particularly the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system – shoots down 90% of the rockets Hamas fires at Israeli civilian populations. This decreases the casualties on the Israeli side.

Hamas fires rockets from civilian homes, mosques, and other civilian areas, knowing that if Israel destroys the launch pad, they’ll incur civilian deaths. This increases casualties on the Palestinian side. Hamas encourages non-combatants, including Palestinian children, to stand near rocket launch sites to take advantage of Israel’s respect for human life.

A great example of this is how Israel warns civilians of a pending attack by shooting a flare and dropping pamphlets before an attack. Many civilians flee. Some Islamic fundamentalists consider it an honor to die for Islamic conquest, so others will stand on the roof an await death, knowing Israel will be shamed by the West if they proceed with the attack.


# Jews have no biblical right to the land since they remain in a state of non-repentance; they do not accept Jesus.

image

A. This theology, a form of supersessionism, is inconsistent with the Christian Bible.

Supersessionism argues that God has rejected Jewish people and canceled his promises to Jews – including the promise of the land of Israel, and instead replaced (superseded) Jews with the Christian Church.

But Paul, author of a significant portion of the New Testament, and a Jew himself, combats this directly in Romans 9 and 11:

I ask, then, did God repudiated his people? Heaven forbid! For I myself am a Jew, from the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not repudiated his people, whom he chose in advance.

While they may be enemies of the gospel, being the chosen people they are loved for the sake of the Patriarchs. For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

-Romans 11

If God’s gifts are irrevocable, then God has not revoked his gift to the Jewish people.

More tellingly, consider the actions of the early Christians. Did they preach that the Jews no longer have God’s promises, that Jews no longer belong in Israel? Such a teaching isn’t found in the New Testament. If supersessionism was God’s intent, it was lost on the early Christian community.


# God’s promises about the land of Israel were fulfilled (Joshua 21). Therefore, the land of Israel no longer belongs to the Jews.

You are conflating fulfilled and cancelled.

God’s promise about the land of Israel is this: the land belongs to Jews forever.

The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

-Genesis 17

This is repeated again many generations later,

He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”

I Chronicles 16:16

God’s promise to the Jewish people is that the land of Israel will be theirs forever.

For God to fulfill this promise, it must belong to the Jewish people forever. Not just for a few years after Joshua, not just until the prophets, not just until Messiah. Forever.


Dear readers: I hope to have compile a comprehensive list of questions and answer, objections and challenges, regarding Israel and Palestinians. I would like to refer back to this post over the years to come. Feel free to contribute your own questions and challenges in the comments, we’ll make them part of the canonical list.