Standing With Israel

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Most Christians support Israel theoretically, but in day-to-day life, the nation, her people and her concerns seem far-off.

However, I believe the time has come for our outlook to change. Israel is rapidly evolving into what may become the most fundamental issue to face every Bible-believing Christian in the world.

Nations such as Iran are calling for the annihilation of Israel. An increasingly violent, militant Islam is poised to inflict global terror on all who stand with Zion. Historically Christian Europe is in demographic danger of becoming a Muslim continent.

Running through Jerusalem is a dividing line that becomes clearer with every passing day. When this reality hits us, we will be compelled to choose a side. Every committed Christian, I believe, will soon have no choice but to prepare for action.

Though you may not have actively supported this nation in the past, make no mistake: Israel matters to us. Here's why.

We repent Jesus.

As followers of Jesus, one of our chief roles is to serve as His emissaries, representing Him to the world. Honoring and hallowing the Lord's name is central to our call as believers and our accountability before men. We therefore must understand how the testimony of our words and actions fashions a lens through which others will see God.

But through the centuries, the name of Jesus has been profaned and vilified by people claiming to be Christians, in the name of Christ, they have acted against the Jewish people in unspeakable ways. This has happened to such a drastic degree that the name of Jesus has become a figurative and literal curse to the Jewish people.

I find that many evangelicals are largely ignorant of the horrors committed against the Jews in the name of Jesus throughout church history and the resulting scars on the corporate soul of the Jewish people.

Again and again, generation after generation, in "Christian" city, the Jewish people have been maligned, ostracized, tortured and even burned alive by Christians acting in Jesus' name. These crimes against humanity often occurred while other Christians-equally culpable in their indifference and inaction-allowed such atrocities to take place.

George B., my good friend from New York, a Jew who was raised in Cleveland, experienced the results of anti-Semitism personally when he was a young boy. While walking to school through his mostly Catholic neighborhood, he was surrounded by a large group of older boys from the local Catholic school. "You killed Christ!" they screamed at him.

"You put Jesus on the cross!" The boys then proceeded to surround young George, trapping him so that he could not escape while they urinated on him.

If we are truly concerned about preaching the gospel, if we are truly concerned about being a witness to the goodness of the name of Jesus, then the fame and honor and accurate reputation of the character of Jesus must be at the forefront of our agenda.

Despicable things for centuries have been penetrated against the Jewish people in the name of Jesus. But our support for Israel becomes a practical act of repentance for centuries of sin so black and grim that it has stained the soul of the church.

As world powers rise and fall, and America struggles to find and walk in truth, Israel steps onto center stage. Now that the question of her significance has become unavoidable, the peoples of the earth are aligning for or against her.

Christians cannot afford to be ignorant or silent when Israel's story, an essential part of our own story, reaches its climax. The name of Jesus is at stake. The lives of our children and grandchildren are at stake. May we be found faithful. May we become one of the "Israel people," never again to be unclear or silent about where we stand.

Robert Stearns directs Eagles' Wings in New York. He serves as co-chairman with Jack Hayford of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.

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