The answer to the title of this article should be clear. We should not bless any nation, or even any person for that matter, unquestioningly. We don’t bless our own children when they do wrong. So, why should we bless a nation regardless of their behavior? Furthermore, to bless our own children even when they do wrong is to hate them. For to do so, would be to teach them that they can do wrong without consequences. This is not love.
Love acknowledges that one is made in the image of God and knows better. We don’t hold people accountable for their actions only when we deem that they didn’t know better, or that they were unable to do better. But the nation of Israel knows better and they are able to do better. Thus, regardless of our view of Israel and prophecy we cannot simply endorse unquestioningly the behavior of Israel. To suggest that ethnic Israel is still a part of God’s plan and, thus, we must bless them regardless of what they do is fundamentally against Scripture.
For one, the prophets taught that election alone was not sufficient, but that they must do justice. Israel was never immune from God’s judgment: “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2). The Israelites who were not obedient to God’s law were not blessed. Thus, the unfaithful Israelites died in the wilderness. And those who didn’t put blood on their doorposts also lost their firstborn. This is the entire basis for the OT covenant—and the essence of any covenant relationship. If Israel wants to receive the blessings of the covenant then they must obey the covenant (Deut 27-30).
Thus, if Israel doesn’t obey the covenant then they will never receive the blessings of the covenant; but only the curses! This is fundamental to the OT and the nature of God. “But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up. And I will set My face against you so that you shall be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursuing you. If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (Lev 26:14-18). (we could cite dozens of verses like this).
Leviticus goes on the say (as does Deuteronomy; which forms the basis for the books of Joshua-Kings), that the land will ‘spew’ them out if they are unfaithful (Lev 18:28; 20:22). Now, if God kicked them out of the land when they did not obey His covenant, which included justice to the foreigner (Lev 19:33 “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong”), then why should we turn our face from what modern day Israel is doing?—or even attempt to justify it by the supposed fact that they are God’s chosen people? God never unquestioningly blesses Israel regardless of their behavior: so why should anyone suggest that suddenly we must do so? In fact, if we love Israel we will not let them get away with injustice, because will punish them.
Secondly, even if we thought that Israel was to be restored to the land, we must also recognized that they are still to be held to standards of justice. This is unquestioningly the message of the prophets. They repeatedly affirm, “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isa 58:6-7). If a prophet were to hear his people respond, ‘But, Israel is God’s chosen race!’ I think that would have torn out their hair and cried! For, even if they are still God’s people, then this would only serve the point more forcefully: for as the people of God they know better and are accountable for their actions.
Now we must be very careful to call injustice for what it is. And we must never support it. For, just as God held the Israelites accountable, so too will He hold His Church accountable. This is the point. For, even if we were to conclude that there is a future for ethnic Israel in God’s plan, that does not mean that we should endorse everything they do.
I am very fearful that many Christians are so concerned to support Israel because of their conviction of a divine commandment to do so, that they are unwilling to see injustice for what it is. Have we looked at the face of injustice and concluded, ‘but they are God’s chosen people’? But the displacement of people is wrong. Demolishing their homes and stealing their lands and depriving them of human dignity is wrong! And when wrong happens God’s people must call it wrong. We must be a voice for those who are suffering. Especially when those who are suffering includes Christians!
In fact, if we believe in the covenant faithfulness of God, then we must not suppose that He will excuse the NT people of God when they commit (or permit) injustice. We too will be held accountable before Him. Psalm 82 still speaks for the heart of God: ‘How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked’ (Ps 82:2-4)
Thus, when someone says that they think it is dangerous to not support Israel, I think they are missing two important factors. First, to support Israel is to love them (regardless of whether they are chosen or not; as we are to love all people). To love them is to not allow them to get away with injustice. To do so is to allow them to fall under the condemnation of God. This position is far more loving toward Israel. Secondly, to support Israel at all costs and to allow them to suppress and oppress the people of Palestine, some of whom are Christians, is to place oneself under the judgment of God—who always sides with His people when they are the oppressed (again, please recognize that we do not intend to suppose that the Palestinians are innocent in all matters. They too have committed crimes. Nor, do we suppose that Israel is not justified in some of their acts. They do have a right to defend themselves. But we must acknowledge that Israel has perpetrated crimes against the Palestinians and are breaking numerous international laws).