George Washington prayed for the nation

George Washington humbled himself and prayed for God's guidance and peace for the nation.

With all the conflict in the Middle-East, many people ask the question, “Why does the United States support Israel?” Going back a short time in history, modern day Israel became a nation again on May 14th, 1948 at the stroke of midnight. On that date Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Independence 1878 years after Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The declaration was declared 8 hours before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, which was due to finish on the 15th May 1948. It was based on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, and the Partition Plan for Palestine, adopted on November 29th, 1947. Within eleven minutes of the declaration, United States President Harry S. Truman officially announced the United States’ recognition of the fledgling nation of Israel.

Other nations soon announced their recognition, but the surrounding Arab nations responded to the announcement on May 15th, 1948 by attacking Israel with the intent on destroying the tiny nation. Despite overwhelming odds against them in personnel, equipment, weapons, and funding, the tiny country of 64,000 Jews went on to defeat the 45 million Arabs of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon that had attacked. The war ended on February 24th, 1949, but Israel has had to defend itself in three other wars and untold terrorists attacks since then.

While many discount President Truman’s official recognition of Israel as a publicity stunt to get votes, Michael T. Benson, author of Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, reveals that President Truman had been raised with a Christian upbringing and was quite familiar with Israel’s role in Biblical history and prophecy. Because his beliefs, in the years leading up to his Presidency, he had supported the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland. Finally, as President, he had the opportunity to put his faith and the faith of millions of Americans who believed the same into action by officially recognizing Israel’s rebirth.

The question that has to be asked to understand the United States’ support for the nation of Israel is what does the Bible teach about the nation of Israel? There are untold numbers of books written on this topic, but restricting the Biblical teaching to what is commonly known as the Abrahamic Covenant will provide a clear answer to the question.

The Abrahamic Covenant can be found in Genesis 12:1-3 as follows:

(Genesis 12:1-3 KJV)  “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: {2} And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: {3} And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Emphasis added)

These verses summarize God’s blessing and calling of Abraham (FKA Abram), the grandfather of Jacob (Acts 7:8) who was renamed Israel (Genesis 32:28). Abraham (Abram) lived in the city of Ur of the land of Chaldees (Genesis 11:27-31), which is near modern day Baghdad, Iraq. He moved his family further northwest to a town called Haran located on a river that was a tributary to the upper Euphrates, located in modern day Turkey.  There, God called him to leave Haran and go to Canaan, where he ended up in Bethel, located on the northern outskirts of modern day Jerusalem (Genesis 12:4-8).

Looking closer at Genesis 12:1-3, note the seven blessings that God said he would give to Abraham as part of the covenant:

  1. I will make thee a great nation
  2. I will bless thee
  3. I will make thee a great name
  4. Thou shalt be a blessing
  5. I will bless them that bless thee
  6. I will curse him that curses thee
  7. In thee all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Starting with the first blessing, it is clear that God was going to make a great nation out of Abraham’s family. The word nation is defined in Webster’s 1828 dictionary as follows:

NATION, n. [to be born]

1. A body of people inhabiting the same country, or united under the same sovereign or government; as the English nation; the French nation. It often happens that many nations are subject to one government; in which case, the word nation usually denotes a body of people speaking the same language, or a body that has formerly been under a distinct government, but has been conquered, or incorporated with a larger nation. Thus the empire of Russia comprehends many nations, as did formerly the Roman and Persian empires. Nation, as its etymology imports, originally denoted a family or race of men descended from a common progenitor, like tribe, but by emigration, conquest and intermixture of men of different families, this distinction is in most countries lost.2. A great number, by way of emphasis. (Emphasis added)

Notice that the original etymology or meaning of the word nation means to be born. The root of the word nation is natal, which refers to birth or origin. Basically God is saying that he will make Abraham have a great, as in large, family. While it is easy to see that today, Abraham, the father of all Jews, does have a large family of descendants. However, we are also taught in Scripture that anyone who has trusted Jesus Christ as their savior becomes part of Abraham’s family as a child of Abraham (Galatians 3:6-9).

This idea of being children of Abraham by faith is reinforced in Romans 9:5-8, where we are told that not all that are descendants of Abraham are his children. Only those who are Abraham’s children through his wife Sarah’s son Isaac (Jews by birth), not Hagar’s son Ismael (Arabs by birth) are considered the children of the promise. Simply stated, Romans 9 describes how only those who are children of God by faith are children of Abraham. This points out an important point of understanding in that this means that Jews, descendants of Abraham, and non Jews who are Christians who have trusted Christ as their savior are the children of Abraham and will receive the blessings God promised to Abraham (Galatians 3:14).

The second blessing, “I will bless thee”, refers to God’s faithfulness to Abraham and his children. There is no shortage of blessings the God gave to Abraham (Genesis 24:1) and his children (Genesis 25:11; Genesis 26:3; Isaiah 51:2; Acts 3:25).

The third blessing, “I will make thee a great name”, refers to the reputation that Abraham and his children would have (Deuteronomy 26: 19; 1 Kings 1:47; 1 Kings 3:11-14; 1 Chronicles 17:7-8. As a man, Jesus too is considered to be a child of Abraham (Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:14-16) and his name would be exalted above all names (Philippians 2:8-11).

The fourth blessing, “Thou shalt be a blessing”, refers to the blessing that Abraham and his children would be to others (Genesis 26:4-5; Psalms 118:26; Psalms 147:13; Proverbs 20:7; Proverbs 22:9; Zechariah 8:13; Acts 3:25; 1 Corinthians 7:14; Galatians 3:9).  Simply stated, when God blesses his people, they tend to want to share that blessing with others. Church based charities are notorious for this in that they provide meals, health care, schooling, and other services to people.

The fifth and sixth blessings, “I will bless them who bless thee” and “I will curse them who curse thee.” These two blessings are at the heart of why people of faith support Israel. Despite popular belief, the United States was founded on Biblical beliefs. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that our founders believed that if they were to violate Scripture God would curse the nation.

During the Revolutionary War, when battles or weather did not go their way, the senior officers on both sides would immediately question whether they had done something to bring God’s wrath upon their efforts. Likewise, while the war was being fought, the Continental Congress and the press readily questioned what had been done to bring God’s curse upon the Colonial Army.

According to the book, Silenced in the Schoolhouse, which documents such incidents in the founding of America, General Heath of the Continental Army commented on the same when a freak storm in the battle for Boston blew two British transport ships ashore and destroyed their plans for battle. General Heath concluded that a “kind heaven had stepped in to intervene.” Little did he know that this “kind Heaven” would prevail for several more days and ultimately result in the British packing up everything and leaving Boston in route to New York on March 17, 1776.

A second incident, described in Silenced in the Schoolhouse, is about how General George Washington spoke of the providence of God in Boston after a miraculous, undetected, overnight seizing of the high ground of Dorchester Heights overlooking the city.

“Each man knows his place and is resolute to execute his duty [he continued]. Our breastworks are strengthened, and among the means of defense are a great number of barrels, filled with stone and sand, arranged in front of our works, which are to be put into motion and made to roll down the hill, to break the ranks and legs of assailants as the advance. These are the preparations for blood and slaughter! Gracious God! If it be determined by thy Providence that thousands of our fellow creatures this day be slain, let thy wrath be appeased, and in great mercy grant that victory be on the side of our suffering, bleeding country.”

Time and time again, Americans have prayed for God’s blessing through perilous times. This attitude of God blessing or cursing nations was common knowledge in Christian circles (Psalms 33:12; Proverbs 14:34). In fact, Israel’s destruction in 70 AD was seen by many Christians as a curse for their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. But, what they did not count on was that God was not finished with Israel (Romans 11:1-7). He still had plans for the tiny country and her people.

Likewise, many older Christians testify that when they were younger, there was great disagreement over whether the promises made to Israel in the Bible were symbolic or literal, because there was no nation of Israel. However, with the second birth of Israel, many who had doubted God’s Word realized that God was not done with Israel, and her rebirth would start a countdown to end times events.

Unfortunately, with Biblical illiteracy in America, more people are rejecting support for Israel and can not understand why conservative Christians continue to do so. They do not know that God’s promises have not vanished with time. However, conservative Christians, like Harry Truman, know that when the nation rejects Israel and God’s rule, it will only be a matter of time before America is cursed.

With the horrific events on 9/11, many people believe that God is not pleased with America and He is lifting his hand of protection. Sadly, when stating the same publicly they are ridiculed and call religious nuts. However, the Bible clearly teaches that those who curse Israel by forsaking her will suffer.

One thing of particular note in Scripture is that there is mention of many nations existing today that will be on earth when the end times occur, but there is no mention of America. This is an ominous sign and one that should give American’s pause of where they stand on the blessing and cursing of Israel.

Finally, we must understand that Jesus will come again and one day will set up his kingdom on earth for one thousand years (Revelation 20:6). This will be the final fulfillment of the seventh blessing, “In thee all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” During this time, all families, Jew and Gentile, will be united as one through faith and blessed by living in harmony and peace in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ kingdom will be headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel and those who believe in God’s promises will recognize the signs that it is near. This means that now, more than ever, America must stand for the support of Israel and pray for peace in Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6).

In conclusion, why does the United States support Israel? Because America’s Biblically literate, Bible believing Christians know that God has commanded it and as long as they can exert influence over the leadership of the nation it will stay that way.

 

 

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