Recently, Hamas launched terrorist attacks on Israel, kidnapping some people as hostages, prompting Israel to retaliate. The question of whether to support Israel or Palestine is not the intention of this article. The Israel-Palestine issue involves intricate factors such as history, ethnicity, religion, and international relations, making it difficult to present a clear opinion. However, focusing on the event itself, we cannot express any approval for any inhumane acts or acts of terrorism.
Christians have a special connection with Israel. Perhaps you are one of them, hoping to visit the Holy Land in your lifetime, to seek the traces of God’s presence among His chosen people, and to reflect on the life and deeds of Jesus in this land. Furthermore, the New Testament Church and the Old Testament’s law and historical events mentioned in it are not entirely separate. God has always revealed Himself to humanity, choosing Israel to make His presence known to other nations. The faith community in the New Testament continues the revelation of the Old Testament, containing a part of the genetic makeup of the Israelite nation.
Our concern for Israel is also a hope for their entire family to return to the Lord. The Gospel should not only spread all over the world but also return to the place where the early Church originated. Just as we are in the United Kingdom, we are willing to bear witness to the people here, even though the UK has become increasingly secularized. Although Paul did not clearly explain in Romans 11 how Israel as a whole will be saved, he mentioned that it would happen when the full number of Gentiles comes in. On one hand, we care about the unreached peoples, especially in the Middle East to East Asia, mainly Muslims and Buddhists, hoping that they will accept the Lord soon. On the other hand, we also care about the Jews returning to the Lord because they are God’s chosen people. God has not completely rejected them; there needs to be a restoration of relationship between God and them. This restoration is not only about returning to the Promised Land to settle down but also accepting ultimately Jesus as their Messiah. Through Christ’s redemption, they can be reconciled with God. In the global mission movement, in addition to reaching out to Muslims, there is also the mission to the Jews. Everyone who is unwilling to accept the Gospel and rely on the Savior is a concern for us.
We do not favour the Jews simply because they are the chosen people, nor do we view them with hostility just because they reject Christ, claiming that the New Testament Church community completely replaces the position of the Israelite nation. In Ephesians, Paul emphasizes that the mystery of God is to make both Gentile and Jewish believers one, as Jesus Christ is our peace. The cross has abolished enmity and broken down the middle wall of separation. We believe that only Jesus Christ is the true Prince of Peace who can bring genuine peace to the world.
Let us unite in praying for Jerusalem and the people of the Holy Land, for true peace is when people are reconciled with God through Christ.
Rev Wai Chor Chiu