Much of our Christian emphasis on foreign policy in the Middle
East today is based on the promise that God made to Abraham in
Genesis 12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse
him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth
The first half of this verse is a promise that God made to just
one person, Abraham. The original Hebrew is in the second person
singular, meaning that God is speaking only to Abraham. The King
James Version correctly reflects this grammatical construction,
since "thee" is singular, referring only to one person, whereas "ye"
would refer to multiple persons.
Matthew Henry’s commentary states of Genesis 12:3a that "This
made it a kind of league, offensive and defensive, between God and
Of the second half of the verse, Matthew Henry says, This was
the promise that crowned all the rest; for it points to the Messiah,
in whom ‘all the promises are yea and amen.’ Note, (1), Jesus Christ
is the great blessing of the world, the greatest that ever the world
Recently Genesis 12:3 has been spiritualized by Christian Zionist
preachers, who say that this verse applies not just to Abraham, but
also to Abraham’s descendants, specifically to the modern state of
Israel founded in 1948. Supposedly, it means that evangelical
Christians as individuals, and America as a nation, are bound to
provide unquestioning support, financial and otherwise, to the state
of Israel. It is said that if America fails to back up Israel in
every way possible, financially, militarily and otherwise, then God
will be through with America and will have us nuked.
When it is pointed out that the various Arabs nations, including
Palestine, are also descended from Abraham, the Christian Zionists
say that the promise of Genesis 12"3 applies only to the descendants
of Isaac. (Of course, there is no mention of Isaac in Genesis 12:3.
They often misquote the verse, saying it refers to "blessing
Israel," but Israel is not mentioned in the verse, either).
Zionists say, based on their non-literal, speculative,
spiritualized interpretation of Genesis 12:3, that we are to give
total, unquestioned support to some of Abraham’s children, while
others of Abraham’s children are to be hated, persecuted, ethnically
cleansed, bombed back into the Stone Age, maybe even nuked.
But in Genesis 21:13, 17-18 God also bestows His blessing on
Ishmael and his descendants, saying, "For I will make him a great
nation." According to the same principles of interpretation by
which we have made Genesis 12:3 a command for political support of
the modern nation of Israel, Genesis 21:18 must be taken as a
command for political support of the modern Arab nations. (Anybody
want to start up a "Christian Ishmaelist" movement to lobby for Arab
Christian Zionists claim to have 70,000,000 followers in America,
who insists that our politicians render unquestioning obedience to
the military and political agenda of the Israeli Government.
Does God really demand that we support all actions and activities
of the Israeli Government, even if those actions violate God’s moral
standards of righteousness?
It should be pointed out that even in Old Testament times, when
Israel was a nation specially chosen by, and ruled over by, Jehovah,
He did not expect His people to support and endorse all actions of
the government of Israel.
When the Government of Israel committed human rights violations,
the prophets openly condemned them, 2 Kings 6:21 –23, 2 Chronicles
28:9-11, Nehemiah 5:7-11, Jeremiah 34:11-17, Amos 2:6-7, etc.
Nowadays, liberal Jewish groups still protest human rights
violations in Israel. Nevertheless, most fundamentalists Christians
would never dream of doing such a thing – it is against their
religion. It is their duty to either deny that such violations take
place, or else to endorse and commend such violations. We have been
told that God will smite us if we disagree with anything that Israel
The lawgiver Moses commanded the Hebrews that they should not
oppress the strangers or non-Jews in their lands, Exodus 12:49,
22:21, 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34, 25:35, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, 23:7,
24:17, 27:19. That message, of course, is not mentioned today – it
is considered "politically incorrect."
When King Ahab and Queen Jezebel unjustly expropriated the
vineyard of Naboth, the prophet Elijah publicly denounced the kind
for this unjust action, 1 Kings 21:17-24, Jehu cited this official
action of the government of Israel against Naboth as justification
for overthrowing that government, 2 Kings 9:25-26.
But nowadays, when the Israeli government expropriates the lands
and properties of Palestinians without compensation, we look the
other way and say nothing about it.
In Jeremiah 27:1-5, the prophet Jeremiah picketed a public
meeting of the government of Judah with representatives of Edom,
Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon. He was protesting the foreign policy of
Judah. We would never do anything like that today – it would be
considered a violation of the command to "bless Abraham."
In Jeremiah 27:6-17, the prophet advocated the surrender of
Israel’s territory to the King of Babylon, in return for peace –
today, we would call it "land for peace." But today, our
warmongering televangelists denounce "land for peace" as unthinkable
for any reason whatsoever, and threaten God’s wrath against anyone
who would support such a thing.
Supposedly it is better for Jewish and Arab children of Abraham
to keep on killing each other over the land (while these
sanctimonious war profiteers collect the money from sales of their
Armageddon videos. Could it be a conflict of interest to allow
American foreign policy to be dictated by these mega-millionaire
preachers, who stand to make a profit if there is a war in the
We have seen that God’s inspired prophets did not meet the
Christian Zionist standard of blind, unquestioning support for
Israel. As it turns out, today’s Christian Zionists do not meet that
Whenever the modern Israeli government takes any action that does
not fit in with the speculative doomsday scenarios of the Armageddon
Theology, the Christian Zionists will loudly protest and insist that
the Israelis are doing wrong.
For instance, in 1994 Christian Zionist leaders, including Pat
Robertson and Ralph Reed, publicly condemned the policies of the
Israeli government under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was
seeking a peace settlement with the Palestinians. Robertson has also
attacked the policies of Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres.
It seems hypocritical for Christian Zionists to threaten the
wrath of God against those who express disagreement with any policy
of the Israeli government when they have done the same thing
Modern-day Israelis and other Jews are well aware of the fact
that the Christian Zionists believe, based on a mistaken
interpretation of Zechariah 13:8, that there must be a devastating
war in the Middle East in which two-thirds of all the Jews will be
slaughtered. It is commonly understood that the Christian Zionists
do not really care about what is best for the Jews, as evidenced by
their constant lobbying efforts to stir up World War III in the
Middle East. Million Jews may wind up dead, but it will be good for
sales of the Armageddon videos that are peddled on the
televangelists’ broadcasts and web-sites.
This raises the question who is really "blessing Israel;" those
who are working for peach in the Middle East, or those who are
agitating for a war designed to get two-thirds of all Jews wiped
Some gullible evangelical Christians may not understand these
issues, but our Jewish friend understand what is at stake very well
– they are being prepared to serve as cannon fodder for the next
Gershom Gorenberg, in his book "The End of Days: Fundamentalism
and the Struggle for the Temple Mount," says, "I’ve listened
to….American evangelical ministers who insist on their deep love for
Israel and nevertheless eagerly await apocalyptic battles on
Israel’s soil so terrible that the dry river bed will, they predict,
fill with rivers of blood."
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, has stated that "People who say there can be no
peace are not really friends of Israel."
Robert O. Freedman, political science professor at Baltimore
Hebrew University, says concerning Christian Zionists, "Once you
get in bed with them, you are, to a certain extent, subscribing to
their view of what America ought to be. And that, in my view, is not
in the best interests of the Jewish people."
Former Shin Bet secret chief Carmi Gillon and former police
commissioner Assaf Hefetz, commenting on the activities of Temple
Mount extremists who are financially supported by fundamentalist
Americans, warned that an attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem
"would lead to an all-out war and unleash destructive forces that
would imperil Israel’s existence."
The eagerness of some televangelists, to get a war going in the
Middle East (along with their vociferous Arab-bashing and
Muslim-baiting), must be considered in context of their belief in
the infamous Armageddon Theology, which insists that 2/3 of all the
Jews must die.
Grace Halsell, in her book "Prophecy and Politics" observed:
"Convinced that a nuclear Armageddon is an inevitable event within
the divine scheme of things, many evangelical dispensationalists
have committed themselves to a course for Israel that, by their own
admission, will lead directly to a holocaust indescribably more
savage and widespread than could have generated in Adolf Hitler’s
American Christians who really want to be a blessing to all the
children of Abraham (Jews and Arabs) need to realize that they do
not have to render blind, knee-jerk support to the most extremist
elements of Zionism, or to those who are actively trying to foment
Massive wars in the Middle East that would be contrary to the
interests of the Israeli people. Not everyone is going to agree that
stirring up a war to get 2/3 of all Jews killed is a good thing for
Nor should we forget that our Prime Directive as Christians is
found in the Great Commission. Our mission is to evangelize, baptize
and teach, not to try to hasten Christ’s coming by agitating war and
violence in the Middle East.
Zionism is based on a total misunderstanding of what the Bible
teaches. It is true that God gave Palestine to Hebrews in ancient
times. But the Bible teaches that their possession of the land was
under a conditional covenant with Jehovah. If the Hebrews disobeyed
their God, they would lose the land. This is clearly taught in
Genesis 17:9-14, Exodus 19:4-5, Leviticus 26:40-45, Deuteronomy
7:12, Joshua 23:15-16, 1 Kings 9:6-9, 2 Chronicles 7:19-22, Jeremiah
34:12-22, Ezekiel 33:23-29, Matthew 21:43, etc.
When the Jews rejected their Messiah, God sent the Romans to
dispossess the Jews from their land in 70 AD. This was God’s
complete punishment on the Jews for crucifying Christ – therefore,
the Jews today should not be persecuted for something that happened
2000 years ago. However, their former title deed on the land of
Palestine is no abrogated.
The New Testament teaches that Christians are to focus on the
heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one, John 4:21, Galatians
4:24-28, Hebrews 12:18-24. We are told in Hebrews 11:13-16 that even
Abraham has no further interest in a restored Jewish state on earth,
because he is in a much better place in heaven.
Christian Zionism is a movement that claims to be based on the
Bible, but as we have seen, it is actually contrary to what the
Bible teaches. All Christians should repudiate Zionism and should
work for a pace settlement in the Middle East that will be of mutual
benefit to Abraham’s Jewish and Arab children in Palestine.
Mr. Thomas Williamson is an
ordained Baptist minister who lives in Chicago, Illinois. He contributes
to Media Monitors Network (MMN)
from time to time.