Palestinian Children watching an Israeli Soldier from behind barbed wire
Dick Staub shares in an article in The Washington Post the way he changed his mind from the extreme Zionism of his parents to a more balanced and biblical position, summarised in the title of this post.
Before I proceed, sharing with you some of this text, I need to mention that it occurred to me for the first time that, in fact, there is not much difference between the eschatological fury of Christian Zionists and that of Jihadists, like Ahmedinejad. This is really scary.
Here are a few significant quotes.
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As the child of an evangelical pastor, it was clear that my father and mother shared a special affection for Israel. They led “Holy Land Tours” for their friends and congregants called “For Love of His Land.”
Many conservative Christians believe this prophecy must be fulfilled before Jesus’ Second Coming. For them, 20th-century events — including the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948 — directly fulfill that prophecy and pave the way for Jesus’ return.
This same religious impulse is at the heart of statements from pastors like John Hagee or politicians like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry who speak of a clear biblical directive that requires unwavering support for Israel.
Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also driven by prophetic passions, although of a decidedly different sort.
In a 2006 United Nations speech he referred to “the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace, and brotherhood on the planet.” Ahmadinejad is a member of a Shiite Muslim sect that believes Muhammad al-Mahdi, born in 869 A.D., is expected to return soon as the Mahdi, or Messiah, to save mankind.
Ahmadinejad also believes that Israel’s destruction must precede the Mahdi’s return.
So a subset of Christians believe the establishment of Israel leads to the Messiah’s return, and a subset of Muslims believe the destruction of Israel accomplishes the same thing.
Jewish, Christian and Muslim messianic predictions all rely on interpretations of complex and ancient biblical prophecies.
As a child I was taught that all humans are created in God’s image and therefore have inestimable value and worth. We sang the simple song, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world,” and I figured that included Palestinian and Jewish children too.
My parents, who clearly loved Israel, never taught me otherwise. As a matter of fact, through them I became acquainted with their American-born Jewish tour guide Stephen Langfur, who wrote a book, “Confession from a Jericho Jail: What Happened When I Refused to Fight the Palestinians.”
In it he expressed his serious concerns about the plight and rights of the Palestinians, saying, among other things, “In killing Palestinian children, we condemn our grandchildren.”
I came to see that within both my Christian tradition and Langfur’s Jewish tradition that there is a paradoxical appreciation for Israel and the Jews, but not in ways that deny the rights of all humans.
Read here the entire article.