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My Take: Jesus would support Palestinian statehood bid
The author argues that Jesus was primarily a peacemaker.
September 21st, 2011
12:27 PM ET

My Take: Jesus would support Palestinian statehood bid

Editor's Note: Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

By Carl Medearis, Special to CNN

This week at the United Nations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has promised to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state. If he does, the United States will veto. Why?

Largely because of something we'll call Christian Zionism, an American theological movement that preaches a Christian obligation to help Jews reclaim the biblical Promised Land.

I travel constantly, speaking about the Middle East to evangelical Christians across America and Europe. I lived in Lebanon for 12 years and churches invite me to talk about how to love their Muslim neighbors.

Often before I get invited to speak at churches and Christian conferences, I go through an awkward period of questioning, an interview that feels more like an interrogation.

Pastors and conference leaders want to size me up to make sure I’m “safe” for Christian audiences. The interrogation usually goes something like this:

“Carl, we love your books and your message. You have a lot of insight on how Christians can be more Jesus-like to our Middle Eastern neighbors. We hope you’ll talk a lot about that!”

Translation: Please, for the love of God, don’t say anything controversial about Israel or the Palestinians.

Though they are too polite to ask, what those pastors and conference leaders want to know is what is my position on Israel. For them, the modern Jewish state is a direct fulfillment of Bible prophecy, the catalyst for a series of events that will culminate in the return of Jesus.

As the Palestinians press ahead in their bid for statehood, prepare to hear from this crowd. These Christians number in the tens of millions and they go into a state of frenzy every time a politician so much as winks at the idea of Israel giving up a few settlements or withdrawing to pre-1967 borders.

They’ll tell you their concern has nothing to do with their particular interpretation of the Bible and everything to do with America and Israel’s national security interests.

Don’t believe a word of it.

When it comes to U.S. policy on Israel and the Middle East, Christian Zionism is the elephant in the room.

Christian Zionists believe that when God told Abraham 4,000 years ago, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you” he was making a promise that extends to the modern state of Israel. Any nation that “curses” Israel will face God’s judgment.

Not all evangelical Christians believe this, but the ones that do are the loudest voices in the media, and they lead huge organizations.

Television evangelists like Pat Robertson and John Hagee mobilize millions of Christians every year to write to their congressmen demanding that Israel be allowed to expand settlements indefinitely. They seem to oppose every peace deal that comes to the table.

There’s a reason for this. In their minds, the modern Israeli state is not only a fulfillment of biblical prophesy. In a bizarre twist that leaves most outsiders dumbfounded, Christian Zionists say the Bible predicts that Jews and Palestinians will forever be at war until Jesus returns.

They say the only person that will bring peace before the end of the age is—wait for it—the devil, in the form of the anti-Christ.

When you hear some Christian politicians say, “The land belongs to Israel”, what they’re really saying is if America blesses Israel – that is, if it gives uncritical support to the Jewish state - God will bless America. If America curses Israel, God will curse America.

When it comes to Israel and her neighbors, many Christian Zionists believe that peacemaking is the devil’s work.

They may forget that it was Jesus who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers."

One of the reasons Jesus was crucified was because of his refusal to embrace a nationalist agenda. But Christian Zionism blesses military action by the modern state of Israel, under the banner of "national security," including the demolition of Palestinian homes to pave the way for new settlements.

So how would Jesus vote this week if he had a seat at the U.N.?

Surely love, compassion, justice and peace-making would top his lists of concerns for all involved. Maybe he would give a new parable - the Parable of the Good Palestinian - offending all who would hear.

Rather than allowing obscure Old Testament promises to dictate our foreign policy, what if we stuck to the clear commands of God - love your neighbor, your enemy and the foreigner in your midst - which appear in Exodus, Leviticus and three of the four gospels.

Many Christians in America think of Jews and Christians as “us” and anything that sounds Muslim or Arab as “the other.” But the call of Jesus is to be more loving towards the “other” than towards the people we think of as “us.”

This command works both ways. When I’ve had audiences with leaders in the Hezbollah or Hamas, I tell them the same thing: That Jesus said to love your enemies. Who are your enemies? Israel.

It’s true that there are elements of Palestinian society that do not want peace, no matter the price. They need to be isolated and dealt with.

The same goes for elements of Israeli society that don’t want peace. The good news is that extremists are a minority on both sides of the conflict.

People ask me all the time what I think about Israel and end-times theology, and how the Palestinians factor into that.
Here’s my answer: If your end-times theology trumps the clear commands in Scripture to love neighbors and enemies, then its time to rethink your theology.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Israel • Opinion

soundoff (1,520 Responses)
  1. themadjewess

    @MD:

    That is from the New Testament. People here deny that Jesus was a Jew. They deny that Israel is almost 6k years old.
    Your argument is pointless amongst these Jew hating pigs.

    Get on the topic. Give reasons WHY Israel IS Gods land, and his people, these people would like to deny you your existence and you are concerned with a technicility.

    October 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  2. themadjewess

    @GAY:
    'That’s why it is impossible for jesus to be the messiah since he wasn’t a decedent of David.'

    Matthew 1
    The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
    1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

    2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
    Isaac the father of Jacob,
    Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
    3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
    Perez the father of Hezron,
    Hezron the father of Ram,
    4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
    Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
    Nahshon the father of Salmon,
    5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
    Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
    Obed the father of Jesse,
    6 and Jesse the father of King David.

    David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
    7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
    Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
    Abijah the father of Asa,
    8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
    Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
    Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
    9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
    Jotham the father of Ahaz,
    Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
    10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
    Manasseh the father of Amon,
    Amon the father of Josiah,
    11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

    12 After the exile to Babylon:
    Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
    Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
    13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
    Abihud the father of Eliakim,
    Eliakim the father of Azor,
    14 Azor the father of Zadok,
    Zadok the father of Akim,
    Akim the father of Elihud,
    15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
    Eleazar the father of Matthan,
    Matthan the father of Jacob,
    16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

    17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

    October 2, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • md2205

      First of all, your genealogy is all wrong. But second of all, you can't have it both ways. You can't say there was immaculate conception and he is the son of G-d, and then say his father was Jacob. Then he was a plain person. In fact, he was a person who rejected Torah law and the Messiah can only be one who supports and strengthens Torah law. The Messiah has to be descended from King David, and there are people in the world who can claim that lineage. He has to be a king. He has to be someone who was not killed.

      October 2, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • gayjesus

      Stepdad is not lineage.

      Weakest argument yet...now you are just flailing around in you illogical logic

      October 2, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  3. Muneef

    Poverty and Terrorism;
    Why do feel there is a connection between poverty and terrorism...? Jobless and Hopeless for an employment will be driven to become joining gangesters thieves,burglars,robbers,militias,pirates.. Violence is even worse if hooked addicted on some few things other than food and water that demands from them more and more money...!!

    what obstructs the investment in world nations development of the world nations in creating  jobs opportunities to enable all to live and dream of success... There are misdistribution of world wealth,countries are heading towards obtaining more arms than businesses, investments or developments...!! Others rather went on the highest or biggest or fanciest concrete jungles....!!
    While few others have treasured,hoarded their money in banks for the sake of u-s-ury living on interests doing nothing and losing nothing...! Banks for sake of giving high interests will claim for the more financial interests revenue  rather than taking for the morality of fighting poverty in generating more opportunities...unfortunately even if they thought they can do that there will come those who will take it easily because of his gvt connections but will not do that all fake con and will use the money in other things bribing buying the silence of all those...!!

    Some thing should be worked out and serious laws have to be imposed with an aim to fight poverty not by feeding the people but rather in helping them to creat businesses feeding them selves and those whom they employ or work or deal with..... You will find out even more from "the Wall Street Protests & Demands. although even more from the following subject link;
    Quote;
    "Decommissioning The IMF, World Bank and WTO"
    (This report analyses the negative impacts of the IMF, World Bank and WTO on sustainable development and suggests an alternative mechanism for regulating the international economy which can allow these inst-i-tutions to be progressively decommissioned.).
    Unquote:
    http://www.stwr.org/imf-world-bank-trade/decommissioning-the-imf-world-bank-and-wto.html

    If we can just leave out religions as enemies and take "Poverty" as being the main enemy for mankind existence as a human being and not as a working animal....?!?

    October 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Muneef

      2011cnn2011.

      Nor the land or the populations were the problem but rather be it the wise distribution of finance in a sustainable development of the Lands and it's People....!

      October 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Kraken

      Mohammed's brother slept with 5 thugs and now we see the result. Nothing.

      October 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • gayjesus

      @Crack-in

      King james slept with his mother, but the king james bible is the translation that virtually all english translations derive from so therefore christians support incest.

      See how weak your argument is when it is turned around on you.

      Come back when you are older, son. Grown folks are trying to have a conversation.

      October 2, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  4. 2011cnn2011

    Your take? Jesus said give to ceaser what is ceasers, he also said be in the world but not of it. I think Jesus would say "since this life is only temporary, stop worrying about that which is fleeting, and do whats right in Gods eyes to make it to heaven...theres alot more land in the arab world, way more than there is in israel...

    October 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Bob

      Israel was given a set of borders in 1948. Then they stole a lot more land and now they want to keep it. Everyone knows that stealing is bad. Israel will have to give it back, in the end.

      October 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Bob

      There is also a lot of land in Siberia. Why don't the Russian Jews go back to their country of origin instead of taking Palestinian land?

      October 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  5. Bob

    There are so many European and American Jews in Israel that they should have created it between Poland and Germany. In fact Russia has plenty of land in Siberia.

    October 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  6. themadjewess

    Then 3/4 of you should leave too. I mean, 3/4 of you oppressed 1/4 of you many generations ago, so you should therefore be very mad at yourself.

    the biggest 1/4 of me is Iroquois and you are trespassing on MY land. LEAVE please and move to Gaza, where you can eat a LOT of fruit and food.
    The Gazans are ranked the 4th in obesity amongst men by the Jew/Israel hating UN

    October 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  7. themadjewess

    'If the jews left then they wouldn't be rocketed.'

    You mean the same way if you were not gay, you would not have problems.
    Jews will cont to be rocketed, it is PLAINLY written that *ALL* nations will turn on Israel, the end will come, and God will DESTROY the nations that have came against these few people in this little land, and since the palis live there, they would be saved as well.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • gayjesus

      I'm not gay...Jesus is

      October 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  8. themadjewess

    @gay, I am a JEW by my mother and even before I became born again, I believed the teachings of Jesus-what are you talking about? Most Jews dont believe that Jesus is the *MESSIAH*.
    As do not the Muslims.
    Jesus DID that to the Jewish people: "You will not *SEE* me again, not until you LEARN to cry, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"
    Matthew 23:39

    So-Whats your point?

    Jesus ALLOWED his people to be blinded so that the non-Jews could SEE.
    When the TIME comes, which is upon us, and is happening, they will SEE Jesus, no thanks to "Christian"Zionist (88) =Nazi number, btw.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • gayjesus

      Jewish lineage goes through the father. That's why it is impossible for jesus to be the messiah since he wasn't a decedent of David.

      Jew mother + non-jew father means no jew for you. Sorry.

      October 2, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • md2205

      reply to gayj: Torah law says that if a person's mother is Jewish, the child is Jewish, no matter what the religion of the father. That is G-d's law and is compassionate, for the child was in the body of the mother, and how can any religion dare to take the child away from the mother?

      October 2, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  9. themadjewess

    @gay:
    What if the UN said that your land and house now belong to the Native Americans, since they were here first?
    Since I am 1/4 Iroquois (Seneca) It would not bother me ONE bit if you TRES-PASSERS that hate God would please LEAVE.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Free of Judaism Too !

      Then 3/4 of you should leave too. I mean, 3/4 of you oppressed 1/4 of you many generations ago, so you should therefore be very mad at yourself.

      Too bad you are not a whole person, instead of being so fragmentary.

      October 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Bob

      Does your God speak to you? There is medication for that.

      October 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Bob

      the crazy Jewish woman is now a Native American. I bet she is really a fat, bald man who belongs to the terrorist organization JDL.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • gayjesus

      @pseudojew:

      lol wut?

      October 2, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  10. ChristianZionist888

    Is it me or does Zionism resemble Nazism? Both beliefs stand for stealing their neighbor's land. Both stand for genocide and both stand for the belief in a "master race"

    October 1, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • themadjewess

      Projection, 88

      'Is it me or does Zionism resemble Nazism? Both beliefs stand for stealing their neighbor's land. Both stand for genocide and both stand for the belief in a "master race"'

      The person you hate, has become YOU.

      Talmud?
      Nope, dont study it, I am Messianic.
      YOU are judging.
      Sad little boy.

      October 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • md2205

      What is Zionism? It is the belief that a modern government of Jews should govern over the Land of Israel. Israel was given to the Jews many years ago by G-d to be theirs forever. Many nations have tried to take that land away from the Jews since then and have succeeded in governing it, but the land belongs to the Jews as an inheritance from G-d. Jews who believe in G-d also believe that the form of government governing the Land of Israel should not be the secular government that governs it now. They are not Zionists. But they do believe that G-d gave the land to the Jews and that eventually the government will be a religious one, when the Messiah comes. Israel is always in the news nowadays, because the Messiah is about to come and he has said that everyone should increase in acts of goodness and kindness to hasten that time. I am sure that everyone wants to be on the Messiah's good side and therefore will stop harassing the Israelis and will increase in their acts of goodness and kindness to everyone.

      October 2, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • ronnie

      it was there land to began with. how do you steal something that is all ready yours ?

      October 2, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • gayjesus

      Actually it was british palestine and then the un divided it up and jerusalem was to be an international city run by the un.

      How far back do you go for "It was their's first?" Again refer to the native american argument to realize how dumb your reasoning is.

      October 2, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  11. Native New Yorker

    You gotta be careful with those Hot Jewish girls. That is how the Mossad trapped Mordechai Vanunu. I guess that is why he converted to Christianity.

    October 1, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  12. Native New Yorker

    The CIA gave Israel 20 years before collapse in an article. That was about two years ago. Tick Tock. Apartheid Israel's time is running out.

    October 1, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • themadjewess

      'Apartheid Israel's'

      Bla bla bla, weak argument, the SAME argument the radical leftist, treacherous pigs use against my state, AZ.
      Find some other propaganda, you have the SOS.

      October 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • md2205

      I am calmly replying to your insulting, uninformed comment. There is really no need to defend Israel from being called an apartheid state because they really don't do what the term means, so I am not going to defend Israel. However, it would behoove you to learn history not from the biased pro-Arab news outlets and read about modern Jewish history and the development of the State of Israel from reliable sources before you make yourself sound really racist and bigoted. It would also behoove you to focus your fury and hate on those countries that really do treat their inhabitants badly and do something about it to help those unfortunate people.

      October 2, 2011 at 3:05 am |
  13. themadjewess

    Last, because you are WRONG on everything, Carl.
    #1. YOU have a FORM of godliness but DENY Gods power.
    #2. YOU are against GOD ruling FROM Jerusalem, and say it ELOQUENTLY.
    Lat:
    #3, unless you turn from this way of thinking, which is WRONG:

    Matthew 1:23
    "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

    Anyone that stands against these few Jews is AGAINST LAW.

    Just because you MAY (which I do NOT believe) have a heart for some Christians in pAlestine, does not mean that you should tell the Jew to just go back to 67 borders–WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
    WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

    NOW, go ask the Holy Spirit (RUACH HAKODESH) If I am wrong.
    Which I doubt you will do, since your "Christianity" is ANTI LAW (anti-JEW).

    October 1, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • gayjesus

      Whoa. My nutjob detector is going off in a major way. How is the expansion of settlements by Israel lawful and not just lawlessness? No one is free when others are oppressed and you are for the oppresssion of the Palestinians. Jesus is ashamed to have you as a follower. Remember how you think that in the end people will be following evil and thinking that it is really good? Look in the mirror, buddy. You are the one following evil and claiming it is good.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • ChristianZionist888

      The Nazis had the same argument. They believed that they had a exceptional right to do to "other" people" whatever they wanted. They also tried to steal land that was not theirs. You know, like what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people in East Jerusalem and the West bank.

      October 1, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  14. themadjewess

    'Christian Zionists believe that when God told Abraham 4,000 years ago, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you”'

    Surely everything with GOD is just OLD HAT with you....
    So this scripture must be OLD HAT as well:
    Isaiah 40:8

    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God abideth for ever.

    Explain AWAY.

    And then explain this:

    Revelation 21:9

    WRONG on "NATIONALISM"

    9One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

    JUST PLAIN WRONG, period, Mr.Carl

    October 1, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • gayjesus

      That sounds like one hell of an acid trip!

      October 1, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • ChristianZionist888

      That is so funny. Can your precious Talmud explain the theory of relativity? I bet you take an airplane from your house in Boro Park to your illegal home on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. Can your Talmud explain how a jet engine works? Can it explain how a plane stays airborne? Get your head out of the books and see the rest of the world. Israel is a terrorist state that steals land.

      October 1, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  15. themadjewess

    'withdrawing to pre-1967 borders.'

    Which will bring suicide for the Jews, which seems to be what you would like, Mr.
    I think you should withdraw YOUR land back to the Indians, oh pompous one, and the Indians agree with ME, 100%.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • gayjesus

      What if the UN said that your land and house now belong to the Native Americans, since they were here first? Don't worry, they will let you live in the ghetto and build a big wall around it. Oh, everything that you get imported into your ghetto needs to be searched and possibly "taxed" if you know what I mean. Don't try to fight back, since the Native Americans and now backed by China which is funneling them tons of cash and weapons. The Native Americans are slowly starting to move in and destroy houses in your neighborhoods so they can expand their territory.

      Explain the justification for why you are being oppressed.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  16. themadjewess

    'Translation: Please, for the love of God, don’t say anything controversial about Israel or the Palestinians.'

    So, you are JUDGING what your brother/sister is THINKING.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  17. themadjewess

    'Rather than allowing obscure Old Testament promises to dictate our foreign policy, what if we stuck to the clear commands of God – love your neighbor, your enemy and the foreigner in your midst'

    This is surely easy for a person living in AMERICA to say, but YOU are not being rocketed in Sderot and Ashkelon on a DAILY basis, are you, Carl Medearis?

    Appeaser.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • gayjesus

      If the jews left then they wouldn't be rocketed.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  18. themadjewess

    'One of the reasons Jesus was crucified was because of his refusal to embrace a nationalist agenda.'
    ALSO INCORRECT.
    Jesus REBUKED the leaders and pointed them TO the LEADER (HASHEM) of the greatest nation that will EVER exist, which will be ruled FROM Israel.

    "Pray for the peace of JERUSALEM, ISRAEL" ring a bell?

    October 1, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • gayjesus

      Isreal and Jerusalem will never be at peace unless the Jews stop their expansion and stop oppressing their neighbors.

      October 1, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  19. themadjewess

    When it comes to Israel and her neighbors, many Christian Zionists believe that peacemaking is the devil’s work.

    Nope, pALESTINE believes that, but dont let the FACTS confuse this anti Christ, pro-NAZI author

    October 1, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • gayjesus

      And the jews don't believe in the teachings of Jesus and the Muslims do. Explain to me why the believers are the enemy and the non-believers are the ally?

      October 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • ronnie

      And the jews don't believe in the teachings of Jesus and the Muslims do. Explain to me why the believers are the enemy and the non-believers are the ally? ......................YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT

      October 2, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  20. themadjewess

    ChristianZionist (88)
    First of all, you ARE a NAZI, 2nd of all, you are fos. 'I put humanity first', you put humanity LAST.
    The "Goyim"
    What? Excuse me, NAZI: I am 3/4 GOY.

    Now, go back to your little hole in the Texas prison, ABT.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:35 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.