Surrounding by enemies on all sides, both literally and figuratively, Israel has long known that it can count on the Evangelical Christian Church as a stalwart ally, a shield against an increasingly aggressive campaign to reverse this nation’s divine restoration.
But that is starting to change. Within the Evangelical Church itself there is a growing trend toward a different view of Israel, one that questions whether or not the modern State of Israel has anything at all to do with God’s Word and His plans of redemption. At the forefront of that movement has been the documentary-style film “With God on Our Side,” which takes aim at Christians who use the Bible to justify their support of the Jewish state.
With very little mainstream Evangelical response to the film, Eliyahu Ben-Haim, director of Intercessors for Israel, felt compelled to do so in his booklet “Setting the Record Straight.”
Israel Today: Why did you write this book?
Ben-Haim: I realized this [film] is not only a direct attack on Israel, but on God’s body. It not only attacked Christian Zionists, it attacked God Himself, His covenants and what He is doing.
Israel Today: The film emphasizes justice and compassion for the indigenous Arab Christians. Does this not line up with God’s Word?
Ben-Haim: God is for social justice. The prophets are full of social justice, demanding that the children of Israel treat one another properly and that there be justice in the land. But what it comes down to in our current situation is whether our way of doing things, our idea of justice, is better than God’s. This brand of social justice has a veneer of being biblically based, but it is humanism. It elevates the heart and mind of man over God.
Israel Today: So man’s idea of justice, even a Christian idea of justice, is flawed?
Ben-Haim: What this film is doing is lifting up a humanist legal opinion, which tend to not be very firmly based on anything anyway. At the end of World War I, there was a huge population exchange between Turkey and Greece. The man who authored that exchange actually won the Nobel Peace Prize. But today, calling for such an exchange is considered ethnic cleansing. Human legal opinions and positions change all the time.
We cannot form doctrines based on human reasoning. It must be based on the Word, and in Jeremiah 31 God states that Israel will be a nation before me forever. Remember, He said this while Israel was actually in exile. This new social justice theology is based solely on the New Testament, but if you remove it from the context of the Old Testament, there is no New Testament.
Israel Today: So God’s covenant with Israel, including the Land, remains valid.
Ben-Haim: The people behind this film don’t understand the biblical concept of covenant. God’s covenant with Abraham, of which the promise of the Land was a major part, is of the same kind as Yeshua’s covenant with all of us. It is an unconditional and eternal covenant that God cut with Himself. As such, there is no party involved that can negate the terms of the covenant.
Israel Today: Is there any real danger in being overly compassionate to the Arabs, even if that means failing to support what God is doing in Israel?
Ben-Haim: It is not a cardinal sin, but the nature of God’s relationship with Israel is the foundation of His covenants, His promises and His Word to all mankind. To oppose that is to open a huge crack in the spiritual armor that will lead to something far more dangerous.
Israel Today: What is the danger in going down that path?
Ben-Haim: This is not a fight over whether or not God will have His way, because ultimately He will. It is a fight over the soul of the church. While Yeshua’s teachings of compassion are being wielded by those promoting this film’s theology, I believe that ultimately, with the armor cracked, this is leading to a denial of Yeshua himself. Universalism, social justice, humanism, declaring that we all serve the same God whether we call him Allah or the God of Israel or anything else - this is all leading to the same place, and that is away from God.
Israel Today: The film attacks Christian Zionists for unconditionally supporting Israel. How should Christian supporters of Israel gird themselves to withstand this new assault from within?
Ben-Haim: There is nothing wrong with passion and zeal. But if Christian Zionists are not grounded biblically, if their support for Israel is more of an emotional response, it won’t stand when things get tough. We cannot be ruled by emotion, but rather must be ruled by God’s Word.