Why Israel? articles by Rev. Dr. John Tweedie
Rev. Dr. John Tweedie is the Chairman of Christians for Israel International. His 8-unit DVD teaching series Why Israel? is suitable for individual, church, and/or small groups. Each unit includes on location scenes and interviews recorded in Israel. Helpful leader and individual participant study guides are also available
Why Israel? As a Christian pastor serving a busy congregation, I’m often asked why I choose to have the
additional stress that comes from working with a pro-Israel ministry like Christians for Israel. Behind the question is the thought that pastoral ministry is demanding and controversial enough without adding Israel to the mix, especially when there are so many opinions and positions on Israel, both within the Church and beyond it.
Why Israel? What time is it?
According to a group of elite nuclear scientists, the world has inched closer to Doomsday. These experts, who regularly publish their opinions in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, last year moved the minute hand on the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight to reflect their heightened concerns regarding the dangers posed to humanity. The clock, a symbol of our troubled times, was first set 60 years ago shortly after the United States dropped its atomic bombs on Japan. It hangs in the University of Chicago.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
Or what shall it profit a man if he shall make a fortune, yet lose his reputation in the process? Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie "The Passion of the Christ" is now recognized as one of the greatest religious box-office sleepers of all time. The film not only broke box-office records, it shattered Hollywood benchmarks for success which generally exclude films having religious themes.
Preamble: While Heaven is the primary theme of this current edition of Evangelical Christian,
I trust you understand dear reader if, for continuity sake, I continue with this, the fourth article in the series Why Israel? In fact, in keeping with this article’s anti-Semitic focus it is probably true to say that extreme anti-Semites believe Heaven can’t be Heaven if it has room for Jews. As Christians we know otherwise. After all, our Lord is Jewish and He “sits at the right hand of God “(1 Peter 3:22) or, as He said to His Jewish followers: “…I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14: 2, 3 And here’s a good question: If, as the Apostle Paul declares in Romans 11:26,
“…all Israel shall be saved…” where will the ‘saved’ of Israel be, if not in Heaven?
Why Israel? “…as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found
blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (Phil.3:6, 7). These are the words of a zealous Jew who first tried to destroy the Church but then, following his conversion to Christ, became the Church’s champion and first apologist. His given name was Saul of Tarsus. We know him as Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles.
Why Israel? “…for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession.” Deut.14:2
Israel first appears in Scripture as the new name God gave to Jacob (Gen.32:28). It means Prince with God. It was first used collectively (of Jacob’s descendants) in Gen. 34:7. Later, during Israel’s time of servitude in Egypt, Moses challenged Pharaoh with the words: “…Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto you ‘Let my son go, that he may serve me…’” (Exodus 4:22).