Why some Christians are happy Israel is at war

With rockets again flying at Israel and retaliatory airstrikes hitting Gaza, it’s easy to get a sense of Deja Vu. For most people, events in Israel are little more than a headline in the news, but for many Christians, they can be seen as signs of the “End Times” and of Jesus Christ’s return.

For followers of charismatic Christianity — such as Evangelicals and Pentecostals — it can also mean that they could soon be sucked up into the clouds to play hopscotch with the LORD for all eternity. This makes their brand of Christianity, with its active involvement in politics in places like the United States of America, Australia, and beyond, particularly dangerous.

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash

That doesn’t mean that their faith is dangerous, but rather how they interpret certain parts of the bible. For many Christians, American evangelicals in particular, ‘speeding up’ certain Bible prophecies surrounding Israel and the middle east is seen as necessary for bringing about the second coming of Christ.

Faith-based foreign policy?

If you are not a believer, you can mock all you like. These are genuine beliefs that not only affect individual believers but have found their way into the White House, especially under previous President, Donald Trump. These beliefs shape foreign policy towards Israel and, by association, Palestine and the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Christian commentators can look at a number of events across the middle east and match it up to certain bible passages and prophecies. One of the most famous is this prediction from Isaiah (17:1):

“A prophecy against Damascus: “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.”

For the casual observer, the chaos and destruction seen in Syria over many years are tragic, but for many Christians, it’s a sign that “the Lord” will return soon. A good thing for believers. So are we in danger of apocalyptic Christian beliefs influencing events in the middle east?

Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

A shared destiny

I would say that these beliefs have already influenced American foreign policy as well as Israeli policy. Isaiah is a Jewish prophet after all. Likewise, on the Arab side of the equation, the Muslims also see Isaiah as a Prophet and share most of the same prophets as Judaism and Christianity. So for believers of three major faiths, all believe that Damascus will cease to be a city.

In defense of Christianity, both Judaism and Islam also speak of Messianic figures returning when certain events happen in the middle east. All three faiths have followers who are actively joyous at the prospect. So is it a case of self-fulfilling prophecies?

It could be. It is in the interest of three major religions to prove that their beliefs are correct. However, it would sound crazy to say people are intentionally speeding up a war in Israel and the middle east in order to force Jesus to fly down out of the sky. Until you look at how influential the American Evangelical Christian lobby is in both the United States of America and Israel and how important the return of Jesus is to evangelicals.

Whether you believe Jesus will come and check up on us here on Earth due to a war in Israel, or you’re just waiting to fly away into Heaven, make sure you remember, the Bible doesn’t say Christ’s return is a pleasant time:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

That certainly is a fitting verse for such challenging times as these.

Thanks for reading, you can explore more discussions on faith on one of my latest online series called “Faith Restored”.

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KJ Halliday

I am a writer and artist from Australia who works as a professional writer and freelancer. I write about faith, parenting as well as mental health topics.