Nine days ago, Friends of Zion museum founder Dr. Mike Evans issued two scathing responses to the formation of an Israeli government led by New Right leader Naftali Bennett and including left-wing Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Joint Arab List leader Mansour Abbas. Dr. Evans also released an online rant in an article labeling the new Israeli government a “striptease,” vowing to “only have one mission in life left, to use every bit of my energy and power to destroy these fools before they destroy the nation.”
Evans tells Jewish MKs to “put on tefillin”
His statements were widely criticized by evangelicals and Israelis alike. So on Friday, he released a revised version of his original letter as a paid feature in several media. Minus the egregious and vulgar language, he opened the letter with the words, “To the ministers and members of the Knesset, I humbly appeal to you.” In the letter, he called for the MKs to also humble themselves.
“Before the final vote becomes official, [I ask] that you go to the Kotel with your rabbi, and you put on tefillin, and you humble yourself, and you pray, and you seek the face of God that you might hear from heaven and know His will on the matter of the election.
“Many of you have not put on tefillin since your Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. Many of you are not trusting in God. You’re trusting in the arm of flesh, which is idolatry. Jeremiah the prophet stood before the city of Jerusalem and saw the idolatry and prophesied what would happen if the nation would not repent. They mocked him and spit upon him and rejected his word. Everything that Jeremiah predicted came to pass.
Malcolm Hedding: “Make no friendship with an angry man”
His revised version was not much better than the original. Malcolm Hedding, an evangelical minister and Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) responded, describing Evans’ statements as “Words that Shock and Dismay,” citing Proverbs as a warning.
“Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” Proverbs 22: 24-25
In recent days a Christian leader of some repute, and certainly well known in Israel, made some angry, outrageous and unforgivable statements about the incoming, and newly elected, Israeli government. Not only were his words harsh and judgmental but they also contained vulgarities that are certainly not consistent with biblical behavior. Even his statements concerning the new government did not reflect a biblical position and most certainly he did not speak for evangelicals who stand with Israel from all over the world. His words were in fact a betrayal of everything that Biblical Christian Zionists everywhere stand for.
In essence, we stand with Israel because it is the right thing to do, because of the command of scripture, because we owe the nation a debt of gratitude, because of unconditional promises that God made to Abraham 4000 years ago and because of historical Christian antisemitism. We have no business in dictating to Israel what her government should or should not look like. This is a matter that Israelis will decide alone by a democratic process and we shall stand beside them in this choice and pray for their leaders as scripture commands.
“We wish to assure our Israeli and Jewish friends that we will continue to support them in their fight against sworn enemies and antisemitism and we will continue to engage in acts of kindness and love that are the hallmark of genuine friendship. This has been the track record of numerous Christian Zionist organizations working in Israel and I have no doubt that it will continue to remain so.”
Bridges for Peace: ”stand with Israel at all times”
Bridges for Peace, a Christian organization that supports Israel also released a statement.
“Based in Israel for over fifty-seven years, Bridges for Peace has experienced the transition of many political leaders that have been elected to head the government of Israel. There is no doubt that each elected official brings a different political ideology, some which are more congruent with the biblical destiny for the nation, and others which are not. Despite this, however, Bridges for Peace will never withdraw support for Israel and its people based on who sits in the seat of the prime minister of Israel. While there are voices that seek to perpetuate the false narrative that Christian support for Israel and the Jewish people is conditional—this is not the heart of Bridges for Peace.
“Our organization is called to stand with Israel at all times—in times of peace, in times of crisis and in times of uncertainty. Our global network of National Offices and supporters unashamedly chooses at all times to stand with Israel and to be a blessing to the Jewish people,” said Bridges for Peace International President and CEO Rev. Rebecca J. Brimmer. “As anti-Semitism increases and Israel is demonized on the global stage, Bridges for Peace would like to reassure our Jewish friends in Israel and around the world that the support of Bridges for Peace and the support of our global network of Christian representatives will not waiver.”
“Our legacy stands as a testament that Bridges for Peace is here to show steadfast love and support to the nation of God and the people of God, regardless of changes in the political leadership of the nation,” Brimmer added. “We are not swayed by political sentiment, but rather we are driven by a call of God, an eternal biblical imperative to bless the nation of Israel, to comfort the people of God, and to stand with Israel and Jerusalem.”
“Since 1964 the mission of Bridges for Peace has been centered on blessing the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Whether it is through the various humanitarian projects that offer practical assistance to Israelis or through our educational endeavors in the nations to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment, the heart and vision instilled by our founder, Dr. G. Douglas Young, remains alive and active today. As Israel faces many internal and external threats, it is exactly at such a time as this that Bridges for Peace strongly affirms our pledge to unwaveringly continue our support for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.
“Bridges for Peace will continue in the vision of our founder to be a blessing; to earnestly pray for the peace, safety and well-being of this nation; and to build meaningful, unconditional relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world.”
Pastor Trey Graham: Constant devotion to Israel
Pastor Trey Graham of the First Melissa Church in Texas expressed this clearly.
“As lovers of Israel, both Jewish and Christian, read the repeated warnings given to members of Israel’s political leadership regarding the formation of a new government, we must ask ourselves where we stand in this important conversation. At the request of Israel365, I humbly offer a few thoughts to my fellow Christian Zionists during these politically charged days. Please note at the outset that this column contains no tantalizing tales of past encounters with world leaders or demands that governments of foreign nations do what I say. I acknowledge that I have never met Benjamin Netanyahu, Menachem Begin, Ronald Reagan or Mike Evans.
“My involvement in Israeli politics over the last decade has been as an interested and informed observer, not as a participant and surely not as a kingmaker. It was a great privilege to visit my friend, Dov Lipman, in the parliament while he served as an MK. I was in Israel on Election Day in April 2019 and September 2019 and March 2020 and yet never voted a single time. I enjoy talking politics with my Israeli friends, sometimes in personal conversations and sometimes when they are guests on my talk radio show in Texas. I always learn something new from Yehudah Glick and Tuly Weisz and Gil Hoffman and Haviv Gur and Elliot Chodoff and Josh Reinstein and Yishai Fleisher, among others. I consider these men to be my friends and my teachers.
“As an American and as a Christian, please know that I possess a deep love for Israel and a constant devotion to Israel. As a non-Israeli and non-Jew, please also know that I possess no right to vote for the nation’s government and no authority to tell Israelis who should be their next prime minister.
“As much as Christian Zionists in America and elsewhere may be devoted to Israel and the Jewish people and may want specific leaders to be in office, we do not get the final say in these matters. Instead of defiantly making demands or repeatedly giving unsolicited advice, let us look for other ways to be a part of this crucial discussion. Christians who love the God of Israel and the Land of Israel are called to pray and love and support and defend, not demand and decree.
“What should we pray? Let us start where we should, remembering the power of Scripture, because HaShem’s thoughts and plans are the only ones truly trustworthy and dependable. Let us entreat the Creator God for His power and blessing and provision as we read His Word.
“I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.” Genesis 17:8-9
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion! Psalm 20:1-2
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 120:1-4
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27
For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:8
“As Christian Zionists, if we meditate on these Bible passages while seeking God’s heart, we will hopefully learn to live with the humility and grace that our Lord expects and our Jewish friends deserve. We can defend the Jewish state as we inform and engage our neighbors outside of Israel. We can encourage and educate elected representatives in our home countries so they too will stand with Israel politically. We can speak intelligently about Knesset happenings and Israeli political affairs without deceiving ourselves into believing that we have decision-making authority. In the public square, we can be defenders without giving orders. We can, and must, be passionate without being dictatorial.
“To other members of this team of non-Israeli and/or non-Jewish outsiders observing the Israeli and Jewish insiders, please know that we have some important decisions to make. Will our support of Israel be based on the current occupant of Balfour Street? Will it be contingent on how much access we have to the halls of power? Will our support be dependent on the amount “of positive press we receive? To use the familiar Christian lingo, will it be conditional or unconditional love?
“With God’s help, I will use my voice to defend an Israel led by Benjamin Netanyahu. I will also use my voice to defend an Israel led by Naftali Bennett or Yair Lapid. Why? Because, as a follower of Jesus and student of the Bible, my love for Israel is not based on political parties or Knesset drama, it is based on God’s eternal covenants and everlasting promises. Isn’t that enough?