Meet calm, gentle, forgiving George Sa’adeh, former Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem. It began as a simple shopping trip with his wife and two daughters on March 23, 2003. It ended with four hundred bullet holes in their car, their twelve-year-old daughter, Christine, dead, and George and Christine’s sister, Marianna, seriously wounded by exploding bullets from the guns of IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers.
They got the wrong car. Mom was left unhurt to make funeral arrangements alone, while George and Marianna recovered. Christine was the 400th child to be killed in 2003 in clashes between the IDF and Palestinian nationals
The Rise of Christian Zionism:
The Christian Right in America is largely unified in its belief that Historic Palestine will be the setting for the unfolding of God’s final plan for redemption. This phenomenon, carried to political extremes, is referred to as Christian Zionism, a movement that views as anti-Semitic all opposition to the expansion of the borders of Israel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. It is a strange theology that equates land to race – Old Covenant law running concurrently with New Covenant grace.
This spiritually awkward but powerful movement in the West has exported its dogma to the Middle East by funding illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem and by playing politics with a World War they are convinced God has planned within our lifetimes. If God has not planned WWIII, He will be manipulated into the position of being forced to deal with the mess it leaves behind.
It is to this theology of the land – Am ha‘aretz – that Christian Zionism bows. God’s promise to Abraham remains eternal:
Politically, Christian Zionists believe that the Bible, or their interpretation thereof, supersedes even the government of the United States. Every event in Israeli life is sifted through a biblical lens and interpreted as a mandate on US foreign policy. This is nationalism in the extreme, a simplistic worldview that contorts current events into a biblical master plan and anoints the populist, charismatic tele-Zionist as the interpreter of that plan.
From a Christian Perspective:
I stand with President Jimmy Carter in his conviction that Israel has a right to exist within recognized borders and to be accepted by Palestinians and all its Arab neighbors, while the Palestinians are entitled to the right of return to their homeland. The killing, however, is contrary to Christian faith and practice. Justice demands that Palestinians and Jews live according to international law and conscience and be judged impartially.
Take any eschatology (study of last things) that appeals to your fancy. Preach any doctrine of the End Times that you believe. Know, however, that your hope is not in your doctrine. Your hope is in the god of the doctrine, or it is no hope at all.
Jehovah God asks of everyone – Jew, Christian, Palestinian – a simple question, “What does the Lord require of you, O man?” The answer is far removed from preparing the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount for the physical descent of the Messiah. What He requires of us is universal – “…to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b).