Many Christians have a desire to go to the Holy Land someday. I think this is a good desire to have. I have found it very moving to see the land and many of the sites (or regions) where Jesus walked and where much of what is recorded in the Old Testament took place. If you do go to Israel someday, I want to encourage you to not just go to the places that have direct biblical significance, but also to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
We are Christians who believe in the Fall, not “romantics” who believe that humans are innately good. It is good, at times, to be reminded of the reality of evil and the “evilness” of evil. Remember, God the Son of God did not become human so He could stroll around Israel – He came to a conquered people to die a bloody, sacrificial death at the hands of those He came to save. He bore all your sin and mine in our place. He Himself did no evil – but He knew evil with a moral clarity that is impossible for us to attain, although as we are formed by the Gospel, the Gospel will form within us a growing moral clarity.
To our Jewish friends and neighbours it was Christians (and others) who were anti-Semitic and either worked with the Nazi’s, or were in agreement with the Nazi’s, or were neutral. Very few Christians acted to protect the Jewish people. This continues to shape Jewish experience, so it is good to be reminded of this by the witness of the Holocaust Museum, especially because anti-Semitism is on the ascendance in Canada (and Europe and the U.S.).
So, several truths to remember. First, no Christian should be prejudiced against the Jewish people. It is a sin to be anti-Semitic. How can you dislike or be hostile to Jewish people and claim to love Jesus, who is Jewish? How can you support plans that would see the Jewish people in Israel at best displaced and at worst killed, and claim that you love Jesus, who is Jewish?
Second, as Christians we should see the formation of Israel as a good thing. This does not mean we have to agree with everything the nation of Israel has done. But the Bible teaches that God is not finished with the Jewish people, and the formation of Israel is surely a sign of this. Salvation is found in Jesus alone. No Jewish person is saved by being Jewish, they need to put their faith and trust in the Messiah – the Lord Jesus Christ. But Romans 9-11, as well as other texts in the New Testament, teach that God is not finished with the Jewish people.
Third, anti-Semitism flourishes where biblical literacy is low. This is especially true of being ignorant of the Old Testament – it seems to me that anti-Semitism loves to repress the reading of the Old Testament, and the teaching and preaching of the Old Testament. Friends, this should not be! To be ignorant of the Bible is to be ignorant of Jesus.
The early church went everywhere preaching the Gospel – and this meant they preached from the Old Testament. If the church of the book of Acts, and if the Apostles who preached the Good News of the coming of the Messiah to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – if they so preached from the Old Testament, so should we. To be ignorant of the Old Testament is to be ignorant of Jesus Messiah.