Occasionally a story of hope comes out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and last week provided a good example. Messianic Jews and Arab Christians, mostly from Israel and the Palestinian territories, met in Cyprus to affirm their unity in Messiah–and even issued a joint statement about it. Several of my friends and colleagues were involved and I believe that amidst a largely hopeless situation this is a flicker of hope that we need to feed.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement, exploring how pro-Israel and pro-Arab believers can try to bridge their theological differences:
Some of us believe that the uncancelled covenant of God with Israel continues to include the promise of the land to the Jewish people as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that the return of Jews to the land and the establishment of the state of Israel constitute the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. We reject, however, the interpretation of this theological conviction that denies the identity, history and peoplehood of the Palestinians and their right to remain in the land of their ancestors. And we acknowledge and lament along with them the suffering, death and injustice caused by that denial.
Some of us believe that all God’s covenant promises, including the land, are fulfilled in the Messiah Jesus as the One who embodies the true sonship and inheritance of Israel, embracing the whole earth and all nations. All those from any nation who are united to Christ by faith share in the inheritance that is His and are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to God’s promise. We reject, however, the interpretation of this theological conviction that denies the right of Jews to a secure homeland and rejects the reality and legitimacy of the state of Israel. And we acknowledge and lament along with them the suffering and death caused by the hatred and violence of those who seek to destroy it.
You can read the full statement here.