Keyword:

A Future for Israel?

by Julia Fisher

Julia Fisher, a presenter with Premier Christian Radio, in a remarkable little book has brought together the accounts of eight Middle Eastern Christian leaders, seven of them Arab, who love the Jewish people.

Contributors to A Future for Israel? include Naim Khoury, who pastors churches in Bethlehem and in the Old City of Jerusalem and who was shot last year by Palestinian gunmen; George Kazoura, an Arab pastor who runs an orphanage for mainly Muslim children; and Joseph Haddad, the Arab pastor of a Lebanese Christian congregation.
The contributors are clear about their love of the Jewish people. Although almost all of them at one time had a grievance against the Israelis, when confronted by Scripture they had to come to terms with their negative attitudes. Most of these men have suffered not only for their faith in Jesus but also for their attitude to Israel and the Jews. All of them denounce Replacement Theology, the theory that God has rejected the Jewish people in favour of a “new Israel”, the Church. “When I meet Christians from the West who believe in Replacement Theology”, says Shmuel Aweida, the Arab pastor of Beit Eliahu Messianic Congregation in Haifa, “I find it surprising that they can hold to such a position, because if people believe God has rejected Israel – that they’re not his chosen people anymore – then how can they trust the rest of his promises?”

It is fascinating to see that the biblical passage that is most quoted in this book is Isaiah 19:23-25: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance’.”

The uniform viewpoint of the men quoted in the book is that Isaiah’s words will find their fulfilment in the future. However, Julia Fisher’s book is an eloquent testimony to the fact that the reality of Jews and Arabs worshipping the LORD of hosts is already happening, not least in the fact that two of the men are pastors of Messianic congregations in Israel!

As I write this review, Israel has just responded militarily to Hezbollah’s kidnapping of two of its soldiers and the situation in the Middle East looks grave. This book supplies more than a glimmer of hope for the situation in the region. Hezbollah and Hamas do not write the agenda for all Arabs or Palestinians. A Future for Israel? demonstrates not only that shalom in the Middle East is possible but also that the way to peace is by means other than the political carve-up of the area.

Mike Moore

A Future for Israel?
Julia Fisher
111pp, ISBN 9781860245312
Available from CWI online shop

This article first appeared in the September 2006 edition of the Herald


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