On Saturday we drove by the plains of Megiddo, or Armageddon. Fifteen years ago I would have gotten chills seeing the location that I believed the final battle of the end times would take place. Growing up as a conservative evangelical heavily influenced by Darby’s dispensationalism, talk of the end times and return of Christ was a recurring topic that swelled hearts with excitement, fear and hope.
My theology, Christian Zionism, took for granted the establishment of the State of Israel as necessary for ushering in the second coming of Christ. At the time, Israel served almost entirely as an abstract symbol for me, absent of any modern history. As a result, I was able to opt out of awareness, concern or responsibility for the repercussions of Israel’s actions.
I’ve spent the week hearing from Palestinian Muslims and Christians who were pushed off the land they have lived on for generations as a result of the 1948 war. Those who remain are under pressure to leave, and experience intense oppression and discrimination. Palestinian children are arrested for breaking curfew; towns are cut off from one another and from municipal services; communities are terrorized for nonviolently protesting violations to their rights under international law. Though my theology has evolved significantly over the years, the reality check is still jarring. I am ashamed that I once blindly adhered to a theology that accepted the oppression of others as necessary for its own fulfillment.
The State of Israel is able to continue its oppression of the Palestinian people because it has the support of major world powers, particularly the United States. We send several billion dollars in aid to Israel each year which directly funds the weapons, military personnel, checkpoints, settlements, and a concrete wall that segregates the country. We continue to enable this because enough people like me have lent their ideological support in ignorance.
My faith in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was distorted by a toxic religious/political axis disguised as biblical theology and patriotic duty. I repent that I was ever a part of it.