God told Abraham, “I will bless them that bless you and curse him that curses you” (Gen. 12:3). Does that mean that if the US supports Israel, God will bless America; and if the US abandons Israel, God’s curse will be upon us — as the “Christian Zionists” believe?
Two Insights ago we examined some of those Zionist views, with special emphasis on the latter part of Gen. 12:3: “in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The Zionists seem to miss the apostle Paul’s divine interpretation of those words: “The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8). Clearly, the latter part of Gen. 12:3 is a prediction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But what about the first part of Gen. 12:3, which the “Christian Zionists” emphasize so much: “I will bless them that bless you and curse him that curses you”? Was God telling Abraham that the nations that blessed his descendents would be blessed and those that cursed his descendents would be cursed? I think we can all agree that a reading of the Old Testament bears out that view. That is exactly what took place over the centuries.
However, when Jesus came to earth and the Gospel began to bless all nations, a whole new dynamic was set into motion. Even the apostles had a hard time seeing this. God had to patiently show them that the Gospel was not just for Jews. It was, and is, for Gentiles, too — for all families of the earth.
With such a drastic change, it should come as no surprise that the blessings and curses related to Abraham gain a new focus. Notice Gal. 3:28-29: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed [descendents], and heirs according to the promise.” Wow! The Jews are now no more special to God than are the Greeks (Gentiles), just as God does not prefer masters over slaves or men over women. All human beings are equally lost in sin and equally have access to salvation in Jesus.
Paul by the Spirit has made the astounding declaration: if we are in Christ, we are the descendents of Abraham! Being a son of Abraham no longer depends on genealogies; it depends on our relationship to Jesus. To state it bluntly: today a Palestinian who believes in Jesus is a son of Abraham, while an Israeli who does not believe in Jesus is not a son of Abraham. With that amazing truth in mind, let’s focus on all that Gal. 3:8-14 has to say about blessings and curses:
“The scripture… preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse… Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.”
The curse today is on those under the law; the blessing is to those who are in Christ Jesus. An Israeli today who rejects the Gospel of Jesus that God promised to Abraham is under a curse: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” By yielding to the cross, Jesus became a curse for us, “that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.” The blessing of Abraham comes through Jesus!
Let’s remind ourselves that in Genesis 12, God was addressing Abraham. Thus the promise was this: “I will bless those who bless you [Abraham], And I will curse him who curses you [Abraham].” It is our attitude toward Abraham that is at issue, not our attitude toward the modern nation of Israel. Inasmuch as Christians today are Abraham’s seed, the blessing and cursing relate to one’s attitude toward Christians, not toward Israel. That’s how I see it. How about you?