Location, Location, Location-How World Affairs, Israel, and Christianity Intersect

Understanding Israel’s militarization and the spread of Christianity.

Have you ever wondered how one little nation can cause so much consternation? Israel is geographically tiny compared to great powers like the United States, Russia, and China. How small is it? It is barely larger than New Jersey, and yet, this little country causes so much angst among nations (read my previous article to find out just how much). All that trouble, and it is not because of its size, but because of its location.

How Its Strategic Location Has Always Put Israel on the Defensive

You might be surprised to know that this love-hate relationship the world has with Israel is not new to the 20th and 21st centuries. It spans millennia, but to understand why we need to explore how its location shaped Israel into the nation it is today.

Nations and empires have always viewed the land of Israel as a succulent morsel. This was true in ancient times and it continues to be true today. Why have nations always craved this piece of real estate? Because Israel is a land bridge to three continents.

In the ancient world, one had to travel through the land of Israel to reach Europe, Asia, and Africa. Control of the land of Israel was necessary to control trade and military routes to the three continents. For that reason, peoples and empires were always vying for influence in the region.

So what do you do when your neighbors are constantly trying to take your land? You set up strong defenses and build up your military forces.

From the days of King David, the first Israeli king to solidify control of the area, Israel had to find ingenious ways to protect itself. In other words, the development of a strong military and policies that lent themselves to a strong defense was crucial from its inception. (I will be publishing more articles on Israel’s ancient military strategies in Biblical Warfare.) Israel evolved politically and militarily into what it is today to protect itself from those vying for control of its territory.

Of course, Israel was not always able to control the region. It was overrun by empire after empire such as the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans and for over 2000 years, the descendants of Abraham had no sovereign nation. Arab Muslim empires swept the area in the 7th century creating religious tensions still reverberating today. That adds another level of complexity to the region, but its strategic location is what made Israel valuable to these empires and vulnerable at the same time.

An Intersection Between the Old Testament and the New

So we know now why its strategic location as a land bridge has played a role in shaping Israeli consciousness as a strong military nation. However, did you know that there is a relationship between Israel’s location and Christianity? Of course there is! It is the place where Christianity began, but there is a lot more to it.

Christianity initially spread through the travels of the church’s first apostles and disciples. If you were to pick a place on earth where you could easily spread the gospel by having easy access to transportation routes that led to most continents, what place would you pick? That place would have to be the land of Israel.

As Christians, we didn’t get to pick the place where our faith began, and actually, neither did Israel. God did. He is the one that uprooted Abraham and told him to travel to the land of Canaan, the land God chose to establish the nation of Israel. It would be in a place strategically placed for the spread of the gospel when the time came, but also a place where Israel would constantly have to rely on Him for its protection. And just like that, the New Testament intersects with the Old.

What does this little exercise of exploring Israel’s geographical location teach us? For one, that Israel cannot be divorced from Christianity. But it also reminds us of the connection between current world affairs and the Bible we love to study so much. Something as simple as paying attention to geography can open a whole new world of biblical truths that illuminate the spiritual realities behind current events.

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