The following article is part of our ongoing effort to provide a variety of Christian perspectives on the Israel-Lebanon conflict.
People were wandering the streets in the lands of the Bible. They were lost and out of place. It was clear they longed to be back in their ancestral homeshomes and land they had occupied since the time of Abraham.
It was Friday, August 11, 2006. I was in Beirut. These wandering people were some of the more than 900,000 displaced men, women, and children from Southern Lebanon fleeing the ravages of war and ending up in Eastern and Northern Beirut for safety.
As this story of the massive dismantling of human lives unfolded, and the entire world held its breath, I was startled to discover one of America's better known preachers speaking mainly about prophecy; not the suffering of people caught in this tragedy: "It is apparent, in light of the rebirth of the State of Israel, that the present day events in the Holy Land may very well serve as a prelude or forerunner to the future Battle of Armageddon and the glorious return of Jesus Christ."
As I watched all this misery, I was reminded that Muslims and Jews are not just objects of biblical prophecy. They are people for whom Christ died. I recalled my early Christian teaching that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. In God's plan, all people are precious; including Christian, Sunni, and Shiite Arabs in Lebanon as well as their Israeli cousins.
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs ...