Save Israel, for Jesus?

ByABC News
July 31, 2006, 9:39 PM

July 31, 2006 — -- Sunday morning at Robinson Drive Methodist Church in Waco, Texas, the Rev. Margaret Stratton tells her 200 attendees that no one should be surprised by the lead story in the morning news, as the crisis was developing in the Middle East.

"What is happening in Israel today with their neighbors is prophesied in the Bible. The whole world should understand the reason for the conflict in the Middle East," she said, adding this has all been foretold.

It is a sermon that takes root among Christians.

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"It is part of biblical prophecy," said congregant Teresa Randt. "I think that, we know that we pray for peace, but we also know that peace probably won't happen until Jesus comes again."

Added another attendee, "We are actually in the end of times. From what I've read in the bible and other prophetical books, I believe we're there."

The end of times, as foretold in the scriptures, is a theological reason to support Israel unconditionally so as to help bring about the return of Jesus Christ.

This is not one lone evangelical church that supports this idea. According to polls among religious groups in the United States, evangelical Christians -- which constitute about a quarter of the American people -- are second only to Jews in their support for Israel.

"Evangelicals take the Bible very seriously, and in their view certain prophesies in the Old and the New Testament point to the state of Israel as having a very special role of the return of Jesus to earth," said Dr. John C. Green, a senior fellow in religion and American politics for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Earlier this month, as the conflict in northern Israel and Lebanon heated up, roughly 3,500 evangelical Christians descended upon Washington, DC from all 50 states as part of a new group called "Christians United for Israel".

Members like Gwen and Dean Resser from St Louis, Mo., urged lawmakers to let Israel do what is necessary to defend itself in its current conflict.