Understanding The Religious Makeup Of Israel

So you want to visit the Holy Lands and see the significant places of the Old & New Testament - watch it come to life? That is magnificent! The only thing you may not have considered is the fact that Israel is home to a number of religious belief origins - so you won't be the only religious group there.

What are groups are there, you ask?

Well, as you may know - Christians stem from the Jewish belief system. Tracing the story back to Adam & Eve, our stories align until the New Testament. We see Abraham being promised to have descendants as numerous as the stars - and he gives birth to his son Isaac in his old age. Isaac has twins: Esau and Jacob (or Israel.) Israel becomes the father of a tribe of chosen people who the Lord guided out of Egypt and to the promised land. They were promised a Messiah from the line of David - and as Christians, we believe that Savior to be Jesus Christ.

However, 84% of the people in Israel today are still Jewish. They are still waiting for a Savior to come. That means that they are still waiting in their Promise Land, treasuring the Old Testament significance of many of the places there - but they don't believe that Jesus was the answer.

On the other hand - there is a group of Muslims, making up about 14% of the population, who have also incorporated the story of Abraham into their belief system. They believe that Jesus was a significant prophet - like we think of Moses or Elijah - but they also don't believe that Jesus is the Savior. As such, many come to Jerusalem to pray to Allah - but as Christians we don't believe this is the same God because Allah expects them to live a perfect life. Their actions are constantly being weighed and will determine the final destination.

Christians, on the other hand, know that Jesus is the only way, truth, and life - and as such - without belief in Him we can't get to heaven. We do good works in response to His sacrificial love, but we know that some people will do great kind works and yet not believe - and as such won't make it to heaven.

So when you get to Israel - you can expect to meet:

  • Christians who are admiring the truth of the New & Old Testament

  • Jews who are waiting for a Savior in their Promise Land

  • Muslims who follow a lot of rules in hopes of achieving perfection

That's why we always encourage you to travel with a Christian group. While these other groups have lessons we can learn as well - Christians will look at these historical sites through a different lens and can help you to continue to grow in your faith even after the trip.

If you would like to learn more about Israel and other significant Holy Sites, listen to or watch Episode 101 with Rick & Susan McCarthy.

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