How Christians are blessing Israel after the 'rapture'

Opinion: There are many ways that Christians can support Israel even after their deaths, the author explains.

 Anne Graham Lotz and Jonathan Feldstein (photo credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Feldstein)
Anne Graham Lotz and Jonathan Feldstein
(photo credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Feldstein)

If you know about the rapture, you probably anticipate it, even pray for it. But are you prepared for it?

Wikipedia defines the rapture as follows: "The rapture is an eschatological theological position held by some Christians, particularly within branches of American evangelicalism, consisting of an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, would rise 'in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.'"

A few years ago, I had an extraordinary conversation that opened my eyes, began a dialogue and triggered a theological precedent that’s taking off incredibly, inspiring many and blessing Israel. 

A recent Facebook memory and photo reminded me of the event and incredible experience.

I was visiting with Anne Graham Lotz. Over the years, we have fellowshipped together, prayed for one another and have become good friends. Of course, she is known as Billy Graham’s daughter, but she’s a substantial person, devout Christian, and ministry leader in her own right.

There are not enough good words to say about Anne: her warmth, her faith, her love of Israel and so much more. It is a relationship I cherish. When I look to Biblical examples, she is very much a Ruth.

In that remarkable conversation, Anne asked me how I would feel if she would leave me her possessions after she is raptured.

Anne Graham Lotz and Jonathan Feldstein (Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Feldstein)Anne Graham Lotz and Jonathan Feldstein (Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Feldstein)

As an Orthodox Jew, I have to admit, talking about the Rapture is not something that comes up in casual conversation. However, in the capacity of building bridges between Jews and Christians, I am privileged to be part of an incredible range of conversations I never thought I’d have. This was one of them. 

It was a conversation for which I could not have been less prepared, and one I will never forget.

Anne’s comment was not just theological rhetoric, but something that came from her very core.

“What a beautiful affirmation of your faith,” I said, “and an expression of your heart for Israel to stand with and bless Israel, even after you’re no longer here. I love it and would be privileged to be part of that.”

Sometime later, Anne shared with me that should the Rapture take place before her death, she had signed documents that leave her home to me. It still moves me deeply to think about this and everything that it represents, just like Ruth’s eternal her love for Naomi and the Jewish people.

I happened to mention this to another good friend who, as a board member of the Genesis 123 Foundation, I have come to know and admire tremendously.

Dr. David Pitcher is an orthopedic oncologist by training, but so much more. I value his friendship, counsel and generosity.

He responded, “Jonathan, I wrote the book.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about, only to find out he literally did.

After the Rapture: Passing the Torch” details biblical reasons and practical steps why and how Christians should leave their assets to the Jewish people. It is “an eye opener (teaching) about end-times with authority (whose) message will convict your heart.”

While there are different views of the rapture, the point is that whether or not one is raptured before dying or not, there are many ways that Christians are leaving a huge legacy, supporting and standing with Israel and the Jewish people.

In fact, according to Pitcher, Christians not only can do this, but it’s an imperative to do so.

Pitcher's book spells that out in incredible detail. The conversation goes over the head of most Jews but speaks intimately to Christians.

A growing number of Christians are standing with Israel, praying for Israel, investing economically and blessing Israel in limitless ways. Now, there’s a trend to do so, even after they are no longer here.  

Much of this is being done through what’s known as legacy gifts: Donations made whose impact carries on after one’s death. It’s a common means of supporting charities and causes that one feels strongly about after death. The most common are bequests, life insurance and donation of appreciated assets. There are many tax advantages for the donor, as well as the beneficiary charity.

Announcing one’s intention to do so also makes sure that his/her loved ones understand that blessing Israel is an important part of their legacy.

The topic is so new and intense. Pitcher and I had a conversation about the wide theological implications of blessing Israel after the Rapture, bringing in a wide range of legal aspects with our friend, John Sandager. The conversation was unscripted and was enlightening for each of us. You can hear that here

These are innovative and special gifts, blessing Israel and being blessed even after one is not alive. It embodies Ruth’s vow to Naomi: “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, will I die, and there will I be buried.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Because of Ruth’s righteousness and standing with Israel, she merited to become the great-grandmother of King David, leader of Israel, and from whose bloodline the messiah comes.

I am not God, but I believe strongly in His promise to bless those who bless Israel. There’s no more unique and impactful way to prepare to do so with the inevitability that one is no longer alive on earth. Because of the unique nature of this idea, it raises the bar on blessing Israel because it invites intergenerational conversations about how and why blessing Israel is so important to Christians.

For most American Jews, and Jews in general, conversations about the Rapture can probably be counted on one hand, if at all.

Many American Jews and gentiles alike will remember an old TV commercial for Hebrew National, and the clever tag line, “We answer to a higher authority.”

While Jews may not understand the theological foundation of the conversation, we can and should understand that this trend is happening, that it is a cornerstone of Christian love and support for Israel, and that it is rooted in answering to a Higher Authority. 

Jonathan Feldstein is president of the Genesis 123 Foundation. He writes regularly on major Christian websites about Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He also hosts the Inspiration from Zion podcast. He can be reached at [email protected].