Israel, the Church and the Nations
Shalom Partner and Friend of Israel,
We ask ourselves this question everyday -- do we as Christians, the wild olive grafted into the true olive tree -- truly realize the great privilege and responsibility that we have towards Israel?
Some Christians wonder why we are in Israel, or why we are concerned about the nation of Israel, because they say that the Jews will not believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah and Saviour anyway? Our response is that if the Jews as a race or nation were to suddenly become believers in Yeshua today then the Bible would not be true!
The salvation of Israel, nationally and spiritually, will not come until the end of the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble;
“Behold, he cometh with clouds: and every eye shall see and they also which pierced him: and all kindred’s of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so Amen (Revelations 1: 7).”
John Wesley’s Commentary – “And every eye: Of the Jews in particular shall see him - But with what different emotions, according as they had received or rejected him.
And they who have pierced him: they above all, who pierced his hands, or feet, or side. Thomas saw the print of these wounds even after his resurrection; and the same, undoubtedly, will be seen by all, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven. And all the tribes of the earth - The word tribes, in the Revelation, always mean the Israelites: but where another word, such as nations or people, is joined with it, it implies likewise (as here) all the rest of mankind: Shall wail because of him - For terror and pain, if they did not wail before by true repentance.”
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.”Zechariah 12: 10 – 11
The spirit of grace is the Holy Spirit. Pierced – Every one of us by our sins pierced Him and many of the Jews literally. Mourn -- They shall literally lament the crucifying of the Lord Jesus. In bitterness -- True repentance will bitterly lament the sins which brought sorrows and shame upon our Lord. A great mourning -- mourning expressed by the greatest the Jews ever were acquainted with, and which for its greatness grew into a proverb; ‘The mourning for Josiah slain at Hadadrimmon, a town in the valley of Megiddo.’
A better day is coming for Israel…
The prophetic scenario for the dispersion of Israel into all the world after A.D. 70, their extreme persecution in the nations of the world, their return, and their ultimate blessing in the Kingdom age, was recorded, we believe, by; Hosea 3: 4 – 5; 5: 15; 6: 1 – 2
God’s ratio in time of one day to a thousand years is set forth in Psalm 90 and 2 Peter 3. Israel has been scattered into the world without a Temple or a sacrifice, smitten and torn, for two thousand years. We believe the people of Israel are seeking the Lord today.
Messianic Jews (believers in Yeshua) truly believe that the Messiah for whom they waiting for is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ the Messiah) but religious Jews do not yet know the identity of their coming Messiah.
A better day is coming for Israel but sadly must pass through many tests and trials to get there. We can almost feel the pain in the words of our Lord as we read the following verses of Scripture:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones to death those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you didn't want to! Look! Your house is left to you deserted! For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'How blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'" Matthew 23: 37 - 39
Down through the Christian era, segments of the Church have mistakenly persecuted the Jews, thinking that they are doing God’s service. It is no wonder today that many Israeli’s are still sceptical in regard to Christian affiliations.
Yet, today Evangelical Christians are the best friends that Israel has in the world!
God has made tremendous and exciting Covenants with Israel that will be fulfilled. “I say then, has God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite -- God has not cast away His people that He foreknew…” Romans 11: 1 - 2
As Moses prophesied, the nation of Israel in its history has experienced both the blessings of God and the curse of God when they forgot Him and His Covenants. But there is also a blessing for Gentiles who bless Israel and a curse from God upon Gentiles who bring harm to Israel and the Jews:
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12: 3
History records that no nation or race has ever persecuted Israel or the Jews and escaped the wrath of God. That Israel has deserved its own punishment has been prophetically declared by the prophets, but it is God Himself that brings judgement to His earthly people, not others.
The more our Nation blesses Israel, the more God will bless our Nation.
As Christians, we are to keep the peace of Jerusalem in our prayers, for when we pray for the peace in Jerusalem, we are actually praying for the Lord to return; because there can be no peace in the Holy City until He reigns on Mount Zion.
Israel, the Church and the Nations…
Today, the world culture's acceleration into moral decline is almost mind boggling!
One can just read the news or watch on television to see that we truly are living in times as outlined; “You must realize, however, that in the last days difficult times will come. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unfeeling, uncooperative, slanderous, degenerate, brutal, hateful of what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3: 1 – 3
Are we seeing what the Bible predicts as the passing of the "times of the Gentiles?"
As the apostle Paul sees it, the Jews are a unique people on the face of the earth. No other people in all of human history have or ever will have a comparable status or role in God's dealings with mankind. This is not to say that the individual Jew will receive any eternal reward unavailable to an individual Gentile. That is decidedly not the case. In eternity, there are no nations or people, only individuals. But in history, God deals with people as well as individuals. And as a people, the Jews stand alone. God has and will accomplish in and through them what He will accomplish in and through no other nation or family on the earth—not the Irish, not the English, not the Russians, not the Americans.
No other people group on the face of the earth has been chosen by God to be His people. And there are four concrete pillars of this Jewish chosen ness:
Firstly, God has revealed to the Jews and to no other people His purposes in and through history. The Prophets, the Scriptures, and divinely revealed religion came into the world by way of the Jews.
Secondly, Yeshua (Jesus) came into the world through the Jewish people. God incarnated Himself in the form of His Son Yeshua, an Eternal King from among the Jews, who will rule over an Eternal Kingdom that God will establish at the end of this age.
Thirdly, God has established covenants only with the Jews, promising them a unique relationship and experience of Himself within the bounds of temporal history here on earth.
And fourthly, the Jews will be unique in the history of mankind in their experience of wholesale repentance and universal sanctification.
These four things constitute the concrete significance of the Jews' status as uniquely the people of God. Paul's comment in Romans 9: 1 - 5 reflects the first three of these:
“I am telling the truth in Christ; I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”
The nation of Israel was elected for service…
Just as the younger Jacob was chosen for a unique place in the unfolding plan of God and Esau the older was designated to serve the younger. Israel was chosen by God to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Romans 11:25-27
At the end of time, no other people on the face of the earth will be able to boast a comparable experience! Never has every living person of an entire nation repented and been saved. Nor will it ever happen in the future.
The Jews, once again, will be unique in this. Among them alone will the Spirit of God have come and touched the hearts of virtually every individual such that it can be said, "All Israel was saved."
Universal repentance will come upon Israel after the "fullness of the Gentiles has come in." In other words, Paul interprets the prophetic outline like this: God has turned from the Jews as a people and is not working primarily among the Jews to sanctify them. Indeed, He is working primarily among the Gentiles. But the day will come when the full complement of those Gentiles whom God is going to save will have come to faith and then will He turn to Israel and pour out His Spirit upon them as the prophets have promised.
What will that day look like? Will Gentiles stop being Christians? Will there be a wholesale explicit denunciation of Christianity? We cannot say for sure, but it would appear not. Paul writes to Timothy:
…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 1Timothy 4: 2 - 4
God is true to His Word
As we observe the spiritual darkness overtaking our culture and what are we observing? Are we witnessing God's abandonment of the Gentiles? Are we seeing the end of the times of the Gentiles? Has the fullness of the Gentiles come in, and is God about to turn to the Jews and produce among them an unprecedented spiritual repentance? We have no answers to these questions, certainly, but one thing we do know for sure is that God’s plan for Israel, the Church and the Nations shall surely come to pass.
“The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Psalm 12: 6
God’s Word has been tested in the furnace of the earth. The Word has proven itself to be pure gold and silver. The everlasting covenant has been tested now for four thousand years of history. It is in effect for all to see. God if faithful to His Word and Promises!
The rebirth of the nation of Israel has been a slow process. The process started in late 1800s and has continued right up to the present time.
At times, this process seems to stop and then all of a sudden a huge event takes place that accelerates it. The start of the Jews coming back did not seem significant at first. There was a small but steady stream of them. Then came WWI and the Balfour Declaration. Like an explosion, the land was being readied for their return.
The period between world wars was one of tension and terrorism. There was no apparent move of God towards fulfilling the Covenant. Then came WWII, and the Nazi Holocaust. The events of WWII set the stage for hundreds of thousands of Jews to return to Israel.
Then came the rebirth of the nation in 1948, and the immediate war. The war ended and Israel was once again faced with tension and terrorism. For twenty years there seemed no end to the shelling and terrorists attacks. Then came the Six-Day War in 1967, and like a bolt of lightning Israel had all of a united Jerusalem as its capital. Since 1967 there has been a major war, plus fighting in Lebanon and continual terrorist attacks against Israel. Although the fighting and terrorism seems endless, there will be an end. There seems to be tension, terrorism, and fighting between all the major moves to restore Israel.
It has been almost forty years since Jerusalem has united. Now, the fighting is over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount area. The Bible states that the last great world war will be over Jerusalem. All the nations of the world will be drawn to Jerusalem. God is going to use Jerusalem as an anvil against the nations of the world. The fuse to start the last world war may have been lit in September 2000 when the Temple Mount became the scene of bloody combat.
God is moving to fulfill the promises of His everlasting Covenant, but one has to be patient. God seemed to have moved very slowly with Israel to completely fulfill the promise. Looking back, since 1917 tremendous progress has been made.
Israel is a nation with Jerusalem as its Capital. Israel is a mighty military power. Israel has a powerful economy. The rest of the promises of the Covenant will be fulfilled in God’s time.
No matter what was tried by the British, the Muslims, UN, EU or any other group, their attempts have not been able to stop the rebirth of the nation. Israel is truly like an Anvil and nations are going to be broken trying to destroy God’s Covenant Nation.
In watching God work great patience is required.
The restoration has taken almost a century to get this far. God has His own agenda and timetable. But the war that started in September 2000 over the Temple Mount and all subsequent wars in Lebanon and Gaza show that God’s timetable might be accelerating. Remember, Yeshua said that Jerusalem was the key to the timetable.
Most religions of the world do not recognize God’s Covenant over the land of Israel. Some believe that the Jews had a covenant but this covenant is no longer in effect. God is using Israel to now show the literalness of His Word. The rebirth of Israel confronts false teaching, doctrine, and prophets.
Islam does not recognize the covenant with Isaac and Jacob, but instead believes that God made a covenant with Abraham and Ishmael. Islam believes the Koran not the Bible is the Word of God. The Koran fails to mention Jerusalem even once and it does not mention the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Jerusalem is mentioned 811 times in the Bible. The rebirth of Israel is on page after page in the Bible, while the Koran is silent.
The rebirth of Israel shows the authority of the Bible as the Word of God. Israel is proof that the Koran and Mohamed are wrong.
This tension between Israel and Islam and the Koran can never be peacefully resolved. For Islam to recognize the nation of Israel would be an admission that the Koran is wrong.
Nearly every day Israel is in the news. Israel, and especially Jerusalem, has become the focus of world attention. Israel has been the subject of a large percentage of the UN Resolutions.
These Resolutions were from both the General Assembly and the Security Council. In 1997 the UN voted 5 times for merely building apartments in east Jerusalem. Nearly all the countries of the countries of the world voted against Israel. The world is so sensitive about Jerusalem that in 1980 when Israel moved its capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem most nations refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and kept their Embassies in Tel Aviv.
Even though the nations of the world are politically against Israel, this country is totally unique. Israel is the only country in the world in which the land was promised by God.
Land for PEACE
Nearly every day now, the media carries stories about Israel and the Palestinians. One of the major issues is Israel is giving away some of the covenant land for peace.
This land would include part of Jerusalem, the section which contains the site of the ancient Temple. Israel has been forced to give up land for “peace” since the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
What is the issue?
According to the Palestinians, the real issue is their desire to have a homeland, a state, in what is now Israel, and control over sites what they consider is Holy in East Jerusalem. This certainly sounds reasonable enough but having said this, is this really what the Palestinians want?
Or do they really want the extermination of Israel?
The hatred, anger, and violence against Jewish citizens expose their true objective. The one objective they might achieve is a state. The true objective they will never achieve.
We personally feel great sorrow for the Palestinian Arabs as they have been fed this steady diet of hatred, anger and vengeance. They have been told that the Jews are responsible for their every problem and to kill as many at all costs.
Quite simply, all Israel wants is peace and to be left alone. Defensively it is crucial for her to keep her covenant land – obtained in the 1967 war. However, the Muslims also want this land, and are using terrorism, propaganda, and their influence of vast oil reserves to bring Israel to the negotiating table. The Arab nations, descendants of Ishmael, have been a thorn in Israel’s side and still are!
The Hebrew Language
The Hebrew language had become almost extinct yet today the Israeli’s speak Hebrew, the same language as their ancestors. They kept the same religion while in exile. There is simply no nation like Israel. There was no English 2000 years ago. It is very difficult to read English from only 200 years ago. What other nation is like Israel?
What force has kept this people…
That was scattered into all the world for nineteen hundred years? What force kept the language and religion intact?
What force has kept the Jew from being completely destroyed through pogroms, crusades and holocaust? And all the other tempts to destroy them?
The rebirth of the nation shows the authority of the Bible as the Word of God. It shows the invisible hand of God working to fulfill His Word. The everlasting covenant is in effect. God’s Covenant is that force which has kept Israel through the centuries. According to the Bible, these are the latter days. “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, says the Lord thy God.” Amos 9: 15
Support for Israel
The only groups who are consistently outspoken in favour of Israel keeping her covenant land include; Orthodox Jews, a small number of reformed and conservative Jews, Israeli settlers and residents of the Golan Heights and fundamental (Bible believing) Christians.
Love for Israel is only genuine when it is born out of the heart of God. Out of the love with which He Himself loves His people – and out of repentance for our immeasurable guilt. There is not other way to serve Israel… Only this love will draw us together in mutual blessing, and open Israel’s eyes for our beloved – Our Lord Jesus Christ. Mother Basilea Schlink
Therefore, in the final stages of world history, Jews and Christians will come under fire together. So let us give Jesus our Lord and King, the answer born of our love for Him, and join together in making the commitment – Your people will be my people – Ruth 1:16
God bless you.
Alf & Julie Saunders
15th October, 2009
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