[Dear Reader: This article began as an email with a cherished brother in Christ regarding the state of Israel. I leaned towards the spiritual aspect while he towards the political, and whatever disagreement we have is due only to our respective starting points. The discussion board is open for additional comments.]
Michael Savage is emblematic of the hardness of heart that afflicts "Israel" both secular and orthodox. I have kept private my own views regarding the state of Israel as it would surely increase the level of hostility already felt by those who are offended by the message of Jesus Christ.
The fact is that the state of Israel is apostate. If we remove the blinders what we see is a nation that rejected the Messiah. The Divine covenant was contingent upon their faithfulness, but they broke the covenant and were expelled from the land just as YHWH had warned.
Yeshua stripped them of the promise, and ceded it to the Gentiles (the New Covenant). I am perplexed by evangelicals who seem to overlook the fact that Israel exists in a state of condemnation. "There is no condemnation," wrote Paul, "to them who are in Christ Jesus." But as for Israel ...
J. Vernon McGee did not believe that 1947 represented a Divine return. He said if G-d had returned them to that land He would have done so in peace and safety.
What troubles me is that over one million Christian Palestinians have been displaced from their homes. These people are not Arabic, but descendants of the Aramaic people who lived in Judea and Samaria since the days of the prophets. They reside today in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem, but mostly in Gaza and the West Bank. Where is the compassion of the evangelical church who so dismissively ignores the plight of their brothers and sisters in Christ?
The disputed settlements have caused injury to Christians who are caught in a life and death struggle between the sons of Isaac and the sons of Ishmael. With whom should the body of Christ grieve?
This will not be resolved until Messiah returns. In any case, the Holy Land was always symbolic of the New Jerusalem. Not until then will the righteous inhabit the land (new heavens and earth) in peace and safety.
I doubt Michael Savage can make the connection between man's fall and the calamity that has plagued the world since Eve ate of the fruit. But neither does the Dispensational church correctly interpret Scripture with regards to Israel and the day of the Lord.
From the Tanakh (Jewish Publication Society, 1917) Genesis 16:12 reads:
And he shall be a wild ass of a man; his hand shall be against every man; and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.
Of course, the angel of the Lord was speaking to Hagar about her son Ishmael. How true this has been for thousands of years; and more so in this age of Islamic terrorism. It is a false notion to believe that Islam is a religion of peace since, by the word of the LORD, Ishmael would not be a peaceful man -- nor, by inheritance, his descendants.
We can't know the mind of the LORD. He told Ishmael that he would become a mighty nation, and possess vast resources (oil). The Arabs have been a thorn in the flesh, and the Gentiles were raised up to provoke jealously, I believe, because of Israel's rejection of Messiah.
The term in the face is a Hebraism, or colloquialism for in your face. The modern translations correctly interpret it to mean hostility as he will live in conflict with his brothers.
G-d foreknew all of this. I don't understand it, and dare not question His sovereignty. If by the decree of Cyrus the Jews returned from Babylon, does it follow that by U.N. mandate they returned from the diaspora?.
We know in hindsight that G-d raised up Cyrus for that very purpose. And we know that the LORD expelled Israel from the land in 70 AD. These were prophetic fulfillments. When Jesus said that He would take the kingdom from them and give it to a people who would produce its fruits, there was no further promise of return. When Messiah spoke of the end of the age, the Jews understood what He meant -- the end of the Jewish age which the Rabbis teach was the Roman holocaust. The Hebrew Bible always speaks of the LORD coming in judgment. This is why, after His resurrection, the disciples asked if He would restore the kingdom at that time, and Jesus said it was not for them to know the times and seasons. But for 2,000 years false prophets have so predicted, and brought reproach to the body of Christ.
The kingdom of God is not of this world, and will not be fulfilled here.
Dispensationalism has run wild with all sorts of end time scenarios that are both intriguing and far-fetched. The most interesting is that the countdown to the day of the Lord began in 1947 with the return of the Jews to Israel. However, this is found nowhere in Scripture. What evangelicals do is mangle Ezekiel's prophecy of the return from (Babylonian) captivity, and apply it to modern times. They do this upon a contrived interpretive method known as double-fulfillment; and defend their interpretation based on the spurious claim that G-d never fulfilled His land promise to Israel.
Again, reading from the JPS Tanakh:
So the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which He swore to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein (Joshua 21:43).
And G-d warned the Jews that He would vomit them out of the land if they were unfaithful (Leviticus 18:24-30).
For 1900 years the land was ruled by the Romans, Moslems and Brits -- until 1947. How do we interpret that? Was it by the hand of G-d, or a reparation for all that the Jewish people suffered?
The U.N. mandate originally established two states, but the Arabs never wanted peace. G-d, on the other hand, demands justice.
To do righteousness and justice is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3).
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-d? (Micah 6:8)
Friends, I have not the wisdom of Solomon. The abstention of the United States regarding the U.N. Security Council's vote on Israeli settlements is clearly a reversal of long-standing American support for the Jewish state. It puts Israel in a difficult position; and makes it harder to arrive at a peaceful solution. I believe that the U.N. vote reflects the outgoing administration's antipathy towards Israel. They wanted to play hardball with Israel from Day One, and this is their cowardly kick in the groin as they exit the door.
The vote, though non-binding, is a diplomatic slap-in-the-face, and serves the dual purpose of tying the hands of the incoming administration. I have never witnessed anything like this in my lifetime, and members of the President's own party are outraged -- especially those Democrats who are beholden to their Jewish constituents.
And while we are talking about how the Russians interfered with the 2016 American election, how does the administration explain its interference in the 2015 election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? According to a Senate Subcommittee, $350,000 of taxpayer funds were funneled through the U.S. State Department to an Israeli peace lobby that was working to defeat Netanyahu.
The hypocrisy and duplicity of the left is just mind-numbing.
It is difficult to separate the political reality from a kingdom perspective. Israel has a right to exist. Islamic states deny that the Jews ever had a presence in the Holy Land. I strongly recommend that you watch the video series, The Stones Cry Out, a Zola Levitt production. Archaeology has unearthed thousands of years of scientific evidence that the Hebrews dwelt in Palestine long before Ishmael was born. So we shall not debate Israel's right to be there. Iran, a remnant of the Persian Empire, knows very well the history of Cyrus, and his decree to send the Jews home. Home to where? Israel, of course!
The world has hated the Jews ... forever. Jews lament that it was a curse to be the chosen people. The world is in rebellion towards G-d, and it hates those who teach His word. That's why Israel killed the prophets. That's why they were expelled from the land. But to say they have no claim, well, people have been saying that since the Exodus.
Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, wrote in his polemic, Antiquity of the Jews, Against Apion, a classical defense of Judaism.
Even in his day (first century), the world did not believe that the Jewish people had a right to live in Israel. Josephus opened the history books of Egypt, Greece, Phonecia, Chaldea and Syria to prove that the Jewish people (and their religion) had ancient ties to the lands of Samaria and Judea.
The Philistines -- from which the Romans derived the word Palestine -- dwelt in the Gaza strip, but they were not native to the land as evidence suggests they came from across the Aegean Sea.
In his preface, Josephus wrote:
I suppose that by my books of the Antiquity of the Jews ... I have made it evident to those who peruse them, that our Jewish nation is of very great antiquity; and had a distinct subsistence of its own originally ...
... since I observe a considerable number of people giving ear to the reproaches that are laid against us by those who bear ill will to us (that our nation is of a late date); I therefore have thought myself under an obligation to write somewhat briefly about these subjects; in order to convict those that reproach us of spite ... and to correct the ignorance of others ...
Josephus wondered how the Greeks could pen a history of the Jews when they could not compile an accurate history of the Grecian civilization.
What we are left then is this ... Blessed are the peacemakers ... (Matthew 5:9).
Who will show themselves as true sons of the living G-d? Who hates their neighbor? Who denies their brother his right to exist?
The sons of Ishmael ...
... or the sons of Isaac?
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