Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What every Christian should know about Israel

What every Christian should know about Israel

Julio Severo
A short time before Jesus’ ascension to heaven, after his death and resurrection, his apostles asked him their most important question.
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority”. (Acts 1:6-7 NIV)
That question was troubling them for a long time. After all, they were Jews and they knew God had special promises for Israel, including for its political restoration. And they wanted to know what would happen to Israel. In his answer, Jesus only said that, in the Father’s heart, Israel would have in the future a restoration, as the Father had established with his own authority. After giving that answer, Jesus encouraged his disciples to focus their attention on the tremendous resources God was giving them for them to take the Gospel to the whole world. The church was born with the ability and authority to give a testimony of international impact. Jesus said:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
The issue of the restoration of Israel was the Father’s business, for him to solve in the future. On that point, the important thing was to turn the attention for the birth of the church — which was not an institution, but a group of men and women chosen and saved by Jesus, impassioned followers committed to Jesus.
Therefore, Jesus guided them to get exclusively involved on that point with the birth of his church, because the restoration of Israel was responsibility of the Father. In the Father’s agenda, the church was then scheduled in the present to be blessed and Israel was scheduled to receive attention, visitations and special blessings of restoration in the future. God had special plans for the church in the present and he had special plans for Israel in the future. The church and Israel have different directions and missions.
Israel, as a nation, could have undergone that restoration during the birth of the church, or even before, but its hardness against God postponed the project of God for them. In fact, because of that hardness, they were, as a nation, dreadfully disciplined. Some time after the birth of the church, the Jews were expelled from their nation, the land of Israel. They stayed almost two thousand years far away from their land. That punishment was a result from their rejection to the Messiah, who had come to save them. However, such strong punishment also reveals God’s cares, because he disciplines those that are inside of his divine projects. “Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son”. (Hebrews 12:6 NIV)
Because of their stubbornness, the Jews lived almost two thousand years far away from their land — the land God gave them in his eternal alliance with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But such stubbornness will not last forever, because with or without stubbornness, God is faithful and he will fulfill his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Apostle Paul presents an important divine mystery concerning the future of Israel:
There is a secret truth, my friends, which I want you to know, for it will keep you from thinking how wise you are. It is that the stubbornness of the people of Israel is not permanent, but will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to God. And this is how all Israel will be saved. As the scripture says, “The Savior will come from Zion and remove all wickedness from the descendants of Jacob”. (Romans 11:25-26 GNB)
The word stubbornness comes from the original Greek word porosis, that means hardening, blindness, insensibility. Such insensibility means that the Jews are living as stones, totally closed, to the Messiah. That cruel blindness makes them refuse Jesus and criticize evangelicals who support the eternal alliance of God with Israel. Progressive, leftist and liberal Jews, in the United States and in Israel — forming a major part of the Jewish population in those nations — try to undermine and attack Christian support to Israel based on Bible promises. They do not accept those promises and they get on well only with leftist or liberal evangelicals. The socialism of those Jews came from their European-born parents and grandparents, who eventually introduced in Israel social practices having everything to do with socialism and nothing to do with the millennial Jewish tradition: kibbutzes and legal abortion. Socialism has an enormous attraction among most of the Jews, who today are closed to God. In fact, Karl Marx, founder of the communist and socialist ideology, was Jewish himself.
Socialist Jews throughout the entire world, as well as all Socialists throughout the entire world, reject the purposes of God. American socialist Jew Tony Kushner declared: “I wish the modern Israel hadn’t been born”. He is author of a homosexual propaganda piece. He also calls the establishment of the state of Israel “for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity”.[1]
Nevertheless, even among evangelicals in these last days there is that kind of hardness. Progressive (socialist) evangelicals, following the stubbornness of the progressive Jews, mock God’s promises for Israel — or believing that the church replaced the nation of Israel or not believing that the whole territory of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jews:
“In the last times people who ridicule God will appear. They will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the people who cause divisions. They are concerned about physical things, not spiritual things”. (Jude 1:18-19 GW)
On the other hand, conservative and orthodox Jews, who are not a majority in the Jewish population in the world, accept the biblical promises, get on well with conservative evangelicals only in the specific issue of the support of those evangelicals to Israel, but they do not accept the evangelical passion for taking the Gospel to the Jews.
In spite of so an insensitive condition of the Jews, God promises that the hardness and stubbornness of the people of Israel will not last forever. When the complete number of non-Jewish people comes to God, then the secret plan of God will come true and supernatural actions of God will lead the Jews and his nation Israel close whom they rejected: the Messiah. God promises that in the last days the Jews will approach the Lord as never before: “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days”. (Hosea 3:5 KJV)
The church was born with the grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to take the Gospel to the whole world. And there are also strong biblical promises that in the future, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his power will be greater. With such an irresistible Spirit, it is correct to think that the church will be able to help God’s project of overcoming the hardness of the Jewish people and also combating the worldwide hate against the Jews. Israel was an instrument used by God to bless the nations with the Messiah and his powerful Word. Jesus came to the world as a Jew, being born in his homeland Israel. He came from among the Jews and he remains a Jew.
“Then a great and mysterious sight appeared in the sky. There was a woman, whose dress was the sun and who had the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was soon to give birth, and the pains and suffering of childbirth made her cry out. Another mysterious sight appeared in the sky. There was a huge red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and a crown on each of his heads. With his tail he dragged a third of the stars out of the sky and threw them down to the earth. He stood in front of the woman, in order to eat her child as soon as it was born. Then she gave birth to a son, who will rule over all nations with an iron rod. But the child was snatched away and taken to God and his throne. The woman fled to the desert, to a place God had prepared for her, where she will be taken care of for 1, 260 days”. (Revelation 12:1-6 GNB)
The woman symbolizes Israel, nation founded on the twelve children of Jacob. The woman brought Jesus to the world and later “she fled” to the desert (that is, she left her land), where she stayed for almost two thousand years.
From Israel came the Messiah to the world, and Israel — suffering divine punishment for their sins — stayed for a long time in the desert of the nations, without support, recognition or respect.
The world was lost in its hostility and hardness against God, but the Gospel brought grace and transformation. Twelve Jewish apostles — not mentioning Apostle Paul, who was also a Jew — were mightily used to transform the whole world. Now, it is the time for the church to let God use her as an instrument to deliver the Jewish people from stubbornness, rebellion and hardness against God and his unchangeable promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God has already begun to fulfill his promises to Israel. Contradicting all human expectations, he worked the national restoration of the nation of Israel in 1948, according to Ezekiel 37, by “resurrecting” a people who were virtually dead and buried in the debris of the History, dispersed among the nations, persecuted and hated. However, that restoration was not total, because important parts of the territory of Israel and of Jerusalem are under occupation of Arabs called Palestinians. For the time being, we await the time when territorial restoration is completed and, especially, that the spiritual restoration begins to happen.
The promises God gave to Israel — of total ownership of its land, of salvation and of spiritual and national restoration — will come true, in the time determined by the Father. All those who are children of that Father cooperate with him in that purpose, praying so that the will of God may prevail.
Therefore, Christians have three priorities in their prayers:
Pray that the Kingdom of God comes and is revealed in this world. That Kingdom is neither the church nor Israel. That Kingdom is the Government of God. (See Matthew 6:10)
Pray that Jesus Christ’s church on the earth is sanctified by the truth of the Word of God and walks and lives like he walked and lived. (See John 17 and 1 John 2:6)
Pray not only for the peace of Jerusalem, but also for the full spiritual, territorial and political restoration of Israel. (See Psalm 122:6)
When speaking exactly about Israel and its future and about the promises of God for the Jews, Apostle Paul declared:
“For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”. (Romans 11:29 NIV)
“For God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses”. (Romans 11:29 GNB)
God did not change his alliance with Israel. In that alliance, God himself gives to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the eternal and exclusive right to the land of Israel. The land God gave exclusively to the Jews will always belong to them. And the enemy that hates God and his Word inflames the world with hatred against the Jews, because on them are the eternal promises of God. If Jews want, in their stubbornness and hardness, to accept or not, if the world and the “Palestinians” want to accept or not, the promises of God for Israel will come true.
Therefore, the nations should not waste their opportunities to be useful to Israel, because that nation is in the heart of God. God himself says to Israel:
“For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted”. (Isaiah 60:12 KJV)
During the World War 2, Nazi Germany suffered total destruction because it persecuted and annihilated the Jews. The powerful British Empire was turned into ashes, because England had opportunity to help the Jews, but it chose to hinder them from fleeing to the land of Israel. During the war, no country wanted to receive the Jews as refugees, so that the only option left for them was to return to the land of their ancestors. However, the whole territory of Israel was under British administration, and the English prohibited the Jews from escaping to their own land. Six million Jews were cruelly murdered by the Nazi because they did not have any place where to go.
Of course, during the war many Jews also suffered for their own sins, because they were far away from God and attached to the radical socialist ideology. However, no nation is entitled to “punish” the Jewish people, because God is the only One who can handle them and their sins, as it have always been. Besides, what Nazi Germany did was not to “punish” the Jews, but destroy them, and what England did was not to “punish” them, but prohibit them from fleeing to the only place where millions of Jews could have escaped from destruction — they were not able to do so because of the hardness of the English officials. The cost was high: the British Empire disappeared from the face of the earth.
World War 2 ended decades ago, but the hatred against the Jews did not perish in that conflict. Israel, as never before needs the support and assistance from the nations. And there are blessings of God for those who bless Israel. And if there is a curse for the enemies, what will then happen to the vast majority of the nations that demonstrate hatred against the Jews and their exclusive right to their land? Perhaps nothing is inflaming so much that hate as the Islam and socialism. The Muslim feelings toward Israel are more than known, but in an apparently softer way socialists throughout the world — including socialist Jews in Israel, in the US and in Europe — do not believe, do not accept and do not take seriously the alliance of God with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
We should not worry about the sins of Israel. God has always known how to deal with them, even to punish them. Was not it because of their own punishment that the Jews stayed for almost two thousand years away from their land? And during that period, Arabs invaded that land and today they demand it for them and for the Muslim cause. Those Arabs received the title of “Palestinian”. Palestinian designates the inhabitant from Palestine, a name the Romans vengefully gave to the land of Israel, after they expelled all the Jews, almost two thousand years ago. Palestine, as Romans wanted, means land of the Philistines, the worst enemies of Israel.
The only solution for the cause of the “Palestinians” — which the prince of darkness has been using to spread hatred against the Jews throughout the world — is the Palestinians and the world accepting the unchangeable alliance of God with Israel.
The greatest blessing for Christians throughout the world is not only that God may bless them in their efforts to overcome through prayer the hardness and the rebellion of Israel, but also that sooner or later the Jews and their nation Israel will come to God. All the demons of the hell and all the armies in the world united against Israel will fail, because strong is the Lord who has an eternal alliance with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Word of God prophesies that great nations identified as Gog and Magog will gather all the other countries against Israel. The hatred that will accomplish that satanic purpose is already being sowed in Europe, Latin America, Brazil and other nations, preparing them for the final battle against Israel in the last times.
“And [Satan] will go out to deceive the nations scattered over the whole world, that is, Gog and Magog. Satan will bring them all together for battle, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. They spread out over the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people and the city that he loves. But fire came down from heaven and destroyed them”. (Revelation 20:8-9 GNB)
You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes. “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD”. (Ezekiel 38:17-18 NIV)
The LORD says, “At that time I will restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem. I will gather all the nations and bring them to the Valley of Judgment. There I will judge them for all they have done to my people. They have scattered the Israelites in foreign countries and divided Israel, my land”. Thousands and thousands are in the Valley of Judgment. It is there that the day of the LORD will soon come. The sun and the moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD roars from Mount Zion; his voice thunders from Jerusalem; earth and sky tremble. But he will defend his people. “Then, Israel, you will know that I am the LORD your God. I live on Zion, my sacred hill. Jerusalem will be a sacred city; foreigners will never conquer it again”. (Joel 3:1-2, 14-17 GNB)
The Christian who loves the Word of God knows what will happen to Israel and its enemies, because God has already revealed us everything in his Word. Then may all those who are the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ pray so that the Kingdom of God comes on Israel, provoking the opening of their hearts. Also pray so that the Kingdom of God comes on the nations, delivering many from the irrational hate against the alliance of God with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And also pray so that the Kingdom of God comes on the Christian churches, waking up many for following exclusively the Father’s will in these last days. The Kingdom of God is the Government of God. May all of us then declare prophetically: “Come, Government of God, on Israel, establishing on that nation everything the Father has already determined for these last days! Come, Government of God, on the nations, destroying their hate against Israel and establishing King Jesus’ will! Come, Government of God, on the Christian churches throughout the world, making them doers of the Father's will in regard to Israel”.


Thy Kingdom Come said...

Glad to see another blogger defending the truth. I've grown sick of preterists.

What's in a Name? said...

Balanced article - thanks for speaking the truth. One might add that the evil 'Powers that Be' are also busy preparing things for the last great show-down, little knowing that they are only pawns in God's great plan. So the temple is being prepared in Jerusalem for the anti-Christ.If any child of God takes sides in the conflict he will only find himself working against God. We need to have God's perspective, which is always paradoxical, as it confounds human wisdom.