40,000 to 50,000 Jews from around the world recently converged on the site of Sarah’s burial place in Hebron and its sister city, Kiryat Arba, in honor of Israel’s matriarch. The Cave of Machpelah is the burial place, and on it is built the “Tomb of the Patriarchs.”
She passed away some 3800 years ago. Today her descendants still honor her.
She was a beautiful woman even in old age. And at age ninety she brought forth her son, Isaac. Why? Was that just a quirk of nature? No, her son was the long-promised one who bore the seed of the covenant.
These forty to fifty-thousand celebrators acted as though that was a real, historic event. Bless them! God is great!...and brought forth this son through a woman that had long ago had her menopause. They really believed the biblical record. And there are about 300,000 visitors to this tomb and cave annually….who believe. Bless them!
To these Jewish folks, I say: “How wonderful to know your ancestral relatives! In contrast, I know nothing even about my great grandmothers on either side.”
One benefit of the gathered Chosen Ones being in the Holy Land is that they can once again celebrate the people and events of biblical history, experiencing them as historical and not just legendary tales. Caves and tombs, of course, are not the only connections between then and now in Israel. Manuscripts, pots, coins, seals and so much more which are found all the time now in Israel corroborate biblical stories.
Israeli control of the land has been helpful to archeology. And archeology has been helpful to Israel.
A foremost scholar of Hebrew history, John Bright, in his most well-known book says this:
“The patriarchal age has been has been illumined in a manner unbelievable.” So much “material and inscriptional remains have come to light and have been analyzed. We now have texts by the literal tens of thousands contemporaneous with the period of Israel’s origins.” (John Bright: A History of Israel, 1981)
Unbelief in the biblical narrative used to be the accepted thing in some circles, Jews included. There is now a gradual reversal. With Jews in control, the belief factor as regards the Bible’s history, is growing stronger. Evidence of biblical history is increasing through the uncovering of the place names, people names geography and artifacts.
So….Israelis are living their past.
The Biblical Account
At the death of Sarah, Abraham went to purchase the field and cave from Ephron the Hittite. Ephron graciously offered the cave as a gift, but Abraham refused and insisted on giving the full market price of 400 shekels of silver for it. Thus, he insured that there would be no doubts about the ownership of that land.
That was the first piece of land that became Israel's.
Subsequently, Abraham himself, Rebekah and Isaac, and Jacob and Leah were buried there.
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LET’S CHANGE DIRECTION HERE: QUESTION: What is the key spiritual principle of Abraham’s life?
ANSWER: It’s right there in the text of Genesis chapter 15. The Lord again appears to Abraham and repeats his promise of a son plus nations that will come after him. At first, Abraham questions the Lord. But then, after further explanation, it says this: “Abraham believed him [the Lord] and he [the Lord] counted it to him [Abraham] as righteousness.”
That is the key to being just before God—believing His Word. The Apostle Paul explains this in Romans 4 and Galatians 3.
That is the key.
The MESSAGE of the story of Abraham and Sarah is the MESSAGE of FAITH.
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The Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs above the Cave was built by King Herod over 2,000 years ago. Despite its Jewish history and its three rooms named after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the tomb was declared a Palestinian World Heritage Site in 2017 by UNESCO. The largest of the three rooms is forbidden to Jews except for 10 days per year. Yet….
Hebron is mentioned 87 times in the Bible and is the world’s oldest Jewish community.
SO THIS BRIEF OBSERVATION:
The FAITH of Abraham was the key to his friendship with the Lord: HE BELIEVED GOD. But this property is now
largely controlled by Islamic officials whose religion is based upon the law, i. e. THEIR LAW—Sharia.
The failure of the Jewish people to believe in their God makes its way into my mind often. It’s not that they don’t have any need for His help; their need for divine assistance is continually present. Both the diaspora, the Jews residing in other nations, and those who are citizens of the State of Israel—both groups face an ongoing enmity from other nations and people. To put it simply: both groups of Jews need the Lord.
Do you see the incongruity in that statement—they “need the Lord?” It sounds like a phrase that only the evangelicals would use. Right? The Jewish people wouldn't.
Try talking to one of them about God. Try asking your Jewish acquaintance if he or she asks the Lord God to help them in their personal lives.
Or try asking one of them if they’ve thanked the Lord for His help. I have. One elderly gentleman who, with his second bout of lymphoma lay in a hospital room, looked at the crucifix on the wall and asked Jesus to do something for him. And he recovered! I asked him if he then thanked the Lord for his recovery. He just laughed. That's all.
In the Torah, God calls His People 'stiff-necked.” That’s harsh, isn’t it? But one can understand its usage. Yet many of us dearly love these people!
* * * * * * * * * * *
QUESTION: Who today asks help for the Jews as they face their enemies? ANSWER: The evangelicals, not just of America, but world-wide. Yes, the evangelicals call on the Lord to strengthen and protect the Israelis in their land.
QUESTION: Do the Jewish people see the possibilities inherent in the recent ruling by the Trump Administration in changing the illegality of Jewish “occupation” in the “West Bank.” “It’s not illegal to go and reside there,” says Secretary of State Pompeo. ANSWER: Hardly any of the diaspora Jews. But quite a few in Israel are probably pondering this question.
QUESTION: Who prays for God’s help for the Jews as they look to the areas in Judea and Samaria with the wonderful possibility of expansion there? ANSWER: Again, the evangelicals. Hm-m.
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A common term for Judaism is “The Jewish Faith.” But where is their faith? Could you show me who among the Jews expresses faith in God’s power? Hm-m.
Psalm 78 consists of a narrative-poem about Israel’s history of unfaithfulness.
A fire was kindled against Jacob;
His anger rose against Israel,
Because they did not believe in God
And did not trust His saving power.
The reference is to Israel when they began their trek in the wilderness: they were hungry and they saw NO POSSIBILITY of God satisfying their hunger out there in that dry land. So, they COMPLAINED to high heaven.
They spoke against God, saying,
Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
They were in mutiny, ready to retrace their steps and return to Egypt! The God of Heaven through His servant Moses had performed all those plagues; but Israel ignored that and could only see their present need. He had already performed signs and wonders in that desert. But….THEY FORGOT HIS PAST WONDERS.
Modern Israel won two major wars against many nations by the year 1967. And yet, they could not believe that the land they recovered in the war of 1967—won in six days—was a victory accomplished with God’s assistance and that this recovered land was to be placed in their trust for use in enlarging their borders. No. Most of them couldn’t believe that. They were too sensitive to the opinion of the U. S. State Department, the United Nations and the European Union.
Now, in 2019, can they believe that the recent ruling by the U. S. Administration is a glorious opportunity to populate Judea and Samaria? It’s been given to the nation of Israelis on a silver platter.
The new policy announced by Pompeo is thus: The settlements 'are not inconsistent with international law.” The land Israel is 'occupying” is 'not Palestinian territory.”
The land that is 'occupied” has had a Jewish presence for thousands of years....and was recognized as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine, adopted by the League of Nations in 1922. It has never belonged to any other sovereign country, according to Melanie Phillips, Jewish British journalist and author of The World Upside Down and other books; but it has been under the governance of empires. (See her article on “Negotiation in a War of Extermination is no Solution but Surrender.” – 11/23/2019)
The door has been opened. How will the Israelis proceed now that the Trump Administration has acted?
Who knows how the Prime Minister will guide the nation? Netanyahu has been mostly silent on the future prospects for Israel. He seems forthright at times and reticent or timid at others.
Perhaps the reader is thinking: this is being written by just a man with a seminary degree. He’s a religious professional, so his emphasis is naturally from a divine perspective. That's true. But let me quote from an Oxford and Princeton graduate with doctoral degrees:
"The recurring propensity among segments of the Jewish population to take to heart the
indictments of besiegers and persecutors, and to ascribe to themselves the power to change dramatically the attitudes of their enemies by self-reform, is in important respects a contravention of the religious tradition. For it shifts the focus of redemption from the rapport with God to rapport with the Jews’ tormentors, from self-reform in conformity with religious-moral codes of behavior to self-reform in conformity with the indictment of the besiegers. "(Kenneth Levin: The Oslo Syndrome, Smith & Krause, p. xvi)
Since the Peace Process began in these modern times, that has been the case: the Israelis have thought that they could in themselves pacify their tormentors--the ones who teach their children that the Jews are descendants of pigs and apes and that the land of Israel is Allah's. Yes, the Israelis were caught in this trap of thinking that they, in and of themselves, could bring their enemies to accept their existence. They took that way--not the way of confidence in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to whom the Lord God gave His promise.
There you have it!
Joshua Chapter 5 – The Commander of the Lord’s Army appears to Joshua alone.... And Joshua worships.
Joshua and the people of Israel had crossed the Jordan River and were ready to go to battle against the corrupt Canaanites. They had circumcised the males and afterwards had celebrated Passover.
Now was the time. Joshua was their leader.
Yes, but there was another leader, and he appeared to Joshua out of thin air. The record says: Joshua “looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand.”
Joshua spoke up and said: “Are you one of us, or are you one of our adversaries?”
The man replied: “Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
“And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped, and he said to him: “What do you command your servant, my lord?”
The commander of the army of the Lord said to Joshua: “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy.”
That encounter was timely. First, Joshua had just taken leadership after the death of Moses. Secondly, he was preparing for the first battle in the Promised Land—the battle of Jericho.
It would be a challenge, but The Commander would assure success. Israel’s inheritance of the land, promised to Abraham—400 years previously!—was now to be a reality. It was guaranteed by the leadership of "The Commander."
* * * * * * * * * * *
Remember the twelve spies from Israel who had first spied out the land and had announced that it would be suicidal to attempt a military challenge that would open up the land of promise to Israel? “It can’t be done,” they said.
But now, Joshua was leading the new nation of Israel to go and do what was seen as IMPOSSIBLE. Now he was more confident than ever; for he, Joshua, had talked with THE COMMANDER OF THE LORD.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Today, some Jewish intelligentsia and pacifists have reacted negatively to the Zionists. They argue that Jews of all people should not have nationhood where force is necessary to maintain boundaries. Rather, they should be advocates for universal peace. They should be happy to be guests of other nations, not fight for populated land.
Left-wing Jewish groups renounce just about any kind of fighting for their people, both literal warfare and verbal.
Verbal warfare? Many American and European Jews detest defending or affirming their own Jewishness and their own people.
Literal warfare? The efforts of the State of Israel to provide for its security by maintaining a modern military establishment are severely criticized by some Jewish people in Europe and America.
Many of these modern, left-wing Jews have been enamored with the ideal of the pure, universal brotherhood of mankind. That, to them, is the kernel of truth in Judaism, and that is what they embrace, not necessarily a land of their own.
What are they thinking? Well, they have taken a liking to American and European society. They are secularists--and probably "globalists." To them, their traditions are distasteful.
They turn up their noses at the Jewish Defense Forces. Any action that the IDF takes is deemed a war crime. They would scoff at anything in the Joshua narrative as being irrelevant.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The Lord God had His own reasons for the battles that Israel would fight.
1. He had told Abraham that 400 years would pass before Abraham’s descendants would settle in the Holy Land. First, among the Canaanites who lived there, the iniquity of the Canaanites would have to be full up…filled with iniquity. Then, the land would be available to Israel.
2. In the 19th century and before the Jewish people began to populate the land, it was generally a wasteland. There was constant fighting between villages, and thievery was widespread among the Bedouins and residents.
3. The land needed the Jewish People and the Jewish People needed the Land.
4. It would take more than smart diplomacy to get the land into the hand of the Jews. It would take international agreements, battles, wars and fierce struggles. But behind it all, it is the Lord Who is the ultimate force behind all of these historical events.
Despite the present unbelief of much of Jewry, the Lord, once again is The Commander. And Israel will sooner or later have to acknowledge that and bow before Him, as Joshua did.
“Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of your name.
Deliver us, and forgive our sins,
For your name’s sake….
Why should the nations say,
‘Where is their God?’”
-- Psalms 79:8-9 (NRSV)
Monday’s statement by U. S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, changed the face of American policy in the Middle East. He declared that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not illegal per se (in or by itself).
WHOA! The world-wide consensus since the time of Moses—well, at least since the end of the Six-Day War of 1967—has been that the “settlements” are illegal. After all, many top flight lawyers have declared such.
(The world consensus has so often been contrary to reality when it comes to the Jewish people.)
The best arguments present a different view.
Pompeo himself has the courage to contradict the consensus. His statement: “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate,” the Trump Administration has concluded that “The establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”
The consensus has insisted that Israel is an “occupying power.” But that’s not true. Under international law, you have an “occupation” when one country takes over the territory of another. But Israel did NOT do that.
The so-called “West Bank” (named as such by the Arabs) when Israel took it had been under the control of not the Palestinian, but the nation of JORDAN! Jordan appropriated it during the Israeli War of Independence.
Then, they expelled all Jews from that West Bank territory—that is…from Judea and Samaria (and I mean ALL). They destroyed the synagogues and made latrines out of the gravestones.
And….those Jordanians did NOT let the Palestinians have any part in the governance of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). And…they did NOT give the Palestinians citizenship.
It was NOT Jordan’s land to keep. But they KEPT it until the Israelis took it 19 years later.
So Jordan performed an inhumane operation.
* * * * * * * * * * *
So, Israel has patrolled the area since they defeated the Jordanians in 1967. But the Israeli governments have had a terrible time figuring out what to do with it. At first, they made it unlawful for Jewish people to live there. Then, the authorities began to look the other way. That led to planned settlements in designated areas.
But now, with this new American policy, Israel will get bolder and is already thinking about annexations of some of Judea and Samaria. Annexations? (More about this in a later blog.)
* * * * * * * * * * *
QUESTION: Who is behind this decision? Let me, in a few words, take a leap at this question.
ULTIMATE ANSWER: It is God, Lord of Heaven and earth. Isn’t it just the Trump administration who is doing this for political reasons? No. It is God who brought Trump to the fore. It is God who brought the Secretary of State Pompeo to the fore.
How do I know that? you ask. From reflecting on His Word. From the assurance that these are His Chosen People. From reading their history of faithfulness and unfaithfulness. From reflecting upon God’s promise to this People and His ways of dealing with them in their history. God used world leaders in the 20th century to bring about His will for His People; and now in this 21st century it is the same.
Secretary of State Pompeo is a man of faith. He believes in the God Who saves and Who is faithful to His people. He acted in faith, love and wisdom with ratification by President Trump.
QUESTION: Why didn’t the Lord act before…and through some other person and administration?
ANSWER: Because of timing—His timing. He has punished His People by having them drink the wine of His wrath, sternly humiliating and disciplining them. But now, even with their enemies all around them, He is exalting them. They are successful…growing…increasing in influence, power and productivity.
And those who have blamed them for the strife in their Middle Eastern neighborhood are seen to be wrong. Clearly in the wrong. The Jews of 20th century Palestine are not to blame; for there was strife and terror in Palestine—indeed in all the Middle East, but especially in Palestine—prior to the Jewish people’s return in the early 20th century.
Who will rejoice in this decision, and who will not? The read can consider this.
“Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and the quarry from which you were dug….
For the Lord will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.”
-- Isaiah 51:1, 3
More on this subject in a later blog.
Israel Israel is the most unique nation on earth. We know that.
The prophet Balaam was hired by the Moab king Balak to place a CURSE on Israel. But it wasn’t working. The only response Balaam was getting from God was a BLESSING.
A CURSE: Basically, that’s what the Muslim neighbor-nations are trying against the State of Israel today, but it’s not working.
A CURSE: Anti-Semites the world over would like to attempt the same.
Balaam, the ancient prophet, DID get an oracle from the Lord. It was clear. And It was surprising.
Balak has brought me from Aram,
The king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me;
Come, denounce Israel!
But, he continues:
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?….
Here is a people living alone,
And not reckoning itself among the nations!
QUESTION: The king wanted a curse pronounced on Israel….for what reason?
ANSWER: A mixture of fear and loathing. Fear because the nations were hearing of Israel and Israel’s God who worked miracles, making Israel invincible. Loathing, because they were different.
In the October 31st issue of The Jerusalem Post, this observation is made about the United States under President Trump’s leadership withdrawing forces from Syria: Israel is concerned that as the U. S. leaves, it will create a vacuum; and that means that Israel will be “alone among the nations”--among nations that wish to destroy her and annihilate all Jews. That would be Iran, but Iran would be cheered on by many other Muslim nations.
Prime Minister Netanyahu on October 10th:
“We do not aspire to be ‘a nation that dwells alone’, but that is how we were forced to stand at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War [in 1973]….We always remember and apply the basic principle that guides us: Israel will defend itself, by itself, against any threat.” (Jerusalem Post, 10/31/2019)
“Alone among the nations.” This from a divine oracle and made clear in history.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Did you ever hear of foreign armies or militias taking positions in Israel on behalf of the Jewish people?
Who came to the aid of the Jews when the Romans besieged Jerusalem. No one. But even though Rome was by far the greater power, the Jews fought viciously and came close to victory. THE JEWS WERE ALONE. Not Greece nor Egypt nor Persia came to her aid.
How about when the five nation neighbors of the State of Israel when they fought to destroy it in 1967? Would any great power go to Israel’s aid? How about…let’s say Russia….no way. Let’s say Japan….by international law they were de-militarized. Let’s say NATO….not. NATO was formed to protect Europe from the Soviet Union. Other countries that might have done it are Communist or Muslim, and those nations were scandalized by the idea of coming to the aid of those "Chosen People,” and were more likely to provide armaments for the Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis
When in 1967 the American president, Lyndon Johnson was informed that preparations for war were in place for Israel’s neighbors to attack, he pointed out that America was involved in the Viet Nam War and was severely limited in its ability to assist Israel. He urged Israel’s Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, not to initiate hostilities.
But Egypt and Syria had been readying their forces for many months. President Johnson warned: “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone.” (!) WRONG! The United Nations had already removed its protective forces from the Sinai. Who were the U. N. forces to protect? Israel, of course. But Egypt’s Nasser demanded that they leave! ‘Get out of our way, so we can destroy Israel,’ was, in effect what Nasser was saying. And the UN forces left… leaving Israel alone!
THE JEWS WERE ALONE. Neither the U. S. nor Britain nor Russia nor the United Nations came to their aid in the face of the threat to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
Such a small nation. You’d think that some other nation in the world would provide some troops to assist them in their fight for their lives. But NO.
If a small NATO country would be attacked, the rest of all Western Europe and the United States would be required by treaty to come, militarily, to their aid. But not to tiny little Israel.
It is David against Goliath….as usual.
It’s the way it was in the Old Testament. Could Israel depend upon her cousins to assist them militarily? You’re joking. EXAMPLE: The Edomites (next door neighbors), descendants of Esau, rejoiced when Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians. The Jews were captured. The Edomites came and watched, laughed, danced and gloated and may have captured some of the Jews themselves to sell them into slavery. (SEE: The Prophecy of Obadiah)
No nation ever wanted to get involved in the Middle East just to help the Jewish State.
There are a good number of Jews who despise this characterization of the Israeli people as being alone. They don’t want to be “a people alone”—separate and distinct from others. Some want to be like the Europeans; and they mimic the European calls for universalism, diversity in the population, in philosophy, in the way of life. They rather like their ancient traditions but dislike any dependence upon the Lord.
In 20th century Europe, many were even more adamant: ‘We Jews are no longer a nation but a fossil and should cast off our identity of being chosen. We are just humanists.’
Some despise the Judaism of their grandparents and have retained nothing but an insipid and uninspiring “progressivism.” Let there be freethinking…O yes! But not this separateness from the nations, they say.
Still, they cannot wipe away their identity. For it is God the Lord who graciously has called them.
Here is a people living alone
And not reckoning itself among the nations!
-- (Numbers 23:9)
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P. S. And it is Jesus Christ, also called by the Father, to dwell as one man in the midst of mankind--separate from sinners, alone, yet blessing them in His life, death and resurrection.
When a whole People Group adopts a fantasy narrative as part of their religion, many Americans and others say: “That’s their business; let them believe what they want.”
Palestinian leaders contend that Israel’s stories are all wrong! During the Oslo Peace meetings in 1998, Yasser Arafat, in his conversations with President Clinton, insisted that the biblical stories of Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple are fiction. Therefore, he insisted that access to the Temple Mount should be controlled by the Palestinians.
Clinton was aghast and infuriated; but his surprise revealed a lack of preparedness. Much of Muslim theology is built upon a fabrication of ancient history.
Middle East Muslims say that Jerusalem is one of their holy places from ancient times. Yet it is never mentioned in the Koran which was written in the 7th century A. D. while Jerusalem is mentioned 660 times in the Tenakh (Old Testament) which was written about one millennium before the birth of Islam.
Islam contends that Jewish stories of ancient Israel are fiction-- changed to suit their people, whereas Muhammed, the Koran and its narratives convey the truth of those ancient stories.
Is "untruth" an accepted term? I want to use it here.
The Muslims claim that what the Jews have taught is fabricated.
But the following are examples of Muslim untruth:
--They claim that their ancestors—Muslims!—Adam and Eve!--invited their children to follow the Islamic way of life! (Thanks to Melanie Phillips for this in her book, The World Turned Upside Down.”) Untruth is one of the practices that turns the world upside down.
--“Adam and Eve, their children and their later generations followed the teachings of Islam as propounded by Prophet Adam (peace be upon him)” for quite a long period. Phillips says that this “absurdity is embedded in the foundational religious texts of Islam.”
--The Qur’an says that Islam came before Judaism and Christianity, and that it was the faith practiced by Abraham.
--This Islamic counter-history says it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was the son of promise to Abraham whom God instructed to sacrifice on Mount Moriah.
Now To Modern Events
Modern events are changed by Muslim historians to center on Islam, thus replacing Hebrew-Jewish history with their own:
For one thing, they deny the Holocaust.
Two, they charge Israel with carrying out a Holocaust in Gaza.
Three, to cancel out the news of the growing anti-Semitic activity in Europe, they put the Muslims in the place of the persecuted Jews by claiming that European Islamophobia is the real problem, not anti-Semitism.
They then insist on their “right of return”-- not to Palestine but to Israel.
Phillips quotes Osama bin Laden in his Letter to the American people:
Bin Laden: “It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. Muslims believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. (Melanie Phillips: The World Turned Upside Down. New York: Encounter Books, P. 168)
This is what Israel has to deal with—the peoples of the Middle East who believe in this corruption of the Biblical narratives.
Samuel M. Zwemer, noted early 20th century missionary to the Muslim peoples said that the Muslims believe that Allah sent down one hundred and four sacred books. Adam received ten, Seth fifty, Enoch thirty and on and on.
They say that the Qu'ran is uncreated and eternal, and to deny this is rank heresy.
Zwemer continues with more Islamic legends: “Jesus…spoke while still a babe in the cradle….he foretold another prophet, whose name should be Ahmed (Mohammed)….They believe that Jesus was, by deception and substitution, saved from crucifixion and taken to heaven, and that now he is in one of the inferior stages of eternal bliss.” (Samuel Zwemer: The Moslim World, 1907.
QUESTION: When the very foundations of a religion are built upon such obvious mendacity—untruth—fiction—legends, how does one deal with its adherents when one is attempting to forge lasting agreements and contracts and make peace, especially but not only, when one is dealing with land apportionments and security measures?
This is what Israel has to deal with—peoples and their representatives who believe in this corruption of the Biblical narratives—people who have had legends presented to them as truth.
The Muslim Arabs who suffered defeat at the hands of little Israel in three major wars have their explanations which are supposed to save face….and other explanations of how the Israelis advance so quickly in the field of technology.
- Israel’s military successes are due to American assistance, according to the Arabs.
- Their industrial enterprises cannot be regarded as Israeli, for they are really American industries.
- Everything in Tel Aviv is a primitive imitation of everything in America.
The fabrications are mind-boggling.
But remember this: belief in Muslim tenets is enforced. A declaration of non-belief can, in the case of the Middle East Muslims, and probably will mean, your execution. When a fictitious religion such as this is taught to the masses, it has to be enforced with punishment. That is how Islam is perpetuated.
This is religious tyranny.
Lord, where is your steadfast love from of old,
Which by your faithfulness You swore to David?
Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted--
How I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples,
With which your enemies taunt, O Lord…
Blessed be the Lord forever.
Amen and Amen.
-- Psalms 89:49-52 (NRSV)
Leading up to the
Zionist movement, there was almost constant warfare between tribes and villages which exceeded anything that was known in the most turbulent centuries of early feudal Europe. (1)
QUESTION: Why didn’t the Ottoman administration--the Turks and their lackeys, take action? Their empire ruled Palestine. They could have stopped the violence.
ANSWER: The Turkish governors were agreeable to this state of affairs (constant warfare). Why? Because they didn’t want any landowning families to consolidate their power on a permanent basis by which security would be ensured.
In other words, a peaceful Palestine would have been a threat to the Turks. Strife in Palestine was just fine for them.
And Remember: It was early in the following century (20th) that the Turkish administration and army exterminated one and one-half million Armenians—the first such act in the world to be called a genocide.
In the wars between villages it was common practice to cut down fruit trees and olives and to destroy crops.
Also, Bedouins freely destroyed the crops of villages which they raided, and killed or carried off their livestock. They filled wells with stones and broke down reservoirs and cisterns.
- streams and rivers became dammed
- malaria became endemic and
- the unlucky peasants fled elsewhere or starved
In first half of the nineteenth century the population sank to the lowest level it had ever known in historic times. (1)
So it was with The Land before the Jews returned.
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A Witness to late 19th century Palestine—Mark Twain, Author
Twain visited Palestine in 1867 and reported on its bleakness and desolation. He wrote:
"Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent…It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land…Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes." (From his book, The Innocents Abroad)
A Rabbi Speaks
The few Jewish communities there were in 19th century Palestine never knew when trouble was coming. Rabbi Mosha Reisher, writing in Jerusalem in the middle of that century wrote: “What shall I tell of the heavy burden of exile that fell upon the Jews dwelling in the Land of Life [i.e. the Holy Land] from the day they settled there….Jerusalem was full of ruins, and the surrounding countryside was desolate and neglected. Jews dared not venture outside the City wall for fear of being waylaid by robbers…The Jew would be sent off naked and barefoot…. The men who set upon them were not professional robbers or Bedouin, but their neighbors among whom they dwelt.” (Avraham Yaari: The Goodly Heritage, Jewish Agency, 1958)
Thus we see the pitiful condition of Jerusalem and its environs prior to the dawn of Zionism and the great return.
QUESTION: That turbulence and that bleakness—would it still be present in the land if the Jews had not come? ANSWER: Just take a look at the land of Israel’s neighbors now….and see what the Holy Land would be without the Jewish presence--tumult, low standard of living, mostly desolation and ignorance.
FAST FORWARD: Just thirty-some years into the 20th century.
In the 1930’s with Jewish communities now in the land, the Arabs in Palestine rioted repeatedly. They contended that there was not enough room in Palestine for the Jews.
The British Administration sent a commission to investigate. At this point the British really do not favor the Jews. Yet, after much research and a massive report, the commission’s conclusions contradicted the Arab arguments.
The Peel Commission (1937). They found that Arab complaints were baseless. To the complaint that there was not enough room for the Jews, the Commission found that if there were a shortage of land, it was due to a flood of illegal Arab immigration entering Palestine. The reason for this? Jobs, of course, due to Jewish industry, higher wages and an improved standard of living.
Of course, everyone knew that.
The contradiction has always been there: hate for the Jews and yet…a grudging acknowledgement for what the Jews produce
The Lie: Everything was O. K. before the Jews came.
“But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot out your branches
and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they shall soon come home.
See now, I am for you; I will turn to you and you shall be tilled and sown;
and I will multiply your population, the whole house of Israel, all of it;
the towns shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt…”
-- Ezekiel 36:8-10 (NRSV)
(1) Information from James Parkes, historian, Anglican clergyman and author of books on Palestine including Whose Land? A History of the Peoples of Palestine, Taplinger, 1949, 1970.
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel informs the press that he cannot at this time form a government. That makes me think….
Modern Israel has nothing like the holy men of ancient Israel. There is no modern prophet--no Elijah, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah…and no king like David, Solomon or Josiah. These men of God were especially called by God and are acclaimed as ideal.
Today, Israel has no one leader of preeminence, religious or political, whom the whole of Jewry acknowledges.
Isn’t there anyone…any leader who unites them in any way? “
Yes, there is one.
Michael Medved, the Jewish film critic and political commentator (not a Messianic Jew), has plainly said:
"The chief distinguishing characteristic of most American Jews is not what they do believe, but what they do not believe. They do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Period. End of sentence, end of story. Tragically, for all too many members of today’s Jewish community, this rejection marks the sum total of their theological commitment, the beginning and end of their ideological identity as adherents to what is still misleadingly described as ‘the Jewish faith.’…Acceptance of Jesus is the one theological permutation [alteration] that Jews of all persuasions find unacceptable." (Everest: Israel the Chosen, p. 319, from Commentary Magazine, Milton Himmelfarb, Aug., 1996)
What the Jews of today don’t believe is their one tenet of belief! The entire sum of Jewry (and not just in the U. S.), except for those few who are Messianic, is united by this One Man—Yeshua—united in their rejection of Him as Lord.
For sure, He does get their attention. How? When any of their fellow Jews acknowledge and accept Him, they are dismayed…and the fellow Jewish person who accepts Yeshua is rejected. A Jew who becomes Hindu or who is an atheist or agnostic or Communist is still considered a Jew. But not one who has accepted and is following Yeshua. No, no.
So the Jewish world is united by this one factor.
This makes the Jewish world vulnerable--vulnerable to a leader who might arise in today’s world--to one who shows insight, charisma, who is a unifier, with the ability to unite Jews of varying life styles and persuasions. He would possess a seemingly miraculous ability to accomplish great feats--achieving what no other modern leader has been able to accomplish. The Jewish world could be fooled into giving him their full allegiance.
I speak of the coming anti-Christ.
In rejecting Yeshua as they have, they stand in an exceedingly dangerous position. For this man—the anti-Christ--would not be a holy man, though he might at first seem like one. He would be bold, presumptuous and profane. Besides that, he would amaze the world with his accomplishments. And eventually, he would turn with fury against the Jewish people.
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But turning back to the yearning for “the Great One”-- the Messiah whose coming is prophesied in the Tanakh (Old Testament)-- notice this prayer in a popular modern Jewish prayer book expressing the longing for the great Messiah to come.
May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our fathers,
That as we have merited to witness the beginning of redemption,
So may we merit to hear the sound of the shofar
Of our righteous holy one swiftly in our days.
(The Koren Siddur)
This is a prayer of petition for the appearance of the Messiah. This prayer and its longing are derived from the promise of the prophets.
(Special Note: the second line of this prayer shows that the modern return of the Jews to their land is seen as “the beginning of redemption.”)
Some Jews in Europe and Russia at the turn of the 20th century and Russia believed that the Austrian journalist, Theodore Herzl, was just this man--the very looked-for Messiah. Crowds of Jews in Eastern Europe hailed his arrival on his visits, many suggesting that he was the Messiah for whom they waited. Why? Because he was charismatic, intelligent and made it his career to travel throughout Europe attempting to persuade Europe’s leaders to make happen the Jewish return to the Holy Land.
But he died in 1904. Perhaps that was Providential. God did not want His Chosen People to confer too much honor upon Herzl. At age 44, he passed away.
And so, the observant Jews of the world, and especially those in Israel, are waiting.
When I was in Jerusalem, I spoke to merchants, waitresses and taxi drivers about the Messiah. “Do you believe in the coming of your Messiah?” The majority—nine of twelve—answered “yes,” some enthusiastically.
Netanyahu would not completely satisfy. Nor would any other candidate in Israel. Of course not. I suppose it gives one pause to be a leader when, in the back of their minds, the people are looking and longing for someone glorious.
The leader of glory and power is described in Isaiah 9:6:
“And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,” – one who gives wise counsel..."
And you know the rest.
“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and
make your name great…and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
-- Genesis 12:2-3 (ESV)
“Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion,
Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem.”
-- Isaiah 52:1 (ESV)
You’ve heard it often: the State of Israel is a miracle. And it’s true.
After its independence, the tiny nation had to absorb 2 million refugees from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East who were fleeing persecution and losing all or most of their possessions in the process.
The new nation was struggling economically, and all goods were rationed.
But now that Israel has grown and developed and become like a teen-ager who has become an adult, look what this nation is doing, not just for itself, but for the world.
What a blessing they’ve become!
An Ideal Mix: Intelligence and Benevolence…..Smarts & Kindness--that is Modern Israel. Here are just a few examples….
Israel Is Advanced in Military Technology
She HAS to be. She is criticized from without and within for having a strong military. (Some Zionist thinkers are highly critical. They contend that if Israel has to defend herself with firepower, she should not be a nation with land.) But my point is this: Israel has been instrumental in the updating of America’s defense technology. Seth Cropsey, senior fellow at Hudson Institute and Harry Halem, research assistant, say that “Israel is a test-bed for front-line military technology and tactics,” and thus has improved U. S. technology in this field.
Israel is Smart…
Israel is Generous.
Am I glorifying Israel too much?
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Those who have read much of my writings know that my assessment of things Jewish is NOT always good. Their observances are in the forefront of their religion. Not God Himself. A “personal relationship” with the Lord, such as David had, are strange to them.
And is Israel the “light to the nations” as many Jewish leaders claim? I don’t believe so. Why? Because their unbelief is a barrier to the light. They close their eyes to the Messiah Who is the light of the world. Christ (the Messiah) is the light. (“He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.")
Yet, they ARE the Chosen; and some of them do have regard for the ancient covenant with the God of Abraham and Moses. That is worthy of notice, and their obvious concern for their neighbors throughout the world is an indication of better things to come in their connection to the Lord their God. In this, I believe I am right.
What do you think?
Modern Israel began with a very small area of land allotted by the U.N. in 1947. Then the surrounding nations went after Israel, declaring war—5 nations against 1—with populations and military machines much larger than Israel’s. But Israel’s forces decisively defeated the Arab Muslim armies, and in the process Israel actually gained land.
A similar scenario happened 19 years later. In another attempt to “wipe Israel off the map, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq were defeated. Israel again gains land. The land is the familiar biblical areas of Galilee, Judea and eastern Jerusalem. This time Israel was stunned and didn’t know what to do with it. Israel’s generals and politicians were immediately ready to return much of it. However, the Arab nations refuse to even talk to Israel….at all. They refuse to sit in the same room with Jews. Self-defeating enmity.
And…. Israel still argues about what to do with it! Most world leaders insist that Israel must return it all—“go back to the boundaries of 1967,” they insist. “It belongs to the Palestinians and must be returned,” is their solution to the tension in Palestine. Some Israelis used to agree, but of late, not so. Why? Because the Palestinians have shown themselves to be fiercely intransigent.
The section of the land which Israel did give back to the Palestinians—Gaza—was turned into an armed camp from which tens of thousands of rockets have been launched against southern Israel.
Now, the land taken in two defensive wars is increasingly being settled by Israeli citizens, although certain well-defined sections include large Palestinian populations. It all is divided between Areas A, B, and C. with some ruled by the Palestinian Authority and some by Israel. Israeli “settlers” began the build-up there, and it has become a beautiful and well-developed area.
All right: so two wars have resulted in two major areas of land added to the portion being a part of modern Israel. The ancient homeland is now becoming the modern homeland, growing in both population and in land ownership.
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Just this week, even as I write, the news agencies are reporting that a major foreign policy move has been made by President Trump. No more is America leaving even a small residue of soldiers in the Middle East. Out come our troops from northern Syria. Rushing In are the troops from Turkey. Other countries will make their moves—Iran to increase its power base. And Russia the bear is likewise looking on with an appetite for power.
America is losing her power there.
The influence of a Christian Britain didn’t last long after Britain sponsored the Zionist enterprise. But then America took up the cause and became influential in Israel’s statehood. Now, after one hundred years of Anglo-Saxon-American influence in that area, one hundred years of close alignment with the chosen people and their land, the area is losing American military aid, and the ominous picture is one of ambitious tyrants ready to pounce on The Chosen.
The probability is that Israel will have to go to war again. In fact, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal states that Iran and Israel are already in what has to be called a war; and Iran’s continual threats repeat what all the nations around Israel said in 1947-48. They repeat what Egypt’s Nasser and his cohorts threatened in 1967--Israel’s annihilation. The cultures of Israel’s surrounding neighbors, even though they may have some agreements with Israel, remain inflated with anti-Semitic bombast. It is taught to the children and reinforced continually in broadcasts and telecasts and in celebrations of the murders of Israeli citizens. Don’t be fooled: these nations are not friends of Israel.
As I’ve written before, the whole area is being militarized by Iran and its allies and its proxies: Hizbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and others.
Now….here is my point: if Israel is forced to resort to warfare once again, it just may be that they will once again emerge from that future war with more territory. Syria is fragmented and Lebanon is controlled by Hizbollah. A future war could result in extending modern Israel’s borders into these two countries.
If the past gives us any indication of what the future holds, it may just be that God is not through enlarging the tents of Abraham’s descendants. Do you think this is far-fetched?
When Israel long ago became out of favor with the Lord, He empowered the enemies of Israel to chip off sections of the sacred land. But since, in our time, He has been drawing in His people from the ends of the earth, He has not only given them the victory over their enemies but has given them additional land through their victories.
If this happens again, would it be unfair? If we are entering God in to this equation, who are we to question His acts? But consider: Israel has done nothing but favors in the past few decades to other nations who have needed their assistance. Israel is a positive influence.
In my next blog, I intend to follow through and give examples of how Israel is being a helper to other nations. And the type of aid they are giving is welcomed by those needy nations.
1. Axiom: God is lord of the land of Israel.
2. Corollary: God uses the enemies of Israel. He hardens their hearts just as He hardened the heart of ancient Pharoah. Is that unbelievable to you, dear reader?
3. Corollary: God uses the evil purposes of sinful men and women to bring glory to His name and cause and blessings to His people.
Obviously, Israel is not having an easy time of it. She is hurrying to develop new military technology to fend off—protect herself—from the encircling powers.
Watch and pray.
An admonition to Israel:
“Look to the rock from which you are hewn,
And to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who bore you….
Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
The people whose heart is my law:
Fear not the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings….
I am the Lord your God
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar--
The Lord of hosts is his name.”
-- Isaiah 51:1-2, 7, 15 (ESV)