“Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will bring them back in safety.” – Jeremiah 32:37
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Question #1 for the clergy of the world: Does the return to Zion produce joy in your soul…or not?
Question #2: And…do you, the clergy of the world, feel delighted that the ancient language of Hebrew is now used in the ancient land among the Jewish people?
First, let’s take the Christians who live in Israel, Judea and Samaria. Most of these are members of the Eastern Orthodox churches. Here is a revealing statement about them:
“Most Christians who live in the State of Israel prefer to pretend that they live somewhere else. In their imaginations they live in “Palestine,” or (as is preferred in some circles) “The Holy Land”. In conversation as well as in their writings they sedulously avoid reference to the name of the state in which…they live; and they remain vigilant, day in and day out, not to take into their eyes the life and not to hear with their ears the language of the Jews. (Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel, by Paul Charles Merkley, McGill-Queens: Montreal and Kingston, p. 52)
This is a similar practice to that of the Muslims who will not say “Israel.” That is a word used for cursing. It is anathema-- forbidden for both Muslim and the Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The church of Eastern Orthodoxy in Israel do their best to ignore the Israeli state in which they are living.
Secondly, let’s note the churches in the world that are called “liberal” and whose leadership is oriented towards the higher criticism of the scriptures, thereby denying the authenticity of biblical history: these churches do not take the prophetic word objectively. Therefore, the prophecies about the Jews returning to the and is not meaningful. Therefore, no joy is expressed in these churches at the restoration of Israel. Only briefly did they affirm Israel in the 1940’s.
Typically, the people in these churches have not studied the scriptures. Typically, they give Israel poor grades for its treatment of the Palestinians; and again typically, they do not judge the Palestinians even though the Palestinian leadership has from the very beginning of their existence vowed to kill the Jews and destroy the Jewish state for the sake of Allah.
They hold Israel to a standard to which others are not held. They have veiled a sort of anti-Semitism in the name of social justice. They are quick to judge Israel severely and the Palestinians very little or not at all.
They also fail to acknowledge the fact that much of the West Bank is now under civilian control of the Palestinian Authority….that a large segment of the Palestinian population now is making good money in companies owned by both Arabs and Israelis.
At even other times, they have, during the Peace Process, not given the Israelis enough credit for taking the initiative in the peacemaking process which involved giving back 97 per cent of “The West Bank.”
Thirdly, let’s look at some of the leaders of the Evangelical World.
One evangelical leader said with a critical tone: Israel should “…administer justice over the land God promised to it, rather than simply taking those as literal borders in which it can do anything it wants.” (Richard Mouw in Center Conversations)
What was that again? “….in which Israel can do anything it wants?” That’s not all. He also says: “We [ahem] need to hold Israel responsible for the conditions of the covenant, for the proper use of the land.”
Who is “we”? The National Association of Evangelicals? And how often will these reports be issued that evaluate Israel’s “proper use of the land?”
NOTE: That statement was made in a 17-year-old journal. Perhaps now such writers as this have shaved off some of their self-righteousness.
The Jews have for some time now proclaimed that their mission is to make the world a better place. The Hebrew term for this is “Tikkun Olam”—“repairing and improving the world” is what that now means. It’s an important part of the Israeli raison d'etre—reason for being—purpose in living. It’s expressed in Israelis being first on hand to help the Haitians following the earthquake and other commendable acts of charity. Their advances in medicine are amazing. And note that the Syrians needing medical help who can make it to Israel are treated with kindness regardless of their nation being the arch-enemy of Israel.
Some evangelicals are poor at giving grades out.
The Palestinians are their “victim group"--victims of the Jews, of course.
Now, in the last few years, Middle East Christians are escaping the persecution they have suffered in Muslim countries to make it into Israel. Think of that! They appreciate Israel and the freedoms there. The minds of some Middle East Christians are being changed.
Fourth and lastly, the Christians who do express great joy at the re-birth of the nation of Israel see it as a GIFT from the Lord of nations-- from the one who established His covenant with Abraham and the Children of Israel.
In the rebirth of the Israelite nation, most Christians of conservative theology see a sign of the last days and a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Yes, there was disappointment, over the irreligious life of Israel’s leaders.
But it is a God of grace who is in charge, and He is and will continue to work in the hearts and minds of the Israelis. It’s happening.
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In past centuries, some segments of the Church saw the restoration of Israel coming. Some were ridiculed for this belief. The scoffers ignored the prophecies, having a low view of the scripture’s veracity. What did they ignore? Here is an example--one that shows the Lord’s compassionate ingathering:
“For thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel….I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed…” (Ezekiel 34:11-16a – ESV)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.