Turn on the news and the headline news is that the armies of Islamic nations have overrun Israel. The Israeli government has conceded defeat. The Muslim leaders declare that Israel no longer exists as a nation amongst the nations. How would you react? Would your faith in God be affected? I shall ask that same question later. 4,000 years of history.
Why speak about the Jews? Israel is on every page of the Bible. Without an understanding of the Jewish people in the purpose of God it is difficult to make sense of the message of the Bible. God reveals Himself through the Jewish people. God hammers out His message on the anvil of history and chose this people for that purpose.
Gen ch 6 v 5. The World was in a state of rebellion against God. God sent the Flood. Only Noah was found to be righteous. God started again with the descendants of Noah. The people of the World were all descended from the three sons of Noah – Seth, Ham and Japheth. Do you believe that statement? It is in the Word of God. “God is not a man that He should lie.”
Gen ch 11 v 1 – 9. After the Flood the rebellion of man continued and Nimrod persuaded the people to build a city, contrary to the instructions of God to spread over the face of the Earth. The tower of Babel was built and God scattered the language of the people. v 8 – 9. Nimrod was not only a political leader. He was also a spiritual leader. He established the Babylonian Mystery religion, which is the basis for all the false religions in the World. His son Tammuz was claimed to be the one mentioned in Gen ch 3 v 15. It was claimed that he was the one born of woman who would be the saviour of the World.
Gen ch 15 v 5 – 6. God called Abraham to come out of the land of the Chaldeans (Iraq), which was riddled with worship of the occult. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. He was the only man in the World at that time, who believed in God. God gave Abraham a promise of a land and a nation for everlasting. God promised to bless those who blessed Abraham.
Gen ch 15 v 18. The promise was of a tiny land at the centre of the Earth – where the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe are joined. It is equidistant from America and Australia. God told Abraham His plans for the 430 years ahead. The Covenant that God made with Abraham was unconditional, depending entirely on His own unbreakable word and not on the character of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Canaan, Israel, Palestine, Israel – different names at different times – but an everlasting possession to the Jews. However there were certain conditions. God said that if the Jewish people behaved like the Canaanites He would remove them from the land. And He did – twice
Gen ch 17 v 8. The promise was repeated to confirm it – as an everlasting possession.
Gen ch 26 v 3 – 4. God gave the same promise to Isaac.
Gen ch 32 v 24 – 32. Jacob – a real man of the World with many flaws in his character – wrestled with God and was called Israel – the name Israel means struggle. God foresaw the struggle, which lay before Israel as they sought to hold onto God and live in the World, which was hostile to God. God had a great plan of salvation and these were the opening moves to reach the peoples of the World in centuries to come.
Gen ch 35 v 12. God confirmed to Jacob the promise, which He had given to Abraham and Isaac. The promise did not depend on the character of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. They did some awful things. It depended on the purpose of God.
Gen ch 35 v 23. Jacob had 12 sons – they became the Children of Israel – who was their father. The Children of Israel went to live in Egypt – Goshen. There were 70 in number when they arrived there. 430 years later there were over two million of them. They lived in Egypt as shepherds.
Gen ch 47 v 27. They were fruitful and multiplied. In this way they fulfilled the purpose of God given to Adam and Eve.
Gen ch 46 v 3. God confirmed the promise to Jacob.
Gen ch 46 v 34. The Egyptians were farmers and hated shepherds. Why? There was no apparent reason. It was irrational. Satan- the enemy of God hated Israel and sought to defeat God’s purpose of salvation.
Gen ch 47 v 27. The Children of Israel were fruitful and multiplied. In this they fulfilled the purpose of God given to Adam and to Noah.
Exodus ch 1 v 8 -10. Through Joseph God had saved the Egyptians from famine and death. The new Pharaoh was frightened of the Children of Israel. They reminded him of God and offended the polytheism of the Egyptians. Pharaoh was a type of Devil, holding the people in bondage. As the numbers of the Hebrews increased they posed a threat to the rulers of Egypt. The prosperous Egyptians were having few children. The Hebrews had many children. It was not a huge mathematical calculation as to how long it would be before the Hebrews outnumbered the Egyptians. Pharaoh made slaves of the Hebrews and ordered that the male babies be killed.
Exodus ch 2 v 23 – 35. After 430 years in Egypt the Children of Israel finally cried out to the God of their forefathers. Help! God would have acted sooner but they did not call on Him. God usually gives a physical picture to teach spiritual truth. In these facts God is teaching spiritual truths for man for centuries to come.
Exodus ch 12 v 40. After 430 years, God went into action and sent Moses. God had arranged for him to leave the Court of Egypt and over 40 years in the wilderness had tamed him and stripped him of all pride and self-confidence. Moses was the meekest of men. He even had a stutter. His confidence was not in himself but in God. 600,000 men as well as women and children left Egypt for the land promised by God to their forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There was an estimated two and half million people.
Exodus ch 15 v 26. Perhaps the greatest blessing would be health. There would be no diseases, if they obeyed God completely. Sin and disease are so closely related. So much of our disease is directly related to our own sin.
Exodus ch 19. God brought the people out into the wilderness to meet Him at Mount Sinai. There God revealed Himself through the giving of the moral law through Moses. God made a covenant or agreement with the people. He chose them – not because they were His favourites, like you might choose a shirt or tie – but because God had a purpose for them. He wanted them to reveal to the World the real living God amongst people, who worshipped false gods. He wanted them to be a holy nation. Israel is you and me on a national scale. God chose you for the same purpose. The people had a free choice. There was no pressure upon them, other than the fact that God had released them from slavery and therefore they ought to have been grateful. There would be blessings for obedience to the commands of God and curses or problems for disobedience.
Exodus ch 24 v 1 – 8. God sealed the covenant with blood. The covenant was like other treaties, which existed in these days. The greater party – God – would protect the weaker – the people of Israel – and the weaker would serve the greater. The covenant was a very practical one.
God gave certain religious practices and duties to bind the people together as a nation. Religion is the glue, which binds the nation together. God revealed Himself to them in their moral and spiritual teaching. The pages of the Old Testament are a story of the struggle as the people one day wandered from God and worshipped the pagan gods and the next day they repented and turned to God. The Jews tried to hold on to God but failed. Isaiah said: ” We were with child but brought forth wind.” Isaiah ch 26 v 18.
Deut ch 7 v 6 – 14. The peculiar status of Israel. My first born son. God swore on His oath 46 times in Scripture that He would keep the people as a people. They were the apple of His eye – to be blessed above all people. He had called them to a task, which demanded their total commitment. Although they failed, they were still His people and He is not a God who abandons people.
Jer ch ch 25 v 11-12.
Jeremiah remained in Judah and prophesied the return to the land and the end of the captivity.
Jer ch 31 v 35 – 37. They would be a people forever. God sent the prophets to the people – these were men close to God with the mind of the Lord. They called on the people to repent and turn to God.
Ezekiel ch 18 v 32. Don’t die! Live! I have no pleasure in the death of any person. It was the promise of the Lord that He would care for the people. The leaders He had sent to do this had failed by the time of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel ch 34 v 11. God promised to come Himself to do the job.
The state of the nation was reflected in the leaders and in particular the Kings. The leaders make the people to sin. God holds leaders particularly responsible. David built up the physical Kingdom to its peak of influence. Solomon built the temple. But Solomon sinned in a serious way by disobeying the Lord and as a result the Kingdom was divided into two parts. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel. The Southern Kingdom was called Judah. Eventually the Northern Kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria. Despite the warnings by several prophets, Judah was captured by Babylon. Israel was always a pawn between the military and political powers as they fought for supremacy in the Middle East. Jeremiah stayed in Judah. Daniel and Ezekiel were taken off to live in Babylon.
God sent the prophets to them with the message: “Turn back to me! Please!”
All the time Israel was in the Promised Land other peoples and empires rose and fell. They were fighting each other for the top position of power in the World. Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Persia. Israel was always a political pawn between the military and political powers as they made alliances and fought for supremacy in the Middle East. Eventually Israel – the Northern Kingdom was taken captive by Assyria never to rise again. The Southern Kingdom of Judah did not heed the warnings of several of the prophets such as Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah to the consequences of their sin and eventually the Southern Kingdom was taken into captivity in Babylon. The policy was to take away the leading figures to Babylon and to replace them with their own leading people. This happens today as in East Timor. Not all the Jews were exiled. Daniel and Ezekiel were among those who went to Babylon. Most of the prophets spoke during a short time of exceptional political activity. It was a time of moral and spiritual decline in Israel. At the same time the countries of the World were facing a moral and spiritual crisis and God spoke out through His prophets to the people. Malachi was the last one to speak – 400 years before Jesus arrived on planet Earth.
Dan ch 6 v 1 – 24. The enemy was opposed to Daniel’s prayers and stirred up his colleagues to try to get rid of him. Daniel was put in the lions’ den in an attempt to stop him praying the return to Judah.
Daniel’s prayers succeeded. Ezra and Nehemiah were the two chosen by the Lord to lead the people back to the land and to restore the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Only a remnant of the Jews returned. Most remained in Persia (Iran), where they were second-class citizens but quite comfortable – like being in the World and of the World. They were not slaves nor living in poverty but they were living in exile.
Dan ch 9 v 2. Daniel knew that it had to be prayed through. Do not expect God to do it all by Himself. Tell Him to act.
Dan ch 12. Daniel was given a vision for the history of the World. The Babylonian empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire then the Roman Empire. The Kingdom of God would rise out of the Roman Empire.
In his prophecy Daniel saw into the future. The Babylonian Empire would be succeeded by the Persian Empire. The Medes and the Persians overthrew Babylon on the very night that the writing was on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast. The policy of the Persians reversed that of the Babylonians and they allowed the Jews to return to their land. The Greek Empire would succeed the Persian Empire and would in turn be succeeded by the Roman Empire. In fact all four empires continue to this day. The Babylonian Empire was a military empire. The Persian Empire was a religious empire. The Greek Empire was largely one of thought. Hellenism or humanism was the thinking of its day. The Roman Empire was largely an economic empire. Persia or Iran is the centre of Islamic fundamentalism. Greece is the humanistic thought denying the Gospel. Humanitarian aid is all the talk. The treaty of Rome brought in the European Common Market, which has developed into the European Union. It is the economic power in the material World. Through all these empires then and right up to the present day, there is a common thread – the Jewish people. They have never gone away as a people. Today they are back in the Promised Land and challenge all four Empires. Iraq tried to destroy them physically in the Gulf War. Islam tries to destroy their religion. Humanism seeks to undermine their thinking. Europe will use its economic power to bring them to nothing. Daniel was also told about events concerning the Jewish people in the last 3½ years of this planet. 1335 days to be exact. Are these to be literal days?
After the Jews returned to Israel, they lived under the power of the Persians, then the Greeks, then the Romans. No wonder the Disciples asked Jesus in Acts ch 1 v 6 if He would restore the physical kingdom to Israel. Jesus did not say He would not do so but told them there were other priorities in the meantime. Later God would do it. While the people were allowed to return under Cyrus the Persian emperor, they were still ruled by Persia. It was not until 2,520 years later that the physical Kingdom would be restored and Israel would be an independent nation again amongst the nations of the World. On 10th May 1948 it came to pass. Can a nation be born in a day? Isaiah ch 66 v 8. Yes it was.
Ezekiel ch 4 v 4-8. Ezekiel prophesied 390 years before the physical kingdom of Israel would be restored. 390 years plus 40 years. 430 years in total. Less 70 years in exile. That equals 360 years. In Lev ch 26 v 14 – 20 God warned the people that, if they continued to sin after He had warned them and punished them, that He would punish them 7 times for their sins. 7 times 360 equals 2,520. From the time of the captivity in Babylon that takes us to 1948. Believers are privileged to see that prophecy. Is the rebirth of the Jewish state a political accident or within the purposes of God? Is the rebirth of the Jewish state an accident or within the purposes of God? Scripture has a lot to say.
Isaiah ch 11 v 11. God promised that He would gather the Children of Israel a second time. This was not because they deserved it. It was for the honour of His name. God has said that He would do it and therefore He must do it. The Jews have returned out of 100 countries all over the Earth to the very land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is their inheritance. The forces of darkness are as determined to drive them out this time, as they were the first time under Joshua.
Jeremiah ch 16 v 14 – 16 and ch 23 v 7. Jeremiah spoke of a day when there would be an exodus from the lands of the North, which would eclipse the exodus from Egypt. Two million left Egypt. 3,200 years ago. The Jews still talk about it as if it happened yesterday. Moscow is directly north of Israel. Jer ch 23 v 7. The second exodus is happening today.
Zechariah ch 12. There is a promise to pour out the Holy Spirit on the Jewish people. They will look upon Him or look up to Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as an only son. Salvation has always been on the basis of faith in the unseen Jesus.
The Messiah came to dwell on Earth to bring salvation to man.
Mat ch 2 v 2. Jesus was born King of the Jews.
John ch 19 v 19. Jesus died the King of the Jews.
Jesus rose the King of the Jews. He is today King of the Jews.
Acts ch 1 v 6. Will you restore the kingdom to Israel? Not yet. That is the Father’s secret.
The return under Ezra and Nehemiah took place. By no means all the Jews returned. Most stayed on in Persia. Although there were some who returned to the Promised Land, the Jews still lived under the power of first the Persians, then the Greeks and then the Romans.
After Jesus died the Jewish people revolted against the Romans. In A.D. 70 the Roman Emperor Titus sacked Jerusalem and over one million people died – mainly the old and young. The active ones were either sent into slavery or taken to Rome to be gladiators. The Romans changed the name of Jerusalem and the name of the land of Judea. As an insult to the Jews the Romans renamed it Syria-Palestina and renamed Jerusalem. In time it became known simply as Palestine. There were no Philistines surviving at that time. The Jews were scattered all over the World and remained there for 1,900 years.
This explains why there is such intense hatred on the part of the Arabs and Islam towards the Jews and the state of Israel. Islam and the Arab peoples are determined to wipe Israel off the face of the World map. They actually produce maps showing no presence of Israel. The land is not a valuable one. It is not large. There is no oil. The Jews are looking after the land far better than the Arabs ever did when they were in occupation of it. There is a degree of jealousy on the part of the Arabs. But there has to be far more than that to justify the intense hatred. There is a spiritual battle in the Heavenly realm between the forces of good and evil. The forces of light and darkness are locked in a battle, which is being acted out on the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The very presence of the state of Israel undermines the whole of Islamic theology. Islam declares that God finished with the Jews, when they rejected their prophet Jesus. They see Jesus as a prophet and not as the Son of God or God the Son. Islam teaches that the Christians got it wrong when they lost personal faith in Jesus and then God gave a final revelation to the World through Mohammed. Islam believes that land once occupied by Islam belongs to Allah. So when the Jews returned to the land after 1,900 years, it showed that God is not finished with the Jews. He has still a great purpose for them. Either the Bible or the Koran is right. They cannot both be right. As long as the Jews are in the land, it shows that the Bible is right and the Koran is wrong. If the Jews could be wiped out, it would prove the Koran to be right and the Bible to be wrong. But it will not happen!
What does the Word of God have to say on the matter of the Jewish people and the land of Judea?
Joel ch 3 v 2. The nations are dividing up “my land.” The land belongs to God. He says so.
Joel ch 2 v 25. God promised that he would make up for the years the locust had eaten.
Joel ch 2 v 27. My people will never again be put to shame.
Amos ch 9 v 14. I will plant them on their land and they shall never again be plucked up.
In Obadiah v 18. God said so long ago that the descendants of Esau would disappear but the descendants of Jacob would never disappear.
Zeph ch 3 v 9. God has said that not only will the people be restored to the land, but He would restore the Hebrew language to them. And He has.
There are 40 chapters in the Bible about judgement of the nations of the World. Britain is the 23rd empire to go into decline.
Luke ch 21 v 24. Jesus Himself spoke of the fact that Jerusalem would be downtrodden by the Gentiles until the days of the Gentiles were fulfilled. He saw a day for Jerusalem. When He told the Disciples that God had a secret agenda for the state of Israel. He was aware of the fact that the state would one day take centre stage in World history. Jerusalem was restored to Jewish rule in 1967. It was the same year that Britain passed the Abortion Act. Abortion was the reason why the Jewish people were sent into captivity in Babylon. There comes a time when God finally says: “Enough is enough. Time is up.” Nahum ch 3 v 19. When Jesus returns to Earth, time will be up for the human race. There will be no further opportunity to make a decision for Jesus. That will be the moment when all will be revealed and those who have never made a decision to accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord will face eternity without the presence of God.
One further stage has been declared in the Scriptures. Firstly the state would be returned to the Jewish people. Jeremiah spoke of the second stage in God’s wonderful plan for His people.
Jer ch 30 v 1 – 3 tells of the plan to bring them back.
Jer ch 31 v 31 – 34 tells of the new covenant He will make with them.
Ezekiel ch 37 v 22 – 28. The dry bones will come to spiritual life. This is speaking of the people of Israel. The two sticks relate to Israel and Judah. The once divided nation will be united again as one people. Then the enemy shall come against them in great power.
Ezekiel chs 38 and 39 tell of the onslaught of Gog and Magog as the hoards of the enemy will make a final last-ditch attempt to wipe Israel off the map. Iran, Sudan and Lybia as the main sources of Islamic fundamentalism will join with the atheistic spirit of Russia to come to Israel in the final battle at Armageddon. This has still to take place. The nations of the World will stand back and leave Israel without support. Then God will come to her aid.
Isaiah ch 41 v 8 – 10. Many prophecies concerning Israel have still to be fulfilled. Gently the Holy Spirit is descending on one here and one there and the number of Messianic Jews is growing quietly. God will never put away His ancient people. He has said so. If God did abandon His people, where would the promise of Jesus be in John ch 6 v 37? “Some will come to me – those the Father has given me – and I will never, never reject them.”
Though the Jewish people God has revealed so much of His character and purposes. Even without their Messiah they remind the World about God. Without an understanding of the Old Testament is it any wonder that so many Christians make little of the New Testament? The Church was entirely Jewish for the first 15 years after Jesus rose. “Salvation is of the Jews.” Jesus said so. The Jews are the emblem of eternity. They remind the World of God.
The Bible is a Jewish book. Believers owe so much to the Jewish people. It was a Jewish Church until God used Paul to start to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. It was always God’s plan to reach out to the whole World through the Jewish people.
God is a covenant God and shows this in His covenant relationship with the people of Israel. He makes binding agreements. He has made one already and has promised to make another one.
Jesus is a Jew. When believers look on His face it will be a Jewish face. The nail prints are in a Jewish body. It will not be a black body or a white body but a brown body.
In Eph ch 3 v 10 God states that through His dealings with the Jewish people and the Church, He is revealing His manifold wisdom to the principalities and powers in the Universe. What a privilege to know that fact.
Jesus is coming back to Jerusalem – not Rome or London. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. The Bible is a book of revelation. God reveals Himself to man through His dealings with the Jewish people. In this way man learns about grace, God’s principles of judgement, His eternal purpose for mankind, election, repentance, sanctification, and all the other doctrines of God. It is like being part of a tutorial class.
Anti-semitism is a picture of the rejection of God by human beings. The rejection focuses on the Jews. A man is either for Jesus and His people or against Him and His people. The Jewish people teach us that everything, which happens in the physical seen World is a manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual unseen World. There is a battle going on in the Heavenlies and the people are caught up in it. The battle of Armageddon is still to come. The presence of the Jews in the Middle East undermines the whole of Islamic theology.
This is a generation that has largely rejected the idea that God would act in judgement on a disobedient nation.
In the closing months of 2005, the United States brought pressure on Israel to disengage from Gaza. Families who had refused to leave voluntarily were torn from their homes and businesses. Within days, much of the infrastructure of Gaza, including greenhouses, for which American businessmen had reportedly paid $5,000,000, had been trashed.
Within weeks, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a life long Zionist, had ordered the disengagement – whether for personal reasons or buckling under the pressure from America, is still not clear. Two months later, he fell into a coma in which he still lies, hovering between life and death.
Bishop Ryle of Liverpool wrote: “When the Scriptures speak of Israel, of Zion and of Jerusalem, what right have we to question that they mean exactly what they say?’
Why are the Jews hated so much? It is impossible to understand this matter without an understanding of the Spiritual dimension – the role of God’s ancient Covenant people in God’s plan of salvation. That is the politicians’ problem.
Israel and the Word
In the 18th and 19th Centuries, the Church in Britain, commonly accepted the Word concerning the return of the Jews to the Land but by the 20th C, this literal interpretation of prophecy had been widely rejected. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was seen by many within the Church as well as those outside it as no more than a political accident.
The medieval doctrine of ‘Replacement Theology’claims that the Church is the new Israel and that God has finished with the Jews. Replacement Theology is not a doctrine but a heresy. Certainly some passages of Scripture do seem to speak of the Church as the new Israel – but God has not finished with the Jews. (Jer ch 31 v 35ff and Rom ch 11 v 1) Many people seem happy to believe any thing, which casts the Jewish people in a bad light.
In the first century A D the lands now called Israel and Jordan were provinces of Syria and the entire area was under Roman rule. The Jews were difficult to rule – stroppy about paying taxes and – in obedience to the second Commandment – refusing to bow to god-like statues of the Emperor. Responding to a Jewish uprising, in 70 A D, the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple and burned the city. By the time that and a later Jewish uprising had been dealt with, most of the Jewish inhabitants of the Land had been killed, sold into slavery or forced into exile.
The exiled Jews wandered – a few to the south as far as Ethiopia, many East into the Arab lands, most North-West into Europe and North–East into what became Eastern Europe and Russia. When the New World was discovered, they emigrated in hundreds of thousands to Australia to South Africa and above all to North America. For 2,000 years they and their descendents remained in exile. This was known as the Diaspora. As a result there were Jews in every country in Europe in 1939.
In Palestine, there remained a remnant of Jews and a small population of nomadic Arab tribesmen. The land became a desert – neglected and largely depopulated.
The idea commonly put about that Palestine was, in centuries past, populated by thriving Arab communities has no basis in reality.
Many 19th century travellers wrote of their visits:
Mark Twain was appalled to see the state of the Holy Land and wrote of, ‘–a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land.”
Walpole wrote, “On my road I saw six ruined towns and only six living persons.”
Rev. Robert Murray McShane saw Jerusalem with rubbish piled as high as the city walls and over run with rats.
But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them. Zech. ch 7 v 14.
The Jews of the Diaspora encountered Anti-Semitism wherever they settled but nowhere was this unique form of racism more vicious than in Europe:
11th, 12th,13th Century. The objective of the Crusades was the liberation of the Holy Land from Muslim invaders but, caught up in a religious frenzy, Crusaders murdered thousands of Jews on the road to Jerusalem.
In 12th Century England, Jews were held responsible for the Black Death. Hundreds were massacred – the worst outrages being in Norwich and York – before all Jews were expelled from England. When Shakespeare was writing in the 16th C. the only image Englishmen had of the Jew was Shylock. They began to return only under Cromwell in the 17th C.
15th Century. Spanish Inquisition: Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism and celebrate the Mass or face being burned alive.
There was some respite in the West during the 18th Century Enlightenment but in Eastern Europe anti-Semitism continued. Russian Jews were herded into ghettos known as the Pale of Settlement and were subject to frequent attacks and humiliation. Jewish communities could be – and often were – forced from their homes with little notice and for no good reason.
And then there was Germany –
In the Mediaeval German States Jews had few rights. They had to pay a Jew Tax to enter any town and they were denied access to education other than in their own schools.
During the Holocaust Jews were driven from their homes and transported to the camps where they endured starvation, brutality, cold, disease and medical experiments on living human beings. They were ruthlessly killed in by being shot and in gas chambers, ovens and mass graves. By 1945, at least 6,000,000 probably nearer 8,000,000 were dead. This was all carried out with the knowledge of the leaders of the World powers.
Corrie ten Boom’s father wept as he watched Jews being transported from his native Holland and quoted Zechariah: Zechariah ch 2 v 8 He who touches you (Zion) touches the apple of God’s eye.
Modern Britain is not excluded from the role call of anti-Semitic nations. Britain’s treatment of the Jews from the time she was granted the Mandate over Palestine at the end of WW1 was shameful. In 1921, immediately after taking control, Winston Churchill, the Colonial Secretary, ordered the partition of Palestine – two thirds became an Arab State, then called Transjordan – now Jordan – and one third continued under British rule. Many have claimed that with the exception of Sir Herbert Samuel, every British Governor of Palestine was anti-Semitic.
In the 1930s as the tide of Nazism rose and even more strictly after the 1939 ‘White Paper’, Britain imposed immigration quotas on Jews though not on Arabs. Desperate Jews who had managed to reach the shores of Palestine were sent back to Europe and almost certain death. It is estimated that as a consequence of their having been refused entry to Palestine by the British immediately before and during the War, hundreds of thousands of Jews perished in the Holocaust.
This was the policy that led to Jewish terrorist attacks on the British Administration in Palestine after the War. Out of the Holocaust, the modern state of Israel was born.
The Zionist Organization had been founded in 1897. From the late 19th century, Jews, mainly from Eastern Europe, had begun to make their way to Palestine, buying land from the Arabs and struggling to develop it.
From 1945 there is documented evidence that some of the Allied soldiers who liberated the death camps, fit young men who had survived the War, were driven mad by the sights they saw. Certainly the reports they made and the pictures they took shocked the world.
Britain, meanwhile, was tired of administering an increasingly dangerous Palestine and in 1947 Earnest Bevin handed the problem to the UN. On 29th November, the General Assembly endorsed a second partition of Palestine – a Jewish state and a second Arab state. Britain abstained in the vote.
In the morning of 14th May 1948, the British left.
In the afternoon, the Sovereign State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben Gurion.
One newspaper headline read, “State of Israel Born 14th May 1948.”
2700 years before, the prophet had written: Isaiah ch 66 v 8.
Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things?
Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children.
The Jewish people accepted the partition. The Arab nations refused to accept it and the following declared war on Israel and attacked the Jewish people.
In the last 60 years, despite Israel’s being continuously under threat of war and – since 1967 – of terrorist attack, Jewish immigration has continued. The return from Babylon was from the East. In modern times, Jews have returned from every corner of the Earth.
The Scriptures that speak of this second return are too numerous to mention.
Isaiah ch 43 v 6. “I will bring your children from the east and gather them from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the Earth.”
Ezek.ch 36 v 24. “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land.”
Let a people, long hated, know that they, the natural olive tree have the loving support of the Gentile branches, which have been grafted in.
“And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you and you shall be a blessing.” Zech ch 8 v 13.
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son.” Zech ch 12 v 10.
If the Muslim leaders declared Israel as being no longer a nation, would a believer’s faith in God be shaken?