Getting to the Heart of the Israel Crisis
At the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East is a fundamental, socio-religious ideology that says Jews should not exist—anytime or anywhere—much less as occupants of the land presently known as the modern State of Israel. As a result, the Israeli State faces a constant and seemingly imminent threat to her national sovereignty and safety: Palestinian rockets and mortar shells launched almost daily toward Israeli territory; powerful Arab leaders with potential nuclear capabilities calling for the annihilation of the “Zionist regime;” escalating, internal conflicts within neighboring countries threatening to destabilize the entire region; the nations of the world continually demonizing every attempt made by the State of Israel to defend against her aggressors. Confronted by such contempt and antagonism, the government nevertheless tries to negotiate land for peace, with an Israeli/Palestinian two-state solution looming as inevitable. Yet the real and growing danger hanging over the State of Israel endures.
Despite this perpetual crisis, however, we need not be concerned that Adonai will fail to protect and preserve Israel. Indeed, though all the nations of the earth will one day gather against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:3), Adonai will ultimately destroy those who attack His holy city (Zechariah 12:9). Eventually, Israel will have peace and safety; in the end, Israel will survive.
But what of Israel today? What assurances do we have that during the present era, God will protect and preserve the State of Israel from her ever-present foes? And what is our role and responsibility as we watch these events unfold?
The establishment of the modern State is considered by many to be the beginning of the final regathering of Israel—that the Jewish people will never again be expelled from our ancestral homeland. According to Jeremiah 32:37, Adonai says, “I will surely gather [Israel and Judah] from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.” Likewise, in Ezekiel 34:28-29, Adonai declares, “…[Israel] will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid…. they will no longer… bear the scorn of the nations.” Unfortunately, such a characterization falls far short of describing the condition of the modern Israeli State. Those residing in the Land today do not “live in safety”—they do indeed have reason to be afraid, because they continually “bear the scorn of the nations.”
Why? Why must the State of Israel have “defensible borders”? Why are the people of the Land not enjoying the life of peace promised for the Regathering? Perhaps it is because certain conditions necessary for Israel’s final possession of the Land may be the same as those God required for the first. Indeed, while Israel wandered forty years in the desert before first taking possession of the Land, Adonai promised that she would live there securely only if “you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands” (see Leviticus 26:3-6, cf. 25:18). Israel’s peace and safety have always been conditional—they depend in part on Israel’s collective faithfulness to God.
This conditional protection is mentioned several times by Moses. For example, in Deuteronomy 4:40, he encourages the people of Israel to “keep [Adonai’s] decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time” (cf. Deuteronomy 32:46-47). He also strongly exhorts Israel in Deuteronomy 4:25-26, warning them that “after you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt… you will quickly perish from the land…. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.” Moses assures Israel that in turn for their unfaithfulness, “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies” (Deuteronomy 28:25).
The nation of Israel (that is, the Jewish people—both in and outside the Land) has wandered far from the decrees and commands of our God. With regard to our physical regathering, half of us are still assimilated into and dispersed throughout the nations, while many of us living within the barely-Biblical and still shrinking borders of the modern Israeli State are just as secular, worldly, and permissive of sin as the rest. Is this the faithful Israel Moses instructed us to be?
In John 5:46-47 (cf. Luke 24:27), the Master Yeshua admonishes the sons of Israel, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” When the people of Israel return to the decrees and commands of Adonai, we will finally experience the restoration of our birthright. But before Israel can nationally count on the physical safety promised to us by God, it will require more than just our regathering to the Land… we must also be regathered to Him through the Son of David—the Messiah Yeshua, our Salvation! (See Ezekiel 37:23-25.)
As we watch the relentless bombardment against the State of Israel, we should be pierced with an urgency to reach the Israel in our own backyards—our Jewish families, friends and neighbors—with the truth of Yeshua. Let us no longer simply pray for the peace of physical Jerusalem, but actively work to revive spiritual Jerusalem in the hearts and minds of every Jew… everywhere.
What do you think? Weigh in with your comments below.
This “Challenging Paradigms” article was also published in Messianic Jewish Issues.
I think this article should be read by everyone who calls himself a believer! Especially those whose theology does not line up with the word of God!
Do I need to mention what Covenant Theology teaches
Do I need to mention what Replacement Theology teaches
Do I need to mention what Dual Covenant Theology teaches
May God help us to know what is true and correct
It’s about time someone voiced the truth..It is not antisemetic to say that Israel, the nation, the people, are not, as a whole living by Torah. They, like all the rest of the world are living secular, pagan lives. Yet there is always a remnant. Praise God! And our God has His Hand on them and His who are grafted in. we can never be silient about Yeshua’s redemption. And with all our hearts we can look foward to the day when all will be made new.
Whilel I agree with all you said, I kept waiting for you to definitive answer the main question of your argument. Is the Israel today, the Israel of the end-times? You kept flirting around the edges but left everyone hanging.
Is Israel today, the Israel of the end-times or just an abomination conjured up by the UN in 1948. Even the Orthodox Jews initially rejected the UN solution until the horrows of the hololcaust was completely made known.
Is Ezekiel’s chapter 37 “dry bones” this Israel or not? I would like a definitive statement from you. My answer is YES! The Isaiah 11:11 passage and the modern-day miracle of 1948 shouts it. What say you?
Thanks for your comments, Phil. To be sure, I am not, nor do I claim to be, a prophecy aficionado—not even prophecy concerning Israel. That said, your comments suggest that there are only two possibilities for the modern State: prophetic fulfillment or abomination. I think there may be other possibilities. For example, the current State may presently be a partial or pre-fulfillment. What I know for sure is that the modern State does not fit certain Scriptural descriptions of a Restored Israel (as I mentioned in the article), and that is my point of concern. Nevertheless, I stand in full and wholehearted solidarity with my Jewish brothers and sisters in the Land.
Regarding Isaiah 11:11, I have heard it used before in reference to the modern State, as it speaks of a “second time” that a remnant will be redeemed or recovered. The problem I see with citing this verse as evidence for the modern State is its context. Isaiah 11:1-10 is an obvious prophecy about Yeshua (the shoot of Jesse and Branch [of David, 11:1]; the Spirit of ADONAI resting upon Him [11:2]; the righteous judge [11:4]), and the peace His rulership will bring (the wolf living with the lamb [11:6], the infant playing with the snake [11:8], etc). Isaiah 11:10, the immediately preceding verse, clearly speaks of the nations rallying to Him “in that day,” which sets up the events of verse 11—ADONAI reaching out His hand to Israel a second time “in that day.” Sadly, the conditions as described in 11:1-10 remain unfulfilled. It seems clear that the events of Isaiah 11:1-11ff—including whatever this “second time” redemption is—are still yet to come.
My point in this article was not to establish that the state of Israel today is or is not the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, but to make two points: (1) that the Jewish people have a covenantal responsibility toward God as much as He has made a covenantal promise toward us, and (2) our prayers and efforts with regard to the modern State need to go beyond concern for physical safety, but first and foremost, Israel’s salvation in Yeshua.
May his grace abound forever, Pray that we be sensitive to to the scriptural understandings, that our Lord Yeshua has ordained, though His Word. In 1 Peter there is description and discussion of a nation. “Our Nation” 1Pet 2: 7-12. As a Vietnam war veteran I can assure you that I have and continue to love and respect the USA. With that said however, I find in my flesh a continual struggle not to practice idolatry in my patriotism. There is only one,”Holy Nation”! We must be so careful brethren… The” idolatry tree”, is so beautiful , and it fruit so enticing.
I agree that Israel today isn’t walking in Torah not do they accept Yeshuas Messiahship. With that said, that does not preclude the ingathering of Israel from the nations. If everything depended on those in the Land (Jews and whatever of the ten tribes that are their) accepting Yeshua then there will be a looooooog wait if ever. As it’s written , “When they see him they shall morn”, then they’ll know and accept him. Only he will be able to make them see and believe. There are an estimated 14-17 million Jews with only perhaps 100,000 of what is become known as Messianic Jews, that is the ones that embrace Yeshua along with most of “Christian Theology” that goes with it.Do you really think that they will accept that version of the Messiah? Not in this life time or the one to come if that’s what is going to be presented to them.
Kevin, thanks for your thoughtful post about modern Israel, who for the most part neglects Torah and rejects Yeshua. When it comes to the land promises, I wonder if we should focus on Psalm 37 more closely. “… The evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land” (verse 9 ESV). “… The meek shall inherit the land …” (verse 11 ESV). “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever” (verse 29 ESV). Surely Israel’s possession of the land requires her to trust and obey ADONAI. I also wonder if many Messianics’ desire for citizenship and permanent residency there may be far more important prophetically than Israel’s rebirth in 1948 was. Faithful, obedient Messianics are the kind of people ADONAI intends to bless. Should they be welcomed home, we could well see Israel blessed with times of refreshing as promised in Acts 3:19-21.
The chilling words of Jesus in Matthew 23:39 should be mentioned:
For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, until ye shall say, Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord.
These words were directed at the Jewish spiritual leaders whom he been speaking to. Only when the they acknowledge Jesus will he return.
Please someone correct me if I am wrong.