Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting the Bug

When we returned from Israel, a friend asked me this question.

Did you get the bug?
The answer is “No”, but I do understand the question. Over the last thirty years, I have seen a number of Christians develop a real passion for Israel (sometimes to the point of obsession) that other Christians cannot understand. I have never felt that passion. I am very interested in Israel, for the reasons that I will explain in tomorrow’s post, but I have never felt any urge to visit the country, so I was intrigued that an opportunity arose. It was interesting to see the country with my own eyes, I am still committed to praying that God’s purpose will be accomplished for the Jewish people, but I am still a dispassionate observer. The bug passed me by.

I do not have the bug, but I do have a theory. Jacob had twelve sons, who became the twelve tribes of Israel. After the reign of Solomon, the kingdom split in half. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin became a southern kingdom ruled from Jerusalem called Judah. The other twelve tribes became a northern Kingdom based on Samaria. Ahab was the ruler of the northern Kingdom. I Kings 17 gives the history of Hoshea, the last King of Israel in Samaria. Like his predecessors, he did evil and lost the protection of God. The King of Assyria invaded the northern kingdom and deported the people to Assyria.
The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns (2 Kings 17:24).
The southern Kingdom called Judah persisted for several more generations. When they continued to disobey god, they were eventually conquered and deported to Babylon. The difference was that after a few hundred years in exile, the people of Judah returned to their land under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra. In contrast, the people of the northern Kingdom (the other ten tribes) never returned. When people eventually migrated out of Assyria to many parts of the world, those who were descendants of Jacob would have gone with them, and because the genealogies are lost, most of these people do not know that they are descendants of Jacob, belonging to one of the ten tribes of Israel. These Israelites will be spread throughout the world.

My theory is that those Christians who develop a passion for Israel, and feel compelled to serve and pray for Israel are actually descendants of the Israelites exiled to Assyria, who do not know it. The reason they are so obsessed about Israel is that they are part of Israel, and God is trying to reveal it to them.

My ancestors came from Scotland. After my visit to Israel, I am fairly certain that they did not get there by way of long vacation in Assyria, because I did not get the bug.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel