Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Gaza Massacre (4) Two Promises

God has made two promises about Israel that have been widely misunderstood.

1. Safety in Exile
After the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the Romans scattered most of the Jews among the nations. God promised that they would be kept safe there for the entirety of the season called the Times of the Gentiles, but only if they remained scattered (Rev 12:14-16). The consequence of this promise is that the Jews have continued to exist as a unique people for 2000 years.

This promise demonstrated amazing generosity by God, given that his people had rejected Messiah Jesus and the Holy Spirit he sent. This rejection robbed them of the blessings of the Torah, but God promised to protect them despite this rejection.

The corollary of this promise is that if they came together in large groups, they would put themselves at risk. This happened at various times during the history of Europe. It is now happening in the land of Palestine. By coming together in a nation-state in the twentieth century, the Jewish people have put themselves at risk by losing God’s promised protection. The consequence is that they will not be safe in the land of Israel until the Times of the Gentiles are complete.

2. Return from Exile
God has promised that at the end of the Times of the Gentiles, he will bring the people of Israel back to their land. More important, he described how, he would do it. He declared that he would give the children of Israel a new heart and a new spirit (Is 11:11; Jer 31:33-34; Ezek 36:26-27). They would come to know him, love him, and be able to serve him. The Holy Spirit will cause the nations to allow the Israelites to return and help them on their way. The nations will see God doing this when it happens and honour him .

The Zionist movement misunderstood this promise, and tried to force it to happen before the Times of the Gentiles was complete. In the twentieth century, they used political manipulation, military force, alliances with powerful gentile nations, and United Nations regulations to establish a nation-state for themselves (See Woman on the Beast). This forced return from exile did not match the nature and quality of the return that God promised through the prophets. Its ugly character is now being revealed.

Moving ahead of God’s timing is always a serious failure. Presumption got Israel into trouble in the time of Moses.

Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah. (Num 14:44-45).
Perhaps this is the experience with the Amalekites that Israel should be remembering.

Dangerous Presumption
A presumptive return from exile creates two serious problems.

  • The first problem is that it breaks the first promise of God described above. By gathering together in a nation-state, the children of Israel have lost the protection that God promised while they remained scattered amongst the nations. This has left them vulnerable to attack.

  • More seriously, by establishing a nation using political manipulation, military force and alliances with gentile nations, they abrogated the requirements of the Torah, which is the basis for their right to the land. Losing the right to live in the land leaves them vulnerable to attack from inside and outside. This creates a vicious cycle for Israel that it cannot escape.

    1. Threats of attack come from the Palestinian residents of the land and the surrounding nations.

    2. Israel uses force for security, so it must rely on an alliance with a Gentile nation, the development of nuclear weapons, a powerful air force and tanks. For safety, it also needs a political system that excludes non-Jews from power (a type of apartheid).

    3. Unfortunately, these activities are all forbidden by the Torah, so they remove the blessing it promised.

    4. This loss of blessing increases the insecurity and risk of external attack.

Reliance on political and military power leads to loss of blessings, which leads to greater threats from other peoples, which leads to increased insecurity, which leads to even reliance on greater military and political power. There is no escape from this vicious cycle apart from a merciful rescue by God.

More at Nation of Israel.

The presumptive breach of the first promise raises an important question. Will God still keep the second promise described above. I am sure that God will bring the Jewish people to faith in Jesus when the Times of Gentiles are complete. I am sure that he will give Israel a new spirit and a new heart as he promised. I have always believed that God would bring the children of Israel back to the land of Palestine.

Now, after reading through Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel again, I am not so sure. I am wondering if the presumptive, warring behaviour of the Israeli government will not lead to nasty, destructive wars that result in the promised land being made inhabitable for humans. That would mean God’s promise will have to be fulfilled by a spiritual return.

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