The Temple Mount, Jerusalem
The state of things here for the last years reminds me of the days when Joshua Ben-Nun led the Israelis after 40 years of desert wanderings to conquer the Promised Land of Canaan, which YHVH had/has covenantally promised to give them as an everlasting possession, which still awaits fulfillment when Israel finally repents as a people and nation and calls upon Yeshua to save them.
The conquest then took several years, and the Israelis did not finish the job, leaving Canaanites in the land, which God said would become a snare for them thereafter. Personally, humanly speaking, I think that the Israelis simply got tired of so much fighting and killing and being killed or maimed, and just wanted to make do with a status quo that seemingly gave them the advantage.
Today, with perpetual threats of warfare throughout her 70 years of nationhood, I think that for many of the Jewish people — not to mention on the part of ordinary people among the Arab population — they are worn out from all the fighting and killing, and, having lost their faith and way in the purpose of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, want a peace — a worldly peace, mind you — that will hopefully (wishfully thinking) put an end to the everlasting conflict. It is really uncanny how a carnal and spiritual enemy gains the upper hand. Look at how the LGBTQI agenda has flooded society and the political and even religious discourse.
NO WORLDLY PEACE AGREEMENT CAN ACCOMPLISH WHAT THE ONE TRUE GOD HAS PLANNED AND PURPOSED FOR HIS GLORY AND THE SANCTIFICATION OF HIS HOLY NAME. It might be like a band-aid or an aspirin — which we all appreciate for their temporary relief — but it can not, nor will not, cure the disease or prevent another and worse affliction.
When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the peace that David wrote of by the Spirit of God is the peace that is from God, not from man. The coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ will bring THAT peace, based on GOD’s righteousness. There are covenantal issues involved here, and not merely political, economic, military, social considerations as in other war-torn regions among various people groups. To ignore this, or to reject it, is to miss the whole plot. As those who profess to believe in the God of Heaven and Earth, and also in what He says, we are called and expected to have a prophetic voice in this matter, which is the testimony of Yeshua/Jesus/Yasua, calling all people everywhere to repentance, and proclaiming the gospel of salvation and the Kingdom of God. Otherwise, we simply take on a humanistic approach and join ourselves with others who do not know or love the Lord.
Even the enactment of a new Nation-State Law, declaring that Israel is the Jewish nation of the Jewish people, is causing an uproar, not only among the non-Jews who are citizens and residents here, but also among Israeli Jews and Jews who live outside. This law is simply reiterating what has been accepted ever since the Balfour Declaration more than 100 years ago acknowledged, and every other legal ruling passed by the “international community”: the Jewish people were allowed to return to their ancestral land and reestablish their nation, while recognizing the civil rights and liberties of other people groups. There is democracy, but the Prime Minister will be a Jew. This is no different than when Israel was a kingdom, and there were other tribes of Israel, as well as other Gentiles living in the land. Yet, the King needed to be from the Tribe of Judah. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the U.S. President must have been born in the United States. The Bible also distinguishes between those “strangers” living among the Israelis: there were those who wanted to be part of the nation as good citizens and part of helping the nation succeed; and there were those who were simply “foreigners”, who acted as a threat to the welfare of the nation — whether religiously, or politically. The Law gave those who were “friends” greater privileges and rights than to those who isolated themselves and remained a thorn in the side.
This controversy over Israel’s new law, and seeking to determine her identity, just shows how EVERYTHING here is conflicted. Until the salvation of “all Israel” there will be no resolution to all of the conflicts — both external and internal. I have written before, the more “Jewish” that Israel becomes, the more difficult it will be for those who believe in Jesus/Yeshua. They may even pass laws prohibiting evangelism, or to restrict our right to teach that Yeshua is the only way to be saved. We see this from the very beginning when the rulers of the Jewish people told the Apostles to stop teaching in His name, and that people were afraid to say that they believed in Yeshua for fear of being put out of the synagogue (excommunicated from the Jewish community). There is nothing new under the sun! We pray and need the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to overcome these hindrances, not to necessarily work to get an unbelieving nation to overthrow their own religious sensibilities. More Gentiles are being saved as long as Israel remains an enemy of the gospel. This is the sovereign wisdom of God!
The God of Israel told the Jewish people that they were to be good citizens in other countries, seeking the peace of wherever He scattered them. This is also what He tells believers in Jesus wherever we live: that we are to pray for those in authority, seeking a quiet and peaceable life, and also the repentance and salvation of those leaders and peoples. The god of Islam, though, for example, has another agenda wherever Muslims are, and he calls upon them to forcefully (whether through terror or through the political process) take over a society and impose Sharia law upon all: the means may change, but the objective remains the same.) It is a spiritual battle between our God, who is good, and against the Devil, who is bad. Simplistic, and simple. People are mostly ignorant of the core issue, because we have been deceived into thinking that maybe it isn’t so cut and dry, or that our God isn’t the only one who has the right to determine and carry out His will. We have been saved by His grace and mercy! And He loves all, and gave His Son to die for all, wanting that they be saved and not condemned eternally.
This article originally on Streams in the Negev, August 11, 2018, and reposted with permission.
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Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.