What is the function of Israel?
Who really speaks up for God these days?
In September 2011, Palestine presented a case to the United Nations for full recognition as a Nation. The majority of the United Nations delegates were clearly in favour, whether out of conviction or coercement, if we judge it by the rapturous applause that greeted the Palestinian president, Abbas, before his speech to the assembly and compare this with the muted response to Netanyahu’s speech. I could comment on the speeches, but words are not important, it’s the resulting actions that make the real difference. One last thing – the document that the Palestinian leadership presented to the U.N. had a small map on the top right hand corner. The map, part of the Palestinian emblem, was of the whole land of Israel, not just the West Bank and Gaza. So where were the Jews? In the sea? Yes, that is the intention, but the World still doesn’t get it!
But enough about politics, it is time to get to the nitty-gritty, to the One who laughs at our politicians and leaders.
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2)
There’s a deluded vicar living in Wales who decided that he so detested some passages in the Old Testament – the ‘negative nasty bits’ – that he cut them out and displayed them as an art installation. He regarded the “god” of the Old Testament as a cruel and vile God, as distinct from the nice Jesus of the New Testament. Thus that age-old heresy, Marcionism, mentioned in an earlier article, is still alive and well and reminds us that there really is nothing new under the sun in terms of how Christians, even with 2,000 years of intelligent debate behind them, can still get it so, so wrong.
Of course, this is just the rotten heart of Replacement Theology, representing a worldview that doesn’t just want to replace Israel with the Church, but (not always consciously) seeks to do the same with “nasty Old Testament” Yahweh (God) and the Torah, replacing them with New Testament Jesus and grace. If this rotten heart could be examined we would be able to see what it really is all about; the replacing of the centrality of faith itself with human reason, the replacing of God with man. (For more on this, may I recommend my book, “To Life!”)
So here we are in the second decade of the 21st Century faced with a God who many are determined to explain away with clever arguments, but Who is clearly acting in the affairs of mankind, as He did in Bible times. And why shouldn’t He? We may have changed, but He certainly hasn’t. And if He declared then that the land of Israel is His and His only (Leviticus 25:23) and that the people of Israel are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8), then what gives us the arrogance to declare that it is any different now?
Our fragmented Christian World with its 38,000+ denominations is populated with a sprinkling of self-declared “prophets”, many no more than fortune-tellers with shiny white teeth, but some declare that they are speaking on behalf of God in the affairs of the nations. In most cases, they declare sugar coated generalities of revivals and rumours of revivals, because they want to stay in business and figure out that the best way to do so is to give the people what they want to hear. Oh shades of the days of Jeremiah!
“Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, 'No sword or famine will touch this land.' Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. (Jeremiah 14:14-15)
If you want to know what God is saying to us today, then there is only one place to look; Israel and, particularly, Jerusalem, the place where He put His Name.
" ... In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will putmyName forever. (2 Kings 21:7)
We mess with God’s people, land and city at our peril, however un-PC that statement is. Facts are facts and, believe me, there are many historical facts that back this up. Many such facts are documented in the book, Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel, by Bill Koenig (About Him, 2008), so this is not just from my fevered imagination!
Allow this to sink in, because it is awesome, but God ain’t very pleased with us at present and He’s not afraid to demonstrate this displeasure. Let’s face it, He has plenty to grumble at, even putting the Israel/Jews issue aside, with the abortion rate so high, the corruptions in society, disbelief in the Church and the rise of pagan worldviews, just to get started on. But nothing prompts Him more into direct action than when people mess with His land.
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