I grew up in East London (UK not South Africa) just a 15 minute bus ride from a community of Orthodox Jews, my secondary school (Convent type) was smack bang in the middle of the same community so I had quite a bit of exposure to Jewish life. Even though I could see the Jewish community, it was always from the perspective of an outsider, and even though many of my peers thought their behaviour strange and ridiculous, to me they held a certain type of mystique because they represented a physical connection with the God of the Bible.
As I got older and as I wandered from church to church, denomination to denomination I began to realise that every Christian that i met seemed to have a view about Israel and the Jewish people. I found that many in mainstream Christianity tended to have a negative perspective of Israel which resulted in subtle signs of anti-Semitism whilst those who were either Jewish Believers or who had adopted the Hebrew roots belief were more likely to have a prideful and almost idolatrous perspective of Israel and ethnic Israel. As a Messianic Believer I find both of these extremes upsetting, they are definitely not godly emotions or thoughts; but what does God think about Israel and who does He view as being Israel? The answers to these questions are in the bible but I think we might be surprised by what is revealed and I hope that these answers will change our opinion about Israel and the Jewish people so that we become more aligned with God’s heart.
The Abrahamic Covenant
God promised Abraham 3 things and bound these promises in covenant with him, God promised Abraham that:
- all nations would be blessed in Abraham and his seed (Gen 12: 1-7)
- Abraham would be the father of innumerable children (Gen 17: 1-8)
- that One of his seed would conquer our enemies and bless all nations (Gen 22: 15-18)
The first promise relates to physical or ethnic Israel, so Israel will be a blessing to all nations. The second can not relate to ethnic Israel, so must relate to spiritual children which is confirmed in various places within the bible, so here we see an introduction of more children by faith into Abraham’s family. The last promise relates to the Messiah who will bring peace to mankind and restore all things. As promises 1 and 2 have not yet been fulfilled it stands to reason that the Abrahamic covenant is still in affect. What has this got to do with us or Israel? Well, it shows that there is still a physical or ethnic Israel and that they have a divine purpose in the world and in our life. Secondly, as Christian/Believers we are not to separate ourselves from them because we are members of the same family.
What is the purpose of Ethnic Israel, what is God’s plan for the Jewish people?
Deuteronomy 7:6-8 reads
For you are a people set apart as holy for YHVH (the LORD) your God. YHVH your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. YHVH didn’t set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people – on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. Rather, it was because YHVH loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that YHVH brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt.
So we see that God’s love for Israel has nothing to do with the Old Covenant but the Abrahamic promise.
I once watched a Christian program called Prophecy Today (which is rare for me as I try not to watch TV at all) and a Messianic Jew was being interviewed. The host asked this man why he thought Israel was so hated in the world, this was his response (please excuse my inaccurate memory).
Israel represents God’s promise to save mankind, while there is a Israel then there is the threat of this promise coming to fruition because Israel is instrumental to this plan being realised. If there is no Israel, there is no hope, it proves God to be a liar and this will result in many people turning away from God and falling into sin which will lead them to ultimate death. The plan of the enemy is to destroy Israel because of what it symbolises.
When I heard this, I knew that it was true, the devil hates Israel. I have never seen a land so hotly fought over, I’ve never seen a people so misunderstood and vilified, I’m not saying that the Jewish people are perfect but are we? Let me ask you a question? Have you ever thought about why Believers are hated by the secular world, why amongst all faith systems in the world Christianity and Judaism are the ones people are most threatened by? Have you ever wondered why Christians are persecuted so unremittingly? The same reason for Israel is the same reason for Believers, because the Bible says that Israel will have more children, that those who were not a nation would also become His (God’s) people, true Born-again Believers are now grafted into Israel and as such we prove the validity of God’s word plus we are called to make disciples (bring in more and more Children)…Can you feel the enemy getting afraid?
I don’t want to go into too much depth concerning God’s plan for Israel (maybe some other day), but suffice to say that Israel has been given a mandate to be the one who suffers in order to bring the light of God’s glory to mankind. You just need to read the prophets and the New Testament to know that even though Ethnic Israel has suffered in the past, it really is nothing to compare to what they will face before the Messiah’s return. Let me just give you a snippet here:
Behold, the day of the YHVH cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city .
This is part of the destiny and purpose of Israel, to suffer so that God’s Kingdom will finally be ushered in. Remember what Yeshua says, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, ‘Baruch haba b’shem YHVH’ (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord)” (Luke 13: 35), what type of suffering and pain would make Israel do a volte-face? We (Believers) will not see the Messiah again until Israel utters these words as a heart-felt cry during that time of immense tribulation.
Zechariah 14 continues and says:
Then shall YHVH go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and YHVH my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
This is confirmed again in Matthew 24:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
When will all of this come to pass?
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Matthew 24: 32-33
The Fig tree is used symbolically for Israel in certain places within the Old Testament (Hosea 9:10, Jer. 24:5), so this scripture refers to when Israel begins to be Israel once more ie, a nation in their own land and when the fullness of the Gentiles is ripe (and all the trees) and ready for harvesting. I hope that you can see that Israel is very much still a part of God’s plan, that He has not forgotten them, that He still loves them very much and wants to save them and that in His love for mankind He has made provision by causing Israel to have more sons and daughters in faithful believers of the Messiah.
So, if you have ever felt anything outside of love for Israel please repent on this because not only are you bringing a curse on to yourself, you are actually joining allegiance with the enemy and allowing him to manipulate you, also never forget that you have now been grafted into Israel and her ultimate destiny is your own too.
Pray for Israel and remember her in her daily struggles, pray for the Jewish people to find their Messiah because He loves them so deeply. I don’t know how much time is left until the end but I do know that we could die tomorrow, so every second they spend away from their Messiah is the possibility of an eternity of suffering and separation.
Be blessed in Yeshua Messiah
And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Zechariah 14: 8-9
If you have questions about the relationship between Israel and the Church, this article goes into quite a bit of depth on this subject.