The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” —God, Genesis 12:1-3
The day-to-day and often, moment-to-moment situation in Israel is a complex problem for those of us in Jewish ministry. To call the atmosphere tense is a massive understatement. Rumors of war haunt the shadows of nearly every conversation. Whispers of a major call-up of reserve forces for additional training and preparation were becoming commonplace when I was there just a few months ago. Threats of renewed terrorist attacks haunt the dreams of every parent.
Many within the Israeli intelligence community believe that Iran is just months, and possibly even weeks away from finishing their first nuclear weapon. Fear of the Iranian madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a nuclear weapon is almost palpable. For beloved Israel, Iran and its president pose a very dangerous threat to the survival of Jewish People—possibly the greatest threat since the Holocaust.
The Middle East is at a crossroads, but God is not surprised by these events. He knows the future, and the Scriptures teach us that He turns the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1). Although the United States has historically stood with Israel, a shift has taken place aloft the winds of change in America, making clear something that has been true for longer than we care to believe: Israel’s destiny rests in her own hands.
There is little peace today in Jerusalem and Israel. Jewish Voice and other Messianic and humanitarian groups inside Israel are gathering support and formulating contingency plans for what may be coming. If the worst does happen, we must be prepared to help in whatever way is needed.
How are we to comprehend all that is happening there when we are constantly barraged with biased reports coming from most major media outlets? There are no easy answers, but we can consider some biblical perspectives:
God loves both Jew and Arab
God loves Jewish People and Arabs equally. For those of us who support Israel, we must remember that God is not “against” the Arabs, nor does He hate them. The Lord loves all of His creation and wants none to perish. Yeshua (Jesus) died for all people, Jew and Arab alike, and desires all to find everlasting life. We must pray faithfully for the Lord to touch, heal, and reveal Himself to Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, and even Islamic terrorists. We need to intercede for every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth to be saved. This is the only way true peace and understanding can ever be found.
God gave the land to Israel
God gave the Land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Regardless of what the United Nations decides or decided over half a century ago, hundreds of Scriptures in the Bible are clear that the Land was given to the Children of Israel by God as an everlasting inheritance. Hundreds of Scriptures beginning with Genesis chapters 12 and 15 make this truth crystal clear. Regardless of what any government decides, this is the bottom line—the Bible is the Jewish People’s Land deed to Israel. God said it and that settles it.
As Christians, we must believe, accept, and set ourselves in agreement with what the Scriptures teach. God, in His sovereignty, gave this Land to the Jewish People, and who are we to question His decision? While this does not mean that we should condone all that Israel does, we must understand that this is an unconditional promise in God’s Word and support this divine decision. The psalmist said, “He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4).
In Iran’s crosshairs
Currently, Israel’s greatest threat is Iran, a country of nearly 70 million people, of whom seven in ten are under the age of thirty. Statistics released from the CIA and the U.N. say that one in five Iranians lives below poverty level, and five million survive on less than two dollars a day. Around seven percent of the population can be classified as radicals, who are bound together by a common cause.
Despite our government’s agenda to try and convince us to the contrary, fundamental Islam is committed to world domination. Anyone who is not a Muslim is an infidel. They are committed to Jihad, Holy War. For nearly a decade now, one of their immediate goals is the destruction of Israel. We don’t need to speculate about this. It was announced by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.”
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has stated very publicly, “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world…. We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups, and nations. It’s a universal ideology that leads the world to justice…. We must prepare ourselves to rule the world.”
On Israel, his stand is unwavering: He has promised the world a Middle East without Israel. In his 2005 “World Without Zionism” speech, with reference to Israel, he spoke of Iran’s mandate to “eliminate this disgraceful stain [Israel] from the Islamic world.” To supporters of Israel he warns, “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury.”
The fact that Iran has enriched nuclear material and missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any destination in Israel only serves to heighten the seriousness of the threat.
Clearly, Israel’s future hangs in the balance. Yet, she will survive. God has preserved the Jewish People not only because of His love for them, but because Israel plays a vital role in the return of His Son. Dozens of Bible passages testify to the important role of the Jewish People in the last days of planet earth. Yeshua himself said:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:37-39).
Clearly, Messiah was speaking to Jewish People who lived in the city of Jerusalem. Today, most continue to reject and deny Him. Tomorrow, they will see Him coming in power and glory as affirmed by the Prophet Zechariah: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo” (Zechariah 12:10-11).
Jerusalem will be filled with descendants of David when Yeshua returns—an impossibility before Israel was re-established in 1948 and highly implausible before Jerusalem was recaptured by Israeli forces in 1967.
There will be no peace until the Prince of Peace establishes true peace. Most Christians are familiar with the exhortation to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). How do we pray? How can there ever be peace? The Bible says many will say “peace, peace,” and there will be no peace. The word peace in Hebrew is shalom and literally means “to bring to completion.” God has a plan for this Land and this People. It will come to pass in spite of the threats that are directed toward her. Ultimately, this plan includes the return of Yeshua (Jesus) to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
It has been said that Israel is God’s timepiece. If that is true, the hour must be growing late. Are we fast approaching the time of completion, when all Israel will be saved? “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25-26 NKJV).