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Time Magazine Crowns Israeli Prime Minister King of Israel
Time Cover features "King Bibi"
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May 19, 2012 - Audio, 10.25 MIN
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This week's Time Magazine cover crowns Binyamin Netanyahu, "King Bibi", and declares, "He's conquered Israel. But will Netanyahu now make peace - or war?" By "conquering Israel", the cover is referring to the recent move Netanyahu has made, bringing the Kadima party into the coalition, making his government much more stable.
The Time article states, "Netanyahu is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of Israel, He has no national rival. His approval rating, roughly 50%, is at an all-time high. At a moment when incumbents around the world are being shunted aside, he is triumphant."

Has "King Bibi" in fact conquered Israel? An approval rating of 50%, maybe an all time high for Netanyahu, but it is hardly a resounding round of applause. The Israeli public is very divided in outlook and ideology. The reality is that Israeli politics are not so kind and things can quickly change.

The article goes on to say that Netanyahu has "…a governing coalition that will not leak or collapse if he opens negotiations. He will no longer have to look over his shoulder. He will not have to call elections at the drop of a hat. He has not had that before, and it gives him room to maneuver and room to compromise. “Now he is the emperor … he can do anything,” [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] said last week. “If I were him, I would do it now, now, now."

The article imagines that Netanyahu is the key to peace in the region. He has a choice of making peace or war. Time outlines what King Bibi will do if he is a good king - compromise and give away land to the Arabs. On the other hand if he is a bad king, he would do things such as defending Israel by force of arms against the Iranian threat. The article pushes Netanyahu into the direction that Time envisions will bring peace - concessions to the Palestinian Arabs, which of course would result in the expulsion of Jews from the contested Biblical heartland of Israel. A survey of other Time magazine covers tells the story. When Netanyahu first became Prime Minister in 1996, Time featured him on the cover and asked the question: "Can he make peace?" The January 19, 2009, cover declared, “Why Israel Can’t Win." and promised to instruct us "How Obama can forge a Middle East peace". The September 13, 2010, cover goaded the Jewish state by saying, "Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace".

Netanyahu's response to the current Time cover, "I can tell you one thing,” he quipped, “Israel will remain a democracy, not become a monarchy."

Netanyahu is correct in asserting that he is not a king and that Israel today is not a monarchy. But he is incorrect in imagining that things will always remain like this. Neither does he believe the words of the Hebrew prophets.

The throne of Israel to be restored.

The constitution of the ancient Israelitish kingdom was the law of Moses. Even today many in Israel attempt to follow this law and even many non-religious Jews revere these writings and acknowledge them as a foundation to their people. It was within this law that laws governing kingship were laid out - there we read that the king had to be the LORD's choice.

Deuteronomy 17:14 - "Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother."

Later Samuel the prophet anointed the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David, and wrote the manner of the kingdom in a book (1 Samuel 10:25). This book was lost with with the kingdom and throne itself. However the promise of its restoration is enshrined on the pages of the prophets.

King David was anointed king by Samuel a number of years before he actually ascended the throne. During this period he was hounded by the incumbent Saul, who had lost his right to rule and had become a usurper of the throne. So the greater son of David has been constituted the king of Israel, but as yet has not actually ascended the throne as readily apparent.

The promises to David.

The Almighty decreed a covenant with David. The details of the covenant can be found in 2 Samuel 7. In the tenth verse it becomes plain that this covenant has not been fulfilled, but pertains to the future. "Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime." The Jewish people for centuries have been moved from one country to another and even today they are afflicted on every side. The words of the covenant continue in verses 12 - 14, "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son..." Even though this would take place after the death of King David, verse 16 goes on to say: "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever." This requires the resurrection of David from the grave.

Many claim that these promises were fulfilled in David's son Solomon and have nothing to do with the future. But as we have already seen this is not the case. They apply to the future. Furthermore, these are applied to Christ in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 1 verse 5.

"For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?"

This fits in with the words of the great angel Gabriel to Mary, recorded in Luke 1:31-33.

"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

From these passages it is plain that the promises made to David have fulfilment in the Messiah, as confirmed by the letter to the Hebrews and that Jesus the Messiah would sit upon the throne of David as king over the twelve tribes of Jacob, for ever.

It should be no surprise to us that the kingdom of Israel should have ceased to exist for a long period of time. This is stated by the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 21:25-27.

"And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."

Psalm 110 contains the divine oath, upon which the everlasting kingship and priesthood of the Messiah rest. In this Psalm it states that the Messiah would remain in heaven at the right hand of God, "until", he would return and reign in the midst of his enemies and subdue them.

"The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." (Psalm 110:1,2)

The Lord Jesus Christ himself, spoke of the restoration or regeneration of the throne of Israel and enlarged this covenant promising special places to the 12 apostles, who would judge the 12 tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28,

"And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Is Netanyahu the key to peace in the region?

Whether Netanyahu manages to form some kind of a temporary, pseudo peace remains to be seen. But he will not be able to bring a real, lasting peace to Israel. This requires righteousness. Isaiah 32:17 says, "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."

Netanyahu is not a king and neither is he righteous. True peace will only be forged by the king who will reign in righteousness - the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6)

We look forward to that day, when righteousness will be established in Israel by the Lord Jesus Christ and those he has called and sanctified. At that time Jerusalem will again be called the throne of the Lord. Jeremiah 3:17.

"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."

At that time Israel will blossom and bud and fill the face of the earth with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6) Here on Bible in the News, we are watching the signs that herald the advent of that age, when Israel will become righteous, when they will no longer be a democracy, but a theocracy with a righteous king and when the earth will be regenerated in righteousness. This has been David Billington with you. Come back next week to

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