God's Own Heart on the Settlements
God states where His heart is at - where are the hearts of Jews and Christians?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
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Welcome to the Bible in the News. This is Jonathan Bowen joining you.
God’s Own Heart on Jewish Settlement
The custom of many Bible Students is to read portions of the word of God daily. This past week we have been reading from the book of Jeremiah. One is struck by the overwhelming evidence of the purpose of God with the Israeli people. A purpose that we see played out in the news.
The process of redemption for the nation of Israel is described in Jeremiah 32:37-44. Verse 37 reads:
Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
This is the first part of the process of redemption – the return of the Jews to the land. This process has been going on for some time now, but continues even this week with talk of a headline in Arutz Sheva, “Yemenite Jews Planning Exodus to Israel”. The article stated,
“According to the Yemen News Agency, all Jews in the Amran district of Yemen are preparing to leave for Israel within the next few days. The account is according to Yemenite rabbi… Yaish, harassment has increased against Jews in the Amran and Kharef districts, with some Jews killed and others kidnapped. Meanwhile, three relatives of Moshe Yaish al-Nahari, the Jew killed last year in northern Yemen, have left the country for Israel.”
Following Israel’s War of Independence in 1949, about 50,000 Jews were brought back from Yemen as part of Operation Magic Carpet. They were brought to Israel in over 380 airlifts covering 3000 miles. Alaska Airlines was one of the companies which assisted in the evacuation fulfilling the words of Isaiah 60:9-10:
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
Now the remnant which remain of the Yemenite Jews are looking to escape the persecution of the land in which they live. This brings to mind the words of Isaiah 11:11-12 which were in the minds of the many Bible believers when the first exodus from Yemenite jews took place. These were words which Chaim Weizman read to the United Nations Commission for the Partition of Palestine:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The physical restoration of the Jewish peoples is followed by the second stage - the moral restoration which we read of in Jeremiah 32:38-40:
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
The moral restoration will be the work of Elijah or Elyahu in preparing the way for the Messiah or Moshiach – the son of David who will re-establish the kingdom of Israel physically in the land. In the mean time we see the restoration going according to the words of Jeremiah (32v41-44):
Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.
And so it is. Fields are being bought for money, evidences have been subscribed – around about Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the mountains, the valleys and the south. We hope to investigate this more in a few weeks.
The news we hear today is not merely about the political hopes and fortunes of the Israelis, but it is the work God said he would do with “my whole heart and with my whole soul”.
If our whole heart and whole soul is not toward the work God is doing with his people Israel, then we are working against the “whole heart” of God himself, and are not fit to call ourselves believers.
Pacifying the Pagans
There are many who think that the return of the Jews to the land is merely the work of man’s ingenuity and not the work of Almighty God. Although, claiming to be Christian and mouthing the words, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), many do not believe this kingdom is the Kingdom that is to be restored to Israel as the disciples did. The disciples asked Christ, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” in Acts 1:6. The came to understand when this would take place, it would be later on:
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:20-21)
The restoration of all things is well underway, and the nucleus of the kingdom is formed in the land, in accordance with the words of the prophets and the Apostles, but many Christians have lost their way. They have turned to “another Gospel” which would “pervert the gospel of Christ”, of which Paul states,
“Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8)
The kingdom will be a powerful political entity entirely replacing the corrupt kingdom of men as prophesied by Daniel in chapter 2v44 where we read:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
That is the reason why when the Christadephians were formed into a community, it was “wholly dedicated to the hope of Israel.” It was Robert Roberts who wrote in Christendom Astray (Lecture 8, page 209),
“On no subject will Christendom be found to have gone more astray than on the subject of the Kingdom of God – a subject which, without exaggeration may be said to constitute the very backbone of the divine purpose with the earth and its inhabitants.”
Many Christians believe they have replaced the Jews in God’s purpose – that they are the “Israel of God” and completely misunderstand the Gospel message of adoption into the Jewish hope.
Even on the verge of the coming of the Messiah, when the Kingdom of God will become a reality, and all nations will be blessed in Abraham, Christians and Jews alike are losing their faith in what is going on.
Former President Jimmy Carter, a professed “Christian,” obviously following another gospel than the apostles espoused, wrote,
“Although some extremists disagree, most Israelis have learned that they cannot reconstruct the Kingdom of David, which includes all of the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and part of Lebanon and Jordan” (Palestine Peace not Apartheid, p 16). [Not that we are espousing his book]
Obviously he does not believe in the coming Kingdom of God on earth, centered out of Jerusalem, as is captured by the Lord’s prayer and is found in the writings of the Apostles and Prophets. Carter’s solution is one of compromise and “giving away” the Biblical heartland to the Palestinians, many of whom are terrorists. Even if we were to set Biblical wisdom aside, and just look at the history of the past five years, one has to wonder how giving more land to the Palestinians in exchange for peace makes any sense? When Israel gave up Gush Katif and surrounding areas for “peace” they received rocket fire in exchange. This transaction is not one that is worthy of repeating.
Peace Now Pottage
Many are hoping that by bargaining away land to the Palestinian terrorists they will get peace, now. This is nothing but appeasement, of which Churchill said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Israel has already amputated one leg in hopes of saving the body. This didn’t work. The suggestion now is to cut the heart out (Jerusalem) and throw it to the ravening wolves. Franklin Roosevelt also commented on this notion of appeasement stating: “No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb.” He was speaking of the Germans in the Second World War. All these years later there can be no reasoning with the rocket.
This isn’t just appeasement but the selling of the birthright. This is how Jacob’s brother lost his birthright. Esau sold it for temporary relief – despising its worth. After 2,000 years Israel cannot adopt an Esau attitude and sell off its birthright for a mess of peace-now pottage.
One of the great antagonists to the “heart of God” in the Middle East is an organization entitled Peace Now. On its website it states the following:
Peace Now is a movement of Israeli citizens who view peace, compromise and reconciliation with the Palestinian people and the Arab states as the only guarantee for the future, the security, and the character of the State of Israel.
This organization dedicates itself to protesting the work of God in when He stated, “I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul … in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south.”
Just this week Peace Now is in the News petitioning Ehud Barak to halt the natural growth of Israeli communities in the settlements.
The reality is organizations like “Peace Now,” who would lift up their voice against Almighty God in the name of humanism, break the “Shema” of Deuteronomy 6:4-6 where we read:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD, And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart…”
This is the prayer of many Jews across the earth throughout the centuries. And yet today, in spite of the evidence of the hand of God in bringing Israel back to their land, some have chosen humanism to be their god. There is no difference for Christians who forget the “heart of God” in this matter also. Those who are more concerned with not causing offense in the multicultural world we live in – hiding their lamps under a humanistic bushel for fear of offending the surrounding “pagans”. Let us not forget that the “multi-cultural” world is made up of millions of idol worshippers who travel for miles to worship at shrines devoted to statues or lumps of wood and stone. The words of Psalm 115:4-8 are poignant:
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
Some are not even carved into idols but are venerated as lumps of stone are supposed to have fallen from heaven. There is only one true God – and he is one as Deuteronomy states. Those Christians or a Jews who care more about offending pagans than offending the God of heaven are on a collision course with God himself.
Policies of world leaders like Obama or Jimmy Carter which would disallow the growth of Jewish settlements, go against the promise of God to Abraham when he said, “I will make thee exceedingly fruitful” (Gen 17:5), and “Look now to toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them… so shall thy seed be.” Where is this multitudinous seed going to be put if they are not allowed grow in their own land? Listen to Bible in the News from last week for more on this.
The Tobiah’s and Sanballats of Today
God has a plan with resettling the land of Israel today, just as he did during the time of Nehemiah. During this time there were people around who were “wroth and took great indignation”. The asked, “What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?” (Neh 4:2). That is the attitude of many in and around the land today like Jimmy Carter. Yet God has spoken. However, we read of the response of the Palestinians of Nehemiah’s time:
“… when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.” (v7-8)
Today, many have conspired against the Jews who are building up Jerusalem and settling the mountains and want to hinder it. The solution for the Jews of Nehemiah’s time was to “make their prayer unto their God” (v9). This should be the solution of all those who love Zion – to pray for the rebuilding of the nation in the land in anticipation of Messiah’s coming.
Of course, there were in Nehemiah’s time those who allied themselves to Tobiah. We read “there were many in Judah sworn unto him” (Nehemiah 6:17-18). Organizations like Peace Now fall into this category. They make allegiances with the Tobiah’s of today and work against the purpose of God.
No matter what resistance, Isaiah 55:11 assures us, “my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
One only has to visit Peace Now’s website to see what kind of moral fiber it possesses. Peace Now reported on Aug. 8, 2009,
“One week after the terrible fatal shooting in the Tel Aviv based youth gay and lesbian club, Peace Now turns out to support the Gay community.”
This is complete with a poster you can print out to show your support for the Gay community in Israel. The new policy is “Down with the religious settlers, up with the sodomites”. One can smell the sick stench of humanism in these ideals.
How long will Almighty God, the God of Abraham, The God of Isaac and the God of Jacob put up with this? It will not be long. When that day does come we want to ensure that our allegiance is to Zion, to the God of Israel and the fulfillment of His purpose in the land.
We read in Psalm 87:5-6:
“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.”
May we be like David, “men after God’s own heart” – whose “whole heart and whole soul” is set to plant Israel in their land and redeem them. May our hearts be “born in Zion”.
We continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and to watch the Bible in the News.