Difficult Times in the Land of Israel leading us to the Coming of The Messiah
Well it almost feels like an instant replay in Israel. Kidnappings, murder and a relentless barrage of rockets firing into Israel from the terrorists in Gaza have pushed Israel into another campaign against the terrorist group Hamas.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News, this is John Billington with you this week.
We spoke with David Ha’evri who lives with his wife and eight children in Kfar Tapuach in the Shomron region of Israel, the Biblical heartland and what many call today the “West Bank.” David is the founder of the Shomron Liaison Office and is also an international speaker and an independent writer, in fact David has a new book coming out soon entitled “A View from the Mountains of Israel” that will be available at his website haivri.com.
“John, we have a very stressful time in Israel now, I would say for the past five weeks. Starting about five weeks ago, three young men were abducted by Islamic terrorists and they were murdered and for three weeks our security forces searched for these young men, hoping that they would be found alive but tragically they finally found dead, and it appears that they were killed a very short time after they were kidnapped. And for the past two weeks we have been having a massive rocket attack from Gaza into cities all across Israel coastline and even into Jerusalem, and now our army the IDF, the Israel Defense Force, is totally dedicated to routing out the sources of terror in the Gaza strip.”
Living in Canada, the United States, Britain or any place like it I think it can be hard to understand what it would be like to live surrounded by nations and terrorist groups like Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and of course right now Hamas in the Gaza strip. David speaks of the stressful time that Israel is going through right now. Prior to the news of the deaths of the three teens their mothers went to the United Nations to appeal for help. The following is what Rachel Frenkel said at the UN Human Rights Council, this was on June 24, 2014. I feel it puts us a little more in touch with what the feelings are right now:
“My Name in Rachel Frenkel and I live in Israel, I’ve come here today as a mother. Twelve days ago my son Naftali and two other teenage students Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaer whose mothers are sitting behind me were kidnapped on their way home from school, since then we’ve heard nothing, no news, no sign of life. With your permission I’d like to tell you about the boys. My Son Naftali is sixteen, he loves to play guitar and play basketball, he’s a good student and a good boy, a combination serious and fun. Eyal loves to play sports and cook. Gilad is an amateur pastry chef and loves movies. My son texted me, said he’s on his way home, and then he’s gone. Every mother’s nightmare is waiting and waiting endlessly for her child to come home. Mr. President it is wrong to take children, innocent boys and girls and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel. This council is charged with protecting human rights. I wish to ask, doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school. We just them back in our homes, in their beds, we just want to hug them again.”
As a father with my own children I personally find those word very difficult to hear and I am sure you do as well. Imagine for those three family’s neighbors, their community, the surrounding communities. Truly it would and has affected the whole nation.
I found the following words from the Psalms helpful and they took on a lot more meaning than maybe they had before.
Psalm 102: 11-18
"My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
But thou, O Lord, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.”
The scriptures tell us that all this we go through as individuals molds and shapes our character, the same is true of an entire nation. What a people has experienced makes them who they are. Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes in chapter 7:2 writes the following:
"It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.”
There is no doubt that God is bring this nation to great heights.
I asked David about the effects on the nation of the current crisis, here is what he said:
David - “Well I would say the nation of Israel is very strong and dedicated to our mission. Of course the people who are more observant of the Torah, of the laws of God understand our responsibility and so forth, but even the greater Tel Aviv area which is mainly secular, altogether when we see the polls on the current situation, 97% of Israel’s population support the operation of the IDF in Gaza today. So it is a very strong sense of unity.”
John – “That is almost unprecedented is it not?”
David – “I think so, 97% I would say of the entire nation, and as I mentioned earlier just three weeks ago we were in the middle of this major national crisis searching for these boys who were kidnapped, and people throughout the state of Israel gathered together in the main city centers and prayed and lit candles and prayed for the return of these boys. So that too is a great sign of unity and it’s a sign of faith.”
I do believe that all these events to bring a people and a nation closer together and ultimately closer to God. I remember in the pullout from Gaza a number of years back seeing huge gatherings of people coming together to pray. This was not always the case as those settling Israel in the begging were largely secular. In time that nation has grown much not only in population size but in belief in God. David Ha’evri recently wrote on his website about the future of Israel and its “historic calling”:
“The Jewish people have returned to our homeland in order to fulfill an historic calling: to be a light unto the nations – a people with values worth imitating. Our mission is not to be a Hebrew speaking, gun-toting western society with no values. That, we could do in Los Angeles.”
David spoke about this and what it means to be back in the land after the difficulties they have been through as a people:
“I appreciate you quoting from an article that I wrote recently, and as you mentioned my new book “a view from the mountains of Israel” is coming out and will be available through my website haivri.com. I definitely see the return of the Jewish people, the regathering after 2000 years of exile, praying throughout that time to God to have mercy on us and to return us to our land. I see the return of our people to this land is an amazing miracle, it’s a fulfillment of prophecy. The Jewish people believed and hoped and prayed for all of those years and retained our alliance, our loyalty to our land and to our God, and coming back to Israel and re-establishing the state is a clear sign of the fulfillment of those prophecies and the coming of the full redemption for the Jewish people and for the people of the world.”
I asked David how much nearer he thinks all these events bring us to the coming of the Messiah:
“The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and the re-establishment of the state in 1948 and everything that’s happened since then is a sign of progressing very quickly towards the redemption. Here we see that the words of the prophets that appeared in the Bible some 2000 years ago are coming to fulfillment very quickly. So as we saw in the polls, the 97% of the people of Israel believe, we see that we are very close, we are much closer than we ever were before.”
Much closer than we ever have been before… there you have it, on Bible in the News! The most exciting words you’ve heard all week. We are closer than we ever have been before. Beautiful words. I could not agree more. That from someone who is actually living the mountains of Israel, someone who can see God’s hand at work fulfilling 2000 year old prophecies in his own back yard.
As we see Israel defending itself from its enemies once again we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
David’s final comments were “the difficult times are leading us to the good times.” May this be true and may the time of David throne once again re-established in Zion be soon.
We will end with the words from Ezekiel 34:23-26:
“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
Thanks for joining us again this week. Please join us again next week when we look at the Bible in the News at www.bibleinthenews.com
Thanks for joining us again this week for another edition of Bible in the News.
PLEASE NOTE: After this program was put together this came to our attention. David Ha’evri is overseeing a memorial project for the three boys who were abducted and murdered in Israel. They will be planting a special vineyard in their memory. For information please go to http://www.samariavine.com/ Thank you.