Young Jews Pray for Redemption & for The Building of The Temple
A Special Report from Jerusalem
Thursday, November 23, 2006
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News brought to you this week by Paul Billington in Jerusalem, Israel. While instability to the north of Israel is increased by the assassination of a Lebanon government minister this week, and the situation in the south is becoming worse due to continuing violence in Gaza--despite these items being in the news, there is hope among a section of Israel's youth, and we saw them expressing that hope vigorously and with amazing enthusiasm on Monday night as they danced, sang and prayed in a procession around the ancient gates of the old temple area.
It was an experience that we will not forget. Though, of course, news of this kind does not find its way into newspapers or into TV and radio, so most people will be unaware of this developing religious phenomenon in Israel today.
A large group--numbers are hard to define, but certainly several thousand-- assembled at about 7:00pm at the Western (wailing) wall. A loudspeaker van began blasting out instructions, and further into the crowd, extension speakers were held high on poles so that everyone could hear the prayers, songs and announcements.
Anyone seeing and hearing all this could not fail to be impressed with the enthusiasm and zeal of these young Jews. What the apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 10, nearly 2000 years ago remains just as true today in modern Jerusalem. He wrote:
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (Rom. 10:1-2).
Yes, it is still true that these people are ignorant of God’s righteousness which is of faith in Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, you cannot help but be impressed by their great hope of redemption, of the coming of Messiah (who they still wait for), and for the restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (see Acts 3:21, chapter 1:6; Matt. 17:11 etc.).
This great Hope seems to have a focus at the present time among these religious Zionists, and that focus seems to be upon the Third Temple--the Temple of Ezekiel's prophecy, chapters 40 to 48. A blue flag with the emblem of a temple in the centre is waved vigorously during the procession and the concept is echoed in songs as they move forward. We know from Scripture that this temple will be built when Christ returns--and we are told that in Zechariah 6:12-13. It says:
"And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."
This temple is referred to also in Isaiah 2:2 and 3. In Isaiah 56:7 it is called "an house of prayer for all people." And Jesus himself endorses the idea in the Gospel records--for example, Matt. 21:13. True, it was corrupted in the past, but its proper function will be realised under the reign of Christ.
As we watched these religious Zionists in their procession, singing Psalms and praying, we also thought of that Future Age when the temple will be built here in Jerusalem. The religious Zionists--many of whom are settlers in the biblical heartlands of Judea and Samaria--sang that portion of the Psalms known as the Songs of Ascent. That is Psalms 120 to 134. Here is one of those Psalms--Psalm 122.
"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good."
Well, it IS true that these Jews have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. But you know, there are many so-called Christians today who are no better off because not only do many of them believe in a false Messiah, one that the apostle Paul called "another Jesus" in 2 Corinthians 11:4, they do not believe in the restoration of Israel, or in the concept of the
yet future temple that will be a place of worship and prayer for all nations, such as we read of in Zechariah 14:16, 17, and other parts of the word.
If it is true that “blindness in part is happened to Israel” as Paul says in Romans 11:25; it is equally true (if not more so) that many who claim the name “Christian” are even more in the dark because they have no vision of the future restoration, the redemption, or the Kingdom Age and its temple.
There can be no doubt that the day will soon dawn when, as Paul writes in Romans 11:26, "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." So although the religious Zionists may not yet understand many things, that will soon change. So the great hope expressed by these enthusiastic Jews in Israel today, is not a false hope. It will be realized and God will have mercy upon them as He has promised:
"For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (verse 27).
With this sure Hope before us then--a Hope for Jew and Gentile in the True Jesus Christ--we strive to walk in the way of truth more perfectly.
Talk with you again next week, God willing.
Printed: Thursday, November 23, 2006
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