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A Sign to the Nations
Israel - Middle East
Monday, May 19, 2014
Pete Garcia

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”  So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.  Exodus 19:5-8

There once was a Man who was born of a virgin.  He arrived to this earth by birth, in a lowly stable, with little fanfare, in a small non-descript town around the turn of the first millennium.  The town was called Bethlehem, and was located in a backwater province of the mighty Roman Empire.  He was raised in both Egypt and later Galilee, and grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him

When He was about 30 years old, He began to preach the ‘Repent, For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’  His message was exclusively to the Jewish people for three years, and He performed many miracles and healings throughout the land.  After His message was thoroughly rejected by the Jewish people, His message changed from that of the ‘kingdom message’ to the message of ‘Christ crucified’.  Not only did He say how He would be killed, but that He would rise again on the third day.  The religious leaders didn’t like Him, because He bucked the system.  Although He still perfectly kept the Law, He was brought up on trumped up blasphemy charges by a zealous Sanhedrin. 

Although He was found innocent by both the Roman governor, and the Jewish king, He was cruelly beaten and crucified under the Roman legal system, dying on a cross between two criminals.  He was buried in a wealthy man’s tomb, and had a stone rolled in front with a squad of Roman centurions guarding the entrance.  Despite all of that, He rose again on the 3rd day (a Sunday) in Jerusalem, circa AD30.  He presented Himself to His disciples and then to 500 others as evidence, for over forty days after His resurrection, and then ascended into Heaven ten days prior to Pentecost. 

The tragic irony in this story is that even to this day; His words are being fulfilled by the persistent rejection by the Jewish people for whom He originally came to offer the Kingdom too.  The divine irony to this story, is that the most famous person who ever lived, Jesus Christ, was born a Jew from the tribe of Judah.

The Reluctant Jew

 “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?”  Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof, 1971

One could fill volumes upon volumes of all the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people since those tragic days of the first coming of the Messiah.  Of course, they are still waiting for Ha Mashiach to come, but is not their own words fulfilled in their rejection of the One both born and crucified, King of the Jews?  There was the siege of Jerusalem in AD70.  There was a second siege and absolute destruction and subsequent Diaspora in AD135 under Emperor Hadrian.  There was the rise of the Roman Catholic Church and the development of the anti-Semitic Replacement Theology. 

There was the rise of a virulent and violent Islam in the Middle East; expulsions from England and Spain, Catholic Inquisitions, Russian Pogroms, renewed European anti-Semitism, and finally the Holocaust under Nazi Germany.  Since 1948, the world has lurched forward at breathtaking speed to renew its satanic hatred of the Jewish people and of Israel.  Europe again is starting to become a seething breeding ground of anti Semitism just like it was leading up to World War II.

One could reasonably ask, if God and the Bible aren’t real, if it is all just myths and make-believe, why then has there been such a persistent antagonism against one particular group of people for the last 4,000 years?  Why not the Cambodians, or the Iranians, or the Mexicans?  Why the Jew?

The Covenant

For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”  Deut. 31:29

The Covenant God had with the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai was predicated on their behavior as a nation.  When they followed God’s laws, He blessed them.  When they strayed, He allowed their enemies to overcome them.  Although this particular covenant was conditional, there was a previous covenant and a promise, with which was not conditional, and it serves as the foundation for God’s eternal dealing with the Jewish people.  The Abrahamic Covenant established three things:

1. That nation of Israel would be granted a permanent home, land boundaries from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, from Lebanon to Egypt.

2. The Abraham would be the father to many nations and that his seed would never be destroyed.

3. That through Abraham’s lineage, all the nations of the world would be blessed.

Even though Christians today can claim “Father Abraham” through point number 3, because we are justified by grace through faith in a Jewish Messiah (Romans 4:1-3), the Jews have retained their particular relationship with Jehovah because God is not a man that He could lie (Num. 23:19) and has not reneged on the Eternal Covenant through which has remained exclusively to the Jewish people.  Abraham did not make the Covenant with God…God made that Covenant with Himself on Abraham’s behalf.  Read Genesis 15 again, and notice what Abraham is doing during this entire process.  So the Land-Seed-Blessing’s covenant with Abraham is NOT predicated on Israel’s behavior (either good or bad), but on God’s faithfulness.

The Blessings to the nation of Israel (and by that, I mean Israel/Judah/Hebrews/Jews) came through the Jewish people in a narrowing process that went from Abraham to Isaac, from Isaac to Jacob, and Jacob through his twelve sons all the way until King David, in which God modified the initial Covenant to include the rightful heir of David’s throne.  From King David until Christ, God has orchestrated events so that His Son would come through the chosen blood line to pay for man’s sin upon the Cross at Mt. Calvary.  In other words, He came specifically to die. 

The Abrahamic Covenant, was eternal and irrevocable, and God never rescinded His terms nor promises despite Israel’s failings as a nation and as a people.  So we as Christians claim lineage to Abraham because of our Savior, but it is only to the Jewish people who can continue to trace their lineage back to Jacob and Isaac to Abraham, through whom the Promise would come.  Remember, Isaac had a brother Ishmael.  Isaac had Jacob and Esau...and the promised blessing only continued through one of them each time.

Assessment

Satan has over the millennia, used a number of tools to preempt the first arrival of the One who would ultimately ‘crush his head’.  He did this prior to the Noahic flood, by attempting to corrupt mankind’s genetic makeup so that a Messiah couldn’t come.  He then stirred up nation after nation (Egyptians, Amorites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans) to attempt to wipe Israel off the map forever.  Still, God preserved them.  After their Diaspora in AD70 and AD135, Satan embedded the demonic-doctrine of Replacement theology into the corporate and denominational churches over the centuries which led to concentrated efforts at various times to force conversions, expulsions, and executions of Jews all over Europe from the medieval times up through the Reformation. 

This theology followed the denominational churches from Europe into America, and has for the last 100 years, infected not just seminaries, but now the universities and government in their dealings with modern Israel.  Satan has stirred the Muslim world into such a frenzied state that we virtually have been waiting for the other shoe (regional war) to drop for eight years now with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas.  There is a renewed global effort to promote divestiture of Israel economically, divide Jerusalem permanently, and dissect Israel to such an extent, that she would have to be reliant on the UN or EU, or some other global entity for her well-being both politically and militarily.  Of course, given how the previous gentile nations have ‘managed’ her, it’s not a stretch to see where that road leads.

We know ultimately, that Satan one day will be barred from heaven, and he will come to the earth having great wrath, and will seek his vengeance on the earth.  With the Church removed at the Rapture, the Christian believers martyred and overcome on the earth, all Satan will have left is tiny Israel, whom will receive the full brunt of his fury.  (Revelation 12:13-17)  He will attempt again during this 3 ½ years, to stamp her out of existence, but God who is ever faithful, will deliver her and shield her as an eagle who spreads her wings over her eaglets during a storm.  (Psalm 17:7-9

The Scriptures foretold of the day when Israel would be back in her land.  (Ezekiel 37) The Scriptures foretold of the day when the Jews would reclaim Jerusalem. (Luke 21:24)  Why then do many now doubt that the Scriptures which foretold of the time when the fullness of the Gentiles is reached, that God will not return His focus back on the Jewish people, whom He has NOT forsaken? (Romans 11:25-28) The Jew will be chastised (Jeremiah 30:11), but not destroyed.  The Jew will have their blindness removed (Zechariah 12:10-14) and will finally recognize that Jesus was their Messiah all along. 

To those of us in the Church who watch the signs, we are fortunate and blessed to see the “Fig Tree” nation once again after 19 centuries.  To those who stand against Israel, woe!  Psalm 18 paints a pretty terrifying prospect for those who oppose Israel.  The ONLY nation in the universe, of all time, who has a specific one on one covenant with the Creator, the Almighty…will stand and face the fury of the treading of the winepress of His wrath. 

Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord
Goes forth with fury,
A continuing whirlwind;
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
The fierce anger of the Lord will not return until He has done it,
And until He has performed the intents of His heart.

In the latter days you will consider it. ~ Jeremiah 30:23-24

But whether they want it or not, Israel will be a sign to the nations that God is faithful.  They will be a sign to the nations that the God of the Bible is real, alive, and still engaged with mankind.  Whether they like it or not, Israel will be God’s banner to the nation, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He alone is the only hope that man will ever have.  How do I know this?

Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):

“If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”

Thus says the Lord:

“If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 31:35-37

About Pete Garcia

Last week: Why Prophecy Matters



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