Home Page | Calendar | Forums | Login | Turn Images On |
Home > Esther 414

Israel: at the centre of God's purposes

As the return of Christ draws ever-nearer, the increasing focus will be on what God calls ‘My land’ and the city that bears His Name. Paul sent Gentile believers a warning not to be smug, arrogant, proud, ignorant, boastful, unbelieving or conceited regarding the Jews. He says the same to us today.
 

Romans Chapter 11

written to Gentile believers in the 1st century and the 21st Century

"I am talking to you Gentiles..."
the Apostle Paul (Rom 11:13a)
 
AS we get ever-closer to the return of Christ the purposes of God will increasingly focus on what He calls ‘My land’ and the city that bears His Name. Paul sent Gentile believers a warning from the pages of Scripture not to be smug, arrogant, proud, ignorant, boastful, unbelieving or conceited: the apostle would say that same to us today lest ‘you also will be cut off.’
What we are increasingly seeing in our complicated world is a spirit – a demonic spirit – of anti-Semitism (Note 1).  And there is a great danger that it will infect the church of our day.
Leaving aside the problem that the world is bringing on itself (Joel 3:2), two thousand years ago Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome in order to address and counter a big issue in their midst. God’s word says the same thing to believers today. Whilst the letter contains teaching on major doctinal themes, the primary purpose was to address the prospect of a dangerous split. Unfortunately much modern teaching relegates the heart of Paul's message to that of an unrelated digression by the apostle.

The background

  The letter to believers in Rome was written (57AD) to address a major problem in that city; and it was written to all believers there – Gentiles and Jews (Rom 1:7).
Some years earlier Jewish converts had been expelled from the city (c49AD) by the Emperor Claudius (Acts 18:2). Subsequent to that expulsion they were permitted to return (Rom 16:3) when Nero came into power (AD54). However in the period between the expulsion and the return of the Jews, the Gentile believers had become rather elitist and anti-Jewish.

An overview

  Paul saw the very real danger of a split in the body of the Christ and wrote to all the believers in Rome (Rom 1:7) to address this issue.
In the early chapters he instructs both groups about their common standing as sinners saved by grace (Rom 2:12; 3:9). Gentile believers are warned not to exploit their salvation to cover Godless living (Ch. 6) and the Jews cannot to depend on observing the law for their salvation (Ch. 7).
In the latter chapters of his letter – the longest he ever wrote – Paul gives the Jewish and Gentile believers some practical instruction regarding some of the matters which were causing dissent between the two groups (cf Rom 14:3,5) finishing his letter with some general greetings.

The core message

  However the core of Paul’s message is contained in Chapters nine to eleven. And these chapters are not – as some commentators suggest – some kind of parenthesis whereby the apostle soars off on a personal tangent: these chapters are the kernel, not some kind of unimportant distraction. They cover the standing of Israel from the ancient past, through Paul's day and ours, and into the future. In Chapter nine the apostle covers the Jew’s history; Chapter ten refers to the time pertaining when the letter was written; and Chapter eleven refers to the future for the Jewish people. (See Israel: Past, Present and Future.)
It is this eleventh chapter Paul speaks powerfully into our present age and poses a particular challenge to Gentile followers of Jesus Christ with respect to how they should behave to the Jewish people generally, and to unbelieving Jews particularly. He urges Gentile believers to avoid the traps of complacency, arrogance, pride, ignorance, conceit and unbelief.

God ‘s blessing; or the alternative?

 
God said in His word concerning the Jews: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples of earth will be blessed through you” (Gen 12:3).
Concerning the word ‘curse’ the translators have used the one English word to cover two different words in the Hebrew.
The first mention of curse is a very strong word (‘arar’) which means ‘bitterly curse’ and speaks of ‘judgment’. The second use is the Hebrew word ‘qalal’ which means to criticise or to belittle. Accordingly the verse could be translated (i.e. God speaking to the Jews): “I will bring judgment on those who speak badly of you.” Of course the unbelieving world is not likely to know God’s heart, but He has revealed it to those who trust in His Word.

Are we aligned with His plan?

 
As the time of Christ’s return draws ever closer, so will the activity of God’s arch-enemy seek to frustrate the Almighty’s purposes. Just as Satan was behind the crucifixion of Christ, he is also active behind the scenes of all that we see happening in the Middle East – in the knowledge that Jesus is coming back to capital city of Israel (Acts 1:11); the country which God calls ‘My land’ (Ezek 36:5).
Jesus is not returning to London, Paris, Tokyo, New York or Rome. The Saviour of the world is returning to Jerusalem – the city in which God has set His name (1 Kings 9:3; Ezra 6:12). Just as he left, Jesus is to returning to that Holy city, and 'his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east (Zech 14:4). This is not allegorical (as some teachers would have us believe), it is literal: the prophet even defines the exact spot on the map – 'before Jerusalem to the east'.
It is in this context that the nations will be united (cf the United Nations, the Quartet, the EU, Islam) against the Jewish people and the land (Zech 12:3; Zech 14:2). However, God will have his way and bring down those who oppose His divine plans (Joel 3:2; Zech 12:3; 14:2). The Almighty is Sovereign and unchanging in His purposes.
So the question that God is putting to every believer is,"Whose side are you and I on?"
Let us be very careful lest we end up putting more store in media headlines than in the inspired, inerrant and unchanging Word of God. He is 'watching over His Word to perform it' and He would surely have His children orientate themselves around His plans and purposes.
The prophet Zechariah declared (declares) God's word (Zech 1:15): "I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease [the word connotes haughtiness]: for I was but a little displeased [with the Jews], and they [the nations] helped forward the [Jew's] affliction."
The Christian church has enough shameful anti-Semitism in its history: let's not become part of that in our day. The Lord will deal with His people: it is not the task of the Gentile nations of their own volition to do that for Him.

-----------
Refs:
Israel and the Middle East in prophecy
Bishop J C Ryle commenting on the church and the Jews
Israel: past, present and future (Christians Together - Winter 2000/1)
-----------

The Word of God

Romans 11:13--25 (NIV)
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
<Top>

Notes:
1. The actions of the Israeli government are no worse, and often better, than those of any other nation surrounded by hostile neighbours bent on its destruction. The Israelis will get some things wrong: who doesn't? But there is a universal system of double-standards applied when the actions of Israel are being judged. A civilian casualty in Afghanistan is a tragic mistake; in Gaza it is described as a war crime.
2. The present crisis relating to the boarding of a supply vessel by the Israeli army is a well-rehearsed process: provoke Israel to action; generate a global outrage when the Israeli government responds; launch an attack on Israel aided by world opinion.
3. The background to this incident is the continual smuggling of arms by Hamas into Gaza. The event, which could have very serious repercussions for the region and beyond, related to a refusal by the ship's operators to dock peacefully and allow the vessel's cargo to be unloaded under supervision.
(Author: Christians Together)

See feedback for this article


Articles in this group

'Taste of Israel' Conference
A short video giving a flavour of the conference which featured a Messianic pastor from Israel alongside seminars, displays and workshops. (Author: Yachad Scotland)

The Co-op, the Methodist Church, Israel and God
Anyone who seeks to discipline another person’s child can expect a negative parental response. (Author: Christians Together)

Greenbelt on the Haman/Hamas trail
The Kairos Network of British churches was launched at the recent Greenbelt festival aimed at encouraging 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' actions against Israel. (Author: Molly Cooper)

Israel, the Jews and Evangelicals
The rise of Islam and anti-semitic attitudes in Europe and around the world will surely oblige Bible-believing Christians to come to a view on God's present and future purposes for the Jewis people and the nation of Israel. (Author: Christians Together)

Kirk burns bridges with Jewish community
By its adoption of 'The Inheritance of Abraham' document, the Church of Scotland stands accused of severing relations with Scotland's Jewish community. (Author: Scottish Council of Jewish Communities)

The Church of Scotland denies God's plans
If the recent decision to permit Kirk congregations to call actively-gay ministers was not enough, the national church has sealed its fate by refuting the eternal and unchanging purposes of God for the Jews. (Author: Christians Together)

Israel Prayer Week and Free Teaching Day
A week of intercession, biblical teaching and real-life insights with Messianic leaders from Jerusalem giving news of current events in Israel and the strategic relevance regarding world affairs and Biblical prophecy. (Author: Ellel Ministries Scotland)

Israel and the Abrahamic Covenant
In contrast to what the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Committee report believes, two British churchmen cut through the muddled thinking of Replacement Theology. (Author: Christians Together)

How does the church view Israel?
International speaker Dr. Paul Wilkinson is currently doing a tour of Scotland speaking on the place of Israel and the Jewish people in the eyes and plans of God; and sharing some concerns on how the church is being influenced away from them. (Author: Christians Together)

Christians encourage Israeli Ambassador
Following an antagonistic reception at an English university, Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the UK received a huge encouragement from British Christians at Purim. (Author: Stephen Jaffe)

A Christian Holocaust in our time - is it possible?
Howard Stern, a Christian involved in Middle East affairs looks at the situation in the region and asks why the West is funding regimes which are persecuting Christians. (Author: Howard Stern)

It's 1930s Germany all over again
What we are witnessing in our present day is a repeat of the events in which led up to Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. (Author: Point of no return blog)

The Israel Periphery
Israel needs heavyweight friends if it is to maintain its security. These friends must have sufficient common ground with Israel for them to have simiilar foreign policies towards the Arab world. (Author: Stratfor)

How a Man of Prayer was used by God
In this 70th anniversary year of the battle of El Alamein a gathering in the House of Lords heard about the prayer that went before and into the victory. (Author: Christians Together)

The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern
The nation of Israel has existed in roughly the same place in three different forms: twice in ancient times and once in modernity. The geographical area is what God calls 'My Land'. (Author: Stratfor)

The Middle East: histories in a nutshell
A series of short videos which give a rapid but comprehensive overview of the history of the Middle East from biblical times right through to the present day. (Author: Christians Together)

Hamas leaves Israel no choice
Danny Ayalon is Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister. He formerly served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States. (Author: Danny Ayalon)

British Army Officer is right on target
As part of a conference speech, a former high-ranking British Army officer spoke of the institutionalised anti-Israelism found in the United Nations and the mass media as supporting the Arab view that Israel should not have the right to exist. (Author: Christians Together)

Egypt, Syria, Israel, the church and the world
Just prior to the 2012 Egyptian elections, Christians Together caught up with Chuck Cohen of Intercessors for Israel to discuss the Middle East, the church and the nations. (Author: Christians Together)

Christian Palestinianism; a response
Many heavyweight evangelical leaders are being drawn into an age-old heresy which has its roots in the time of the apostle Paul, and which is erupting in our age. (Author: Christians Together)

God hears even when the mikes are off.
There is a tendency - even in Christian circles - to think that we can do and say things behind God's back. However the whole world now knows what the French and American Presidents think of Israel's Prime Minister: God heard too. (Author: Watchman)

Do Not Lift That Stone
Jacob Prasch looks at events around the world and analyses these in the context of God's declared purposes for our world. (Author: Jacob Prasch)

(23)/09/11 - A day that will change the world?
This week could see a change in the history of the world. All eyes will be on the Middle East as the UN considers Palestinian statehood. (Author: Christians Together)

Mike Moore of CWI writes to David Cameron
Mike Moore of Christian Witness to Israel has written to David Cameron about the "unreasonable pressure" the Prime Minster is placing on Israel. (Author: Mike Moore CWI / Christians Together)

Israel: Understanding the Times
A 'Issachar Challenge' day conference designed to help Christian believers discern the nature of the times in which we live in the context of God's word; and how to respond in the light of Scripture. (Author: Christians Together)

Israel: what you are not (generally) being told
A set of short videos offering a time-efficient way of getting to grips with what does not appear in the mainstream media regarding Israel. (Author: Christians Together)

David Hathaway preaches Yeshua in Israel
The Welsh evangelist David Hathaway who has an international ministry in Eastern Europe and beyond preached to capacity crowds in Israel and shared Christ with holocaust survivors. (Author: David Hathaway)

Institutionalised anti-Semitism in the church
The apostle Paul was obliged to tackle Gentile elitism head on. Were he with us on earth today he would probably find the same need to do so within the Christian church. (Author: Norman Skinner)

A Call to Repentance: a new DVD resource
A free 5-part film and printed resource is now available which captures Britain' need to repent over its actions in Israel and towards the Jews. (Author: Christians Together)

God's purposes in Israel?
What is God's purposes for Israel and the Jewish people. The first public showing of Dundee meetings which viewed and discussed the newly-released film With God on Our Side. (Author: Thistle Channel TV)

Welsh fellowship evicted from village hall
A small fellowship which met in a village hall in North Wales claims to have been pushed out because of its support for the Jewish people and the establishment of Israel in the land. (Author: Christians Together)

The enemy is within the church
A messianic jewish leader has called for urgent prayer for his country in the face of international hostility and major enemies within the Christian camp. (Author: Christians Together)

Trip to the Holy Land 2010/2011
Leo Rose gives an update on the plans to travel to Israel in January 2011 for a tour of the Holy Land with two pricing options. (Author: Leo Rose)

The 'Flotilla' video some people don't want you to see
Attempts to 'bury' a spoof video exposing the lie behind the motives and actions of the 'peace activists' aboard the 'mercy' ship bound for Gaza have backfired. (Author: Christians Together)

Chuck Cohen: why do the nations rage?
A DVD is now available of Chuck Cohen speaking to a meeting in Inverness and giving a personal interview on the place of Israel in God's purposes (Author: Christians Together / Thistle Channel TV)

Prime Minister apologises to Israel
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has had to apologise to Israel concerning an arrest warrant issued by a British court against former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. (Author: Christians Together)

Irena Sendler: a true prize winner
A young Polish Roman Catholic woman who worked fearlessly to save Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII is to be honoured in a film. (Author: Christians Together)

The Goldstone Report: believe it if you like
The recently-published Goldstone report investigated Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza: guess who are the bad guys? But when one man spoke, the room fell silent. (Author: Christians Together)

CMJ Mini Conference
International researcher, author and speaker Kelvin Crombie is due to speak at a CMJ Mini Conference in Scotland about the Gentile church and the Jewish people. (Author: Christians Together)

No longer night...
I came to realise that the roots of our faith are Hebraic and not Greek: 'built on the foundations of the apostles and the prophets. (Author: Sword Magazine)

A Jew defending Christians in the UK
With the church's track record of anti-semitism through the centuries, it is not altogether usual for a Jew to write so consistently and earnestly in support of Christians. (Author: Christians Together)

DO BELIEVE some of what you DON'T READ in the papers
Whilst vicious enemies continue to call for Israel's annihilation, Jewish doctors treat and save Palestinian children. But our media don't carry these stories. (Author: Haifa Diarist)

Lies, d..n lies and media headlines
In a society which is driven by news headlines, we are being fed a diet of media distortion which is taking us back into the Germany of the 1930s. (Author: Watchman)

Arab World Facing Collapse
The current conflict in Gaza is prompting senior politicians in the region to warn that "the Arab world is close to collapse." (Author: Christians Together / Arutz Sheva)

Muslim leaders denounce anti-semitism
Twenty-two prominent British Muslims have signed an open letter to mosques, media outlets and blogs denouncing anti-semitic attacks. (Author: Christians Together)

Presentation on Israel trip
Whilst on a recent (Dec 2008) trip to Israel, Tommie Mackay took this picture over Jerusalem. He has entitled it The Asension; it could equally be entitled The Return. (Author: Leo Rose/Tommie Mackay)

Galya Greig: an interview
Galya Greig has just returned to Inverness following a four-year ministry period in Jerusalem working with CFI. She is en route to America to take up a new work there with WorldWatch Daily (Author: Christians Together)

Elspeth Masson - Christian Friends of Israel
Elspeth Masson represents the work of Christian Friends of Israel in the Highlands and beyond, believing that God has made an unconditional covenant with the Jewish people. (Author: CFI/CT)

Why no peace in Israel?
The current and ongoing situation in the Middle East is in much need of prayer; but prayer which is informed by the clear will of God and His prophetic purposes. (Author: Christians Together)

A dangerous ignorance
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is just fine. But a recent World Council of Churches initiative could have disasterous consequences. (Author: Watchman)

An update report from Galya-Jane - Autumn 2008
The Lord is moving me on from my work in Israel over the past 4 years to join with the ministry of Bill Koenig in Washington DC. (Author: Galya-Jane Greig)

Jerusalem's city walls
Recent archeological discoveries in Israel confirm Jerusalem as the site of ancient Jewish temples and serve as an antidote to revisionist denials of Jewish heritage in the land. (Author: Christians Together)

Anglican faithful, Arab and Jewish believers
Anglican faithful gathered with both Arab and Jewish believers at the recent Global Anglican Futures Conference in Jerusalem. An event of no small significance. (Author: Christians Together)

Israel's rebirth in May 1948
Two prophecies from the Bible concerning the re-birth of the nation of Israel on 14 May, 1948. (Author: Watchman)

Israel's 60th birthday
60 years ago, in May 1948, the modern state of Israel was born. There has been trouble ever since. Christians who believe their Bibles need to discern what is going on. (Author: Christians Together)

Israel, the world and the church
On Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January 2008) it is worth recalling some of what God has said about Israel and the Jewish people. (Author: Christians Together)

The Anti-Semitic disease
Paul Johnson writes: "What strikes the historian surveying anti-Semitism worldwide over more than two millennia is its fundamental irrationality." (Author: Paul Johnson)

Jerusalem, the Jews and their destiny
An evocative collection of photographs by Steve Taylor - produced after his recent visit to Israel (Author: Steve Taylor)

A letter to the Church of Scotland
A letter written to the Church of Scotland by one of its senior ministers in response to a report to the C of S General Assembly of May 2007 (Author: David Torrance)

The Destiny of Britain
Premier of a new film covering Britain's part in the events which created the modern state of Israel - a vision, supported by great Christian revivalists and Bible teachers such as the C H Spurgeon, Robert Murray McCheyne and J C Ryle (Author: Christians Together)

Orthodox Jew dreams about the Messiah
A report about an orthodox Jew who has had recurring dreams about the Messiah. (Author: Matt Schwartz)

Chuck Cohen - Drumossie Meeting
Chuck Cohen is due to speak at Drumossie Hotel, Inverness. Chuck is a Jewish believer living in Jerusalem. He is part of the King of Kings Community; and one of the leaders of Intercessors for Israel (Author: Christians Together)

Esther 414 Group
For those who are working amongst and praying for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. (Author: )


© 2014 Christians Together High Accessibility Version. (Full Graphics Version)