May 2008 -Israel's 60th birthday


Accident of history, botched political process or ..... the outworking of the prophetic word of God?

You choose!


Israels 60th birthday

Israels 60th
Scan the travel sections of most high street bookstores, and you will find very few shelves that stock books about Israel. Is it because no one is interested in the country? Or perhaps booksellers consider the nation too much of a hot potato?

Israel - a tiny country the size of Wales  - is seldom out of the news. Controversy  surrounded the birth of the nation in  1948; immediately wars broke out and these have continued to this present day.

Israel in the midstNo other nation on the earth is subjected to such intense scrutiny. If it were a tiny Arab country surrounded by huge hostile nations and heavily-armed terrorist groupings the world would be 100% on its side. Yet  present day Israel is most often reported as a harsh oppressor.

When Kofi Annan was Secretary-General of the UN he said: “On one side, supporters of Israel feel that it is harshly judged by standards that are not applied to its enemies. “And too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies.”

From 1967 to 1989 in the UN General Assembly, 429 resolutions against Israel were passed, and Israel was condemned 321 times.

Even within the Christian church there is divided opinion.

A recent book by Rev. Stephen Sizer (and endorsed by no less a figure than John Stott) decries support for Israel and what is termed 'Christian Zionism'.    [Even that term is ill-defined, and Sizer does himself no service by adopting the age-old 'straw man' tactic of erecting a caricature and then demolishing it. - Ed.]
Sizer's view is commonly referred to as Replacement Theology which believes that the Christian church has replaced Israel in God's purposes. An alternative term is Supercessionism.

However highly-respected international Bible teachers like the late Derek Prince and David Pawson have also - and for years - published books, and  video productions outlining God's word and purposes for Israel. In one of this books, The Destiny of Israel and the Church, Prince lists seventy-nine occurrences of the word Israel or Israelite in the New Testament, concluding that Israel is never used as a synonym for the church.

Israel Gods ServantAt the  Church of Scotland's General Assembly of May 2007, a  report was presented to the Assembly which produced a response from one of the Church's senior ministers Rev. David Torrance. Torrance has now published a book Israel God's Servant in which he writes “God continues to use the Jewish people and the tiny State of Israel, as his servant to witness to himself before the nations”.
And an article about Holocaust Rembrance Day (2008) lists some relevent Bible verses as a summary of that view.

You can listen to short interviews with David Torrance and/or  Rev. David Andrew (a Scot and Scottish-based editor of Sword magazine).


Look and listen to an evocative collection of photographs set to music produced by Steve Taylor

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Local (Highland area) Meetings


Meanwhile anyone interested in joining with others who are already praying for Israel can contact local groupings - Christian Friends of Israel   or    Prayer for Israel   or for fellowship and teaching meetings contact:    Esther 414

 
National grouping

In January 2007 a group of national church leaders coming from different ministries across the whole church in Scotland formed up under the name Yachad (Hebrew for 'together').
In February 2008 a national meeting was held in Stirling which drew together ministers, pastors and leaders to discuss and pray over the issue of Israel in God's purposes.
An information mailing list has now been established for disseminating news and prayer items; and futher meetings are under consideration. For futher information <click here>.

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Ed footnote:
A vital key in understanding the above is to examine God's covenants with a view to distinguish between those that are conditional and others that are unconditional - particulary comparing the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants.

 

Christians Together, 08/05/2008


Feedback:
Leo Rose (Guest) 02/05/2010 22:00
No question about it, the bible is absolutely clear; the Lord promised the land of Israel as an inheritance to the Israelites. It is after all called “The Promised Land”. The significance of Israel in the scriptures is primarily twofold: (1) the people - the Lord would bring forth the Messiah from the people of Israel and (2) the Messiah would be born in the land of Israel, He would live and minster in Israel, He would offer His life for the sins of the world in Israel, He would raise again in Israel, He would ascend from the Mount of Olives in Israel, and according to Zechariah 14:4 Jesus the Messiah will return to Israel and will set up His earthly kingdom on which He will rule and reign for 1,000 years from Israel.

So what about all this fuss to either remove Israel from the land or divide the land into a two-state territory? In Deuteronomy chapter 23 the Lord told Moses to instruct the Israelites that they should make peace with certain nations, and others they were not to permit to dwell in the land. They were to accept peace treaties with Egypt (because Egypt permitted Israel to dwell in the land of Goshen during a global famine). Israel was also to make peace with the Edomites, because they were their brothers through Esau, the son of Isaac and the brother of Jacob. Esau showed kindness to Jacob later in life. However Israel was not to permit the Ammonites or Moabites dwell in the land. Why? Ammonites were the descendents of Ammon the son of the incestuous relations of Lot and one of his daughters. The Ammonites settled in the areas of the Negev (South) of Israel and they opposed Israel when Israel needed to pass through their land to get from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Moabites were the descendents of Moab the son of Lot and his incestuous relations with his second daughter. The Moabites settled just east of the Jordan River and Dead Sea in what is called the plains of Moab. This was known as Trans-Jordan. The Moabites (and Midianites) under the direction of their king Balak resisted the Israelites and fought in battle against Israel. They lost. Moab with a little help from Balaam caused Israel to commit the sins of sexual immorality and idolatry.

According to Genesis 12:1-3, after promising a specific piece of real estate to the nation Israel, the Lord said, “And I will bless them that bless thee (Israel), and I will curse them that curse thee (Israel).” So why did the Lord instruct Israel to be merciful and kind to Egypt and the Edomites? It was because they blessed Israel in times past. Why did the Lord instruct Israel not to permit the Ammonites and Moabites (amongst others) not to dwell in the land with Israel? It was because they cursed Israel in times past, and did not bless them. Thus we have this simple and timeless principle.
Most Britons know of the Balfour Declaration. In 1917 Briton’s foreign secretary Arthur Balfour decreed that Briton would aid Israel to see them return to their land and be re-established as a nation. In the 1920’s, and 1930’s there was much rioting in Israel by the Arabs and a turning point came when the British, under the government of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, issued a policy known as the White Paper of 1939. The white paper of 1939 effectively broke the promise Briton had made to the Jews to help re-establish the nation of Israel – but instead agreed to partition the land into two states, Arab and Jewish. Some say (and I agree) the downfall of the British Empire began when they chose not to bless Israel by breaking their promise to them.

So here we are in the 21st century still debating whether or not to forcefully divide the land of Israel into two states, Arab and Jewish. The bible is absolutely clear “No, the land was promised to the nation Israel.” Since the Lord gave the land to Israel to possess as permanent tenants as long as the earth stands; what does that make a person who tries to take the land away from Israel? It’s already settled in God’s mind, and it ought to already be settled in ours, amen?

The real question for all nations and peoples of the world, including each and every individual bible believer ought to be, “How can I/we bless Israel today?” Do I/you/we want to be blessed by God? One aspect of blessing comes by blessing Israel. Here are a few recommendations to get started blessing Israel:

- - Pray for the peace of Jerusalem – Psalm 122:6 (that Jews might believe in Y’shua ha Meshiach – Jesus the Messiah, be saved from their sin and have peace with God).

- Support initiatives that permit Israel to remain in the land and reject initiatives that attempt to remove Israel or divide the land.

- - Learn to share the Gospel with Jews from the Torah/Tanakh (Old Testament) – Jesus is on every page!

- - Visit Israel and take a bible land tour – it will bless you and will also bless the nation Israel with the tourism income.

- - Share with others believers what the bible teaches about Israel.

Important note: Holding to a true biblical view of Israel does not mean that we as believers do not reach out to Gentile nations such as the Arab peoples. On the contrary, according to Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 60:3, Luke 2:32, Acts 13:47, and Acts 26:23 the nation Israel were to be a light unto the Gentile nations, that they might come to the saving knowledge of the Messiah through the nation Israel. Furthermore, according to 2 Peter 3:9 the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, Jews and Gentiles alike. Just because we chose to obey the scriptures and bless Israel and hope to see the nation Israel possess the land which God promised, does not mean that we should not show love and care to all peoples of the world including Arab peoples/nations. We should be lovingly reaching out to Arabs with the same Gospel we deliver to all other peoples.

I don’t understand how we as believers can come to any other understanding of the scriptures regarding Israel.

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Esther 4-14 > Israel's 60th birthday