What is happening in Israel?
I’m going to talk about three things today about what is happening in Israel.
- Supernatural love for the Jewish people around the world.
- The reason love for Jews is a miracle.
- God’s promises.
[Pray for a thousand angels to look after us]
Supernatural love for the Jewish Peoples
I am speaking the truth in Messiah—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Messiah for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the fathers, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Messiah, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Paul loved his own people in a supernatural way. He’s basically saying the greatest thing he could say to show love for a people who had tried to kill him several times, who’d given him non stop grief and sorrow, who opposed him and had been enemies of the gospel. For these people he’s saying here that, “If I could, I would trade my destiny of living in the glory of God’s friendship forever with yours. I would take your place in God’s judgement if, only if, it meant that you would take mine in His mercy.” What incredible, miraculous, supernatural love that Paul had for the Jews.
The church is recapturing this. All around the world people are turning to God and when they read His word God gives them a love for Jews. It’s unexplainable. It’s not rational. Why the Jews? Several people in this Church have already shown me this love that God has put in their hearts. In fact I had the great pleasure just last week to meet a lovely elderly Christian woman of God who explained to me, not even knowing who I was, that when God saved her from the Roman Catholic Church He also told her that she must love the Jews and to pray for Israel not just once a day, but as often as she could.
I don’t understand this miracle. And it is a miracle as I will explain later. Why is God developing a supernatural love for the Jewish people in His Church? It defies explanation in so many ways yet it is beautiful. As a Jewish believer, when I went to a Derek Prince conference a few months ago that was about Israel, as I walked through the doors I almost cried. There in that auditorium were people from every nation and background, united by the Jewish Messiah and standing together with a strong and deep love for Israel and the Jewish people. It’s happening all around the world.
The reason love for Jews is a miracle
There has been a hatred that has existed for over 2000 years. It is the longest hatred that has ever existed in the history of humanity. It has invaded every part of society and for many years even the Church harbored it. It’s a hatred of the Jews. Edward Flannery put it this way, “…[it] is the longest and deepest hatred of human history…” then he went on to say, “What other hatred has endured some twenty-three centuries and survived a genocide of 6,000,000 of its victims in its twenty-third century of existence only to find itself still intact and rich in potential for many years of life?” You’d think the holocaust would have been enough to satisfy the hatred of the Jews, to end it, but it was not.
If you don’t know the history, for the last two thousand years wherever Jews have gone they have been hated, told to get lost, beaten, raped, forced to convert, made into slaves and killed. And it has not been only for a little while, but it seems that in every generation people have risen up to destroy or persecute the Jewish people. From the Crusaders to Martin Luther, from Stalin to Hitler, from the Church – we have a dark history – to the Muslims, from black supremacists to white supremacists, from Biblical times to today people have hated the Jews.
And there seems to be no rational explanation for this. When Sigmund Freud tried to understand it, he ended up saying, “With regard to anti-Semitism, I don’t really want to search for explanations; I feel a strong inclination to surrender my affects in this matter and find myself confirmed in my wholly nonscientific belief that mankind on the average and taken by and large are a wretched lot.”
I have a friend, Dr Michael Brown, who went around to universities with a challenge to students to come up with a rational explanation for Jew hatred. He argued that the only rational explanation of this hatred is supernatural, that the Devil hates what God loves, and he would challenge people to come up with a better idea. Apparently, the only idea that came close to being believable was that aliens were responsible for it!
If you have read the book of Ester which was written about 2500 years ago, you will see there the first recorded attempt by a powerful leader in a nation to wipe out all the Jews. This book records a time when a great official in Assyria, an evil man named Haman, tried to kill all the Jews. He almost succeeded, but God intervened and stopped him and saved His people.
So what is happening in Israel? Haman & Hamas
2500 years ago a man named Haman tried to destroy the Jewish people. Today, a Muslim extremist organisation called Hamas is doing the same thing. They have a strikingly similar name and purpose: Haman and Hamas.
Who is Hamas?
Hammas is the elected governing body in the Palestinian region. For decades this group, along with others like the Muslim Brotherhood, has been responsible for suicide bombings in Israel, terrorist attacks, kidnappings and murders of Israeli citizens and for sending over ten thousand missiles into Israel over the last ten years. This organisation denies the Holocaust, agrees with Nazi ideology, and has within its chief religious beliefs a view that every Jew must be destroyed.
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, oh the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him…
It’s in their belief system that every Jew must be destroyed. Just as Haman wanted to destroy the Jewish people 2500 years ago, so Hamas wants to destroy them now.
And Dr Michael Brown drew out another link between Haman and Hamas. This is in how Haman in the Ester Story tried to convince the King about how evil the Jews are and how Hamas, the terrorist organisation that’s goal is Jihad, is convincing the world that the Jews are evil and cannot be tolerated. Haman convinced the king to allow him to destroy the Jews by saying that they do not obey the king’s laws and it is not in the king’s best interests to tolerate them. Today Hamas is convincing the world that Israel does not obey international laws – that they are an evil occupier of Palestine – and that it is not in the world’s best interests to tolerate them.
Let me put things into perspective for you.
Imagine if NZ was run by an extremist anti-Australia organisation. This organisation has terrorized Australia for a long time and for the last decade has been sending missiles into Sydney. Some of the missiles are deflected Sydney’s missile defense system but others get through and kill civilians. Even if a missile is deflected, can you imagine what it would be like to go about your daily life in Sydney when at any moment a missile could land on you?
How long do you think it would be before Australia retaliated against NZ? What do you think the international response to Australia for defending itself? Would it be to say that Australia is only 200 years old and has no right to exist? Would the world highlight how NZ citizens in Australia are treated unjustly? Would they claim that Australia has not been managing NZ well? Would they set up sanctions against Australia because Australia is allegedly evil? Would there be marches and protests all around the world when Australia fights back? Yet this is how the world seems to be responding to Israel.
In Europe, the very countries that perpetrated the holocaust are now holding marches against Israel where they are accusing the Jews of being Nazis and of perpetrating a second holocaust. Hold on a second. These were the Nazi nations and descendants of the Nazis, yet they are now calling Jews Nazis?
All around the world there is a Boycotting, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. The Marrickville Council in Australia is an example of this – a local council choosing to boycott Israel and to stop using Israeli products.
For the last decade, universities around the world have held an event called “Israel Apartheid Week.” They claim that Arabs are second rate citizens in Israel and that Israel is an Apartheid state. But hold on a second. There are Arabs in the Israeli Parliament. There are Arabs of notable rank in the Israeli army. Arabs are given full voting rights in Israel and are not treated as second class citizens.
To be clear though, as Christians we do not agree with all the policies and decisions of any nation, and Israel has certainly done things that no one is proud of in the past. But this is not enough to justify all the international criticism against Israel today.
And there is a glaring hypocrisy in all these campaigns as well. Only last week the leader of Hamas publicly vowed to destroy Israel and what was the world’s reaction? Silence. Yet if Israel just builds some houses in Jerusalem the world reacts with outrage and venom. Dr Michael Brown once asked, “Is Jewish blood less valuable than Palestinian blood?” It seems that in a lot of people’s eyes the answer is yes.
God’s Promises: The reason Jew Hatred is a Spiritual Problem
In Jer. 31:35-37 God made a promise to Israel. Basically that no matter what happens, no matter how bad they get, no matter that they reject the Messiah for 2000 years, Israel will always exist as a nation before God forever. Jews will always be around.
35 Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 “If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”
Don’t you see? If the Jewish people ceased to exist, it would mean that God either cannot or does not keep His promises. This is from a book by Dr. Michael Brown “Our hands are stained with blood.”
“[Satan’s] effort to annihilate the Jews is also an attempt to discredit the Lord, since He has sworn in His Word that they will never be destroyed. If Israel ceases to exist as a distinct people, then God did not, or could not, keep His promise. That would mean that He was either powerless or that He lied!”
There is a story that is told about a Russian Tsar many years ago. He once asked his adviser, “Give me evidence that God exists.” The adviser turned to him and said, “The Jews.” The fact that there are still Jews today is an incredible evidence and testimony that God exists and that God keeps his Word.
I was talking to a Jewish atheist once and he asked me for evidence for God and I said that he was. That even though in every generation there has been people who have tried to destroy us or persecute us, the fact that we are still here as Jews is evidence that God exists. I then said to him that, “Your life is evidence for God.”
And think about it. If God will still keep promises to a people that for 2000 years have rejected His Messiah, how can we not trust that he will keep His promises to you and me? In so many ways the Jewish people today are a rejected and despised people, yet God still keeps His promises to them. How much more can we trust that God would keep promises to you and me? Why don’t we trust Him?