March 2010 saw the ‘celebration” of Israel Apartheid Week on university campuses around the world. What is the significance of these events in the light of Bible teaching?
The first week in March 2010 was a week of publicity and protest sponsored by academic institutions, charities such as Oxfam and trades unions against the legitimacy of the Jewish state. Particularly, their protest was against the right of the Israeli government to build Jewish settlements in what are described as the “occupied territories” of Judea Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem.
Some politicians have spoken out against these attempts to demonise and delegitamise Israel, describing the protests as thinly veiled anti-Semitism, whilst others wholeheartedly support the call to ostracise the Jews and Israel as a whole.
In addition to these activities we have seen a “cooling” of US Israeli relations as a deliberate foreign policy strategy of the Obama administration. Also in March “The Quartet” (a self appointed group of nations) comprised of Russia, the EU, the USA and the UN have openly condemned Israel for proposing to build 1600 new homes in east Jerusalem and also stated that there should be no allowance for “natural growth” of existing communities as well as calling for the dismantling of all homes built since 2001.
The Apple of God’s Eye
Through the prophet Zechariah (ch 2:8) God says:
…for whoever touches you (Jerusalem) touches the apple of His (God’s) eye. I will surely raise my hand against them.
If we stand against Israel and the Jews we need to be aware that we are opposing the purpose of the Creator of the Universe – in effect, to pick up the imagery of Zechariah, we are attempting to give God a poke in the eye!
The destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 and the subsequent scattering of the Jews to nearly every nation on the planet in AD 110 was a clear and direct fulfillment of the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 21:23-25:
For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people (the Jews).. they will.. be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles (non-Jews) until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
These events came true within 100 years of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and for nearly 2000 years there was no Israel, no Jewish state. The land was a desolate desert and Jerusalem was under the control of the Romans, the Ottoman Turks and finally the British. Jerusalem was under the control of these non Jews from AD 70 until the 6 Day War in 1967, when in response to an Arab invasion the Israeli army mounted a counter offensive and took control of the Sinai, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
Make sure you are on the right side!
Your attitude towards the Jews and their capital city Jerusalem has a direct bearing on your future well-being. God says to Abraham, the Father of the Jewish nation:
I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse, and in you all the peoples of the Earth will be blessed
Here we are introduced to the central Bible theme that through the Jewish nation, and specifically Jesus, all nations will be brought to a knowledge of God and His glory.
Thus says the Lord GOD: ”I will gather you (the Jews) from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
Through the prophet Ezekiel we are being clearly instructed that it is an integral part of God’s purpose that the Jews are back in the land and in possession of Jerusalem. To oppose Jewish presence or activity in Israel or Jerusalem is to oppose the purpose of God- this is a futile exercise!
Still a Wayward People
What we learn from the Bible, especially from the book of Ezekiel, is that despite their continued faithlessness and rejection of Jesus as their king, we should have expected to see the Jews back in the land of Israel and encompassed by enemies, as indeed is the case. Additionally, we should expect them to be there trusting in their own military power and political abilities rather than putting their trust in the God who brought them back to the land of Israel. What we are observing now is the process by which God will humble them and bring them to recognise His hand in their destiny, and to accept Jesus as the Messiah.
You may say, “well, its easy to be wise after the event, after all the Jews have been back in the land for more than 60 years now!” However, if you look at the last section of this article you will see that through a careful reading of the Bible men were able to foresee this event hundreds of years before it came to fruition.
These men read the same Bible that we read today, the same Bible that contains the promise made to Abraham more than 4000 years ago that through him, through the Jews and through Jesus, all peoples of the Earth will be blessed.
What are We to Make of Current Anti-Jewish Sentiment?
Whilst we may not know the reason for every twist and turn of events concerning the modern nation of Israel, we can be certain of one thing- God is in control. We may or may not like some of the acts perpetrated by the Jewish nation, however our personal views are not relevant, we must be guided by what the Bible teaches us about God’s purpose with the Jews. Oxfam Poster: “Israeli Fruits Have A Bitter Taste”
God makes it clear that mankind will take it upon itself to sort out the Jewish problem. The nations of the Earth will seek to take control of Jerusalem and sort the Jews out once and for all.
Thus says the LORD…”Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples.. when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem… in that day I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though ALL NATIONS OF THE EARTH be gathered against it
The growing anti-Israeli movement is to be expected and should cause the Bible reader to look expectantly, and wait patiently, for God to accomplish His purpose with Israel.
Of special significance is the growing determination of “The Quartet” of Russia, Europe, the USA and the United Nations (all nations of the Earth?) to deal with Israel’s intransigence over settlement building and the issue of Jerusalem. At present it is merely threatening words, but it will not be long before the words turn to actions. You can read more about the “Quartet’s” statement here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8575723.stm
In time it may even appear that the problem has been solved by man, there will be a cry of “Peace & Safety!”, but this will be an insecure peace that will not last because it will not be on God’s terms “then shall come sudden destruction” we are told (1 Thessalonians 5)
What are we to do?
Essentially we are told to be patient and to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122). Its not that God isn’t going to solve this apparently intractable problem, He will in His own time and in His own way. We are told to make sure we are on God’s side; waiting patiently and praying for that time of wonderful peace under the reign of King Jesus that this world so desperately needs. Through His message to us, the Bible, God invites us to share in that wonderful time of blessing when this planet, tortured by sin and death, will finally be all that God intended it to be.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox… they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” says the LORD
He will judge your people with righteousness and your poor with justice….He will save the children of the needy and break the oppressor in pieces
I heard a loud voice form heaven saying “The dwelling of God is with men… and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
The Jews Back in Israel Foreseen Hundreds of Years in Advance!
Sir Isaac Newton wrote the following words more than 200 years before the Jews returned to their ancient homeland:
The restoration of the Jewish nation so much spoken of by the old prophets… …the universal & eternal Kingdom of God & Christ spoken of by John and Daniel… …then many nations shall receive the law of righteousness from Jerusalem & they shall (not) learn war any more…
The Mystery of the Restitution of all Things (circa 1700)
Dr John Thomas Wrote these words 150 years before the Jewish state was re-established:
…there are two stages in the restoration of the Jews…. there is a partial restoration before.. (the return of Jesus) which serves as the nucleus for future operations…
(this) colonisation of Palestine will be on purely political principles’ and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the messiahship of Jesus..
Elpis Israel (The Hope of Israel 1849)