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In Defence of Israel?

Written by Prof Johan Malan.

Dr. Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team (JPT) issued a strong appeal for international support for Israel in the face of a planned declaration of a Palestinian state in September 2011, with East Jerusalem as its capital. According to Mike, the United Nations will ratify this plan with the full support of the US and most other countries. Great concern is rightfully expressed that the implementation of the plan will seriously threaten the national interests of Israel.

The mission statement of the JPT is “To guard, defend and protect the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael until Israel is secure, and until the Redeemer comes to Zion.” Their boldness to openly refer to the coming of the Messiah is appreciated. They also proclaim this truth on their website where they say: “When we are praying for the peace of Jerusalem we are praying for the Lord to return” (www.jpteam.org).They also rightly warn the hostile nations which are sacrificing Jerusalem and Israel on the altar of Palestinian statehood: “God pronounces judgement on all nations that come against Jerusalem.”

However, in their strong drive to ensure a biblically just solution to the Middle East crisis which will protect Israel’s national interests, JPT neglects to mention the spiritual obligation on Israel to get into the right relationship with their own Messiah. If we do not do this in a loving but very explicit way, all our efforts to support Israel will be in vain. It is simply not enough for JPT to say on their website that there will be times of spiritual refreshing among the Gentiles, thereby referring to a big, end-time revival which will also impact Israel and lead to their salvation. What is the responsibility of true Christians in this regard?

First and foremost, we should be witnesses of the Messiah – particularly also to Israel (Rom. 11:11). No compromise whatsoever should be made with John Hagee’s dual covenant theology, which provides for the salvation of Jews without accepting Jesus as Messiah since, according to him, only the Gentiles need Christ (old covenant of the law for the Jews and new covenant of grace through Christ for the Gentiles). Scripture clearly refutes the dual covenant theology as the law was Israel’s tutor to Christ, who fulfilled the OT sacrifices and feasts, and who alone can save Jews as well as Gentiles (Gal. 3:23-25).

Paul said that “the gospel of Jesus Christ… is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). He also reminded fellow Jewish believers that, “we who are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal. 2:15-16; cf. Phil. 3:8-9; Acts 4:8-12).

The universal rule of salvation by faith in Messiah applied since the atoning death of Jesus, which was followed by the related events of His resurrection, ascension and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. First generation Jewish leaders in the Christian dispensation gave rise to the corporate blindness of Israel when they rejected the Messiah. This tragic decision accounted for the first century destruction of Jerusalem and all other Jewish cities, the death of more than a million Jews, as well as the international dispersion of the surviving Jews (Matt. 23:34–24:2; Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-24).

However, the corporate blindness of Israel (Rom. 11:8-10) due to the nation’s rejection of the Messiah never prevented individual Jews from being saved. When the early church was founded on the day of Pentecost the first three thousand members were Messianic Jews (or Jewish Christians according to Greek terminology). Since then, there was a remnant of saved Jews in every generation. Israel’s national interests (peaceful occupation of their God-given land, ruled from an undivided city of Jerusalem) will only be secured when the majority of the nation and its leaders embrace the Messiah (Rom. 11:25-27). The Messiah is their peace, not the UN, the USA, EU, Russia or any other human power.

The critical importance of a positive relationship between Israel and the Messiah implies that in its absence we, as followers of the Messiah, cannot in any way contribute towards Israel’s national security by way of pressurising the international community. An act of this nature can never overcome the impediment of Israel’s spiritual blindness and their complicity in forfeiting God’s blessings upon their stay in Eretz Yisrael. Why is the solution to this problem not, with equal zeal, addressed by Christian ministries to the Jews? Or are we ashamed of Christ and completely unwilling to warn and thereby offend orthodox Jews? If first century Jews suffered greatly, even to the point of their near destruction for rejecting the Messiah, why would 21st century Jews who do exactly the same, be excused and greatly blessed in their land?

In their appeal for funds, labelled the “Save Jerusalem Campaign”, the JPT not even once mentions the name of the Messiah, but various Israeli, American and other foreign leaders are mentioned by their names as though they hold the destiny of Jerusalem in their hands. In the letter of Mike Evans the problem is altogether treated as an external one – not an internal one which basically arose from the severance of Israel’s relationship with their Messiah. Because of this oversight the problems related to Israel and Jerusalem will undeviatingly intensify until the great siege of Jerusalem.

Israel’s end-time restoration occurs because of God’s immutable covenant with their founding fathers, Abraham Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 13:14-16; 17:7-8; 28:13-14). However, He is as dissatisfied with the present spiritual state of the nation as He was with their first century predecessors. Before God can fulfil His wonderful plan with Israel, He will judge them during the coming time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). Only a third of them will survive this unprecedented great tribulation, and they will be the remnant who will be spiritually restored (Zech. 13:8-9; Matt. 24:21-22).

How can Christian ministries overlook this important fact and offer an “easy” solution by saying that there will be a world-wide revival in the end-time which will also impact Israel, and then they will all be saved? This is also what the Jerusalem Prayer Team says on their website. The Bible, however, refers to generally occurring apostatising in the end-time church (Matt. 24:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:2-4; 2 Pet. 2:1-2). During this time, there will only be relatively small groups of believers who will experience times of spiritual refreshing (Rev. 22:11).

The next major revival will occur in the tribulation period, after the rapture. From it will come 144 000 saved Jews who will start evangelising Israel and the rest of the world (Rev. 7:1-8). That will lead to a great multitude being saved during this seven-year period (Rev. 7:9-17).

As for now, spiritual deception will proliferate and even the wise virgins in the kingdom of God will become drowsy and fall asleep together with the foolish ones who are only nominal believers or backsliders. Israel as a nation will persist with the hardening of their hearts, thereby forcing God to bring them into great distress. That is exactly what is happening right now:

“Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me… Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in my anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there and melt you… then you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out my fury on you” (Ezek. 22:18-22). The apostatising and moral depravity that characterised the inhabitants of Jerusalem shortly before the destruction of the city and the Babylonian captivity of Judah, also applies to end-time Jerusalem, leading to the tribulation period.

There will be a multi-national military siege of Jerusalem (Zech. 12:2-3). God will allow this for two reasons. The first reason is to judge these nations for their anti-God and anti-Jewish policies and actions: “I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem… and fight against those nations” (Zech. 14:2-3). Joel also reveals some of the reasons for this judgement: “I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgement with them there on account of my people, my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land” (Joel 3:2).

The second reason for this siege will be to introduce the time of Jacob’s trouble, which will be a great tribulation heretofore unknown in history (Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:21). “And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say: This is my people; and each one will say, the Lord is my God” (Zech. 13:8-9).

Two parties will be involved with the military siege of Jerusalem – Israel and the Gentiles. Both of them will be objects of God’s judgement when He will destroy the rebellious majority but save the believing remnant. That applies as much to Israel as to the nations (Zech. 12:10; 14:16) As Christians we have the obligation to warn both of them against the dire consequences of the continued rejection of the Lord Jesus, as He is the only Saviour of the world (Acts 4:12), who is also destined to be King on God’s holy mountain of Zion (Ps. 2:6). Christ will only assume His position as King on the throne of David after His enemies have been destroyed, including the Antichrist and the false prophet, and after the binding of the devil in a bottomless pit (Rev. 19:19–20:3).

It is our duty and calling to proclaim Christ to the whole world, including Israel. With every passing day we are irreversibly moving deeper into a new world order which is fundamentally against the God of the Bible and His Son, against Israel, and against the exclusive recognition of Christianity as the only authentic religion. The secular government of Israel tries to adapt to the demands of this godless new world order. The psalmist issues stern warnings to those involved with this ideological and religious rebellion, but blessings to those who are not:

“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us… [God says], I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion… Now therefore, be wise O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him” (Ps. 2:1-12).

The scene is set for the coming of Christ as King of kings. But that will happen during a time of divine retribution upon His enemies. The nations should not only be warned against the disowning of Israel but also against their internal, antichristian reforms. The majority of them will not heed these warnings, but they should nevertheless be informed about their future woes when the wrath of God will be poured out upon them during the coming tribulation (Rev. 6:12-17). God gives them another chance to repent.

Seeing that the time of physical judgements is rapidly approaching, God will allow a physical mobilisation of hostile forces in the Middle East, and more specifically in Israel. This land is not only the home of Israel, but also the cradle of Christianity and the place from where the Messiah will rule the world. To muster forces against Israel, which is the land of God (Ezek. 20:42; 38:16), is tantamount to rejecting God, His Son, His Word and His people.

God said: “I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:2). Jerusalem is not only the capital of Israel, it is the city where the Messiah paid the ransom for the sins of the whole world, where the Holy Spirit was poured out and the Christian church was established, and from where Christ ascended to heaven. He will soon return to Jerusalem to judge His enemies, save the remnant of Israel and the nations, and establish His thousand-year reign of peace (Zech. 14:4-16).

The judgements upon the nations will be precipitated by their hatred, rejection and isolation of Israel. The more Israel is abandoned by its former friends, the more its enemies will put plans into action to invade this land in an effort to destroy its rightful owners. But these nations will unwittingly move into the place where they will be judged. God says to the leader of the multi-national invading force: “I will bring you against my land… you shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the people who are with you” (Ezek 38:16; 39:4).

Israel will experience severe troubles during the coming 70th year-week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27). First, there will be the Russian/Arab invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38 & 39). Then they will conclude a covenant with the false messiah, which will be revoked in the middle of the seven years when he declares himself to be God in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:15). The Antichrist will then declare a war of annihilation against Israel, and they will flee in great haste to a place in the wilderness (Matt. 24:15-22; Rev. 12:13-17). When they return to Jerusalem towards the end of this year-week to await the coming of the true Messiah on the Mount of Olives, they will be caught up in an international military mobilisation against the coming Messiah (Rev. 19:19-20). That will be the occasion for the final destruction of their enemies and the salvation of a remnant of Israel and the nations.

A Christian strategy

What should our strategy be in the present situation? Keep on proclaiming Christ to all nations, also to Israel. Don’t keep quiet about Christ because it might offend secular and orthodox Jews to talk about Him. Christ should be the main topic of our discussions because He is not only the Saviour of humanity (Acts. 4:12), but also their Judge (Acts 17:30-31), and the coming King (Rev. 11:15; 19:11-16). We cannot omit Him from any discussion of end-time events, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). The eternal destiny of all people depends on their relationship towards Him – for Him or against Him.

It is wrong to render secondary issues our main topics of discussion, e.g. Israel’s rights to their land. This is only one of many biblical principles or promises that should be defended. When focusing on the broad picture of end-time prophecies we should be cautious not to try and prevent the inevitable. The coming tribulation, and also detail such as the mustering of international forces for wars in the Middle East is inevitable – apostate humanity asks for it and God has ordained it in order to achieve His purposes.

We can, at most, warn the nations against their antichristian and anti-Jewish actions in the hope that some will listen and be saved. But the majority will proceed with their evil plans. We should also in a sensitive but very explicit way warn Israel against their continued rejection of the Messiah, in the hope that some will listen and be saved. But the majority are stubbornly heading straight on for the time of Jacob’s trouble. Hopefully they will know what is happening when the Bride of the Messiah suddenly disappears.

Of what use is it to invest millions of dollars in a campaign to warn the nations against their anti-Jewish actions, while not addressing their spiritual poverty? And of what use is it to defend Israel’s biblical mandate to their land, while not warning them against their own complicity in nullifying their divine protection because of their national refusal to accept the Messiah? How can a great revival be promised to them without a time of severe testing, which alone will force them to change their mind? And how can unbiblical promises be made to them that they will never again be uprooted from their land and their holy city if the Lord says that Jerusalem shall be taken and half of its inhabitants going in captivity (Zech. 14:2) and that they will have to flee to the wilderness for 3½ years? (Matt. 24:15-22; Rev. 12:13-17).

Art Katz

The late Art Katz was one of the great Messianic Jews of modern times. His unbending commitment to God’s counsel for Israel made him unpopular with many Jews as well as Gentile believers who only wish to bestow blessings upon Israel. Art had a very compassionate heart and he desired that Jews everywhere be reconciled with God through the Messiah, Jesus, but he was unwavering in proclaiming God’s judgement upon unrepentant Jews. He reminded them of God’s judgements in the past and ensured them that more devastating judgements are in the offing for those who refuse to turn to God. Art’s books and articles are still available – information may be obtained at www.artkatzministries.org.

In his book, The Holocaust – Where was God? An Inquiry into the Biblical Roots of Tragedy, (1998), Art Katz made clear pronouncements on Israel’s own part in the troubles which they experience. Quotations are used with permission of Art Katz Ministries:

“We do not have a perspective of God as Judge. Consequently, we have paid a high price for the loss of the understanding of God, both in judgment and in mercy, in severity and in goodness. God’s dealings with Israel (past, present and future) are absent from our consideration or awareness, and we have therefore voided the most profound revelations of God given us in Scripture… There is something about God in judgment that reveals God as He is not to be seen in any other way. Yet, it is the one aspect of the attributes of God from which we instinctively shrink. We cannot reconcile the God who is mercy and love, just and righteous, with a God who would be the Judge to bring affliction of this magnitude on mankind – and particularly on Jewish mankind. If our God does such things, then the most distasteful, the most painful, and the thing most calculated to destroy our own religiosity, becomes the most precious and true revelation of God. Is it not in this contradiction, if we would see it through, that the deepest revelation of God is to be found?” (p. 9).

“The misappropriation of the sufferings of Messiah as being our own is inevitable for a Jewry that refuses a consideration of Him and is yet required to find explanation for our own historical sufferings. If we reject Messiah as the fulfilment of Isaiah chapters 52:13–53:12, who ‘was so marred more than any man,’ and then substitute Israel in His place, we are then brought to an inevitable place of collision. This ultimate logic of rejection forces us not only to be opposed to the Messiah if He were to come, but of necessity to envy His place – to be as the Messiah, to be ourselves the Suffering Servant, to be deified, to be the Messianic hope, and to be the civilization that is the answer for all” (p. 30).

“God has a controversy with us concerning our alienation from Him. We have been unwilling to face the meaning of our own history, and to consider the horror that was the result of that alienation. The unhappy fact is that the interpreting of catastrophe as the consequence of (and judgment for) sin is totally incompatible with contemporary Jewish self-assessment. It is outside our consciousness and consideration. We have a sense rather of our own innate self-righteousness and goodness” (p. 78).

“Catastrophe, as judgment fulfilled, is God’s penultimate provision to bring an awareness unto repentance to those who would otherwise have no consciousness of that need. The failure to interpret catastrophe in that way, and the failure to see the hand of God in our judgments, must necessarily result in our seeking to place the blame on men… In the last analysis, those who blame men end up blaming God. If we will not see ourselves as the factor for the judgments that have come, then we will inevitably come to the place where God Himself becomes ultimately the evil one. God is judged and found wanting. If man will not accept himself as being the root cause of his own judgments, ironically, God is the one who ends up being condemned for inherent defect in His creation seeing that He was apparently ‘unable’ to intervene in preserving Jewry from calamity. We have a much greater facility to find fault with God than with ourselves. That in itself sums up how lamentable our condition is… How important, then, to rightly interpret our tragic past. We would be fools not to receive the benefit of that past and to anticipate what is to come again if its root causes are not recognized and dealt with repentantly” (p. 79-81).

“[God] stretches Himself and extends His mercy, and He sends His messengers, which messengers we have historically rejected. In our resiliency, we somehow find a way to recover from our calamities... finding a way to remove the onus of its true meaning as judgment, not seeing it in terms of our national sin” (p. 81).

“We have a greater obligation than the Gentiles do because we are the ‘people of the covenant.’ We are the ‘chosen ones’ and have had the advantage of the revelation of God, of the Law given at Sinai, and of everything else that came to us first as His witness people. Upon us, therefore, comes the greater judgment. In what way are we Jews of today any different from the Jews upon whom God’s judgments fell historically? The mere passage of time has altered nothing. To say, therefore, that present-day Jews do not deserve judgment is to presumptuously declare that the earlier, historical judgments were equally undeserved and invalid. To annul the validity and justice of those judgments is to, in effect, annul God. The God of wrath, fury, and judgment then, is yet God now. He will again express His wrath in fury and judgment before the age ends, and for the same reasons for which they came before. That is why He is calling us to repent now of our independent self-will, notions and opinions, and surrender before the Holy One of Israel while we can. His mercy is to call us to repentance before the fulfilment of what is apocalyptically prophesied in His word (see Isaiah 13:6; 65:6-7; Jeremiah 30; Daniel 12:1; Joel 2; Amos 8:8-10; Zephaniah 1:12; Zechariah 14:1-5)” (p. 88).

“I have a sense that these things are impending and near, and that the only thing that restrains them is the hand of God. Is not everything positionally in place and could explode in a moment? The weight of our Jewish unbelief and unrelatedness to God must bring us down. When He takes His hand away, then we will slip, slide, and fall into destruction and devastation in a moment. We are already under the sentence of condemnation until that condemnation is lifted by the receiving of that One whom God sent to bear it, namely, the Messiah of Israel – Jesus of Nazareth. In the continuing rejection of God’s gift, all Israel stands under this sword of judgment, hovering over our heads, waiting for the moment when God simply takes His hand of restraint away. I would rather be proven false, but I believe that this present generation of Jews is going to suffer devastation on a world scale that will eclipse the Nazi era” (p. 89).

“We are going to be viciously hated and pursued, suddenly uprooted, losing everything in a day, having to flee with only what is on our back and in panic not knowing where we are going… We are going to suffer double for our sins but our God has said, ‘I will restore.’ How urgent, then, to believe that the God who promises judgment and fulfils it is also the same God who promises restoration and will also fulfil it… Not to believe God’s judgment as the fulfilment of His word now is to nullify all hope of believing for His future intervention then. This is the scenario for the last days, namely, the restoration of Israel by the unmitigated grace and mercy of God – so totally undeserved. We Jews are the epitome of what man is. We are the statement, in our humanity that should forewarn men everywhere. God has chosen to use us as the witness people to demonstrate Himself, if not by our virtue, then by our vice” (p. 90).

“The nations are unconsciously waiting for our restoration to God, for we have a theocratic destiny as a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19:6) and ‘a light to the Gentiles’ (Isaiah 42:6)… God is waiting for us to own the death of our Messiah, and, by that acknowledgement, set in motion our salvation. But if we plead exemption in any measure, then we are lost without hope. The power of our deception needs to be broken, as well as our self-justification that opposes God, so entirely summed up in our continuing rejection of Jesus of Nazareth. This same God is going to give us a historical opportunity to recognize our pathetic and dismal failure. Those who survive the tribulation shall never again fail, because God will give us a new heart” (p. 92).

Concluding remarks

The Bible’s end-time scenario is rapidly unfolding. There should be a new thrust for evangelisation to all nations so that the house of the Lord may be filled (cf. Luke 14:23). Israel should hear exactly the same message; that is why we have been commissioned to provoke them to jealousy by the salvation which we have obtained from believing in the Messiah whom their fathers have rejected (Rom. 11:11). Assistance to Jews to return to their land is also our duty, but large-scale efforts to secure the territorial rights and other national interests of unrepentant Israel are uncalled for in the present situation.

Israel should understand that their future is not in the hands of the UN, the USA or any other Gentile nation – neither in the hands of their Christian supporters. Israel is destined to become a Messianic state after the conclusion of the church age, which means that the Messiah should be fully recognised and worshipped by His own people according to the flesh. Jesus is the King of the Jews who will rule the whole world from the restored throne of David in Jerusalem (Acts 15:16-17). Only He is the peace of Israel and Jerusalem, so we are really praying for His second coming when we are praying for the peace of Jerusalem.

As long as Israel is not reconciled with the Messiah, they will not enjoy peace and national stability. It is presumptuous of Gentile believers to try and promote such conditions in the present situation. We should certainly inform the nations and their leaders of the coming Messianic state, and particularly also the judgement that rests upon the nations who would dare to attack Israel and Jerusalem. But at the same time Israel must be made fully aware of judgements that await agnostic and unbelieving Jews, as well as orthodox Jews who refuse to recognise and accept Jesus as Messiah.

We should concern ourselves with basic spiritual matters. Every believer should personally dedicate him- or herself to preparing to meet the heavenly Bridegroom when He comes. Do you have a heart filled with the love of Christ? Have you trusted Him, through the Holy Spirit, to sanctify you completely? Remember that Christ loves the church “and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it… that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

Christ will do the same for Israel when they bow down before Him with a repentant heart. A Messianic prophecy refers to this sublime event: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a first-born. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem… And the land shall mourn, every family by itself” (Zech. 12:10-12).

By then, Israel’s national interests will not only be unchallenged but they will be upheld by the nations: “Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:22-23; cf. Isa. 60:11-14; Jer. 3:17).

Right now, we find ourselves in a radically different situation. Liberated man sees the Bible, the gospel and Christian principles of living as too restrictive and is throwing them overboard. Hostile nations are plotting the destruction of Israel, which they see as a stumbling-block to the implementation of their new world order. They are in a demonic-inspired race to Armageddon and will not listen to the voice of reason. Israel, who are supposed to be “Contenders of God” as the name “Israel” suggests, are estranged from their Messiah, void of spiritual power and consequently forfeit abundant divine blessings. However, God’s covenant with them will ensure the survival of a remnant, but not before great distress has come upon them.

In the face of these grim prospects Christians should pray, witness and warn all people at every opportunity. The God of judgement is also the God of mercy, but He left it to us to choose between blessings and curses. Long ago, Israel was set before the same choice, which every new generation still has to make:

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deut. 30:19-20).

We have to make the right spiritual choices to also physically survive and enjoy God’s blessings. If we don’t, our living conditions and external relations with other people and other nations will go horribly wrong, to the extent of subjecting us to curses. Who in the first instance was to be blamed for the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, as well as the subsequent international dispersion of Israel? Jewish historians say the Roman Empire must take all the blame. The Messiah said that Israel must take the blame: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together… but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate… not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Matt. 23:37-38; 24:2; cf. Luke 19:41-44).

Are we going to repeat the same mistake of only blaming Israel’s enemies for their present dilemma? Let it be far from true believers in the Messiah to overlook the deep spiritual dimension of the present conflicts in the world.

Andrew Murray 32