What is Israel's biggest trouble today?
Modern Israel's problems echo those found in Jewish history. This is because Israel is fundamentally Jewish (descendants of Jacob-Israel). For this reason, unjust criticism of Israel must be considered in light of Israel's Jewish ethnicity.
As far back as the records show - wherever the Jews lived in their extended exile - there were pogroms and inquisitions enacted against them. They were hounded out of countries and subjected to false rumors and conspiracies. Churchmen often labeled them Christ killers.
The Jews were persecuted and murdered en masse in the Holocaust. Many today try to either deny the Holocaust, or minimize its extent. Why does no one question the authenticity of other examples of genocide?
Since its birth the modern state of Israel has defended itself against a number of threats to its existence. The "Jewish problem" has followed it as a nation. Armchair critics (United Nations, NGOs and churchmen) routinely engage in pointing out Israel's alleged sins - apartheid, occupation and oppression.
Aside from an assortment of "nutty Zionists", Israel doesn't have true friends. Even "moderate" Jordan's King Abdullah recently revealed his colors by accusing Israel of provocation. According to Jerusalem Post:
Abdullah said that Jordan would resist Israel's "blatantly repeated attempts to change the status quo in Jerusalem regarding its landmarks and the prejudice against Islamic and Christian peoples."
More recently, Jordanians protested a gas deal with Israel by shutting off their lights for an hour in displeasure, saying that: "The gas deal is an occupation."
U.S. funding to Israel's defense systems is issued with strings (more like chains) attached. The money comes with a directive pressuring Israel to accept a Two-State solution. Israel must make peace with entities who refuse to recognize it, and who seek to destroy it.
“...every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God...In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands" ~ Mahmoud Abbas
The world refuses to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's capital even though its history is inexorably linked to the city. Note the US Administration's recent tragically comical editing of a document which connected Jerusalem with Israel. Even President Obama's eulogy at Shimon Peres' funeral contained a backhanded slap to Israel by implication. Citing Peres:
“The Jewish people weren’t born to rule another people. From the very first day we are against slaves and masters.”
In his commentary on a possible US-Russia showdown, Brian Shrauger wryly notes that Mr. Obama quickly headed for home after Peres' funeral. Perhaps he realized just how close he was to the Aleppo conflagration. It's always better to moralize from a safe distance.
Consider Israel's geographical position in the lethally chaotic Middle East conflict. For good overviews of the current status see recent info updates by J. D. Farag and John Haller. Given Russia's involvement with Iran (who has threatened to destroy Israel) and Syria, I also recommend George Friedman's analysis: Crisis & Chaos: Are We Moving Toward World War III? (While it's still available)
With all this in mind: What is Israel's biggest trouble? You've likely already guessed it.
In his Psalms By The Day devotional, Alec Motyer mentions Hezekiah's tunnel (page 374). His texts are Psalm 125:1-2 and Isaiah 22:1-14. Israel needed to ensure their water supply in Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:1, 11).
By the way, I like that Jerusalem is called Valley of Vision in v1. And also notice that it is associated with Israel, according to God's Word.
Anyway, Hezekiah's engineers started from two ends and dug through 643 meters of rock to achieve their goal. The tunnel was almost twice the size of a direct line because the engineers had to weave around problems and follow natural fissure. It was a marvelous feat that the ends met in the middle. They must have been proud.
Yet, as Motyer points out, Israel's unforgivable sin was to trust its own prideful resources rather than Yahweh's promises (Isaiah 22:14). God held them accountable for their unfaithfulness.
Israel's failure to trust God led it to disobedience and ultimately a denial of its redeemer, Jesus Christ. That's a lesson for us all. How often do we willfully disobey God - not just as individuals but also corporate churches?
In Israel in the Plan of God, David Baron outlines Israel's birth, apostasy, idolatry, exile, tribulations, and its ultimate redemption. The book's four sections are based around Old Testament passages such us Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 105, Psalm 106 and Isaiah 51. I encourage everyone to read Baron's book (as well as his commentary on Zechariah) and these passages.
Incidentally, Baron's shorter book, The Jewish Problem: Its Solution can be read on the Precept Austin website.
God promised to redeem and save Israel (Psalm 46; Jer 33:19-26 etc). He also warned those who torment her:Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: "See, I have taken out of your hand The cup of
My fury; You shall no longer drink it. But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, Who have said to you, `Lie down, that we may walk over you.' And you have laid your body like the ground, And as the street, for those who walk over." Isa 51:22-23 (See also Jeremiah 30:16-17)
One thing which frustrates me is the church's historical rejection and agnosticism of God's prophetic plan for Israel. Many great Christian scholars, who faithfully defend God's Word, miss the clear prophetic thread which runs through the Old and New Testaments. I pray they rethink the mistake of Replacement Theology.
We need to seriously consider that the mess we're currently witnessing may be pointing to Christ's soon return. The irrational treatment of Israel and its geographic location in the worst hotbed of conflict aligns with the prophetic end-time scenario.
God is faithful to His Word. He has never ceased loving His elect nation Israel, despite its current rebellious condition. Yahweh will teach Israel that it cannot trust America or Russia or any other resource. The coming tribulation is foreordained as the means God will use to bring Israel back into fellowship with Himself.
Could this scenario be just around the corner? More and more sober observers are suspecting that this might be the case. There seems to be a greater sense of urgency as we see the Middle East imploding and the Russian-Iranian ascendancy.
It's time the church paid closer attention.
© Alf Cengia