Our Walk in the Nation of Israel

At the end of Luke, it says that Christ “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)

This great “Ah-ha!” moment for the apostles indicates a revealing of the secrets of scriptures. How Christ Himself was prevalent in all of church history.  Seeing real recorded history with not only so many prophecies fulfilled, but also so many parallels and perfectly recorded cross-references to our salvation journey is mind-boggling.

I have mentioned in several of  these articles, but today, we will highlight the Christian journey as it parallels the journey of the Israeli nation. You will see that this nation’s actual history reflects our lives in some very interesting ways, and that this journey therefore was no accident, but was painting a picture of the journey of each individual in the church.

Think about it. Conception, an ordained promise that God makes with Abraham, calling him out to grow a nation, conceiving it. These few parts of what will be the whole nation, move down into the protection of Egypt. Egypt, the safest place in world to grow, to be protected, just like a womb if you will, a civilization powerful enough to ensconce a budding nation and offer if the protections it needs to thrive. Remember, Abraham was respected by Egypt, as shown by how they honored him in death.

This nation grows from 75 people (a few cells) to approximately 2 million, a full nation, (full body) over a period of 430 years (pregnancy). Then birth, into their own country, but of course, as we follow the living metaphor, you cannot have birth without labor pains. Suddenly it seems even the pain of childbirth points to a profound and awesome plan.

Childbirth of course was the exodus, labor was slavery, pain-filled time, heartache, trouble, tumult. Fear as to whether or not they would survive, if things would be okay.

A quick aside, there are many verses about water in the bible. Part of creation of course, well of salvation, out of the side of Christ upon His death. But in our salvation story, there is also two births, being born, and as Christ says, you must also be born again. Birth into the world is accompanied by the water breaking. And our second birth, being born into God’s kingdom, accompanied by baptism.

Success in the birthing of a nation, a miracle (much like a birth today is a beautiful miracle), was as we know accompanied by water, the crossing of the Red Sea. Safely on the other side we have a new creature, a new nation. What God calls a stubborn, stiff-necked people, just like us, prone to complaining, idolatry, etc.

Then, next we have our 40 years in the wilderness. Consider, after you are born, there is a period of time you are not saved, learning, building faith, learning to trust God. You are not saved, you are convicted by laws, figuring out how to get to the promised land. 40 is part of biblical numerology, suggesting a time of trial, patience, storm.

Then, at long last, they are saved, as Joshua, a Christ-figure, leads them to the promises of God, and yet again, through a river, this time the Jordan, the baptism and second birth of the nation.

Like our own salvation and relationship with God, this is not paradise. There is war here in this promised land. There are enemies. But there is a relationship with God. This is our sanctification period. This does not remove you from the troubles of the world, as the prosperity gospel preachers would suggest. But the nation, the Christian is armed and is part of a nation, a family, a history, a body of Christ.

We have walked to the promises of God, to salvation, from birth, with Israel, and it is so like our own journey, an undeniable parallel, that the church’s salvation journey is literally prophesied and lived out by the nation of Israel for all to see in their history.

Such an amazing wonder, and testament to the plans of God.

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Islamic Extremism Part 1

This hot-button topic is an issue close to my heart for several reasons, and I feel should be studied by Christians, though it is difficult  for westerners to get their arms around. I am not a historian, I am a Biblicist, and a writer, so there isn’t any historical expertise that I can add to the already dense volumes of geopolitical commentary that exist. But today we will take a look at the strained relationship between Islam and Israel, and try to determine a Christian mindset in regards to the matter. Antisemitism seems rampant as of late, and springs up furiously, without warning far too often. The bible does say,

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs [along with Israelites] according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:26–29

and

” But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,  do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.  Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.” – Romans 11: 17-21

and of course, the well known

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:3

We as Christians are grafted into the root of Israel as believers. It is interesting to note that the olive tree does very well taking grafts and incorporating them into the original plant. In this way we are heirs of what was promised to Israel, to Abraham. Not only this, but in studying and revering God’s word, we would be remiss to not acknowledge that these scriptures we hold so dear, both Old and New Testament, were delivered to us from the Holy Spirit through His chosen people. Israel, its profits, and apostles are the very people God used to write the Bible and love the world. The reverence we should have for that alone is beyond measure, in my thinking.

Now, these articles are not political in nature, though often, political actions very much have theological implications. That being said, it is evident to anyone paying attention that the current administration of the West, along with the actions of the U.N. have as of late been extremely biased against Israel. There are 193 countries that belong to the United Nations, and time and time again, despite Israel’s democratic processes, free press, women’s rights,  food innovations, incorporation of other cultures besides Judaism (one fifth of Israel is Muslim), and a military that goes to lengths beyond any the world has known to prevent unnecessary deaths while acting in its defense, Israel is continually reported on as an offender of human freedom. Reported on 5 times more than Syria, 16 times more than Iran, and when compared to China, and their denying of basic freedoms to over 1 billion people, China has never been reported on once by the U.N.

The U.S.A. sends $440 million  to the Palestinian Authority Unity Government, which includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two state sponsored terrorist organizations, and who broadcast on television and radio how Allah wants the Jews to be killed, a typical broadcast in that area.

And in the midst of all this, we have bad people on both sides, as war tends to bring out aggression, the worst of people, and creates a basis for rationalizing violence. I don’t think anyone, even Israel herself, would deny that atrocities occur from there citizens too, and not just Palestinians.

So let us look at one. A Jewish extremist group kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian boy recently. It was in the papers. The reaction of the citizens of Israel was telling, as they were mortified that this injustice happened. No one is vying to name streets after this group. They are to be rounded up and prosecuted for their crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Some have already been arrested as the horrified Jewish citizens looked on.

As a reaction, a Palestinian group kidnapped and killed three Jewish boys. The reaction was telling. Hamas celebrated the heroes who committed the crime. They ran ads in their paper with pictures of the three boys, and called them rats that had been exterminated. The crowds cheered at the murders.

We fund them.

Not just in the Middle East, but in various places in the western world, college campuses, New York streets, on line, mentioning Israel as our democratic ally, supporting their defense, and loving them as brothers under the one true creator God, garners a caustic backlash of hate, a deep-seeded anger, and is often followed with shouts of ridicule such as “%&$@ Israel!”

But Israel does not practice convert-or-kill policies. They do not stand behind the mantra of “No Recognition, No negotiations, and No Peace” from the 1967 Sudanese meeting. The motto of Hamas is, “We love death as much as the Jews love life.” In Mosul, in July 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group gave Mosul’s Christians 48 hours to decide to flee or die. As a method of governance, Homosexuals are beheaded, hanged and stoned in modern Saudi Arabia and Iran, where Muhammad’s laws are applied most strictly.

I do not pretend that all Muslims are violent. In fact, I have a great love for the Muslim people, and wish greatly for their conversion to Christianity, and the one true savior, Jesus Christ. This is happening in great numbers, by the way, despite the constant threats of violence. But the world’s hate towards Israel, I will continue to not understand. It is so obviously misplaced, overreaching, and pervasive, I have to wonder if  this is not due to spiritual forces, rather than any intellectual argument. But as a Christian, I will continue to speak on their behalf, in love, and continue to stand with Israel and the Jewish nation, for whom I have a tremendous love and respect. If I am hated by my friends and acquaintances for this, then so be it.

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UPDATE: At the zero hour of his departure from the White House, it was discovered that Obama funneled an additional 221 million to Palestinian Authorities as he was leaving, furthering the support of known terrorist supporters. A global survey of Muslims by the Pew Research Center has found that Palestinian Arab Muslims polled the highest in favor of suicide bombings as a justifiable means “to defend Islam.” The poll also found that 89 percent of Palestinian Muslims favored sharia becoming “the official law of the land.”

While women in the U.S. lament his departure, praise his actions for civil rights, and march in the streets for the cause of women, he has chosen to further fund the oppression of Muslim women. Irony abounds.

Islamic Extremism Part 2

Islamic Extremism Part 3

Islamic Extremism Part 4