Recent events show that Israel is vulnerable, as Brother John Martin shows in this third article. Where Israel’s military brilliance once overcame great odds, now she is besieged by self doubt and the constant attrition of terrorism within and beyond her borders. Increasingly the terror and havoc wrought by suicide bombers is seen as justification for ridding the world of Israel. Her vulnerability will play into the hands of the northern confederate powers bent on world domination. The signs are clear that only Christ, who is “King of the Jews”, can deliver Israel from this flood of evil that will engulf her borders. We see the signs, but are we ready like the Hebrews gathering their families together in great anticipation on Passover eve?

The euphoria of Israel’s victory in the six-day war is over, no more the excited discussions among brethren and sisters about the prowess of Israel’s military machine, backed by the Divine blessing. Since those heady days, forty years ago, the Arab nations immediately surrounding Israel have become more sophisticated in the art of war, and are better equipped with armaments supplied by their friends who hate Israel vehemently. Taken by surprise in the “Yom Kippur” war in 1973, Israel was given a sombre warning that victory was no longer a foregone conclusion. Last year’s unfinished excursion into Lebanon, in pursuit of Hezbollah strongholds, is now a bitter debate of recriminations within Israel itself about who should shoulder the blame.

Whilst the failure to rid Lebanon of the threat from Hezbollah has divided Israel, it has been a source of inspiration to their Arab enemies. Israel is vulnerable!

It is time to focus our attitudes toward the real crisis for Israel now rapidly looming, a crisis which, at its height, will demand the coming of their deliverer, lest God’s purpose with the nation come to nothing, which we know cannot be. It is “the time of Jacob’s trouble” and we have been warned of the coming danger to the existence of Israel, both by Scripture and from the pen of our pioneers. Christ will come, not to congratulate Israel for their victories, but to rescue them at the lowest point of their history. It will be a repeat, on the grandest scale, of many past rescues: “Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and be made like unto Gomorrha” (Rom 9: 29); “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion…” (Isa 59:19, quoted Rom 11:26)

Under inspiration Moses wrote a song, the words of which have echoed in their ears for centuries, “For Yahweh will vindicate his people and have compassion upon his servants, when he sees that their power is gone, and here is none remaining bond or free” (Deut 32:36 RSV). As Brother Thomas said of this verse, “It is the perfect powerlessness of the tribes before their enemies that excites the indignation and compassion of Yahweh” (Eureka).

Jeremiah foresaw the day when “All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not” (Jer 30:14); and when “ among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies” (Lam 1: 2).

Whilst these prophecies had their obvious application to the then impending invasion of Babylon, they portray the situation rapidly developing against God’s people today. Witness of this is the recent release of the book, Palestine:
Peace Not Apartheid, written by Jimmy Carter, former president of America, and the broker of the peace deal at Camp David in 1978. In the book he shows obvious bias against the Jews, suggesting their occupation of Arab lands is comparable to the apartheid formerly practised in South Africa! Such anti-Jewish sentiment is growing, as indiscriminate terrorism threatens personal safety on a global scale. It is obvious that there is no answer to acts of terrorism. It is impossible to confidently predict where they will strike next, nor is it conceivable that terrorists themselves could be eradicated, seeing that there are thousands of them willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause in which they believe and for their immediate reception into the Muslim concept of “Paradise”. In such desperate circumstances it is no wonder that some of the world’s politicians are contemplating what seems to them the only possible solution to the problem, namely, to get rid of Israel in order to appease the Islamic world.

This then is the scenario that is developing. It will bring Israel to its knees and it will greatly reduce confidence in their national strength, and wrench from their hearts a pitiful cry for help. The same scenario will constitute divinely arranged poetic justice! Consider the following. There is a remarkable parallel between their rejection of their Messiah and the history of the nation that rejected him. God has made Israel the ignorant and unwilling witness to His solution of all the world’s problems. Here is the parallel.

  • “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10)
  • “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead” (Rom 11:15).

To achieve their ends, and rid themselves of the carpenter’s son from Galilee, they co-opted the help of “unlawful hands” (Acts 2:23 Grk).Similarly many such “unlawful hands” will join to ensure that “the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psa 83: 4). Before they achieved their purpose with our Lord all his lovers forsook him too (Psa 38:11)! Israel will experience the trauma of loneliness, as they find themselves trapped and isolated, directly in the path of a flood of ungodly nations, determined upon their destruction (Zech 14:1–2).

To achieve the end of Israel, the Russian Gogue, along with his confederacy, will “think an evil thought”, or as the margin says, “conceive a mischievous purpose” (Ezek 38:10). What might that be? Well, the next verse states his purpose for invading Israel, but it could well be that the other members of his confederacy have been persuaded, that it is in the interests of the entire world that Israel be removed once and for all, as the irritant to peace in the Middle East, and the only way to appease the Arabs, in order that terrorism cease to be the means to this end.

In simple terms, it will be expedient that one small nation of some five million people, be sacrificed for the preservation of the rest of the world. This is precisely the evil counsel of Caiaphas, which finally united all the forces ranged against Jesus (John 11:47–51)!

It is not difficult to imagine that as acts of terror spread around the globe, the peoples of Russia, Europe, Asia, South East Asia, and isles of the sea, as well as the religious orders of Catholicism and Islam, could be readily persuaded as to the logic of this expedient! Its voice is already being heard in the corridors of power.

For Christadelphians, noted for their pro-Israel attitude, (not that we are political Zionists, but because we recognise that they are “beloved for the fathers’ sakes”) this could create difficulties. In the past we have rejoiced in their victories, and the western world has applauded with us, but it may not be so in the future. Even if former friends of Israel waver and change their attitudes, ours must remain constant.

Remember the parallels: if the representative death of Jesus reconciled us to God because we acknowledge His justice in imposing death on human nature because of sin, then the temporary casting off of Israel we also acknowledge to be right because of their disobedience to His law.

Being reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we are then saved by the recognition that the life of Christ was one of perfection, demonstrating that such an achievement was only possible because of his unique relationship to his Father. The receiving of Israel back to national life and prominence among the nations will d e m o n s t r a t e G o d ’s absolute faithfulness to His promise to their fathers, which made them unique among the nations, despite their unfaithfulness to Him.

There is no other nation under heaven positioned as Israel is to declare God’s faithfulness to the world. Even a superficial knowledge of the Bible reveals some connection with the Jewish people, and their rejection of their Messiah is notorious. Surely there could be no greater justification then to see them annihilated as a people, and what a revelation it would be to the world then, to see them saved and elevated as “the first dominion” in all the earth!

If the perfection of His Son proved the righteousness of God, surely the disobedience of Israel will underscore His faithfulness. “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ezek 36:22–23).

This is our faith:

whatever the world may say or do, we believe that God will bless all those who bless Abraham’s seed (Gen 12:1–3). We heed the exhortation of the apostle, “be not highminded but fear”, realising that God will graft them in again, and by so doing keep in perspective our own relationship to God, knowing that only by God’s forbearance do we stand in our privileged position (Rom 11:19–23). The greatest sign of the coming of the Lord is not so much the return of Israel to their land, but the determination of the nations to root them out of it! We have arrived at this point in history; he who will come must come soon, very soon! We all long for his appearing; we long to hear the answer to the question, “Who is this Lord of Glory?” God Himself will declare the decree: Jesus Christ is God’s own Son, and he will sit enthroned in Zion (Psa 2:6–7). He will be “King over all the earth”, but if any desire to know in whom this Kingdom is centred, then instead of being written over his cross, it will be emblazoned over his throne that he is “The King of the Jews”.