Israel is responsible for the Law as well as the Land
By Charles Gardner, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer’s Opinion)
UNITED NATIONS, NY (ANS – October 1, 2017) — As the earth is ravaged by an unprecedented series of natural disasters, accompanied with threats of war and terror, world leaders have been presented with a heavenly vision.
In challenging the “fake history” of those who deny Jewish links with Israel’s holiest sites, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has sounded a clarion call for the United Nations to acknowledge the divine authority of the world’s greatest book — the Bible.1
Three times he referenced the Bible in a powerful speech to the UN in which he claimed that Israel’s right to exist and prosper as a nation is rooted in God’s Word.
Referring to July’s declaration of Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian World Heritage site, he said you won’t read the true facts of its history in the latest UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report.
“But you can read about it in a somewhat weightier publication — it’s called the Bible,” he mocked, adding that it was “a great read,” that he read every week, and that they could purchase it from Amazon.2
How refreshing that at least one nation’s leader takes his stand on the Bible, though it is entirely appropriate as Bibi leads the people who gave it to us! As well as a sacred book written by divine authority, it is also an historical record which validates Israel’s claim to the Promised Land they now occupy.
But in making such a divine claim for the territory, Bibi must also seek to apply the Law — that is, the Lord’s teaching on ethical matters – to his domain.
He is right in saying that the words of the prophet Isaiah — that God called Israel to be a light to the nations – is being fulfilled as the tiny Jewish state becomes a rising power. But their call “to bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49.6) must mean more than hi-tech innovation and being good neighbors through their search-and-rescue teams sent to disaster areas and medics tending to wounded Syrians on their northern border, though we praise God for all that.
Israel is nevertheless rife with immorality — and I am thinking particularly about abortion, a killing of innocents that echoes previous turning points in Israel’s (and the world’s) history at the time of Moses and of Jesus. I appreciate that its practice in modern Israel is less prevalent than in most parts of the West3, but some 650,000 children4 have nevertheless been denied life in a country that gave God’s law to the world, including the commandment “Thou shall not kill.”
In the UK, shockingly, nine million babies have been murdered in the 50 years since the passing of the Abortion Act, originally designed to prevent backstreet abortions and meant to apply only where a mother’s life was threatened. Now it is virtually a case of abortion on demand as further calls are made for relaxing the law. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists president Lesley Regan believes terminations should be the same as any other medical procedure, requiring consent from only one doctor, just as if they were having a bunion removed. But the fact that 650 doctors have signed a petition against it is very encouraging.5
Paradoxically, the killing of innocents has accompanied the greatest rescues mankind has witnessed. Moses survived the edict of the Egyptian Pharaoh calling for the slaughter of all Hebrew babies to lead his people out of slavery to the Promised Land. Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, survived King Herod’s massacre of infants – ironically by fleeing with his family to Egypt in response to God’s warning – to bring salvation to the world through his sacrificial death on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem.
Moses also received the Law of God; now Jesus writes the Law on our hearts (Ezekiel 36.26, Jeremiah 31.33). Moses was hidden among the bulrushes of the Nile and became the savior of his people; Jesus was raised in the backwaters of Nazareth but became the Savior of the world as he brought true freedom to all who would trust in his redeeming blood (John 8.36).
My colleague, Clifford Denton, tells me of a conference held in Israel in 1996 at which Messianic leaders gathered to discuss the Jewish roots of Christianity. “Unknown to me until afterwards,” he said, “it turned out that the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) was voting on an abortion law at the very same time that we were discussing Torah (the Law of Moses). In fact the Knesset was struck by lightning at that very time.”
With innocents around the world being butchered as never before, the Messiah is about to be revealed to the nations. Jesus indicated that his coming again would be as in the days of Noah (Luke 17.26) when the world was full of violence (Genesis 6.13). Terrorism stalks the planet as unbelievable cruelty mars even supposedly enlightened societies while nuclear holocausts have become a distinct possibility, with both North Korea and Iran making ominous noises. And all this while nations reel under the ferocious effects of earthquakes and hurricanes – also spoken of as signs of the Messiah’s imminent return (Luke 21.25-28), especially when they follow in rapid succession and increasing severity, as on a woman with labour pains. (Matthew 24.8)
Of the three major Jewish feasts, Jesus has fulfilled both Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost). Many Bible commentators believe he will soon fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles (shortly to be celebrated throughout the Jewish world) when he returns to reign from Jerusalem. The One who protects his people, and provides for them, as he did in the wilderness so long ago, will finally bring in the harvest of those who believe in him as he comes to ‘tabernacle’ (or live/make his dwelling) among us. (See John 1.14)
The day is coming — very soon, it seems — when the killing of the innocents will give way to the glorious return of the Son of Man “coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21.27) to avenge every wrong as he passes judgment on a cruel world.
Israel — you are truly called to be a light to the nations, and indeed you have impressed so far with many marvelous inventions. But the brightest light is the fulfillment of the Law through Yeshua HaMashiach, who brings hope, not despair; and life, not death.
1Christians United for Israel, September 21 2017
3Among European nations, only Croatia has a lower abortion rate than Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post on March 31 2015. And on January 14 2014 the Times of Israel reported that, despite liberal policies on the issue, the nation’s abortion rate had been declining for the previous quarter-century, dropping 21% since 1990 to 20,063 in 2012 (or 117 for every 1,000 live births).
4Johnston’s Archive compiled by Wm Robert Johnston, last updated February 25 2017
5Daily Mail, September 22 2017
Photo captions: 1) Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu speaking at the UN. 2) Pharaoh calling for the slaughter of all Hebrew babies 3) Lightning strikes over the skyline of Tel Aviv during a rain storm. It also struck the Knesset on a previous occasion. 4) Charles Gardner with a copy of his book, Israel the Chosen.
About the writer: Charles Gardner is a veteran Cape Town-born British journalist working on plans to launch a new UK national newspaper reporting and interpreting the news from a biblical perspective. With his South African forebears having had close links with the legendary devotional writer Andrew Murray, Charles is similarly determined to make an impact for Christ with his pen and has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 40 years. Part-Jewish, he is married to Linda, who takes the Christian message around many schools in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster. Charles is also author of Israel the Chosen (Amazon) and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com. He has four children and nine grandchildren, and can be reached by phone on +44 (0) 1302 832987, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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