A few weeks ago, I penned an article I called, "The incalculable cost of Palestine."
Spelling out the de facto price that would be paid for the creation of a Palestinian state on the biblical heartland of Israel, I said that among other things, its birth would:
Creating Palestine in the biblical heartland of Israel, I wrote, would "sever the bonds holding the Jews together as a nation, remove the ground on which Judaism stands, and cut off the faith supply that has nourished and kept the Jews alive for the last 2000 years."
- Mark the beginning of the end of the Jews as a nation.
- Lead to the eventual extinction of Bible-believing Christianity.
I argued that it would also "shatter the biblical foundations on which much of Christianity stands."
The article provoked a divided response: Some thought it was "wonderful" and "anointed," others wondered whether I had fled my faith or spent excess time in the Jerusalem sun. Quite clearly I had committed the cardinal writers' error of assuming most my readers were on the same page, so to speak, and would therefore know where I was coming from.
I'd be grateful if those I thus abused would forgive me, and would follow through the rest of this article as I try to clarify and re-stress what I was really saying before.
Actually, I am thankful for the opportunity to so quickly revisit this subject, for I believe it lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict. Not until it is recognized and fully engaged will we Christians who are deeply concerned for the future survival and prosperity of the Jewish homeland be truly effective in our efforts to help secure her.
"The incalculable cost" was written as a "what if," a wake-up call. I wanted to startle the reader into realizing what is actually at stake concerning Israel's fate. My intention was to strip away the layers that blur and fudge the issue, and bare the core for those who have spiritual eyes to see.
Let me stress my personal starting point: I am a Bible believer. No philosophy, no revolutionary scientific theories or discoveries, no pleas for "reason," no scoffing, no threats, no bribes, no "enlightenment" - nothing will change what I believe. For me, forever, the Bible contains the divinely given words and wisdom of the Creator of all things. He cannot be wrong. He cannot change. He cannot be ganged up on, outnumbered, out-witted or out-maneuvered. He is God. And there is no other.
This Being, Who alone has the right to do so, and Who knows the end of all things from the beginning, designated the swathe of land between the River of Egypt and the Euphrates as the national home of the descendants of the man He renamed Israel.
In the pages of the Bible, He is referred to 16 times as the God of Abraham, 8 times as the God of Isaac, 22 times as the God of Jacob, and more than 200 times as the God of Israel. He states categorically and unequivocally that the aforementioned land is His personal possession. And He tells first Abraham, then Isaac, and then Jacob that He has given this land to them and their descendants after them, in this bloodline, "as an everlasting possession."
He has given it to nobody else - not to Esau, not to Ishmael, not to the Arabs, not to the Palestinians. The land belongs, only, to Israel. Others may live here of course, but only Israel may be sovereign.
In order to have this land, Israel needs to enter and take possession of it. The ancient forebears of modern-day Israel were commanded to enter and possess it, and the prophets foretold a day when their descendants would be brought back to the same land, and be settled in it once again - this time forever.
[Ed note: The LORD is not hesitant to use the word "settle" to describe His replanting of the Jews in their land; I too, therefore, choose to use the words "settle," "settlement" and "settler" - without apology and without shame.]
This instruction to settle, and justification for settling, is predicated upon the biblical promise and injunction. That is to say, it is the Bible that imparts to Israel the right and the command to be in this specific land, and to rule over it.
Throw away the Bible, and Israel loses that right. At best, what they are then left with, in the aftermath of the 2000-year effort to annihilate the Jews, is the right to a haven state somewhere in the world - for example in Uganda, or, as Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin suggested just this past weekend, in Europe.
The Bible is the ONLY document that gives the Jews the inalienable right to this land. The Balfour Declaration, League of Nations and United Nations rulings, white papers and "peace" treaties - all of these are contestable and open to alteration or reversal if enough of the world's nations decide it should be so.
For Bible believers, the Bible alone has the authority to back the claim to this land as the Jews'. And, to get to the crux of the matter, the Bible specifically and intentionally singles out the very part of the land that is today on the chopping block for a Palestinian state as the heart of Israel's "eternal inheritance."
For it was in Samaria, at Bethel, where Jacob (Israel) lay sleeping when God said to him: "[T]he land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants." (Genesis 28:13 cf. Jeremiah 31:5) He was not lying on the beaches of Tel Aviv but on the rocky slopes of the central "West Bank."
Daily, for more than 2000 years as they wandered among the nations of the world, the Jews have been reminding God of His promise to restore them to this very land - the land of the Patriarchs - to Jerusalem, and to the Temple Mount. Their belief in Him and in His promises sustained them through the darkest history imaginable. It gave them reason to hope when it seemed futile to do so. It was a goal, an aim, in fact a beacon, holding their identity and their eventual future out before them - something real and promising to strive towards.
Through unmentionable horrors, to the very doors of the gas chambers, the Jews clung to their belief in the Author of the Bible, the One Who founded the nation and gave it its land: "Sh'ma, Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Ehad" - "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One."
It was this faith that enabled Israel to resist all efforts to absorb them as a people, to render them extinct as a race. And the faith was, and is, inextricably in God and in His promises of this specific part of the land universally called the "Occupied Territories."
It doesn't take rocket science to grasp what a devastating blow it would be to this, for so long, tenacious people should the physical embodiment of what they have been clinging to for fully half their existence as a nation, finally and irretrievably be taken from them.
We should not fool ourselves either with pious proclamations about God being able to restore it all again. Certainly from the world's point of view it will be irretrievable. Once Palestine is declared a state and officially welcomed into the world community of nations, there can be no going back. For the Gentile nations there will be celebrations and rejoicing. For Israel, the birth of Palestine will spell catastrophe.
Oh, those Jews who have long ago traded in their belief in the Bible and its God won't bat an eyelid. In fact, their dream of being fully accepted by the Gentile nations - of becoming just like them - will appear closer to realization than ever.
But in the Diaspora, it was seldom the eviscerated Jew who carried the flame of Am Yisrael intact through persecution and out the other side. It was those who had faith; those who had a reason to believe in God, and in His promises to restore them to their land.
Which brings me to where I was before:
Being a publicly professing Bible-believer, I naturally never intended to communicate a belief that the Jewish people could be eradicated, or that the hope we true Christians are living in could be taken away from us. I wanted to communicate the calamitous nature of the threat.
I am convinced that not until we recognize the extent of this peril will a fire be lit under us to try to counter it.
When I wrote, I was caught up in that tension that exists between God's foreknowledge of all that will come to pass, in this case Israel's assured survival into eternity, and in the part we have to play to bring it all about.
Some people believe that we need not concern ourselves overly much about Israel's future because God has it all in control. Yes He does. But I believe at the same time that we are a part of that unfolding picture that He has ever open before Him, and we can either rise to fulfill our destiny and help Israel fulfill hers, or we can decide to "leave it all up to Him."
I believe God is looking for those who would "stand in the gap" for Israel at this time. (Ezekiel 22:30). Standing in the gap means interceding in prayer on Israel's behalf before the Lord, as Daniel did. (see Daniel 9). But I believe it means more than just praying, and then chastising Israel from afar for not being able to stand up against international pressure and claiming all its land. Standing in the gap for me means we are also to stand between Israel and our Gentile rulers who choose to deal with the Jewish people and their state in an unjust way.
To play our part, or to leave it up to God? The following example may help to further clarify this question:
It's almost universally believed that, but for the Holocaust, Israel would not have been restored to life. Had they not felt so guilty for abandoning the Jews to the Nazis, the nations of the world would never have permitted the re-establishment of the Jewish state.
Should Christians, aware of Israel's prophesied future restoration, have therefore sat quietly by (as, to their eternal shame, so many did,) because it was all "foreknown," all "predicted," and they knew it would all "work out" in the end?
Just as - had we lived then - we should have done everything in our power to save the Jews from Hitler's Holocaust, so too should we do all we can today to prevent Israel's enemies from pursuing the 2003 version of that very same plan. There is no question that the Arab and Islamic world is bent on wiping out the Jews just as surely as Hitler was.
Effectively it has been the same plan all along: From the day Pharaoh commanded the Israelite boys be drowned in the Nile, right up to today, the enemy has sought to destroy the Jews and, with them, the channel God designed to bring hope and blessing and peace into the world.
We should have resisted it before, and we should resist it now. Establishing Palestine would drive a barrage of nails into Israel's coffin - something I believe this generation's Christians should oppose with everything we have.
©2003 - Jerusalem Newswire