During the reign of the Russian leader Peter the Great, an aged preacher was imprisoned for his testimony of Jesus Christ. When the Czar called him for questioning, the elderly saint was asked:
"Can you show me one tangible proof to verify the truth of the Bible?"
"Yes sire, the Jew."
Since I was converted to Christ in 1973 (then aged 20) God has blessed me with the wonderful privilege to travel several times around Israel as a backpacker, my favourite way to get about overseas. One of the most striking locations I ever stayed was at a small backpackers hostel, set in a Medieval building in the Old City of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel since 1980.
The sovereign nation of Israel is one astonishing miracle. The last time this nation had its own sovereignty was before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon razed Jerusalem to the ground in 586 BC. Since that fateful day, Israel as a self-governing nation did not exist until May 14th, AD 1948.
During the long, 2,600 year interval, most of the Jews remained in the land where they were taken to during the original captivity, thus known as the Diaspora. Although the majority of Jews still live outside their original homeland, with the USA still holding the largest proportion of Jews outside the Holy Land, nevertheless, from 1948, Israel's population has swelled to more than 7,600,000 at present.
Yet, long before Moses was even born, while the fledgling nation had just settled in Egypt, there stood a silent witness, the Cave of Machpelah, close to the Palestinian town of Hebron. It holds the remains of just six people: Yacob, better known as Israel to us, Isaac, Sarah, Rebekah, Abraham, whom Elohim called from the land of Ur, and Leah. Here I have arranged the names with each initial letter in bold in such a way that each letter spell the name Yisrael. Therefore, within the cave of Machpelah, six people were buried. They were three couples, chosen by God to be the literal biological founders of the people of Israel. And this tells us something important about this nation, which is that God (Elohim) is in the midst of his people, and God is still the God of Israel to this day. Furthermore, just before Jesus was born, a large building was constructed by Herod the Great by 4BC. It served as a synagogue, a church and at present, a mosque. Today, this structure is known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
This very structure was most likely a familiar feature visited by the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary, young Jesus and his siblings) to pay respects to their ancestors, just as King David did a thousand years earlier, when he chose Hebron as the seat of his reign for the first seven years before he took the Jebusite city of Jerusalem.
When Roman General Titus razed Jerusalem to the ground in AD 70, the majority of the Jews were dispersed around the known world. Others were sold as slaves. The Holy Land became desolate, particularly Jerusalem. Yet as the Jews were scattered across the globe for rejecting their Messiah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs remained intact, having survived the Roman invasion under General Titus. For the next 1,878 years, the Tomb stood as a silent sentinel bearing witness that this land belonged to the Jews. It stood despite the would-be natural tendency for the Jews to intermarry and forever lose their identity.
But throughout the millenia the Jews retained their identity. Some say it might have been due to their traditions. But surely, can traditions alone be the sole binding force? The ancient Babylonians, Persians, Medes and other ancient societies all had their own traditions, but that was not enough to prevent eventual intermarriages and the resulting amalgamation into what are modern Arabs to this day. And America today is the melting pot for English, Irish, Polish, Spanish, Italian and other European nationalities who first settled there just a few generations ago. Yet the Jews remain uniquely a distinct people.
And Biblical prophecies regarding the future of Israel as a nation ruled by its Messiah-King remain standing. Even throughout the dispersion, the Jews knew from their own Scriptures that there will come a day when the whole nation will be back in its own homeland, and the Son of David will reign over them. It is something many Jews still aspire to this day.
The building of the Dome of the Rock mosque on the exact site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem during the 6th Century AD, was not done because Mohammad decided that Jerusalem was a holy city to Muslims. Rather it was done to stop the Jews returning to their homeland and rebuild their Temple - something which the Bible prophets insist that one day this would happen. As simple as this: as long as the Jewish Temple remains un-built, the Messiah cannot return, for, according to the Prophet Ezekiel, the Messiah will have his throne there. And so the area remains "safe" as long as the Jews remain dispersed around the world.
But in 1914 the Great War broke out. It was during this war when one Jew, Chaim Weizmann, invented a bomb which would turn events in favour of British victory against the Germans. For a reward from the British Government, Weizmann rejected personal riches in favour of the Jews returning to their original homeland of Palestine as their Zionist aspirations. On November 2nd, 1917, Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour drew up his Declaration to the leader of the British Jewish Community, Baron Walter Rothchild, to allow the Jews to settle in their own land. By 1937, there were 430,000 Jews in Palestine.
While the population in Palestine was growing, Adolf Hitler and his German Nazi Party brought on the Second World War in 1939 and with it, the Holocaust, as mentioned in my last blog. The desperate attempts to annihilate the Jews to solve what he called, "The Jewish problem" was astonishing! As mentioned in my last blog, it was an act of Social Darwinism which violently defiled every concept of mankind reaching greater civilisation by means of greater education.
Although the British Government, under Prime Minister A. Neville Chamberlain, reneged on the 1917 Balfour Declaration in 1939 in favour of Arab control and rule, most likely in keeping trade with the Arab oil supply running smoothly, this did not stop the formation of Israel as a sovereign nation on May 14th, 1948, three years after the end of the War in 1945. The 1939 White Paper, as it was called, temporarily stopped the flow of Jewish immigrants into Palestine, their homeland given by God to their father Abraham. The majority were refused entry into their ancient homeland by the British, and were sent back on ships to Germany and Poland to be ruthlessly killed in the Holocaust. Personally, I believe that this dreadful breach of the 1917 Declaration not only ended the British Mandate over Palestine, but it was also the cause of the loss of the British Empire. If this is true, and I have no doubt that it is, then every national leader around the world should heed the warning of the danger in tampering with the fate of the Jews, God's Covenant people.
Today, Israel is a thriving nation, despite its threatened destruction by the Arab nations around her. After becoming a nation in 1948, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the Arab world in general, wanted to push Israel into the sea. Even the U.S.S.R. sided with the Arabs against Israel by supplying arms to the Arab nations. The young Jewish nation had to keep constantly on its guard. Then on the 2nd June 1967, the Six Day War broke out with Egypt, Jordan and Syria launching an all out attack against the Jews, yet the Jews winning an astonishing victory against them on the 8th June, six days later, and for the first time for nearly two millennia, the Jews took possession of the Western Wall, as well as winning the Golan Heights, a strategic vantage point for the Syrian military. With such a tiny nation winning a war against three much bigger nations can be only described as a miracle, a special protection by God's grace based on His promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).
For years to come after the Six Day War, Israel continued to suffer under the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, or the PLO, led by the late Yasser Arafat. Although later in his life, Arafat attempted to settle the issue using diplomatic efforts to offer peace to the Israelis for exchange of various Israeli territories such as handing back the Golan heights to Syria, his real intention was always to destroy Israel. Today, after Arafat's death in November 2004, Israel's main source of bother seem to be from the Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.
I titled my last blog The Snake Is Still Talking... It was about Social Darwinism being the concept of the snake of Genesis 3. The existence of Israel as a nation against all odds is not only a miracle from God, but also a major rebuke to Darwin's evolution. Contrary to the analogy of the dark and light coloured mice, tiny Israel withstood the onslaught of a group of much bigger and stronger nations, even against the Soviet Union, considered to be one of the major world powers. According to Darwinism, there is absolutely no hope of Israel surviving as a nation to this day. But the fact it does demonstrates the power and the grace of Almighty God and his keeping of this promises. And such promises should be a source of encouragement for all Christians. If God had not forsaken Israel, he will not forsake you, the true believer in Christ.
The snake is terrified of the Messiah's return. The Second coming of Christ will forever put an end to the snake's power. The snake has shown his anger, and as long as Israel exist, he will continue to be angry. The fact that it took two world wars to bring the Jews back home, together with Hitler's holocaust, the hostility of the Arab nations, along with the blocking of the Temple being constructed for the past 1,400 years - all shows the snake's displeasure in the thought of Jesus Christ reigning over Israel from Jerusalem. It would mean the end of his power.
The Bible predicts the future Battle of Armageddon. This is where the snake will make his final attempt to stop the Jewish Messiah to return to take the throne of his father David. It will be about the ownership of the city of Jerusalem. The intention of the hostile forces is to take the city from the Jews. But because forces from all nations of the world will be involved, before the battle against Israel gets underway, a dispute among their leaders apparently will arise, concerning on who will own the city afterwards. This disagreement will cause the forces to start in-fighting among themselves to their own destruction.
What a terrible, terrible shame! Every one of those soldiers could have instead, be sitting in the Kingdom of God, lavishing in the love their Saviour have for them, for all eternity. Instead they sided with the snake and accepted his offer of maggot-ridden apples of high social status, prestige, wealth and education.
Because of God's promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cannot be broken, your salvation is equally sure, your eternal security.