Thursday, August 14, 2014

Israel - fulfillment of prophecy

Some of you already know that I support the nation of Israel. I do so for two reasons. First, I believe that it owes its existence to the will of God and the fulfillment of prophecy. Second, even if I did not, I would recognize Israel's right to both exist and to rule over territory captured in war. They are a friend of America and of our values. They support civil rights in an area of the world where they are constantly violated. In what country in the Middle East could a person be openly gay besides Israel?

Anyway, I want to focus on the current situation in Israel, specifically the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel every day since 2000. Their rockets are now able to go farther and hit more accurately than before. In the current conflict between Hamas and Israel, Hamas has been firing rockets as far as Tel Aviv, their largest city. The IDF, Israel Defense Force, has developed the Iron Dome, a defensive weapons system that destroys rockets before they hit a target. They only deploy it when the rocket is going toward a populated area since it is very expensive to fire. One Iron Dome missle costs about $100,000 to fire.

This Iron Dome system is not perfect, however. One of the soldiers who controls the system around Tel Aviv reports that a rocket was heading straight for Tel Aviv. Two missles were fired to knock it down, but missed. They had no more opportunity to destroy the rocket so they figured it would hit somewhere in Tel Aviv. Suddenly, a strong east wind came and blew the rocket out into the Sea. This wind keeps coming up whenever it is needed.

Not only did many Israelis recognize this as God's protection, but some in Hamas did, too. One Hamas terrorist was quoted as saying that Israel's God was protecting them from their rockets. Now this information does not come from some evangelicals who sometimes get carried away whenever they hear things like this. It came directly from a secular newspaper in Israel and was quoted here by American journalists. Of course, this never made it on the major media in the US. They don't believe that God does anything, much less defend Israel.

I have also heard of reports of God defending Israel in past conflicts, but they are not taken seriously either. They question is, if God is defending Israel, can we deny that the modern nation of Israel is the will of God? And this is apart from any biblical reference to the restoration of the nation of Israel prophesied by the OT prophets. I base on what is happening now. God is defending Israel.

I hear Christians, sometimes, "challenging" those of us who believe that Israel is the fulfillment of prophecy. They act as if any wrong action by Israel proves otherwise, but that is beside the point. No nation, especially one under constant existential threat, will always do what is right. Nonetheless, Israel needs and deserves the support of both Christians and America.

The very fact that Israel became a nation again despite unbelievable odds should challenge us to reread the OT prophets regarding the restoration of Israel. Many want to spiritualize those scriptures and apply them somehow to the church. This was understandable in earlier times when the Jews were still scattered and it seemed as if God was only interested in the church. Things are very different now.

Is the modern nation of Israel a historical accident? All admit they were God's people and that from them both Christ and the Hebrew scriptures came. They rejected their messiah and their nation was taken from them. But what about the promises to Israel yet unfulfilled? Are they to be applied in a very broad way to the church? Even if Christians thought this when there was no Israel, why would it be considered so now when the prophecies about Israel seem to have been literally fulfilled within the past several decades?

I do not wish to get into the hermeneutics of Bible prophecy here, but it seems to me that the very fact that Israel is a nation again ought to make us take a fresh look at the promises God made to them in our Old Testament.

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