"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, Isaiah 31:1"
Tel Aviv beach
Drawn from “The Spectre of Post Zionism” given by Graham Field at the ICEJ UK conference in February 2008.
Daniel 12 v5 – 9
Matthew 24 v21-25
Revelation 12 v5 and v13-14
Remember the goal at the end of the road, “All Israel will be saved” Romans 11; that is the Old Testament saints, the New Testament saints and everyone grafted in down the centuries, plus the remnant of Israel at the end of the age.
The Zionist dream was born in the 19th century and in the 20th century saw the Jewish state of Israel born in 1948. The Zionist dream was realised. People of faith recognised this as a fulfilment of prophecy, but soon receive some shocks.
Shock #1 The realisation that most of those who birthed Israel were secular humanists. Zionism was a secular political movement.
Shock #2 Not all Israelis are Zionists. Many Israelis see Zionists as right-wing extremists.
But these things shock us because we did not understand God’s way.
God gathered the people to Israel in unbelief. See Ezekiel20 v33 .
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD , I will rule over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered--with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath.But note the downbeat reference to wrath
See also the mention of judgment on Israel, (Israel passing under God’s rod) . Ezekiel 20 v36
As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign LORD . I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD .
There is purging and cleansing, a new heart, etc. Ezekiel 36 v24
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.
Do not be captivated by the political state of Israel; or its archaeological sites.
Israel is a people in process – towards being saved. It is happening now!
The phrase "Post Zionism" – was coined by a Jerusalem Post columnist. To put it in context we need to look at other phenomena.
This sounds bad news, but it turns out to be full of opportunities because we have escaped from the religious stereotypes and the popular conception that everyone in our land is a Christian. Now we meet many people who have no experience of Christianity and can be approached with a Gospel that will be fresh and new. We can express the gospel in any way – It is up to us and God.
See also Post Modernism. Many of us grew up in the “Modern” era, when it was believed that there was one big story that explained everything. This meant that you were right and everybody else was wrong, in various degrees. In the era that followed, the thinking is that there is not one big story but many different stories. This has many implications, but one aspect is that we can find truth in other denominations that we once would never considered possible.
Was the Zionist dream of Israel a hoax or a failed dream?
Observers in Israel are noticing a change in the psyche of Israelis on the street. The self-confidence is shaking, and underneath the bravado the Zionist dream is becoming the Zionist nightmare. The picture is different from that which we prophecy watchers might be expecting to find. The greatest enemy is not the usual assortment of suspects.
This is a spiritual matter. People are asking, “Is the Zionist dream becoming too expensive?” Israel is tipping from hope to despair. What could have gone wrong?
Israel is a secular state. Is secular Zionism a glue that held Israel together but is it now breaking down?
There is conflict between the secular and the religious Israelis over Settlers and giving land for peace.
Our feelings as Christians are in favour of the Settlers and against land for peace trades, but we are not sending our children to die defending settlers and Biblical land. But we are also in favour of those seeking peace. So there is a conflict and we need to look with God’s perspective and not interfere humanly.
We must look at the situation in terms of people passing under the rod of God (Ezekiel) – in the hand of God. We must pray for the process in which God sees them through the transition from trusting in chariots and horses to trusting in God. Israel must come to his knees.
The dream of the Jewish state has big problems. See Israel in Today's World
Is the price of Zionism too high for the Israelis?
More Jews leave than arrive – 50% more Jews return to the USA than make aliyah.
Israeli Jews abort 40,000 babies per annum.
More Jews avoid the draft than ever
Israel is in clear danger of being overwhelmed demographically and by means of its own democracy. The "right of return" argument would obviously accelerate the problem.
The “Two State Solution” is actually one Arab state alongside one joint Arab & Jewish state.
The secular state is clearly unsustainable, so what does the future hold but for the intervention of the God of Israel?
It is interesting to note the argument put forward by Ari Abramovitz and Jeremy Gimpel, concerning Israel and the Holocaust. These two are orthodox Jews who are seeking to call Jews back to Torah and faithfulness to God. They argued that Jewish / Israeli attachment to Holocaust remembrance will not sustain Israel against its enemies. If the validity of the Jewish state depends only on the argument that it is necessary in order for the Jews to defend themselves against a repetition, Israel’s reason for existence can be invalidated by Holocaust denial. Ari and Jeremy argue that Israel’s Jews must return to faith in the God of Israel as the basis for the existence of Israel.
What encouragement is there for the Christian who loves Israel and believes it is in God’s prophetic plan and purpose?
It is darkest before the dawn and there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is the dawning of the Kingdom of God on Earth. But here we are looking at the return of the Messiah, and we must recognize that the majority of Jews still will not accept Yeshua as their Messiah.
We must look to the explanation Paul gives in Romans 11 from v7 and v25
What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day." And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever." Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring
V 25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
There is a parallel passage in Ezekiel 39 v25-29
"Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."
Paul speaks of his fellow, but unbelieving, Jews using term like “hardened” “spirit of stupor”, “could not see”, – spiritual blindness. This is difficult territory, and deeply unacceptable in circles of Jewish Christian relations and dialogue, but it is part of Paul’s explanation of God’s purposes concerning bringing Gentiles in to His olive tree of faith. Notice also that Paul talks of them being enemies of the gospel; we don’t like to think of them as enemies. All of this is in God’s purposes and we need to face the challenge and re-evaluate our views.
Israel sees itself differently from the way we do, because of this. We are friends for tourism, but the gospel brings problems.
The Holocaust changed history, but has our spiritual interest really changed things yet; even after all our apologies for the past?
If all the efforts that Christians have directed to Israel had been directed to another nation, it would have resulted in revival. But Israel is a special case.
Some Demands from Israel
#1 We must continually affirm that we are not missionising. But this can only cement the blindness Paul refers to.
#2 We mustn’t criticise the state of Israel. But this can consolidate the blindness.
Wildolive conforms to these demands, but with qualifications.
We never seek to convert Jews into Christians, but we believe the Jews (in Israel as anywhere else) need to realise that Yeshua from Natzeret is their Messiah. In this we are aligned with and standing behind the Messianic Jewish community.
We go to great lengths to defend Israel against all the lies spread against him in the world’s media and do not aim to give a self contained “balanced” view of the conflict. Wildolive aims to provide a balance to the weight of hate inspired opposition, but not to attempt to justify or whitewash Israel’s shortcomings or to join the barrage of criticism.
#3 We must not speak in terms of blindness or a veil over the eyes. But are we to get trapped into denying the truth of the Gospel, denying the validity of Messianic Jews or the uniqueness of Jesus and Paul’s teaching in Romans.
Our function must be looking for the blindness to be lifted. This is not a matter of arguing in cyberspace, but wrestling with with God. Remember how Jacob wrestled all night with God and had his name changed to Israel; but he limped away from the encounter. This will probably cost us, but the end is “…all Israel will be saved.”
The Post Zionist era is exciting because the secular Zionist glue is coming unstuck, but it is the end of the dream that is the dawn of the day!
When we look at that passage of the revelation given to Daniel we read of days and times. We read that the power of the holy people will be broken. Daniel 12
and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed."
Jesus spoke of a “time of distress” on Israel and the nations, unparalleled before or since (including the Holocaust) but those days will be cut short. Matthew 24 v 21
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
What is a time, times half a time ?
Suggestion, it is a time cut short
A time is a season of divine activity and a time cut short is a season that does not run through a full cycle.
It is possible to trace several seasons in the Bible, many being a cycle of Promise Fulfilment, Continuation (dependant on obedience), Disobedience, Punishment, Repentance, Restoration. The exodus with Moses to the Exile in Babylon was one such season. The return from Babylon to the nation’s failure to recognise the day of visitation to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Dispersion of the Jews into a worldwide exile was another. It could be supposed that the twentieth century restoration of Israel was the start of a “time.
Regathered Israel is now sixty years old but the problems are piling up and it is getting dark. Will this time run its course? The Bible says no. Jesus said those days will be cut short. Israel will not be scattered again – God will intervene with a different ending!
God will make Israel pass under His rod – a picture of the Shepherd and pour his spirit on them (Ezekiel 20 v37 see above)
We are living in a season cut short!
Right now, things look bleak on a human side; but beautiful on the prophetic side.
These are days of awe! Careful how you walk, Careful how you talk, careful how you pray.
We are facing questions.
How to communicate to Israel?
How to encourage them to carry on but not make them complacent?
We are not there to lift the rod of God for them – we are to intercede for the lifting of the veil.
We are not wrestling with Israel but wrestling with God.
How do we comfort Israel without neutralising the hand of God?
How do we emphasize our common ground without denying the role of Jesus?
Israel is to be saved in the knowledge of Messiah.
We must be careful not to sanctify anti Christian or anti Messianic activities.
Breaking the power of the people is breaking the Zionist dream, but we are broken alongside them.
Remember how Jacob limped away from his night of wrestling with God.
We are looking at identification with Israel – their sin is our sin – their pain is our pain – their blindness is ours (in a spiritual sense) as we wrestle.
We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new age as God brings the destiny of Israel and the coming of the Kingdom of God as they cry, Baruch Haba B’shem ADONAI. (Psalm 118 v26 and Matther 23 v39)
Remember John’s vision in Revelation –
He weeps, but the angel tells him not to weep, because the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has triumphed and is able to open the scroll. Worthy is the Lamb!
Draft version 10/3/08
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