David’s Comment: Politics and the Kingdom of GOD by Charles Gardiner (UK)
David’s Intoduction: I was speaking in a meeting in Germany last Monday night and one of the people there did not agree that I should mix the Bible with politics. Truth is that the Bible is a political book as well as a spiritual book. Christians may see the Bible as a spiritual book, but Jewish people see the Bible as our history book. And it is about Israel becoming the physical Kingdom of the GOD of Israel. You can not separate the spiritual realm from the political realm because both spiritual kingdoms use the political realm to carry our the plan that have for the Earth. The following article by British journalist Charles Gardiner is an excellent explanation of what I have just written.
The church has shied away from politics for too long. There was a time when evangelical Christians influenced world-shaking events, such as the rebirth of Israel. That may never have happened but for the courage of men like Bishop J C Ryle who knew that such an outcome was clearly foretold in the Scriptures, and that believers were therefore beholden to help bring it about. This eventually led to the Balfour Declaration through which the British government promised to do all they could to resettle the Jews in their ancient land. And the pledge became international law just three years later when, at San Remo on the Italian Riviera, nations representing World War I victors signed a treaty confirming that the whole of what was then known as Palestine be set aside for the Jewish people. A conference was recently held at San Remo with delegates re-focusing on Israel?s legitimate right (quite apart from biblical legitimacy) to the land, established at the resort in 1920. A recovery of focus on our Hebraic roots, and on Israel itself, is vital to our ongoing spiritual health (Romans 11.17f).
As my colleague Dr Clifford Hill has been quoted as saying, ?if church leaders don?t understand God?s love for Israel, they will never understand the Word of God?. It is not just a matter of praying for Israel ? essential though that is ? or seeing them as one nation among many in need of the gospel. It is more focused than that; our mission is ?to the Jew first? (Romans 1.16) and this must be expressed not only in word, but also in action. It is our plain duty to support them and to stand with them (see Romans 15.27). They are still being persecuted all over the world ? in fact anti-Semitism has virtually doubled in some parts of Europe over the past year ? and even though they now have a country of their own once more, they are being repeatedly threatened with extinction by their neighbours. And this is real, with nuclear weapons in mind, not the vague sort of global extinction with which we are supposedly threatened, according to climate change protestors.
As with our Lord, whose crucifixion preceded his resurrection and ultimate triumph over evil, the good news of Israel?s miraculous modern-day rebirth was preceded by the terrible suffering of the Holocaust, being especially remembered there this week. There was a sense in which, just as God allowed his Son to die (Isaiah 53.10), the Shoah also had to happen as it seems to have been graphically prophesied by Ezekiel with his vision of the Valley of Dry Bones coming back to life (chapter 37). Indeed, God brought them back from every corner of the world to a place of relative safety in fulfilment of numerous Old Testament prophecies. So it is clearly his will that they are back in the land, which therefore means that the claim by many church leaders that standing with Israel is a political choice for individuals to make misses the mark by a mile. Of course it doesn?t mean we should support every political move made by the Jewish state; it simply means we wholeheartedly offer overall support for the nation. For they are, after all, still God?s chosen people.
I was intrigued by a placard held by a climate change protestor which read: ?Don?t sit on the fence until it?s too late.? The German church were too late to rescue the Jewish people from the Nazi death camps once aroused from their stupor of indifference. No wonder, for Martin Luther ? widely regarded as father of the nation ? had advocated unquestioning submission to secular authorities. This reluctance to engage with politics by proclaiming biblical truths in the public square is still a major weakness of the British church, notwithstanding the valiant efforts of Christian Concern campaigning on behalf of believers under threat in the workplace. We are no longer salt and light in society, with the result that we are being trampled underfoot by men who no longer see any relevance in our message. (See Matthew 5.13) But we are here to challenge; we are here to be salt; to spice up the tasteless uniformity that is emerging.
Pete Portal, a new young English author who has written a remarkable book about his mission to help Cape Town gangsters find Jesus, writes of how he learnt ?that one of the biggest lies peddled by the evangelical church is that the message of the gospel is apolitical?. So, whether political or spiritual, the hope of Israel, and of the world, is bound up in the person of the Jewish Messiah, who has already fulfilled the essential role of a Suffering Servant in humbling himself not only to the lowliness of riding on the foal of a donkey, but even to the shame, humiliation and agony of death on a cross, so that he was ?pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities? (Isa 53.5). The glory of Christ?s victory and soon expected triumphant return could never have been achieved without the shedding of his blood so that ?the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed?. This is the good news to proclaim to Israel, that ?though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow? (Isa 1.18). The passion of the Christ should be the focus of our message ? ?to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile? (Rom 1.16). But, to our shame, the church has not sufficiently and clearly proclaimed the gospel to the Jewish people, who have thus been left in the dark about its true nature and content ? that it is not a foreign religion, but a fulfilment of their own.
One authority on this subject suggests that we could have reached millions more with the gospel by now if we?d made more effort to share it with Christ?s brothers in the flesh ? as in ?to the Jew first?? We have not only kept them in the dark, but have also contributed to the Holocaust by keeping silent when they were ?oppressed and afflicted?, and for failing to correct the mistaken impression they had understandably gained that they stood accused by the church of deicide. Though they had indeed killed the ?author of life? (Acts 3.15), God allowed it to happen. But as the patriarch Joseph said to his brothers who had initially planned to kill him before changing their minds and selling him into slavery: _?You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.? _(Gen 50.20) Jesus has a wonderful plan for his brothers in the flesh ? the saving of many lives (Romans 11.26) ? and expects the Gentile church to play its part in declaring, with beautiful feet on the mountains of Zion, _?Your God reigns!? _(See Isaiah 52.7)
The San Remo Treaty has never been abrogated, and counter-claims for Israeli territory have no basis in reality. It?s time for the church to stand up as one for Israel ? for their land and for their Lord. By that I mean we must back their rightful claims to the Holy Land along with their right to hear the gospel of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.
The LORD bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on all of the land given to the Jewish people by the GOD of Israel. Please pray that all Israel will turn back to their GOD. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for a breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray Divine protection for all of the soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom ….. David & Josie This Week’s News Items
1. PM Netanyahu Thanks Countries that Helped Fight Fires Times of Israel News May 25th
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has officially thanked Egypt for sending two helicopters to back Israel?s firefighting efforts, and said the Palestinian Authority and Russia were among those that offered to help Israel battle a spate of wildfires that forced thousands from their homes a day earlier. At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that aid arrived from Greece, Croatia, Italy, Egypt and Cyprus. The prime minister also said he was considering expanding Israel?s squadron of firefighting planes, as neighboring countries dispatched backup aircraft to Israel, a day after the blazes devastated towns and forests. Pray that the summer will not bring any more fires and that the Gaza terror groups stop sending burning balloons across the border.
2. Female Terrorist was Planning Suicide Attack World News Israel May 27th
The Palestinian Authority recently foiled a plot by ISIS to bomb Israelis when it arrested a local teacher who had been recruited by the radical jihadist group. A 23-year-old Koran teacher from a village in Samaria, the so-called “West Bank” had enticed to join ISIS via a Telegram channel set up by the terrorists. So dedicated was she to the ISIS cause that she agreed to become a suicide bomber with the intent of mass-murdering Israeli Jews. She was arrested two weeks ago by PA police.There was initial widespread protest over her arrest, prompting the PA to issue a vague explanation that the young teacher had schemed to “disrupt regional stability.” It was only later that Israel’s Ynet news portal learned from Palestinian sources that she had been recruited by ISIS to carry out a suicide bomb attack against Israelis. During interrogation, she admitted to being in contact with ISIS agents based in Syria and the Gaza Strip who instructed her on how to prepare large explosive charges. The womanr has been known to PA security officials for some time as a potential threat given her affiliation first with Al Qaeda, and later with ISIS. However, given that she is the niece of a high-ranking officer in the PA General Intelligence Service, no action was taken until there was evidence that she was actually planning to harm others. While it is not often reported in the mainstream media, PA security forces do routinely cooperate with their Israeli counterparts and do thwart a large number of planned attacks against Israelis. Pray that all terror plots are discovered and prevented as this one was
3. PA Uses EU Funds to Establish Fake Village United With Israel News May 27th
In one of its latest ploys, the Palestinian Authority (PA), with support from the European Union (EU), took control of a strategic area in the heart of the Etzion Bloc, between the Jerusalem-Hebron highway and the Jewish village of Neve Daniel. Named ?Shoshkhalah,? this brand new ?village? was created over the past two years in an attemp to create ?historic? facts-on-the-ground where none previously existed. Yishai Hemo, Field Coordinator for Regavim, an organization that advocates legal accountability for national land use and the return of the rule of law, explained the process for the creation of Shoshkhalah: ?Over the course of the last two years, activists from the Arab town Al Khader, backed by PA & EU funding, occupied the ruins of two ancient ?shomerot? (watchman?s huts) ? primitive stone structures used by passing shepherds or farmers as shelter from the elements during the changing seasons that dot the landscape in the Jerusalem and Sataf areas. They renovated these abandoned structures and turned them into homes ? and from that point, in very short order, totally new structures have been added in the surrounding area.? In an act of defiance, the refurbished buildings display the European Union?s emblem. There are sign posts describing the site as an ancient village. Aerial photos taken in 1967, as well as maps dating back to 1880, confirm that there was never a settlement in this area. ?This is another phase in the Palestinian Authority-European Union program to seize control over strategic areas,? continued Hemo. ?We are all too familiar with the program. Pray that the European Union will wake up to the lies and deceptions of the PA and stop funding their attempts to discredit Israel.
4. IDF Fires Syrian Missile Launcher After it Fired at Israeli Jet World Israel News May 28th
Israel struck a Syrian missile battery after it launched a missile at one of its fighter jets in Israeli airspace on Monday, the IDF said. The missile landed in Syrian territory after missing its target. ?Earlier today, a Syrian anti-aircraft system fired at an IDF aircraft as it was carrying out a routine flight in Israel. The projectile landed in Syrian territory. In response, we targeted the Syrian launcher that was responsible for firing it,? the IDF said. SANA, the Syrian news agency confirmed the strike. ?An Israeli missile targeted Tel al-Shaar in Quneitra ? a military vehicle was targeted and there are wounded,? it said. Two Syrian soldiers were killed, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based information service. Its director earlier reported that three Syrian soldiers were wounded. It also reported that at least one of the Israeli missiles was downed by Syrian fire. Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Monday, ?A short while ago the Syrian army attempted to hit an Israeli plane; it did not succeed. In response the air force destroyed the launcher that fired on the plane. Our policy is clear ? we will not tolerate any aggression against us, and we will respond forcefully.? Pray that the Israeli military continues to take strong action against anyone who tries to attack Israel
5. PM Netanyahu Fails to Form New Government World Israel News May 30th
Israel is heading to elections again after PM Netanyahu and his Likud party have failed to put together a viable coalition. After receiving an extension from President Reuven Rivlin, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to form a coalition of 61 Knesset members needed to establish a government. While 65 members of Knesset voted that PM Netanyahu form the new government after winning the April elections, he was unable to bridge the differences among his potential coalition partners. Israeli lawmakers took the unprecedented step of dissolving the Knesset, throwing the country back into another election process just weeks after the April 9 national election. After a 12-hour debate, lawmakers voted 74 to 45 to dissolve the 21st Knesset and hold new elections on September 17. The failure largely came as a result of an impasse between former defense minister and Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman and the ultra-Orthodox parties ? Shas and United Torah Judaism over a military draft bill. PM Netanyahu needed 61 seats to form a governing coalition. Without Yisrael Beiteinu?s five seats, PM Netanyahu would only have 60 seats in his right-wing coalition. As such, the move to dissolve the Knesset was to preempt Israeli President Rivlin from choosing someone else to form a governing coalition after the deadline. Lieberman, whose party draws support from Israel?s largely secular Russian immigrant community, refused to join the government unless the draft bill, which was crafted in the last Knesset, would be passed unaltered, which the ultra-Orthodox parties dismissed outright. Pray that the new election on September 17 will produce a clear result and the PM Netanyahu be re-elected as Israel’s leader
6. US Peace Plan in Doubt Following Failure to Form Government World Israel News May 30th
Jared Kushner, President Trump?s senior adviser and son-in-law, met with PM Netanyahu on Thursday afternoon. Kushner is in Israel to build momentum toward next month?s ?economic workshop? in Bahrain. Also attending the meeting were U.S. Special Representative for Iran, and the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Trump negotiator Jason Greenblatt is part of the delegation, which arrived in Israel on Wednesday. ?It?s always a great pleasure to welcome Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt to Israel, to Jerusalem, and to discuss our common efforts for prosperity, security and peace,? Netanyau said. ?I?m tremendously encouraged by how the United States, under President Trump, is working to bring allies together in this region against common challenges, but also to seize common opportunities.? The Bahrain conference is expected to focus on economic aspects of the ?Deal of the Century.? It will run from June 25-26. However, with PM Netanyahu unable to form a governing coalition, the future of the Trump plan is in question. Ironically, the Trump administration waited to present its peace plan until after Israel had a new government in place. Pray that any peace plan that is not in line with GOD’s plan will never get off the ground.
7. Last Hizbollah Terror Tunnel Destroyed INN News May 30th
The IDF has concluded Operation Northern Shield to locate and neutralize terrorist tunnels and says that all the six tunnels that the Hizbollah dug and prepared for the day of battle have now been neutralized. In addition, the IDF released footage of IDF operations to locate the last found cross-border attack tunnel, dug by Hizbollah from the Shiite village of Ramiyeh in southern Lebanon into Israel. The tunnel was exposed on the 13th of January 2019 as part of Operation ?Northern Shield?. The UN force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, investigated the tunnel and confirmed it was dug from Lebanon into Israel, in violation of UNSCR 1701.The IDF estimates that there are no more tunnels penetrating Israeli territory, and that there are only a few more tunnels inside Lebanese territory at a depth of several hundred meters. The last tunnel, which was also the largest tunnel dug to a depth of eighty meters near the village of Ramiyeh in the center of the northern sector near Zarit, was the last of the tunnels through which Hizbollah intended to break into Israel and carry out a series of attacks along the fence. The IDF says that the probability of war being initiated by Hezbollah is low, and that Operation Northern Shield has strengthened deterrence. Lets thank and praise the LORD that all of these tunnels were destroyed before they could be used to harm Israeli citizens.