THE NATION ISRAEL - BELOVED ENEMIES
The results of recent polling indicates that one fourth of the world and nine percent of Americans are anti-Semites. This is distressing news, but indicates how the stage is being set for end time events. Ezekiel 38:12 says: “To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” Most everyone who has written upon this verse seems to be in agreement: this “people that are gathered out of the nations” refers to those Jews who are living “in the midst of the land” - i.e. in the land promised to them and given to them by God Himself. The stage is being set even as this article is being written. The major players are upon the stage. It seems that Russia will move against them and no earthly help will be found for little Israel. And the political climate of our own United States, filled as it is with prejudice and fear, is turning away from Israel to the point that even some who claim to be Christians are now opposing God's covenant people and their Zion.
Before proceeding further along in this article let me say this: this preacher does not understand how anyone who professes to believe the Bible and who professes to be a follower of God's Lamb can be anti-Semitic. I will go further: I do not see how any child of God can be anti-Zionist: that is, I do not see how any Christian can oppose the present state of Israel. The Bible says, “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her,” (Isaiah 66:10). One commentator says of this verse: “The idea which is presented in this verse is, that it is the duty of all who love Zion to sympathize in her joys,” (Albert Barnes). You cannot love Israel and hate her Zion (land and government) any more than you can claim to love Americans, but desire to see her institutions of learning, her homes, businesses and government destroyed by an atomic bomb.
God said to Abraham, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” (Genesis 12:2-3). History has borne this out: those nations that have favored Israel have been blessed and those that have stood against Israel have not stood long. Hitler thought to establish a thousand year Reich where anti-Semitism was official government policy, but God had other plans. The Nazi industrial powerhouse was destroyed. Death, suffering and desolation were heaped upon Nazi Germany and her allies known as the Axis powers. Had it not been for the policy of giving Germany, Italy and Japan billions of dollars in aid to rebuild their countries, much of them would still be desolate ruins.
Many have questioned why God has so greatly blessed the North American continent: especially the United States of America. History is replete with examples that prove that neither the citizens or the government of this country have been just and righteous. So we must exclude the idea that God has blessed the United States because she has been worthy of God's blessings. Neither can it be demonstrated that the citizens of these United States have in the main believed the truth. Among the great variety of churches and religious groups proliferating on the American landscape, few have stood for Bible truth: the majority, when unrestrained by law, have persecuted those their “brethren” who dissented from the majority view. There are, it seems, only two reasons that God has blessed these United States: first, though perhaps not foremost, because God in His sovereignty planted His kind of churches here. These churches have been missionary churches and sought to spread the gospel around the world and with somewhat lesser zeal among the native inhabitants of this continent – and, perhaps with even lesser zeal, among the descendants of those Africans brought here as slaves. (If you doubt the veracity of this last sentence, read Isaac McCoy's History of American Indian Missions). Ah, but perhaps to see the greater reason for God's blessing upon these United States we should look at how the government of this country has looked upon the Zionist movement – the return of the Jews to their rightful homeland. True it was with prodding and political pressure from American Jews and others, but the Unites States government has generally not only welcomed Jews to her shores, but has favored the present government of Israel: what some have called the modern Zionist movement. We fear what shall come upon this country if she continues to back away from Israel. It is a fearful and terrible thing for a nation to be cursed by God. In promising to make of Abraham a great nation God included these words, I will “curse him that curseth thee.” Let us not fool ourselves by saying that both the promise to bless and this promise to curse pertained only to the man, Abraham.
We rejoice that Jonah said, “Salvation is of the LORD,” (Jonah 2:9). God is the source of it. It is not of man. It is not of the will of man (see John 1:13). Jonah did not like seeing God spare the Ninevites. He had anti-Ninevitism in his blood: the Ninevites were enemies of Jonah's people, the Jews. Jonah wanted to see the city of Nineveh destroyed. But God spared Nineveh. There is another statement in the Bible about the source of salvation. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “...Salvation is of the Jews,” (John 4:22). One commentator summed this statement up well saying that salvation is “...something that had been revealed, prepared, deposited with a particular people, and must be sought in connection with, and as issuing from them; and that people, 'the Jews,'” (JFB). Literally here the original says “...The salvation is out of the Jews.” There is only one way of salvation and that is through the finished work of Jesus Christ, “a Jew.”
What should be the attitude of every blood-bought child of God toward the Jews and their restored homeland government? We think God's Word tells us precisely what our view of them should be. Paul wrote, “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” (Romans 11:24-29). Earlier in Romans 11:17-18 Paul set the stage writing, “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” While it pleased God to temporarily set aside His national people, Israel, and graft chosen Gentiles into the Jewish “root” we ought to “boast not against the branches” [Jews] that were cut off. Jews, in the main, Paul wrote are blind, but this blindness is “in part” and only “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” - it is a temporary blindness until the elect Gentiles shall all be saved. In another place Paul explains more about this Jewish blindness. He wrote: “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away,” (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). The Jews are still God's chosen national or earthly people. So far the hated Zionist government has been enabled by God, we think, to secure protection for her citizens. But when the Jews read the Bible there is a vail that keeps them from understanding in a spiritually profitable way what they read. But God sustains them for He is not finished with them. He has appointed their government and sustains them until the time that Christ shall return to the earth. Then the Scripture shall be fulfilled: “...Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen,” (Revelation 1:7). Most Bible students are agreed that the phrase, “they also which pierced him” is probably a reference to the Jews. For as we quoted Paul above, “all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” “When it [Israel] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.”
But in the interim: in the time between the time now past when God blinded the Jews until that blindness shall be taken away, what is the proper relationship between God's children and the Jews? Should God's people favor the Jews and their nation, Israel? Or, should God's children be anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist and actively work for the destruction of Israel? It is shocking that anyone professing to be a follower of God's Jewish Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, would dare to suggest that either anti-Semitism or anti-Zionist sentiments are proper and pleasing to God. But some dare! We think that the proper, biblical, godly and God-pleasing attitude is that expressed by Paul when he wrote, as quoted above: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes,” (Romans 11:28). We who know that “...they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham,” (Galatians 3:7) – being ourselves by faith the children of Abraham, having been grafted into the Jewish root – how can we hate and oppose the Jews and their state of Israel? With regard to the gospel - for our sakes (God's elect, saved Gentiles) God views them passively (Robertson) as enemies. Blinded to the gospel except for “a remnant according to the election of grace,” (Romans 11:5), the majority of Jews at present reject their Messiah. They oppose the gospel. And so we, too, must regard them passively as enemies: we are not actively their enemies, but they have made themselves our enemies by opposing the gospel we love and preach. But it is a completely different matter when we consider God's election of them. In this they are “beloved for the fathers' sakes.” It was to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the patriarchs or founding fathers of the Jewish nation – that God revealed Himself and made His grace known. It was to them that the promises were made. What shall we say of these beloved fathers? We can say nothing greater that God has already said: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff,” (Hebrews 11:17-21). These and others listed in Hebrews chapter eleven – the Hall of Fame of Faith – were all Jews. The Jews in existence today are the “children” of these men. About these Jews, along with others, God said: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect,” (Hebrews 11:39-40). And you would have me turn against today's Jews who, like those in Paul's day remain “beloved for the fathers' sakes”? I cannot do it! They have made themselves enemies to the gospel, that is true, but they are nevertheless beloved. They may be the gospel's enemies, but God is not their enemy nor should His children be enemies to the Jews. They are beloved enemies. That is what God says about them. Is that a paradox you can handle? In Deuteronomy 32:9-10 it is written: “For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” Shall the children of God ill treat God's national inheritance? Shall Christians array themselves against Zion and by doing so seek to oppose God and His plans for little Israel?
Paul, nearing the end of the record of his missionary activities, told of his efforts in a brief but full sentence. He said, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21). Paul did not oppose either the Jews of his day or their government, corrupt though it was. Ought we not be busy preaching repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ to both Jew and Gentiles? We think a man cannot effectively preach the gospel to those whom he hates. He who hates the citizens of a nation will not long remain there as a “missionary” among them nor will they regard him as genuine. He can preach to those who have made themselves his enemies, but only if he loves them. Let us keep things in biblical perspective: whenever we think of the Jews or their promised land or their present situation including their problems with their neighbors, let us view them as beloved enemies – and let us do all we can to stand with them and aid them as God may give us opportunities.And let us remember that we, too, were once beloved enemies. Romans 5:8-10 speaks of this: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” God chose to reconcile us “when we were enemies,” and did so, “by the death of his Son.” In this way God exhibited or displayed His love for His elect people. And He loved us and reconciled us by Jesus' death when we were still enemies: beloved enemies. And so, in His time, God shall restore Israel because He loves them: they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726