The Bible and Voting – Part 11

The Bible and Voting – Part 11
Proverbs 14:34 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 18, 2016 • The Bible and Voting 2016


Andy Woods


September 18, 2016 The Bible and Voting, Part 11

Should Christians Support the Modern State of Israel, part 3

Good morning everybody.  If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 20, verses 18-19.  Continuing on with our study, The Bible and Voting, and continuing on even within that series we’re doing a miniseries within the series; you know things are getting elongated when that happens.  Should Christians support the modern state of Israel, part 3.  So the whole subject of Israel has become a real point of contention, not only in the body of Christ but also in the court of world politics.  How should Christians, when they look at the state of Israel, how should they think about that state, that tiny nation comprised primarily of unbelieving Jews on the coast of the Mediterranean in the Middle East, seemingly so far away from the United States?  We have been, probably because it’s an election year and everybody wants to talk about politics, been doing a topical study.  I’ve worked hard at not bringing up political characters and figures and parties, but rather looking at issues that we face, not only in this election but in any election (state, federal, local  elections), issues we face when we go to the ballot box.

And the question is has God spoken on these topics.  He certainly has spoken on spiritual things but what we’re learning is He’s also spoken on worldview items and essentially that’s what we’ve been looking at.  We’ve looked at what the Bible has to say on economic issues, I showed you several.  We have looked at what the Bible has to say on so-called social issues, hot button issues of the day; we’ve walked through several of those.  Coming near the end of our topical study on the Bible and Voting, we began looking at issues related to foreign affairs; as America interacts with other nations does the Bible say anything about those kind of subjects.  We’ve taken a look at God’s view towards one-world government, God is against that, by the way, unless He is running it.  We’ve looked at the whole subject of borders and border enforcement; certainly that’s a hot button issue, is it not?

And we began a couple of Sundays ago looking at the whole subject of the nation of Israel.  It’s hard to pick up the newspaper today without the nation of Israel somehow being mentioned, somehow being discussed.  The question is, when we look at the nation of Israel are we looking at it the way God would have us to look at it, through His lens, the Scripture?  So we began by looking at the divine purpose for Israel; we saw Genesis 12:3 where God’s purpose in raising up and creating the nation of Israel is to use it, that special nation, beginning with Abraham, as a special nation through which His blessings would come to the planet.  We’ve seen how God has made good on those promises as the Scripture, the Savior, and even the coming kingdom are intimately connected with His decision to bless Israel and through Israel the nations of the earth would be blessed.

We’ve seen along the way that God actually entered into a covenant with this nation, called the Abrahamic Covenant.  One of the things He promised the nation is a tract of real estate, the dimensions of which are very carefully identified in the book of Genesis, chapter 15, verses 18-21. [Genesis 15:18-21, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:  [19] the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite [20] and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim [21] and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”]

It’s a plot of real estate that begins in modern day Egypt and extends all the way to modern day Iraq, “From the river of Egypt” and there’s a debate on exactly what the river of Egypt is, this map has the Wadi El Arish as the beginning point; other people say no, it’s the Nile.  But whatever it is it’s a big plot of real estate from modern day Egypt all the way to the Euphrates River, a tract of real estate that the nation of Israel has never fully gained and even today enjoys a very small percentage of.  And yet we know prophetically that one of these days in the kingdom age Israel will have all of it with the nations in submission to her according to divine promise.

And along the way God gave to Israel certain protection.  God knew that Satan himself would unleash all of his power and fury against God’s elect nation, since that nation is the instrument of blessing and so God made a reciprocal promise to the Jews: the one who curses you, God said, I will curse.  And consequently He spoke through the prophet Zechariah and He said, of the nation of Israel, “He who touches you touches the apple” which is the pupil, “of His eye,” or the eye of God.  [Zechariah 2:8, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.’”]

The opposite is true; not only would God curse those who curse the Jews but He also promised to bless those who bless the nation of Israel.  And consequently nations of the earth are evaluated by God, largely based on their treatment of the chosen people, the Hebrew nation and the Hebrew race.  How important this is to understand in our day, with anti-Semitism, irrational hatred for the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which we thought we had dealt with, with the holocaust; we thought with the holocaust we’d seen the end of it.  But how as we have developed in prior sermons that hatred is alive and well, as many even Christian denominations (I can think of two) that are taking positions politically against the nation of Israel.  How important it is for us to under­stand what God says about this nation in this climate of anti-Semitism that we find ourselves in.

And once we  understand the divine purpose for Israel, the protection of Israel, that hopefully is developing within us as we go through this sermon series a proper perspective concerning Israel.  One of it is our attitude towards Israel.  We have talked at length about how Paul, in the book of Romans, chapter 11, verses 17 and following talks specifically about how we, as Gentile Christians, who think about the nation of Israel, Paul explains the metaphor of the olive tree, how natural branches have been pushed out of that olive tree and wild branches have come into the place of those severed branches in the olive tree.  The natural branches broken off are the current Jews in unbelief, having for the most part never recognized Jesus as their Messiah.  And how we are these strange branches that have been grafted in.  And the fact that we have been grafted in because we have trusted by faith in the Messiah that Israel rejected an agricultural miracle has occurred.  God has brought us, non-olive branches that really don’t belong, into the nurturing sap of the covenant that God made with the nation of Israel.  But Paul is also very careful to describe our attitude as unnatural branches.  We’re not to be boastful towards the branches that have been broken off, Paul says.  Romans 11:17 and following.

[Romans 11:17-24, “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, [18] do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. [19] You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in’ [20] Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; [21] for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. [twenty-two] Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. [23] And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. [24] or if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?”]

We’re to be remindful of the fact that it is not we that support the root but the root supports us.  Had God not strategically worked in the past through the nation of Israel the blessings that we enjoy today simply would not exist.   And Paul goes on in Romans 11 and he says you know what?  If God can bring these strange branches into the tree (us), how much easier is it for God to reach out one day and bring the natural branches back into its own tree, which is something that God one day will do, following the rapture of the church in the events surrounding the great Tribulation period.

And the great mistake that Christendom has made is looking at the promises that are unfulfilled regarding the nation of Israel and acting as if God will never fulfill those promises.  The fact of the matter is, God is going to keep every single promise He has ever made to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Yes, He is at work today in the church, but we are not the sum total of God’s work.  The nation of Israel has a future in God.  And how that is a very difficult idea for the Christian mind to wrap itself around, how the Christian church itself over the last 2,000 years, some of our most cherished leaders have been embroiled in some of the most anti-Semitic vitriolic language against the Jewish people, you can imagine, I’ve given you quotes from well-respected Christian leaders last Sunday, in history that have made horrific statements against the Jews.  How out of touch that is with Paul’s whole metaphor of the olive tree and our attitude that we should have towards the Jewish people.

And one of the things I was hoping I’d have a chance to bring up and so I’m going to bring it up now, is the whole subject of deicide; deicide is a concept that Chrysostom, who is known as Golden Throat, Golden Mouth, because of his oratorical skills as a Christian preacher, deicide is an idea that Chrysostom himself in the 4th century developed and it has to do with the killing of God.  We know the word suicide, killing one’s self; homicide, killing another human being, but what is deicide?  Deicide is the killing of God, and Chrysostom, all the way back in the 4th century A.D.  began to accuse the Jews of killing Christ, deicide.  And consequently Chrysostom, to a very large extent, has looked at Israel as the Christ-killers.  After all, how could they be the subject of future divine blessings when they themselves killed Christ?  The charge of deicide!

And with most lies that take root in the minds of people there’s always an element of truth to it.  Yes, the Jews, particularly in the first century, we’ve been covering that this morning in Sunday School, the Jews played a role in the rejection and ultimately the surrender of Jesus Christ to the Romans for execution, but you see, that’s only part of the story.  Let me give you the rest of the story if I could.  I have eight fast points to make here.  Number 1, what about the weeping Jewish remnant?  Are we to assume that every Jew in the first century was eager to rush Jesus off to execution?  That’s not what the Bible teaches at all.  There were mobs and multitudes that embraced Christ amongst the Jewish people.  Certainly not the leadership of the nation but the people.  And this is why the religious leaders of national Israel were so eager to discredit Christ, because of fear of His growing popularity amongst the masses and the rank and file.

In fact, in John 12:19 it says this in Christ’s triumphal entry: “So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him,’”  speaking of His popularity in first century Israel.  Beyond that, who put Christ to death, exactly? When you study the Gospels carefully you learn it was the Herodian dynasty, the Herod’s.  What do we know about the Herodian dynasty.  They were a puppet regime of Rome and they were descendants, not from Israel but their heritage is Edomite.  They were sort of a mixed race and so if you want to blame someone for the execution of Jesus Christ you don’t place the blame squarely on the nation of Israel, certainly they shouldered some of the blame, but the Edomite Herodian half breed dynasty played a monumental role in the execution of Christ.

Beyond that, what about the Roman soldiers?  Don’t they share part of the blame?  In fact, Rome, according to John 18:30-31, had come to power over the land of Israel, really beginning around 63 B.C., and they had taken away from the Jews the right to execute their own criminals which in itself is the fulfillment of prophecy.  Had the Jews executed Christ He would not have been pierced.  And yet the book of Isaiah, chapter 53 and verse 5, Zechariah 12 and verse 10, the prophecies given in advance are very clear that the Messiah must be pierced and thus it was necessary, not for the Jews to kill Messiah but for the Romans to kill Messiah through a grizzly invention that they borrowed from the Assyrians, called crucifixion.

[Isaiah 53:5, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.”   Zechariah 12:10, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”]

Israel could not have killed Messiah; the power of capital punishment had been removed.  The Roman soldiers certainly share part of the blame.  Now notice also Matthew 20:18-19, this is why I wanted  you to open to that passage.  Notice what Jesus says about His executioners and how he would be treated.  He said, toward the end of His ministry, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death,  [19] and will hand Him over to the” who? “the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”

Very clearly Jesus places part of the blame on the chief priests and the scribes; some of them, not even Jewish in nature, but Edomite’s, the Herodian dynasty, but He very clearly places part of the blame on the Gentiles.  Had the Gentiles, the Romans, to put it in modern vernacular, the Italians, not played some sort of role in the execution of Jesus Christ, Jesus would have never died on that cross.  You see, it’s a very lopsided reading of the Bible to blame everything on unbelieving Israel.  That’s not what the Scripture teaches.

And beyond that, if you really want to know who killed Christ look in the mirror because the last time I checked Jesus died for the sins of the what?  Whole world.  John 3:16, you know the verse well, “For God so loved the world the” what? “the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  I killed Christ because of my sin.  You killed Christ because of your sin.  Had the sin problem not universally invaded the human race the death of Jesus Christ would not have happened.  If you want to charge someone with deicide we should charge humanity as a whole.

Beyond that, the Father Himself is responsible for the death of Jesus Christ.  Why is that?  Because the Father understood that the only way for a holy God to maintain His holiness and unconditionally forgive sin is to punish an innocent scapegoat in the place of the guilty.  This is why the book of Isaiah, chapter 53 and verse 10, of Christ’s death, a prophecy given 700 years in advance, says this: “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him,” it doesn’t say the Jews were pleased to crush Him, “the LORD was pleased to crush Him.”  [“But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”]  That’s the only way the atoning substitutionary death of Jesus Christ could have been accomplished.

Beyond that, Christ Himself is partly responsible for His own death.  Why would I say that?  Notice John 10:17-18, Jesus is very clear here.  He says, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it up again.  [18] No one” which would include Jews in Israel, “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Jesus is very clear here that He was not overwhelmed by a race of people and ushered to some sort   of premature grave against His will, He is very clear when He indicates that they would have no authority to do anything to Him had He not first allowed it.  So all of this to say Israel certainly is part of the blame, first century Israel.

Peter said in Acts 2:23, speaking to the Jewish leadership and the Jews of that day, he said you nailed Him, that’s Jesus, to a cross, but then Peter goes on and he says, “this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God….”  Yes, the Jews played a role among the roles of many actors but God used these decisions providentially and sovereignly to orchestrate His master­piece, the payment of the sin debt for the human race.  The proper way of thinking about this is first century Israel is “a” cause but when you look at all of these factors they are not “the” cause.  Many other factors play in; the issue is far more complicated than simply charging the Jews with deicide.  And yet because of the influence of Chrysostom and others following his lead this has been the pattern of thinking amongst Christendom, largely over the last 2,000 years.  And it’s a simple case of reading the Scripture and seeing the complexity of the issue and seeing how many things were involved in the death of Jesus Christ.  And how foolish it is to develop a hard-hearted attitude towards the Jewish people following this charge of deicide.

And so as Paul tells us in Romans 11 we need to watch very carefully what our attitude is towards the Jewish people.  We should not look down with condescension and arrogance upon those that have been (for a time) cut out of the tree.  Last week we saw that your position on Israel is largely a position you take in the angelic conflict.  We know Ephesians 6:12 that “we wrestle not against” what? “flesh and blood,” but rather “against principalities and rulers of this dark world,” to make things as simple as I know how to make them.  [Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” KJV]

When we study the angelic conflict as it is unveiled for us in Revelation 12 and we worked through part of that passage last week, God has an intention to maintain and to keep Israel and to fulfill His covenants through the nation of Israel.  That’s God’s plan.  The devil’s plan, as given by Revelation 12 is the exact opposite; it is to blot out the nation of Israel.  And in fact, Jesus made an interesting statement in Matthew 23:38.  [Matthew 23:28, “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”]

At the end of that chapter He said to the Jews, because you’ll notice in verse 37 he says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” He said to the Jews down in verse 39 “…you will not see Me again until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”  This is not speaking of the rapture; the rapture is a totally different event which concerns the church.  This is God’s program and blueprint for Israel.  God is going to take the nation of Israel and bring them to a point of crisis; in that crisis (that we call the Great Tribulation period) the nation of Israel will acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, then Jesus says I will come back, establish My kingdom, in and through you, and I will rescue you from the wrath of who?  The dragon that Revelation 12 very carefully identifies as the devil.  You see, we quote this verse, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life; what about the other side of that, I don’t know if it’s a verse but it’s a saying, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  Can I give  you the opposite of that?  Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for your life.  Every time God has a plan Satan is out to destroy it.  That’s why we’re told in John 10:10 that, “The thief comes to” what? “steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Anything that’s good in your life that God is bringing forth the devil is out to annihilate, to destroy, to distract.  That’s the nature of Satan; that’s the nature of the angelic conflict.  It’s the same with God’s working with Israel; God’s purpose for Israel is to protect and to promote; Satan’s plan is to abolish and destroy.  That and that alone helps you understand the great anti-Semitism that sometimes works its way into Christianity itself, that manifests itself in horrific events like the holocaust.  These are all out workings, if you will, of the angelic conflict.

And beloved, let me just say something as clearly as I know how to say it; the view you take on Israel is you’re taking a side in the angelic conflict; you have to decide which side of the ledger you want to be on, knowing both the ultimate goal of God and the ultimate goal of the devil.

When I began to understand this I became one of the most pro-Israel people on planet earth.  I don’t agree with every jot and tittle that the nation of Israel does any more than God did.  Read the Old Testament, you’ll see God disagreeing with His people many times.  But at the same time in my heart of hearts I understand that there’s a spiritual war happening.  God is at work in and through Israel, in spite of their imperfections and the devil is at work to annihilate and to eradicate.  What side of the ledger do you want to be on?  When you adopt a theology what side of the ledger do you want to be on, because there’s a whole theological system out there that will allow you to cut Israel completely out of the equation.  When you go to vote, who do you vote for?  When you vote for somebody are you thinking about this issue, because God sure has a great deal in His Word to say about it.

And people ask all of the time, how can you support a nation that’s in an apostate condition?  The answer to that is they may be in an apostate condition today but prophetically that is not the end game.  Many, many passages document this, like Ezekiel 36:24-28, which of the Jews God says I will take you from the nations and gather you from the lands and bring you into your own land.

[Ezekiel 36:24-28, “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.  [25] Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. [26] Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. [27] I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. [28] You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.”]

You say well, Pastor, what does that mean?  Here’s what it means: God is going to take the Jews from the land and regather them into their own land.  There’s no need to rewrite this.  Then in verse 25 it says, “Then” there’s a sequence, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;” first is their physical regathering in unbelief, next comes their spiritual regeneration.  Of course the nation of Israel today is an apostate nation in unbelief but prophetically the Bible tells us over and over and over again this is not the end result; this is just the beginning, the first fruits, if you will, of greater things to come.  That’s why in the illustration in Ezekiel 37, when Ezekiel sees the skeleton forming so that it develops over the skeletal assembly sinews and muscles and it forms what looks like is a man and God says to Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 37:11, “these bones” are the church on the day of Pentecost?  NO, it doesn’t say that, does it. “These bones” represent Sugar Land Bible Church?  It doesn’t say that.  “These bones” represent the United States of America, it doesn’t say that either.  It’s very clear, Ezekiel 37:11, “these bones are the whole house of Israel.”

And so a skeleton comes together and only after that skeleton and muscular system develops, then (notice the sequence) does breath enter the body.  In fact, this passage very clearly says that there was no breath in them.  Verse 10, “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life….”     We pointed out last time, in Zechariah 12:10 that  prior to the Spirit being poured out on the whole house of Israel, Israel is inhabiting Jerusalem.  Zechariah 12:10 says, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of” what? “Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace… how did they get into Jerusalem? How did they get into Jerusalem before the Spirit of God is poured out on them?  God regathered them.

See, these are all factors or ingredients or details that you should think about when you read about the nation of Israel in the newspaper, when you hear debates about the nation of Israel.  I wonder, many times, if we’re thinking the way God would have us to think.

One of the things that I embrace, I got this from Dr. Randall Price, the two regathering’s of Israel, because people all of the time were telling me you can’t believe that the current regathering of the Jews has anything to do with God because they were in unbelief.  As a matter of fact, in the Dallas area Anne and I were in a church and they had a missionary speaker and this individual got up into the pulpit, in front of the whole congregation and he said essentially this: the regathering of the Jews today is not a work of God.  This speaker went on and he called the regathering of the Jews today a work of Ishmael, not Isaac.  Now when you understand your Bible and you understand how Ishmael came forth, you understand that Ishmael is the product of human manipulation and works.  Isaac is the product of faith.  When this individual said that the current state of the Jews today in the Middle East is a work of Ishmael I said to my wife, we’re leaving this church, this is the last time we come back.  And once the sermon was over we made a beeline for the door, even though we were heavily involved in this congregation, and we left and we never looked back.   Why is that?  Because of Genesis 12:3, that’s why.  “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.”

I can put up with a lot; believe it or not I’m a fairly tolerant person.  I can put up with differences of worship style, I can put up with some minor theological differences.  What I cannot put up with is a congregation that will stand up and curse the state of Israel.  That’s just too far for me.  That is my breaking point.  And I think that way largely because of what the Scripture reveals. She has returned to part of the land and the second regathering is at the end of the Tribulation, she will return to all of the land.  The first regathering is a return in unbelief; the second regathering is a return in faith.  In the first regathering, which has started, it’s undeniable, it started May 14, 1948 with the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, and God had been preparing the nation all of these years for this return.

It’s said that World War I prepared the land for the people.  World War II prepared the people for the land.  You see, it was in World War I, I’ll talk about it in just a little bit, with certain international agreements that that territory was carved out for this nation to return to.  The problem is the nation itself didn’t see its need to get back into the land.  Well, Adolf Hitler with the final solution rectified that issue and the Jews, some of them perhaps for the very first time concluded that no matter where we go we will always be under the thumb of persecution, under the threat of extinction and elimination.  We have got to become Zionists in our thinking; we have to go back to a place where we’re going to be safe and protected.  World War I prepared the land for the people.  World War II prepared the people for the land.  It’s all the sovereign hand of God setting the stage for His end time plan.  In the present regathering she is being prepared for a time of discipline, the great tribulation but once she is converted at the end of the tribulation she is being prepared for millennial blessing.

But what I want you to see is the first column is just as much a work of God as the second column.  At the bottom of my heart I reject, completely, this idea that God has nothing to do with the modern state of Israel.  In fact, I may have read this last week, I don’t remember so bear with me if I’m repeating myself, but in a conversation on religious questions, Frederick II, King of Prussia, around 1740-1786 asked Joachim von Zieton, General of the Hussars, whom he esteemed highly as a Christian for his uncompromised views, give me proof for the truth of the Bible in two words, to which Zieton replied, “Your Majesty,” here come the two words, you ready? “the Jews.”

There is no doubt in my mind that the Bible is the Word of God because of its prophecies about the Jews.  Sociologists tell us that when a nation is removed from its land within a few generations as that nation is in the diaspora they just assimilate into host cultures.  Not so the Jews.  Is it not interesting that the nation is out of its land, beginning in A.D. 70 and they go back into that same land 2,000 years later, with the Hebrew language intact, their religion intact, and all of these host cultures that we read about in the Bible, all the “ites,” the Amalekites, the Jebusites, how many Amalekites do you know?  They’ve all passed into history but the Jews remain.  That, in and of itself is the authenticating stamp that God has placed on the Bible that the Bible is the Word of God.  When  you look at a tiny nation fighting for its very existence in the Middle East, the Hebrew flag flying, The Jerusalem Post being written in Hebrew, you are seeing a modern day miracle of God.  When you vote or when you adopt a theology are you thinking this way, because this is the way that God thinks.

Thus Paul says from the standpoint of the gospel they, that’s the Jews, are your enemies, they’re the ones persecuting, they are the ones who are coming against the gospel, but from the standpoint of the patriarchs (that’s the unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham), from the standpoint of the patriarchs they are beloved.  Do you look at a Christ-rejecting Jew that way or are you filled with thoughts of deicide, Chris-killers, troublemakers.  That’s not how God thinks; that’s not how Paul instructs us to think.

So attitude, angelic conflict, embracing Israel in spite of her apostate condition, what about some practical reasons?  Are there some actual practical reasons to support the nation of Israel?  Yes there are.  Israel is surrounded by twenty-two neighbors.  Israel, by contrast, is a singular nation.  These twenty-two neighbors are 640 times the size of Israel.  By contrast, the tiny nation of Israel is about 1/19th the size of California.  If you want a state in our union that is about the size of Israel you would look at a little tiny state like Vermont, or New Jersey.

Why am I bringing this up?  Because as you watch the media they have a strategy; I like to call it transforming David into Goliath.  Israel is the imperialist nation; Israel is causing trouble all over the world.  In fact, the BDS movement, which I mentioned last week, which stands for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions which coincidentally is highly connected with the movement Black Lives Matter, not that black lives don’t matter, the last time I checked all lives matter, but there’s a connection between that movement and there’s a connection with BDS because of this link of (they think) of oppression.  Just as America is some sort of oppressor around the world the nation of Israel has gained power over there and they are oppressing the Palestinians.  And so when you watch the news, when you hear reports of it you get this idea that Israel is some sort of Goliath, some sort of bully, some sort of troublemaker on the earth.  Are you kidding me?  How could they be a troublemaker when they’re neighbors are 640 times their size?

Beyond that, the other nations surrounding Israel have a population of about 250,000,000, connected intimately I might add, with 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide.  Look at Israel’s population by way of comparison, a population of 13 million.  And by the way, that number, 13 million should be more like 20 million, but Hitler, with his final solution, cut down the number quite a bit, did he not.

And as you look at these twenty-two nations surrounding the nation of Israel what are we dealing with here?  What form of government are they operating under?  These are dictatorships.  These are some of the most rogue blood-thirsty governments on planet earth.  And yet what is Israel by way of comparison?  A democracy, an oasis of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, an oasis of western values in a sea of totalitarianism.  And then you look at the subject of wealth; these twenty-two neighbors control most of the world’s oil supply.  Israel may be sitting on some potential oil discoveries but her wealth in comparison is so miniscule with this issue of black gold, oil, which is  so necessary for the functioning of the global economy.  That’s why we’re seeing the nations of the earth constantly turning against Israel; the issue is oil, the issue is money, not thinking the way God thinks.

The dissimilarities continue.  Israel desires peace with her neighbors.  How about these twenty-two nations, what kind of peace are they desiring?  Very limited except for maybe the possibility of Egypt and Jordan, which entered into treaties with Israel, but most would say even those treaties were highly suspicious in nature.  They really didn’t mean what they said.

What about religious freedom.  If I were going to go start a church in Saudi Arabia or Iran, for example, or Iraq, how would I be received?  Well, we know the answer to that, don’t we?  I’d most likely be killed, and yet in the nation of Israel Christianity is growing.  In fact, it’s the only place in the entire Middle East where Christianity is experiencing any kind of growth at all.  And these twenty-two nations, what’s their Holy Book?  What do they follow?  They follow the Qur’an.  What does the Qur’an call for?  Have you ever read it?  It calls for worldwide submission under Sharia Law, something called Caliphate.  It is governing the entire planet, if they had their way they would do it right here in the United States of America, some would argue they are trying to do it as I speak.  It is toppling the free western economies and governments and democracies of the world and imposing Sharia Law worldwide.

Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t write this, I’m just delivering the news here.  And what, by contrast, is the Holy Book that the nation of Israel is following?  The Torah, which promises the Jewish people what?  Worldwide submission?  NO, it promises a very small allotment of land from the Euphrates to the Tigris in comparison to those giant nations.  And yet these twenty-two nations essentially believe that the nation of Israel is their holy site and it belongs to them.

Can I ask you a simple question?  How many times is the word “Jerusalem” found in the Qur’an?  Zero.  In fact, the closest they’ve ever been able to come up with is Qur’an Surah which means chapter 17.1; it makes a reference there to a remote mosque, and they say that’s Jerusalem.  The word “Jerusalem” is not even there, and yet they’re arguing that they have a right to Jerusalem because of this remote reference to a remote mosque.  Compare that to Torah! Compare that to Hebrew Bible that we call the Old Testament where the name Jerusalem, if you factor in the name Zion, which is a synonym for Jerusalem, is used a thousand times, whether it’s your holy book, religious freedom, the ambition for peaceful coexistence, wealth, the type of government, population size, number of nations, it becomes so obvious that just by practical reasons, putting our theology aside even just for a moment it makes sense, does it not, to stand by and to support the nation of Israel.

Let me tell you something about Islamic thought.  Israel is the Little Satan in Islamic thought.  You know what the Great Satan is, don’t you?  It’s the United States of America.  Everything that is happening today in the Middle East to the Jewish people, through attacks and suicide bombers and speeches about how we’re going to drive you into the sea, that is exactly what that same mindset wants to do here to the Great Satan, it’s just a matter of time in their thinking before the Little Satan topples and then we’ll really go to war with the Great Satan.

See those green areas there?  Those are those twenty-two nations I’ve been describing.  Those are Islamically controlled nations and you see that, your eyes have to be good to see it; in fact, I had to put a big red circle around it so we could even make it out.  That little tiny dot, it almost looks like a postage stamp on an envelope it’s so tiny, that’s the nation of Israel.  And yet what is the world community saying over and over and over again?  If Israel just gave up a little more we’d be happy.  And because Americans hear that through the repetition of media over and over and over and over again they have in their mind some sort of idea that Israel is the bully, Israel is the Imperial power, Israel is the aggressor.  A simple geography lesson shows that nothing, NOTHING can be further from the truth.

What’s the name of the game today?  It’s land for peace.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, if Israel chisels off a little bit of land that she gained in the 67 war, flippantly called the West Bank, which is a word I don’t think we ought to be using or a term we ought to be using as evangelicals.  When you say West Bank you’re buying into the Jordanian point of view.  Words mean things.  We don’t call that the West Bank, we call it Judea and Samaria.  And by the way, we don’t call the Gaza Strip the Gaza Strip; we call it Philistia.  If Israel just gives up a little bit more in these areas then we as the world community will be happy—land for peace.

Can I let you in on a secret here?  It doesn’t matter how much Israel gives up, these nations will not be happy as long as there’s an Israel, period.  They can chisel apart this part, or that part, and give it up and let me tell you something about Islamic eschatology; it feeds into a triumphalism where when Israel acquiesces they see themselves as winning, Caliphate is happening; the Eschaton has begun, which feeds the appetite for greater and greater and greater oppression against the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.

And how the western mind, without understanding this great conflict between Islam and Judaism, how little the western mind understands when they look at this situation and they look it as a real estate deal.  In fact, one of the major candidates for President, I won’t mention who it is, says this is the ultimate real estate deal; what a silly and arrogant and ignorant point of view.  This is not a real estate deal, this is a spiritual conflict, a conflict between two theologies and ideologies.  And unless you understand those theologies and ideologies you cannot look like this as a casino deal or a gambling arrangement.  This is an intense spiritual conflict; this is part of the angelic conflict.

Do you think like this when you vote for somebody?  Does this factor in?  Because God, I’m telling us, has a great deal to say about it.  To Islamic thought if Islam has ruled over a territory ever then that territory belongs to Islam, it belongs to Allah, and any nation that exists on that territory is a usurper and it’s very existence is showing disrespect to Allah.  As long as there’s an Israel in existence at all, it doesn’t matter how big it is, it doesn’t matter how small it is, the twenty-two nations that are Islamically controlled, surrounding the nation of Israel, will never be satisfied.  The Palestine Liberation Organization, what is that?  Palestine Liberation Organization, what are they trying to liberate Palestine of?  It’s an organization designed to liberate Palestine of Israel.

By the way, that name, “Palestine,” where does that come from?  That comes from the Emperor Hadrian who, after Israel had been pushed out of that land in A.D. 70 renamed that whole territory.  He wanted to de-Judaize that area; he developed a name for it called Palestine connected to the root word Philistine.  Who were the Philistines?  Ancient enemies of Israel.  When Hadrian renamed that area to humiliate the Jewish people and to de-Judaize that land and to pretend like the nation of Israel was never there he developed this expression Palestine.  So when a Christian uses the word “Palestine” they are  using an anti-Semitic slur without even realizing it.  In fact, even in some of our study Bibles it talks about God’s covenant with the Jews as the Palestinian Covenant.  What a bunch of nonsense.  The Bible doesn’t know the word “Palestine.”  The word Palestine comes from anti-Judaistic thought, Hadrian is responsible for that.  If you want the proper name for that area of the world you call it Canaan, as the Old Testament calls it; the Promised Land as the Old Testament calls it, or if you don’t like those names use the name Jesus gave to it in Matthew 2, the land of Israel.  That’s how we refer to this part of the world.

And lo and behold, comes along this Palestine Liberation Organization, sometimes known by the designation, PLO, and you listen to the Palestine Liberation Organization and what they say is this: If Israel just goes back to the pre-1967 borders when they gained Judea and Samaria then we’ll be happy.  There’s a little problem with that, folks.  The Palestine Liberation Organization was not founded post 1967, it was founded in 1964.  It was founded a full three years before Israel ever gained Judea and Samaria, what we call the West Bank.  What were they trying to liberate in 1964?  Not these extended territories, they were trying to liberate Palestine and trying to eliminate the nation of Israel in its totality.

We need to be on the ball with this, folks; we need to understand what is happening.  In the year 2000 Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak offered to withdraw from 90% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip.   At the time it was happening I knew it was a mistake but this was the offer that was placed on the table.  In fact, in this particular deal the Palestinians would maintain control over the holy places and have religious sovereignty over the Temple Mount.  And every major President towards the end of their administrations, we’re getting near the end of the Obama administration, they’re going to go the exact same route, they do this game where they’re trying to get concessions from Israel because they all want to be known as the President who brokers the art of the deal and have their name in the history books.

This is what was happening at the end of the Clinton administration.  This was the deal on the table that Ahud Barak, the Prime Minister of Israel, offered.   There’s just one little catch; Arafat was expected to agree that the conflict with Israel was over, we’re going to give up this, we’re going to give up that, we’re going to give up that, it’s an unprecedented deal; we just want you, if you could sir, erase your eradication of Israel as one of your goals in your stated charters; we want you to acknowledge that Israel has a right to exist and we want cessation of conflict and we want a two-state solution and we want permanent peace in the Middle East.  You know the end of the story?  Arafat walked, an unprecedented deal right there on the table and he walked away.  Why would he walk away?  It’s pretty simple; his goal was never to permanently acknowledge the state of Israel in some form or substance; he wanted freedom to get involved with what is called the Intifada, if I’m pronouncing that right, which is perpetual war against Israel, which began September of 2000.  He never wanted a permanent solution, he wanted the disappearance of Israel.  That is Islamic thought.

And then Israel, in 2005, does something unprecedented; they give up this little strip of land there off the Mediterranean Sea in the land of Israel, called the Gaza Strip, he can have the whole Gaza Strip; land for peace, right.  What do these people do once they get political control of that area?  They elect somebody to rule over them.  Do you know who they elected to rule over them?  Hamas!  Who is Hamas?  A terrorist organization.  Why is it that you’re giving land in exchange for peace and the first time you’re given an opportunity to vote in an election you vote for Hamas to rule over you, which is an organization dedicated to the destruction of the nation of Israel.  And what do they start to from Gaza Strip, this Hamas controlled government?  Launching missiles and rockets into Israeli territory.  You may have heard of the tunnels, the death tunnels, the terrorist tunnels tunneled under­neath to allow entrance into the land of Israel to expedite terrorist activity.

I like the way Benjamin Netanyahu puts it; “If the Arabs put down their weapons today there would be no more violence.  If the Jews put down their weapons today there would be no more Israel.”  Are we looking at this through the right lens?  What we’re told over and over again is Israel is involved in occupied territory.  People hear that constantly over the news, “occupied territory” which in their minds communicates the whole issue of illegality.  I mean, if this territory is occupied Israel must be doing something illegal, right?  That’s what your average American thinks, that’s what your average Christian thinks.

I want to introduce you to two scholars, the first is Joan Peters, she wrote a book, it’s a few decades old now, it’s called From Time Immemorial, where she, as an anti-Israel liberal bought into that whole Palestinian narrative and she went to the land of Israel to prove it.  The problem is the more she dug around in the facts the more the facts didn’t line up, and she switched her view and wrote an entire book about this called From Time Immemorial.  I would encourage you to get that book and start reading it if you’re interested in this; it’s not the easiest read in the world but she documents that Israel is doing illegally nothing.

The second gentleman on the screen that I’ve heard speak live on a couple of occasions is Canadian lawyer Jock Paul Gutia, he recently finished a twenty year project; he worked on a dissertation at the University of Geneva Political Science Department in international law twenty years.  His readers to his dissertation, I know a little something about this having written a dissertation myself, made his life a living hell.  They made him cite and footnote and quote everything with exactitude and verbatim.  If there’s ever a guy that had to get his ducks in a row this was it.  And yet when I’ve listened to him lecture he says that was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me because what has been produced is a dissertation that demonstrates unequivocally that Israel is doing nothing illegal.  There is no international law that Israel is violating; everything is legal going back to World War I and what’s called the San Remo Conferences and other things.  This issue of occupied territories illegality that people think Israel must be doing something wrong, breaking some kind of law… they are breaking no such thing.  His thesis was completed in 2007.

But Andy, isn’t it true that Israel went into a land which was a thriving population, didn’t they not dispossess the people of that land?  Did they not take over that thriving population?  And the answer is that is false.  I want to quote Mark Twain but back to Gutia just for a minute.  Here’s his conclusion: You can think whatever you want about Israel, you can agree with it, you can disagree with it but here’s what you can’t say:   You cannot say that Israel is doing anything illegal.

Mark Twain, in his book, Innocence Abroad, 1867, traveled to the land of Israel, the very area of the world where most of the Bible stories took place and he wrote about it two years later in his book The Innocence Abroad, and this is what Mark Twain says of that land: ““… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. there was hardly a tree or shrub anywhere.”  In fact at one time he encountered a goat and he says this must be the kind of goat that can eat a rock because that’s all that’s around here.  “Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”  [Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, Complete, 1st ed. (A Public Domain Book, 1869), 267, 285, 302. These quotes can be found in chapters 47, 49, 52.]

There was nothing there but a barren mournful expanse.  There was no thriving Palestinian civilization that the Jews came and stole; that is propaganda; that’s what people think because they really haven’t done a lot of research into the area and oh what that land has become as it moved into Jewish jurisdiction.  Israel, by working the land the way it should be worked, has produced a gross domestic product that is higher than any of its neighbors.  In fact, you want a book on this?  The Start Up Nation is the name of the book, documenting the technological and agricultural innovations that have come forth from the state of Israel after they went back into a land that was barren, and how the world’s economy, many of the technological gizmos that we’re used to come to the world community from the nation of Israel..  [What’s Next for The Start Up Nation?: A Blueprint For Sustainable Innovation, Paperback—July 27, 2012, by Uni Goldberg]

And you start seeing things like this and you start to see the hand of God in it.  Why would I see the hand of God in that?  Because Leviticus 26:32, God says this: “I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it.”  That’s what Mark Twain saw in 1867.

But the prophecies don’t end there.  In Ezekiel 36:34-35 it predicts this: “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. [35] They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’”

Are you telling me that God is not fulfilling His prophetic word today as we speak?  Of course He is, and it’s so frustrating to go into the average evangelical church and hear nothing about this.  We’re too busy talking about five ways to make  your life better or whatever.  And God is doing perhaps one of His greatest miracles in our midst and we’re too busy to think, to contemplate, to consider.  And yet what does the rest of the Bible say?

Ezekiel 37:7 says, “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; [and the bones came together, bone to its bone.”]  When this comes back together, as Israel is brought back in unbelief it is going to be clamorous, noisy, and rattling.  Would you not say that’s happening?  Almost every newspaper article, almost every United Nations declaration has something to do with this issue.

Zechariah 12:2, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples….” Verse 3, Jerusalem will become a heavy stone for all the nations.  [2, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.  [3] It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”]

The Jews will go back, the land will be productive, God will use it to set up His end time program but it will be a source of consternation to the nations.  What is everybody trying to figure out today in the world community?  What are they thinking about?  Why does the  United Nations meet?  They’re all trying to figure out what we’re going to do with Jerusalem and the nation of Israel.  This is what Zechariah said would happen 500 years before Jesus ever showed up to give you the time frame.  And yet the nations would see this and they would become enraged at Israel.  Zechariah 12:3 says, “all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”  “All” means all folks!  That would include the late great United States of America, wouldn’t it.

Zechariah 14:2 again says, “…all the nations” will come “against Jerusalem” and they would put pressure on this nation to cede territory in exchange for the illusory promise of peace.  [Zechariah 14:2, “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.”]

And the prophet Joel says if that happens in your generation you’d better watch out, you’d better have your bags packed because this is what Joel 3:2 says, “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations;” look at this last line here, “And they have divided up My land.”  This is a prophecy about Armageddon.  This is a prophecy about the judgment of God coming to this earth.

Did you ever ask  yourself a question?  Why is God going to judge this world one day?  Is it homosexuality?  Is it lack of prayer in schools?  I think all those may factor in but the prophet Joel says what will incur the wrath of God is the deliberate division of the land.  What is the whole world community demanding today?  The land be divided.  You say well land schman; I mean, Andy, you’re so land focused, we’re in the church age now, what matters is the spiritual things, not land, God doesn’t care about land.  Leviticus 25:23 says something different.  God says this: “the land is mine.”  [Leviticus 25:23, “The land moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”]

I’m not asking you to think in terms of what’s popular.  I’m asking you to think the way God thinks.  God made a covenant with the patriarch, Abraham; He plotted out a specific plot of real estate and God said that land belongs to Me, I don’t care what your party is, who you vote for, what your theology is, the land belongs to Me.  You say well, does God really care about land? Deuteronomy 11:12 says “a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.”  When God looks at the land of Israel His eyes are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  This is not my opinion, this is what God says.

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate for office, do you want my vote?  I want to know what you think about the land of Israel because that largely dictates, I believe, our future as a country.  We’ve looked at the purpose for Israel, the diving protection for Israel, and hopefully I’ve given us proper perspective concerning Israel.

Of course, one of these days the Lord wants  you, as His child, to live in that land with Him, where He will rule the world with you by His side in what’s called the Millennial kingdom.  You say great, how can I get there?  You don’t to book a flight to the Middle East, you just need to fill a single condition, which is to accept, by faith, to trust by faith in the Jewish Messiah.  Once that happens and you fulfill that condition then you are given the promise of Revelation 5:10 where you are incorporated into a kingdom of priests and you will rule and reign with Him over the earth.  [Revelation 5:10, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”]  And He asks for something so little to receive this, which is to receive it as a gift, by faith.  Have you done that?  Have you been, as we talked about today, grafted in?  If the Spirit is convicting you of your need to do that the Bible says today is the day of salvation; respond in the privacy of your own heart the best you know how, without raising a hand, walking an aisle, giving money, pledging to join a church, you just respond in the heart of your heart in a moment of privacy to this free offer of salvation and you trust in that.  And that’s what brings you in to your glorious future and inheritance.

Shall we pray.  Father, I am convicted as I was putting this together how little we think the way You think.  I do pray Lord that in this series You will use it to fortify our thinking as we adopt theology and represent You in the polling place.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said….  Amen.