The Bible and Voting – Part 9

The Bible and Voting – Part 9
Proverbs 14:34 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 4, 2016 • The Bible and Voting 2016


Andy Woods


September 4, 2016 The Bible and Voting, Part 9

Should Christians and Americans Support the Modern State of Israel?

Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the book of Genesis, chapter 12, and verse 3.  The title of our message this morning is The Bible and Voting, Part 9; these parts are getting kind of generic so let me give you another title you might like better.  Should Christians and Americans support the modern state of Israel?  Yes.  Let’s close in prayer… no.  Should Christians and Americans Support the Modern State of Israel?  And that’s a subject  you’re not going to get the same answer on, depending on what kind of church you’re in.  Even as I speak there are actually, I can think of two, mainline Christian denominations that are not only not supporting the modern state of Israel but they’re actually boycotting formally Israeli products, an economic boycott by Christians against the state of Israel.  And so given the confusion within Christianity and given the confusion about this in our culture I want to address this issue this morning and I’ve got so much material it’ll probably bleed into next week.

Coincidentally there’s a lot of stuff going on here at the church but let me throw something else at  you, a conference I mentioned last week called Israel Today, Understanding Critical Issues; it’s all about the nation of Israel, there should be a flyer on the name tag table on your way out; it’s a free conference hosted at West Houston Bible Church which is about 20 minutes from here and they do streaming and archiving so if you can’t make it in person.  I’m going to be speaking there Friday evening on the subject of Israel, so it’s something I want to draw your attention to, in addition to all the other things we’ve got going on; I think we have a men’s group on Saturday morning and other things.  So a lot of options to choose from and a lot of ways to be edified in the things of God.

Should Bible-believing Christians and Americans support the modern state of Israel?  We have been working our way through a study through a series of studies that I really didn’t think would take this long; I thought this would be one sermon, believe it or not.  But we started this on Independence Day weekend and it’s all about the subject of voting; it’s not to corral you for one candidate or the other, or one party or the other.  That’s not the point.  It’s to go through the Scripture and let the Scripture speak on volatile political issues of the day, as a means of equipping you, not just for this election but any election, and not just a Presidential election but Senate elections, House elections, State elections, Federal elections, local elections.  God has spoken on these subjects and the issue is when we vote are we thinking the way God does?  So the goal of this series is really to orient our thinking and to help us understand that the Bible has a lot to say, not just about how to get to heaven (as important as that is) but it actually comments on every of life including the political realm.

So we’ve looked at economic issues and there are several of them that we went through.  We’ve also spent some time on social issues and there are several of those we went through.  And the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at foreign affairs.  What are foreign affairs?  Foreign affairs is our relationship with other countries.  We’ve seen, for example, that the Bible does not favor one-world government unless Jesus is running it, amen!  We have also seen last week the biblical case for borders enforcement; the Bible actually deals with that.  And perhaps one of the issues, this may even be the most important issue that we cover, is a candidate’s attitude towards the Jewish people in general but the modern state of Israel in particular.

You mean to tell me, pastor, that that tiny nation off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle East has some kind of bearing on the United States of America?  I want to show you today and probably next week that it has more to do with the destiny of our nation than perhaps any other single issue.  One of the most important things to understand about anybody is what do they think about the nation of Israel?  Do  they think the way God thinks, because God, as I’ll be showing you today, thinks about that nation and the Jewish people in a very specific way.

So our outline has three parts today: Number 1, the divine purpose for Israel.  Number 2, the divine protection of Israel.  And then number 3, which we may not get to today, the power of your voice concerning Israel.  So if you like the alliteration beginning with the letter “P” we have: Purpose, Protection, and Power.

Let’s start here at the beginning.  What is the divine purpose for the nation of Israel?  Why did God call the nation of Israel into existence?  That story begins in Genesis 12.  In fact, let me take that back, it doesn’t begin in Genesis 12, it begins in Genesis 11.  Genesis 11 is the explanation of why God raised up this tiny nation in Genesis 12.  To understand Genesis 12 you have to understand Genesis 11.  Now for the last two Sundays I’ve read through the verses talking about the great one-world project called the tower of Babel, how the nations, in fact, there weren’t nations there was just one language at this time, the peoples of the earth were coming together to build what some have called a New World Order, which is a one-world system of economics, politics and religion that excludes God’s viewpoint on life.

We saw that this building project was coming together in the land of Shinar which is that area between the rivers, in Greek called Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and the Tigris, Genesis 11:2 explains that this was coming together in that location.  [Genesis 11:2, “It came about as they journeyed east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.”]  And then Genesis 11:1 says this:  “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.”  When this project was coming together and before God confounded the progress of the workers through the confusion of the language there were no different language speaking groups, there were no different ethnicities, there weren’t even different cultures, as we have them today, there weren’t even different nations.

So the thing to understand about the tower of Babel is that the sin that took place here was replicated throughout the world because everybody took with them into their own people group a fragment, if you will, of the religious system of the tower of Babel.  It’s sort of like taking a stone and casting it into a calm lake and you’ll notice that when the stone hits that lake the wake reverberates outward in a circle and goes outward in every direction.  That, in essence, is what happened at the tower of Babel.  The sin that was happening at the tower of Babel was exported into every culture.

Now what was the sin that was happening at the tower of Babel? It was something called the mother-child cult.  You get this, primarily from the book The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, considered a classic.  Hislop, through his study of that Babylonian tradition explains what was happening at the tower of Babel.  There was a man named Nimrod, who is mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 10:8-10; he was the leader of this one-world project.  [Genesis 10:8-10, “Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. [9] He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” [10] The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.]

He was married to a woman named Semiramis, who is not mentioned in the Bible but is mentioned in Babylonian tradition.  And the two of them, Nimrod and Semiramis, had a child whose name was Tammuz.  Tammuz, according to Babylonian tradition was killed by a wild animal and was miraculously brought back to life, not through divine power but through satanic power, similar to how the antichrist himself, Revelation 13 tells us, will die and miraculously be brought back to life for the whole world to see.

And once this satanic miracle happened people started to worship the mother and the child; they began to worship Semiramis and Tammuz, in other words.  And this became known as the mother-child cult or religious system that was commonly practiced at the tower of Babel.  And so when God confused the language so that they could not cooperate with each other and everyone separated into their own people group, they took with them a little bit of the tower of Babel into every culture.

And this is why Alexander Hislop explains that no matter what culture you get into there are remnants of, vestiges of, remembrances of the mother-child system, it’s just the names are changed from group to group.  In Assyria, for example, the mother is called Ishtar, the child, Tammuz.  In Phoenicia the mother is Astarte, the child is Baal.  In Egypt the mother is Isis, the child is either Osirus or Horus.  In Greece the mother is Aphrodite, the child is Eros.  In Rome the mother is Venus, the child is Cupid.  In Asia the mother is Cybele, the child is Desius.  In India the mother is Isi, the child is Iswara.  No matter where you go, Hislop says, it’s the same; in the archeological remnants of any civilization you can find this mother-child worship system.

Now you say what’s the point?  The point is every nation of the earth, since they all owe their origins to the tower of Babel, has been contaminated by idolatry.  Every nation of the earth has been contaminated by this Nimrod/Semiramis/Tammuz worship system, regardless of what name it goes under.  The incident at the tower of Babel, therefore, had a universal effect everywhere, in every culture and every nation.

Now this, in a sense, creates a problem for God because God, all the way back in Genesis 3:15, right after the fall of man, announced the plan of salvation in a prophecy sometimes called the protoevangelium, which simply means first gospel.  Genesis 3:15, God announces this to the serpent right after the sin of Adam and Eve.  God says to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman,” the woman being Eve, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”  And right then and there the world and the devil himself is put on notice that there’s coming one into the world through the lineage of Eve, the woman, who will one day deal a death blow to Satan by crushing his head.  Satan, along the way, will wage great warfare but when all is said and done the serpent’s head will be crushed by this coming One, and we know who that coming One is from the New Testament; it’s a prophecy of none other than Jesus Christ.

So God has announced what He is going to do.  Now here is the problem as far as God is concerned: I can’t use, God says, Assyria, or Phoenicia or Egypt or Greece or any other country to bring forth this Messiah because they all have been tainted by idolatry thanks to the universal impact at the tower of Babel.  So what does God do?  God creates something unique.  God creates something special, and what is that special thing?  It is a nation that was established after all of these things happened because what I am describing here is in Genesis 11.  The formation of Israel begins in Genesis 12.  Israel is the only country that has ever existed, it is the only people group that has ever existed that was started independently of the mother/child system at the tower of Babel.

And it is going to be through this nation, later called Israel, that God is going to bring forth and fulfill the promise of Genesis 3:15.  [Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”]  And so consequently God is called in the Bible the creator of Israel; it’s the only nation that has ever existed that has come forth through the direct creative activity of God.  Isaiah 43:1 puts it this way, “But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel….”  Isaiah 43:15, God says, “I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.”

Just as God created in Genesis 1 something out of nothing, God, in a sense, and it’s almost the same Hebrew word for create as used in Genesis 1 that are used in those passages that I just read, God did a work of supernatural creativity and He created the nation of Israel for the purpose of exporting His Messianic blessings to the world.  This is why God is not using, as His instrument, any of these other nations that have all been corrupted and owe their origin to the tower of Babel.  He is using a nation created after the tower of Babel, Genesis 12, independent of the tower of Babel, Genesis 12.

And thus the genealogies of early Genesis are so careful to connect the dots for us.  We have the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 of the protoevangelium, and then the line is carefully traced from Adam and Eve, right down to Noah, Genesis 5.  Then there is something called the angelic eruption, Genesis 6, which I believe (to make a long story short) is trying to contaminate the genetics of the human race so that a Messiah, who must be fully man, can never be born.  That’s what’s happening as these angels in Genesis 6 are procreating with human women creating a race of people that Genesis 6:4 calls the Nephilim, which simply means the fallen one.  [Genesis 6:4, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”]

Satan is seeking to lock the human race into a permanent state of fallenness by creating a race of people that aren’t fully human, because the Messiah must be fully God and fully what? Man.  In fact, back in Genesis 3:15 God specifically said that this Messiah will be the seed of the woman, humanity in other words.  [Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”]  Satan knows that and is trying to disrupt it in Genesis 6.

So Noah is protected from that; that’s why he’s called unblemished, Genesis 6:9.  He and his family, eight total in the ark, are tucked safely and securely in the ark, Genesis 7:1.   [“Genesis 6:9, “These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”  Genesis 7:1, “Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.’”]

The world is destroyed by a flood; the Nephilim are wiped out, Satan’s project of tampering with the gene pools of the human race is brought to an end and God safely brings, from the old world into the new world this man and his family who had been genetically unaltered, named Noah.  We know that Noah had three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth, and we learn from Genesis 9:26 that of those three lines it will be from the lineage of Shem that the Messiah will come.  [Genesis 9:26, “He also said, ‘Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.’”]

And thus we come to the genealogy of Genesis 11 which carefully traces the genealogy from Noah’s son, Shem, all the way to Terah; Terah, of course, being Abraham’s father.  And what the early chapters of Genesis is simply showing is this: God is working in history to preserve a line leading to Abraham. Abraham, whose name at that time was Abram, becomes very significant because he is going to be the father or the progenitor of the Hebrew nation.  Through the Hebrew nation God is going to bring forth His Messianic promises to planet earth, and thus God calls this man in Genesis 12 Abram, who was, like everyone else of that day, an idolater, a pagan.

And God begins to supernaturally reveal Himself to this man, Abram; He tells him to walk by faith and to trust Me, and I’m going to take you to a land that you know nothing about.  And thus the walk of Abram, who later is renamed to Abraham, is carefully documented for us in the pages of God’s Word and it becomes quite important because God is going to channel Genesis 3:15 to the world through this nation or this race that will come forth from this man, Abram.  [Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”]

And in the process God begins to unfold to Abram promises.  In Genesis 12:3 God says this: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  I want us to focus on that last clause for just a moment,  “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  As I am not working sovereignly in your life, creating a nation independent of the mother-child cult I am going to lavish upon you blessings.  These blessings are not for you and you alone, it is through you, kind of a spillover effect, if you will, the entire planet earth is going to be blessed.  God chose to unleash His blessings upon planet earth through a specific people and a specific nation starting at a specific time or a specific point in history.

And isn’t it interesting how literally God has fulfilled His Word!  He has brought and when is all is said and done, and will bring three of the greatest blessings that could ever come to the human race through the Hebrew nation, otherwise known as the Jewish people.  The first blessing is the Scripture itself; this book that we study over and over again here at Sugar Land Bible Church.  Paul in Romans 3:2 says to them, that’s the Hebrews, were given the oracles of God.  [Romans 3:2, “Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”]

Every single writer of this book, the only one that’s even debated anymore is Luke and some even think Luke was Jewish.  But the fact of the matter is, every writer of this book, with the possible exception of Luke, was Jewish.  Moses was Jewish, he wrote the first five books of the Bible.  The Gospel writers were all Jewish, the prophets were all Jewish, the Apostle Paul was Jewish, the Apostle John was Jewish, Jude was Jewish.  We wouldn’t have a Bible had it not been for God’s work through the Jewish people.

The second great blessing is the Savior Himself; in John 4:22 Jesus, to the Samaritan woman who wanted to sort of follow the patterns of Samaria and worship God as she chose on Gerizim rather than in Jerusalem, the Samaritan woman, Jesus says in John 4:22, “ salvation is of the Jews.”  [John 4:22, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.”]

This plan and program of God from the beginning will be exported to the world through the Jewish nation.  Now let me tell you something about the nation of Israel: Israel is the gift that keeps on giving.  If I were what we would call a Reformed theologian, if I were what would be called a Replacement theologian, I would stand up and say to you every gift that God has given to the world through the Jewish people has already been given.  But may I just say to you that is not what I believe; it is not what the Bible teaches because there is a third gift on the horizon called the Kingdom.

The Kingdom, according to Isaiah 2:2-3, will not be headquartered in Washington D.C., Belgium or any other Gentile city.  It’s very clear in the Bible it will be headquartered in Jerusalem.  Jesus will reign in the Millennial kingdom from David’s throne in Jerusalem.  The gift that keeps on giving.   [Isaiah 2:2-3, “Now it will come about that In the last days, The mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.  [3] And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.   For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”]

And as we sit here today as Gentile Christians, most of us, we need to understand something; that every single blessing that we have today has come to us, spiritually, through the Jewish people.  The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaiah, Jacob, Joseph, all Jewish.  The Law of God, which is a perfect revelation of God’s moral character came to us through the Jewish people.  All the prophets were Jewish.  Jesus, contrary to what many people communicate, was not a Southern Baptist or a Presbyterian, or a Methodist, or a member of a Bible church; He was as Jewish as they come.

Matthew traces that genealogy for us very carefully in Matthew 1. All the apostles were Jewish.  Every biblical writer, with maybe the exception of Luke and even that is debated, was Jewish.  The early church that we read about in the book of Acts, all Jewish.

In fact, there’s not even a Gentile convert into the church age until the conversion of Cornelius in Acts 10.  Prior to that point in time the entire genetic makeup of the early church was Jewish.  Therefore, all of the early Christian martyrs were Jewish.  Stephen, who was the first martyr in the church age was Jewish.  Paul, the apostle, who went on three missionary journeys and took the gospel all the way to Rome and wrote 13 books of the New Testament was Jewish.  And as I mentioned, the future kingdom that’s coming will be a Jewish kingdom, headquartered in Jerusalem.   This is all an outworking of Genesis 12:3.  [Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”]

And God was so serious about this that in Genesis 15 He, as if a promise from God isn’t enough, He covenantally bound Himself in what we would call today a formal legal contract, and obligated Himself to bring these blessings to the earth through the Jewish people.  In fact, God is so serious about this that He says if I don’t do this then let Me torn asunder as the animals in the covenant ritual had been torn asunder.  And consequently the way God looks at Israel is Israel is the center of the earth.  Ezekiel 5:5 says, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations….”  Ezekiel 38:12 describes an invasion that is coming against Israel, “to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods,” watch this, “who live at the center of the world.’”  This is not how man thinks; this is how God thinks.

The Hebrew word translated “center” in both of those Ezekiel passages is literally the navel or the bellybutton which forms the center of the body.  You see, to the world Israel is just a nation in the way of progress, a nation that’s causing trouble all of the time, a nation that has to be dealt with somehow.  But you see, to God Israel is the center of everything.  This isn’t my opinion; this is what the Scripture teaches.  So should that not have some kind of effect on our attitude towards Israel?

Paul, in Romans 11 talks about an olive tree; he talks there about branches, natural branches that have been cut out of the olive tree (temporarily) and he talks about wild unnatural branches that have been grafted into the olive tree.  Now in this spiritual metaphor the olive tree would represent God’s foundational covenant with the nation of Israel, the Abrahamic Covenant and His desire to bless the world through Abraham, and the natural branches that had been chopped out of the tree would represent Jews who, back in the first century, refused to receive Jesus, who they call Yeshua, as their Messiah.  So they have been removed from the blessings of God for a season.   And in their place, temporarily, have come these strange branches that really don’t belong in the tree.  And who is that?  That’s you!  That’s me, as Gentiles.  We are these odd out of place branches that have been grafted in because we have received by faith the very Messiah Israel rejected.

Now Paul makes some statements, does he not, to those wild branches about their attitude, and this is what Paul says, Romans 11:17, if you’re tracking with me in the Scripture, Romans 11:17, Paul says, “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,” watch this, verse 18, “do not be arrogant toward the branches;” he’s telling us unnatural branches to not become arrogant about the natural branches that have been temporarily removed; it’s an attitude issue.  “… but if you are arrogant,” Paul says, watch this, “remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.”  You have what you have because of God’s dealings and fulfilling His program through the Jewish people and the patriarch Abraham.

“But if you are arrogant” verse 18,  “…remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.”  Verse 19, “You will say then, the branches” this is the natural branches, “were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  Verse 20, “Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith.  Do not be conceited, but fear; [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.”  Verse 24, “For 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?”

Paul’s point here is just very simple.  Number 1, you shouldn’t look at the Jewish people in unbelief and be arrogant towards them because if God didn’t work through them we would have nothing as Gentiles.

Number 2, if God can take a wild branch and put it into a tree, how much easier is it for God to take the natural branches and just reinsert them, which prophetically we know is something that God will do.  See, it’s an attitude issue.  Paul here doesn’t chide us for our bad Bible study techniques; he chides us for our attitude toward the Jewish people.  Do you love the Jewish people as you look at the Jewish people today?  The Bible says you ought to.  The Bible says as you grow in Christ you should have a particular attitude towards the Jewish people.  You certainly wouldn’t boycott the State of Israel, would you, as a Christian?  What kind of sense does that make?

Romans 15:26-27, look at this: “For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.”  What is Paul doing?  He’s raising money for the saints in Jerusalem, not Austin, not Texas, not Sacramento, not Washington D.C., not Rome, the suffering saints in Jerusalem.  Verse 27 he says, “Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them.  For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.”  If God has blessed you through His program with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob don’t you think that you, as a Gentile, owe something to the Jewish people?  Don’t you think you should try to bless them as  you can, materially or otherwise?

What have I just talked about?  The divine purpose for Israel.  This is the thoughts of God concerning the nation of Israel, which takes us to number 2, the divine protection of Israel.  Go back to Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you,” to the Jewish people, watch this, “ And the one who curses you I will curse.”  I’ll bless those who bless you, I’ll curse those who curse you.  When God launches His program through a people, which is what He’s done, there are going to be, throughout history, perpetual attacks on that people, Satan, of course, being one of the great attackers, using people like Hitler, others, to accomplish his will.

And so God in His promises to Abraham built in a promise, really there are two, the one who blesses you I will bless, the one who curses you I will curse.  Now today when I quote these verses I’ve got a whole bunch of theologians telling you that’s the Old Testament.  Let me ask you something—do  you see an expiration date in those verses?  Does God say these hold until a certain time?  These are immutable timeless truths.  It doesn’t matter if I agree with them or not.  I may not agree with the law of gravity, that doesn’t matter does it, the law of gravity still stands.  This is something that God Himself has established, as revealed in His Word.

Now let’s focus on this one here: the one who curses you I will curse.  Is that literal?  Let me show you how literal this is: God, in the book of Exodus brought the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and He did it primarily through plague ten, which is the death of the firstborn all over Egypt.  When God brought forth plague number 10 the firstborn over all over all of the land of Egypt began to die.  Did you ever ask yourself why did God kill the firstborn of the Egyptians?  Why not the second born?  Why not the third cousin over?  Why the firstborn?  You’ll find the answer in Exodus 4:22, where God says this about the nation of Israel: “‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.’”  You go after my firstborn, Egypt, which they did, I’m going after your firstborn.  What does the Bible say?  The one who curses you I will curse.  As the tenth plague transpired and as God brought the Israelis through the Red Sea and as you know the story from Bible times He closed the water on the Egyptians; the Egyptians drowned to death.

Have you ever asked yourself the question, why did God kill them through drowning?  He could have sent a drought, He could have sent a lightning bolt, He could have sent a hurricane; why did He drown them?  You’ll find the answer to that in Exodus 1:22, “Then Pharaoh” an Egyptian, “commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile…’” the Egyptians were drowning the Israelis, Exodus 1, at least the firstborn, so God drowned the Egyptians.

What is all of this?  It’s an outworking of His promises, “…the one who curses  you I will curse,”  [Genesis 12:3] and this is just one example, you can track this through the whole Bible.  God means what He says and says what He means.  And He fulfills His Word with minute detailed accuracy. And thus the prophet Zechariah says this of Israel: “For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”  [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.’”]

What is the apple of one’s eye?  It’s the pupil of the eye.  God says if you come against the nation of Israel it is the equivalent of taking your finger and jamming it into the pupil of the Creator of the universe.   And consequently God evaluates nations by what standard?  The primary standard is how they treat the Jewish people.  Daniel had a dream, did he not?  Actually it was Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel had the revelation of the dream as well, where Nebuchadnezzar saw a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, two legs of iron; Daniel goes on and he begins to describe that these are four empires that would come against the Jewish people and go.  In fact, each of these empires, although they had a worldwide influence, were given by God an expiration date, sort of like when  you’re shopping at the store and you look at the milk to see if there’s an expiration date stamped on there.

God took out a stamp and He stamped each of these empires with an expiration date, despite the fact that they ruled the known world at that time.  Babylon’s expiration date would be from about 605-539.  Then would come Medo-Persia, she would be an influence about 539 and disappear from power 331.  And then would come Greece, 330-63 B.C.  Then would come Rome who really came to power, at least in the land of Israel, around 63 B.C. and eventually would disappear from power.  Isn’t it interesting that when Rome removed the Jews from their homeland in A.D. 70 Rome was a world power; Israel was a tiny nation.  Isn’t it interesting that at the time that invasion happened in A.D. 70 the common language of the day was Latin.  Fast-forward to the year 2016, Rome is gone, Israel is still here.  Latin (unless you’re a scholar or something of that nature) is a dead language.  Hebrews is a live language.

I challenge you today to read the prophet Ezekiel, chapters 25-32, which is a judgment on the nations that come against Israel.  He deals with the eastern nations of Ammon, Moab, and Edom, the western nation of Philistia, the northern nations of Tyre and Sidon, the southern nations of Egypt, and He pronounces curses on them; many of these curses have come to pass, some are yet future, but why is God evaluating them?  The whole evaluation, as you study these chapters is how they treated Israel, what they did to Israel historically.

In fact, there’s even verses in that section about what they thought about Israel, what their motive was; that’s the outworking of Genesis 12:3.  [Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”]  There is not a nation in the history of the world that has monkeyed with the Jewish people that has prospered, or survived.  That is a historical fact; that’s a biblical fact.   But the opposite is true; what else does it say?   “Not only will I curse you, I will bless those who bless you.”

A couple of summers ago I had the opportunity to go to Newport, Rhode Island, which is the location of the oldest synagogue ever built in the United States of America.  When I was there they give you a tour and as God is my witness, I saw why God chose to bless the  United States.  The blessing of God on the United States is not hard to figure out once you understand a few historical facts, because on August 18, 1790, congregants of the Torah Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island, warmly welcomed George Washington to their place of worship in their city.  Washington’s letter of response to the synagogue, which they have framed there on display, engraved, that kind of thing, Washington’s letter of response to the synagogue delivered on the same day has become famous for reinforcing the ideal of religious liberty in American life.  From its publication to the present Washington’s letter has remained the touchstone of American Jewish life; more than one historian has described the letter as the single most important document in American/Jewish history.  It’s words actually have been cited by Supreme Court Justices in at least three religious liberty cases.

What did Washington say?  Just a few sentences, he visited the synagogue, he was invited to the synagogue, he received a very welcome during the service time at the synagogue and he wrote them the same day this letter, and it says this, it’s dated August 18, 1790, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island.  “I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport.  The Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction to persecution, no assistance, may the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants.  While everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree that there shall be none to make him afraid.”

George Washington, you have to understand this, as the father of America was the representative head.  God in the Bible works through representative heads, like Adam, and the last Adam, and others.  George Washington  showed kindness to the Jewish people.  He gave them a gift which they probably have never had in all of human history.  The Jewish people, when you study their history, persecuted no matter where they’ve gone.  George Washington said it’s not going to be that way in the United States, the Jewish people are welcome here; they are free to worship God as they choose to worship Him here.  This country is going to be a haven for them and that, you have to understand, is unparalleled in Jewish history, to have that opportunity.   Let me put it this way: George Washington blessed the Jewish people.  Do you know what God did?  He turned right around and blessed America from sea to shining sea. You say well, it can’t be that simple, there must be other reasons for the greatness of America.  No, I’m telling you something; it is that simple.  George Washington practically, pragmatically, tangibly blessed the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; God turned right around and blessed America.  George Washington, by doing that, put America under the right side of the equation, not the cursing side but the blessing side.

It doesn’t stop with George Washington.  Dorah Von Lehe records the story of Richard Nixon.  People have very negative views of Richard Nixon.  I was just visiting the Nixon Memorial.  The man certainly was not perfect, but let me tell you something about Richard Nixon, most people are not aware of.  As a young boy growing up in Richard Nixon’s Christian (and Quaker) mother told him that one day he would be in a powerful position, and a situation would arise where Israel and the Jews needed his help.  When it did he was to help them.  It was reported that Nixon said he heard the voice of his mother saying these words to him when he responded to a call and a plea for help from Golda Meir at 3:00 a.m. in the morning on October 1973 during what is the Yom Kippur War.

I’ve actually, just a few weeks ago, saw the very setup, they have it all intact there, and the Bible that his mother read to him from.  In fact, other biographers note that she was actually reading for him from the book of Esther that night.  Esther, of course, is the story of the deliverance of the Jewish people.

“Then came the attacks on October 6, 1973, a coordinated surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest of days in the Jewish calendar and the time when the entire nature comes to a virtual standstill.  Even observant Jews honor this holiday by fasting, staying home or going to synagogue, and refraining from the use of fire, electricity, and communication system.  Israel could not have been more vulnerable.  There had been concern about possible attacks, but until just shortly before the attacks began, ‘Israeli intelligence was not able to determine conclusively that an attack was imminent.  To demonstrate how much Israel was up against: 180 tanks faced over 1,400 Syrian tanks; closer to the Suez Canal, a mere 436 Israeli infantry fighters were posed to fight over 80,000 Egyptian soldiers. The attacks came by Egypt and Syria and were backed by nine Arab states as well as the Soviet Union.

“By the second day the slaughtering of Israeli troops and the destruction of their equipment had made a huge blow, Moshe Dayan, the minister of Defense, who had been a hero in the Six Day War, started to talk about pulling back and even possible surrender.  Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, resisted this, but she did have an aid secure lethal pills from her doctor; just in case her Arab enemies prevailed, in such a case Meir would take her own life.

“U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger” a Jew himself ironically, “U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Meir’s relationship was, to say, rocky at the least.  When assistance was requested from him, Kissinger’s reported response was to let Israel ‘bleed for a while.’”  Our State Department at work there.  “So, at 3 a.m. Golda Meir picked up the phone and called President Richard M. Nixon and asked for help.  It is reported that Nixon heard the prophetic word and the voice of his mother as he listened to Golda Meir.  By the time she hung up, Golda Meir had the weapons, help her country needed that swung the pendulum to Israel’s favor and to bring an end to the Yom Kippur War.”

“To this day, Richard Nixon is highly regarded in Israel.  Prime Minister Golda Meir and Nixon kept a lifelong relationship, kept in touch with each other, also throughout the ordeal.  For the rest of Meir’s life, she referred to Nixon as ‘my president,’ and said,” (quote) “‘For generations to come, all will be told of the miracle of the immense planes from the United States bringing in the material that meant life to our people.”

This is our history.  This is why America, traditionally has been in, from Washington to Nixon, the stream of divine blessing.  There was a day when ambassadors or leaders from Israel were greeted with welcome hospitality and joy, and how things have changed.

If you want documentation on this I would encourage you to Google the following article, by Ben Shapiro,  A Complete Timeline of Obama’s Anti-Israel Hatred.  I know some people like Obama, some people don’t like Obama; we can fault the President for any number of things but of everything that has happened within the last four years, within the last eight years, even preceding him, this is the part of the equation that bothers me the most because let me tell you something.  Israel does not need America; Israel is going to do just fine.  You know why?  Because they have a covenant from God; it’s America that needs what?  Israel, because of what God said.  When you listen to candidates talk are you listening for this issue because it’s a big deal to God.  It’s a big deal to American history.  I don’t care what they are, Republican, Democrat, whatever, when they start talking about Israel I’m all ears.  What do you believe about this?  What are you going do to help Israel, because our national survival and existence largely depends on this issue.  America will just go out of existence, much the same way Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece and Rome did.

May God help us to understand the severity of this.  Finally, number 3, the power of your voice concerning Israel which we will be looking at next week.  Shall we pray.

Father, we’re grateful for Your Word and how it speaks to the culture and issues what we’re facing.  We invite you, Lord, change the way we think about so many things including the nation of Israel.  Make us people of discernment in the polling place as we seek to hear Your voice in these last days.  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….