Dear Friends of Israel
Even for us who believe in the truth and reliability of the Bible, it is not always easy to understand the true significance or classification of biblical teachings and prophecies. Therefore it is important to always keep the complete testimony of all Scripture in mind. Apparently Paul addressed this issue when he wrote to Timothy, his faithful follower, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15).
This issue is of particular importance when it comes to interpreting current events in involving Israel. Consider this question for example: Are the Jewish settlements on the so-called West Bank a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? The people of the Gush Emunim movement (a religiously faithful group) certainly saw it that way at the time of the first settlements, for they appealed to Biblical references, such as Jeremiah 31:5, “Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.”
When the first settlements were developed, Gush Emunim emerged as a political party of both religious and nonreligious Jews. They were united in their conviction that the west bank must be populated by Jews. That alliance didn’t last very long however, because such an ideology couldn’t stand up to the resistance that the settlement movement encountered without firm religious conviction. Today it is predominantly religious Jews who lead the settlement movement. The amazing inner strength that they demonstrate by the construction of more and more new settlements, must certainly be drawn from their religious convictions.
As friends of Israel it is now up to us to ask the unavoidable question: Do these prophecies (such as the one mentioned above) pertain to this time or do they (like many others) pertain to the period after the coming of the Messiah, during the time of the millennial kingdom? From the biblical context, such prophecies (particularly Jeremiah 30:9), show us that the prophet is speaking of conditions that will exist in the coming messianic kingdom.
Thus we see that the interpretation of biblical prophecy in Israel has presented a current political problem that the politicians will have to resolve. The events that took place in AD 66, when the Jewish rebellion against Rome broke out, are a tragic reminder of this. At that time, the aristocratic upper class recognized it was time to seek a peace settlement with Rome when the Roman troops began their siege of Jerusalem after conquering Galilee. Otherwise the whole affair would end in disaster, which is what happened anyway. The radical political leaders at that time however didn’t want to hear of making peace, because allegedly they were convinced them that the Messiah would come to rescue them.
It is often said that history repeats itself. Unfortunately, this statement is all too often true, because people do not change their relationship with God, even though God has given His word, that He will show us the straight and narrow path.
In light of the current politics of Israel, we must remain clear that we have not yet reached the time of the kingdom of peace. The next item on God’s agenda is the coming of the promised Messiah to establish his kingdom. Thus there are many biblical promises that were given to Israel that are not yet valid today. Based on the biblical statements, we must all remain clear that a terrible period must first occur on earth, a period such as has never been since men were upon this earth (Revelation 16:18).
We, who know His will are assigned the task of praying for responsible actions by the officials, that they search out God's will in order to make proper decisions.
Bound together in this responsibility, greetings of “Shalom.”