In a recent visit to Israel we were able to see first-hand how Bible prophecies are being fulfilled. The fighting between Israel and Hamas came a little too close for comfort but it was a sharp reminder that whilst the final outcome of the fulfilment of prophecy will be peace and blessing for the whole world, there has to be a great deal of trouble resulting from the evil of man that has to be sorted out first. And real people are caught up in these events – real faith is required!
During early November we visited the small group of Christadelphians in Israel and enjoyed a weekend Bible School in Tel Aviv. It is not easy being a Christian in Israel; although Israel is a secular state the religious political parties and the religious establishment have a great deal of influence, although no one in authority takes much notice of our little group and we can continue with our discipleship without interference, for which we are grateful. The greater influence is in the ‘backs to the wall, we have to fight for our existence’ attitude which is taught to all Israelis from their earliest years – and it is not difficult to understand how they feel. Sadly very few recognise that God is in control and has a purpose with the people of Israel. The prophecies of the Scriptures make it clear that the purpose that began with Abraham continues today and the Jews are indeed ‘God’s witnesses’ (Isaiah 43:1-11). The re-establishment of the State of Israel and the return of Jews from all over the world is a fulfilment of prophecies (Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 34, Deuteronomy 28 and many more) which have yet to reach their final conclusion with the return of the Lord Jesus. When you visit Israel you really feel these prophecies coming to life.
Our visit ended just as the latest Israel/Hamas fighting broke out and we were reminded that these are not just political and military questions but effect the lives of ordinary people ‘on the ground’. One family of our members who live in Ashdod had their windows blown out and had to vacate their home for 3 weeks whist repairs were made. No doubt over the border in Gaza there were other innocent families who suffered much greater hardships whilst the great powers in the area fought their inconclusive battles. We need to remember them all in our prayers, and increase our petitions for the Almighty to complete His purpose and bring peace and blessing to all people. One of the promises to Abraham was that in him all nations of the world would be blessed. The Land of Israel was given to the Jews (although the land was actually first promised to a particular Jew who would also be the Son of God – Genesis 12:7 and Galatians 3:16 – and only later to the ‘descendents of Abraham’ – Genesis 13:14-15) so that they might be the ‘witness of God’ and that the great plan of salvation in Jesus Christ might be worked out and ultimately confer blessings on all nations – including Palestinians and all nations all round the world. Commentators often say that the problems of that area, and particularly the problem of Jerusalem, are insoluble – and they are right, until God Himself solves the problems by sending His Son.