Is there a more endearing phrase in all the world than, "That's my child"? Can't you just feel the pride and love welling-up inside of you as you think back to that moment when you held your baby in your arms and declared those words for the first time. Or maybe the time you said those words to a fellow little-league parent or at a school concert? Our children mean the world to us, don't they?
This is the same passion, love and devotion I sense when I read the words, "My people Israel", spoken from the mouth of God through His prophets. In each case where this phrase appears it is in the context of The Holy One of Israel coming to the defense of His people, promising intimacy with them and/or promising their ultimate deliverance.
For example, "I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them upon their land, and no more will they be uprooted out of their land which I have given them. The Lord your God has spoken (Amos 9:14-15).
With the love for your family in mind, imagine this: You've invited me into your home and you've asked me to peruse a photo album filled with pictures of your children. I take one look at its contents and say; "I'm not interested". I'm quite sure you would be highly offended. But if I were to be so callous as to say; "Those children should be dead", I'm even more positive that, as a loving parent, you would physically remove me from your home exercising very little restraint.
Now transfer this analogy to the love that God demonstrates for His people. He has presented a picture of His children for all the world to see, displayed within His written Word. Imagine our heavenly Father's grief, sorrow and disappointment when His church peaks inside His book and walks away apathetic toward them at best. Even apathy is silent consent with Israel's enemies who desire their death and destruction.
Part of the problem is that many Christians believe that in the last days, two-thirds of the Jewish people in Israel will be killed and that only one third will survive. This false eschatology comes from a poor translation of a prophecy found in the book of Zechariah. Zechariah 13:8-9 has been consistently translated into English to read; two-thirds will be cut off and die but one-third shall be left in it".
A more accurate translation reveals that Zechariah was in full agreement with the prophet Isaiah regarding Israel's future. Both speak of two times Israel would be scattered and twice they would be re-gathered. Thus, a more accurate translation of Zechariah 13:8-9 from the Hebrew would be, "two parts shall be cut off and die but a third part would come through the fire", ... "And each one will say; The Lord is my God". The third part is Israel today, the third Commonwealth that was re-born in 1948.
What kind of sick joke would it be for God to re-gather His people from the four corners of the earth in order to kill two-thirds of them. The Hebrew witnesses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Amos all agree to the contrary. They all echo that "in that day" all of Israel will know their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This false eschatology has caused many Christians to look at prophecy with a certain detachment and they fail to see the love story that is unfolding within these prophecies and how important their role is in them. Years ago, I coined a phrase regarding this phenomenon. I said too many Christians are sitting in their "Armageddon armchairs" watching Israel from a distance and waiting for the last days events to unfold. All the while God is watching to see who will hear and respond to His call to the nations. The good news is, more and more Christians are now responding to this call. According to figures provided by ministries involved in the return process called Aliyah, about a third of all the Jewish people who returned to Israel in 2017 received aid from Christian ministries in order to complete their Aliyah process.
Mandate for Our Generation
The reestablishment of the nation of Israel and the on-going regathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth is the greatest sign of God's eternal covenant that the world has ever seen. " Indeed, I will cause men to walk upon you, My people Israel, and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children" (Ezek. 36:12) The prophets foretold of God's faithfulness to His people and the nations are to be responsible for helping His children get home during this final exodus. "See, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders (Isa. 49:22). This is a mandate for our generation.
Anti-Semitism is rising sharply all over the world. In the former Soviet Union many of God's people are still trapped by poverty in notoriously anti-Semitic countries. The war in Ukraine has created thousands of Jewish refugees and Jewish people are facing economic uncertainty from Siberia to South America. I believe it is incumbent for Christians to heed the call to serve them. We need to rescue them from the chains of poverty and persecution and help then return to Israel. If Christians won't help restore hope to His children, who will? Who will respond and help My people Israel get home?
Rev. Gary Cristofaro is the director of development for Ezra International ezrainternational.org.
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