I imagine, that just as I did, you learned that Jesus taught his disciples to pray; "Our Father who is in heaven hallowed be thy name." However, a study of a translation taken from an ancient book of Matthew that was written in the Hebrew language reveals a more authentic version of this prayer. "Our Father in heaven, may your name be sanctified," and continues; "may your kingdom be blessed, your will shall be done in heaven and on earth." Why is the wording from the Hebrew so significant?
That question can be partly answered by the following statement. "It may be difficult to convey to others what we think, but it is not difficult to convey to others what we live." The prayer Jesus taught us did not begin with a statement of fact that the Father's name was holy. It was a call to action, and that action involves God's will being done on earth by His children.
In our generation, the sanctification of God's name and God's explicit desire converge around a single plan in Scripture. Search as you might, you will not find God's will more clearly, nor more frequently delineated than on the topic of the latter-day final exodus of the Jewish people back to the land of Israel. There are literally hundreds of Scriptures dedicated to this topic, none more poignant than the words written by Ezekiel. God tells us that His name is desecrated by the citizens of the nations of the diaspora." When they entered the nations, where they went, they profaned My holy name, because they said of them, "These are the people of the Lord and have gone out of His land" (Ezek. 36:20). Conversely, God says He will sanctify His name by bringing His people home to the land that He promised to their fathers (Ezek. 36:23). The land of Israel.
That promise began with an eternal unconditional covenant made to Abraham, which includes the land of Israel. "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. All the land of Canaan, where you now live as strangers, I will give to you and to your descendants for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God'" (Gen.17:7-8). This everlasting covenant is exactly that, everlasting. In 2018, the Jewish people continue to be the beneficiaries of this covenant.
Therefore, God's name is being sanctified by the return of the Jewish people still today. Thus, our role should become obvious in light of Isaiah's prophetic mandate; "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). When we perform God's will on earth by helping His people home, we are sanctifying His great name and thereby living out Jesus' desire for our lives.
The most decisive support for this mandate to help the Jewish people can be found in the following words of Jesus. "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Before Him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left" (Matt. 25:31-33) Jesus then gives the explicit criteria for this judgment. He goes on to say that those who cared for the basic needs of the poorest of the poor or "the least of these" His brethren, would be blessed, and those who did not would be cursed. Note Jesus' purposeful use of blessings and cursing. The same promise is found in Genesis 12:3 as God spoke to Abraham regarding the treatment of His descendants.
But to fully understand exactly who Jesus was speaking about we must turn to Joel 3:1-2 for context. Joel clearly speaks of the very same judgment of the nations that Jesus does. Joel also makes it abundantly clear that the brethren that Jesus was speaking about were the Jewish people and the precursor to the time of judgement was the return of the Jewish people back to their land. "In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. I will enter into judgment with them there regarding My people and My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land."
The poorest of the poor Jewish people, "the least of these" are still scattered today in the nations of the former Soviet Union and many other countries. They can't afford the process of returning to their promised land on their own. A "Red Sea of poverty" stands between them and the land of Israel, and to help them get home is to actively take part in the sanctification of God's name.
"He will answer, 'Truly I say to you, as you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for Me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:45-46).
Those who serve God are obligated to act in a way that honors and sanctifies His name. The alternative is to desecrate His name, and as His children, even choosing to do nothing is a desecration of His name.
Gary Cristofaro is the Director of Development for Ezra International. He has been a passionate advocate for Israel and the Jewish people since the early 90's. His mission is to communicate the importance of the Aliyah to Christians both face-to-face and through electronic media. Gary also leads tours to Israel challenging Christians to come to a better understanding of their Hebraic roots. Visit ezrainternational.org.
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