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MESSAGE FOR THE FORTNIGHT
 



GOD OF A SMALL NATION


Now I do not know if Arundhati Roy had Israel in mind when she wrote her Booker Prize winning novel “God of small things” but for a good 3000 years tracing back to the call of that Father of Faith Abraham…the Almighty Creator God has indeed been God of this small Nation in West Asia. Israel’s land area of 27,869 Sq kms, is only 0.85% of our great country of India.

OK folks, Israel celebrated its 66th year of its “re-birth” on May 14th (though as per the moon-based Jewish calendar, the equivalent of the civil date of May 14th is May 5th in 2014) having got its independence on the same day in 1948. Now what is that about Israel that interests all keen Bible students? The reason is as simple as it is profound. The World’s future events are not so much linked as inter-twined with Israel’s II birth, as it were. In this message, Yours Truly has attempted to bring to the fore the significance of Israel to all followers’ of the Lord God of Abraham.

Selection…


Israel’s selection in God’s grand scheme of things to bring the Saviour and the Salvation to this World can be put down to His grace alone, which he showed in calling Abraham out from his idol-worshipping relatives and entering into a covenant with him (Genesis 12:1-4, Genesis 15/ Joshua 24:2-3). Let the Scripture take over at this stage…a part of Moses’ farewell message to the Jews of that era…

“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”- Deu 7:7-8

Israeli liberation from the Egyptian captivity, foreshadowed the Redemption plan which Christ by His atoning death on the cross completed. Anyone who puts his trust on Christ to take away his sins, immediately experiences liberation from a slavery far more dangerous than the Egyptian bondage-SIN.

Sign…


About 300 years ago, the King of Sweden was having personal doubts about God’s existence and the Bible's divine nature. He called for Count Von Zinzendorf, who was the bishop of the Moravian Church, to provide evidence about God’s existence and Divine authorship of the Bible. When the Count arrived, the King told him he had set aside 10 hours to be enlightened on these matters. Zinzendorf said that much time would not be necessary because all he needed to do was to say two words. The King, skeptical, asked, “What words might those be?” Count Von Zinzendorf replied, "The Jews."

How true! One look at the history of the nation of Israel would convince even a hard core atheist/agnostic about the existence of the Almighty and authenticity of the Bible. Is not the entire history of this Chosen Nation an outworking of the Deuteronomic covement enshrined in the 28th Chapter of the fifth book of the Bible (Deu 28)? Have not all the blessings so graphically described “chased” the people of Israel whenever, they have sincerely obeyed their Master? By the same token have not the curses too sent by the chastening God “chased” them whenever, they have gone astray?

Not only the Book of Judges where the cyclical “boom” and “doom” periods of Israel’s faith is sincerely portrayed but in fact the entire Old Testament history stands witness to the solemn fact that the Jews’ success or failure in any sphere has been directly proportional to their obedience or lack of it to their Good Shepherd. UNLIKE SAY LIFE OF A LOWLY LAYMAN, LIVING IN ONE CORNER OF THE WORLD, DEAR FRIENDS, HISTORY OF ONE NATION IS NOT A PRIVATE OCCURRENCE, FAR REMOVED FROM PUBLIC SPOTLIGHT!!! It is in public domain and can be checked and cross-checked umpteen times and the unanimous verdict of the umpire (conscience) in all of us would be “GOD of ABRAHAM EXISTS AND HIS WORDS ENSHRINED IN SCRIPTURE ARE TRUE!” I repeat, if I as one average nine to five guy living in an inconspicuous place in this world, shout from rooftops nay even mountaintops that the hand of God can be seen prominently in my life by way of blessings or curses whenever I have obeyed or disobeyed Him, people may or may not believe BUT IF A DEFINITE TREND OF GOOD TIMES/BAD TIMES IS SEEN EMERGING IN THE PUBLIC HISTORY OF ONE NATION ITSELF ALL ON ONE ACCOUNT OF AN UNSEEN DIVINE INTERFERENCE, CAN ANYONE STILL TURN A BLIND EYE TO IT, WITHOUT INFERING THE TRUTH THEREOF?

Think of it… a normal story teller would gloss over a hero’s sins of commission or omission all with the aim of making the main character appear as a paragon of all virtues’ in the public eye, but the Divinely-inspired writers’ of Scriptures -themselves Jews-have never shied away from neither laying bare the serious shortcomings of all Jewish heroes’ of faith nor that of their Nation as a whole. IF THIS IS NOT TRUTHFULNESS WITH A CAPITAL “T”, THEN WHAT IS IT?

Scripture…


By no stretch of imagination, would it be an understatement to say that the Christian World owes most of its Canon to the Jews, for barring the good doctor Luke, all other 38 authors’ of the Bible are of the Jewish origin.

Advantage of the Scriptures? For apart from tracing the root cause of ALL the problems’ of this World to fall of man into sin (Genesis 3:1-7), it also foretells the advent of the Saviour right from that very chapter (Genesis 3:15) which gives the reason for all diverse problems in this World. From one man Adam came sin, from one man Jesus comes salvation (Romans 5:12-15).

Oh yes, Scripture is also God-inspired (2 Tim 3:16-17/ 2 Peter 1:21) to tell us not only what we ought to believe in (Doctrine) but also what we ought not to believe in (Correction) besides how we ought to behave (instruction in righteousness) and how we ought not to behave (Reproof) with true examples of negative (I Cor 10:11) and positive nature (Romans 15:4). It’s quite scary right, to think of the Scripture minus all the writings’ of the inspired Jewish authors’. Talk of an average Joe trekking through the Amazon rain forest without a map and a guide in tow…

Saviour…


“Great men of God were your fathers, and Christ himself was one of you, a Jew so far as his human nature is concerned, he who now rules over all things. Praise God forever!”- Romans 9:5

In God’s Sovereign plan, it had to be His Son born donning the earthly body of a Jew in the family tree of David who would complete the Redemption plan on the Cross (John 19:30). Didn’t Jesus Himself say “Salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22)!

The two Gospel accounts giving the genealogy of Jesus from both the paternal side (Matthew) and the maternal side (Luke) leave none in doubt about the Jewish ancestry of the Saviour that he indeed was the royal descendent of King David. Incidentally, Mary’s (Jesus’ earthly mother) father Heli as per tradition had no sons, hence as per the Jewish custom, his eldest son-in-law Joseph (Mary’s husband) held the legal rights of Heli’s first born son.

Symbol…


Once the Fig tree –symbolic of Israel- starts blossoming again, you can assume that I am right at the door remarked the Saviour (Matt 24:32-33) speaking on the subject of the Signs preceding His II Coming in the whole of Matthew’s 24th Chapter.

So Israel in a way is a time-piece by which we can discern and arrive at the proximity of the Master’s II advent. In 70 AD, with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army (did they not ask for God’s wrath to come upon them- Matt 27:24-25) and the subsequent dispersion of Jews, Israel resembled a withered fig tree for approximately 2000 years but now 66 years hence post their re-birth in 1948 (God’s grace once again coming to the fore in conjunction with His covenant with their forefathers- Deu 7:7-8), they once again symbolize a budding, blossoming and a thriving fig tree.

Now looking at Israel’s rebirth from another dimension…it would not be possible for Anti-Christ to emerge as a Global problem solver (after the Rapture of the Church) without the existence of Israel.

Rev 6:1-2 portray him as a conqueror who would win over the people’s hearts initially by deception (Daniel 8:25) without shedding blood. Note, he is depicted as carrying a bow but no arrows.

Today, there is an Arab-Israeli conflict in West Asia because Israel is there (200 years back, it was not the case). If Israel had not been “re-born”, there would be no turmoil at all, leaving no scope for Anti-Christ to display his “peaceful” problem-solving abilities and broker a temporary Arab-Jewish peace pact and consolidate his position as undisputed Global leader, during the seven years of tribulation which would follow Church’s rapture.

Boy, if Anti-Christ’s rapture seems imminent, how much more imminent is the Church’s rapture (Rev 4:1) which would precede it.

After initially posing as the friends of the Jews’ (he may be of Jewish origin also), the Anti-Christ would reveal his true colors in the second half of tribulation (Daniel 9:27), posing as God himself (Rev 13:1-8) subjecting the Jews to severe persecution. In the midst of their heavy troubles, the Jews would in desperation finally look sky-ward to the rejected Messiah (they had rejected Him in His First advent but would accept Him now as their Saviour – Romans 11:26) for the rescue. Jesus in answer to their prayers would come, defeat the Anti-Christ and his assistant the False Prophet in the Battle of Armageddon (Rev 19:11-21) and then usher in the Millennial rule (Psalms 2/ Rev 20).

Supremacy…


In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains;it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation,nor will they train for war anymore- Isaiah 2:2-4

Jesus in the Millennium would rule the World from Jerusalem along with Saints of OT and Christians of all ages (including the martyred ones’ of the tribulation). The ruled would comprise of the Jews and those Gentiles’ who had accepted Him during the seven year tribulation and had survived it. The Gentiles would have come to trust in Jesus during the tribulation thanks to the unstinted efforts of

a) Of the 144,000 evangelistic Jews (Rev 7:4)

b) Our Prophecies which they had not believed before the Rapture but would believe (during the tribulation) and be swayed by it, as everything would pan out as per those prophecies

c) Gospel proclamation by an angel flying in mid-air (Rev 14:6-7)

Today the United Nations’ Organization (HQ in New York)- the institution birthed to bring about peace in the World- has in the vicinity of its gates engraved part of the afore-referred Scripture portion “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” missing out on a key accompanying Scripture portion (more about it in the next para).

Has UNO succeeded in accomplishing the main purpose behind its institution? The answer is obvious…the Syrian carnage, Egyptian Civil War, Libyan unrest being flashed in the media today besides all the wars fought between the Nations from 1945 onwards (year of its birth) till now simply attest to the fact that it has miserably failed, so much so a famous novelist Alistair Maclean (of Where Eagles Dare and Guns of Navorone fame) wrote very bluntly in one of his novels “United Nations cannot stop a dog from peeing in front of its gates”. However, when the Lord reigns from Jerusalem (this key Scripture portion is missing in the inscription near the UN gates) the story would be starkly different as the “Nations then will indeed beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation,nor will they train for war anymore”. For most of the time, there would be universal peace.

Before the Saviour comes to reign, in this Grace age, let’s invite Him to reign in our hearts first. Did He not say that His Kingdom (Baselia in Greek –Matt 4:17) is very near…as near as our own hearts and mouths? If we believe in our hearts that he has died for our sins and confess it with our mouth, His “Kingdom” would enter our hearts (Romans 10:8-9). Apostle Paul talks about it in Romans 14:17 using the same word Baselia…”Kingdom of God is righteousness (right standing with God), peace and joy of the Holy Spirit”. Virtually, a foretaste of Heaven, Jesus promised elsewhere in the Gospels (John 7:37-38/ John 10:10). Friends, rejoice in the living waters which would gush through your hearts. Take my word, I am speaking with the benefit of 31 years of experience of walking with the Lord and rejoicing in His presence every minute of the way (barring those moments, when I would foolishly disobey and lose out on His joyous presence and experience “a little Hell” on this side of the Eternity).

Little Israel eh…Boy, it packs a punch!!! Even as we look forward to the imminent rapture of the Church, let’s pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the salvation of Jews never missing out on an opportunity of speaking about the joys of walking with Jesus whenever we get to converse/interact with them. It would make them jealous to have what we have…the indwelling Holy Spirit by the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Little Israel eh…Boy, it packs a punch!!! Come Lord Jesus to reign in our hearts first in this Grace age and then the World from Jerusalem very soon (Rev 22:20)!!!



Yours in His service,


(Suresh Manoharan)