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Ipswich Christadelphians

"Prove all things, hold fast what is good" 1Th 5:21

Palestinian children stand in the rubble left after an Israeli strike on a house in Gaza City, Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

At the time of writing, the fragile Cease Fire between Israel and the Palestinians is still holding but for how long? Will it bring about negotiations between the two combatants which will end in real peace? Considering past history it seems doubtful.

Jeremy Bowen on the BBC News website wrote ‘Israel has said many times that the blockade is vital for its security, and even if Hamas enforces the ceasefire among its own fighters, it might struggle to control smaller and more militant armed groups in Gaza. Barring a political miracle, the conditions for the next spiral that turns tension into violence are, sadly, still there. ’

Will the Cease Fire hold? Will there be lasting peace at last? Most nations want the conflict ended; and, strangely, they pay more attention to the problems faced by Israel and the Palestinians than other conflict going on at present. Here is a quote on this subject from The Bible in The News The Media's Obsession and Bias with Israel’:-

‘since 1981, every single Emergency Special Sessions, of the UN General Assembly, has been about Israel and the Palestinians.  No other humanitarian emergency has warranted it in 31 years; the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and genocide in Rwanda & Darfur, not to mention the civil war in Sri Lanka, were not serious enough to justify Emergency Special Sessions, but, of course, a local planning decision, for a housing estate in Jerusalem, was!’ (http://www.biblemagazine.com)

Why should this be so? How can a Nation inhabiting such a small area of land (about the size of Wales in the UK), hold such interest for the whole world?  The answer to this riddle can be found in the Scriptures. This is all in the Purpose of God, Who has prophesied in Zechariah 12 of a future time when the troubles of Jerusalem come to a head and when (verse 3)

’In that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.’

Jerusalem, is even now a burden to all the Nations. Covert Anti-Semitism has given them a skewed view of the situation between Jew and Palestinian and, notwithstanding the dangers it would pose to Israel’s security, they demand a ‘Two State Solution’.

A damaged residential building is seen after it was hit by a rocket fired by militants from the Gaza Strip, in the Israeli central city of Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.

The Two State Solution

This is not a novel idea; the USA has long been leaders in considering it the only solution for peace in the Middle East. The last three Presidents have endorsed it and yet they all seem to have been wearing rose coloured spectacles when they spoke about the security of Israel AFTER  the Palestinians are given their own State!

President Clinton (January 7, 2001) stated: “I think there can be no genuine resolution to the conflict without a sovereign, viable, Palestinian state that accommodates Israeli's security requirements and the demographic realities.” and “there is no choice but to create two states”

President Bush (June 24, 2002): “My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security.” “And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure.”

President  Obama (May 19, 2011): “a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people…”

Each of those Presidents foresaw two States, living side by side in peace; but can this be achieved? Would the militant Palestinian groups ever allow it? Imagine, if Israel were to lift its land, sea and air blockade, how arms would pour into Gaza and the Palestinians would soon equip themselves with more sophisticated missiles capable of devastating Jerusalem, and no doubt line its border with anti aircraft weapons.

Map showing potential range of rocket attacks from Gaza

 

Although more and more Israelis are weary of conflict and would endorse a Two State Solution, it is difficult to see how Israel would take that risk. And yet, the Bible tells us that immediately before Gog and his Northern army descends on Israel, such a state of peace and safety will exist in Israel. Ezekiel 38:

10  Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou (Gog) shalt think an evil thought:

11  And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

12  To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.

Clearly, Israel will be dwelling in peace and security at the time immediately before the Lord Jesus returns to deliver them from this onslaught. How will this come to pass? Will Israel agree to giving land for peace and at last achieve the security which is so lacking now? This is certainly what the World’s Nations would like.

An Everlasting Possession

And yet, the opinions of mankind have no real bearing on the matter for the question of the ownership of the land was settled long ago, when God promised it to Abraham. Genesis 12 records that God had told Abraham to leave his home in Ur and go to a country which God would show him. Abraham was given wonderful promises (see below*).

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great , so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2,3) .

Abraham obeyed God and on his arrival in Canaan another wonderful promise was made “The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northwards and southwards and eastwards and westwards, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring for ever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you’ ” (Genesis 13:14-17) .

Later, Gen 15:18 records that God promised that Abraham’s land would extend over a huge area, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates and in Gen 17:18 he is promised the land for an EVERLASTING POSSESSION. ‘ And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’

The future of Israel

Clearly, a permanent two State solution is not in God’s plan. The land has been promised to Abraham and his seed forever and Jerusalem, at present squabbled over by three religions will become ‘a house of prayer for all people’ (Isa 56:7) and the worship of the One true GOD will go forth from there ,through his Son, the man Christ Jesus now made immortal and awaiting his return in Heaven,

Isa 2:3  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

When the Lord Jesus returns to save the Jews in their hour of greatest need (Zechariah 12:8-9, 14:3) he will set up his Kingdom and raise Abraham from the dead with all who have been faithful to God through the ages and they will receive the promises. An ‘everlasting possession (Gen 17:18 ) indicates that the recipients of the promise will live for ever. Now we are told in the letter to the Galatians that the promise of everlasting life in God’s Kingdom on earth applies not only to the faithful Jew but to all who have believed in Christ. The writer explains in Gal 3:16 that God was speaking of a very special ‘seed’ when He made His promise to Abraham

16 ‘Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.’ And, later in the chapter explains that those who have believed the Gospel of Christ and been baptised into his name are also in line to inherit the promises made to Abraham...

26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise

The future of Jerusalem and the land of Israel is sure and certain. Whatever happens in the next few years, there is a time coming when after great conflict the Lord Jesus will return. He will raise Abraham from the dead along with and all those who have obeyed God in their lives. And to those who are ‘alive at his coming’ and who are found faithful he will also grant everlasting life and the privilege to reign with him from Jerusalem (2Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:12).

At the Return of Christ, the Nations will no longer struggle with the ‘burdensome stone’, which is Jerusalem, and a reign of true peace and safety will begin.

Will you be there to take part to enjoy the blessings of serving God in His Kingdom and the blessing of everlasting life?

Isa 40:31  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

The time to make the decision is now, while there is still time!

 

*SOME OF GOD’S PROMISES TO ABRAHAM

Genesis 12:2; 13:16 Abraham’s descendants to become a great nation.

Genesis 13:15; 15:7,18; 17:8 Abraham and his off-spring to inherit the land of Israel (Canaan) for ever.

Genesis 12:3; 22:16-18 The whole world to be blessed through Abraham and his off-spring.

 

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Acknowledgements: www.ctvnews.ca www.bbc.co.uk/news,  

 

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