ISRAEL IS THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYE
The Jews are “God’s chosen people” because God chose Abraham and his descendants for a special purpose. As Paul describes it in Romans 9:4, “theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all.” God has used the Jews to be a revelation to all of mankind that He is the true God, “for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6). As God’s chosen people, God has a bond with them that is unique and unmatched by any other nation. They have an unbroken covenant promise of God’s commitment to them. This is especially seen in the Genesis 12:3 of God’s promise to “bless those who bless [them], and whoever curses [them] [He] will curse”.
As has already been covered in the earlier documents, history clearly shows God’s promise of Genesis 12:3 being fulfilled, whether it is the blessings that followed the Protestant British nation in its growth and prosperity because of the support for Jewish Zionism, or the collapse of the Spanish Empire following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. God keeps His word with regards to his covenant promises. Psalm 89:34-35: “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness.”
Sandra Teplinsky in her book Why Care about Israel emphasises that understanding the covenant of Genesis 12:3 is extremely important. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and will be a blessing. I will bless those that bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.” In this scripture God clearly tells Abraham that He will bless those who bless him. The word ‘bless’ today has the connotation of spiritual and physical enrichment, an abundance of quality and or quantity. Teplinsky explains that the Hebrew word used in this scripture for ‘bless’ is barakh, which means ‘to kneel’. To bless involves a posture of heart, if not in body. At its foundation, blessing connotes kneeling. Kneeling before someone implies honour, submission, deference and or service. It is a posture of laying down one’s life for another. So when God blesses us He kneels, so to speak, to enrich our lives. Psalm 18:35b: “You stoop down to make me great.” An immediate image is Jesus kneeling before the disciples to wash their feet. There is also the point to consider that there is an immediate identification by others that the posture of kneeling at a person’s feet indicates to the observer that you are humbling yourself to serve. Therefore, to receive God’s blessing one needs to be identified with Israel in the support one gives. The Church needs to stand by the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
The Hebrew definition of ‘curse’ is twofold: It means ‘to stop’ or ‘to impose a barrier’, and it also means ‘to belittle.’ In the Old Testament, when God curses, He brings judgement. Genesis 12:3 says that “Whoever curses you (stops you from fulfilling your calling or makes you little) I will curse (judge).” God will respond to the ‘curse’ against Israel with a judgement against that person, church or nation. The judgement will match the curse that was given against Israel. Those who are antagonistic towards Israel should weigh this information very carefully, because there can be no question about it, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
God emphasises the veracity of Genesis 12:3 by having Balaam repeat it. When Balak the Moabite king hired Balaam to curse the Israelites, the “Spirit of God came upon him” (Numbers 24:2) and Balaam blessed Israel. Finishing his blessing Balaam said, “May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed” (Numbers 24:9b). This confirms God’s special relationship with the Jews. This blessing to the Jews is tied to the everlasting covenant that God has with them. The covenant was first given to Abraham (Genesis 17:7-8 and Psalm 105:8-11) to provide them with a land and to be their God. This unconditional covenant was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-4) and Jacob (Genesis 35:12). Each time God reinforced the everlasting covenant, He included the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This means that the Jewish people are forever under the everlasting covenant that God made with Abraham. So whoever blesses the Jews will be blessed and whoever curses the Jews will be cursed.
What was given to Abraham was given without any conditions, to be fulfilled by the integrity of God alone. The book of Hebrews confirms the unconditional nature of God’s promise to Israel; when God made His promise to Israel He swore by Himself in order “to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear” (Hebrews 6:17).
The seriousness of God’s protection over the Jews cannot be emphasised enough; scripture itself warns of this in Deuteronomy 32:9-10 where it says, “For the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob (Israel) His allotted inheritance. In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of his eye.” In this declaration there is the warning that Israel is the apple of God’s eye. In other words, if you reach out to harm Israel you reach out to poke God in the eye. Not a wise thing to do!
God will also judge those who look to take land away from the nation of Israel, either by force or negotiation. The prophet Joel warned of this judgement when he wrote in Joel 3:2: “I will gather all nations and will bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel. For they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.”
The main evidence of this is the wars fought by the Arabs to gain control of Israel – each one resulting in devastating losses for the countries involved. Also, four Israeli prime ministers have been held accountable for making land deals. Menachem Begin was forced to resign in disgrace with regards to the Lebanese Phalangists who slaughtered refugees in 1982. This occurred after Begin had given back the Sinai to Egypt. Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1995, by a religious Yemenite Jew. This occurred after Rabin declared that he would “give peace a chance” with a land-for-peace deal and started to withdraw troops from the West Bank and Gaza. Ehud Barak was forced to resign in 2000 after his government’s failure to deal with the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising). This occurred after he had entered into negotiations with Yasser Arafat in which he was willing to concede land for peace which would have included the Arab areas of East Jerusalem. In 2005, after a meeting with President Bush, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to the closing of twenty-five settlements. Less than four months after handing over Gaza to the Palestinians, Sharon suffered a devastating stroke that left him in a coma, he died eight years later in January 2014.
Those prime ministers, Rabin and Sharon, who gave covenanted pieces of Israel to the Arabs received the consequences of Joel 3:2 and were severely punished. Begin only lost his position of authority over Israel because he gave the Sinai back to Egypt, which was not part of the boundaries of Israel listed in Numbers 34:1-5. The promise made by God to Abraham in Genesis 15:18 includes all the land between the Nile River and the Euphrates River, so it does include the Sinai, but this promise will only be fulfilled during the Millennial Kingdom. Barak only lost his position of authority because he was unsuccessful in his negotiations with Arafat to give up covenant land.
JERUSALEM, GOD’S CHOSEN CITY
For many hundreds of years, Jerusalem was trodden down by Gentile powers. Like the Babylonian exile, the control of Jerusalem by Gentiles came about because of the disobedience of the Jews. The prophecies still pointed to the restoration of the Jews to Israel and the return of Jerusalem to the nation. This was fulfilled during the 1967 war when Jerusalem was captured by Israel. In 1980 on 30 July, Israel declared Jerusalem to be its “eternal and indivisible capitol.” To underestimate the importance of the city of Jerusalem to the Lord would be a grave error. The scriptures emphasise the value of the city in God’s eyes. The Lord has chosen Jerusalem for His dwelling (Psalm 132:13-14 and 2 Chronicles 6:6); He “loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob” (Psalm 87:2-3). God gives a clear warning to all who choose to go against the city of Jerusalem, that whoever touches the city touches “the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
Jesus has chosen Jerusalem to be His capital, which is why it will be at the centre of the End Times conflict. The Palestinians have no historical ties to the city yet they claim Jerusalem as their capital, and the Roman Catholic Church is moving to gain greater control of the Old City. Satan will do all he can to wrest Jerusalem away from the Jews and disrupt God’s plan for the Holy City. Jerusalem is to be “the city of the Great King” (Matthew 5:35) where Jesus will set up his seat of government and establish His throne (Jeremiah 3:17). Satan will make every attempt to make Jerusalem his own seat of authority. In this, Satan will succeed for a short time through the Antichrist, who will set up his capital in Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:2-4 prophesies that Jerusalem will be at the centre of the End Times battle when Jesus returns and defeats the Antichrist, and establishes His kingdom. The Lord makes the facts very clear to us in scripture that Jerusalem is now – and will continue to be, until His return – the focus of intense spiritual warfare. This is why the call to the Church to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6-7) is so vitally important. God requires the Church to be the watchmen who intercede for Jerusalem, which is made so clear for us in Isaiah 62:6: “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Who is going to answer that call of God to pray for Jerusalem now, and continue to do so until she is established as the centre of authority of Yeshua the Messiah King, if it is not the Church?
The great Christian theologian, John Nelson Darby wrote of Jerusalem, “But as for God, He ever thinks of it; it is ever His house, His city. His eyes and His heart are there continually, now faith understands this” (1). Those Christians who interpret scripture allegorically and view prophetic scripture concerning Jerusalem as being symbolic or spiritual in nature with no value to the modern Church, are seriously out of step with God’s will for the Church. These believers need to draw alongside God with faith in His word by obediently interceding on behalf of His chosen capital from where He will one day reign as King (Isaiah 24:23 and Micah 4:7).
(1) Darby, John Nelson. Studies on the Book of Daniel. in Kelly, Collected Writings 5:151. 1848