Promises, promises. God, the giver of law, and the creator and keeper of Israel, lets us know that Israel will be protected until the end times. There are many references to those promises in Scripture, but here are two of my favorites. First, from the prophet Jeremiah, 31:35-36:
This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.”
Only if these decrees vanish from my sight…In other words, until the end of the universe. Long enough; at which time our Lord will return. What does being “a nation before me” mean?
Many Christians, especially the Catholic Church throughout its first 1,900 years, assumed that if this had any meaning at all, it referred to the new Israel, i.e. Christians. The Jews, after all, had rejected their Messiah, and hence were accursed of and by God. The rest, as they say, is a sordid history of persecution and genocide.
But what if God did not mean just Christians? What if God’s word meant no more, no less, than what was written: that “Israel” means both the descendants of Abraham by the flesh, i.e. the Jews, and those who are his spiritual descendants, the Christians? I believe that this is exactly what was meant. God does not break His word; His promises are the gold standard, if you will.
We don’t know how to reconcile what we know to be true from the Gospel: that no one will be with God the Father but that he go through His son, Jesus Christ. But that’s going to happen in God’s time, not necessarily in our time. In our time, God has clearly protected the Jews. Their continued survival, and the re-establishment of the state of Israel, would be otherwise rather hard to envision.
What other small, persecuted group has been in world-wide diaspora for almost two thousand years, yet still survives as both a nation and an ethnicity? Something is going on here. God’s protection is one of the simpler explanations for how this could possibly be.
And God has told us that His time spans the universe, from alpha to omega. In the meantime, we should all remember that, as Psalm 121 reminds us, “he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Woe to those who abuse those under the original covenant with God.
Guess I’m one of those wicked Christian Zionists, who actually believe the Scripture I read.