Unbelieving Israel – Victim or rebel

The Sunday Times recently published an editorial (17 June 2007) by the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein, entitled, “Look again: Israel is the victim, not the root of all evil”. In the sub-title to his article Goldstein writes, “Blaming the Middle Eastern conflict on the Jewish state is an error that could see many people unwittingly complicit in one of history’s worst injustices”. He poses the question, “What if, in siding against Israel, the world is siding against the only beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, thereby endangering us all because the fate of the Jews is often a sign portending the future?”

The Scriptures says: “Fear the LORD and the King, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring? These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent”– peoples will curse him and nations denounce him. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them” (Proverbs 24:21-25).

The Holy Spirit convicts the whole world of guilt in regard to sin because men do not believe in Jesus the Messiah (John 16:8).

In his article, Goldstein seeks to justify modern Zionism on both religious and political grounds, suggesting that the world ought to side with Israel in order to support democracy in the Middle East and on the basis that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants forever.

He suggests that Israel (with the one of the most powerful armies in the world), is the innocent and righteous victim in the Middle East. But even Ben Gurion acknowledged that declaring a Jewish State would provoke hostility: “We are the aggressors, and they defend themselves…Palestine is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”

Goldstein suggests that the Balfour declaration recognised, in his words, “the injustice of the destruction of ancient Israel by the Romans and the forced removal of the Jewish people.” However, Jesus warned his followers to flee from Jerusalem when they saw it being surrounded by the Roman armies because it was the days of vengeance for those who had failed to recognize the time of God’s coming to them (see Luke 19:44 and 21:20-24). In other words, for the disciples to have sided with the unbelieving Jews in AD 70 would have made them complicit in the rebellion of those who rejected and opposed the Messiah. The Lord said, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill” and concerning this King, He also says, “You will rule over the nations with an iron sceptre” (Psalm 2:6;9). This means that God himself rejects democracy, (i.e. the power of the people), when it comes to electing his eternal King whom he has established upon his throne.

It is not a matter of taking sides. Both are in rebellion against God’s Anointed King. If the rebellion brought about God’s vengeance in 70 AD should we now expect God’s blessing on those who remain in rebellion? We stand on the authority of God’s word alone: We do not wage war as the world does… We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God… (2 Cor. 10:3)
Goldstein said, “…the fate of the Jews is often a sign portending the future”.

The fate of the unbelieving Jews of the generation that rejected Jesus Christ, which culminated in the desolation of Jerusalem and the prolonged exile of the Jews from the land in 70 AD, was indeed a sign portending the future judgment that will befall all who persist in their rebellion against God’s Anointed King! The apostle Paul said, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism” (Romans 2:7-11).

Goldstein suggests that “the apartheid of the Middle East is really one directed against the Jews.” He ends his article with an appeal for peace between warring “brothers”, on the basis that both Jews and Arabs are children of Abraham. To be true children of Abrahamis to have the same faith as Abraham, faith in God’s promise of Redemption through the Messiah-Redeemer. The only way that these warring brothers will be reconciled to one another is when they are reconciled through Christ who has demolished apartheid i.e. (separation based on the flesh) – For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility (Eph. 2:14).

All people, whether Jew or Gentile are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30), not of complicity in siding with or against Israel, but of complicity in history’s worst injustice, rebellion against God’s anointed King, for which every human being will be called to give account:

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him,[Jesus Christ]” (Psalm 2:10-12).