For twenty minutes I listened as the angry radio-show host tore into Christians who love Israel. “Folks, you won’t hear one peep from those Christian Zionists about that annual, pro-gay parade in Tel Aviv. Oh no, they want you to believe the Jews are God’s chosen people who just sit around reading Torah and lighting Sabbath candles. They call it the Holy Land! Better, the Unholy Land!”
I sat stunned by the vitriol that poured forth from this man’s mouth. He was a Christian who believed the Jews had forfeited the promises of God. Even the land promise was gone, which he saw as spiritually fulfilled in the coming of Jesus! I knew his views were unscriptural, but was at a loss to explain Israel’s celebration of immorality in front of the whole world. And in God’s face. And even though the parades are denounced by Orthodox Jews, a recent poll showed 78% of Israelis favor some form of same-sex marriage.
I prayed, “O Lord, how can you be restoring your nation at this time and allow such unrighteousness to flourish in the land? How can we convince our Christian brethren of your steadfast covenant love for Israel, and that it is the set time to favor Zion?”
Over the next few days, as I read my Bible and prayed, I gained a clearer perspective concerning the problem of sin. And about Israel’s unique situation. I share those perspectives here to encourage all who believe God truly is restoring Israel today – in spite of the nation’s often ungodly behavior.
As to the issue of sin, Paul tells us, “that until the Law, sin was in the world. But sin is not imputed when there is no Law” (Rom. 5:13). So although sin had entered the world through Adam, and had spread to all men, no one could be held accountable because there was no law against it. But then Moses came down from Mt. Sinai and everyone was indicted!
Once the Law conclusively proved we were all hopeless sinners condemned to death, God sent Yeshua to save us. He gave us a better covenant with a better sacrifice, that redeemed believers from the punishment we incurred for “transgressions committed under the first covenant” (Heb. 9:15).
In other words, from God’s perspective, the problem of sin has been solved! The age of condemnation ushered in by the Law was over. Isn’t that the “good news” we are supposed to be shouting from the housetops to all who have ears to hear? That if we repent and believe in Yeshua, we’ll receive forgiveness for our sins?
Sure, sin is still grossly evident in the world today. And God still despises it. But it is no longer a concern. For those cleansed in the blood of Messiah “there is now no condemnation” (Rom. 8:1). And those not under the blood, Jew or Gentile, will receive the due penalty for their sins when Messiah returns. If not sooner. “And to this doom they were also appointed” (1 Pet. 2:8).
Well, what about the State of Israel today? Contrary to the radio announcer’s Pharisaic judgment, Scripture tells us that in spite of Israel’s unbelief concerning Messiah, “from the standpoint of God’s choice, they are [still] beloved for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:28,29). That irrevocability applies to the land, also. It may not be “the Holy Land” right now. But it is always “the Promised Land” – eternally promised to the chosen seed of Abraham.
The reason most of the Church doesn’t see this yet is because they’ve either been blinded by the anti-Semitism of Replacement Theology, or confused by Darby’s and Scofield’s teaching that God has two Israels – one spiritual and the other physical. One the Church, the other Jewish Israel. For Scripture teaches all the redeemed in Messiah will become a kingdom of priests “who will reign upon the earth” (Rev. 5:10). Indeed, the whole earth is the inheritance promised to Abraham and Israel (Rom. 4:13).
But the key to understanding how God can still be for Israel today in spite of her carnality is found in Ezekiel. There we learn that in the last days God will restore Israel apart from their behavior – right or wrong. He knows His people are incapable of true repentance and complete obedience until they receive “a new heart and a new spirit.” Were we any different?
What matters most to God now is His name. He has fully invested Himself in this enterprise called Israel and He will not allow it to fail. His reputation is at stake. So He declares… “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went…For I will take you from the nations…and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean” (Ezek. 36: 22-25).
As Paul also reminds us, “This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Rom. 11:27). A wonderful holy cleansing is coming soon for the sons of Judah! And God will be glorified!
Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples