The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." Joshua 5:15
Christians from the nations meeting Israelis during the Jerusalem March at Sukkot
It's great being a Christian Zionist - Loving, Supporting and Comforting the people of Israel. But are we doing it right? Are we acting, believing and praying in accordance with God's plans or are we running ahead in our own understanding.
Malcolm Hedding gave what many believe was the key address at the 2004 Feast, entitled, "Israel, Land and People. A Kingdom Perspective."
This Message may still be available on Audio from Resources at ICEJ.org
The following article is based on Malcolm Hedding's address - with his kind permission.
Biblical Christian Zionism – seeks to declare the truth of God’s word that bequeathed to the Jews the Land of Israel as an everlasting possession for the purposes of world redemption.
In Genesis 17 we have the Abrahamic Covenant, in which God outlines the gift of the Land.
v3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."
This covenant is not an end in itself but a means to an end – for the blessing of the nations.
Israel is the custodian of the oracles of God - (See Romans 3
"1What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God".)– That is Paul's answer to what Romans might be asking, "where do the Jews fit in to this? As Paul understands, Israel is the vehicle of world redemption and the land belongs to Israel for this purpose. (a bigger area than Israel has yet occupied )
Israel is the vehicle of world redemption and is a blessing to the world while living in the land ( Eretz Israel )
God deals with her as a nation needing His righteousness – therefore Israel is accountable for what is entrusted to her – God deals with us according to the light received.
Israel has the right of residence in the Land but If Israel loses that right she doesn’t lose possession of the land.
Ownership is for ever – even when in exile, but the right of domicile is not for ever.
See Deuteronomy 30 v1-6
When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Note the devil is not driving them out – God is
As long as Israel is faithful to her God she has the right to live in the land.
If not; she forfeits the privilege.
Think of Joshua, on taking over responsibility from Moses, is praying and is met by the angel Joshua 5 v13
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?" The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
Shoes are a symbol of authority – think of Nazi troops marching through captured cities – pounding boots to inspire fear – all about ego and self importance.
The message is clearly - live there as long as your shoes are off – recognize I am holy God and walk humbly before me with a contrite heart – I will plant you in this land and subdue your enemies – but if you put your shoes back on I will drive you from this land.
Ezekiel 36 v24-29
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.
Then shall Israel dwell in the land - Not simply because they are Jewish.
Failure to be faithful will cause correction, judgment, shrinkage of land and exile. God will do this – not the devil.
This principle was misunderstood then and is misunderstood now.
Habakuk was troubled about the impending judgment/war (Babylonians). He was praying to God and received a word,
"Habakuk, you will not stop the Babylonians with your prayers because I am bringing them."Habbakuk asks God how he can raise up Nebukadnezzer and God says, "Watch me!"
God’s tool is the surrounding nations.
But destruction and retribution are in store for them after they have served God’s purposes, because their intention is the total destruction of the Jewish people. See Zecharaiah 1
This word has always been true of the nations attacking Israel, and they all vanished!
The same will be true of those nations oppressing Israel today!
God will bring down those who seek to Liquidate Israel and divide her land!
(We have to view Anti-Semitism in this light!)
Review all the miraculous fulfilments in the restoration of Israel in our time.
So why does God allow His people to be killed in "suicide" bombings?
So what is God saying today? Look again at Deuteronomy 30.
God will begin to correct her because of His great love for her.
This is not helpful to the purposes of God, and it misses the point of Principle 2.
It is naďve to pray for Land + People instead of praying Land + People + God.
According to the Bible, it is "through a process of affliction that Israel will be reconciled to her saviour. " Agonisingly, this is true today – God will not let them be in the holy land without being holy people.
The struggle is not purely political – God is concerned with righteousness – not rightness!
However, since God promised only two exiles and returns, clearly God has decided to Save Israel.
When God does this, all the nations will know He is the Lord.
As Israel struggles she is backed into a corner from which the only place to go is to call on God.
So, what do we say about the Disengagement Plan ? . . . . . . . . . "Nothing"
We are not called to give Israel’s leaders political advice.
We are Biblical Zionists; not political Zionists. Our position must be to call out to God, "Save them and bring them to yourself." It is not helpful to stand on the land without reference to righteousness. "All Israel shall be saved" and THEN she will have all the land.
We must continue to speak out, whilst leaving God to be God. We must speak out and warn our nations against Evil, Anti-Semitism, dividing the Land etc.
After the Sbarro Pizza parlour bombing, a little girl who had lost her family wrote a letter to Israel . . . .
Dear Israel, Please don’t get bitter, but return to your God."
God is dealing with his people because He loves them, but it is through a process of affliction (as He said in His word)
We are called to stand beside, love and comfort Israel and to proclaim God’s word to her, and to let God be God.
The Jews will be rescued, never to be exiled again to dwell as a holy people in a holy land.
In this process there will be a great visitation on the Arab people, after the 10:40 window has shut so many out of great blessing for so long. A great principality is coming down and millions of God’s dear Arab people will be saved.
We must be standing securely on these principles or we will disconnect ourselves from the purposes of God.
The Latter Day return will be in unbelief and then through a process of loving correction and discipline God is going to save Israel, a holy people in a holy land.
Remember Joshua’s meeting with the commander of the armies of God….
Pray for Israel to take her shoes off.
Note to the nations - We shouldn't lightly claim Old Testament promises made to Israel and believe God has a special relationship with our nation If our nations were in such a similar relationship, we too would be suffering the judgment and discipline described above, instead of God's gracious forbearance! See Revival
Since we note that God is disciplining Israel at the hands of the surrounding nations, our role in comforting Israel stands in contrast. While the world is revealed as hostile and hateful, we Christians have an opportunity to show that we have repented of the Church's history of Anti-Semitism and to share the love of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, who the church had so misrepresented for so long.
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