The Preservation of the Jewish People, Part 3

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The Preservation of the Jewish People, Part 3

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Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Modern historians and philosophers are at a loss to adequately account for the survival of the Jewish people. Their experience simply does not fit the theories and human explanations. One of the greatest historians of all time was Arnold Toynbee whose classic twelve-volume work, The Study of History, traces the rise and inevitable fall of twenty six civilizations.

In spite of all his brilliance, Toynbee could not adequately explain the phenomenon of the “Jewish civilization.” According to his philosophy of history, civilizations rise and then they eventually fall, never to rise again. Jewish history, however, did not fit into Toynbee’s scheme. Yes, they rose and then they fell. But they continued after their fall and 100 years later even began to return to their ancient land where they re-constituted their national existence, even bringing back their ancient language from the dead. No other civilization in history has ever accomplished this!

The problem with Toynbee’s inability to comprehend the explanation of Jewish survival lay in his unwillingness to consider the promises of God’s covenant with Israel as the reason for their continuity. It is at this point, therefore, that we must return to Jeremiah’s promise of Israel’s perpetuity. The Lord God declared through His prophet that Israel will never cease being a nation forever (Jer. 31:36). That promise has been wonderfully fulfilled in the preservation of the Jews through their own dark night of suffering. No other explanation is adequate. Toynbee, therefore, referred to the Jews as “fossils of history.” A fossil is an object from long ago that really should not be here today, but is somehow “frozen in time”—out of place, but still here nevertheless.

From a human viewpoint, it is true that the Jewish people shouldn’t be here. With all that they have endured, they should have disappeared long ago. More magnificent civilizations such as the Assyrians, Hittites and Babylonians have each been assigned to the dustbin of history. But, in the familiar words of an Israeli folk song, “Am Yisrael Hai” (“the people of Israel lives!”).

Their persecutors and murderers have vanished from the stage of human history, but little despised Israel keeps playing its role in the cosmic drama of the Divine. And Israel will continue to do so, not because of their cunning, savvy or wit, but because of the promises of God.

The great Prussian Emperor Frederick often would test his Chaplain with theological questions. Frederick, however, said that he did not have time for long answers and explanations. He wanted simple answers that could be quickly comprehended. Once he asked his Chaplain if he could provide evidence for the truth of the Bible. But, he added, he wanted a simple proof. Could he, Frederick asked, provide the evidence in just one word. The wise chaplain responded that he could do just that. “What is this magical word?” Frederick asked. The Chaplain replied, “Israel, your majesty, the people of Israel.” It would be difficult for any of us to offer a better proof for the accuracy and Divine authenticity of the Word of God.

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TylerR's picture
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1967 and Yom Kippur Wars

Reading books about those two wars, I cannot help but see God's providential hand in protecting Israel from complete destruction. There is no rational way Israel should have survived either war. The books Six Days of War (1967) and The Yom Kippur War (1972) are both excellent in this regard. 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

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"The People of Israel Lives"

Hmmm . . . If this translation is correct (and I'm not doubting it- I just don't know Hebrew!) - Plural word (‘People’), but singular verb (‘lives’). Sort of like “s/Seed” in Gen. 22:17-18 and Gal. 3:16. God continues to call to His People - even in their folk music. He is NEVER without a witness.

Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! (Rom. 11:12)

Maranatha!

J Ng's picture
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While the fact of the

While the fact of the preservation of Israel according to God's promises is well presented, little is said about the nature of that preservation, particularly during the Church Age.

The great Isaianic response "Here am I, send me" is immediately charged with the mission to

Make the heart of this people dull,

    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.

Even the final passage referenced, Romans 11, is not quoted for Israel's role in the present age--i.e. their temporary (albeit real) state of rejection, like branches broken off an olive tree. To recognize this is not to "be wise in your own sight"; it is simply to agree with Paul's presentation of the nature of Israel's preservation before what I take to be the Millennial restoration.

The reason for pressing for such a counterbalance is at least twofold:

  1. Negatively, it keeps us from a John Hagee CUFIesque Zionism that deems a current regime in the Middle East as a manifest destiny of sorts, resulting in not only the diversion of Christian resources to political/military causes but also insult and injury to our true brethren in the Holy Land, in particular, the Arab church.
  2. Positively, it fixes our focus on the Great Commission, which is in force presumably until the "fullness of the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:25), i.e. the making of disciples rather than Zionist advocacy and misguided efforts to usher in or expedite the advent of the Millennium.

To hark back to Paul for a summary, the nature of Israel's preservation is as temporarily rejected, broken-off branches lying beneath the ingrafted branches awaiting the final restoration and unity of all of God's people in Christ.

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Good Point

j Ng wrote:

Negatively, it keeps us from a John Hagee CUFIesque Zionism that deems a current regime in the Middle East as a manifest destiny of sorts.

Actually, when I wrote my post, above, I was wondering if anybody would misconstrue my words and think I advocated this position! 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

James K's picture
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TylerR wrote: Reading books

TylerR wrote:

Reading books about those two wars, I cannot help but see God's providential hand in protecting Israel from complete destruction. There is no rational way Israel should have survived either war. The books Six Days of War (1967) and The Yom Kippur War (1972) are both excellent in this regard. 

The modern state of Israel has no bearing on what is going to happen in the future.  In fact, it could be wiped out by a nuclear device and still God will regather them to the land.

The spy network for the 6 day war was second to none though.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James K wrote: The modern

James K wrote:

The modern state of Israel has no bearing on what is going to happen in the future.  In fact, it could be wiped out by a nuclear device and still God will regather them to the land.

I would agree. I can't see the Rapture's happening being contingent on 1948 or AD70 for that matter.

Putting too many eggs into the "1948 fulfillment" basket tends to reduce the imminency of the Rapture, not to mention set us up for potential bigtime embarrassment should something untoward happen to the current nation of Israel. And even if genetics couldn't prove the Jewishness of the people and no visible indications exist, we should still trust the word of YHWH that He would raise again the tent of David. God will fulfill His Word His way, without our assistance.

 

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