3 minutes with the international director Oct/Nov 1977
Six weeks ago I sat across the table from an official of the new Israeli government. He shared with the small group of those present his government’s concern that the United States was making a major shift in its Middle East policy. “America had long supported the United Nations’ Resolution 242, which guaranteed ‘secure and recognized boundaries’ for Israel.” In his opinion, American policy was now retreating from that long-standing commitment.
Regrettably, his fears have been realized, for our government appears to have endorsed the position of a sovereign Palestinian community on the West Bank of the Jordan. The Palestinian hatred of the Jewish state runs deep and wide and is wed to a public commitment to Israel’s total annihilation. To give credence for an instant to the supposition that giving the Palestinians a sovereign state on the West Bank will satisfy their insatiable hunger for Israel’s destruction is unthinkable. It is like being asked to believe that after the shark has tasted and been intoxicated by the blood of an arm, it will not complete its meal by coming back for the shoulder and torso.
A Palestinian community on the West Bank of the Jordan River makes totally impossible the reality of “defensible borders” for the beleaguered State of Israel. And to expect Israel to accept a settlement which would greatly endanger her national security and pave the way for more intense problems in the future is preposterous. If the long-standing American commitment to the State of Israel caves in the face of Arab “energy pressure”, we will communicate to the world our nation’s spiritual bankruptcy and moral cowardice.
The current cover of ISRAEL MY GLORY is an acrylic painting of the Patriarch Jacob at Bethel. Though in preparation long before the present upheaval in Middle East policy, it is uniquely symbolic, for Jacob’s name was changed to Israel:
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Gen. 32:28)
And from the name of this progenitor of the Jewish race came the national designation, Israel.
It was at Bethel that Jacob had a life-transforming encounter with the God of his grandfather, Abraham, and father, Isaac. Under the canopy of a clear Middle Eastern sky, he dreamed and saw a ladder spanning heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending, and the Lord of glory himself at the top. Doubtless, here was Jacob’s first encounter with a transcending God who could hear petitions and respond. Here, too, was given to Jacob confirmation of the Covenant given earlier to Abraham and Isaac.
And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land thereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed: And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 28:13,14)
The Covenant included a land (Israel) and a seed (Christ) through which all the nations of the world would be blessed. As startling as this Covenant confirmation was, it was heightened by the fact that on the morrow Jacob would be leaving the land of promise for twenty long years. But God promised that Jacob would not be alone. He said,
And, behold, I am with thee, and I will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and I will bring thee again into this land: for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Gen. 28:15)
I am with thee – divine PRESENCE
I will keep thee – divine PROTECTION
I will bring thee – divine DIRECTION
I will not leave thee – divine ASSURANCE
Until I have done to thee – divine CONSUMMATION
Jacob would often fail God, but God would never fail Jacob. He would be true to His covenant and not only protect Jacob in an alien land, but ultimately bring him back to the land of promise and blessing. But Jacob is representative of the nation that would spring from his loins and be called by his name. The promise of divine PRESENCE, PROTECTION, DIRECTION, ASSURANCE and CONSUMMATION given to Jacob is given also to the nation Israel. As Jacob was disobedient but loved of God, so is Israel; as Jacob dwelt out of the land of blessing, so did Israel; as Jacob returned to the land, so Israel is being brought back from among the nations of the world; and God will one day soon consummate His plan of blessing for His covenant people. He will accomplish His purposes whatever men and nations may say or do, but they will give an account to God for their actions. No nation in all of recorded history has been as blessed of God as has the United States of America. That blessing can be directly attributed to two phenomena. First, the missionaries that have been sent forth from her shores; and second, her willingness to welcome and provide a homeland for the Jewish people. But, if either or both of these realities are terminated, then the judgement of God will surely fall upon our land.
During the 1930’s and 40’s the world, including Christians, watched in silence as six million Jews died in Hitler’s death camps. Are we going to watch in cowardly silence as the nations again gear up to shed Jewish blood? Is your role to be simply that of an uninvolved spectator?
Earlier this year I sat in the office of Teddy Kollek, mayor of the City of Jerusalem. During that hour of conversation, I had opportunity to share the message of life in Christ and assure him that Bible-believing Christians have a deep and genuine love for the Jewish people and the land of Israel. His parting words to me were, “If true Christians really love the Jewish people as you suggest, I hope they will show it in a tangible way.”
At this strategic moment in history, Israel desperately needs the support of God’s blood-bought children. Heir of glory, let your voice be heard in the throne room of heaven and through the corridors of policymakers on earth. Faith without works is dead. It’s time to stand up and be counted.
Marvin J. Rosenthal