Tonight in Israel marks the beginning of Memorial Day, when the nation remembers those Jewish people who have fallen in battles or in terror attacks, going back to 1860. Back then in the 19th century, Jewish people began to have their hearts and sights on the return to Zion, to the land from which they were exiled as a consequence of the rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah, but which God had also promised a return. A return to the land, yes; but, even more importantly, a return to Himself. Just last week, Israel remembered the Holocaust — those who died; those who survived; and those ‘Righteous Gentiles’ who helped rescue and save some of the least of Jesus’ brethren (although Israel and the Jewish people do not yet acknowledge Him as their Brother).
Israel remembers and celebrates her 63rd Independence Day tomorrow night, immediately on the heels of appreciating those who have died on behalf of their nation and country. The establishment of the State of Israel is not the fulfillment of prophecy, but a present fulfilling of God’s own promise and oath to the fathers of the Children of Israel. It is still a work in progress: not only to bring more Jewish people ‘back home’, but, again, also to bring the Chosen People back to their Father and King. Israel’s true freedom will only be attained when she becomes dependent upon her Savior King.
For most Jewish Israeli people — and for discerning Christians — Israel’s re-establishment back in this land is a cause of celebration of what God is doing, as the day nears for the return of the Lord to restore the Kingdom of the Father back to Israel and to the whole world which He made. It is a great day as we acknowledge the goodness of God to His people. Most Israelis do not honor God for this miracle of not only her survival, but of her thriving in the face of much opposition. Nor do they honor the Son, who said that He did not come to annul any of God’s promises, but to fulfill them.
For most Arabs and Palestinians, however, this same great day for the Jewish people is a day of catastrophe — Nakba — to them. The establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people back in “Palestine” has been a source of great anguish and suffering both physically and emotionally for those who try to make a claim of “historical precedence” of dwelling in this embattled land.
In Gen. 18:17-19, YHVH God tells us that He chose Abraham to know Him, so that he would command his children and those who come after in the Way of YHVH. For those who know Jesus as The Way, we also learn that His Way is the way of the cross — the way of suffering, of shame, of death, of rejection, of obedience to God the Father in order that His will is done, and that His purposes are accomplished. All who believe in the God of Abraham have Abraham as their ‘spiritual father’. Are we his children, whose hopes are fulfilled in the resurrection of the dead?
The Passover night in Egypt was a cause of celebration and hope for the Israelis who were protected by the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. It was surely a night of nakba for all those families in Egypt who lost a firstborn son that night, and whose lives were sorely disturbed by the God of the Hebrews. Yet there were those Egyptians who also feared the true God, and placed themselves under His protection with His own people.
Israel’s entry and conquest of the Land of Canaan — the Promised Land — was a great day for those who had come through the tribulations of the wilderness experience. The Canaanites had historical priority. It was surely a nakba to them. Yet Rahab, the harlot, had heard what a great God was YHVH as He brought His people out of Egypt, and led them in victory through the desert and against foes, to bring them into His land which He had chosen to give to them. For choosing the Kingdom of God over her own people’s loss, she gained a name of honor and a shared inheritance with the LORD and His people.
The death of Yeshua, which the rulers and the nation of Israel thought would bring them peace with the worldly rulers, instead turned out to be their nakba, as it brought God’s righteous wrath against His own people, scattering us to the ends of the Earth. This catastrophe for the Jewish people has been a great cause of celebration for many Gentiles, whose salvation has come through their present setting aside. (Rom 11:11-12) Many of these Gentile Christians have taken Israel’s calamity as a ‘proof’ that God has finished with His people and all of His promises to the Father’s regarding them. Praise the Lord that He is not like us: He changes not, therefore Jacob is not consumed!
The Holocaust brought much joy and satisfaction to the enemies of YHVH and of His Christ, thinking that they had finally put an end to the people whom God had abandoned for a time, and so to all the hopes of the fathers in the Word of the Living God. Their celebration over the nakba of European Jewry was the beginning of their undoing. The God of the Living, who revives the near-dead, and resurrects the dead, once again turned His Father’s heart to His lost and rebellious children — and gave them strength beyond their own power to be victorious in war over their return to their own land. What the ‘world’ had offered and then withdrew, the God of Truth brings His Word and promises to pass!
Israel’s sovereign presence in the present State of Israel by the will and power of the one true God is a nakba to all who persist in not seeing His hand in it. Christians, who do not believe that Jesus is the Amen of God to fulfill all that the Father has promised Him for an inheritance, also suffer in their own souls and spirits for siding with the ‘victim’ rather than seeing the Way of YHVH. He is no respector of persons; we are all offended at times by His way. The cross is an offense, yet it is the only way to glory. Jesus is in noboby’s camp, but we are called to outside the camp we have ‘sided’ with, and join Him outside, bearing His reproach.
The Day of YHVH (the LORD) will be a great and terrible day: great for those who have been justified by faith and for those upon whom God shows mercy and compassion; a terrible nakba for those who have resisted His grace.
As an unbelieving, God-fearing, and self-righteous Jew, Saul (meaning ‘asked for’) blamed and persecuted his fellow Jews who had repented and believed in Jesus, the Man who had brought trouble to their leaders and for the Romans. After believing and obeying the revelation of the truth of who Yeshua really is, Paul (meaning ‘little’) was anguished in his soul over the punishment of his people and nation by the hand of God. As much as he knew and identified with the ‘narrative’ of his people, he never withheld from them the righteousness of the Way of the LORD connected with their catastrophe, suffering, and perplexity. The ways and thoughts of God the Father and Lord Jesus Christ are other than our own, and He has given us His Spirit to help us renew our minds and walk in His way.
The Lord of History is a great and awesome God. Let all who believe in Him humbly bow down and worship Him with much thanksgiving for saving us by the great and terrible sacrifice of His beloved Son, Messiah Yeshua the Nazarene — King of Israel; King of the Jews; Savior of the world and all who truly believe.
“…they had preached the gospel . . .and made many disciples, . . .strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God’.” (Acts 14:21-22)