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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Ignoring Israel Part 2

Ignoring Israel

Part 2: Israel Returns

A long time ago, in an era far, far away, the Roman army occupied the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem. Six hundred years earlier the temple of Solomon had been destroyed and then later the temple was restored by the likes of Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai. All good Old Testament Prophets.

Centuries later a Gentile ruler named Herod, built huge additions and gates for the temple.  One of these gates was named Huldah, after a female prophetess. This is the same place Jesus and his disciples used to gather for the Jewish feasts.

During many of these feasts, Jesus revealed himself to be the promised Messiah. The disciples, themselves being good little students of the Old Testament, understood that the Messiah, when he came, would rule his Kingdom on Earth from Jerusalem. He would also restore Israel to its spiritual and national grandeur. The twelve tribes of Israel had been scattered ever since the Assyrian invasion in the 7th century B.C., and consequently, when the Messiah appeared, the tribes would return.

Many of Jesus followers understood the direction things were going and this frightened the  Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, into thinking that all men would follow Jesus and they would lose their state and their place as a nation to the Romans. Even the high priest tried to tell them that it would be better for one man to die for the nation than for them all to be wiped out, thus predicting the history of Christ. In the same breath he spoke of gathering together the nation, as was expected of the coming of the Messiah.

Even the disciples asked Jesus if this was the time when he would restore the nation of Israel. (Acts 1:6) That would have been the litmus test for the Messiah. What they were looking for was a rebellion to be initiated against Rome, and a revolutionary army to repel the occupiers, so that the nation could be restored and a “Throne of David” set up for ruling the nation.

His disciples looked forward to serving at his side in high positions of authority, a few even asked for posts at his right and left hand. They squabbled among themselves as to who was the greatest, no doubt jockeying for position in some future GLOBAL government. This is no real surprise as many of the prophets had told of the time when all Israel would return to the land from the “four corners of the globe.”

Isaiah 11:11

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Islands of the sea.

Their questions were deferred by Jesus himself who told them “that it is not for you to know the times or the seasons which God the Father has put under his own power.” (Acts 1:7)

Notice this, Christ never said that he had NO PLANS for Israel, nor did he say he was going to replace them with another church. Jesus knew the old prophesies they were waiting expectantly for and he told them flat out that the plan to restore Israel and also the global Messianic Kingdom that was coming was off in the future and under God the Father’s control. In fact, before the visible Kingdom would rule from Jerusalem, the city would again be taken over by  invaders and the people once again scattered to the four winds. Jesus let them know of this by pointing out the white limestone buildings and notifying them that not one stone would be left upon another. (Matthew 24:2)

Indeed Jerusalem was invaded by an army and the Holy Temple was indeed destroyed a second time. The Babylonians had done it the first time, and they carted away everything, literally raping and pillaging the city and its people. It was a national disgrace for such a people, and subsequent generations had to live with the historic shame of their ancestor’s actions. Though they were permitted to return after 70 years, the concept that this would happen again was a big let down to anyone who was proudly Israeli.

There would be a set time for Israel to be established as the home base for the global rule of the Messiah (Psalms 102:13), but it wasn’t going to happen in the disciple’s lifetime.  They would instead become empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News of God and be a) Proclaimers of God’s message to the world, b) Preachers that the messiah is savior of all mankind, c) A light to the nations, d) An example of God’s love to the poor and the needy.

In the book written by Jewish historian Josephus called, The War of the Jews, he documents how in just forty years after Christ’s prediction the Roman tenth legion surrounded the city in an attempt to squelch a rebellion. They basically cut them off from entering and exiting, a classic move in those days. Famine ravaged the land as the people began to starve to death. Crime ran rampant. Jew on Jew violence reached beyond levels of some of out worst inner city crime scenes of today. Not only did roving bands of raiders go from house to house looking for food and water, but they began to eat each other. Babies were shaken upside down to see if there was food inside them. Rich citizens would swallow any gold they had to protect their wealth. They then tried to escape the city through underground tunnels only to have the Romans catch them in the act and then rip them open for the gold they had in their bellies.

Romans, of course, loved crucifixion so many of the escapees were crucified on the walls of the city as an example. Dead bodies lay everywhere on the open ground and the putrification that was happening made the Roman generals ill.

The Romans dickered over the fate of the temple itself, whether to destroy it or leave it intact as a monument to the Roman rule. Titus wanted it saved but it was accidentally torched and as it burned down, the gold melted and covered the limestone blocks. Thus the stones were toppled in order to get at the gold that had melted around them. Therefore, not one stone was left upon another.

In this same time before the destruction of the temple there had been many reports of strange happenings and visions that appeared concerning the temple. These things were considered signs of God’s favor with the nation and his anger at Rome, and thus a rebellion was considered an apt response to these “signs and wonders”.

Despite false prophetic words to the contrary, the temple was indeed razed, the walls destroyed, and thousands of the people were killed. The year 70 A.D. marked the end of the city of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and also any control of the city that the Jewish people might have hoped for.

For those of you who are looking for the 12 lost tribes of Israel, and maybe you think that the Throne of David is in England, sitting on top of the Joshua stone, having been planted there by Jeremiah and Tia Tephia, the daughter of the last king of Judah, don’t ignore this prophesy from Hosea:

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without and ephod, and without teraphim. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.      Hosea 3:4-5

In 71 A.D., the Romans plowed Jerusalem with salt. They did this as a statement that the city was gone for good. Sixty years later the Emperor Hadrian, designated the site of Jerusalem as a Roman "Polis" and called it  Aelia Capitolina, after the Roman god Jupiter. (Who is Thor to the Scandinavians). Jupiter’s temple was then built on that very site of the former temple.

Israel was then called Palestine, and the land of Jerusalem would change hands every time a new power took over. The Romans were followed by the Byzantines, whose headquarters were located in Constantinople. Then the Muslims took over for 450 years, and then the Crusaders in 1011, then the Turks in 1071, then the Muslims returned in 1187, then the Ottoman Empire took over in 1517 for 400 years. In 1917 the British took over.

In 1948 the British mandate ended and the United Nations divided up the Holy Land and gave the Jews the section that would be called Israel. May 14, 1948 was the rebirth of this nation, and many attribute the Holocaust as the main trigger for this occurrence. This event had been prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel  some 2,600 years earlier.

More on 
this next time.

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