Happy Birthday, Israel!!! (Spec. Days & Occasions)

Blue GlobeAll of us, who have done some studies in history and have been paying attention to the global events transpiring all around us, understand quite well that we live in the momentous days of the Earth’s history, perhaps at the very threshold of its great and final climax! At “The Rock of Israel” we sincerely believe that the Kingdom of the Almighty is close at hand, indeed!

Some of the most dramatic and overwhelmingly global events took place within the space of the last 100 years or so. Which of them, in your opinion, has had the greatest and most lasting impact on our planet? Here is a short list of the most significant of them: the building of the Panama Canal (completed in 1914), the Great October Socialist Revolution (1917), the rise and fall of the Soviet Union (1922-1989), the First World War (1914-1918), the rule of terror by Adolph Hitler and his Nazis Germany (1933-1945), the Great Depression in America (started in 1929), World War II (1939-1945), the events of the Cold War between the USSR and the USA, with the standoffs in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and other regions of the world (1945-1989), the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the ensuing conflict in the Middle East? As one can see, the predominant majority of the world-shattering events have been negative in their nature. Fortunately for us, though, there has been at least one very bright exception from that gloomy rule!

Twin TowersAs time goes on, we, humans, tend to ascribe a greater urgency and significance to the events closer to us in time and space. Having a limited perspective and, quite often, failing to see the bigger picture of life, we are apt at being less than objective in our assessment of the world. Thus, for instance, the catastrophic and puzzling collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City, on September 11, 2001, coupled with other mysterious happenings on that somber day, have been viewed by many political commentators and world-events analysts as having some of the most powerful influence, whether for good or bad, on the world community at large.

There is no denying that the course of the world’s history has been adjusted in many respects since those fateful incidents. In my opinion, however, there was one spectacular event within the past century, whose scope and impact should be measured not in terms of years, decades or even centuries, but from the vantage point of millennia! Also, unlike so many other significant milestones in the world’s history, it was and remains one of the happiest occasions for the people of God!That event was the miraculous re-birth of the Jewish State after an almost 2000-year exile! What was it that made the re-birth of Israel such an unusual and potent event?

How Can It Be?

How could an ancient language, unused for thousands of years, have suddenly come to life and enjoy an unprecedented prominence among the tongues of the world (Hebrew)? How could a people, scattered among the nations of the world, have come into being almost overnight (Israel)? How could a newly-proclaimed nation of Israel, attacked by the six powerful Arab countries on the very next day after its creation, have emerged from the conflict victorious, despite the overwhelming odds against her?

How could the desert wastelands of what had come to be known as Palestine, have become a blooming garden, producing enough agricultural crops not only to provide for the 7.5 million strong Israeli population, but also to sustain one of the most productive exports in the world? How could a tiny democratic nation have withstood undaunted the seven decades of genocidal aggression directed against her by the Arab countries of the Middle East and Africa, all the while absorbing millions of new immigrants, pouring into her from all over the world?

Jewish SurvivorsHow could a nation, formed just 64 years ago, have become a world leader in medical and information technology, publishing more scientific and research papers per capita than any other nation on earth! How could a small country of 7.5 million, pressed on every side by the surrounding her 60 million hostile Arabs, have become a place where an average life-expectancy is among the highest on the planet, with the levels of happiness and contentment soaring past those in the developed countries of the world? How could a teeny sliver of land, unoccupied, despised and neglected for almost 2000 years, have by now become the center of the world’s attention and itsmedia frenzy? The list of these “how-coulds” could go on and on . . . What would your answer be to them?

This year, the birthday of the young nation falls on April 26-27 of our secular Western calendar. At “The Rock of Israel” we invite you to join in these festive celebrations, by reflecting deeply on the meaning of the State of Israel in light of God’s promises and human destiny! The Bible declares: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.” (Psalm 122:7-9) – May your house see prosperity and goodness of the LORD as you praise His Name for the people of Israel!

The Case for the Creator

The gracious Creator has filled our world with numerous evidences of His existence and reliable manifestations of His ongoing presence in our lives. Among the most obvious and significant of them are:

(1) The irreducible complexity and mathematical precision of the Universe, which testifies to the existence of the Supreme Designer: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Ps. 19:1);

(2) The absolute marvel of our own bodies, whose workings and make-up defy a “scientific” foolishness of evolution: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Ps. 139:14);

(3) The living reality of the people of Israel, whose history and mission testify to their God. Israel’s ingathering back to the Land of Israel happened in divine accordance with the Bible’s promises as well: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the LORD.”!” (Jer. 30:2-3) (see also: Is. 6; 40; 43; Ez. 36; 37; Jer. 3; 31; Zech. 14; etc)

The greatest achievement of the Eternal Nation lies in their faithful preserving of the unique truth and intimate knowledge of the One Living God, expressed in the ethical monotheism of the Jewish Faith and encapsulated in the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures. The promise of the Almighty “to bless those who bless Israel and to curse her enemies” is still as true and valid today as it was thousands of years ago, spoken directly by God to Abraham.

Gods Representative

Ark and LevitesGod has always longed to have a faithful representative of His goodness and benevolence on this Earth. Ever since the events in the Garden of Eden, where our first human parents sinned against their Maker through their willful disobedience to His Commands, the LORD has been working tirelessly to preserve the knowledge of the Living God among the growing apostasy of humankind. Given the inherent human tendency toward polytheism, the strictly monotheistic faith of the Jewish Bible is, perhaps, among the most profound marvels in the history of human race! Even in our modern, quasi-sophisticated world, more than two billion people worship and revere the three gods of Trinity, created by the apostate Church in the 4th century CE.

To fulfill His plan of salvation, God has fashioned a special nation to carry our His desires. He entrusted them with His Word, His Law and a set of sacred responsibilities. “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers . . . “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments . . . Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.” (Deut. 7:6-8,9,11)

Light unto the Gentiles

Land of IsraelBy settling His people in the crossroads of the world, right in the center of the Fertile Crescent, in the Middle East, God purposed for Israel to be “the Light unto the Gentiles,” bringing all the willing into the saving relationship with the Lord God of Israel: “Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another . . . I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Isaiah 42:5-8, 49:6) – Apart from the Living LORD, there is no true Salvation in anybody else! Unfortunately, the church has cut itself off from the Living God of Israel a long time ago, by falsifying the person and works of Israel’s Messiah and creating some cosmic Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, in his place!

Israel and the Jewish Messiah

In the due course of time, God brought forth His Messiah from among His faithful people, Israel. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) Just as The Creator of the Universe spoke the worlds and stars into existence, so He spoke His Word and it became flesh and person of Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among his fellow Israelites, taught the Torah of the Almighty and died a sacrificial death on the Roman Cross as a perfect Lamb of God! “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) – Is God’s Word some Second Person of the compound Trinity? That’s an unbiblical and absurd idea, indeed!

Israel's MessiahA great leader of Israel, Moses, predicted the mission of the Messiah: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear . . . “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.” (Deut. 18:15,17-19) – According to this and other messianic passages of the Holy Scriptures, the Messiah was to be a son of David and a Son of Man.

As the greatest among the LORD’s prophets, the Messiah would faithfully proclaim the Word of God, calling both Israel and the rest of the world to walk “humbly before the Living God, doing His justice and righteousness, and loving His mercy and compassion.” The Church, however, could not bear the fact that the Messiah was and is a true son of his God and his people. Thus, the triune god of Trinity was created by a majority vote of Gentile church ecclesiastics, with Christ becoming the Second Person of this strange, unknown and compound god. The immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary was added much later, in order to cut off the Church’s Jesus’ ancestry from his Jewish roots altogether!

Suffering for the Word and at Its Hands . . .

Since the chief reason for Israel’s status as a chosen nation was to shine forth with the reflected Light of their God’s goodness and truth, they suffered greatly for departing from strict monotheism of the Jewish faith and proper ethical behavior. They have also suffered vicariously, for the sins and transgressions of the rest of the world, just as their Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiah suffered at the hands of the ungodly people in his generation. The Prophet Isaiah graphically depicts the travails of God’s righteous servant. Who is that faithful servant of the LORD?

Israel SurvivesA careful study of Isaiah’s oracles reveals that the suffering servant of the 53d chapter is both the people of Israel in general and their Messiah in particular! Just as the Messiah is an integral part of his people Israel, having come through and among them, so does the Messiah stand for the entire nation as their anointed King and fit representative! Both entities suffer at the hands of the pagan world; both will be ultimately vindicated by the Holy God and rule with Him for all eternity! “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Through wars and famines, foreign occupations and exiles, Inquisition, pogroms and persecutions, conspiracy of nations and Holocaust, Israel has survived and will prove victorious again through the might of the Holy One of Jacob! “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:1-6) - Israel is yet to play a very crucial role in the events leading up to the end of this world and also in the future Kingdom of God’s Messiah and His Redeemed people!

Always faithful to His erring children, the LORD God of Israel has sustained them through trials, tribulations and exiles to distant pagan lands. Although He chastised them through Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and others, He has brought them back to their own homeland again and again without fail. Even though the entire history of the Jewish nation is replete with God’s gracious providence and His saving power of miracles, nothing speaks as eloquently for His unceasing care over Israel as the events that transpired within the lifetime of people who are still among the living!

The New Birth

One of the most extraordinary miracles of the twentieth century happened in the years 1947 and 1948. Viewing Israel’s birth as a nation in her own land from the vantage point of history, one can see that there was but a brief period of time when this miracle could happen! “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her.” (Isaiah 66:8-10)

Israel's IndependanceDue to a very specific political and military situation on the planet at the time, there was willingness and a degree of cooperation among the major world powers to allow the new State of Israel to become a reality! The Communist Soviet Union, with Stalin at its head, was attracted to the idea of a Jewish state with the view of forcing the British Empire’s presence from the Middle East. The American president, Harry Truman, was able to overcome resistance to the idea of a Jewish state coming from his own State Department, guaranteeing his support for the UN resolution on partition of Palestine. The British were becoming quite fatigued in defending their presence on the soil of Israel against constant armed resistance by pro-Zionist forces in the region. The pieces of the world giant puzzle were all in place for a miracle! Within a very short amount of time, though, the circumstances would change almost completely, making the miracle of Israel’s birth even more marvelous indeed!

Here is how Paul Johnson, the author of “A History of the Jews,” describes it: “Timing was absolutely crucial to Israel’s birth and survival. Stalin had the Russian-Jewish actor Solomon Mikhoels murdered in January, 1948, and this seems to have marked the beginning of an intensive anti-Semitic phase in his policy. The switch to anti-Zionism abroad took longer to develop but it came decisively in the autumn of 1948. By this time, however, Israel was securely in existence. American policy was also changing, as the growing pressures of the Cold War . . . forced Truman to listen more attentively to Pentagon and State Department advice. If British evacuation had been postponed another year, the United States would have been far less anxious to see Israel created and Russia would almost certainly have been hostile. . . Israel slipped into existence through a fortuitous window in history which briefly opened for a few months in 1947-48.” (p. 526)

The LORD Fought for Israel

Much of today’s pseudo-science of textual biblical criticism is based largely on surmising, guessing and conjecturing about the historical, political and other circumstances surrounding the writing of the Holy Text. Thus, for instance, the conquest of the Promised Land by Joshua and Israel’s forces is presumed never to have happened, despite the witness of the text itself. The greatest impediment to these scholars’ acceptance of the Bible at face value is the miraculous nature of much of what the Good Book describes on its pages. They simply cannot bring themselves to believe in God’s supernatural intervention into the course of human history.

Well, the reality of the 20th century historical events proves those doubters wrong again! In fact, the seven wars that Israel fought during the last 63 years of her existence are not studied by Pentagon or any other military organization of the world for a simple reason that they do not make any sense from a purely human, logical point of view. Can it be, though, that the Bible’s refrain, “For the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel,” is just as true in our day and time as it was in the days of Joshua?

Arab MotorcyclistOn May 14, 1948, the day when the State of Israel was declared, she was invaded by armies from six Arab countries: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The Arab aggressors were so confident of their swift victory that they felt no need for tempering their hateful speech toward the newly-formed nation of Israel. Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared: “This will be a war of extermination!” The spiritual leader of Palestine’s Muslims, Haj Amin al Husseini, echoed the same sentiments in addressing his followers: “I declare a Holy War, my Muslim brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!” Mind you, these events took place barely three years after the horrors of the Holocaust!

Despite of Israel’s repeated offer of a ceasefire, the Arab assailants were in no mood to negotiate; - their stated goal was annihilation of all the Jews. Israel was hopelessly outnumbered and totally outgunned by her merciless enemy. The situation was exacerbated by the worldwide boycott of armament sales to Israel. However, remembering that “the LORD is not restrained to save either by many or by few,” Israel’s forces engaged their attackers head on in every single battle. Only after Israel repulsed all the Arab attacks and began capturing territory from them, did they agree to end hostilities and accept Israel’s offer of the ceasefire.

By the time the war ended, Israel had increased her borders, Arab pride received a mortal wound, and many brave men and women paid with their lives for Israel’s right to exist on her own soil! The miracle of God’s protective care over Israel could not be denied by any thinking individual who paid attention to those fateful events!

More Aggression Against the Chosen People

Hate for American and IsraelHumiliated by their sound defeat in the 1948 war with Israel, the Arab nations nursed their wounded pride hoping for another chance to strike against the hated neighbor. As the years rolled by, their rhetoric regarding Israel grew more and more ferocious. Through a steady military build-up, the Arab states were confident that they were finally gaining fighting superiority over Israel. Apparently the enemies of God’s people have a very short memory of the Almighty’s promise to Israel: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17)

On May 27, 1967, the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser declared: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel.” Four days later, Iraq’s president Abdel Rahman Aref announced: “Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.” (Today the same rhetoric is heard coming from another Middle Eastern tyrannical regime, i.e. Iranian Mahmud Ahmadinejad). Once again, Israel was facing up to the combined threat of at least four hostile Arab nations: Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

Having no other alternative, Israel launched a preemptive strike on the Egyptian and Syrian Air Forces, almost completely destroying them within the space of one day. Humiliated and shocked by the rapid loss of the county’s Air Force, the president of Egypt was looking for ways to save face before his own countrymen and the rest of the Arab world. Unaware that his phone line had been intercepted by the Israeli intelligence, he telephoned his counterpart in Jordan, King Hussein, asking: “Shall we say that the United States is fighting on Israel’s side? Shall we say the United States and England or only the United States?” – “The United States and England,” replied Hussein, who earlier publically appealed on the Radio Amman to “kill the Jews wherever they could be found, with one’s hands, one’s nails, anything.”

Six day War The Six Day War of 1967 lasted from June 5-10. By the time it ended, the Jewish State had grown almost four times in size and was universally acknowledged as the greatest military power of the Middle East. Unfortunately, the massive character of Israel’s victory only hardened Arab hatred for the Jewish state. Two months after the war, the entire leadership of the Arab world met in Khartoum, Sudan, and issued three “No’s”: (1) No peace with Israel; (2) No negotiations with Israel; (3) No recognition of Israel.” But against all odds, Israel survives!

Yom Kippur War

The next big conflict between Israel and her Arab haters broke out during the holiest season in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. On October 6, 1973, the combined forces of Egypt and Syria simultaneously invaded the territories of Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. The size of the attacking armies equaled that of the NATO forces in Europe. Their plan was to spring up a surprise attack against an unsuspecting Israel, whose population was largely in synagogues, celebrating the biblical festival.

Within a week, however, Israel had driven both Egypt and Syria back to where they had been stationed before the military actions began. Although the aggressors started their invasion without any warning and thus having a tremendous strategic advantage on their side, they were soundly beaten by the Israeli Army once again!

In spite of another powerful demonstration of God’s favor toward His people, the Yom Kippur War caused the Jewish state to become more isolated in the international arena. Many African nations, acting under Arab pressure, broke off diplomatic relations with Israel. The Arabs were also successful in pushing through the United Nations a resolution condemning “Zionism as racism,” just two years after the conflict. Increasingly, Middle Eastern oil has been used by the Arab world as a “bargaining chip” to turn the Western world against Israel as well.

Without ZionismAs I am writing these lines, Israel is facing yet another existential threat from its “peace-loving” neighbors. The so-called "Arab Spring" has brought new governments into power in one Muslim nation after another in the Middle East . The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical anti-Israel extremists, who are openly committed to the annihilation of the Jewish people, are now threatening the Jewish state more boldly and more aggressively than ever before in our lifetime. Where do you stand in this epic of life? Are you part of the LORD’s miracles?

Conclusion of the Matter

During the past four thousand years of human history there has been but one nation that has introduced the polytheistic world to the One Living God and preserved this knowledge in the face of the fiercest opposition on the part of pagans of all stripes and hues! This nation is the people of Israel, scattered among the Gentiles of the world and living in their own Land of Israel as well!

It was Jewish people, - their priests, prophets, shepherds, farmers, fishermen and kings, through whom the LORD of Heaven given us the Bible and through whom the Messiah came into the world! Our Messianic Jewish Ministries “The Rock of Israel” prays for, blesses and supports the people of Israel, standing alongside the Servant of God in getting the world acquainted with the One True God – the LORD God of Israel!

The best news of all is that the entrance into the peoplehood of Israel is open to all who embrace the LORD God of Israel with their whole heart, mind and soul, keep all His Commandments and love and support the people of Israel! Being part of God’s chosen people has its own privileges: you are now in the most intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father; and its own responsibilities: toward the Holy God, His Law and the people as a whole.

If you feel that Ruth’s prayer reflects the faith and longing within your own heart, then you are firmly on your way toward becoming “a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit”: “But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

During the past 64 years of its existence as an independent State, Israel has been a beacon of democracy, equality and freedom in the Middle East. The 2000 year-old wastelands have been steadily transformed into lush gardens, fruit-laden orchards, spreading vineyards, fertile fields, productive farms and iconic olive groves! The Land of Promise is blooming again as the Garden of Eden! “The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” (Is. 51:3)

Like EdenMay the LORD continue to restore the good fortunes of His people, finish re-gathering of the Jewish exiles to the land flowing with milk and honey, send His Messiah to rule over the world from Jerusalem, and bring about His Universal Kingdom of Love and Peace on this Blue Planet! “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.” (Psalm 122:7-9)

Happy Birthday, Israel!