The Nation State Law of Israel
Examining the new law and see how it fits in with the course the finger of God has indicated for the Jewish people.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
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During the past two weeks international feathers have flown because Israel introduced its controversial Nation State Law - this law is a fulfillment of multiple Bible prophecies which are the Lord's doing!
During the past two weeks international feathers have flown because Israel introduced its controversial Nation State Law on July 19, 2018. Critics are calling it “the end of democracy in Jerusalem”, “a document that officially creates an apartheid state”, a “move toward right wing nationalism”, “fascism” and many other hyperbolic dire predictions.
This week on the Bible in the News we thought we’d examine the law and see how it fits in with the course the finger of God has indicated for the Jewish people.
The fact Israel has even come into existence is an affront to many people. For thousands of years the Jewish people were consigned to 3rd class citizen status in the various nations where they were scattered. They were oppressed, persecuted, and driven out of even their host nations. In many places they were not allowed to own land, not allowed to participate in politics, not allowed into society. They remained in largely separate communities, such as the Pale of Settlement in Russia, where they were ghettoized and forced to live apart. When assimilation became possible, it was quickly followed by reactionary pogroms or purges and the Jews were quickly pushed out of society once again.
The plight of Israel over the centuries comes directly out of the Bible. In the law of Moses, God warned Israel of the consequence of rejecting him as their God:
“And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” (Deuteronomy 28:64–67)
Israel went into exile after the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem around 600 BC. They returned under Ezra and Nehemiah but lived under the domination of the Medo-Persians, followed by the Greeks and finally the Roman Empire. It was during the Roman domination that the Lord Jesus Christ, referring to Daniel’s prophecy again predicted their scattering:
“As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down….
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:6, 20, 24)
In AD 70 the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and sent them into exile once again, where they remained until the last century.
In 1899 Mark Twain wrote of their plight and of the complete lack of empathy amongst Christians for the Jews:
"Tell me, therefore, from your vantage-point of cold view, what in your mind is the cause. Can American Jews do anything to correct it either in America or abroad? Will it ever come to an end? Will a Jew be permitted to live honestly, decently, and peaceably like the rest of mankind? What has become of the golden rule?"
The fact that the Jews have remained a distinct identity, and survived as a nation is remarkable. Mark Twain continued in his essay remarking on their ability to survive:
"The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
Israel’s survival as a nation is not a chance situation. It is a divinely orchestrated fact. God has preserved Israel because of his promises to Abraham, and as a witness to the world of his existence:
“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, And the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, And let the people be assembled: Who among them can declare this, And shew us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: Or let them hear, and say, It is truth….
And then God states of Israel:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, And my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, And understand that I am he: Before me there was no God formed, Neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; And beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, When there was no strange god among you: Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah 43:8–13)
Twain mentions the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, all of which are composite pieces of the Image Kingdom of Men which was identified by Daniel as existing from Nebuchadnezzar through to the Romans and to the latter days.
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” (Daniel 2:31–34)
The interpretation was given:
“… Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.” (Daniel 2:38–42)
This kingdom of men would go through multiple phases but ultimately would come to an end when God determined to re-establish his kingdom again:
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)
We live in the time period of that very momentous event, and the rebirth of nation of Israel is the event that heralds this new era.
God had told the last king of Israel that the kingdom would be darkened until the time of Messiah:
“And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Ezekiel 21:25–27)
David had been promised a son to sit on his throne in Jerusalem.
“Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning, And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house. And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.” (1 Chronicles 17:9–12)
Jesus is that son as the Angel Gabriel pointed out to Mary:
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:30–33)
Messiah would be given the throne once again. However, the restoration of Israel to their land is required for Messiah to appear, as Peter pointed out during his appeal to his fellow countrymen:
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19–21)
The prophets required the Jews to be returned to the land in order for Jesse’s son to be established on his throne:
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” (Isaiah 11:1)
This would be the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the prophet continues:
“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, Which shall stand for an ensign of the people; To it shall the Gentiles seek: And his rest shall be glorious. 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. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, And shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:10–12)
It is during the rebuilding of Jerusalem that Messiah will arrive:
“Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: For the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, And favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion, He shall appear in his glory.” (Psalm 102:13–16)
Now this has been an on-going historical fufillment. The Jews have been regathering to the land for the past 150 years. The state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948, and Jerusalem returned to Jewish hands in 1967. The bible has been fulfilling in the news in Palestine, later called Israel, for the past century and a half.
Now the Restoration of Israel and reinstating of her Messiah is not merely a political event. Remember the words of Isaiah
Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah 43: 13)
It is God that has been working to restore the Jewish nation. He has used its leaders to accomplish this event. To begin with they were largely secular Jews, some of them even atheists – but God used them to establish the state:
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
The initial declaration of independence was issued by a secular government. However, over the years, a portion of the population has been shedding its socialistic garments, and has begun to return to the biblical tenants of the promises to Abraham and the law of Moses, as Malachi predicted:
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, Which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.” (Malachi 4:4)
This has been what has kept the Jewish nation separate. They are not just a ethnic group, a race descended from Abraham – but they are a race that was separated by a law that was given to them in Sinai:
“But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day. Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:4–8)
It is that law that has separated Israel from the Gentiles where they were scattered, and preserved them. It is the promises to Abraham that have brought them back again to the land under the hand of providence.
What has irked the nations, drunken with the dregs of democracy, is that the Jews are both a religion and a race. There are many western nations where Catholicism is the state religion. There are many Middle Eastern nations where Islam is the state religion. However, make Judaism a state religion and the who world flies of the handle. Judaism is the religion of the Jews, the descendants of Abraham to whom God gave promises. To allow Israel to declare itself a Jewish state would give credence to the promises made to Abraham, and legitimize the hope of Israel – the Jewish national hope – and their religious aspiration to be the Kingdom of God once again. This is what the “Israel as a Nation State of the Jewish People” law does:
It’s basic principles state:
a) The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.
b) The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.c) The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
The world goes crazy with this concept. Homeland for the Jewish people, a national home for the Jewish people with a right to its self-determination! The Catholic and Muslim nations have kept the Jews under ghetto control for centuries, and now the idea of them being a sovereign state, with the right to self-determination (meaning nobody else can tell them what to do).The world has loved to tell the Jews what to do for the past two thousand years… and doesn’t want to give that up.
The State’s Name
It is also interesting to note the law regarding the symbols of Israel:
2 . The symbols of the state
A. The name of the state is “Israel.”
B. The state flag is white with two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.
C. The state emblem is a seven-branched menorah with olive leaves on both sides and the word “Israel” beneath it.
D. The state anthem is “Hatikvah.”
E. Details regarding state symbols will be determined by the law.
It might seem pretty obvious that Israel should be called Israel. The nation could have been called a number of things including Judea, but it was called Israel – the name that was given to the nation by God, and the name that incorporates the entire geographic area promised to Abraham, and much of which David ruled. This was the name Jacob had his name changed to:
“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.” (Genesis 32:28)
It is also the name that God gives to the nation after its return from the final diaspora:
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16)
This is the combined area of Judah and Samaria including the area God terms “the mountains of Israel” in v8. This is an area that the world thinks should belong to the Palestinians as their second state… but God has other ideas, and the nation of Israel is moving to the beat of his drum on this issue.
This is why they cannot stand the other tenant in the law:
3. Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
If the Jews have the right to self-determination, and Jerusalem is their declared capital, then the European Union and the Vatican have no say over the final status of Jerusalem. This has sent the feathers up into the air! Especially since God has already declared his purpose for it:
“Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, And a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:16)
Since the State of Israel was proclaimed in 1948 the Vatican has opposed it. It has supported the PLO and other groups in opposition of Israel. It has been crying for an “international status” for Jerusalem since the birth of Israel (which it opposed). An international status, in Vatican eyes, means it could control Jerusalem itself.
This law effectively puts an end to that debate from a Jewish perspective. We know that Vatican will not accept this, and will eventually encourage all nations to go down to Jerusalem to battle.
Further, this Nation State Law encourages the settlement of the land:
7a. The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.
Again, the world is perplexed by this. It wants the right to dictate Israel’s settlement in the land. It views Judea and Samaria as being “Palestinian” lands, and does its best to restrict Israel’s possession of these geographical areas, even though Jordan seceded control of them after it lost them following attacking Israel in the 1967 war.
The area of Judah (or Judea and Samaria) is required by God to be in Jewish hands, as the prophet Joel predicts:
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem…” (Joel 3:1)
The return of Jews to Judea is God’s doing. What the nation of Israel is doing is simply living the fulfilment of his word. The world hates it, but it hasn’t so much as rejected the nation of Israel, as it rejects God’s hand in their rebirth and in the reclamation of the land, according to the promises and prophecies that he has spoken.
The other tenant that is enshrined in this state law is the language:
4a The state’s language is Hebrew.
This has been necessary to unite the nation. God separated nations by language back in Genesis:
“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7)
However, when restoring Israel, he indicated he would unify them by language so that they could worship their God again in Jerusalem:
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, That they may all call upon the name of the LORD, To serve him with one consent…The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; Neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: For they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; Be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: The king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: Thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: And to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.” (Zephaniah 3:9, 13–16)
The fact that Hebrew has become the official language of the nation of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, furthering the purpose of God in preparing the nation for Messiah.
While we watch the sea nations rage and roar, we are excited to see the word of God accomplishing its purpose:
“For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)
When we look at the nation of Israel today, we see past the politics and the personalities to the angelic finger of God at work behind the scenes. While the world casts up mire and dirt, we see God gradually bringing about his purpose.
“This is the LORD’s doing; It is marvellous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23)
For the Bible in the News this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.