Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My view on the Middle East crisis...

My opinion is based on scripture and current affairs. First I would like to give a scriptural foundation to my view.

In Genesis 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abram (exalted father') a promise that he would be the father of a great nation. In Genesis Chapter 15, Abram enquires of God how his promise will be fulfilled - God's reply is that He will give Abram a son. Sarai (later renamed Sarah), Abram's wife was barren, and well into her seventies /early eighties. She didn't have the faith to see the fulfillment of God's promise.
So she took Hagar, her servant, and sent her in to sleep with Abram. Hagar bore Abram a son - Ishmael.
When Abram was 99 years old (Genesis Chapter 17) , the Lord made a covenant with Abram that would bring about the fulfillment of His promise. He promised that Abram would be the father of many nations, and that He would give the land of Canaan to his descendants forever. The Lord also changed Abram's name to Abraham - father of many.
Genesis 17:19-20 tells us that God tells Abraham that he would have a son , Isaac (later to be renamed - Israel), and he would be the the one through whom God fulfils His promise. Isaac is often termed the 'The Son of Promise'. That said, God says that Ishmael will be blessed also (in his personal capacity) and that he too would be the father of many. Twelve princes would be among his descendants.
As we read later on, Ishmael was sent away with his mother and he married an Egyptian. He became the father of twelve sons (Genesis 25:12), and they became the 'fathers' of the Arab nations.
Isaac as we know, became the father of twelve sons too - the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Fast forward several hundred years, and we see that the nation of Israel did not fully obey the instructions the Lord gave in terms of conquering the land. Also, through rebelliousness, sin, disobedience, and a separation of the Jewish nation (God's chosen people) into the 10 tribes that formed Israel, and the two tribes that formed Judah; the Promised Land's borders had shrunk. Israel was taken away into captivity by Assyria, assimilated into their culture, and disappeared to all intents and purposes. Judah too was taken away into captivity into Babylon, but a remnant was allowed to return to Jerusalem. The land originally promised to Abram had shrunk significantly, to today what represents modern Israel.
Fast forward two thousand years and we see Jesus, the Son of God - the Messiah coming to bring the nation of Israel to salvation. However, very few Jews (apart from the disciples, Paul, and several thousand converts) became Christians. It was Paul who preached the Gospel message to the Gentiles and to them, the promise of salvation and the redemptive power of the Cross became the reality. The Promise was transferred to those who believed. It is sad in a way that the Jewish nation rejected their own Messiah. We the Church (Gentiles) of today have Jesus as our Lord and Saviour because Israel rejected Christ.

Anyway, later in history the city of Jerusalem passed from Jewish to Arab hands. It is in Jerusalem that Mohammed first spoke (circa 576 A.D - Islam is only 1430 odd years old!). Hence it's enormous significance to the Muslim faith. The Crusades ultimately allowed Judea (as it was known then) to become modern day Israel - a Jewish state. The conflict began with two son's - Ishmael and Isaac, whose descendants would form the foundation of the current Middle East conflict. Sadly the Son of Rejection became to arch enemy of the Son of Promise, both sired by Abraham. I'm sure he would not have slept with Hagar if he knew the consequences of his actions and unbelief!

So here we have a the former land of Canaan being inhabited by both the offspring of Ishmael and Isaac - a recipe for disaster! The most Holy city for two of the world most powerful faiths - Jerusalem was, and is still divided.

In the Book of Revelations, a New Jerusalem, and a New Earth with Jesus as King, will appear for the believer when Christ returns to collect His bride - the Body of Christ - His Church - us. The old Jerusalem, and old earth will pass away.

As Christian's we are the Children of the Promise, and we will be received into the New Jerusalem. In Revelations the Bible refers to a what I believe is a remnant of the nation of Israel - 144 000 Jews- 12 000 of each of the tribes of Israel; and they too will be taken into the New Jerusalem to fulfill God's covenant with Israel, and because they were His chosen people.

So, the Middle East conflict will continue. It has to. It is where Armageddon (present day Megidio in Israel - quite close to the border of Lebanon) takes place, and the armies of the Lord will decimate the armies of the world and of satan.


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