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Following our March 20 News Item No. 11, in which it was hoped that a pending legislation greatly restrictive of religious freedom and especially of missionary liberty, would not pollute Israel, it is with great delight that one can report the following (2), in conjunction with another decisive announcement by the Jewish Prime Minister.
1. Benjamin Netanyahu announces:
"Israel will not reduce itself to a fragile ghetto on the shores of the Mediterranean" - Time, 13 June, 1997, p. 13.
He warned, the magazine summaries, that Israel will not withdraw to its 1967 borders.
2. At the same time, New Life, Melbourne, June 19, 1997, announces a statement in a letter from Prime Minister Netanyahu to Dr Elwood McQuaid, Executive Director of the Friends of Israel, which notes that he has learned of a "bill before the Israeli parliament concerning possession of missionary literature", which "has created a stir among our many Christian friends in the United States."
The letter proceeds: "I would like to assure you that this bill does not have the support of the Israeli government. It was introduced as a private member's bill... With fewer than 30 Knesset members present at the session, the bill succeeded in passing a preliminary reading in the Knesset. But to become law, it must pass three additional readings. The government strenuously objects to this bill and will act to ensure that it does not pass." (Emphasis added.)
He continues: "Israel deeply values your support and that of Christians throughout the United States. We appreciate your friendship and commitment and look forward to continuing co-operation in the future."
Thus the preservation of Jewish control in Jerusalem continues, and an awareness of destiny asserts itself in the midst of a volatile and in some ways rather unreliable power base among the nations. It will be recalled (Luke 21:24) that the Jewish hegemony over Jerusalem was one of the signs of the return of Jesus Christ, following whose crucifixion it was predicted that there would be a long period of wars, the destruction of the temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people (Zechariah 11:9-17, 13:7-9, 65:13-15, 37:12-24, Daniel 9:26, Luke 11:24a) until the time, very late, when God would restore them to their land amid mighty victories on the one hand, and great trials on the other.
Déjà vu: except that it was in prophecy that it was formerly seen. As to this, historically it is very new, as new as the word of God makes it from 2500 years ago, from 2000 years ago, the approximate times of these detailed, systematic predictions based on principles and procedures announced by God in great detail (cf. Ezekiel 36-37, SMR Ch.9).
To come ? Let us stress one of the coming events. Ezekiel 37 not only indicates the restoration of the Jewish people to their own land PHYSICALLY, but also a vast SPIRITUAL awakening, as the spirit or breath enters into the assembled army of peoples who had (as in a vision) been regathered like dry bones from the nations and emplanted in their own land. Sprinkled with clean water, to be equipped with a new heart, they are also to be inspired by an outpouring of the Spirit which will give them spiritual life.
The courageous action of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on both fronts looks to be in a sequence towards both of these prophesied events. What was to come, has come from the Messiah to the dispersion to the travail suffered by the Jewish people, to the physical return, to the amazing victories against disproportionate forces. What is to come is being prepared as events move towards it, like racing cars on a circuit. (Cf. SMR Ch.9.)
What always comes, is the fulfilment of the word of God through the Jewish prophets and through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Word made flesh, who broke death, conquered time and provides eternal life. No law of science is as secure as these things, since the speaker who provided these words, and performs them remorselessly, is the Truth, one who made the universe which science merely investigates. HE knows! It is His. It is to Him that the nations must look, and everyone who would be His child, in his Father's world. (Cf. Matthew 18:1-3, Isaiah 45:23-26, Philippians 2.)
God, in the midst of international flurrying, scurrying and worrying, does not deviate on jot from His word: HE is not moved -
HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL PASS AWAY, BUT MY WORDS SHALL NOT PASS AWAY - Jesus Christ: Matthew 24:35.
The latter happens continually. It is well to be ready in the Lord by His Gospel, so that when the former also happens, one will be at home with the Lord: and in the end - WHO IS LIKE HIM! Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders... And the greatest wonder is the Gospel of the Messiah who has meticulously carried out all things, so that the very stones cry out as they execute His wishes. Isaiah 51:6 puts it beautifully:
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath,
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, and the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner -
But my salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished...
My righteousness will be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation."
It is these very words which so nearly precede the great account of the work which Jesus Christ, magnificently on time for His predicted passion, in terms of the prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 9:26ff., SMR pp. 886-899, 760, 890, 900), so carefully fulfilled (Matthew 26:52-54).
The Gospel may be surveyed shortly in such places on this Web site as SMR pp. 520ff., 582ff. 611ff. and 763ff., and That Magnificent Rock Chs. 2 and 3.