The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to decay and death into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:21
Our online dictionary includes this definition for the word “Hebrew”:
ORIGIN: from Old French Ebreu, via Latin from late Greek Hebraios, from Aramaic ‛i b ray, based on Hebrew ‛i b rî — understood to mean ‘one from the other side (of the river).’
Abraham’s descendants’ escaping from Egypt and, with divine Providence, rushing across the “parted” Red Sea certainly do come to mind. Hebrew = one from the other side — or, as this is sometimes expressed, “one who crossed over.” The Red Sea is a long, narrow, land-locked sea; in some ways it is more like a river. Further, Joshua would much later lead the Israelis into the Land by crossing the Jordan River near Jericho.
When we visited Israel a couple of years back, we learned that “Bethlehem” means in Hebrew “house of bread.” He who has been referred to as “Panis Angelicus,” Bread of Angels, the ultimate “manna,” the one who illustrated His “body, broken for you” with bread — was born in the House of Bread!
Yeshua’s kind of “bread” differs from the ordinary kind, however. When we eat ordinary bread, it becomes us, so to speak. But when we appropriate Christ, we become increasingly like Him through the new birth.
Jesus spoke of the importance of being “born again” to Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and had come to Him at night in the hope of not being seen by his own colleagues. When we think about the definition of “Hebrew” meaning essentially “one who crossed over,” the word itself seems to speak of this new birth — in addition to Israel’s exodus. Consider Abraham, Rahab, and Ruth. They left their very different former lives to become Israelis — to “cross over” to a new and unknown life; they somehow summoned the faith to move toward this new life in preference to what was familiar. They sensed something better; they crossed over.
In Isaiah we find the stirring words, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; can you not perceive it?” We find a paraphrase of the first part of this statement in Revelation: “Behold, I make all things new.”
Astrophysicists tell us that more than 200 finely-tuned characteristics of Earth reveal that the universal stage was set in advance for us — for billions of years. And that Earth is in a unique place and time parameter that enables us to observe these exquisite elements of design. A personal Creator had you and me in mind.
Scientists who have also studied Scripture recognize in it a setting forth in several texts — not only in those in Genesis 1 — of the astonishingly-unique process of setting the stage for our world for the very purpose of creating — not suns, but sons.
When He was physically present with us, Jesus often referred to Himself as “the Son of man.” He is described this way in the fiery-furnace story in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament as well. But after the resurrection His description, in the epistles for example, consistently becomes “the Son of God.”
“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He really is. And all who have this hope will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2,3)
The goal that Jesus put before Nicodemus is the same one He puts before you and me — to become citizens of the newer creation that “eye has not seen and ear has not heard.” The one in which weapons will have been transformed into garden tools that facilitate life. In which there will be no more killing or evil or death. No animal predation. No sickness or sorrow or night. The perfect creation — as God would design it.
“You must be born again,” Jesus told Nicodemus, the apparently wise, older man.
“Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness — without it no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
God’s love and mercy are freely extended to all. He waits as long as He can. His desire is that as many as possible will enter the Kingdom of all things new.
Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs Danny Ayalon recently released a video that discusses Israel’s legitimate presence in the West Bank. In this brief video, he discusses historically verifiable facts like Israel’s capturing the West Bank from Jordan in 1967. He points out that there was no Palestinian state at this time. Mr. Ayalon states that Jordan had no legal right to be in this area, and that it had changed the names of Judea and Samaria to “the West Bank.”
He states that Israel’s presence in the West Bank in 1967 was for the purpose of self-defense and provides historic details that strongly support his remarks. These facts are verifiable. He suggests that the term “disputed territories” is far more appropriate for the West Bank than “occupied territories.”
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat immediately responded by characterizing Israel as “pro-conflict,” occupying colonialists. He described the video as “not . . . amateur” and as presenting a “cynical and falsified account” of history and international law.
Mr. Ayalon has replied that PA representatives are “unable to challenge a single fact in the video and have completely avoided a legitimate and honest discussion on the issues.”
The video, released in late July, has already drawn more than 100,000 views. Mr. Ayalon has said he would be happy to present facts in a debate setting with any PA representative. “I now realize that there has been such a thirst for the truth, not just among Israel supporters, but also among the undecided, and its success has prompted me to think of doing a lot more in this area,” he said, referring to the video.
It seems that the kinds of historical dates, occurrences, and binding resolutions that Mr. Ayalon and Mr. Erekat address should be a matter of ascertainable fact. If one side has long been pulling the wool over much of the world’s eyes, it shouldn’t succeed in misleading or confounding many in the global community forever.
Is it possible that Israel doesn’t “occupy” Israel?
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
“We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history.”
History is replete with the exchange of territory at the hands of war and conquest. How should we look at the modern state of Israel? The above quote by Abba Eban is the famous reference to the pre-1967 armistice lines as “Auschwitz lines” of which our President wants to use as a basis for the two states of Palestine and Israel. Commenting on the President’s speech, Charles Krauthammer sagaciously states,
Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.
The very idea that Judaism’s holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is rightfully, historically, or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.
The point is well taken that President Obama once again has weakened Israel, although more seriously, at the negotiating table in same way he did with the settlement freeze. What exactly are Israel’s concerns with the pre-1967 lines? The video cited below gives a graphic illustration of Israel’s security concerns.
Arab countries make up territory 650 times the size of Israel.
The distance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is 44 miles.
An aircraft can traverse the country of Israel in less than 4 minutes. An aircraft from the Jordain border can be in Jerusalem in 2 minutes. See map.
70% of the population and 80 % of the industrial capacity of Israel is within the reach of hills of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). See map.See map.
The narrowest point of the coastal plain is a mere 9 miles.
Certainly, this is a unique situation as are other things with the Arab-Israel conflict (for example, the refugee issue, water resource issues, and historical revision and false ancestral claims). And this is precisely the point: the world cannot just hand over a state to the Palestinians who have refused offers that even included half of Jerusalem as their capital. What remains enigmatic is why our President would put such stress on any negotiations. Better these issues are settled by talks rather than bombs or bullets or public fiat. God help Israel, God help President Obama.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
The push for a new state for the Arab Palestinians may be attained by September of this year. The way this could be achieved is outside of the current peace process and could lead to negative results. A lengthy article has been written by David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post explaning how this could come about. In essence if the UN Security Council reaches an impasse on its ability to maintain order and stability, the process can then go to General Assembly where resolutions are passed via two-thirds majority. Although non-binding, this “Unity for Peace” Resolution has been used before where the dynamics on the ground affected the related parties (for example, boycotts and sanctions). The article states,
The Palestinian leadership, that is, anticipating that the US will veto its unilateral bid for statehood at the Security Council, will take the matter to the General Assembly. There it will push for the necessary two-thirds GA support for recognizing “Palestine,” presumably along the pre-1967 lines and with a “right of return” for refugees, under a “Uniting for Peace” resolution to ensure global action.
If this were to transpire, critical issues that normally are solved through consensus could become flash points of contention and further world condemnation. Horovitz adds
Most Israelis may well believe that the failure to make progress in negotiations with the Palestinians stems from the other side’s refusal to take positions that would guarantee Israel’s physical and demographic security alongside the proposed Palestine. Most Israelis may well believe that the Palestinian leadership has neither encouraged its people to accept the Jewish right to statehood, nor accepted this right itself, and has maintained an environment in which terrorists who target Israelis are regarded as role models.
But the sad fact is that most of the international diplomatic community simply doesn’t accept this narrative, and tends increasingly to blame strong, sovereign Israel for failing to grant independence to the weak, stateless Palestinians. Rocket attacks from Gaza, bombings at bus stops in Jerusalem, even horrific murders of fathers, mothers, children and babies in their homes, are evaluated in that context.
So there is certainly no automatic, or even readily attainable, blocking vote in the Security Council for the Palestinians’ demand for statehood, even if the establishment of that “state” is being sought while the core issues of dispute with neighboring Israel remain unresolved.
Another area of incitement being reviewed is the attitude to peace: “They say that Jews have no right to be in this region, Jews have no right to be here. This is especially noticeable in school text books, where Israeli presence isn’t even mentioned. There are no maps with Israel. (Ynet News).
If such an event were to occur the security of an estimated 200,000 Jews would be of immediate concern. Just as a point of fact, other items that have been in negotiation are water, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem.
The manner in which this Administration has conducted its foreign policy over the past few years, allowing others to take the lead in domestic and international affairs, may pave the way for this potentially historic event in September.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
“America has embarked on the European path of economic stagnation and declining influence. Since 1945, Europe has depended on America to defend it, while spending ever smaller percentages of its Gross National Product on defense. The huge budget deficits resulting from Obamacare will push America in the same direction.”
So wrote Jonathan Rosenblum, director of Jewish Media Resources and columnist for the Jerusalem Post. (2Apr10)
Rosenblum reiterates what most other conservative journalists write: “Every major government entitlement program has ended up costing many times more than initially projected, and the proponent’s cost projections on Obamacare do not meet even minimal levels of credibility.”
He adds, “World War II cost Britain its empire, and the huge budget deficits racked up by Obamacare will likely force America to abandon its role as global policeman.” This will leave nations like Iran to take the lead and push the surrounding Islamic nations into making a head-long rush to develop their own nukes.
The “retreat of the Great Satan will only whet the appetite of radical Islam.” One thing is certain: The UN will never protect Israel against the Islamists. And now it appears that America is turning its back on its only democratic ally in the Middle East.
Body language seems to be very strong with President Obama. Here he is obviously in command, ordering Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Head Mahmoud Abbas to pose for a nice photo op.
Just what is Obama’s agenda for the future? What else does he want to accomplish during his first term in office? Of course, he would love to pass his Cap and Trade bill, but Rosenblum believes he can only commit suicide once (with Obamacare) and he does not think the president has enough political capital left to get another massively controversial bill through congress.
Most Israelis have come to the conclusion that the Jewish state has no choice but to offer the several million Arabs in the West Bank their own state. Nevertheless, Israel is fearful of the way it appears Obama will make it happen.
From Israel’s perspective, Obama is not really interested in a peace treaty between Arabs and Israel. As Rosenblum notes, “No confidence-building measures are ever requested from the Palestinians. At every stage, new demands are placed on Israel to placate [the Palestinians] and convince them that the U.S. has the power to deliver a state on terms even they cannot refuse.” (Ibid.)
He has asked nothing of the Palestinians – such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation or renouncing terrorism. He has not countered the demands of the Palestinians who plan to send millions of Muslim “refugees” to live in Israel proper and to take Jerusalem away from Israel and make it their Muslim capital.
When Netanyahu visited the White House in late March, Obama demanded that he sign an agreement to stop all building in East Jerusalem’s Jewish areas and consent to 12 other demands. When Netanyahu stalled, according to many press reports, Obama stood up and said, “I’m going to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.” He added, “I’m around. Let me know if there’s anything new.”
“It was awful,” a U.S. congressman who spoke to the Prime Minister said. One Israeli newspaper called the meeting “a hazing in stages,” poisoned by such mistrust that the Israeli delegation eventually left rather than risk being eavesdropped on a White House telephone line. He left with no official statement from either side, an unheard of treatment of a close ally. (www.timesonline.co.uk, 26Mar10)
0510 - Haaretz Story This headline expresses the mood in Israel – the awareness of the indifference of the world to threats against Israel’s existence.
Ironically, the Israeli people, after decades of “negotiations,” are convinced that the Palestinians do not really want a Palestinian state – that is, a state living in peace beside Israel. They do not want that. They want one state and one state only – which would extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River – in other words, they want the land of Israel as part of their state. They say it this way: One state for both Arabs and Jews with each citizen having a vote.
To gain such a state, they would be ready to submit (at least temporarily) to being the first democratic Arab Muslim state in history because then their Muslim voters would, within a very short time, vote in a Muslim Palestinian prime minister and dominate the Knesset. And that would be the end of the Jewish state.
But that is not all. Israel is falling behind in military capabilities. “According to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, every Israeli request for upgraded weapons systems has been denied, while the Arab states, most notably Egypt, have been provided with numerous advanced systems on par with Israel’s.” Most recently, bunker busters necessary for any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities were denied. (Ibid.)
We must remember that Obama sat comfortably under Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic invective – including honoring Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam – for nearly 20 years. He is comfortable with Islamic principles and ambitions.
Israel’s only hope is God. As the nations turn increasingly antagonistic toward Israel, Christians and Messianic Jews who know how God feels about the land He promised to the Jewish people must pray for Israel and for their own nation. The promise is still true today. I will bless those that bless you and curse those who curse you.
“For because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures, even you yourself will be captured; and Chemosh will go off into exile together with his priests and princes.” -Jer. 48.7
The Moabites were a people who lived in what we now know as Jordan, mostly making their abode along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. Their kingdom was often in conflict with Israel, and the God of Israel had a long-standing controversy with them. The prophets testify to this controversy.
Moab, as it is addressed in the prophets, presents the picture of a people poisoned by the spirit of pride, independence, and arrogance. This oracle from the prophet Jeremiah gives them an undesirable promise, that because of their pride and self-sufficiency, they will be captured and even their priests and princes, along with their god Chemosh, will go off into exile. This is to say that even their most ‘divine’ authorities and royal potentates would be of no aid to them in the day of the Lord’s judgment.
One of the characteristics that marks Moab is that as a people, she has been casual and laid back to the point of neglecting the truth of her condition, and the reality of God Himself. Listen to this description the Lord gives of Moab:
“Moab has been at ease since his youth; he has also been undisturbed, like wine on its dregs, and he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor, and his aroma has not changed.” (v. 11)
We may have commended Moab for its uniqueness and self-expression, for maintaining its distinctive cultural and religious qualities in the midst of changing times. But the Lord saw Moab as arrogant, non-pliable, and resistant toward Him. He saw them as vessels that had “not been emptied,” and though their “aroma has not changed,” the prophet indicates that the Lord is not pleased with the spiritual “smell” that Moab gives off. Hear the words of J.A. Thompson on this:
Moab is here compared with wine which has been allowed to settle down with its dregs and sediment to age and mature and improve its flavor. It had settled quietly on its lees and had never been disturbed by being poured from vessel to vessel. The picture is one of complacency. But this would soon change.
(J.A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah: NICOT; Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI: 1980, p. 705)
The Lord would not continue to endure the presence of Moab’s complacency, and the trust in her own achievements that she feverishly held onto would soon be toppled by the work of His hand.
“‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will send to him those who tip vessels, and they will tip him over, and they will empty his vessels and shatter his jars.'” (v. 12)
Can it be said that much of the Church is living on Moabite grounds? Trusting in our own achievements, proud and self-sufficient, vessels that have yet to be tipped over and emptied of the wine of this age?
What aroma are we releasing into the atmosphere? Forget the way you look in ministry or at some religious meeting. What about the aroma you release in your home… in the work place… in your neighborhood… at the grocery store, etc.? Are we filling the air with our religious opinions? Are we lacking a true expression of the love of God? Are we grumpy and crotchety when the sanctuary lights aren’t shining on us? Are we loose on sin, flatterers of men, or timid weaklings? Are we swept up by the same waves of entertainment, media, and fashion that move and jerk the undiscerning hearts of those who are walking in darkness?
How much of our upbringing and culture that is not of the flavor and aroma of God’s kingdom still lingers in our lives, and what excuses have we secretly made to permit that kind of a mixture? How often are we quenching the Spirit of God and going into modes of speech and conduct that are in keeping with attitudes which our culture may have always accepted and sanctioned, but that the Lord is not in harmony with?
“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” -2 Cor. 2.15
Are we functioning as vessels that have not been emptied, that are still filled with the wine of this age? Are we willing daily to be tipped over, emptied entirely, and filled with the Spirit of God Himself? I am convinced that the Church is in a mostly ‘Moabite’ condition, and before the final day comes when the rebellious ‘jars’ are tipped over and shattered, we need to tip over our vessels without reservation, that God may fill us with His own love and purity.
The Lord will only fill those vessels which have been tipped over willingly. The ones that remain upright, recalcitrant and resistant toward His heart and call, will in the last day be tipped against their wills, and shattered by His hand.
We need to be tipped and emptied of the wine of this age,that we may taste of the powers of the age to come. Having been filled with the Spirit of life, we will live and speak as vessels that have been fit to set forth the Son of God to Israel and the nations.
“Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the Lord.” -Is. 52.11b
Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org
I like to strike up conversations with people I meet while traveling. Last Tuesday, on the way back to San Francisco airport, I asked the driver where he was from. “Jordan,” he replied.
In an effort to make a connection, I mentioned that I haven’t gotten to Jordan, but I went to Iran in 2006 and served in Saudi Arabia with the Navy twenty years ago.
“What do you do?” he asked.
“I’m a writer and a speaker. I co-authored a book defending the truth of Christianity called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.”
“I’m a Christian too,” he said. Then, just as we were pulling into the terminal, he asked, “What do you think about the Iraq war?”
With less than 90 seconds left in the ride, I quickly said, “I think it was the least bad choice we had. Saddam used WMD, invaded Kuwait, and then violated 17 straight UN resolutions and the cease fire. What other choice did we have in a post 9-11 world?”
He didn’t answer the question. Instead, he claimed that Iraq had nothing to with 9-11, and that we just should have gone after the bad guys in Afghanistan. He then said, “Jesus told us to love our enemies.”
Leaving the issue of 9-11 aside, was his inference correct? In light of what Jesus said about loving our enemies, should Christians be pacifists?
I don’t think so. In fact, sometimes the use of force is not only justified, it can be a dereliction of duty not to use force.
First, “loving your enemies,” like “turn the other cheek,” is a command for individuals in personal relationships. It is not a command for governments or for individuals put in grave bodily harm. As individuals we should pray for our enemies and “turn the other cheek” instead of returning insult for insult. Such behavior demonstrates supernatural love aimed at securing the offender’s conversion to Christ. But those commands do not mean that we have no right to personal self defense, nor do they mean that a nation shouldn’t protect its people from other hostile nations.
With regard to self defense, not only does the Old Testament affirm the right to self defense (Ex. 22:2), Jesus himself told his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword (Luke 22:36). Jesus later told Peter “put your sword away” so Christ’s sacrifice would go forward and the scriptures would be fulfilled (Mt. 26:54). But the very fact that Jesus told Peter and the other disciples to buy a sword shows that its use for personal protection is appropriate. (By the way, Jesus never condoned the use of the sword as a means of religious conversion. It’s impossible anyway. Genuine conversion, by definition, is freely accepted. It cannot be coerced.)
With regard to war, the New Testament does not order newly baptized soldiers to get out of the military. Instead, John the Baptist told them not to abuse their power and to be content with their pay (Luke 3:14). Soldiers are needed because, as Paul pointed out in Romans 13, governments have a God-given responsibility to use “the sword” to protect their people from harm. In fact, Paul himself accepted military protection when he was in danger (Acts 22:25f), and Jesus affirmed the right of governments to impose capital punishment, saying that such a right was given by God (Jn. 19:11).
Second, “love your enemies” cannot mean that all use of force is prohibited because such an interpretation would contradict the passages just cited and result in absurd conclusions. It would be absurd to say that “love your enemies” means “allow them to kill your family.” How would that be loving to your family?
It would be absurd to say that “love your enemies” prohibits all wars. What about the war against Hitler? Not justified? Please. How would that be loving to the Jews or the countries overrun? (Notice that even my driver friend isn’t against all wars. He thinks that the war in Afghanistan is justified. But if “love your enemies” meant you could never use force, then how can Afghanistan be justified?)
With such an absurd interpretation, we couldn’t even have police protection, a court system, or prisons. Why believe that police can use force but not Armies? There’s not much of a difference. Police use force to protect people from enemies inside a country. Armies use force to protect people from enemies outside a country.
Without the proper use of force, we’d have anarchy, and innocent people would be hurt or killed. That’s why complete pacifism is not only unbiblical, it is a dereliction of duty. Individuals have a responsibility to protect themselves and their families from harm, and governments have a similar responsibility to protect their citizens.
Christians can and should, of course, oppose specific wars that don’t meet what theologians call “just-war theory.” As I mentioned in my last column, I believe the Iraq war is just. But I didn’t get enough time with my driver friend to hear his complete case against the Iraq war. Maybe he knows something I don’t, but it didn’t seem so.
One thing is for certain: Christians contradict scripture and common sense when they say no war or use of force can ever be justified. As terrible as it is, War is sometimes the least bad choice available. In other words, it’s not that Christians are for war; it’s that we’re against the alternative—the oppression and death of the innocent. And in a fallen world like this, sometimes the use of force is necessary to protect the innocent. Without it, we wouldn’t even be able to love our friends.