God's Living Proof
David M. Pearce
- A MOMENTOUS YEAR
old man stood resolute beneath the bright new flag, blue and white in the
spotlights. To a roar of approval, Ben Gurion declared the formation of the
State of Israel, and signed the Constitution.
thousands of ill armed Jews, untrained for war, danced and cheered in the
streets of Tel Aviv, then prepared to fight for their lives against the Arabs as
they vowed to destroy the infant country at its birth. It was May 14th, 1948.
many Bible students, the events of that day were nothing short of a miracle. For
nearly 2000 years, the Jews had been without a government, without a capital,
without even a land. Forced from their fatherland, first by the Assyrians and
Babylonians, then by the iron might of Rome, they had wandered among the
nations, persecuted, tortured, despised and cursed. Now they had come home.
a century has gone by since that momentous beginning, and the state has grown up
like a tree amongst the nations. The population has exploded, as waves of
immigrants from areas as far apart as the steppes of Eastern Europe and the
torrid heat of Ethiopia, have been housed, clothed, educated and set to work.
The oranges and grapefruits that in the early years filled the holds of the
ships tied up at Haifa have been replaced by aeroplane loads of cut flowers,
swimwear, high tech
lasers and medical equipment, bringing a new prosperity. Everywhere there
are new houses, roads and factories. The morning traffic jams into Tel Aviv
resemble the motorway north of Birmingham. Walk down a shopping street, and men
bump past with shoulders hunched over their mobiles, unseeing, arms waving,
shouting to their neighbours a phone cell away. Israel has arrived. Yet even to
the holiday visitor, and there are plenty of them, too, there is something
extraordinary about this people, and their land. Take a trip on an Israeli bus,
for example. It is like a tour of the United Nations. Pale, high cheek boned
faces from the Ukraine sit
alongside swarthy ones with hooked noses from the Yemen. Fair haired European
Jews strap hang with curly black haired immigrants from Africa. But they are
chit chatting away in a common language, the same Hebrew their forefathers spoke
in the same land 3000 years ago. Drive south from the wide streets and
skyscrapers of modern Jerusalem, and the road winds down to a vision from another era, a film set frozen in time, Old Jerusalem, the
city walls and ramparts where David reigned, and Jesus preached, and the
Saracens fought the Templars of the Crusades. The sense of continuity is
thing has not changed, only mellowed. Israel¡¯s Arab neighbours still keep
alive what the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel called ¡®the ancient hatred¡¯ (ch
35 v 5). Israel survived the 1948 War of Independence. In 1967 she repulsed
the combined attacks of Syria, Egypt and Jordan, gaining the Golan
heights, the Sinai, and the crown jewel of Old Jerusalem. Yom Kippur, the 1973
war, caught the Israeli Mossad secret agents napping, and only heroic fighting
drove the Egyptians back across the Suez canal. After that, exhausted by
conflict, Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt and gave them back the Sinai.
The battle front turned instead to a weary conflict in Lebanon. In recent years,
assiduous shuttle diplomacy by the Americans has brought Jew and Arab together
under peace accords. These were intended to give the Palestinian refugees from
1948 self rule in their territories inside Israel, but this move has brought
greater tension inside Israel, and the assassination of president Rabin, viewed
as too ¡®dove¡¯ like by right wing Israeli settlers. Both sides would benefit
from lasting peace, the Arabs from the high technology products of Israel's
factories and kibbutzim, and the Jews from a huge market place, right on their
doorstep. But relationships are still strained, and the Palestinians are not
going to go away.
obvious questions spring to our attention as we look back over fifty years. How
did the Jews get back to base after so long away, and against all the norms of
history? And what does the future hold for them, now they are back?
DID IT HAPPEN ?
right of the Jews to settle in the land of their forefathers has been debated
ever since the formation of the State of Israel. Fifty years on, the families of
the Arabs displaced from their villages in the War of Independence still
complain that the land belongs to them, and bullets and beatings mar the uneasy
peace. Who does own the land known for
so many centuries as Palestine? Do the recent centuries of occupation by
Israel's Arab enemies count for more than the Jews' prior claim of 1500 years
under their own leaders? For a clear and unequivocal answer to this question,
and at the same time, an explanation for the return of the Jews from their
dispersion, we need to turn to the Bible.
great handbook for human life states emphatically that all lands belong to God..
He, the Creator, decides who occupies a particular country, and for how
long. Consider these powerful passages :
"The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those
who dwell therein" (Psalm 24 v 1)
"I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the
ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and
have given it to whom it seemed proper
to me" (Jeremiah 27 v 5).
"God", confirms the Apostle Paul, "has made from one blood
every nation of men .. and has determined their
pre - appointed times and the boundaries
of their habitation" (Acts 17 v 26).
is a different approach to history than the one we were taught at school, where
the rise and fall of empires was due such mundane factors as changes in climate,
population pressure and technical advances in warfare. It means that moral
standards are far more important - whether a nation abides by God's rules, and
then, does the Bible say the Jews have a right to the land of Palestine? For
answer, open the book of Genesis at chapter 15. Here you will
meet another old man, a devout and faithful servant of the Lord, named
Abraham. He was living in a tent in a field outside Hebron. Some ten years
before, at the call of God, he had emigrated from Mesopotamia, where he had been
brought up. The decision to leave
was a great act of faith, for he was already approaching retiring age, and the
book of Hebrews makes it plain that when he left Ur of the Chaldeans, "he
went out, not knowing where he was going" (Hebrews 11 v 8). It was to the
land of Canaan, the country we call Israel, that he was eventually led. As soon
as he arrived, God promised to give the land to him, and this promise was
repeated several times. As chapter
15 begins, the angel of the Lord comes to his tent. "I am the Lord",
he said, "who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land
to inherit it." (Genesis 15 v
7). Abraham immediately voices his concern that God was taking a long time to
fulfil the promise. "Lord God," he enquired, "how shall I know
that I will inherit it?" For answer, God removed any further doubts
by adopting a custom of the times, used to solemnify a promise.
Abraham was instructed to sacrifice animals and birds, to cut the
carcasses in two, and to lay the halves on
the ground with a gap between them. Next night, after dark, Abraham
watched great lamps of fire passing between the pieces. It was the Lord, making
a covenant with Abraham. "To your
descendants I have given this land",
he said (v18). There we have the precise words of God himself.
the years that followed, Abraham had a baby boy, Isaac, born when both parents
were very old. Isaac in turn had twin sons, Jacob and Esau. It was Jacob, whose
name was changed to 'Israel', who became the forefather of the nation of Israel.
He and his family migrated to Egypt to avoid a famine, then stayed on, for
hundreds of years. Around the 12th century B.C. (the precise date is debated),
the 12 sons of Jacob had grown into a mighty people, and began to be oppressed
by the Egyptians. God sent them a deliverer, Moses. As he was being commissioned
for his task, the angel of the Lord said to Moses "I
will bring you (the Israelites) into the land which I swore to give to Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob , and I will give
it to you as a heritage" (Exodus
6 v 8). God was keeping his promise.
the way to the promised land, in the Sinai desert, the angel appeared to the
nation on Mount Horeb. He gave Moses a remarkable Law for the people to keep
when they arrived in their inheritance. It was designed to create a humane,
healthy, happy society, where each family had a plot of land to grow their food,
and where God was at the centre of life. Three times the people agreed they
would keep the commandments of the Lord, and to confirm their promise, they too
made a covenant, sealed by the
blood of animals. God was pleased.
"If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant", he said, "then
you shall be a special treasure to me above all people". Then he added
"for all the earth is mine"
(Exodus 19 v 5). Their enjoyment of the land was
his gift, and they must respect him in return.
in the years that followed, the people of Israel reneged on their promise. They
began to worship the gods of the Canaanites, and violence, oppression of the
poor, and sexual immorality, stained their history. God sent prophets to remind
them of their duty. For a while, they would amend their ways. Then they slipped
back again. After 800 years (God is patient), he drove
the Northern half of the nation into captivity. The Southern Kingdom
followed, in the time of the Babylonian empire (around 586 B.C.). Some of them
returned, in the time of Cyrus king of Persia, and it was their descendants who
were in the land in the time of Jesus.
the words of one of Jesus' well-known stories, the parable of the Vineyard, God
gave them one last chance. Having sent his servants to remonstrate with the
tenants of the vineyard, the Owner decided at last to send his son. "They
will respect him ...", he reasoned. But the tenants put the son to death.
Transparently, the Son was Jesus himself, and in rejecting his last call, the
tenants forfeited all rights to the land. As Jesus himself sorrowfully predicted
in Luke chapter 21, "They will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led
away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until
the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (v24). His words came true. In
A.D.70 the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem. A century later the land was empty
of her ancient people.
that, you might have thought, was that! If we had been in charge, it would no
doubt have been the end of the Jews. Our patience would have been exhausted. But
God's ways are higher than ours. " For the Lord is good", writes the
Psalmist. "His mercy is everlasting,
and his truth endures to all generations" (Psalm 100 v5).
Apostle Paul considers the position of the Jews, in his letter to the Romans.
Their hard heartedness, he argues, has given the Gentiles (non Jews) the
opportunity to share the gospel call. But the casting off of the Jews, he
insists, is only temporary. "... hardening in part has happened to
Israel", he says, "until
the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." He continues, " And so all
Israel shall be saved, as it is written (and here he quotes from the book of
Isaiah) : "The Deliverer will come out of Zion (Jerusalem), and he will
turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them, when I take
away their sins" (ch 11 v 25 - 27). Then he concludes with a masterly
statement : "For
the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable".
need to tease out the thoughts in that short sequence of phrases. Hardening
(lack of response to the gospel) has happened in part to Israel. It
happened in part, because a small minority of Jews did respond to
Jesus' call. Eventually, the hardening has an end - it continues "until
the fullness of the Gentiles has come in". That point has
not yet been reached, for the call is still going out to all nations. But when
the last of the Gentiles has been called into God's family, the
"hardness" is taken away with an act of high drama, because God sends
a Deliverer to the Jews. That Deliverer, of course, is Jesus himself, who is to
return to Jerusalem, the place where he was crucified, to bring to the Jews the
merciful forgiveness of God. As the last book of the Bible prophesies :
"Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, and
they also which pierced him.
And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him" (Revelation 1 v
7). If the Jews, who pierced Jesus, are to see
him, he must have returned to the earth. This New Testament passage is
based on an earlier one in the book of Zechariah, which goes on to describe how
"a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness" (ch 13 v 1). The same mercy and
forgiveness we can enjoy today, will be experienced by God's ancient people. And
the promise that this will happen, is guaranteed by God himself. "This is
unto them", Paul quoted. Once God has said he will do something, it
the Bible insists that the Jews must survive through the centuries, in order to
be saved by the Deliverer. It says there will be Jews in Jerusalem, who will
look upon Jesus. It describes their restoration to God's favour, with the
forgiveness of their sins - grafted back again, to use Paul's powerful imagery,
into their own olive tree.
WITNESS TO THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
is time to consider the implications of
what we have been reading. It is obvious that God's reputation stands or falls
by the survival of the people of Israel. Or,
to put it the other way round, the fact that the Jews are still here, as a
nation, after centuries of scattering, is a remarkable proof of the existence of
great prophet Isaiah lived around 700 B.C., at a time when the Israelites faced
invasion by the Assyrians and Babylonians. His people were about to go
into captivity, for their sins. However, to an impartial observer, it was going
to look as though the reason for Israel's defeat was that the gods of the
nations who were taking them away were stronger than the God of Israel. Isaiah
tackled the task of preserving the morale of the faithful few who still believed
in Israel's God.
his 43rd chapter, he brings them a promise
that, one day, they would return to their land. "Fear not", says God, "for I am with you. I will bring
your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the
north 'Give them up!' and to the south 'Do not keep them back!' (v 5.6).
It must have seemed unlikely, as they filed sadly away in chains with
Jerusalem a smoking ruin, that they would ever come back. Yet God's promise sat
there in the Bible for 2,700 years.
the next verse Isaiah begins to paint the picture of an imaginary court case.
sees the nations of the world and their gods, in dispute with the God of Israel.
"Let the nations be gathered together", he cries, "and let the
people be assembled" (v 9). We see the benches filling up with
the united nations; all colours and languages are there. Now the hearing
begins. Israel's God calls on his adversaries to justify their trust in their
own, man made, gods. "Let them bring out their witnesses!" he
challenges (v9). There is a pause. Nothing happens.
There is a great silence
from the other side of the court, and people begin to fidget. No witnesses come
forward. Now it is God's turn. "Bring
out the blind people", he cries, "who have eyes, and the deaf who have
ears!" The officer of the court opens a door, and there is a gasp from the
public galleries. A long thin file of men and women climbs slowly into the
witness box. Some have white
sticks. Others carry ear trumpets.
They are God's people, battered but alive.
They have been blind to his warnings, and deaf to his entreaties, over
the years, but nevertheless, they are still alive! God stretches forth his hand.
"You are my witnesses", he cries, " that I am God!" (v12).
He goes on to describe how he will forgive and restore them - "I have
blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions", he declares. Then,
in the chapters that follow, he returns to his theme. Again he urges on the
opposition. "Tell and bring forth your case!" he insists, " Yes,
let them take counsel together!" We can see the white wigged barristers
putting their heads together. But it is in vain. "Who
has declared this from ancient time?"
is God's vital challenge. "Who has told it from that time? Have not I the
Lord? And there is no other god besides me."
point Isaiah makes is irresistible. There is one unique test of the supernatural
power of God, inspiring his ancient prophets. He says he will do something,
thousands of years ahead. And it happens. No man, or idol, can do that. The
people of Israel are a living proof that God exists, and that he is in
charge of the world.
Isaiah does not stop there. "Look to me and be ye saved, all you
ends of the earth!", he continues (ch 45 v 21-22). God will save the Jews -
forgive them and restore them to their land. But he also offers to save those
who are not Jews. In fact, he foretells, with the same authority, that "to
me every knee shall bow, every tongue (i.e. a representative of every language)
shall take an oath - he shall say 'Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and
strength' " (v 23,24). It does not take much imagination to see in this
statement the Bible hope of the Kingdom of God, the new world that God will
bring where his will shall be done here, on earth, as it is now in heaven. And
the gospel is calling people, today, from all nations, to find strength, and
righteousness, in the God of the Bible.
- ANOTHER MOMENTOUS YEAR
foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 was a turning point in the history of the Jews. Almost 100 years
before, one of the first Christadelphians, Dr John Thomas, published a book. It
was called, in the classical style of those times, "Elpis Israel",
which means, in Greek, "the Hope of Israel".
Thomas had emigrated from England to the United States. His ship had been caught
up in a violent storm, and on reaching land, he realised he had come close to
death, but without having any clear idea about what would have happened to him,
if he had drowned. Was there an after life? What do you have to do to be saved?
He set about reading the Bible to find out. After joining a religious group
known as the Campbellites, he was asked to give public talks for them, and found
he had to study hard to organise his material. He soon discovered that many of
the traditional teachings of the churches were at variance with the Bible, and,
conversely, that there were passages in the Bible which nobody seemed to talk
among the differences he found, was the fact that God had promised the people of
Israel that he would never forsake them, and that, one day, he would restore
them to their land. None of the churches, including the Campbellites, paid any
attention to these prophecies, although, as we have seen, they are to be found
in the New Testament as well as the Old. He set out his findings in his book,
the first of many Bible studies. The fascinating thing is that
he lived at a time when the Jews were still despised and persecuted,
without a national home. The suggestion that they would
be regathered from their dispersion would have appeared politically
impossible, even ludicrous. Yet his simple faith that the Bible means what it
says, led him to assert firmly that it would happen. Here is what he wrote, 150
years ago :
is, then, a partial and primary restoration of the Jews before the manifestation
(he had been speaking of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ), which is to serve
as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of
the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The
pre - adventual (i.e. before the return of Christ) colonization of Palestine
will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in
unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus ..."
Thomas never lived to see the growth of the Zionist movement, the founding
Conference in Basle in 1890, and the slow trickle of pioneering agriculturalists
who bought land in Palestine and settled there before the Great War. He would
have been particularly thrilled to know that it was Great Britain who drove the
Turks from Palestine, and carried out the League of Nations decision to make
Palestine a national home for the Jews. He had already concluded, in "Elpis
Israel", in 1848 :
"I know not whether the men who at present
contrive the foreign policy of Britain, entertain the idea of assuming the
sovereignty of the Holy Land, and of promoting its colonization by the
Jews". "The finger
of God", he continued, "has indicated a course to be pursued by
Britain which cannot be evaded."
wrote his book, not because he claimed to be a prophet - he would have been
appalled at such a suggestion - but
because he had become convinced that if the Bible says God will do something, he
will carry it out. Bible prophecy may be a long time coming true. People may
laugh because it seems unlikely. But John Thomas was justified by subsequent
history, and his predictions were remarkably accurate.
OF THE FUTURE?
we, with the help of the Bible, work out what lies ahead, in our future?
to piece together the order of events in prophecy is rather like assembling a
giant jigsaw puzzle. There are hundreds of pieces. As time goes by, more and
more of them fall slowly into place. The Return of the Jews was a major event,
equivalent to the four corners, or one or two of the sides. Are there any other
really clear 'shapes' out there, waiting to happen?
have already discovered the most significant prediction of all. That is, that
the Jews, who, as John Thomas wrote, mostly
reject the idea that Jesus saves, are going to meet him, face to face. They are
going to be forced, by his appearing, to recognise that the one they pierced,
was the son God sent to deliver them from sin.
disturbing fact that occurs over and over again in the prophecies of 'the time
of the end' is that when this happens, the Israelis will be facing disaster.
Dozens of Old Testament passages portray Jerusalem surrounded by enemies, and
the Jews facing the ruin of their precious State.
will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem", cries Zechariah,
"the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished" (ch
14 v 2). "When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem ",
writes Joel, "I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the
Valley of Jehoshophat (east of Jerusalem)". But he adds that God will act
to save his people - "I will enter into judgement with them there on
account of my people, my heritage Israel" (ch 3 v 2).
sees the nations fighting Jerusalem dispersed with a fiery overthrow. "With
thunder and earthquake and great noise", he declares, "with storm and
tempest and the flame of devouring fire, the multitude of the nations who fight
against Ariel (Jerusalem) ... shall be as a dream of a night vision"
- like waking from a
nightmare, to find a bad dream has gone away (Isaiah 29 v 6,7).
describes the Lord's feet standing on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem,
and a great earthquake dividing the hill into two. "Thus the Lord my God
will come", he concludes, "and all the saints with you" (14 v
4,5). Israel's enemies are destroyed with a fiery 'plague' that burns them up on
their feet (v 12).
passages are describing a scenario that has not yet happened. It lies in our
future. But we can appreciate how such an overwhelming invasion would leave the
Israelis demoralised and shattered, and ready to accept the appearing of Jesus
on the mount of Olives as the long promised Deliverer.
second Psalm is a vital link in the assembly of the jigsaw. Here David writes
"the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
together, against the Lord and against his Anointed (Christ means
anointed)". The besieging forces, then, resent the appearing of Jesus!
But God laughs them to scorn. "Yet
have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion
(Jerusalem)," he insists. "You are my Son, today have I begotten you.
... I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth
for your possession" (v 2,6-8). Now,
add to Psalm 2 a New Testament passage, -
the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary before Jesus was born,
and you have the whole picture : "He will be great, and will be
called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give unto him the throne of
his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom
there will be no end" (Luke 1 v 32,33).
promise that Jesus will reign as king over all the earth is an essential
Christian doctrine. It has been watered down or eliminated by many of the
mainstream churches, mainly because so much time has gone by without Jesus
appearing. But, as we have seen, God keeps his promises, even after thousands of
years. "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?",
the apostles asked the risen Christ. He did not say "No! you've got it
wrong, there is not going to be a kingdom". He replied, gently, "It is
not for you to know times or seasons" (Acts 1 v 6,7). Shortly afterwards
the angels in white told the sorrowing disciples, as Jesus ascended to heaven,
"This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in
like manner as you saw him go.."(v11). Significantly, they were standing on
the mount of Olives, the place to which Zechariah said the Lord would return, in
the day of earthquake and fire. So we need have no doubt that Jesus will return;
Old Testament and New require it.
this Kingdom of God, favourite subject of so many prophets in the Bible, the
Jews are to be restored to their land in even greater numbers than we see today.
Isaiah draws a picture of two waves of immigration, one from the north crossing
the Euphrates, and another working north via the land of Egypt (ch 11 v 12 -
16). Cleansed and obedient, they enter into another, better covenant with God,
one based on the blood, not of bulls and goats, but of Jesus himself. They come to see him as their Saviour, not
just from hostile armies, but from their sins. Jeremiah writes : "I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah (the two
halves of the ancient nation) ..... I will put my laws in their minds, and write
it in their hearts .... I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I
remember no more" (ch 31 v 31 -34).
new style Israel becomes a nation of priests, carrying God's word to the other
nations of the earth, just as they should have done when they were God's holy
people in Bible times. A system of worship
is set up, based on Jerusalem as the international centre where people will go
to be taught the commands of God. Here Jesus, set, as God promised in Psalm 2,
on his throne in Zion, administers justice with wisdom and power. "At that
time", Jeremiah rejoices, "Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the
Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it" (ch 3 v 17). "Out
of Zion the law shall go forth", adds Micah, "and the word of the Lord
from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations
afar off. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into
pruning hooks... " (ch 4 v 2,3). What a wonderful prospect for this
unhappy, war torn, grief stricken earth! A strong, incorruptible, humane,
world-wide ruler, who will never die, and who has a proven 'track record' as the
greatest teacher the world has ever known, is the answer to all our prayers.
"Men shall be blessed in him", writes the Psalmist, "all nations
shall call him blessed" (72 v 17).
YOU BE THERE?
have seen God choose the people of Israel as his special people. We have
followed their national fortunes through the centuries, - their ancient
possession of the Holy Land, their scattering for disobedience, and, in our own
lifetimes, their restoration in mercy. We have observed Isaiah's imaginary court
case, where the continued existence of the Jews
proves that God always keeps his word. We have discovered Bible prophecy that still lies in the future, including an
earthshaking event - the return of
Jesus Christ to be King of the Jews.
is time to look at ourselves in the mirror. Where are we going, with our lives?
The Bible has been there for centuries, giving us God's point of view, his
promises, and his commandments. Are we letting the years drift by, too busy to
bother with God? The Bible calls us to action. As we saw in the 'Israel' passage
in Romans 11, God is calling Gentiles as well as Jews into his family, today.
But that window of opportunity comes to an abrupt end, when "the fulness of
the Gentiles has come in". Once Jesus comes, it will be too late to run
round and make peace with God. The stark truth is, we have to act quickly.
is a sense in which we have to become 'Jews', now, in order to be saved from
death and destruction. "To Abraham's seed", writes Paul, "were
the promises made". But he concludes "... as many of you as were
baptised into Christ have put on Christ .... and if
you are Christ's, then are you Abraham's
seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3 v 16,27,29).
promises God made about the new world that is coming, we can make our own, but
only if we join ourselves to Jesus, the King. In New Testament times, every
believer was baptised in water, to link him or her self to Jesus, the Seed of
Abraham. In this act of obedience, we become the children of Abraham. "It
is of faith", Paul declares in Romans 4, "that the promise might be
sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those
who are of the faith of Abraham, who is
the father of us all, as it is
written 'I have made you a father of many nations' " (v 16). We can have
the promise made "sure" to us - so sure, that even if we die, we
shall, like Abraham himself, be raised from the dead to inherit the land for
ever with Jesus, his Seed. Conversely, if we sit on the fence, or turn our back
on God's forgiveness and mercy, we will remain outside the covenant.
"You", Paul writes to the Ephesians, "...were without Christ,
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of
promise, having no hope and without God in the world". It sounds desolate,
putting it like that. That is how we all are, until we join ourselves to Christ.
"But now", he continues, "in Christ Jesus you who once were far
off have been made near by the blood of Christ." (ch 2 v 11-13).
Dear reader, consider your position. The same mercy God shows to his erring people, is yours for the taking, today. The door to the Kingdom of God stands open. Eternal life, in the company of Jesus, and citizenship of Jerusalem, the City of the great King, can all be yours. Please, do not leave it too late. Get down the Bible. Start reading, with new zeal, either on your own, or with others who have read it before and can help you. Give yourself no rest, until you have made God's promises your own.