I grew up in a Jewish home, so the State of Israel has always been an important part of my life. However, I have tried to balance my understanding of Israel’s importance to me personally, with a scriptural view of the State of Israel’s place in God’s economy.
In the Jewish community, at least early on, there was dispute about whether or not the State of Israel was truly the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Many in the Orthodox community believed that the reestablishment of the State of Israel was not of prophetic importance because Messiah has yet to come. More recently though, the dispute in the Jewish community is less about Messiah, and more about the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement and the liberal agenda of Israel as “occupier” and the Palestinians as an “oppressed” people.
In the Church, there is also dispute, though all would agree that Messiah has come. But it is “end-times” prophecy that gets us all in a stew, seasoned with just a pinch of continuing (and perhaps undiscerned?) anti-Semitism.
Last month we observed the 50th anniversary of the 6 Day War and the return of Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount. This month though, we observe the anniversary of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem prior to the destruction of the First Temple with an annual fast day known as Tzom Tammuz. This year, on July 11, it is 2604 years since that event. This is the beginning of a three-week period of mourning leading up to Tish B’Av, at sundown on July 31, which is the same day that the 1st and 2nd Temples were destroyed, 655 years apart from each other. Needless to say, Tish B’Av is a day considered by many to be a day of calamity. What calamity should we expect this year?
For those of us who care enough to want to share our faith with Jewish people, we often find ourselves stuck in this intersection of opinions, looking around wondering who has the right of way! And no matter what, while everyone seems to have an opinion about Jesus, everyone also has an opinion about Israel. It is becoming harder and harder to talk about Jesus without talking about Israel. The question posed above is often asked during this time. And while no answer seems sufficient, pain and suffering is best accompanied by a promise of hope and healing that comes with Messiah Y’shua.
(For more on Tish B’Av, see my post from August 16, 2016)