by Frederick Hoehn, copyright 2013. |
A lot of people are already familiar with the expression, “God’s Chosen People.” God made a covenant with Abraham, apparently the first Hebrew. God chose the Jews.
But the Jews have had a very rocky history. Consider the holocaust. That person, Achmadinijad of Iran said that the holocaust didn’t happen. He is very much mistaken. I’ve seen piles of dead Jews stacked up on the ground. It appeared to be hundreds of dead bodies.
Was I there in Germany? No. I saw newsreels on TV, not current with when they were filmed, but shown years later. If you happen to see the movie, “Judgment at Nuremburg,” with Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, and Spencer Tracy, they have some of that footage in the movie. That movie comes on once in a while on the TCM channel, I think it is.
It was no Hollywood special effects, Hitler really did slaughter a great many Jews. About six million, apparently.
Why did Hitler do that? Because he wanted a scapegoat to blame Germany’s problems on, and he blamed the Jews.
Why would God let that happen to the Jews? For their transgressions against God. Don’t you remember how God said to the Jews, “And I will throw dirty filth on you, and make you filthy, and will set you like a gazing stock.” (Nahum 3:6)
Do you see how the holocaust tends to fulfill that prophecy?
And why would God talk like that to his people?
Look at Nahum 3:1-5. 1 Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery, the prey doesn't depart, 2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and of the jumping chariots. 3 The horseman lifts up both the bright sword and the glittering spear, and there is a multitude of dead bodies, and a great number of carcasses, and there is no end of their corpses, they stumble on their corpses, 4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored prostitute, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sells nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. 5 See, I am against you, says the Lord of hosts, and I'll uncover your skirts on your face, and I'll show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame.
Because of the sins and wickedness and violence that we see in verses 1 through 5 here, God pours dirty filth on his people. Because they wouldn’t fear God and seek him and obey him.
Take a look at the Book of Lamentations, the book immediately after Jeremiah in the Bible. In Lamentations, Jeremiah laments about many bad things happening against Israel. Bad things that happened because God’s chosen people provoked him to anger.
It’s a very bad idea to provoke God to anger. It’s a very bad thing to fail to be God-fearing.
Noah was God-fearing, and obeyed God in building the ark, and saved his family and animals and birds for future generations from the destroying flood that God brought against the earth.
Whoredoms and witchcrafts, and the various goings astray by the Jews from what God had commanded them.
Now in the New Testament, we Christians are not under the law, but under grace. But God was quite strict with the Jews.
Another sin that the Jews sinned against God is that when their Messiah came, about two thousand years ago, they mostly rejected their Messiah, and crucified him.
God sends a savior, and they kill him. Could they really expect that God would overlook their doing that?
God brought the children of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage and into the promised land. But God warned them, “Now when you get to the promised land, don’t intermarry with the people there, because they’ll take you away from God.”
So what did Israel do? They intermarried with the people of the land, who drew them away from God. They worshipped idols. The got involved in witchcraft. God warned them about that.
You can’t spit in God’s face and expect that there’ll be no punishment.
But Israel hasn’t been all bad. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were God-fearing. Moses was a man of God, and prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and other prophets. David was the sweet Psalmist of Israel.
What does God say to Ezekiel? 13 "Son of man, when the land sins against me by trespassing grievously, then I'll stretch out my hand on it, and will break the staff of the bread of it, and will send famine on it, and will cut off man and beast from it, 14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only their own souls by their righteousness, says the Lord God. (from Ezekiel chapter 14)
Noah, Daniel, and Job were righteous men, but they only saved themselves by their righteousness. God would have to punish the people of Israel for their wickedness.
Moses was a man of God and gave us the Mosaic law. Israel has had prophets that did a good job. But sometimes prophets were executed for what they told the people. (Jesus laments over Jerusalem that had killed the prophets sent to Jerusalem by God.) (Matt 23:37)
Not many years later, Jerusalem was pretty much destroyed by invading armies.
Old Testament prophets foretold of the Messiah. Even Moses said, “A prophet shall the Lord raise up for you like me. Listen to him.” That prophet that Moses spoke of is Jesus. We don’t usually refer to Jesus as “The Prophet Jesus,” because Jesus was so much more than a prophet, but among other things, Jesus surely was a prophet.
It was prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and Jesus was. It was prophesied that he would be a Nazarene, and he was, having grown up in Nazareth. God said, “I’ve called my son out of Egypt, and Jesus had been in Egypt with Joseph and Mary so that Herod wouldn’t be able to kill him.
Beside the prophesies, there were the miracles that Jesus did, and the words he spoke. People were sent to arrest Jesus and came back empty. They were asked, “Why haven’t you brought him?” The answer was, “No man ever talked like him.”
Of course, Jesus had disciples from the Jews, and followers, but mostly, the Jews as a people rejected Jesus. (“He came to his own, and they didn’t receive him.” Book of John) Probably they were expecting the Messiah to set up an earthly kingdom, but Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Jesus is head of the Kingdom of Heaven (under God the Father), and he wants people to go there, but this old earth will be destroyed, the Bible says. (Book of Revelation)
Jesus also didn’t snuggle up to the High Priest and the Pharisees and the Saducees. Those people, in spite of their offices weren’t very serious about God, and Jesus knew it. Some of them he called hypocrites.
If Jesus calls someone a hypocrite, it’s because that’s what they are. Jesus doesn’t misjudge people, he knows their thoughts.
The Jewish High Priest advised that it was better that one man should die for the nation of Israel (which at that time was under Roman rule) than that the whole nation be destroyed. Some thought that if Jesus weren’t stopped, that the Romans would come and intervene, to the detriment of Israel.
But Jesus knew ahead of time that his people, the Jews, would largely reject him, and that he would die a martyr’s death. One time when Jesus was telling his disciples about this beforehand, Peter said, “O, no, that’s not going to happen to you, Lord.” Jesus said to Peter, “”Get behind me, Satan, for you don’t savor the things of God, but the things of men.”
Even though dying a martyr’s death is not an attractive thing, Jesus wanted to fulfill God’s will for him, and Peter was talking something other than God’s will.
Have you seen in the Book of Judges how many times Israel got into trouble with God? It was before Israel had split into two kingdoms. And it was before Israel had its first king. Israel would sin against God, so God would give them into the hand of their enemies. Then, God would show mercy, and raise up a Judge for Israel that would provide deliverance for Israel. After the death of that judge, Israel would again sin against God, and so forth. Over and over again.
Then even after the Kings began, Israel would sin against the Lord. Manasseh was one of the wicked kings, and caused his people to commit very serious sins against God.
But now that Israel is back as a nation in the promised land, since about 1948, they have problems with the bordering Muslims of various nations who would like to see the destruction of Israel.
Israel has still not accepted Jesus as Messiah. They are still looking for the Messiah. What will happen, of course, as we know from scripture, Israel will find a counterfeit Messiah that the Bible calls the AntiChrist. He will make a pact with the Jews, but after a while, they’ll see that he’s not the real Messiah.
Jesus spoke of fleeing the persecution. Don’t go back to get your garment, Jesus said. I understand there’s a city of refuge in the Holy Land that people can flee to when the persecution gets bad enough.
There’s a prophecy about, “Why do I see every man with his hand on his belly, like a woman travailing in birth? It is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.”
The time of Jacob’s trouble is approaching, as the prophet said. Israel had better be praying for God’s help.
Personally, I don’t expect to be around for the Great Tribulation. The Bible says, “God has not appointed us to wrath.” The Great Tribulation is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth and its inhabitants. I expect “The Rapture,” (the catching away of the Christians, spoken of in Thessalonians) to happen prior to the Great Tribulation.
But the Jews won’t go up in the rapture, except for a minority of Jews who are Christians.
These are serious times. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray and not faint.”
But those who have no time for God and the things of God will be taken in a trap like animals get trapped.
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