Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
Where does a person even begin when writing a column like this? As I write this, the toll from the Sabbath day/Simchat Torah Feast attack stands at nearly 1100, with more than 2000 badly wounded and many others kidnapped and now being held hostage. The most horrific visual images, though, have been that of innocent young women violently brutalized and then their nearly naked, broken, mutilated bodies being paraded around on the back of trucks while savages cheered what had been done to them.
And yet, despite this display of behavior not befitting the label of human, several hundred people gathered in New York City on Sunday to cheer what had been done. Social media was no better, with one Tweeter of highly diminished mental capacity opining, “What did you think decolonization meant?”
As to where to begin, I suppose maybe I should just start back at the beginning. Mind you, putting 4000ish years of history into one column is a big task, but here goes, Cliffs Notes style.
Right at 2000 years before Christ, in Genesis 12:1-7, God called Abraham to be the start of his chosen nation, Israel, and promised his descendants the land of Canaan. So, right off the bat, understand that the Jewish people have a four millennia tie to the tiny land that is now so hotly contested. That is ten times longer than America’s ties to the land that we call America. It is longer, in fact, than the ties of almost any other current nation on the face of the earth to their land.
Four hundred years later, they began to possess that land; you can read about that in the books of Joshua and Judges. And then, in approximately 1095 B.C., in 1 Samuel 10, their monarchy began under King Saul. It was their second King, though, David, that brought them to the heights of their power. And then his famous son, Solomon, who gave the world the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Solomon, became King. He also gave the world the most glorious structure of the ancient world, commonly known as Solomon’s Temple. That temple stood for about 400 years.
The kingdom split in the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. The ten tribes of the North bore the name Israel and eventually fell to Assyria. The two tribes of the South bore the name Judah and stood for 136 years longer than the Northern kingdom, eventually falling to Babylon and their scourge-of-the-earth King, Nebuchadnezzar, who began to reign alone upon the death of his father, Nabopolasser. The temple was destroyed, and the land lay in ruins for seventy years as their captivity dragged on to the exact length that Jeremiah prophesied. Then there were three distinct returns to the land: one led by Zerubabbel in 538 BC to rebuild the temple, one led by Ezra in 458 BC to reestablish proper worship, and one led by Nehemiah in 444 BC to rebuild the walls of the city.
That temple of Zerubbabel stood as it was for 586 years until Herod the Great renovated it into the breathtaking temple that Christ Himself walked in as a boy and then as a man. That temple was leveled in A.D. 70 when Titus sacked Jerusalem. And then, in AD 132, a man named Bar Kochba led a revolt against Rome, a revolt that was, in the eyes of Rome, the last straw. Once it was put down, Rome expelled the Jews from their homeland of nearly 2000 years. They changed the name of the land to Palestine in homage to the ancient enemies of the Jews, the Philistines.
And yet, Ezekiel 37, Jeremiah 32, and a great many other passages clearly prophesied that God would bring them back into that very land from all of the nations of the earth into which they had been scattered. But with no army, no government, and no real friends, logic would view them as more likely to cease to exist as a people than ever regain the land. And yet, against all odds, people who underwent attempted extermination at the hands of Pharaoh, Haman, and Hitler, among many others, regained their own land in 1948. How in the world did such a miracle transpire? For twelve hundred years, the Jews had not even been allowed to own land in Israel except for a synagogue or a grave. In 1855, Queen Victoria’s financial advisor, Sir Moses Montefiore, through the help of the British ambassador, purchased 25 acres of orange groves in Jaffa. By 1882, Jews owned 5500 acres of land in Israel.
Theodore Herzl organized the first World Congress of Zionism in 1897. He had not been interested in Zionism prior to the Dreyfus trial of 1894. But when that transparent debacle took place, he realized the Jews could depend on no one and needed their own home back. And then, in 1917, in gratitude to Chaim Weizman for his contribution in helping to save the world in WW1, the Balfour Declaration was issued, signaling support for the Jews to return home. On April 24th, 1920, the Western powers confirmed the Balfour declaration, and on July 24th, 1922, the League of Nations confirmed it.
In 1947, the United Nations stunned the world by agreeing to a partition plan that would allow the Jews to live again in their homeland. But then pressure and politics threatened to upend everything. On May 14th, 1948, Britain abandoned Palestine, pulled out their troops, and turned control of their military bases over to the Arabs. Realizing they could not depend on others, at 4:00 P.M. on May 14th, the General Zionist Council at Tel Aviv issued the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. This document is to Israel what the Declaration of Independence is to America. President Truman then shocked the world by announcing full American recognition of Israel. And then, for the past 75 years, as we saw yet again this past Saturday, her enemies have sought to erase her existence. This will culminate with the antichrist trying it one last time (and failing) during the Tribulation Period.
In the meantime, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.