Even here in New Zealand, a dividing line is beginning to appear within the Church in the position people are taking in relation to God’s people, the Jews and His land, Israel. Unfortunately, this is inevitable since New Zealand, including much of the Church, typically follows the developing trends of the Western world.
Not only is anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism growing in the West, but persecution of Christians generally, and in particular, of those who support Israel, is growing at an alarming rate. Be sure that this is coming to New Zealand. When it does, we will be unable to avoid making a decision about which side of the dividing line we stand on. We will also be unable to conceal the position we take.
Remember what Yeshua (Jesus) prophesied to the Disciples as recorded in John 16:2-3. He said:
“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.”
While that prophecy saw a fulfilment when Stephen was expelled from the synagogue and stoned to death (Acts 7:57-60), as is the nature of Biblical prophecy and the concept of time in Hebraic thinking, this remains a living, extant prophecy for us today. At the present time there are almost daily reports of Muslim radicals torturing, raping and killing Christians throughout the world, claiming as they do it that they “doeth God service” (John 16:2). Recall too, how later in the same chapter (John 16:33) Yeshua tells us “… ye shall have tribulation…”.
But if we read on in the book of Acts after the account of the stoning of Stephen, we read of how Saul (later to be named Paul) went throughout the land persecuting the Christians, and what is significant is that he did this under the authority of the High Priest (Acts 9:1-2).
Commonly found in Scripture are forerunners and prior examples (sort of warnings) of things yet to happen. In the days of the early Church it was the Jewish religious leaders who ordered the persecution of Christians. Do not be mistaken, in the days coming it won’t be the Jewish religious leaders encouraging the persecution of Christians. Instead, persecution of evangelical Christians will come from within the so called “Church” and it will first be aimed at those who openly support Israel. You may feel that this is already happening.
This may seem somewhat paradoxical, if not unthinkable. But, remember how it was the same Paul, the seemingly incorrigible persecutor of Christians, who was later called by God to be the Christian missionary. You see, we should always expect the unexpected when it comes to seeing things spoken of in Scripture unfold. After all, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).
But what we do know is that the persecution received from men for standing with Israel will be no match for the blessing on the other side of the ledger to be received from the Lord, according to His promise, for those who bless Israel.
In our last posting we mentioned that next time we would explore the meanings embedded in the name Israel. The plan was to build on the plain English of some of the Scriptures we referred to in our earlier postings about why we should support Israel, by looking at the significance of the Hebrew word “Israel”. But, that will have to wait until next time!