At the Heart of our Prayers for Israel
As is the case for many of you, my heart is breaking at the news of war in the middle east between the state of Israel and Palestine. The reports of kidnapping, torture and murder from the terrorist group known as Hamas is beyond sickening – it’s deplorable. And as Israel seeks to defend it’s people from terrorism, as is almost always the case in war, there are many Palestinians, innocent to the actions of Hamas, who have been caught in the crossfire – another heart wrenching reality of all that’s taking place.
One of the things that I’ve found difficult to navigate is that there are tons of different viewpoints on what this war means for the people of Israel in relationship to Biblical prophecy, and to the return of Christ. Despite the different viewpoints and eschatological views, it’s so clear in the Scriptures that God is not done with Israel, and that they are indeed a people that He intends to pour out His Spirit of Grace on. As Paul says in Romans 11:1,
“...has God rejected his people? By no means!”
and then again in verse 25,
“… a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob, and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
Instead of adding my own commentary to these scriptures, particularly concerning the question, what does Paul mean by “all Israel,” I point to Romans 11 simply to state that God indeed has a plan for this special people. And His plan is to save them – not by means of a physical temple, but by means of the true temple of the Lord – Jesus Christ. As Jesus Himself says to the Samaritan woman in John 4,
“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
While there are many different thoughts about what all the events in the Middle East mean concerning the end of the age – we can be confident of this – Jesus is the new place of worship for the people of God – and God the Father is working all things, even this horrible war, to the end that He would be glorified and many would be saved through belief in Jesus as the Messiah.
At the heart of our prayers for Israel, for the peace of Jerusalem, and for justice to be served to the terrorists of Hamas, should be a desperate cry that God would open up the eyes and hearts of the Jewish people (AND the Palestinians caught in the conflict) to see and know the true place of worship for God’s people, Jesus Christ!
I am praying with you – come, Lord Jesus.
In love and Christ,
Pastor Ryan Aufenkamp