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Challenge or encouragement?

Rev. Cornelis Kant - 3 January 2023

You may experience some news items as a challenge to your faith. Like the many reports of horrific wars, injustice and hunger. Other news can be experienced as an encouragement. Like the recent news from The Jewish Agency that a record number of 70,000 Jews immigrated to Israel during 2022 to build a new life in the homeland of their forefathers. The number of Jews drawn to Israel in recent decades is a historically unique phenomenon. With this, Israel is a clear sign of hope. God remains faithful to His age-old promises. All will be fulfilled.

On New Year’s Eve 2022, I saw the news that the United Nations General Assembly has decided to ask the International Court of Justice to legally look into Israel’s alleged occupation of Palestinian territories. Earlier, the Human Rights Council of the same UN also set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate Israel’s alleged crimes. On the same New Year’s Eve, UN Watch, an organisation that critically monitors the UN, published an annual review of all UN Resolutions (unwatch.org). Israel again received by far the most condemnatory Resolutions in 2022: no less than 15. In stark contrast to North Korea, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, which received only one Resolution each. Pakistan, China and Qatar received not even one critical UN Resolution. Russia, which is conducting a relentless war of attrition against Ukraine, only got six Resolutions. It is abundantly clear that democratic Israel is seen by the UN as the biggest rogue state on earth. With unprecedented zeal and almost panting drive, the UN has been pulling out all stops to demonise Israel and delegitimise its right to exist for decades.

With such a message, the conviction of how true Bible prophecies are suddenly comes to mind. Zechariah says:

‘Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around (…) It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it’ (Zechariah 12:2-3).

Israel – and in particular the city of Jerusalem – are indeed a ‘cup that causes reeling’ for many world leaders. In a blind rage, they turn against Israel.
Everyone makes wrong choices in life from time to time. Politicians too. But there is more to this long-standing trend at the UN. We are not just talking about wrong choices here. We can observe that there is a blindly beaten drive of unprecedented magnitude here. The intoxicating cup is doing its work.

Isaiah says:

‘Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising’ (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Dark clouds cover the nations. And that darkness is apparently creating a drive to turn against Israel en masse. Seeing the current developments in world politics, such a Scripture is very topical. Overwhelming.

There is hope. For if the tragic passages in these prophecies come true, the hopeful passages will also be fulfilled one day. The Gentile nations will go to the light of Israel and to the radiance of Israel’s dawn. The LORD’s glory over Israel will not go unnoticed. How impressive. All will be well. But what darkness and sin must the world still face before the glory over Israel will be noticed by the world’s leaders ?

Isaiah also speaks of the future wedding banquet for Israel and all nations when the Kingdom of peace arrives forever:

‘And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, and the LORD God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth’ (Isaiah 25:7-8).

There is still a veil that prevents the world leaders from the true view of Israel. But one day, it will be removed and the world will see what God’s plan for Israel is. Then God will also remove from Israel the disgrace we have all placed on Israel and the Jewish people through our accusations and denunciations. God Himself will restore the respect of His people. When the Messiah will come and His Kingdom of peace and justice will be established.

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