Weekly Update: The gifts and calling of God

editor - 27 September 2019

While Israeli politics descends into chaos, and its leaders are busy trying to work out if they can cooperate to govern the country, it is a good time to reflect on the bigger picture.

We are entering the Jewish high holidays. Rosh Hashana (New Year) begins on 29th September. After that it is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement: 8th– 9th October), and Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles: 13th– 20th October).

This is a time when Jews traditionally turn to God, give thanks for the creation, seek forgiveness for their sins, and remember their dependence on him. It a time of repentance, but also great joy and happiness.

It is a good time for us as Christians to remember the debt we owe the Jewish people, and continue to pray that God will continue and complete the good work He is doing through His ancient covenant people. He has not abandoned His people; “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11: 29).

At the same time, as we look around at the growing chaos in the world, we pray that the Messiah will come soon with His Saints – to save Israel, redeem the world, and bring His Kingdom of peace, prosperity and healing on earth.

Israeli leaders negotiate

On 24th September President Reuven Rivlin formally gave PM Netanyahu four weeks to try to form a coalition government, after meetings at the President’s Residence with Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to try to agree on a unity government failed to bring about a breakthrough. “Netanyahu has the best chance to form a government”, he said. The deadline will be October 24.

The possibility of a unity government comprising both Likud and Blue and White has not been ruled out. But it looks unlikely. One of the sticking points is that Gantz is remaining true to his electoral promise that he will not join a coalition with Likud as long as Netanyahu is still facing possible indictment for corruption.

If neither Netanyahu or Gantz is able to form a workable coalition, Israel will have to go back to the polls – yet again.

Read more at Times of Israel..

Muslim Brotherhood in the West

Two concerning articles, published by Gatestone Institute, concerning the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West:

Tawfiq Hamid: “The White House has, since April, been considering officially designating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). This designation would follow in the footsteps of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, which have first-hand experience and understanding of the serious threat the MB represents.” Read article..

Italian journalist Giulio Meotti reports: “In France, mega-mosques have opened with the blessing of the Minister of Interior; leading journalists have been condemned in court for daring to speak the truth about Islam, and there has been mass self-censorship regarding “insensitive” cartoons. What else could the Saudis could dream up to ask of their French friends?” Read article..

Zionism, Anti-Semitism and BDS

Read this excellent article by Australian Zionist leader and author Alex Ryvchin on the meaning of Zionism, and how the Soviet Union shaped modern anti-Zionist discourse. Go to article..

A report by Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, released this week in Brussels, proves that the BDS movement is rooted in anti-Semitism. The Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan: “Today we have proven beyond a doubt that BDS is an anti-Semitic campaign led by supporters of terror with one purpose: the elimination of the Jewish State. I urge Western countries not to take part in the anti-Semitic lies of BDS, not to legitimize its racism, and surely not fund it.”
Read the report..

In a similar development, the UN has just released an “unprecedented” report linking anti-Semitism to the BDS movement.
Read the report..

Weekly teaching by Rabbi Jonthan Sacks

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks encourages his fellow Jews – and thus all people – to stay close to God, in a world where we are continually tempted by foreign ideas and religions: “So thank Him every morning for the gift of life. Say the Shema twice daily for the gift of love. Join your voice to others in prayer so that His spirit may flow through you, giving you the strength and courage to change the world.”

“When you cannot see Him, it is because you are looking in the wrong direction. When He seems absent, He is there just behind you, but you have to turn to meet Him. Do not treat Him like a stranger. He loves you. He believes in you. He wants your success. To find Him you do not have to climb to heaven or cross the sea. His is the voice you hear in the silence of the soul. His is the light you see when you open your eyes to wonder. His is the hand you touch in the pit of despair. His is the breath that gives you life.”
Read article..

The continuing saga of Brexit …

As the chaos of Brexit enters a new phase, with no solution in sight, Melanie Philips writes that the recent decision of the UK Supreme Court, declaring PM Johnson’s abrogation of Parliament “illegal”, is an attack on the UK Constitution.
Read article..  

Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief –Israel & Christians Today


Scripture for the week: Romans 11

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,  Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”


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