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Weekly Update: Where is God?

editor - 17 April 2020

The Corona virus continues to dominate the news in Israel. Tough measures remain in place in Israel. During Pesach, everyone was stuck in their own homes. This was of course very difficult for many. But there have also been some amazing stories about how, in unexpected ways, people were blessed.

The other main topic in Israel is the fact that Benyamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz have so far failed to reach an agreement about a coalition government. President Rivlin has tossed the ball to the Knesset. Israel could be heading for a fourth election. It’s hard to fathom.

Behind the scenes, of course, many things are happening that do not make the headlines of the mainstream media.

The virus has hit Iran hard. Together with the economic sanctions, Iran is suffering. There are signs of political unrest, some even suggest that the regime could topple.

The crisis in Syria and Iraq of course has not gone away. On the contrary, Turkey, Russia and Iran remain intensely involved and engaged. It is important to keep our eyes on Turkey; President Erdogan has not abandoned his expansionist Islamic vision, and is seeking to manoeuvre Turkey as a major geopolitical player between Sunni’s and Shiites in the Middle East and northern Africa. Watch in particular the alliance between Turkey and Iran, with the prophecies concerning the attack of “Gog and Magog” on Israel in the back of our minds (Ezekiel 38-39).

One may ask: where is God in all of this? We don’t read too much about God in the media. But He’s there. Always above and around and in our midst, steering and guiding, inspiring and correcting, but never overriding our free choice. As nations and individuals we all make our choices – and we must face the consequences of our choices. But we can also trust that He protects and cherishes all who are willing to trust in Him. The God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.

So I’d like to recommend a brilliant article I came across by American writer Andrew Klavan published in City Journal last year. Klavan observes the decline of faith in the West, and the apparent inability of the intellectual elite to understand what is going on. He challenges us to be alive to spiritual realities and “belief in the extraordinary”. There is nothing irrational about that. There is no inherent contradiction between God and science; on the contrary, “the faith that made the West can still defend it from the dual threat of regressive religion and barbaric scientism. In fact, it may be the only thing that can.”

The notion of “barbaric scientism” strikes a chord in this COVID-19 era. Without in any way denigrating the importance of science, it is remarkable that scientists, economists and technocrats seem to be determining the future of world governance in so many fields. Look at the global policy debate on COVID-19 but also on other big issues like the climate, technology, innovation, the food chain and population control. It is all about numbers, statistics, models and algorithms. It seems that science is the only common language we have. In a recent address to the nation, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte told the nation “we have to do what the scientists tell us to do”.

The Apostle Paul says that in the “last days” men will be “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3). Science alone will never lead us to the truth. It tells us a lot about the natural world, but it cannot solve the big moral dilemmas we face, it cannot give answers to the “why” and “wherefore” questions. I think this is relevant to Israel, because there is also a tendency to look at Israel from a “technical” or “scientific” perspective. Yes, Israel is leading the world in many aspects of innovation, medicine and science. It is also doing an amazing job in fighting COVID-19. But the real significance of Israel is much deeper than the facts, the numbers and statistics. It is only when we look through “spiritual” eyes that we can see the weakness and brokenness of man, our utter inability to save ourselves, and the miracles that God is doing. It is God who is bringing His people home, planting them in the land, changing the hearts and minds of the Jewish people, and preparing the ground for the coming of Messiah when Jerusalem (not New York or Geneva) will be the centre of the world, and all peoples – Jews and Gentiles – will face the ultimate choice: do we follow Christ, or the world?

Be encouraged. Keep your eyes focused on God. Trust Him alone. He is at work, and He calls each of us to submit to Him, hear His voice, and be ready and willing to be part of the next great thing that He will do.

 

Happy reading, and shabbat shalom,

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


Iran

Could the virus from Wuhan accomplish in a matter of months what seven U.S. presidents, 19 CIA directors, and legions of Iranian secularists and dissidents could only dream about achieving in Tehran? Read more..

 

Turkey, Syria and Iraq

Turkey’s willingness to work with both Sunni and Shiite Islamists is likely to pay off strategically, so long as Western and African governments fail to pursue concerted and unified strategies to counter and break up this alliance. Read more..

Two interesting articles in recent days by Seth Frantzman in JPost:

Turkey claims it is striking “terrorists,” but locals are concerned airstrikes come amid increased instability, ISIS resurgence and target vulnerably minorities. Read more..

Turkey’s pro-government media has been trying to spin the coronavirus as an Ankara victory for the last few months, even as the country’s official tally of cases rapidly increased to more than 50,000, making it the second worst outbreak in the Middle East after that of Iran. Read more..

 

Still no government in Israel …

David Horovitz in Times of Israel: Benny Gantz has failed to form a government. The members of Knesset now have 21 days to try again to agree on a prime minister a majority of them can get behind. In 6 weeks, the Blue and White leader has undergone an extraordinary downfall – from being endorsed as PM by most MKs, to heading a diminished party merely irritating the incumbent. Read more..

 

Reason and faith

Andrew Klavan argues that “there is absolutely no reason to abandon the faith that created our civilization. The flowering of the Western mind took place under the Christian sun. The light that led us here can lead us on.” Read more..

 


“Focus on the future” – Video teachings by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer

Rev. Willem Glashouwer helps us understand God’s prophetic word, and how prophecy is being fulfilled in our generation.

Volume 3 episode 12:

When people look at the future and look at Jerusalem they sometimes ask: “Will there be another Temple?” Rev. Glashouwer looks at the prophetic future of Jerusalem.

 

“How God makes history” – Video teaching by Johannes Gerloff

Episode 20 in the series of teachings by Israeli-based Bible teacher and journalist Johannes Gerloff:

Historians and journalists are mainly interested in the big events of world history. God writes His history with little, sometimes seemingly insignificant people. In Genesis 14 we stand at a crossroad where world history meets God’s history.

 

Latest update from Amir Tsafarti

Join Amir and Pastor Barry Stagner as we look at all the things going on in our world as they relate to Bible Prophecy.

 

Scripture for the week: 

Revelation 1:4-8

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,  and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,  and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

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The goal of Israel & Christians Today is to help Christians to take God’s Word seriously, and study current events in the world in the context of the Bible.
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