It is complex… so here is another perspective

In what I write, if there are aspects I leave out please do not make assumptions as to what might be my take on those areas. My concern is we sit powerless against the level of catastrophe of Gaza / Israel. It is far enough away that it does not touch us directly, and if we add to that and we try and plot this against a prophetic ‘time-line’ that we are further paralysed but are then content in that we have ‘inside knowledge’. The centre of ALL of God’s purposes is Jesus – all the promises find their double ‘yes’ in him. Yes we have to nuance Israel as a people some with reference to Rom. 11 but not to the level of over-riding the centre. And beyond that…

1948 and the giving of the land (by the British) as a homeland to the Jews in order to be a solution to the ‘Jewish problem’ has not exactly resolved that issue! If as many assume that that act was a restoration of the land as a fulfilment of prophecy we should also consider that whenever God is active that the ‘enemy’ is active. The work of the enemy – and Paul says ‘we are not unaware of the schemes of the devil’ – is something we are to consider as we can easily unwittingly play along or fail to see what is happening. So with the above premise of enemy activity…

What if the land and promise is connected (not my view) then the enemy scheme would be to play with that, and dare I suggest that encourage us to lose sight of something bigger than the land, that of ‘kingdom’ or even ‘new creation’. The kingdom of God is righteousness, shalom and joy. The new creation is without tears, and harmony between peoples as they bring in their gifts to that new Jerusalem – the city that has no Temple.

That scheme would not be too difficult to execute. Biblically there would be more than enough texts and complete passages of Scripture to defend our view and lead to a blanket support of one side (Israel) in any confict, as God is with them (a theme that was VERY loud in the two major catastrophes in 586BCE and 70CE),

There has to be – and always has been a third way – that of ‘God is neither for us nor for our enemy’ (and of course ‘love for the enemy’ as advocated by Jesus does somewhat move us beyond what Joshua encountered). Add the wisdom of Solzhenitsin who said the line of good and evil never runs between ‘me’ and someone else, but through us both, and our allegiances have to be tempered.

Maybe also add the summary (as I read it) of Old Testament prophets as they chastised a people they identified with over the two-fold issue of ‘provision’ and ‘protection’ and where their trust was and I do not think there would be at this time a blanket support coming from any of them.

Yes it is deeply complex, how does a nation-state (not the same as a biblical nation) act when attacked? As those privleged (for now) not to be caught up in what is taking place, my plea is that in our powerlessness we ask not for the vindication of this side or that, but that sanity and humanity comes into the situation (at least that might be within our faith level even if calling for the righetousness, shalom and joy of the Spirit is beyond our faith level).

4 thoughts on “It is complex… so here is another perspective

  1. Haven’t the people of Israel been exiled 4 times now? Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Diaspora in AD70. I believe all occurred by not obeying God in one form or another. We rightly, in my view, laud the return of Jews to a homeland, (although how it was done mirrors Old Testament rather than New.) Is there anywhere in Scripture which says AD70 was the last exile or that 1948 would be the last homecoming?
    Prophecy does have a habit of being ‘fulfilled’ a number of times.

    1. Thanks Geoff… and what you write is illustrating the complexities and the simplicity of suggesting 1948 is the fulfilment of Scripture. I find it deeply challenging that the New Testament does not quote OT hope and put out there that the hope is the return to the land (my opinion). Given also the writings between the Testaments that give a picture of ‘being in Exile to this day’ in spite of being back in the land, one has to ask ‘has the exile ended?’ or did it end in a very different way with the death of Jesus making an open show of all hostile powers.
      In the current crisis and atrocities whatever one’s view of Scriture and the land of Israel I think it is possible for us all to pull for a third path that is the most redemptive.

  2. It is so deeply complex and any attempt to simplify it causes nothing but further division and the ever growing issue of polarisation in our culture. It is depressing to see how predictable the responses from the ‘left’ and ‘right’ have been. There are some nuanced voices even among liberal Israeli’s like Yuval Noah Harari who emphases the pain of the appalling atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th whilst still seeing a possible path to peace in the future. Not that he doesn’t take sides but that he’s sees the wider context and issues and is still critical of his leaders. I find it deeply distressing to see the death and destruction going on in Gaza and have cried out to God for release for the Palestinian people into Egypt or some over safer sanctuary yet can see how much pain the Israeli’s are in after the brutal massacre of civilians their country has suffered. It is hard to see how this situation can ever be resolved apart from a kingdom one but it would have to be a miracle of momentous proportions right now. I think as I said before the most depressing thing is the intransigence of each side both there and also elsewhere and some of the hateful stuff spoken by both sides particularly it has to be said though by some of the Palestinian supporters which dehumanises the other. I know it’s coming from pain but it just divides and spews more hatred. Sides are being taken and more damage done between Muslims and Jews especially but also between all of us. I have been thinking of the promises God made to Hagar and also to Abraham and Sarah and the covenants he made with both! It always makes me think of Psalm 133 and that is what I used to pray over all Abrahamic people. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity – leads ultimately to life evermore. So all we can do is pray for peace I guess impossible as it seems at the moment! Thank you Martin for your perspective.

  3. Is the history complex or the morality complex or both or none?

    Historically, the area has been fought over and colonized repeatedly. Morally is a different question. We are to love our enemies and do good to them. That would appear to be baseline for a Christian. Jewish OT ethics are a bit different – an eye for an eye, that is, no excessive revenge. And vengeance is mine, that is, step back and let God do what God wants to do.
    That all makes it easy to consider the situation. Hamas committed mass murder. Does that justify Israel doing the same? Does the experience of the Holocaust justify it?

    If someone harms me in the past does it justify me harming someone else in the future? No, of course not. We cannot use past harm or experience to justify our own harm to others. That is the way of a sociopath. In the world of a sociopath, they are always the victim and harming others is always justified because of that.

    I have no answers as to how to resolve this current impasse. However I do know that mass murder is not acceptable. Starving children and depriving them of water is not acceptable. Bombing civilians when they obeyed and moved to the place you designated as safe is abhorrent. Seems we need to call all sides to account.

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