Through a New Testament Lens

I came to faith by reading the New Testament; from the first pages, I knew that what I was reading was the truth; the thing I’d been seeking for my entire life was finally before my eyes. Later I learned it was a revelation of the Holy Spirit, but at the time, I was discovering God’s Word progressively as I read from Matthew to Revelation. I began seeing things differently; I started seeing things in light of the revelation of the Son of Man. It is only through a New Testament lens that I could read the Old Testament, for all the oracles of God point to the Messiah, the Aleph and the Tav. With this principle in mind, I also look at the country that I live in – the State of Israel.

In an article I’ve written elsewhere, I opened up about something that was on my heart, namely, ‘can Israel become an idol to us?’ I was trying to show with utmost sensitivity and love that many Believers have fallen victim to the over-idolization of the State of Israel. This happens especially to our evangelical brothers and sisters who live in North America. I tried to explain that when something, however good it may be in itself, becomes focal in our lives, it risks becoming an idol, for only God can occupy this space in our hearts. I touched on several key issues that could stem from over-idolizing Israel.

I also had to make sure I wasn’t misunderstood. I’m an Israeli and a Jew. I’m a Believer in Yeshua. I am grateful for my country with all its flaws and paradoxes. When I first read the New Testament, being disillusioned by orthodox Judaism, I saw Israel in its light, and I would urge you to look at Israel through the lens of the new covenant, not the old covenant. I can see the temptation of drawing parallels between Israel of the Old Testament and Israel of today. I have heard people comparing the State of Israel to the Israelite kingdom in the book of Samuel, Benjamin Netanyahu to King David, and the right and left political blocs to Judah and Israel in the book of Kings. Take it from someone who grew up here: it’s not the same.

Dear Brethren, hasn’t anything changed since the Hebrews were made a nation before God at the foot of Mt. Sinai? Hasn’t anything changed since Solomon built a house for our God in Zion? Of course it has, and hallelujah for that! The very Son of God was given to us, and by His blood, we enter a new covenant relationship with the Lord of Hosts! Therefore, it is no longer possible to continue as before; the Kingdom of Heaven has arrived. By these new principles, we live and are guided by. In turn, Israel is subject to and judged by those new principles; the destruction of the 2nd Temple is proof that Israel brought condemnation upon itself for rejecting their Messiah. Israel continues to reject Yeshua today, yet the Father’s grace and mercy are ever-enduring.

I don’t mean to belittle the role of Israel in God’s redemptive history of humankind, for it says, “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Romans 11:26)” But let us not elevate a people broken and desperately in need of God’s grace. Please don’t put us, or the state, on a pedestal. For it also says: “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)” We all need Messiah Yeshua, Jew and gentile, Israeli and Palestinian, easterners and westerners.

One passage in the Scriptures springs to mind – To the question, the disciples asked of Yeshua before his ascension to heaven, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:6-7)”

Yeshua shifts the focus of His disciples from Israel to the great commission, and I believe that as much as it applied to the eleven, it applies to us as well. Think about it, is there a better way to bless Israel than with the Gospel of Salvation?! I would strongly suggest that there isn’t. I know of fellow Believers that give financially to different causes that pertain to the Land, from supporting new settlements in the West Bank, donating for the construction of synagogues, or printing of Torah scrolls for the orthodox Jewish communities. While so many Christians seek to bless the Jewish people and these are gestures that come from places of faith and love; the greatest blessing they could receive is the gift of their Messiah.

In light of everything that was said, I wish to draw two primary points when it comes to advocating for Israel:

  1. Uphold the existing Body of Christ in Israel.
  2. Help the Body of Christ in Israel grow.

When praying for Israel, pray for the faithful remnant that bears the Cross in the Land. It is the remnant that holds Israel together; it is the remnant that hasn’t bent its knee to the false gods of atheistic secularism and rabbinical Judaism, a remnant that worships the One True God through his only begotten Son. You’re all partakers of the blessings and promises of God, through Abraham’s seed, the root that holds you – Jesus Christ. By directing your prayers and generous gifts to the Israeli body of followers here, you are doing the most blessed thing you can do for God’s people.

The gospel changes lives, the gospel moves the nations, the gospel revolutionizes the culture, and it’s the gospel that will save, bless and sanctify Israel. Israel is not an end, it is a means by which God redeems humanity, and once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, then the blindness will be removed, and hearts of stone will soften to hear the Good News that was promised to them from antiquity.

Stay away from idols. Pray for Israel. Bless Israel. Bless her with the gospel of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach.