Parashat Ki Tavo
Do you really take HaShem at His word? I honestly believe that all too often we hear the things we want to hear and ignore the things we don’t like or simply don’t think are important. You probably think I spend too much time writing about Israel, but remember this blog is on the website of “Hope for Israel”. When you hear the term Israel, what do you think about? Once I conducted a very unscientific experiment and asked a few dozen people what enters their mind when they hear the word Israel? All these people were non-Jewish Christians. Overwhelmingly the answer I received was, Israel- it’s the Jewish people. The second most common response was the nation / state. Not one person mentioned the Land of Israel.
This is odd, because in the Torah, the Jewish people are normally referred to as the Children of Israel and the idea of Israel as a nation or state is rare. By and large the term Israel by itself is a reference to the Land, i.e. ground. I have a few favorite Bible teachers that I listen to via the internet each week. Even though theologically they are very sound and they always share the message of redemption, it is rare for them to talk about the Land of Israel. Maybe that is why I think it is important that on this blog we deal with Israel often and in a correct manner. In this week’s Torah portion the issue of tithing is discussed. By the way, most Biblical teachers speak about financial giving a great deal more than the Land of Israel. It is actually Moses who is speaking and he informs the Children of Israel that if they are obedient to the issues of stewardship and purity, that G-d will look down from the heavens and,
“…bless Your people Israel, and the ground that You gave us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deut. 26:15
I hoped you noticed that G-d thought enough of the Land of Israel to bless it. He also made a covenant to give it, as a gift, to the Jewish people. Therefore, the Land of Israel is a gift that Jewish people are to use, in order to bless all the families of the earth. There is a great deal that can be said in regard to the last statement, but for the purpose of this short article, the fact that the Land of Israel is important to G-d and that He blessed it is the significant part.
Why do I repeat this point, especially this week? Because there is great pressure being placed on Israel currently to concede land and give it to pagans—Muslims. In discussing this with a Christian he responded by saying, “What difference does it make, non-believing Jews are pagans too.” When I heard this, what pain I felt in my heart. Make no mistake about my theological position, I believe that only through the Gospel of Yeshua that one is saved- it is the same plan (the only plan of salvation) for the Jew and the Gentile. I also realize that in Judaism, there are numerous pagan and unbiblical aspects (Christianity has also received her share of pagan influence), but to say that because the vast number of Jewish people have not received Messiah they are pagans and forfeit their gift of the land is Biblically incorrect!
Consider what Paul says in Romans. In speaking about non-believing Jews, he calls them his brothers and kinsmen. He reminds the Romans that pertaining to the Jewish people, there is an adoption, glory, covenants, service to G-d, and promises. (see Romans 9:1-4). Paul also states that there is an advantage to being a Jew (see Romans 3:1-2). In speaking about the Jewish non-believer, Paul reveals that their eyes have been darkened and they are obstinate in regard to the Gospel for a season (see Paul’s use of Psalm 69 in Romans 11). Paul asked the question, if they have stumbled so much they have fallen away from G-d totally, to which he responds absolutely not. Paul states that G-d will use this blindness and obstinacy to bring the Gentiles to faith. (see Romans 11:9-15).
Finally, Paul warns the Gentiles who have come to Messiah not to boast against the Jewish non-believers or be high-minded. Why not? Because G-d will do a great work in the last days and bring Israel to salvation. Does this mean every Jew will be saved? Of course not. Does it mean that G-d has a different plan of redemption specific for Jewish people? No. What it does mean is that even today there is still a unique relationship that G-d has with the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Both of these two entities G-d will use mightily in the last days. I will conclude this week’s blog with a question, “Do you think that you put the same significance of Israel as G-d does?”
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