Subject: Israel and Jesus Christ: The Reason why Americans should cheer for Benjamin Netanyahu
Galatians 3:29 “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu received forty bipartisan standing ovations during his speech to Congress on March 3rd. The news media, and people in Washington, are still talking about it. What was so electrifying about the Prime Minister’s message that it has captured our national attention?
It is God’s unshaken promises to this tiny nation of Israel that ultimately led to Benjamin Netanyahu’s journey to the United States to deliver his speech to Congress. As we watched and listened, there was no national arrogance on display that ‘Israel has God on their side’. The reasons for the bipartisan standing ovations were two-fold: 1) he was telling the truth about the evil of Islamic extremism, and Israel’s determination to confront it head-on (something our President continues to not only avoid but to actually resent about Netanyahu), and 2) we as Americans are linked to Israel in our Judeo-Christian roots. This second point we as Americans may have forgotten – and it’s the focus of this week’s article.
Arthur W. Kac, in his book ‘The Rebirth of the State of Israel’, explains the reason why we in America cheer not only for the survival but the thriving of this tiny nation, about 1/3 the size of West Virginia, that is surrounded by enemies bent on their genocide: “Had there been no Abraham, there would have been no Moses. Had there been no Moses, there would have been no Jesus. Had there been no Jesus, there would have been no Paul. Had there been no Paul, there would have been no Christianity. Had there been no Christianity, there would have been no Luther. Had there been no Luther, there would have been no Pilgrim fathers to land on these shores with the Jewish Bible under their arms. Had there been no Pilgrim fathers, there would have been no civil or religious liberty. Tyranny and despotism would still rule the earth, and the human family would still live in mental, moral, and physical bondage.”
God’s election of Israel as His chosen nation was not because He redeemed Israel as a special people out of all the people on earth. God did not single out one nation – God brought a non-existent nation into existence, for a certain definite mission. He elected Israel as His nation because He made a promise, a covenant, with a man named Abraham, and then afterward that promise continued through Abraham’s seed: “Because God loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His presence, with His mighty power” (Deuteronomy 4:37).
As the Apostle Paul explains in our verse this week, the seed of Abraham are all those throughout history who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is the promise made to Abraham – through the gospel that was preached to him – that he would become the father of many nations through faith in the coming Savior, Jesus Christ: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham (Galatians 3:8-9). It all centers on Jesus Christ.
In his book ‘Stormers of Heaven’, Solomon Freehof explains the significance of Jesus Christ not only as the most influential Jew who ever lived, but the most influential person who ever lived: “Jesus of Nazareth is the most famous name in the world. The Galilean teacher looms as large today as he did centuries ago. His words are still on the tongues of men, and his parables as fresh as when he first uttered them. Scholars study him as much as ever. His career is known to every child in the western world. The significant fact is that time has not faded the vividness of his image. No Muslim ever sings, ‘Mohammed, lover of my soul’, nor does any Jew say of Moses, the Teacher, ‘I need thee every hour.’”
In Kauffmann Kohler’s address before Congress in 1893, he said it very eloquently: “No ethical system or religious catechism, however broad and pure, could equal the efficiency of this great personality, standing, unlike any other, midway between heaven and earth, equally near to God and to man… Jesus, the helper of the poor, the friend of the sinner, the brother of every fellow-sufferer, the comforter of every sorrow-laden, the healer of the sick, the up-lifter of the fallen, the lover of man, the redeemer of woman, won the heart of mankind by storm… Jesus, the meekest of men, the most despised of the despised race of the Jews, mounted the world’s throne to be the earth’s greatest King.”
In the midst of the turmoil with Israel, ISIS, Islamic jihad, God continues to be at work in the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as He was with Abraham. Pay close attention, so we do not miss what God is doing.