Seeing God in Israel’s Trouble… and Our Own

For reasons of my own, I don’t often pass on “forwards”, even those I greatly appreciate, but for the comparatively small circle of friends on my contact list I feel this one should be an exception. The courageous statement of this Lebanese young woman ((Remarks of Brigitte Gabriel, delivered at the Duke University Counter Terrorism Speak-Out

I’m proud and honoured to stand here today, as a Lebanese speaking for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East . As someone who was raised in an Arabic country, I want to give you a glimpse into the heart of the Arabic world.

I was raised in Lebanon, where I was taught that the Jews were evil, Israel was the devil, and the only time we will have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea.

When the Moslems and Palestinians declared Jihad on the Christians in 1975, they started massacring the Christians, city after city. I ended up living in a bomb shelter underground from age 10 to 17, without electricity, eating grass to live, and crawling under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.

It was Israel who came to help the Christians in Lebanon. My mother was wounded by a Moslem’s shell, and was taken into an Israeli hospital for treatment. When we entered the emergency room, I was shocked at what I saw. There were hundreds of people wounded, Moslems, Palestinians, Christians, Lebanese, and Israeli soldiers lying on the floor. The doctors treated everyone according to their injury. They treated my mother before they treated the Israeli soldier lying next to her. They didn’t see religion, they didn’t see political affiliation, they saw people in need and they helped.

For the first time in my life I experienced a human quality that I know my culture would not have shown to their enemy. I experienced the values of the Israelis, who were able to love their enemy in their most trying moments. I spent 22 days at that hospital. Those days changed my life and the way I believe information, the way I listen to the radio or to television. I realized I was sold a fabricated lie by my government, about the Jews and Israel , that was so far from reality. I knew for fact that, if I was a Jew standing in an Arab hospital, I would be lynched and thrown over to the grounds, as shouts of joy of Allah Akbar, God is great, would echo through the hospital and the surrounding streets.

I became friends with the families of the Israeli wounded soldiers: one in particular Rina, her only child was wounded in his eyes.

One day I was visiting with her, and the Israeli army band came to play national songs to lift the spirits of the wounded soldiers. As they surrounded his bed playing a song about Jerusalem , Rina and I started crying. I felt out of place and started waking out of the room, and this mother holds my hand and pulls me back in without even looking at me. She holds me crying and says: “it is not your fault”. We just stood there crying, holding each other’s hands.

What a contrast between her, a mother looking at her deformed 19 year old only child, and still able to love me the enemy, and between a Moslem mother who sends her son to blow himself up to smithereens just to kill a few Jews or Christians.

The difference between the Arabic world and Israel is a difference in values and character. It’s barbarism verses civilization. It’s democracy verses dictatorship. It’s goodness verses evil.

Once upon a time, there was a special place in the lowest depths of hell for anyone who would intentionally murder a child. Now, the intentional murder of Israeli children is legitimized as Palestinian “armed struggle”.

However, once such behaviour is legitimized against Israel, it is legitimized every where in the world, constrained by nothing more than the subjective belief of people who would wrap themselves in dynamite and nails for the purpose of killing children in the name of god.

Because the Palestinians have been encouraged to believe that murdering innocent Israeli civilians is a legitimate tactic for advancing their cause, the whole world now suffers from a plague of terrorism, from Nairobi to New York, from Moscow to Madrid, from Bali to Beslan.

They blame suicide bombing on “desperation of occupation”. Let me tell you the truth. The first major terror bombing committed by Arabs against the Jewish state occurred ten weeks before Israel even became independent.

On Sunday morning, February 22, 1948, in anticipation of Israel’s independence, a triple truck bomb was detonated by Arab terrorists on Ben Yehuda Street, in what was then the Jewish section of Jerusalem. Fifty-four people were killed, and hundreds were wounded. Thus, it is obvious that Arab terrorism is caused not by the “desperation” of “occupation”, but by the very thought of a Jewish state.

So many times in history in the last 100 years, citizens have stood by and done nothing, allowing evil to prevail. As America stood up against and defeated communism, now it is time to stand up against the terror of religious bigotry and intolerance. It’s time to all stand up, and support and defend the state of Israel , which is the front line of the war against terrorism. )) is more addressed and adapted to the kind of relative moral ideals that are typically honored and at least verbally respected among the world of nations.
Theologically speaking, this has been called “common grace,” since one does not have to be a born again Christian to advocate such universally respected ethical standards as the celebrated ‘golden rule’. I believe she is correct that the policy (if not always the practice) of Israel is a quantum advance on the philosophy of Jihad, whether in its moderate or more radical forms. But due to the increasing flood of anti Zionist propaganda, particularly pervasive via the Internet, I would like to add some thoughts that occur to me concerning the more theological side of Israel’s dilemma, which is destined to become increasingly the world’s dilemma (Isa 34:8; Zech 12:2-3; Joel 3:1-2). 

God Himself has ordained that all nations will turn against Israel, not because Israel’s actions are any more reprehensible than any other nation that instinctively puts survival above the golden rule (or any other rule), but because of Israel’s privileged covenant status of eternal election and calling. This is why Israel will not be permitted to go the way of all other nations (Amos 3:2), regardless of how ‘relatively’ moral by comparison. This is all about a high calling.
Certainly, there have been tragic exceptions that no one would presume to justify. But given the unique kind of conditions confronting the nation since its modern repatriation, Israel has shown admirable restraint. And what shall we say of the manifest tokens of divine protection that we have witnessed when, against all odds, the fledgling nation has been spared time and again from the overwhelming forces of the united Arab world?

Such miraculous signs of providential protection have given rise to what scholars have called the “inviolability of Zion.” This is the doctrine believed by many in pre-exilic Israel which said that God would never permit the Holy City to pass into pagan hands. I have met many Christians in many countries who believe this doctrine today. But we must prepare ourselves; God has ordained that Israel will be forsaken of all her lovers; she will be tragically betrayed (Jer 30:14), and I for one believe this will seem out of all proportion to the ‘relative’ kind of morality common among nations.  
In any event, God has chosen to permit the eternally beloved nation (beloved with all the pathos and affection that a good father has towards his errant child) to be morally and politically “framed” far out of proportion to their actual crimes (from the relative human point of view).
Things are coming that will be tragic and pathetic beyond our ability to bear. Our hearts will break, as our faith will be tested to the core. “It will be a terror only to understand the report” (Isa 28:19). This was the prophet, Habakkuk’s, dilemma. He was perplexed at God’s choice to use a nation of far greater ferocity and wickedness to come down for the scourging of His covenant elect. 
The prophet knew keenly the nation’s covenant dereliction, but it was difficult for Habakkuk to find the equal weight of justice, not so much in the severity of judgment, but in God’s choice to use as the instrument of that judgment a nation that far exceeded Israel for cruelty and pagan defiance of covenant righteousness (see Isa 10:5). It was particularly God’s use of a nation far more wicked and fierce than the victim nation that constituted the offense to Habakkuk’s own human perceptions and relative measurements. We see not as He sees (Isa 55:8-9).

This is the mystery of God’s use of evil in behalf of His elect. We need to see that behind the ‘fierce countenance’ (Deut 28:50; Dan 8:23) of Satan’s hatred (in this case, the “ancient hatred” of Esau, which has found modern expression through the spirit of Islam; Ezek 35:5), it is ultimately God Himself that is opposing Israel by permitting their enemies to prevail against them. The Antichrist, as pre-typified in the King of Assyria is called the “rod” of God’s chastisement (Isa 10:5). It is God Himself who puts hooks into the jaws of the northern invader (Ezek 38:4). God employs the “evil thought” of a wicked principality (Ezek 38:10) as the very means by which He brings judgment and corrective discipline upon His people for their neglect of the covenant relationship. In Rev 17:16-17, there is a curious use of language that shows the absolute sovereignty of God in the employment of evil for His more ultimate purpose. The decision of the ten kings to support the Antichrist in His assault on the Harlot is something that God Himself has “put” in their hearts “to fulfill His will …”

Here is a paradox of supreme importance. These are the very nations allied with the Antichrist in his rage against ‘the holy covenant (Dan 11:28, 30), and yet this is a fulfillment of the will of God to bring judgment on the Harlot, a term that particularly symbolizes covenant infidelity. Although the ten kings will be judged at Armageddon with the Beast and the False Prophet, it is the Harlot who is first in judgment, because hers was the greater covenant calling, knowledge, and responsibility (1Pet 4:17). As stated in an earlier article, “It is a rule belonging to the very nature of covenant that the greater the knowledge and opportunity for blessing, the greater the severity of judgment when that privilege is slighted. God will then employ the bitter hatred of the enemy as His minister of judgment.”

We need to see this mystery, not only for Israel but for ourselves. When God’s elect are exposed through disobedience to “the yoke of a cruel one” (Jer 30:14), it is then they learn how easy His yoke is by comparison, and so flee back under the refuge of the covenant, which only the believer has in Christ.
To understand this hidden principle is to escape much that might otherwise offend and threaten the collapse of faith. We must know for Israel and for ourselves what Jesus understood when He said to Pilate: “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” Where God’s true elect are concerned, this could as well be said of Satan as of Pilate (Ro 8:28). 
If a prophet of Habakkuk’s spiritual stature could be mystified and offended by God’s use of evil, what can be expected for the latent humanism that so deeply pervades most of Christendom when Israel will be betrayed not only by the nations, but once more by institutional Christendom as well? 
Therefore, we must not faint when our human sensibilities will be overwhelmed. The reason is clear: Just as God ‘got His man’ on the Damascus road, He will get His nation, regardless! He does not spare in His pursuit (Jacob’s trouble; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21-22; compare also Deut 32:36 with Dan 12:7; also Gal 1:15-16 with Ps 102:13; 110:3). 

The church must come to understand what Israel will learn in the crucible of Jacob’s trouble, namely, He will not spare to bring all the way down just so that He might raise His afflicted all the way up to sit in heavenly places in Christ, to behold His beauty forever! It will be worth it all.
It is so important that we do not get caught up in endless comparisons of things that are at best relative. It is our prophetic calling to see beyond the veil to that glorious heart and wisdom that does not spare to sacrifice the thing that is momentary for a far greater weight of glory. We must see this for Israel and for ourselves. The judgment may seem by every human measurement and reckoning to be excessive, but the eye of faith knows it is not, and chooses to justify God rather than man. “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” (Mt 11:6).  

Yours in the Beloved, Reggie Kelly


Filed under
Israel and the Church, Jacob's Trouble, Judgement, Prophecy, The Day of the Lord, The Last Days
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  1. Bryn
    Indeed Reggie! Bless your Holy name, Lord Jesus Thank you Lord for your marvelous mercy toward us in taking the scales off our eyes to see your ways which are so much higher than ours. You have have chosen the weak and foolish things to confound the wise. Be it unto us according to your Word. This is such a true word, it is easy (& common today)to stumble over the painful things in Israel's history both past & present & in our own & others lives also, and, thereby missing God's kindness calling us to Himself - Truth. Praying for you Reggie to have courage to continue proclaiming light in the darkness. Bryn
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