It was reported in Israel Today Online earlier this week that last Saturday Prime Minister Netanyahu was interviewed by veteran journalist Dana Weiss, who is by no means a fan of Bibi. But, in place of her usually scornful and combative demeanour, she seemed restrained and uncharacteristically cordial amid the mounting coronavirus crisis. For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who usually avoids mainstream television news like a plague, seemed pacified and sober.
After giving the prime minister an opportunity to explain his Corona crisis policy, and before moving on to talk about politics, Weiss asked, “You say this life-changing event is going to last for a long time … what you can say to the citizens?” Netanyahu began his response by lifting up his eyes and stating, “With God’s help.” At that point, Weiss interjected: “With the Weizmann Institute’s help.” When I read Weiss’ humanistic reply to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comment “with God’s help” it moved me to see such a rude and insensitive rebuff for Bibi’s comment that the matter needed to be addressed. Even though she tweeted an apology of sorts what she said was not appropriate for a man seeking to care for his people Israel and stave off the results of a witch-hunt.
In 721BC Hosea the prophet wrote these words; “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)
For 71 years the people of Israel have been back in their own land according to the word of the prophets. However, have they turned from their pagan ways, their materialistic lifestyles, their idols of money, success, immorally alternate lifestyles and their continuous lusting after the pleasures of the things this world can offer? Have they forsaken the ‘gods’ of the nations they have so readily embraced? Indeed do Israelis by and large hold a form of contempt for the God of Israel?
Since 1948 the nation has been living ‘many days’ without king of prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without the ephod in relation to God’s guidance and without the help of their household ‘gods’ being the possessions, the pleasures, passions and the pursuits of the flesh pots of the Egypt of this world which will not save them in their hour of great tribulation to come.
In this interview last Saturday Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly expressed his need and that of Israel for God’s help. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows and reads the Torah and I think personally he has also read and possibly still reads the New Testament if the truth be known. He realises that in the midst of the false charges laid against him, and the witch-hunt that preceded it that he needs God’s wisdom to govern the nation especially concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic sweeping the globe.
Added to this, there is the political crisis in the midst of COVID-19 which has now seen Benny Gantz suddenly decide to join Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a unity government. Gantz has now been appointed Speaker of Parliament with the support of his rivals including Prime Minister Netanyahu. Whether Gantz’s two ex-Generals will fully support him in this sudden political swing remains to be seen. Most certainly it has split the Blue and White Party but the question that remains is what will Gantz do about the Joint Arab List whose support he solicited? Once the COVID-19 crisis has passed will Gantz once again aim for the top job? Will he once again seek the support of the Joint Arab list? Will he once again oppose Prime Minister Netanyahu?
There is no question that the nation of Israel needs the God of Israel to intervene. Having said this it would seem that the nation, by and large, continues down the path of hedonistic living, disregarding the Torah and the prophets and the New Testament record and rejecting their Messiah our Lord Jesus, the only one who can save them from their sins and out of the hand of their enemies and from all who hate them. (Matthew 1:21) (Luke 1:7) Even though in Israel there are faithful believers in the Messiah seeking to turn their fellow Israelis (Israelites) back to the God of their forefathers and to His Messiah, the people still insist on looking to the Egypt of this world which in the end will prove to be “a splintered reed of a staff which pierces a man’s hand when he leans upon it for support.” (Isaiah 36:6)
While everyone in the world is feeling the burden of COVID-19 Israel has also been inundated by this virus of Pandemic proportions. God is trying desperately to get Israel’s attention, not to mention the whole world at large. Sadly, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble is coming upon Israel, upon the Church and upon the whole world for that matter. COVID-19 is a harbinger of more to come as we see revealed in the Book of Revelation. It would seem ‘the birth pains’ of the Messianic Kingdom to be birthed on earth have begun? (Matthew 24:8)
Jeremiah tells us that Israel will go into this time of Trouble for Jacob but be saved out of it even though Zechariah the prophet tells us that two thirds will be struck down in the land while a third, passing through the fire of God’s refining purposes, will be saved out of it. (Zechariah 13:8-9) (Jeremiah 30:1-10) As I was writing this I wondered in what way two thirds would be struck down in the land of Israel. Will it be by sword or by something akin to COVID-19? Having said this, a time will come when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement “God help us” will become a stark truth confronting the whole nation of Israel in their darkest hour when it looks like all is lost.
Hosea goes on to say that afterward (after all the things that have happened to them as a nation to bring them back to God) the Israelis (Israelites) will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. Of course this is not King David but the Messiah our Lord Jesus who will come back in the character of King David to rule over Israel and the surviving nations. (Jeremiah 30:9) Hosea also adds that “they will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.”
It may be after COVID-19 has run its course that Prime Minister ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu will actually be ‘betrayed’ by his political antagonists, some may join him ‘in hypocrisy’ now, but in the end their motives will be clear to all! (Daniel 11:34) But who will replace him? Will it be the worthless or idle shepherd who does not care for the flock but abandons them to their implacable enemies? (Zechariah 11:17)
There is only one true Shepherd of Israel and that is the Messiah our Lord Jesus whose atoning blood has been shed to save His people from their sins. The tragedy for two thirds of the Jewish people is that when the destroying angel passes through the Egypt of this world many will perish because they did not have ‘the doorposts of their hearts’ splashed with the blood of the Messiah their Passover Lamb sacrificed for their sins. This is the blood of the perfect and spotless Lamb which has not only atoned for their sin but can cleanse them from it and protect them in the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world. Only those sheltering under the atoning blood of the Messiah by faith in Him will be rescued at the end of this age when God arises in His divine wrath to judge the earth! (Exodus 12:13) (Romans 5:9) (1 Corinthians 5:7) (1 John 1:7-9) (Psalm 82:8) (Revelation 16)