Hi friends! I want to press forward on the thought process begun a couple weeks ago (here and here), and continued day before yesterday. We have established the idea that Israel is the vehicle chosen by God to bring redemption to the world. The last part of Genesis 12:3 explains that, through Israel, God will bless all the families of the earth. In addition, we know (based on previous study) that God’s call upon Israel was a birthing call. Through Israel was birthed Jesus Christ, our Messiah! Through Israel will be “re-birthed” Jesus Christ when He returns to earth to rule all nations!
Today, let’s explore a second calling (after a birthing call) of Israel: a suffering call. So, to get a glimpse of that second calling, let’s take a sneak peek as God cuts covenant with Abraham. Look at Genesis 15:7-12:
And He said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” He said, “O Lord God, how may I know that I will possess it?” So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
Notice that terror and great darkness fell upon Abraham, and birds of prey (vultures) attacked the sacrificial carcasses at the place where the covenant was being made. Vultures, with their long beaks and talons, flocking over a killing, and tearing carcasses to pieces, symbolize demonic darkness and evil. From the very beginning, Satan’s demonic forces have been at work…even in the midst of perhaps the most important covenant God made with His people. The fallen world, due to evil’s influence, hates God and those who represent God and His interests on earth. In fact, Ephesians 2:1-3 reminds us that we were once part of that hatred:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
In a state of deadness and disobedience, the world seeks to destroy any and everything that represents God’s purpose. Because God’s purpose is to bring about world redemption through Israel, evil seeks to destroy Israel…and we see that playing out throughout Israel’s history, even to the present day. The Jews have paid a very high price while awaiting fulfillment of their purpose to bless all the families of the earth.
Thus, God’s call upon Israel is also a suffering call. Certainly she has suffered due to her own rebellion, but suffering has also come through demonic forces. In fact, dare I say that the Christian church, at times, has become the vulture? It is true. Consider the Crusader era when, in the name of Christianity, hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed. Consider the Holocaust. Out of Germany, at the time thought to be a Christian nation, and home to some of the Great Reformers, came death and destruction of the Jews. Even today, some churches have abandoned Israel. In places, “vultures” have taken over pulpits and congregations through the teaching of Replacement Theology and other anti-Israel doctrine.
In the midst of cutting covenant with Abraham, God made it clear that conflict with darkness will come. And indeed it has seemingly followed Israel throughout her history. But one day, the vultures will all be driven away for good! God will not forget His promises to Israel; and despite the suffering, God will ultimately bless all the families of the earth through Israel! Just like the covenant promise says!
Meanwhile, why not take a moment right now to pray for Israel.
(The idea of various callings upon Israel is not original with me. I’ve combined information from several sources, but primarily The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Many thanks for the teachings of Rev Malcolm Hedding.)