In today’s session, Derek delves into the history of Israel and God's promise of restoration to their land which He gave them. Derek explains how the land was divided up, and discusses consequences to the nations involved in it. God is jealous for His people, and the treatment of the Jews is very close to His heart.
I think it’s very important for all of us to realize the special position that the Jews occupy in the purposes of God. It’s a very hard fact for a lot of Gentiles to swallow because most of us who are not of Jewish background have been brought up in varying degrees to despise the Jewish people, to make snide remarks about them, et cetera. It’s really bred into most Gentiles. Paul says we better be careful. He says we’re not the root, we’re the branches. Remember, the branches don’t bear the root, the root bears the branches. The root is Israel. There’s going to have to be a tremendous change in the thinking of multitudes of Christians in this respect because God is going to judge the nations on the basis of their attitude to the Jews. The Jews didn’t choose themselves, God chose the Jews. If it had been left to the Jews they would not have chosen themselves, you have no idea how much they would like to get away from the responsibility of being chosen. They didn’t choose it, we didn’t choose it, God chose it. If you have a problem with the Jews your real problem is with God.
You know what I believe? I believe God makes the right choice—in our lives, in the church and among the nations. I mean, if it had been left to me I wouldn’t have made that choice. But God didn’t leave it to me.
The choice of the Jews is God’s choice. He knows what He’s doing. Personally, I believe He’s the only person that can deal with the Jews. I not saying that to be smart, I’m just saying they’re not an easy people to deal with. God says, “I’ve accepted the responsibility and in the end I’ll produce what I’ve promised.” Jesus said, “Wisdom is justified by her children.” In other words, what wisdom produces is the justification for wisdom’s choice. God hasn’t finished. Don’t judge the product until it’s complete.
Anyhow, I want to point out to you—and this is a very, very important fact, it’s extremely important for the United States of America. As you know I’m British by background and Britain at one time had the mandate for the government of what was called Palestine. When the United Nations decided to give the Jewish people a very small strip of territory the official reaction of the British government was to do everything short of open war to oppose it. Not only am I British, I served in the British Army and I was living in Palestine at that time so I’m speaking about something of which I was an eyewitness. Britain had a vast empire, there were 40 million Arabs with modern armies against 600,000 Jews with very few military weapons. And who won? The British empire fell apart. From that day that it turned against the purposes of God for Israel, the British empire went into decline. They gave lip service to being in favor of the Jews but it wasn’t the way they acted. I have to tell you frankly as Americans, the American government is basically following in the footsteps of Britain. They are in actual fact opposing the purposes of God for Israel. They do it with nice, polite language; they start peace processes; but right at the bottom of it is an anti-Semitic attitude.
Let’s read what it says in Joel 3:1–2.
“For behold, in those days and at that time [the Lord is speaking], ‘When I bring back the exiles of Judah and Jerusalem [this is the time of the regathering of the Jewish people in which we are now living] I will also gather all nations...’”
That’s all Gentile nations, the Hebrew word is goyim.
“...and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat...”
And the name Jehoshaphat means Jehovah judges.
“...and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of my people, my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations. They have also divided up my land.”
So God says, “I’m going to judge the nations on the basis of the way that they have dealt with the Jews.” Whether you like it not, that’s how it’s going to come. But it’s very much in our own interest to take note of that.
Not only did they scatter them but, listen friends, they divided up their land. God says “not their land but my land.” We need to bear in mind that first and foremost it’s God’s land, then it belongs to Israel because God gave it to Israel.
Now, as a Britisher, I have to say Britain carries the main responsibility because in 1919 or 1920 the League of Nations gave Britain the mandate for that territory with the specific understanding that they would create a national home for the Jewish people. In 1922 the British government with one stroke of a pen took 76 percent of the allotted area and made it an Arab state—originally called Transjordan, now called Jordan—in which no Jew is permitted to live. That means what’s left is 24 percent. Then the United Nations offered to the Jews about 10 percent of the 24 percent remaining. God intervened and now at the present time who knows? One thing I will tell you is God will judge all nations by the way they have related to the Jewish people.
If you turn to the New Testament, Matthew 25:40, which refers to the coming of the King and the kingdom—and you need to understand that Matthew 25:40 is a direct reference to Joel 3:1–2. It’s the same scene. It says:
“When the Son of man comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory...”
That’s his earthly throne. At the moment He’s sitting on his Father’s throne.
“...all the nations [goyim] will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
So all nations will be gathered before the Lord Jesus when He comes as King and He will separate them into two groups: the sheep on the right hand, the goats on the left. The basis of division, if you’ll study that chapter carefully, is how they have treated the brothers of Jesus. “Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did not do it to me.” God has chosen to make the basis of His judgment the way the nations have related to the brothers of Jesus.
The judgments are appallingly severe. It says concerning the sheep:
“Enter into the kingdom prepared for you by my Father.”
That’s the earthly kingdom of Jesus.
To the goat nations He says:
“Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
So, in a certain sense in the political arena, the supreme purpose of God at this time is the regathering of the Jewish people in their own land as a preliminary to restoring them to Himself.
A few of us, I think, can take into account the immensity of the miracle that the Jewish people were scattered for nineteen centuries among more than one hundred nations under every pressure to give up their identity. And, they remained a separate, distinct people. In the last 90 years, I think it’s less, they have been regathered from more than one hundred distinct nations. I don’t know whether you can understand what a miracle that is. It’s one of the major demonstrations of the control of God over human history that has ever taken place in the history of this planet.
The Jews were scattered for nearly 2,000 years—and some of them for more than 2,000 years. The Jews from Yemen were scattered for 2,500 years. Some of the Jews from Iraq—But they remained a separate identifiable people and were then brought back to that land is in my opinion in many ways is as great a miracle as the exodus from Egypt. Why did it happen? Because God intended it to happen.