December 20th … 5 NIGHTS TIL CHRISTMAS



           “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.” [Luke 2:34]


The Jews fell to Babylon in 586 BC, and to Rome in 70AD. This last fall has been their longest— almost two thousand years. The problem with such a long fall, as Galadriel said in the introduction to J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic “THE LORD OF THE RINGS”much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.”

Although in our day Israel is “rising again” the majority of Jews are still “fallen”.  Many Jews in the Holy Land are “secular” Jews”— they are not religious at all. They no longer follow the ways of their ancestors. They do not have a Biblical basis for their existence. They can’t even see themselves as possessing their land. Many of them are actually beginning to believe the secular lie that Israel is occupying land that supposedly belongs to the Arabs. As a result, many Jews are beginning to see themselves as illegal occupants of a land that doesn’t belong to them at all. So even the great blessing of “the rising again of Israel” is being misunderstood by God’s own people—because of their ignorance.

Secular Jews are ignorant of two things —  they don’t seem to have an accurate understanding of their own history, and most of them are terribly in the dark about the Bible.

Israel was a nation for a 1000 years before the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD.  When Titus the Roman general left Jerusalem, it was in ruins. To eradicate all trace of the Jews, the Romans declared the land of Israel a  Roman province and renamed it Palestinia. The Romans decreed that no Jew could enter Palestinia, and this remained their policy for 500 years.

The province remained desolate and unsettled until the Muslim warrior Walid Allah (‘the sword of Allah’) conquered the few inhabitants and took Palestinia for Allah. Caliph Omar, Walid Allah’s successor, took over Palestine and Jerusalem in 638 A.D., and built the first mosque on the Temple Mount. But even with the Muslim presence the land remained forlorn. Although they had “conquered” the land, the Muslims  did little to restore it. In Muslim hands it lay desolate for another thousand years.

When Mark Twain visited Palestine in 1867 he wrote:

“Stirring scenes…occur in the valley [Jerzreel] no more. There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent— not for thirty miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings….[in]  these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness, that never, never, never do shake the glare from their harsh outlines, and fade and faint into vague perspective;….[We visited]… that melancholy ruin of Capernaum: this stupid village of Tiberias, slumbering under its six funereal palms…We reached Tabor safely….We never saw a human being on the whole route. Nazareth is forlorn…Jericho the accursed lies in a moldering ruin today, even as Joshua’s miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Savior’s presence, the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang, “Peace on earth, good will to men,” is untenanted by any living creature…Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the “desert places” round about them, where thousands of men once listened to the Savior’s voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by the birds of prey and skulking foxes.:[1]

Charles M. Doughty,  as he travelled through Israel  in 1876, (as he records in his book, Travels in Arabia Deserta”[2], “found a “desert” that was devoid of but a few “human lives” at the precise moment when the Jews had begun to develop their settlements—on the semi-abandoned territory where one day the Arab propaganda would claim that Jews had crowded out, “displaced,” and rendered the “Palestinian” Arabs “landless.” [3]

Unfortunately, such historical accounts are often denied even when they are from eye-witnesses.

As I’ve said before,  the problem is an accurate understanding of history— and an incredible ignorance of the Bible.

But how can I say “ignorance of the Bible?” The Jews have been studying it for 3500 years! The problem is, they study their commentaries, the interpretations of their Rabbis, they do not study it as we Christians are commanded to study it  in the New Testament: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God [1Thessalonians 2:13] The Bible is THE WORD OF GOD. The Bible is a sealed book.  It can’t be understood without the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit of God. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” [1Corinthians 2:14] Nicodemus, who was a devout Jew and a fervent Bible scholar, came to Jesus by night and asked Jesus the secret of his power and success. Jesus answered, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3]

The only way to truly understand the Word of God, is you must be born again first. The Jews throughout the centuries have as a rule been avid scholars, but the vast majority of them have not been born again. The only Jews who are genuinely born again are the ones known as Messianic Jews. They recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Now on the whole Israel is full of Jews who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah. That’s the distinctive tell-tale sign that they are not yet born-again. It’s because of this that they do not KNOW the truth even when they SEE it in the Bible. Remember what I said earlier in this series of blogs— it’s not enough to have a head-knowledge, you must have a heart-knowledge. You get a head-knowledge by gathering facts— but you get a heart-knowledge when the Holy Spirit affirms those facts as absolute truth.

How God explains this in the New Testament, is by saying that Israel is “blinded”: “ But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” [ 2Corinthians 3:14]  God blinded the whole nation because of their continual disobedience and unbelief. He describes this blindness as a “veil”— which veil is removed by God when a Jew repents and puts his faith in Christ.

This  blindness came on Israel after they crucified their own messiah. Luke gives this account: “And when he [Christ] was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” [Luke 19:41-44]  When Messiah himself came and visited them, they turned their back on Him. Later when he hung on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them…they know not what they do”— not only were they crucifying the son of God, they were causing the nation to fall into darkness— 2000 years of darkness.





[1] Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad New York: Oxford University Press, 1996 (pp.349, 366, 375, 441-442)
[2] Doughty, Charles M., Travels in Arabia Deserta, New York: Random House, (n.d. Pg56)
[3] Peters, Joan, “From Time Immemorial” JKAP Publications, Chicago Il. ©1984,Pg168