“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6,7).
You shall teach them diligently – shinnantam, from shanan -to repeat, iterate, or do a thing again and again; hence to whet or sharpen any instrument, which is done by reiterated friction or grinding. This word is used in three basic roots. In can be used to indicate the sharpening of a sword, as in Deuteronomy 34:41, where it speaks of God sharpening his sword of judgment. It can also refer to sharp arrows (Psalms 45:5; Isaiah 5:28). Figuratively speaking, it can be used for sharp words spoken with the intent of hurting others (Psalms 64:3; 140:3). In the intensive form of the verb (one of the four present tense forms in Hebrew), it means to teach diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7. The idea imparted here is that just like the words of the law were engraved in the stone tablets with a sharp-pointed object, they must likewise be engraved in the hearts of each generation’s children. (CPAD KEYWORD Study Bible)
THE FUTURE IS IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE
The future is in the hearts and minds of young people. What they believe and embrace with fervor will determine the course of their life and build the history of nations. The ideology that first impacts them might one day dominate the world.
Any totalitarian system is well aware of this. To stay in power, tyrants invest tremendous effort in the education, or rather, in the indoctrination of children and young people. It is for this very reason that the Moslems invest so much in madrassas, religious schools for instilling the most radical principles of Islamism in the new generations.
God, the Creator of mankind, is fully conscious of this as well. That’s why he stresses the importance of parents passing on the teachings of the Law of Moses to their children. I can’t remember when I was so impacted by the definition of a biblical word was when I read the above definition of the phrase diligently teach in the original language. Moses didn’t want to use a common word to stress how parents were to teach their children. He used a powerful word to transmit the idea of incisive, cutting, impressing ,impacting; something that will leave a permanent mark, not only in their intellectual memories, but in their emotions as well.
A famous Polish sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, recently declared in an interview that we have mortgaged the future of our next generations. Our children and grandchildren will be hard put to pay off the debts that that this generation has already piled up. While past generations saved up money to leave as an inheritance for their children, the people and nations today are piling up unpayable debts using the most diverse instruments of credit. In the past, each generation was more prosperous than the one preceding them. Today, it will be a miracle if the next generation is able to maintain the same level as ours.
But that’s not the worst news. Almost everyone in the world today lives a hedonistic lifestyle, seeking instantaneous and momentary pleasure. They aren’t at all worried about having children and much less in leaving the children they do have a spiritual legacy. As they continue their frantic rat race to make and spend money, their children are left at the mercy of any influence surrounding them.
The Jews are a living proof of the powerful effect that the generational transmission of knowledge has. Despite the tiny percentage they represent (less than 15 million of a worldwide population of 7 billion – that is, less than one fifth of 1% of all humanity), almost 20 percent of all Nobel Prizes granted since 1901 have been given to Jews. Of course, the blessings of God are the main reason for this lopsided proportion, but the strong family culture that instills love for the “Book” from their earliest childhood has also contributed to this.
HISTORY MARCHES INEXORABLY TOWARDS THE
FULFILLMENT OF THE WORD OF GOD
There are many theories about the forces that drive the history of the world, but it is undeniable that the greatest influence of all is the Word of God. During my childhood and teenage years, the world was dominated by the Cold War. The competition between capitalism and communism, between the USA and the USSR, was the main paradigm influencing all international and national events. A few decades ago, however, all this changed. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and along with it any power communism still had left. But nobody had much time to enjoy the end of the cold war because a new dividing line quickly appeared on the global scene. This time the conflict had nothing to do with money or the system of government, but rather about God.
A powerful Islamic revival, beginning with the fall of the Shaw of Iran in 1979 and since then spreading to the entire Arab world, has as its main goals the annihilation of the Little Satan (Israel) and the Great Satan (The United States). This is an example of how the zeal of God to fulfill his Word surmounts all plausible causes. In a world dominated by economic, military and political forces, two peoples devoid of any kind of preeminence in any one of these areas have polarized the attention of all other nations and threatened worldwide peace and prosperity. It would be much more logical to think that China, India, Russia, Japan, Europe, the United States, or even Brazil would be major players on the global stage during the final phases of history, given the size of their population and territory and their military or economic power. Nobody would ever think to worry about Israel or the Islamic world.
But the prophetic fulfillment of God’s purposes is inexorable. Millenniums ago, he warned Rebecca, Isaac’s wife, that there were two peoples struggling in her womb. Lo and behold, here the two peoples are again, locked in mortal confrontation. God has always forcibly drawn the attention of the world to the central issue of History: God and his chosen people. The insane hatred of the religious Islamic leaders is nothing more than hatred for God. If they could annihilate Israel and sweep them from the map, where would that leave the declarations of the Bible about God and his eternal plan? Anti-Semitism never dies because the hatred of fallen man against God and his word never dies. Whether they like it or not, the Jewish people have this destiny: the responsibility of representing God and the veracity of his words.
The vast majority of the biblical prophecies about Israel have already been fulfilled. They have suffered barbarously, century after century, in country after country, for having abandoned the Law of God and for having rejected the Messiah. They were scattered over all the nations on the face of the earth. After almost two thousand years, their nation was reborn, their language revived, and, exactly as had been promised, the dispersed nation, in wave after wave, returned to their homeland; a land that for millenniums had lain abandoned and despised. Today, the inhospitable region of swamplands and deserts literally blossoms, exporting fruit to other countries and sheltering migratory flocks of birds that had disappeared. At the same time, it is a land of such diminutive dimensions that even its name covers the country on most maps. In yet another fulfillment of biblical prophecies, it is increasingly surrounded on all sides by implacable enemies with much large geographical and demographical dimensions.
Why isn’t the center of global divergences a renowned city of strategic and economic importance, such as Paris, London, New York or Rome? What does Jerusalem have that makes it a worldwide center of attention? The answer is God – his written Word and his chosen people. In fact, it is prophecy, more than any other factor, that controls History. No matter how much man rages or vaunts his foolish intellectual arrogance, it won’t make the slightest difference – everything gravitates back to the true center. There is an irresistible magnet, an incomprehensible force attracting the attention of all to the great final conflict between God and his enemies. All this makes the book of Revelation an increasingly up-to-date and relevant book. After all, if so many things have already come to pass, who’s to doubt that whatever has not been fulfilled yet will also come to pass?
WHAT PROPHECIES HAVE NOT YET COME TO PASS?
What stand can we take, faced with such a scenario? What major prophecies about Israel that have not yet come to pass?
10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. NKJV
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn… In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness… (Zechariah 12:10; 13.1)
I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! (Luke 13:35).
I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again… For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery… that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; And so all Israel will be saved… (Romans 11:11,12,15,23,25,26)
Centuries before the Messiah came, Zechariah prophesied that his people would pierce him and later regret this with bitter tears. At the end of his period here on the Earth, Jesus prophesied that his people, who had sentenced him to death, would receive him with joy at his second coming. And Paul, the instrument that God used to bring the Gentiles to the Gospel, clearly stated that the spiritual blindness of his people was temporary and that before the end it would be removed. He goes even further to declare that this would bring great blessings to the Church!
What is the status in Israel today? Most Jews are not fervent followers of their religion. Their connection to it is more cultural than spiritual. This is even more noteworthy when one examines the younger portion of the population. Besides sharing the lack of hope and apathy that marks most of their peers around the world, Israeli youth in general have another aggravating characteristic: they have all served the army and know there is a very likely possibility that one day they will be forced to kill or be killed. At an age when most of their fellows in other countries are enrolling in colleges or beginning their careers, they are joining the army. Young men have to serve for three years, and girls, two. After their army term, many travel the world with a backpack on their shoulders. When they return, some follow an academic career, while others, lacking the motivation for this, end up getting involved in some other kind of activity. In general, Jewish young people are not very motivated, passionate or hopeful.
HOW DO WE PROVOKE THE JEWS TO JEALOUSY?
In the above-quoted passages of Romans, Paul states that Israel will be again grafted into their native olive tree (the Church – the project that God started with Abraham), when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. He also affirms that the plan of God is that the Gentiles provoke the Jews to emulation (imitation, jealousy, the desire to have what the Gentiles have).
If we want Jesus to return quickly and bring the Kingdom of God, we need to pray with more urgency towards the spiritual awakening of the Jews. He will only come back when they are ready to receive him with joy. This will only happen after they have wept after him bitterly, once the veil falls from their eyes and they are able to acknowledge him as the promised Messiah. This, in turn, will only be able to come to pass when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in and the Gentile Church has provoked them to jealousy.
We have discussed the status of the Israelites. Now let’s talk a little about the status of the Church. Jews today are anything but jealous of the Christians, and this is not for lack of contact. Thousands of believers make their way to Israel every year as tourists. The fact is they have yet to see Christian fruits in us to provoke anything close to jealousy. Therefore, the first item on our prayer list should for the Church to come in to the fullness of the Gentiles as soon as possible, and for there to be such strong evidence of the life of Christ in us that it will provoke them to jealousy. They need to want what we have.
We have now finally arrived at the main target of this article. We can summarize this in a logical progression: for the Kingdom of God to arrive, it must be the only goal and hope of the redeemed; Jesus needs to come back. For Jesus to come back, Israel needs to have their eyes opened, acknowledge him as their Messiah, unite themselves with the Gentile Church and welcome him back. For their eyes to be opened, the veil needs to fall off, which will only happen when the Church provokes them to jealousy. The future, both of Israel and the Church, is in the hands of our youth. Conclusion? Christian young people need to have fire in their eyes! The fire in the eyes of Jesus comes from his passion for the Father that burns in his heart. Our Christian youth need to be smitten by this fire in Jesus’ eyes.
We don’t need to be a perfect Church, without spot or wrinkle, to provoke jealousy in the Jews. In fact, that would be an incongruity, since only with the return of the Jews will we, together with them, form the perfect Bride. They will bring us precious elements of the faith that have been lost during the centuries of apostasy. We need them. However, to reach them, we need something that we don’t have yet.
The gospel of Jesus is the power of God. It has more power than the atomic bomb. It has already change the History of mankind in very significant ways. But it has yet to manifest its entire potential. That which not even Paul or the Lord Jesus himself were able to bring about – the conversion of natural Israel – will be granted by God to the Church! That is something that should make us tremble! Paul and Jesus were not able to do it because it wasn’t the right season, and their hearts had been hardened by God. These days, however, the appointed time is arriving, and the Church will be God’s instrument to bring this to pass. It will not happen by means of religiosity, but rather by a restored gospel making normal men and women live authentic Christian lives – the life of Jesus.
We have something much more powerful than the Jewish faith. They only have the Old Testament. They only know a holy, stern, demanding and far-away God. No matter how zealous and earnest the Orthodox Jews are, the best they can achieve is the fervor of the Pharisees; like Paul, before he met the Master. Like Paul said, They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). They go out into the streets until today to stone anyone who has desecrated the Sabbath. We have much more than they do: Jesus, Emmanuel, the incarnate God. Is he holy, powerful and awesome? Definitely; but also humble, meek, loving, simple and very close to us.
Why is it then that we don’t manifest “God with us”? Why doesn’t the Church demonstrate the unquestionable superiority of the New Covenant? We have been too contaminated by worldly philosophies, abominable practices and sophisms which have completely annulled our anointing. Our passion for Jesus has been smothered under our tons of traditions. The seed is genuine, but there are too many thornbushes suffocating it and making the word unfruitful. We must cry out to God for ourselves and for our youth. Let us beseech him with tears to restore our first love: total, unconditional, passionate, compelling, all-consuming love. May this fire be lit in our innermost being and burn through our eyes to set the new generation on fire.
May we be transformed into powerful inculcators to raise up a new generation that will express the true power of the gospel of Jesus Christ! May there we have such sincerity, humility, love, forgiveness and willingness as to be impervious to all temptations and persecutions the enemy tries to bring upon us. May we never be overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil with good. May the authentic life of the Son of God become flesh again, causing such amazement and admiration in the Jews, especially in the young people, that they will be willing to pay any price to have the same thing, even if it means believing in the one they have been taught for so many centuries to consider one of their worst enemies.
May the Gentile Church fall so passionately in love with the Bridegroom that the Jews will be impacted in their innermost being and join us in this deep love, to the point where we can cry out together, “Come, Lord Jesus, come! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Maranatha!”