Knowledge puffeth up, love edifies

By Jan Willem van der Hoeven

A great divide exists today among Christians concerning Israel and her biblical importance. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I want to first and foremost seek – and here present – a clear Biblical basis for the importance of this nation.

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By Jan Willem van der Hoeven

A great divide exists today among Christians concerning Israel and her biblical importance. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I want to first and foremost seek – and here present – a clear Biblical basis for the importance of this nation. It is my hope that any true Christian believer would wish to square off his or her own opinions – however strongly they are held – with the clear teaching of the Scriptures.

Reading the so-positive inter-Christian development towards a sorely needed unified stand contained in the Manhattan Declaration, one nonetheless misses any reference to the importance of Christian attitudes towards our older brother, the Jewish people.

This, sadly, is the case in many such amiable concerns expressed by different groups and leaders in deep concern for the church and their nation.

But however important – according to God’s Word – are the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and the universal respect deserved by every human being – created as we all are in the image of God – the Bible singles out, at the time of Israel’s numerously prophesied restoration, that the person and nation not willing to serve God’s holy purpose with Israel will perish.

This is clear throughout Scripture, as the ensuing passages emphatically proclaim:

For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish,
 And those nations shall be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12)

‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD,

‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel;
 For behold, I will save you from afar, 
And your seed from the land of their captivity.
 Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet,
 And no one shall make him afraid. 
For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you; 
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, 
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
 But I will correct you in justice, 
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’ (Jeremiah 30:10-11)

Let all those who hate Zion
 Be put to shame and turned back.
 Let them be as the grass on the housetops, 
Which withers before it grows up,
Neither let those who pass by them say,
 “The blessing of the LORD be upon you; 
We bless you in the name of the LORD!” (Psalm 129:5,6,8)

As terrible as the murder of the unborn and the pollution of holy matrimony in our present-day societies are in God’s eye – the principle reason for His coming judgment on the nations of which we are a part is each nation’s attitude towards His people Israel.

I am aware that this statement may already stir an immediate and fierce reaction in many Christian readers of these words, as they are so contrary to what we as Christians have believed in the Christian and politically correct way of seeing these things.

This is why we all need to be willing to hear God – and not so much man – on these important issues.

For indeed, according to His own Word, His ways are higher than our ways. So too are His thoughts, as the Apostle Paul so wondrously wrote after penning his matchless chapters on the coming future of God’s people: Israel.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
 And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
 For this is My covenant with them,
 When I take away their sins.” 

Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.  Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

“For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:25-36)

The “mystery,” as Paul calls it, concerning the future of “His people,” is so great that he can do nothing but express it in an exulting doxology of praise to God: “Whose judgments and ways are unsearchable and past finding out.”

How true, but at the same time how contrary to the often self-wise and often arrogant opinions of those who claim to have this unsearchable God as their heavenly father!

When I hear several Christians speak about this phenomenon – which Paul calls “a mystery” – I am struck by the very attitudes the apostle describes and warns gentile believers against:

Do not boast against the branches. Remember, you do not support the root but the root supports you. (Romans 11:18)

Do not be haughty, but fear. (Romans 11:20)

If God did not spare the natural branches He may not spare you either. (Romans 11:21)

You should not be ignorant of this mystery or wise in your own opinion. (Romans 11:25)

Surely it is therefore of the utmost importance that we enter the discussion about the Scriptural place of Israel with a true, open and humble spirit towards the God we all hopefully want to serve?

This is so important that it is difficult to over-emphasize. It is Israel’s case – as Paul writes: a Mystery – a mystery that can only be revealed and understood out of a deep attitude of humbleness and love, as Paul writes himself at the beginning of this holy revelation given to him concerning Israel’s destiny; perhaps because he had this deeply compassionate attitude towards the very people who were causing him so much suffering and abuse.

Let’s listen to what he says:

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (Romans 9:1-5)

As I said, I believe it was because of this attitude of mercy and self-effacement that Paul was able to receive God’s own thoughts and wisdom concerning Israel. This will be true in relation to us too, as we seek His mind – and not our own – on these matters!

If we – as Christian believers – claim also to be the true children of God, the God who calls Himself the God of Israel, then at least in our hearts and emotions we need want to be like the God who is our Father. And this is what He – our Father through Christ – says in relation to His people.

Do we come anywhere near to the tender expressions of mercy and love He feels for them?

“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.   (Jeremiah 32:37-41 emphasis added)

I think this is an amazing statement by our Father – full of love and longing just as God’s words by way of His prophet Isaiah:

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
 Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
 For you will forget the shame of your youth,
 And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
 For your Maker is your husband,
 The LORD of hosts is His name;
 And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
 He is called the God of the whole earth.
 For the LORD has called you
 Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
 Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
 Says your God.  
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
  With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
  But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
  Says the LORD, your Redeemer.
  “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
  For as I have sworn
 That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
  So have I sworn
 That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
  For the mountains shall depart
  And the hills be removed,
  But My kindness shall not depart from you,
  Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
  Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
  “O you afflicted one,
 Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
  Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,  
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
  I will make your pinnacles of rubies,  
Your gates of crystal,
  And all your walls of precious stones.
  All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
  And great shall be the peace of your children.  
In righteousness you shall be established;
  You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;  
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
  Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me.
  Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake. (Isaiah 54:4-15)

There are, of course, many other verses to quote, but may God and His Holy Spirit use these passages, at least, to install into our hearts His love and compassion for His people, rather than that we have our minds filled up with our own cold and calculated opinions.

And, for those who, in “holy” impatience, will claim that Israel is still largely an unbelieving, man-made and often corrupt nation, and that she has, therefore, to be treated as such: The Scriptures are equally clear that before Israel’s spiritual restoration, Israel’s physical restoration will occur. No one who wants to draw near in understanding the mystery of Israel can fail to see this important reality.

Just as Adam was first physically made by God, and then had breathed into him the Spirit of God, so becoming a spiritual man, in like manner it will happen with Israel.

The Prophet Ezekiel is so clear about this. First he describes the physical restoration of Israel – ‘bones, sinews and flesh coming together.’ Only afterwards does the wind of the Spirit come upon the already physically reconstituted nation.

This is why I call this attitude of some Christian believers “holy impatience.” Give God His time, even as He took time with each one of us when He, in His mercy for us, changed our carnal state into a spiritual one: making each of us of a new man and creature through Christ.

Here are these words from Ezekiel:

The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”
Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’” (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

The thought arises: How is it, when it is so clear, both as to the New Testament as well as to the many prophecies in the Old Testament, that Israel definitely has a tremendous God-willed and destined future, that so many in the church today are blind to it?

Are we, who so often have claimed that the Jewish people were blind, ourselves struck with a similar blindness concerning God’s purposes for them?

I remember, at a church meeting in the United States where I ministered concerning this question, asking the audience two questions.

The first one was: ‘Can we overemphasize the need to bring the Gospel to the end of the world?’

To this question I received an immediate answer from one of those present; an unequivocal ‘no!’

Then I asked the second question: ‘Can we overemphasize the need to support Israel?’ Equally quickly came the answer from one of those present: ‘Yes!’ This indeed is the attitude today of most Christian believers!

Then I took them to what the Bible says – in this case to the words of Paul in his epistle to the Romans:

Now if their [Israel’s] fall is riches for the world [the proclamation of which, as they originally agreed, could not be over-emphasized] and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! (Romans 11:12)

“For if their being cast away s the reconciling of the world [which we all heartily preach] what will be their acceptance but life from the dead! (Romans 1:15) – which we so often hear can be over-emphasized but as Paul says in comparison shines even as a more glorious truth.

So then, we are on the threshold of the greatest possible recovery for planet earth – life from the dead expressed in many, many ways by the prophets of old; prophesies about the future of this planet all connected and dependant on the restoration of God’s own people on God’s own land!

Here are some of the verses which clearly point this out:

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
  That the mountain of the LORD’s house
  Shall be established on the top of the mountains,  
And shall be exalted above the hills;
  And peoples shall flow to it.
  Many nations shall come and say,
  “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,  
To the house of the God of Jacob;
  He will teach us His ways,
  And we shall walk in His paths.” 
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,  
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  He shall judge between many peoples,
  And rebuke strong nations afar off;
  They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
  And their spears into pruning hooks;
  Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
  Neither shall they learn war anymore.
  But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
  And no one shall make them afraid;
  For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
  For all people walk each in the name of his god,  But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God  
Forever and ever. (Micah 4:1-5)

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Who has heard such a thing?  
Who has seen such things?
  Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?  
Or shall a nation be born at once?  
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
  She gave birth to her children.
  Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD.  
“Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God.  
“Rejoice with Jerusalem,
  And be glad with her,  all you who love her;
  Rejoice for joy with her,  all you who mourn for her;
  That you may feed and be satisfied
  With the consolation of her bosom, 
That you may drink deeply and be delighted  
With the abundance of her glory.”

  For thus says the LORD:
  “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,  
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
  Then you shall feed;
  On her sides shall you be carried,
  And be dandled on her knees.
  As one whom his mother comforts,
  So I will comfort you;
  And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
  And your bones shall flourish like grass;  
The hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants,
  And His indignation to His enemies. (Isaiah 66:8-14)

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
  Who shall stand as a banner to the people;  
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
  And His resting place shall be glorious.”  
It shall come to pass in that day
  That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
  To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
  From Assyria and Egypt,
  From Pathros and Cush,
  From Elam and Shinar,  From Hamath and the islands of the sea.
  He will set up a banner for the nations,
  And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
  And gather together the dispersed of Judah  
From the four corners of the earth.
  Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart,
  And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off;
  Ephraim shall not envy Judah,  
And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
  But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west;
  Together they shall plunder the people of the East;
  They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab;
  And the people of Ammon shall obey them.
  The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
  With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River,  
And strike it in the seven streams,
  And make men cross over dryshod.
  There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
  Who will be left from Assyria,
  As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.  (Isaiah 11:10,11,12 – 16)

For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors. (Isaiah 14:1, 2)

So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
  According to Your word;  
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
  Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
  A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,  
And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:27-32)

Notice: Right after the dispensation of Christ being as light to the Gentiles comes the time of Him becoming a glory to His people Israel.

Now, in the light of all this that has gone before, we need desperately to realize the colossal importance of this issue and also the enormous consequences if we – with our deep concerns for the state of our church and nation – fail to give this issue THE SAME IMPORTANCE as it has in God’s heart and in God’s Word.

Even as to the Manhattan Declaration Israel, besides sanctity of life, marriage and individual respect and liberty, should have been ranked among these so important issues. It wasn’t, showing on this point – sadly – the fatal blindness of most of the church!

If, as I have shown, the nations (as well as individuals) will increasingly be judged in our day and time as to whether they will serve Israel’s best interest or not – (see attached Bible study) – then it is of paramount importance for the future of the church and of our nation that we will tread God’s way and will in this, and not our own.

The consequences – as already quoted – are too dire for us to ignore these truths of our God, our heavenly Father.

May He grant us His wisdom and Revelation by way of our humility and longing for His truth and revelation on this point.


Now, if these things be true and so worthy of our careful attention, they should be shown to be true in relation, not only to biblical history, but also to contemporary history. And what we find when we look at this makes it all the more compelling:

Individuals who have taken the side of the Jewish people – for example Corrie ten Boon, Lord Shaftesbury, Martin Niemoller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and many others – have shone forth as true examples of those who follow the Lord. Dr Billy Graham, a true friend of Israel and her people, not for nothing caused the beautiful and sensitive film “His Land” to be made in full support of God’s restoring grace to Israel.

These individuals, and many with them, were blessed by God as He promised, by being greatly fruitful and blessed in His service. So too of nations. I mention two:

Great Britain evangelized the world through men and women of the caliber of Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, C.T. Studd of World Evangelization Crusade, William Carey and many, many others.

Strangely enough, because of this Bible-inspired faith, these believers were also at the forefront of the Christian Zionist movement to support the return of the Jews to their God-given land. I devoted a whole chapter to this phenomenon in my book Babylon or Jerusalem (Revised Edition: Deeper Revelation Books Cleveland, TN, 2009)

Lord Shaftesbury, Mrs Blanche Dugdale  – the niece of Lord Balfour –William Hechler who helped Theodore Herzl so much in his efforts for the re-establishment of the Jewish state; Colonel John Henry Paterson, commander of the Jewish Legion and friend and helper of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Captain Orde Wingate, and many, many others.

It should be noted here that, for instance, in the prayer room in Corrie Ten Boom’s parental home, decennia before the State of Israel was born, the “Ten Boom Family” prayed in accordance with the Scripture for the restoration of the people of Israel.

Israel was birthed on the joint efforts of Christian and Jewish Zionists – a history every Bible believing Christian should be thankful for.

When Britain evangelized the world, God enabled her to open the door, via Lord Arthur Balfour’s Declaration, for the Jewish people to return home. And God blessed Britain beyond measure, for He has promised to bless those who would be willing to be His instruments of blessing to His people.

When Britain failed this mission, choosing to play it safe with the Arabs and so denying the Jewish people the very right their Balfour Declaration had conferred upon them, that country and empire began to lose God’s favor and thus its standing in the world.

Soon the United States took over Britain’s role of world evangelization and of friendship towards the Jews – all this to the enormous blessing of the American people who, during these last decades since the Second World War, have become the main cup holders of the preaching of the Gospel, as well as friendly and favorable towards God’s people. The blessing once – but now no loner – enjoyed by Britain, has been the part of the U.S. these last decennia.

But as it went with Britain, so now it is also going with the United States. That great country, tragically with the compliance of those Christians who should know better as the called out ‘light of their nation’ – is heading down the same road as Britain, to her terrifying detriment and misfortune; “for the nation which will not serve you [Israel] shall perish,’ – says our God (Isaiah 60:12).

Will it already be too late to stop this terrible deterioration in America’s fortunes and destiny? I so much hope and pray NOT. But already the writing is on the wall.

Will there be men and women equally – if not more – concerned for the welfare of their church and nation as those who undersigned the remarkable and hopeful Manhattan Declaration, who will give Israel – out of this very concern for their nation – the place, the BIG place, Israel has in God’s own heart? That is the question!

Jan Willem van der Hoeven

© Israel My Beloved




The PLO was instituted in 1964 three years before the six day war in June 1967 when Israel, in a war of self-defense, recovered the so-called “West Bank”, now seen and proclaimed by nearly everybody as the quintessence crux of the Middle East problem.
This however shows that the PLO (All Palestine needs to be liberated) was not formed to erect a Palestinian state on the ‘so called’ West Bank but was instituted to replace all of Israel with a Muslim Palestinian State.

A Word From Zion

The New Testament Basis for the Restoration of Israel

Jesus was asked by His disciples whether He would restore the kingdom to Israel at that time, to which He replied:
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.