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TIBERIAS, Israel – Today I am staying in a kibbutz guest house on the Sea of Galilee – the first day of weeklong trip to the Holy Land.
I haven’t been here since 1991. Prior to that, in the 1980s, I had made trips to Israel and other Middle East countries as an Arab-American correspondent for the Hearst Newspapers.
This is different.
Israel is different.
It’s a lot smaller than it was in those days.
Slowly but surely, due to relentless Arab pressure and the whining of the “international community,” Israel has allowed itself to be carved up in hopes of achieving peace with its neighbors.
If the results were not so tragic and bloody, this propaganda-induced con job would actually be perversely funny.
The more Israel gives up, the higher its enemies raise the stakes. No matter what foolish concessions Israel makes, it’s never enough for the Jewish state’s Arab neighbors, Barack Obama and most of the oil-dependent nations of the world.
It hardly takes a week to see the entire country, now smaller than the state of New Jersey thanks to all those fruitless, ill-advised land-for-peace exchanges.
Israel is smaller today than it was in the 1980s, but in some ways it’s bigger.
There are more Jews here than there were back then. They continue to come from all over the world in the biggest miracle since the Exodus.
Do I exaggerate about that?
Not at all. In fact, God Himself predicted the miracle of this return of the Jews from all over the earth and proclaimed it a bigger miracle than the parting of the Red Sea.
What do I mean?
Throughout the Tanach (what Christians refer to as “the Old Testament”), God frequently describes Himself as the One who led the children of Israel out of Egypt. It is one of the names of God. The Exodus story represents one of God’s greatest miracles – so great that He adopts it as His own personal identifier.
Here is just a sampling of those key verses:
- “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” – Exodus 20:2
- “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.” – Exodus 29:46
- “For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” – Leviticus 11:45
- “I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.” – Leviticus 19:36
- “Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 22:32-33
- “I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.” – Numbers 15:41
- “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” – Deuteronomy 5:6
Who is God? He is the one who led the children of Israel out of Egypt. That’s how he defined Himself from the time of Moses and the Exodus. However, a prophecy in the book of Jeremiah (23:7-8) suggests God would come to be known in the latter days by an even greater miracle than the Exodus.
What would that be?
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
“But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”
It is to be the regathering of the children of Israel – a miracle that took place in the 20th century and that is still happening today – that would overshadow even the miracle of the Exodus.
Israel’s fate is not, therefore, in the hands of its enemies. Israel’s fate is not in the hands of the “international community.” Israel’s fate is not in the hands of Barack Obama. Israel’s fate is in the hands of God.
Israel was scattered and regathered more than once. But it will not be scattered, again. In God’s economy, it represents the center of the world – the apple of His eye. Because of its disobedience, its lack of trust and faith in Him, it will experience extremely difficult tribulations. But it will not vanish. It will not perish. It will not be dispersed, again.
That’s a promise, not from me, but from God – the God who led the children of Israel out of Egypt and who regathered them from all over the world so they could dwell in their own land.