Least but NOT LAST!
When it comes to Israel, God follows a very different agenda to the World. Malcolm Baker explains…
Speaking about sparrows, Jesus said, “…not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it” (Matthew 10:29). One winter in 1958 an ‘estimated’ 194,432 sparrows were killed in one day, in one area alone. Across the whole nation, the sparrow population was decimated with millions of birds dead on the ground. Without the sparrow population, the bugs they once fed on, thrived. The locust population spiralled out of control along with the grasshoppers. Famine followed as the insects devoured the crops.
What happened to cause this catastrophe? The country was China; the illustrious leader was Chairman Mao. Acting on a false premise, Mao went to war against China’s perceived great enemy, the sparrow. His claim was that the sparrows were eating too much grain. Mao, in his great wisdom, mobilised the population of China to get rid of the bird that ‘gave him the bird’ and the humble sparrows didn’t stand even a grain of a chance. Far too late they discovered that the sparrows were vital to the food chain, and were a necessary ally in dealing with Bugs & Co. The sparrows were not a curse; they were a blessing!
Like Mao, world leaders sometimes make decisions and act on false premises. Humanism leads to the scenario found in the book of Revelation. Because in their minds there is no God and no absolute truth, the world elite reinvents history, as the Palestinians are doing, indoctrinating their children with false information, shaping their minds in perverse ways. Courting deception the world turns a blind-eye to the facts. The U.N. is a prime example – rewriting a basic part of human history, in regard to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; andUNESCO’s (November 2016) efforts to delegitimise Israel and isolate the Jewish people.1
Mao’s Great Famine
Describing Mao’s China, Professor Frank Dikotter, in his book “Mao’s Great Famine” , speaks of the brutality of Mao's regime, and of the famine that overtook China’s millions as the direct result of Mao’s blind political dogma, backed by centralised control and totalitarian power. Dispensing with common sense and respect for humanity, Mao created his own truth. Western intellectuals and the liberal elite, denying that humans are created in the image of God, are following Mao’s example. From degenerate minds and worldview come false sciences and vain philosophies. Deceived world leaders take a hard stance toward Israel, supporting such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.2 Using the Palestinian people, they feed their anti-Semitism, focussing on their cause, which is to destroy Israel. Promulgating lies and propaganda, they line up with the Islamic and Palestinian leadership with the intent of annihilating the State and people of Israel. Ultimately, they are against God Himself. Truth is crucified by those that follow an evil path. Rejecting the knowledge of God, they lean to their own understanding; claiming that by ridding the earth of Israel and the Jews, man will create a safe and trouble free environment. Instead, their policies are leading to reaping the whirlwind of poverty, disaster, judgement and destruction.
Mao had no regard for God’s Word and introduced his own ‘bible’ , popularly known as the “Little Red Book,” or, The Thoughts of Chairman Mao. Its fame spread to the West through radical students and trendy intellectuals during the Sixties. At the peak of its popularity, Mao’s bible was the most printed book in the world. It attained the status of a sacred, holy text and retains its place among western devotees. Labour’s Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, threw a copy of Mao's Little Red Book at George Osborne during a parliamentary session in November 2015.3
Mao may have considered his ‘thoughts’ to be food for thought for his subjects, but the Chinese people themselves were starving hungry. They were left, in the words of a much older Chinese aphorism, to ‘eat bitterness’ . Another ‘Maoism’ was his industrial revolution. Farmers were dragged from their farms to work out Mao’s dreams of Utopia; resulting in crops rotting in the soil causing a food shortage. The suffering of those deprived of food was horrendous. In some villages, a tenth of the population died in a single month. In Western nations, including the UK, farmland and green sites are being developed and built upon as we rape the earth rather than till the ground (Genesis 2:5). Multiculturalism, Globalism and other “-isms” are disastrous experiments in man’s quest for utopia.
Some in China ate the straw roofs of their houses and the cotton padding of their winter clothes. They soaked and softened the leather of chairs until it was edible. They ate plaster from the walls, and when nothing else was left, people ate mud. Many families fled to the cities, where women sold their bodies for a bowl of rice. A man traded his nine-year-old son for 4lbs of peanuts. It was a short step to cannibalism, with the meat of the dead smothered with hot peppers.
Gong Xiaoxia, speaking about Mao said, killer is not a strong enough word to describe him. “He was a monster.” Hitler’s policies led to tens of millions of deaths during World War II; and Stalin is blamed for tens of millions more. Chinese government figures say that between 15 million and 25 million people died unnatural deaths during Mao’s reign from 1949 until his death in 1976. But both Chinese and Western scholars know those figures are no longer valid. One document, published in the Shanghai University journal, Society – and which was immediately removed from the book shelves – said 40 million people died during the great famine of 1959-1961 [It is believed that as many as 80 million people may have died because of Mao’s policies, making him responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin combined]. The most terrible things were permitted, inhuman activity by humans against humans. Gong said, “I think the most terrible thing, when I recall that period, the most terrible thing that struck me was our indifference.”
Born again Israel
I have heard many sermons on Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones (Ezekiel 37). Invariably the vision was related to the revival of the Church, with no mention of Israel. With this misinterpretation of Scripture, we miss one of the great, modern day acts of God, the ingathering of the Jews.4 The unPC God will show mercy on whom He will show mercy (Romans 9:15,18); and He is showing mercy to Israel. He has not cast Israel aside. He has not replaced Israel with the Church. The vision in Ezekiel primarily speaks of Israel, not the Church.
Following on from the destruction of the First Temple, the people of Israel felt that they were dead, and had no chance of revival. In their hearts and minds they were certain that the God-Israel relationship had come to an end. They said, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone (aveda tikvatenu); we are doomed” (Ezekiel 37:11). The nation had existed in exile for generations when the seemingly invincible Babylonian Empire suddenly collapsed under the Persian onslaught and Cyrus the Great. Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Israel and to rebuild the Temple. God was faithful then and now. God’s promised restoration to the slain, scattered, hope
less, lifeless nation of Israel would be fulfilled. The prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel are being realised now as never before. The nation of Israel, in fulfilment of prophecy, was re-born in a day (14th May 1948); and that was after nineteen centuries of exile and persecutions throughout the world (Isaiah 66:8). Jews are returning to Israel from all corners of the earth; and the bones, muscles, sinew and flesh are assembling in bodily form as they return. The breath, or Spirit of God is blowing, and more and more Jews are standing; standing on the promises of God.
Israel – Least among the Nations
“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deuteronomy 7:7).
“Sparrow” had come to mean any small bird sold very cheaply and used for food by the poor, and was an example of an article with little value. Jesus used the sparrow to illustrate God’s care for man. God chose Israel, the smallest among the nations to reveal God’s love to man (Deuteronomy 7:7; see also Jeremiah 1:5). “…. it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest” (Luke 9:48). God said that all nations would be blessed through Abraham, and therefore through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; Isaiah 61:9; Jeremiah 4:2).
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a time when the Bible became available to all people. Truths hidden under the cloak of religion were now revealed. Understanding of the Jewish Messiah began to take root in the Church; and that root of truth has continued to grow. Israel is not a curse. Israel is not the enemy. Israel is a blessing! The Jews are a blessing! By repeating the mistakes of history, the world will pay a high price.
Least / greatest; last / first!
Mao attacked the sparrows and brought needless famine and suffering on his people. Those nations and peoples that attack Israel and the Jews without mercy will bring destruction upon themselves, be
cause God’s curse is on those that curse Israel (Genesis 12:3). “… I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulphur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:15-39; see Isaiah 60:12; Joel 3:1-2; Matthew 25:31; Revelation Ch.16). “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27).
One hundred years ago, the final version of the Balfour Declaration was issued, on 2nd November 1917. The Balfour Declaration5 led the League of Nations to entrust the United Kingdom with the Palestine Mandate in 1922. Fifty years ago, during the Six Day War, on June 7 1967, IDF paratroopers advanced through the Old City toward the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, bringing Jerusalem’s holiest site under Jewish control for the first time in 2000 years (Zechariah 8:8). Drawing from Ezekiel’s prophecy speaking of the exiles saying: “our hope is gone (aveda tikvatenu)” , the composer of Israel’s anthem, “HaTikva” , provides the triumphant response, “We have not yet lost our hope (od lo aveda tikvatenu)!” His words reminded me of those written by a Christian composer, Edward Mote (1797-1874); “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
2 http://rabbisacks.org/bds/ Click on the video link and scroll down until you come to Rabbi Sacks on BDS
4 Jeremiah 30:3-7; Jeremiah 32:44; Ezekiel 20:34; Ezekiel 36:8,11,24; Ezekiel 45:12-16; Jeremiah 16:14-15; Isaiah 11:11-12; Isaiah 26:6; Isaiah 35:1-2; Isaiah 43:56,21; Zephaniah 3:8-10; Psalm 107:1-3. See also Hosea 3:4-5; 6:1.