(blast from the past) ~ Visions of Israel

How many variations currently exist on the end-of-days theme? In most, if not all such essays, Israel is a major player. Each author has scoped out some dramatic series of events in which Israel is and will be a major player.

So what is your vision of Israel? . . . What a thing to propose! How would it feel to be a part of a people upon whom others base their hopes, their visions, their stupidity, their care, or loathing? It must be daunting to be a Jew from that standpoint alone; “You have a vision for my life and my people? It is my pleasure to serve. . . I live to fulfill your dreams.”  So a constant grind of Apocalyptic fervor comes out of the religious publishing houses. And one has to live with these expectations?

It is crazy to second guess God, and very impolite to superimpose such a thing on a society of people. However, it would be negligent to dismiss the Jews as just another group of people. They are, after all, the people through whom the Messiah came. They are the people to whom the “oracles of God” were committed. It is Jesus who causes us to wonder when we read; “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (What does that mean?) Again; “Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!” (Ro 11:12) These and similar passages should make one wonder. Even more importantly, such scriptures should engender hope, particularly if one has some degree of faith with regard to God and the Bible.

Hope and vision, these two can conflict if we are not careful to be moderate. The Bible says, “but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?” With this in mind, how can one articulate a detailed vision if there is none to be seen? (That is the dictate of hope.) Yet, hope is a light on the horizon to which we are moving. It says there is something better ahead. That’s good! It makes us feel. . . hopeful. Hope has the quality of giving us a general idea. Its vision is an abstraction buoying us up with the anticipation of something good. Oh, but there is a little man in the corner of my mind who says, “Let me tell you how it’s going to be. When we extrapolate from this passage of scripture, and we take into account from that passage. . .” The next thing you know, “Voila!” an apocalyptic vision emerges, and hope is obscured by a flurry of exited anticipation and conjecture. That is a problem.

For example, the promise of the Messiah’s coming was prophesied some 4,000 years before His arrival. People looked forward to His arrival, and believed much good would occur. No doubt, great visions were stirred concerning this; imaginations of what the would be like through the coming of the Messiah. But no one put it together until afterward, and it had to be explained from above. Hope was a light on the horizon, and human vision had to be overturned.

Back to the subject of vision and Israel, there is hope, but beware of conjuring up details. What may emerge from that house, will be because of what they have or will embrace. It will not be because they are willing to be stuffed into the box of our vision.

God Bless the house of Israel. May we one day behold the riches of His vision.