May 13, 2008

Bush: Face-to-face with the Word of the Lord

By Stan Goodenough

Although he almost certainly does not fully realize the ramifications, US President George W. Bush, who is due to arrive in Jerusalem Wednesday morning on a three-day visit, is set to come face to face with the Word of the Lord concerning the restoration of Israel.

Bush has been scheduled a private viewing Thursday evening of a 2000-year-old scroll containing the entire book of Isaiah.

Virtually every one of Israel’s ancient prophets foretold the dispersion (Diaspora) of the Jews, centuries before it happened in AD 70 and 135.

And virtually every one of Israel’s prophets, from Moses all the way through the Hebrew Scriptures, foretold the restoration of that globally-scattered and universally-persecuted people to the same land from which they were driven, and God’s securing of them as a resurrected nation in that land.

Of all the prophets, Isaiah is most famous for prophesying this physical and spiritual restoration of the Jews.

Among famous and well-loved passages from that book we have:

Isaiah 11:11-12: 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.

Isaiah 40:1-2: “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

And Isaiah 66:7-8: “Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. 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.

“Coincidentally,” the Isaiah Scroll was the only complete document to survive out of the 220 pieces and parts of parchment discovered at Qumran, near the Dead Sea.

And “coincidentally” the Isaiah scroll was discovered in 1947, the very year when the United Nations voted to accord the Jews - who by then had been returning to the Land of Israel in successive waves of immigration - a state of their own in that land.

Many Bible-believing Christians saw the discovery as a divine sign - a stamp of approval and confirmation, if you like - of Israel’s rebirth.

Because of the Isaiah Scroll’s fragility, Ha’aretz reported Tuesday, the document was only displayed for two years after it had been studied, before being placed in a dark room with temperature and humidity controls, far from the public eye.

It lay there for 40 years, until now.

A few days ago, to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary as an independent state, the Israel Museum put the scroll on display.

It will only be “out” for just two months.

And George W. Bush, who has personally committed himself to helping remove the Jews from half of this restored land so that a Palestinian state can be erected here, will get to see it.

Of course, the scroll is in ancient Hebrew, which as far as I know Mr. Bush does not read. Hopefully someone in his entourage will explain to him the significance of Isaiah’s words, and the folly and danger of trying to undo them.