Dec 16, 2010

Know Whose Side You’re On

Stan GoodenoughBy Stan Goodenough
Jerusalem Watchman

Christians – Bible-based and believing Christians – believe neither in luck nor in fate. We do not believe in yin and yang – darkness and light counterbalancing each other. We do not believe that our world and our lives are caught up in a war of good versus evil, with the sides evenly matched and the outcome up for grabs.

We believe what the Bible teaches. And yes, it really is quite straightforward.

There is one God, one Creator. He has numerous rivals but He has no equal. There is no one and no thing that can come even close to competing with Him.

God is good. God is love. God created man so as to fellowship with him – to love man and to be loved by man. God also created the angels. They may be different in character and nature from man – may operate in a different dimension – but they are as much creatures as we are. Angels are not sub-gods or mini-gods; they cannot win promotion to god status.

One of those angels – Lucifer – led a rebellion against the LORD God. Naturally he was defeated – for he is only a creature and he was trying to overthrow the Creator. He was not destroyed, and remains God’s sworn enemy, committed to spoiling and tearing down everything good that God made. His first goal was to win the allegiance of man – marring and destroying the relationship between man and God.

In this Lucifer – aka Satan/the Devil – had partial success; he turned man against God. Man, of his own free will, chose to join the ranks of the rebels. Nonetheless, God still loved man, loved him enough not to eradicate his kind; loved him enough to set in motion a rescue plan, a plan of redemption that would restore the broken relationship to what it was.

From that day there have been two sides to the conflict. God and those who choose to love God on the one side; Satan, and those who choose to remain in rebellion against God, on the other.

There is no middle ground. We are both with and for God, or we are against Him.

Central to the outworking of God’s salvation plan was the selection, by God, of a specific and particular nation through which He would reveal Himself. Via this nation He would pass His oracles on to mankind. And to and through this nation – exclusively – God would send His Messiah to save all mankind – people from all the nations of the world, including this specially-tasked nation itself.

Abraham’s offspring – explicitly through Isaac and Jacob (and explicitly NOT through Ishmael and Esau) – became the nation of Israel. God made a covenant with Israel, making Israel a holy nation. That is to say, Israel as a nation was set apart or sanctified by God, becoming His special treasure.

What was special about Abraham, what made him stand out when God was looking for someone from whom to create this nation, is that he believed in God. He believed in God and he chose to submit his will to God’s, pledging his allegiance to the Lord.

As far as the nation of Israel itself goes, however, it was not because of any special inherent national attributes that she was chosen. On the contrary - ths was (and is) one stubborn, stiff-necked people. Rather, Israel was made special BY God’s selection of her. (By way of an imperfect illustration: Kate Middleton – born to a middle class British couple, like tens of millions of other middle class British girls – has been made special by Prince William’s act of choosing her to become his wife. As regards her future position and role, she has not been made special by who she is but by dint of her selection.)

From the moment God chose the man from whom He would bring that special nation into being, that man’s seed became the focus of all Satan’s efforts to thwart God’s plan.

Also from the start, God would keep a close eye on Israel. He would watch over her, fight for her, protect and defend her, discipline her, even allow her to experience the cursed consequences of her disobedience – but only in order to turn her back to Himself. He determined that their relationship would survive. He would never completely abandon or wash His hands of her. He had covenanted with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bless mankind through the nation they would father and, for the sake of His great and holy name, He has and will keep His covenant to do so.

We are in a war. Israel is in a war and we, Christians, are in a war. Ultimately it is one and the same war. And it is a war to the death.

What it is not is a war between two equally matched sides. Our side – God’s side – is guaranteed victory. Satan’s side has already lost and will soon be vanquished forever. Which makes the battle even fiercer for, knowing his days are numbered, the enemy is resolved to take as much of the hated Creator’s beloved creation down with him.

We Christians should note that it is not just that we have to be alert, on our guard, ever sensitive to an imminent attack. This war is not about to break out. It is already raging all around us, and has been from the moment we entered life. It may be that, in our different lands, cities and circumstances, we experience moments of quiet between the battles. But battles are always raging somewhere, and one front where the battle is incessant – where in reality it is just one, unending war – is Israel – the people and the land.

Know and understand this, Bible-believer, and you will less easily be seduced by the wiles and strategies of the Devil. A master tactician with millennia of warfare experience in which deception is his most potent weapon, he wants to dupe and mislead us concerning this battle.

He may even get us to fight, without realizing it, on his side.

We need to know that there’s a battle. We need to know that there are two sides. And – and this is crucial - we need to know whose side we’re on.

Related Links

The Source of Anti-Semitism - (Andy Woods)
US-Israel tiff on security and Iran. US envoy denied direct access to generals - DEBKAfile
Israel Through The Eyes Of Scripture - (Tony Garland)
Is Lucifer Satan? Does the fall of Lucifer describe Satan? -
Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology - Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum (Book)