Radioprogram, Israel, 12.06.2017
Announcer 01: Dear Listeners, we continue our programs about Israel. I want to remind you that during the previous four programs, we spoke about God’s calling for Israel, according to the Scriptures.
Announcer 02: We said that this nation is called to herald God’s commandments and laws, His love and grace to all the nations. This nation is called to teach the nations how to worship the Living God. Yes, this nation has also been set to be an example for the whole mankind of how sinners can be made righteous, how the burden of sins can be cast off, how they can be cleansed and sanctified and how they can find rest for their souls…
Announcer 01: Yes, each law and commandment given to this people is about it. When people do them, they understand where they came from, why they are here and where they are going. When a person does and understands the assignments of God, they come to know the Creator of the Earth; they realize that there is an adversary on the loose, they start to discern the plans of the adversary; and they find out Who is the True Love and the Savoir of mankind.
Announcer 02: The commandments and laws given to Israel show the will of the Creator, the Lord of Hosts, and the way that leads mankind to freedom. Through His laws and commandments, God showed the real values and drew a line between the valuable and the worthless.
Announcer 01: Moreover, the Temple service and the religious feasts point to the coming of the Savior, Who will save them from this evil world, from the sufferings, afflictions, curses, pain and sicknesses of this life.
Furthermore, from this nation came the Prophets, who heard the voice of the Lord of Hosts, the One Who is Holy, and delivered His message of comfort or rebuke to the nation… The Prophets of Israel were constantly reminding them that God’s Covenant with their fathers is eternal and invariable.
Announcer 02: This nation faithfully kept the commandments and laws and passed them from generation to generation, until the time assigned by God would be fulfilled and the Messiah, the Promised Savior would come. The history of this nation was a dramatic sequence of victories, defeats and victories again… And this history has not only had body and soul, but also spirit in it to be an example for the coming generations, for us Christians and for many more to come…
Announcer 01: The history of Israel is an accurately depicted mirror for other nations, an example of right living, of casting the burden of sin and defeats, of walking the road of victory, of coming to know the Living God and following Him.
Announcer 02: Yes, in the books of Samuel and the Kings, especially in the story of King David, people can find many similarities with their own situations, victories and failures. David’s Psalms have great spiritual depth; they are treasures given to humanity; they teach us to live this life with understanding, perception and victories.
Announcer 01: The whole Book of Psalms written by Jewish men of God is composed of authentic and real dialogues with the Creator of Mankind. A person of any nationality, gender and social status can find the keys to peaceful, joyous, wise and patient living in the Book of Psalms. We can’t thank God enough for those who in obedience and humility penned the Psalms, and for those who passed them over to us! We can’t but say, “Father, thank You for the obedient stewards of this nation!”
Of course, this nation had many disobedient and wicked kings, priests and prophets, but even those disobedient ones are examples for us Christians of how to avoid mistakes. I think all Christians understand what I am talking about.
Announcer 02: In today’s program, we want to talk to our listeners about spiritual significance of Jerusalem – as the City of the Messiah, the City of the Future…
Suren, you have probably heard that Jerusalem is the most visited, adored and admired city of the world.
Announcer 01: Of course. It has caused hatred of many, yet many have lauded it and even mourned for it.
Announcer 02: It is the center of several religions and the place of affections of millions of people. Jerusalem is also the most visited city by reporters.
Announcer 01: It seems they are waiting for something important and significant.
Something unique happens to each person who visits Jerusalem. Behind the ruins of stone there is an eternal presence, - something that has not gone with time and even today affects each person there. The city is waiting; the stones are waiting…
Announcer 02: That’s how the city is today, but for centuries, the Gentiles tried to wipe out this city. However, it is still there, even though it does not yet possess the fullness and perfection that it will have one day.
Announcer 01: A pastor once said that while in Jerusalem, it is easy to fall under the influence of “the holy stones” and “the holy places”. However, there is a desire to see the city the way it should be. The greatness of Jerusalem is not in its past, although in terms of the past, no other city of the world cannot be compared to it. Its greatness is in its future, which is approaching at a tremendous pace. It is as if an unseen veil is about to be torn to reveal the eternal glory and restoration.
Announcer 02: Yes, the atmosphere in Jerusalem is full of expectation of something significant. However, at the same time one can feel strong tension; the atmosphere is very heated. The fact that Jerusalem will be the pedestal of the King’s throne creates increasing opposition.
Announcer 01: Jerusalem is a historical city. It is interesting to note that it is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 14, when Abraham fought five kings, rescued Lot and brought him back home. On his way back, he met Melchizedek, who was a priest and the king of Salem. Melchizedek met Abraham with bread and wine, and Abraham gave him tithes of all.
Announcer 02: Sorry for interrupting, Suren; I’d like to read that passage from the Bible, “And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”
So Salem is Jerusalem, correct?
Announcer 01: Exactly! And later, in Genesis 22, Abraham went up to the Mount Moriah, as God ordered him to bring Isaak as an offering. Verse 12 says that God revealed Himself to Abraham there and told him, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” And verse 14 says, “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’”
By the way, that mountain was on the territory of Jerusalem. Later the Temple was built on the very place where God revealed Himself to Abraham.
Announcer 02: I have heard that this city is often called after King David, the City of David.
Announcer 01: Really? Never heard about it, but it is correct.
Announcer 02: It is written in Second Samuel that formerly the city belonged to Jebusites. Israelites could not conquer it, even though it was in Canaan. It was David who did it with the help of his commander Joab. David became the first king of Israel who reigned in Jerusalem; and as we know, the Messiah, the Son of David, will reign in Jerusalem as well. David made Jerusalem the capital city of Israel and reigned there for 33 years. During those years he desired to build a Temple for the Lord, but God did not allow him; in Second Samuel chapter 7, He said that the Temple would be built by David’s son.
Still, David made all the necessary preparations for the construction of the Temple, and when Solomon succeeded David, he started to build it.
David purchased the threshing floor of Araunah, which became the construction site of the Temple. Before then, God said many times that He would choose a place where His name would be called; He spoke to both Moses and David about it.
Announcer 01: I will read about it from the Second Chronicles chapter 6, verses 5 and 6, “Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.”
Announcer 02: Suren, and have you heard that Jerusalem is also called the City of the Jewish Feasts?
Announcer 01: Yes, mainly from those of the Jewish nation. They say that God joined His name with Jerusalem and the Temple. According to the Law of Moses, all the Jews were to go to the Temple three times a year to celebrate the Pesach or the Passover, Shavuot or the Pentecost, and Succoth or the Feast of Tabernacles.
Announcer 02: And do you know what is significant? Through the Temple service, keeping the commandments, making offerings and observing the feasts God gave prophetic revelation to Israel about who He was, what He wanted to give to them and how He was going to set them free.
Announcer 01: Through it all, God explained the Salvation plan to His people; and for that reason, He demanded strict observance of the Feasts, at the right time and in the right way. And at the center of it all, stood Jerusalem.
Announcer 02: This is why it is impossible to understand the spiritual significance of Jerusalem without taking into account the aspirations the Jewish people have toward God and toward carrying out His decision of worshipping Him in Jerusalem.
Announcer 01: Today Jerusalem is called the center of three religions, of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As a solution, they suggest to divide the city into three parts and thus attain peaceful coexistence.
Announcer 02: But Jerusalem is not a center of three religions. It is a city that belongs to God, a place assigned by Him, from where He would be revealed to His people and to the whole world. That is why Isaiah says in Isaiah chapter 2, verses 2 and 3, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
And Isaiah 25:7 says, “And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.”
Announcer 01: And most importantly, for us Christians Jerusalem is the City of God.
The more you read the Bible, the deeper you understand the mystery and significance of Jerusalem. With this city, God connected His presence and His unique relationship with people. He states its eternal significance in the same way He tells Abraham that His Covenant is eternal. Other cities that once had great political, economical or cultural significance were wiped off from the world arena centuries ago, but Jerusalem remains the center of the world history.
This city had periods of glory and periods of failure, persecutions, destruction and sinking into oblivion. But each time it was lifted again. Even when Romans levelled it to the ground and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were prohibited from entering the city, Jerusalem still revived and lived on.
Announcer 02: And in a short time, Jews settled there again. They always lived in Jerusalem, even at the cruelest times. The reason is, the city belongs to them, as God gave it to them. For Jews, not only the historical events are important, but the city itself, as it is chosen by God.
In Psalm 48, verses 1 and 2, Jerusalem is described as “the City of our God” and “the City of the Great King”, and Mount Zion is called “His holy mountain” and “the joy of the whole earth”. According to verse 8, it is the city of the Lord of Hosts, the city of our God, and He will establish it forever.
Announcer 01: Anna, I will read Psalm 50 verse 2, and everything will be clear, “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.”
Announcer 02: And Psalm 87, verses 1 through 3 says, “His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, o city of God!”
Announcer 01: God loves Jerusalem so much that He always watches over it, always cares for it and never leaves it to its fate. Isaiah 49:16 says, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me”
God makes sure that all His plans for Jerusalem are fulfilled as written in Isaiah 62, verses 1 through 7, “For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
Announcer 02: In Verse 12, God promised Jerusalem, “And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken.” So it will happen at the appointed time…
Announcer 01: However, along with that, God rebuked the priests, prophets and kings in Jerusalem, and because of their lawlessness, the city itself was punished and desolated.
Instead of being a place of worship, it had been a den of thieves. Instead of being a place of the revelation of God’s glory, it had been a place of willfulness, false prophets and immorality.
Announcer 02: God’s wrath fell on the people, when they betrayed and sinned against Him. Each time they did it, God used to send them a prophet.
Jeremiah chapter 2 verse 2 says, “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: ‘I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.’”
And Jeremiah chapter 2 verse 13 says, “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
Announcer 01: We can see that when Israelites forsook God, they were lost their protection, their country and the city that was given to them in order to serve and worship Him. They deprived themselves of their blessings. However, even in their fallen state, they faithfully observed the religious feasts, although God did not need them any longer.
Isaiah 29:13 says, “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.”
The Lord also said in Isaiah 1:13, “Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.”
Announcer 02: However, then God turned and said, “Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
This was Isaiah 56:7, but Jeremiah 7:11 says, “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.”
God wanted to see wholeheartedly obedient people who seek Him with gladness.
Announcer 01: God wanted the people to love their God willingly, with their whole heart, soul and mind.
However, the people’s hearts were hardened; they did not serve with a committed heart, but with their mouths only. They kept the form of godliness and customs of men; they observed the feasts, lifted up the prayers, sacrificed animals, but the meaning of it all was hopelessly lost.
Announcer 02: Unfortunately, worshipping God from the heart, holy living, love and mercy were completely forgotten. Conceit and selfishness ruled instead; cruelty, indifference and hatred were veiled by outward regard for religious self-righteousness and customs. But God, Who clearly discerns the hearts of men, saw all that and warned His people about the terrible consequences.
Announcer 01: Knowing this about Jerusalem, we can see parallels between Jerusalem and the Church, Jerusalem and the ministers of our time… Everything that happened to Jerusalem also happens to the Church, to Christians, so we have much to learn from its story. Jerusalem, along with its ups and downs, is the best example for us Christians.
Announcer 01: I think it will be great to share a testimony of a Christian leader.
“I served in the house of God for 17 years, but only I and God knew how much lying and idolatry was there in my ministry. I served myself, not the people of God. I did everything in the church at my own will, but I ascribed it all to God’s will and convinced the Church members that it was God. However, one fine day, God used the rebukes to the priests and kings of Jerusalem in the Scriptures to show me how much I was like those disobedient and willful ones. That instilled fear in me, and I started to change. I asked the Lord to give me power to change, as I did not want my church to end up like Jerusalem and its priests…”
THE WORD OF THE WEEK
Announcer 02: Do you know what God wants from you? He wants you to fellowship with Him. He wants you to walk with Him and talk to Him, to discuss your problems with Him. He wants you to come closer to Him and to become a part of Himself.
Many of us are so preoccupied with pleasing God with our works that we forget that our first and foremost calling is to fellowship with Him. Yes, God wants us to be with Him.
Have you ever thought what it would be like to go to God and say, “Father, I have not come today for anything. I have already prayed for my needs, and Your Word says, that they are already supplied according to Your riches in glory by Jesus Christ, so I have just come to fellowship with you. If you have something to say, I am ready to hear. I want you to know that whatever I see in Your Word, I will do; I will put it into practice in my life.
Dear Sister and Brother, God deserves to hear these words from you. He is waiting to fellowship with you.
Announcer 02: Dear friends, thank you for finding time to listen to this program. We will meet again next Monday, at 6 p.m.