Thursday, January 26, 2017

Is God Protecting Israel?

            Quite a furor ensued in the social media when a storm cloud descended in the Israel-Syria border on December 1st 2016.1 If this storm cloud weather phenomenon occurred in another country, it may have been interpreted as fascinating or just ignored. Since this weather phenomenon occurred in Israel, it cannot be passed off as strange, because the Jews are God’s chosen people. Therefore, a deeper consideration is mandated to verify if there’s a divine vantage point to this strange storm cloud phenomenon.

            Would God have engineered this storm cloud?

            First and foremost, it is highly plausible to connect this storm cloud to God’s presence, for the Bible narrates instances of God’s presence with the Israelis in the form of a pillar of cloud (Exodus 13: 21, 33:9; Number 12: 5 et al.).

            Second, the storm cloud descended at the same location where the Islamic State militants had attacked the Israeli Defense Forces four days earlier.2 So this could be interpreted as a sign from God that HIS presence remains with HIS chosen people.

            If this storm cloud weather phenomenon was a one-off occurrence, then we could possibly eliminate the perspective of God. But if there were other fascinating weather phenomena or non-weather related occurrences alluding to God’s presence in the lives of the Jews, then God, certainly, should be in the discussion.

            Since weather phenomena could be manmade, we ought to consider non-weather occurrences. In the past, there have been intriguing occurrences in Israel during wars.

            How would we interpret significantly low casualties in, not one, but two wars (2 people killed when 38 Scud missiles were fired & 4 people killed when 3356 rockets were launched at Israel)?

            In the first Iraq war in 1991, 38 Scud missiles landed in the densely populated parts of Israel but the casualties were significantly low! 2 people were killed, 220 suffered light injuries, 10 suffered moderate injuries and one person suffered serious injury.3

            Interestingly, the scientific journal “Nature” concluded that the low casualties were due to luck (!!), “…luck must have played a crucial role in determining the overall casualty rate. Indeed, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that good fortune played an important role in reducing casualties in Israel. Of the warheads that detonated in Israeli cities, one hit the only empty lot in a densely populated neighborhood;23 two others hit a factory and a partially constructed shopping mall during the night. Several other Scuds landed near unoccupied buildings: an underground bomb shelter, a municipal center, and a school. Even when Scuds severely damaged occupied buildings, casualties were remarkably low: a missile that landed in an alleyway between several apartment buildings and caused one building to collapse killed only one person, and an attack that destroyed a two-storey house and severely damaged several others also killed only one person; two people reportedly survived only because they disobeyed government instructions and went to their basement bomb shelter… However, anecdotal also suggests that luck helped to reduce casualties.”4

            Luck? Seriously?

            Of course, it would be politically incorrect for a research, in a secular setting, to attribute low casualties to God. But it is indeed plausible that God protects HIS people. Scientists, like Nuclear physicist Gerald Schroeder, do believe that God protected HIS people.5

            Consider a recent war. In 2014, during the month long Operation Protective Edge conflict between the Hamas terrorists and the Israeli Defense Forces, once again, there were significantly low casualties, “Over 3,356 rockets have been fired at Israel, with that number rising everyday, and only four people have been killed as a result of rocket fire. While Israel’s Iron Dome is a wonder to behold and responsible for maintaining the safety of Israeli civilians from rocket fire, the numbers show that only 578 rockets were destroyed by Iron Dome Interceptions, or roughly 17 percent of all rockets fired at Israel. Simple statistics show that there is something extraordinary occurring here.”6

            It is indeed strange that low casualties should occur in a war especially when the enemy pummels Israel with rockets and missiles. Hence, it is quite plausible to conclude that it was perhaps God’s presence that protected Israel.

            There are many personal testimonies in the public domain that further ascribe God’s hand upon Israel. These could be true, but citing a subjective personal testimony does not lend any more credence to a divine protection upon the nation of Israel.  

            Not just low casualties, but the very fact that Israel stands strong amidst its enemies that have vowed to wipe her off the map of the world could be heralded as a testimony to God’s protecting hand upon Israel.

            Is God’s hand of protection upon Israel of any theological significance to the church? Outside of a discussion regarding the attributes of God (e.g. Sovereignty) and HIS intervention in our day-to-day affairs, a theological discussion on this theme need not unnecessarily engineer a divide within Christendom based on these events.  

            Christians who do not consider the present day Israel as the biblical Israel would be quick to ignore or debunk the notion that God’s protection is upon the Jews and their nation. That’s fine, for we can agree to disagree.

            Those who do not consider the contemporary Israel as the biblical Israel are as much Christians as those who consider the modern nation of Israel as the biblical Israel. Personally, I consider Israel as distinct from the New Testament church. In other words, I would disagree with covenant theologians who believe that the church has replaced the nation of Israel in God’s program.

            So why do we consider this theme? A good reason to diligently consider these events is because it is wise to not discount God.

            If Israel was not a chosen nation of God, then there is no need, whatsoever, to think through these events. Since the Jews are God’s chosen people, we would be better off to diligently think through these extraordinary events, for given the evidences, it would be unwise to categorically determine that God’s protective hand is not upon Israel.








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