| Memorial Day and Independence Day
©April 30, 2009 Asher Intrater
Yesterday in Israel we celebrated Memorial Day for those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks or in fighting for the defense of the nation. Today we celebrated Independence Day. These two holidays which occur one after the other are a symbol of both the suffering of Israel and our redemption.
There is a deep and mysterious connection between the suffering and restoration of Israel and the death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus). The connection is biblical, spiritual and part of the pre-destined plan of God. This concept should not be so surprising to Christians since it is similar to the way the faith of each individual believer is connected to the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
Romans 6:5 – If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.
The rebirth of each believer is an extension and outworking of Yeshua's death and resurrection. In the same way, the exile and restoration of Israel is also an extension and outworking of Yeshua's death and resurrection. As Yeshua is the savior of the world, anyone who believes in Him, will experience His death and resurrection vicariously. As Yeshua is the king of Israel, our nation will follow the pattern of His death and resurrection, whether we want to or not.
Hosea 6:2 – After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.
This scripture speaks of the children of Israel, yet it is also part of the basis for the New Covenant claim that the Messiah must rise from the dead on the third day (Luke 24:46). The resurrection of Yeshua after two days in the tomb is parallel to the restoration of Israel after two thousand years of Exile.
It is also for this reason that Ezekiel's Dry Bones prophesy speaks of both the resurrection of the dead and the restoration of the nation of Israel.
Ezekiel 37:12 – O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel.
If the Messiah has been raised from the dead, there must be a resurrection for all who believe in Him. If the Messiah has been raised from the dead, there must be a restoration of the nation for which He is destined to be king (John 18:37; 19:19).
This pattern is repeated throughout scriptures. When messianic King David sins, the people suffer (II Samuel 24:17). Yeshua's descent into Egypt at His birth is a fulfillment of Israel's Exodus from Egypt (Matthew 2:15, Hosea 11:1). Attacks against the land of Israel are compared to the Messiah's scourging (Psalm 129:3).
The suffering of Israel is parallel to the crucifixion of Yeshua. This amazing connection has been captured by famous Jewish artist, Marc Chagall in masterpieces such as White Crucifixion (1938), Obsession (1943), Yellow Crucifixion (1943), Exodus (1953-66) and Grey Crucifixion (1970).
Rabbinic tradition has made a terrible mistake in saying that Isaiah 53 does not refer to Yeshua, but to the Jewish people. This cannot be true because verse 8 states that He was cut off for the transgressions of "My people." On the other hand, most Christians have missed the fact that many of the Suffering Servant prophecies of Isaiah do indeed refer to the Jewish people. In fact these prophecies are rather evenly divided between Yeshua (42:1, 42:19, 49:3-7, 52:13, 53:11) and Israel (41:8-9, 43:10, 44:1-2, 44:21, 48:20).
How could the name Israel refer part of the time to Yeshua and part of the time to the Jewish people? The answer is that the very name Israel refers both to an individual man (Jacob), and to a people (the sons of Jacob).
God's servant suffers vicariously on behalf of others; thus providing atonement. This is primarily the role of Yeshua Himself as the Messiah. However, it is also true of anyone who serves Him. All of us as believers are called to "fill up the afflictions" of Yeshua (Colossians 1:24), and to suffer for the sake of others (II Corinthians 1:5). In the same way, the nation of Israel suffers on behalf of the nations, even though neither they nor the nations understand it.
Sometimes when Christians suffer, it is just because of their own sin; other times that suffering is of godly origin and has a redemptive effect (I Peter 4:1, 13, 15-17). The same may be said of Israel. Much of our suffering has simply been a result of our own sin. On the other hand, some of Israel's suffering has been ordained by God, as an intercessory act on behalf of the redemption of the world.
Here again, the suffering of Israel is parallel to the crucifixion. Yeshua's atoning death not only offers salvation to mankind, it also demands justice. Either you accept it or you reject it. In the end times, God will put Israel in a position of being "crucified" before all the nations of the world. Every nation will be forced to choose.
The nations of the world will unite together to attack Israel. Every nation will either join in the attack, posture for neutrality or stand with Israel. This will be an opportunity for every nation to receive special grace from God or to be judged severely.
As the crucifixion is a dividing line for every individual, so is the end time war against Israel a dividing line for every nation – either to stand with God's covenant, or against it. The nations as a whole will fail this test; yet within every nation there will be a remnant people who will choose to remain faithful.
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