After the Sixth Level of Hell…

I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. Hosea 14:4

…comes Heaven.

Well, hell and heaven on Earth anyway. Maybe not the real Hell and Heaven, but it might seem like it to those who experience it. Leviticus 26 describes seven phases of national existence as they relate to obedience or disobedience to God’s Laws. They only obliquely relate to faith in that faith in God is among his commands.

The Torah is both life and death, depending on how you relate to it. If you obey, it is life. If you disobey, it is death. (In another sense, if you rely for your salvation on your obedience to the letter of the law, then it becomes death again.) The first phase described is of obedience and blessing. Israel is promised an overabundance in every way if they obey God’s Torah.

The next six phases stem from disobedience. Each of these six phases, except perhaps the first and the last, is a seven-fold punishment, complete in itself. Each one represents another chance to repent and return to obedience. Before describing each of phases one through five God interjects an offer of forgiveness:

  • “If you will not hearken unto me…”
  • “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me…”
  • “And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me…”
  • “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things…”
  • “And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me…”

There is no explicit offer of forgiveness (although the possibility is implied) before phase six, which is exile. The last tribes of Israel entered exile in the sixth century BC, and except for a partial reprieve from 531 BC to 70 AD, she has remained in exile until recently. Even now, the return to the land is not total. As before, only a fraction of the people have returned and the current residents of the land are far from penitent. I believe that Israel will remain in exile until “their uncircumcised hearts be humbled,” they accept their punishment for what it is, and they seek forgiveness.

Some of the rabbis teach that Israel was returned to exile by Rome because of baseless hatred and lashon hora or speaking ill of others. Some of them blasphemed the Holy Spirit when they ascribed Yeshua’s power to Satan. Most of them blasphemed Yeshua when they called him a liar, an antinomian, a heretic, and a bastard. The made the same false accusations against the Twelve Disciples and the Apostles who followed them.

Most of the Jewish leadership is still guilty of those same things, but that is changing. Many rabbis are beginning to back away from those accusations and to realize they treated their Messiah unjustly. Many of them are even beginning to realize that he is their Messiah.

Every eye should be turned toward Jerusalem, because Israel is being drawn back again. Judah is looking again at Yeshua, and Ephraim is finding him and remembering Torah.

The cycle began with obedience and blessing followed by six levels of hell on earth, but God prophesied another level, one of repentance and forgiveness.

I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Hosea 14:4-7

This eighth phase of this cycle, the restoration of the people of Israel (not the State of Israel!) and the return of Messiah Yeshua, may be approaching soon: A new beginning in greater obedience and greater blessing. May it be so!

Blessing Israel – It’s Personal

Blessed are those who bless you, Israel, and cursed are those who curse you. Numbers 24:9b

And this he said of Judah: “Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him in to his people. With your hands contend for him, and be a help against his adversaries.”
Deuteronomy 33:7

Through the prophet Balaam, whom Balak had hired to curse Israel, God said, “Blessed are those who bless you, Israel, and cursed are those who curse you.” Christian America has largely taken this as a directive to contribute to Israel’s national defense, but is that a good interpretation?

The political entity of Israel today is primarily made up of Jews, whether physically descended from the southern kingdom of Judah or adopted by custom or conversion from among the nations. In the passage quoted above, Moses blessed Judah with the ability to defend himself with God’s supernatural assistance. Their survival does not depend on powerful military hardware or better tactics. Their relationship with God and obedience to his commands is a much more effective weapon. There is really very little we can do to help them militarily because any assistance we provide is superfluous. At times it might even be counterproductive.

The actual well-being of Israel is of secondary concern to most Christians. They don’t promote the idea of a military alliance with Israel because Israel needs it; they promote it because they need it themselves. They want the blessing that God promised to those who bless Abraham. There’s nothing wrong with that–we should all desire blessing from God, especially that which derives from blessing others–but they should realize that there are many other means by which they can bless Israel: justice in international courts, open trade, charity, and scientific cooperation, to name a few.

Our government in the United States (and pretty much every other government, including the State of Israel) is really only good at one thing: destruction. It seems to me that one good way to bless Israel would be to keep our government out of it unless something needs to be blown up, and there’s precious little outside of North America that we have any business blowing up.

Let private individuals do whatever they feel led to do on Israel’s behalf. Pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem, invest in Israeli companies, contribute to charities that help believers in Israel, etc. If you really want to blow something up, join the IDF.

I would ask one special favor of you, though: As one who has been grafted into the tree of Israel, an adopted child of Abraham, you can bless me (and therefore yourself) by using your own hard earned money to do those things, not mine or that of your other neighbors. Keep the US government and our tax money out of it. You, personally, should bless Israel in whatever way God leads you to, without forcing anyone else to give with you.

Forced charity isn’t really charity, after all. It’s just extortion with a smile.

The greatest blessing of all is the Good News of the Risen Messiah. If you really want to bless the Jews and the State of Israel, teach them to bless the name of Yeshua and to keep the commandments of God. There is no better early warning system, no better missile defense, no greater offensive capability than armies of God fighting on your behalf.