Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures Daily , a radio ministry of The Berean Call with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael, we’re glad you could be here. Coming up in this week’s program in our Understanding the Scriptures segment, Dave and Tom will resume their exploration of the Gospel of John and “If We Are Branches of the True Vine, Will We Bear Fruit?” In Religion in the News: “Did Muhammad Order Muslims to Kill Jews?” We’ll take a look at that story and examine the question: “Will we have to pass a test to get into heaven?” We hope you can stay with us.
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Now, this week’s Cover Article. We continue with our series of discussions based on Dave Hunt’s book from Harvest House. With the 11th installment of A Cup of Trembling , and along with Dave Hunt, here is T.A. McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily , a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. For the past couple of months we have been going through Dave Hunt’s book, A Cup Of Trembling , subtitled Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy . And what we have been trying to do is lay the background for what has gone on, what is going on today, historic roots, biblical roots, for the problems we are finding in the Middle East. And Dave, we are taping this program, but just today another bombing took place in Jerusalem. A bus, I think twenty were killed, hundreds wounded. A Muslim got aboard the bus dressed as an orthodox Jew and blew himself up.
Dave: Along with the bus and a number of other people. One thing, let me just mention right here. I don’t see how there could be any mistake in anyone’s mind who pays any attention to the news— the Muslims deliberately aim at children, women, civilians. The Israelis do not do that, never have done that. Now once in a while there may be a stray bullet that kills a child, and then there is a great outcry made from the whole world. But doesn’t the world recognize the difference between the Israelis trying to defend themselves and going against terrorists and military people—and the Muslims deliberately targeting innocent civilians? This was a bus mostly of school children. I think there is a big difference! Please make that known, will you?
Tom: Dave, in chapter 4 of your book A Cup Of Trembling , you write: “And Israel was to remember this fact: she was never to indulge in the vain thought that God had favored her because she was better than other nations.” And we have talked in weeks past about the Bible calling the Jews His chosen people, City of God, Jerusalem the City of David, God placing His name on that city—and when we hear those things, there is a tendency to just believe that it’s because they are special, they are unique, there is something in them—inherent in them, or in us. When I receive a blessing, or whatever it might be—“Oh, hey, look how cool I am! Look how neat I am,” and so on. But that is not the case.
Dave: It’s grace. It is God’s grace when you get a blessing, Tom, when I get one—and it is God’s grace to these people, and He had to choose someone. He chose Abraham because Abraham, well, he is called “the friend of God,” he was a faithful man. He loved the Lord, and he was willing to do God’s will, and that’s a very rare person on this earth. And it’s because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the promises God made to them, that He has remained faithful to the Jews. But we quote a number of verses: Deuteronomy:7:7-8: “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers…”
Tom: So Dave, it falls back really on the Lord. He is doing this for His sake, and if they obey they will be the beneficiaries of God’s grace and blessing.
Dave: Again He says, “Not for thy righteousness, nor for the uprightness of thine heart dost thou go to possess their land [that is, the land of Canaan] but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee that he may perform the word which the Lord swore unto thy fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
And he goes on—often he scolds Israel and warns them because of their sin. In fact, He says, “You are a stiff-necked people. From the day I brought you out of the land of Egypt, you have been rebellious against the Lord.” So Israel is really a picture of God’s grace. But they are a definite people, no question about that. They were chosen of God, and in contrast to the Arabs who claim that land through the descent from Ishmael, who are actually a mixed race of people—we’ve talked about it in the past—they intermarried with the descendants of Esau and with the descendants of Midian and so forth; the Jews were placed in Goshen in the land of Egypt for 400 years, isolated; they did not intermarry. They became an identifiable ethnic group of people, and they were brought en masse into the land. We know who they are today.
So these are the people that God says, “I have chosen you, I have given you this land. You’re not to trade it, you’re not to sell it; this is my land.” And yet, under pressure from the world and from the Muslim nations around them, they are, in fact, trading that land, giving it to a people who have sworn to exterminate them, but who promised, “Give us a little more land and it will all work out.”
Tom: Dave, these verses that you quoted from Deuteronomy, as you point out, it’s not exactly flattering—God’s not building up their self-esteem. He’s telling them the truth about themselves, and if they obey, He will bless them, and if they disobey He will remove them from the land—but not permanently.
Tom: And He won’t replace them with another people. He won’t say, “Oh, well, it didn’t work out with the Jews, so later down the line we’ll go to the United States and get some evangelicals.” I don’t think so.
Dave: The scripture says “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” Why? Because He knows the future. He knows everything that will happen. He knows everyone’s heart; He knew that Israel would sin. He knew that He would have to cast them out—in fact, that is all foretold. But He also promised to bring them back, and that is why Jerusalem is a cup of trembling today, a burdensome stone.
Tom: Now, Dave, we have also mentioned previously that the land of Canaan was a land given to great wickedness. When God promised Abraham the land, He said, “but not right now.” You know, it would be 400 years until it says the wickedness of the Amorites would finally reach a point where God said, “All right, go in and wipe them out.” Now they were wiped out, but the Bible says that Israel, given the land, actually went beyond the paganism of the Canaanites in terms of wickedness.
Dave: Incredible! Incredible. And God did cast them out, scattered them to every nation on the face of this earth—we know that, that’s history—they are called “the wandering Jew.” But He said in the last days He would bring them back, and He has done that, and of course the Jews are still coming back. One day there will not be one Jew left anywhere on this earth except in the land of Israel.
Tom: Dave, about the wickedness—I’m thinking about the son of Hezekiah, Manasseh, a ruler of Israel who did things—well, just abominations before God. Second Chronicles 33:9 says, “Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.” Jeremiah:25:4-7 says, “The Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets…but you have not hearkened….They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them….Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.”
Dave: When you read the history of Israel, you read the Scriptures, you read God’s pleadings to His prophets, it just seems unbelievable that these people could be so hardhearted, that they could be so perverse, so determined. I mean, this is the God that brought them into the land, this is the God that blessed them, and they have thumbed their noses at Him, turned their backs upon Him, and followed after…well, wood and stone, gods that are made with hands that have mouths but can’t speak, have eyes that can’t see, have ears that can’t hear, and you have to carry them around because their feet don’t move. The blindness, the stubbornness of these people…
Tom: And the miracles that were performed in contrast! You know, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven, just the healing, the water out of rock.
Dave: Yeah, not only was that passed down from generation to generation, but the very generation that saw it all, heard it with their ears, saw it with their eyes—they were the most rebellious, perverse generation. Tom, it just gives us some idea of the truth of what Jeremiah said when he wrote: Jeremiah:17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart…” and David in Psalm 139 cried out: “Psalm:139:23-24, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” And that ought to be the cry in every one of our hearts, every person who knows the Lord, who realizes that we didn’t create ourselves. We belong to Him, He is our Creator, and do you want to honor Him and let Him have His way, not only in this world—which He doesn’t. The nations of the world are in rebellion against God—rebellion concerning the very land of Israel, which God said is not to be divided, and they’re dividing it. How many people who call themselves Christians really think seriously about God? Honor Him, praise Him, thank Him, obey Him, study His Word? No, we are too busy even today. It’s a tragedy.
Tom: Well, it certainly should bring conviction on everyone. I mean there may be some exceptions but generally everyone. But Dave, you titled this chapter, “The Holy Land.”
Dave: They still call it that today.
Tom: They do, but it seems…I mean, irony I don’t think is the right word for it. It just seems to be a contradiction with regard to what’s going on.
Dave: Well, God said, Deuteronomy:7:6: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” And in Leviticus:20:24-26—I don’t have it open before me, but God says that, “I have separated you from all other people, and you are to be a holy people; you are different from everyone else.” But they were not a holy people—far from it, and as you said, they indulged in sin worse than the heathen that God had sent them there to destroy. And they were cast out of the land because of that.
Tom: And, is it any different today?
Dave: Well, Israel has all kinds of problems with drugs, they’ve got as much violence in their schools as we have in America—high schools and so forth—divorce, wife beatings, crime. There’s a great conflict between the orthodox religious leaders and the younger generation. Part of the problem in Israel is we have young people who are not willing to pay the price, not willing to sacrifice themselves and they want peace at any price. They are willing to compromise. Yeah, it’s a bad situation today, 30 percent of them claim to be atheists.
Tom: Yet God says, “Be ye holy, as I am holy,” throughout the Old Testament.
Dave: So that raises the question, I guess, well, who is the real Jew? Because we have a problem. I was shocked when some friends that we’ve known for many, many years, we hadn’t seen in a while, came to have dinner with us, and they believe that white people—I don’t know how you define white people, everybody has a little bit of pigment in their skin, all shades—but they believe that the white people were the real Jews, not those people over there in the land of Israel.
Tom: Now these weren’t Mormons were they, Dave?
Dave: No, they weren’t Mormons actually, they were real Christians as far as I know, but they got involved in this Bible study, and this guy has a cult, and he convinced them. It became very uncomfortable at the dinner table. They didn’t want to…after I pointed out a few things, they didn’t want to discuss it. It would have just broken our friendship entirely; in fact. it more or less has. How can you come to such a conclusion? It’s very clear. You have to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—Jacob’s name was turned to Israel. The Jews are the whole Israeli people—it comes from the tribe of Judah, but the Jews are now, whatever tribe they are from, they’re called Jews. And to imagine that the white races—whatever that means—we know the history from the Vikings. Tom, I have to confess, I’ve got some Viking blood in me, 25 percent Norwegian, but I’m about—the other 50 percent or whatever, English. And the Vikings came down and raided the coasts of England and France. There is a lot of Viking blood in the British and the French, and these were not nice guys. They got all the way up into Russia, up the rivers you know. We know the history of these people. They didn’t come from the Holy Land. They were never over there at all. Incredible, but you cannot convince people with the truth. And the Word of God is quite clear.
On the other hand, the Bible does seem to confuse people, because it says, “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly….” Just because you are physically Jewish does not mean you are a real Jew. Well, because you have to have the relationship with God that Abraham had, and it is speaking in reference to inheriting the land.
Tom: But you have to begin with, you have to be a descendant, a physical descendant of Abraham, right? Not that…Abraham had Ishmael; he had other sons under Keturah.
Dave: So it’s not just descended from Abraham, but from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” 12 times; 203 times He says He is the God of Israel. He never says He is the God of the Arabs or of the Americans or the French. Although the scripture does say “he is not a Jew which is one outwardly.” And that becomes confusing, and that causes some people to say, “Well, the church—we are the spiritual Jews.”
So Paul, in Romans:9:1-3, he kind of lays that to rest. He makes it very clear. He talks about his brethren after the flesh. He says, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Now if you are going to say that the church is Israel—well, they are not related to Paul in the flesh, certainly not, and why would he wish himself to be accursed? For example, if you went to Romans:10:1: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel…” Well, if Israel is the church, then we would have to say, “My prayer to God for the church is that they might be saved,” but they are already saved. But he says, “…who are Israelites to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the service of God and the promises, whose are the Father’s and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.” So, that’s quite clear. There is a physical Israel, and you must be a physical Israel to be a real Jew. You must be physically descended from Jacob, that is Israel, to be a real Jew. But then you must also believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and if you do not have that faith, then no matter what your physical qualifications may be you are not qualified.
Tom: Dave, in this chapter you talk about David. Now, he meets the qualifications of what you have been talking about. David, a son of…a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a man after God’s own heart, and not that we look to men but still, in terms of a model of what a Jew ought to be, you would think that all men in Israel would look to him to follow after—his thoughts, his ideas, what he had to say, how he acted, all of those things.
Dave: Their greatest king, whom they certainly admire. They name a lot after him; they call their flag the Star of David, and so forth. And he certainly set a classic example, and you read his psalms—Psalm:27:4: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Or Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd…” you know, “He makes me lie down….He’s the one that shepherds me and guides me,” or his desire in Psalm:139:23-24, which we already quoted: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” But they do not follow—the Jews today do not follow David in that passion that he had after God.
Tom: And look…you know, as a byproduct of his love for God, look how…you want to talk about success, you know, as a byproduct, here he is—he begins as a shepherd boy, lowly position, and then becomes the greatest king, as you mentioned earlier, militarily, politically, every which way, you would think—and this is a real Jew.
Dave: But tragically, so many Jews today do not believe in God. It’s amazing, Tom, yet they know that they are Jewish. They do not want to intermarry, most of them—some do. Most of them have a sense of this Jewishness that has retained their identity, and yet they don’t recognize the Scriptures. They don’t recognize the God who brought Abraham into this land, the God who gave this land to them, and Fiddler on the Roof says it pretty well: (singing) “Tradition…” It’s just tradition. How could tradition be so strong and yet God has kept these people an identifiable ethnic group. And we know who they are, and God is working in them to this day.
Tom: Dave, we’ve got about a minute and a half left, but going back to David—you point out, he had rather harsh words for, really, present-day Israel—mostly atheistic. In Psalm 14 he writes: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” I would think that would prick their hearts.
Dave: You would think so, but if you don’t really believe in God, you don’t really believe the Bible is God’s Word—well, they want to take their own way, and it’s a pragmatic thing: “Well, we’re back in this land; we love this land but we’ve got these enemies around us—these Arabs, these Muslims—let’s see if we can’t work out some compromise, some deal with them.” And, Tom, it is suicide because the Muslims have sworn to exterminate them. And we have been through that before—there is no doubt about it, this is their intent. How can you compromise and make a deal with people that have sworn to exterminate you? You can’t—but they do.
Tom: Dave, next week we are going to pick up with…we talked about the Holy Land—now we have a holy war going on there. Is that a contradiction in terms? We’ll talk about that next week.