By Nathaniel Ngerem
MOHAMMED Adamu, I highly commend your well articulated, balanced view on the issues bordering on Israel, Jerusalem, and Donald Trump’s recent landmark declaration.
However, I’ll like to comment on some points that I think you, and any other person with similar perception, need to get right. I’m happy that you accept the authority of the Bible on life matters specifically on Israel and God.
Abraham’s ‘incestuous’ relationship with Sarah his wife
Before God chose Abraham, the man had married his wife, Sarah, and He knew their biological relationship. Yes, they were blood relations, but I don’t think any mortal should teach the Almighty what to do with a man living in sin, especially if He has an appointment with such an individual. God’s reactions are always blunt and outright against sin. So, if God found Abraham’s marriage unacceptable, He would do what He Had always done against ungodly living. His appointment with Abraham and his generation was too critical to be built on an abominable foundation.
In the ancient, Old Testament time, it was normal to marry from within one’s family. So, God had no issues with the marriage between Abraham and Sarah.
Isaac and Ishmael: These two sons of Abraham have been a point of contentions among the Christians and Moslems. But, since you have a healthy attitude towards the Bible, let’s go there to find out the truth. Genesis 16:1-4
Sarah hadn’t given birth to any child for her husband, Abraham, well advanced in age. God had promised them that Sarah’s old womb would still produce a child of their own, in their old age. When they waited for God to fulfill His promise, it appeared He was not forth coming; and out of the usual human desperation, Sarah persuaded Abraham her husband to go in to her maid, Hagar, to produce a child for them; he did, and the result was Ishmael. Against God’s programme and purposes, they got themselves a child. After the child was born, to the couple’s surprise, God still reiterated His promise, that a child of His covenant was still on the way; a child to be delivered by the old womb of Sarah, not Ismail from Hagar, their housemaid. God even gave the child’s name, Isaac.
“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year”.
After the birth of Ismail outside God’s arrangement, Abraham and his wife were satisfied, and began to build their future on him. Abraham even prayed God to accept the boy as the covenant child, his heir-apparent; but God insisted on His counsel. The covenant child was still coming, from Sarah’s loins. Even before Ismail, Abraham had also presented his servant, Eliezer of Damascus, as a possible candidate for God’s covenant. “And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir” Genesis 15:4
At God’s appointed time, Isaac, the long awaited child of God’s covenant with Abraham was born, by old Sarah; and not surprisingly, the madam of the house demanded that the arrogant, insulting maid Hagar, and her son, Ismail, should leave the family immediately. Abraham was reluctant, but God asked him to grant his wife’s demand.
“And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Genesis 21:12
So, Hagar the bond woman and her son Ismail, left Abraham, Sarah and the covenant child Isaac, to chart the path to a great future with God. Hagar and her son were not the only ones Abraham settled in that manner. We read: ”And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.” Genesis 25:5,6
So, Isaac was left alone to enjoy the status of the sole heir to his father’s wealth, and the fruit of a covenant with the Almighty. We can summarise the story of Ismail and Isaac thus: a.Ismail was a product out of human desperation, when man could not wait for God’s time forthe arrival of the promised child, Isaac. b. At the right time, God instructed that Hagar and her son, Ismail be sent away from Isaac, to allow the covenant child to savour the glory of his father’s covenant with God. c. In man’s assessment, Ismail was Abraham’s first son: but in God’s eternal purpose, Isaac was Abraham’s ONLY son, and God’s covenant child.
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Genesis 22:1,2
If there is any great regret the world has today, it is the error committed by Pa Abraham and his wife, Sarah in trying to be faster than God. That error was the one that produced Ismail, the father of the Arabs. The situation of the Arabs and the rest of the world today is the fulfillment of what God said about Ismail their father: “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Genesis 16:12
Israel, as God’s chosen people, with the promised land. The relationship between God and Israel is beyond the understanding of mortals. But the truth is that He, the Almighty, out of His sovereign counsel, chose a man called Abraham. God called this man, and without questions, he believed the Almighty and followed Him. God was pleased with Abraham’s faith and decided to strike a covenant with him and by extension, his generation. The covenant is everlasting.
Forunately, both the Bible and the Quran acknowledge this exclusive position enjoyed by Israel. Let’s hear the Lord. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.” Genesis 17: 7-9
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”Exodus 20:5
In pursuance of this everlasting covenant He had with Abraham, God literally lowered Himself to the level of treating Israel as a wife, and He her jealous husband. When He talked of His covenant with the nation, He painted a picture of hot romance, and spoke in emotion of a man who was ready to kill for his love; and ready He was to kill for Israel. Indeed, God cleared many nations that dared touch his bride.
When Israel left Egypt for the promisedland, as little as they were, the news of approaching Hebrews sent nations scampering for safety. You either allowed them passage through your land peacefully or you resisted them and risked extinction. Just an army of 300 soldiers could wipe out an entire nation with massive army. Their military secret was the glory of their God that went before and after them.
God guarded Israel “ as the apple of His eye”; cherished her as a piece of diamond; and relished her like a patch of water at the centre of a desert. The Almighty took a name “ the jealous God” to express the intensity of this romance. Ironically Israel happened to be the most stubborn, rebellious and unfaithful wife; and till date, that nation remains a most unbelieving people before God. On the basis of godliness, they are far from God’s grace, but spiritually they leverage on the faithfulness of their fathers who struck an everlasting covenant with the Almighty. God’s mercy for them is therefore for His name sake, and for the covenant.
4.God’s Love Gift
Every love story has a memento, a token. It is a gift to remind both of you of the romance. One of the tokens God left with Israel was “..And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession…”. But that land God gave to His lover Israel as a memento is the present area covering a portion of the present Middle East, home tothe Palestinians. There is no person that will say a word in support of Israel that will not draw the wrath of others who will see him as a sadist to be talking about the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Israel, when the world is discussing about people being displaced and rendered homeless. But the truth is, the counsel of the Almighty always looks senseless in the eyes of mortals. We’re talking about the sovereignty of the Most High that must prevail over every circumstance. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.
I admit that the biblical special-nation status of Israel is a very difficult one to swallow, and it only makes sense to Christians and Bible enthusiasts. It is really a challenging issue because we are dealing with a UN that has no religious affiliation, and does not have official sentiments for the Bible and whatever promised-land there is. As a result, sadly, this Love Gift is now a subject of international politicking, and legislation. So it is a tangle of various human interests, and the words and dealings of the Almighty. It’s also a jumble of various international stakes. But I bet, at the end, the counsel of the sovereign God shall prevail; how and when are not known. It is up to Him to defend His wife, and the everlasting covenant between them. The bitter truth is, in the purpose of the
Almighty, there is never anything like East, West, South, or North Jerusalem. Jerusalem is Jerusalem, owned by Israel. The assembly of mortals like the UN, and other humans that operate at the same carnal frequency are too base for such spiritual transaction. Even the present generation of Israel is too blind to grasp the gravity of the covenant that their ancient fathers struck with the Most High.
My humble advice is for anyone who has the fear of God, to act softly in matters that concern Israel. That nation is raised for the rising and falling of nations, depending on the side you are positioned, for, or against her. The wars this little patch of land has fought against massive armies of Arab nations in the past, should be a sober lesson for whoever still nurses a confrontation againsther. If in 1948 a baby nation just born, could single handedly take on the mighty armies of the Arabs and put them to a disgraceful defeat, and went ahead to repeated the same in 1967, Israel can do it even more ruthlessly now. I don’t want to witness the result of any other aggression from any otherquarters,against this same baby who is now, not only an adult, but an Iron bender; more especially now that big Brother America has dared the entire world on their behalf.
Going by the present generation of Israelites, they do not qualify for any dealing with God, because they are stack, unrepentant unbelievers. Only very insignificant portion of the populace believes in the Messiah or in the Bible, but God’s mercy upon them has nothing to do with their current merit or otherwise. He has an everlasting covenant with their fathers, the Patriarchs. That covenant will endlessly avail for them, irrespective of their backsliding, till it pleases God to restore them at His time.
“ I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved… As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”. Romans 1:25-29