When God Responds To Israel's Repentance

By Francis Frangipane

For the most part, I've been silent and simply prayerful concerning Israel, the "Road Map" and the future.  Now, however, as terrorism and reprisals again escalate, let me offer some thoughts.

First, both the Old Testament and New Testament reveal that God's purposes are irrevocably intertwined with the return and restoration of Israel (Ezek. 37-39; Rev 7).  For those who believe the church has replaced Israel, the Bible tells us that the Jews are God's covenant people, and that as long as the sun, moon and stars exist, the Lord's covenant with Israel shall stand (Jer. 31:35-36).  Of course, through Jesus Christ, Christians receive a better covenant with better promises, but God has not broken His covenant with Israel.  Nothing will thwart the promises of God, as centuries of persecution, Hitler's ovens and, in time, Muslim terrorists will all testify before God in eternity.  Be assured, Israel's full restoration will come to pass in its time.

While we fearlessly rest in our Father's sovereignty, we are not excused from prayer.  During Israel's first restoration in 538 B.C., the prophet Daniel concluded that Israel's seventy year exile  was fulfilled (Jer. 29:10).  Yet, knowing Israel had entered the season of her return did not stop Daniel from prayer (Dan. 9:2-3).  His intercession was then multiplied by the prayers and actions of Ezra and Nehemiah, as well as the restoration prophets.  Eventually all of the returning Jews embraced the call to humbling themselves in prayer--and we must assume even among those Jews that remained in exile, prayer was offered. 

Beloved, when the Almighty desires to bring revival, He first inspires intercession.  All things wonderful and powerful begin in prayer: first with perhaps just one person, then several, and then an ever increasing crescendo of voices, all crying to God for His word to come to pass in the season of its fulfillment.  As intercession multiplies, miracles of provision and grace emerge, as well as breakthroughs and favor that were previously unimaginable.  

Divine Expectations
At some stage, however, the people for whom prayer is offered must themselves repent and turn to God. In Israel's case, there never was a time when they were restored to the full blessedness of God's love and provision that did not include repentance.  They never enjoyed border security and peace apart from repentance.  National repentance was always the path; full prosperity and security was always the result offered Israel by God. 

Indeed, throughout the Old Testament, from Moses to Malachi, repentance was central to Israel's dwelling securely on their land.  This condition is embodied in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple: "If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and they return to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this house, then I will hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You have given to them and to their fathers" (2 Chron. 6:24-25).

If the Lord allowed hardship, pestilence or drought; or if He allowed strong enemies to plunder Israel's land; if He exiled the Jews to other nations because of their sins against Him, in His love He provided a means for their restoration.  His promise is familiar and has become, by application, universal to all men.  However, remember that this promise was first spoken to the Jewish nation as the only means offered by God for Israel's national security and healing. 

"If . . . My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron 7:14).

The principles proclaimed in 2 Chronicles 7:14 represent heaven's pathway to restoration and healing.  Whether we pray as individuals or nations, to know divine protection, blessing and prosperity, we must sincerely return to the Almighty.  If I, as an individual, fall into sin, but humble myself, confess my rebellion and return to God, I will find personal revival in my life. In prayer for the USA, I confess our national sins, humbling myself with other intercessors on behalf of our nation. Yet, while the Lord may delay wrath because of intercession, not until government and community leaders confess our national sins as well, and not until they seek God's help to change our society, will His presence be restored in a true national revival. 

Who can argue against the need for repentance as a prerequiste for personal and national revivals?  I say this will the utmost love and compassion for the Jewish people, as one who desires all Israel to be saved and in hopes of seeing God's destiny climax in the Jews: they are not exempt from seeking God in repentance.  I am not even referring to them coming to Jesus Christ and embracing the New Covenant, which I believe they ultimately will.  I am saying that Israel's covenant with God still endures and under that covenant, God called them to repent as part of their restoration process.

Please understand, I know there are many godly intercessors in Israel, and perhaps even a greater number of godly Jews already crying out to God for His help.  We certainly have a strong beachhead of prayer in the Holy Land. We know that God hears the sighs and groans of His people, and counts the voice of heartache as intercession. Such supplication keeps Israel alive. But we must also be honest.  I say this without any condemnation, but Israel is just as sinful as our western nations.  Israel suffers under the weight of legalized abortion, flagrant immorality, gay parades and perversion, prostitution and many other legalized vices.  In the nation known as the Holy Land, these sins are flaunted by many and protected by law.  How can we expect a Holy God to restore and defend Israel's biblical borders?  

I am not pro-Muslim, but I am pro truth, and the truth is that the Islamic world is pro-life, Muslim women dress modestly, Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol or use drugs, and they must bow in prayer daily.  Israel's more permissive society dwells in contrast with the ultra conservatism of Islam.  Beloved, this is one of the core reasons the Muslims hate the Jews (and hate America moreso)!  In the Muslim world, America is called the Great Satan and Israel is known as the Little Satan, because our cultures export immorality and rebellion.  I love America and thank God for our freedom, but I also hate the sinfulness of my nation.  Even as I hate that Hollywood seeks to export immorality into my home and corrupt my children, so I understand why radical (or even sincere) Muslims hate this invasion of filth into their societies.

I am not in any way justifying Islamic terrorism or legalism.  Such religious fanaticism has unleashed hell on earth.  I am only saying that the moral lawlessness of the West (which includes Israel) is a legitimate core problem in the search for peace with the Muslim world.  If we in the West, with Israel, were not such a threat culturally, Muslim sons would certainly be less willing to die to keep our sin from their culture.

May History Repeat Itself
Please do not read this as though I am saying that Israel deserves the ongoing heartache of terrorist attacks. May God grant Israel some peace, even a season, before the last great revival occurs in the Holy Land.   This article is not about what Israel deserves, it is about the facts of life in the Middle East, and the fact that God has always used Israel's enemies to push the Jews toward Himself. 

My hope is to guide us in prayer toward the only breakthrough that can ultimately last: a national repentance in Israel embraced by both government and a majority of citizens alike.  I am not speaking as one uninvolved with Israel, but as a lover of Israel who intercedes daily for the Jews.  Nor am I speaking as one whose own nation isn't desperately sinful in many ways.  But as we look for a solution to the Palestinian conflict and Israel's peace, from a historic, biblical perspective, the only peace solution offered by God is God.  The adversaries surrounding Israel are allowed by the jealousy of the Almighty to goad Israel into His arms.

So, I am saying that, until the Israeli government, together with a majority of Israel's business and religious leaders, determine to seek the favor of God, hardships will continue to exist.  In my opinion, the current peace plan will try, but fail, to realize its full objectives. I do not see the Road Map as evil, but as an international attempt to remedy both Jewish and Palestinian suffering. However, when Israel returns to God, it will not need American protection or political solutions to its problems.  God Himself will surround and protect the Holy Land.

Some argue that this present aliyah (return) of the Jews to Israel is unique and separate from other biblical times, that the Spirit of God is somehow obligated to restore all of Israel's land without Israel's heartfelt national repentance.

Consider: the very prophecies we use today to celebrate Israel's aliyah, were all initially fulfilled in 538 B.C., when the Lord brought the Jews back from Babylon.  During the Biblical account of Israel's restoration, the Lord provided a living pattern, so we would understand His expectations today.  Read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah; study of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi and behold how often the call to repentance came, and was embraced, during their rebuilding period.  The Lord did not restore Israel to her ancient borders without times of repentance deepening their commitment to Him along the way.

Let me also remind you that, during this time, God Himself stirred up several Persian kings (Cyrus, Artaxerxes and Ahasuerus, etc.) to protect, as well as help fund the return of the Jews, and even help rebuild the temple (see the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther).  God used the prevailing world power, Persia, to protect the rebuilding of the Holy Land.  Not every nation was arrayed against Israel during the return.  The strongest nation in the ancient world was a defense and supply for the Jews. Given that we do not see a national repentance in the Holy Land, current American efforts to bring peace to Israel, in my opinion, are a compassionate provision, perhaps orchestrated by God, to temporarily minimize Jewish suffering until Israel's full repentance comes. 

Let us, therefore, continue to pray for Israel, yet not condemn the nations that today, via the Road Map, are seeking to minimize Israeli and Palestinian heartache.  Let us pray that divine justice and wisdom will guide the administrators of this peace plan to the best outcome possible, even though it will be temporary.  However, let us never assume that the Road Map mirrors God's final plan.  The world will stand in awe when the Lord purifies Israel. A repentant Israel will initiate a time of peace, a season when Israel will "live securely . . . without walls and having no bars or gates" (Ezek 38:10-12). She will still face her greatest challenges but first, He who has brought the Jews back to their land, will work all things until He brings her back to Himself.  

Let us also pray that God will raise up an anointed Jewish voice (or a chorus of voices) that, with great mercy and tender compassion, shall call Israel to God and repentance.   Yes, and let us pray that our eyes will see the time when God Himself responds to Israel's repentance.