In Part 1, Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel Ministries joined us on a recent episode of Christ in Prophecy to help us find Jesus in the book of Joshua. Amir will now guide us through what tragically happened as the Israeli campaign to conquer Canaan drew to an end.
The Thorn in the Side
Nathan Jones: An interesting situation occurred as Joshua and his armies spread out across Canaan. They were defeating different kings and claiming their God-given land of promise, but as they started to settle into their new homes and take some rest, we encounter one of the most tragic verses in the Bible. We read in Joshua 16:10, “But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. So, the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day.”
We learn that the Israelites had grown weary of obeying what God had commanded them to do. They had grown weary of fighting and were willing to settle for dwelling interspersed among the pagans. How would that poor decision to not fully obey God end up affecting Israel then and throughout the rest of their history?
Amir Tsarfati: We learn the results rather quickly in Judges 2:1-5.
“Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: ‘I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore, I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim;” [which means crying or crying out] “and they sacrificed there to the Lord. And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land.”
Atonement begins with actual repentance. Repentance bears much fruit. We read that when they cried, when they repented, when they realized their wrongdoing, look at what happened — they each went to his own inheritance. They were allowed to still possess the land, though the pagan peoples would remain a thorn in Israel’s side for centuries to come.
Right of Return
Tim Moore: The entire world seems to deny the right of Israel to possess the very land in which you, Amir, are living right now. And so, they deny the land promise that God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and to their descendants forever. How does that unbiblical attitude threaten the peace and security of Israel today?
Amir Tsarfati: Well, we can all see the threats facing Israel each and every day. I believe the struggle against God and His chosen people goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15. Satan is always on the move to try and see where and how that “seed of the woman” that was going to crush his head and inevitably destroy him could be waylaid. Israel, Satan realized, if he could get rid of them he could get rid of the prophesied Messiah.
Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem would not see Him again until a believing remnant of Jewish people proclaimed at Christ’s Second Coming, “Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai.” Jesus didn’t say He’d return when the people cried out in Arabic to welcome Allah, or anyone else in any other language, rather it is Jewish people alone welcoming their Messiah. So, for that to happen, the Jews have to come back to their land. They have to get back their capital of Jerusalem. They have to repossess all of the land as the prophets promised.
The world all know what’s happened over the last 80-some years. Israel becoming a nation again stunned everyone all around us, whether they were believers or not. It’s just that people have a hard time understanding that God is still in the business of fighting for Israel. The Almighty helps Israel, bringing them to the point of not just surviving, but to the point of thriving in the middle of a very, very dangerous and war-surrounded area.
To me, the resistance to what God is doing with and through Israel today is basically the work of the Enemy trying to stop the Messiah from returning to Israel and to rescue His people. God still longs for the Jewish people to accept Yeshua and receive Him as their Messiah and to institute His thousand-year Millennial Kingdom. Everything prophetically is tied to the Jewish people.
I know from Bible prophecy that no person who attempts to try and stop Israel from repossessing the land will ever succeed. There will be more wars, there will be more agony and pain, but eventually, Israel will be back fully in the land. Jesus will come back to reign from Jerusalem, and once again, Jerusalem will be the recognized capital of the land of Israel and the believing Jewish people will be the head of all the nations in Christ’s Kingdom.
In the third and last segment of our study of the book of Joshua, Amir will identify some of today’s existential threats to Israel’s existence.