Israel: The Apple of God’s Eye

Posted on December 1, 2017

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By David Ettinger

This is an abridged version of a far-lengthier article I wrote for the magazine Zion’s Fire several years ago. I have linked to the original story at the bottom of this post.  

Introduction: Israel as God’s “Eye”
israel flagOne of the political world’s favorite pastimes is condemning Israel. It seems everything Israel does meets with pointed denunciation. The typical scenario is that Israel over a certain period of time endures a series of Palestinian incursions, bombings, and skirmishes which result in the deaths and injuries of Israeli citizens and the destruction of infrastructure. Eventually, Israel says, “Enough,” and launches a counterattack. As a result, Palestinian casualties exceed those of the Israelis, retractors ignoring the fact that the Palestinian fatalities are a result of their own actions.

What else is inevitable is the condemnation of Israel by the nations of the world. The United Nations is usually first to sling the arrow of denunciation, followed by the Arab nations and often China and Russia. Sadly, Western nations such as France and England sometimes join the denunciation fray, condemning a tiny nation that needs to defend itself or face extinction.

When such entities look down their insolent noses at Israel, a nation overwhelmingly outnumbered by the surrounding Arab population (370 million to 8.3 million), little do they realize that they do so at their own risk. Israel, as all other nations, is an imperfect people and has made her share of political and military mistakes. However, unlike all other nations, Israel has a covenant relationship with God. Therefore, to trifle with Israel is to trifle with God. The book of Zechariah makes this quite clear: “…whoever touches you [Israel] touches the apple of his [God’s] eye” (2:8).

apple treeThe “apple” of the eye refers to the pupil, the part of the eye which is most easily injured and most in need of protection. In Zechariah’s verse, Israel is seen as the recipient of God’s highest level of care. This is not to say that Israel is untouchable. Obviously, history verifies her great sufferings over the years. However, God has allowed these sufferings for the purpose of chastening and cleansing His people. But, those who have exceeded God’s mandate to chasten – instead seeking to wipe Israel off the face of the earth – have tasted the fury of God’s wrath. Those who continue to afflict Israel will also feed on God’s fury.

A Hard Lesson Learned
Numerous empires and civilizations have learned this lesson the hard way. Whether “appointed” by God to discipline Israel for a time, or having done so on their own volition, they have either been wiped clean from the face of the earth, or, as in the case of Egypt, still exist, but are just a shell of what they were in their heyday. These “lesson learners” include:

Egypt: Fearing that the enslaved Hebrews might overrun his country, Egyptian monarch Thutmose I, around 1440 B.C., issued his heinous death sentence to a couple of Hebrew midwives: “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live” (Exodus 1:16). To their great credit, the midwives did not consent to this murderous plot. Nonetheless, Egypt had sought to destroy Israel, the apple of God’s eye and paid a heavy price for its treachery. To this day, Egypt has never even sniffed the heights of glory she once reveled in.

philistines

Detail from the representation of Sea People and Philistines in the Medinet Habu, Luxor.

The Philistines: The Philistines were the most persistent and irritating adversaries Israel ever had, bringing misery to the Jewish nation for about 500 years (1100-600 B.C.). The Philistines, on numerous occasions, sought to obliterate the Jewish people, and therefore as a distinguishable, identifiable people, managed only to survive until the beginning of the Babylonian Empire. The Philistines are no more.

Assyria: From its beginning, Assyria was ruthless and cruel (read the very short Book of Nahum). In 722 B.C., Assyria was the most powerful nation on earth and carried the Jewish people away to captivity, but it was by God’s commission (2 Kings 17:7). Assyria should have quit there, but after conquering Samaria, King Sennacherib set his sights on Jerusalem, something God did not mandate. The result: “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death 185,000 in the Assyrian camp” (2 Kings 19:35). The demise of the Assyrian Empire had begun.

Babylon: In 586 B.C., Israel’s southern kingdom of Judah received the same punishment – exile – as did her northern sisters, this time to Babylon. Though like Assyria, Babylon was the appointed rod of God’s fury, it followed the same destructive path as the Assyrians in that it overstepped its boundaries. The result: In 539 B.C., the Babylonian Empire was overthrown by the vast Medo-Persian Empire.

Persia: In about 480 B.C., Prime Minister Haman sought to wipe out every Jew in the Empire because he was slighted by one man, Mordecai (you can read the account in the exciting Book of Esther). Bad move. The results: Haman’s death (Esther 7:10); the deaths of his 10 sons (9:1-10); and the destruction of the enemies of the Jewish people (9:5-6) totaling 75,000 (9:16).

romeRome: Two primary incidents stand out. The first was a four-year period of conflict culminating in A.D. 70 when Rome destroyed both the magnificent Temple of Herod as well as the city of Jerusalem. The gruesome numbers: 1.1 million Jews killed and 97,000 more enslaved. About 60 years later, in A.D. 132, a second Jewish revolt occurred when Emperor Hadrian instigated the Jewish population by, among other things, banning circumcision and announcing he would rebuild Jerusalem as the Roman city of Aeolia Capitolina, and would construct a temple to the god Jupiter. The Jews – under the leadership of self-proclaimed messiah Simon Bar Kokhba – rebelled against the Romans. The results: 985 villages destroyed and 580,000 Jews slain.

Though the ancient Roman Empire is off the scene, its remnants remain to this day and will continue to the end of the age. The final vestiges of the Roman Empire will meet its end at the return of Jesus Christ.

The Nazis: In the twentieth century, the “apple of God’s eye” faced its most vicious of all foes, Nazi German and its madman “Fuhrer,” Adolf Hitler. Under his satanic “leadership,” the Nazis set out to obliterate the world’s Jewish population. The Nazis were defeated in 1945, but the murderous damage was done. The numbers: 12 million people slain, the Jews making up half that total.

the revelationFuture Foe: At the end age, Satan, through the Antichrist, will make one final attempt to destroy the Jewish people (Revelation Chapter 12). He’ll do considerable damage as two-thirds of the world’s Jewish population will be destroyed  (Zechariah 13:8-9). However, the remnant – the apple of God’s eye – will be gloriously and miraculously saved when “they [Israel] will call on my [God’s] name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zechariah 13:9).

Don’t Mess With Israel
Those who seek Israel’s downfall had better learn the lesson soon: Israel is the Apple of God’s Eye. Those who attempt to destroy Israel can expect God’s awful retribution. However, those who love and support the “apple of his eye” can expect blessing: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

Read the longer version here.

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