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Osama bin Laden, Israel, and, Yes, America

By Bob Slosser Columnist

CBN.comChristianity Is Jewish. That was the provocative name of a little book by Edith Schaeffer, the smart (and pretty) wife of the great Francis Schaeffer, who together directed L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland’s Alps during the roaring sixties and seventies. Some of the best personal and world view theology of modern times emanated from the little community, through which passed hundreds and thousands of young people on their way to life and ministry in many nations of the world. I was blessed to know a number of their students who passed through the home fellowship of Gloria and I outside Boston in those wild and wooly years, when one had to be prepared for anything in those now-beautiful encounters with the student revolution and the Jesus Movement.

Mrs. Schaeffer’s book, issued by Tyndale in 1975, came to mind in recent days as I mused over the terrorist violation of the American self on September 11, a day that will certainly live in infamy. Her title helps one understand Osama bin Laden and his henchmen. Their hatred of Jews and their goal of eradicating Israel and all Jews has been well described, but what about Americans and their western allies and other friends?

I would like say to the President of the United States and the multi-cultural nation he governs: bin Laden hates all of you not only for loving the nation that fully and openly supports Israel more than any other in the world and thus stands in his way, but also for your Judeo-Christian faith and your American heritage, even where there are the differences belonging to democracy. Obviously, I realize that not every American is seriously Christian or seriously Jewish, but this nation was Christian when founded, and to many still is at least Judeo-Christian, certainly from a heritage point of view.

You must recall, Christianity was birthed by and grew out of Israel over many centuries. The coming of a Lord and Savior is forecast right after the creation of the human race, according to very ancient Holy Scripture, when God warns His adversary, Satan, that One would come "to crush your head" at a great physical cost to God (Genesis 3:15, NIV). From there on, through the history of the world Almighty God intervenes to tell more about the coming Deliverer.

For example, that Deliverer will come and collect followers through the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3). Meanwhile, Abraham is given Canaan (12:7) and the entire land becomes God’s in a special way – ultimately for His "treasured possession," the Israelites, a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6) if they obey Him and keep His covenant.

God narrows his forecast slightly through Jacob, whom He calls Israel, shortly before Jacob died in Egypt. Jacob blesses his sons, a serious matter in those days. When he comes to Judah, he says, among other things: "The scepter will not come from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his" (Genesis 49:10). The Deliverer would come through the line of Judah and would become a king and a shepherd (the scepter and the staff).

This brings David on stage where God speaks to him through the prophet Nathan about 1030 BC, a thousand years before the time of Christ, saying He will raise up one of his sons after David dies and establish his throne forever. "I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him. . . I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever" (1 Chronicles 17:11-14).

"Aw come on, Nathan! You must be dreaming. Are you sure God said that?" Can’t you hear the young king, still suffering remorse over his adultery? "Forever? Nobody’s throne is forever."

Surely God’s talking about Solomon, one would say at that time. But is He?

Many of us remember Handel’s "Messiah" more than we do the Holy Scriptures. So let’s think about it. The foundation for that musical classic begins in Isaiah 9:6 where the great prophet Isaiah penned these surpassing words:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this" (he will not take a poll or ask permission; he will just do it himself).

Yes, that is some king. The names of this child, the Christ, are marvelous and warrant full discussion, which we will undertake later. Many other references to the coming king were given to Isaiah, but again we will not take time to note all of them. Let me suggest that you look at Chapters 42 and 46 for prophecies of a servant, a light to the gentiles, and a bearer of salvation. And then Chapters 52-53 for a forecast of the suffering servant, the man of sorrows, and the unbelievable account of the bearer of Israel’s iniquity (as well the world’s), foretold around the years 700-720 BC. These will leave you weeping.

Finally, comes the forecast in Micah 5:2 – the prophet Micah being a contemporary of Isaiah -- that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah, the "Ephrathah" distinguishing the region of Jesus’ birthplace from the other Bethlehem to the northeast. And guess what? A king-demanded poll sends Joseph with his wife and child all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem Ephrathah south of Jerusalem to stay in a stable because there is no room for them at the inn. And that’s the town where an angel amid a cloudburst of the glory of the Lord tells a frightened group of shepherds, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).

From that poor little stable in that poor little town came the forecast King to rescue Israel "from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days" (Luke 1:24-25). And He is the source of Christianity, as Edith Schaeffer said.

Bin Laden, you don’t stand a chance!

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