Not long ago in a statement referri9ng to the struggle between Christendom and Communism (Judaism, Stephen F. Wise, late rabbi for the United States said: “Some say its communism, I say it’s Judaism), a commentator declared: “...war will not be won unless...Western leadership is in the resolute hands of persons who have an overmastering sense of mission; men who are one hundred percent more convinced of the absolute necessity of a Christian victory over Marxism (Judaism) than the most ardent Marxist (Jew) is of his or her mission. The victor in this struggle will be the nation or group of nations most convinced of its cause. Faith will be the decisive weapon in this warfare.”
The conflict now going on in the moral and spiritual spheres, as well a sin the material and physical, is between the forces of good and the forces of evil; the one animated by the Spirit of God, the other by the philosophy of antichrist. In connection with this warfare, which Paul so aptly describes in Ephesians 6:12, we are reminded that it is necessary for the Christian to be armed fro head to foot, his armor consisting of both defensive and offensive weapons and equipment.
The apostle declares that the defensive equipment includes “the shield of faith,” and the warrior must also be armed by “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” In making the statement that the protagonists on the side of God must have just as overmastering a sense of mission as the Jew Marxist has, the commentator implies that this sense of mission must be based on complete and absolute faith.
What is faith? Let us go to the Bible itself for the definition. The first verse of the 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Moffatt, in his translation puts it:
“Faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.”
Thus, we have a very explicit definition of what faith actually is. As a matter of fact, it is the assurance of hope. We are all hopeful. As Christians, we have what is called “the blessed hop;” and this hope is not something merely visionary, but something actual and real, and made so by faith. Having faith, we are convinced that the blessed hope is a fact and that it will, in the not too distant future, be experienced. We do not know when, but we are sure of it nevertheless. That is the kind of faith Abraham had, of whom it is said:
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)
The 11th chapter of Hebrews, sometimes called “The Westminister Abbey of the Bible,” gives the roll of honor of the heroes and heroines of the past, who lived their lives by faith. For the faith was the absolute conviction and assurance of the complete an definite fulfillment of the promises made by Almighty God to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel, in the terms of the covenant upon which our past, our present and our future have been established.
As the writer in this chapter says, these people did not during their lifetime, nor did their contemporaries and those who followed after them throughout the centuries, experience the fulfillment of their hope. Of them it is said:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)
Concluding his argument, the writer declares of our progenitors:
“These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
Moffatt puts it this way:
“They all won their record for faith, but the Promise they did not obtain. God had something better in store for us; he would not have them perfected apart from us.”
In other words, we are the heirs of the faith of our forefathers held, the “faith of our fathers” about which we so often sing. We, in our day and generation, are those who will be the recipients of the complete fulfillment of the promises of the covenant, which until now have been recognized as real although perhaps afar off.
It is worth while to discuss this faith in detail; to remember that it is, indeed, “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” it is the foundation of our lives and it should be the mainspring of our thoughts and actions. We who hold these truths concerning the origin, responsibility and destiny of our Israel people, the people of God selected as His servant people, are often asked just what we stand for. What is our faith? How is it different from that of any other religious organization? That question is pertinent and deserves an answer. In our discussion of the true meaning of faith, we can supply the answer required.
First of all, we accept the whole bible and we believe God as well as believe in God. That is, we accept as true and binding whatever God says. We recognize and hold firm to the fact that God is a covenant-keeping God; that all His promises are sure and certain of fulfillment: “that what He had promised, He was able also to perform;” that “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance;” that God is, indeed, what He declares Himself to be:
“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6 )
We believe, too, that the Bible is, in fact, God’s Word written, and that what Paul told Timothy is absolutely true:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We are absolutely sure, too, that the prophets who gave the dramatic preview of the unfolding of the Divine purpose for Israel, of which we in our day and generation have witnessed so much concrete fulfillment, we are inspired by God, and that Peter was correct in saying:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:19-21)
Moffatt puts even more clearly when he says:
“Pray attend to that word; it shines like a lamp within a darksome spot, till the Day dawns and the day-star rises within your hearts; understanding this, at the outset, that no prophetic scripture allows a man to interpret it by himself; for prophecy never came by human impulse, it was when carried away by the holy Spirit that the holy men of God spoke.”
Again, our faith in God is strengthened by the knowledge of the fact that Christ, when her eon earth, confirmed and ratified ever word spoken y the prophets. He placed His seal of Divine approval and acceptance upon all that the prophets had spoken.
From the prophetic story of the Divine purpose for His Israel people, we are assured that God invariably selects people and chooses nations as His servants and agents of His purpose. He always works immediately; that is, through people. When He wanted to bring into being a people for His name, He chose Abraham and declared that through him and his descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. The descendants of Abraham eventually became known not merely as Abraham’s seed, but as the people of Israel. And to these people, charged with the responsibility of the demonstration and practical manifestation of what God has in mind for humanity, God promised perpetuity of existence as a nation, and later as “a nation and company of nations.” they were to have in their midst the Throne of David, concerning which God also declared it would stand forever.
There is no favoritism or national superiority implied in the selection of the individual or of the people for special service except they should be His Israel people. it is an honor and a vocation bestowed by God, never to be taken away, no matter how unworthy the recipients of the vocation are. It is not based upon any particular merit of the person or people chosen, but it is dignity and a heritage bestowed, in order that the people chosen may carry out their appointed tasks with humility as the agents of Almighty God.
As a matter of fact, God is very careful to declare that no favoritism is implied or intended. He made this declaration to the people He had chosen:
“Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy god: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)
Please note the tremendous importance of that statement. Israel WAS CHOSEN AND PRESERVED BECAUSE OF GOD’S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB/ISRAEL. These people who declare that Israel no longer exists are guilty of stating that God has not kept His promise. That is a terrible thought to entertain because, fi there is any single promise of God that He has not kept, and will not keep, then there is no promise of His upon which we can rely. If this were true, we would be “of all men most miserable,” and our faith in vain.
In connection with Israel and the Divine purpose, we know that, in spite of their national rebellion and disobedience, God determined to redeem them, and He did so by the Atonement wrought on Calvary. By the offering of His dearly beloved Son, He made it possible for Israel to be made fit once again for the responsibility which is still theirs. Thus we sing in the words of the Benedictus:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: for He hath visited, and redeemed His people; and hath raised up a might salvation for us: in the house of His servant David.”
Each time we repeat this song of Zacharias, we confirm our faith that God carried out Israel’s redemption in order “to perform the mercy promised to our forefathers: and the oath which He sware to our forefather Abraham.” The realization of the undeniable truth of all these things naturally bings with it the absolute belief in the necessity for individual and national acceptance of Christ as our Redeemer, Savior and our King. It further confirms the realization that we must become, in fact, Christian Israel.
First we must personally and nationally acknowledge the unrivaled value of the sacrifice made by our Lord on Calvary. Then we must recognize the fact that we are Israel, both by the selection of race and by the election of grace, for as Paul declares:
“If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
Accepting these truths, there will naturally follow an overmastering sense of mission. We will realize anew that we have bene called to service, to militantly fight against evil (not to sit around and do nothing). By the acceptance and practice of the commandments, statutes and judgments of Yahweh, we are to form the nucleus of the coming restored Kingdom, and prepare ourselves, and all with whom we come into contact, for the return of the One who is to be the absolute World Ruler, the Yahweh Himself.