Nazarene Judaism and Modern Israel
James Scott Trimm
The Torah tells us that if Israel observes the Torah that there will be many blessings for us as a people (Deut. 28:1-14) but that if we do not observe Torah as a people, there will be many curses come down upon us (Deut. 28:15-68; Lev. 26:14-39). This curse came down upon Israel in the form of the Babylonian captivity (Dan. 9:10-14; Baruch 1:19-21)
However Leviticus 26 also says:
40 And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me: and also that they have walked contrary unto Me.
41 I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies. If then perchance, their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity,
42 Then will I remember My covenant with Ya’akov, and also My covenant with Yitz’chak, and also My covenant with Avraham will I remember: and I will remember the land.
(Lev. 26:40-42 HRV)
Despite the facts national repentance was still yet to occur, in 1948 the modern nation of Israel was established, primarily through the efforts of the secular Zionist movement.
The Kingdom Restored
There are many passages in the prophets which describe a great regathering of Israel which will be accomplished by the hand of YHWH:
11 For thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, here am I, and I will search for My sheep and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock, in the day that he is among his sheep that are separated, so will I seek out My sheep. And I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness.
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them upon the mountains of Yisra’el by the streams, and in all the habitable places of the country.
(Ezekiel 34:11-13 HRV)
5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west;
6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the end of the earth;
(Isaiah 43:5-6 HRV)
24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. From all your uncleannesses and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will take away, the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you, a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them.
28 And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people, and I will be your Elohim.
(Ezekiel 36:24-28 HRV)
Clearly these verses describe a regathering that is still future, and not merely the partial regathering that was accomplished by secular Zionism and which brought about the modern nation of Israel.
Modern Israel in Prophecy
The question may be asked then, where is modern Israel in prophecy, and how should we as Nazarene Jews relate to the modern nation of Israel?
The restoration of modern Israel by secular Zionism is in fact foretold in the Prophets, in the book of Zephaniah:
1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O shameless nation:
2 Before the decree bring forth the day when one passes as the chaff, before the fierce anger of YHWH come upon you; before the day of YHWH’s anger come upon you.
(Zeph. 2:1-2 HRV)
Rashi interprets the word "shameless" in this verse to mean "That has no desire to return to the Torah."
Here is a prophecy that the Jewish people, while having no desire to return to the Torah, would gather themselves together hoping to evade the persecutions YHWH had allowed to come upon His people via the curse.
This prophecy was dramatically fulfilled through the efforts of secular Zionism, to gather Jewish people to the land and escape the curse.
Nazarenes and Zionism
The fact that secular Zionism amounted to a human effort to regather Israel and escape the curse without a national return to Torah, many Orthodox Jews, especially initially, have stood against Zionism and modern Israel. Among these are the Satmar Hasidic Jews who frequently speak out against and protest Zionism and the modern secular nation of Israel.
So how should we as Nazarenes view the modern nation of Israel?
Despite the fact that secular Zionism created Israel, there are very good reasons that we as Nazarenes should support modern Israel through religious Zionism.
While Zionism on the surface was initially only a secular political movement, it was none-the-less a tool which YHWH has used to promote His divine plan for His people. There are many miztvot (commandments) which can only be fulfilled in the Land, and thus religious Jews are more than justified in supporting the presence of a Jewish community in the Land.
The famous religious Zionist Rav Kook said:
Secular Zionists may think they do it for political, national or socialist reasons, but in fact - the actual reason for them coming to resettle in Israel is a religious Jewish spark ("Nitzotz") in their soul, planted by God. Without their knowledge, they are contributing to the divine scheme and actually committing a great Mitzvah.
The role of religious Zionists is to help them to establish a Jewish state and turn the religious spark in them into a great light. They should show them that the real source of Zionism and the longed-for Zion is Judaism and teach them Torah with love and kindness. In the end, they will understand that the laws of Torah are the key to true harmony and a socialist state (not in the Marxist meaning) that will be a light for the nations and bring salvation to the world.
Regardless of how we view secular Zionism and the secular origins of modern Israel, the Jewish people have an obligation to fight for, and support the modern nation of Israel. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, the Sixth Rebbe of the Chabad movement of Hasidiam, taught that the nation of Israel should be protected militarily, regardless of its secular origin. His position was based on the halacha laid out in the Shulchan Aruch (Orech Chaim chap 329) which states that the Sabbath must be violated (carrying weapons) by the residents of a Jewish community (in any country) that borders a hostile gentile settlement, even if they are threatened in the most subtle manner. Based on this halacha the Rebbe taught that modern Israel, as a Jewish community, must take up arms to protect its borders.
The fact is that YHWH has given the land of Israel to the Jewish people and while the modern nation of Israel is not the ultimate prophetic restoration of the Kingdom of Israel (which will not be restored until the return of Messiah), it is a fulfillment of prophecy and a legitimate Jewish nation in the Land which we must support and which must be defended militarily. It is our Jewish homeland!
In a world where anti-semitism is on the rise, we as Nazarenes we should wholeheartedly support the modern Nation of Israel.
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