Arno Froese

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10). 

Bible readers know that, from the root of Jesse, David came, and he was born in Bethlehem. While David enlarged Israel’s territory up to the River Euphrates, it is of significance that the Gentiles are mentioned: “…to it shall the Gentiles seek.”

Later in history, it is the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, who specifically mentions the Gentiles repeatedly: “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust” (Romans 15:9-12). Five times we read the word “Gentiles,” who are admonished to rejoice, to praise the Lord, and to trust in Him. Trust in whom? Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem. Revelation 5:5 connects Him to the tribe of Judah, to the root of David: “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

Recent History
From 1920-1945, Bethlehem was under the British Mandate occupation. The 1947 United Nations General Assembly Resolution to partition Palestine, included Bethlehem in the special international enclave of Jerusalem, to be administered by the UN. Bethlehem and Jerusalem are two cities designated by the world to be internationalized.

Jordan had control of Bethlehem until the Six-Day War in 1967, when they lost it to Israel. But in the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords, Israel turned over Bethlehem to the Palestinian National Authority. When visiting Bethlehem today, a border has to be crossed. For tourists, the Israeli bus will stop, and the tourists will be transferred to a Palestinian bus for their sightseeing of Bethlehem. Today’s population stands at approximately 27,000, mostly Muslim Arabs (60%), with Christian Arabs at about 40%. The place of Jesus’ birth in the land of Judah is now controlled by Arab Palestinians, of whom most desire to have the nation Israel replaced by a Palestinian Arab state.

Doubtless, this is a prophetic picture of our times, for the King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel, has turned to the Gentiles. That is the experience Jews in the land of Israel have had for the last two millennia.

Cities of Refuge
When we read the Old Testament, we find that six cities were designated for refuge: three on the west side of the Jordan, and three on the east side. On the west side were Kedesh in Galilee on Mount Naphtali, Shechem on Mount Ephraim, and Kiryat Arba—today’s Hebron. On the other side were Bezer in the wilderness of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead with the tribe Gad, and Golan in Bashan with the tribe Manasseh. The prophetic picture is clear: Israel today is cut off from these ancient, Biblical cities of refuge.

What does that mean? In spite of often extreme difficulties, Israel, by herself, in her own strength, will withstand any and all attempts to eliminate the Jews from the land of Israel.

Israel is a thriving and dynamic modern nation—the only functioning democracy in all of the Middle East. We may even call Israel super-successful, but there is one thing lacking: it is Bethlehem, the house of Judah, the root of David, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

The prophet Ezekiel speaks of the return of the Jews to the land of Israel in chapter 36, and describes in detail how the Lord will restore the land for the people. Finally, in verses 27-28: “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” That is Israel’s future, and the insurmountable problems that the Jews are facing today with Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bezer, Ramoth Gilead, Golan, Kedesh, Shechem, and Kiryat Arba will be solved.

Let us constantly pray that many more will even now recognize the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world.

Midnight Call - 12/2017 

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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