We are called to comfort Israel

Arno Froese

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” (Isaiah 40:1).

After reading chapter 39, we notice that Isaiah 40:1 is quite different. It appears suddenly, and has caused many commentators to shine the light on the Church and not Israel. Actually, the commentary of the Geneva Study Bible says, “This is a consolation for the church.”

One thing we know for sure: while we may spiritually apply it to the Church, when we continue to read, it becomes self-evident that this speaks of the people of Israel. Here is the proof: “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (verse 2). A geographic location is given, and that does not apply to the Church. The Church of the living God does not have an earthly inheritance. We do not have a headquarters, nor do we have one language. We who are sealed by the Holy Spirit, are present globally—all continents, all countries.

There is another noticeable statement: “her warfare is accomplished.” Obviously, not so at this time. Jerusalem is a controversy to the whole world, a stumbling stone for all nations. But note, “her iniquity is pardoned.” We know again that this is future. The prophet Zechariah speaks of it: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10a). 

There is more: “for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” This is not applicable to the Church but concerns the Jewish people. When reading Jewish history, it’s simply mind-boggling that these people did not cease to exist. The horrible atrocities they went through, the persecution they endured, and the slaughter by the millions is unparalleled. Think of the Holocaust; during Germany’s Nazi reign, six million Jews were systematically murdered for no other reason than being Jewish. It is this writer’s opinion that this qualifies as “double for all her sins.” 

From Biblical history, we learn that after Solomon’s temple was destroyed and the Hebrews were led captive to Babylon, the prophet Ezra confesses: “And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this” (Ezra 9:13). The punishment the Jews received at the hands of the Babylonians was “less than our iniquities deserve.”

When it says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,” this is speaking to the Gentiles. We are called to comfort Israel. That is why we stand behind this nation unconditionally. It matters not what they do or don’t do; it’s not our task to issue opinions or judgments. We comfort Israel out of respect for God’s chosen.

In reading Genesis 12, we note that the “I will” of God is repeated: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (verses 2-3). Abraham and his descendants were not required to earn the fulfillment of the promise: It is unconditional.

A striking example is recorded in Numbers 23. Balaam, the Gentile prophet, was requested by King Balak to curse Israel. But what does Balaam do? “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them … Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!” (Numbers 23:21, 23). Is this prophet telling lies? He says he has “not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” That is quite contrary to the report we have in Exodus; Israel was exposed as a stiff-necked people who continually rebelled against the Lord.

That is true, but we must understand that Balaam was a Gentile prophet; he had no business looking into the affairs of the family of Israel. He was not shown the iniquity and perverseness of Israel; it was simply not his business. Nor is it our business today to condemn or judge the Jewish nation—It’s in God’s camp. In Romans 3, the apostle Paul asked the question: “What advantage then hath the Jew?” He answers: “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”

During the many years and even decades of support for Israel, we have often been called various names, one being “Israel fanatics.” That, unfortunately, is true for some of us. But we at Midnight Call Ministries observe Israel realistically, with the full conviction that God has given them an unconditional covenant. The Lord Jesus Himself stated, “Salvation is of the Jews.” May these truths sink deep into our hearts, so we are enabled to truly, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”

Midnight Call - 11/2023

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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