Today when the facilities for a city or an area are being installed is said that the infrastructure is being established for that city or area. By this word we mean the basic installations, facilities, roads, etc. It seems that the word “infrastructure” also has some spiritual applications. For something spiritual to happen, the groundwork also needs to be laid. When we consider this we realize that God has been doing this very thing for thousands of years in Israel. Let us look at some truths concerning our salvation or spiritual infrastructure.
SOME AREAS OF SALVATION INFRASTRUCTURE
There are several things that clearly set off the Judeo/Christian tradition from all others. The Judeo/Christian tradition is anchored firmly in history while all the others are not. Let me clarify what I am saying. In Luke 3:1-2, we have this astounding historical summary: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.” John the Baptist was not just some wild-eyed prophet crying out in the wilderness. Rather, he was a man firmly rooted in history.
Through the millennia of history God has been active. He dealt harshly with Pharaoh in Egypt. He also dealt severely with Nebuchadnezzar and later he called King Cyrus his anointed. The Bible tells us: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Prov. 21:1). This verse may be applied to any king or leader past or present. God has been at work in history and he is still at work. On the other hand history has been at work on the false gods and has consigned their images to the dustbins.
Another thing that sets off our tradition is that it is part of an age-old stream of revelation. Buddha was a man who lived in the sixth century BC. He was a teacher of religion and he has made a considerable impact, particularly upon the Far East. Yet Buddha was only one man. He was not part of a centuries-old stream of teachers and prophets sent from God, all relating the same message. Mohammed likewise was only one man. Although he greatly impacts the lives of at least a billion people today, there is no age-old religious infrastructure from which he sprang. He desperately tried to borrow one from the Jews and Christians but he failed miserably to incorporate it into his religion. Rather, the resulting Koran is filled with numerous biblical and historical absurdities.
When we consider the Judeo/Christian tradition we discover it is ancient, with its roots going back to the beginning of time. For instance, from the fairly modern call of Abraham to our century is a four-thousand-year stretch of time. That time is crammed with religious developments, with prophets, priests, kings, psalmists all moving in the same religious stream. The Bible which records all this is not just the testimony or ideas of a single person but the labor of numerous inspired writers all confirming each other. The Bible contains 66 books written by some 40 different authors spanning a period of over a thousand years. It is unthinkable and astounding that such a composition could have happened and yet it has. It is a miracle!
In addition, there is a physical infrastructure of salvation in the land of Israel and particularly in Jerusalem to back up and testify to the biblical events. The importance of this is illustrated quite often in the archaeology of Israel. Today Mohammed’s people are claiming much of the land of Israel as their own, and they are claiming it from time immemorial. Yet, archaeological discoveries continue to uniformly reflect the ancient Hebrew culture with its language and heritage, much to the chagrin of the Muslims. On several occasions the Muslims, out of jealousy, have tried to destroy these emerging archaeological records. These archaeological finds testify to the truth, as the scripture also has said in Psalm 85:11, “Truth shall spring out of the earth” (NKJV).
THE IMPORTANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE
Why is infrastructure so important? Let us illustrate. Spiritual things are associated very closely with their natural counterparts. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:46, “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.” It is much like body and spirit. The two are very closely connected.
Suppose God had gone out into the dark world of the Gentiles and appeared to someone there. Suppose he had said, “Hi, I am God and I want to introduce you to my Messiah that you may be saved from your sins.” After his initial shock the savage may have answered, “But Sir, what do you mean by “Messiah,” and what do you mean by “saved” and
All of us are quite visual and we need pictures, plenty of them, if we are to understand spiritual things. It has taken God thousands of years to develop all the pictures necessary that man could understand even the simplest elements of God’s salvation. There had to be sacrifices, millions of them, so that people could clearly get the picture of sin’s awful price. There had to be the giving of the Law, that man could understand God’s ways and how he could go about pleasing him. There had to be a Temple that man might understand God’s holy and awesome presence. There had to be centuries of prophecy relating in the smallest detail the coming of the Messiah. At last, in the fullness of time, God himself came to visit this planet in his Son Jesus (Yeshua). So after centuries of preparation with his own people, the Messiah came as the full expression of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Now it is clear to everyone what God is like. He is like Jesus. He is love, light, truth, the way, the life and much more. Now men and women can actually understand, believe and be saved.
CONCERNING THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF ISRAEL
Our faith needs a base and a foundation. On one occasion the Psalmist said, “He has set his foundation on the holy mountain” (Psa. 87:1). Almost without our knowing it, the land of Israel and the Jewish people have served as a foundation for much that we believe and hold dear. The land of Israel is like a “fifth Gospel” that helps pilgrims understand the other four Gospels, and the rest of the Bible for that matter. It is partly for this reason that Paul tells us in Romans 11:17-18, “If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” We are part of something big and something ancient. We have roots and a foundation.
Today these Bible foundations are being destroyed and lost as more and more territory in Israel is surrendered to the Muslims. Great world leaders, kings and presidents have all encouraged the division of Israel. We could almost say that if every centimeter of Israel were given away, the world’s leaders would be deliriously happy. Few have understood that this loss will come at great cost to themselves and to Christianity. In Psalm 11:3, the Psalmist asked: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
On one occasion the Pope, who represents multiplied millions of Christians, met with the PLO’s Yasser Arafat. In the meeting the Pope joined with the Muslims in strongly condemning Israel’s hold over all of Jerusalem as morally and legally unacceptable. It is doubly sad that millions of Evangelical Christians would join the Pope in decrying Israel’s claim to the Holy City.
As a result of the long-drawn-out “peace process,”Israel has already handed over much of the so called “West Bank” to the Palestinians. Few seem to realize that this West Bank is the ancient mountain homeland of Israel. It contains most of the biblical cities like Shechem, Bethlehem and Hebron. These mountains are the very area promised to Israel as the place of their return and resettlement (Ezek. 36:8).
Also in recent months the Temple Mount has been illegally excavated and pillaged by the Muslims as they have expanded their existing mosque. Because of the peace process, Israel has remained silent about this. Israel has helplessly watched as ancient artifacts have been unceremoniously dumped in the Kidron Valley. One wonders what would be Israel’s reaction if chopped-up pieces of the Ark of the Covenant would be seen among
All this reminds us of the great importance of praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psa. 122). It reminds us again that we are to give God no rest until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa. 62:7). As we pray we can console ourselves that the Kingdom of God has never had a bad day. We are told that his government is ever on the increase (Isa. 9:7), regardless of appearances. In time, God’s great plan will be worked out and drawn to completion. Then God’s angels, saints in heaven, and those on earth, will
In that day there will be a Messianic reign of peace that will reach into every dark crevice of the earth. Indeed, as it is said in Habbakuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” At that time, what God began in Israel will come to a complete fulfillment. Nations and peoples will flock to Israel to learn of the Living and True God (Isa. 2:3). At that time his law will go forth from Zion and his word will flow from Jerusalem. The Lord will reign supreme from
his Jerusalem throne.
– Jim Gerrish
This updated article is presented courtesy of Bridges For Peace, Jerusalem (re-publication date, 2004).