The Lion of Judah

When Israel Asked for a King

“When Jacob came to Egypt, … your fathers cried out to the Lord, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God; so He delivered them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the king of Moab; and these made war upon them. They cried to the Lord, ‘We are guilty, for we have forsaken the Lord and worshiped the Baalim and the Ashtaroth. Oh, deliver us from our enemies and we will serve You.’ And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the enemies around you; and you dwelt in security. But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No, we must have a king reigning over us’ — though the Lord your God is your King.

“Well, the Lord has set a king over you! Here is the king that you have chosen, that you have asked for.

“If you will revere the Lord, worship Him, and obey Him, and will not flout the Lord’s command, if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, [well and good]. But if you do not obey the Lord and you flout the Lord’s command, the hand of the Lord will strike you as it did your fathers.

1 Samuel 12:8-15 (JPS Tanakh)

A few days ago, I was studying Torah Portion Chukat on Shabbat. After finishing with the parashah, I turned in my Chumash to the Haftarah for Chukat, or so I thought. But instead of reading Judges 11:1-33, I inadvertently turned to the Haftarah for Torah Portion Korach, last week’s reading. You’d think I would have noticed reading the same Haftarah twice in a row but somehow I didn’t. I remarked to myself how interesting it was that we see the rise of the first (human) King over Israel in the Haftarah, and the fall of her greatest prophet and leader in the Torah reading.

Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock; and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?” And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod. Out came copious water, and the community and their beasts drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.” Those are the Waters of Meribah—meaning that the Israelites quarrelled with the Lord—through which He affirmed His sanctity.

Numbers 20:9-13 (JPS Tanakh)

King SaulOf course the connection I made between the two events was the result of a mistake, but it got me to thinking. Although God was to always be King of Israel, He did create a provision, should Israel “reject” Him as King, to place a human being, an Israelite, on the throne of the nation.

If, after you have entered the land that the Lord your God has assigned to you, and taken possession of it and settled in it, you decide, “I will set a king over me, as do all the nations about me,” you shall be free to set a king over yourself, one chosen by the Lord your God. Be sure to set as king over yourself one of your own people; you must not set a foreigner over you, one who is not your kinsman.

Deuteronomy 17:14-15 (JPS Tanakh)

But think about it. If Israel had been completely obedient to God in all things, they would never have asked for a man to be set over them as King and God would always have been (and would always be) King of Israel, making it the only fully functional theocracy ever to exist.

But without Saul being set over Israel as King, there would have been no King David, King Solomon, or a dynasty of Kings of the tribe of Judah and of David’s house.

And there would be no King Messiah.

Of course, if Israel had been obedient in all things, I suppose there’d be no need for a Messiah to return the exiled Jews to their Land, to rebuild the Temple, to restore the nation, and to defeat Israel’s enemies, since Israel would never have fallen and God would have always granted her great success, and she would have truly been a light to the nations.

But then what would have happened to Christianity? The Church wouldn’t exist at all. What would have happened to the Gentiles? Without Jesus, how could we be saved?

Interesting question.

I suppose this is where you get to say that God knew Israel would fall and fail and that the world would need a Savior, but what about free will? I mean, free will at least gave Israel a chance at succeeding. They made choices, and they certainly could have chosen to continually accept God as King.

But Christianity doesn’t believe in free will, at least the Calvinists don’t, so Calvinists would say that God programmed everything into the universe before He created it, thus mankind’s destiny was sealed before the creation of Adam and Havah (Eve) and before she ever gave birth to the first human to actually be born of woman.

lightBut in Orthodox Judaism, free will is accepted as the norm, and that humanity has free will in no way abrogates God’s absolute sovereignty over the universe.

So in Judaism, it was quite possible that Israel could have chosen continually to have God as King and not to demand a human King.

But as I asked before, if Israel had been obedient and remained obedient in not requiring a human being to be set as King over them, we would have no line of Israelite Kings, no King of the tribe of Judah and the house of David, which the Bible says the Messiah must come from.

There would have been (and would not be) no Messiah, at least in the body of Jesus Christ as lived, died, and lived in the first century CE. So what would have happened to us, to the Gentiles, if Israel never sinned?

Probably all of those New Covenant prophesies I’ve been talking about the past couple of weeks, such as the following.

Thus says the Lord,
“Preserve justice and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come
And My righteousness to be revealed.
“How blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who takes hold of it;
Who keeps from profaning the sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from His people.”
Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord,

“To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial,
And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord,
To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant;
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

Isaiah 56:1-8 (NASB)

“For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 66:18-21 (NASB)

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will also go.” So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”

Zechariah 8:20-23 (NASB)

These are only a few examples of the aforementioned prophecies, but you get the idea. There’s no reason why they couldn’t have applied to the nations of the world coming alongside Israel without the existence of Messiah. We Gentiles would simply do what Israel did, worship Hashem, God of Heaven, praying directly to Him.

Up to JerusalemThe present and the future era of peace would look a lot more like how my friend Gene Shlomovich describes it.

Why is this important? Why am I (seemingly) playing a useless game of “what if”? Events occurred as they occurred, not as I’m supposing them to be. Israel did ask for a man to be placed over them as King, there was a King David who created, by the blessings of God, the Davidic dynasty of Kings of the tribe of Judah, and from whom Messiah, the righteous branch, has emerged.

Thus Christianity was created, separated from Judaism at an “early age,” and took off on a totally divergent course from its original path, the Jewish path.

I’ll give you another “what if”.

Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times I have desired to gather your sons like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling! Listen: your house will be abandoned for you, desolate. For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of HaShem!”

Matthew 23:37-39 (DHE Gospels)

A few years back, a fellow I admire and respect told me that up until the moment when Yeshua (Jesus) said these words, if Israel had repented of her sins, Yeshua would have initiated the Messianic Age right then and there, leading Heavens armies to defeat the Roman occupation and fulfilling all of the New Covenant prophecies, establishing the final Davidic Kingdom in the first century.

For the longest time, I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t imagine how the coming of the Messianic Kingdom nearly two-thousand years ago would work without the Gospel message first being spread throughout the nations of the world, allowing the Gentiles to repent and be saved.

Then, when I was studying on Shabbat, it hit me. There’s nothing in the Bible, the Tanakh (Old Testament) that presupposes Messiah must come once and then come again. That’s why we don’t see a stronger picture of the Messiah in the Torah and the Prophets (although he is certainly there). That’s why it isn’t abundantly obvious to all Jewish people who study the Torah and the Prophets that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Messiah must come twice.

That’s why it isn’t spelled out in the Old Testament that we must believe in the Messiah for our salvation.

This brings disturbing notions into the light, such as the idea that history is variable and could describe any number of different courses and still fulfill the plan of God for Creation. It also means we have a great deal more to do with what happens to us, not just as individuals, but as an entire species, than we’ve been led to believe in Christian theology and doctrine.

ancient_jerusalemI’ve heard it said that if all of Israel, each and every Jew, were to perfectly observe even a single Shabbat together, then the Messiah would come. Of course, I’ve also heard it said that Messiah will not come until Israel and mankind have reached the fullness of rebellion against God, but is it too much to believe that either situation could be true?

Regardless of the different roads through time I’ve suggested, the destination is the same. God will redeem His people, restore His nation Israel, and elevate Israel as sovereign over all of the other (Gentile) nations of the world. That part is a given.

This is the Torah, if a person dies in a tent…

Numbers 19:14

In old age, we continue to seek wisdom and comfort in study. I fondly remember visiting Dr. Louis Finkelstein, the Seminary’s fourth chancellor, in his final years. By then he had long been confined to his apartment by Parkinson’s. Each time, I found him sitting at his dining room table with a folio volume of Talmud open before him. He often quipped that he was grateful to God for letting him go from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. And when he died in his nineties, it was mainly because his infirmities had finally severed him from the elixir of his life. I loved his ever-radiant eyes. He personified for me the conviction of the Mishnah that as students of Torah age, their minds do not unravel. A life of the mind sustains our engagement and growth.

-Ismar Schorsch
“Torah Study — The Bedrock of Judaism,” pg 548, June 30, 2001
Commentary on Torah Portion Chukat
Canon Without Closure: Torah Commentaries

The Sages (Brochos 63b) state that the Torah only lasts with those who die over it. This seems very puzzling since the Torah is for living, as it states (Vayikra 18:5), “And you shall live with them (the commandments).”

When doctors told Rabbi Akiva Eger that he might not live much longer if he continued his intensive study of Torah, he replied, “If I study Torah, I may not live much longer; if I discontinue my studies of Torah, I certainly will not live much longer. Doubt must not prevail against certainty!” (Jewish Leaders, p. 111)

-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
“Always find time to study Torah,” pp 343, 344
Commentary on Torah Portion Chukat
Growth Through Torah

I think this is one of the blessings of studying the Torah (the whole Bible, really) from my current perspective: being granted the ability to see God peeking out from behind the pages, peering through the spaces between the letters, and carefully revealing little bits and pieces not only of what could have been, but what actually will be.

I’ve asked before when Jesus returns, will we go to church as a way of really asking, when Jesus returns will there even be a church?

My answer, both then and now is “no.” “The Church” as it conceives of itself, especially in Evangelicalism, will not exist because it imagines itself as an entity directly in opposition to prophesy. All New Covenant prophesies describe Israel as the center of God’s vision and purpose in the final age, not a collection of (mostly) Gentiles ruling over the world, or worse, a bunch of (mostly) Gentile “floaty ghosts” (to paraphrase D. Thomas Lancaster) playing harps in an endless worship service in Heaven.

Of all the different ways Israel could have selected to respond to God, they all have a single result. God will restore Israel and consequently, the people of the nations (i.e. Gentile Christians) will come alongside Israel in obedience to God, in response to Israel’s King Messiah, and pay homage as vassal nations to the Sovereign Lord who will sit enthroned in Jerusalem.

The RabbiSelfishly, I look forward to that day, whether I see it in my mortal lifetime or in the resurrection, because I long for the days when a simple Gentile believer like me will have the opportunity to study Mishnah without it raising eyebrows (I wouldn’t even know how to go about it right now), when all of God’s servants will be able to find our lives in a “folio volume of Talmud open” before us. May that day come when King Messiah brings restoration and peace to Israel, and through his nation, peace for us all.

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18 thoughts on “When Israel Asked for a King”

  1. The Church will not exist? I won’t comment on that again.

    I do find your “what if” senarios interesting because it made me think of this verse: “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”

    If that is true, that would mean G-d is not quite in the box we tend to put him in.

  2. If that is true, that would mean G-d is not quite in the box we tend to put him in.

    That’s really the main point I’m trying to make here. It’s generally assumed, especially in more literal versions of Christianity such as Fundamentalism, that the universe could only have unfolded one way and that God pre-determined each and every individual event and each action each person has ever committed before He ever created the universe.

    But that’s pretty limiting of God. If God did indeed give human beings free will and yet at the same time is ultimately sovereign over Creation, then, while God’s plan starts at a specific time/place and will end up at a specific/time place (the end of the Book of Revelation), there could be an infinite or nearly infinite number of ways of getting from start to finish in terms of human history, especially if that plan has to take into account every possible decision every possible human being can make across thousands and thousands of years of time.

    The word “church” as we understand it today, didn’t exist in Biblical times. Looking at the Septuagint, the word “ekklesia” almost always references Israel or the corporate Jewish people, while in the New Testament, it refers to the body of Jewish and later Jewish and Gentile believers, more often than not in a Jewish synagogue setting. It wasn’t a term used to sever the Jewish and Gentile believers in the Jewish religious stream of “the Way” from all of Judaism and Jewish practice.

    Ekklesia came to mean what most Christians think of as “Church” only much later, after the schism between Gentile and Jewish believers and ultimately between Gentile Christianity and Judaism and *then* the Church became a wholly separate body, independent of anything that came before it, and completely self-sustaining, without having anything to do with Israel at all.

  3. I’ll make one response. There is a significant difference in Ekklesia.

    The Ekklesia in the wilderness were “called out of Egypt to assemble before G-d”. It was a temporary dwelling place.

    The Ekklesia in the Kingdom of G-d are “called out of The World to assemble before G-d”. It is an eternal dwelling place.

  4. The one common thread in your definitions is that the ekklesia is called out to stand before God. It sounds almost like you’re saying that the Israelites were temporary and “the Church” is eternal. I’m sure having read this and other similar blog posts of mine, you know I’m not going to agree with that viewpoint.

    Thus says the Lord,

    “If the heavens above can be measured
    And the foundations of the earth searched out below,
    Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel
    For all that they have done,” declares the Lord.

    Jeremiah 31:37

    That makes it pretty clear that Israel, that is, the corporate collection of Jewish people as a nation, are as eternal as the heavens and the earth.

  5. James said:
    “But Christianity doesn’t believe in free will, at least the Calvinists don’t…”

    I would say ONLY the Calvinists don’t believe in free will. Don’t stretch THEIR false doctrine to encompass all of “Christianity”.

    James also said: “But then what would have happened to Christianity?”

    Beware of doing to “Christianity” what the church has historically done to Israel.
    It is clear from scripture that God’s plan is for “one new man” that includes both Jew and gentile – brought together through faith in Jesus, Israel’s Messiah
    “Christianity” as a term should be no different in meaning than “Messianic” – it centres on Christ/Messiah. But unfortunately, since the time the word “Christian” was coined, it has been tarnished by those who have adopted it as a label but haven’t lived up to it in deed.

    James said: “It’s generally assumed, especially in more literal versions of Christianity such as Fundamentalism, that the universe could only have unfolded one way and that God pre-determined each and every individual event and each action each person has ever committed before He ever created the universe.”

    Again James that is CALVINISM not Christianity, it may be the thinking of the Calvinist church you attend, but it is not representative of informed Christian belief.
    The Universe unfolded exactly as God KNEW it would. He didn’t need to predetermine man’s rebellion, but He did predetermine how mankind’s rebelliousness would be dealt with. Jesus’s death and resurrection were planned even prior to creation.
    He created the answer to a foreseen problem long before that problem could happen.

  6. Steven said: “The Ekklesia in the Kingdom of G-d are “called out of The World to assemble before G-d”. It is an eternal dwelling place.”

    James said: “It sounds almost like you’re saying that the Israelites were temporary and “the Church” is eternal.”

    I can’t make any assumptions about what Steven meant by his comment, but I didn’t see him identifying Ekklesia with “the church” at the expense of Israel. I didn’t see Him identifying “the church” as eternal and Israel as temporary.
    I’d say that the Ekklesia (those “called out”) are the one new man: believers in Messiah who are made up of both Jew and gentile. There is no entry to “an eternal dwelling place” with God apart from Messiah. And that includes Israel’s part in eternity.

  7. It is clear from scripture that God’s plan is for “one new man” that includes both Jew and gentile – brought together through faith in Jesus, Israel’s Messiah…

    It seems clear from the Torah and the Prophets that God intended the Gentiles to come alongside Israel and for all the earth to worship God, but if Israel hadn’t asked for a human king to be placed over them, as I wrote in the blog post, there’d be no basis for a Messiah, Israel would have emerged as the “light to the nations,” and the Gentiles would be “saved” along with the Jews, but through another process. If you stop reading the Bible at the Prophets, it is a perfectly legitimate conclusion to draw.

    But the Sinai covenant comes with consequences for both obedience and disobedience:

    “If his sons forsake My law
    And do not walk in My judgments,
    If they violate My statutes
    And do not keep My commandments,
    Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
    And their iniquity with stripes.
    “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
    Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
    “My covenant I will not violate,
    Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.
    “Once I have sworn by My holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
    “His descendants shall endure forever
    And his throne as the sun before Me.
    “It shall be established forever like the moon,
    And the witness in the sky is faithful.”

    Psalm 89: 30-37

    My interpretation of these verses is that because Israel was disobedient, God honored His end of the bargain, so to speak, and disciplined Israel but did not abandon them entirely. Further, He honored His promise to David and his descendants, since after all, Israel *did* end up asking for a human king, and ultimately, it was (and will be) one of David’s descendants, King Messiah, Jesus, who will be the instrument of not only rescuing Israel and restoring their fortunes, but attracting the Gentiles to Israel because he said that as Israel’s king, he is the light to the world (John 8:12). It isn’t difficult to see how God guarantees the beginning of the path and the ultimate destination, but that, depending on what people do, particularly the nation of Israel, the exact line between the starting and finishing point is variable…very highly variable. We expect that everything has worked out the way it has because this was the only option, but we are limited in our sense of time.

    Things have worked out this way as a consequence of millions and millions of human decisions, and especially, since they are always the focus of God’s attention, the decisions Israel has made and quite frankly, the decisions Israel is going to make.

    We struggle with this concept because we are only human, but there’s no reason why an infinite and eternal God can’t exist within an infinite number of probabilities across all of time. Even if we say, based on various portions of the Torah and the Prophets, that a human/divine Messiah King would eventually arise to take the throne, how that was to come about might not always have been set in stone. Maybe a Messiah was only necessary after Israel asked for a king besides God. Everything the apostle Paul wrote, who after all, is Christianity’s number one first century theologian, he only wrote after history made it necessary for Jesus to be born and live. As I also suggested above, if Israel would have all repented, then it’s quite possible the Messianic Era would have started nearly two-thousand years ago (and if Messiah’s reign is supposed to be a literal one thousand years, then it would have ended long ago and we’d all probably exist in eternity by “now” if “now” makes any sort of sense after the end of time as we know it.

    I admit all this is extremely speculative and obviously, we have to deal with reality as it actually unfolded, but this does bring to light the fact that God, the universe, and our own existence may be far, far more involved than we could ever imagine.

  8. James, ALL of scripture needs to be taken into account. I suggest if you’re interested in what God’s aultimate plan has been all along – take a look at the furthest distance into the future that we are shown in scripture.

    One very important thing to recognise is that God has always had an ultimate intention for His creation and THAT is where everything has been heading since He set it on the way: a NEW creation where only righteousness dwells.

    He gave mankind free will – not enough to change the direction of HIS intended result, but enough to give us the freedom to become part of His new creation.

    There is no need to speculate on what could have been if…

    God is not playing catch up with man’s constant (unforeseen)disobedience. he is not having to come up with plan “b” and then plan “c” to salvage what he can of plan “a”.

    All along there has ONLY been plan A and things are running exactly as God knew they would to ultimately achieve the end result God had planned from the beginning. Our part in that “end result”: the new creation, is determined by our response to God in this life, in this creation.

  9. I think you’re misunderstanding my intent. I’m not saying that we change the destination at all, but rather, God has taken into account, probably at the moment He created the universe, all of the transactions humans could make. Regardless of what we do, God is still sovereign and we still end up in the place we’re supposed to. But I think, both on the individual level and the level of the human race, we make decisions that impact what sort of journey we’re going to have along the way.

  10. James said: “God is still sovereign and we still end up in the place we’re supposed to.”

    Our decisions don’t only impact the journey, they impact our destination.
    WE make the decisons that determine our personal eternal destiny. God has not chosen which individuals will be saved and which individuals will perish (despite the teachings of Calvinism). He has chosen the MEANS by which individuals will be saved:

    John 3:16 makes that clear. But also, the preceding verses make it clear that He has made a way, but He doesn’t enforce the acceptance of that way.

    The context of John 3:16 refers back to the time God sent poisonous serpents among the people of Israel. When they repented He did not remove the poisonous creatures, but He provided a way for people to be saved from the effects of those creatures. The people had to look at the snake on the pole to have the effects of the poison taken away. God gave them a way – but the people had to follow the way He had provided.
    He didn’t choose which individuals would be spared the poison He chose the way through which ANY person could be saved from the poison.

  11. I wasn’t suggesting otherwise and I’m no fan of Calvinism. I was saying that the universe, Creation, the culmination of God’s plan will end up as God wills. What happens to each of us is a consequences of our actions.

  12. Thanks for clarifying that James.

    I just want to make it clear though, that the coming of Messiah, the timing of His coming, His death resurrection, ascension and eventual return to earth to rule have always been the way God intended and according to the time table God intended.

    It was never going to be any other way and nothing mankind did (whether Jew or gentile) created a need for any amendement to that plan.

  13. Here is my two cents of understanding. The promise of a Messiah is in Genesis, long before Abraham. Separating Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from all people is for the purpose of identification of the promised Messiah. G-d performed signs and wonders for and by Israel so all the world could know the G-d of Israel is the one true G-d. Rahab testified of this and so did the Syrian Naaman the leper, both gentiles yet saved by their faith. Yes, G-d is so full of Chesed, that He doesn’t want to ‘do it all by Himself’ but allows us to partner with Him in the process of redemption, like a father lovingly allows a son to help in building something. We have freewill. Will we ‘partner’ with Him to help bring redemption to the world and share in the joy? He only needs a remnant. History cycles waiting for that generation.

  14. Getting back to that question about whether establishing an Israeli king was a good idea or a bad one, or whether it was HaShem’s intention all along, I was pondering, last week when we read the haftarah for Korach in which Shmuel excoriated the people for wanting a king, just why he seemed to think it was a bad idea. The answer to that question is not derived solely from Torah, in which the establishment of a king was perfectly acceptable given that the king conformed to certain constraints, including daily Torah study. Apparently the problem Shmuel saw was one of attitude, whereby the people wished to place trust in a king because their trust in HaShem was not what it should be. Under other circumstances, for example if their attitudes had been correct, HaShem might still have anointed a king at some point, in order to fulfill the plan He had formulated for human redemption from “before the foundation of the world”. Perhaps David would have been the first king as well as the prototype for the ultimate king.

    Many other questions beginning with “perhaps” also could be asked. Perhaps a thousand years wouldn’t have had to lapse between David and the Messiah ben-David, with the splitting of the kingdom, the decimation of the northern portion, and the Babylonian exile. You’ve already suggested that perhaps two thousand years might not have had to lapse between the roles of Messiah ben-Yosef and Messiah ben-David, avoiding also a second exile for most of that period. Of course, second-guessing history in such fashion is not much different from lamenting the original disobedience in Gan-Eden. So perhaps we should focus our attention on how to move forward from where we find ourselves, in obedience rather than disobedience, seeking righteousness and the kingdom of heaven (on earth) so that all good things may accrue to the account of our lives (Mt.6:33, anyone?).

  15. My main point wasn’t to try rewriting history but to illustrate how multi-dimensional God is His creation is. I agree if we seek first His righteousness, regardless of circumstances (or history), “all these things will be added to you.”

  16. I think that the most important decisions have been already made by God. All of those have already been written. All the decision we have to make is to follow His Torah (Instruction) or not. That’s our free will.

    Let me explain myself with a very personal issue I had to deal with a some days ago. My mother was at the hospital very ill, and on Monday the doctor asked me to take a huge decision: Should they perform all kinds of procedures and use of medical equipment to keep her alive in case of a respiratory failure, knowing that the outcome could be more suffering and getting her into a coma, or should they just let her go when the time arose.

    Let me tell you. THAT is a HUGE DECISION to make. How on earth a son can make such decision on the one person that has nourish you and carry you from the very first instant of your life?

    I had to go outside, look at the sky, claim to God for an ANSWER. He was so kind and love giving that He answered in a very short time. His answer was: “Who says that the doctor knows what is going to happen? Only I know what is going to happen with your mother. I am God.”

    After that, he reminded me of the following verse:

    Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
    See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
    But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
    Deuteronomy 30:11-20

    So, I chose LIFE. I went and signed an order to do all the procedures required if necessary to keep her alive the most time on this world, no matter what. My Father who is in Heaven had already taken that decision several thousands ago. All I had to do was to follow His commandment. He already had released me from such hard decision.

    My beloved Mother passed away on Thursday afternoon. The Lord took great care of her during the 11 days that she spent at the hospital. He took great care of me during those 11 days too. He showed me how much Love He had for her. He really did. I’m so grateful to Him. He is the best One that we can have at our side.

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