• Members of the anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta take part at a protest against the State of Israel, which they believe should not exist before the coming of the messiah, in the Ultra orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim on April 19, 2018, as Israel celebrates it's 70th Independence Day. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

He was with Israel all the time

Rev Henk Poot - 27 November 2018

One of my greatest discoveries in recent years has everything to do with Jesus. Never before did I understand how deep and how rich His character was. Let me explain.

Jesus is the Son of God and as Son of God He was already present before creation. The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews even says that God created the world through Him (Hebrews 1:2). Paul writes the same. He says that He is the “firstborn of the entire creation”. All things are created through Him and for Him and all things owe their existence to Him (Col. 1:16-17). The apostle John opens his Gospel by saying how in the beginning through the Word of God – thus He calls the Messiah before His engaging into Israel – all things were made. “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:3-4). I realise that the Jesus we sing about and to whom we pray is not always the Jesus who is life’s origin. As Son of God He was glorified in His presence with the glory He had before the world began. (John 17:5).

The angel of the Lord.
My discovery was that Messiah not just appears in Luke 1, but that He was with Israel in the figure of the angel of the Lord in all centuries before. Songs of praise being sung in church knew this much earlier, I discovered. Thus sings the “O, come all ye faithful”, about the birth of the Prince of angels and hymn 476 (by Cornelis Rijnsdorp in the Dutch old book of hymns) calls Christ the everlasting Word and God’s angel of Israel’s days of old.

Messiah was there
Apparently God manifests Himself in this manner amidst His people. I would like to mention the following examples. When God speaks to Moses from the flames of fire from within a bush (Exodus 3:2), the chapter begins with the announcement that “the angel of the Lord appeared to him”. When God puts Abraham to the test and asks him to sacrifice his only son on one of the mountains in the region of Moriah, it is the angel of the Lord who calls out to him and says: “Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12). We see Him in one of the nocturnal visions of the prophet Zechariah before God’s throne pleading for Joshua, Israel’s high priest and we read how He dresses him with rich garments (Zechariah 3). Daniel meets Him, the angel sent by God. He describes His body was like chrysolite and His face like lightning. When centuries later John has an equal encounter that looks the same, it appears to be the Messiah, the King of kings (Daniel 10 and Revelation 1:13). Psalm 34 says that “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers them” (verse 8) and thus speaks Isaiah. Isaiah says that the angel of His presence so the reflection of almighty God Himself, was distressed too in Israel’s distress and saved them (Isaiah 63:9). So, Messiah was there all along.

This discovery means a great deal to me. It gives such depth to the character of Lord Jesus. Here you see that the Son is really the One who was and the One who will come. And He is the One through whom God ultimately revealed Himself in the midst, in the existence, even in the flesh of the Jewish people. The angel of the Lord became a Jew. In Him was life; He laid down His life Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The One who called out to Abraham, would be the same as He who would sacrifice his own life in the region of Moriah! The very One! Who else could do it in such a way as He who is the Word and the Wisdom and the angel of the Lord and who always took care of Israel all along in the Name of God? God says of Him: “my Name is in Him.” (Exodus 23:21).

Commitment to Israel
Ever-increasingly I realise that Jesus never laid down His commitment to Israel. His exaltation and ascension did not end this commitment. It was the very glorification of God to be so deeply involved in the people He created with His love and devotion. Jesus, even after His resurrection is still Immanuel. This is still the case in our history and also in all those centuries before in which Israel in Europe went through oppression and vilification and massive killing. And so, also in His return, now!

About the Author