The Significance of This Passover Attack

On Wednesday, March, 27, 2002, a suicide bomber walked into a hotel in Israel and killed himself, and over 20 Israelis. This is the latest in a series of escalating attacks against Israel, and will, of course, lead to serious retaliation by Israel. What many may be missing, in fact, some will not want to hear, is that the attack on Wednesday, taking place on Passover, has tremendous theological implications.

Hal Lindsay insists that Israel remains the chosen people of God. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma senator, said in a speech on the Senate floor, that Israel has the divine right to the land because of Genesis 13. It is no secret that one of the pillars of modern dispensationalism is the view that Israel remains God’s chosen, exclusive people.

In 1967 the Arab league, led by Egypt, attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is one of Israel’s most holy days of the year. It seemed, in the first day or two, that Israel was doomed. However, that war lasted, due to Israel’s amazing military prowess, only 6 Days. Millennialists hailed Israel’s victory as a positive sign that Jehovah was protecting her, and that, of course, we must be living in the last days! Let’s take a closer look.

Instead of being a proof that Israel remains as God’s chosen people, the attack in 1967, and the recent attack on Passover, proves that Israel is not in covenant relationship with Jehovah.

Read Exodus 34:23f: "Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year."

The promise here is simple and profound. As long as Israel was in covenant relationship with Jehovah, their enemies would not attack them during their holy feast days! On a recent Trinity Broadcast, I heard Grant Jeffrey saying that, "For 1500 years of Israel’s history, there is no record of a single attack against her on any of her Holy Feast Days." Of course, Jeffrey made no mention of the 1967 Yom Kippur attack. That would have proven more than a little embarrassing, for his point was to show how God had protected Israel for so long, and his citation of the 1500 years of protection was in that context.

It is tremendously important to realize that Jeffrey was (partially) correct. For 1500 years there were no attacks against Israel during her feast days. However, there were notable and highly significant exceptions.

In B. C. 586 the Babylonians destroyed the city of Jerusalem, and according to Josephus and other Jewish sources, that happened during the Feast of Pentecost. What is so highly significant is the fact that the prophets of the day, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, etc. clearly enunciated why God was about to send Jerusalem into exile. She had broken her covenant. The fall of Jerusalem was proof of Israel’s alienation from Jehovah.

According to first century Jewish historian Josephus, an eyewitness to the event, the ultimate and final destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 also took place during Pentecost, one of Israel’s three special feast days. What are the implications of that destruction in light of Exodus 34? Jesus very clearly said the reason Jerusalem was to be devastated in A.D. 70 was because of her disobedience (Matthew 23-24). Specifically, as the early church writers repeatedly observe, Jerusalem was destroyed for crucifying her Messiah.

Furthermore, and this is important, Jesus, followed by Paul and the rest of the New Testament writers, claimed that the Old Covenant World of Israel was to be finally cast out in that cataclysm of A.D. 70. Israel was to be finally cast out, for filling the measure of her sin (Matthew 23:29f; Galatians 4:22f). Her special covenant relationship with Jehovah would be forever terminated. This makes the events of 1967 and the present day event more significant. The protective umbrella of Exodus 34 would be removed forever.

The Seven Day War of 1967 took place on Yom Kippur, Israel’s most Holy Day. What are the implications in light of Exodus 34? They are clear and undeniable. And now, the attack on Passover on 3-27-02. What are the ramifications of this attack, on Israel’s Holy Day?

As David said long ago, "By this I know that You are well pleased with me, when my enemies do not triumph over me" (Psalms 41). David’s confidence sprang from the promise of Exodus. And yet, the reverse is also true. Anytime Israel was attacked on her Most Holy Days, it meant she was out of relationship with Him.

If Israel is still God’s chosen people, that Palestinian bomber should never have been allowed, by Jehovah, to attack during the Passover. If Israel is still God’s chosen people the attack of 1967 should never have happened. Instead of Israel’s victory at that time being a sign of her elect status, it was, and is, a sign of the direct opposite. It proved, and proves, that the Covenantal promise of Exodus 34 is no longer applicable. But if the Covenantal promise of Exodus 34 is no longer applicable, then the other promises of that Covenant, i.e., the promises of national restoration (e.g. Deuteronomy 30), are also now invalid, abrogated by Jehovah Himself.

Further, the attacks on Yom Kippur, and now Passover, also prove something else, a direct corollary to everything else. Either the Covenant promise of Exodus 34 is no longer valid, or, the people claiming to be Israel today are not the people of the Covenant of Exodus 34. If the Covenant of Exodus is still valid, but the people in Israel today were attacked in violation of Exodus 34, then what does it say about the identity of the people in Israel today? It says that they cannot be the people of the Covenant of Exodus 34.

Every time, and any time, that the Palestinians attack Israel during any of her three feast days, Bible students everywhere should be trumpeting the Biblical fact that Israel is no longer the chosen people of God.