FINAL EPISODE: Israeli Identity
This week (Oct 7) on Shabbat Night Live, Israel’s people have been divided, and today is no different. Aaron Lipkin gives us a local’s perspective on Israel’s politics, why each faction seems so resistant to change, and why it’s important to understand what’s going on.
Plus, you’ll learn of an exciting opportunity to visit the Holy Land!
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) What is the ultimate challenge for present-day believers who encounter modern communities constructed upon important ancient sites in Israel? Aside from recognizing the inevitable march of progress, how should they negotiate the dynamic between commemoration and deference to the presence of Arab citizens in this nation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) In light of the presence of women in the harvest feast described in Judges 21:20-21, how might a contemporary recognition of the Ephraimite culture among today’s faithful serve to shed light on women’s emancipation efforts that are occurring throughout much of the Muslim world? Might the daughter of Jephthah become a new feminist icon of Western culture?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) Why is it important for believers who visit Israel to recognize the perennial importance of natural springs as a source of water for this region? How does the origin of ancient villages in these locations, which have become significant sites for pilgrimage, demonstrate the providence of YeHoVaH in their longevity, despite recurrent territorial conflicts?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) What is the importance for today’s faithful of Jacob’s seclusion in a remote area while fleeing from his vengeful brother? Why is it crucial to recognize that his extraordinary vision of the ladder reaching to heaven occurs away from his destination of Haran and in a place of desolation and discomfort? How does his act of anointing a makeshift pillar (Genesis 28: 17-18) constitute an ironic yet powerfully symbolic gesture?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) Similarly, how does Josiah’s desecration of Jeroboam’s pagan temple at this presumed site reinforce both the breadth and indisputable power of YeHoVaH in Jacob’s vision and the demarcation of sacred places through the identity of his chosen servants? How should present-day believers assess this factor in their particular affinities with biblical patriarchs?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 40:00) How should seekers of salvation assess the complex and even contradictory ethos of modern Israel – vulnerable to threats from surrounding nations and riven with conflict inside of its own government and among its citizenry? How can believers throughout evangelical Christianity reconcile such instability with chapters of Hebrew history and the prophetic revelations of the future?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 43:00) Similarly, what is the likelihood of Israel’s avoidance of the personality cult syndrome that has afflicted many Western political nations in recent decades? How does its ambivalence over a figure like Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate its maintenance of a critical perspective that is based on the fundamental consideration of the nation’s survival and future relevance?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 46:00) How might the present-day equivalents in Israel of Jeshurun – largely secular, left-wing, and outward-looking in political orientation – become a crucial faction in combatting the unwelcome rise of postmillennial antisemitism? How could this fractious element ironically be viewed as a source of reconciliation for reactionary individuals who remain ignorant of Hebrew history and culture?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 50:00) Similarly, how might the divisions between the three major political alignments in Israeli politics be viewed as a seemingly intractable conflict that is actually part of a divine plan for the nation’s ultimate security and prominence on the world stage? What elements here suggest a potential for enduring peace with the hostile nations that have so frequently sought the country’s destruction?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 51:00) How does the decadence of the Roman Empire during the time of Yeshua, wherein spiritual coherence was rapidly deteriorating owing to the proliferation of pagan gods, suggest our present-day condition of spiritual malaise in the Western world, much of which is internally fragmented both politically and culturally? Who are the Jeshurun of the present day who might effect greater reconciliation?