The Lesson of the Prophets: How a Sovereign Country Can Survive

In the distant past, it was prophets who warned the world of impending doom. Today there are philosophers and other thinkers who proclaim that it cannot go on like this. In a Talmudic lesson, Alain Goldmann, Grand Rabbin de Paris from 1980 to 1994, points out that the prophets were often threatened by the people because of their unwelcome message. The priests wanted to kill the prophet Jeremiah, but when he said he was the messenger of God, he was believed by the princes and by the people. The prophet Ezekiel was mocked. Isaiah laments that the people have turned away from God because “their hearts are dull, their ears are deaf, and their eyes they keep closed.” Only Jonah, who warned the city of Nineveh of impending destruction, was believed. The people promised to change their behavior and thus prevented the disaster.

Goldmann concludes that the mission of prophets is not easy. Usually they are dealt with harshly or mocked. The texts left to us by the prophets allow us to reflect on what is going on in our day. Even today, moral leaders often encounter resistance, they are often disillusioned, but the texts of the prophets offer comfort.

What does the exegesis of texts about the prophets teach us for our time? First and foremost, that a small nation can survive if the prophets are listened to. This was true even before the age of the prophets. When Moses, as the spiritual leader of the Jewish people, led them out of slavery in Egypt, the people rebelled when the journey into the desert was too long. They preferred to return to slavery in Egypt. However, Moses was able to convince them to follow God's commandments and to distance themselves from the idolatry of the Golden Calf (which we might now compare to the consumer society). When the Jewish people were about to invade the land promised to them by God, scouts were first sent there. They returned with the message that it was a very fertile land, where “the bunches of grapes were so heavy that it took two men to carry them”, but there lived giants who seemed invincible.

The Jewish people survived both the Egyptian empire of the pharaohs and the Babylonian empire. Greek civilization and the Roman Empire fell into disrepair. The Jewish people have survived all the great powers and have retained their identity. We see today how Israel manages to survive despite very hostile large countries as neighbors.

Second, the prophets reminded the Jews not to forget that they were slaves in Egypt. God saved them from this and He expects them, unlike slavery, to respect every human being, harm no one, pity the suffering of every human being. Egypt had to pay the price for the cruel treatment of the Jews and as a result fell into disrepair. In this day and age we see how the Islamic countries that want to destroy Israel are experiencing a lot of misery, fighting each other and being ruled by corrupt dictators without compassion.

Third, we can generally conclude that a small nation can play a decisive role on the world stage for thousands of years, while large, powerful empires are doomed to decline. Isaiah (27:6) foretold that “Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, filling the world with fruit.” That prophecy now appears to have been fulfilled: there are only 14 million Jews scattered throughout the world; compared to 1 billion Chinese and 1.1 billion Indians, this does not seem like much. But what teaching the Jewish people have to offer the world! Billions of people are inspired by the Bible. Those who look openly at the ethics presented in the Bible will recognize that this is the way to a humane world, without war, where all people are treated justly, where our relationships are defined by unconditional and selfless love for our neighbor.

Israel is the Light of the world

Jerusalem was the spiritual center that propagated this ethic, which is why great empires wanted to destroy the Jewish people. The Jewish people stand for tolerance, for equality and fraternity. Today, the anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel is inspired by demonic forces that want to prevent the world from becoming a Kingdom of God. The role Israel is now playing in the Middle East can apply to the world as a whole, as an example of how in an arid country humans can create a prosperous state where people live in freedom.

Finally, we can see the teachings of the prophets as a plea to listen to today's thinkers who are warning the world and pointing out what needs to change and how. This mainly concerns thinkers who are inspired by the Higher, who are not afraid to stand up for a truth that comes from elsewhere. Many in the West are so unwise to think that Christianity, as a legacy of Judaism, is on the brink of death. It is not because so many people have become unchurched, that the ethics proclaimed in the Bible has therefore lost value. We therefore need fighters who, against the tide, can convince people of the mandate of every man to love his neighbor, even if that neighbor is an enemy, someone who believes otherwise, someone who is apostate or if the neighbor is worthless in the eyes of the world.

The wars and the threats of war can only be prevented by ethics. A spiritual revival is needed for humanity to come to its senses. The Jews and Christians can play an indispensable role here in transmitting biblical ethics through their example and charism.

Finally, an example regarding climate change. Now salvation is expected from science and technology. I suspect that this is a deadly path and some large countries will not keep to the agreements. The solution lies in a spiritual revival, where the consumer society makes way for a world where people live frugally, where they put the interests of others - also in an international context - above self-interest and where parenting, excellent education for all children and care is given priority.

I would like to end here with some proposals for a new policy in this time when so many threats are coming our way:

  1. Sovereign countries have the best chance of surviving the apocalyptic developments that are underway. For that reason, the European Union must be dissolved and replaced by a European Confederation of sovereign countries, which also includes Russia and Israel. Vienna becomes the political center of this confederation.
  2. Our civilization must be proclaimed as a Judeo-Christian civilization where the ethics of the Bible is the measure of policy and is transmitted in child raising and education. Jerusalem becomes the spiritual center of Western civilization.
  3. There is no place for Muslims within the European Confederation, not even in Israel. With the latter, Israel will no longer be forced to use its weapons in defense against the Muslims. However, every effort is being made from within the confederation to support Islamic countries to bring about peace, well-being and prosperity. Returned immigrants can play a crucial role in this.The same goes for the blacks who have to take responsibility for black Africa so that all children can go to good schools there, that there is high-quality health care accessible to all and so that comes an end to deep poverty.
  4. We are destructing planet earth more and more. Oceans are also hopelessly polluted and the seas are crammed with wind farms. Biodiversity is declining alarmingly. With the rise of the sea level, a new Deluge awaits us. Here the West can set an example of responsible behavior. The idols of materialism and consumerism will no longer be worshipped. Industrial production and consumption of non-vital products are reduced by 90 percent.
  5. In its place comes a spiritual age where the people live as in large, self-sufficient abbeys where the members remain for life and great togetherness prevails or as in the Amish community . If everyone on Earth had to live like the Amish, the destruction of our planet would end and we would create a paradise on Earth.
  6. It is not the job of the West to criticize other countries. No sanctions are imposed. There are no sermons about Human Rights to lecture others. We need only give the example of how a 'Kingdom of God' can be established on earth. In this way, together with the Jews, the entire Western civilization can bear fruit all over the world.

The above may be an unwelcome message. I can do nothing but affirm its absolute necessity if we are to prevent a man-made apocalypse. In a very distant past the people of Nineveh listened and all was well again. I fear that we are now going to live a very exciting time, with unprecedented disasters and aggression. That's the sour apple we'll have to bite through. If the above six propositions are followed, then after a very difficult period comes the best century ever for all mankind. 

September 7, 2022

   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024