By ds Jan van Barneveld…In the Bible, God explains the works of his Creation to us. He instructs us on how to maintain order and avoid chaos. Most of the ‘laws and rules’ in the Bible are about believing in God and in Jesus, His Son and our Redeemer. However, there are also a few about Israel, one of which is particularly relevant and important. It is the law of ‘blessing and curse’.
Let’s look to the Bible first, so that we can get a good grip of what this law entails. After that we will take a look at the effect of this law throughout history all the way through to today. The law of blessing and curse was given to Abraham by God and then and through Abraham to Israel. The Almighty said:
‘I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’
We can be sure that ‘you’ in this verse refers to Israel, because the same promise was confirmed by a heathen prophet who was hostile to Israel. This prophet’s name was Bileam and he was from what is now Iraq. He was hired to curse Israel, but when he saw it, God’s Holy Spirit forced him to say:
‘May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!’
God Himself also sternly warns the nations about their attitude towards his people, Israel:
‘…For whoever touches you (Israel) touches the apple of his eye’
So you can see, the law is clear: Anyone that blesses Israel, or in other words, is good to the Jewish people, will be blessed. Anyone that curses Israel verbally or through their actions instantly curses also himself. Anti-Semitists, anti-Zionists and all enemies of Israel, consider yourselves warned!
Blessing and curse in the Bible
There are many examples of this law put into practice in the Bible. Here are just a few:
• The Pharaoh of Egpyt repressed the Jews and refused to let them go. His empire was destroyed and he was drowned in the Red Sea together with his army
• The Assyrian and Babylonian empires destroyed Israel and as a result were diminished. The Bible says: ‘Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, God of Israel, says: “I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria’ (Jeremiah 50:18). In 586 B.C. the Babylonians ravaged the temple in Jerusalem. After that the Medes devastated Babel. The prophet says the following about that: ‘The Lord will take vengeance, vengeance for his temple’ (Jeremiah 51:11). Besides examples of curse, there are also examples of blessing.
• Moses’ father-in-law was a priest of a heathen nomad tribe called the Kenites . They supported Israel and were blessed for generations. A part of that tribe was even included into Israel.
• In Canaan there was a city that found a sneaky way to make peace with Joshua’s army. That city, Gibeon, was spared when God’s wrath poured over that godless region.
Throughout history Following these biblical examples, we will name just a few of the dozens of examples from ‘regular’ history that illustrate the law of blessing and curse:
• Charles the Great (768-814) stood up for the persecuted Jews. In spite of warnings from the Roman Catholic Church, he appointed them into high positions in trade and in the government. He and his countries were blessed. He brought order, peace and justice to his large empire and has his subjects educated. Unfortunately, his son Louis the Pious discontinued such politics and before long things started to get worse.
• In the beginning of the 5th century, the Jews in Spain were doing well. And, therefore, so was Spain. Two centuries later, horrendous persecution started and so judgement followed. In 711 the Muslims of North Africa walked right over Spain.
• When the Jews were exiled from Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century, many of them found a safe haven in Turkey. At that time Turkey left its primitive past behind it and developed into a world empire. The sultan knew what he was doing. He noted that it was foolish of the king of Spain to chase out the Jews, because it would turn out to be a blessing for Turkey.
• In 1580, Amsterdam lovingly took persecuted Jews in and it soon became a large, powerful city. The Jews even called Amsterdam the Jerusalem of the West. Unfortunately, not much of that remains nowadays.
Let’s just look at England and the United States. In the second half of the 13th century, the Jews in England suffered severe persecution and were even banned from England in 1290. It was not until 1657 that the Protestant leader of England, Oliver Cromwell, allowed the Jews to return. England immediately prospered as a nation. The pro-Jewish politics were set forth by the Dutch stadtholder William III, who then became king of England. England then grew to one of the most powerful kingdoms the world has even known. At the height of its power, in 1917, England gave the Jews the right to return to the Promised Land, which at that time was called Palestine. That right was later officially recognised by the League of Nations and the United Nations.
However, a few years later, England betrayed the Jews by choosing sides with the hostile Arabs. As a result, England went downhill fast and in 1956 the British prime minister signed “over to you” to the president of the United States. Since then the United States has become the most powerful country in the world. To a certain extent they have defended tiny Israel from the rage of the surrounding Arab countries. But the U.S. has received many warnings from above. A researcher discovered more than twenty cases in which a disaster in the United States coincided with American pressure on Israel to give land to the Arabs. “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you” is a historical pattern that continues today.
The anti-Israel sentiment in the world does not predict good things! The rising anti-Semitism could just be the last drop when it comes to God’s anger about all the injustice and sin in the world.