On Friday 23rd September I watched Benyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, tell the world that he was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah! Well, not exactly in those words, but in words that were so amazingly prophetic that I am sure he wasn’t really aware of the significance of what he was saying. He was responding to the speech of President Abbas in the United Nations, the speech in which Abbas made his claim of Statehood for the Palestinian Authority.
Netanyahu’s response was a brilliant speech in which he carefully set out the history of Israel and the region, and the conflicts there have been in our generation between Israel and its neighbours. He made it very clear that Israel wanted peace and wanted to negotiate that peace, but that in reality you cannot negotiate peace with anyone in any circumstance who does not believe that you have a right to exist.
As Netanyahu brought his speech to a close he suddenly switched into Hebrew as he read from the prophet Isaiah. But what he read was truly astonishing, for these were his words when he read the sentence in English: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light”, and then he said words that were effectively a prayer as he looked at his audience and spoke to the world as he said, “Let that light be the light of peace.”
He was quoting from Isaiah 9:2, which is the beginning of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy about the coming of Jesus – a prophecy which is declaring that the light that was to come was in fact the one we also call the Prince of Peace. Just four verses later Isaiah describes the light that was to come using these words: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Tears came into my eyes as I realised what I had just witnessed – the Prime Minister of Israel, a Jew, speaking words in the form of a prayer that were telling the assembled body of the United Nations that their only hope of peace lay in the Messiah, the Prince of Peace – the One we know who has already come and for whom believers are waiting with increasing expectation to come again. Indeed as we see the nations struggling to cope with the rapidly changing world situation many will be turning to the end of Revelation where John penned those words “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.”
Earlier in his speech Netanyahu had quoted from a famous Rabbi. Rabbi Lubavich, who had reminded him that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide. That darkness is certainly there for all to see. And it surely is true that only when the Light of the World pierces that darkness, and puts His feet down in Israel for the second time, that for the first time in history the world will know the peace that only the Prince of Peace can bring. Yes, Lord, come quickly. The world needs you now!
As I mulled over what I had just seen and heard, I sensed that what Netanyahu had said to the assembled representatives of all the world’s nations was of much greater significance than most of those present could ever have realised. It felt like a starting gun had been fired in the heavenlies, and that I had just witnessed a turning point in world history – the moment when the Prime Minister of Israel told the nations that only the Messiah can solve the world’s problems!
Footnote: If you would like to watch the whole of Netanyahu’s speech for yourself you can watch it here on You Tube: