Psalm 84:5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
The NIV translators flat chickened out and yielded to political correctness in this verse. The Japanese, in line with the Hebrew I am sure, says, “in whose hearts is the highway to Zion.” You don’t have to be hung up on the specific location in Jerusalem to understand that this isn’t talking in vague terms about “pilgrimage,” it’s talking about drawing near to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not to mention King David, who established the worship of God in the physical location of Zion. It is no accident that the movement to return the Jews to their ancient homeland was called Zionism as far back as the 19th Century. The Church is indeed the Body of Christ, but “Replacement Theology,” claiming that the Church has knocked Israel completely out of God’s plans, is a total crock. Yes, Jews need to encounter the Messiah for whom they have prayed all these centuries in order to be saved, but Paul is very clear, in Romans 9-11 and elsewhere, that God intends to do exactly that. Having “the highway to Zion” in our hearts means getting everything out of the way that is between us and God. It means taking our place in His plan, that assuredly includes the Jews and the nation of Israel. When our hearts are set in that way, it is a blessed thing indeed!
I remember my shock when Benjamin Berger asked me my position on Replacement Theology before he would let me interpret for him. I had never heard of it, and the very idea that anyone could read the Bible and hold to that position astounded me. I think my reaction greatly reassured him! I have never been to the geographic location of Jerusalem (though I would love to) but I have always, I think, been aware that I was part of spiritual Israel. I am proud that I was born in 1948, the same as the modern nation of Israel, and I have always taken delight in the accomplishments of that nation and of Jews in general. I am convinced that it is no accident that Jews have received an absolutely amazing proportion of the Nobel Prizes, ever since Alfred Nobel established them. At the same time, I am totally convinced that anyone who repents and believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for their sins and rose again is accepted as a spiritual descendant of Abraham. (Romans 4:11-12) My job here in Japan is to grow spiritual Israel, even as I pray for physical Israel. When we stand before the Throne, all divisions will be erased!
Father, thank You for helping me understand this so early on. Thank You for all the things You have done to confirm it in my heart and mind. Help me be Your agent however You want to use me, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your sovereignty established as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!