Some years ago, we aired a series of Arabic radio Bible discussions under the title, God’s original purposes for the Hebrew nation. It was blessed with much lasting gospel fruit.
The Holy Spirit stirred the hearts of many Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa to understand the ultimate purpose of God’s call to Abraham: the coming of the ‘Seed’ or ‘Offspring’ — the promised ‘Seed of the woman’ (Genesis 3:15). Through his coming, blessing comes to all families of the earth (Genesis 12:3; 22:18).
Two couples from eastern Saudi Arabia were converted. At the time, there was no SMS text-messaging or internet available in that region. Through postal exchange over many months, slowly they were guided in understanding of God’s Word. They committed themselves to one another for quiet home worship and regular Bible study, fellowship and prayer.
The Lord used this as a nucleus for a growing congregation, mostly made up of extended family members. Through this group, another home congregation was started by friends and relatives in a nearby town.
An early message from the two couples said, ‘It does not matter to us, and should not matter to anyone else, that God chose Abraham and his descendants for his great plan … We are not Jews, but we are included in the blessing promised to our father, Abraham … We do not know if by blood we are somehow physically related to him, but this does not have any value. He is the father of all believers from all races’.
Lately, renewed turmoil over the status of the city of Jerusalem seems to be heading towards serious conflict in the Middle East. Some expect tensions for a long time, possibly leading to war. At the heart of the matter are the competing claims of Jews and Muslims over so-called holy sites. Christians are caught in the middle.
Thus, a new weekly Arabic audio programme based on the previous series has proven to be very timely. Since both Arabs and Jews claim to be descendants of Abraham, the series takes the form of two people discussing the subject of Abraham’s nation.
It dwells on God’s dealings with and promises to Abraham in Genesis, and on how he understood God’s plan. Scriptures teach us that these promises are fulfilled in Jesus’ earthly life and ministry in the place of sinners, resulting in the Great Commission, which transformed a symbolic, ethnic earthly nation into an all-inclusive, universal kingdom and church.
Jesus clearly spoke of himself as the great ‘I AM’, existing eternally before Abraham, who was waiting for his coming and rejoiced in it (John 8:56-59). New Testament writers affirm what Jesus taught for forty days after his resurrection, that all Old Testament Scriptures are fulfilled in him (Luke 24:44-47).
Abraham’s nation is currently the most popular of all MERF’s Arabic online radio programmes, available 24/7 at www.dardasha7.com
Many recommend and share the SoundCloud episodes with their friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The subject of Jerusalem itself is wonderfully explained by the apostle Paul in the context of his teaching that believers, Jew and Gentile, are God’s children and Abraham’s offspring (Galatians 3:26-29).
This was God’s plan long before Jerusalem became the city of David (Galatians 3:15- 17). Paul goes on to point out that the free, abiding Jerusalem, born from above, is the mother of all believers (Galatians 4:26), while the unbelieving, earthly Jerusalem, with her children, is in bondage in the same way Hagar, the rejected slave woman, was (Galatians 4:30-31).
The Holy Spirit also inspired Peter to declare that Jesus fulfilled what God spoke through Moses about the kingdom, priesthood and nation in Exodus 19:6. He tells New Testament believers, Jew and Gentile: ‘You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9).
We recently decided to air the programme live, getting immediate interactions with online listeners every Saturday. It’s exciting to see the interest and enthusiasm of the responses.
A lady from Egypt said, ‘This is great! So, we do not have to fight over earthly Jerusalem’. A listener from Jordan wrote, ‘I love it that Jesus freed us from all the idols of Jerusalem’. A young man from Syria exclaimed, ‘Thank God he chose Abraham to bless us all’.
Hallelujah! What a joy to belong to Christ’s body, from all ethnic groups and nations, the abiding, heavenly Jerusalem!