Thursday, April 29, 2010

Health care cover-up

When the House of Representatives voted to pass President Obama’s health care reform bill on March 21, 2010, it was opposed by a majority of Americans. In addition to opposing the bill itself, many Americans objected to the manner in which the bill was passed. To avoid the stronger Republican opposition after the election of Scott Brown from Massachusetts, the house passed a previously passed senate bill and then both houses voted on a separate bill containing fixes for the first bill. This was unprecedented.

Now it seems that there was even more political chicanery involved in the passage of the bill. Several weeks after the passage of the health care bill, on April 22 Medicare’s Office of the Actuary released a report that was full of bad news for President Obama and the Democrats [1]. This report from a nonpartisan office stated that the reform bill will actually increase health care costs, in spite of President Obama’s repeated assurances that the bill would control costs.

Further, the report stated that the bill’s cuts in Medicare could drive up to 15% of hospitals and health care providers into the red [1]. These losses could lead to fewer health care providers as demand increases. This would lead to more limited access to health care, especially for seniors who depend on Medicare. Cuts to Medicare’s Advantage program would also mean that many seniors will face higher out-of-pocket costs.

The one bright spot in the report for Democrats was that the percentage of Americans with health insurance is estimated to increase. However, even the White House admits that the bill still won’t cover all Americans.

In addition to the bad news contained in the report, it was also revealed that the report had been submitted prior to the health care vote. Reports are that the report had been submitted to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius more than a week prior to the vote [2]. Sebelius’ staff reportedly refused to review the report until after the vote. Conflicting reports [3] are that the report was received only three days before the vote, which was not enough time to review it.

In either case, it looks bad for the Democrats. It is now apparent that the rush in getting the bill passed was related directly to the HHS report. In either case, the vote was pushed through on a Sunday so that the contents of the report would not be made public before the bill became law. The Democrats knew that bad news was coming and delayed it.

In fact, one HHS staffer said as much: "The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote, which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think" [2].

He goes on to say that the contents of the report were widely known in Democratic circles: "We know a copy was sent to the White House via their legislative affairs staff, and there were a number of meetings here almost right after the analysis was submitted to the secretary's office. Everyone went into lockdown, and people here were too scared to go public with the report" [2].

After years of Democratic complaints about governmental lies, here we have a black-and-white case of intentional deceit. While President Obama and congressional Democrats were claiming that the health care bill would reduce costs, they were aware that actuaries within their own administration were pointing out the flaws in their plan. Even now, more than a month after the vote, are still claiming that the obscenely expensive bill will actually decrease the federal deficit.

All of this points to the fact that the intent of the Democrats is to mislead. They know and have known the truth about their bill for a long time. They concealed the truth in order to deceive the American people and their elected representatives into passing the bill.

We can only hope that the American people will remember this deceit and the arrogance of the Democratic leadership in November.

Repeal – Replace – Reform


Kansas City MO
April 29, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

FDR's Folly - and what Obama should learn from it

Franklin Roosevelt has for years been given credit for shepherding the nation through the Great Depression. For decades, FDR’s New Deal policies were believed by many economists to have prevented a total collapse of the United States economy until the markets and industry could recover as they geared up production to supply the US and its allies with war material to fight the Axis powers.

More recently, a close examination of FDR’s programs has revealed that the opposite may be true. In FDR’s Folly, Jim Powell shows that many of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs did far more to hurt the economy and delay recovery than they did to help. Higher taxes, strict regulation, and centralized economic planning all combined to keep unemployment high and the economy stagnant for the entire decade of the 1930s.

The recession that became the Great Depression had its roots in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. In 1928 and 1929, the Fed increased interest rates and caused a severe monetary contraction. Powell estimates that the money supply actually decreased by 1/3 (chapter 2).

Powell also notes that many states had banking laws that prohibited banks from having branches. This prevented diversification and made banks weaker. Approximately 10,000 US banks failed between 1929 and 1933 [1]. In Canada, where there were no such restrictions on bank branches, there were no bank failures. Most of the failed banks were rural single-office banks (chapter 4).

Herbert Hoover, who was president when the stock market crashed in 1929, took aggressive steps to save the economy, many of which are similar to steps taken by congress and President Obama over the last few years (chapter 3). Hoover encouraged industry to keep wages high in spite of falling sales and demand. He tried to put people back to work with public works projects and signed the Davis-Bacon Act which required local governments to pay union wages, which helped keep labor costs artificially high. He also backed farm subsidies, which led to overproduction and low prices.

Further, Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930, which raised prices on imported goods. Many other countries retaliated by raising prices on American goods. The Revenue Act of 1932 also raised taxes. Other Hoover policies included restrictions on short sales of stocks and revisions to bankruptcy law that limited the rights of creditors. Hoover’s responses, and Roosevelt’s adoption of many of his policies, turned a recession into the Great Depression.

When FDR became president in 1933, he initiated a series of policies called the New Deal. Many of FDR’s policies took Hoover’s government actions and expanded them. One of FDR’s first actions was to declare a series of bank holidays, in which banks were ordered to close. Powell argues that the bank holidays actually contributed to the bank runs. People knew that the banks were going to be closed. They also knew that, in the days before credit cards, they needed cash. Their response was to rush to the bank and withdraw money while it was open… and solvent.

Another early action of FDR was to sign the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933. This law (repealed in 1999) created a wall between investment banks and commercial (lending) banks. It also established the FDIC to insure bank deposits. The separation of banks prevented diversification and required many of the strongest banks in the country to split into smaller – weaker - parts.

Deposit insurance eased the minds of depositors, but Powell argues that it also made people more risk tolerant. If people knew that their funds were insured by the government, they would pay less attention to what the banks were doing with their deposits. In turn, it encouraged the banks to be more risky with their depositor’s money because they knew that it was guaranteed by the government.

FDR also raised taxes dramatically. The Revenue Act of 1936 increased federal taxes on income, dividends and estates, while limiting deductions. The Undistributed Profits Tax of 1936 raised corporate tax rates and limited deductions for business losses (chapter 6). By the end of FDR’s tenure, the top marginal rates for both personal and corporate taxes were in excess of 90% (chapter 18). These high tax rates discouraged corporate investment and further slowed economic growth.

At the same time that federal tax rates were rising, local and state taxes were also increasing. Many states saw dramatic increases in their income taxes for individuals and businesses as well as higher sales taxes.

Congress actually passed the legislation in 1939 which would have reversed the higher tax trend. The Revenue Act of 1939 would have lowered corporate taxes to a flat 18% and eliminated the Undistributed Profits Tax. However, FDR refused to sign the bill into law.

Another massive New Deal tax increase was passed into law as the Social Security Act of 1935 (chapter 13). As originally passed, Social Security established a payroll tax that would go into an Old Age Retirement Account. Benefits for retirees would begin after January 1, 1942 (although this was later changed to 1940). This was meant to allow funds to build up to pay out benefits, although the program quickly became pay-as-you-go after FDR and congress depleted the trust fund in 1940.

The passage of Social Security slowed the recovery for several reasons. First, it obviously depleted the purchasing power of employees since the tax decreased their take-home pay at a time when wages were already depressed. Since employers were also taxed, it made hiring more expensive and discouraged businesses from adding employees. Finally, it removed money from circulation that could have been spent on goods and services because the tax receipts went into a trust fund for several years before they were paid out to retirees. The ultimate legacy of Social Security is an unfunded entitlement that is expected to go bankrupt by 2037 [4].

Since the US was on the gold standard in the 1930s, FDR could not finance his New Deal programs by unlimited borrowing and printing money as President Obama does. If people saw that inflation was rising, they could exchange their paper dollars for gold. One way that avoided this problem was by amending the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to be effective in times of national emergency. Under the authority of this law, FDR issued an executive order (EO 6102) forcing people to turn in all but a small amount of gold to the government. After seizing the gold, FDR increased the price of gold from the free market price of $20 to $35 per ounce [2].

Another intervention in private contracts was the Wagner Act (chapter 14), which established closed shops and banned company (in-house) unions. The Frazier Lemke Farm Bankruptcy Act of 1934 (chapter 15) limited the rights of creditors in an attempt to stem the tide of farm foreclosures. The Supreme Court ruled in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937) that the government could impose limits on the freedom of contract, such as establishing minimum wage laws. The assault on business was so intense that a 1941 Fortune magazine poll showed that 91% of respondents believed that a dictatorship and a loss of many property rights was imminent (pp. 86).

The New Deal also made use of vast public works projects to stem unemployment. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Public Works Administration (PWA) hired large numbers of Americans for make-work projects. According to Powell (chapter 7), these agencies concentrated their efforts on western swing states where FDR stood to gain the most politically. He also points out that many of the jobs that the government created were for skilled workers. Unskilled workers, who would have had a harder time finding employment, were left out. Additionally, government competition for workers kept wages artificially high, which prevented the market from reaching an equilibrium in which workers could have real jobs.

Another upward pressure on wages came in the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (chapter 9). This law contained a host of centralized economic planning measures. The law set minimum wages and minimum prices as well as production quotas. The law also made it easier for workers to unionize.

The effect of the NIRA was to push wages above market rates. Higher labor costs in a tight economy led many businesses to become more automated, which means that the price and wage controls actually cost many workers their jobs. Blacks were especially hurt because, at the time, they were excluded by many unions. If the company was a closed shop, where employees were required to be union members, blacks were effectively barred from employment.

Eventually, the NIRA was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court [3]. The Supreme Court viewed the NIRA as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the president and industrial groups. The Court also pointed out that while the constitution grants congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, the NIRA’s codes attempted to regulate and control intrastate and local commerce as well.

There were other New Deal laws that attempted to fix prices and reduce competition as well (chapter 17). The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 foreshadowed modern demonization of Wal-mart by making it illegal for wholesalers to give large chain stores cheaper prices than small retailers. The Miller-Tydings Retail Price Maintenance Act of 1937 also meant to protect small stores against chains by setting minimum prices. The Civil Aeronautics Act prevented new airline competition requiring licenses for airlines to operate. No new licenses were issued until 1978. The war against competition ultimately hurt consumers by keeping prices higher.

More price controls were found in FDR’s farm policy (chapter 10). The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1936 included price controls as well as output limits designed to reduce food supplies and prop up prices. Under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the federal government was responsible for literally destroying perfectly good food at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans were going hungry.

Ultimately, the AAA was also ruled unconstitutional in 1936, but it was replaced by the Soil Conservation and Preservation Act which reduced the acreage for food crops by paying farmers to grow grasses and legumes. Market orders (quotas) for farmers were revived by the Agricultural Market Agreement Act of 1937.

Another attempt to bail out farmers was the Commodity Credit Corporation, which made loans to farmers using their crops as collateral. If the price of their crops fell, the farmers had the option of keeping their money and forfeiting their crops. This arrangement chiefly benefitted wealthy farmers who owned more land. The Farm Security Administration also made loans to farmers. Powell notes that the FSA concentrated its loans, not in poor areas, but in swing states. Powell also points out that in spite of these programs, farm foreclosures remained high throughout the depression. There were simply too many farmers in the post-WWI period.

Eventually FDR was so angered by the Supreme Court decisions ruling his pet programs unconstitutional that he tried to remake the court (chapter 15). The court-packing scheme, formally known as the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, would have allowed FDR to add more (friendly) justices to the Supreme Court. The bill ultimately failed, but the justices, particularly Hughes and Roberts, were apparently so intimidated that they stopped opposing New Deal laws. Many New Deal programs were blatant violation of the commerce and general welfare clauses of the Constitution, as well as the 9th and 10th amendments.

One of the most celebrated organizations of the New Deal era was the Tennessee Valley Authority (chapter 11). The mission of the TVA was build dams and bring electricity to rural communities. While it was long considered successful, the TVA had its down side. For example, the TVA took property from private utilities and individuals through eminent domain. Powell also found that TVA states were slower to exchange agricultural economies for more profitable manufacturing jobs. The lower wages found in farm states reduced the demand for electricity.

Another perceived benefit of the TVA was flood control. The dams built by the TVA were supposed to help control the natural cycle of flooding by rivers. However, Powell points out that areas permanently flooded by TVA lakes covered an even larger area than that typically flooded by the rivers.

With the unprecedented expenditures aimed at reviving the economy, what was the result of the New Deal spending? FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, said it best when he told the House Ways and Means Committee in 1939, “We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work…. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt, to boot” [5].

In fact, in 1938 the United States had entered a depression within a depression (chapter 16)! New Deal policies favored labor unions resulting in increased labor costs as well as disruptions from strikes. In response, many businesses replaced their workers with machines. Tax increases decreased the amount of money available to both businesses and consumers. In 1942, the government started income tax withholding in order to get money into the government’s hands faster.

If the New Deal programs exacerbated the Great Depression, what did help the US recover? Conventional wisdom has been that World War II and the massive production needed by the Allies ended the depression. In reality, this spending was similar to the stimulus bill of our own day. It did put people to work for a limited time, but at the cost of a skyrocketing national debt. And when the government spending stopped, the jobs went away.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, both FDR and his successor, Harry Truman, wanted more New Deal policies after WWII [6]. This new New Deal would have included federal health care, government subsidies for housing, more make-work project, and “the right to a useful and remunerative job.”

Instead, led by Georgia Senator Walter F. George, then chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, congress cut taxes. The top individual tax rate was reduced from 94% to 86.45% and the amount exempt from taxation was increased. This change meant that an additional twelve million Americans paid no income tax at all. Further, the excess profits tax was repealed and corporate tax rates were reduced from 90% to 38% [6]. Additionally, FDR’s price controls were eliminated.

Senator George’s claim that the tax bill “will so stimulate the expansion of business as to bring in a greater total revenue” [6] proved correct. The US began collecting more revenue than it had when tax rates were higher and budget deficits turned to budget surpluses. Unemployment rates fell to a fraction of what they had been during the 1930s.

Powell points to other instances in which cuts in taxes and government spending helped heal economic problems (chapter 19). During the Panic of 1837, Martin Van Buren cut spending and taxes. In 1892, Grover Cleveland cut government spending to resolve a decline in prices. In 1920, Warren G. Harding faced the sharpest price decline prior to the Great Depression. Prompted by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, he resolved it by cutting government spending.

There have been other instances of tax and spending cuts stimulating economic growth. Tax rates were cut by Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush and in each case led to a period of economic growth and increased tax revenues [7]. Other presidents, such as Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and our own Barack Obama found that high levels of taxes and regulation led to economic stagnation, high unemployment, and rising inflation.

We can learn from the economic successes and mistakes of the past. President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, while well intentioned, were costly and ultimately not only ineffective, but counterproductive. The New Deal programs caused fifteen years of economic stagnation. The US economy did not fully recover from the Great Depression until after WWII when tax rates were cut and freedom returned to the markets. This success was replicated (and foreshadowed) many times in US history by spending and tax cuts in the face of economic problems. If the federal government continues to follow the example of FDR, we can expect a long period of economic stagnation until a future administration is willing to embrace free market concepts.


Powell, Jim, FDR’s Folly. Crown Forum, New York, 2003.

Manassas VA
April 24, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Does Obamacare really require implanted microchips?

A rumor has been floating around the internet that one of the provisions of Obamacare that we will find out about now that the bill has been passed, as Nancy Pelosi hinted, is that it will require Americans to have a microchip implanted in their bodies that will contain their medical information and be listed in a Medical Devices Registry.

The claims that I have seen center around two different sources. The first is an FDA publication titled “Class II Controls Guidance Document: Implantable Radiofrequency Transponder System for Patient Identification and Health Information.” This document can be viewed online at:

The document is dated 2004 and says in the “background” section that it is intended to help manufacturers “comply with the requirement for class II special controls.” It goes on to say that this will enable them to “market their device without being subject to the premarket notification requirements….” In other words, this is not a secret government plan; it is a document that gives guidance to anyone who wants to manufacture a microchip that can be implanted in humans. (The definition of a class II medical device can be found here:

This technology has been used in animals for some time. We have had several dogs with chips implanted with information to help contact us if they were ever lost. At some point, a company might want to offer a similar device for humans. Some people might find it beneficial to have their medical records encoded on a chip that they always have with them. It would be probably be similar to an internal medic alert bracelet.

Some of the claims on the internet also reference a medical device registry found in HR 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” This reference is moot because the bill never became law. The bill that was recently passed by Congress over the objections of the majority the country was HR 3590, “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” A search of the text of the actual law ( turns up no language similar to that of HR 3200. For example, the word “implant” is not found in the bill.

Additionally, of all the references that I have seen claiming an implantable chip mandate in Obamacare, none point to language in the actual law that mandate. The medical device registry referenced in the failed HR 3200 simply created a registry of all devices “used in or on a patient.” In other words, this registry would include all medical devices (e.g. pacemakers, dialysis machines, blood pressure monitors, and maybe even bedpans). What it does not call for is the mandatory implanting of chips in anyone, whether a patient in the now defunct “public option” or not.

To sum up, in a bill that never became law, there was language calling for a medical devices registry that would have included, among other items, implantable microchips. These implantable microchips had received FDA approval in 2004. However, there is no missing link between registering these devices and requiring them.

Obamacare contains plenty of things that will be bad for patients, doctors, and the economy in general. It is not necessary to create things that aren’t there. Reading things into the legislation that aren’t there (or into bills that did not pass) can only undermine the credibility of conservatives and opponents to Obamacare.

Additionally, the passage of the Bible that many people believe refers to implanted microchips (Revelation 13:16-17) makes no mention of health records. These chips, if that is what is being described, would be linked to financial records and bank accounts.

If you hear something that sounds too strange to be true, check it out.,, and are good websites to check out rumors (although does have a Democratic bias). Additionally, there are news sites that aren’t in the tank for Obama and the Democrats. If such legislation was real, you would probably have read about it on or in the Wall Street Journal ( If you only see a story in blogs, which refer you to other blogs or Youtube as sources, that should raise a red flag.

We live in a strange world and strange things have happened a lot recently. Pirate attacks are front page news. The government is taking control of industry after industry. The Democrats won an election based on promises of bipartisanship and tax cuts. Health care reform that actually increases costs and decreases choice is passed in spite of popular opinion. In this world, hoaxes can mix easily with real news. The bottom line is that if you cannot verify information from a reliable source, don’t trust it.

NOTE: I have not read the entire law. I have better things to do that read 2,000 pages of legislation. I am not a member of congress, after all! If anyone can provide a source within HR3590, “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” or some other verifiable document that actually shows a government policy of implanting of microchips in people, send it me. I would love to see it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Israel's fall and redemption

When I was a child of the ‘70s, I saw Star Wars for the first time in a theater when it was a new release. At that point, it was just Star Wars, not Star Wars IV: A New Hope. At the time, it seemed to be the exciting story of Luke Skywalker and his friends in their fight against the evil Empire. It was only years later, as the newer prequels were released, that I realized that Star Wars was not the story of Luke. It was actually the story of his father, Anakin Skywalker, and his fall into the dark side and ultimate redemption.

The Bible can be viewed in much the same way. On a small scale, it can be viewed as a collection of stories about people in ancient history, along with poetry and prophecy about the future. However, when viewed on a larger scale, as a single work, we can see that it is the story of the nation of Israel, its fall into sin and rebellion, and its ultimate redemption in times yet to come.

The Bible begins in the beginning. Most of us are familiar with the stories of creation, of Adam and Eve, and Great Flood of Noah, but also important are the genealogies that lead to the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Shem was the forefather of Abram (Genesis 11:10-27). Abram, in turn, fathered Ishmael (Genesis 16:15) and Isaac (Genesis 21:3). Ishmael founded the Arab race [1], while Isaac fathered Jacob. Jacob tricked his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that rightly belonged to his older brother Esau (Genesis 27:22-29). His name was later changed to Israel (Genesis 32:28) and his sons fathered the twelve tribes of Israel.

Genesis also contains God’s first promises to Abram, who is renamed Abraham. Repeatedly, God promises Abraham that he will be the father of nations with offspring as numerous as grains of dust (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-17, 15:7-21, 17:1-14). Abraham’s offspring were also promised possession of the land of Canaan, which eventually became the nation of Israel. God also says that he will bless those who bless Abraham’s descendents and curse those who curse them. These descendents were through the family line of Isaac and Jacob and became known as Israelites, Hebrews and Jews.

A covenant was also extended to Ishmael (Genesis 16:11-13, 17:20, 21:13). His descendents, the Arabs, would also become a great nation, but they would live in hostility with their half-brothers, the Jews.

God’s covenant to the Jews was repeated to Moses after the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus 19:3-6, 24:3). God’s stated intention was for Israel to become a nation of priests that would share God’s word with the world. In Leviticus 24, the Jews were promised a multitude of blessings if they obeyed God’s commandments, but they were also warned that they would be punished if they disobeyed. God’s warning eerily foreshadows the fall of Jerusalem, the exile of the Jews from their Promised Land, and centuries of massacres, pogroms, and racial hatred that continues to this day (Lev. 26:27-39). Nevertheless, God promises that He will never reject them or forsake His covenant with them (Lev. 26:44-45).

The Bible goes on to describe how, with God’s help, the Israelites conquered the tribes of Canaan. Under King David, the nation of Israel became unified and strong. David’s son, Solomon, was chosen to build a temple to the Lord, to replace the tabernacle tent that had been used thus far (2 Chronicles 28:2-11). The site of the temple was the site of an altar built by David where an angel afflicting Israel with a plague had been stopped the Lord (2 Samuel 24:15-18). There is also speculation that this is the same site where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 21:1-15) and where Jacob dreamed of a ladder to Heaven (Genesis 28:10-22), but this is by no means certain.

The temple in Jerusalem was the center of the Jewish religion until it was destroyed, not once, but twice. The original temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC [2]. Seventy years later, Ezra returned from exile in Babylon and led the Jews in building a second temple. This temple, often referred to as Herod’s Temple, was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 [3].

The destruction of both temples, as well as Jerusalem itself, was foretold in Old Testament prophecies in accordance with God’s covenant with Abraham. Much of the prophecy of the Bible consists of warnings to the people of ancient Israel and Judah that if they persisted in idol worship they would face divine judgment. Micah warned against corrupt officials who believed that they were untouchable because they were under God’s protection and said that “Jerusalem would become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets” (Micah 3:11-12). The prophet Jeremiah specifically named the king of Babylon as the one who would destroy Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple because of the evil that the people of Israel and Judah had done (Jeremiah 32:30-41). Nevertheless, Jeremiah also promised that God would restore the Jewish people back to their land and “never stop doing good to them” (vv. 37-40).

The second temple was destroyed after Israel’s rejection of Jesus. Jesus Himself predicted the destruction of Herod’s Temple (Mark 13:1-2). God permitted the destruction of Herod’s Temple because after the time of Jesus it was no longer needed. The destruction of Herod’s Temple and Jerusalem was also foretold by the Old Testament prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:26) hundreds of years before it happened.

The function of the temple was to serve as a center for sacrificing animals to atone for sins. The Levites served as temple priests who performed the sacrifices and interceded for the people. With the sacrifice of His life, Jesus assumed the role of both priest and sacrifice (Hebrews 9:6-28). After Jesus conquered death, there was no longer any need to atone for sin with animal sacrifices.

Many of the first converts to Christianity were Jews (Acts 2). In time, however, most retained the traditional form of Judaism for a variety of reasons. There was likely intense pressure from Jewish leaders who knew that Jesus had been resurrected, but who nevertheless attempted to cover up the fact to preserve their own power (Matthew 28:11-15). In fact, Paul, who later spread the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire, began as a Jewish official whose job was to persecute those who believed in Jesus (Acts 9:1-2). A good portion of the blame also probably belongs to gentile Christians who pressured Jews to reject their culture as well.

The Bible makes clear, however, that God never entirely rejected the Jews. In Romans 9-11 Paul discusses the question of whether God has rejected Jews because they rejected Him and His Son. Paul’s conclusion is that when Israel failed to uphold the covenant, God extended salvation to the gentiles in order to make Israel jealous (Romans 11:11). Paul goes on to state that when the full number of gentiles has been saved, all of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-27).

The Old Testament prophets also agreed that Israel would one day be restored. Jeremiah said that the Jews would be “brought up out of the land of the north and all the countries” where they had been scattered (Jeremiah 16:14-16). Ezekiel also foretold the return of the Jews to their homeland (Ezekiel 20:39-44, 37:11-14). Zechariah wrote that Israel would one day accept the Messiah as God pours out His grace on them (Zechariah 12:8-10). John also wrote in Revelation about a remnant of who would worship Christ (Rev. 7:1-8).

Part of these prophecies has already come true. After WWII, Jews from around the world returned to what was then called Palestine. The United Nations voted to create separate Arab and Jewish states in Palestine in 1948. The Jewish state, called Israel, was immediately set upon by its Arab neighbors. Israel’s very survival over the next six decades is almost miraculous in itself. However, it has not only survived, it has thrived. Its territory has been enlarged and it has become prosperous, even without possessing oil.

But the story of Israel is not yet over. There are more Bible prophecies concerning Israel that have not yet been fulfilled. One of these is Ezekiel’s vision of a third temple (Ezekiel 40-43). This temple has never been built and cannot be today because a Muslim mosque occupies the ancient Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock mosque was built around AD 638 and is one of Islam’s sacred sites [4], even though Mohammed only went there in a dream [5]. The Dome of the Rock is currently under Israeli government protection, although there is a group of religious Jews, the Temple Mount Faithful, who are preparing for the day when a third temple can be built. It is possible that the Dome of the Rock may be destroyed in the war described in Ezekiel 38-39.

There are numerous references in prophecy to a final climactic war in which the whole world is aligned against Israel. Zechariah wrote that Jerusalem would send surrounding nations “reeling” and that they would “injure themselves” trying to move it (Zechariah 12:2-3). Zechariah says that “all the nations” will fight against Israel, and then the Lord Himself will return to defend Israel (Zechariah 14:1-4). This may be the same battle described in the book of Revelation where the army of the Antichrist gathers at Armageddon and is destroyed (Rev. 16:16, 19:11-21). The Bible also warns us that the nations will be judged based on their treatment of Israel and the Jews (Joel 3:1-2).

The story of Israel is one of a fall from grace and ultimate redemption. But this isn’t only the story of an ancient nation and its people. The story of Israel is also an allegory for our own lives. Like the nation of Israel, we all cannot live up to God’s holy standard (Romans 3:23). We all face punishment for our sins and shortcomings (Romans 6:23). As God has supernatural patience and love for the people of Israel, He also loves and offers forgiveness for the rest of us (Romans 10:9-13). That is the real story of Israel and the Bible.

Happy Easter!