The spirit of drowsiness
by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf
"What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded (hardened). Just as it is written: 'God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day'" (Romans 11:7-8).
"For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep [תרדמה, tardemah], and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, namely, the seers" (Isaiah 29:10).
"And the Lord caused a deep sleep [תרדמה, tardemah] to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man'" (Genesis 2:21-23).
The Hebrew word tardemah means "deep sleep, stupor"; God caused a deep sleep fall upon Adam in order that He could extract one of his ribs from him and create Eve. In the same way God caused a deep sleep to fall on Israel in order ta create the Church. As He used a part of Adam to create Eve, God also used a small remnant of Israel to create His Church ("There is a remnant according to the election by grace" - Romans 11:5).
God created the woman to be the companion of the man, that is his opposite number (counterpart); in the same way God created the Church so that she might be at Israel's side, to be complementary. The purpose of God is brought together in a single people, His people and those who were not of His people (Hosea 2:1,25).
The shields of the land
"The princes [nadyib, prince, heart disposed] of the people have gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham, for the shields of the earth [מגנ ארצ, magen erets] belong to God; He is greatly exalted" (Psalm 47:9).
The purpose of God is to bring together the men with hearts well disposed towards Israel and to make of them a precious help for her: magen erets, shields of the earth. God knows that His people will always remain few in number in the midst of the nations, and so He has foreseen the joining of the Church to her so that the latter may be a shield over the land.
"I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I am also an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom he foreknew..." (Romans 11:1-2).
Has God rejected His people? No, God has not rejected His people, He even foresaw coming to her aid through the Church, as sentinel and intercessor. So God takes care of His people, Israel by means of the favour of Christians who are born again (those who were not His people, but who are now called His people because of Jesus the Messiah).
The Spirit of drowsiness
"For he Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep [תרדמה, tardemah], and has closed your eyes, namely the prophets; and He has covered your heads, namely, the seers" (Isaiah 29:10).
The spirit of stupor is not the fruit of chance but of sin:
"Therefore the Lord said: 'Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honour me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear towards Me is taught by the commandment of men'" (Isaiah 29:13).
Stupor has come upon Israel because she has distanced herself from God and Tradition has replaced the fear of the living God. Jesus, Himself denounced this hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Matthew 15:1-9).
We are in exactly the same situation as Israel, the (Second) Coming of Jesus is near and we must watch that Tradition does not distance our hearts form God. While their is still time, let us put away from us all idolatry so that what happened to the Israelites at the time of the first Coming of Jesus does not happen to us at the time of His Second Coming.
The End Times
"For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep [tardemah] and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying 'Read this, please'. And he says 'I cannot for it is sealed [חתם, khatam]'" (Isaiah 29:10-11).
When we are asleep, all revelation is for us like a sealed book. But as far as Israel is concerned, we must consider these words of the prophet Daniel:
"But you, Daniel, shut up the book and seal [חתם, khatam] the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase... And he said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed [חתם, khatam] till the time of the end'" (Daniel 12:4,9).
We are in these End Times announced by Daniel. Knowledge is increasing and God is revealing Himself to His people. As Adam did not remain asleep forever, we must consider that Israel will not remain so either; the spirit of stupor will be lifted off and the sealed Book will be opened in order that Israel may again read it and receive revelation from it.
Jealousy in the service of Israel
"If by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh (the Jews) and save some of them" (Romans 11:14).
How can Israel be led to come out of the stupor, since the words of the Book (the Bible) are sealed? On two occasions, the apostle Paul answers: "By provoking their jealousy" (Romans 11:11,14). How can their jealousy be provoked? By exercising towards them the mercy that we have obtained because of their stupor (blindness).
"... even so these (the Jews) also have been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy" (Romans 11:31).
When she recognises her Jewish roots, the Church behaves like a bride in relation to her husband, she is a precious help and she is complementary. It is only through such behaviour that the Jews will become jealous, they will see the grace of God which is destined for them manifested in a concrete way in the lives of Christians. That is when their hearts will come out of their stupor, recognise their sin, will repent and come back to Jesus the Messiah.
"And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again" (Romans 11:23).
Because the Jews will have seen the love and mercy of Christians towards them in a concrete way, they will come out of their unbelief. They will realise that it is of their own doing that they have been placed in this unfavourable position: the riches which were destined for them were given to the nations. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will again be grafted into the cultivated olive, for nothing is impossible for God! Let us never forget that it is God who will bring about the grafting. It is therefore by faith in the Messiah that Israel, as a nation, will be grafted into its own root (Romans 11:23-24).
"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'" (Matthew 27:40).
The Jews are the brothers of Jesus; and each time we take care of them (give them something to eat, to drink, welcome them, visit them etc.), it is as if we are doing it to Jesus. It is in this way that we shall be blessed by our heavenly Father (who is also their Father) and that we shall enter into our inheritance in the Kingdom of God which has been prepared since the creation of the world.