Israel, the Apple of God’s Eye
by Charles L. Feinberg
Written in 1964 and published in the book, Israel, in 1980
That Which Is So Precious
A man guards the apple of his eye because it is dear to him. It is considered by every man as one of his most precious possessions. The psalmist prayed to the Lord: “Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Thy wings” (Psalm 17:8). No one is interested in bargaining away the apple of his eye, nor in exchanging it for some trifling object. God considers the Jew as His precious possession. God has set His love on Israel and they are very precious to Him. Moses told them in the wilderness: “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:7–8). Second, the apple of the eye indicates that which is so easily injured.
That Which Is So Easily Injured
It is not necessary to thrust a knife into the eye to cause excruciating agony and injure it. A splinter, an eyelash, a speck of dust, or a touch will bring real pain. We need to be exceedingly careful how we conduct ourselves toward the Jew. He may appear without protector, but any injury hurts the heart of God, as He has repeatedly stated in the Word of God.
Third, the apple of the eye is that which is impossible to repair.
That Which Is Impossible to Repair
Parts of the human body can be injured and mutilated, and yet some type of replacement can be made. Hands, feet, and bones in the body have been replaced by skillful surgeons, or so treated that they are still useful. But the pupil of the eye cannot be repaired once it is severely injured. Some injuries to Israel, God’s people, cannot be repaired. How can the slaughter of six million Jews in Europe ever be repaired? How can this multiplied injury be righted? Impossible! And to think that everyone who touched them—let alone cremated them—was touching the apple of God’s eye!
Fourth, the apple of the eye is that which allows the light to penetrate.
That Which Allows the Light to Penetrate
The pupil of the eye is the entrance through which the light rays from without penetrate to the retina so that we may see the objects before us. Israel is God’s entrance way for the light of His Word and His salvation to enter the world. One day Jesus the Messiah said to a Samaritan woman: “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). These words of the Messiah and Savior were in perfect accord with the declaration in Isaiah (43:10-12): “‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you, so you are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I am God.’” This was the intention of God for Israel and still is.
Fifth, the apple of the eye is that which is so carefully protected.
That Which Is So Carefully Protected
Remarkable and abundant provision is made for the protection of the pupil of the eye, of which many people are unaware. The protection consists of: (1) the strong frontal bones (to guard against a blow); (2) the brow and eyelash (to protect against dust); (3) the lid (to guard against painful glare); and (4) the tear glands (to provide continuous cleansing). With Israel is the omnipotent power of God committed to protect them. The psalmist clearly recounts the protecting hand of God over His people:
He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as the portion of your inheritance,” when they were only a few men in number, very few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes: “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” Psalm 105:8–15
Remember, God’s hand of protection is upon Israel as a nation, and He will not suffer them to cease as a people.
That Which Causes Intense Pain When Injured
When a man’s pupil has been injured, he feels intense pain. And this pain can be so great that he becomes sick. To injure Israel is to cause God intense pain. He says: “In all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9). When Israel is mistreated, God reckons that His very name, His own excellence, is blasphemed (Isaiah 52:5).
We never dare to forget that he who touches Israel for ill will not go unpunished. Nations as well as individuals have proved the truth of this passage of Scripture. On the other hand, we must also remember that he who touches Israel for good, will not go unrewarded (Matthew 25:40). You, too, have something you must keep in mind. You must be willing to open your eyes to see the glory and the beauty of the Messiah or you will never be able to behold the glorious sight!