Israel

5 minutes to read

 

The topic of Israel can generate a strong reaction. It divides countries and Christians. Many will ask why is it a foundational issue but the fundamental issue is not Israel, but God’s faithfulness to His Word. Psalm 138:2, Jeremiah 1:12.

The issue from the world’s perspective relates to a tiny 0.1% of the land mass in the Middle East and the only democracy in the region where Christians (indeed any belief) are able to worship freely. The issue from a believers perspective is being clear about what God says in His word.

All need salvation

We should all agree that all Jews and all Gentiles need to know and believe in Jesus as their Lord.

Why is Israel an important issue?

  1. The Word:
    • God will be faithful to His Word just as we want Him to be faithful in His Word for us.
    • There are many places in scripture where God declares His eternal plan for Israel. Jeremiah 31.31-40;
    • Mary, the mother of Jesus was promised by the angel that her son Jesus would reign over the house of Israel forever. Luke 1:32-33.
  2. Blessing or curse:
    • According to the unconditional promise to Abraham recorded in Genesis 12,15, blessing or cursing the people of Israel may bring blessing or not into your own life.
  3. The World hates what God Loves: 
    • Israel is described metaphorically as the “apple of God’s eye” which is a very tender spot. Deuteronomy 32:10, Zechariah 2:8. What God loves, the world and Satan will naturally hate.  The world will hate the Christian and the Jew.
  4. Salvation is from the Jews
    • The Church has largely forgotten that the covenant Jesus made through the cross is actually a covenant with Israel and we Gentile Christians are grafted into the promise.
      • John 4:22  Salvation is of the Jews
      • Jeremiah 31:31  I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel…
      • Romans 9:4  the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants……and the promises.
      • Romans 11:11-24 “..Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in…  [ie. the root is Jewish]
  5. Jesus return:
    • Jesus is most certainly returning to the land of Israel where Israel resides today and there is no mention of some group of Christians being there to meet and greet him.  Zechariah 14:4,  Acts 1:10-12.
    • If you believe in what is called the rapture which preceeds the second coming, all currently living Christian’s will not be on the planet when Jesus returns.
    • If Israel does not exist, Jesus will not return.  The Word indicates the reason for His return is Israel’s recognition of Him as their Messiah. Zechariah 12:10-14

Matthew 23:39

For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

 

What of the idea that the Church has replaced Israel.

  • Search all occurrences of the word Israel in the New Testament and identify one scripture where it is used in reference to the church. You will find none.
  • Given the primary focus of the Old Testament is on Israel, why would God dramatically replace them without being very clear in His Word about that action.
  • Most of those who believe this hold a very liberal view to the rest of scripture in that they do not take God’s Word seriously elsewhere.
  • Some of those who hold to the view that the Church has replaced Israel also do not believe in the return of Jesus and His Millenial reign. Some treat the book of Revelation as having already happened back in 70AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem.

So has God rejected Israel?

Romans 11:1

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! 

God’s unconditional covenants (Contracts) with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David – The Patriarchs of the Jewish nation

  • Genesis 12:1-3: The promise of blessing to Abraham and his descendants (later repeated to Isaac and Jacob)
  • Genesis 15: The promise of Land. This included an ancient contract ceremony where God walked between animals and made the promise unconditional.  Basically, God was saying that if I do not fulfil this promise, then tear me apart like these animals in which case He would cease to be God.
  • 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17:11-14, 2 Chronicles 6:16: The Davidic covenant that promised that an eternal King, a descendant of David (Jesus) would reign on the throne of David forever.

Israel’s destiny will only cease to exist if the sun and moon cease to shine:

When Israel became a nation once again on 14 May 1948 all arguments should have stopped, however, if someone wants to destroy Isreal, God has indicated how this can be done:

Jeremiah 31:35-37

35 Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name:

36 “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” 37 Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.”

As a believer in the Word of God, this should make you smile.  Just as God is faithful to you when you fail, so He will be faithful to Israel and His promises to them.

The Plan for Israel:

God always has a plan. The most overquoted verses in the Old Testament is Jeremiah 29:11 about God having a plan for you.  The problem is that these were God’s words spoken about Israel and not individuals like you and me and our jobs and life.  It does not mean it is not true for us, but the context is about Israel.  God’s plan is really about salvation.  His plan for them is the same as the plan for us, that we are saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth.  1 Timothy 2:4

Here are some points in God’s plan

  • At this time in history, whether Jew or Gentile, anyone who is saved, is saved into the Church.  Most Christians would agree with this.
  • When the Church/Christian believers are removed from the world in what is called the rapture, (1 Thessalonians 4:17)  then God’s primary focus will return to Israel.  Romans 11:25.

Romans 11:25 (NIV)

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,

  • Jerusalem will become a focal point of the World’s natural hatred for what God loves. This is being played out in the UN and across the world today.

Zechariah 12:1-2 (NIV)

A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. 

  • When Jesus returns, He will rule and reign over the world from Jerusalem and He will be surrounded by the Jewish nation. Psalm 110, Zechariah 14:16-17

Next steps

  • Check out teaching from the growing number of Messianic (Christian) Jews such as Amir Tsarfati at Behold Israel.
  • Learn how to present the gospel to Jewish people and pray for their salvation.  Paul’s heart in Romans 1:16 .. “first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
  • Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  The peace of Jerusalem will only happen when Jesus returns and establishes his kingdom of peace and so you are really praying for the return of Jesus.

Psalm 122:6

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.

 

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