I’m not a political blogger, but since current American leadership seems to be “un-friending” our best friend and deciding to buddy up with the trouble makers, I thought it was a good idea to look at what the Bible says about Israel.
I have read the Bible cover to cover more than once and God has given me a heart for the Jewish people. In reading their story and how it weaves together with ours (Christians) I feel as though they are my long lost brothers and sisters. True, many Jewish people have yet to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is their promised Messiah – but the eyes of many are being opened to that truth, which of course God has said all along would happen as the return of Jesus draws near.
It is no secret that Israel is God’s nation. God established that very early on and he makes it clear throughout Scripture that he will defend Israel. As Jacob (whom The Lord called Israel) journeyed through the land where Israel now exists, The Lord made it clear what his plans were.
“At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:13-15 NLT
If you’ve read the Old Testament, you can clearly see it is a story of Israel’s relationship with God. How they would be blessed when they honored him and lost when they turned away. Over and over again … blessings, rebellion, separation, repentance, redemption, blessings. (I’ve always found the fact that God remained their God even when they screwed up very comforting since the pattern of my own life resembles theirs.)
Once He broke into the scene in flesh, Immanuel (God With Us) – Jesus the Messiah – He didn’t suddenly decide that Israel was no longer important. He did, after all, choose to be born there. (Bethlehem) And when Jesus’ ministry began, his first “go” command to his apostles sent them to his own people.
Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” – Matthew 10:5-7 NLT
And as Paul, a Jew hand selected by Jesus himself to deliver the Gospel message to the Gentiles, went out to spread the world he further confirmed that Israel was still in the game.
They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! – Romans 9:4-6 NLT
Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. – Romans 11:11-12 NLT
I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. – Romans 11:25-29 NLT
As the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer, let’s not forget that Israel and the Jewish people play a big part in the last days of this earth.
Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.” And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God—144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel – Revelation 7:3-4 NLT
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. – Revelation 21:1-2 NLT
The fate of those that come against Israel is a whole other blog post, but let’s just end with this and remember to pray for Israel as well as for our own leaders.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. – Genesis 12:3 NIV