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Israel: God’s Sign for the World

Note: This article is written by Pastor Thomas Peetz, and was published in Faith Alive Magazine.

Genesis 12:1-3
1-Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2- I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3-And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

When we talk about Israel, we are talking about Abraham and his seed, Isaac and Jacob whose name changed later to Israel.  The Lord said “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”   History will never make sense to the God fearing soul, until one factors in the significance of Israel into the eternal equation.  Every empire that has come on the scene had its destiny determined by how it dealt with God’s people Israel.  The Assyrian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and British Empires; and now the United States of America, have all seen this to be true. As the nations around Israel embraced false worship, there was a constant awareness of the one true God because of Israel. 

Trade routes coming up from Africa to Asia or Europe had to come through Israel by way of the Via Maris, a coastal route along the Gaza Strip. This was a continual witness and reminder of the existence of the one true God and how He manifested Himself to His people the Jews.  God’s city on a hill has been the lighthouse for the nations since its inception.  An ancient world map reveals something very interesting showing how God placed them geographically in the intersection of the known world, having their trade routes run right through Israel’s land.  This geographic orchestration is more than a coincidence, especially since this was before the technology of satellites to give a bird’s eye view of the total picture of the known world at that time. 

Among some Christians there seems to be much confusion concerning Israel and its destiny in these times that we’re living in.  Many have embraced the idea that Israel’s hour has passed and what we see with her today is a mere coincidence.  They base these things on misinterpretation of scripture and events going all the way back to the first century.  But that’s not what the scriptures state. If we as Christians believe that the Bible is the sacred writings, which determine our doctrines and belief system, then we must look at the full council of God and His Word.

All through the writings of the Old Testament, God has said that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews by way of an everlasting covenant. God is very specific on Israel’s boundaries, and to whom it belongs, the Jews.  (Currently only possessing a fraction of that which was promised to them) The seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are the recipients of the promise. Those who challenge that would find themselves on the wrong side of God’s Word.

Now let’s look at three very important chapters in the writings of Paul. In the letter written to the church of Rome, the Holy Spirit reveals some very important truths concerning how He felt about His people the Jews.

In the book of Romans Chapters 9, 10, and 11; the Holy Spirit reveals the heart of the Father toward the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Romans 11:1&2
I say then, Hath God cast away his people?  God forbid…..God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.

Also, let’s read Romans 11:16-36 in the KJV & NLT

The Spirit of God through the hand of Paul makes it very clear in Romans 11:16

And since Abraham and the other Patriarchs were holy, their children will also be holy.***  For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branch will be too. 17- But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree- some of the Jews—have been broken off.  And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in.  So now you also receive the Blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in God’s rich nourishment of His special olive tree.  18- But you must be careful not to brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off.  Remember, you are just a branch, not the root.  19-“ Well”, you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.”  20-Yes, but remember those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe God, and you are there because you do believe.  So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. 21-For if God did not spare the original branches He put there in the first place He won’t spare you either.

This is a stern warning to the church not to think wrongly  concerning Israel. This is exactly what the early church did. They began to call Jews Christ killers and all kinds of terrible things.

22 NLT-Notice how God is both kind and severe.  He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you as you continue to trust in His kindness.  But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.  23 NLT- And if the Jews turn from their unbelief, God will graft them back into the tree again.  He has the power to do it V24 NLT-  For if God was willing to take you who were, by nature, branches from a wild olive tree and graft you into His own good tree—a very unusual thing to do—He will be far more eager to graft the Jews back into the tree where they belong. 25 NLT-  I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud and start bragging.  Some of the Jews have hard hearts, but this will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to Christ. 26 NLT- And so all Israel will be saved.  Do you remember what the prophets said about this?  “A deliverer will come from Jerusalem and He will turn Israel from all ungodliness.  27 NLT- And then I will keep my covenant with them and take away their sins.  28 NLT-  Many of the Jews are now enemies of the good news.  But this has been to your benefit, for God has given His gifts to you gentiles.  Yet the Jews are still His chosen people because of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 KJV- For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.

31 KJV-Even so have these also now not believed, that through your (the church) mercy they also may obtain mercy.  32 KJV- For God has concluded  them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.

We the church are called to show mercy to them, just as He has shown mercy to us.

This reveals something about our Heavenly Father, when He can conclude someone in unbelief He then is wiling to extend mercy such as in the case of Paul himself in

I Timothy 1:13 “Who was before a blasphemer, and persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”  So here in Romans 11:32 “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, the He might have mercy upon all."  Paul here reveals how God can and will extend His mercy to anyone but also to Israel and we who are members of His church must realize that to much is given much is required and our Heavenly Father expects us to extend mercy to His first born as He has done so to us.

In conclusion, we as the church are witnesses to one of the most amazing happenings in history.  Back in the 19th Century there began a return to the land by God’s people, the Jews.  Slowly but surely they came.  From all corners of the earth, fulfilling prophesy after prophesy until a day came in May of 1948 when David Ben Gurion declared again Israel a sovereign nation.

Israel is here to stay and Jerusalem (God’s city) will be the seat of His throne, where Jesus will rule and reign for a thousand years. Israel is a sign to the world and especially to the church. Matthew 24:32,33 Jesus said “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when it’s branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know the summer is near.” The fig tree represents Political Israel, the olive tree, spiritual Israel. The establishing of the State of Israel the evening of May 14, 1948 fulfilled that parable of the fig tree. It signified to the world and the church, the day of the Lord was very near. We are there even at the door.

***Rom 11:16 NLT-- If the dough offered as first fruits is holy so is the whole lump.

Scripture References are taken from the King James Version KJV and the New Living Translation NLT