IS GOD REALLY FINISHED WITH ISRAEL?
Many mainline Christian and Reconstructionist churches teach that the Jewish people and modern Israel are out of the picture of Biblical prophesy. They say that because ancient Israel was disobedient to God and as a nation did not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah 1,958 years ago, God abandoned them and replaced them with the Church. Today, they say, the Christian Church is the New Israel and all as yet unfulfilled Biblical prophesies and promises relate to Christians, not to Israel and the Jewish people. Is that true?
Read Romans 11:25-29. The bottom line is this, "For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." In other words, once given, always given, once called, always always called. I'm sure glad of that, aren't you? Because the same holds true for any believer. If my being one of God's kids depended on my perfect obedience to His will, I'd be in really bad shape. The church is called the "elect of God" or the "chosen ones," which means He chose us, even if we did say "amen" to that choice.
In Romans 8:33, we are assured--"Who will bring a charge against God's elect (His chosen ones)? God is the one Who justifies; who is the one who condemns." And in verse 38 and 39 of Romans 8, this promise: "that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, now height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Isn't that a relief, knowing our heavenly eternity is in God's hands and not our own?
What's true of us is true also of Israel. Please turn to Deut 7:6-8 and read those verses. God did not choose Israel because they were special, no more than He chose believers in Jesus to be part of His church because we are special. God's choosing is simply the expression of the fact He is sovereign. He's the Lord of all creation, so He can do anything He wants to, right? Just like the 1,000-pound gorilla who comes to your house for dinner can sit anywhere he wants to, amen?
The Bible clearly teaches that Israel and the Jewish people were chosen by God to act as His witness and serve as God's prophetic timeclock. All of the Bible testifies to the world that whatever God says He will do, He already has done--or absolutely, certainly will do. What about this nation Israel and the Jewish people? Did they start with Adam and Eve? Not really.
Actually, it was long after the flood destroyed most flesh except for Noah and his family that God called out an individual and made a contract with him, which we call a "covenant," that began the process of establishing the Jewish people and the nation Israel. Please read Genesis 12:1-5. God told Abram to do something and made Abram certain guarantees. Who was this Abram? Was he a Jew? No, there were no Jews back then. He was a Chaldean, now part of the territory of modern Iraq. Did God's guarantees to Abram depend on Abram's obedience? Not really! They were unconditional guarantees, in other words they didn't depend on anything Abram did but only on what God would do!
Wait a minute, didn't it depend on Abram leaving his own land? No, because God knew that Abram would hear Him and obey. God, you see, lives in eternity, where past, future and present are all one and the same, where what will be done on earth has already been done in heaven. You find that hard to understand? So do I, that's why He's God and we're just His dumb, but chosen, kids. Turn to Genesis 17:1-11 and read. You understand this was an everlasting covenant, where He changed Abram's name, promised Abraham the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession and set up circumcision as the sign of that everlasting contract. That means forever, folks, including this year and every year.
When God talks, the one thing to remember is that He never goes back on His word. Every one of God's covenants or contracts are marked with a sign, and He's kept them all. For example, for Noah it was the rainbow, for Abraham circumcision, for Moses the Sabbath day, for David it was the virgin birth--what is the sign of our covenant as born-again Christians? Please read Luke 22:21 in the Greek Scriptures. The sign of our covenant, our acceptability and reconciliation with God the Father is the Lord's own blood.
Now God's covenants are not like human contracts, where each side has to satisfy certain conditions or the contract is null and void. When God makes a contract, it depends only on His faithfulness, not on anything we may or may not do. Isn't that great? That doesn't mean we can throw wild parties and figure He'll overlook it. Even if God's forgiveness is assured by what Jesus did for us at the cross, there's always a price to pay for disobedience.
If you cheat in business, you can get caught, pay a fine and go to jail. If you mess around sexually, there's AIDS, syphillis, herpes, unwanted pregnancies and, worst of all, a broken bond of faith between you, your mate and God that's worse than all the rest put together. The point is, when God promises, "Trust Christ with all your heart, believe He rose from the dead, and you shall be saved," you can bet your life on God's keeping His word. That's the essence of our Christian hope and our Christian faith.
In the same way, the JEWISH NATION are promised a special role in God's plan. Turn to 2 SAM.7:24 and read what David said. Now turn to JER.31:35-37 and read what God says. He explains for the very existence of our visible universe itself testifies to Israel's continuing to be His special nation. But how about the ARAB peoples? Aren't they also sons of Abraham, don't they also circumcize their sons? Why aren't they chosen, too?
Turn to Genesis 17:19-20 and read. Clearly, God ordained Isaac son of Sarah to inherit the promises to Abraham, while Ishmael son of Hagar was promised millions of descendants and a dozen sheikdoms. The last time I looked, there were over 100 million Arabs, so God made good on his word to Ishmael. You don't have to look it up now, but God later defined His chosen line through Isaac's second son Jacob. You can read all about that in Genesis 28:10-15 and 35:9-12, where God changed his name to ISRAEL. Thereafter he ordained Israel's ten sons and two grandsons to constitute the Twelve Tribes of Israel in Egypt where the family moved to escape famine--you can read this in Genesis 48 and 49.
We're all familiar with the story of Exodus, how the Hebrew children were delivered from Egypt, with signs and wonders and ten plagues, most remarkably the Passover plague when God killed the first-born son of any house that didn't have the blood of a lamb smeared on its doorposts. The lamb's blood told the angel of death to "pass over" that house and so spare it from death. What a great foretelling of the blood of the Lamb of God, whose own Blood saves us from the wages of sin, which is what? Death! Spiritual death, says Romans 6:23.
In Egypt, Israel lived as aliens and slaves for 400 years before God freed them. Had God prophesied this? Please turn to Genesis 15:13-14 and read about it. That's a point we can't stress too much. God never makes a move He hasn't already told us about in prophesy. He says so in Isaiah 46:8-11. It pleases God to let His elect, who trust His word, to share His plans. God's purpose for the nation Israel is clearly described when He is about to lead them to the Promised Land of Canaan.
Now read Deuteronomy 7:6-8. GOD'S promises to Israel was then, and is now, eternal and unconditional. He says so through His prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31:35-37. God never forgets His promises and His prophesies. Those who teach that God abandoned Israel when He destroyed their temple in 70 A.D. and drove them off the land, are clearly not teaching the Bible. Turn now to Leviticus 26:43:45 and read. Did He do that, did He bring them back? You bet He did! God has promised time and time again that He would regather His people and bring them back to the land set aside for the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Now jump ahead to Ezekiel 11:16-17 and read, then to Ezekiel 37:11-12. It's worth noting that the name of the land, first called the "land of Canaan" and then "Israel" in the Bible, became "Palestine" or the land of the hated Phillistines, under the iron heel of the Roman Empire. This secular, Satanic name persisted for over 1800 years until God promised to end his chastisement of His Jewish people.
Christian theologians and Bible believers have been looking forward to this return for the past few hundred years, understanding that the rebirth of Israel was a necessary precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. In 1864, for example, Charles Spurgeon wrote--"Israel is now blotted out from the map of nations. Her sons are scattered far and wide, her daughters mourn beside the rivers of the earth. But she is to be restored. There will be a native government again. There will again be the form of a body politic."
Turn to Deuteronomy 28:58-66 (read) Now two pages later to Deut.30:1-6. Has that happened yet? Only partially. The Jews are back in the land, but without faith. Did God also prophesy that? Please read Hosea 3:4-5. The regathering of Israel is prophetically described as being in two stages. As Hosea indicated, initially they would be brought back into the land, but would be in unbelief until a time, during the Latter Days they would seek the Lord their God and David (Messiah) their Prince.
In 1863, theologian John Owen wrote--"The Jews shall be gathered from all parts of the earth where they are now scattered, and brought back into their own land. The Lord Christ himself being their king, who shall then also be acknowledged King over all the earth." So the clear signpost of these events would be, first of all, God's regathering His chosen people from the nations to which He scattered them. When will that be? It has already happened, more than 50 years ago!
On May 14, 1948, the Jews living in British-mandated Palestine proclaimed the re-establishment of a "Jewish State to be called Israel." After a 1,900-year wait, the Jewish people were at last back in their Promised Land Tzion, Zion, or Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. Israel, historically a miraculous nation, was reborn through miraculous circumstances. Their very presence now in the land formerly called Palestine is the single most important sign that Jesus will return to earth very soon. From that moment on, God's prophetic End Times countdown began.
SEE ACCOMPANYING ARTICLE "THE MIRACLE OF ISRAEL"