Israel is one of approximately 196 nations on our planet. Yet, because of events that have happened and continue to happen in its relatively small land mass, it remains one of the most written about and talked about nations on Earth. Rarely will you find a community of people who have been so loved and so hated by the world. Many, even many in the church world, have questions about the role of Israel in our modern world.
What should our attitude be toward this land? As a nation? As the church?
Israel had been imperfect. Even in her relationship with God, she has been found to be lacking. The Bible, which is the story of Israel, both natural and spiritual, tell us plainly that Israel has been in rebellion against God throughout much of her existence. Even today, factions in Israel remain quite antagonistic to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have been to Israel and have experienced this antagonism first hand. After a meeting in the city of Tel Aviv, Christians were protested against and verbally assaulted by those within Israel who do not believe in Christ. Police had to restrain the protesters from doing physical harm to the Christians. I am not finding fault, just pointing out fact. Neither Orthodox Jew nor Christian are without fault as both sides have persecuted the other at times in history.
The Bible gives us specific instruction regarding Israel and her place in the world. Romans, chapters 9,10,11 are very important in providing us with a brief history of Israel, at look into her future, and the heart of God toward her. It is not “spiritual” Israel – the church of Jesus Christ that is being spoken of in these passages, but natural Israel – the Jews.
Here’s a few thoughts from these passages:
Without Israel, Christians throughout the world would not have known the treasures of the Word of God and personal salvation. We will always be in her debt because Israel became the “root” of the Christian faith. The world’s three greatest monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have ties to the land of Israel. Ismael, the natural father of the land were Islam was born was a son of Abraham, the father of the Jews and the Christian faith.
If was because of the rebellion of the Jews that the gospel first came to the Gentiles. Yet, even though Israel rebelled against the Savior and is still in many ways rebellious against Him today, God has not given up on His natural people.
Romans, chapter 11 begins this way:
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not!”
Verse 29 goes on to give us more insight into this:
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Israel is called by God to carry the gospel to the world. Galatians 3:8: Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”
Abraham heard the gospel first from God and God told Abraham that through him, the gospel would be spread worldwide. If the rejection of the gospel by Israel has brought salvation to the Gentiles, what will their redemption by God mean to the rest of the world?
Romans 11:11: “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
Many American Christians have concerned themselves with the land boundaries of Israel. The important thing to them is to see Israel repossess the biblical borders of their physical land. I have learned that God gives Israel land and takes it away based upon their obedience to Him. My most fervent desire for Israel is that they know Christ, not just for them, but their returning to Christ will release powerful spiritual blessing upon the Gentile Christians!!
Even though Israel has walked away from God, there is still a remnant in her who loves the Lord and is seeking Him fervently! Godly remnants carry great power within them. We remember Abraham, the father of the Jews, standing before the three angels in Genesis 18; how he interceded and pleaded for mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah. The intercession of Abraham was so powerful, God told Abraham he would spare the cities if only ten righteous could be found within them. The remnant in Israel carry the same power today!
We, as Gentile believers should care greatly about the existence and salvation of Israel. The devil has tried to mess many things up but God is a redeeming God. At the end of this age, satan will look at everything he tried to destroy and see it restored; that includes Israel!!!
No, I don’t believe in universal salvation, but I do believe in the Bible and the restoration of all things. Israel is called by God and her future is restoration.
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” Romans 11:25
Why should we care about Israel?
Because God has a plan for her. Because her salvation will mean spiritual riches for the world. Because she is part of God’s redeeming plan for the Earth.
Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces. For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be with you.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.”