Israel occupies nearly 8,500 square miles, which is a bit less than 12 percent of the size of Washington and just a fraction of the land that Texas occupies. Why all the global concern over this small bit of real estate?
There are many who believe Israel has no right to occupy the land, while others in the world call for the annihilation of the Jews, even declaring the Holocaust a myth. Within Christendom, there also are those who believe Israel no longer is the apple of God’s eye and has been replaced by the Church.
What are we to believe about Israel, and is God truly finished with his chosen people? It is true that God’s chosen people, Israel, sadly rejected their Messiah, Jesus Christ, when he came to Earth clothed in human flesh. In fact, they had been rejecting the message of the prophets for hundreds of years. Did this rejection disqualify them as God’s chosen ones?
In Romans 11:1, the Apostle Paul asks, “I say then, God has not rejected His people has He?” This is a good question that begs an answer, and answer it Paul does in verse 2: “May it never be!” In verse 11 of this same chapter, Paul again asks, “I say then they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?” He answers his own question with an emphatic, “May it never be!” In verse 29 of this chapter, Paul says that God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable. This wonderful truth holds promise and hope not only for Israel, but for every believer in Jesus Christ.
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There is a reason that Israel continues to be in the news, and its very existence is troublesome to many. Israel is central to God’s plan for the future, just as it has been in the past. The Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 17 is unconditional and a guarantee of both Israel’s existence as a nation as well as ownership of the land. God is not a covenant breaking God; therefore, his promise to Abraham remains in effect to this day, with a guarantee of the future. Today, Israel occupies a portion of this promised land, and it is also the key to understanding future prophesy. Yes, it is true that Israel rejected the Messiah, but the prophecies of Ezekiel 32-35 look forward to a time of Israel’s restoration and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ when he sits on the throne of David in Jerusalem
Why all the fuss over Israel? Why so much interest in this small corner of real estate in the world? Satan and his forces would like nothing more than to destroy Israel and thwart God’s plan, but God promises that will never happen. Israel is the key, central figure in prophesy, and her occupation of the promised land is a continuing fulfillment of Scripture. Today, the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation is preached to both Jew and Gentile – but God is not yet finished with Israel, for she has a glorious future. To understand Israel’s crucial role in both history and prophecy is the key to understand the times in which we live and find hope in the unbroken promises of God concerning Israel and the Church.
Pastor Paul Pierce, Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist Church