By Moran Rosenblit with Sarah L.
This week, Israel is preparing to celebrate its 75th birthday! However, despite the miracle of Israel’s independence and existence, I continue to cross paths with those who believe that Israel, both people and Land, are no more relevant today than any other people group. Such people claim to believe in the God of the Bible, yet also believe that from the beginning, God’s plan was for the “Church” to take the place of national Israel as the true “chosen people.” Especially now, at Israel’s Independence Day, as Israel is facing severe internal and external pressure, it is essential to understand what God’s Word tells us about Israel.
Here is a brief explanation of my understanding, according to Scripture, of why Israel as a people group and as a Land still matter to God, and why they will play a central role in the last days.
Firstly, I would like to look at God’s initial covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What exactly did God promise them, and what were the conditions?
In Genesis 12:1-3 it says,
“Now Adonai said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Note the repeated “I will.” This is an unconditional promise.
Genesis 22 tells us the amazing story of Abraham’s willingness to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Starting in verse 15, God says something which is connected to the original promise from Gen 12:
15 The angel of Adonai called to Avraham a second time out of heaven. 16 He said, “I have sworn by myself — says Adonai — that because you have done this, because you haven’t withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will most certainly bless you; and I will most certainly increase your descendants to as many as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will inherit the cities of their enemies, 18 and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed — because you obeyed my order.”
19 So Avraham returned to his young men. They got up and went together to Be’er-Sheva, and Avraham settled in Be’er-Sheva.
Twice, in Genesis 26, God repeats to Isaac the promise that was given to Abraham his father.
“A famine came over the land, not the same as the first famine, which had taken place when Avraham was alive. Yitz’chak went to G’rar, to Avimelekh king of the P’lishtim. 2 Adonai appeared to him and said, “Don’t go down into Egypt, but live where I tell you. 3 Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you, because I will give all these lands to you and to your descendants. I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Avraham your father — 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, I will give all these lands to your descendants, and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
Jumping to verse 23,
23 From there Yitz’chak went up to Be’er-Sheva. 24 Adonai appeared to him that same night and said, “I am the God of Avraham your father. Don’t be afraid, because I am with you; I will bless you and increase your descendants for the sake of my servant Avraham.” 25 There he built an altar and called on the name of Adonai. He pitched his tent there, and there Yitz’chak’s servants dug a well.
In Genesis 28:1-4, after Jacob takes Esau’s birthright, Isaac blesses Jacob and passes on the same promise to him:
28 So Yitz’chak called Ya‘akov, and, after blessing him, charged him: “You are not to choose a wife from the Hitti women. 2 Go now to the home of B’tu’el your mother’s father, and choose a wife there from the daughters of Lavan your mother’s brother. 3 May El Shaddai bless you, make you fruitful and increase your descendants, until they become a whole assembly of peoples. 4 And may he give you the blessing which he gave Avraham, you and your descendants with you, so that you will inherit the land you will travel through, the land God gave to Avraham.”
Later, in Genesis 28:10, Jacob leaves Beer Sheva and God again reaffirms the covenant with him.
13 Then suddenly Adonai was standing there next to him; and he said, “I am Adonai, the God of Avraham your [grand]father and the God of Yitz’chak. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the grains of dust on the earth. You will expand to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. 15 Look, I am with you. I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back into this land, because I won’t leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Finally, in Genesis 46, as Jacob goes down to Egypt to meet with Joseph, God reaffirms His promise to Abraham and Isaac to Jacob once again:
Isra’el took everything he owned with him on his journey. He arrived at Be’er-Sheva and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Yitz’chak. 2 In a vision at night God called to Isra’el, “Ya‘akov! Ya‘akov!” He answered, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father. Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt. It is there that I will make you into a great nation. 4 Not only will I go down with you to Egypt; but I will also bring you back here again, after Yosef has closed your eyes.” 5 So Ya‘akov left Be’er-Sheva; the sons of Isra’el brought Ya‘akov their father, their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry them.
We know from the Bible that Israel did indeed become a Nation in Egypt and that God redeemed them as His Word says.
It is important to note two common threads throughout these Scriptures: a) God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is an unconditional covenant, since God says repeatedly “I will” with no condition, and b) that the promises consistently include a Land. While we know that the blessings to the nations are through the Seed i.e. Yeshua, the promised Messiah, we can’t ignore God’s other promises, which included a land. So yes, the Land does matter.
Secondly, I would like to briefly examine the role of Israel since the coming of Yeshua. God, who knew that Israel would be unable to attain righteousness alone, from the beginning planned to send a Redeemer to the people of Israel. As part of His amazing plan, God also included the nations. When Israel rejected Yeshua the first time, it was an opportunity to share Yeshua with the nations. However, Israel’s rejection of Yeshua is only for a time, which is known as the time of the Gentiles. Paul says in Romans:
“I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Far from it! But by their wrongdoing salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their wrongdoing proves to be riches for the world, and their failure, riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!” (Romans 11:11-12)
“For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25)
As Paul stressed in the above Scriptures, the redemption of national Israel will come, and I believe that we are privileged to see and experience that redemption today. I believe that the mere fact that physical Israel exists today is one of the greatest proofs that God exists and is faithful, and I would like to share a few prophecies about the regathering of the people of Israel back to the Land.
“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. 5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will live securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord Our Righteousness.’ 7 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought the sons of Israel up from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led the descendants of the household of Israel back from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.” (Jeremiah 23:3-8)
“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day?
Can a nation be given birth all at once? As soon as Zion was in labor, she also delivered her sons.” (Isaiah 66:8)
“I will also restore the fortunes of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the desolated cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will also plant them on their land, and they will not be uprooted again from their land
Which I have given them,” says the Lord your God.” (Amos 9:14-15)
As you can see from the Scriptures above and many others, there is a direct connection between Israel the people and Israel the Land. As we prepare to celebrate Israel’s 75th Independence Day this week, we are reminded that these very prophecies are coming true. We have seen the Jewish people survive genocide and return to the Land of Israel from “the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.” We have seen the Land of Israel become fruitful again. We have seen the people “be fruitful and multiply.” We even have seen a nation “born in one day,” when Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, 75 years ago. Logically, Israel’s chances of survival in 1948 were almost zero. Yet Israel won her independence and grew and prospered. When one comes to Israel, one can see the amazing way by which God is fulfilling His promises.
Amazingly, today there is another miracle of fulfilled prophecy happening in Israel as well. God is removing the veil from the eyes of the people of Israel in the Land. God promised to make a new Covenant with the children of Israel and of Judah.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
Here is a famous and very powerful passage from the book of Ezekiel regarding the spiritual resurrection of national Israel:
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He had me pass among them all around, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and behold, they were very dry. Then He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “Lord God, You Yourself know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘You dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ This is what the Lord God says to these bones: ‘Behold, I am going to make breath enter you so that you may come to life. And I will attach tendons to you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you so that you may come to life; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a loud noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, tendons were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘The Lord God says this: “Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, so that they come to life.’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the entire house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: “Behold, I am going to open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
This passage shows clearly and visually that Israel will undergo a process of both physical and spiritual redemption.
Finally, Hosea 5:15 says “I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their distress they will search for Me.” These words were echoed by our Messiah in Matthew 23:37-39:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Until Jerusalem i.e., the people who live in physical Jerusalem will say these words, He will not come back. This year, as we celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday, may we merit to see even more Jewish Israelis coming to know their Messiah!
There are many more verses that will affirm my understanding. I would like to encourage each of you to think about the fact that if you say that God is done with Israel, and that today there is no connection between God, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel, in essence you are saying that God is not faithful and that there is no grace.
Israel today is one of the biggest miracles in modern history: it proves that God is real, faithful and is full of grace. What a blessing to be able to celebrate Independence Day and know that not only are we celebrating our nation, but also the fulfillment of prophecy!
Blessings and Yom ha’Atzmaut Sameach (Happy Independence Day)!
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