Currently, on Sunday mornings, I am leading a study called Why Israel Matters: Rightly Relating to Our Jewish Roots to a class at my church. We are learning and understanding more about God’s plan for the Jewish people, and His plan for us Gentiles as well. I have shared much of the study online, and want to continue doing so over the next few days. We will turn our attention to a section I’ll call “4 Biblical Principles of the Land of Israel.”
Foundational to those 4 Biblical principles is Israel’s role in history. We know that the Jews are God’s chosen people, not because they are perfect, but because God chose them for a particular purpose: to be the vehicle of world redemption. God does not love them more…He has simply given them a very specific calling.
As recorded in Genesis 12, God called Abram (Abraham) into an important covenant in which God told him He would use him, would make him a great nation (lots of descendents), would give him the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, and would use him and his descendents to bless the world.
BUT, the world rebelled against that. (Recall our lesson about “vultures.”) God gave visions of the future to Abraham, indicating what Israel would be forced to endure. Even today, we know the world does all it can to rid itself of Israel and the Jews. It is a spiritual battle.
So what’s the purpose of all the suffering? Didn’t God promise land and descendents in the Abrahamic Covenant? Indeed He did. Regardless of whether Israel lives in the land or not, it still belongs to them. The land is hers forever, but the right to live there is dependent upon her righteousness. Deuteronomy 29 is filled with warnings indicating that God will uproot them if they do not live righteously…and we have seen that happen.
However, Isaiah 11:11-12 says:
In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant…
He will raise a signal for the nations
and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.
The prophet Isaiah says that the Lord “will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant…,” seeming to indicate a need for the Lord to bring Israel back from exile twice, which He has done. In 586 BC Persian King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and took the Jewish people captive. 70 years later, the hand of the Lord was extended to recover Jews from Babylon.
Then, in 70 AD, Roman General Titus destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem, and Jews were once again dispersed from their homeland. (The remainder of that dispersal happened in the early 130’s when the Romans suppressed the Bar Kochba revolt.) Many years later (1800’s), the Lord began recovering the remnant from the four corners of the earth, culminating in the re-birth of Israel in 1948. For the second time, the Lord brought His people home! The return is not yet complete, but the re-birth made possible the return of the Jews, as prophesied in Ezekiel 36-37!
So, the foundation is laid. Come back tomorrow when we’ll introduce the 4 Biblical principles relating to the land of Israel! See you then!