Welcome back Bible loving friends! We’re done with our discussion of deception and delusion and, as indicated yesterday, we are turning our focus toward Israel and the Middle East. I would love to dive right into current events in light of Bible prophecy, but to do that without providing a solid foundation for why Israel matters would leave you short-changed! I don’t want to do that! So, let’s lay the ground work today and we will get into Bible prophecy tomorrow!
Why is Israel so important, and how did they get to be so prominent in Scripture? Besides…what difference does it make? Ah my friends, great question…Israel makes all the difference in the world to you and me as believers and we’re going to find out why!
First of all, Israel is God’s love story to the world. It is through Israel that God sent His one and only Son to die on a cross to save us from sin, and to rise again as a promise that death has no power over those of us who place our faith in Jesus Christ. Recall to mind John 3:16 and read 2 Peter 3:9. What do those verses tell you about God’s great love for all mankind?
But God needed a vehicle through which to deliver the promised blessing to all families of the earth (salvation). He chose Israel! Not because they were sinless or better than everyone else. Heaven’s no! Just simply because He’s God, He had the choice, and that’s who He chose!
More precisely, God chose a Gentile, pagan, idol-worshiper through whom to send the Messiah…the Savior of the world! No one was looking for God in Abraham’s day! Least of all, Abraham and his family. They weren’t just worshipers of idols, his family actually designed and manufactured them! Yet, God came calling! Find God’s initial call to Abraham (known as Abram at that time) in Genesis 12:1-3.
- How many promises from God to Abraham do you find there?
- You are likely familiar with the first 2/3 of verse 3, but what does the final 1/3 of the verse tell you?
- How do you believe God chose to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham?
Ultimately, Abram followed God’s command in Genesis 12:1. He got up, he left his country and he journeyed to the place God showed him. Later, in Genesis 15:12-18, an incredible event occurred! God actually put Abram to sleep and made a covenant with him, proclaiming him to be the father of the Jewish people! Before Abram, there were no Jews! He was the first, and God gave him and his descendants a very specific mandate: Through you, all the families of the earth will be blessed!
And that name change from Abram to Abraham? God planned it and it is significant! Abram means “exalted father,” whereas Abraham means “father of a multitude.” Through Abraham and his sons, God would grant a multitude. That multitude would stretch down through generations, and guess who it would include? Check out Galatians 3:26-29. (Don’t skip this one…it is key!)
- According to verse 26, what makes us sons and daughters of God, and how does it happen?
- Verse 28 tells us there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), slave nor free, male nor female in Christ Jesus. What does that mean to you?
- Now the kicker: read verse 29 out loud. Read it a second time (and maybe a third!) Do you find that profound?
Yes, those of us who belong to Christ are descendants of Abraham and heirs according to promise! Friends…that is the love of God reaching through Abraham, his sons and the Jewish people! In case you didn’t know, Jesus was a Jew! Yes, the Savior of us Gentiles is a Jew, brought forth from the line of Abraham, to bless all the families of the earth. Without Abraham, we would have no Savior!
That’s enough to make me shout Hallelujah…how about you!
There is so much more, but we must continue moving toward our target in this study. However, if you’ve got time on your hands and are intrigued by the idea that God called, then used, a pagan man named Abraham to bring Jesus to the world, check out Israel’s Unique Role and the 3-Fold Call of God (and included links on both). There you will find an entire study on the subject! Enjoy.
Israel’s place and importance in this world is to be the vehicle of world redemption! Because of that, throughout history the enemy has sought to destroy Israel, and thus keep the Messiah from coming! That is what much of prophecy is all about: the foretelling of the prophets of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah; and of His Second Coming, of which we wait!
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.~Titus 2:11-13
That’s it for today, but join us back here tomorrow when we don our scuba gear and dive in for some nuggets of prophecy! Things are going to get really exciting!