Why DOES Israel Matter?

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Pull up a chair and hang out for a bit.  This week we are concluding our study, Why Israel Matters and we have covered lots of ground.  So, we’re pulling it all together this week.

Early in the study we discussed some reasons Israel matters.  Do you remember some of those reasons?  Let’s jog the memory.  Israel matters in many ways, including:

  • Socially.  The desire of Israelis to make the world a better place (tikkun olam) is demonstrated in the way they treat other nations.  Often first on scene for natural disasters around the world, a leader in helping third world nations provide food and water for their citizens and sending aid into places like Syria are common for the Jewish state.
  • Geopolitically.  Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, guaranteeing freedoms not possible in other lands in the region.  She is a city on a hill, shining brightly in a dark area.
  • Intellectually.  The “Innovation Nation” is a world leader in medical, agricultural and technological advancements.  The genius of that tiny country impacts the entire world.
  • Militarily.  The IDF (Israel Defense Force) is one of the world’s elite militaries.  Couple their innovation and technological prowess with the commitment of young men and women who clearly understand what they are fighting for and you have the most dominate military in the region.

We’ve discussed those and other reasons why Israel matters.  However, perhaps the most significant reason is because Israel was chosen by God to carry out a unique role in history.  In Genesis 12:3, God promises to bless Abraham and make him and his descendants a great nation.  Beyond that, He vowed that all the people of the earth will be blessed through Abraham.  That blessing is salvation, the greatest blessing ever conceived!

Our Father in heaven knew what it would take to implement that blessing, and it came in the form of a triumvirate of covenants, all of which must be in play in order to obtain salvation:

  • Abrahamic Covenant: the covenant of decision.  God decided before the foundations of the earth that He would devise a way that would allow every person to obtain the blessing of salvation.
  • Mosaic Covenant: the covenant of instruction.  Because the world failed (and still does) to see the need for salvation, God gave the law to Moses.  It’s purpose was to serve as a tutor, to show us our need for redemption.
  • New Covenant: the covenant of ability. God had to design a way in which we could enter into the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant.  Thus, He sent His Son to die for our sins and resurrect to give us new life.  That is the essence of the New Covenant.

All matter, and all are essential.  Just like a 3-legged stool, if you remove any of the three, God’s blessing of salvation falls short!

To add excitement to the mix, the New Covenant has a reward!  One day, Jesus the King will return to earth to rule and reign in righteousness.  All Israel will have been saved during the tribulation and they, along with all believers in Jesus the Messiah will reign with Him during the Millennial Kingdom.  Here is how Revelation 19:11-16 describes that coming:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

At Jesus’ first coming, the Jews were looking for a conquering king…one who would save them from the oppression of Roman rule.  Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was symbolic of a king coming in peace, thus they did not recognize Him as Messiah.  The next time He comes, He will be that conquering king, and they will surely recognize Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Hasten the day, Lord Jesus!

We’re not done, my friends, so come back tomorrow as we continue our study together.  See you then!

Update from Gaza Border

Lt Col Jonathan is an IDF spokesperson, often providing updates regarding IDF activity.  Here is his latest update from the Gaza border, where Hamas has launched over 150 rockets into Israel over the past two days:

 

There are other reports of troop and equipment movement on Israeli bases.  In addition to airstrikes that have been carried out, it appears the IDF may be preparing for further action.  Let’s pray for wisdom of those planning military exercises, for safety of IDF soldiers and safety for the innocent people in the Gaza Strip.

What is a Palestinian Rocket Attack Like?

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Iron Dome launches an interceptor missile. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Red AlertsOver 150 Palestinian rockets have been launched toward southern Israel over the past couple days.  Some were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, but thankfully, most fell in open territory.

Fortunately, I am not aware of any Israeli casualties, though there have been casualties in Gaza as a result of IDF strikes on multiple military targets.  It is believed the son of a senior Hamas commander was killed in one of the airstrikes.

You can follow live updates of the events in Gaza here.

On Wednesday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum tweeted: “We are delivering on our promise. The resistance accepted the responsibility to even the playing field with the enemy and it is succeeding in doing so.”  

Two things to know about the activity near the Gaza border.  First, neither Hamas nor the Palestinians in Gaza pose much of a national threat to Israel.  The IDF is far better equipped and capable than the Hamas military wing, and, if desired, Israel could wipe out the Gaza Strip in minutes.  Hamas is confident Israel will not do that, thus they take advantage of opportunities to terrorize Israel.

Secondly, though Israel is not threatened nationally, the terror endured by Israelis near the Gaza Strip is very real.  Most of us cannot imagine being under threat of rockets, fire kites, incendiary balloons, terror tunnels and just sheer terrorism from those who vow to wipe them out.  Here is live footage posted by the IDF:

 

This scenario plays out in various forms in dozens of cities near the Gaza Strip.  It is our responsibility to pray for those in need.  Why not take a moment right now to pray for those living in targeted areas.  Pray, also, for the Lord to thwart the plans of Hamas and others who devise evil plans, intent on destroying the Jewish people.