Monday, May 28, 2012

Signs of Israel

The nature of the Nation of Israel and their relationship with God still seems to be an issue of debate. While the trees might be issues of debate, the forest most certainly is not.  For those who think Israel is no longer a favored people of God, as well as those who do not believe there is a God, this is definitely food for thought.
I will discuss three evidences of the Bible that prove both that Israel was, and still is, a people of God; and at the same time, prove that the Bible has prophetic validity. First, that they were always God's people, followed by the fact that God prophesied that they would be scattered as a people, and lastly that only God and a Bible with heavenly authority could both predict and cause their return. Israel is a beacon for where we are in the timeline of God's plan, and their return to Jerusalem is not only proof of their favor with God, but that God Himself exists.

The scriptures clearly teach that the nation of Israel was a chosen people of God from the ancient days, until he cast them out of favor due to disobedience.  Deuteronomy 7:6 - "...the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the people who are on the face of the earth."  We know that because of this favor, God did not have a relationship with any other people. Amos 3:2 - "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth..." Also, let's keep this in mind:  since the death of Christ, there have been just under 2,000 years.  Before the birth of Christ, there were roughly 4,000 years recorded back to the times of Adam.  Israel had favor from God for a long, long time.  But of course, we all know the story; Israel, "who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her", was cast off as a nation. (Matt. 23:37-38)  However, the story of Israel as a nation does not end there.

The scriptures clearly teach that the nation of Israel shall be scattered abroad, and then come back into favor with God at a later time.  Jeremiah 22:5-9 explains that because they were a nation that continued to worship other gods, they would be left desolate.  Jesus echoes this in Matt. 23:37-38.  The last two scriptures in the book of Amos, 9:15, states that God will restore the nation of Israel, (:14) and "they will not again be rooted out from their land.." (:15).  Some debate this issue, stating that this is a symbolic scripture which is not talking about the literal nation of Israel, so let us quote another passage that let us know the literal nation of Israel is being discussed.  Romans 9:30 through 11:27 discuss how the literal nation of Israel was cast aside, and how the Gentiles were now able to become Sons of God through faith, for the first time since the promise was given to Abraham.  Here is the specific passage that tells us Israel shall again be God's people: Romans 11:25 - "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, (:26) and thus all Israel will be saved..."  The casting off of Israel is only temporary.  God shall make a "New Covenant" with the house of Israel, "not like the covenant which (He) made with their fathers..." Jer. 31:31-34. Being that God only made covenants with the literal Nation of Israel, it then makes sense to assume to at least some degree that this "New Covenant" shall again be made with them.  The scriptures also state that in the future, there will be a time in which the world will approach Israel because they realize that God is with them. (Zech. 8:23)  Although it would take a much more in-depth study in order to fully understand these scriptures, it is evident that God has had a plan from the beginning (Is. 46:10-13) to deal once again with the Nation of Israel, despite their being cast-off.

Lastly, historic and current evidences prove that Israel gives merit not only to a God with a plan, but a Bible that has proved to accurately predict future events.  Observing the world as we see it today, it is obvious that the scriptures discussing their return has come true.  The Jewish people began to return to their homeland of Jerusalem in the late 1800s.  They survived an attempt at genocide from the Germans to the likes which the world has rarely seen, as nobody could ever contend that the holocaust is one of the most horrific events in the history of man.  In 1948, just a few years later, Israel was declared a state of the Jewish people for the first time since 70 a.d.  The next day they were declared war on by five countries for one year before a ceasefire was declared, and they survived just fine.  In 1967, they were then threatened by several actions of their Arab neighbors, and decided to "take the first swing."  Here is a quote from Wikipedia on the page of "Israel."  "On 5 June 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. In a Six Day War, Israeli military superiority was clearly demonstrated against their more numerous Arab foes."  To ward-off four countries in less than a week in a highly sensitive military-prone part of the world was such a feat that they simply named it "The 6 Day War", because it only took them six days to win.  Now, there might be some that do not find any one of these incidents to be that extraordinary, stating that other countries have had similar experiences.  The only appropriate response to that would be that no, there have not been.  No other nation in the history of the world has been scattered from their homeland for over 1800 years and then returned to it, let alone dealt with all of the other acts of hatred throughout history as well.  Let us close this paragraph with the following scriptures that appear to be very specifically prophesying not only the return of Israel, but that they shall defend themselves easily against all opponents.

Zech. 10:6, 8, 9:

"And I shall strengthen the house of Judah,
And I shall save the house of Joseph,
And I shall bring them back,
Because I have had compassion on them;
And they will be as though I had not rejected them,
(:8) I will whistle for them to gather them together,
For I have redeemed them;
And they will be as numerous as they were before.
(:9) When I scatter them among the peoples,
They will remember Me in far countries,
And they with their children will live and come back."

Zech. 12:9 - "And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations the come against Jerusalem."

How is it that a book written over a two-to-three thousand year period by various people (who did not know each other) is able to predict events yet to occur for an additional period of a few thousand years?  How is it that a nation, who is described as a tiny nation, is destroyed by the arguably the greatest world power of all time (Roman Empire, 70 a.d.) and then rises up over eighteen hundred years later?  How is it that the smallest sliver of land in the Arab part of the world, who has to be outnumbered at least 15 to 1, is still able to defend themselves with ease against its neighbors?  All of these questions point to one answer: God has a plan for them.  That is, as unreasonable to some as it may seem, the only reasonable answer.

Israel is a chosen people of God for a specific purpose.  Their extremely rare circumstances over time suggest nothing short of it.  That such experiences have existed for this people is not only evidence that God has a plan for them, but that there must be a God in heavenly places to orchestrate such an event.

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