Thursday, May 17, 2012

Christians and Israel

There is one reason above all others why committed Christians must stand with Israel: The God of the Universe, the God that we worship, has chosen to make an everlasting covenant with the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the Jewish people.

The word “everlasting” has nothing temporary or conditional about it. It clearly means, “lasting forever.” And although Jews are found today in North and South America, Australia, Russia, Europe, many parts of Africa, and virtually every other continent on earth, their historic spiritual and physical center was, and always will be, the Promised Land of Israel. God’s eternal covenant with the descendents of Abraham featured the promise to give them the land of Israel as an everlasting possession. This is recorded in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, in chapter 17:

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.’ Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God’” (Genesis 17:1-8).

It is true God reveals in these verses that many peoples will eventually emerge out of Abraham’s loins, and so it has been. The Arabs, scattered in over 20 countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, trace their ancestry to the Biblical patriarch who traveled to Canaan at God’s command from the town of Ur in Chaldea. Their lineage comes through Abraham’s first-born son, Ishmael. However, the Scriptures go on to reveal that the special, eternal land covenant, and others, will come through the line of Isaac, Jacob, and his 12 sons—the forefathers of the modern Jewish people. This is summarized in Psalm 105, verses 8 through 11:

“He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance.’”

The belief that God has revoked His solemn land covenant with the Jewish people, due to their sin and rebellion against Him, is widespread in the Church today. It is certainly a fact that living peacefully in the land was conditional on obedience to God’s holy law. Jacob’s offspring were warned that they would be removed from the land if they disobeyed God’s commands. But the Bible also foretells that a Jewish remnant would be restored to the Promised Land after a worldwide exile, as is wonderfully occurring in our day.

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