What does the Bible teach about Israel? In a brief summary…
- Israel Is chosen of God. Chosen for what? God set Israel apart for the purpose of demonstrating His glory to the world. The selection of Israel as God’s special possession was not meant for Israel’s sole benefit, but that through Israel the world would be blessed (Gen 12:3; Deut 7:6). We should remember, however, that Israel was not chosen based on her own merit, but simply because, in God’s sovereignty, He decided to choose her (Deut 9:6).
- Israel’s Purpose. Israel’s purpose was to be a priestly nation (Ex 19:5-6). One of the responsibilities of a priest was to make intercession to God on behalf of the people. It was through them the people would be blessed. Also, Israel was to live in such a way that the heathen nations could not have helped but to glorify the God who would create and choose such a people. Israel has, for the most part, failed in her divine purpose, but this does not annul God’s choosing her.
- Israel’s Role. Israel’s role was to be a witness of God, to tell and show the world who God was and is (Isa 43:10). Israel had witnessed first hand the miracles and the goodness of God (I Chron 17:21), and they were to pass that insider information onto the world.
- Israel’s Punishment. That Israel is God’s chosen nation does not give her carte blanche to do whatever she pleases. God promised He would severely punish the nation if it failed to obey Him (Lev 26:14-26; Deut 6:15; 7:4). And Israel did fail to obey God and reaped the consequences (2 Ki 17:6-23; 2 Ki 25). Though Israel’s fall from grace was severe, never was the nation removed from God’s plan and purpose. Israel was heavily chastised, disciplined, and punished, but never forsaken, disinherited, or cut off from God’s love. The people continued throughout the annals of time, and today are miraculously thriving (though the majority are in unbelief) in their land.
- Israel Restored. Israel has been brought back into the land just like God promised they would (Ezek 36:24). It started in the latter part of the 19th century when the scattered Jewish people of the world began returning to Israel. The immigration continued and culminated in 1948, when modern-day Israel officially took its place among the nations of the world. And though most have returned in unbelief, even that will soon be remedied (Ezek 37:12, 14).
- Israel Not Replaced. Many in Christendom seem to think the Church has replaced Israel, but this is not the case. The Church is the agent through which God is bringing to the world the message of salvation through Christ, and for now Israel is somewhat on the sidelines, but this is also the reason why she needs restoration.
- Israel’s Program. Why will Israel be restored? Because God must be faithful to His promises to Israel (Ezek 11:16-20). God chose Israel, but had to punish her through exile. Then God protects Israel during its dispersion throughout the earth. Then God restores Israel to the land. Once in the land, Israel will eventually become a sanctified and holy people, serving God in righteousness. This will be accomplished when the Lord will give Israel His Spirit (when the Jewish people accept Jesus Christ.). At that time, Israel will be God’s people and He will be their God.
- Let’s continue to pray for the Jewish people…that God might speed up the fulfillment of His promises to her.
Pastor Gary Hutchison (credit to David Ettinger)