"Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her, yea, the set time is come. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones and favor the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord and all of the kings of the earth Thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory." Psalm 102:13-16
People sometimes ask me, “Pastor, why do you keep going back to the land of Israel?” Because I love the land and I love her people.They are God's chosen people, a people of destiny. I go to Israel for two reasons.
One, I love her past. I love to look back and see the land where my Savior lived and walked and talked. I love to study the Bible on location. It causes the Bible to burst aflame in your hands.
Two, I want help in understanding the present and the future, because there is Bible prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Keep your eyes on Zion, God's holy land. As the Jew goes, so goes the world. The Jews are God's yardstick, God's outline, God's blueprint, for what He’s up to in the rest of the world.
The land of Israel, I believe, is the most important spot on earth. The most important city is not Washington or Moscow, but Jerusalem. The most important land, believe it or not, is not America but tiny Israel, about the size of New Jersey.
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What does the Bible have to say about Israel?
Israel: the geographic center. “See, I have set thee in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5). Israel, called “the navel of the earth,” is strategically located at the hub of three continents.
Israel: the revelation center. From this land, the land of Moses, the prophets and the apostles, came the Word of God.
Israel: the spiritual center. In Bethlehem Jesus was born. In Nazareth He grew to maturity. In Galilee He walked and taught on the mountainsides and beside the Sea. In Jerusalem our Lord was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. From the Mount of Olives He ascended. And to the Mount of Olives He will return; His feet will first touch down upon the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).
Israel: the prophecy center. Prophecy is “pre-written history.” The land of Israel is the only land belonging to God’s people. The details of their future are minutely recorded in the Bible. If you want to know what God is doing, study Israel and her people.
Israel: the storm center. The Middle East, specifically Israel, is the world’s greatest trouble spot. The Bible says “Jerusalem will be a burdensome stone for all people” of the world[CAP1] [CA2] - (Zechariah 12:3), and indeed we see in the daily news the gathering storm clouds of Armageddon.
Israel: also the peace center. We’re told to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). There will never be peace on earth until there's peace in Jerusalem, until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, rules and reigns from Jerusalem. When we're praying for the peace of Jerusalem, we're praying, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” We want our Lord to reign from Zion, to sit upon the throne of his father David.
Israel: one day will be the glory center. When our Lord returns, all nations of the world will come to Jerusalem to worship (Micah 2:3). Jerusalem will be the capital city not only of Israel but of the entire world, and the Word of the Lord shall go forth from Zion (Isaiah 2:3). Jesus will reign from Jerusalem (Luke 1:32). Israel is at the center of God’s plan.
As we look at Israel, I want you to see four miracle prophecies about this land.
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1. The prophecy of Israel’s miraculous generation (How Israel came to be a nation)
In Genesis 18:18 God gave Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, the promise of a son—and descendants. He said, “Abraham, through your son all the nations of the world are going to be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, 22:18). When Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, God gave them a miracle child. Every Jew alive today is the direct result of a miracle birth. Therefore, our precious Jewish friends should have no difficulty believing in the virgin birth because every one of them is here because of a miracle birth. That's the miracle of the generation of the Jewish people.
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The prophecy of Israel’s miraculous preservation, part 1
Not only did God bring Israel into being as a miracle nation, but God keeps Israel as a miracle nation. Psalm 89 shows God’s heart on this.
18 For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king…. 20 I have found David My servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him: 21 With whom My hand shall be established: Mine arm also shall strengthen him. 22 The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. 24 But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted…. 27 “Also I will make him My first born, higher than the kings of the earth. 28 My mercy will I keep for him forevermore and My covenant [an unbreakable promise] shall stand fast with him. 29 His seed also will I make to endure forever and his throne as the days of heaven.”
God declares the descendants of David shall endure. Looking down through the tunnel of time, He foresaw (v. 30) that if David's descendants 30 “forsake My law and walk not in My judgments [and by the way, they have forsaken God's law and not walked in His judgments] 31”If they break My statutes and keep not My commandments,” [they have broken His statutes, they have not kept His commandments], then God says, “32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless,” [highlight the word “nevertheless] “My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail, 34 My covenant will I not break nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips, 35 Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me. 37 It shall be established forever as the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky. Selah.” [Selah means “pause and think about that.”]
God has said:
the Jews would be disobedient—and they were,
the Jews would be disbursed—and they were,
the Jew would be discredited—and they were,
but you could no more destroy the Jewish race than you could destroy the sun, the moon and stars. They may be chastised, they may suffer, but God said, “I will keep My word to David, his seed shall endure” (v. 29).
Jeremiah 31:35-37 confirms this.
35 Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): 36 “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.” 37 Thus says the Lord: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,” says the Lord.
The prophecy of Israel’s miraculous preservation, part 2
If you want to get rid of the nation Israel, you will first have to get rid of the sun, moon, and stars. In other words, God is saying, “I'll tell you when I'll cast off Israel: the same day you can tell Me how high is ‘up.’ I'll cast off Israel the same day you can show Me what this earth suspended in space is resting upon. You’ll have to pluck the sun, moon, stars from My heaven before you can annihilate this nation.”
They exist as a miracle nation. They stand beside the graves of their persecutors. They live on. When they returned, the land was a rock-filled desert. Zion now is blooming as a rose.
Every Jew is here today because of God's keeping, preserving power upon His chosen people.
Throughout history, Satan, Israel's ancient foe, has tried to eradicate this nation and obliterate this promise, but he could not do it.
Egypt’s pharaoh could not diminish God's chosen people.
The Red Sea could not drown them.
Jonah's whale could not digest them.
Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace could not burn them.
The gallows of horrible Haman could not execute them.
The dictators of this world have not been able to annihilate them.
The nations of this world have not been able to assimilate them.
When other peoples have been taken from their homelands, when they have been scattered, soon they’ve been absorbed, assimilated—swallowed up, so to speak—into the culture of their new location and cannot be traced.
But for nineteen centuries the Jewish people, wherever they were found, kept themselves together, maintaining their traditions, laws, statutes and even language. God preserved them as a nation, an identifiable people.
God said He would “visit their iniquity with stripes” and indeed He has. They suffered unmentionable atrocities under Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great and the Greeks, Nero and the Romans, under the Turks, and Hitler. Under Russia they have and are now suffering. Under the Arab nations they have and are suffering. But they have endured because God's Word prophesied they would endure.
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The prophecy of Israel’s miraculous restoration, part 1
After centuries in exile, God once again brought His people back into their land. In my estimation the most amazing thing that has happened in recent history has not been the end of World War II or placing a man on the moon, but the day when Israel was reborn, reconstituted as a nation.
Through the prophet Amos, God said,
“And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the way cities, and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; and they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” (Amos 9:14-15)
God says, “I'll bring them back and plant them there, and no one will uproot them.” God has brought them back to stay, regardless of what anyone says about it.
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The prophecy of Israel’s miraculous restoration, part 2: military miracles
May 14, 1948, Israel’s declaration day of independence, I was playing high school football. Little did I realize the impact of that moment—God’s fulfillment of Bible prophecy. At that moment, 650,000 Jews were surrounded by six Arab states and 40 million enemies who had sworn by Allah that they would exterminate Israel, drench the soil with Israeli blood, and drive them into the sea. With a fury, immediately five Arab armies swept down from the east toward the west and on to Tel-Aviv. But God miraculously preserved this little nation. Before that time, a Jew was subject to arrest for even carrying a gun. But by the time the UN called for an armistice, these people who were supposed to be “pushed off into the sea” were 150 miles into Egyptian territory. How did that happen?
The Israelis secretly took old automobiles and buses to sheds, where they welded boiler plates to the sides to make tanks. They took hoe handles and broomsticks and painted them to look like guns to appear better armed.
As Arab legions advanced through some groves, they encountered thousands of beehives. The Israelis are beekeepers. After all, you can’t have a land flowing with milk and honey without bees. And it just so happened in the attack, these hives were overturned. Millions of bees swarmed out and began stinging. They dropped their modern weapons in consternation and fled. Later, when the bees went back into their hives, the Israelis went out and picked up the much-needed weapons.
At the same time, coming from the north, others from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq attacked across the Jezreel Valley. When they got to the middle of that valley, a strange sickness like dysentery disabled them. They were so weak they couldn’t fight. At that same moment, here came the Israelis with the weapons they had picked up from the battle of the bees. An American newspaper ran this headline, “The Bees Fight for Israel.” They captured those who were sick in the valley of Jezreel. The record reports that on one occasion, 20,000 Arabs were captured by 400 Israelis.
Don’t give Israel credit for that. God said, “I will bring them again into their own land.” I don’t think the Israeli cause has always been just. I don’t think the American cause has always been just. I don’t think the Arab cause has always been just. I don’t think you can say any cause is always just if man has to do with it. But God is over the affairs of men. God rules in the affairs of men. And God said, “I will bring them back.” God brought them back.
Similar things happened in the Six Day War in 1967. Again it seems God wasn’t neutral. Jordan, Egypt and Syria united with one stated goal: “Wipe Israel off the map.” But it was over in six days. Outnumbered 80 to one, God gave His ancient people victory.
The same was true in 1973, the Yom Kippur War. Israel’s enemies invaded on Israel’s holiest day, when no one would expect it. God again seemed to intervene when both Israeli and Syrian forces reported strange events that caused Israel’s enemies to surrender.
The Bible predicts that in the last days the same will happen when Russia invades the Middle East. Russia will be brought to her knees on the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 38 and 39 relate this amazing prophecy.
When the battle of Armageddon is fought, when the forces of anti-Christ gather once more against Jerusalem, God will again come to the rescue of His people in that great, final war for Israel and her survival. What we see today is a foretaste of that.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about when they shall be in siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. In that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people. All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Zechariah 12:2-3
When that battle comes, Zechariah says the LORD will fight for Israel.
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (12:8-9)
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4. The prophecy of Israel’s miraculous regeneration
Look what happens in their hearts after all this occurs.
“And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son and shall be in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10
What a day that will be! The eyes of God’s people will be opened. With deep mourning, they will recognize their Messiah as the one their forefathers pierced.
…there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. (13:1)
God will remove the idols from Israel once and for all (v. 2). Then He will bring those remaining through the fire,
…and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, “It is my people,” and they shall say, “The Lord is my God.” (13:9)
One of the signs that Jesus Christ is coming soon is the sign that Zion is being built up.
We long for this day! This is Israel’s glorious future—and you may be sure, God is going to bring it to pass.
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How Israel and the Jews have shaped history
As you study history, you learn that the indestructible Jew has left his indelible mark upon history. The Jewish people are not great in number. Of the world’s population, they are only 0.2%. That’s not two percent. That’s less than one-fourth of one percent. Yet did you know that 22% of Nobel Prize winners have been Jews? In 2013, six of the 12 laureates were Jewish. Think of that.
Abraham’s descendants consistently win high percentages not just of Nobel Prizes but other awards in medicine, health, music, and public life. What a mark they've made upon our world.
Did you know it was a Jew who financed Christopher Columbus when he set sail for the west? Of his crew members, the first to set foot on American soil was a Jew. Did you know that a Jew, Haym Salomon, financed General George Washington in our Revolutionary War?
Have you ever taken an aspirin? Friedrich Bayer, whose company developed aspirin, was a Jew. Were you vaccinated for polio as a child? The injectable and oral polio vaccines of Salk and Sabin were so effective, the disease has been all but eradicated.
Has the dentist ever deadened your tooth before he started to drill? Alfred Einhorn, who developed Novocain, was a Jew. If you're an anti-Semite, the next time you go to the dentist, why don't you say, “Just drill away, don't deaden my pain.” Have you ever had local anesthesia? Its inventor, Carl Koller, was a Jew.
When you developed an infection, the doctor prescribed streptomycin, developed by Waksman, a Jew. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew. Are you a student of philosophy? Spinoza was a Jew. Do you appreciate the Salvation Army? Its founder, William Booth, had a Jewish mother.
It's amazing to study the mark God's chosen people have made on the world. Jews can be thanked for the discovery of electromagnetic waves, the transistor, the first laser, oral contraceptives, antihistamines, anti-leukemia drugs, the electron microscope, vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague, the camera phone, nuclear fission reactor, sound-on-film technology, the discovery of neurotransmitters, the process by which we do MRIs, the Hepatitis-B vaccine, the first exact map of the moon—and do you like American music? Thank George and Ira Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Lerner and Lowe, and Stephen Sondheim, to name only a few.
All history has been dramatically impacted by six Jews: Moses, Paul, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and above them all, the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Based on the articles Israel and Bible Prophecy What Does the Future Hold? Part 1 and Part 2, orginially published on OnePlace.com. Used with permission
Publication date: March 22, 2018