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In my post I want to answer at least one question: to whom does God say that Israel belongs? To the Jews, Arabs or Christians?
Israel- a crucial topic
In 2013 while I was returning from my first travel to Israel, on the airplane I was sitting next to a young Hungarian man. After a while, I began sharing the gospel with him. Moreover, I did share how Christians treated Jews in the last two thousand years. At the same time, I told him that Jesus was and still is a Jew. And immediately after I said that he stopped me with the words: Jesus was not a Jew, He was a Christian.
I have realized over the years how many people believe this lie and how few know that Jesus was a Jew. Indeed, I wanted to show my friend from the Scriptures that Jesus was born in Israel! And in a Jewish home, through a Jewish woman and that everything about Jesus was Jewish! And that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews, like it or not.
Israel and the Church
Probably many of you believe the same lie as my friend in the airplane. I know I did believe that for almost all my life. And that lie is part of the replacement theology that polluted many Congregations all over the world. However, what does the Bible say?
Next week Israel will celebrate 70 years since rebirth as a nation. And perhaps after the Pentecost, this is the most significant miracle that happened! I plan to write more about Israel, but in the meantime, I want to share with you an article I wrote.
Israel- chosen by God
This piece of land, Israel, was indeed chosen by God Himself and was given to Abram (Gen 12:1-3, Gen 17:8) and his seed forever. And to this day the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. This is God’s will for the land of Israel, to belong to the Jews as God wanted a homeland for His people. Moreover, He never intended for His people to be without a homeland. That was and still is God’s plan for the Jewish people.
Over 2400 times in the Hebrew Bible one can find the word Eretz. Translated this means land. In the Bible, in both, what we call the Old Testament and New Testament God speaks about a specific piece of land known as the land of Canaan or Israel. God promised this piece of land to Avram (Gen 12:7; 15:7, 18; 24:6-7), in a Covenant, renewed His promise to Isaac (Gen 26:2-3) and Jacob (Gen 35:11-12) and confirmed His promise to Joseph (Gen 48:3-4). The prophets in the Bible, the priests, kings and other nations speak about this specific land- the land of Israel- acknowledging it as the inheritance of the Jews, a gift from God and an everlasting promise or Covenant. God cut this covenant with Abram in Genesis 15.
Israel belongs to God
This piece of land belongs to God Himself, but He gave it to the Jews to steward. Without this covenant promise of the land, the Bible makes no sense and loses great weight in meaning.
Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt to the land of Canaan- their promised land, and Joshua brought them to their promise! The purpose of this exodus was for God to set free His people and bring them into the land of Canaan, the land He promised them long before (Exodus 3:8, 6:8). The Jewish people crossed the desert towards the land of Canaan, and the rest of their history takes place in the promised land.
Even though the Jews got sent into exile because of their disobedience and corruption towards the Lord and His commandments, this didn’t mean they lost the land forever. Because God had made a covenant with them; and they come back from their exile. Where? They came back to the same place from where they got removed because God did not change His mind about the land nor the Jews. If He had changed His mind, He wouldn’t have brought them back to the exact piece of land.
Israel and God’s Covenant
Even after the second exile, we are still witnessing today -in our lifetime- the returning of the Jews from every corner of the world. Where do they return? To the very same piece of land- Israel. One can learn from this that God is faithful to His covenants promises towards the Jews and the forefathers of the Christian faith. If God had changed His mind, He wouldn’t have brought them back- twice- to the same land.
The Jewish people were supposed to live in holiness, righteousness, and justice in the land. And when they did not live according to God’s standards, they lost their land temporarily. But after their sin was atoned for or partially atoned for, God brought them back to the same place He gave them centuries before. And all of this because of the covenant relationship God has with Israel!
Israel and the Bible
Today, the Land is seen as contention between the Arabs and the Jews. But, what does the Bible say? In Genesis 17:20 God is saying about the Arab people
As for Ishmael, I have heard you. See, I have blessed him and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him very very much. He will father twelve princes and I will make him a great nation (TLV).
We see this promise fulfilled in our days as the Arab nations grew and possessed large territories, much larger than the Jews, but the land of Israel was not given to them. Moreover, Ishmael is the father of the Arab people.
Genesis 21:13 (TLV)
Yet I will also make the son of the slave woman into a nation, because he is your seed
A few more scriptures
We read in Genesis 17:8 (this text applies to the Jews only) that the Lord is saying to Abram
I will give to you and your seed after you the land where you are an outsider, the whole land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession, and I will be their God (TLV).
One should read Genesis 17:19 too for more clarification. And I believe this scripture is saying exactly that, no more, no less. So, it’s obvious to see from these scriptures that the land is an everlasting covenant promise given to the Jews, not to the Arabs and that the Arabs received other territories elsewhere.
God loves Israel
Jesus never once said that the land of Israel didn’t belong to Him or His people. His ministry was all over the land of Israel. He came for the lost sheep of Israel and showed great respect for the city of Jerusalem and the land. Even though His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), this does not deny the promise of an earthly piece of land for the Jewish people- which is the very same piece of the land God gave to the forefathers of the Jews, as we read in Genesis 17 and other texts! Through His people once again living in the Land he covenanted to them, God will be faithful and bring about the fulfillment of all other prophesies concerning the End Times of this world.
Israel is and will always remain the home of the Jewish people.
May the Lord bless Israel as we celebrate her rebirth! And do not forget to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6)!
Do you agree?
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