What place have the Jews and Israel in God's plan today?
Extraordinarily, the Jewish people have continued to exist in spite of numerous persecutions and attempts at genocide. What a remarkable thing this is!
The Apple of God’s Eye
So how can all this be explained? God provides the answer: “I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed … therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God” (Isaiah 43:12). The nation of Israel is living proof that God lives and reigns supreme. He elsewhere declared that “though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” (Jeremiah 30:11). Indeed this illustrates just how the Almighty has divinely intervened, time and time again, with the Jews – His people – in order that all may finally recognise that He is their living God.
We all need to fully appreciate this fact: that God has chosen Israel. For the Jewish people are the “apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). They are uniquely called. And God Himself, through His faithful prophet, informs us just how important His promises are with this unique nation, for they are based upon His covenant with the patriarchs of faith – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
“If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them” (Jeremiah 33:25, 26).
And as we evidently still have “day and night” – the fixed pattern which God put in motion at the beginning of creation – therefore, God will fulfil His promises with His beloved nation of Israel. The Almighty will bring His people back into the Land promised to their forefathers, in order that His eternal covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can be finally fulfilled.
Modern Day Miracle!
During the last hundred years or so we have all witnessed an extraordinary re-gathering of the children of Israel. So amazing that it could well be described as a modern-day miracle! From a scriptural perspective this has been monumental, for the restoration of Israel is central to the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Moreover, this was something the apostles all fervently believed, which is why they asked the famed question (just moments before their Master ascended into heaven to be with his heavenly Father): “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). In this short question we see God’s plan: the nation of Israel once possessed the kingdom and, when Jesus returns, will possess it once again!
Significantly, the Psalmist said: “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory” (Psalm 102:16). From the early cry of Zionism by Theodor Herzl, as far back as 1870, Almighty God – through the work of His mighty angelic host – has been gradually building Israel up again. This was made most evident in 1948, when Israel – against all odds – once again became the homeland of the Jewish people. The Bible was right all along!
But who could ever have imagined that this would, one day, come true after the ransacking of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD70? We only have to bring to mind some of the terrible pictures of the last World War to realise that this is a most amazing prediction indeed! So many times the future of the Jewish people has looked bleak to say the least! It is so fitting, then, that a well-known author, after closely studying the Jewish people, concluded: “No fact in the history of the 20th Century is more staggeringly improbable than the State of Israel” (C. Sykes, 1965: “Cross Roads to Israel”). How true this is!
Let us all therefore watch!
Today, if we look to the Land we see that Israel blossoms as a living witness and a testimony that the God of Israel reigns supreme; and we can be confident that God will bring about His ultimate plan and purpose with this earth very soon. For the Lord Jesus said: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
Amazingly, we are indeed the generation that has seen Israel reborn and Jerusalem’s captivity finally come to an end. The year 2007 marks forty years since Jerusalem was captured by the Jews (actually reclaimed on the sixth day of the Six Day War in 1967), and 2008 represents sixty years since the Jews returned to the Land of Israel (in fact Israel’s independence was joyously confirmed when a new Jewish state – ‘the State of Israel’ – was officially announced by David Ben-Gurion on 14th May 1948). All of these events were predicted in the Bible! What extraordinary times we are living in!
What we therefore see around us are signs which herald Christ’s return, and remind us to be ever-watching and waiting for him. As Jesus said: “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
Jesus is going to return very soon with a reward for the faithful, of that there is no doubt. So let us all be ready and waiting for him, for it will not be long. Even so come Lord Jesus.