Do followers of Jesus need to care about the nation of Israel? Why is this tiny nation – which is smaller than the state of New Jersey – often the center of so much discussion?
In order to understand, let’s first look at why Israel exists…
In Genesis we read of how God chose Abraham as the founding father of His people, the Jews, and created a covenant with him. This covenant encompasses two parts…
First, a people. God set Abraham and his descendants apart as His chosen people. Through His commitment to this people group, God teaches the world about His everlasting and undying love.
Next, He gave His people a land to live on. The land that was given to the Jewish people is now known as the nation of Israel.
The simple truth behind the over and abundant focus on this tiny strip of land is that God set it apart and called it His. In fact, He put His own name on this land – the name Israel (yisrael) is formed from a word play using the verb yisreh (which means “will fight”) combined with the suffix – El (which means God). Literally translated, Israel means “God fights.” We know this makes sense in Scripture because God wrestled with Jacob in Genesis 32 before renaming him Israel.
Don’t you think that if God sees Israel as worth fighting for, we should too? I believe if it is important to God, then it needs to be important to us as His followers.
I am going to quickly share with you two main reasons why all followers of Jesus need to stand for the nation of Israel.
- The land was given to the Jewish people. Genesis 15:18 says, “That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abram: ‘To your descendants I will give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates.’” If you look at any modern map, you will see that this encompasses modern-day Israel and much, much more.
- Israel’s salvation is dependent on the church provoking the Jewish people to Jesus. What is beautiful about this story is that God created a people through whom His Son would be born. Jesus came to earth as a Jew and as the Messiah to the Jewish people. God, in His grace and mercy, wants to save not only the Jewish people, but all the people of the world. So, through the death and resurrection of His Son, God paid the price of salvation for all mankind.
The story comes full circle because Israel’s salvation will come through believers in Jesus like you, reading the Scripture and taking action by sharing the love of God with the Jewish people.
Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16 NIV)
I believe that every time a Jewish person turns to faith in Yeshua, we move that much closer to Messiah’s return. In fact, Scripture seems to indicate that Jewish people embracing Jesus as Messiah is actually key to His return! Jesus himself said in Matthew 23:39, “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you [the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem] say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Which in Hebrew is, “Baruch Haba B’shem Adonai.”
Paul talks about the Jewish people coming to salvation in Romans 11:15 saying, “For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (TLV)
All around us, there are signs that the world is being made ready for Messiah’s return. The most important of these, as we have seen, is the restoration of the people of Israel to a right relationship with God. Do you want to know what’s next? God has promised a glorious salvation for the remnant of Israel!
And someday soon, all of Israel will say Baruch HaBa B’shem Adonai – Blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord!
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