Two thousand is the year that the "Piece Process" is scheduled to be resolved. It will be a most difficult year; all the tough issues remain - Jerusalem, the water rights, the "final" borders, etc.
For those of us who take the Bible seriously, it is a critical time to be up to date on our homework. There are many dangers in not taking the Word of God seriously.
The Land does not belong to the Palestinians. It doesn't belong to the U.N. It specifically is the Lord's.
Last month we reviewed the Abrahamic Covenant.3 All the other covenants build on this one. And all of our benefits as Gentiles also derive from this one.
God delights in making and keeping promises. He takes them very seriously. This month we'll review another covenant that will be impacting our near horizon.
The Palestinian Covenant
In the same passage that declares the Abrahamic Covenant, the Scripture includes:
And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land:
...and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. [Note that "forever."]
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Later, when all of this was solemnized unilaterally,4 the scope of this land grant was reconfirmed:
In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
When people want to talk about the "West Bank," ask them, "Which river?" The Jordan is not the final boundary.
This grant was confirmed regarding Isaac:
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
...But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Genesis 17:19, 21
At Bethel, when God changed Jacob's name to "Israel," this was all reconfirmed to him:
And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
Many have asked for the evidence of a miracle that the Bible is true. One classic answer: The Jew. The Wandering Jew is an idiom in history, and the entire history of Israel-its origin, its ups, its downs, and its final destiny-are detailed in advance. Their failures in the "Dias-pora" were also predicted:
And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.
And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land.
Ezekiel 36:19, 20
(It is significant that the very predicament of their not being in His land is, in itself, a means of "profaning His holy name," since it causes the enemies of God to balspheme.9)
Their regathering back to the Land was predicted, but for some surprising reasons:
But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then [note that "then"!] will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
This is a startling passage! They are to be regathered, not because they "deserve" to be, but because God's own reputation is at stake-His Name is on the deal! (Again, it's always by grace-just as our own blessings are!)
On May 14, 1948, the debate should have been silenced: the State of Israel was reborn in the very Land which God had declared for that purpose. Also, note the "then" in v. 25: they are to be regathered before becoming cleansed by faith and repentance. (It appears that the acknowledgment and repentance of the believing remnant is a precondition of the Second Coming.10 )
There is a specific event that brings about the results summarized in Ezekiel 36 and 37. It is an invasion detailed in Ezekiel 38 and 39. And there are many who believe that this, too, is on our near horizon. (We will provide an update on these possibilities in future articles. It is, indeed, getting exciting...)
And just how will they know He is the Lord? Because He keeps His promises despite their failures! (Fortunately, we, too, are not on a merit system! It's always by His Grace...)
Quo Vadis, America?
And speaking of grace, one of the most frequent questions I get asked as I travel is, "Is God going to judge America?"
In view of the moral free fall of this most-blessed land of ours, this is a serious question. One is reminded of that memorable response of Billy Graham many years ago: "If God doesn't judge America, He shall have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." Well said. But why hasn't He? There are many who believe it is long overdue. There is one Biblically defendable conjecture: because of His promise to Israel in Genesis 12:3:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
It could be that our continued blessings (and mercy) may derive from our traditional support of Israel in His Land. But if so, then we need to pay particular attention to our foreign policy decisions.11
There may be grave jeopardy brewing for us as we join the tide of pressures to render Israel vulnerable to her enemies who are committed to her destruction. Indeed, in the final climax, the entire world will be aligned against Israel and Jerusalem:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And 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
But let us also remember the judgment that will occur at the Great White Throne, when the nations are judged by their treatment of Israel.12 We are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.13 Let us also remember that:
He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
An elderly American Indian was overheard in a discussion about federal policy; he was quoted as saying, "Let me tell you more about 'land for peace...'"
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