Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence and was immediately at war with its Arab neighbors. Today Israel’s enemies are once again preparing for war and, again, the goal is Israel’s complete annihilation. In the 60 years that have passed since the creation of the modern state of Israel, this tiny nation has fought for its survival against all odds. It has survived several major wars and decades of violence.
However, it is important to remember that the Jew’s history in the Promised Land actually dates back more than 3,000 years. It is not only important, it is imperative because in Israel the past, present, and future are inextricably linked. It could be argued that in no other place on the planet does history play a more central role than in this war-torn region.
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., the U.S., or even Israel! It specifically is the Lord’s. Yes, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”1 And yet, it is strange to note that there is a very specific parcel of real estate which has been set aside as His, and His alone.2 God delights in making and keeping promises. He takes them very seriously.
The Land Covenant
In the same passage that declares the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12), the Scriptures include:
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,3 the scope of this land grant was reconfirmed (Gen 15:18). This land covenant was also confirmed regarding Isaac (Gen 17:19) and at Bethel, when God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel,” this was all reconfirmed to him (Gen 35:10-12). These covenants were declared to be everlasting;4 and the New Testament declares them immutable.5
Many have asked for supernatural evidence 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 “Diaspora” were also predicted (Ezek 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 blaspheme.8]
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.9)
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...)
Most diligent Bible students understand Israel’s history up to the Crucifixion, but few really understand how Israel’s present predicament came about. These vital chapters in Israel’s history should not be overlooked. For more information on the Nation of Israel from the Fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 to the present, check out our briefing called Betrayal of the Chosen.