Israel is a big topic in today’s news as it has been for decades. So many people throughout the world question Israel’s claim to the relatively small tract of land it occupies in the Middle East. Even within the Christian community, there’s much discussion as to whether Israel is still relevant to the Church of Jesus Christ.
It’s still very relevant. To prove it, I will highlight, from a biblical perspective, the importance of God’s longstanding covenant with Israel and how it is inseparable from His covenant today with Christian believers.
God called Abraham to leave the land of Ur, an ancient city located in modern day Iraq, and go to another land. “And I will make of you a great nation and I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you, I will curse…” (Genesis 12:2-3, English Standard Version (ESV)).
Moreover, God promised to give Abraham a son, saying, “To your offspring I give this land…” (Gen. 15:18, ESV) and He established the boundaries of the land. But to Abraham, the process seemed slow. So, he and his wife, Sarah, attempted to rush God’s plan and “help Him out” in the process. Sarah suggested that Abraham have sexual relations with her servant, Hagar. This union produced the child Ishmael but it didn’t fulfill God’s promise because it wasn’t God’s way. Eventually, Sarah did eventually bear the child God promised, Isaac, well into her 90’s.
Nevertheless, Abraham prayed that God would bless Ishmael. God was compassionate, yet firm: “As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes and I will make him into a great nation …” (the Arab people who now surround Israel), “but I will establish my covenant with Isaac (the Jewish people)…” (Genesis 17:20-21, ESV). So often when we attempt to rush God’s plan we set ourselves up to miss God’s best.
Centuries later, Jesus came to fulfill God’s original plan to restore mankind to the level of blessing He desired for them before Adam sinned. Now, all who believe in the Lord Jesus and confesses with their mouth that He is Lord, will be saved. Not only are we saved, we also become connected to Christ and the blessing He restored to both Jew and Gentile. “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16, ESV). “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29, ESV).
God chose a man and formed the nation Israel, from which He brought salvation to all who ask Jesus into their heart. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:10, ESV).
“Stay tuned” for more next week as we continue to explore how Israel is connected to the church and to God’s plan. Meanwhile, will you receive Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior?
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Rob Granger is Senior Pastor of Faith Harbor Church, a non-denominational church that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Escondido Columbus Hall, 515 W. Valley Parkway. His wife, Becky, serves as Co-Pastor. Videos of Pastor Rob’s sermons can be seen on YouTube by typing faith harbor church escondido ca in the YouTube search box. Visit fhcescondido.com for information about Faith Harbor Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Times-Advocate.