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Israel: Why Should This Matter to Me? parts 1-3

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013

Parts 1: Knowing God
Part 2: God’s Relationship with Israel
Part 3: Israel Prophesied

Part One: Knowing God
babyandmomI think you will agree, that (for most of us) our daily lives are bombarded with too many “things”, too many responsibilities, and sometimes, our priorities get way out of order. We’re usually up early, hurried to get out of the house for work or get the kids ready for school, or a combination of both. But as Christians, God should be the most significant part of our day. Why? Like all of our relationships, the only way to really get to know someone is to spend quality time with them. And, it’s the same with God. Getting to know Him and develop an intimate relationship is everything! The key to a deeper understanding of God (and actually knowing His heart) is to delve into His Word. This is how we can truly find out Who He is.

Our God is a relational God! This is no better evidenced than at the cross where He spilled His blood so that we could have restored fellowship with Him. Everything that matters to our King centers around relationships as well as the making and keeping of covenants with those He calls into relationship with Him. Some areas of God’s heart are very obvious to us because of their relational nature (such as marriage, family, and friendship), but there are other areas of His heart that are often overlooked in a Gentile-American mindset and culture. To fully know, love, and please our God, it is important that we understand the other areas of His heart. We liken it to the same way we get to know someone we’re dating. Most of us are passionate about discovering what they like and dislike, and learn as much about them as we can. This is the same way we need to pursue God.

The one thing very close to God’s heart is His people Israel. If Israel matters to God, then this little nation should matter to us! But don’t take my word for it. Let’s consider the following questions:
1. Why does so much of the world rage, fight and plot to destroy this land of Israel and her people?
2. Why such hatred toward a people who’s greatest longing is to live in peace with her neighbors?
3. Why such a frenzy over a tiny piece of land and a people who are only a tiny fragment of the world’s population?

We’ll discover the answers to these questions as we search the Word together. Let’s get started on our journey as we step back into history and uncover God’s plan and purpose for mankind. It is here that we’ll come to understand His heart for Israel and her people. Now, let’s see what our King has to say about it!

israeliflagPart Two – God’s Relationship with Israel
The Bible is the story of God’s love from creation to redemption, to His return in Revelation. And it’s exciting! The pages of the book are full of man’s tendency to wander, to sin, and God’s faithfulness to draw man back to Him. Â In this brief history, we will focus on His relationship with the land of Israel and the Jewish people.

In Genesis 12, God called a man named Abram from Ur (of the Chaldeans) to follow Him. In Genesis 15, God cut a blood covenant with Abram. Through this covenant, God bound Himself to Abram and his descendants with promises to be their God. This covenant also came with a promise for a piece of land. God called both promises everlasting. These promises are based on God’s faithfulness, not Abraham’s or his descendants’, and this covenant (as with all His covenants) is a covenant of love.

The New Testament speaks of God’s love for His people, Israel, just as much as the Old Testament. Jesus’ coming is the fulfillment of all the promises to Israel in the Old Testament of a coming Messiah. Matthew 23:37 gives us a feel for God’s love for Israel. Here Jesus is talking about longing to gather up Israel’s children the way a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. This is such a picture of God’s tenderness and love over His people, Israel. If God has this much love for this people, shouldn’t we, too? And you can be sure, what is precious to God becomes a source of hatred for our enemy, the devil. Historically, we will start to see that hatred toward the Jews, and sadly, the church, was often one of the biggest offenders.

temple02Part Three: Israel Prophesied
Matthew 24:1-2 “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to Him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another, everyone will be thrown down.’”
Hosea 3:4-5 “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol, afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days.” Did you know that “David their king” is a Hebrew way of saying their “Messiah”?

In Matthew, Jesus says the temple will be destroyed. In 70 A.D., just as Jesus had prophesied, Rome destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and it was the beginning of the diaspara for the Jews. They began to scatter throughout the world but the Jews who were left and did not follow the Messiah, followed a Jewish man in 132 A.D. who claimed to be the Messiah. His name was Simon Bar Copa. Copa said that he would put down Rome and this is exactly what the Jews wanted as they were tired of living under the thumb of Rome. In 135 A.D., that rebellion was put down. Thousands upon thousands of Jews were crucified. They were enslaved and dispersed out of the land.

Consequently, Israel was renamed Syria Palestina and Jerusalem was renamed Ailia Capitalina. The name, Ailia Capitalnia, did not stick. (Syria Palestina was chosen as a name because the Philistines were the enemies of the Jews.) The Romans were trying to insult the Jews so they renamed it and the Palestine part of the name stuck until 1948. There are different peoples who controlled the land of Israel after 135 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews expelled. The different groups who controlled Israel were Rome, the Seljaks, the Egyptians, the Muslims, & the Crusaders. From 1517-1917 the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) controlled the land until 1917 when Britain took Israel and remained in control until 1947.

NEXT: Parts 4-5 – The Early Church and Later Apostasy / Suffering and Injustice

Author: Mary, CCF Contributor
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