Why Israel Matters to Believers

Posted on February 22, 2018

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By David Ettinger

Israel’s Mysterious Allure
It’s amazing how the world is drawn to Israel. It seems every development surrounding the Holy Land, no matter how small, makes headlines. Even when a missile lands harmlessly in Israel, news outlets cover it. Yet, numerous incidents of bloodshed, uprisings, and warfare occur daily worldwide without generating so much as a yawn from the media.

Jerusalem in Israel tourism destinationsWhy the fascination with Israel?

Though the unsaved can’t answer this question, Bible-believers can: It’s a “spiritual thing.” Israel is home to the largest population of Jewish people and is the land to which Christ at His second coming will return. Israel will be the spiritual and physical capital of the Millennial (1,000-year) Kingdom, and from where Christ will reign. Israel is so precious to God that the prophet Zechariah writes, “… for he who touches you [Israel], touches the apple of His [God’s] eye” (2:8).

Though Israel and the Jewish people are in a time of discipline, God is not through with them. Israel is no longer the conduit through which God brings the message of salvation to the world; she has temporarily been set aside. The conduit is the Church. However, despite the poisonous teaching of “Replacement Theology,” the Church has not taken Israel’s place in God’s affections. Israel is still the apple of God’s eye, and for this reason, Israel matters to believers.

Great Promises
God has made numerous promises to Israel that have not yet been fulfilled:

  • “For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God” (2 Samuel 7:24).
  • “I will cleanse them [Israel] from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth …” (Jeremiah 33:8-9).
  • “And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever” (Ezekiel 37:28).

The latter two verses have not been fulfilled. Israel is not yet cleansed from her sins, her iniquities have not yet been pardoned, and the nations do not esteem her. Furthermore, Israel has not yet been sanctified, that is, purified and set apart for God’s purposes.

Promises Never Rescinded or Transferred
flagThe adherents of Replacement Theology – the belief that the Church has “replaced” Israel – conveniently ignore promises made to Israel which logically cannot apply to the Church. These promises focus on God’s fidelity to Israel, the vow that He will never cast her aside or permanently reject her:

  • “You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you’” (Isaiah 41:9).
  • “And they will call them, ‘The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord’; And you will be called, ‘Sought out, a city not forsaken’” (Isaiah 62:12).
  • “At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes” (Zephaniah 3:20).
  • “I [Paul] say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!” (Romans 11:1).
  • “… and so all Israel [who survive the Great Tribulation] will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

God is Accountable to Himself
God is incapable of lying; what He promised, He will deliver on:

  • “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).
  • “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
  • “… in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie …” (Titus 1:2).
  • “… so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie …” (Hebrews 6:18).

The Bottom Line
destruction jeruThe issue of crucial importance to Christians is this: If God does not keep His promises to Israel, why would He keep His promises to you? If God has “replaced” Israel with the Church, then how do we know He will not grow tired with the Church and replace her? If God does not fulfill His promises to Israel, what is to stop Him from saying to you, “You’re not cutting it; I’m replacing you with someone better.” If God’s promises to Israel are but allegory, then how do we know what to believe? Perhaps the words “salvation,” “redemption,” and “eternal life” are allegory as well. If this is the case, how do you even know you are saved and have an eternal destiny? If God does not fulfill what He promised to Israel, then how can you trust any of the promises He made to you?

Fulfilling the promises He made to Israel is at the very heart of God’s character and trustworthiness. Through the centuries, God’s faithfulness to Israel – that she still exists – is an ironclad assurance to the Church that God will indeed fulfill everything He has promised to you and me. God has promised to redeem and restore Israel, and indeed He will.

Israel is still the apple of God’s eye, though the days ahead will be the darkest in her history. But following those days, redemption will come. When God fulfills all of His promises to Israel, the Church will thrive (Romans 11:12). God’s faithfulness to Israel is the Christian’s surest sign that He will be faithful to us.

And this is why Israel matters to believers!