It seems that much of the conflict in the Middle East has to do with Israel. Either Israel is doing things to the other nations around them that the whole world is unaware of or
there is another force at work there.
In Genesis 12, the Lord called Abram (who was later renamed Abraham) into the land of Canaan. The Lord also told Abram, (in Genesis 12:2-3)
- v2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. v3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will
curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
- So Abram obeyed the Lord and took his whole family and hired hands to Canaan (including Lot, his brother and his family along with his hired hands) Genesis 12:4-5).
- While in Canaan, Abram and Lot's herdsmen had a conflict (Gen.13:7). So Abram told Lot to pick out whichever way he wanted to go and Abram would take the other (Gen.13:9). (This is
where Lot ended up staying near Sodom).
- After they were separated, the Lord told Abram,
- "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will
make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving
it to you." (Genesis 13:14b-17)
- The Lord told Abram that his seed will be as the stars of heaven. (Genesis 15:4-5)
- The Lord told Abram that, for 400 years, his seed will be strangers in a land and will serve them. Afterwards, they will, again, come back into the land of Canaan. (Genesis 15:13-16)
- The Lord also told Abram, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18)
- Abram and Hagar (their maid) married and she conceived. (Genesis 16:4)
- Hagar was told by an angel that her son would be a wild man, against every one and every one against him. (Genesis 16:12)
- Hagar gave birth to her son, Ishmael (Muslims are descendants from him). (Genesis 1615)
- The Lord changed Abram's name to Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)
- The Lord restated His covenant with Abraham. (Genesis 17:7+)
- The Lord said He blessed Ishmael and will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly (Genesis 17:20). BUT
- The covenant will be established with Isaac, Abraham and Sarah's child (who had not, as yet, been born). (Genesis 17:21)
- Abraham prepared to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. (Genesis 22:3-10)
- The Lord confirmed His covenant with Abram. (Genesis 22:15-18)
- Part of the blessing was: 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take
possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. (Genesis 22:17-18)
- Isaac's wife, Rebekah, got pregnant, but the children struggled within her. She asked the Lord about it and He said, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will
be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." Genesis 25:23)
- So then Isaac's wife Rebekah, had twins – Esau and Jacob. Esau came out first, then Jacob. (Genesis 25:24)
- Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. (Genesis 25:33)
- The Lord, again, confirmed His covenant to Isaac. (Genesis 26:3-5)
- Jacob (with the help of his mother) tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing due to the oldest child. (Esau was the oldest child by a minute or two). (Genesis 27:1-29)
- Esau found out about it and wanted a blessing too. So Isaac blessed him also, however, his blessing was to serve his brother Jacob. (Genesis 27:30-40)
- The Lord changed Jacob's name to Israel.[Israel means "He struggles with God"] (Genesis 32:28 & 35:10)
- Joseph, Israel's young son (previously Jacob) was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. He eventually became the 2nd in command to the nation (Pharaoh was first). (Genesis 37:18-41)
- Joseph's brothers come down to Egypt for corn because of a famine in their land. They had to request it of Joseph, whom they didn't recognize because he was dressed different and talked in a
foreign language. Joseph wanted to find out if they were sorry for what they had done to him. They were sorry and so he revealed himself to them. (Genesis 42:1-45:8)
- Joseph sent for the whole family of his father, Israel. (Genesis 45:9-46:34)
- The Lord told Israel (previously Jacob) that He would make a great nation of him. (Genesis 46:3)
- The Hebrews became servants to the Egyptians. Moses was born and the Lord commissioned him to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt and back into the land of Canaan. (Exodus 1-3:10)
- Moses led the people out of Egypt. (Exodus 13:17-22+)
- The Red Sea became divided so that the people could cross in the middle. (Exodus 14:21-31).
- The Lord gave the Hebrews many laws concerning the ways they should act etc. (Exodus 20-Numbers 11)
- Moses sent out 12 spies to look at the land of Canaan. (Numbers 13:1-25)
- The men came back and all but Caleb and Joshua were scared to go in and take the land. (Numbers 13:26-33)
- Because they didn't have faith in the Lord, (to take the land of Canaan) He said they would have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all those 20 years old or more died (except for
Joshua and Caleb). (Numbers 20-35)
- The Lord tells them what blessings they will have in the land of Canaan IF
they will keep all the commandments which the Lord commanded them. (Deuteronomy 11:8-25, 28:1-14)
- The Lord tells them the curse that would befall them if they did NOT obey the commandments of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 11:26-25, 28:15-)
- Moses dies and Joshua takes over as leader of the Israelites. (Deuteronomy 34:1-12)
- An angel told the Israelites that He would never break the agreement He made with them. (Judges 2:1)
The history of the Israelites is recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Lord would raise up a leader and he would lead the people according to the Lord.
When that leader died, the people would generally fall back into worshipping idols and doing things that were against the will of the Lord. So the Lord let their enemies overtake them and oppress them.
Then they would cry out to the Lord and He would raise up another leader to bring the people back to Him.
This cycle went on and on. You would think that they'd learn from the previous turn of events that if they don't follow the Lord, then they would be oppressed by their
enemies. When they turn to Him, they are saved from their enemies.
- Throughout history, (noted in the Old Testament) the Israelites (the Jews) have gone back and forth between obedience to the Lord and disobedience to Him.
- Part of the curse was that the Israelites were to be scattered throughout the world (Deuteronomy 28:64).
- Eventually, they will call to mind the commandments of the Lord and He will start to gather them from all the nations where He has scattered them. (Deuteronomy 30:3)
- The curses that the Lord had made for the Jews will be for their enemies. (Deuteronomy 30:7)
- Jesus said, "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)
- Some "peacemakers" are trying to get Israel to give more of the land they have to the Palestinians.
So the Lord has scattered the Israelites all over the world to be gathered together when they start to become obedient to Him.
Let's look at what has happened since then.
- The Lord has, indeed, scattered the Israelites throughout the world. However they have kept their Jewish heritage. They have not been assimilated into the nations where they lived.
The Lord confirmed that His covenant with them was for ever. v44 "Yet in spite of this,
when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. 45 But for their sake I will
remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD." (Leviticus 26:44-45)
- There are many places in the Bible where the Lord has told the Israelites what would happen to them if they did not obey Him. However, He never went back on His promise. Several
other places in the Bible confirm this also.
- Jesus came to the Jewish people and they rejected Him. (Jewish people don't believe that Jesus Christ was their long awaited for Messiah, Christians do).
- The Jewish people (Israel's descendants) have been persecuted off and on since Moses led them out of Egypt.
- The Temple (in Jerusalem) was destroyed.
- Many Jewish people died in the Nazi Holocaust during World War 2
- Down through history, there have been many tries to eliminate the Jewish people, but it just never happens.
- The prophet Ezekiel said (from the Lord), 24 "'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land." (Ezekiel 36:24)
- The Lord again confirms His covenant with Abraham in saying, "28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God."
- That land is the land He gave to Abraham, the land of Canaan, the present day land of Israel.
- In 1948, the nation of Israel was born.
Let's look at what is happening with the Jews (the former Israelites) today.
- The Jewish people are returning to the land of Israel
- Many of the Jewish people are turning to the Lord
- Israel is preparing to re-build the temple
- Israel seems to be holding their own in conflicts with neighbors
The Jewish state of Israel is a very emphatic statement that what the Lord has said in the Bible is true and will come to pass.
The Lord said that they were His people and that He would fight for them.
Look at what will happen to the Israelites (the Jews, the land of Israel)
- They will see Jesus as the Messiah they have been waiting for and realize that they were mistaken all these years. (Zechariah 12:9-14)
- The Lord will make a new covenant with them. (Jeremiah 31:31)
- The Lord will put His law in their hearts. They will no longer, as a nation, fall away from the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
The fact that God promised to give Abraham's physical descendants the land of Canaan forever and the covenant for an everlasting covenant means that Israel would never perish as a
people. If Israel did perish, it could not possess the land forever and its Abrahamic Covenant could not be everlasting.
So we know from this that the covenant is not dependent on human obedience, but on the love and faithfulness of God to His word.
- Building the temple, or getting it ready to build
- The state of Israel has already started making the blueprints for the new temple that will be in Jerusalem. They have also been making the garments for the priests as well as training
the priests for the office. One reference is at the following:
- How such a small nation could beat all the nations fighting against it
- First you have to understand that the Lord is not just another god - He is The God of Gods. He is the Creator – the only true God. He stands for all that we know as
good in this world. He is a God of Love and He loves each one of us even we don't agree with Him.
- That said, the Lord told Moses that when the Israelites went into the promised land of Canaan that He would fight on their side. (Deuteronomy 3:22)
- Several other places in the Bible they are told that the Lord is on their side. Just because there has been a passage of time is no reason why His promise is not valid any more.
- Why the Lord chose Israel
- 7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD
loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore
that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.( Deuteronomy 7:7-9)
- In Isaiah, the Lord says that they are His people.
- I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise
. Isaiah 43 20b-21
- The Lord is still helping the Israelites today.
- When the nation Israel was born again in 1948, they faced overwhelming odds against them. But they overcame the odds and became a thriving nation, as they are today.
- In 1967, they again faced overwhelming odds. However, they overcame the odds and won the war in 6 days. It is now referred to as the 6-Day War.
- Is there any evidence that the Jews are coming to know Jesus as their Messiah?
- Many of the Jewish people are coming to know Jesus Christ as their long awaited Messiah. This is evidenced by evangelists and other Christians living in Israel.
- What evidence is there that the Lord is still on the side of the Israelites?
- The fact that the Jewish people are still the Jewish people. They have not been assimilated into the countries where they went.
- Since they have again become a nation (1948) they have been able to hold their own or beat their enemies in any war type of conflict.
So – getting back to the original question, "What does Israel have to do with the end-times?". We can see that the Lord has certainly had a hand in the saving of
the Israelites – the Jews. He has protected the nation from annihilation, the people from being assimilated into the countries where they went, brought them back into the land promised to them many years
ago. He has protected them against the huge odds of their enemies.
It is a fact that the Lord loves all of the people on the earth. Because the Lord loves us all, we are all the target of Satan, the enemy of the Lord. Satan hates
anything the Lord loves. Because the Lord loves us, Satan hates us. The Lord's chosen people are the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, Satan hates them even more. So Satan is working overtime in
trying to get rid of the Jews throughout the world and Israel in particular.
So Satan is pulling out all the stops in trying to get rid of Israel because he knows that his time is short. Although he doesn't know more than we have access to (in the Bible), he
does realize that his time is short. So he is trying to keep as many people from knowing about Jesus Christ as he can.
So, in these end times, we are seeing and will see more accusing of the Jews and Christians for being the cause of much of the trouble in the world. If a person is not a Christian,
Satan knows that the people to really work on keeping from knowing about Jesus and accepting Him into their heart are the Christians. The Jews are God's chosen people and therefore are a target for him also.
But it is also stated in Zechariah 12:9-14 that the Jews will look on Him who they have pierced and realize that Jesus, the one who they crucified, was the Messiah that they have been waiting
for. At that time, they will come to know Him en-masse. This is what Satan is trying to stop – by setting all nations against them.