The Global importance of Israel • “This is Jerusalem which I have set in the centre of the nations.” (Ezek.5:5) • Ezek. 37 A picture of Israel coming back to life. • The awakening of the nations goes hand in hand with the awakening of Israel. A spiritual restoration goes hand in hand with a physical one (the nation of Israel). • Israel was called to be a nation of priests (Ex 19:5-6) “..until the ends of the earth see the salvation of God” Isaiah 52:16. The Jewish roots to Christianity and the spread of the church bear witness to this. • Rom. 11:17 The church does not replace Israel, but is grafted in
Biblical promises are specifically fulfilled • Micah 5:2 Bethlehem would be Messiahs place of birth • Isaiah 9:1-2 Zebulun and Naphthali would see a great light • Zechariah 11:12-13 The price for which the Messiah would be betrayed • Zechariah 9:9 The Messiah rides a donkey • Isaiah 54 The suffering Servant • Luke 21:24 Jerusalem would be trampled by the Gentiles before the Messiah’s return • Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Turks, the British. • The Jews left Jerusalem under the Assyrians in 721BC and the Babylonians 586BC, although some Jews remained, until 1967 – the first sovereign possession of Jerusalem by the Jews since 586BC (2553 years!)
The Importance of the Land • The land was promised to Israel Gen. 15:18-20 (Abraham), 26:3 (Isaac), 35:12 (Jacob), Joshua 1:4. See maps of The 12 tribes of Canaan, Davids empire, and the divided Kingdom • Which land? From the river of Egypt to the Great river Euphrates. • Includes modern parts of Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq. • “Everlasting covenant” 1 Chron. 16:15-18. Condition: faithfulness to God. 25 centuries of punishment. But Ezek. 37: the army of bones, the “whole house of Israel” is awakening. • This was not fulfilled in the return from Babylon (East), but they will return from all directions, including “the islands of the sea”. Ships would bring them, Isa. 11:11-12, 60:8 “Fly along like clouds” (planes?) • The “wilderness” has “bloomed” Isa. 35:1-2. • Even after returning there will be cries of fear, not peace (Jer. 30:5)
Israel’s return • The first “Aliyah”, return, was late 19th century • Eliezer ben-Yehuda pulled together the Hebrew language • David ben Gurion was the first PM “Founding Father” • Theodor Herzyl started the Zionist movement. • Chaim Weizman – invented synthetic gun powder for the Brits in exchange for help for Israel. The Balfour Declaration was Britains response. • Sir Edmond Allenby, after leaflet drop urging Turks to leave, which they miraculously did, walked into Jerusalem (refused to ride in. Said only the Messiah would do that), December 1917 • 1920 League of Nations gave Britain control of Palestine (British Mandate), but the Balfour Declaration was not honoured, and an Arab gov’t was installed. • 1948, after second WW and holocaust, UN agreed to a “Partition” and modern Israel was born.
Wars of survival • The Palestinians rejected the partition & refused to recognise Israel • 1948 War of independence against 7 Arab nations. Israel went from 3000sq miles to 8000. 700,000 Palestinian & same number of Jewish refugees. 2014 Israel population: 6M Jews 2M Arabs. • 1967 6 day war…they went to 26,000 sq miles and captured Jerusalem • 1973 Yom Kippur war….went to 36,000 sq miles. • The “occupied territories” included Gaza (Egypt), the Golan Heights (Syria), the West Bank (Jordan), and Sinai (Egypt) • Today 6M Jews in Israel (total pop. 8M), but 12M still among the nations.
Bless Israel • Hosea 3:5 “They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessing in the last days” • Isaiah 62:6-7 “You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest, until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth” • Gen.12:2-3 “I will bless those who bless you.” • Romans 11:11 Make Israel envious • Romans 15:27b Helping financially (including tourism)