ISRAEL

"Why did God choose Israel to be His chosen people?"

Speaking of the nation of Israel, Deuteronomy 7:7-9 tells us, “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. 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. 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.”

God chose the nation of Israel to be the people through whom Jesus Christ would be born – the Savior from sin and death (John 3:16). God first promised the Messiah after Adam and Eve’s fall into sin (Genesis chapter 3). God later confirmed that the Messiah would come from the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3). Jesus Christ is the ultimate reason why God chose Israel to be His chosen people. God did not have to have a “chosen people,” but He decided to do it that way. Jesus had to come from some nation of people, and God chose Israel.

However, God’s reason for choosing the nation of Israel was not solely for the purpose of producing the Messiah. God’s desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation of people the pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. For the most part, Israel failed in this task. However, God’s ultimate purpose for Israel, that of bringing for the Messiah and Savior, was fulfilled perfectly – in the Person of Jesus Christ.

"What is the land that God promised to Israel?"

In regards to the land that God has promised Israel, Genesis 15:18 declares, "To your descendants (Abraham's) I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates." God later confirms this promise to Abraham's son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel). When the Israelites were about to invade the promised land, God reiterated the land promise, as recorded in Joshua 1:4, "Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates — all the Hittite country — to the Great Sea on the west."

With Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4 in mind, the land God gave to Israel included everything from the Nile river in Egypt to Lebanon (North to South) and everything from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (West to East). So, what land has God stated belongs to Israel? All of the land modern Israel currently possesses, plus all of the land of the Palestinians (the West Bank and Gaza), plus some of Egypt and Syria, plus all of Jordan, plus some of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Israel currently possesses only a fraction of the land God has promised.

"Should Christians support the nation of Israel?"

We must remember that Israel, the nation, is very special to God. We read in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 these words: "For you are a holy people (that is, a separated people, people set apart) unto Jehovah, your God: Jehovah your God has chosen you to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. Jehovah did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people; but because Jehovah loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, He brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."

God's eternal purpose is to bless the world through Israel. Already He has done so in measure, for "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), but the fullness of future blessing is indicated in the wondrous promise of Isaiah 27:6; "He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit."

The declaration that "salvation is of the Jews,” suggests our immeasurable debt to Israel. All that we have worth having has come to us through the Jews. Our Bible is a Jewish Book, and our Savior is a Jewish Savior. Let us never forget to pray for God's chosen people. It is true, that Israel, today, is in the place of rejection. The nation today is a secular, unbelieving (as to the claims of Scripture and their Messiah, Jesus Christ) nation; but "even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). Some Jews are being saved and are becoming members of the body of Christ, the church.

Jews are, biblically speaking, the "chosen people of God" and dearly loved by Him. Another reason for Christians to support the nation of Israel is because of the Abrahamic Covenant. We read in Genesis 12:2-3, "And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing: and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (see also Genesis 27:29; Numbers 24:9).

One of the United States’ most worthwhile accomplishments has been its consistent regard for the plight of the Jewish nation. No nation in the history of the world has a better record of treating individual Jews with respect than does America. The same can be said for our befriending Israel as a nation. America has committed many sins, for which we may well deserve judgment, but as a nation, we have been a consistent friend of the Jews and the nation of Israel. America by contrast has been a benefactor for the Jewish state. In 1948, President Harry Truman helped persuade the United Nations to recognize Israel as a nation. Since then, the United States has contributed billions of dollars in aid to Israel.

From the biblical declarations of God's love and care for His chosen people, the nation of Israel; and from the history of nations being destroyed because of their evil dealings with God's chosen people, the Jews - Christian believers should give support to the chosen people of God. This is not to say that we support necessarily the methods they use in their relationships with the Arab nations. The Bible warned that conflict would always characterize the relations between the descendents of Isaac and Ishmael. Sadly, this conflict will continue until Jesus comes back to judge the nations and sets up his 1,000 year reign of peace on earth. We must look at the "big picture” with a biblical worldview. While we do not have to support everything Israel does as a nation, we most definitely should support Israel’s right to exist. God will fulfill His promises and covenants with Israel. God still has a plan for Israel. Woe to anyone who seeks to defeat that plan, “the one who curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:2-3).