From the very beginning of her history, Israel has faced hard times, has been surrounded by enemies, has fought for her right to exist, has been in and out of the land promised by God, has obeyed God, has disobeyed God, has been persecuted by other countries and people, and has survived like no other nation on the face of the earth. Most, if not all, nations that have gone through what Israel has faced from her founding would not still be in existence or would be of very little importance.
Israel has faced one great trial after another. Old Testament scriptures reveal that she has faced oppression, persecution, resistance, chastisement, victories, defeats, good prophets, false prophets, good kings, bad kings, plenty of food, lack of food, much rain, little rain, in the promised land, out of the promised land, the blessing of God, the wrath of God—and the list could go on and on. But still, Israel is a very significant nation, and without a doubt, is much more significant now than at any other time in her history. In 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the nations of the world. But on May 14, 1948, Israel was once again recognized as a nation and was officially located in the land God promised to Moses.
Just one day after that recognition, Israel was attacked by armies from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt, beginning what is known as the Arab-Israeli War. This war extended Israel’s battle for independence until July 20, 1949, with Israel victorious and God blessing her with independence for the first time in 2,000 years.
As Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of her return back to a portion of the land God promised her, it appears that she is getting stronger, more significant globally and more resolute to maintain her territory permanently. Many of the world’s citizens are amazed that such a tiny nation, just the size of New Jersey, is so important to the Middle East and the rest of the world. The question of why Israel still exists after facing all the challenges in her history rises in the minds of many, particularly in the thinking of those who hate her.
The answer to that question is found in the heart of Almighty God Who has a plan and a purpose for Israel that is tied to a great promise for her future that will result in the best years of her life (Deuteronomy 7:6-9 and Genesis 12:1-3).
The land Israel now occupies is only a small portion of the greater expanse of property God has promised to her by divine order according to Joshua 1:3-4. There has never been a time when Israel fully occupied the entire territory promised by God. However, when Christ establishes His Kingdom on earth, all of the described land will belong 100 percent to Israel. Currently, any attempt to remove Israel from any part of the land or to take any amount of land away from her is surely against the will of God. And God will certainly judge those who attempt to reduce Israel’s possession. What God has promised to Israel, God will fulfill.
Israel belongs to God and God will protect Israel forever. Other nations will fade away. But Israel will prevail.
It is believed that one of the reasons God raised up the United States is to protect and support Israel. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman, because of his understanding of Scripture, was eager to recognize Israel as a nation, even though other national and international leaders discouraged him from doing so. But he sought advice from theologians and Bible scholars who directed him to stand firm with Israel. And so he did! And thus, since May 14, 1948, America has been Israel’s best ally—for which God has blessed the USA. If America ever turns her back on Israel, America will be doomed and judged by God.
How should Christians respond to Israel’s 70th anniversary back in the land as a modern nation? Consider the following:
- By praising the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for His eternal and unconditional promise and provision for Israel.
- By rejoicing with Israel for the great milestone of now being back in the land God promised her for 70 years.
- By praying daily for the peace and prosperity of Israel as commanded in Psalm 122:6.
- By encouraging American governmental leaders to stand with and support Israel as a nation in personal and public policy.
- By prompting faithful pastors to teach the truth about God's plan for Israel to their congregations.
Indeed, these are exciting days, as Israel once again begins to bloom under the loving and gracious hand of Almighty God. The parable of the Fig Tree that Christ shares in Matthew 24:32-35 teaches that when the tree (Israel) begins to bloom, His return is getting closer.
As God loves Israel, so should every Christian love Israel. As time goes on, until the return of Christ, it will be interesting to see what the various nations of the world will attempt to do to destroy Israel. According to Bible prophecy, under the direction of Satan and the anti-Christ, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Russia and other nations will come down upon Israel in an attempt to destroy her. But as they do, God will turn the tables on them and judge those wicked nations to destruction forever.
The very fact that Israel has now been back in her own land for 70 years is an indication of the imminent return of Jesus Christ, which is the first stage of His second coming to the earth. Therefore, we are compelled to do the following:
- Pray for Israel daily.
- Stand with Israel consistently.
- Support Israel verbally.
- Encourage Israel actively.
Yes, the very best days for Israel are ahead, when she will see the wonderful working of God in her midst as never before. These are exciting times in which to live. Let’s keep our eyes on the Lord and give Him the glory for all He is doing.
Pastor Gary G. Dull serves as the senior pastor of the Faith Baptist Church of Altoona, Pa, the founder and president of the Way of Truth Ministries, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and sits as a board member of the American Pastors Network.