How Will Israel’s Destiny Impact Your Future?
I am deeply concerned about what I believe is a dangerous and insidious movement spreading within some of our Bible-believing churches and within the minds of many Christians. I'm concerned as I sense shifting attitudes toward the Jewish people. More and more I see some Christians drifting toward the idea that the nation of Israel has become irrelevant to their Christian experience, with Israel holding little or no place of importance in their churches and playing no significant role in God's future plan for planet Earth.
Sadly, there are also a growing number of people who call themselves Christians who go beyond indifference toward Israel, to personal contempt and outright hostility toward the Jewish state. Tragically, many within Christianity are buying into the idea that Israel and the Jewish people have lost their chosen status and have been cast aside by God because of their historical unbelief and rejection of Jesus at the cross.
The same groups which espouse this erroneous teaching known as Replacement Theology or Supersessionism, believe that all of the blessings once promised to Israel have been redirected to the Church, thereby replacing Israel with the Church in God's eternal plan for the ultimate redemption of humanity. Let me respond to this as forcefully as I can. This teaching is absolutely wrong and nothing could be further from the truth. While these various attitudes and beliefs about Israel differ significantly, they are all nonetheless unbiblical positions.
The Seed of the Woman
Regarding God's Chosen People, the truth which is largely misunderstood is that God brought Israel into existence not for Israel alone, but that through her Seed, the Gentile nations of the world could be delivered from pagan idolatry and the kingdom of Satan. In the unconditional covenant God made with Abraham, He said to the patriarch: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (Genesis 22:18).
In context, the Gentile nations are blessed through that Seed – who is the Lord Jesus Christ. From the Seed, Gentiles from every kindred, tongue, and tribe can experience redemption.
To the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said: Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).
The Old Testament is very much the account of Israel travailing to give birth to the Messiah, the Seed of the Woman. As the surrounding pagan nations under Satan were unwittingly used to keep that Seed from being born, it is for this reason that God said to Abraham: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee (Genesis 12:3). Throughout history the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, and Romans had two goals in common – to either assimilate the Jews into their pagan idolatrous cultures, or annihilate them.
If at any time during the Old Testament economy the Jewish race could have been destroyed or assimilated, the Seed of the Woman could not have been born, and all men and women throughout the world would be dying in their sins and without hope of redemption. But in the fullness of time, the promised Seed came into the world. However, the nation that birthed Him rejected His Messianic claims, as they were focused on a victorious lion and totally missed the suffering Lamb as the Lamb of God.
Satan's Continued Efforts
When Jesus was nailed to the cross, Satan thought he had finally won. The Seed was slain; the battle was over; and Satan was certain he had checkmated God. There must have been great celebration and revelry in the dark places of the universe, but God was not checkmated. On the third day God raised His Son from the grave. Jesus was gloriously alive! Satan was defeated at Calvary by the Lamb of God, He who was without sin. Jesus became sin for us on the cross, and God's righteousness was satisfied.
But the crushing of Satan's head still awaits the Second Coming of Christ, when He will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. In the interim, Satan has relentlessly continued the fight. In A.D. 70, three Roman legions defeated the Jewish nation, destroyed their temple on Mount Moriah, and scattered the Jewish people across the face of the earth during their worldwide dispersion. Over the past 2,000 years, Satan believed he could still win if the Jews could be assimilated through intermarriage among the people with whom they dwelt, or were annihilated by wicked nations.
You might ask, How could destroying the Jewish nation give Satan the victory? I will explain. Jesus will not return as an illegal usurper of His future Kingdom. The future kingdom over which He will rule and reign will be rightfully His to claim in fulfillment of the biblical texts which prophesy of Him coming back as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Jesus will return as the legitimate heir to the throne of King David. For this to occur there must be a physical people – the Jews; an actual land – Israel; and a genuine capital – Jerusalem. In other words, if Satan at any time could have destroyed the Jews, Jesus would have no land and no people over which to reign as king.
At His first coming, Jesus was physically born of a woman in a stable in an actual land – Israel; and in a real town – Bethlehem. As Christians we believe His birth was divine, but we don't question the physical nature of His first coming. Some today, however, have interpreted the Scriptures related to Christ's second coming as purely spiritual; that His coming will be devoid of a physical presence upon the earth whereby He judges the wicked and establishes a literal physical kingdom from Jerusalem.
This is known as amillennialism, meaning there is no literal 1,000-year kingdom of Christ on Earth. Amillennialism as a theological view is usually paired with Replacement Theology, which again holds to the idea that the Church has replaced Israel and that God is finished with the Jews. While there are good and godly people who hold these views, I believe these theological positions are disastrous misinterpretations leading to a completely missed understanding of the last days and the glorious redemptive narrative within Scripture.
Most assuredly God is not finished with Israel. During the Jewish people's almost 2,000 years of dispersion, one thing alone sustained them. It was a small candle in a dark place, but it burned brightly in their hearts. They believed above all other things that one day their Messiah would come. Who He would be and when He would come they didn't know, but the hope of His coming was an anchor of the soul so strong that no storm of adversity Satan could throw at them could break that anchor.
In May of 1948, the impossible became a reality. What had never happened before in the annals of history came to pass as God had foretold in his Word. After 1,900 years of being buried among the nations of the world, Israel was reborn. They are once again a people with their own land and capital city. They lack only one thing to make their national resurrection complete: their King – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Son of David. The Seed of the Woman must return.
During the years of Israel's rebirth, the Gentile nations, with few exceptions, have opposed Israel at almost every turn. The opposition to Israel isn't principally because of Israel's policies, although she certainly makes mistakes, but because Satan continues to greatly influence the Gentile nations of the world against her. A Jewish nation to which Christ will soon return as King stands directly in the way of Satan's objective to rule the earth and solicit the worship of its citizens through his own progeny, the Antichrist.
And even more intimidating to Satan is the impending threat of receiving a crushing head wound at Christ's coming. But Satan continues to fight, and we are witnessing today – more than any previous generation ¬¨– his final desperate attempt to destroy the Jewish nation.
I believe we are rapidly approaching the return of Jesus Christ, when He will come in the clouds with power and great glory. What a triumphant day that will be! The dead in Christ through the ages will be resurrected, and the true Church will be raptured to meet the Lord in the air.
And during the blowing of the seven trumpets and the pouring out of the seven bowls of the Book of Revelation, the wrath of God will fall upon a world that has rejected His grace, refused His mercy, and spurned His love. Wicked men, godless nations, false religion, and the Antichrist with his false prophet will all be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire. Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years; the earth will be purged of all that has defiled it since the fall of Adam and Eve; and the Lord Jesus Christ will establish a literal 1,000-year Kingdom upon the earth. He will rule the world from Jerusalem as the king of Israel, and He will receive the worship of the nations.
The nation of Israel and the Jewish people have been, and will continue to be, at the center of God's redemptive story. Jesus isn't returning to Washington D.C., London, Rome, Moscow, Baghdad, or Beijing; He will return to Jerusalem, and I believe the time is close at hand.
May we be vigilant to discern the times with a proper biblical focus on Israel and the movement of events in the Middle East, and may we be active in our witness and praying with diligence for the salvation of our Jewish friends as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Only when Jesus returns as the rightful king of Israel will the world finally know true and lasting peace!
David Rosenthal is the Director of Operations at Zion's Hope.