"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path". Ps 119:105
A SURE SIGN OF CHRIST'S RETURN.
What is the relevance to us in this day and age, to consider such a small nation as Israel? Why is Israel so important today?
Well firstly Israel are God's witness to mankind,
both of his very existence and of his purpose with this earth. We can read
"But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, `You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you." Isaiah 41v8-9
Secondly, current world and particularly Middle East events, are happening according to a pattern long ago predicted in the Bible. These prophecies place Israel exactly in the political and economic position she is now in. Further these prophesies tell us that Middle East events occurring now, herald even more important events to come. Events of paramount importance, not just for Israel, but for the whole world.
To briefly summarise the history of Israel. Abraham the ancestor of the Jews, a man of great faith, was chosen by God and was the recipient of some momentous promises. The Jews however rejected God and because of their continued disobedience to God, were scattered throughout the nations of the world. The Kings of Israel in reality sat upon the throne of the Lord as we read in 1Chron 29:23 "So Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of his father David." Eventually because of the nations continued rejection of Him, God said of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel:
"Remove the diadem, and take off the crown"........"I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is and I will give it to him". Ezekiel 21v27
So Israel was no longer to be a Kingdom and we see in this prophesy three overturnings of the nation foretold. Israel was overthrown:
Yet despite all this happening to them as a punishment for their disobedience, God also promised the restoration of the nation. The prophet Jeremiah records:
Now today in partial fulfillment of prophesy we see Israel back in their land, yet it must be noted they are a state, not a kingdom! Yet the prophesy in Ezekiel speaks of a Kingdom, and one whose right it is to sit upon the throne of David over the restored Kingdom. Who has this right, to whom God will give the Kingdom? Well the angel Gabriel at the conception of Jesus spoke to Mary saying:
"He shall be great and shall be called the son of the highest and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David and he shall reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end". Luke 1v32
So Jesus is the rightful heir to the throne of the kingdom, but is clearly not sitting upon the throne nor reigning over Israel forever. This must therefore be fulfilled at some time in the future. The scriptures record that Jesus promised his disciples that he would return. To the early Christians this promise was accepted as being literal and they expected the Kingdom of God to be set up at his return. Over the centuries this hope has faded and most Christians have lost this cornerstone of the original faith. To many the return of Jesus is a pious fairy tale, irrelevant to the modern world.
However the message is clear, Jesus will
return. When Jesus ascended into heaven the two angels told the
"This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven" . Acts 1v11
The Apostles preached exactly the same message,
Peter says speaking of God:
"He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world began" . Acts 3v20
Now Jesus spoke of many signs that would herald his return. We see many of these signs happening in the world now. We will consider one sign in particular, that is the nation of Israel. 2000 yrs ago in AD 70 Israel was overthrown by the invading Roman armies, but Jesus foretold the restoration of the nation. Today in an astonishing reversal of history the state of Israel is a compelling witness to the truth of the words Jesus spoke and a sign of his immanent return. Jesus spoke a parable of a fig tree saying:
Now the fig tree symbolised Israel and as we know the nation is back in the land. Trees in general represent nations and in recent years we have seen many nations long absorbed into others re-emerge. Germany is reunited, the USSR split up, Serbia, Bosnia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania to name but few, now independent nations once again.
God said of Israel Amos 3v2 "You only have I
known of all the families of the earth ". Israel are still God's
people, they are still his witnesses in the earth and God has restored
Israel back in the land just as promised 2000 yrs ago. That is why the
nation is important to Christians, for their restoration is proof of the
immanence of Christ's return.
"Jerusalem will be trampled on by the gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled.".....v32...."I tell you the truth this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." Luke 21v24
We read in Daniel that the prophet spoke regarding
the end of man's dominion over the earth and the setting up of the Kingdom
of God. King Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Babylonian Empire had a dream
about an immense statue. Daniel by the power of God interpreted the dream.
He told of how the various metals that the great image was made of,
represented the various Kingdoms of men that would arise in the earth. The
point as far as our considerations are concerned, is that at the time of
the end a stone would strike the image, toppling it and grinding it to
powder. The stone would then grow to fill the whole earth. That stone
represented the Kingdom of God that would supercede the Kingdoms of man
and grow to fill the earth. So we see that Christ upon his return will
irresistibly establish the Kingdom of God.
"The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying "I have installed my king on Zion, my holy hill"... The Psalm goes on to say of Christ "You will rule them with an iron sceptre, you will dash them to pieces like pottery". Psalm 2v4&9
Joel also records:
"The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and earth shall shake" Joel 3v16 (Earth = Rulers & peoples)
We further read:
"Then shall the Lord go forth to fight against those nations as he fought in the day of battle, and his feet shall stand on the mount of olives which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west." ...."and the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee". Zechariah 14v3-4.
Jerusalem is an ancient city and is special in God's
purpose. Of Jerusalem God says:
"I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there ". 2 Chron 6v6
"The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more then all the dwellings of Jacob, glorious things are spoken of thee O city of God". Psalm 87v2-3
" Beautiful for situation the joy of the whole earth is mount Zion, on the sides of the north. The city of the great King " . Psalm 48v2
So Jerusalem is to be the joy of the whole earth,
not just Israel. Jesus Christ is that great King, who will sit upon the
throne of David. Great and glorious will be his reign. The city that saw
his humiliation and cruel death, is destined to be the seat of his throne.
" The Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his ancients gloriously" Isaiah 24v
As to what the Kingdom of God will be like, please go to the page about the Kingdom age which goes into some of the conditions that will exist on earth in the Kingdom.
So this modern world, sceptical, self satisfied and self reliant is totally unprepared for the great event of Jesus Christ's return. "Where is this promise of his coming", says the sceptic and so mankind rejects the only real hope of peace.
What this world needs is strong wise government, one that is able to transcend nationalism and self interest. A government that is capable of dealing with the world wide problems of war, violence, crime, moral corruption, pollution, famine and all the other ills that beset mankind. That is what God has in store for this world, a world ruled by Jesus Christ as King dispensing God's law. The result, a world at peace, a world restored to the condition that God intended for it from the beginning.
Can you believe it? Life interrupted by divine
intervention, or are you a sceptic! It is hard to believe, requiring
something the Bible calls faith. Yet the evidence is remarkable and
overwhelming. The truth is compelling and demands your serious and most
urgent attention. The nation of Israel is a sign that cannot be ignored.