If you’re like me, you’ve often wondered why the Church places an importance on “standing with Israel.” You’ve probably even seen some believers seeming a little bit flakey in how they act, out of love for Israel and the Jewish culture. Rather than just showing allegiance to Israel without knowing why, it’s important to get God’s heart for Israel and to understand her Biblical importance, even to you and me as individuals.
The entire storyline of the Bible (Old Testament and New) is about Israel and the Jewish people. Does it “ruffle” your theological feathers that salvation first came for the Jews (Rom. 1:16, 11:11)? Thank God the Gentile Church has been included in the plans that God has for Israel, as well (Rom. 11:17).
Agreeing with God’s sovereign decision
Israel would be His people
To really understand why Israel is important we must go back to the beginning. In the Garden God made man and told him that He could eat anything but the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After their disobedience and fall, God made a way for them to be reconciled to Himself. God knew that the only way that man could be reconciled to Himself would be for Him to do it Himself. No man was able to do it, so it must be God.
Through Israel’s Seed He would raise up Someone who would crush the Enemy’s head (Satan). He sovereignly chose that the Seed would come from the house of Abraham (Genesis 3:15). Fast forward to God’s promise to Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3). Then God said, “Lift your eyes now and look… For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever” (Genesis 14:14-15).
Israel’s kingdom established forever
God promise that Jesus would reign from Jerusalem
Decades later He would promise David saying, “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Sam 7:16) God has chosen to bless the whole earth and to establish an eternal throne through Israel.
Jesus’ Second Coming depends on Israel’s acceptance of Him
God’s predication for the restoration of all things
God has made a promise to Israel that affects every people group on Earth. Remember that God told Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed- He tied the blessing (salvation) of every nation to Israel. When Jesus the Messiah came, the people of Israel rejected Him. As a result, salvation came to the Gentiles while Israel’s promised salvation was put “on hold”.
“…through their trespass (rejection of Jesus as Messiah) salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world (salvation)… how much more will their full inclusion mean! (acceptance of Jesus as Messiah)” Rom. 11:11-12 (my notes added)
“For if their rejection [of Jesus] means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance [of Jesus] mean but life from the dead (The resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:50–55)?” Rom. 11:15 (my notes added)
God has given Israel so much favor that even their failures are turned into blessings for the rest of the world. I speak of their “rejection” and the Gentiles’ salvation. Jesus goes one step further and bases His return (Second Coming) on the future promise that Israel will accept Him as their Messiah. “For I tell you, you will not see Me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt. 23:39)
The Devil’s schemes throughout history has been to annihilate the Jewish people (Israel) so that Jesus cannot return. That understanding puts a whole new perspective on the holocaust during WWII and why so many nations harbor hatred towards Israel. I believe it’s a tactic of the Enemy to cloud the Church’s minds with confusion as to the place of Israel’s divine selection in the world, and in some cases even cause believers to harbor anti-semitism towards Israel.
As a Church, we must agree with God’s sovereign decision to choose Israel as His people and see ourselves as grafted into this Olive Tree. In doing this we must then begin to seek God’s plans for Israel and pray for their peace and salvation.
“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7