What's The Big Deal About Israel?  

     Virtually any major newspaper in the western world will carry a front page article about Israel on any given day. If not on the front page, Israel is almost certain to appear on the second page.

     Israeli journalist, Ze’ev Chafets wrote, "Picture a map of the world on which the countries are drawn not according to their actual size, but proportional to the amount of attention they receive in the American press. The United States would be, by far, the biggest nation on the map. Russia would be next. And then the third largest nation, according to media scrutiny, would be Israel." More than India with its approximately 900 million. More than China with over a billion. More than any other western nation no matter how powerful or influential. More than 200 full time and part time correspondents are stationed in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Each year this number is bloated by another 2500 visiting correspondents. Compare that with about 30 correspondents who cover all of the Arab nations.

     It’s a legitimate question to ask, "What’s the big deal about this country that’s about the size of Massachusetts and has a population less than many major cities of the world?" Even further, why have the Jewish people been the object of the greatest racial hatred of any nation in history? The Romans, the Spanish, the Russians, the Germans, etc., slaughtered them without mercy. Virtually every nation where the scattered Jews sought refuge eventually turned against them. Why? The answer lies in the following facts:

Israel Is God’s Chosen People

     "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God: the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth." Deuteronomy 7:6.  That fact is stated plainly 20 times in scripture by Moses, psalmists, prophets and the Apostle Paul.

     As evidence that Israel is God’s chosen people the apostle Paul wrote, "Who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen"- Romans 9:4,5 .

     "As Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) meditated on the Jews he was motivated to write, ‘Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. His commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in every field is also out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers…and he has done it with his hands tied behind him." Mark Twain was convinced there was a most unusual quality about Jews. Believers would call it "a supernatural quality".

Ancient Canaan Is God’s Chosen Land For His Chosen People

     "The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment  of your inheritance."  Psalm 105:9-11.

God’s Covenant With Abraham

     "On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:…" Genesis 15:18

God’s Oath To Isaac

     "Dwell in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to your father Abraham." Genesis 26:3

God’s Confirmation To Jacob

     "And behold, the Lord stood above it (the ladder reaching to heaven) and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants." Genesis 28:13

Jerusalem Is God’s Chosen City For His Chosen People

     "Yet I have chosen Jerusalem that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel." II Chronicles 6:6

     A simple check in a Bible concordance of the word, "Jerusalem" should impress anyone of the importance of this city to God. Jerusalem was the capital of all Israel from 1005 BC until 931 BC and continued as capital of the southern kingdom until 586 BC. The first Temple in Jerusalem was dedicated in 959 BC and continued until 586 BC. The second Temple was dedicated in 516 BC and was greatly enlarged by Herod. It continued until 70 AD.

The Chosen People Were Dispossessed From Their Chosen Land and City

     The northern ten tribes were carried into captivity by Assyria in 722 BC. The southern kingdom of Judah was carried into captivity by Babylon in a series of deportations from 606 to 586 BC.

     When the nation of Israel stood on the plains of Moab poised to cross the Jordan and possess Canaan God gave wonderful promises of blessing for obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). God was more than faithful to His promises. The Lord God then gave conditions that would bring His chastisement in Deuteronomy 28: 15 through 57. The Lord concluded, "If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book…Then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues--great and prolonged plagues--and serious and prolonged sicknesses.  Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you."   Deuteronomy 28:59-60.

     When the northern ten tribes were taken into captivity we have a long catalog of their sins.  (II Kings 17:7-23). In like manner, II Chronicles 36:11-16 gives us reasons for the captivity of Judah.

     There was a return from captivity in 536 BC Jerusalem and the Temple was rebuilt and the Jews worshipped God in their land. But when their Messiah came the religious leaders persuaded the people to reject Him and cry out for His blood. In doing so they ignorantly fulfilled scripture in bringing about the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. (Read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53). But for their rejection they were spiritually blinded in part as a nation (Romans 11:25). Their city and Temple were once again destroyed and they were dispossessed of their land a second time. For nearly 1900 years they remained an identifiable people without a land.

The Chosen Land And City Were Possessed By Gentiles

     Gentiles are to be understood as all people who are not Jews. Jesus prophesied "…and Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." Luke 21:24.  The following nations have controlled Jerusalem and the land from the time of that statement: Romans, Byzantine Christians, Arabs (from 638AD to 1099AD), European Crusaders, Mameluke Sultans of Egypt, OttomanTurks, Britain, and from 1948, the present nation of Israel.

During the time of Gentile control the land once described as a land of milk and honey became desolate, barren and sparsely populated. When Mark Twain visited there in 1867 he called it "a veritable dust bowl" and gave this description: "…a country…given over wholly to weeds…a silent mournful expanse…a desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…We never saw a human being on the whole route…Hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere…Even the olive and the cactus…had almost deserted the country." The Innocents Abroad by Davis.

The Chosen Land And City Were Claimed By Israel’s Relatives - the Arabs, The Descendants of Ishmael

     As noted previously the Arabs controlled Canaan from 638AD to 1099AD but they have not had legal authority as a nation since that time until 1921 when Trans-Jordan was created as the first division of the Palestine Partition Plan. Since 1840 Jews have been the major population in Jerusalem. A Turkish census revealed that in 1844 the population of Jerusalem consisted of 7,120 Jews, 5000 Moslems and 8,748 Christians. In 1948 there were 100,000 Jews, 40,000 Moslems and 25,000 Christians.

     As the Jews returned to Canaan and established their kibbutzim the land returned to its formal fruitfulness as prophesied in Ezekiel 36. "But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they are about to come. For, indeed, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the ruins rebuilt."  Ezekiel 36:8-10.

     As the land became productive Arabs also flowed into the land. When the United Nations formulated a partition formula it was accepted by Israel and they proclaimed themselves a nation on May 14, 1948. The partition formula was rejected by the Arabs. They claimed Jerusalem and the land and vowed to drive Israel into the sea. They did so on the claim that Jerusalem is Islam’s third holiest city and they had lived in the land for the longest consecutive period of time. The facts are:

    1. Mohammed, the founder of Islam, never entered Jerusalem.
    2. Mohammed never mentioned Jerusalem in the Koran
    3. Moslem troops never entered Jerusalem until six years after Mohammed’s death.

     In one Koran passage (Sura 17:1) there is a reference to a night when Mohammed was sleeping near the mosque of Mecca. It states that Mohammed made a night journey from the mosque to an unspecified "outer mosque" from which he was raised up to heaven. In 660 AD the Amayyad caliphs needed a religious center to supplement Mecca and Medina. As a result the "outer mosque" was determined to be the Temple Court in Jerusalem. (and interpretation disputed by many Islamic scholars).

     By 680 AD the Arab caliphs had built a wooden structure on the southern end of Temple Mount which was dedicated as Al Aqsa mosque. The Dome of the Rock bears an inscription that it was completed in 691 AD. And thus was established the Islamic claim that Jerusalem is the third holiest site in their religion.

The Chosen People Are Once Again In Control of The Chosen City and The Chosen Land

     Jerusalem was always in the heart of devout Jews. They are enjoined to pray for the peace of Jerusalem several times each week. At the conclusion of the Passover meal each year they have said, "Next year in Jerusalem"

     Some Jews began to feel strong motivations to return to Israel and reestablish their nation in the 18th century:

     In the 1840’s Rabbi Judah Alkalai began distributing pamphlets suggesting that international recognition of Jewish settlements in Israel was the best solution for European Jews. Zevi Hirsch Kalischer, a rabbinic scholar taught that Israel’s redemption would be accomplished in two stages: a natural one followed by a supernatural one.

     In 1878 the first two Jewish agricultural communities were founded in Palestine.

     In 1881 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda moved to Jerusalem. Although he was dying from tuberculosis he published 16 volumes of the Hebrew dictionary by 1909 and at the time of his death in 1922 he had material for eleven more volumes. Jews speaking scores of different languages returned to Palestine and learned their ancient Hebrew.

     Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland on August 29th, 1897.

     Chaim Weizman was a chemist who made great contributions to Britain's success in winning World War I. He was the strongest influence to get Britain to issue The Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917. "His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people…"

     There were many notable events that came together to bring about the return of millions of Jews to Palestine but none equaled the effect of the holocaust under the leadership of Adolph Hitler. This climactic culmination of 1900 years of bloody persecution stirred Jews to make their journey to the chosen land.

     The United States was the first nation to recognize Israel as a nation on May 15, 1948.

     Israel desires old Jerusalem to be recognized as her capital by the nations of the world. She desires borders that she can defend in a time of increasing technology and nuclear power. The majority would like to have their Temple rebuilt on Temple Mount. Will it happen? The Palestine Liberation Organization say, "Never!" They are supported by most Islamic nations and Islamic believers throughout the world. The Islamic nations control 70% of the world’s oil supply and that’s a lot of bottom line clout…but it will happen. Israel is a key part of God’s plan to bring the kingdom of God on earth.

The Chosen King Over The Chosen City And The Chosen Land Is Jesus Christ

     "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government will be upon His shoulder: and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over His kingdom, to order it, and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6,7.

     "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2.

     "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God..   And, behold, you wilt conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David: And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.´ Luke 1:30-33.

     There are several major events before God’s chosen King rules in Jerusalem:
     Jesus will come to resurrect the bodies of the saved dead and catch up living believers to be with Him. I Thessalonians 4:16-18. 
     Israel will sign a seven year covenant of peace. Daniel 9:24-27.
     Russia and hostile Islamic nations will invade Israel and be destroyed. Ezekiel 38 & 39.
     Israel will experience "the time of Jacob’s trouble" (Jeremiah 30) under the Anti-Christ
     But Jesus will come as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19) and Israel will accept Him as her Redeemer/King (Zechariah 12 & 13)

    The stage for all of this has been set because the chosen people are back in the chosen land in control of the chosen city.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted

    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.