We rarely go a week without Israel being in the news – and that’s been the case since the nation was re-established in 1948. The Old Testament of the Bible tells us how the nation was formed, nearly 2000 years before Christ, and how again and again it turned it’s back on God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. All Jewish people are ultimately descended from Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who was chosen by God, as we read in Genesis 12 vv 1-2:
Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and he and his family moved to Egypt, where they became slaves. However, God led them from Egypt, and returned them to the land of Israel – a story many will know from movies like “The Ten Commandments”. God said to the people, through Moses:
The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7 vv 7-8
Israel – God’s people
However, he also gave them a set of rules, to teach them how they should live, and in Deuteronomy 28, we are told the consequences of both obedience and disobedience. At verse 64, we read:
Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone. And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.
As we make our way through the Old Testament, we see that Israel were regularly punished for disobeying God; at one point in their history, the land was invaded by the Babylonians and many Israelites were taken captive from the land. However, it was the events which followed the life of Christ in AD70 which led to the end of Israel in that period of history; the historian Josephus said Jerusalem “was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation.” For 1900 years, Israel did not exist; but unlike the nations who surrounded them – for example the Edomites, Moabites and Philistines – the people of Israel maintained their identity and against all the odds came together as a nation again in 1948.
What does God say?
“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.” Isaiah 43 v 10
The re-establishment of Israel was nothing less than a miracle – and that’s why I believe the Bible!
For more information, download Israel – Key to World Peace (PDF)