What’s the Big Deal About Israel?

Nathan Smith Bible, Jewish Roots

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Maybe you’re not asking that question?  Should you be?  Is it not odd for a country the size of New Jersey to be in headline news week after week on TV screens all over the world?  Maybe the news you hear is all positive?  Maybe your perspective is mostly negative?  Regardless, you’ve heard something about this small nation and you know people with strong opinions one way or the other.  Why?  What about Costa Rica or El Salvador?  Where are all the opinions and headlines about Suriname or Guyana?  These small nations don’t garner the same attention.  Is that purely due to geo-politics or religious tensions?  Surely all of that plays a role.  I would suggest it’s something much deeper though.  Of all the nations or people and plots of land in the world, there is only one that God, Himself, laid claim to as His own, as His inheritance and as the apple of His eye.  It’s been written down, recorded and preserved in the Bible for thousands of years.  And after nearly 2000 years of being wiped off the map, Israel and the Jewish people are there in that same land where God said they would be at the end of the age, and the whole world is watching.  Are you?

If I haven’t lost you already, give me 20 more seconds to try to convince you to consider the question… Jesus, the most famous person in the history of the world (regardless of John Lennon’s opinions about Him or your belief or unbelief in Him) was born a Jew in Israel, was crucified as the ‘King of the Jews’ in Jerusalem, and after resurrecting said He would return in the last days to a Jewish Jerusalem as the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’.  Do these facts not at least deserve a moment to ponder the question ‘what’s the big deal about Israel?’.

History is His Story

Is it not fascinating that though the country ceased to exist as a nation in the first century CE it reemerged on the map and global scene in 1948?  Tomorrow, (November 29th) marks the anniversary of the day the UN voted to establish two new states in the ancient land of Israel.  The Jewish people said ‘yes’ and welcomed the other.  The Arabs said ‘no’ and proclaimed they would kill all of the Jews and take all of the land for themselves.  They tried and the one day old state somehow withstood 5 Arab neighbor nations.  I have been told that Westpoint, the premier military academy of the United States, refuses to teach on or study the Israeli war of 1948 because it makes absolutely no sense. There is simply no natural explanation for how they not only survived, but would actually win!  I guess that makes the answer super-natural?  (Click Here To Read My Post Called ‘Why Christians Should Celebrate Hanukkah)

Going further… is it not absolutely baffling that after two millennia of not having a recognized nation and homeland that the Jewish people, though scattered to over 100 different nations, were preserved as a people with a language, culture, religion and ethnicity?  How did they not simply assimilate and disappear as a people group?  I think that is beyond curious.  I think that should be in the category of impossibly miraculous.  Are you starting to see a pattern?  Obviously, many people have different interpretations of this super condensed history and overview that I’ve just offered.  And any thorough investigation deserves careful scrutiny and consideration.  My goal is not to ‘sell you’ something.  My goal is to get you to consider a question that I began to seriously consider about 5 years ago.  That question has changed my life and deeply impacted my relationship with God. I believe it has the potential to do the same for you.  (Click Here To Read My Post Called Cliff Hanging Christians)

I Am Not The Same

I’m sitting at the gate to fly to Israel for my third time in those nearly five years of asking this question.  I had never been once before.  In all honesty, I never had a deep desire to go.  I mean, it sounds awesome to see where Jesus lived and see where Elijah prophesied but I think I was more excited about one day visiting Rio De Janeiro or London.  God had to get my attention as it related to Israel, Jerusalem and the Jewish people.  I’m so glad that He did.  Perhaps He is doing the same for you? (Click Here To Read My Post on The Jewish New Year)

I recently was invited by my friend, Pastor Justin Porter, to share on this topic.  I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch this message if your heart is stirred and you feel to explore this question a bit further.  If you do, shoot me a note and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  It would be my joy to help you grapple with this question.  God is for you today and so am I.  Shalom.

From The Bible

For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye… – Zechariah 2:8 NIV

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham… – Matthew 1:1 NIV

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” – Matthew 23:37 NIV

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