"You are to take possession of the land and settle in it because I have given you the land to possess." (Numbers 33:53 HCSB)
Last night I listened as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscored Israel's right to defend itself from the threat of a nuclear Iran--whatever action is required. He said “I will never gamble with the security of Israel.” He linked the danger of such a brutal regime possessing these powerful weapons to the threat to the United States, and indeed to the world.
As Christians we are to pray for peace, but in a fallen world always be prepared for war. In fact, such readiness in standing up to a bully is often the best deterrent to the fight we seek to avoid.
We cannot read our Bible and believe it without seeing clearly that the sacred soil of Palestine was given to Israel. It would not be won without a battle and would not be kept without a struggle. But, the deed is signed by God. It is the "Promised Land."
There are a few things that should be said as a corrective. There is the attitude toward the modern nation of Israel sometimes mirrored in our attitude toward America, "My country, right or wrong!" While I love this nation, and am thankful to be an American, that doesn't mean I cannot see the flaws and work to correct them, neither speak out against wrong when it is evident. This is the case with Israel today.
The current state of Israel is not the covenant state of Israel. Their government today is secular and not spiritual in nature. That means we need not agree with every decision made by the Israeli government, nor unquestionably bow to the wishes of every Israeli leader. Our ideal in America is to be "under God" and yet we do not always attain that standard. We live in a sin-cursed world and fallen people still make foolish decisions. We are complicit with wrong if we do not confront it. That would include the modern nation of Israel.
Being born of the race of Abraham is not the same as being righteous like Abraham. Jesus--a Jew--said to Nicodemus--a Jew--that you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless you are born again. The natural birth, even to Jewish parents, can never fit one for the eternal kingdom, anymore than being born of Christian parents makes us a Christian. All people--of every race--are sinners in need of a Savior. A second, spiritual birth is required. Being of Abraham's faith is essential, not just being of Abraham's family. We defy the Great Commission and grease the slide into hell if we do not share the Gospel with all people. Christ is and will forevermore be the only way of salvation.
Having said that, the fundamental truth is this: the Abrahamic covenant has not been changed. That old covenant given by God to Abraham--renewed with Isaac, Jacob and King David--guarantees Yahweh's blessing to the Jews. God cannot break His promise. The land is theirs. Though the current state of Israel is not the covenant state, it is preparatory to it.
Along with that, we note: the Messianic covenant has not been cancelled. The New Covenant promised in Jeremiah is fulfilled in Christ. Even though the Jews rejected their Messiah when He came the first time, they will receive Him when He comes the second time. The Scripture is clear, that even though the Messianic kingdom is postponed, it can never be terminated. In the small numbers of Jews reached for Christ across the centuries--and there have always been some--we see the first-fruits of a final harvest to come. All Israel will be saved--that is every true descendant of Abraham who not only has his DNA, but who repents and receives Christ. That day is coming--and maybe soon.
So, let us remember to befriend those who are of the line of Abraham, the friend of God. "The Lord said to Abram: 'Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' " (Genesis 12:1-3 HCSB)
If I cannot trust the promise of God to the Jew given in Genesis, how can I trust the promise given to me in John 3:16? If the pledge of a homeland for Israel is not honored by the Lord, how can I believe a home in heaven is secured for me?
America better be on the right side of this issue or we will be on the scrap heap of nations along with all others who have sought to thwart the purposes of God.