ISRAEL AND BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY
The Israelites are the people through whom God chose to bless the nations. God promise the Israelites that they will prosper if they obeyed His laws. The Israelites lived in the land of Canaan. God made this promise around the year 2100 BC when Abraham was 75 years old. However, the Israelites never kept God’s laws because they were influenced by the pagan gentile nations surrounding them who worshiped idols. God allowed His chosen people to be taken over by foreigners. After a long diaspora, God restored His chosen people backed to their own land in AD 1948. Because Israel is the center of all biblical prophecy, its origin and destiny is very significant to eschatology experts.
Israel’s history begins with God’s sovereign purpose revealed in the first book of the Holy Scriptures, Genesis. God finds Abraham and his descendants to be of great significance. The very proportion of the coverage reveals something about the significance of Israel. The first three chapters record the creation and fall of humanity. The other eight chapters cover the period from the pre-flood civilization to the time of Abraham. Then we find that fully 38 chapters deal with the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who are the progenitors of the Jewish people. Israel is significant because the fulfillment of God’s covenant with its founder Abraham greatly affects everyone. The playing out of prophetic events concerning Israel places everyone in the last days of history’s timeline. The miraculous survival of God’s covenant people, the Jews, demonstrates God’s providence and His ability to accomplish His purpose in the face of what seems to human minds impossible odds. The existence of Israel today is convincing evidences that the prophecies in Scripture concerning the future will be fulfilled. To this day, the issue of who controls Israel, the Promised Land, is the most explosive issue in international politics.
THE PROMISED LAND
The land promised to Abraham covers much more area than what the present nation of Israel occupies today. According to Genesis 15:18, the Israelis will occupy the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the Euphrates River on the east. Ezekiel fixes the northern boundary of Israel at Hamath, one hundred miles north of Damascus, according to Ezekiel 48:1, and the southern boundary at Kadesh, about one hundred miles south of Jerusalem, according to Ezekiel 48:28.
Today, Israel is roughly the same size as the state of New Jersey. When we look at a map and locate that tiny strip of land that Israel now claims, we can see that she does not now, nor has she ever, fully occupied the land that was described to Abraham in God’s covenant promise. If Israel were currently occupying all the land promised to her, she would control present-day Israel, Lebanon, the West Bank of Jordan, and substantial portions of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
The prophet Isaiah said that Israel will possess this land in future. He prophesied that the Lord would “set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left” (Isaiah 11:11). God also addressed the issue through Ezekiel when He said, “I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24). The fulfillment of those prophecies was set in motion on 14th of May 1948, when the U.S. recognized the new state of Israel. Prophecies found in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Matthew, and Revelation show, both the Old Testament and the New Testament pointed to this day when the Jews would return to the land promised them and initiate fulfillment of the ancient prophecies.
FUTURE WAR AGAINST ISRAEL
While the return of Jewish populations to the newly re-found nation of Israel is the first stage of restoration of the Israeli nation, this reality fails to complete all the requirements for a spiritual return to the Lord. Since 1948, Israel has been attacked many times and sometimes in all-out conflicts and continually by Islamic militants. The Jewish people have endured by remaining alert, while they long for peace. According to the Holy Scriptures, a future leader will fulfill this longing with a seven-year peace deal with Israel’s enemies. However, Scripture says that this peace plan will be broken, and Israel will be attacked, this time as never before. Many armies will amass against the restored Israeli nation, leaving it with no human hope of victory. Only Messiah Yeshua’s return to Earth, His judgment, and His reign will finally bring true peace to Israel.
PEACE COMES TO ISRAEL
When Messiah Yeshua returns, then God’s covenant with Abraham will reach its ultimate fulfillment. The Jews will return to the Lord and, as Ezekiel and Jeremiah prophesied, they will be His people and He will be their God. The borders of the land will expand to the dimensions described in Genesis 15 and Ezekiel 48. Messiah’s return will also fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah that God would gather the Jews: “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them and I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They will be my people,
The Book of Revelation, Larry R. Helyer, PhD; 2008; The Bible, Jim Bell and Stan Campbell, 1999; The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy, Stephen M. Miller, 2010; The Last Days; Richard H. Perry; 2006. The Prophecy Answer Book; Dr. David Jeremiah; 2010.