May 14th 2008

Israel – The Apple of God’s Eye – Their Everlasting Covenant with Yahweh
by Greg Herrin

"Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you: When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. "He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, So the Lord alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him. – Deuteronomy 32:7-12

May 14th, 2008 – 60 years since the nation of Israel was re-formed. As we look back, we see God’s supernatural hand in that re-gathering. And we see His sovereign control in that people’s future, too. From the above Scripture in Deuteronomy we see references that Yahweh set the boundaries of the world with the foreknowledge that He had allotted a certain area for the people of Israel. This is God’s sovereign right to deed that land to whatever people He has chosen.

No people in the history of the world have ever been drawn out of another nation and gathered as its own unique, separate country. None except the nation of Israel who were originally brought forth out of Egypt and shepherded as a flock to settle in the Promised Land of Yahweh thousands of years ago. No people have been re-gathered as a nation as Israel has; some 1800 years (the Romans drove the Jews from Jerusalem in 70 AD then again in 135 AD) after being dispersed from their homeland. Even the dead language of Hebrew was revived in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when the Jews began returning to the land.

To understand Bible prophecy, it is crucial to understand that the people of Israel are still God’s chosen people. Covenant Theologians seem to think that Gentile Christians have replaced Israel as God’s only people. But to the contrary, Yahweh is still honoring His everlasting covenant that He made with the 12 Tribes of Israel and its descendants.

"Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): "If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the Lord, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever." Thus says the Lord: "If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the Lord. – Jeremiah 31:35-37

This covenant is not dependent on Israel’s faithfulness, but upon God’s. He is working His plan to bring Israel into the time of the End so that they will cry out for God and realize that Jesus is the promised God-Man who will reign forever on David’s throne in Jerusalem.

"At the same time," says the Lord, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people." Thus says the Lord: "The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness– Israel, when I went to give him rest." The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice. You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; The planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food. For there shall be a day When the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the Lord our God.’ " – Jeremiah 31:1-6

This time of Israel’s restoration to their land has been foretold in Scripture. Their exile in the wilderness was foretold, too. Israel’s time of punishment in the wilderness was due to their rejection of God and the spiritual adultery they committed by embracing false gods. But Moses warned the 12 tribes of Israel ahead of time. He told them of the punishment that would come to them if they rejected Yahweh.

"’And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you. I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall rest– for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it. – Leviticus 26:27-35

Moses prophesied: "But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, And have forgotten the God who fathered you. "And when the LORD saw it, He spurned them, Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said: "I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. – Deuteronomy 32:15-21

In spite of all of Israel’s mistakes, Messiah Jesus came to His own to offer them redemption. He offered peace and prosperity the first time He came and He longed for the restoration of their intimate relationship.

"Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, nd level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." – Luke 19:41-44

The Peace He offered was not of the world’s peace but that of the Spirit which surpasses all understanding. It is the Peace deep within the soul that can only come from God. But despite His revelation to the nation of Israel as the Messiah, by evidence of His miracles, prophecies, declariation, and authoritative teaching, He was rejected by Israel.

" Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." – John 8:56-58

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." – Matthew 26:63-64

Israel’s rejection of the Messiah brought forth the 70 A.D. destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, and ultimately scattered the people into exile. Isaiah, as quoted by Jesus, predicted that the nation of Israel would be spiritually blinded.

""He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them." – John 12:40

Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day." – Romans 11:8

But ultimately, it was the Gentiles who benefited by Israel’s rejection of the King. If Israel had not rejected Him, then the Gentiles would not have been brought into the fold. God, of course, foreknew all of this.

"Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth’ – Isaiah 49:6-7

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. – John 10:16

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." – Romans 11:25-27

So, it was for our benefit, the Gentile Christians, that Israel has experienced a hardening or blindness. So that we could be grafted into the Olive branch along with the Jewish Believers. Ultimately all of Israel will be saved!

Bible Picture Gallery
The Gentiles Have Been Grafted into the Olive Branch with Israel – Romans 11:24, 27

" Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord. – Leviticus 26:44-45

But just as the 1st century Jews came to saving faith in the Messiah Jesus, so must the Jews of today and tomorrow put their faith in Him as well

Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:10-12

The Scriptures say that in the End Times that Israel will turn to God again and be saved by Jesus Christ who was crucified for their sins.

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. – Zechariah 12:10

When Israel is threatened, God will defend the Holy city of Jerusalem. Just as He delivered Israel from the clutches of Pharoah as Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. Just as He defended Jerusalem against the attacks of the Assyrians when King Hezekiah called on Him. Just as He delivered the 3 million citizens of Israel against 100 million Muslims in the six day war and re-captured Jerusalem.

"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day," says the Lord, "I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’ – Zechariah 12:2-5

The reasons that God will defend His people are firstly, because He has an everlasting covenant with Israel A covenant made from long ago. Think about it. Would God, who saw the end from the beginning from long ago, have made a covenant with Israel that He knew He wouldn’t keep. No! His faithful nature wouldn’t have allowed it.

Secondly, he will defend His people because He values His reputation. He will defend His holy name so that the nations will not have a cause to speak out against Him.

" But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. "Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord," says the Lord God, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. – Ezekiel 36:21-24

Israel’s trials as a people have gone on for almost 2000 years. And the trials will become even tougher in the 7 year Tribulation period that is to come. And how the Gentile nations treat Israel during the Tribulation period will decide their fate in the millennial kingdom that Jesus will set up on Earth when He returns in glory.

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ – Matthew 25:31-36

But ultimately, it isn’t just in the millennial period that the Gentiles must bless Israel. Moses’ prophecy below is everlasting and applies even today.

"I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. – Genesis 12:2-3

There have been several natural disasters in the United States that have coincided with efforts made by our government to pressure Israel to surrender their precious land.

The so-called Perfect Storm which destroyed President George H. Bush’s home in Maine occurred while Bush was opening the Madrid Peace process on October 31, 1991. The storm formed in the North Atlantic and traveled from west to east rather than east to west which is the typical pattern of a storm at that latitude. This storm also generated waves over 100 feet tall, the tallest ever in the North Atlantic. 30 foot waves wrecked Bush’s home on the coast. [1] The Conference ushered in the land for peace concept that Israel has been pressured for years to submit to.

On August 23, 1992, the Madrid Peace Conference moved to Washington, DC and Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. The worst natural disaster at the time to ever hit the U.S. caused $30 billion damage and left 180,000 homeless in Florida. [2]

In August 2005, after the U.S put pressure on Israel to give up the Gaza territory and remove Israeli citizens from their homes, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, LA, Condoleeza Rice’s home state. It was Rice who exerted pressure on behalf of the US government to force Israel to make the land concessions. Ultimately, thousands were forced to evacuate homes in Louisiana and thousands died. [3]

While none of us can truly know why natural disasters strike, we can know that God has warned the nations that if we curse Israel we can expect to be cursed as a result of our foolish actions.

Israel’s Shepherd is God and He has not stopped looking after His people. He has restored His people to their land. Israel, the tiny country has become a leading exporter in the middle east of agricultural goods. Despite it being so desolate in the late 1800’s that Mark Twain remarked about the land: "A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is 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." [4] In the last 60 years, that same land has flourished, producing crops in the formerly desolate environment, which has been transformed into a thriving land. And Israel has become a leading player in the software industry as well as medical research. After Israel calls out to receive Jesus as its Lord things will get even better as they become transformed spiritually and experience the peace and joy in having a personal relationship with their God: The Holy One of Israel!