"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

God’s Heart And Purposes For Israel

   By Rich Carmicheal 

    This issue of the Herald focuses especially on the Lord’s heart and purposes for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.  As many passages in the Bible reveal, the Lord’s love and faithfulness toward the Jewish people is ongoing, and His plans for them are central to the end times.  A primary passage in this regard is the eleventh chapter of Romans, which includes these significant truths: 

    • God has “certainly not” cast away His people (Israel) whom He foreknew (vv. 1-2).

    • Israel has “certainly not” stumbled so as to fall (v. 11).

    • Israel will enter into “fullness” which will greatly bless the world (v. 12).  Their acceptance will be “life from the dead” (v. 15).

    • God will graft Israel back into their own olive tree (vv. 23-24).

    • Israel’s hardened spiritual condition is only temporary.  Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (v. 25).  “And so all Israel will be saved…” (v. 26).

    • Israel is dearly loved by God for the sake of the fathers.  His gifts and calling are irrevocable (vv. 28-29).

    • Even as God has had mercy on the Gentiles, so will He have mercy on Israel (vv. 30-31).

    • God’s present dealings with the Gentiles and the anticipation of His future dealings with Israel are reasons for great praise! (vv. 30-36). 

    Along with such truths are God’s promises to regather the Jewish people from around the world to the land of Israel (Isa. 11:11-12; Ezek. 36:24ff.; 37:11-27), never to be uprooted again (Amos 9:14-15), and also to return control of Jerusalem to them (Luke 21:24; Joel 3:17).  How amazing it is for us to be living in the time of the rebirth of the nation of Israel (1948), the regathering of the Jewish people to the land, the liberation of Jerusalem (1967), and even within the last year the official recognition of Jerusalem by the U.S. as the capital of Israel!

    Of course, the spiritual restoration of Israel is largely yet to take place.  However, even in that there is reason for rejoicing as there are wonderful reports of growing numbers of Jewish people recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and receiving salvation in Him! (see page 5).

    As we consider everything that is unfolding before our very eyes in regard to Israel in accordance with God’s heart and purposes, there are at least three vital responses we should make: 

     1.  Be watchful and ready for Christ’s Coming! In an old Herald article entitled “Israel Is God’s Timepiece of the Ages” the author notes, “The restoration of Palestine to Israel and Israel to Palestine is the ONE GREAT SIGN OF JESUS’ NEAR COMING.  If no other sign were given to the people of this generation this one would be sufficient to make our hearts burn with the love of Christ’s returning.”

    In His teaching about signs of His Second Coming, Jesus refers to the fall of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) and then states that the Jewish people will “be led away captive into all nations.  And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).  He then describes other signs and says that “when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (v. 28).  He also tells the parable of the fig tree and teaches that “when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (v. 31), or “it is near – at the doors!” (Matt. 24:33).  In light of what we see going on with Israel and Jerusalem, it is certainly the hour for us to take heed and to be watchful and ready!   

     2.  Bless the Jewish people.  The Lord’s desire is that the church (largely Gentile) provoke the Jewish people to jealousy (Rom. 11:11).  His plan is that through the mercy shown to us, the Jewish people may also obtain mercy (v. 31).  How tragic that in many cases just the opposite is true.  The history of the church is one filled with instances of anti-Semitism and horrible treatment of the Jewish people.  And even today many Gentile believers are antagonistic toward Israel and the Jewish people.

    The Apostle Paul reflects the heart that God desires we have toward Israel:  “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1).  We are, of course, to have a heart for the salvation of all people, and we are to pray for all and share the Gospel with all the nations (see page 10).  But we also have a special calling to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psa. 122:6), to pray for the salvation of Israel, and to share the Gospel with the Jewish people who are so dear to His heart and so vital to His plans and purposes.  And how essential that our lives reflect the love and glory of the Lord so as to help attract the Jewish people, and all people, to Jesus and salvation in Him. 

     3.  Worship the Lord for His faithfulness and grace, and trust Him all the more!  The reason the Lord is regathering and restoring Israel is not because the people deserve it – none of us deserves His mercy.  Instead, He is regathering and restoring them because He is a faithful and merciful God who always keeps His promises.  He is simply operating in keeping with His perfect character.  And when we see Him in these last days doing exactly as He promised in regard to Israel, how can our hearts but overflow with thanksgiving and praise to Him for this marvelous display of His faithfulness and mercy!  And how encouraging it is to know that He can be nothing less than faithful and merciful toward us as well, because that is the essence of who He is.  We can trust Him completely to keep His promises!  “O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O Lord?  Your faithfulness also surrounds You” (Psa. 89:8).