The late Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer winning columnist, once said this about Israel: “Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago” (Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics.)
Krauthammer was a Jewish secularist. His statement about Israel was not influenced by any religious beliefs. He was simply stating historical facts. It can be said that Israel’s very existence exhibits divine, supernatural intervention. We might even call it a miracle. The nation is one of a kind.
However, as I write this blog things are not looking promising for Israel. It was attacked by terrorists from the southwest, and the atrocities done to its citizens shock the conscience. The nation, only the size of New Jersey, is being further threatened by terrorists in the north and east. Thousands of rockets have been launched towards Jewish towns and cities. Iran has stated that it desires the eradication of all Jews and openly supports the terrorists. Iran is said to be very close to obtaining nuclear weapons, and many Middle East experts suggest that Iran would be willing to use such weapons against Israel. Iran also seems to have the backing of China and Russia.
Naturally, the small country of Israel currently finds itself at the center of the news. What will happen to this “very embodiment of Jewish continuity”? Just yesterday, I heard a newscaster say that the very existence of Israel is in peril.
I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I am sure Israel will continue to exist. How can I be so sure? The answer is that we must take into consideration something Krauthammer did not, even though he thought highly of Israel. God made promises to the ancestors of the Jewish people. They will be His people forever (Jer 31:31-37; Zech 12:9-10; 13:1; 14:11). In the last days, Israel will still be a nation and the Lord Himself will deliver its people from all their enemies and bring them into His kingdom after they have believed in Him (Rom 11:25-27). Jesus Himself spoke about these future events in the Olivet Discourse, recorded in Matthew 24–25. The Book of Revelation gives details of these matters.
Throughout history, students of the Bible have wondered when these incredible promises to the Nation of Israel will be completely fulfilled. These students have looked at current events and wondered if they pointed to the Lord’s soon return. In 1917, the Balfour Declaration aroused hope that the time was near. The persecution of the Jews by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s had the same effect. The return of the Jews to the land and the world’s official recognition of the Nation Israel in 1948 was a clear demonstration of God’s purposes for the country, as have been her many miraculous victories over her enemies since that time.
To many, no doubt, Israel’s current situation will be interpreted to mean that the Lord is right at the door (Jas 5:9). Maybe that is what we are seeing. The atrocities of the terrorists certainly point to the evil in this world that is so deserving of God’s wrath. This wrath will be poured out immediately before the Lord establishes His kingdom on the earth and fulfills all His promises to Israel.
I don’t know. We have certainly seen man’s depraved character on display before. We have seen Israel in trouble before. What is happening in the Middle East today might be only the most recent example.
No matter what country we live in, the events in Israel can easily unsettle our souls. They shouldn’t. Krauthammer made an inarguable observation about that small country. He was impressed. But Israel is so much more than a historically amazing nation. It is a nation to which God has made wonderful promises. Its enemies will not exterminate the Jews.
One day, the Lord will call His Church to Himself. He will judge the world and then bring the believing Nation of Israel into His kingdom. Are we seeing the stage being set for these events? Maybe. What we know for sure is that all these things will happen. Neither men’s evil actions nor their ravings against Israel will prevent God from doing what He has said He will do. In these troublesome times, we can rest in that.