By Paul Bawden
This question is most relevant as we see the awful war rage between Israel and its enemies.
According to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, Israel should be wiped off the map. Israel has no right to the land, and no right to exist as a nation. Israel should be dead.
As we watch the response to the war in the United States and in different places around the world, it appears that others have the same sentiment regarding Israel. Such is hard to believe when we see the barbaric acts, yes plain evil acts committed against those in Israel, even killing mothers and babies. You would think that any person who values human life would believe that Israel has the right to defend itself as a nation and defeat its enemies.
But there’s more here than what meets the physical eye. There’s the spiritual battle going on between Israel and its enemies. For one can’t talk about the nation of Israel without considering what the Bible has to say about Israel. I know that many today don’t take the Bible factually as dependable history, but that doesn’t do away with what the Bible records of history.
When we take the Bible for what it says, like we would any other history book, we discover that Israel’s history started with Abraham and the promise God gave to him of a land, seed and blessing (Genesis 12:1-3). That promise would come through his son, Isaac, through whom came Jacob and his sons, through whom came the nation of Israel. Israel had a history of God’s blessings and God’s judgments, but miraculously in 1948 Israel became an independent nation occupying the present land.
But why Israel and why the land where Israel resides now? The biblical God chose Israel of all the other nations to be His witness to them of His character and plan (Isaiah 46:10; cf. Deuteronomy 7:7-8), and through whom (Abraham’s seed) salvation would come to the world – namely Jesus Christ (Romans 9:1-5), who would provide salvation for all who would accept Him as Savior. Israel, though, still has a special place in the biblical God’s plan for the world.
God also promised Israel a piece of real estate (Genesis 15:18-20). It’s a much larger area in that text than what Israel has today. Furthermore, the Scripture has this to say about the land of Israel. Such is found when God admonished His disobedient people (Israel) in the days of Jeremiah, “I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable” (Jeremiah 2:7). The land that God promised to Israel, then, is the biblical God’s land and His inheritance given to Israel to live in and prosper as a nation.
Although these words were spoken many years ago, they still stand today, for the promise given to Abraham was an eternal promise (Genesis 17:7-8). This means that one day Israel will be back in its land fully, but it won’t be brought about by men, but rather by the King of kings and Lord of lords – Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah and the Savior of the world (Zechariah 14).
Israel’s enemies will continue to seek to destroy the nation of Israel and wipe God’s people off His land. Why? There is a spiritual battle going on between the forces of the biblical God and the evil one who is influencing Hamas and others to annihilate Israel. Only the Lord Jesus Christ in His time will have the last word, and bring His lasting peace to Israel and the world.
In the meantime, we need to pray for protection for Israel fighting against its enemies – praying that the hostages will be released – praying for comfort and peace for those who lost loved ones in Israel and Gaza – praying for the protection of the people in the area – praying for those providing help for the wounded along with humanitarian aid – and praying that Israel will prevail. Yes, pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
Paul Bawden is married and served in the full-time pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011, after which he and his wife served in four interims, three in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He is also a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.
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