From the previous article we have learned that God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham to be his God and the God of his descendants after him “in their generations,” Gen. 17:7, and would further declare in verse 8 that “…I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan (presently serving as the nation of Israel, but which is claimed by the Palestinians as their homeland) as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” God then, in verse 19, declares that Abraham’s wife, wondrously, (she is now ninety years of age) will bear a son whom Abraham is directed to name Isaac; and additionally states: “I (God) will establish My covenant (the same one He has made with Abraham) with him (Isaac) for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” So the land that is the source of this present conflict now has an additional beneficiary, Isaac, pursuant to the declaration of God.
And that declaration is further affirmed in Genesis 26:2, when God, many years later, speaks directly to Isaac, and instructs him to “dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. (3) Sojourn in this land…for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands (Canaan), and will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. (4) …I will give to your descendants all these lands… (6) So Isaac dwelt in Gerar…,” which we learned in the previous article is east of, but near to Gaza and serves generally as the southern boundary of the land of Canaan. Gen. 10:19. That, however, is not the end of this endowment of the land. God continues to specifically delineate His grant of this currently contested area to yet another.
That other, not surprisingly, is Isaac’s son, Jacob who, we already know from our study, would have his name changed by God from Jacob to Israel. At Gen. 28:13 Jacob is confronted by God and is instructed as follows: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” Jacob would name the place where this occurred Beth EL, meaning House of God, a name which you have probably noticed now serves as the title of numerable churches throughout the land. When Jacob’s name is changed to Israel in Gen. 35:10, God again restates His endowment of the land: “The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, I give to you; and to your descendants after you (the Jewish people) I give this land.” Gen. 35:12.
Many years later, after Jacob/Israel and his family had gone to Egypt to avoid a famine in the land of Canaan, Jacob/Israel was nearing death and he declared to his son Joseph the following at Gen. 48:3 “…God Almighty appeared to me at [Bethel] in the land of Canaan and blessed me, (4) and said to me, ‘Behold, I will … give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’” And when Israel’s son Joseph would later reach the end of his life, Joseph, like his father, also made a dying declaration to his surviving brothers and kinsman that is recorded at Gen. 50:24: “…I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land (Egypt) to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Canaan).
Thus, an examination of Genesis discloses the repeated statements of God that the land of Canaan has been given to Israel and its descendants forever. Yet even after the United Nations, pursuant to international law and a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine in November, 1947, and gave a portion of it to the Jewish people; Israel is still being assailed at every turn, and every effort is being made by her countless enemies to delegitimize, isolate, and ultimately purge it from the “community of nations” as Israel attempts to protect its territorial integrity and the safety of its citizens from the savage and barbaric attacks of Islamic terrorism and its allies. All of which have either the express or unspoken support of most of the Islamic world and, sadly, a significant part of the non-Islamic world, as well.
I realize that ancient declarations of God carry very little weight in the world today, but the fact that all these events are occurring well over two thousand years subsequent to their being written on papyrus should give pause to all and compel one to contemplate the possibility, that there is indeed a God (if one hasn’t come to that conclusion yet); and that He is going to accomplish what He has said He would do, and indeed appears to have done, though other significant events He has decreed with respect to Israel, so far undiscussed, have yet to be fulfilled.
None of us should ignore the obvious, for in some cases to do so can be catastrophic. While one may disagree with this interpretation of what is occurring with regard to Israel, one cannot, or at least should not, reject some very basic and obvious facts. And the facts are these: the people that the Bible says God chose, Israel, have returned to the very land that the Bible says was given to them by God. As it is said: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts.” Like it or not; Israel, besieged as it is, and in spite of all its historical tragedies and violent disruptions, is nevertheless back where God said it would be and the prophets recorded for all posterity that it would be over two thousand years ago:… in the land of Canaan.
But neither this article, nor any of its predecessors, nor any of its successors, is meant to be just an academic, or mere historical or biblical discussion regarding Israel, as interesting as this writer may think the subject is. It is really a humble attempt to utilize these current and profound events confronting Israel to point to a more profound and important subject: and that subject is Israel’s God, Who, as has been noted earlier, is the ULTIMATE ENTITY in this and all universes. If God’s ancient declarations about Israel are true, then perhaps all of us should be interested in what else He has declared to us.
And I am fully persuaded that the most significant subject upon which God has declared and revealed in His Written Word is not about Israel, as important as it is, but about each individual’s relationship or lack of relationship with Him. With all of the scriptures that speak about Israel, none individually, nor all collectively, can even begin to approach the importance of the scriptures written by the Jewish apostles which tell us how an individual can have an eternal and unmitigatedly beneficial relationship with this Creator and God of Israel. Three verses, in particular, plainly reveal and fully explain God’s vital, essential, and ultimate message to the world, to us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18.
That is the ultimate issue for everyone for all time: what have each of us done with what is the most priceless, exquisite, and precious gift ever extended to any human being: God’s only Son, Jesus? Israel, the focus of our overall study, is the means, the conduit, which God used to send His Written Word (the Bible),and His Living Word (Jesus) into the world; and by which we have the ultimate answer for life on this earth and throughout eternity. Jesus himself said: “…salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22. And this being so, every individual, while owing an immeasurable debt of gratitude to God for His Son, also has a pretty significant debt of gratitude owed to the entity through which God used to present His Truths and His Son to the world. … the nation of Israel. Until next time.
(adapted from The Boone County Spotlight; used with permission)
Don West is a new columnist and speaker for Prophecy Matters. His passion for Israel and prophecy is instantly contagious. He is a professor at North Arkansas College in Harrison Arkansas. Dr. West holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas.