If you look at a map of the world you could have trouble trying to find Israel if you did not know roughly where it is. Israel is tiny compared to it’s surrounding countries In the Middle East being only 8,000 sq miles. It is 263 miles long and between 9 and 71 miles wide, the United Kingdom has 11 times the land area of Israel. So you may ask – why Israel? What is special about this nation that draws so much attention?
In the ancient world even this small land was the centre of the world. Jerusalem (Israel’s capital) was at the very heart of three gigantic land masses; Asia, Africa and Europe. Israel is in an extremely important position between the Mediterranean to the west and the Syrian Arabian desert to the east, forming a narrow bridge that connected the great powers of the Ancient Near East. This meant that any nation coming to or from Egypt, or travelling from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Aqaba, had to go through Israel. For many years, Israel was the crossroads for international economic development.
The establishment of the modern state of Israel can be considered a miracle in itself. On 2nd November 1917 Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, viewed as an endorsement of a national home for the Jewish people. There was much opposition to a home for the Jewish people, especially from the Arabs, even after six million Jews were killed in the World War II holocaust. But the 14th May 1948 saw the establishment of the State of Israel. Unfortunately the problems for the Jewish people did not end here – in fact they got worse…
Many people do not realise that Israel is the only country in that area with a parliamentary democracy and a high standard of human care. Within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens who have equal rights under the law. Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights with Israel being one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote [ref]. When the state of Israel was established, there were only 806,000 residents, as of September 2012 there were 5,978,600 Jews living in Israel which is 75.4% of the Israeli population. This figure is constantly rising as more Jews return to their homeland. The World Jewry constituted slightly less than 0.2% of the world’s total population [ref].
Jerusalem seems to be highly sought after
Jerusalem has been the most contested real estate on earth. It has been destroyed twice (586 BC and 70 AD), besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times according to Wikipedia. Even this alone must show that there is something special about this small nation.
The Middle East is regularly in the media with disruptions or violence of some kind. When the Arab nations are not fighting their own civil battles they unite in their opposition to Israel. The surrounding nations are very vocal in their hatred for Israel and the Jewish people. Below are a few examples of what Israel has to face:
Islmaic State (IS) has already changed name a couple of times, it is an extreme Islamic group terrorising the populations of Iraq and Syria. They have been responsible for a number of atrocities in recent weeks/months and this has attracted the military intervention of the US.
This is a group that Israel should look out for – IS have already shown the intent to continue it’s reign of terror into other Arab countries, Lebanon and Jordan will be watching nervously. If this group continues to grow in size, it can only be a matter of time before it turns towards Israel. Recent accounts of genocide against Christians, Yazidi’s and other groups are very disturbing – we can only imagine what they would do to Israel given half a chance.
Former Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was not one to shy away from his feelings for Israel. He is constantly saying Israel has “no roots” in the Middle East and would be “eliminated“. Even the current President, Hassan Rouhani, is no less vocal calling Israel a “festering Zionist tumor.” These thoughts are all backed up by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader, who would like to “kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel.”
Obviously the majority of recent media reports concerning Iran and Israel has been dominated Iran’s nuclear program and whether Israel will strike Iran to prevent completion. Any action of Israel or Iran in this area would play a very pivotal role for the stability of the Middle East and would have repercussions around the world.
Hamas emerged as the Palestinian wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, it’s main goal is to “liberate” Palestinian territories from Israeli “occupation”. They primarily operate out of the Gaza Strip. Nizzar Rayyan, the former Hamas leader was open with his opinions of Israel “The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don’t need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel.” There is no chance, he said, that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. “Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God”. This Hamas sermon from Gaza shows their feels for Israel and the Jewish people stating “Our doctrine in fighting you (the Jews) is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive…”
The Israel has had to build huge concrete walls separating Palestinian territories from theirs because of deadly suicide bombings. Since 2005 Hamas has fired over 11,000 rockets into Israel with extra intensity during conflicts when Israel reacts. Hamas even fires missiles from heavily civilian areas to provoke Israel into striking back at these locations, they even tell civilians to ignore IDF warnings to leave and stay to be human shields.
Hezbollah is a radical Shi’a Muslim based in Lebanon who have the backing of Iran. Like Iran they are not silent on their hatred for Israel, even with the recent exchange between Israel and Iran about the nuclear program Hezbollah threatened Israel saying 70,000 are aimed at Israel if any action is taken against Iran.
Unfortunately this is only naming a few nations/organisations that show their hatred towards Israel. Even Jewish people around the world are victims increasing anti-semitic attacks. A survey in 2012 showed the number of anti-semitic incidents in England and France has grown by 50%, but now it is difficult to measure, some are even saying the current antisemitism is on the same levels since the Nazis.
These threats continue to increase, they are becoming more vocal and taking more actions against Israel. Can you and your family living imagine in a nation with these daily threats. Should Israel stand for this? Even with these threats Israel continues to seek peace with it’s neighbours – they even continue to supply aid to Gaza.
All of this is largely ignored by the western media and when any reports are published they are usually very bias against Israel. It appears most of the countries around the world try to pressure Israel into making decisions to protect their own interests which are usually linked to securing oil supplies from the Arab nations.
So why is there so much attention on Israel?
What is it about Israel, this tiny nation, that causes so much hostility from others? Why is it so special that others relentlessly fight against it?
The simple answer it that the Bible teaches that Israel is God’s chosen land and the Jews are His chosen people. History has proven this to be true, if by nothing else, they have miraculously survived millennia of sustained aggression whether they exist as a nation or community. Any nation that is hostile to the Judea-Christian God will also be hostile to Israel.
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.(Deuteronomy 7:6, emphasis added)
O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. (1 Chronicles 16:13, emphasis added)
We could speculate and discuss the reasons for God choosing the Jews and this particular parcel of land but this would miss the point – the fact remains that God did choose them. This fact was cemented forever when God made everlasting promises (covenants) with Israel as laid out in the following two passages:
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:1-8)
He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (Psalm 105:8-11)
This covenant clearly concerns a literal land, was not dependant on any action of Israel and remains in effect forever – therefore this covenant still applies today as it was unconditional and everlasting! David also clearly understood this promise as referring to a literal land and confirmed it was an “everlasting” covenant. Moments before Jesus ascended into heaven, even the disciples understood the timeless condition of this covenant and that the kingdom of Israel would be restored in fulfilment of this covenant. Jesus did not deny the truth of this (He would have corrected them otherwise!) – He simply told them they did not need to know when it would happen, but it will happen!
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (Acts 1:6-7)
God has made these promises to Israel and His people they are binding throughout time. He will never forget and will regather His people to His land:
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. (Ezekiel 37:21-22)
And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. (Amos 9:14-15)
We should remember that the land given in the covenant is much larger than the current State of Israel:
In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: (Genesis 15:18)
The land part of the covenant as in the above verse (shown in the map on the right) stretches from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in modern-day Iraq and is known as Greater Israel. Obviously Israel does not possess all this land presently but there will come a time when God will restore all the land He gave in His covenant ready for the Kingdom age.
However, it is vital to recognise that there is also a serious spiritual dimension to the worlds animosity towards Israel.
Satan knows the Bible and will desperately try to prevent God’s prophetic Word from coming to pass at any cost. Satan knows the prophecies concerning the Jews and that a remnant will come to recognise Jesus as their Saviour.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
He does not want this to happen and has used and is using nations to try to wipe out the Jews to prevent this. After the covenant was made with Abraham, Satan went to great lengths to get the Jews away from the land and ultimately destroying the Jews. Satan wants Gods promises to be broken so that promises of judgment to him may also be broken!
Satan is also aware that there remains unfulfilled prophecy concerning events in the land of Israel and more specifically Jerusalem. This is resulting in a futile and desperate attempt to remove the Jews from this land to delay and prevent his own judgment. Satan is well aware that Scripture describes the re-gathering of the Jews to their land as synonymous with the last days. As he has not been able to prevent it (despite many attempts!) he is now intent on destroying the Jews completely as history demonstrates has always been the case.
God’s Prophetic Clock
Israel can be looked upon as God’s prophetic clock. We can determine where we are in Gods plan of salvation for mankind by looking at the current status of Israel as a nation. We have now reached a time in history where Israel is returning to the land God covenanted to give them (as predicted would be the case in the last days) and political events are shaping up in a way that could well lead to battles that are described in Scripture concerning Israel that have not yet come to pass. The world is poised in numerous ways for Christ’s return. Our article Are we in the last days? goes into greater detail of these signs.
A key passage in understanding WHY God’s attention will return to Israel
The passages in this article (and many others not listed) make it crystal clear that Israel will be, and are being, regathered back to their land. In the passage below, we are given the main reason:
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. (Ezekiel 36:22-24)
God WILL fulfil and keep to every promise made to Israel for His names sake! It has nothing to do with the righteousness of Israel, far from it. God will demonstrate that He keeps EVERY promise so that His name is “sanctified” and His people can be 100% certain that God Word is trustworthy and steadfast! This will prove that our Lord God is the ONLY God as events that are written in ancient times by God’s prophets unfold exactly as predicted. This will happen as God PROVES His Word is true and should result in mankind drawing towards Him.
Israel is blessed!
When Israel was founded May 1948, it was a barren country with no natural resources, not much water, over half of the land desert. 60 years later Israel is now an oasis of technology and innovation, being one of the leading players in the world of high-tech innovation that attracts international giants to the land. Israel is home to some of the most advanced medical research and leading the way in treatments for many diseases. Israel plays a considerable role in most important challenges facing our planet, from health breakthroughs to technology, agriculture, the environment and the arts, the country’s innovations are transforming and enriching lives everywhere. Of the over 800 individuals who have been awarded Nobel prizes, 187 are of Jewish descent – the Jews have clearly contributed much to the world!
Here are some other amazing recent statistics showing how much Israel is blessed:
- LONGEVITY IN ISRAEL AMONG THE WORLD’S HIGHEST: A new report shows longevity in Israel is among the highest in the world and ranks in fifth place for life expectancy among OECD countries – higher than Sweden and France, for example.
- ISRAELI JEWISH POPULATION NOW OVER SIX MILLION: As off 31st March 2013 the Jewish population in Israel numbers about 6,042,000.
- ISRAEL IS THE SECOND-MOST EDUCATED COUNTRY: Israel is the second-most educated country among OECD member countries, according to a new report. The study found that 46% of all 25-64 year-olds in Israel have a higher education. Israel also has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world and it produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by some degree.
- JEWISH BIRTHRATE HIGHEST IN 34 YEARS: The Jewish birthrate was higher in 2011 than it has been since 1977, the Central Statistics Bureau reported.
God really is blessing His land and people. But even so Israel’s neighbours still wage war and promote their hatred but looking at the major wars against Israel you can see how God’s hand protects it. There have been three major wars directed at Israel since it’s establishment:
1948 – Arab-Israeli War (War of Independence)
On the day of Israel’s independence – May 14th – armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq attacked Israel. At the time Israel’s army only numbered 100,000 and with the size of the forces attacking many gave Israel any chance of survival. However, the Israeli forces, which were under joint command, were able to gain the offensive and overcome the opposition for their military victory. This war claimed 6,000 Israeli lives – 1% of the nation’s population.
1967 – Arab-Israeli War (Six-Day War)
The Six-Day War was fought between June 5th and June 10th against Syria, Jordan and Egypt. It has been said that for Israel this war was a question of sheer survival; for the Arabs it was one of credibility. The Arabs refused negotiation attempts and Egypt made highly provocative moves (sending military forces in the sensitive Suez zone and enforced a naval blockade which closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping and stopping the flow of oil from its main supplier, Iran). Israel saw this only one way – Egypt was preparing to attack.
Egypt had 210,000 troops ready (100,000 with 930 tanks). Egyptian Air Force has the largest and most modern of all the Arab air forces, having 450 combat aircraft, all Soviet-built and relatively new. Syria had 63,000 troops and Jordan 55,000 – giving 328,000 troops ready to fight Israel. The Arabs had double the number of tanks compared to Israel (2,330 against 1000) and far more combat aircraft (682 compared to Israel’s 286). A fully mobilized Israel could gather 250,000 men so Israel would need to rely on the training and motivation of this largely civilian army against the superiority of the Arabs in manpower and weaponry.
Instead of waiting to be attacked, Israel launched a hugely successful military campaign and by 5th June the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq were all but destroyed. In the next couple of days many Egyptian tanks had been destroyed, the whole of the west bank of the Jordan River had been cleared of Jordanian forces and the Golan Heights were captured from Syria.
By the end, Israel had conquered enough territory to more than triple the size of the area it controlled, from 8,000 to 26,000 square miles. The victory enabled Israel to unify Jerusalem. The war was a disaster for the Arab world, four of the strongest Arab nations systematically defeated by just one small nation.
1973 – Arab-Israeli War (Yom Kippur War)
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of prayer and fasting in the Jewish calendar. It started on Saturday 6th October with a surprise Arab attack by Egyptian and Syrian military forces knowing the Israeli military would be celebrating and unprepared. On the Golan Heights alone, 150 Israeli tanks faced 1,400 Syria tanks and in the Suez region just 500 Israeli soldiers faced 80,000 Egyptian soldiers.
During the first few days of the war, Egypt and Syria secured victories in the Sinai and the Golan but by 9th October, Israeli forces were able to contain the threat on both fronts. With help of extra military equipment, supplied by the US, Israel then retook most of it territorial losses, even gaining more ground against both the Egyptians and Syrians. On 24th October, a cease-fire was organised by the United Nations.
Any person looking at these wars would never have given Israel a chance – on all accounts Israel should not exist with the size and weaponry of their attackers. In each of these wars the Israelis would have been fighting for their own existence, there would have been countless miracles from God during these battles to protect His land and people. Just the fact that Israel still exists proves that there is a God!
God continues to bless His land, with massive amounts natural gas and oil being recently found off-shore, this could be part of the spoil that the nations described in the Gog Magog War of Ezekiel 38 want to get hold of.
What is Israel’s future?
Israel has a glorious future, in the Millennial Kingdom Israel will be the centre nation of the world where peace and harmony will be restored:
For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. (Isaiah 51:3)
But before then Israel will have to go through very perilous times, which we are seeing a build up to now. God’s people are being re-gathered in unbelief to then be judged. The descriptions in Scripture of these judgments, which affect the whole earth, show that it is a time that no-one would want to go through.
As we have covered, Israel is the centre point for future Bible prophecies and the last days so from what we can see it may not be long until we see “game changers” that will start fulfilment of these end time battles. World War III could start any day and from scripture we know many battles will take place in and around Israel but there are two major wars against Israel clearly described in Scripture:
The Psalm describes Israel’s neighbours launching a combined attack. The nations mentioned in Scripture are named with their ancient names but the modern equivalents are: Jordan, parts of the West Bank, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Gaza (Hamas), Syria / parts of Turkey and Iraq. All of these are sworn to the destruction of Israel and it is Israel’s Defence Force that defeats these nations. Watch events in the Middle East as everything is in place for fulfillment of this to begin
Israel needs to be in a certain state for this battle to begin, Ezekiel describes the Israelis dwelling safely without walls. This certainly is not the case now, the Psalm 83 battle could be the bridge that sets up these conditions. Again the modern names of these nations mentioned by Ezekiel are: Russia, Turkey, Iran, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The Lord himself will divinely intervene to rescue His land from it’s attackers.
We also know that a peace treaty will be signed with Israel before the tribulation period starts by a man who will become a world leader and be trusted by all the nations of the world. This may happen in between these wars above but we know from the accuracy of the fulfilled prophecies that these events will happen exactly as described. No one, apart from God’s himself, knows the exact timing but there is a way to escape the wrath of God and be caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) before these end time events begin. Read our How to be saved page and be part of the blessed hope (Titus 2:13)!
Stand Up for Israel
Israel are currently living in unbelief and have unprecedented tough times ahead of them in their present state of unbelief (See Matthew 24:21-22). We recognise that in their present state of unbelief their actions are not perfect and they make many mistakes – however, surroundings nations, international bodies (e.g. the UN), the world media, “human rights” groups and almost every level of society across the planet have an irrational and disproportionate animosity to Israel. Saved believers in Christ have a duty to stand up for Israel’s right of existence and to defend them in any way we can, as they are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). We believe we will be accountable to God specifically for our treatment of the Jews (see Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus “brethren” could apply exclusively to the Jewish people) when we meet Him on the day of judgment.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3, emphasis added)
This passage is timeless and that it applies both nationally and individually. When you appear before your Creator God to give account of your work on earth, will you be able to confidently say you were a blessing to Israel?
The Lord made an oath to Himself that as long as the sun, moon, and stars exist so will the nation of Israel:
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith 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, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)