Radioprogram, Israel, 29.05.2017
Radioprogram, Israel, 29.05.2017
To carry out the salvation plan for mankind, God needed a people and a country.
Genesis 13:14-15 says, “And the Lord said to Abram… ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever’”.
God is a God of history. It is impossible to understand Israel, the Jewish nation, without the calling, which they received from God. If you do not treat the Bible seriously, you will not understand today’s situation in the Middle East. Only by paying close attention to the Word of God one can understand the events in and around Israel.
God is a God of history. He works through history, in certain geographical locations and taking into account demographic aspects; that is, He works through facts, countries and people. Other religions take the facts lightly; they make up parables and fables. However, the God of Israel is the God of Truth; He works through real and specific facts. In contrast, many philosophers give abstract and ideological explanations to accomplished facts.
God is always very specific about the place, the time and the people involved. To carry out the plan of blessing mankind, God needed a people and a country. Without the people and the country, it is impossible to understand the plan and will of God.
After the Fall, when God decided to restore His relationship with mankind, He chose a person who became the patriarch of the Jewish people. From this people would come the Messiah – the Blessing and Salvation of all mankind.
In Genesis 3:15, after the fall of Adam, God said to the snake, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Even then God promised that someone would come to destroy the power of the devil and to restore the relationship between God and man. So when and how would it happen?
Centuries passed. People multiplied and filled the earth. Sin multiplied as well.
Genesis 6:5-6 says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
Multiplication of sin brought God’s judgment and the Flood. After that, Noah and his three sons started everything anew. Shem, Ham and Japheth became the forefathers of whole mankind. One of the descendants of Shem was Eber (see Genesis 11:14).
The name of Hebrews could come from this man’s name. Later Nahor was born from this line, and his son Terah begot Abraham.
And what were the promises of God about the Land?
Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldeans, which was located in the territory of today’s Iraq. God chose one nation from all other nations, through which all of them would be blessed. God’s purpose and will are the same; only the means to achieve it change.
Genesis 12:1-3 says, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So what happened after this?
God chose Abraham to bless mankind through him and promised him two things – a country and a people. On the condition of Abraham’s obedience, God promised to take him to the Promised Land. God told him, “I will give this country to you”. It means God was going to give the land to the descendants of Abraham as their inheritance.
In Genesis 13:14-17, after Lot, Abraham’s relative, separated from him because of strife between their herdsmen, God again spoke to Abraham, “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
God promised Abraham to give to him and his descendants the whole territory he saw from the mountain. For what period of time? Verse 15 says “forever”! This means the promise for Abraham and his descendants to live in Israel is not given for a period of time or for some generations; it is their inheritance forever.
Yes, and to confirm this, God entered into a Covenant with Abraham – God made a Covenant with him!
In the land of Canaan, God revealed His plan to Abraham. In Genesis 15, He promised to give a son to Abraham, from whom a numerous people would come. Many times God confirmed to Abraham that the country would be his, and that He took Abraham from his homeland to “…give you this land to inherit it”, as said in Genesis 15:7.
“Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”, Abraham asked. As an answer, God entered into a Covenant with him. Genesis 15:9-17 says that when this Covenant was made, a smoking oven and a burning torch passed between the pieces of the slain animals, and God told him, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.”
God is so faithful to His promise, that He told Abraham about it again and again, and then established it through a Covenant. Here for the first time He mentioned the location and the borders of the country. Later God changed the name of Abraham (as back then his name was Abram), expanding His Covenant with him. God stated that Abraham would become a father of many nations and affirmed that His Covenant with Abraham was eternal. And in Genesis 17:8, He said,
“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.”
The external sign of this Covenant was circumcision.
So let us sum up everything that God said to Abraham.
In Genesis 17:7, God made an everlasting Covenant with Abraham.
According to verses 4 and 5, Abraham would be a father or a patriarch of many nations.
He would be the patriarch of the sons of Israel. The blessing covered all his descendants; but according to verse 21, the everlasting Covenant was only for Isaak and his descendants. God’s own people would come from Isaak.
According to verse 8, this people would inherit the land as an “everlasting possession”.
And according to verses 7 and 8, this people would know God and serve Him, and then Jehovah would be their God.
Thus the foundation was laid; the Covenant was proclaimed, and God revealed His glory. Starting with Abraham, God expanded the revelation of His will in the following generations. He worked signs and miracles revealing His power to carry His will into effect, to bless mankind and to fulfill His plan just as He promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 and 22:18.
Then Isaak was born, and God renewed His Covenant with him. In Genesis 26:3-4, God told Isaak, “Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven… and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”
Isaak had two sons, Esau and Jacob. It was Jacob who received the blessing of his father, and God gave him a new name, Israel.
The two brothers, Esau and Jacob, were brought up in the Promised Land. God watched their behavior, lifestyle, decisions and choices. In the book of Genesis, it is written that Esau had Canaanite wives, and his father and mother, Isaak and Rebekah, did not like them. They were from a nation about which God spoke to Esau’s grandfather Abraham. That nation would be punished by God in future, but at that time, God still bore with them.
Later we see another decision of Esau, when he did not consider his birthright important, but rather satisfied his flesh. As the saying goes, Esau sold his birthright for a plate of lentil stew.
Of course no one would like to have any serious business with such an unstable person, let alone involving him in the salvation plan of whole mankind! God saw all that.
Esau started to hate Jacob, as Jacob received their father Isaak’s blessing by trickery. Jacob fled from that country; however, later, when he returned, God blessed him. On his way back, he travelled the path of Abraham: first through Shechem, and then through Bethel. In Bethel, he built an altar, and there, as written in Genesis 35:10-12, God appeared to him and said:
a) You shall be called Israel (Genesis 35:10);
b) A great nation shall proceed from you (Genesis 35:11);
c) The land which I promised to Abraham and Isaak I give to you and to your descendants (Genesis 35:12).
God repeated the promise about the land all the time. He was the God of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob – the God Who gave them land as an everlasting possession.
Jacob had twelve sons, who became the 12 patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. As recorded in Genesis 49, before his death, Jacob told a prophetic word to each of his sons. These words were prophecies about the Jewish people, their land and the coming of the Messiah.
At that time, the Jews lived in Egypt, just as God told Abraham in Genesis 15:13. In spite of persecutions, the people of Israel multiplied.
Later God commanded Moses to take the people out of Egypt. And finally, Moses led them out, after they ate the Passover Sacrifice and unleavened bread. They left Egypt in haste, and God did a great miracle to save them.
When Israelites were safe, God spoke to His people again. He revealed Himself to the Israelites on Mount Sinai and gave them the Law, the Ten Commandments, the order of services in the Tabernacle, etcetera.
Having given the Law, God commanded them in Exodus 20:12.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
God established His promise about giving land to the people. The whole purpose of coming out of Egypt was that the people finally entered the Promised Land. All the laws and commandments given to people were to be observed with full consecration in the Promised Land. The description of the Tabernacle pointed at the construction of the Temple in future. Having entered the Land, the people would observe the feasts and the priests would perform their duties.
As you have noticed, in His Covenant with Abraham, God mentioned the word “forever”. This means the Covenant is in force even today.
The promise given to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaak and Jacob became the inheritance of Jacob’s 12 sons and consequently the people of Israel. After the Jews left Egypt, a new era started. They were called Israel, became a people, received the Torah and were on their way to Eretz Israel.
Psalm 105:6-11 says, “O seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance.’”
It can’t be said any clearer. The Almighty God said all this to Abraham. Then He repeated His promise to Isaak, Jacob, and later to all the people of Israel. God took an oath when He made an everlasting Covenant with them. God always remembers His covenant, and it is in force “for a thousand generations”. From the days of Abraham until now, that many generations have not lived on the earth yet, and it means the promise is in force up to this day. And what did God say? The Land, the specific territory with specific borders assigned by God belongs to the children of Israel.
This means that first of all, this Land belongs to God and to no one else. He has created the whole earth, and it belongs to Him. So He divides the earth as He finds fit. He gave a tiny piece of land (as actually it is tiny) to His people so that they could live there, serve Him and be a blessing to the whole world.
In the Promised Land, there are three key places, which prove that Abraham’s descendants have a God-given right to their country. These places are Hebron, Shechem and Jerusalem.
All the events in Israel, as well as in all the Middle East are impossible to understand without knowing their historical background.
God did speak to the forefathers; He did give a land to the children of Israel and confirm it with a Covenant, according to which the Land is theirs forever. God always acts legally, according to the Law.
Today many attempt to misrepresent the facts showing that Israel illegally occupied Arabic territories. First, it is not true. To have good understanding of the situation, we ourselves need to know the historical background.
When God spoke to Abraham, he was a foreigner, a stranger in the land of Canaan. Genesis 23:12-18 says that when Abraham’s wife Sarah died and he had to bury her, he spoke to the sons of Heth about buying the cave in the field of Machpelah, which belonged to Ephron the Hittite. First the owner wanted to just give it to Abraham, but then he sold it for 400 shekels of sliver. So Abraham owned the plot in the lowlands of Hebron legally.
Verses 17 and 18 say, “So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city.”
Later, when Joshua son of Nun conquered the land, he buried the bones of Joseph, which the people took when they left Egypt, in Shechem. Joshua 24:32 says that “Jacob had bought” that plot “from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver.”
Long after that, king David bought from Araunah his threshing floor for 50 shekels of sliver. This is the exact spot on Mount Moriah where God demanded the sacrifice of Isaak, and where later the Temple was built.
Abraham had been to all the three places – Hebron, Shechem and Mount Moriah. These three are key places for the children of Israel.
According to Deuteronomy 11:29-30, Shechem became a place of making a Covenant with the Lord.
Before Hebron became the capital city of Israel, it was the capital city of king David.
On Mount Moriah, the Temple was built.
Today Arabs demand Israelites to leave the territories adjoining the West Bank, the heart of Israel, - Judah and Samaria. Arabs show the most violent resistance in Nablus or former Shechem, in Hebron and on the territory of the Temple that is in West Jerusalem.
Not only God promised the Israelites, the generations of Abraham, to bring them back to their own land; these places belong to the Israelites legally. These were bought by Abraham, Jacob and David. No changes have ever been made to those deals, and the territory bought legally cannot pass to others only because of temporary absence of their legal owners. We can specifically mention a prophecy in Ezekiel 36:2-4,
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because the enemy has said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,’’ therefore prophesy, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people’, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around…”
At all times, Israel was under attack of leaving its country, and today is no different.
That is what happened recently. Jews are not allowed to settle in their own land – the West Bank, which is given by God and is bought legally. This is where Jews face the fiercest confrontation. However, neither Arabic opposition nor plans to have an Arab-Palestinian state can annul the fact that God gave that land to the children of Israel.
Jews are often accused of illegally occupying Arabic territories; but these are intentionally misrepresented accounts.