Israel's 60th Birthday

Israel's 60th Birthday

Rate This
  • Comments 94

On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation for the first time since Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome in A.D. 70. After Rome took over, the Jews were dispersed -- spreading out to many different countries -- no longer connected by a common land. But after the Holocaust the United Nations voted to make Israel a nation once again -- the Jews would again have a place to belong.

In the 60 years since Israel has been a country, there have been many wars and almost no peace. As we all know, the fight over this tiny piece of land continues. When asked by Time Magazine where Israel would be at in 60 years, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wisely responded:

When it comes to Jewish history, it is dangerous to indulge in prophecy. Who would have predicted Abraham leaving the grandiose home of his father and his idols to discover that God alone ruled the world? And Moses, the man with a speech defect, an inspired spokesman for his people? And David the young shepherd, a warrior and king?

Had anyone predicted Hitler's crimes? Only three years after the saddest and cruelest chapter in Jewish history, a sovereign Jewish State was proclaimed: Was it predictable? Was its military victory over five well armed Arab armies predictable? And the Six-Day war? And the Yom Kippur war? And the influx of a million Jews from the Soviet Union? And the assassination, by a Jewish fanatic, of the legendary Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin?

To try to predict is ill-advised and dangerous.

When it's summed up that way, it does seem silly to try to predict what might happen with God's chosen people, although we do know that it all ends with a newly created Jerusalem. But in the meantime, the Bible calls us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Whatever your politics when it comes to Israel, the 60th anniversary of this small nation is a good time to remember to pray for peace within its walls.

Social Media

Share this


You must be logged in to comment.

Sign In or Join now.

  • Comment by  Matthew:

    hrm, my sensors are picking up another Rorschach post. Or perhaps just the best post that could be written without coming down on either side?

    Whatever the case may be, prayer is the most important thing and I'm glad Denise emphasized that. I found that the book Light Force by Brother Andrew (the same guy who wrote God's Smuggler) was very helpful to me in understanding how to pray for the region, especially for my brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Comment by  PatriciaC:

    I too think it's another Rorschach post but I have to point out one thing:

    We (the Church) are God's chosen people.  Modern Israel is not a God-fearing country anymore because they reject His Messiah.  We are the true Israel.  Rome destroyed Jerusalem's temple but God's word tells us the temple is now our bodies.  Rome eliminated Jerusalem's means to sacrifice but God's word tells us that Jesus' sacrifice is now sufficient.  We should pray for Israel, just like any other country, that they would be led to repentance.  Only through repentance can peace that surpasses all understanding occur.

  • Comment by  cn:

    Thank you so much, Denise, for bringing Israel to everyone's attention again!  

    As we pray for Israel, make sure to remember the Messianic Jews living in the Land, especially the believing young men and woman serving in the IDF.  

  • Comment by  Katherine:

    cn #3: Yes, and let us pray for all our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in the Holy Land, including the Arab Christian community, descended from among the first to hear the gospel and believe.

    And, let us pray for the peace of all, both within Israel's walls and those outside of it, too.

  • Comment by  Jessica:

    Great blog, Denise.  What a wonderful land and people.  As Christians we should continue to pray for God's chosen ones.  Their fate is important to me and they hold a special place in my heart as a believer.

    Thanks for your writing!

    Jessica

  • Comment by  ChrisBVA:

    In response to #2 (Patricia):

    I must take exception with any notion that God has forever rejected Israel, that the Church has replaced Israel before God, or that Israel is not more important than any other nation.  

    Concerning specific prayer for Israel, we are told to, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you [Jerusalem] be secure" (Psalms 122:6).

    Israel has not been rejected; on the contrary, Paul warns, "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written" 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob'" (Romans 11:25-26).

    I could greatly multiply the verses that show how close Israel is to God's heart, how God has made unconditional promises to Israel, and how Christians must have a heart for Jews; but, I will just say that God could no more reject and replace the Church than He could reject and replace Israel.

    Praying for the peace of Israel comes straight from the Word, and should be on the hearts of all true Christians.

  • Comment by  Jacob:

    Patricia and Chris are demonstrating why theology matters. Patricia is aruguing for a covenantal perspective while Chris is coming from a dispensational perspective.

    I think Patricia is right, but it's a point of polite disagreement between many Christians.

  • Comment by  PatriciaC:

    But remember, what is Israel to Paul?  I am not saying Israel as a whole has been rejected.  Although reading my post again, I can see how that can be construed.  Paul says, "You [remember he is speaking to primarily Gentiles in Rome] will say then , "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." (Romans 11:19)  Paul is battling against the fallacy that God in a sense "changed His mind" and left Israel behind.  That is not true; God is establishing what constitutes true Israel.  Let's read on, "Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith.  Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either." (vs 20) So true Israel are those who believe in Christ.

    Continuing to read on... "For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree" (vs. 24).

    What is this olive tree Paul speaks of? It must be Israel-- God's chosen people.  We gentiles (I assume you're a gentile too) have been grafted into true Israel.  Jewish people who believe on Christ will also be grafted into true Israel.  This isn't a new idea as God has included gentiles into His family before.  I think of Ruth as she was even included in Jesus' lineage.

    Now we get to the verse you cited but now we've read the context: "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-- that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved..." Where are they coming into? Israel made up of believing Jews and Gentiles alike.  Who is being hardened? Jews who do not believe in Christ so that they may make room for Gentiles who do.  Paul demonstrates this by citing from the old testament, "Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." (vs 27)

    Remember, as Paul stated in Romans 6: "But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants but, "through Isaac your descendants will be named." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants."  You and I, by the grace of God have been included as children of the promise.  Jews, at least those who believe, will be grafted into the true and pure branch of Israel with us ensuring that ALL of Israel will be saved.

  • Comment by  PatriciaC:

    But remember, what is Israel to Paul?  I am not saying Israel as a whole has been rejected.  Although reading my post again, I can see how that can be construed.  Paul says, "You [remember he is speaking to primarily Gentiles in Rome] will say then , "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." (Romans 11:19)  Paul is battling against the fallacy that God in a sense "changed His mind" and left Israel behind.  That is not true; God is establishing what constitutes true Israel.  Let's read on, "Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith.  Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either." (vs 20) So true Israel are those who believe in Christ.

    Continuing to read on... "For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree" (vs. 24).

    What is this olive tree Paul speaks of? It must be Israel-- God's chosen people.  We gentiles (I assume you're a gentile too) have been grafted into true Israel.  Jewish people who believe on Christ will also be grafted into true Israel.  This isn't a new idea as God has included gentiles into His family before.  I think of Ruth as she was even included in Jesus' lineage.

    Now we get to the verse you cited but now we've read the context: "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-- that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved..." Where are they coming into? Israel made up of believing Jews and Gentiles alike.  Who is being hardened? Jews who do not believe in Christ so that they may make room for Gentiles who do.  Paul demonstrates this by citing from the old testament, "Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." (vs 27)

    Remember, as Paul stated in Romans 9: "But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants but, "through Isaac your descendants will be named." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants."  You and I, by the grace of God have been included as children of the promise.  Jews, at least those who believe, will be grafted into the true and pure branch of Israel with us ensuring that ALL of Israel will be saved.

  • Comment by  MattfromDC:

    Chris B on #5 - well said.

    Shalom aleichem.

  • Comment by  khalil:

    I take exception to comment #5, "Praying for the peace of Israel comes straight from the Word, and should be on the hearts of all true Christians."

    I feel that is a pretty strong statement, to place a value on a person's faith with how it corresponds with their prayer life as directed towards Israel. I believe we should pray for them, for peace, for blessings, and that they truly turn their minds and hearts towards God. But we also need to pray and ask God to hold them accountable for their actions, domestically and internationally. It is the same prayer I would hold for the US (and any other nation...Iran, etc.) as well. I also highly recommend Light Force as a book to read.

  • Comment by  Courtney:

    Thank you Chris B (#5), you took the words right out of my mouth! I used to be of the same mindset as Patricia (#2), until my dad rightly pointed to the same verses you have mentioned. I don't understand it...I don't claim to...but it is quite clear that God is no where near done with Israel. We, as Christians, do need to pray for the peace of Israel and for the peace of Jews.

    And thank you Denise, for this post.

  • Comment by  DeniseMorris:

    Patricia,

    I disagree with you as well. The Bible tells us Gentiles that we have been grafted into Israel's root. Israel has not been uprooted -- we have just been allowed in. As Romans 11:18 says, "Do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you."

  • Comment by  ChrisBVA:

    Patricia,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and scriptural response.  We certainly must read the verses in context, both in the context of the surrounding verses, and in view of God's Word as a whole.  

    In context, we can see how Paul identifies Israel, speaking in reference to himself, "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin" (Romans 11:1).  Paul is part of Israel, because he is physically a descendent of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin--not based primiarly on believing in Christ.  The promises to the people of Israel still apply, for, "This is what the Lord says: 'If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them'" (Jeremiah 33:25-26).

    Returning to the context of Romans 11 (along with chapters nine and ten), we can see that God intends to restore his people Israel in Christ--He will not leave them behind.  As we see first in vs.5, "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace," that remnant being chosen from Israel.  And Paul continues the point later, "Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.  But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! (Romans 11:12-13).  Paul's heart for Israel--again the literal nation, not Israel redefined as Christians--comes through not only in words, but also in deeds as we read throughout the book of Acts, where the pattern was, "When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper" (Acts 13:5).  

    We can add to Paul's words the words of Jesus, who prophesied to His people Israel, "For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'" (Matthew 23:39).

    You are correct to point out the truth in Romans 9:6, that, "It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel."  At all times throughout Jewish history as we see in the Bible, there were those jews who were disobedient, worshipped idols, and rejected God's covenant; however, a faithful remnant always remained and still remains today.  Let us not forget that just as we gentiles are adopted as sons (Romans 8), we were adopted into God's family to which the Jews first belonged, as Paul says, "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises" (Romans 9:3-4).  The sonship, the glory, the covenants, and the promises still remain, for our Lord said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).  Again we see that Israel as a race, people, and nation is still relevant and that God still holds covenant promises for Israel in addition to--but not apart from--the promises that are ours in Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).

    I must stress again that the Church has not replaced Israel in any sense.  We are not the "new" Israel into which believing Jews must be ingrafted; in fact the opposite is true, for it is we who are ingrafted into the promise that came first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.  Just as Paul says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (Romans 1:16).

  • Comment by  JimH:

    I count myself among those who believe God has a plan for Israel in the final days. Besides the verses in Romans which have already been quoted and are very compelling, there are these verses in Isaiah

    ---------------------

24/7 Footer Ad