The Mystery of Israel

Date: 07/15/2006 
What is the role of Israel today? It is constantly in the headlines and still considered to be a holy land by several religions. The Jews have been some of the most blessed and cursed people in history. God chose these people to be the repositories of truth intended to be shared with the world.
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened in Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: ‘There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’” --Romans 11:25-27

Good morning. I want to welcome any who may be visiting. We know that we have every week here at our Central family people from the four corners of the earth and we’re hoping that everybody who has come through the doors of this sanctuary will feel God’s love and be made to feel welcome. We are glad that you are here worshiping with us. As of yesterday I had something entirely different that I had planned on speaking on. Pastor White is on vacation today and so we were printing the bulletin a little later than normal and I was praying whether or not to change the subject and I called Melissa and I said, “Have you printed the bulletin yet?” Because after she prints the bulletin you know I hate to waste paper and have to print another one or not to have the message match the bulletin. She said, “Well, we printed the outside, but if you change the sermon that’s on the inside.” I said, “Alright, well I take that as a sign.” And so I began to work yesterday on a different message that was on my heart and the reason for that is I’m talking today on the subject of Israel, more specifically the mystery of Israel. We have seen, the Middle East is in the news once again, and that violence is brewing and the pundits on the news say that this can be an especially volatile situation. I was just listening yesterday as I typically do to a variety of Christian stations and heard the pastors and commentators talking about the big role of Israel in prophesy and as they looked at what’s happening in the Middle East and then they looked at their Bibles, frankly it broke my heart that there is so much ignorance regarding the biblical place and role of Israel in the Bible and in the work and the word of God, and I just felt strongly impressed. I looked back over the messages that I’ve covered in the last few years and I thought I really haven’t talked much about this in several years and I’d like to dedicate this message to giving you a little history of what the Bible says about Israel who they are, what their role is, and what we can expect in the future. So with that background I think that it is edifying and appropriate for us to spend some time talking about the role of Israel. Now I don’t think anyone here can deny that Israel seems to be the center of attention quite a bit of the time. When you consider that the land of Israel isn’t any bigger than New Jersey, it’s about eight thousand square miles surrounded by Arab enemies on virtually every side (of course they’ve got the Mediterranean on one side) and even in Cyprus they’ve got enemies there in the islands not far away, but it’s constantly in the headlines. It is probably one of the most volatile hotspots in the world. It’s interesting that this holy territory of Jerusalem is considered to be the holy land by many of the world religions. Of course the billion Catholics in the world, the eight hundred million Arabs in the world, the millions of Christians and of course the Jews; these world religions have pilgrimages, they go to Israel, they go to this country, it’s their holy land and perhaps that is part of the reason it is one of the most volatile lands in the world. Jerusalem the word means city of peace and that really is a paradox, it’s a contradiction because the old Jerusalem is the most embattled city in the world, wars constantly. They’re still to this very day, this morning I expect, they’re lobbing missiles at each other between Lebanon and Jerusalem or at least the northern territory and it is a very “unpeaceful” corner of the world, and a lot of buildup of military in this country.

Now the Jew, for me, is one of the most interesting subjects and proves the authenticity of the Bible. There are no people in the world that are more persecuted and protected than Jews. And I know there are always new people in visiting, and maybe new viewers watching, that you may not know that I consider myself Jewish not only by blood, because my mother was Jewish, but also because well, I figure that in order to be saved you’ve all got to be Jewish anyway. The Bible is a Jewish book, and those who are saved are grafted into the stock of Israel, so I feel very comfortable talking about these things both by heritage and by belief and profession. But when you think about it, to this very day the Jews are a very interesting anomaly in that they are the most protected people, the most blessed people, the most persecuted, and the most cursed all in one. I mean, you go all the way back to the days of Abraham and Abraham, who is considered to be the starting point of the Jewish nation, he fled to Egypt because of a famine, had to leave the land that God had called to give him the Promised Land, but he came back, he made it back to the Promised Land. Isaac left again because of a famine. He went to Philistia at that time but he came back again. Jacob had to flee because he was lying to his brother, but he came back again into the Promised Land. Children of Israel were carried off during the time of Joseph, I shouldn’t say carried off, but they settled in Egypt and then the great exodus story came out of slavery back into the Promised Land. Because of their unfaithfulness they were carried off to Babylon, but God worked a series of miracles and brought them back to their territory again. Then during the time of the Romans greatly disbursed and one of the most unique experiences in history that you can hold forth. There is no other people in the world that have been so disbursed and yet remain distinct with their own culture, language, writing, customs, religion and now (as of 1948) they’ve got another land called Israel again. They’re back again. There is no other country… What’s interesting is they were ruled by the Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians don’t exist you know; the people in Egypt today are not the ones who built the pyramids. The Babylonians, you ever heard anyone speak in Babylonian lately? That world empire, they’re gone. The Persians. Well, the people in Persia now they speak, they’re not Persia of course, it’s Iran and Iraq, they speak Farsi and Arabic. The ancient Persian tongue, customs, culture is gone. The Greeks, well there are some people who still speak Greek, but they’re not a world empire anymore, are they? And the Romans? Well, they did win the World Cup, but ancient Rome is pretty much in ruins. But the Jews are still a nation. It’s really amazing when you think about it, even though they’ve been scattered all over the world. And then you look at, have there ever been people who have been more persecuted? Between 65 A.D. and 135 A.D. the Romans killed approximately two million Jews. They were persecuted and driven all over the Roman Empire, beaten everywhere they went. They would have little settlements in all different parts of the globe. That’s why you’ve got a plant called the Wandering Jew. Are you aware that during the Dark Ages they were also persecuted by the church? When the bubonic plague broke out they blamed the Jewish settlements and they began to persecute the Jews during the Dark Ages. They said that the Black Death, bubonic plague, was their fault because they were Christ killers. And then of course do I need to remind anybody about the holocaust during World War II where they estimate approximately six million, most of them from Poland, Jews were executed in the concentration camps? A persecuted people, but obviously they are a people being protected because they still seem to thrive.

And, forgive me, and you’re going to disagree with me and some of you are going to think, “Pastor Doug, you shouldn’t generalize like this,” but you know I personally believe that different cultures and groups and nations do seem to have different gifts. Anyone else here believe that? It’s a generalization, you know, not every Italian can sing opera. We all know that, right? But a lot of them can and you know different people seem to have gifts. I heard someone say one time, “Heaven is where the French are the cooks and the Germans make the cars; Hell is where the French are the politicians and the Germans are the policemen.” And we’re laughing because these are generalizations but there are generalizations about the Jews that I think that I can make that seem to have some merit to it. It seems that everywhere they go they do thrive in business, they are tremendous financiers and you look where you will on Wall Street and I tell you I’m related so I know they are very successful in the banking industry. You look at the names on the credits, they are the principal writers and in many cases owners of the studios and writers for the studios in Hollywood, very creative, talented people. My family was in what they call the rag business. A lot of them were tailors and in the fabric, clothing industry. My mother, my aunt were in that business and did very well in that business. And so they seem to thrive, they’re blessed in many respects and yet they are also persecuted. A very interesting people, no people like them in the world. There’s no corner of the earth you can go to, they probably have a synagogue in Antarctica, I don’t know, but just about every part of the world you can go to today you will find a Jewish settlement. I was surprised, you could go to Mississippi, I mean, you wouldn’t think of going to the Bible Belt and finding a Jewish community, but they’re everywhere. And yet they’ve got this diamond on the planet called Israel that is considered the Holy Land that is a very volatile place and yet like a diamond it seems to endure. What does it all mean? Well, first of all I want to remind you that God said in Genesis 15 He told Abraham, and this is verse 18, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham saying, “To your descendants I have given this land,” the land of Israel. The origin of Israel really begins with Jacob because the Arabs are descendants of Abraham too. Is everybody aware of that? That most of the Arabs come from both a combination of Ishmael and Esau. The Edomites intermarried with the descendants of Ishmael and that’s where you get the Arabs and of course they all descend from Abraham that group as well, but the Promised Land was more specifically given to the son of Isaac called Jacob. You remember when he had left the Promised Land because he had lied, he repented, came back after twenty years with his wives and his children and wrestled with an angel there on the borders of the Promised Land and he said when he found out this was a divine messenger, “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” and he was given a new name. Genesis 32:28, I hope you have your pen or your pencil out and I hope that you will still thumb through your Bible as often as possible and follow me. Genesis 32:28, “Your name will no more be called Jacob,” which means trickster or deceiver, “but Israel;” that means prince with God or overcomer with God “for” as a prince “you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” So the first time the name, the word Israel appears in the Bible it is not a country, it’s a man; it’s one person. Don’t forget that because it comes near the end of the message. That’s going to come back as we go around here. So it was representing Jacob’s new name that he got as a symbol of victory and acceptance. God blessed him.

What is the purpose for Israel? Why did God then take these twelve sons of Jacob? He had twelve sons. They became known as the twelve tribes. Now stay with me. Stay with me. There were really thirteen tribes. Don’t get confused, but stay with me. Jacob had twelve sons. If I tried I could probably name them all for you, but I won’t do that right now. Because Joseph was sold by his brothers, and most of us know that story, when he was reunited with his father he said, “Because we have been separated so long and I’m meeting my grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim for the first time, I am going to treat them like my sons and they will have an equal inheritance.” So the two sons of Joseph were treated as tribes in Israel. Their names were Ephraim and Manasseh. Well that would bring the number to thirteen so why don’t we say the thirteen tribes of Israel? Because Levi was now, once the exodus took place, it was no longer considered a tribe that received an inheritance. They were the priests for all the other twelve tribes. So they still referred to it as the twelve tribes and the Levites, the priests. Does that make sense? But when you start adding them up you may count thirteen because you’re counting the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, you leave them out, just count Joseph, you’ve got twelve. Alright hopefully that made sense. But the purpose for Israel. Why did He call them? What was the purpose for them? You read that in Exodus 19:6 when He called them out of Egypt He said, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” They were to be a nation where they were all king priests. “…to be a light to the gentiles.” And again I Peter 2:9, Peter is quoting this speaking to the church. Don’t miss this, Peter is now talking to the church and he says the same thing God said to Israel, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” It says during the millennium we live and reign with Christ as kings and priests. Now very simply this is what it’s all about. God wants to save the world. God chose a people in the world and made them the depositories of His truth. He put them in the most prominent piece of geography so they could have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people. He didn’t put them in some remote corner of the earth where their light was going to be under a bush; He put them geographically on a land bridge that was a very beautiful land. Tall trees back then, fertile soil flowing with milk and honey. The land of Israel that we see today is being reclaimed but it had been deforested for a number of reasons. One thing that happened to the land of Israel, many times when it was conquered they cut down the trees. There used to be great forests there. In addition the Romans would sow the, when they conquered a country, they would go in and they would sow the fields, the fertile places, with salt to destroy its productivity as sort of a vindictive judgment. And then during the ages of the sultans in about 700-800 A.D. there was one sultan there in Israel he taxed everybody based on how many trees they had on their land. So what would you do, you wanted to lower your taxes? Everybody cut down their trees. You know why the houses are so narrow in Amsterdam? Because people were taxed based on how much street footage and frontage they had so the houses were this wide and ten stories tall to keep the taxes down. Anyway so that’s one reason the Promised Land looks like a desert in many places but they are planting millions of trees in Israel right now. My grandparents sent a lot of money to plant trees over there and I expect that they’re getting tall by now.

Another reason that He called them was to be the guardians of the word. Romans 3:1-2, “What advantage has the Jew then, or what profit is there in circumcision?” Being part of this covenant, “Much in every way! Chiefly” mainly, primarily “because to them were committed the oracles of God.” The oracles being the sacred writings of God so one of the principal reasons that God called Israel was to be a nation of priests, He committed to them the truth, the scriptures, the oracles of God, the sayings of God that they might distribute that to others. They were to be a nation of priests. What do priests do? They make atonement for others. If the whole nation is a nation of priests who are they making atonement for? For the lost gentiles around them. They were to be bringing others to God; they were to be a light in the world. He put them in this piece of land that was a bridge between Africa and Europe and Asia. All the traffic through the Middle East and Asia and Europe had to go through the Jordan Valley. By the way it’s the lowest point on earth is the Dead Sea in the bottom of the Jordan Valley where John baptized symbolizing death, burial, and resurrection. It’s interesting that’s the lowest point on the earth. So He committed to them the oracles of truth. Now that’s important to remember because I’m going to later talk about spiritual Israel the church and you’re going to find we have the same job. Now you might be thinking, and this is very important, why are you spending time on this? A lot of the world misunderstands the role of Israel. Their concept of Israel is based upon a lot of faulty prophesies and interpretations. Some of you, and this of course is the stuff that is echoed and repeated by the Left Behind scenario of prophecy. They believe that for one thing the rebirth of Israel in 1948 is a fulfillment of prophecy. Well that may be true in part, but then they’re looking for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on the temple mount. How many of you have heard that before? Part of the reason for that is because they say the antichrist must sit in that temple and rule. They expect him to sit in the temple during the tribulation in Jerusalem and the final battle of Armageddon is when the nations all gather to fight against Israel. And they take that from a prophecy in Zechariah, and it is a complete distortion of the prophecy. If they believe that these prophesies apply to the literal people of Israel, the Jews, that’s a big misunderstanding.

Not only that, there is an attitude among many evangelical Christians that basically says God is a racist, that God is giving preferential treatment to the Israelites because they have been blessed and He treats them better than everybody else because of their DNA. Does God treat people because He examines their genes? Does God treat people better because of their skin color or because of what their genetics or their race is? Is God a racist? Let me tell you what the Bible says here on that subject. Acts 10:34, Peter, who used to be a racist, he said, “I’m not going to go talk to those gentiles because they’re gentiles and I don’t want to be unclean,” and God had to help him get the victory over that. Finally when he goes to Cornelius he says, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him,” and may I add, regardless of their race. But this attitude among the evangelicals and I’m hearing all these pastors say, “Pray for Israel. God loves the Jew. He wants to save the Jew. He’s got special preference for the Jew,” and it almost smacks of racism. Now I can say that because I’m Jewish, but I don’t believe that God shows favoritism to the Jewish people because He looks and says, “Oh their ancestors were so and so and so I’ve got to show them favoritism.” Jesus actually says the opposite. John the Baptist says the opposite. They said, “We are Abraham’s children!” And Jesus said, “You’re of your father the devil.” He said, “You are not Abraham’s children. If you were Abraham’s children you’d do the works of Abraham.” So you tell me how did Jesus identify who Abraham’s children were, the ones who said we are genetically related to Abraham or the ones who did the works of Abraham? And so God is not a racist. What makes us an Israelite is… By the way, are there examples in the Bible of people who became Israelites who had no Jewish blood? What about Ruth? What about Rahab? And a litany of others that I could name who were absorbed into Israel but it wasn’t based on their blood, it was based on their belief that they were grafted in so to speak. Furthermore and I don’t want to be, I know that Jews are going to be watching this video so I want to be gracious, but “Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land,” God is speaking to Israel. He’s “not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness for you are a stubborn and stiff-necked people,” and so this idea that He picked them because they were “gooder” than everybody else… no, He said I actually picked you because you were “badder” than everybody else to show that I’m gracious. Actually they’re like everybody. We’re all stubborn and stiff-necked, aren’t we? And so this idea that they were picked because they were better or superior that’s not biblical. He says, “I picked you because you were the least of all nations.” To show His grace God often chooses the low things. He chooses the humble things to show His goodness. And so there is just a whole inverted concept of who spiritual Israel is.

So what does the Bible say about spiritual Israel then? Does God still have an Israel in the world today and all the blessings and the promises for Israel, are they based on your genes or are they based on your faith? And when I say genes I don’t mean Levis and Wrangler. I’m talking about are they based on your genetics, on your DNA, or your heritage, your grandparents or are the blessings of God based upon your faith? Let’s read what the Bible says. Romans, and this was written by a Jew, by the way, of course the whole Bible is written by Jews with the exception of Nebuchadnezzar wrote one chapter in Daniel and Luke who was not a Jew. Everything else was written by a Jew, okay? Romans 2:28, Paul says, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly,” meaning in the flesh, “nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and the circumcision is in the heart.” It is the spiritual covenant in the heart. It is not the physical that makes us a Jew. During the time of the Holocaust it was very interesting in Nazi Germany, and I’ve read a lot about the era, they would try to identify who were the Jews because a lot of Jews were living in Nazi occupied Europe back then who did not, they did not wear their religion on their sleeve and they did not advertise it and so they tried to find out how they could tell if you were a Jew. And it happened if you had a large nose or what they called a hook nose, what they thought was a little bit distinctive you could have been from France and had absolutely, you could have been related to the King of France and had no Jewish blood but they might arrest you based on your nose. If you were circumcised and it may have been for health reasons, it had nothing to do with religious convictions, you were in big trouble. And so they had all this criteria of trying to separate but it was all physical external. Of course if there were papers then that would do it too. They never asked, “What is your faith?” They wanted to know what the blood is. They wanted to have the Arian race because it was “superior” and that was the ultimate age of racism right then, and exterminate everyone else because they were considered inferior. But it was based on the flesh. God is not going to do it that way, but you know God is going to save people based on their race, spiritual race. If they are not spiritually Jews it doesn’t matter what you’ve got going for you physically.

You see what I’m saying? You’ve got to be part of that spiritual nation to be saved. Somebody is going to take that quote out of context and get me in trouble. Romans 9:6, “But it was not that the word of God has taken no effect.” Romans 9:6-7, “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.” They’re not all Israel who are of Israel. You could be living in the middle of the land of Israel you could have been there for generations all your parents and grandparents and great-great grandparents all the way back could have been Jews and Paul could still say, “They are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are of the seed of Abraham.” Isn’t this clear? Am I making this up or is this what the Bible says? “But in Isaac your seed shall be called.” Isaac was a type of Christ, the son of Abraham who was offered on the mountain. It’s in Christ the seed is called. Galatians 3:7 if you have doubts about that. Galatians 3:7, “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham.” Not some of those who are of faith, “only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham”. That means there may be some who are related to Abraham and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Jew or an Arab, Arabs are sons of Abraham too you know, but they are not the children of God if they are not sons of faith. God saves us based on what? Faith. Here’s the slam dunk scripture, but I’ll have more after it, Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female…” God does not save us based on our gender; He does not save us based on our race, based on our nationality, based on our employment “slave or free.” “You are all one in Christ Jesus.” And then catch this, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If you’re Christ’s, then you become a spiritual Jew and all of the promises in the Bible for the Jews belong to you.

But I’m not done. This is why James writes in James 1:1 “To the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad.” When James writes his letter to the church and he addresses it to the twelve tribes what twelve tribes are there? Were there still twelve tribes that were scattered abroad when James wrote his letter? No! Ten of the tribes they’d been carried off. Matter of fact, let’s go to that now. You ever heard of the ten lost tribes? How many of you have heard of the ten lost tribes? Do you realize that our Mormon friends believe that the ten lost tribes were the North American Indians? How many of you were aware of that? If you read the Book of Mormon that’s what they say. The people of the Americas were populated largely from the ten lost tribes, some of them came across the ocean and populated the Americas and Jesus came to them again, made a second coming over here to the Americas. You weren’t aware of that? The Mormon Church is in crisis right now because DNA, they deny the validity of any DNA science. They say the whole thing is a hoax because DNA very clearly shows that the North American Indians are most closely related to the people of Mongolia today. And I believe it’s true. I believe it’s a fairly accurate science. I remember when I worked on the Navajo reservation for a year and a half and my next door neighbors were some Navajos and praise God we baptized them and I remember one day Tim McCabe came over and he’s smiling and he says, “Pastor Doug,” he says, “I’ve got good news.” “What’s that, Tim?” He says, “You and I, we’re brothers!” I said, “Well, I already knew that.” “No,” he said, “I don’t mean spiritual brothers. We’re physically related.” I said, “Well, I knew that too because we both come from Adam and we both come from Noah.” He said, “No, but even closer than that.” He says, “I’m a Jew!” and he was smiling. He said, “Some Mormon missionaries just left and they told me I’m Jewish.” And he laughed. He said, “You know I’m no fool. I was in Viet Nam.” Tim happened to have been in Viet Nam. He said, “I know I look a whole lot more like those people than I look like you, Doug.” So the ten tribes, what happened to them? You can read it in the Bible. I mean just an elementary reading of the Bible tells you what happened. II Kings 17, “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of” He was the king of Israel, “the king of Assyria took Samaria.” That was the capital of the northern empire where the ten tribes were “and carried Israel away to Assyria.” Israel did not bounce back like the Jews from Judah. That’s where you get the word Jew. The Jews are the relatives and descendants from the tribes of Judah. It’s a shortened version of that.

The ten tribes when they were conquered from Assyria they didn’t come back like the Jews came back from the Babylonian captivity. Most of them were intermarrying with the Assyrians. Some of them came back and were called Samaritans. They were some of the tribes who had intermarried with the Samaritans and tried to mingle the religion and the Jews said, “We’re not going to have anything to do with you. You’re no longer pure.” And today someone said there’s only about fifty real Samaritans left in the land of Israel. They’ve just about disappeared as a people. What does that say about the 144,000 that you read in Revelation chapter 7 and 14? Are they 12,000 from the literal twelve tribes of Israel or is it talking about spiritual Israel? Spiritual Israel, of course it is, because you’re not going to find 12,000 people who have any kind of purity in their bloodline from the tribes of Issachar and Zebulon and Naphtali and those that are mentioned there in Revelation. And if you’re going to say they’re 12,000 who have the actual particles of the blood from these tribes you’re probably all included anyway because they’ve been so disbursed and intermarried it doesn’t really matter. See what I’m saying? Those and I met a friend. He was of Arab blood and he said we’re related to the twelve tribes. He was from Iran and he said, “Yeah, I can date my family all the way back to the ten tribes that were carried off to Assyria. Of course we’ve intermarried with the Arabs and I look like an Arab.” And so they don’t have, they lost their identity. They lost their culture, their distinction, but not the Jews. They remain distinct. Amos 5:27, “Therefore I will cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.” God did not say to the ten tribes what He later said to the Jews. “I’m going to cause you to go into captivity and bring you back again.” He didn’t do that for Israel. He did it for Judah, Benjamin and Levi. Keep in mind there were thirteen tribes. Ten of the tribes went to the north. The Levites who were the priests, Benjamin the younger brother of Joseph, and Judah they stayed around Judah and Jerusalem, Bethlehem. That was the southern kingdom ruled by the kings of Rehaboam and beyond.

Now, but, Doug, didn’t God say He’s blessed the Promised Land, that geography over there in Israel? Didn’t He give that to Abraham and his descendants and doesn’t that belong to the Jews today? Well I do believe that they have arguable rights to that territory but that is not really the Promised Land that God has promised. It was for the literal Jews in Bible times. He gave them that land. He brought them over, but they’ve been dispossessed several times. The ultimate Promised Land is still yet to come. It’s the heavenly Canaan. Hebrews 11:9-10 and of course the book of Hebrews is written to Hebrews, it’s written to Jews. “By faith he” Abraham “dwelt in the land of promise,” he dwelt in the Promised Land, “as in a foreign country.” He did not dwell in the Promised Land as though it was his home. He dwelt in the Promised Land knowing it was passing, it was only a symbol because, let’s face it, however long you happen to live on the topside of this land do you ever really get to enjoy eternal life in this land? Is this the land that you’re looking forward to? Well, it’s not going to be very long is it? I mean I want something better, don’t you? He “dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob.” It’s saying all the patriarchs treated the Promised Land as a foreign country. They did not build a palace in Promised Land because they said this is only a symbol. We’re getting our mansion in the real Promised Land. “For he waited for a city” speaking of the New Jerusalem “that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” They were looking ahead to the Promised Land as the spiritual fulfillment. Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them, embraced them and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” So do we have a Promised Land on this world? We’re strangers and pilgrims.

Do you think very many people are enjoying the land of “milk and honey” in Israel right now? We’ve got as much milk and honey in California as they’ve got there. That’s right. I mean you’re going to say they’ve got that much advantage over there? They’ve got all the stress and strain of living surrounded by enemies that would like to just blow them… what do you think Iran would do if it gets a nuclear? First target, what do you think the first target of Iran’s nuclear weapon would be? You get one guess. They’ve announced it basically. And who do you think it is that’s funding Hezbollah? Syria? Iran? Is it really a land of rest? No. By the way, a little Amazing Fact, when you look at the dimensions of the New Jerusalem 375 miles on each side. And it says “Abraham looked for a city.” Well, there was no city in the Promised Land he was looking for back then. He was looking ahead to the New Jerusalem. By the way, where did Abraham pay his tithe? He gave his tithe to a king priest by the name of Melchezadek and that name means King of Righteousness and he lived in a place called Salem. Abraham gave his tithe to a king priest in Salem later known as Jerusalem, named Melchezadek king of righteousness who brought out bread and wine a symbol of the new covenant. That’s all telling us he’s looking forward to the New Jerusalem. The dimensions of the New Jerusalem 1,500 miles around, 375 miles on each side and it says it’s going to come down where? Zechariah 14, comes down on the Mount of Olives. Jesus said, “I’m going the way I came.” He ascended up from the Mount of Olives; He’s coming back after the thousand years to the Mount of Olives. The New Jerusalem is going to settle down in a valley that will be created there. Do you realize what will be within the boundaries of that New Jerusalem? The exact dimensions of the land that God promised to Abraham. I don’t know if I put this in my notes or not, but if you look in your Bible you will find that when God promised the Promised Land to Abraham it was to reach from the River of Egypt to the mountains of Lebanon to the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean. That’s a lot more than Israel has today, and you just watch the war break out if Israel tries to take the land all the way to the Euphrates. The only way they’re going to get that is when the New Jerusalem settles down on that territory, that’s going to be when they really get the Promised Land and you and I inherit that heavenly Canaan. Amen?

Now the Bible says there are advantages to being a Jew. Let me… would say that’s what Alexander spoke. “The Jew first also to the gentile…” Matthew 10:5, when Jesus sent them out preaching what did He say? “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter the city of the Samaritans.” They’re even half-Jews. “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Why did Jesus say to preach to the Jews first? Let me give you another one. Acts 13, I’m not going to answer my question yet. Acts 13:46, “And Paul and Barnabas grew bold and they said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first.” They were preaching to the Jews in a synagogue. “It was necessary the word of God should be spoken to you first; but seeing that you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” Paul said, “We should go to you first.” Now why the Jew first? It’s a practical reason. If you’re doing evangelism and there’s a certain amount of knowledge a person needs to accept Christ. There’s something they need to be taught. “Go ye therefore teach all nations.” Some people have already got seventy-five percent of the knowledge. Some people need a hundred percent. They don’t know anything. Where would you start if you were going to do evangelism to get the quickest results? With those who have no background or with those who have seventy-five percent knowledge? Obviously the best place to preach the gospel would be with the ones who already knew the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They’ve got the whole foundation of the Old Testament. You go to them first. You’re going to have the quickest results by going to them first.

When I do evangelism who do you think are the first ones that I am able to revive and reach? People with a Christian background. They’ve already got some fundamentals. You don’t have to… I’ve done some evangelistic meetings before where I’ve had someone come up to me and they say, “Who is Moses?” I mean typical people in even a pagan culture know something about Joseph and David and Goliath, but I’ve done evangelism before where they’ve just never even heard these names. It’s a lot more fruitful working with the people who have got some background because you don’t have to teach them as much. So you go to them first. And so that’s why it was more practical. Who is going to understand what a messiah is if you’ve got to go to folks who don’t even know what a messiah is, but if you go to the Jews you can tell them who the Messiah is because they already know what a messiah is, right? So you go to the Jews first. It was a practical reason. “To whom much is given, much is required.” They already had a lot of knowledge; they had first opportunity. That’s the reason for that. It wasn’t because of their race that they had some special privilege. They just were the furthest down the road and were going to be the most fruitful. Pentecost. Who gets baptized at Pentecost first? Acts chapter 2, “There were dwelling in Jerusalem devout Jews out of every nation.” What a brilliant thing for the Lord to do, and I don’t mean that to be disrespectful to call the Lord brilliant, but it really is a brilliant plan. Wait for this holiday when what kind of Jews? Devout Jews who were willing to make a pilgrimage from all over the Roman Empire, all their different nations where they live speaking all the different languages and they come to Jerusalem give the disciples the ability to communicate the gospel to them very quickly because they’ve already got the background in their languages. They then take it and they spread the news about Jesus all around to all the Jewish communities around the Roman Empire. And then it went from the Jewish communities and spread to the gentiles. That’s a brilliant plan. What a way to do evangelism. That’s how we should do it. That’s why in my advertising I put little catchwords in that will get the attention of Christians, people who may have Christian background, because they’re going to have the most fruitful fertile soil to do that kind of evangelism. To the Jew first, but we’re not saved based on our genetics, are we? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 8? This Roman centurion said, “Please heal my servant.” Jesus said, “Alright I’m on My way to heal your servant.” Christ is en route and the Roman centurion sends back a message. He said, “You don’t even need to come under my roof.” He said, “Just speak the word and he’ll be healed.” And Jesus said, “Wow! I haven’t seen this faith in all of Israel,” and Christ goes on to say, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,” and this is Matthew 8:10, “Assuredly I say…I have not found such great faith, no, not even in Israel! And I say to you,” listen carefully to the words of Christ, “many will come from the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were considered the ultimate patriarchs for the Jews, “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness.” Do you think that was going to get Jesus reelected? That’s not a popular thing to say?

Matter of fact, just about every time when Christ was nearly killed, do you know what almost got Him killed? The idea that salvation was not just for the Jews. In Nazareth He starts His ministry by saying there were many lepers in the land in the days of Elisha, but Elisha wasn’t allowed to heal any of them but a Syrian. That wouldn’t be popular to say that right now in Israel. And then He goes on to say, “There were many widows in the land in the days of Elijah, but Elijah wasn’t sent to any Jewish widows, he was sent to a Canaanite widow.” That angered them so much they almost threw him off a cliff in Nazareth. “What! You mean? We’re the chosen people! We’re the ones who are to be saved.” What do you think the parable of the rich man and Lazarus was supposed to say? Rich man, feasting in his palace sumptuously every day while the poor beggar lays at his gate wanting the crumbs that fall from his table. That rich man was the Jewish nation, had this incredible treasure of truth but they were hoarding it and gorging on it while people around them were starving. And by the way if you eat too much of even the best food you get sick. And if we spend all of our time dissecting the word among ourselves without doing evangelism you can’t be healthy. The same thing that Jesus said to Israel He says to the church. If we just cloister ourselves in our churches and say, “We’re insulated. Praise the Lord, we’re saved!” and we feast in our personal Bible studies and we don’t reach those who are laying at our gate desiring the crumbs that we’re talking about then we may find those people out there are going to be in the kingdom and we’re going to be in Hades. That was the message of that whole parable that God is not going to save us just because we’ve been given the message of truth. We need to share it. “Many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the kingdom…” You know the parable that Jesus told about this fruitless fig tree. Remember Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had leaves and no fruit. What did that represent? That fig tree represented the nation of Israel. A certain man had a tree planted in his vineyard. He came seeking fruit on it and he found none. And he said give it more time. The owner was going to say cut it down and the gardener said let’s irrigate it. Let’s fertilize it. We’ll prune it and maybe it’ll bear fruit. If not, cut it down. What happened in 70 A.D.? It was cut down as a nation. “The kingdom of God,” Jesus said Matthew 21:43, “will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits.” What nation is it now that is to bear the fruits of the Spirit? It is a royal nation, Peter says, “a holy nation.” That’s you and me. We become a new nation, ambassadors of another kingdom, spiritual Israel. Amen? We are Zion today. God has a spiritual Zion and that is the church. Oh, Pastor Doug, but what about the temple being rebuilt? Everyone’s talking about the temple being rebuilt. You know where the temple, they want to rebuild the temple. They want to rebuild the temple on the old location where Abraham supposedly offered on Mt. Moriah Isaac. It was the threshing floor of Ornan where David interceded when the plague was going through Israel and David prayed on this very same spot and then later Solomon’s temple was built there. It was destroyed. Nehemiah and Ezra they built their temple there. It was destroyed by the Romans. Now the Mosque of Omar was there. I’ve been there. It smells like dirty feet inside because everyone takes off their shoes before they go in, but and I didn’t mean to be disrespectful. I just remembered that. But what do you think is going to happen in the Arab world if the Jews try to disassemble that in any way and build a temple there? Just think about this. Be real. I mean talk about being suicidal. Every Arab will make a vow of Kamikaze if they try to… This is one of the… They have the three holy spots and this is one of the top three holy spots for the Arabs, the Islamic people. This idea they’re going to rebuild the temple. Doesn’t the Bible say? Wait a second here.

There’s a scripture that says that the antichrist is going to sit in the temple of God and in order for the antichrist to sit in the temple of God… Let me read that to you. They’re going to have to rebuild it, right? II Thessalonians, this is the only verse (so often misunderstood), II Thessalonians 2:3 & 4, “Let no one deceive you by any means…” It’s talking about the son of perdition, the antichrist coming. “…for that Day will not come unless there comes a falling away first,” meaning a falling away in the church. World is already fallen. “…and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so…” (catch this) “…he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” If the temple being spoken of here is a literal temple then yeah they need to rebuild the temple, but if the Bible teaches there’s another kind of temple maybe it’s talking about something else. When Christ died on the cross what happened in the temple? The veil was ripped from top to bottom. Daniel 9 says, “He’ll cause the sacrifice to cease.” Where is the temple today? Do you remember what Jesus said, John 2:19, “Destroy this temple,” that is made with hands “and in three days I will raise it up,” and He spoke of His body. The church is the body of Christ. The church is the temple of God. Ephesians 2:20, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, joined together, grows into a holy temple...” The church grows into a holy temple “in the Lord, in whom you are being built together.” “What? Don’t you know ye are the temple of God?” Paul says. I Peter 2:5, “You also, as living stones, are being built up to a spiritual house.” What kind of temple is there now? So this antichrist power, where does he sit? He sits over the church of God in the place of God saying he has the power to forgive sin, saying he is in the place of God. Has that been fulfilled? Yeah, the antichrist has already played his hand on that one. So this idea of all these evangelical Christians who are waiting for the Mosque of Omar to get bulldozed. Do you realize that some protestant Christian actually snuck in there and tried to blow it up? Thought that he’d help accelerate the process? He got arrested. Jews are really scared about some of these evangelicals. They’re going to create an incident because of this pro-Israel stand, and I’m pro-Israel, don’t misunderstand. I am. I’ve been there twice. I’m very thankful for my Jewish heritage, but biblically there’s a lot of misunderstandings. Nathan the prophet said to David in I think it’s I Chronicles 17, after you go and rest with your fathers, your son who shall come after you, “he will build Me a house” that will last forever.” Well, Nathan was talking partly about Solomon who would build the next temple, but especially he was talking about the Son of David called Jesus who was to build a house that was to last forever. Jesus is a carpenter. He built a house. You’re the house He built. You are the house that Jesus built. That’s right. We are the temple of God. We are the body of Christ. He said, “Destroy this temple, three days I’ll raise it up.” He spoke of His body. So are we supposed to be waiting for the antichrist to sit in some Jewish building? It’s a big deception. Not understanding Israel is setting the world up for the big deception.

Now as Paul would say in Hebrews, now what’s the sum of what I want to say? Ultimately who is Israel today? Well, I’ve already told you, you are the body of Christ meaning that Christ is Israel. Remember when Israel the name was first given it was given to a person, Jacob, one man. Notice the similarities between Christ and Israel. In Psalms 80 God calls Israel a vine. In John 15 Jesus said, “I am the vine.” Are you staying with me? In Exodus 4:22 God calls Israel “My firstborn.” In Colossians 1:15 Jesus is called the firstborn. In Isaiah 41:8 Israel is called the seed of Abraham, Israel is. But Jesus in Genesis 3:15 is called the seed of the woman that would destroy the serpent’s head. In Isaiah 41 Israel is called “my servant”, but in the prophesy about Christ in Isaiah 41:8 it says that Jesus is the suffering servant. I’m sorry I got them backwards. Isaiah 41:8 Israel is called the servant. Isaiah 42:1 Jesus is called the servant. And then of course how many of you remember when God prophesied “out of Egypt I have called My son.” Israel was called His son brought out of Egypt. After Jesus was brought to Egypt as a baby and then they brought Him back into the Promised Land, Matthew quoted that referring to Jesus and said “out of Israel I have called my Son.” So you’ll find over and over in the Bible the prophesies and the promises, the characteristics that were used to identify Israel are synonymous with Christ. So who is a Jew? Whoever accepts Christ they are Abraham’s seed.

Now, Pastor Doug, what are you saying that nothing in the Bible, none of these prophesies have anything to do with literal Jews? No, there’s still a lot there for them. Would you mind? I’m not quite over. Let me read another verse with you. Go with me to the book of Romans. I want to read this entire passage to you right out of the Bible because… and I want to go to Romans 11:13. What is God’s role for Israel today? What do I think is going to happen prophetically with them? Don’t you want the answer to this? Romans 11:13 and stay with me I’m going to read a few verses. “For I speak to you Gentiles” that would be most of you here. How many of you here have actual Jewish blood? Let me see. Wondering. Esther, got a couple of us here, oh about six or eight of us here. Okay, we’re outnumbered so let’s be on our best behavior. So I’m speaking to the Gentiles here. “For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I might provoke to jealousy those who are of my flesh and save some of them.” In other words Paul is saying, “Look if I can make my Jewish brothers be jealous to be Christians then that’s what I want to do.” I feel exactly the same way. “For if their being cast away…” Were they cut off out of the land of Israel? Was the tree cut down? Yes, it was, but remember the dream of Nebuchadnezzar the stump was left. What a miracle that after nineteen hundred years they got their land back. No other example of that anywhere on the planet. That’s phenomenal. “For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” They can still be accepted as a nation Paul was saying. “For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” Every Christian is grafted into the root of Israel. The Old Testament is all the promises of Israel okay? “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, are grafted in.” Some of the natural branches were broken off because of unbelief. You still all agree with me? no fruit, cut it down. “If some of the branches were broken off, and you being a wild olive tree,” the Gentiles “were grafted in among them, and you’ve become partakers of the root and the fatness of the olive tree.” Whenever you read your Old Testament and all the promises of Christianity are rooted in the olive tree of Israel. We become spiritual Jews. Then “do not boast against the branches.” Don’t say, Oh we’ve been saved and the Jews have been rejected. Christians have done that through history. They’ve persecuted the Jews and called them Christ killers. Do you know where the word ghetto comes from? It doesn’t come from Harlem. The word ghetto was a city in Italy. It was a Jewish stronghold called Ghetto and they used to make the Jews go in there every night and they couldn’t come out. They were quarantined every day, but they kept them in Italy. It’s an Italian word. They kept them there because they wanted them to be the bankers of Europe because they were the best. And so whenever they had a cluster of one racial group in an area it became ghetto became the synonym. They have Italian ghettos and Russian ghettos and Vietnamese ghettos and it comes from that city of Jews in Italy called Ghetto. Anyway “do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” You’re supported by the Jews. I could never understand an anti-Semitic Christian. That’s like hating your own foot because you can’t stand as a Christian unless you stand on Israel; that just never makes sense to me. “You will then say, the branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” I’m better because they didn’t believe. Yeah, verse 20, they were broken off “because of unbelief” and “you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the branches,” Israel because of unbelief, “He may not spare you either.” If they were the natural blood and faith you’re only by faith, we better be careful not to boast against the Jews otherwise you can be cut off. “Therefore consider,” verse 22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you will also be cut off.”

Did you get that? The same thing that happened to the Jewish nation, Paul says, “These things are written for our admonitions on whom the ends of the earth have come,” I Corinthians 10. All that happened to them is a parallel of what will happen with the church. Many of us have repeated the history of stubbornness that they manifested. Stay with me. And I love this part, verse 23, “And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” You know I personally believe there’s going to be a revival among the Jews. Does that mean that every Jew is going to be saved? No, and some people have misunderstood this. Paul says, verse 26, jump down, “so all Israel will be saved.” Now many people have quoted that and said “all Israel is going to be saved.” Is God going to save all Jews or all spiritual Israelites whether Jew or gentile? All spiritual Israel will be saved. Isn’t that true? That’s what he’s talking about, but some have read this to mean that everybody who can say I’m Jewish on their birth certificate they’ve got to be saved. Does God save people based on that? That just totally tortures the teaching of the Bible, but if they are grafted into the olive tree because of belief they will be saved. God says God is able to graft them back in again. I think there’s going to be a great revival among the Jews and I’ve got a special burden for that. That’s one reason Amazing Facts went to New York City. The principal religions there were Catholic, Jewish was number two, more than protestants. And we just had a burden for our Jewish brothers. Best preachers are Jews and blacks in my opinion. You know why? They’ve all been slaves. They can understand deliverance. And boy if we could get an army of Jewish preachers to catch on fire and so I think that God has a special burden. I also think there’s some significance to what’s happening in the Middle East now that I can’t completely understand. I’m getting a little off my subject, but let me just say something to you. If you read the last few words in Daniel chapter 11 it talks about a great conflict between the king of the north and the king of the south and it’s specifically says Edom, Ammon, Moab, Egypt, Libya. I just named five Arab countries today and you can’t help but wonder if there are some parallels between the last day events and this, there are a lot of dear Islamic people but there’s also let’s admit a fringe of Islam that is very extreme and you wonder what that role is going to be in prophesy. I do think we’re living in very interesting times. And when you’re watching the headlines and wondering what’s going on with Israel I hope that you include yourself because if you’re Christ’s then you’re Abraham’s seed and we need to be praying for those people in that land and praying for everybody to be grafted into the stock of Israel. Amen? Jesus ultimately is the vine, He is the servant, He is the firstborn, He is the Son. The name Israel means prince, overcomer and all of us can be children of Jacob in that respect. We should be overcomers too that wrestle with God. We should all say, “I will not let thee go unless thou bless me,” and hang on by faith. Then you become children of that heavenly Zion, and that’s our closing song, “The Lord in Zion Reigns” number 7. Why don’t you take your hymnal open there? Let’s stand and let’s sing as the people going to the Promised Land.

The Lord in Zion reigneth, Let all the world rejoice, And come before His throne of grace With tuneful heart and voice; The Lord in Zion reigneth, And there His praise shall ring, To Him shall princes bend the knee And kings their glory bring.

The Lord in Zion reigneth, And who so great as He? The depths of earth are in His hands; He rules the mighty sea. O crown His name with honor, And let His standard wave, Till distant isles beyond the deep Shall own His power to save.

The Lord in Zion reigneth, These hours to Him belong; O enter now His temple gates, And fill His courts with song; Beneath His royal banner Let every creature fall, Exalt the King of heaven and earth, And crown Him Lord of all.

Friends, the wonderful news is all the promises in God’s word that He made to Israel belong to you and me. The covenant by which we are saved is a covenant that is made with the house of Israel and the house of Jacob. The only covenant that saves anybody is made with Israel. Did you know that? So if you don’t recognize that you are grafted in and you become a spiritual Israelite like Rahab and Ruth then there is no covenant to save us. So I’d like to say Shalom to all my brothers and sisters that have just been adopted in. And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed. How many of you want to be part of that family and live in that heavenly Canaan?

Father in heaven, thank You so much for Your goodness and Your blessings to us. We also tremble at this message. While we are a people that is protected and there are many promises, there are also many warnings that if we do not abide in faith we too can be cut off. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Help us to remain grafted in to Jesus Who is the vine, Jesus Who is the stump of the olive tree that we might bear fruit and bring glory to Your name. Also we pray about the dire situation, the volatile situation in the Middle East right now. Be with people on both sides of this equation and we pray that You will bring peace. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.

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