Jews and the Future - Part 1

Scripture: Genesis 12:1-3, Hebrews 11:8, Romans 4:13
For the first time in the history of the world there is within the hands of man the capability to destroy the Earth. Is there special guidance from God for our world? Yes. We find help, especially from the book of Revelation. This broadcast looks at the roots of the conflicts in the Middle East.
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It doesn't make any difference in what direction or in what manner you wish to look today at our world. We are in serious trouble. For the first time in the history of the world there is within the hands of man the capability to destroy the Earth. Red China long ago joined the nuclear club. It is only a question of time until every major American and Canadian city could be the target of Chinese intercontinental missiles and the reign of terror could begin. In addition to that, our society is in grave danger of being destroyed by forces from within.

In times like these, it would indeed be strange if there were no special guidance from God. Unquestionably, this is the most critical hour in the world's history. Our newspaper headlines read like they came directly from the Book of Revelation, yet our world is asleep. Many Christians are in a state of slumber from which they do not seemingly wish to be aroused.

Why do I speak of the Middle East crisis today? I will give you a direct answer by saying that I have been preaching for years and no world event that has taken place in this period has shaken me so much as the world crisis that I see developing in the Middle East. Nothing has spoken to me so clearly that we are at the end of time. I must share my deep concern with you.

Let's take a quick look at the blitz war between Israel and the Arab States, the war of June, 1967. From the very onset it carried within it the possibility of conflict between the major powers. It was only the speed and finality of Israel's victory that lessened the danger of a collision between the super powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The Russians had armed the Arabs and had egged them on with promises of support. On the other hand, the United States has financed the nation of Israel. Under the administration of several presidents, we have repeatedly affirmed our position to defend the territorial integrity of all the Middle East countries. Of course, what we were implying was the defense of Israel.

It is now history that Israel decisively defeated her Arab neighbors. She occupied all of the Sinai peninsula, all of Jordan, over to the west bank of the River, and the Golan Heights of Syria. A cease fire was negotiated by the United Nations, but neither the General Assembly nor the Security Council have been able to put together anything like what might be called a peace. Israel at this time still occupies her conquered territory, and the hatred of the Arabs is as great as ever, if not greater. In the meantime, Russia has re-armed the Arab states, especially Egypt. At the same time, the United States is re-arming and reinforcing the State of Israel. There can be only one ultimate result and that is the resumption of war on yet a larger scale.

Here is a bit of interesting speculation. Israeli intelligence has indicated that Russia pushed Egypt into war knowing that she would be defeated; and that in her defeat she would become more dependent upon Russia. If this was Russia's purpose, then she has admirably succeeded, because Russian ships began docking at Alexandria for both repair and refueling. Joseph Stalin always wanted this privilege, but he could never get it. Russia had that privilege for a while and the power of her Navy undermines the influence of the United States in the entire Mediterranean world. That body of water is no longer the American lake that it once was. Ironically, Egypt later reversed herself concerning Russian forces and ordered Soviet military advisers to leave the country almost overnight.

Let's make a quick measurement of the seriousness of the Middle East crisis in comparison, for example, with what happened in Vietnam. For all of the blood shed and money that we spent in the Far East, there has never been even one emergency meeting of the United Nations. In contrast with this, when the trouble broke out in the Middle East the United Nations convened until midnight, and opened again at 5 o'clock in the morning to resume debate. It is obvious that the Middle East is the most tender situation in the world in the eyes of men who know world affairs best. Another comparison is the use of the hot-line telephone that was installed in 1963 between Washington and Moscow. It was never used until the time of the Middle East war. And then it was employed by both sides. There was a complete desire on the part of both of the major powers that there be no misunderstanding that would result in a miscalculation and a tragedy.

It is interesting to notice that the roots of the present problem began centuries ago in the house of one Biblical character by the name of Abraham. God had promised Abraham and his wife, Sarah, a son, but as the years went by and Sarah passed the years of child bearing, the child was not given. As a solution to the problem, it was Sarah herself who suggested that Abraham take unto himself as a wife, Hagar, Sarah's handmaid. Abraham followed the counsel of his wife and had a union with Hagar. To this union a son was born by ths name of Ishmael, but Ishmael was not the child of promise. He was the child born out of human expediency. He was not a child of faith; he was a child of human works. God had tested Abraham's faith and Abraham had failed. Ultimately, the child that God had promised was born, a child out of season when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah, his wife, was 90.

Here we have a situation of two wives living under the same roof. It had within it all of the possibilities of tragedy. Surely enough, the tragedy came. Hagar and her son were banned and bitterly went their way. However, from these two sons of Abraham have come the great nations that are now in mortal conflict. Ishmael, the child of doubt, is the father of the Arab nations. Isaac, the son of promise, is the father of the Jews. So we see that this present conflict is but the tragic result of one act, a lack of faith on the part of one man, and this was the beginning of the longest, bitterest feud in the history of the world.

In today's broadcast I would like to introduce a series of studies of the future of Jews and the holy land, according to Bible prophecy. The religious world is in a ferment today over the subject of Israel and God's future plans for this land and this people. First of all, let's go back and get a little background on how this nation got started and what God's original plan involved.

The call of Abraham marks the beginning of the Jewish nation. Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. We read, "Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3. God here promises Abraham that He will make of him a great nation if he will come out from his people and from his country to a land where God wished him to go. Abraham obeyed the Lord, and therefore, God made of his seed a mighty nation. The Apostle Paul writes concerning Abraham's obedience to God's call, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8.

We read further concerning God's promise to Abraham. "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered." Genesis 13:14-16. Thus the Lord told this patriarch, I will give you all the land which you can see in all directions. The Apostle Paul interpreted this promise to mean that Abraham would be made heir to the whole world. "For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." Romans 4:13. The Lord said that He would make Abraham's seed as the dust of the earth.

The facts we have just examined give us the beginning of the Jewish people. Abraham was recognized as their father. In the gospel of John, Jesus said to the Jews, "Your father Abraham." John 8:56. Again He said, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed." Verse 37. Thus Abraham was called the father of the Jewish people.

The promises to Abraham were renewed to Isaac and then to Jacob and finally to the seed of Jacob. "O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the Lord our God: His judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac, and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant." Psalm 105:6-10.

Jacob's name was changed to Israel after the night he wrestled in prayer and refused to let the angel go which had been sent unto him until he was assured that he would be blessed of God. The Lord said to him, "What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with man, and hast prevailed." Genesis 32:27,28. The seed of Jacob are therefore often called the children of Israel.

God called the Jewish people to be separate from all other people. They were to be His chosen people. The Lord instructed, "The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." Numbers 23:9. The reason why God wanted them to be distinct from the world was that they were to be God's church. Sometimes people have been led to think that the Catholic Church was the first church. This is not true. The first church was Israel. Stephen said, "This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us." Acts 7: 37,38. So the people that Moses was leading back in the wilderness were God's church. It was this church to whom were given the lively oracles to give unto us and not the Catholic Church.

This is a reason why God wanted His church to be separate from the world, and He still wishes them to be apart from the world. God has a divine mission for the church. Her work is to make known God's great truth unto all men. We read in Ephesians 3:10, 11, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Thus, through God's church are to be proclaimed to a lost world God's truth and God's great provisions of salvation as made possible through Jesus Christ. It started through a nation who were to be separated for a world task, and it later was transferred from a nation to a church. The story of this development is one of the most crucial and fascinating for every Christian. This is what we will be studying in the next few broadcasts.

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