The Land Of Israel And The Jewish People
by Burl Haynie
THE CHRISTIANS OBLIGATION
There is no more remarkable country on earth than the land of Israel. It has aptly been called the Fifth Gospel. There is historic interest and sacredness connected with Israel which, for centuries has attracted thousands of pilgrims. There God appeared unto Jacob: "I am God Almighty ... the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land." There Jesus lived and preached and suffered for the world's redemption. Although it is a small country, it has played a tremendous part in the world's history. On the other hand, it is destined to become the political and missionary center of the earth during the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. For in the days to come Jacob's offspring, the Jewish people, will take root. Israel shall bud and blossom and shall fill the face of the world with spiritual fruit--According to the prophet Isaiah.
Naturally Jerusalem is the center of interest to the traveler. There Abraham offered up his sacrifice. Much later David and Solomon caused the Temple to be built there. There Jesus came and preached, and predicted His second coming. There also is the garden where he prayed, the "place called Calvary" where He was crucified, His resurrection tomb, and Olivet, from whose summit He ascended into heaven. There his feet will again stand after He returns to earth. Down through the centuries travelers have gone into ecstasies at their first sight of Jerusalem--the Holy City.
In that city--a place 10 times captured in the last 2000 years--there are not many spots where one can be assured that he or she is standing in the very footprints of the saviour. But one can climb Calvary, and the swelling ridge of Olivet, and realize that here is where Jesus once walked.
The Jews "Holy City", Jerusalem, was destroyed in 70 A.D. Also their land was devastated by subsequent calamities, and over a million souls were killed. The bulk of the remaining inhabitants were scattered. About 1500 years prior to the 70 A.D. scattering, Moses predicted:
"And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve other gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone which neither see, nor hear, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God:) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them (Deut. 4:27-31)".
Jerusalem was rebuilt a pagan city. It was given the name "Aelia Capitolina" in 135. Jews were deprived of their rights in Jerusalem. Then for about 200 years they all were threatened with death if they entered the city.
In the face of the great calamity that befell the Jewish people in 70 A.D. did the Lord forget Jerusalem and its people? No! A thousand times no!
But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me."
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me (Isa. 49:14-16).
Since the fateful year of 70 A.D. Jerusalem and the Jewish people have survived over 1900 years of oppression, pogroms and deprivations. They are in our midst today!
"... the gospel of Christ ... is the power of God unto salvation ... to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him! Behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young" (Isa. 40:1,2; 9-11).
In this century thousands of Jews have come to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ through the witness of Christians. Among the last generation of Christians of the church age who will meet our Lord in the air at the Rapture, some will perform a significant role for their Saviour. They will have a powerful testimony of the gospel to the 144,000 Jewish servants of God. After the Rapture the latter will respond to the message they had received from the Christians. They will believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for their sins according to the Scriptures, and that He is coming again. The 144,000 servants will experience regeneration, and they will about-face and evangelize the whole world during the day of the Lord--the tribulation period. They will reap "a great multitude of souls, which no man could number."
The 144,000 will continue their mission until all Israel shall be saved.
You can have a part in this great program. Your testimony concerning salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ to a Jewish person now may mean his salvation before the Rapture. Or he may come to salvation after you depart this earth to be with your Lord. Our God wants us to speak to the hearts of His people--the Jews: "Behold the Lord God will come as a mighty one."