God's faithfulness is everlasting, and His promises endure to this day.
[Darris McNeely] One of the most important qualities you and I look for and appreciate when it comes to God is His enduring faithfulness. We can count on God's promise.
When it comes to the story of Israel, when it comes to why the State of Israel, the Middle East, and the turmoil, and the problems, why it all matters today, why we should be interested, why it matters to you, is the fact that it tells us something about God, His faithfulness. God, His faithfulness, it is everlasting. It endures. When God makes a promise, He follows through on it.
In this series of helping us to understand why the Middle East matters, I've gone back and I showed you that the Middle East, Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab problem, is a part of the larger Biblical story. It goes back to the time of Abraham, these two peoples are part of a divine promise that goes back to Abraham. And that's why it's important.
There's also key Biblical prophecies I showed you in the second part of the series that must be fulfilled and would require the presence of a Jewish state, a part of the ancient nation of Israel in the land today. And that's why it's important.
But a third point that really brings it home, I think, is it helps us to understand God's enduring promises. The very fact that there is a Jewish state in the land, the ancient land promised to the descendants of Abraham as an everlasting possession is helpful to understand God's promise. And it also helps to understand that great question that the Apostle Paul asked in his day, and that is, what about Israel? What about His people? He labored over their rejection, the fact that the covenant people were no longer in the land, no longer at the height of their abilities and part of the promise that God had given to them, and they were rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, that He was preaching.
But the Apostle Paul worked this out in the book of Romans and a few chapters where he brings it around and shows that Israel is a part of that promise of God. And when we see the Jewish state there, the land today, we can tie it into a part of what Paul was talking about.
In Romans 11, where he comes to the conclusion that Israel is going to be brought back into a relationship with God. In Romans 11:15 Romans 11:15For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
American King James Version×, Paul writes that "If their being cast away," and he's speaking of Israel, "is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be, but life from the dead?" He's understanding and bringing out that Israel, all of Israel, not just the tribe of Judah or the Jewish people, but all of Israel would be brought back into a relationship with God, and it would be for the reconciling of the world. And in verse 25, he says, that "I did not desire Brethren, that you would be ignorant of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own opinion that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so, all Israel will be saved. He was speaking to the larger process of God's plan of salvation, not just for Israel, but for all of the nations, all of the Gentile nations. And that includes the Arab states today. And Paul was speaking to that great plan.
You know, Christian groups today go to a great extent thinking that they have got to evangelize the Jewish people and bring them to Christ. They misread the Scriptures. The Jews are going to come to a point where they accept Jesus Christ, and they understand God's full plan and their part in that but that's not going to come until after Christ returns. And then all nations will go up to Jerusalem and learn about the God of Jacob. Isaiah 2 brings that out. Paul was speaking to this.
And so, understanding the State of Israel today, the Jewish presence in the land, requires us to understand the greater plan that God is bringing to pass for all nations, and the very fact that God has placed by circumstance and historical fact, beginning even in 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel, and that land, the current state, it is a testimony to God's enduring faithfulness. It's like a marker that is put down, that God is going to ultimately bring to pass all of His plan, all of His promises to all peoples.
It is unfortunate that since 1948, so much war, bloodshed has been spilled in that region, impacting Israelis, the Jewish people, the Palestinians, and other Arab peoples. It is a great tragedy that can only be corrected in God's great and eternal plan. But it requires understanding certain key promises that God has made.
God is faithful to all of His promises. Paul came to understand a part of that. With our historical perspective, we can put it all together and avoid ideologies, polarization, the politics of the present situation, appreciate the fact that God is working His purpose and His plan, despite of the imperfections of all the peoples that are involved. It should draw us to God. It should help us to understand His faithfulness and all of His promises, both physical and spiritual. That's why it all matters. That's why it's so important.
There's one final point for us to consider. And that is, what does it mean for you and I right now today? I'll talk about that in the fourth part of this series of why the Middle East matters.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.