By Van Yandell
Zechariah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
When the people of Jerusalem were trying to coerce Pilate into crucifying Jesus, Pilate said to them, “I wash my hands of the blood of this man.” Matthew 27:25 tells us their answer to his statement. “Then answered all the people, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” That was a big mistake!
Jesus was crucified and thirty-seven years later the Romans killed an estimated one to one-and-a-half million Jews and burned Jerusalem. The Jewish people left Israel; it was told at one point only 126 Jews were left alive. Ezekiel 36:19 foretold of the “scattering of them all over the world.”
Israel and the Jewish people have had a very interesting history throughout the last 4,000 years. God brought Abram up from the Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan and made him the first Jew. He and his son Isaac and grandson, Jacob, became known as the patriarchs and Jacob became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Their history is both God blessed and God punished. There are a few basic facts about this people chosen by God to provide the world with a Savior we all need to know.
Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless Israel, and curse him that curses Israel: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This verse is without any doubt, an admonition to any and every Bible believing person, we must support Israel over any and all others.
Some of the propaganda machines of the world try to tell us this is nonsense and unfortunately, many believe it. Some are promoting the lie that the Holocaust did not happen. Yet the death camps and mass graves are very real and exist in Germany today. Survivors of the camps tell the horror stories and many films and still pictures exist.
God also said in 12:3, through Abram/Abraham all the world would be blessed. This promise by God to Abraham and the world was fulfilled by God coming to earth (John 10:30) in the form of the man Jesus and giving His life for the sins of the world.
A second fact Christians need to know about Israel is the size of the Promised Land. (Joshua 1:4, Genesis 15:18, Numbers 34:3-4, Exodus 23:31, Ezekiel 47:15-20). The boundaries of the Promised Land are given five times in the Bible. Also, many Christians are not aware of the Biblical fact, Israel/the Promised Land, is much larger than the country of Israel today.
The lands promised to the Jews by God comprise over 300,000 square miles or about ten percent larger than the state of Texas (268,000 square miles). However, the nation of Israel today covers only 8,300 square miles or about one-seventh the size of the state of Florida or .03% the size of Texas.
Israel may exist as a nation, but its possession of land certainly does not match the descriptions in the Bible.
This brings forth a third fact about Israel. The existence of the nation of Israel today is the fulfillment of scripture. Ezekiel 36:24, written about 2,600 years ago, tells us, God will “gather them back from the lands of the heathen.”
On May 14th, 1948, David Ben-Gurion signed a proclamation in the United Nations in New York City, declaring the re-established Nation of Israel. This action was phenomenal beyond words. God’s word was once again fulfilled and verified to the displeasure of the masses of this world. Several events of the 1940s conclusively verify scripture to the skeptic.
Being a skeptic is an acceptable state of mind, but refusing to believe when extensive evidence and in some case, definitive proof is available, is being blinded to the truth.
Nineteen years after Israel was officially declared a nation, Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan in what was called the Six Day War. From June 5th until June 10th, 1967, the war raged. Israel was victorious in what in my mind was a preview of the war of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39).
Israel was then and continues to be hated by many of the world’s population just as the scriptures indicate (Zechariah 14). Possibly because Israel is purported to be God’s chosen land and people. Might the world be jealous or resentful of this? Of course!
Israel was also chosen by God to provide the world with a Savior, Christ Jesus. By this, Jesus, being willing to bleed and die for the sins of the world created levels of resentment and disgust to the practitioners of the other religions of the world.
A fourth fact about Israel: it was from within this small country that we have been given definite proof of the validity of the Holy Bible. With the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran in 1947 we have verification of the authenticity of the Bible.
The nation of Israel (geographically and politically) did not exist until 1948. The scrolls laid in storage until the 1950s. Hebrew scholars then translated the Book of Isaiah and determined it is the same as in the Christian Old Testament.
The scrolls were carbon dated to between 1,900 and 2,300 years old giving verification to the ages of the scriptures. It has been said the Bible was recently written (200-300 years is recent in Bible speak) to make mankind behave. Had that been the case, it certainly did not work.
Having worked and talked with non-believers, I’ve found when people hear of the prophesy of God written two to three millennia ago, and now are seeing those prophesies happen, their response is usually very positive. Facts do not substitute for faith but strengthen it.
Faith is a wonderful gift from God. He did not, however, give us the rest of the Bible to put on a shelf and ignore. He gave it to us to strengthen our faith and He wants us to know the history and facts of the Holy Land and His chosen people.
God told Abraham that “Through him all the world would be blessed,” (Genesis 12:3). This was a direct statement that a descendant of Abraham’s would be the Savior of the world.
Eternal salvation is a faith based belief that Christ Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected.
Some reading this article will say it is full of lies. All I would ask anyone is to consider the evidence and be fair and reasonable in deciding what you believe. The eternal consequence of what one believes is crucial and mistakes concerning eternity are forever.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
Van Yandell is a retired Industrial Arts teacher, an ordained gospel evangelist and commissioned missionary, from Fredonia, Kentucky. This column is part of the Bible Connection series.