Summary: This sermon gives biblical & historical insight into the right & assurance of Israel’s existence & challenges the church to raise its voice in support of the Jewish people.
“Can Israel Survive In A Hostile World?”
Preached April 14th 2002
For the last 18 months we have all watched the turbulent events in the Middle East. We’ve witnessed the aguish resulting from the shootings, the suicide bombings & in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the Israeli Defense Forces launch “Operation Defensive Shield” into Palestinian cities in the West Bank in an all out effort to destroy the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure & reduce the risk of terrorist attacks against the Israeli people.
Every time there is a crisis in the Middle East we move another step closer to Armageddon & the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime, while many may feel that there remains a possibility for a peaceful solution to the centuries-old conflict between Israel & it’s Arab neighbours, the potential for greater conflict is also very possible.
Today I want to talk to you about the crisis in the Middle East. I feel compelled to address this conflict between Israel & her enemies. Why? Because I have to friends! I have to when news reports from CNN, CBC, the BBC & other major news networks present heavily biased, anti-Israeli accounts of what is going on over there. I have to when Palestinian officials both in the Middle East & in Washington make propaganda statements that go forth unchallenged & unhindered into the living rooms of naïve citizens of the western World who have no understanding of what is going on other than what they see & hear through the biased reporting of the news media.
I also feel compelled to speak on this matter because I believe it is imperative for Christians to know from a biblical perspective of what is truly going on.
Read Ezekiel 37:1-14
To understand the situation in the Middle East today, we have to go back in history. Twenty-six hundred years ago the Jewish people who had turned their backs on God were defeated in battle by an Arab king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar, taken out of their nation of Israel & enslaved in the land of Babylon (known today as Iraq & ruled by Saddam Hussein).
During the early part of the Jewish exile into Babylon the Prophet Ezekiel gave the prophecy we just read predicting that the Jewish people would one day return to the land of Israel And seventy-years later 50,000 of them did return. They rebuilt the temple & started rebulilding their lives & their nation once again. It was a miracle that had been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah 200 years earlier before the exile occurred. Isaiah even named the Persian king who would issue the edict for the Jews to return – he said the king’s name would be Cyrus (Isa 43:28). And sure enough 200 years later a Persian King named Cyrus conquered the Babylonians & issued a decree permitting the Jewish people to return to the land of Israel (Ezra.1:1-4). Folks I want you to know that the Bible is the Word of God & you can put your trust in it!
But the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile is not the return Ezekiel had in view when he gave his prophecy. We know this because the return he predicted will be followed by a devastating war that is prophesied & described in detail in chapters 38 & 39 of Ezekiel; a war that has not yet occurred but may very well be on today’s immediate horizon!
The return prophesied by Ezekiel began to take place in 1948. You see, even though the Jews returned to their homeland from Babylon in the 6th century B.C. they were dominated by the gentiles for the next 700 years until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. driving all but a remnant of Jews out of Israel & scattering them all over Europe, Asia & Africa where they remained for the next 2000 years.
In the meantime, Israel & the city of Jerusalem was controlled first of all by the Romans (who named the area Palestine), then by the Arabs, then by the Crusaders, followed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Then, during the First World War, the British defeated the Turks & General Allenby captured Jerusalem. Britain then governed the land until after World War Two & the Holocaust when, in one day, the United Nations voted to establish the modern State of Israel thus fulfilling a prophecy in Isaiah 66:8.
So in 1948, for the first time in 19 centuries, Israel once again became the Sovereign Nation of the Jewish people & ever since then the Jews have been returning to their land as prophesied by Ezekiel & several other O/T prophets. But history often repeats itself & no more so than in the case of the Jews & the land of Israel. You see, throughout history many rulers of nations & empires have sought to exterminate the Jewish people & drive them out of Israel. In the book of Esther a high official in the courts of King Xerxes named Haman, plotted to kill all of the Jews in the land. Here’s what he said in Esther 3:8-9…...