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The Role of Israel in Prophecy - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2024 5:00 am

The Role of Israel in Prophecy - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 19, 2024 5:00 am

Pastor Skip begins his message “The Role of Israel in Prophecy” and shares why God’s plan and purpose for Israel is alive and well today.

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Now, in the very least, can we agree that God has a sense of humor to tell a man who's 75? Hey, and infertile, by the way, his wife is also old. She cannot have children.

She has never born children. To tell this old couple, hey, you're going to have a baby. Not only that, you're going to have a family.

Not only that, it's going to be a great nation. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip begins his message, The Role of Israel and Prophecy, and shares why God's plan and purpose for Israel is alive and well today. Is the end near? That's a question on many minds, and that's why Pastor Skip Heitzig spent many months in 2023 presenting 26 full-length messages in his The End is Near series. The second coming of Jesus Christ dominates the Bible. Next to the subject of faith, the coming of Christ in the future is the most discussed topic in the book. To complement this excellent series, a study guide from Skip is now available. This study guide is over 100 pages in length and covers all 26 messages in the series. The End is Near study guide includes notes, summaries, and questions for group or personal study.

We need to understand the times, and this study guide will aid in this effort. With your gift of $50 or more to connect with Skip Heitzig, you will receive a copy of The End is Near study guide from Skip's in-depth 26-part series. Your gift will support the production and expansion of the Connect with Skip broadcast. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com.

That's 1-800-922-1888 or connectwithskip.com. All right, let's turn to Genesis 12 as Skip begins today's teaching. This is a series that we are doing on the end times, a study on biblical eschatology.

It's called The End is Near question mark. And to give you a little synopsis of where we have been, we began with a New Year's message. What does the future hold? We talked about some current signs going on in the world that are pretty good indicators that we are living in very unique times. Our second study, we looked at how close are we to the end. You know, people have been saying we are in the end times for quite some time.

Where do we fit in that? Our third study, we talked about the problem of Jesus' return. On one hand, the Bible says be ready, He can come anytime. On the other hand, it says certain signs have to be fulfilled before He can come.

How do we reconcile those texts? We talked about that. Then we looked at the millennium on the next study, the millennium, not in terms of what is going to be like, but in terms of the theological differences that people hold regarding the rule and reign of Christ on the earth or not. We talked about millennialism. Then we, a couple weeks ago, read Daniel chapter 9, how God tells time, the 70 weeks of Daniel. We looked at the first 69 weeks of that 70-week prophecy.

Last week, we dealt with the 70th week of Daniel, just that last seven-year period. Today, I want to look at the role of Israel in prophecy, the role of Israel in prophecy. I don't know if you caught this or not, but a bill was introduced this week in the Israeli Knesset the parliament in Israel that would have outlawed the sharing of the gospel in Israel. That is, it would become illegal to even say to another person that Jesus is the Messiah. They already have very strict conversion laws, but this is a law that would have given you a jail sentence if you were caught saying that Jesus is the Messiah. Well, thankfully, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said, and I quote, we will not advance any law against the Christian community.

We're grateful for that. Believers in Israel are grateful for that. But there has been an antagonism between Judaism and the claims of Christ as Messiah. And because of that antagonism, some have flatly said, some in the church, some in Christendom have said, God is done with Israel as a nation. And so we pose the question, is that true?

Is it true? Is God finished with Israel as a nation? Does God's plans for the future, in the end times, have a plan for literal Israel as a nation?

Not spiritual Israel, not just the church, but for Israel as a literal nation. Now, I pose the question because that's the question Paul asked. He almost asked it that way in Romans chapter 11. Paul the Apostle asked and answered his own question. He said, has God cast away his people?

Then he answered it. Certainly not. Certainly not. In the old King James, God forbid, because it's the strongest negative you can use in the Greek language. It would be translated, no, no, no. Has God cast away his people?

No, no, no. Now, a couple weeks ago, I made the statement that many pulpits, many pastors do not teach on prophecy in general. Even though 27% of the Bible is prophetic, you got to know you got a group of pulpits and pastors who refuse to deal with 27% of the Bible. Even fewer pulpits and pastors broach the subject of Israel. They don't talk about it. They don't talk about God's plan for Israel. Now, why is that?

Well, there's probably many reasons, but let me give you a couple of reasons. First is a political ideology. There is a conflict, as you know, between the Israelis and the Palestinians. They have had that conflict for some time. And so, in hearing what people are saying, especially on college campuses, that Israel is the bad guy, they're the big guy, they're the aggressor, and the Palestinians have been given a bad deal, without really doing the necessary digging and background to find out if that's verifiably true or not, it becomes a political flashpoint for some. And so, God doesn't have any plans for Israel.

Look, they're the bad guys. It's for political reasons. Second, and what disturbs me the most, is that it's for theological reasons. And there is a brand of theology, we've talked about it, it's a pretty enormous brand, that believes in amillennialism.

There's no literal future rule and reign of Christ on the earth. And part of amillennial thinking is something called replacement theology. Anybody ever heard of replacement theology? So, replacement theology does exactly that. It replaces Israel with the church, so that all the promises that God gave to Israel are no longer for Israel, literally, but they're now for the church.

They're spiritual application. So, we replace the Jews. So, the belief is that the modern state of Israel is purely accidental and unrelated to Bible prophecy. That when Israel rejected Jesus Christ as a nation, that God rejected them. And in rejecting them, God transferred all of the promises that He had given to them, and He transferred them all over to the church, which is really an interesting way of thinking.

Because God promised blessings and cursings to Israel. What's funny about this amillennial replacement theology is they say, well, all of the curses belong to them and all the blessings belong to us. So, any prediction, any prophecy that Israel will be regathered now refers to the elect being gathered into the church.

That in a nutshell is replacement theology. So, for the next few weeks, we're going to be looking at the role of Israel in prophecy. We're going to look at Genesis 12 today. Next time, we're going to look at Ezekiel 36 and 37, the promise of them being restored to the land and a spiritual transformation taking place.

And then after that, we're going to look at the next two chapters of Ezekiel, which describe a very interesting war that's going to take place in the Middle East. Today, we're looking at Genesis 12, which is the Abrahamic Covenant. Why is it called the Abrahamic Covenant? Pretty simple. It's a covenant God made with Abraham.

So, it goes by the name Abrahamic Covenant. So, pretty handy how that works out. So, we're going to be looking at that. We're going to be looking at that. That's what this chapter is all about.

But I want you to hear a quote. This is from a Jewish source called the Midrash. Midrash are comments on different texts of the Scripture that have been handed down through the centuries. It goes like this, the land of Israel is at the center of the world. Jerusalem is at the center of the land of Israel. The temple is at the center of Jerusalem. It's their fanciful way of saying the temple is the center of the earth. It's a clever saying.

It's sort of an oversimplification. I don't know about all of that, but I do know this, that Israel is at the center of Bible prophecy. It occupies a central place. We saw that last week in the book of Daniel and the week before in the book of Daniel. Remember, 70 weeks are determined for your people, Jewish people, and for your holy city.

So, Israel, Jerusalem, is at the center of Bible prophecy. You know, it's astonishing really that seminaries that teach theology will teach their students theology proper, the study of God. They'll then talk about Christology, the study of Christ, who He is, what He's going to do. They'll then teach their students pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit. They'll teach ecclesiology, the study of the church, anthropology, the study of humanity, especially after the fall. They'll teach eschatology, what we're doing end times, but they fail often to teach a very important biblical subject, Israelology, the place and role of Israel throughout the Scripture.

It is literally everywhere. So, let's look today at Genesis 12, really the first three verses, but I'll read the fourth verse for a little more context. And we're going to notice five promises that God gives, five unconditional, underline that word, unconditional promises God gives to Abraham. Verse 1, now the Lord had said to Abram, Abram was the original name before God changed it to Abraham, Abraham, get out of your country.

He was living in Mesopotamia, Ur of the Chaldees. Get out of your country from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. And in you, you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. So, Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him and lot with him, and Abram, get this, was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.

Life's just getting started for Abe at 75. So, five unconditional promises. First, God says you'll be a great nation. That's verse 2, I will make you a great nation. Now, in the very least, can we agree that God has a sense of humor to tell a man who's 75, and infertile, by the way, his wife is also old, she cannot have children, she has never born children, to tell this old couple, hey, you're going to have a baby. Not only that, you're going to have a family. Not only that, it's going to be a great nation. He's 75 when God makes the promise.

He'll be 99 when it happens, 100 years old. Eventually, he did have a family. Family grew. The family grew, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 12 sons, became tribes. They went down to Egypt because of a famine. They were there 400 years.

The nation grew to two, three million people, we believe. They left Egypt. They eventually settled in the promised land called Canaan. There they grew again, multiplied again, a monarchy developed, King Saul, King David, Solomon, etc., etc.

It's been pretty great. Now, today, here we are years later after the promise made to Abraham, and we're still noticing that there is a nation over in the Middle East called Israel, the descendants of Abraham. Today, it is still a great nation. Today, in the land of Israel, it's the size of New Jersey, and there are 9.3 million people that live in Israel. 6.9 million of them are Jewish. They have enjoyed a 43 percent growth due to immigration. People are moving there, moving there, moving there, still to this day, 43 percent growth. And they're a pretty great nation as nations go. They have a 500 billion dollar per year economy. It's a very strong economic nation.

It's one of the largest growers and exporters of citrus in the world. You'll be a great nation, God says to him. If you go to the West Bank, there's a ridge of mountains down the middle, and there's a town about the middle portion of the land, the ancient city of Bethel, where God appeared to Jacob. And there's a grocer who put a sign in an intersection outside of Bethel.

I want you to read what it says on the sign. Here in Bethel, 3800 years ago, actually it was a couple hundred years longer than that, the Creator of the world promised the land of Israel to the people of Israel. It is by virtue of this promise that we dwell today in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Shiloh, and Hebron.

That's a sign that simply reminds us God made a promise, made a covenant with Abraham, and he has kept that promise. I love Israel. I love going there. I've been there now 42 times. I'm going again next year.

We invite you to come along with us. I love going there because when I walk on the land, I remind myself this is where Abraham came. This is where Isaac lived, Jacob lived, the tribes lived here. This is where King David reigned. This is where the prophets spoke. This is where Solomon reigned. This is where Jesus was born and died and rose and will come again too.

It's a great, great place. But part of the promise of them being a great nation is tied to the land. I want you to notice something in verse 1. In verse 1 it says, Get out of your country from your family, from your father's house, to a land that I will show that I will show you.

Now get this. Amillennialists will interpret or reinterpret the land promise here and elsewhere in the Bible as a non-literal promise. That is, it is simply now to be seen as a promise that God is giving heaven to the elect, to the church.

Well, listen to the words of John Walvoord, who was the president of Dallas Seminary for 30 plus years, taught eschatology there for 50 years. Quote, the term land used in the Bible means exactly what it says. It is not talking about heaven.

It is talking about a piece of real estate in the Middle East. After all, if all God was promising Abraham was heaven, he could have stayed in awe of the Chaldees. Why go on a long journey? Why be a pilgrim and a wanderer? No, God meant land.

Get up, leave your home, leave your land, leave your country, go to a land that I will show you. So verse 4, he departed. He went on a journey.

And he goes to the land. When he gets to the land in chapter 15, God repeats that promise and actually expands a little bit on the promise. So you have your Bible open in Genesis 12.

Turn a few pages to the right. Go to Genesis chapter 15, please, and notice with me Genesis 15 verse 18. On the same day, the Lord made a covenant, a covenant, a pact, a deal, a promise with Abram saying to your descendants, your descendants, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, I have given this land. Now notice this, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.

That's up in Iraq. The Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the turn on the lights. Oh, they're not there. The Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. The actual borders are given. The geographical borders are stated in ancient terms.

They're specified. By the way, if you were to go to a map and look at this configuration, you would discover that God promised to Abraham and his descendants 300,000 square miles, 300,000 square miles. They have never occupied that much land in their history. At their very peak, at their zenith under David and Solomon, they occupied about a tenth of that, about 30,000 square miles. But God promised them 300,000 square miles, and the borders encompass the land of Lebanon, the land of Iraq, part of Iran, Persia, an enormous section of land. So they've never occupied it yet.

That's the key word there. So He promises land, and He gives them the configuration of this land. I have given it to you. Then He reinforces this promise to His son Isaac in Genesis 17 verses 6 through 8. You don't have to turn there.

We don't have time to chase it all down. He gives it again to Jacob later on. You Jacob and your descendants, I've given this land, Genesis 28 verses 13 through 14. He repeats it again in Genesis 35. He repeats it again in Deuteronomy 1. Moses says it to the children of Israel.

This is the land. God has given this to us as a people. So the Abrahamic covenant is woven throughout all of the Old Testament. It shows up in 1 Samuel 12. It shows up in Psalm 94, Psalm 106, Jeremiah 30, Jeremiah 31, Isaiah chapter 14, on and on and on. All the prophets, psalms speak about this promise of the land.

And get this, God says, even if you totally blow it and disobey me and reject me, I'll spank you. I'll send you into captivity, but I'm bringing you back. I'm bringing you back because I made a covenant to Abraham. I'm bringing you back to the land.

So it is often repeated. Now for centuries, let's just be honest, for centuries Israel was a group of people but no land. It was an ethnicity. There were Jewish people, but there was no homeland.

And so it seemed impossible that they would ever regather back in their ancient homeland. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, whom I've always loved, one of my favorite old dead guy Bible teachers, I've always loved him. But in 1932, he made this statement. I am now quite convinced that the teaching of Scripture as a whole is that there is no future for Israel as an earthly people at all. I wish he would have just lived a little longer because on May 14th in 1948, miraculously and against all odds, the state of Israel, the modern state of Israel was born by declaration and agreed upon by the United Nations.

And there they are today, the rebirth of a nation. God promised that to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and repeated it in all those scriptures I just mentioned. It's something I want you to notice in our text.

This is part of this unconditional covenant. That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series The End is Near. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now here's Skip to share how you can connect you and many others with the truth of God's word with a gift to keep these messages going out around the world through Connect with Skip Hyten. You know, this ministry is really all about connecting you and others around the world with God's word. And we do that so that you'll be equipped, equipped to live abundantly in Christ Jesus. Now I want to personally invite you to join in that life changing work today.

Think of it as a partnership through your support. You can help others discover the unchanging truth of scripture and keep these teachings available to you wherever you listen. With your generosity, you can make these messages available on more stations in more major cities in the United States. So please partner with us through a generous gift today. Here's how you can give. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. And did you know you can watch Skip Hyten's teaching from the comfort of your couch on Apple TV or Roku? Simply download the Connect with Skip Hyten app on your streaming device and you'll have tons of content at your fingertips. Join us next week as Skip continues his message about Israel's important role in prophecy. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-19 04:55:54 / 2024-01-19 05:04:47 / 9

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