It seems that whenever you look or listen to the world news, Israel is always depicted as the "bad guy". They are depicted as the fault of most of the problems in the middle east. And instead of diminishing, the treats and accusations are increasing.
Let's go back to the beginning of the Bible and look at a few things.
We begin with God making the universe. He made the world, He made the animals and He made man and woman. What did He tell Adam? "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." (Genesis 2:16b-17 NIV)
So at this point, Adam was obedient to the Lord. I would assume that he was somewhat content, but the Lord saw that it was not good for him to be alone so He made a woman for him Eve (Genesis 2:21-25). Adam was still obedient to the Lord and passed on the "rules" that the Lord had given him to Eve.
Sometime before the following, Satan (assumed to have been the angel Lucifer) had a falling out with the Lord. He wanted to place himself above the Lord God Almighty (see Isaiah 14:12-21). He became a murderer and the father of lies (see John 8:44). He was angry with God. So he was cast out of heaven to the Earth. And because God loves his creations (us) and Satan does not like God, one way to get back at God is to go after those that God loves.
This was done in the Garden of Eden. Satan took the form of a serpent and tempted Eve to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden (the tree of knowledge of good and evil). God had told them that they would die if they eat it, but the serpent told them they would not die, but would know good and evil. So Eve took a bite of the "forbidden fruit". She then talked Adam into trying it. That was not a wise decision.
Because of their disobedience Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden and had to work for a living. They would also die, that is their bodies would die. This is something that they had no knowledge of before except when God told them that they would die if they ate of the tree in the middle of the garden.
But down through the ages, there have been at least some people who have tried to be obedient to the Lord: Moses, Abraham, Rachel ,various prophets and many others.
One of the greatest was Abram, who the Lord later called Abraham. Abram was obedient to the Lord. (see Genesis 12-25:1-11).
The blessings that the Lord gave Abraham and his descendants are found throughout the Old Testament.
Abraham was faithful to the Lord. The Lord told Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) to leave the country where he was living and go with his family to a place that the Lord would show him. The Lord didn't even tell him where it was at the time. The Lord also told him that He would make a great nation of Abram that that he would be a blessing. (Genesis 12:1-5).
So Abram just took off because the Lord told him too. He didn't know where he was going, just that he was going because the Lord told him to. But he was obedient to the Lord.
Later, the Lord gave Abraham a promise where He told him he would be heir to many many people as many as the stars in the sky. 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (see Genesis 15:5-6 NIV). The Lord also gave him a prophecy about his seed (his people) (Genesis 15:13-16).
Then the Lord made a covenant with Abram telling him the borders of the land that the Lord will give his seed (Genesis 15:18-21).
Abram's son Ishmael was born. However, Ishmael was not the offspring of Abram and Sarai, he was the offspring of Abram and their handmade Hagar.
The Lord told Abraham (after his name was changed to Abraham in Genesis 17:5) that His covenant was to be made through Isaac (a boy child to be born through Sarah (her name is changed to Sarah in Genesis 17:15)) not through Ishmael (Genesis 17:20-21).
The covenant was to be between the Lord and Abram (Genesis 17:2-7).
This promise was repeated to his son Isaac in Genesis 26:3-5 and to Jacob in Genesis 28:13b-14.
Can you imagine how Satan must feel when he sees the Lord blessing these people? Satan can see all the blessings and prophesies for Israel and the Jewish people and it drives him nuts. So he tries to either wipe them out as described in the book of Esther or the 2nd World War or the present time in the Middle East or he tries to discredit them. The Muslim countries are saying that they want to wipe Israel off the face of the map. In fact, the PLO maps do not even have Israel on them.
Down through the ages there have been those who have believed in the Lord and obeyed His word. The whole world was blessed when Jesus came through the Jews to teach us more clearly how we should adhere to the Word. Some listened and some didn't. So there were believers who believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah that was foretold (who were later called Christians) and there were those who didn't (the Jews who were not Christians).
So after Jesus ascended up to Heaven, the Christians were left to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world. This is pretty much the way it is today. The Christians are sending missionaries throughout the world to tell the good news to those who have not heard it yet.
So what does this have to do with the Jews?
God didn't forget His promise made to Abraham for it was an everlasting promise. It was made to Abraham and his offspring.
Abraham and Hagar had a child called Ishmael. The Lord blessed him and made him fruitful ( Genesis 17:20). BUT the covenant was made with Isaac a son that Abraham and Sarah had not even had yet (Genesis 17:21)
The covenant was later confirmed to Isaac in Genesis 26:1-5). But note that the reason was not because of what Isaac did, but because of what Abraham did. (Genesis 26:5). Abraham had been obedient.
The Lord also gave the covenant to another of Abraham's sons, Jacob. ( Genesis 28:13b-14)
So today, the Jews are being persecuted and so are the Christians. Why?
Are the Jews perfect? No.
Are those in Israel all doing the right thing? No.
Are the Christians all perfect and doing the right things? No.
So what is the constant here?
God made a covenant with Abraham many many years ago. Why?
Because Abraham was obedient to the Lord. 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (see Genesis 15:5-6 NIV)
This was again affirmed to Isaac. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, g 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions. (Genesis 26:4-5)
The key word here is obedient or obedience. We, today, have been blessed by the fact that Abram/Abraham was obedient to the Lord and believed Him. Wow! The Lord still honors His promise from thousands of years ago. Now that's really something!
But Satan still wants to get back at God. The only way to hurt the Lord is to keep people from reaping the blessing from His promise. Satan has tried this several times in the past and even the present. Since the promise comes through the Jews, getting rid of the Jews would get rid of the promise. Keep in mind that the promise is to ALL the people on earth. So understanding what Jesus did for each one of us is important to be able to tell others. If we die before accepting Jesus as our Savior than we will not take part in the blessing.
So the 2 major components in being saved are:
Getting rid of either one (entirely) is a losing situation for us. But we know that won't happen.
It's hard to believe that the Israelites will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. But that's what the Lord said.
Yet Israel is only a tiny country about 125% the size of the state of New Jersey. They are being told to give up much of their land to give up the land they seized in the 1967 war where they were invaded. So they won the land fair and square. Never before has a nation that has won land in a war situation been told to give back the land that was won.
But what does the Bible say about the land of Israel and the Jewish people?
Are they destined to be the brunt of the world continually being put down by their neighbors and even the United States?
But the fact remains that the Lord made a pact with Abram a long time ago. And that pact has been in effect ever since.
14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."
18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD. Genesis 13:14-18 (NIV)
The Lord said He would give it to Abram's offspring forever. A little later He gave more details about the land that was being given to Abram's descendants. Now, Abram's descendants are the Jews.
In Genesis 15:1-6 the Lord tells Abram that his seed will be as numerous as the stars.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." Genesis 15:18-21 (NIV)
31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you. Exodus 23:31 (NIV)
It is obvious from the above that the Lord, Himself, gave the land to Abraham and his descendants.
This blessing, this gift, was given to Abraham and later re-stated to his sons.
This is called the Abrahamic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant gave to Abraham (called Abram before God re-named him) and to his descendents the land described above.
Was this just a short time thing? No. In Genesis 13:15, the Lord told Abraham that the land was going to be given to his offspring forever. Also, He said that there would be many more of these offspring even as many as the dust of the earth. In other words, we would be unable to count them all. This was one promise in the Bible that there were no conditions set on. It was a gift with no strings attached.
When God told Abram to leave the country he lived in and go to a land that He would show him, Abram picked up his family and went. He didn't know where he was going at the time, he just went. The Lord led them into the land of Canaan.
The Lord told Abram,
"3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." (Genesis 26:3-5)
The Lord also gave the covenant to another of Abram's sons, Jacob when He said,
"I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust
of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring."
Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt after 600 years of servitude to them. (See Leviticus 26) Before they got to the promised land, the Lord gave them many laws to live by. These laws did have strings attached. He also told them that if they would keep His commandments and walk in His laws that He would keep them safe from wild animals, healthy, well fed, and safe from their enemies. (Leviticus 26:3-13)
The Lord also told them that if they would not listen to Him and follow His laws that He would set His face against them. They would get sick, they would work in vain, their enemies would take their land, and they would be ruled over by their enemies. Their land would not yield fruit. They would get the plagues. Wild beasts would kill some of their children and cattle. They would go hungry, even so much that they may resort to cannibalism. The promised land would become desolate. The people would be scattered among the heathen. (Leviticus 26:14-39)
But the Lord said in Leviticus 26:44 that for all of that, He will not cast them away to completely destroy them. He would not break His covenant with them. They (the Jews) are still His chosen people even today.
The Lord said that if they realize and confess their sins of the present and the past against Him that He would honor the covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Leviticus 26:40-42). The land that mostly laid waste when they were scattered around the world He would give back to them. (Leviticus 26:43).
The Jews were scattered among the rest of the world since. There has always been a number of them in Israel, but they have always been scattered throughout the world up until 1948 when the state of Israel was reborn. Since then, many Jews throughout the world have gone "home" to the state of Israel to live.
So this is now after 1948 when the state of Israel was again established.
What can we say about them now?
God said it!
That settles it!
So it seems that Israel is at odds with the rest of the world partly because of their land. Some of the countries think that the land does not belong to them and others seem to go along with them and yet others just seem to let things ride along.
But the question is more of a why than a what. Why are the Jews at odds with the rest of the world? Why are the Christians at odds with the rest of the world?
You must realize that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews. In the above pages, this is explained. God loved Abram (later called Abraham) and gave him a gift with no strings attached just because He loved him. In Genesis 22:1-19 God tested Abraham with his son Isaac and again told him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. They would take possession of the cities of their enemies and through their offspring all nations on earth would be blessed. This was all because Abraham obeyed the Lord.
Adam and Eve