The Israel Story – Why Did God Choose the Jews?
By Randy Alonso
There is a growing number of Christians who are awakening to the importance of Israel. It is a fulfillment of scripture and the growing, active work of the Holy Spirit today worldwide. Concerning the Jewish people, scripture is very clear.
Deuteronomy 7:6-8 states “For you are a holy people to the Lord Your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than other people, for you were least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep His oath which He swore to your fathers…”
This text frames for us a very simple answer to the question, “Why did God choose the Jews?” There are two powerful reasons; because God promised to Abraham that He would do so, and God always keeps His promises.
God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) is the Magna Carta of Israel’s future. There is no subject today more talked about or controversial in the eyes of the world. It not only affects religion, it is a hugely geo-political issue as well.
The reason there is a growing number of Christians supporting Israel is because they are more aware than ever of its importance. However, while awareness and support has grown, there is also a great need for Christians to develop their theology concerning Israel. When they do, it will help them understand the great unrest that is in the world today, beginning in the Middle East.
As small as it is, Israel is not only the geopolitical center of the world but also the spiritual capital of the world. And, except for the USA, it is the most mentioned country in the world in daily news. Israel is the only democratic country in a sea of Arab nations that deny its very existence as a sovereign state. It is surrounded by countries that hate it and will not acknowledge it’s right to exist. This is what I want to help more followers of our Rabbi Yeshua, our Savior and Lord, to understand more clearly.
God’s covenant with Israel is an Unconditional Covenant. As you read it beginning in Genesis 12, you will notice God saying, “I will, I will, I will.” Everywhere else in the Bible, you see God say, “If you will, I will.” Yet in Genesis 12, people are not the condition: God is. He makes it clear, “It’s about Me. My plan for mankind. No annulment. No changing my mind. I will.”
It is also a Personal Covenant. He says, “I will bless you,” referring to Abraham. Not only was God going to bless His people, He was going to bless Abraham. And that is what He did in a big way with a large family, wealth, possessions, herds and a trained army (Genesis 14:14). Abraham lived to be 175 years old. God also told him he would make his name great, and He did. Not only was he well known among the people of his day, he’s well known by the people of our day – four thousand years later. Abraham’s name is respected, trusted and loved worldwide among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. God kept His promise.
It is a National Covenant. In Genesis 12:2, God says, “I will make you a great nation.” When you travel to Israel you actually realize how small it is. It is hard to comprehend how God would make it such a great nation. It is easy for us to comprehend the USA as a great nation, but tiny Israel? I live in Florida. You can fit five Israel’s within the border of our state.
The ultimate greatness of Israel is yet to come, when God sets up His kingdom and establishes it from Jerusalem. In the meantime, Israel is a world leader in technology, innovation, and medicine.
Rabbi Amnon Rubenstein writes, “Israel is minute in size, not much bigger than a sliver of Mediterranean coast line. It has withstood continuing Arab onslaughts, wars, boycotts, and terrorism. It has turned itself from a poor rural country to a post-industrial powerhouse. It has reduced social, educational, and health gaps among Arabs and Jews. Its achievements are unprecedented. Israeli Arabs have a higher life expectancy than almost all of the European whites. It has maintained freedom of the press in time of war. It stands as a singular Democratic post World War II island in a sea of Arab and Muslim poverty and backwardness.”
I have witnessed it first hand. It is my privilege to travel to the Land regularly and work with one of the great Christian ministries serving the Jewish people. I encourage you to check out www.bridgesforpeace.com.
Israel is surrounded by thirty-seven enemy nations. Those countries occupy a landmass of five million square miles. Israel has a landmass of nine thousand square miles. Israel is a prosperous nation today in the midst of tremendous opposition. There is a lot of news in the United States concerning immigration and refugees. President Trump’s recent temporary ban on seven known terrorist friendly nations saw violence erupt in our country, in protest. Many people would be shocked to know that Israeli citizens are banned from traveling to or entering sixteen different Arab nations. You won’t see that covered in the nightly news. Fact is, the Jewish people are a light in the dark world of the Middle East.
Yet most critical today, it is a Territorial Covenant. Genesis 12:1; So the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”
He traveled from his home in Haran to Canaan. And on the same day, in Genesis 15:18, the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.” The boundaries that God gave to the Jews have never been fully realized. If so, it would include modern day Israel, Lebanon, the West Bank, substantial portions of Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Israel has never come close to that.
Some would say, ‘God certainly missed this. He must have been speaking figuratively or in hyperbole.’ But one day, rest assured, Israel will occupy all that God said they would. Because they do not currently occupy it doesn’t mean they don’t own it. Secularists say God was only making some kind of spiritual analogy. I think Abraham would look at the secularists cross-eyed and say, ‘’What are you talking about?’
God said it. It’s a real piece of real land. It belongs to Israel because God gave it to Abraham. No matter what anyone says, no matter how much they argue over it, the land of Israel belongs to Israel. The Word of God is clear, there’s no disputing it. It is the land of Canaan and will belong to Abraham’s descendants forever.
It is the most important piece of real estate on earth. It is the geographic center of Divine dealings for the ages among the nations. It is ground zero for the end times. It is the only land on earth not up for negotiation with anyone, at anytime, for any reason. It is the only nation ever formed by God. And, it is the only nation to have its history written in advance through the Word of God.
My encouragement to followers of Jesus is be sure that the foundation of your faith is clear according to this covenant. When God gave the land of Israel, He was clear in what it meant and how it would play out in His Divine plan. Why is this so important?
Because today there is constant pressure on Israel to give up its land by dividing it further, believing somehow this will bring peace. Here is a great truth; you can never disobey God and end up with peace. You have to really want to believe something else to not believe what God has already said. Here’s a sample of scriptures concerning God’s mind in this matter.
Jeremiah 32:37,41 “Behold, I will gather them out of the countries where I have driven them in My anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and will cause them to dwell safely. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all my soul.”
Ezekiel 11:17 Therefore say, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”‘
Ezekiel 20:42 “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers.”
You have to work hard at making stuff up, spiritualizing the land and even the people to rebel against what the Lord has said. If anyone tries to divide or parcel out God’s land, they are doing it in the face of a mountain of revealed Biblical evidence spoken by God who inspired it and wrote it.
How much does God care about this?
Deuteronomy 11:12, A land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.
Zechariah 2:8, For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”
I first traveled to Israel in 2001. I have been privileged to go there regularly ever since. In January of this year, while touring with and teaching fifty Pastors and Ministry leaders, I took a day at the end of our tour to go into the West Bank to witness for myself what is at stake. It’s surreal to see places like ancient Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant resided after the initial conquest of the Promised Land by Joshua. Even stranger is it to drive through Ramallah and see the headquarters of Hamas. I visited a Muslim village of three thousand people where two hundred Hamas terrorists live. Why? A house church is being built for a young convert and his family. The gospel lives and brings eternal hope!
Intertwined in this difficult area of real estate are Jewish and Palestinian communities. You can feel the tension. It has been an honor for me to get to know the people who live in the land, including Jews and Arabs. I have found that people are generally friendly and want peace. However, the spiritual tension is obvious.
The truth is, no nation around Israel likes Israel. And it is not because they are not likeable. Why? Never forget, God’s eyes are always on her. The Jews are a chosen people. That is a very special privilege and at the same time a very heavy burden. This tiny group of people was commissioned by God to bring moral, civil, and spiritual law to all of mankind. They are purveyors of the heart and mind of God to all of humanity for all of human history. Human sin nature rebels against this.
The significance of the Jews being in the land today is in order for the future prophecies of Israel to come to pass. The Jews have to be at home in the land of Israel. They are making Aliyah in record numbers. Aliyah is the act of going up, in reference to Jerusalem. It is the return of the Jewish people out of the diaspora, to their homeland.
This all began in the modern age on May 14th, 1948. Israel was restored as a nation. It is the most significant sign leading to the return of Jesus. The Jewish people live on high alert. Every 18-year old man and woman serves in the Israel Defense Force. Everyone is trained and everyone serves as a reserve into their forties. They know how to guard their land. I’ve been to military installations, including a Counter Terrorism Training Center. It’s humbling and impressive.
It is a Territorial Covenant and every time (which is often) people try to divide up the land I think to myself, “No, don’t do that. God has already spoken on this. Be wise. Agree with God.”
If this subject is fairly new to you, I would encourage you to dig deeper. What can you do today? Be an advocate for the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Lead your church family to support Israel with your prayers, dollars, and participation. And most of all, make friends with Jewish people in your community.
We live in incredible times. God in His sovereign plan brought you and I into the world for such a time as this. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to the nations, and then the end will come.” Sobering to think that we may very well be the generation that puts the finishing touch on the canvas of the church age. May you be encouraged today to be faithful in your calling.
Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith by Marvin Wilson
Israel and the Church: God’s Road Map, by Rebecca Brimmer and Bridges for Peace Leaders
The Destiny of Israel and the Church by Derek Prince
Sinai Speaks by Dr. Jim Solberg
The Jerusalem Dispatch a bi-monthly publication of Bridges for Peace
Scripture references are NKJV.
Randy Alonso is a certified coach, trainer, and speaker at the John Maxwell Team. He Randy was a senior pastor for over 30 years, and is now the Teaching Pastor at Central Life Church in Melbourne, Florida. He is a Senior Leader for Bridges for Peace and is an advocate of the land of Israel and the Jewish people. He also serves as President of the International Ministerial Fellowship serving over 1300 Christian leaders worldwide. Randy holds a DDiv degree from Masters International University of Divinity.
You can contact Randy Alonso at Ralonso@bfpusa.org