Turn on the TV on almost
any night to watch the news and Israel, her people and land will be mentioned
at some point. Why does this nation, few in number by comparison, and this land,
tiny by any standard, command so much world attention? Israel, after all is
a small arid land much of which is desert or mountains with few natural resources
outside of the chemicals mined from the Dead Sea. The resorts along the Mediterranean
Sea would attract some visitors naturally, but this country is teeming with
visitors, making tourism one of its major sources of income. Why? Obviously
we must look further than the terrain or industry to account for this fascination
politically or personally. This is God's people and God's land.
Many centuries ago God chose
one man from Mesopotamia and gave him far-reaching promises concerning descendants
and land and blessing. From this beginning the Jewish people rose. Among Abraham's
descendants was The Seed, through which all the nations were going to be blessed.
From Abraham until the present, the Jewish people and the land of Israel have
been a major force in world history. One day in the future it will be the center
of government for the entire world and Abraham's Seed will rule in righteousness
and peace from its capital, Jerusalem.
I would like to introduce
you to three books that, read together, make this people and this land come
alive in a unique fashion. The first one to read is John Phillips' book, Exploring
the World of the Jew. This unique introduction to the people of Israel is well
written in Phillips' unique style. Tracing the Jewish people both historically
and religiously, you get a great background to enhance your understanding of
this people. But the author does not stop there. He gives a historical overview
of anti-semitism (once again on the rise) as well as the great contributions
to science and the arts of this brilliant race of people. He finishes with a
fascinating look at the Zionist movement and the repatriation of Israel present.
It reads like fiction, but it is full of the real facts of this great people.
Then zero in on the future
of this people. With this most definitive look at the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 you will trace the nation through its 490 prophetic years from the rebuilding
of the walls after its 70-year captivity to the Millennium reign. This benchmark
prophecy is expounded by Sir Robert Anderson in his classic work, The Coming
Prince. Any student of prophecy must have this book not only on his shelf for
reference, but in his mind as well. A grasp of Daniel's prophecies is the beginning
of a proper understanding of the rise and fall of the Gentile nations and the
fall and rise of Israel. One of the accomplishments of this book is the great
research into the exact timing of the coming of the Messiah. That chapter is
worth the price of the book.
Then when you finish those
books treat yourself to one that will make your blood run a little faster than
normal. This is a secular book called O Jerusalem by two journalists,
Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. A virtual daily diary from the night the
UN voted to allow Israel to exist in November 1947 until the tenuous cease-fire
on June 12, 1948. Enter the undercover world of the Haganah, the politics of
Golda Meier and David Ben Gurion, the secretive world of arms negotiations and
the great battles for the freedom of Jerusalem. But most of all see a small,
outmanned army of people who, in love for their land, saw the nation of Israel
But we knew that. God had
ordained it. Even though in unbelief, the second great exodus had begun. Not
just from Egypt as the first time but now from the four corners of the world (Isaiah 11:11-12).
The Jew, the land of Israel,
the city of Jerusalem. They are His story and in that history we read not just
of a fascinating people but the greater story of God's great and full redemption
and the majesty of the government of God Himself.