By Stephen Leonard
“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
Forty-nine years ago, on this day, October 6, a war started. It was called the Yom Kippur War as it was a full-fledged attack on the tiny, beleaguered nation of Israel, which was on this Jewish holiday. Two much larger, far more populated countries, namely Syria and Egypt, attacked the small Jewish nation. But they met with defeat as the Israeli armed forces held their own against superior numbers in a quite miraculous feat. It was a stalemate, but it could be considered a true defeat of these two enemies.
Genesis 12:1-3 and a number of other similar passages in the Scriptures, state a promise from God to this nation specially created by Him and formed from Abraham’s descendants. This promise from God is that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who dishonor her will be cursed!
Has this held true in history? Perhaps the greatest enemy to dishonor Israel was a man named Adolph Hitler and his “co-devils.” Consider what happened to him and his empire! Today Syria is a violent, disgraced mess. Egypt has fared a bit better, yet has truly experienced curses.
There are those Christians who feel strongly that the promises to Israel as a physical nation are no longer valid. They say the church of Jesus Christ, all true Christians, has replaced Israel. Galatians 3:29, they say, confirms such when it says those who have faith in Christ are the true descendants of Abraham.
However, the same author of Galatians also wrote Romans 11, where he clearly says that the partial hardening of Israel, “according to the flesh,” will end, and Israel will be regrafted into the root of the tree, which is the church, after the fullness of the Gentiles is fulfilled.
Certainly, the word “miracle” is attached to Israel’s reconstitution as a nation in 1948, and even more so to her survival in the midst of a sea of enemies in which she still continues to exist. This must hearken back to the ancient promise of God in Genesis.
There is truth in Paul’s words when he speaks of Israel “according to the flesh,” and what this refers to: namely biological Israel according to race and not faith. God very much still has the Jewish people in His plan for the end times, as Romans 11 attests.
God chose Abraham’s physical descendants to be His chosen people, and He declared this to be an eternal decision (1 Kings 10:9, God loved Israel forever). God never speaks frivolously. He chose them, and despite their continual unfaithfulness, God remains faithful.
Through the Apostle Paul, He spoke of the hardness of heart He would visit upon them for a time. Yet, in the last days, God would regraft the children of Israel, according to the flesh, back into the root and tree representing His church. And so all Israel will then be saved. God said it, and He will do it.
“E’en down to old age all my people shall prove My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love; and when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.”
(5th verse of “How Firm a Foundation,” Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, 1787)