When God called Abraham to leave his father's house and birth a new people, He made a seven-fold promise to Abraham (Gen. 12). As part of that promise, God said He would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who cursed him. Looking at Abraham's life, there is no doubt that God honored this:
When Abimelech took Sarah to be one of his wives, God turned His hand against him. But once he returned Sarah to Abraham, he was blessed. During the time that Sarah was in his household (more than just a few days), all the women were barren. The minute he released her and blessed Abraham, God opened their wombs.
When Abraham went after four kings with just over 300 men because they had taken Lot captive, he was victorious. God was clearly faithful to His promise to Abraham. Those who blessed him were blessed, and those who cursed him were cursed.
Many teachers in recent history have taught that this promise was not merely to Abraham, but to his descendants. This makes sense, as just a few verses down, God (referring to Cannan) says to Abraham (then Abram), "To your descendants I will give this land" (Gen. 12:7) If the land promised was to Abraham's descendants, what about the promise of blessing and curse?
Some have risen up to say, "No! That was just to Abraham. It has no connection to future generations! And it definitely has nothing to do with modern Israel." These people see modern Israel as a coincidence, because in their theology, God is finished with the Jewish people.
Gary Burge, the esteemed New Testament professor at Wheaton College, cannot see the connections between modern Israel and Abraham.
"For many evangelicals, the modern state of Israel is a revival of the Israel they read about in their Bibles, but when you build a bridge from biblical Israel to modern Israel, there is an enormous gap in history and theology.
"We have a political application of a biblical idea," Burge says. "If you reach into the Old Testament and say, 'God has given the Holy Land to the descendants of Abraham,' that's fine. The question is whether the modern state of Israel is that nation that was imagined back in the Bible."
Burge admits that God gave the land to the children of Abraham, but seems to have forgotten about the dozens of promises that God will restore Israel in the end times. If that is not modern Israel, then what is it? There are no other candidates! The chances that the Jewish people, after 52 attempted genocides against us, would return to the land after 2,000 years, are not even between slim and none! It is between none and none, as nothing like that has ever happened to any other people group—that is, unless God is orchestrating the fulfillment of His word.
From Abe to Cornelius
Let's just look at history.
- Rehab protected the Jewish spies and God protected her and her family.
- Ruth refused to return to her own people, uttering the famous words "Your people shall be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16b). She became the great-grandmother of King David, is included in the lineage of the Messiah and got her very own book in the Bible!
- The centurion's servant was healed not only because of his great faith, but because the Jews told Yeshua that "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue" (Luke 7:5, NIV). Because they made a case based on his love for Israel, Yeshua "went with them" (v. 6).
- And of course, Cornelius prayed to the God of Israel, feared the God of Israel and gave to those in need. Being stationed in Caesarea, we can assume that "those in need" were Jews. God chose him to be the first Gentile to hear the Good News!
Probably the starkest case of this principle is Great Britain and the United States. Towards the end of the 19th century and during the early part of the 20th century, Great Britain had more territory than any other nation. They used to say, "The sun never sets on the British empire."
However, in the early 1920s, Great Britain decided to take 80% of the land they promised to Israel in the Balfour Declaration and give it to the Arabs, creating Jordan. Then in 1939, as the Holocaust began, Great Britain cut off all immigration of Jews to Palestine. (The name Palestine had nothing to do with Arabs at the time. Read more here.) The sun began to set on Great Britain as the world power.
In 1948, America, under Harry S. Truman, became the first head of state to recognize Israel. That prophetic gesture began a friendship between the U.S. and Israel that has lasted more than 70 years. No one can deny the blessing that has been on the U.S. during that time.
Trump Proves God Right
In May 2017, President Trump, coaxed by aides, decided to delay the moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The next few months were brutal for his presidency. After Charlottesville, some even wondered if he would make it through his first term.
But then, he recognized Jerusalem.
He could not get any significant legislation passed, but on Dec. 6, 2017, he recognized Jerusalem. Just two weeks later, on Dec. 22, he signed his tax cuts into law with a razor-thin 51-48 win in the Senate. The tax cuts have led to one of the strongest economies America has experienced. Unemployment got all the way down to 3.6%. God has blessed America again.
Is there a connection between blessing Israel and being blessed? The evidence would suggest so. Now, that doesn't mean that Israel is perfect, nor does it mean that Israel should receive a free pass if they err. But it means that the nations should recognize that God chose Israel to be a light for the nations and brought forth the Messiah through her, and they should then rightly align with her in blessing; thus, they will be blessed. It is not about Israel, but God's prophetic order.
Footnote: We could list so many more modern examples, but we try to keep our blog to 1,000 words (not pages!).
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