May 16, 2020
Current Events

Shall a land be born in a single day? Shall a nation be born in a moment?[1]

Not likely. Unless that nation is Israel. 

This little country the size of New Jersey re-emerged nearly 2000 years after its exit from the world stage. It is a principal player in the drama of human history. God wrote the script. 

The establishment of the modern State of Israel is an answer to the prophet Isaiah’s rhetorical questions that open this post. The event was unprecedented not only because of how it happened, but also because it happened at all. At 4:00 PM on May 14, 1948 Israel did not exist. At 5:00 PM it did. And it still does. Why? 


In understanding how a nation could be reborn after being dead for two millennia, we have to understand that it wasn’t actually dead at all. It just wasn’t living at home. Israel is not simply a spot on the globe. It is a group of people created by God for a specific purpose.

In Genesis 12 we find the account of God’s calling Abraham from the ancient city of Ur, in present-day Iraq. He made an unconditional, unilateral covenant with this man, promising to make of him a great nation, to bless him, to make his name great, and to make him a blessing. He assured Abraham that he would bless those who blessed him and curse those who dishonoured him, and that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). God confirmed the covenant using the well-established conventions of the Ancient Near East: He had Abraham kill several animals, split their carcasses in two, and line them up like a gauntlet in his backyard. But this is where God did the unconventional. Normally, both parties of the agreement would walk between the two rows of carcasses, demonstrating that if either one violated any part of the covenant, he or she would meet the same fate as the animals. In this case, God put Abraham to sleep and walked the gauntlet himself, signifying that he would bear the full weight of the covenant’s provisions (Gen.15:12-20).

Two things are notable about this covenant. First, it was made with Abraham, but it included his descendants in perpetuity. Second, God has never rescinded it.


God told Abraham to look into the night sky and see if he could count the stars. One can only imagine the heavens on a clear night in the desert. God promised Abraham that his offspring would be as innumerable as the stars, even though Abraham was already an old man and his wife had never been able to get pregnant. He promised Abraham a son through whom his promise would be fulfilled. Then, he did something he has never done for any other nation: he assigned them a homeland and even named its borders. In many places in the Old Testament, God calls this land his land (i.e., 2 Chron. 7:20; Isa. 14:25; Jer. 2:7, 16:18;Ezek. 36:5, 38:16; Joel 3:2). As the original owner, he has the right to give it to whomever he chooses, and he gave it to Abraham's descendants for a strategic reason: Israel was the hub for trade and the movement of peoples from Africa to Asia, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. The ancients called it "the navel of the earth."


Why did God put the Jews in this place? His desire was to bless them so richly that other nations passing through their territory would be absolutely gobsmacked by the goodness of the land and the prosperity of the Hebrews and inquire as to how it could be. This would provide for Israel the opportunity to testify of the greatness of the true God so that the nations of the earth would also worship him.

There was a proviso, however: If Israel disobeyed God and broke his laws, God would remove them from his land for the sake of his own name and scatter them throughout the nations of the earth until such time as he saw fit to bring them back. His people did disobey by ignoring his laws, practicing idolatry, and rejecting the promised Deliverer and their Messiah, Jesus the Christ.

A POTENTATE           

God has not forgotten his people. The fact that there is a place called Israel in the modern world is evidence of that. Though now a parliamentary democracy, throughout its history Israel was a monarchy. Although Israel's kings failed to meet the criteria he established for their character and rule, God also made an unconditional, unilateral covenant with David, Israel's second king. It established the House of David forever, and Jesus of Nazareth is a direct descendant of David and heir to his throne. As God in flesh, Jesus is without sin. As Israel's potentate, he cannot rule over a nation that is not devoted to him. One day, however, Israel will accept Jesus Christ as both God and King. He promised to bring them back to the land so he could bring them back to the Lord. Phase I of this plan is happening before our eyes.

Do you believe Jesus actually walked the earth? It is naive and irresponsible to suggest he did not. Know that the Bible says far more about Jesus' second coming to earth than it does about his first. If we understand history clearly, we acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth lived in Israel 2000 years ago and died by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans and at the insistence of the Jews. His first incarnation was the fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament prophecies. His second incarnation will fulfill many more of them, and is as sure to occur as his first was. Biblical prophecy is simply history that has not happened yet.

Naaman, the Syrian leper, burst from the murky waters of the Jordan with skin like the skin of a little child becasue he believed the word of God. Standing before the prophet Elisha, who had instructed him to dip into the river seven times to be healed, Naaman exuberantly exclaimed, "Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel" (2 Kings 5:14b). 

This is what God wants us all to know. It's why Israel is.



[1]Isaiah 66.8b, The Modern Language Bible: The New Berkley Version in Modern English (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), 741.

Photo by the author: City Hall, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem.


Rob Heijermans

Rob Heijermans (rhymes with “fireman’s”) is a church planter and Bible teacher who has served with Biblical Ministries Worldwide since 1979. He is a 1977 graaduate (B.S. in Bible) of Lancaster Bible College. His travels have taken him to forty countries on four continents, including detailed research for this book in Israel. He has three married children and ten grandchildren. He and his wife, Madeleine, live in Ontario, Canada.

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