Reasons for Studying Biblical Prophecy
Three reasons why the study of biblical prophecy is important were presented in our previous article. This present article will present the fourth reason.
Fourth, it is impossible to understand God’s plan and purpose for Israel apart from the study of biblical prophecy. The Bible reveals that God established a unique relationship with Israel as a nation. Moses made the following statements to the generation of Israelites who were to enter the land of Canaan years after Israel’s exodus out of Egypt:
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6; see also 14:2).
In addition, the Scriptures indicate that God established this unique relationship with Israel forever. 2 Samuel 7:24 records the following statement of King David to God:
“For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee forever.”
In addition, the Apostle Paul indicated that, in spite of Israel’s unbelief, God’s election or calling of the nation Israel for this unique relationship will never change (Romans 11:26-29).
The Bible also reveals that God did not establish this unique relationship with Israel because they were greater than any other people. Moses told them,
“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people” (Deuteronomy 7:7).
Instead, God established it because He had a unique, sovereign purpose for Israel as a nation.
God sovereignly purposed that the nation of Israel play a key role in the fulfillment of His purpose for history. One aspect of that key role was this: God determined to bring great blessing to the whole world through Israel. God promised to bless the world through Abraham’s offspring:
“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18).
The fact that God repeated that promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac (Genesis 26:4), and grandson, Jacob (Genesis 28:14), whose twelve sons became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel, indicates that God purposed to bring this promised blessing to the world through the nation Israel.
God has already brought great blessings to the world through Israel. The Bible came through that nation. The Apostle Paul wrote that unto the Jews “were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1-2). The Messiah-Savior came to the world by birth through Israel. Concerning the Israelites, Paul said, “of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came” (Romans 9:4-5). Since the Messiah, who provided salvation for all people, was a Jew in His humanity, then salvation came through Israel. Jesus Himself said, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
Biblical prophecy indicates that another aspect of Israel’s key role is yet future. God will not totally crush Satan and his forces and establish His future theocratic kingdom rule to the world until the nation of Israel repents by recognizing and accepting Jesus Christ as its Messiah-Savior.
Zechariah 12-14 reveals that, when the rulers and armies of all the Gentile nations of the world will come against Israel in the future (12:1-9), the remnant of Jews who are still alive will see the Messiah coming out of Heaven. When they see the evidences of His past crucifixion, they will repent (change their minds toward Him) and will mourn over His past rejection (12:10-14). God will cleanse them from their sin (13:1).
Messiah will then go to battle and destroy the rulers and armies of the world (14:1-3, 12-15; Rev. 19:11-21) and have Satan imprisoned in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-3). Then He will establish God’s theocratic kingdom and will rule as “king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9, 16-21; Rev. 20:4-6).
In that theocratic kingdom, Israel will be the spiritual leader of the world. The people of Israel will “be named the Priests of the LORD” and the Gentiles will call them “the Ministers of our God” (Isaiah 61:6). The Gentiles will take hold of the Jews, “saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23).
Contrary to the divinely inspired statements of King David (2 Samuel 7:24) and the Apostle Paul (Romans 11:26-29) noted earlier, some professing Christians insist that God did not establish His unique relationship with Israel forever. They believe that, because Israel as a nation rejected Jesus Christ in His First Coming, God permanently removed Israel as a nation from that unique relationship and replaced it with the New Testament Church. They claim that God will save individual Jews, but that He has no present or future national program for Israel.
This belief definitely affects their thinking concerning the right of Israel to exist as a national entity in the Middle East today. It also causes them to reject the idea that God has purposed Israel to play a future key role in the fulfillment of His purpose for history. A significant part of the reason for this belief is the neglect or allegorical interpretation of biblical prophecy.
I received an expression of this belief from a group of four men after a message in which I referred to the 1947 United Nations mandate for a nation-state of Israel to be established in a portion of the land of Palestine. They insisted that the United Nations never issued such a mandate and that the Jews went into Palestine and violently took the land away from its rightful owners without any legal authority. In response to my claim that history books record the United Nations mandate, they said, “It doesn’t matter what the history books say; it never happened.” When I said that they could go to the United Nations building in New York and see the written mandate, they said, “It still doesn’t matter, it never happened.”
The next article will present a fifth reason why the study of biblical prophecy is important.