Jack Graham - Israel, America and the Road to the Future
Now take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Genesis, chapter 12. Genesis, the twelfth chapter. And the title and topic of the message today is "Israel, America and the Road to the Future". I know we have people from around the world who watch us online, and we would simply ask that you pray for America, and we know that we are dependent upon the prayers of God's people everywhere. And we thank God for every nation, of course, but those of us who live in this great nation, we call it America, the United States of America, we are so grateful for the land and the life and the love and the liberty that God has given us.
The Scripture says in Psalm 33:12, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord". And it's clear that God's hand of blessing has been upon this nation. For many reasons that we could mention the hand of God's favor and blessing has been upon us. But I believe that one primary reason for this blessing of God upon America is because of this country's support of Israel. It's clear in the Bible, chapter 12 of Genesis, that God chooses to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. Now just a bit of background. An old man by the name of Abram. He became Abraham, the father of the faithful, and progenitor and patriarch of the Jewish family in all of history. An older man with an older wife is given a promise from God. It's a miracle, this promise that would be fulfilled, that this elderly couple would bring a son into the world and that son would be the beginning of a great nation, all according to the promises of God.
Look at it in verse 1: "Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.'" God gave Israel a specific particle of land. It's not a large space of land. In fact the size of the nation of Israel is about the size of the state of New Jersey in our country. So it's a very small piece of land, but it is a Promised land. Verse 2: "And I will make of you a great nation". God gave them land; God gave them life. "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you (that is Israel) all the families of the earth will be blessed".
And our nation America has been blessed by Israel in many ways that I'm going to show you today in God's Word. This promise made so long ago, millenniums ago, is a covenant made with God and mankind that is a stronger covenant than the Constitution of the United States. It is a greater document than the Declaration of Independence. It is the covenant between God and man. And you will never understand the Bible fully until you understand what God is doing through His people Israel, and how God has worked in the life of Israel and in the nations of the world through His own people that He has chosen for Himself. Someone said, "How odd of God to choose the Jews".
And truly it is a remarkable thing that in the sovereign will and purposes of God that He picked out Abram and his descendants and made of them this great, great nation. Against all odds, through the years of holocaust and survival and suffering and pain and persecution and discrimination, Israel has survived. Through decimation and dispersion throughout the earth, yet Israel remained as a people and now since 1948, reborn as a nation. Another miracle from the hand of God! And if you don't hear anything else in this message, here's what I want you to hear: With all the facts and all the quotes and all the rest that I'm going to give you, certainly the Scriptures, here's what I want you to see. God is a faithful God who keeps His promises, not only to nations but to individuals. And I promise you when God makes a promise to you in His Word, in His covenant, that covenant is forever!
You see, the covenant that God made with Israel is an eternal covenant. And it covers their legacy, their history and their destiny and ours as well! Over in Genesis chapter 17, we also see something of this eternal covenant with God. "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall you be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful," verse 7, "and I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you". So this is an everlasting covenant that God has made between Himself and His people. It is an eternal, unbreakable, irrefutable covenant that God has made.
And so Israel from time immemorial has been the core, the centerpiece, the epicenter of world history and even the destiny of the world. Israel has been described as the navel of the earth. It all began there and it will all ultimately end there. It is the spiritual and political center of the earth. And, again, no explanation for this, apart from the promise of God.
One of our great framers and founders of our nation, John Adams, the second president of the United States, said this, regarding Israel and America. "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution... (In other words, he's saying our Constitution is not strong enough to stop sin and the slavery to sin. He said it's like a whale that goes through a net.) Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, and it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other". Why? Because liberty is a gift from God!
And where did the early Americans, the founders and the framers who wrote our documents, the Constitution, our laws, we are a nation of laws, the Declaration of Independence, where did they get the idea of this great liberty? That all are created equal in the sight of God. They got it from the Bible! This nation was founded upon a Judeo-Christian principle and ethic of religious freedom! That is why we in the Amendments speak of the "freedom of religion", not just the freedom of worship, which means you can go somewhere and worship and then shut-up the rest of the week! But the "freedom of religion" so that you may practice your faith freely and fully within this nation. And this has been one of the great essentials of America that has kept us through the generations, through wars and rumors of wars, through troubles and division and all the rest... it is this principle of freedom! Freedom comes from God! Freedom is not made by man; it is created by the Author of freedom, the gift of God! It is preserved by the heart of man to preserve it, but it given to us ultimately by God.
And this principle of freedom, the ultimate and first connect between Israel and the United States of America, and truly, any other nation that trusts in God, is this Creator-God who made us and who has given us liberty. What connects us as Americans and Israelis is our belief in One True God, that we can pray and know our God. And then, of course, there's The Ten Commandments, and The Ten Commandments is the basis of all civil society and the laws of our own nation. God has given us these Commandments! All the writers of the Bible, all 66 books of the Bible, except one, Dr. Luke in the New Testament who gave us Luke's Gospel and gave us the book of Acts, all the other human authors of the Bible were Jewish! Jewish writers, beginning with Moses who gave us Genesis and the first five books, the Pentateuch. Then the prophets, and the Psalmists, and the singers, and then the Apostles and the Gospels, and the Apostle Paul and the Apostle of love who gave us the Revelation. From Genesis to Revelation, all written by Jewish people, by Jewish authors! We owe so much as Christians, and even as citizens of this nation to the Word of God, given to us through the Jewish people.
It's interesting, we're talking a lot about immigration in these days, and in our history, we're talking about the national history of Israel and America, that Jewish people have been welcomed into the United States from its beginning. And in particular there was a period between 1881 in the 19th century and 1920 in the 20th century, spanning those two centuries, in which three million Jews migrated from Eastern Europe to share the American dream. And we welcomed (though many nations did not), we welcomed the Jewish people to our country. The door was wide open to God's chosen people. As a result when Lady Liberty went up, sculpted by the French, and yet did you know that the words inscribed, well known, well worn, well quoted words inscribed on Lady Liberty, the Statue of Liberty, were written by a Jewish poet. What are those words? Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cried she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door"!
That Jewish poet captured the hearts of the Jewish people who fled here and filled our country and have blessed this nation. And let me say as Christian, Jesus-following people, because, remember, the Jews also gave us our Savior. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, rejected by most of the Jewish people at this time, though many are coming to Christ in our generation. But they gave us our Savior, and therefore, there should never be a place for persecution or discrimination or prejudice against Jewish people by any Christian. And I pray that you would love your Jewish neighbors, that you speak to them of God's love and the story of Jesus. God has called us, because the Bible says in Romans chapter 1:16, "For I'm not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek... or the Gentile". We're grafted in, we're included, we're adopted into the family. But the Gospel came to His own people. "He came unto His own (Jesus) but His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to be called the children of God".
So you see, not only as Christians but as citizens of this nation, and we know that this is not quote, "a Christian nation". But I will tell you that our nation was established upon Christian principles and Bible ethics and the moment we remove God from our culture, from our country, we are lost! We will lose the liberties that we have. I still believe that the American dream can be fulfilled. And that dream includes a nation that loves God! And yet in our day we see two different visions for America; one that is secular and godless and another that is spiritual and of God. And with all the political divisions and the fighting and the infighting that's going on in this country right now, I tell you the division that I am most concerned about is that division between the secular and the spiritual. There are people who would lead America to a life without God. And a life without God is to lose our liberty forever. They say no God! No God in our schools, no God in the halls of our government, no God in the cultural conversation, no God, no Bible, no Commandments, no biblical values of family and the sacredness of marriage, and the sanctity of life! No God! "Sin is a reproach to any people". And the rebellion against God in our nation ultimately will take us down.
You know, in the prophetic scenario of the end times, America is not written in it. Of course, America was not even born when the Scriptures were given. But sometimes people wonder when you read of the Last Days, where's America in the book of Revelation? Where's America in eschatology, the End of Days. Where's America? Well, frankly America's not viewed there. Now America could be there; we don't know. But it's quite possible that the demise of America because of our secularism and godlessness would diminish the power and effectiveness and the liberty of America forever. Billy Graham once said, "If God doesn't judge America He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorah". The same is true with Israel, God judged Israel for their sin and rebellion. Do you not think that God will not judge us if we, like Israel in times past, plunge into disobedience? Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!
So not only do we share a spiritual legacy and a national history, but one final thing quickly, we share an eternal destiny with the Jewish people. Because if you know your Bible you know that the Bible speaks of the End of Days and the Jewish Armageddon, the world Armageddon that will take place in the land of Israel. I've stood at Armageddon and looked out over what Napoleon called the world's greatest battlefield. There will be a great battlefield, according to Revelation, at the end of time, a great battle, and all those that oppose the kingdom of God and even the Jewish people at that time will be slaughtered in that battle. But here's the thing, none of that could have happened apart from this rebirth of Israel in 1948.
If you want to know when are the End of Days, if you ask, "What are the Last Days? Are we in them"? There are signs. Jesus spoke of the signs of the times: wars and rumors of wars and the moral collapse of our culture, and all the rest. But did you know there is a super sign in the Scripture that signals the final hours of history? And you know what the super sign is? The restoration of Israel to their land. Jesus once said when this happens this generation of people, speaking of the Jews, geneas. It doesn't mean a timeframe, but the geneas, the generation of people will not pass away. In other words they'll never leave the land. It's never going to happen again. They're never going to be dispersed again. Israel is in the land for keeps.
And what we have today is setting in motion the final hours of history. There is no other sign that needs to be fulfilled. This is the big one! This is the super-duper sign! The restoration of Israel! You say, "How do you know that"? Alright, Scripture is always our authority. In Zechariah chapter 12 we're going to put it on the screen for you. Zachariah chapter 12, verse 2: "Behold, I'm about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding people. The siege against Jerusalem will also be against Judah". Have you ever wondered why there's so much attention on Jerusalem? I mean, greater than New York and London and Bejing and all the great capitols of the world, here's Jerusalem. And verse 3 says: "On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves". All who oppose Israel will hurt themselves. "And all the nations of the earth will gather against it".
And then look down in verses 9 and 10 of Zachariah 12: "And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David (that's Israel) and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy". The Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 11 that many on that day when Christ returns to establish His kingdom, many Jewish people will believe and receive the Messiah. "So that, when they look on me (Jesus), on him whom they pierced (Jesus), they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn".
And then chapter 13, Zechariah, verse 1: "On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness". "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains". And the prophetic destiny of Israel as well as the prophetic destiny of the world all revolves around Jesus, the hope of the world, the hope of Israel, the hope of America. And when Jesus comes back guess where He's coming? To Jerusalem! The historical, eternal capitol. I'm so glad that President Trump determined to move our American embassy to its rightful place in the capitol city, Jerusalem. Yes!
Acts 1:11 says, "This same Jesus which went up from you into heaven will come again in the same way that you have seen Him go". Where did He go? Up into heaven. Where did He ascend? From the Mount of Olives! Where will He descend? On the Mount of Olives! We wonder, what's the world coming to? What's America coming to? America, the world is coming to Jesus because Jesus is coming to this world! And He is our King! He is our Savior! And our destiny as a people is with Him. And prophecies fulfilled. All the prophecies that are intertwined with both Gentiles and Jews among nations, but the Jewish nation right in the center of it.
We sang the National Anthem earlier. Did you know we have a national hymn? What's the national hymn? What's the national hymn? My Country Tis of Thee, sung through the connection to our British friends to the tune of God Save the Queen. But one of the verses says this: Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright With freedom's holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King. Whoever said that America does not have a King? We have a King! We have a King! We have a King! And His name is Jesus! King of kings and Lord of lords! And He's coming for His people! Praise His holy name.