Robert Jeffress - What Role Will Israel Play In The End Times?
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to, "Pathway to Victory". Someone has said that if you want to know where we are on God's prophetic timeline, just look at what is happening in Israel. The nation of Israel is God's prophetic alarm clock, and today, we're going to discover why, when it comes to the end times, it all begins and ends with Israel. My message is titled, "What Role Will Israel Play in the End Times"? On today's special edition of, "Pathway to Victory".
On October the 7th, 2023, 3,000 Hamas terrorists, most of whom were trained in Iran, launched a terrorist attack against the nation of Israel, slaughtering the hundreds of innocent people, seriously wounding and traumatizing thousands more. Although the scope and the time of the attack were a surprise, the fact that Israel was being attacked was no surprise. Israel has been under attack for more than 3,500 years by those who would seek to, like Iran, wipe it off the face of the earth. Have you ever stopped to wonder why there is such hatred for Israel, for the Jewish people? It doesn't really make sense when you look at it logically. Why is it Iran wants to wipe Israel from the face of the earth? Why do people hate the Jewish people? Why is it right now, in our own country, we have hundreds of thousands of people protesting against Israel, in support of those who behead babies and burn men, women, and children alive? How do you explain that kind of insanity?
You will never understand it until you understand what we're going to talk about today. The spiritual reason that Israel is under attack. You see, 4,000 years ago, 4,000 years ago, God said to a man named Abraham, "Abraham, I'm going to make you the father of a great nation. It is a nation that is going to be a human object lesson of my power, my glory, my holiness, my love, my faithfulness. It is a nation that, unlike any other nation in the world, has the promise of endurance. This nation is going to live forever".
Do you realize, ladies and gentlemen, no other nation has the promise of endurance? The United States of America doesn't have that promise, we'll be lucky to make it through next year, much less the next decade, but Israel is going to be here forever. God made that promise. He made it publicly. Well, since that time, Satan decide decided to launch an attack to try to destroy God's credibility, by destroying the Jewish people, and throughout history, Satan has inspired human leaders to try to take out the nation of Israel. In the Old Testament, it was Pharaoh, in the New Testament, Herod, in history, the Greek, Arab, 167 BC, it was Antiochus Epiphanes, in the 1940s, it was Adolf Hitler.
These were all Satanical-inspired leaders, who were trying to nullify the promise of God, but all of these Satan-inspired leaders were simply forerunners of the final and the greatest enemy Israel will ever face, he is the world leader we call, "antichrist," and during the last three and a half years of earth's history, the antichrist will launch an attack against Israel like the world has never seen, but much to his dismay, that attack will culminate in the return of Jesus Christ, who will slay the enemies of God's people forever and ever. That day is coming, and you will never understand the end times until you understand God's plan for Israel. When it comes to the end times, it truly begins and ends with Israel, and that's what we're talking about today, what role Israel plays in the end times. If you have your Bibles, turn to Genesis, chapter 12, Genesis, chapter 12. You know, you can divide the Bible into two parts.
You say, "Well, pastor, that's kind of something everybody knows, the Old Testament and the New Testament". No, you can divide the Bible into two parts. Genesis, chapters one through 11 is part one of the Bible. It's the story of man's alienation from God. God created man, created him perfectly, put him in the garden, man rebelled against God, and moved further, and further, and further away from God, 'til you get to Genesis 11, the ultimate rebellion, the Tower of Babel. That's part one of the Bible, man's alienation from God. Part two of the Bible starts with Genesis, chapter 12, and goes all the way to Revelation 22, it's the story of God's reconciliation with man. Even though we moved away from God, God took the first step to redeem us, to reconcile with us, and that first step started with the call of a man named Abraham. He was the beginning point of God's reconciliation with man.
Now, let's look at the setting. The setting of God's call to Abraham takes place in Ur of the Chaldees, or it was a metropolitan city in the Mesopotamian valley, on the Persian gulf. It was a port city, much like New York or Los Angeles today, but the thing that Ur was known most for was it was a center for idol worship. It was known for making idols. In fact, Abraham's father, Terah, was a worshiper and a maker of idols, and we can only imagine and surmise that Abraham followed in his father's footsteps. The Bible tells us Abraham was an idol worshiper. By the way, that reminds us that God doesn't choose us on the basis of our goodness. God didn't look down from heaven and say, "I'm going to look for one person, who doesn't worship idols, and choose him". No, Abraham was a worshiper of idols, just like every other person, and by the way, God didn't choose you for salvation because of your goodness. Your being chosen by God had to do with his grace, and his grace alone. God, out of grace, chose to call Abraham.
Now, look at Genesis 12:1. "Now, the Lord said to Abraham, go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you". Underline that word, "Land". He was saying to Abraham, "I want you to uproot your family. I want you to leave everyone and everything familiar to you to a land that I will show you," why? Here's the covenant. Look at verse two, "And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing, and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed".
Well, you notice the three components of this promise, this covenant God made with Abraham, first of all, it began with a land. "Go to the land that I will show you". You can't have a nation without a land for that nation to inhabit, and God said, "I've got a piece of real estate picked out just for you that will be the place of your new nation". Now, we know what the boundaries of that nation will be, because in Genesis 15:18-21 and Ezekiel 47, God outlines the boundaries, the borders of this new nation he was going to create. It's interesting, that outline is much larger than what Israel is inhabiting today. Today, it's only a fraction of what God promised. In the times of David and Solomon, they possessed the greatest amount of land, but never in Israel's history had they possessed all of the land that God had planned for them. Anybody who divides the land is on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of God.
God said, "This is my land and it belongs to my people". The promise was a land, and also, secondly, God promised a nation. He said, "I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing," and he goes on to say, "I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse". Now, God has blessed America because of America's support for Israel, and when you support Israel, you are not only on the right side of history, you are on the right side of God. May America stand firm in her commitment to God's chosen people. God said, "I'm going to make you a great nation". He promised a land, a nation, thirdly, God promised a blessing. Look at this, in verse three, "In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed".
Now, people have wondered, "What is that worldwide blessing that would come through Israel"? We don't have to wonder about it or speculate about it, God is very clear: that worldwide blessing was a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offers salvation to anyone of any nation who believes. How do I know that? Look at what the Word of God says in Galatians 3:6-8, "Even so," Paul writes, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham. The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand," to whom? "To Abraham, saying, 'all the nations will be blessed in you'". Paul said that promise of a worldwide blessing, God was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to Abraham. That is the worldwide blessing.
Now, I want you to notice something in verse seven that's very important to understand. Paul says, "Be sure that it is those who are of faith, who are sons of Abraham". The people to whom this Abrahamic covenant applies are Jews, yes, but it is believing Jews. Believing Jews. We've talked about the components of the Abrahamic covenant. God said, "I'm going to give you a land, I'm going to give you a nation, I'm going to give you a blessing". Now, I want you to notice the characteristics of this covenant. First of all, the promise is a literal promise. God actually said, "I'm going to give you a literal land to go to". You know, a lot of people want to try to spiritualize the land. They'll say, "Well, it's not a real piece of real estate over in the Middle East, nobody cares about that. The land is heaven. Canaan is referring to heaven. Abraham was looking for a heavenly fulfillment". Ultimately, he was.
Hebrews 11:10 said he was looking for a city, whose architect and founder is God, but that didn't negate the fact that he was looking for an earthly land, as well, to go to. How do I know that? Look at what Abraham did after receiving this promise, verses four and five of Genesis 12. "So Abram went forth as the Lord has spoken to him, and lot went with him. Now, Abram was 75 years old when he departed from heron, and Abram took Sarai, his wife, and lot, his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired, and they set out for the land of Canaan. Thus, they came to the land of Canaan". Abraham believed he was going to a real place. He loaded up his family, loaded us up his possessions, and headed toward the Promised Land. When they got there, somebody said they probably looked like the Beverly Hillbillies coming into town, with all their stuff piled high, they'd accumulated for 75 years.
Why go to that trouble if you weren't going to a literal land? It was literal. Secondly, God's promise was eternal. Look, in Genesis 13:14-15, "The Lord said to Abram, after lot had separated from him, 'now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, for all the land, which you see, I will give it to you and your descendants'", for how long? Forever. You know, forever is a long time. Have you stopped to think of how long forever is?
This promise is literal, it's eternal, but here's the most important part, it is unconditional, it is unconditional. You know, there's some Christians who will say, "Okay, I concede, you're right, God gave a promise to the Israelites," and it would've been theirs if they had obeyed God, but when they rejected Jesus as Messiah, God canceled the promise, and he transferred it to the church, and so the church of Jesus Christ is the new Israel. All of the blessings that belonged to Israel now belong to the church. That land? It's now a heavenly land, heaven. That organism is no longer Israel, it is the church. We are the new Israel. Now, what are we to say to that? What are we to say about Israel's rejection of Christ? Did it have any consequences? Of course it did. Of course it did, but that doesn't negate the fact that God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
God said, "This is an unconditional covenant. Regardless of what Israel does or doesn't do, I'm going to keep my promise, because I have sworn by my own faithfulness to do so". Perhaps the greatest evidence that this covenant was an unconditional covenant is the way that covenant was ratified. In the Old Testament times, people had a way of signifying, of ratifying a contract between two kings, they had a way to seal the deal, if you would. Once they had agreed on the terms of the contract, if it was a bilateral contract, each responsibility was enumerated that each king had to follow, once they had finished, to ratify the covenant, they would take a group of animals, different animals, and they would slice those animals in two, and they would place one half of the animal on one side, the other half on the other, and leave a pathway in between, and then the two kings would each take a flaming torch, and they would walk side by side between the animal pieces to ratify the contract. They were signifying that this contract depended upon the faithfulness of each party to the contract.
So, in Genesis 15, when it came time to ratify the Abrahamic covenant, God told Abraham to do something he already knew, to take the animal pieces and slice them in two to create the path between the animal pieces, but then, something happened. Look at Genesis 15:12. "Now, when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, and behold terror and great darkness fell upon him". Abraham fell asleep. Now, look what happened next, verse 17, "And it came about when the sun had set that it was very dark and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces". In other words, when Abraham was sound asleep, God alone walked between those animal pieces, signifying that the ratification of this covenant didn't depend on anything Abraham would do or not do. He was asleep.
This covenant depended on the faithfulness of God himself. How do I know that? Am I reading too much into it? Listen to what Hebrews 6:13-14 says, "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, saying, 'i will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you'". God said, "There's no other name I can swear by, so I'm swearing by my own faithfulness that I'm going to do what I've promised to do for Abraham and his descendants". Now, you're probably thinking, "What in the world has this to do with the end times? I thought we were studying the end times. What does this have to do with the end times"? Everything. Perhaps you're thinking today, "Well, that's great, if you're a Jew, but I'm not a Jew. Why should I care about this covenant"?
Well, the fact is, if you're a gentile believer, like I am, we get grafted in to the tree of blessing, Abraham's blessing. We don't replace the Jewish people, but we get some residual benefits of a Savior, who has saved us forever, but here's the more important way, even, that this applies to us. "Just as God has made an unconditional promise to Israel, he has made some unconditional promises to you and me that depend completely on his own faithfulness". In John 10:28, Jesus said, "I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish. No man shall snatch out of my hands those whom the father has given me". In Hebrews 7:25, it says, "He shall save to the uttermost, those who come to God through Christ". Hebrews 13 says, "I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you".
Now, how do we know God's going to keep his promise? What if we die, we stand before God in judgment, and he said, "Now, I know I told you earlier you're going to be saved by grace and not by works, but I've changed my mind. I've decided that's letting you off too easy. I'm going to judge you by your works, regardless of what I said. I get to make covenants and change covenants if I want to, and so I'm going to change the deal. I'm going to judge you today by your works," and he opens the books and says, "Mm-mm, not good enough. Depart from me. I never knew you". What is it that keeps God from changing his mind and changing the covenant? It is his faithfulness. Romans 11:29 says, "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable," and because we can trust in God's faithfulness, and the promises he has made to us, so it is also because of God's faithfulness that God will fulfill his promises to Israel in the end times.