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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - God's Plan for Israel and the World

Skip Heitzig - God's Plan for Israel and the World

Skip Heitzig - God's Plan for Israel and the World
Skip Heitzig - God's Plan for Israel and the World
TOPICS: Heart and Soul, Book of Romans, God's Plan, Israel

Good morning. Great to see your faces. Welcome. Next week, we have Franklin Graham. Please think about who you're going to bring with you to hear a very, very unashamed representative of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who does work all over the world in helping people through their tragedy and miseries. But also is a very, very bold proclaimant of the Gospel. So we're thrilled he'll be here next weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

Would you turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Romans chapter 11. Romans chapter 11. It'll be a very different study than perhaps what you're used to, simply by the nature of the text itself. The sermon is always dictated by the texts that we cover. Were in Romans chapter 11 this morning. Some people know the Bible really well, but they misapply it or they misquote it. And sometimes, it's novel and even funny when they do. For instance, there was a pastor who took on a pastor opportunity in a little rural community, a farming community. The church was quite small. He was new to the community.

So he thought that he would visit everybody in the church, pay a visit to them, get to know them. They could get to know him. He went out one day and visited a family that lived on a farm nearby. A nice home, the cars were in the driveway. Obviously, people were home. Music was blaring through the house. The door was open. The screen door was shut. So he knew somebody was there. He knocked on the door. There was no answer. He knocked again. A dog came out, licked him. So he knew somebody has got to be here. Knocked again, no answer.

So the pastor took his business card out and left it on the doorknob, but wrote, underneath his name, he wrote, Revelation 3:20, which is a text that says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Clever. Left it there, walked away. Sunday morning, one of the deacons in his church came up with that card, it had been left in the offering plate by that family, and said, I don't understand what this is about. And there was this card, where he had written Revelation 3:20. And underneath was written, Genesis 3:10. The Deacon said, what's this about? The pastor looked at it and he smiled, and he said, well, you know Revelation 3:20 is, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Genesis 3:10 is, "I heard your voice and I was afraid, for I was naked. So I hid."

Again, very clever. But most of the time, when a person misapplies a text of Scripture or misquotes it, it's not all that funny. Let me explain. In Rome, when Paul wrote the book of Romans, there was already a belief that was developing that God was done with the nation of Israel. He had finished working with them nationally. Simply put, since Israel rejected Christ, God had now rejected them. That was the belief system that was developing, for a very obvious reason. The Church that began in Jerusalem, all Jewish, was now mostly Gentile in the rest of the world. Most of the congregations by that time are smattered throughout the modern world, Rome, Asia Minor, were all non-Jewish people.

So notice how he begins Romans 11, verse 1. "I say then, has God cast away his people? Certainly not. For I also am in Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew." Go all the way down now to verse 25. This is really where we're going to center our comments, just because of, we don't have the time to go through it. Beginning in verse 25, the next few verses are a summary of the whole chapter. "For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion that blindness, in part, has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written. The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

"For this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins. Concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable." Has God cast away his people? That's how he opens the chapter. Has God disowned his people? Has God rejected his people? And how does Paul answer that? No way, Jose. Or certainly not. But some would say, yes, God has rejected Israel nationally. They call themselves amillennialists.

Now, I don't want to wax theological on you today. But I want you to understand the term. You know what a millennium is. It means 1,000 years. And amillennialist, to put a negative prefix, simply means there is no millennium. It is to deny the earthly 1,000 year kingdom. It is to deny all the promises of God to Israel, saying that all the promises that God made to the Jews in the Old Testament were forfeited by Israel because Israel rejected Jesus Christ, their messiah. Titus came and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.

So, they say, all those promises God made to the Jews will not be fulfilled in the Jews but are fulfilled in the Church. We, they say, we are the Israel of God. He will not revive Israel nationally. They even say that the millennium is not really a millennium. It's not literal. It's figurative. It's allegorical. That the millennium takes place between the first coming and second coming of Christ. In other words, we're in it right now. I just gotta say, if we're in the millennium right now, after all that I've read about the Kingdom age in Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and Zachariah, and Revelation, et cetera, I am very disappointed if this is it. And I wonder why God spent the whole book of Revelation to tell us what is actually not going to happen.

Amillennialism spiritualizes the text of Scripture. Not all of it. But the prophetic texts of Scripture, prophecy, last time events, eschatology. Eschatology means the teaching or the doctrine of the end times, especially the second coming of Christ, the events that precede it, and the events that come after it. When I say spiritualize a text, it is a method or process of interpretation that disregards the plain meaning of the text. Now, I think you know that most of us here believe in a very plain interpretation of the Biblical text. We take it literally.

Our approach is what's called a grammatical, historical interpretation. That is, we read a text of the Scripture. We take it's plain meaning. We take it in context. We regard the history in which it was written, the background in which it was written, the syntax and the grammar. That is the grammatical, historical interpretation of the Bible. Unless the text itself compels us to see it as figurative, and the text will do that. There's obvious figurative language. Unless the text does that, a plain rendering of the text, the plain meaning of the text is how we approach it. Where plain sense makes good sense, to seek any other sense is nonsense.

I agree with Vance Habner, who wrote, "It's always easier to understand what the Bible says than to understand what somebody thinks it meant to say." How many times do people say to you, well, I know the Bible says that, but it didn't mean that. What does it mean? I'll tell you what it means. Now, the question is, where did all this start? Well, it started when Paul was writing this letter. There was already this development. Since there are so many non-Jewish people, and you are quoting to us Old Testament scripture that God made to the Jews, it seems like God has rejected them in favor of us. We are now the new Israel.

But the ball really got started rolling, in terms of a movement of amillenialism, with a guy by the name of a Augustine. You've heard of Augustine, St. Augustine. He borrowed that idea from guys like Justin Martyr, origen. O-R-I-G-E-N was one of the Church fathers who first started allegorizing the text of Scripture, making it mean all sorts of weird things. But Augustine really got the ball rolling, especially influencing, at his time, the Roman Catholic Church. So today, amillennialism is the view of the Catholic church, the Greek Orthodox church, the Russian Orthodox church, the Lutheran church the Presbyterian church, the Anglican church, the Episcopalian church, and the Church of Christ.

All of those congregations largely opt for the idea that all the promises God made to Israel are over with. They are fulfilled in the Church. There is no literal 1,000 year reign of Christ from Israel in the future. Well, Paul addresses that in three chapters of the book of Romans, specifically in the 11th chapter. He's very clear-cut about that. And because it's a lengthy chapter though, we're going to look at a few verses, besides what we just read to you.

I want to give you three summary statements. Three summary statements about God's plan for Israel and the world. Blindness is on Israel presently. That's number one. Benefits are given simultaneously. That's number two. In other words, yes, that is true. But that has allowed God to bless in another way. And finally, number three, blessings will happen ultimately. Let's begin with the first. Blindness is on Israel presently. Verse 25. "I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery lest you should be wise in your own opinion that blindness, in part, has happened to Israel." Stop right there. In verse 25, when he says the word Israel, what is he referring to? Israel. Israel means Israel. Literally, Israel.

Israel in verse 25 is the same thing as in verse 1, when he says, "Has God cast away his people?" His people are the Jewish people. Because he says, certainly not. "I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." Israel is his people. It's also the same as what he wrote about in chapter 9, verse 3. Do you remember what he said? He goes, "I have continual sorrow in my heart over my brethren, my countrymen, which are Israelites according to the flesh." So Israel are God's covenant people, and Paul was one of them. I also am one, he says.

But blindness has overtaken them. Stupor has fallen upon them, especially in interpreting the Old Testament scripture, especially those scriptures that refer to the coming messiah . In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul writes, "But their minds were blinded." Same language, they're blinded. "For until this day, the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart."

I get this question all the time. If this is true, then why don't more Jewish people believe it? Paul says, I can answer that. I'm one of them. It's called blindness. There's a blindness over them. There is a national blindness, though there is a remnant, there are some who believe. Paul was one of them, the early Church in Jerusalem were others. There's a blindness.

Today, in Israel- by the way, there's a real nation still in existence today, called the Nation of Israel. Happened since 1948, May 14th of 1948, the modern State of Israel was born. When that happened, just a few years ago, 70 years ago, 1948, 71 years ago. Guess how many Jews in Israel believed in Jesus as their messiah. Twenty three, in the whole country. Only 23 Jews in Israel in 1948 believe Jesus was the Messiah. Today, over 30,000 of them believe Jesus is the Messiah. That's quite a growth.

However, the population of Israel today is nine million people, 6.6 million of which are Jewish. So it's a fraction of a percent of those in Israel who believe in Jesus. The rest do not. Why do they not? Blindness. Blindness. Go back to verse 7. What then, Israel has not obtained what it seeks, but the elective obtained it. And the rest were blinded. Just as it is written, God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day. And David says, let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened so that they do not see, and bow down their back always.

There is a blindness. It's true. It's undeniable. Jesus himself even spoke of this blindness. When he came into the city of Jerusalem, toward the end of his ministry, to present himself to the Jewish nation, He said, if only you had known, even you, especially in this, your day, the things that make for your peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes. That's blindness. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you, and close you in on every side, and level you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation. What is he doing? He's predicting the fall of Jerusalem under Titus in 70 AD, when the Romans came in and destroyed that city.

Blindness has happened to them. And because they rejected Jesus as their messiah, they lost everything. They lost their temple. They lost their national identity for 2,000 years. They lost their land. And worst of all, they lost eternal life. Jesus said, you are not willing to come to me that you might have life.

Life was available. It could have happened for you. Your messiah has come. The fulfillment is here. But you would not come to me that you might have a life.

So blindness is on Israel presently. But God has preserved them. God has brought them back from captivity. After 70 years in Babylon, back to the land. After a couple thousand years of dispersion, they've been back on the land since 1948. The question is why. Why are they there? Why do they keep coming back?

Let me just say that if you study Jewish history, and you should, if you study Jewish history and you still don't believe in miracles, you are not a realist. It is nothing short of miraculous. What other nation has ever survived as a distinct race after 400 years of slavery, after two total destructions, after multiple deportations, after 2,000 years of dispersion, and a Holocaust?

Jerusalem has been fought over numerous times in its history. It's been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times. Here's the miracle of Israel. There's nine million people. If you ever go to Israel, here's what you're going to notice. It feels safe. It feels peaceful. The economy is thriving. It's robust. It's crowded. More and more people are coming into it all the time.

But what's odd about it is you have 9 million people surrounded by a hundred million enemies who don't want Israel in their neighborhood, some of which want it completely annihilated. And bombs are going off at the border from some of these countries to destroy it.

So the question is, will Israel survive in the future? And why has she survived in the past? If God has cast away His people, why are they back in their own land? Could something be happening for the future?

Well, that's the first summary statement. Blindness is on Israel presently. That's verse 25.

Here's the second summary statement. Yes, blindness is on Israel presently, but benefits are given simultaneously. That blindness has brought a benefit in another place. I want you to see it, verse 25. "I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion that blindness. In part, has happened to Israel until..." I commend that you studied the "untils" of the Bible. They're quite revelatory. ",until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."

Yes. Israel has nationally rejected Jesus as their messiah. That's tragic. But that tragedy has opened a door to the Gentiles. And today, God is mainly dealing with us. Because they rejected Him, He's offered to the world.

Remember the apostle Paul said, you know, God sent me to Israel. And he'd always go to the synagogue first, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. He'd always go to the synagogue. And one day, because he kept getting rejected, he said, OK. If you deem yourselves unworthy of eternal life, I am going to the Gentiles. And he became known as the apostle to the Gentiles.

But God had promised Abraham a nation, a future. He made a covenant with Abraham. And God said that in you, all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

Have you ever stopped to consider how much Israel has blessed the world? Let me frame it for you. Of all of the world's population, 0.2%, not even 1% of world population is Jewish. A fraction of 1% is Jewish in world population. And yet, they have captured 20% of the Nobel Peace Prizes ever given. They have captured over 30% of all the honors in music, science, and literature.

If you've ever taken an aspirin, you should be mindful that a Jewish man by the name of Friedrich Bayer, Bayer aspirin, is the one whose pharmaceutical company developed it. If you've ever been vaccinated for polio, you should thank two Jewish man, Dr. Albert Sabin and Dr. Jonas Salk.

If you've ever gone to the dentist and had your gums numbed, deadened so you wouldn't have pain with Novocaine, you can thank Dr. Albert Einhorn, a Jewish chemist. If you've ever had a bacterial infection and be given streptomycin, it was discovered by Dr. Abraham Waxman, a Jewish physician.

If you've ever, God forbid, been tested for syphilis, you can thank Dr. Snoezelen, who developed the Wasserman test, Jewish. If you've ever gone to college and studied the DNA molecule, it was two Jewish gentlemen, by the name of James Watson and Francis Crick, that first developed that double helix coil model of the DNA. And if you've ever been forgiven of your sins, it's because a Jewish Savior did it, Jesus, our Messiah.

The point of Paul, in Romans 11, is yep, blindness has happened to them. But that blindness is temporary. And that temporary blindness has opened a door of faith to us. We've been brought in because of it.

Go down to verse 15. I told you I'd be fishing around some of these verses. "For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world..." opened the door for Gentiles, "what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For the first fruit is holy, than the lump is also holy. If the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them and with them became a partaker of the root and the fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you."

Olives have always been important in Mediterranean countries. In the ancient Mediterranean world, it was a commercial mainstay. Even today, go to the Mediterranean world, go to Israel with us, you'll see olive trees in production everywhere.

Did you know that olive trees can live for hundreds of years? And though the tree, the root, can live on and on, what happens is individual branches can stop producing olives. So you know what they do when those branches stop producing? Cut them off. They lop them off. And they take branches from younger trees, off the younger trees, bore a hole in the old trunk of the old tree, and graft in a young olive branch so that the older trunks can be restored to productivity.

That's the analogy. And it's a plain analogy. The old productive branches, the Israelites, were broken off. That's the blindness that happened. And then branches from a wild olive tree, that's us, Gentiles, were grafted in. That's the simultaneous benefit. It means we get our sap, our energy, our nourishment from the covenant promises God gave to Israel.

We are tapped into the trunk of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the others, not as a replacement of Israel, but in addition to Israel, to add fruit for the Kingdom. Jesus, in Matthew 21 said, "Have you never read the scriptures, the stones which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes. Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a people who will produce its fruit." That's the Gentiles grafted in, temporarily. Temporarily.

In John 10, Jesus said, and using a different analogy now, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Them, also, I must bring, and they will hear my voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd." So we've been brought in, grafted into the blessing of God to the Jewish people. This is why no Christian can be anti-Semitic. We owe them way too much.

They gave us our heritage. They gave us our Bible. They gave us our Messiah. That's why He says, "Don't boast against the root. The root support you."

Back diverse 25. What does this mean exactly, "the fullness of the Gentiles"? It says, "Blindness, in part, has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles..." what does that mean? How many of you have a New International Version you're reading from today? Lift your hand up. OK. It says something different. It doesn't say, "The fullness of the Gentiles." It says "the full number of the Gentiles," right?

Anybody within an NLT, New Living Translation? It says, "the complete number." these are better renderings of this verse. The complete or full number. That is the Church. It indicates that there is a number among the Gentiles, that will one day be the very last Gentile, the full number of the Gentiles.

After Israel rejected Christ and the Jerusalem church met together, they were scratching their little kipas on their heads, trying to figure out what was happening. Because now all these Gentiles were hearing the Gospel. And remember, the very first Gentile was a guy by the name of Cornelius. And Peter was very scared to even go into his house. He came into his house, and instead of going, hey, I'm happy to be here, gave him a hug and said, you know, I shouldn't be here because I'm Jewish and you're not.

But he believed. And Peter said, God has told me I can never call common or unclean that which God has cleansed. So Peter, in that Jerusalem council, said, "You know that God chose among us that the Gentiles should hear the Word of God and believe." So Cornelius was the first. And there have been millions, and millions, and millions of us since Cornelius.

One day, the very last one is going to be saved. And when that happens, that will be the fullness of the Gentiles, the full number of the Gentiles. When the present age runs its course, when the Church is filled with the last Gentile believer, I believe the rapture of the Church will happen. God will collect his Saints on the Earth, 1 Thessalonians tells us, and begin again dealing with the nation of Israel.

So if you've ever studied Daniel's 70 weeks, if you've ever wondered why it's put that way, why there's a gap between the 69th and 70th week, you know, it says there will be 70 weeks of years, 490 years. There'll be 69 of them, 483 years. But then there's sort of like, he deals with that last week, that seven year period alone.

Why is that? Why the gap? The gap is the Church. And when the Church age is done and we're taken up in the rapture of the Church, that's when the domino tips. And that last seven-year period, that last 70th week of Daniel, is also called the Tribulation Period, seven year period. It's also called, get this, Jacob's trouble, or Israel's trouble. God again begins to deal with the nation of Israel.

So let me just say to any of you non-Jewish people out there who have resisted the Gospel this long. You might be the last Gentile saved before that happens. Could be. So do us all a favor. Give your life to Christ, like, now. Let's get this show on the road. Of course, God is sovereign in all of that. I'm not denying that. So blindness is on Israel presently, but benefits are given simultaneously. Now number three, a blessing will happen ultimately. Look at verse 26. Let's do 25 and 26 together. They have to be read together.

"I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, that you should be wise in your own opinion. Blindness, in part, has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so, all Israel will be, what? "All Israel will be saved, as it is written. Now he's quoting Isaiah 59. The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my Covenant with them, when I take away their sins." That's forgiveness, folks. That's restoration. There's only one way to be saved. That is, believe in Jesus Christ as the savior.

Concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are the beloved for the sake of the fathers. The fathers are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." I've heard that quoted so many times out of context. It specifically remembers God's promises to the nation of Israel.

OK, I want you to notice something. I want you to notice a contrast. Look, for example, in verse 11. Notice the words "stumbled" and "fall." Look in verse 12, the word "fall" shows up again, and "failure." Verse 15, "cast away." Verse 17, "broken off." All of this language speaks of the experiences and consequences of national Israel, because they rejected their messiah. They've stumbled, fallen. They have failed. They've been cast away. They've been broken off.

But now compare that to these words, verse 11, "salvation." Verse 12, "fullness." Verse 15, "acceptance" and "life from the dead." Yes, their rejection has caused God to set them aside temporarily, but they will be restored ultimately. Now, what does it mean when it says, "all Israel will be saved"? All Israel will be saved. So I looked it up. I looked up the term, "all Israel." All Israel. It shows up 156 times in the Old Testament. Whenever it shows up, it doesn't speak of all Jews of all times in history. It always speaks of all Jews alive at one particular time, in one particular instance. So it is used that way.

So when He says, "All Israel will be saved," is not every Jew who ever lived. It's those Jews at the time of Christ's return, who will see Him and will receive Him at that time. In the future tribulation period, the Jewish nation will believe in Jesus Christ. We already know, from our study of Revelation, there's going to be 144,000 Jews saved. It says 12,000 from each tribe. Tribes are mentioned. Whether a person knows his tribe or not is irrelevant. God knows. 144,000 Jewish people saved in the tribulation period. They become evangelists all over the world. Can you imagine? 144, you know what Paul the Apostle did. Imagine 144,000 apostle Paul's running around. That's a power. That's a force.

We also know, in Revelation 11, there will be two witnesses that preach from what city? Jerusalem. The world will be able to hear them and see them, probably by simulcast television. But by the end of their ministry, it says the city of Jerusalem will glorify God. In that future time of trouble, during that tribulation period, the blindness that has been on Israel will be lifted, will be gone. How will that happen? It will happen at the second coming. And I'm glad you asked. In Zacharia, chapter 12, I'm going to read a couple verses. Wish I had time to go through the whole book or a few chapters, but of course, I don't.

Revelation 12, verse 10. Listen to this. "And I will pour out on the House of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of Grace and supplication. And they will look on me whom they have pierced." Why is that an odd statement? God is speaking it. They will look on me whom they have pierced. How can God, who is Spirit, ever be pierced? There's only one answer I can find. That Spirit has to become incarnate in flesh. "They will look on me whom they have pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for his own son and grieve for Him as one grieves for a first born. In that day, there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem." What is that mourning? They'll recognize He has been the Messiah all along.

Chapter 13, verse 1 continues, "In that day, a fountain shall be open for the House of David, for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness." There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emanuel's veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. There's only one way to be forgiven of your sins. And that's through the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Israel, in that day, will recognize He is the one. They will turn back to Him. And all Israel will be saved. Now listen to what Jesus said. This is Matthew 23, verse 39. "For I tell you..." He says this in Jerusalem, in the temple precincts. "For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." One day the nation will say that. The nation will receive him.

And if you think it's impossible for Israel to come to Christ, look at Paul the Apostle. He was a anti-Christian. He was so nationalistic against Christians, so pro-Jewish, so blind. He admitted it. Said, I was one of them. And if you say God can't save all of Israel, how do you explain God saving the millions of Gentiles ever since Israel rejected Him? God can do it. And He will do it. So in closing, Israel is really God's yardstick. By Israel, He measures time. By Israel, He measures other nations. Even though God knows those people, even though God knows who He's dealing with.

Eight times, in the Bible, God calls them stiff-necked. seven times God refers to them as stubborn. This is in the Old Testament, in the law. Three times, God says they do what is right in their own eyes. They complained in Egypt. They complained in the wilderness. They complained in the Promised Land. They persisted, and fell away, and disobeyed, and were taken into captivity. They worshipped idols and they rejected their messiah. Yet, yet, yet, God's calling is irrevocable, irreversible. He will persist in his covenant with Abraham. He will save 144,000 of them, and seal them in the tribulation period.

The nation, when Christ returns, will receive him as Messiah. In the millennial kingdom, for 1,000 years, he'll rule and reign from Mount Zion in Jerusalem. And in the eternal state, when there is a new heaven and a new earth, there is a new capital city that comes from heaven to earth. Do you remember its name? The New Jerusalem. It's an odd shaped city. It's roughly the size of the moon. It's square. It comes out of heaven. Says there's walls around it with 12 gates. And on the 12 gates are the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Now, Jesus made his apostles a promise. He said, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. If there is no literal Israel, I think Jesus just lied to his disciples. Or he was speaking so figuratively they could never figure out what he was saying. I think it's literally going to happen. There was a King of Prussia, the ancient Germanic area. His name was Frederick the Great. He didn't know what to do with the Bible. So one day, he asked his chaplain for proof. He said, give me proof of the inspiration of the Bible. And the court chaplain said to the king, your majesty, I can answer your request in a single word. The Jew.

You want proof of the inspiration of Scripture? The Jew. The God elected, God selected, God protected people of Israel. God made promises to them. God made some promises that were one-sided. That is, I'm going to do it no matter what you do. And one of them was to Abraham for the land of Israel. Tell you what I walk away with in Romans 11. I come away with this. It reveals to me a God who will not let failure change his determination to bless. We serve a God who knows our failures, our mistakes, our fallings, our proneness to walk away. He knows all that. But when God is determined to change and bless a person, He's going to do it. We serve a faithful God. And to me, that's really Good, Good News.

Our Father, we thank you that all the promises that you make are unchangeable. You promised to Abraham and his descendants a land. You made a covenant with Abraham that was a unilateral covenant, one-sided. You made it. You were going to do it. You announced it. We know that they were in the land you gave them for a while, then kicked out. But you always brought them back. And you predicted those events. And Israel's rejection of their Messiah, though Jesus was offered to them, you knew all about it. You predicted that, as well. And you predicted their fullness, their restoration. Father, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We're instructed to do that in your Word, in the Psalm. Psalm 122, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you." And we pray for that. We know that when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that we're praying for the soon return of our Savior. We're saying, even so, come quickly, because we know there's not going to ever be peace there until the Prince of Peace is ruling and reigning. We're living in some very unusual times, politically and on the world stage. We pray, Lord, that we would stay the course. We thank you for your keeping power of us. Thank you for your faithfulness to us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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