Does modern Israel fulfill Bible prophecy? Many claim that it does. They often cite Old Testament prophecies of restoration of the promised land to Israel. Frequently, they cite verses that seem to indicate fleshly Israel would have this land forever.
Many also claim that many Jews will accept Jesus as the Messiah, or that God will never forsake his people, meaning fleshly Jews. Are these views correct? More importantly, are they scriptural? Let’s examine this issue in light of the Bible.
“So now, if you are really prepared to obey me and keep my covenant, you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession, for the whole world is mine... and the people all replied with one accord, ‘Whatever Yahweh has said, we will do.’ Moses then reported to Yahweh what the people had said.” (Ex 19:5-8 NJB) It was clear that the Sinaitic or Mosaic Law Covenant that God entered with the Nation of Israel was conditional, dependent upon their obedience to God. They agreed to obey all Yahweh commanded them.
“Moses went and told the people all Yahweh’s words and all the laws, and all the people answered with one voice, ‘All the words Yahweh has spoken we will carry out!’ Moses put all Yahweh’s words into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent certain young Israelites to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice bullocks to Yahweh as communion sacrifices. Moses then took half the blood and put it into basins, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then, taking the Book of the Covenant, he read it to the listening people, who then said, ‘We shall do everything that Yahweh has said; we shall obey.’ Moses then took the blood and sprinkled it over the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has made with you, entailing all these stipulations.'” (Ex 24:38- NJB) This covenant was officially ratified by animal sacrifices, and officially accepted by the nation. It was a very serious and responsible contract into which they entered.
“When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.” (Lev 19:33-34 HCSB) Thirty-six times in the Old Testament, God warns Jews to be compassionate to strangers and aliens.
“Very well, tell them, ‘The Lord Yahweh says this: You eat blood, you raise your eyes to your foul idols, you shed blood; are you to own the country? You rely on your swords, you engage in loathsome practices, each of you defiles his neighbour’s wife; are you to own the country?’ Tell them this, ‘The Lord Yahweh says this: As I live, I swear it, those in the ruins will fall to the sword, those in the countryside I shall give to the wild animals for them to eat, and those among the crags and in caves will die of plague. I shall make the country a desolate waste, and the pride of its strength will be at an end. The mountains of Israel will be deserted and no one will pass that way again. Then they will know that I am Yahweh, when I make the country a desolate waste because of all the filthy things they have done.'” (Eze 33:25-29 NJB) Murdering innocent people, etc. meant forfeiture of the God-given land, a denial of Abraham’s faith. (Jer 17:4)
The assertion that the founding of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 means God ordained and blessed these Jews has no basis in scripture.
“But if you do not obey the voice of Yahweh your God, and do not keep and observe all his commandments and laws which I am laying down for you today then all these curses will befall and overtake you. You will be accursed in the town and accursed in the countryside.” (Dt 28:15-16 NJB) “Just as Yahweh used to delight in making you happy and in making your numbers grow, so will he take delight in ruining you and destroying you. You will be torn from the country which you are about to enter and make your own. Yahweh will scatter you throughout every people, from one end of the earth to the other; there you will serve other gods made of wood and stone, hitherto unknown either to you or to your ancestors.” (Dt 28:63-64 NJB) It is clear that the Israelites’ right to the land was conditional.
“You must keep my laws… if you defile the land, it will vomit you out.” (Lev 18:24-28 NIV) It is clear that the Israelites’ claim to the land was conditioned on obedience.
“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit. [Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whoever it falls, it will grind him to powder!]’ When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they knew He was speaking about them.” (Mt 21:43-45 HCSB) They were deported from the land in the first century because of their rejection of the Messiah. The nation of Israel broke the Law covenant; therefore, God cancelled the covenant at the murder of his Son, Jesus.
Israeli seizure and colonization of Palestine is equivalent to Ahab’s theft of Naboth’s vineyard:
“Some time passed after these events. Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard; it was in Jezreel next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, ‘Give me your vineyard so I can have it for a vegetable garden, since it is right next to my palace. I will give you a better vineyard in its place, or if you prefer, I will give you its value in silver.’
But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘I will never give my fathers’ inheritance to you.’
So Ahab went to his palace resentful and angry because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had told him. He had said, ‘I will not give you my fathers’ inheritance.’ He lay down on his bed, turned his face away, and didn’t eat any food.
Then his wife Jezebel came to him and said to him, ‘Why are you so upset that you refuse to eat?’
‘Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite,’ he replied. ‘I told him: Give me your vineyard for silver, or if you wish, I will give you a vineyard in its place. But he said, ‘I won’t give you my vineyard!”
Then his wife Jezebel said to him, ‘Now, exercise your royal power over Israel. Get up, eat some food, and be happy. For I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’ So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal. She sent the letters to the elders and nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. In the letters, she wrote:
Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people. Then seat two wicked men opposite him and have them testify against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king!’ Then take him out and stone him to death.
The men of his city, the elders and nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had commanded them, as was written in the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people. The two wicked men came in and sat opposite him. Then the wicked men testified against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king!’ So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’
When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite who refused to give it to you for silver, since Naboth isn’t alive, but dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite to take possession of it.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Get up and go to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria. You’ll find him in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you murdered and also taken possession?’ Then tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where the dogs licked Naboth’s blood, the dogs will also lick your blood!”
Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So, you have caught me, my enemy.’
He replied, ‘I have caught you because you devoted yourself to do what is evil in the Lord’s sight. This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on you and will sweep away your descendants:
I will eliminate all of Ahab’s males,
both slave and free, in Israel;
I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked My anger and caused Israel to sin. The Lord also speaks of Jezebel: The dogs will eat Jezebel in the plot of land at Jezreel:
He who belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, the dogs will eat,
and he who dies in the field, the birds of the sky will eat.”
Still, there was no one like Ahab, who devoted himself to do what was evil in the Lord’s sight, because his wife Jezebel incited him. ” (1 Kings 21:1-25 HCSB)
“These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. As Isaiah said,
‘Rejoice, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into a joyful shout,
you who have never been in labor!
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband!’
And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.
But what do the Scriptures say about that? ‘Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.’ So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.” (Gal 4:24-31 NLT) Jerusalem – dependency criticized.
“‘So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?’ Jesus replied, ‘Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.'” (John 4:20-23 NLT) Access to God no longer has anything to do with Jerusalem. Notice the key phrase in verse 21: “It will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.” Why? The new covenant has nothing to do with physical location. Geography is now irrelevant.