Although many Christians see the modern state of Israel as a miraculous fulfillment of prophecy, most still do not. Even many Jews denounce the State as being too secular, believing no legitimate national restoration can take place until Messiah comes.
But if God’s hand is truly involved in the creation of Israel today, as most Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists believe, how reverently should it be treated?
I think it is safe to say that Israel has always been a work in progress. It began when God summoned one man from among the nations, Abraham, and promised him the land of Canaan and a myriad of descendants. This prophecy was fulfilled to a degree when the family grew into a mighty nation that dominated the region for a time. Though it eventually crashed and burned for its covenant transgressions, God’s ultimate calling upon Israel to be the light of the world remains. One day a holy nation of righteous descendants will arise to govern the planet as the Messianic Kingdom of God.
Obviously, the Jewish state is not there yet. But surely this nation that was restored from the dustbin of history is on a path to becoming the Israel of God, is it not? Christians in the grip of Replacement Theology would quickly say – absolutely not! That the term “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16) is a New Testament term to be applied only to the Christian Church, and has nothing to do with being Jewish. Or with the land of Israel.
At the other end of the spectrum many Messianic Jews and Christians who do believe the State will evolve into the Israel of God, believe it is only about being Jewish. They say any entity called Israel is exclusively a Jewish province, and that all this nation needs now is for the rest of the Jewish Diaspora to come home so Yeshua can return and set up his kingdom.
I would suggest a third view is closer to the truth.
Surely the “Israel of God” is just another term for the righteous remnant of all Israel. And that we who are in Yeshua, both Jew and non-Jew, are that portion of Abraham’s seed chosen by God to inherit all the promises in Messiah with representatives from all twelve tribes. However, the Jewish State of Israel today is primarily drawn from only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, the descendants of the House of Judah. We are still missing a representative remnant from the scattered ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel to join with Judah in Messiah. Didn’t Yeshua promise his apostles “you will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel?” (Matt. 19:28) Where are these missing descendants if not the reborn followers of Messiah who’ve been coming forth from the nations for the last 2000 years?
But how will this mostly secular State of Israel today, which includes a huge unsaved Arab population and a Christian minority, morph into the Israel of God as described in the Bible? It will take a mighty miracle, for sure! “Who has seen such a thing? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons” (Isa. 66:8)
Best advice is to hold on to your kippa! When God transforms today’s Israel into tomorrow’s Messianic kingdom, the world will never be the same again. Thank God!
Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm