Yes, God loves the nation of Israel “for the forefathers sake” (Romans 11:28), and considers them the “apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). But the Jews’ modern national restoration as manifest in the State of Israel is first and foremost about Him and restoring the sanctity of His name among the nations.
Early on in the Bible we see Moses leveraging the Lord’s good name to convince the Almighty to spare the rebellious Israelites.
But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’?” (Exodus 32:11-12)
Moses was aware of God’s zeal for His own name to be lifted up and made known among the nations (Exodus 9:16).
No passage demonstrates this more clearly than Isaiah 48:9-11, which reads:
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
“For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
And this passage also speaks very clearly as to why God could not leave Israel forever in exile after having chosen her as His special possession (Deut. 7:6) and inheritance (Deut. 32:9).
What would the nations say?!
Surely it would reflect poorly on His name should Israel be cast aside. This already begins to call into question the Christian notion of “Replacement Theology.” If God chose poorly in Israel, or was ultimately unable to make of His people what He originally intended, then that doesn’t say much for Him as an omnipotent and all-powerful deity.
It was precisely to silence such nonsense that God made good on His promises, that He made abundantly clear to the entire world that He keeps covenant by restoring life to the dry bones of Israel.
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds. …So I poured out my wrath upon them… I scattered them among the nations… But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’” (Ezekiel 16-20)
It’s not that Israel went into exile cursing the name of God. But the very fact they had to be punished in such manner after having had an intimate relationship with Him was a defilement of His name.
The Lord, however, had concern for His holy name.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name… I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations… And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 22-23)
Did you get that last part?
The Lord God of heaven and earth chose to vindicate His holy name through Israel’s restoration.
That’s what it’s all about. And it’s all right there in Scripture, printed in black and white. Which makes it all the more astonishing that there are still presumably-Bible-believing churches that actively stand against this miraculous restoration by joining worldly efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state.
Their arguments that the State of Israel is imperfect and commits crimes (though typically the allegations are exaggerated or false) are irrelevant from a spiritual point of view. This is not about Israel’s worthiness. It is about His name. The Bible could not be more clear on that point.
It would be advisable, I think, to find a new church if yours falls on the wrong side of this debate. Because there is nothing for which God is more jealous than His own name.
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