Another highly germane commentary from Greg Laurie:
Hardly a day goes by when we do not hear mention of the nation Israel, or the city of Jerusalem, or the Jewish people in general. Why do these people occupy such a singular position in the world today? Why does the nation Israel, which is 154th among the nations in land size, play such a prominent role in the world today? (You could fit 32 Israels in the state of Texas.)
Why is Jerusalem – not New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, or Beijing – so often mentioned? Answer – because God has chosen the Jewish people. Amos 3:2 says, “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth” (NIV). Why did God choose the Jewish people? Deuteronomy 7:7-8 says, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you” (NKJV). Some would say that God has set aside or cast away the Jewish people, but this is not biblical. The original promises to Abraham and his descendants are not completely fulfilled
The promises to what would later become the nation Israel began with Abraham. God made very specific promises to Abraham and his descendants: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3 NIV).
This is why Satan hates the Jews and is the author of anti-Semitism – because Satan hates what God loves. The anti-Semitism that has been directed toward Jews historically by “Christians” is sinful and wrong. It wasn’t the Jews who put Jesus on the cross; it was our sin.
We see this anti-Semitism going back thousands of years. It goes back to Exodus, with Pharaoh killing Jewish baby boys. Then in Esther, we see the plot to destroy Jews by ancient Iran. Fast-forward to the Holocaust, where 6 million Jewish people died. Those who have “cursed Israel” and the Jewish people have paid a price.
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Rome persecuted the Jews. They collapsed as world powers. Germany, once a world power, was devastated after World War II, and justly so. Spain illustrated this on a national scale as well. In 1492, Jews were told to leave Spain or convert to Catholicism. None of their money or possessions could be taken with them. Spain collapsed as a world power.
In Genesis 12:7, God says, “To your offspring I will give this land,” and in Genesis 15:18, God makes it clear what the land is: “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” (NIV). In Joshua chapter 1, God reiterates that the land belongs to the descendants of Abraham: “And it happened after the death of Moses the servant of Jehovah, the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, ‘My servant Moses is dead. Now, therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people to the land that I will give him, to the sons of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, I have given that to you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites’” (NKJV).
Israel possessed their land but turned to idolatry, so God banished them to Babylon. After 70 years, they returned, and later we find her occupied by the Romans. This is when Jesus began His public ministry and predicted that Israel would be scattered. They remained scattered for the most part until the end of World War II. God foretold in Scripture that Israel would return to their land. Ezekiel 37 predicted that Israel would rise from graves and return to her land: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!” Therefore prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel.’”‘”
Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke from Auschwitz in Poland. He proclaimed that the return of the Jewish people to their homeland was fulfillment of prophecy. “The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed. Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesied.” The return of the Jews was a “super sign” that started the prophetic time clock ticking.