The misunderstandings and various interpretations of this unique word moves us to a careful investigation of how it is used in the Bible:
The term “ISRAEL” is used 2,566 times in the Bible – more than any other subject next to the Lord Himself!
(1) The word refers to a new name for Abraham’s grandson – Jacob – Genesis 32:28; 35:10
(2) The word refers to the twelve tribes who descended from the sons of Jacob – Genesis 49:28
(3) The Bible refers to the “children of Israel” 644 times of which 14 usages are in the New Testament.
(4) The word “Israel” refers to the “nation” that was given the 613 commandments of God – Deuteronomy 4:1, 7-8
(5) The word “Israel” refers to the “land” which was promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Genesis 17:8; 26:3; 35:12; Psalm 105:8-11; Ezekiel 37:11-14
(6) The term is used of the ten northern tribes that separated from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the days of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon – I Kings 12:16-24
(7) The term “Israel” is also used in the New Testament to describe those Jews who became believers in the Messiah; they are called “the Israel of God” – Galatians 6:16
Interestingly, God refers to Himself as “the LORD God of Israel” 108 times, and as the “God of Israel” 203 times.
Out of the 145 usages of the word “nation” in the Bible, at least 55 are used of the “nation of Israel.” Out of over 1700 usages of the word “land” – 31 refer to the words “land of Israel.” The phrase “the land of Canaan” is used 66 times and the Bible makes it very clear that this land was given to the “children of Israel” by God Himself (Deuteronomy 32:49; Numbers 13:2). It is inescapable to deny the prophetic presence of both the “nation” and the “land of Israel.” It is impossible to “spiritualize” or “allegorize” the term “Israel” when it speaks of itself as a “nation” and a “land.”
The following three issues are related to the subject of “THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MODERN STATE OF ISRAEL”:
1A. THE PROMISE OF A LAND
1B. The DIMENSIONS of the land were determined by God Himself – Genesis 15:18
2B. The DESIRE of God for the land is constant – Deuteronomy 11:10-12
3B. The DESCENDANTS to whom God gave this land are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Genesis 12:7; 13:14; 15:18; 17:7-8, 18-19; 26:3; 28:3-4, 13-15; 35:11-12; 48:3-4; 50:24
4B. The DECLARATIONS of the Lord to the children of Israel when they were in bondage in Egypt are clear – Exodus 3:8, 15-17; 6:1-8; 13:5, 11; 15:17; 32:13; Leviticus 25:38
5B. The DISOBEDIENCE of God’s people did NOT forfeit their right to the land in the future – Leviticus 26:40-45; Deut. 30:3-5; Jeremiah 16:15; 31:10, 35-37
6B. The DECISION to give the land to the nation of Israel was based on an everlasting covenant – I Chronicles 16:15-18; Psalm 105:8-11
7B. The DETAILS of the land’s productivity cannot be symbolical – Ezekiel 36:8
8B. The DWELLING of Israel in the land in the future is clearly predicted in Bible prophecy – Ezekiel 37:11-14; Zechariah 12:1-14
9B. The DETERMINATION of nations to remove Israel from its land will NOT be successful – Psalm 83:1-5; Amos 9:13-15
10B. The final DESTINY of Israel in its land is in the hands of the Lord – Ezekiel 39:25-29
2A. THE PROBLEM OF UNBELIEF
1B. The RESURRECTION of Ezekiel 37:1-14
1C. Is this the resurrection of OT believers mentioned in Daniel 12?
2C. Is this referring to the resurrection of individuals or the nation?
3C. Is this referring to Isaiah 66:8?
NOTE: The phrase “the whole house of Israel” is used 5 times including Ezekiel 37:11 – cf. Leviticus 10:6; Jeremiah 13:11; Ezekiel 39:25; 45:6. The simple phrase “the house of Israel” is 152 times (6 in the New Testament) – and refers repeatedly to Israel as a nation and as an unbelieving and rebellious nation.
2B. The national REPENTANCE of Israel – Ezekiel 39:29; Zechariah 12:10
3B. The predicted REBELLION of some – Ezekiel 20:33-44; Zechariah 13:8-9
4B. The limited RESPONSE of Israel until the completion of the salvation of Gentiles – Romans 11:25-27
3A. THE PREDICTION OF ISRAEL’S SURVIVAL Jesus Himself predicted the survival of the nation of Israel through the horrible holocaust of the coming Great Tribulation – Matthew 24:34-35 cf. Jeremiah 31:35-37
Note: The interpretations of “this generation”: The word “generation” from the Greek word genos is used 21 times in the New Testament and from the Greek word genea it is used another 42 times – a total of 63 times. The words “this generation” appear 16 times.
1B. A reference to those who were listening to this prophecy of Jesus (preterist view) and saw the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad.
Note: However, it is clear that whoever is meant by the words “this generation”- they will exist until “all these things” are fulfilled. That cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem because some of “these things” did not occur at that time.
2B. A reference to the nation of Israel during the future Great Tribulation. Luke 11:50-51 – Why would the words “may be required of this generation” apply to first century Jews who were not responsible for the death of the prophets mentioned? It would make sense if it applies to the nation of Israel.
ISRAEL’S SURVIVAL IS BASED ON THREE MAJOR ISSUES:
(1) GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE
(2) GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 89:30-37
(3) GOD’S FORGIVENESS
Jeremiah 31:31-37; Ezekiel 39:22-29; Romans 11:25-27, cf. Isaiah 63:7
CONCLUSION: It is clear from the Biblical evidence that the modern State of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The Bible makes it clear that God will NEVER cast away or forsake His people – the nation and its land will exist forever!
Isaiah 41:9 – “Thou art My servant; I have chosen thee, and NOT cast thee away.”
Isaiah 41:17 – “I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will NOT forsake them.”
Isaiah 44:21 – “for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shall NOT be forgotten of Me.”
Isaiah 49:15b-16 – “yet will I NOT forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.”
Isaiah 54:7-8 – “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”
Isaiah 62:4 – “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee and thy land shall be married.”