Our Huge IOU
I would presume that everyone in the English speaking world will recognize the implication of these three letters. It is the acknowledgement of a debt, i.e. “I Owe You.” It was usually only used for debts of a minor amount. Quite often such small amounts might be even be sealed with merely a handshake, though an IOU might also be exchanged. A legal document would always be used when a large amount of debt was owed. The purpose of this brief message is to remind every Christian that we all owe a very large debt to the Jewish people. The legal document that records this debt is the Bible. The amount of the debt goes back to the book of Genesis where God made a covenant with Abraham that initially concerned Israel but ultimately concerns everyone, Jew or Gentile who has a covenant relationship with the living God. In addition to acknowledging a debt, an IOU usually acknowledged a promise to repay the stated amount to the person to whom it was owed. Because of the large debt that Christianity in general and Christians in person, owe to the Jewish people we should carefully study the roots and early history of our spiritual forefathers to discover the great debt we owe to the Jews.
1.The Bible Is Filled With Israel From Genesis To Revelation
All Bible believing people should stand with Israel. In the Bible, God introduces Himself many times as “The God of Israel” or the Holy One of Israel, and 2/3rds of the scriptures (Old and New Testament) are dedicated to the people of Israel, their history and their divinely planned destiny. God will never finish with Israel. He has stated that His love and covenant with Israel are both everlasting.
Jeremiah 31:3 Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. NLT
40 “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, promising not to stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.
41 I will rejoice in doing good to them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. NLT
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is filled with Israel.
Although in the first mention of Israel is made in Genesis 12 the name Israel is not used, it is obvious to every unbiased reader that Israel would be the name of the great nation that would come from the loins of Abraham. Genesis 12:1-3
1 Then the LORD told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.
2 I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others.
3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” NLT
At a later time, this promise was reiterated through Isaac and Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel, which also became the name that was given by God to Jacob. Jacob’s struggling with God earned him a new name. For his struggle “with God and with men” in which he had prevailed, his name was changed to Israel (literally, Prince with God). In return, Jacob gave a name to the spot that marked the change; it would be called Peniel-“For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”
Israel (means prince with God) – was the name given to Jacob after his great struggle with God at Peniel near the brook Jabbok (Genesis 32:28; 35:10). The name Israel has been interpreted by different scholars as “a prince with God,” “he who strives successfully with God,” “let God rule,” or “God strives.” The name was later applied to the descendants of Jacob, or the Hebrew people. The twelve tribes were called “Israelites,” “children of Israel,” and “house of Israel,” identifying them clearly as the descendants of Israel through his sons and grandsons.
The LORD Fights For Israel
Through the great Exodus wherein God led the descendants of Jacob out of their slavery in Egypt, the embryo nation of Israel was born. God miraculously led them out of Egypt and in the process defeated the mighty army of Pharaoh and led His people on dry land drowning the Egyptian army in the process.
25 Their chariot wheels began to come off, making their chariots impossible to drive. “Let’s get out of here!” the Egyptians shouted. “The LORD is fighting for Israel against us!” NLT
29 The people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry land, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides.
30 This was how the LORD rescued Israel from the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites could see the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore.
31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had displayed against the Egyptians, they feared the LORD and put their faith in him and his servant Moses. NLT
This Deliverance Became Known As The Passover
This remarkable deliverance has been celebrated ever since by Jews throughout the world in memory of their supernatural deliverance and the subsequent founding of the nation of Israel. The deliverance was effected by the sacrifice of a lamb and was a prophetic precursor of the Lamb of God who would be later sacrificed to atone for the sins of the whole world. God made a sacred covenant with the nation He had rescued. It was a covenant that is still honoured even to this very day.
18 So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River —
19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.” NLT
1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.
2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to make you into a mighty nation.”
3 At this, Abram fell face down in the dust. Then God said to him,
4 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of not just one nation, but a multitude of nations!
5 What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram; now you will be known as Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations.
6 I will give you millions of descendants who will represent many nations. Kings will be among them!
7 “I will continue this everlasting covenant between us, generation after generation. It will continue between me and your offspring forever. And I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
8 Yes, I will give all this land of Canaan to you and to your offspring forever. And I will be their God. NLT
This eternal covenant that God made with Israel for all their generations will be modified somewhat in the Last Days when the Messiah shall have revealed and make Himself known to the nation of Israel. God’s reference to “after those days” refers to the Last Days of this present era in which we now live. Please notice the amendments that God will make. The law will be internalized in their hearts and minds and they will have a new living relationship with God.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name):
36 “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.”
37 Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the LORD. NKJV
- Christians Have A Common Origin and Destiny With Israel Abraham is the (mutual) father of Jews, and Christians.
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. NKJV
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham , who is the father of us all. NKJV
7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham .
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham . NKJV
Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. NKJV
Many if not most Christians are obsessed with heaven and spending eternity playing golden harps but the Bible reveals a very different eternal destiny. Heaven is but the waiting room for the righteous. Our ultimate destiny is the manifest Kingdom of God in which Jesus rules on earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men. NKJV
If we truly believe the Bible we must inevitably believe in the future earthly good of Israel. Isaiah 2:2-5. Micah 4:1-4
Isaiah 2:2-3 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (NKJ)
Micah 4:1-2 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.(KJV)
3 Because Israel is Obviously a Unique and Special Nation to God
18 Also today the LORD has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments,
19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the LORD your God, just as He has spoken.” NKJV
Exodus 19:5 ‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a (peculiar) special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (NKJ)
Deuteronomy 14:2 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a (peculiar) special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. (NKJ)
Psalm 135:4 For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. (KJV)
- Christians Also Are A Peculiar Treasure To God
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (KJV)
1 Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. NLT
Both Israel and the church are therefore said to be “a peculiar (unique) treasure to God.” This fact surely forges a link between the two!
- Because God Says He Will Bless Those Who Bless Them.
Genesis 12:3: “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”
Isaiah 60:12: ‘For the nation that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.
Throughout human history many mighty world kingdoms have fallen and disintegrated e.g. Egypt, Persia, Rome, Greece, Spain, Germany, Britain. In every instance there have been factors of anti Semitism inbred in the system and this has brought about their downfall in accordance with the Bible principle.
- Because We Owe Them A Great Debt For What We Have Received.
Through Israel the promises and covenants were given. Through them came the law, the prophets and the Messiah Jesus, who has opened up access to God for all. Through the Jewish apostles the gospel first went to the nations.
To the Israelites ‘pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God and the promises, of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all.’ (Romans 9:4-5).
“For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also be of service them in material to them in their material blessings” (Romans 15:27)
- Because God’s Gifts and Call On Israel Have Never Been Revoked.
Romans 11:28: ‘As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for our sake; but as regards the election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.’
Though most Jews have not yet responded to the gospel, this has not invalidated God’s plan for them, which He will ultimately fulfill. The covenant with Abraham has not been replaced by the New Covenant, nor been set aside because of their failure to enter the New Covenant. Though the once for all sacrifice of Jesus has fulfilled and replaced the Temple sacrifices, the eternal covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants has NOT been set aside. “A hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved.”(Rom 11:26)
- Because God Has Promised To Bring Them Back To Their Land.
God has promised to turn again to the Jewish people, to bring them back to their land and to cleanse them from unrighteousness.
Amos 9:14-15 “‘I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; l will plant them upon their land and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land which I have given them ‘ says the Lord your God.’”
Ezekiel 37:21-22 “I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all.”
The re-gathering of Israel is prophesied in Ezekiel, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, by Jesus in Luke 21:24, and by Paul in Romans 11. It is a key condition to the full flowering of the Messianic age. God promised Abraham and his descendants the land of Israel as an everlasting possession. He confirmed that promise with Isaac as recorded in Genesis 26:3-4 and again with Jacob in Genesis 35:12.The re-creation and restoration of Am (People) Israel to the Promised Land is one of the greatest miracles of the 20th century. Such a phenomena has never been witnessed before.
- Because The Times Of The Gentiles Are Fulfilled.
‘Jerusalem will be trodden down underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’ (Luke 21:24)
Jesus foresaw that the Roman Gentile armies would overthrow every vestige of Jewish rule in Jerusalem; but He also saw that that Gentile domination of Jerusalem would finally come to an end. In 70 AD Jerusalem fell to the Roman army.
In 1967, in the course of defending themselves against an attack from their Arab neighbours, the Israelis regained control of the entire City of Jerusalem for the first time since 70 A D. thus fulfilling this prophecy of Jesus. All believers in the words of Jesus should know that the ending of Gentile control of the city is God’s plan. “When you see these things happen look up your redemption draws nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
- Because We Are To “Comfort God’s People”
In Isaiah, Isaiah 40:1-2 God says ‘Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins’.
This is a call to Christians to comfort the Jewish people. Isaiah also envisions that the leaders of the nations would help the Jewish people and nurture them in their re-gathering.
Isaiah 49:22-23 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you and lick the dust off your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
God says that the Gentiles will nurture the Jewish people and assist them in their reentry to their land. It is our divine mandate to help them for their own sakes and for the fulfillment of their unique call. Gentile believers must do more than observe what God is doing with the Jewish people…God is asking us to get involved in helping them!
- We Need To Make Reparation For Anti-Semitic Teachings And Actions
Throughout the history of the Church, since the second century, Christian leaders have been guilty of the most vicious anti-Semitic remarks and actions. These attitudes have provided the basis for despots throughout the centuries to this day to ridicule, discriminate, and even kill the Jewish people. Often those who claimed to be followers of the Messiah (The Rescuer of Israel, and the One who has taught us how to love and forgive) have perpetrated these actions and crimes. Can we blame the Jews for so often resisting a Messiah whose followers were anti-Semitic? In justice as well as in generosity we need to make reparation for the tragic record of Christianity (both in its Catholic and in its Protestant forms) in its dealings with the Jewish people. We who should have been their nurturers, have so often been their worst and most cruel enemies and tormentors. The spirit of anti-Semitism did not begin or end with Adolf Hitler but can find a landing ground on Christians who have not been awakened to their responsibility towards Israel.
The heretical teaching that the Church has replaced Israel has been taught since the second century. This teaching is faithful neither to the Old Testament nor New Testament Scriptures. Though some nations and churches denounce anti-Semitism today, anti-Zionism is still widely acceptable. It is actually the new anti-Semitism. Opposition to Israel’s right to fulfill their God given destiny in the land of promise is the most dangerous form of anti-Semitism today.
- God Is Working With Them To Work Out His Plan For World Peace
Romans 11:15: ‘For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?’
The Messiah is coming back to Israel to be reconciled with His own people. He will reign from there with His overcoming saints‘from every tribe and tongue and people and nation’ over all the nations. (Rev. 7:9; 11:15)
Isaiah 2:3 ‘For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’
World peace is coming. The fullness of the Messianic age is coming. But first there will be the destruction of all systems and kingdoms that ignore God’s Messianic plan. Although world peace is an essential and integral aspect of God’s eternal plan and something that only He can achieve, God plans that mankind will have an important role to play. Hence the importance of Psalms 122:6-8
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be with you.” NLT
If you want world peace, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
If you want to see the Church restored, pray for and help the Jewish people.
If you want to see the Messiah return, pray for the restoration of Israel.
If you want to see your nation and all the nations (including the Arab nations) blessed, pray for and stand with Israel and the Jewish people, and resist anti-Semitism in all forms.
If you want your own life to be blessed, help and bless the Jewish people
If you want your life to prosper, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Seven Practical Things Believers Can Do To Help Israel
It is essential and imperative at this critical point in prophetic fulfillment that every Christian should clearly understand the central importance of Israel’s role in the End Times plan of God. The Bible and all its prophecies revolve around the focal point of Israel and the future of the Church is also inevitably linked to Israel. The King is coming to Jerusalem and He will rule the world from there. They eyes of all the world will be focused upon Israel and the leaders of all the nations will be required to visit Jerusalem annually to worship God at the Feast of Tabernacles.
- Studyyour Bible afresh and understand that it is foundationally a book about Israel. Read and study it with that fact in mind. Earnestly seek to understand what the Bible has to say about God’s plan for Israel and the Jewish people. Seek to read your Bible through the lens of God’s eye. Zechariah says that Jerusalem is the Apple (Iris or lens) of His eye.
Zechariah 2:8-9 for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. NKJV
God also clearly declares His intention to “live in Jerusalem.”
Zechariah 2:10 The LORD says, “Shout and rejoice, O Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. NLT
- Prayfor the peace of Jerusalem and for God’s purposes for the Jewish people. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love you” (Psalm 122.6).
3. Teach your church to stand with Israel. Organize a pro Israel event or seminar in your church or city each year to encourage biblical solidarity with God’s plan for the Jewish people and Israel. This will bring a blessing on your church and city.
4. Support (financially and otherwise) Christian agencies that help the Jewish people return to Israel and settle in their land. E.g. “The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem” – Christian Friends Of Israel, Bridges For Peace Jerusalem etc
5. Share the Messiah with the Jewish people in the context of their own faith, destiny, and scriptures.
6. Refuse to support anti-Semitic sentiments in public and social life. Where appropriate speak out as the Spirit leads in wise and loving ways e.g. notify politicians and/or media of your views.
7. Visit Israel if possible. This is a practical way to learn about the people and support them and their economy. “Walk about Zion and go all around her. Count her towers mark well her bulwarks. Consider her palaces that you may tell it to the generations following.” (Psalm 48:13)
In this time of international travel should we not all consider making Jerusalem our destination of choice?