Israel, God's Unique People—Brief Summary
- God created the Hebrew people, later to be named Israel, with Abraham who believed God. His faith was credited to him as righteousness. Therefore Israel is based upon God’s promise, God’s choice, and Abraham’s faith (Genesis 12:1-3; 15; 17; 32:28).
- God promised Abraham a land, a great nation, and blessing. The promise goes through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s sons, especially Judah in whose line Jesus Messiah was born. God will also bless all people through Abraham (Genesis 50:24; Exodus 33:1; Deuteronomy 6:10; Acts 7:8; many more).
- God formed Israel into a people while they were in Egypt. He used Moses to lead them out of Egypt, to give them the law, and lead them to the entrance to their promised land. God made Israel his own covenant people and priest nation for the world. They are God’s unique people. Israel received the covenants, the promises, and the Mosaic Law. Israel was the line of Jesus Messiah. The Hebrews were human writers of Scripture, and built and served in the temple (Exodus 4:22; Exodus 19:6; Romans 9:1-5).
- God gave the Bible and the Messiah-Savior-King of the world through the Hebrew people. In the future God will restore believing Israel to all the land he promised to her, and restore authority and rule over the earth to himself through the Hebrew Messiah—Jesus Christ who will return to earth at his second coming (Psalm 110; Jeremiah 31.27-34; Ezekiel 36:23-38; Zechariah 12-14; Matthew 1; Romans 11.11-35; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Matthew 24.21-31; Luke 21.25-28). The church has not replaced Israel in God's plan.
- Throughout history Israel has refused to believe and obey God. Israel mixed the way of life that God planned with paganism. They became like the nations around them, and therefore obscured their priest nation status and witness. God severely disciplined them through oppression by others (e.g. the period of the Judges, about 1380-1050 BC), by destruction and exile through Assyria (722 BC), Babylon (586 BC), both summarized in Jeremiah 50.17-18 and recorded in many Scripture passages, and by Rome (Luke 21.20-24, AD 70).
- Israel is presently under God’s discipline. Leviticus 26 outlines, in an “if...then” format, the stages of God's discipline on Israel if they persist in disobedience (Leviticus 26.14-17, 18-20, 21-22, 23-26, 27-33). The book of Judges records the local episodes of God’s discipline and deliverance. The prophets and Jesus also predicted discipline, the way to recover God’s blessing, and the ultimate recovery and blessing by God. See Deuteronomy 28-31 for the prediction of God's cursing and blessing. See Psalm 85 for the record of forgiveness and plea for another revival.
- Anti Semitism, though outwardly a part of God’s discipline, is apparently Satan’s attempt to remove the Hebrew people and the Messiah from history so he may set up his own kingdom on earth. Matthew 2 records Herod's attempt to kill Jesus. Revelation 12.1-6 summarizes Satan's attempt to destroy Israel.
- Paul documents God’s selection of Israel to represent himself in the world, Israel’s failure of faith in God’s promises, Israel’s partial and temporary hardening against God during which time God especially blessed Gentiles. God used this time of Gentile prominence to stimulate Israel to faith in God’s Messiah Deliverer. God has not rejected his people. He will save them nationally and spiritually.
- Prominent Hebrew leaders include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, the prophets, Jesus, John the Baptist, and the apostles.