“The History and Purpose of Israel”

Friday, March 10, 2017

Every country has its history, but the history of Israel is exceptionally unique in that it reveals God’s story with a divine blessing that extends to every nation in the world. Israel’s history began with God calling Abram to an unknown land, and promising a nation from his descendants which would bless the world.

Abram was led to Canaan where his son, Isaac, was born and then Jacob, the son of Isaac. God would later change Jacob’s name to Israel, and to him twelve sons were born and the foundation of the twelve tribes of Israel were established. The second youngest son being Joseph, who was sold by his brothers to Ishmaelite traders, who in turn, auctioned him off in Egypt. God so orchestrated the events in Joseph’s life that he became Prime Minister. When severe famine ravished the land of Canaan, Jacob and his family migrated to Egypt where they lived in prosperity. This was 77 people, a remnant of God’s chosen. Threatened by the Jews’ wealth and their increasing numbers, a new Pharaoh enslaved them. Through unusual circumstances, Moses, born to a Hebrew family, was raised in the palace of Pharaoh, and after 430 years of Egyptian captivity, Moses, by the hand of God, led his people to freedom. Under the leadership of Joshua, Moses’ successor, they conquered Canaan and for 350 years were ruled by God-anointed judges.

The people demanded a king, and God gave them Saul who reigned for 42 years. He was replaced by David, who reigned for 40 years, and David’s son, Solomon, for 30 years. At the death of Solomon, his son, Rehoboam, was to inherit the throne, but another man, Jeroboam, led a rebellion, which resulted in the nation of Israel being divided into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom held on to the name Israel, while the southern kingdom was called Judah. Northern Israel lasted just over 200 years, and had 19 kings, all ungodly men. In 722 B.C., the Assyrians invaded and conquered northern Israel. In 605 B.C., the Babylonians conquered the Assyrian empire, and in 587 B.C., they conquered Judah.

For 70 years, the Israelites were exiled in Babylon. During this time, the Persians came into power, defeating Babylon, and eventually allowed the Israelites to return to their homeland. Jerusalem and the temple, destroyed by the Babylonians, were rebuilt. This is where the history of the Israelites ends in the Old Testament, followed by 400 years of silence from heaven.

The New Testament opens with Israel under Roman rule. In those 400 years of silence, the Romans had been busy, constructing a vast network of travel and communication by land and sea, connecting major cities and ports throughout the Mediterranean world with an emphasis on trade. With a means in place for the Gospel to spread rapidly, God brought His end purpose for the nation of Israel to fruition. This was the birth of God’s unique Son, Jesus Christ, through whom the world is blessed with the gift of salvation given to every person of every nation who believes in Him.

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