By the end of his life, musician Giuseppe Verdi was recognized as a master of dramatic composition. His works astonished the world of music with a power, subtlety, and brilliance that marked the ultimate in Italian grand opera. But he didn’t begin his career with such success.
As a youth, he was denied entrance to the Milan Conservatory because he lacked the necessary training. Although his musical abilities were apparent in childhood, as an innkeeper’s son, he did not possess the formal education and background required.
Yet, time does strange things. After Verdi’s fame had spread worldwide, the school was renamed the “Verdi Conservatory of Music”. This turn of events is a reminder that endings are not always like their beginnings.
This is the lesson regarding Israel and her Messiah. When Jesus came to Israel in the first century, he was rejected and put to death by the nation. It is for this reason that many Christians believe God is finished with Israel; but fortunately, endings are not always like their beginnings, as Israel will one day soon believe in Jesus for eternal life (Romans 11:26) and will then enter into a New Covenant with God (Jeremiah 31:31-34)—a covenant in which God guarantees that Israel will be the central nation in His plan forever (Jeremiah 31:35-37) and in which all Jews, from that point forward, will know God.
However, we do not have to wait for the future to see this central role of Israel in God’s plan; in fact, we can see it now. Those who have paid attention can see that Israel is a modern-day miracle. It is the only nation in history that lost its place as a nation (including its land)—and its language—and recaptured both!
After being chased out of the land in A.D. 70, Israel had no claim to the land (other than several thousand Jews continuing to live there) until 1948 when the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of the Jewish state in the land known as Israel. That is when the modern miracle began in a way that could be clearly seen—and continued when, in 1967, Israel reclaimed Jerusalem, fulfilling a prediction by Jesus found in Luke 21:24.
In fact, the 1967 fulfillment was incredibly significant. Jesus essentially said, in Luke 21:24, that when the Jews would retake control of Jerusalem, “the times of the Gentiles” would be “fulfilled.” This means that God signaled in 1967 that He was beginning to turn His focus from the Gentiles back to the Jews for salvation, where the focus of the gospel began. (This “focus” will culminate in Jews taking the gospel to the nations and Israel fulfilling the role God had for her long ago—that of being a light to the nations.)
The reason this is so important is because “all Israel” will be saved by the end of the final seven years before the return of Christ. Thus, the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 in 1967 announced that God was beginning the final period leading to end-times fulfillment.
That also means that from that time until the beginning of those final seven years (which will begin with a seven-year treaty between Israel and ten other nations), God would be lining up end-times fulfillment, with Israel at the very center of God’s plan. That is what we are seeing today.
It is incredible that we are able to observe the entire world focused on a treaty with Israel! This is tiny Israel with a land mass so small that it could fit into Florida eight times! What is it about this miniscule nation that has caught the world’s attention? There is no other satisfying explanation other than this is part of God’s plan, and she is at the very center of it.
So if you want to watch God at work bringing together His end-times, kingdom plan, keep a close eye on Israel. If you do—and you keep the other eye on God’s word—what is going on in the world will begin to make perfect sense; if you do not, nothing on the international scene will seem to add up.
As always, understanding God’s word buys our spirits, enables us to see purpose in life, and galvanizes our faith in God. But we cannot truly understand God’s word—or what is going on in the world today—without grasping Israel’s role in God’s plan. So keep your eye on Israel—and keep looking up!
[John sends out a free, weekly e-letter, called “2012 Alerts,” to help Christians see how God is at work in the world today to fulfill His kingdom plan. You can subscribe at www.2012apocalypsebook.com.]