The World of a Jew

Turn on the TV on almost any night to watch the news and Israel, her people and land will be mentioned at some point. Why does this nation, few in number by comparison, and this land, tiny by any standard, command so much world attention? Israel, after all is a small arid land much of which is desert or mountains with few natural resources outside of the chemicals mined from the Dead Sea. The resorts along the Mediterranean Sea would attract some visitors naturally, but this country is teeming with visitors, making tourism one of its major sources of income. Why? Obviously we must look further than the terrain or industry to account for this fascination politically or personally. This is God's people and God's land.

Many centuries ago God chose one man from Mesopotamia and gave him far-reaching promises concerning descendants and land and blessing. From this beginning the Jewish people rose. Among Abraham's descendants was The Seed, through which all the nations were going to be blessed. From Abraham until the present, the Jewish people and the land of Israel have been a major force in world history. One day in the future it will be the center of government for the entire world and Abraham's Seed will rule in righteousness and peace from its capital, Jerusalem.

I would like to introduce you to three books that, read together, make this people and this land come alive in a unique fashion. The first one to read is John Phillips' book, Exploring the World of the Jew. This unique introduction to the people of Israel is well written in Phillips' unique style. Tracing the Jewish people both historically and religiously, you get a great background to enhance your understanding of this people. But the author does not stop there. He gives a historical overview of anti-semitism (once again on the rise) as well as the great contributions to science and the arts of this brilliant race of people. He finishes with a fascinating look at the Zionist movement and the repatriation of Israel present. It reads like fiction, but it is full of the real facts of this great people.

Then zero in on the future of this people. With this most definitive look at the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 you will trace the nation through its 490 prophetic years from the rebuilding of the walls after its 70-year captivity to the Millennium reign. This benchmark prophecy is expounded by Sir Robert Anderson in his classic work, The Coming Prince. Any student of prophecy must have this book not only on his shelf for reference, but in his mind as well. A grasp of Daniel's prophecies is the beginning of a proper understanding of the rise and fall of the Gentile nations and the fall and rise of Israel. One of the accomplishments of this book is the great research into the exact timing of the coming of the Messiah. That chapter is worth the price of the book.

Then when you finish those books treat yourself to one that will make your blood run a little faster than normal. This is a secular book called O Jerusalem by two journalists, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. A virtual daily diary from the night the UN voted to allow Israel to exist in November 1947 until the tenuous cease-fire on June 12, 1948. Enter the undercover world of the Haganah, the politics of Golda Meier and David Ben Gurion, the secretive world of arms negotiations and the great battles for the freedom of Jerusalem. But most of all see a small, outmanned army of people who, in love for their land, saw the nation of Israel formed.

But we knew that. God had ordained it. Even though in unbelief, the second great exodus had begun. Not just from Egypt as the first time but now from the four corners of the world (Isaiah 11:11-12).

The Jew, the land of Israel, the city of Jerusalem. They are His story and in that history we read not just of a fascinating people but the greater story of God's great and full redemption and the majesty of the government of God Himself.