Why Is Israel Significant? A Hidden Lesson in History
I have long thought Israel to be important because it was where His son, Jesus, the promised Messiah, was born. I knew it was where He promised a people, the Jews, a home. I also knew the history of this area to be one of perpetual fighting between the Canaanites, who laid claim to the land, and the Israelites, who came in later to conquer it. This history goes back to the days of Noah, after the flood. Genesis 9:18-27
We are told Noah eventually became a farmer, and that he planted a vineyard. One night he became drunk and lie naked in his tent, and was discovered by his youngest son, Ham. Ham then told his two brothers, Shem and Japheth, who walked in backward with a garment to cover their father. When Noah awoke, it is said he knew what Ham had done to him, and as a result, cursed him and his generations to follow. He then went on to bless Shem and Japheth.
Now stop for a moment and consider this, if you haven’t had any teaching on it. Ham must have done something much more irresponsible and disrespectable, than just seeing his father naked and telling his brothers. What the incident was is not recorded, but it was of such a nature that it warranted a curse from his father--a curse, which has lasted to this day.
In Genesis 10, we are given the genealogy of Noah’s three sons. Let me break it down for you, to make a point.
Ham had four sons: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. Cush had a son, Nimrod, who set up his kingdom in the land of Shinar (Babylon). He also went to Assyria and built the city of Nineveh, the same city in the story of Jonah. Mizraim had a son, Casluhim, from whom came the Philistines. Canaan had many sons, forming the families of the Canaanites. Genesis 10:19 says: “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; then as you go toward Sodom and Gomorah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.” These are the generations of Ham, and they settled in what is roughly the area of Israel today.
From Shem, we get the genealogy, which leads us to Abraham. It was Abraham, whom the Lord called out of the land of the Chaldeans, and into the then known territory of Canaan, with the promise that his generations would one day inhabit the land.
This brings us back to the curse of Ham, and the blessing of Shem. Genesis 9:25 “Then he (Noah) said, cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.” Verse 26 says: “And he said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.’”
Ham and his descendants, the Canaanites, or the Arabs of today, are cursed to be come the servants of Shem and his descendants, the Israelites. Are you seeing the importance of all of this information?
The conflict between these two nations began in the days of Abraham, when he had a son, Ishmael, by his wife’s handmaiden, Hagaar, an Egyptian. Sixteen years later, his wife, Sara, had her own son, Isaac, and sent Hagaar and Ishmael away. Ishmael married into the Egyptian bloodline, and became the father of a nation of twelve princes: Genesis 25:12-16.
The story of conflict continues with Abraham’s true son, Isaac. In Genesis 25:23, a prophecy is given to Rebekah, his wife: “And the Lord said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’”
Jacob and Essau were born to Isaac, and at the moment of birth, Jacob, who was born last, grabbed Essau by his heel, gaining him his name, which means supplantar. When they were older, Essau sold Jacob his birthright for a bowl of food. His brother’s lack of regard for his inheritance, led Jacob to trick his father into giving him the blessings reserved for the firstborn, Essau, thus fulfilling the prophesy given to their mother. In Genesis 27:41, Essau vowed to kill his brother, and although they eventually made peace and came together to bury their father when he died, they eventually went their separate ways and became two great nations. Essau married Canaanite women, and his descendants became the Edomites, who did become Israel’s servants for a time. Jacob maintained his father’s lineage, and became the patriarch of the twelve Jewish tribes, and to this day, there has been enmity between those of Arab descent, and those of Jewish heritage.
But while I believe Israel is significant because of the people who live there, and who are fighting over territorial rights, I believe the land, itself, is important for a far more spiritual reason.
In the Bible we are told, God created man out of the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
God then planted a garden east from where He had created man. Genesis 2:8 “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.”
Mankind didn’t come from the “cradle of life”, the area of Baghdad in Iraq, formerly known as Babylon, but from the dust of another land, which sets it apart as a special place to Him. I believe it was from Israel’s very soil that man was brought to life, just as it will be from there, where unbelieving men will ultimately come to their demise in the battle of Armageddon. Zechariah 14:1-11 and Revelation 16:16
Israel: a land where God sent His only Son to be born through the lineage of Seth, Noah, Abraham and King David, and to accomplish His Father’s will through His life, death and resurrection. It is also a land Jesus has promised to return to, and there establish His Kingdom for a thousand year reign of peace, free from the influence of evil. Zechariah 14:4-9 Revelation 20:4-7
Jerusalem: the beginning of mankind. It is the cause of today’s conflict, and soon, it will be the ruling center of all of the nations on the earth, Isaiah 2:1-4, Zechariah 14:16. It couldn’t be more significant, and that is why God exhorts us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
Shalu Shalom Yerushalayim!