The history of Israel
is an illustration of the spiritual reality in the life of every
person who ever lived:
Why does God allow the people of Israel to suffer? Why does He allow
them to survive? These questions take us to the very heart of God's
message. The ancient kings of Israel who sat on the throne in Jerusalem
were supposed to follow God; He established Israel for a special purpose,
and all along He was their heavenly King. The more they ignored Him
the weaker they became. Approximately 618 years after Israel's last
king was deported to Babylon, God left heaven and actually came to
them in person. They not only rejected Him, but they delivered Him
to the Roman government to be crucified, thus fulfilling one of 300
prophecies in the Bible about His life on earth. Psalm 22:16 states
that the hands and feet of Christ would be "pierced." This
verse was a part of Israel's library for 400 years before crucifixion
was even practiced; it's meaning was easy to overlook until the hands
and feet of Jesus Christ were pierced and nailed to the wooden cross.
The body of Jesus Christ remained dead for three days and then
came back to life after death. He walked on the earth another 40
days and then returned to heaven. In the infinite wisdom of God,
Israel's rejection of Christ was a building block in His master
plan for the entire human race. Much more than meets the eye happened
when Christ died and rose from the grave!
Remember, this is God we're talking about. He created the world,
then He created people. People divided and created nations, and
then God created a nation in His process of getting our attention
and communicating with us.
According to prophecy, God is sustaining Israel against all odds
because He will visit the earth a second time when they will finally
recognize Him as their King. (Zechariah 13:9-14:4, Hosea 5:15, Ezekiel
36 & 37, Romans 11:15 & 11:25-27, etc.)
In this life your encounter with God can be like Israel's first
encounter with Him or it can be like Israel's second encounter.
At the time of His first coming, the Jews living in Jerusalem were
subject to the Roman Empire. They pressured the Roman government
to crucify Christ as a common criminal even though Pilate, the Roman
procurator of Judea, found no fault in Him: John 18:33-19:22 - "Then
Pilate entered the Praetorian again, called Jesus, and said to Him,
'Are You the King of the Jews?' Jesus answered him, 'Are you speaking
for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning
Me?' Pilate answered, 'Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief
priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?' Jesus answered,
'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world,
My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the
Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.' Pilate therefore said
to Him, 'Are You a king then?' Jesus answered, 'You say rightly
that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause
I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.' Pilate said to Him,
'What is truth?' And when he had said this, he went out again to
the Jews, and said to them, 'I find no fault in Him at all...' ...
But they cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!'
Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests
answered, 'We have no king but Caesar!' Then he delivered Him to
them [Roman soldiers] to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and
led Him away. ... where they crucified Him, and two others with
Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote
a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH,
THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for
the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was
written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests
of the Jews said to Pilate, 'Do not write, "The King of the
Jews," but, "He said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'"
Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.'"
When Pilate asked, "What have You done?" Jesus answered,
"My Kingdom is not of this world." The Kingdom of Israel
that was destroyed in 586 B.C. was merely a primitive beginning
of God's plan for the entire human race. The Jews wanted to return
to the primitive beginning, but Jesus came to take them to another
dimension, the spiritual dimension.
Luke 17:20-21 - "Now when He [Jesus] was asked by the Pharisees
when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, 'The
kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say,
"See here!" or "See there!" For indeed, the
kingdom of God is within you.'"
When Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He broke
down the barrier in the spiritual dimension that prevented the human
race from entering His Kingdom and experiencing life after death.
His Kingdom is heaven.