23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.
28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Israel in the End Times (Part 1)
Israel is a very important part of God’s plan for the end times. As we look at what is happening in the world today, we can easily see that Israel — a tiny country, no bigger than the state of New Jersey, bordered by hostile nations to the north, east, and south — is a focal point of world affairs. And Israel is poised to become even more important as time goes on. For example, there is talk now that because of the recent discovery of oil in Israel’s territorial waters, Israel could become a major fuel supplier to Europe at a time when Russia has threatened to cut off the gas supply to Europe because of the conflict in Ukraine. All throughout history, God has had a plan for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Jews have been at the center of some of the most important events in history. It is only fitting that Israel will play a major role in the end times.
Our passage today is taken from the final speech which Moses gave to the children of Israel just before they passed into the Promised Land. Of course, Moses would not go with them, but he reminded them of their duty to God, what would happen to them if they disobeyed God, and what God promised them if they repented and returned to him.
Contrary to what some believe, God did not abandon Israel when the church age began. God still has a plan for Israel. That plan has been slowly moving forward, particularly with the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 and the regathering of Jewish people from around the world in their homeland. For the time being, however, God has opened the doors of the covenant so that Gentiles — non-Jews — can be saved and can experience and benefit from the blessings of God as well.
So, what does God have planned for His chosen people in the end times? What can we learn about the role of the Jewish people in the last days?
The first thing we must observe from our passage is that God is in control of the past, the present, and the future. History is truly his story. And he is writing a glorious story for His people, Israel and for the world. However, that story is fraught with tragedy, heartbreak, and difficulty not because of God but because of sin. For 400 years, the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt; for 40 years, they wandered in the wilderness; once they were settled in the Promised Land, their nation lasted through the reigns of only three kings before it split apart; the people rebelled against God, fell into idolatry, and then were conquered by heathen nations and scattered throughout the ancient Near East; they were in exile for 70 years; from then on, they were under the rule of the Persians, Greeks, and Romans; their land was laid waste by warfare and their Temple destroyed. In modern times, they have been maligned and hated by both Christians and Muslims; they were persecuted and nearly wiped out by Nazi Germany; they have been blamed for the problems of the world; and they are regularly threatened and harassed by their neighbors in the Middle East.
Through all of the upheaval and turmoil in Israel’s past and present, God is still in control. And the Bible tells us that the worst days in Israel’s history are yet ahead. This period of time is known as the Tribulation. Our passage states, “When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days…”
The book of Revelation shows us that there will be a time of very severe judgment on earth in the last days. As we read Revelation, we find that the church is not mentioned during the period describing the seven-year tribulation. However, Israel is. Dr. Ed Hindson states that the chapters of Revelation which deal with the Tribulation “focus on the nation and people of Israel. She is the woman who delivers the male child (Christ). The 144,000 who are sealed during the tribulation are Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel. The temple of God is in Jerusalem. The two witnesses are Jewish believers. Jerusalem is the scene of the great earthquake. The ‘rest of her offspring’ are Jews who are persecuted by the Antichrist.”
At the end of time, God begins to deal with His chosen people once again. Speaking to the Israelites, our passage states, “he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” In his commentary on this passage, Daniel Block writes, “Moses cites three evidences of God’s compassion: Yahweh will not abandon Israel, he will not destroy Israel, and he will not forget his covenant with Israel’s ancestors. Although the emphatic verbs seemed to suggest that Yahweh would respond to Israel’s apostasy by completely annihilating them, the reference to a remnant had opened the door ever so slightly to divine grace. Now Yahweh declares in unequivocal terms that because he is gracious, he will neither destroy Israel nor allow Israel to destroy herself. Israel may forget the covenant of Yahweh, but Yahweh will never forget the covenant of the forefathers. Israel’s future is as secure as the eternal covenant and the unchangeably gracious character of God.“
God will keep His promises to Israel, but through the Tribulation period, God has a three-fold purpose that He will carry out through Israel:
1. The national conversion of Israel to Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
2. The conversion of Gentiles who are living during the Tribulation.
3. The fulfillment of the Davidic covenant through the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom.
In our next few messages in this series, we are going to cover each of these topics as we look at Israel’s role in the end times. As the church, the greatest lesson we can take away from this knowledge is that God will and does keep His promises. He does not forget His people. And He has a plan for Israel and the church that He will not fail to carry out.
If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.