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Israel 101

Reuven Doron

Describing the historic invasion of Judea by Antiochus Epiphanes (the Macedonian Seleucid Emperor), Daniel used a unique term, saying, “He shall … enter the Glorious Land…” (Daniel 11:41), or “ERETS HAZVI” (אֶרֶץ הַצְּבִי) in the Hebrew language. The term appears nearly 30 times in the Bible, and it can mean, "The land of the ornament" or "The land of the gazelle," signifying beauty and splendor. From God’s perspective, then, the Land of Israel is “glorious.

What else can we learn from the Bible about God’s sentiment for the Land of Israel?

Land of Humility. The very first time the Land of Israel appears in the biblical record by name is in Genesis 11:31, describing Abraham’s journey to the “Land of Canaan.” Canaan in the Hebrew language is a derivative of the root verb “CANA” (כָּנַע), which speaks of bending the knee in humility and submission. Therefore, we find that the Land God promised Abraham and his seed after him would be primarily a place of humility and surrender to the Almighty. It is the land where God’s rule, God’s favor and God’s blessing are the only way forward.

Bountiful Land. Preparing Israel to enter and possess the Promised Land, Moses told the young nation that “the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land… in which you will lack nothing…”(Deuteronomy 8:7-9).

God describes a land of plenty. Plenty of water; plenty of vegetation, plenty of food and plenty of resources. Clearly, the land of Israel today is still in stages of restoration following thousands of years of neglect, reproach and ecological abuse, but our hope and expectation is for the fullness of God’s blessing and grace to return.

A Personal Matter. When Ezekiel spoke about God’s plan to draw Gog and Magog into the final epic conflict on the mountains of Israel, God said to Gog, “… It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My LAND, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16). As the Lord sets the stage for this miraculous victory, we find that He uses the personal term “MY LAND” or “ARTSI” (אַרְצִי) in the Hebrew language.

In other words, this is not a theological exercise for the Lord; rather it is very personal. God is not apologizing for His interest and feelings about the Land of Israel. He openly calls it “MY LAND,” making the conflict surrounding it a very personal matter for Him. Biblically, the land of Israel does not belong to any one people group, rather it belongs to God. He defined its boundaries and He gave it to the sons of Israel as a homeland in a covenant promise even as He allotted other territories to other nations.

This particular Land of Israel was to become the focal point where God planned to reveal Himself to humankind. Here His Temples stood, His prophets spoke, His Messiah walked among us, His salvation was perfected, His Church was born, and His throne will stand during the coming Kingdom Age. God is the Creator and Possessor of the whole earth, yet He has chosen this Land of Israel for a very special and specific purpose.

We hope that you are making plans to join us here in Israel to taste and see that the Lord is good.

With blessings from Jerusalem,

Your SAR-EL TOURS team

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