Leading Pastor Dr. Paul Chappell: Israel Remains a Critical Component in God’s Global Plan—A Key Piece in the Prophetic Puzzle
On Its 70th Anniversary as a Nation, Chappell Says Israel’s Significance Goes Back to a Promise God Made to Abraham Almost 4,000 Years Ago
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Second of two parts on Dr. Paul Chappell’s views on Israel in light of the 70th anniversary of becoming a nation on May 14, 1948.)
LOS ANGELES—Both Christians and Jews are reflecting today on the 70th anniversary of Israel becoming a nation on May 14, 1948.
In his book, “Understanding the Times—Living Courageously in Prophetic Days,” Dr. Paul Chappell, senior pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in California and the nation, explores the crucial developments that have come out of Israel over the past 70 years and how they affect Christians.
“Does it seem disproportionate that a country of only 8.5 million people with a land area slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey is the focal point of the modern world?” Chappell writes. “Is it mere coincidence that it is also the focal point of Bible prophecy? People often question why Israel carries so much prophetic significance—and in recent decades, a large portion of global attention. Why all the emphasis on Israel?
“Israel is a critical component in God’s global plan,” he continued, “a key piece in the prophetic puzzle. In many ways, Israel’s news marks the dates on God’s prophetic calendar. One of the most significant events of modern history occurred in 1948 when God allowed the Jews to return to Palestine. From that time on, the focus on Israel has been captivating. Only hours after the rebirth of this modern nation, Israel made the news when she was attacked by the armies of five Arab countries. Now we hear news almost every day from the Middle East.”
As news continues to develop on Israel and her neighbors, added Chappell, who also serves as president of West Coast Baptist College, one thing is certain: the nation whose people were scattered across the globe for many centuries has in the past several decades become a worldwide focal point.
“This should not be a surprise to a student of Bible prophecy,” he said, “for it fits in precisely with end time events foretold in Scripture. The intense nature of Israeli-Arab peace talks reveals that whoever can broker the peace deal with Israel and her enemies will be a significantly powerful person, and this leader will wield a prophesied magnitude of power as he rises to the position of a one-world ruler. But for now, we simply note that the worldwide focus on Israel, coupled with the conflict in the Middle East, are staging the scene for his arrival. Of course, much of the conflict in Israel centers around the land itself. Both Israel and nearby Arab nations claim that strategic portions of land rightfully belong to their respective countries. So how does this land dispute relate to Bible prophecy? What is the significance of the land? It all goes back to a promise God made to Abraham almost 4,000 years ago.”
Through this promise to Abraham, Chappell said, known as the Abrahamic Covenant, God made a specific promise in three areas: the land (that would be made a great nation), his seed (perpetually blessed through David) and a blessing (to Abraham’s seed and to other nations who bless Israel).
“The promised blessing also shows that God chose to bless the entire Gentile world through Abraham and his seed,” Chappell said. “He promised to bless those who bless Israel and to bless all nations through Israel. Some suggest that because the Jews rejected their first opportunity for Christ’s kingdom, the promises given to Abraham and David have now been transferred to the church and will be fulfilled symbolically or spiritually.
“But we must keep in mind three key characteristics of this covenant,” Chappell continued. “First, the covenant is unconditional. God’s promise to Abraham was not based on Abraham’s performance, but on God’s faithful immutability. Second, the covenant is literal. While some try to attribute only symbolic significance to the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham clearly understood God’s promise to mean exactly what God plainly said. Third, the covenant is eternal. Eternal covenants of God stand unmoved by the rejection of men and unchanged by the passing of time. Therefore, regardless of news surrounding Israel on a day-to-day basis, we can rest assured in Israel’s place in history and why God will bless those nations that support Israel.”
Read more about Lancaster Baptist Church, West Coast Baptist College and Dr. Paul Chappell here, or visit paulchappell.com or www.lancasterbaptist.org; connect via social media on Facebook, Twitter or the church’s YouTube or Vimeo.