God has chosen Israel as His physical nation, in the same way He has chosen individuals from the gentile nations as His elect. Prophecies are clear that God will be faithful to keep the promises given to their Fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) even though the nation of Israel has disobeyed Him. Ezekiel 36:16-28 describes that they sinned and would therefore be scattered among the nations (which started in 70AD). But it continues by saying that God will bring them back to their land (which started when they became a nation again in 1948). God is not doing this, based on their obedience, but because of His name’s sake. Lastly the passage states that God will cleanse them and pour out His Spirit upon them and they will be His people, forever.
This will occur during the second coming of Christ. In Romans 11, Paul assured us that the nation of Israel will be saved after the fullness of the gentiles has come in.
Eze 36:16 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Eze 36:17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.
Eze 36:18 Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it.
Eze 36:19 So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.
Eze 36:20 When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name–when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’
Eze 36:21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.
Eze 36:22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.
Eze 36:23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
Eze 36:24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
Eze 36:25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Eze 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Eze 36:28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
Hebrew scholar Arnold Fructembaum says:
“The re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 has not only thrown a wrench in amillennial thinking, but it has also thrown a chink in much of premillennial thinking. Amazingly, some premillennialists have concluded that the present state of Israel has nothing to do with the fulfilment of prophecy. For some reason the present state somehow does not fit their scheme of things, and so the present state becomes merely an accident of history. On what grounds is the present state of Israel so dismissed? The issue that bothers so many premillennialists is the fact that not only have the Jews returned in unbelief with regard to the person of Jesus, but the majority of the ones who have returned are not even Orthodox Jews. In fact the majority are atheists or agnostics. Certainly, then, Israel does not fit in with all those biblical passages dealing with the return. For it is a regenerated nation that the Bible speaks of, and the present state of Israel hardly fits that picture. So on these grounds, the present state is dismissed as not being a fulfilment of prophecy. However, the real problem is the failure to see that the prophets spoke of two international returns. First, there was to be a regathering in unbelief in preparation for judgment, namely the judgment of the tribulation. This was to be followed by a second world-wide regathering in faith in preparation for blessing, namely the blessings of the messianic age. Once it is recognized that the Bible speaks of two such regatherings, it is easy to see how the present state of Israel fits into prophecy.”
The first worldwide return (fulfilled in the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent return of its people) is in unbelief, in preparation for judgement, and is in fulfilment of such verses as Ezek. 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 37:1–14; Isa. 11:11-12; Zeph. 2:1-2 and Ezek. 38–39
The second worldwide regathering is in belief and is a fulfilment of verses such as Deut. 4:29-31; 30:1-10; Isa. 27:12-13; 43:5-7; Jer. 16:14-15; 31:7-10; Ezek. 11:14-18; Amos 9:14-15; Zech. 10:8-12; Matt. 24:31
The return from Babylon does not fulfil these scriptures as many amillennials and preterists believe:
- Isaiah 11 (above) speaks of a 2nd gathering from a world wide (the four corners of the earth) dispersal. The Babylonian captivity was not a worldwide captivity. The worldwide dispersal started in 70AD. The first regathering, as mentioned above, from the world wide dispersal was in unbelief following the formation of Israel as a nation again in 1948. The second one mentioned is in belief at that end of the tribulation.
- The return from the Babylonian captivity was a return from the east. The return from the worldwide dispersal is from all directions such as stated in Isa 43:5-6.
- The prophets foretold of a regathering of the Jews to Israel from which they would never be uprooted from again. Seeing that they were uprooted in 70Ad and dispersed among the nations, these prophecies can only apply to a regathering after 70AD – and it says they will never be uprooted again.
‘I will plant them, and not uproot them.’ (Jeremiah 24:6). ‘I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.’ (Amos 9:15). Jerusalem ‘shall never again be uprooted or overthrown.’ (Jeremiah 31:40).
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