HOW ISRAEL BECAME A NATION “IN A DAY”

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THE LAND COVENANT

The Promise Made To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

The Lord promised Abraham that their agreement, or covenant, would be UNCONDITIONALLY and EVERLASTING. He said.

“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8 NIV).

The agreement which the Lord made with Abraham is clearly irrevocable—it can never be broken. The believers of Amillennialism and Preterism are thus making God out to be a liar. They insist that God is done with Israel and that the promises made to Abraham have been carried over to the church, in a spiritual manner.

The Promise Made To Isaac

As the Lord had promised, Abraham and his wife Sarah conceived a son, Isaac. The Lord made it clear that the promises to Abraham would be fulfilled in this particular son of his.

Later, God repeated the promise to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-4).

The Promise Made To Jacob

Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. God later promised Isaac’s son Jacob that he would be the heir to the promises. (Genesis 35:11-12).

GOD WARNED HE WOULD SCATTER THE JEWISH PEOPLE

The continuous disobedience of the Jewish people is clear from throughout the Bible. The Lord has warned the people of the consequences of disobedience. He said the following.

“However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you . . . This is what will happen: Just as the Lord delighted to do good for you and make you numerous, he will take delight in destroying and decimating you. You will be uprooted from the land you are about to possess. The Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair” (Deuteronomy 28:15, 63-65 NIV).

While the ownership of the land was theirs forever, their occupancy was linked with their obedience.

In 721 B.C., the Assyrians took the Northern kingdom of Israel, which comprised the ten northern tribes, into captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar, in three different deportations, took the remaining two tribes, the southern kingdom of Judah, captive to Babylon. Finally, in 588-586 B.C., after a long siege, he burned the city and the temple.

The children of Israel also were scattered in A.D. 70 when Titus, the Roman general, surrounded the city of Jerusalem and burnt the rebuilt city and the temple.

For almost 1900 years, the Jews wandered the earth as strangers—being persecuted from every side. The culmination of their persecution occurred in the Holocaust of World War II, when six million Jews were put to death in concentration camps. The predictions were literally fulfilled.

GOD PROMISED TO BRING BACK THE SCATTERED JEWISH PEOPLE.

Irrespective of the above, through Jeremiah the prophet, we read the promise of the Lord of their continuing existence.

“The Lord has made a promise to Israel. He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. He promises it as the one who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll. He promises it as the one who is known as the Lord who rules overall. The Lord affirms, “The descendants of Israel will not cease forever to be a nation in my sight. That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights were to cease to operate before me.” The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel because of all that they have done. That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,” says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:35-37 NET).

The Jews have been the most persecuted people of all nations, throughout human history. In fact, the Holocaust of the Second World War, eventually took six million Jewish lives, and yet the nation survived.

God also promised to bring back the scattered Jewish people. We read the following prophecy through Jeremiah.

“The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Write everything that I am about to tell you in a scroll. For I, the Lord, affirm that the time will come when I will reverse the plight of my people, ISRAEL AND JUDAH,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors and they will take possession of it once again’” (Jeremiah 30:1-3 NET).

It is of utmost importance to note that the gathering concerns the scattered from both Israel and Judah.

The northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians in 721 B.C, and never returned during biblical times.

The southern kingdom of Judah experienced a seventy-year captivity in Babylon. In 537-536 B.C., or after the seventy years, those who had been taken captive to Babylon were allowed to return to their land from their first exile (Ezra chapter 1). They were however removed from their homeland a second time in A.D. 70.

In another remarkable prediction, we read the following words that the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah.

“In that day the Lord will reach out his hand A SECOND TIME to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:11,12 NIV).

Against all odds, the modern state of Israel was reborn on May 14, 1948, and the Jews began to return to their homeland from all points of the compass. This is the second time in their history they have come back into their land after being forcibly removed.

According to the Lord, this return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland will be for His sake, not theirs. It is almost astonishing how Amillennialism and Preterism dishonour God by applying Replacement theology. Ezekiel records Him saying:

“Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and I will have mercy on the entire house of Israel. I will be zealous for my holy name. They will bear their shame for all their unfaithful acts against me, when they live securely on their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will magnify myself among them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will not leave any of them in exile any longer. I will no longer hide my face from them, when I pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 39:25-29 NET).

HOW ISRAEL BECAME A NATION “IN A DAY”

“Who has ever heard of such things?  Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:8)

Theodore Herzl And Modern Zionism

It was over eighteen centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem, its Temple, and the scattering of the Jewish people, that the modern push for a state began in earnest.

In January of 1895, a Jewish Austrian journalist named Theodor Herzl, covered the trial in Paris of a French Jew named Dreyfus. Dreyfus was unfairly convicted of a crime that he did not commit. Seeing first-hand the hatred directed against Jews, Herzl was determined to begin a process to found a Jewish state.

Later in 1895, Herzl published a book entitled Der Judenstaat—The Jewish State. He argued that the only way in which the “Jewish problem” can be resolved was by establishing a Jewish state in the Holy Land. Herzl’s writings started the Jews on the road back to their Promised homeland.

At the conclusion of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland on September 3, 1897, Theodore Herzl made the following entry into his diary.

“In Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this aloud, it would be greeted with worldwide derision. In five years, perhaps, and certainly in fifty, everyone will see it.”

Herzl’s entry in his diary would turn out to be prophetic. The modern state of Israel would be founded about fifty years after he made this statement!

Turkish Rule Ends In The Holy Land

In the early 20th century, the Ottoman Turks four-hundred-year reign over the Holy Land, was about to end. During World War I, the Arabs helped the British fight the Turks. D.E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia,” was instrumental in achieving the victory over the Ottoman Empire.

In October 1917, a British General, Edmund Allenby, launched an invasion in the Holy Land. On Sunday, December 9th, the Turks were driven out of Jerusalem. Two days later, the General made his entry into conquered Jerusalem, on foot. He said no one could enter the Holy City except in humility, on foot. He said upon entering:

“Since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three great religions of mankind, and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and the pilgrimages of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore I do make known to you . . . that all sacred buildings will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those whose faiths are sacred” (Source Records of the Great War, Vol. 5, ed. Charles Francis Horne, National Alumni, 1923).

At the conclusion of the First World War, Britain, France, and Russia forged the Sykes-Picot Agreement. This pact carved up the Ottoman Empire which had seen its defeat in the War.

Britain gained control of the Holy Land. For the first time in eight hundred years, the Holy sites of Christianity were delivered from the domination of Islam.

The Request Of Chaim Weitzman

Another step toward the realization of a Jewish homeland came after the First World War. Chaim Weitzman, a Jewish chemist, helped the War effort by developing a technique where synthetic acetone could be manufactured.

Acetone was a prime ingredient in the production of explosives. His discovery was given credit by the British government as a main factor in Britain winning the War. The government attempted to personally reward him for his efforts on behalf of the nation. Weitzman asked nothing for himself, but he did make a request for his people—a Jewish homeland in the Promised Land.

The Balfour Declaration

In 1917, a monumental event took place. Lord Balfour, the head of the foreign ministry of the British government, wrote a letter to Baron Rothchild—a representative of the Jewish people. In it, he declared the willingness to see a Jewish state established. The letter read as follows.

Foreign Office

November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours Sincerely,

Arthur James Balfour

One writer explained what happened like this.

“The proclamation was of international importance, as it was solemnly sanctioned by the League of Nations. By this act that body, which is more and more inclined to look upon itself as being invested with the right to control the destiny of the peoples of the world, was obeying the will of Him who really holds the fate of mankind in His hands.

How would it be possible to doubt this miracle? God was exercising His sovereign right as King of all nations.

For a long time the diplomats of the various countries, moved to pity by the cruel treatment inflicted upon the Jews during the regularly recurring pogroms and collective murders in Central Europe, had been looking all of the world for some country that would offer this unhappy race a promise of security. One after another Argentina, Brazil, Canada, certain uninhabited regions of Asia, and Uganda have been proposed. But these projects could but come to nought, for they ran counter to a divine promise given to Abraham: “I will give this land to thee and thy seed forever.”

On the other hand Palestine had long been coveted by several of the great powers, and these had done their very best to get control of it.

Their efforts also came to nought. They were broken against a decree which no human power could shake. What God’s lips had proclaimed His hand was accomplishing: “I give thee this land forever” (Paul Perret, Prophecies I Have Seen Fulfilled, London, Marshall, Morgan & Scott LTD., 1939, pp. 27, 28).

We should also observe, that he made this statement in 1939—before the modern state of Israel was reborn.

The United Nations Resolution

The next major event in the establishment of the modern state of Israel was United Nations Resolution 181. This was passed by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947. It called for the partition of Palestine into two states—one Arab and one Jewish. The city of Jerusalem was to be a separate entity governed by a special international regime.

On the one hand, this resolution was considered by the Jewish community in the Holy Land to be a legal basis for the establishment of the modern State of Israel. As can be imagined, this resolution was rejected by the Arab community.

The End Of The British Mandate

In July 1922, the League of Nations had entrusted Britain with the “Mandate For Palestine.” The Mandate recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” In accordance with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Britain was called upon to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in the Land of Israel.

Interestingly, in September of 1922, the League of Nations and Great Britain decided that the provisions for setting up a Jewish national home would not apply to the area east of the Jordan River. This particular area constituted three-fourths of the territory which was included in the original Mandate. The territory eventually became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

After the United Resolution 181 was passed in 1947, Britain planned to withdraw from the Holy Land so that a Jewish state could be established. The complete withdrawal would take place on May 14,1948.

The Declaration Of The State Of Israel

On May 14,1948, Israel, as a modern state, came into existence. We have highlighted some of the important points of the text of this declaration that was made by David Ben-Gurion, as well as other Israeli leaders, on that special day:

“The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom. Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. . .

This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

ACCORDINGLY, WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”…

PLACING OUR TRUST IN THE ALMIGHTY, WE AFFIX OUR SIGNATURES TO THIS PROCLAMATION AT THIS SESSION OF THE PROVISIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE, ON THE SOIL OF THE HOMELAND, IN THE CITY OF TEL-AVIV, ON THIS SABBATH EVE, THE 5TH DAY OF IYAR, 5708 (14TH MAY, 1948).”

This declaration was signed by Ben-Gurion and other Jewish leaders. With it, the modern state of Israel miraculously came into existence!

U.S Recognition Under President Harry Truman

On May 14, 1948, President Harry Truman recognized the newly formed state of Israel with the following telegram:

“This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.

The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.”

We read the following account as to why Truman did this from Clark Clifford—Truman’s Secretary of State:

“From our many talks over the past year, I knew that five factors dominated Truman’s thinking. From his youth, he had detested intolerance and discrimination. He had been deeply moved by the plight of the millions of homeless of World War II, and felt that alone among the homeless, the Jews had no homeland of their own to which they could return. He was, of course, horrified by the Holocaust and he denounced it vehemently, as, in the aftermath of the war, its full dimensions became clear. Also, he believed that the Balfour Declaration, issued by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in 1917, committed Great Britain and, by implication, the United States, which now shared a certain global responsibility with the British, to the creation of the Jewish state in Palestine. And finally, he was a student and believer in the Bible since his youth. From his reading of the Old Testament he felt the Jews derived a legitimate historical right to Palestine, and he sometimes cited such biblical lines as Deuteronomy 1:8: “Behold, I have given up the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord hath sworn unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Clark Clifford, Counsel to the President: A Memoir, 1991).

Truman, against the wishes of almost all of his advisors, recognized the new state of Israel. Interestingly, among other reasons, we discover that Truman, as a believer in the Bible, accepted the fact that God gave the land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The War Of Independence

The declaration of the new State of Israel in Tel Aviv, as well as the recognition by the United States, did not sit well with the Arabs. Fighting immediately broke out. An armistice was declared in 1949.

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UN Recognition

Israel became a member of the United Nations on May 11, 1949. The preamble to this resolution admitting Israel to United Nations membership made specific reference to Israel’s undertakings to implement General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194 (the right of return).

With this United Nations resolution, the modern state of Israel was officially accepted as one of the nations of the world. However, many problems remained unsolved. This included the borders of the country. In fact, the problem of Israel’s borders remains to this day.

(Main Source: 25 Signs We Are Near The End – Don Stewart)

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A BIBLICAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

0 ISRAEL VS CHURCH

All who take the Bible serious know that Israel is God’s chosen people on earth. We also know that Israel rejected the Messiah. As a result, God laid Israel aside and did not use her as His instrument of judgment, light, and salvation. Note “laid aside,” not “rejected,” or “replaced.” The Church, primarily from among the Gentiles, is God’s organ of salvation for almost 2,000 years now.

Based on the clear teaching of the Old Covenant, we know that God promised His people a New Covenant. The prophets explained the details of that covenant and it was established by the Lord Jesus Christ. However—and this is extremely important for us to understand—the New Covenant does not include physical, geographical, political, or material promises. Quite clearly, such promises were given to the people of Israel under the Old Covenant.

A Two-Fold Light Of The World?

God promised that Israel would give light to all the nations of the world. Since that has not been the case in the past, we can be sure that Israel will be restored to its original boundaries in order to fulfill this prophecy. Ultimately, the Jews will have to take a position of leadership here on earth. Deuteronomy 14:2 says, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.”

This presents a problem: two groups of people are expected to be light to the world.

Thus, the question we must first answer is, “Is Israel a light to the Gentiles in our days?” Absolutely not. Spiritually speaking, Israel is in darkness. You can’t be a light to others if you are in darkness yourself. Actually, the apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, says, “As concerning the gospel, they (Jews) are enemies for your sakes…” But in no way does this fact annul God’s eternal promise that Israel will be a light to the Gentiles: “… It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). Therefore, we have absolute assurance that Israel’s becoming a light to the world is yet to come.

Jesus said to the Church, “Ye are the light of the world.” For almost 2,000 years the Church has been the light-bearer, the torch of God. The Church has provided light to those in darkness. The Holy Spirit has convicted millions of souls of their sin and they have been added to the “kingdom of light.”

It is important to emphasize at this point that we are not a light to the world collectively, but individually. Neither Scripture nor church history tells of a whole nation being saved at one time. That has never happened nor will it ever happen in the world of the Gentiles. Having said this, we realize that there are two tasks involved in being a light to the world: the Church to the individual, and Israel to the nations.

We understand that the light of the world is the Lord Jesus Christ. His light, which radiates from believers, reaches the hearts of sinners. This same Jesus has also promised that the Church should be in His presence. Therefore, our task to be light-bearers in this world is only for a limited time. It began on the day of Pentecost and will continue until our departure, the day of our Rapture. The world at that time will indeed experience darkness. There will no longer be any hindering element to the deceptive works of Satan, the father of lies.

When will our task be completed? When the last from among the Gentiles is added to the Church. Then we will be raptured into the presence of the Lord.

When will Israel fulfill her calling to be the light of the world? When the spiritual restoration of Israel has taken place.

Israel Must Be Fully Restored

Historically, it has been impossible for Israel to come into existence as a nation since the Jews were scattered throughout the world. They could not go back to the land of Israel because they would not have been able to survive in a land considered to be a desert. Therefore, God made the necessary preparations that when the Jews did return to the land of Israel, not only would they be able to feed themselves but they would become a dominant factor in that part of the world.

In a similar way, the Lord Jesus assured His Church that He would make preparations for us, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). In Israel’s case, the Lord God prepared the land for the people, “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come” (Ezekiel 36:8). It is quite fascinating to read in verse 4 of Ezekiel 36 the details describing the entire land of Israel, “Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about.” Remember, the land was desolate and forsaken, and actually did become a “derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about.” This, my friends, is a reality that can be proven unquestionably by recent history.

Since the rebirth of the political state of Israel in May 1948, this country has become a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, a miracle in the eyes of all those who have taken the time to honestly analyze the people and the land. Therefore, the fact that the Jews are coming back to Israel, are building a modern progressive nation, and have become a powerhouse in the Middle East clearly shows that the beginning of Israel signals the end for the Church.

Israel: A Rapture Sign

Our forefathers diligently sought for signs of the endtimes. Bible scholars in the 1600’s, 1700’s, and even the 1800’s searched faithfully for signs that would indicate that the Jews were going back to the land of their fathers. Charles Spurgeon, one of the great preachers of this century, knew the Bible well and studied the Old Testament in particular. In 1910, he made the following statements regarding Ezekiel 36 and 37:

“The meaning of our text, as opened up by the context, is most evidently, if words mean anything, first, that there shall be a political restoration of the Jews to their own land and to their own nationality; and then, secondly, there is in the text, and in the context, a most plain declaration, that there shall be a spiritual restoration, a conversion in fact, of the tribes of Israel.

They are to have a national prosperity which shall make them famous; nay, so glorious shall they be that Egypt, and Tyre, and Greece, and Rome, shall all forget their glory in the greater splendor of the throne of David. If there be meaning in words this must be the meaning of this chapter.

I wish never to learn the art of tearing God’s meaning out of His own words. If there be anything clear and plain, the literal sense and meaning of this passage must be evident that both the two and the ten tribes of Israel are to be restored to their own land, and that a king is to rule over them.”

May we learn likewise never to take the Word of God lightly nor interpret it so that it fits into our time. Instead, let the Word of God speak to our hearts so that we will understand the signs of the times.

In Matthew 24, the Lord repeats the word “shall” approximately 59 times. If we want to know the future, the Lord has already told us what “shall be.” Matthew 24:31 clearly describes a “rapture,” but not the Rapture of His Church, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” We will refer to this verse again in later chapters, but it is important to point out that in this verse the Lord shall not come “Himself;” rather, He “shall send his angels.”

Who Are The Elect In Matthew 24:31?

What are these angels supposed to do? They are to gather “his elect from the four winds.” Who, then, are His elect in Matthew 24:31? Of course, we all would agree that the elect comprise the Church. In fact, the word “elect” means “called out” or “to be chosen.”

In relation to Israel, James exclaimed in Acts 15:14, “… God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” Undoubtedly this is an election from among the Gentiles; however, we cannot deny that Israel was elected first.

We cannot overlook God’s statements regarding His chosen people, “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth”‘(Deuteronomy 14:2). Doesn’t 1st Chronicles 16:13 tell us the same? “O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.” We support Israel’s special position with these additional verses: “For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure” (Psalms 135:4).

“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my fiend” (Isaiah 41:8).

“Yet now hear, 0 Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 44:1).

Therefore, when we ask, “Who are the elect in in Matthew 24:31?”, we find the answer in Isaiah 45:4, “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.”

Until this very day, Israel stands in opposition to the Gospel. The apostle Paul writes, “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Romans 11:28). The Jews are currently still enemies of the Gospel.

The question that should automatically come to mind is, “How can these people, who are enemies of the Gospel, and who have rejected their Messiah shouting “His blood be upon us and our children,’be the elect?” The answer is the same and applies to all who have been saved through the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace!

We must never forget that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. He commended His love toward us while we were lost, without hope and without God.

Will Israel be saved in a different way? No. Do they have to try to keep the Law and be good people in order to be saved? No. If such requirements applied, they would be earning their salvation and grace would be made invalid. As a result, there would be two standards of salvation—a concept contrary to what the Bible teaches, for Jesus plainly said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Therefore, the grace of the Lord Jesus will be poured upon His people Israel just as the prophet proclaimed, “. ..I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn ” (Zechariah 12:10).

The Jews Will Return

Again, we ask, “How can the Jews look upon Jesus whom they have pierced if they are still scattered among the four corners of the earth?” It is impossible to predict how the Jews will act in the future. But right now, considering the fact that modern Israel has existed since 1948, there are Jews residing in rich countries such as Europe and America with no intentions of returning to the land of Israel.

Yet, God clearly tells us through His prophets that ultimately every single Jew will return to the land of Israel. For example, Ezekiel 39:28 says, “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”

Reread the last part of that verse: “have left none of them any more there.” The message is that there will be no Jews among the Gentiles.

Thus the question, “How will the Jews get to Israel?” “He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet and shall gather his elect from the four winds; from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31).

The Fig Tree

Immediately following this statement, the Lord spoke regarding the fig tree: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh” (Matthew 24:32). We know that the fig tree symbolizes Israel under the Law. It is important to note that the Lord does not say “when the fig tree puts forth fruit,” but when it “puts forth leaves.” In understanding this, we realize that when man first sinned he used the leaves of the fig tree to cover his nakedness and hide his sin; Israel never actually had their sin taken away.

The Bible says that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. Through the Law and the sacrificial service, Israel’s sin was covered up, not removed.

Since 1948, the fig tree has become a reality, and indeed is sprouting forth leaves. This is vividly exemplified in their government, where the religious party has great authority. Israel’s national airline, El Al, had to stop flying on the Sabbath because of the law forbidding work on that day. They are bringing forth “leaves,” not “fruit.” Yet

Scripture explains that by the Law, no flesh will be justified. So how will Israel bring forth “fruit”? Through grace!

It is also significant that the Lord’s last miracle before the crucifixion was the cursing of the fig tree: “. ..seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it” (Mark 11:13-14). In verse 21 we read, “And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.” The fig tree died and for almost 2,000 years Israel was nowhere on the map. The fig tree will not bring forth fruit but the leaves will sprout again as we have read in Matthew 24:32, “… When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh.”

Israel’s Relationship To The Church

Sometimes we tend to oversimplify the Bible by saying the Old Testament is for the Jews and the New Testament is for Christians. It is true that the Jews still do not consider the New Testament as part of their Scripture. At the most, they refer to it as the “Christian” Bible.

The Church of Jesus Christ was founded in Jerusalem by Jews, for Jews, and consisted exclusively of Jews. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is a Jewish book written by Jews for Jews. Yet Scripture clearly tells us that during the time of the Gentiles, the Jew, in particular, would be blind to the reality of the Savior, the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is substantiated in Romans 11:28, “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.”

Throughout the centuries, the Jews have painfully experienced severe persecution under the auspices of “churchianity” They were killed by the Romans and suffered through the Spanish Inquisition. There is not one country on the face of the earth in which they have not experienced opposition, persecution and even death. The most horrendous genocide of all time took place in Germany under the reign of Adolf Hitler, a professing Catholic who frequently quoted Scripture and spiced his speeches with Bible-based slogans. From the Jewish perspective, even Adolf Hitler was a “Christian.”

From a historical perspective, the Jews have always diametrically opposed anything that is Christian. There seems to be an unbridgeable gap between the two. On the other end of the spectrum, the relationship to Israel and the Jews is different in Bible-believing Christianity.

In Romans 11, the apostle Paul reminds the Gentile church of her roots. In verse 13 Paul identifies the group that he is addressing, “I speak to you Gentiles.” He reveals that Israel still exists, and he compares Israel to an olive tree, “… if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Romans 11:17-21). Paul clearly explains in verse 24 that Israel will be resurrected, “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” The Church has often overlooked God’s unconditional guarantee of Israel’s perpetual existence. At that time the Church as a whole was making the same mistake that the world makes today: “I only believe what I see.”

Israel’s Future

From God’s point of view, there is no question about Israel’s existence—despite the fact that they were not a nation for 2,000 years.

Listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever” (Jeremiah 31:35-36).

One cannot simply do away with Israel. It is God’s creation and what God creates is eternal! Therefore, let us not repeat the mistake of assuming that Israel has lost her position as God’s elect. She was not replaced by the Church; this type of “replacement theology” has been the mother of many heresies.

Of course, it is true that Israel rejected the Messiah, but God never rejected Israel. Instead, He temporarily put Israel aside in His plan of salvation which He ordained before the foundation of the world.

Time Limit Of The Church

In Romans 11, we find a time limit, or dispensation for the Church, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). The apostle Paul points out that this is a mystery of which we should not be ignorant, otherwise, we would deceive ourselves. The blindness is for the sake of the Gentiles “Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Gospel To The Gentiles

For this reason, we continuously support the urgency of preaching the Gospel to all people everywhere so that the fullness of the Gentiles may come in soon. The Church is an intermission in God’s eternal plan of salvation with His people Israel. This was hidden from the beginning. The apostles didn’t even fully understand this great mystery. Ephesians 5:32 states, ” This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The early Church did not fully comprehend that God would first take out a people from among the Gentiles for His name.

Even after Jesus defeated the powers of darkness on Calvary’s cross, crying out “It is finished;” was buried; arose the third day; and walked among His disciples, they still didn’t understand: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The disciples had one-track minds; they wanted Israel to be an independent kingdom with all of its former glories. They knew Scripture, and hoped for the immediate resurrection of the kingdom of Israel. The only thing they could understand were the “good ole’ days.” God, however, doesn’t look back to old glories, but tells us that He will make “all things new.”

The disciples were commanded to wait until the Holy Spirit came, “… I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high ” (Luke 24:49).

Then they were to be “witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” {Acts 1:8). This is a very clear instruction; the beginning is Jerusalem and the end is the outermost parts of the world. The Gospel has literally gone from Jerusalem to the very ends of the earth. For that reason we believe that the Church has little success when it tries to follow this command in the opposite direction, that is preaching the Gospel to Israel and expecting a mass conversion of Jews.

The Gentile Conflict In The Church

In the beginning, there was a controversy about the Gentiles belonging to the Church. In Acts 15, we read that “… Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them…” (verse 2). Why? Because these Jews did not fully grasp the Gospel of grace but tried to convert the Gentiles to Judaism first. They taught, “… Except ye (Gentiles) be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (verse 1).

To settle this conflict, an apostolic counsel was held in Jerusalem.

“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:7-11).

It is significant that the apostle Peter spoke these words because he was the first to recognize that Jesus was the Son of God. Based on Peter’s confession, Jesus said, “. ..I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). We emphasize that the statement of our Lord has absolutely no relation to the man-made establishment of the Roman papal system, or to any national or international church entity.

Salvation always was and always will be “of the Jew,” as the Lord Jesus Himself stated. Nowhere in the Bible do we read of the Lord giving preference to a certain city or country outside of Israel.

Therefore, any group who claims to be the exclusive and privileged successors of the apostle Peter, or who asserts that they are the exclusive dispensers of salvation, can rightfully be labeled as an anti-Christian cult.

After Peter had spoken, “… all the multitudes kept silence.” Barnabas and Paul then gave affirmation regarding the Gentiles.

Prophecy Settles Conflict

James confirmed this testimony when he declared, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up ” (Acts 15:14-16). Here we see the authority of the apostle Peter, for he was the first to preach the Gospel to the Jews, to the half-Jew Samaritans, and to the Gentiles. He was also the first one through whom the Lord performed miracles—including raising the dead to life—to demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecy. James now endorses that which Simon (Peter) had stated is based on the prophetic Word.

Turning in our Bibles to the Old Testament book of Amos, the prophet writes, “That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this” (Amos 9:12). This verse prophetically refers to the inclusion of the Gentiles, “which are called by my name.”

Mystery Of The Church

God’s plan for both His people and the Gentiles was a mystery unknown to Israel, the apostles and the prophets; even the angels did not know. The testimony of Peter says the following, “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1st Peter 1:10-13).

Gentile’s Hopelessness

Most of us who are saved by grace from among the Gentiles don’t fully comprehend the hopelessness of our situation before we became Christians. The apostle Paul explains to the Ephesians, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11-12). Think of it: “no hope” and “without God.” Could anything possibly be worse than that? Thank God that is not how it ends. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

Indeed, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

Gentile’s Hope

At this point, we must stress that the Gentiles, born again of the Spirit of God, are the ones who are addressed by the apostle Paul, for he says, “I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1). He also reveals some wonderful news in verse 6, “That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel. ” To the Romans, this same apostle confirms the fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the Gentiles, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust” (Romans 15:8-12).

Therefore, the Gentiles have a duty toward Israel, “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things” (Romans 15:27). These few verses should validate the fact that although Israel and the Church remain two distinct entities, they are organically united because they both partake of the olive tree.

The Organic Unity Of Jews And Christians

Another verse is often misused and needs to be clarified: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The Church consists of both Jews and Gentiles; the two have become one. On a spiritual level there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile.

However, this does not abolish the physical identity of a Jew being a Jew and a Greek being a Greek, which is evident from the statement, “there is neither male nor female.” Every one of us can attest that the moment we were born again of the Spirit of God, we continued to be what we were: male or female. This further proves that spiritual unity in Christ Jesus is what is meant here and in no way does it indicate that a Jew is no longer a Jew.

(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)

 

WHO IS A JEW? WHO IS ISRAEL?

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Who is a Jew and who is Israel of the Bible? Is it the “church,” or those who practice Orthodox Judiasm? Or maybe a nation?

In his book, “The Remnant of Israel: The History, Theology, and Philosophy of The Messianic Jewish Comunity,” Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, a Messianic Jew, attempted to answer this much debated question. There are few topics in the Jewish and Christian world that have been more debated than this one. To this day there is no consistent definition among most people.

A Biblical Definition

If Jewishness is defined in terms of religion, and that religion is defined as Orthodox Judaism, then obviously Messianic Jews are not Jewish. But according to this definition neither are most Jews, because most Jews do not practice Orthodox Judaism. Defining Jewishness on a purely religious basis does not satisfactorily explain who a Jew is.

The Messianic Jewish definition has an objective standard; it goes back to the very source of Jewishness: the Scriptures. The further any definition departs from the Scriptures, the foggier it gets. The Messianic Jew is forced to define Jewishness in the biblical sense of the term, for to him the Scriptures are the source of authority. Hence the Messianic Jewish definition can also be called the biblical definition. The biblical basis for defining Jewishness lies in the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis:

“Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto the land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and be you a blessing: and I will bless them that bless you, and him that curses you will I curse: and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

It is further described in two other passages:

“For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then may your seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:15-16)

“And, behold, the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This man shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if you be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall your seed be.” (Genesis 15:4-5)

Later, the Abrahamic Covenant is confirmed through Isaac in Genesis 26:2-5 and Genesis 26:2-5. After Isaac, it is reconfirmed through Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15.

From the Abrahamic Covenant a simple definition of Jewishness can be deduced. It lies in the repeated statement that a nation will come through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and thus defines Jewishness in terms of nationality. This nationality is not confined to the State of Israel alone, but it includes all the Jewish people no matter where they are. It is a nationality based on descent and not on Zionism.

Biblically speaking, the Jewish people are a nation. Although many of them today, are still scattered, they are nevertheless, a nation. They are a nation because they are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The implication of this definition is that no matter what a Jew does he can never become a non-Jew; no matter what the individual Jew may believe or disbelieve he remains a Jew. If a Jew chooses to believe that Yeshua is his Messiah, he too remains a Jew. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can change the fact that he is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

At this point the problem of children of mixed marriages comes up. These children are usually designated half-Jewish and half-Gentile. The theology of Judaism teaches that Jewishness is determined by the mother; if the mother is Jewish, then the children are Jewish. But again, this is a departure from the biblical norm. In the Scriptures it is not the mother who determines Jewishness but the father; consequently the genealogies of both the Old and New Testaments list the names of the men and not of the women, except in cases where a mother was notable in Jewish history. Thus if the father is Jewish, the children are Jewish. King David was definitely Jewish, although his great grandmother Ruth and his great-great grandmother Rahab were both Gentiles.

Can the church be called a Jew (or “Israel”)?

The New Testament divides the world into three groups of people: Jews, Gentiles, and believers (I Corinthians 10:32). It plainly teaches that no one can ever be born a Christian; everyone is either born a Jew or born a Gentile. A Christian is therefore, either a Jew or a Gentile who has become a believer. He is not a Jew (or “Ïsrael”) merely because he holds church membership or is baptized.

In the Levitt newsletter for May 1996, Dr. Thomas McCall, the Senior Theologian of Zola Levitt Ministries, also addressed the battle regarding the nature and character of the Church, especially in relation to its biblical predecessor, Israel. The two major views are that:

  1. The Church is a continuation of Israel.
  2. The Church is completely different from Israel.

First View: The Church is Israel

The predominant view has been that the Church is the “new” Israel, a continuation of the concept of Israel which began in the Old Testament. In this view, the Church is the refinement and higher development of the concept of Israel. All of the promises made to Israel in the Scriptures find their fulfillment in the Church. Thus, the prophecies relating to the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” into promises of blessing to the Church. The prophecies of condemnation and judgment, though, are retained literally by the Jewish nation of Israel.

This view is sometimes called Replacement Theology, because the Church is seen to replace Israel in God’s economy. One of the problems with the view, among others, is the continuing existence of the Jewish people, especially with regard to the revival of the new modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned to extinction, and there is no divinely ordained future for the Jewish nation, how does one account for the supernatural survival of the Jewish people since the establishment of the Church, for almost 2,000 years against all odds? Furthermore, how does one account for Israel’s resurgence among the family of nations as an independent nation, victorious in several wars and flourishing economically?

Second View: Israel and the Church are Different

The other view, we believe, is clearly taught in the New Testament, but it has been suppressed throughout most of Church history. This view is that the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two should not be confused. In fact, the Church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the Day of Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and will continue until it is taken to Heaven at the Rapture return of the Lord (Eph. 1:9-11). None of the curses or blessings pronounced upon Israel refer directly to the Church. The Church enters into the Abrahamic and New Covenants, for instance, only by divine application, not by original interpretation (Matt 26:28).

This leaves all the covenants, promises, and warnings to Israel intact. Israel, the natural Jewish nation, is still Israel. To be sure, Israel has been side-lined during these past 1,900 years of the Diaspora. The Church has taken center stage in the Lord’s affairs as the Gospel has spread throughout the world. Nevertheless, God has carefully preserved the Jewish people, even in unbelief, through every kind of distress and persecution. Sometimes, the professing Church itself (I speak to our shame) has been a cause of these persecutions to the Jews.

Not only has God preserved the Jewish nation, but He has also kept His promise to save a remnant of Israel in every generation. The remnant of Israel in this age are the Jewish believers in Christ who have joined the Gentile believers, and form the Church, the Body of Christ (Rom. 11:5). In this respect, then, a part of Israel (the believing remnant) intersects with the Church during the Church Age. But this does not make Israel the Church, or vice versa.

In the future, both God’s warnings and promises to Israel will come to pass. After the Lord is finished with the Church Age, and has taken the Church to Heaven in the Rapture 1 Thess. 4:16-18), God will restore Israel to center stage on the world’s divine theater. First comes the devastating “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer. 30:7) also known as the Great Tribulation. This is a dreadful period of seven years, which begins relatively lightly during the first half, but intensifies into full focus during the latter half. During this time the world is judged for rejecting Christ, but, more specifically, Israel is judged, purged and prepared through the fiery trials of the Great Tribulation for the Second Coming of the Messiah. This is the bad news.

The good news is that, when Christ does return to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, Israel will be ready, willing, and eager to receive Him, and proclaim, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39). As the stumbling of Israel brought blessing to the world at Christ’s First Coming, the reception of Israel to Christ at His Second Advent will be like “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:15). The remnant of Israel which survives the Tribulation (some one-third of the Jewish people who enter the Tribulation), will be saved, and the Lord will establish His kingdom on the same earth and the same capital city, Jerusalem, that rejected Him centuries before. Israel will be the head of the nations, and no longer the tail, and all nations will send representatives to Jerusalem to honor and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Isa. 2:2-3;Micah 4:1). The Church will return with Christ, and will rule with Him for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-5). He Himself told His disciples that they would rule over the 12 tribes of Israel in the restoration (Matt. 19:28). Thus, Israel has not been forgotten in God’s plan. While the Jewish nation still has a dark period facing it, there is a glorious finale to Israel’s long history.

How Did the Church Decide the Demise of Israel?

The New Testament Church was very much involved with the vicissitudes of Israel. Jesus is an Israeli, as were all the apostles, and the concerns of Israel, spiritually and politically, were very much a part of their lives. The greatest struggles the early Church had were over the relationship between Israel and the Church, law and grace, and the fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ (Galatians). Many of the Jewish believers were not comfortable with the Gentile believers at first; and as time went on and Gentiles began to predominate numerically, the attitudes were reversed. Galatians shows how the Jewish party tried to impose the Mosaic Law on Gentile Christians, and Romans shows how the Gentile party began to “boast against the branches” (Rom. 11:18), resenting the place of Israel in history and theology.

It took some time, perhaps a couple of centuries, but eventually the vast Gentile majority in the Church began to view Israel as a vestigial organ that had outlived its usefulness. In fact, the predominant Christian view was that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD signaled the official and divinely-ordained end of the Jewish nation, never more to be re-instituted as a national entity. The fact that Jerusalem lay in ruins and the Jewish people were scattered over the world was seen as conclusive evidence that God was forever finished with national Israel. If there were any purpose for the existence of the Jewish people, it was to remind the world of the severe judgment of God upon a disobedient people.

If this harsh view of Israel were true, though, what of the promises of God to Israel in the Old Testament? For those who claimed to believe in the entire Bible as the Word of God, this was a great problem. How could a faithful God not keep His promises to His ancient people? To deal with this took extraordinary theological dexterity and alchemy. The theologians had to propose that Israel in the Scriptures did not really mean Israel, especially when it came to the promises of eternal blessing. Instead, Israel meant something else, something that came to be known in the New Testament as the Church. The Church became the new Israel, and through this remarkable transformation, wherever blessing is promised to Israel in the Old Testament, it was interpreted to mean the Church. This is Replacement Theology, in which the Church has become Israel.

Replacement Theology was already around before the end of the First Century, but did not become the official position of professing Christian leadership until Augustine popularized the concept, primarily in THE CITY OF GOD, in the latter part of the Fourth Century. Augustine actually states that he was previously a Chiliast, meaning that he was a believer in the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth after His return. This is the same as our current description of Premillennialism. However, he had come to the conclusion that this view was “carnal,” and had adopted the view that the reign of Christ would be something more “spiritual,” and would actually occur during the Church Age. Such a view necessitated the extinction of Israel, and the cancellation of all promises God made to the Jewish nation. These promises of blessing would now be fulfilled within the framework of the Church.

This view, which had been latent in Christendom, now flourished throughout the Byzantine world. From this point on, the theological legs were cut out from under Israel, and the predominant Christian theology was that there was no future for Israel. Replacement Theology has been the rule that has survived the Middle Ages, the Crusades and the Reformation in Church History. Only during the last Century or so has the Premillennial concept of the future of Israel come to the forefront in evangelical Christianity. Even so, it is a minority view.

Does Israel’s Future Demean the Church’s Glory?

Some suggest that if Israel has not ceased to exist in its covenant relationship to God, and if Israel still has a future in the divine plan, this somehow diminishes the position of the Church. Is such a concern valid? It is almost as though the Church has been jealous of Israel, and afraid that if it recognized Israel’s future promises, it would somehow demean Christ and the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is when the Church recognizes Israel that the true distinctiveness and glory of the Body of Christ becomes evident. This called-out body, composed of believing Jews and Gentiles during the Church Age, is the highest entity the Lord has created, superior to the universe, all the Angels, the nations, and Israel. Our Head, our Husband, our Friend is the Son of God Himself. We shall reign with Him when He rules the earth, and our 12 Founding Apostles will rule over the 12 tribes of Israel. The Angels themselves will study us forever as the greatest exhibit of God’s grace, and we will actually judge the Angels. This is our destiny, and this writer, for one, would not trade his position in the Body of Christ with any creature in the universe! Why, then, be disturbed over what God has promised the Jewish people? Why be jealous over the future destiny of Israel? How short sighted of us! Indeed, the Church’s finest and most distinctive hour will be when Israel is restored nationally and spiritually to the Lord at the Second Coming of Christ. We will return from Heaven with Him as His glorious Bride to rule the world. What more could we ask? (Sadly, those who follow Replacement theology, would rather also reject the prophecies regarding the rapture of the church and the 1000 year reign, than accepting that God will honour His covenant to the Jews – Israel).

So, if we are not to suffer from spiritual myopia, we must recognize what the Lord is doing with Israel, not shrinking from it as though our own interests will be overshadowed. Rather, we rejoice in these developments, with full assurance that our own redemption draws ever closer.

(Main Source: https://www.levitt.com/essays/israel-church )

THE RISE IN ANTI-SEMITISM

After a new report was issued on known cases of Anti-Semitism that occurred in 2018, the Kantor Centre at Tel Aviv University said, “Antisemitism has progressed to the point of calling into question the very continuation of Jewish life in Europe.” The U.K. logged a record 1,382 hate crimes against Jews, an increase of 34 percent.

Josef Schuster, leader of Germany’s largest Jewish organization, urged Jews not to wear kippas in Berlin’s public spaces. He suggested, instead, to wear baseball caps. “It’s become just too dangerous,” he explained. “Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden requires airport-like security checks. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass,” says an article in the  New York Times.

The Anti-Semitism practiced by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, two Muslim representatives of the Democrats in the US is also no secret. In the U.S., anti-Semitic incidents rose by 57 percent in 2018, the largest increase ever recorded. Historians and scholars who write about anti- Semitism often state that it is “an illogical hatred of the Jewish people.”

Time magazine recently also reported that the surge in Anti-Semitic attacks has caused a ‘sense of emergency’ among Jews worldwide.

When we understand that the source of Anti-Semitism is Satan himself, we can easily comprehend why we see this rise in Anti-Semitism. Satan and his hordes of demonic forces are fighting to retain control of this world and the Jews are caught in the midst of the battle. A major part of Satan’s strategy is also to breed anti-Semitism specifically among Christians, for the purpose of completely annihilating the Jewish people and sadly, the majority of the church today has fallen for his deception. As mentioned previously on our blog, we strongly oppose Replacement Theology and consider it a doctrine of demons… even if they try and cover it up by calling it Supersessionism or Fulfillment Theology.

Satan’s plan is to misuse the very people who must bring God’s message of redemption to the Jewish people. Christians, therefore, instead of provoking the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11: 11), have been used as a weapon against Jewish people, in the name of Christianity.

To obtain a better understanding on how bad Anti-Semitism has really become, we strongly suggest that you look at this 28 minute long video, recently published on YouTube by Rock Harbour church.

 

 

 

 

PROMISES TO THE CHURCH OR TO ISRAEL?

God’s promises to Israel

The Kingdom is repeatedly promised to Israel in the Old Testament. However, God also has “terms and conditions” to these promises. If they would obey, follow and worship Him, He will bring them the Kingdom. If they don’t, He will punish them. The promises of punishment and chastening on Israel have literally come to pass through the ages, for the literal nation of Israel. For the same reason, the promises of blessing will not be figurative and should not be spiritualized.

There will always be a small remnant of Jews, preserved by God’s sovereign grace that preserved, obeyed, and passed on God’s law. Through this remnant of Jews, God will honour the Abrahamic Covenant.

God will forgive them for their iniquities and they will receive Christ as their Savior.

To say that God has taken these promises away from Israel and gave them to the church, is nothing than taking away and adding to Scripture. Here are a few examples, mainly in Isaiah which clearly shows God’s commitment to His promises.

“If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah. I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.” (Isaiah 1:9,25-27)

“And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,” (Isaiah 4:3)

“And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump*. (Isaiah 6:13)

*Note: Though most will reject God, the tenth, also called the “stump” and “holy seed,” represents the faithful remnant in Israel who will hear and believe.

“In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth. For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.” (Isaiah 10:20-23,25,27)

“In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, … He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth… And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.” (Isaiah 11:11-14,16)

“You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. “ Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “ Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:1-6)

“And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 27:13)

“In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,” (Isaiah 28:5)

“In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.” (Isaiah 29:18)

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.” (Isaiah 30:20)

“Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention. until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” (Isaiah 32:3,15-17)

“And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 37:31-32)

“Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” (Isaiah 43:8,10,21)

“This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.”* (Isaiah 44:5)

*In the future age of Israel, belonging to the Lord and belonging to God’s chosen people will be synonymous, and it will be a badge of honour gladly worn without fear.

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.” (Isaiah 46:3-4,13)

“You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known.” (Isaiah 48:6)

“Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.” (Isaiah 52:6)

“But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65: 18,24)

“And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 39:29)

“And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” (Hosea 2:21-23)

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.” (Joel 2:28-29,32)

Since the context is “your sons and your daughters,” “all flesh” best refers to the house of Israel only. The nations are the recipients of God’s wrath, not the effusion of his Spirit.

But in spite of the nation’s sin, God promised to fulfill his unconditional covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, and New) and some of the Tribulation saints will also be saved.

“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the LORD at their head.” (Micah 2:12-13)

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.” (Micah 7:18-20)

THE FINAL GATHERING OF THE JEWS IN ISRAEL

It is almost unreal how some Christians, and especially those who practice Replacement theology, reject the fact that God still has a plan with Israel. Especially when taking the detail of prophecy into account. Sadly, they always choose to defend their unbiblical eschatology in a holistic way when confronted with detail. If only Christians would take heed of the warning in Revelation 22:18-19.

“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

This is an extract from my forthcoming book, “ON A DAY … LEAST EXPECTED.” This part of the book only covers the return of the Jews to their promised land.

The Jewish Diaspora

For 2000 years, the term Diaspora (with an upper-case D) was associated almost exclusively with Jewish history. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary cites Deuteronomy 28:25 in support of its primary definition: “the dispersion of Jews among the Gentile nations; all those Jews who lived outside the biblical land of Israel.”

The Diaspora started with the dispersion of Jews among the Gentiles after the Babylonian Exile and then to the Jews scattered “in exile” outside present-day Israel. Although the term refers to the physical dispersal of Jews throughout the world, it also carries religious, philosophical, political, and eschatological connotations, as the Jews perceive a special relationship between the land of Israel and themselves.

The Diaspora started soon after King Solomon died (between 926 BC and 922 BC), as the ten northern tribes refused to submit to his son, Rehoboam, and revolted. Since then, there were two kingdoms of Hebrews, namely Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The northern kingdom of Israel immediately went into idolatry and turned away from worshipping God. After 200 years, in 722 BC, they went into national captivity at the hands of the Assyrian Empire. The ten tribes of Israel were scattered throughout the Assyrian empire. They then virtually disappeared from history and are known as “the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.”

The tribes of Judah, Benjamin and a part of Levi stayed with Rehoboam and became the southern kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital. The southern kingdom of Judah lasted more than a hundred years after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. Unfortunately, Judah also turned away from God and on several occasions, righteous kings instituted reforms. God also sent prophets to warn them but eventually they would no longer listen. The Jewish nation was taken into national captivity by the Babylonians, which started in 586 BC.

After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, some of the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Jesus, the Messiah, would come through the tribe of Judah, but His own people rejected Him.

In 63 BC, Judea came under the control of Rome, and in 6 AD, it was declared a Roman province. The estimated 5 million Jews from the kingdom of Judah considered Judea as the centre of their religious and cultural life, but were outnumbered even before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Thereafter, the main centres of Judaism shifted from country to country (e.g., Babylonia, Persia, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia and the United States – diasporas). While some lived in peace, others became victims of violent anti-Semitism.

When Hadrian became the Roman emperor in 118 AD, he was sympathetic to the Jews. He allowed them to return to Jerusalem and granted permission for the rebuilding of their Holy Temple. The Jews’ expectations rose but Hadrian quickly went back on his word. He also began deporting Jews to North Africa.

The Jews started a rebellion and in 132 AD, under the strong leadership of Shimon Bar-Kokhba, the Jews captured approximately 50 strongholds in Judea and 985 undefended towns and villages, including Jerusalem. The Bar Kokhba revolt was followed by violent despair and the Jews were crushed in the final battle of Bethar. In 135 AD, Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina where Jews were forbidden to live and the country’s name was changed from Judea to Syria Palestina.

During the Middle Ages, the Jews divided into distinct regional groups The Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to Central and later Eastern Europe, while the Sephardi Jews settled in Iberia and later North Africa. The Mizrahi Jews remained in the Babylon after the destruction of the First Temple.

Although this picture seems very dark for the Jews, God will never break His covenant, and those who deny this truth is making God a liar and abominate His character.

“For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer. “ This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:7-10)

Aliyah

Aliyah is the immigration of Jews from the Diaspora to the Land of Israel. It is also referred to as “the act of going up,” towards Jerusalem. “Making Aliyah” is one of the most basic tenets of Zionism.

The first re-gathering of the Jews took place after the Babylonian captivity.

Although some Jews returned to Israel in the early 1900’s, the second re-gathering officially began in 1948. Approaching the 20th century, many Jewish groups wanted to return to their ancient homeland, Judea.
Great Britain’s support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine was already made public in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, but it only become a reality on May 14, 1948. The Law of Return is an Israeli law, passed on 5 July 1950, which gave Jews the right to live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship.

The first returning Jews came primarily from eastern Arab countries. Then followed a major movement from the western countries of Europe, especially Germany. Then they came in great numbers from Russia (north) during the end of the 1980’s. The last great migrations of Jews returning to Israel came from Ethiopia in the south. The order of return was accurately predicted by Isaiah.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, `Give them up!’ and to the south, `Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth…”
“… the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” (Isaiah 43:5-6,21)

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, And gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.” (Psalm 107:2-3)

The establishment of the Jewish state on 14 May 1948 is undoubtedly the biggest sign to date, of end-time prophecies being fulfilled, that would lead to the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

Prophecy in indicates that the Jews will resume animal sacrifices before the return of Christ, for which they need their own homeland to enable them to do so.

“For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11)

After 2000 years, God’s people will return home from the Diaspora and will once again be a single Kingdom for the first time since 900 BC. Surely, this must be a miracle from God.

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the LORD; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God.” (Isaiah 66:8-9)

“He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah, From the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)

Isaiah 11 and 14 also indicates that the so-called “Palestinians” and other enemies of Israel will cease to be a problem for God’s people.

“For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the LORD’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them. “I will rise up against them,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 14:1-2,22)

“you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”;” (Isaiah 41:9)

“And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength. Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.” Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.” (Isaiah 49:5,8,12,22)

“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11)

“Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. (Isaiah 60:4,9)

“I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered — with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath.” (Ezekiel 20:34)

With the return of the nation, the ancient Hebrew language has been revived and become the official language of the state. Prior to this happening, the Jews spoke an impure form of the language called Yiddish. The return to a pure common language was also predicted in Zephaniah 3:8-10.

After nearly 2,000 years the shekel has been reinstated as the common monetary unit in Israel, again, just as predicted in Ezekiel 45:12-16.

There are many cities in Israel that bear the ancient names of previous Biblical Jewish cities, such as Cana, Nazareth, Jericho, Nain, Bethany, Bethlehem, Hebron, Gaza, etc. Again, as the ancient nation was in the process of being destroyed, Ezekiel predicted that many of the ancient cities would be re-inhabited and settled in the exact locations.

“And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better [unto you] than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD…. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:11; 24)
The restoration of the agriculture and of the trees and forests of Israel has been another remarkable miracle, as prophesied. Almost 75 years ago, the land was a desolate waste, full of malarial swamps and deserts. Today the replanted forests are flourishing and the Israeli agricultural production is one of the great wonders of the world. This tiny country exports quality produce around the world.

“Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit.” (Isaiah 27:6)

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God.” (Isaiah 35:1-2)

Final return of the Jews (Ezekiel 39:21-29)

The second re-gathering will be completed after the Battle of Ezekiel 38.

“Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind” (Ezekiel 39:28).

Though God caused the Jews to be scattered all over the world, He will now bring them back, not leaving any behind. Having witnessed His defeat of their enemies, Jews from all over the world will flock to Israel and to Him, yearning for a reinstatement of their Old Covenant relationship.

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” (Hosea 6:1)

And so this battle will mark the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, the last 7 years of human history before the Lord returns.

The third temple

Today, many orthodox Jews long to re-establish the temple and its ancient systems, including the sacrifices. Soon the Jews will build the third temple, which is the temple that will be made desolate by the Antichrist and later cleansed at the beginning of the Millennium, just as the second Temple was first made desolate and then cleansed in the time of the Maccabees.

The third temple will exist during the Great Tribulation. Daniel refers to this temple when he says that “the prince who is to come” (the Antichrist) will enter it and stop the sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27). Paul mentions it when he declares that the “man of lawlessness” will profane the temple by entering it and declaring himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The Third Temple is also mentioned in Revelation 11:1-2 when John is told to measure it — a symbolic way of telling him to assess its spiritual condition.

Isaiah said, “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains. . . . Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the temple of the God of Jacob’ ” (Isaiah 2:2,3).

Amos said: “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter—I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins—and will rebuild it as it used to be” (Amos 9:11).

Solomon had constructed the original temple over a period of seven years, which by all accounts was a wonder. But the Babylonians invaded and burned it to the ground.

Isaiah predicted that the Persian monarch Cyrus would rebuild Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:24–28). God called Cyrus by name more than a century before Christ was born. He gave orders to rebuild the edifice, and he returned all the temple valuables that had been looted by the Babylonians.

The second temple lasted until AD 70, when it was destroyed by Roman soldiers under Titus.

(Extract from the forthcoming book “ON A DAY … LEAST EXPECTED” by Gerhard Woest)

THE REDEMPTION OF ISRAEL

Both Zechariah 10 and Romans 11 are concerned with the redemption of Israel. Romans 11:1 starts with the question, has God cast off His people Israel?

Romans 11:2 answers the question and simply states that God has not cast off His people Israel. It says, “God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” God is still dealing in the fulfillment of His promises to Israel and He has not set them aside.

And as you progress through the Romans 11, Paul develops what God’s plan for Israel is. It culminates in verse 26 which says, “So all Israel shall be saved As it is written, there shall come out of Zion the deliverer who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Why is God going to fulfill that? “For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” And verse 29 says, “And the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.”

God is going to redeem the nation of Israel. In Isaiah 59:20-21, we read concerning this same prophecy, “And the redeemer shall come to Zion.” That was quoted in Romans 11. “And unto those who turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says the Lord. My Spirit that is upon thee and My words which I have put in Thy mouth shall not depart out of Thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.”

There is a forever message that will abide in Israel that culminates when the redeemer comes to Zion. The redeemer will come out of Zion. He will be Jewish. He will turn ungodliness away from Jacob. He will take away their sins. This all forms part of what Jeremiah calls the new covenant. Jeremiah 31:33 says, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts and will be their God and they shall be My people. … for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.”

The primary indication of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31 is related to Israel. The gentiles / church have already participated in the new covenant, had the law of God written in their hearts and had their iniquities removed. God has already done graciously in our behalf, but yet shall do the same to Israel.

Jesus returns will also be with the redemption of Israel in mind. When He comes, Israel will already have undergone a severe spiritual upheaval. They will have experienced political and economic devastation under Antichrist. They will have gone through social devastation because of the wars that they will have been involved in (eg Ezekiel 38-39). The hundred and forty four thousand in Revelation will have proclaimed the gospel. There will be a final period of national holocaust as the war of Armageddon rages.

Armageddon, that great war that occurs in the land of Israel in the end of the times, will sweep away any Jewish delusion that they could possibly bring the kingdom on their own. In the midst of the abomination of desolations, as Daniel calls it and Jesus reiterates it in Matthew 24, the whole nation is going to be brought to a place of really reexamining their spiritual priorities. And no question about it, many will respond to the gospel. The Holy Spirit will begin to prepare their hearts for the arrival of their Messiah.

And when Christ comes back, riding on a white horse with all the armies of heaven following Him, He slaughters all the armies of the world, He judges all the ungodly and He delivers Israel and gives Israel the Kingdom. But in addition to that, there will be a salvation as well. There will be a spiritual deliverance. Zechariah 12:10 says says, “I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of supplication. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son and be in bitterness for Him as one is in bitterness for His firstborn. And there shall be great mourning.” And at the end of verse 9 of 13, it says, “I will say it is My people and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”

In fact, in 13:6 it says, “And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Your hands? And He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.” They’ll recognize Him. And they’ll be saved.

And at that point in the words of Paul in Romans 11:23, they will be grafted back into the stock of blessing, back into the place of blessing. And they’ll enter into the Kingdom.

Ezekiel talks about how tragic it was in Israel’s history to be without a shepherd. It says in Ezekiel 34:6, “My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill. Yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth and none did search or seek them. Therefore ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because My flock became a prey and My flock became food to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd,” and He’s indicting the priests and the prophets here, “neither did My shepherd search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not My flock. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds. I will require My flock at their hand and cause them to cease from feeding the flock, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore for I will deliver My flock from their mouth that they may not be food for them.”

But such a shepherd would come. Further in the chapter in verses 22 and 23, “Therefore will I save My flock, I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even My servant David.” And, of course, He has in mind ultimately greater than David. “He shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd and I the Lord will be their God.” And then He closes by saying, “I the Lord have spoken it.”

Israel will make a pact with the Antichrist, according to Daniel 9:27. They will get engulfed in the Antichrist system before they’re pulled out of it. Another passage that indicates that Israel will indeed be brought into a belief in idols and so forth is in Matthew 24. “For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” Verse 23, “Then if any man shall say, Lo, here is Christ and there..believe it not for there shall arise false Christs, false prophets showing signs and wonders in so much if it were possible it would deceive the very elect.”

Paul in writing to the Thessalonians in chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians points up the fact that the Thessalonians need to be aware that Christ has not yet come because the apostasy hasn’t yet come, but when the apostasy does come, there will come lying signs and wonders, deceiving many.

Isaiah 66:4 says, “I also will choose their delusions and I will bring their fears on them because when I called, none did answer. When I spoke, they didn’t hear. But they did evil before My eyes and chose that in which I delighted not. I will choose their delusion,” And so God is going to allow the world to come into a delusion and Israel will be engulfed in it somehow and God in His wonderful grace will come in the midst of that delusion with a true shepherd to offer to them.

Christ is going to come in judgment using the nation Israel as His war horse. In Zechariah chapter 12:1-9 we see this in detail. Verse 9 says, “It will come to pass in that day, I’ll seek to destroy all the nations that come against Israel.” Chapter 14 of Zechariah tells us the very same thing.

Zechariah 10 Verse 5, “And they shall be like mighty men who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight because the Lord is with them and the riders on horses shall be confounded and I will strengthen the house of Judah and I will save the house of Joseph,” those are just names for Israel, “and I will bring them again to place them in their land for I have mercy on them and they shall be as though I had not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God and will hear them and they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man.”

The world is going to go into a state of shock in the day when the King of Kings comes with His mighty people from Israel to win the great and final battle before the Kingdom. By the way, Jeremiah 32:37 prophesies this very same thing.

That’s God’s plan. “They shall be as though I had never cast them off.” I do not see how people can say God will never restore Israel or that they will never have a place in His final plan.

Zechariah 10:6, “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.” God will honour His promises to them.

Isaiah predicted joy in the Kingdom. “Rejoice with Jerusalem, be glad with her,” Isaiah 66:10, “all ye that love her, rejoice for joy with her all ye that mourn that ye may nurse and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolation, that you may drink deeply and delighted with the abundance of her glory, for thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river and the glory of the nations like a flowing stream. Then shall you be nursed, you shall be born upon her sides and be dandled on her knees.” And the joy that she has will be transferred to us. “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when you see this, your heart will rejoice and your bones will flourish like an herb and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants.” They are all going to be together again as we see in Isaiah 5:26.

When Jesus comes at the end of the Tribulation, those Jews that are redeemed will not die. They will go into the Kingdom in physical bodies and they will occupy the earthly Kingdom in their physical form. And the earth will literally proliferate with children. In fact, in Zechariah 2:4 it says, “Jerusalem will be inhabited like a town without a wall because of the multitude of men in it.”

Now before that happens, verse 9 says God has another plan. “I’ll first will sow them among the peoples.” He has done that, hasn’t He? From 70 A.D. they were scattered and dispersed all over the world. He says, “I’ll sow them among the peoples and they’ll remember Me in far countries and they’ll return again, not alone, but with their children. And I’ll bring them again out of the land of Egypt and gather them from Assyria…and those are just symbols of all the countries where they’re scattered…and I’ll bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.” That’s not just Zechariah’s thoughts. Isaiah Isaiah 54:1 and 49:20 writes about it as well.
“And thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up Mine hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples and they shall bring thy sons in their arms and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers and their queens thy nursing mothers,” and He moves into a second area and says not only will you be having children, but the whole world is going to be moving in and you’re going to have to make room for them.

“I will strengthen them in the Lord and they shall walk up and down in His name, saith the Lord.” That verse simply says there will be a total and complete spiritual revival.