Israel in the Last Days (Part 3)

(Psalm 33: 11-12) “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chooses for His inheritance.”

Back to Israel

In these last days God is regathering the Jewish people back to Israel. There in the land they will have to face their worst nightmare as God brings the nation into His refining fire to purify and to cleanse them from all of their spiritual defilement and idolatry. Once they have passed through the Time of Jacob’s Trouble as foretold in the prophet Jeremiah God will spiritually and nationally restore Israel. Already they have become a nation gain after more than 2000 years of exile but their spiritual restoration in the land is yet to come. In the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah Israel will “possess their possessions.”

1.The Uniqueness of Israel

 When you look at the nation of Israel today it is hard to believe that God has called them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. At present they are anything but a Holy nation. Spiritually they are a backslidden people who are totally consumed with materialism and are morally and spiritually bankrupt. It is a nation filled with idols and the ways of the pagan nations. Even though there are those in Israel who are faithful to the God of their fathers for most modern Israelis the Lord is far from their thinking. Israeli society overall is no different than the pagan nations that surround it. The moral and spiritual decadence of the western nations has infected and polluted the thinking of many in the nation today. Many in the Church are saying that Israel has no right to the land because as a nation they are living in unbelief and that the Palestinians should be the ones to inherit the land. However those who are saying this do not know the covenant heart of God or understand His ways at all. God has clearly said in His word that in the last days Israel would be gathered to their own land while they were still in unbelief but that in the land they would be spiritually revived as a nation and come into their God appointed inheritance.

God has everything under control

The late David Wilkerson used to say that “God has everything under control” which is a strong statement of faith and confidence in God. The late Derek prince used to say;  “God is a sovereign God and He does what He wants, when He wants and in the way He wants and asks no man’s permission.” While we must allow for the free will of man we must not rule out the sovereign purposes of God. Many nations have come and gone down through history but Israel has remained a unique people on the face of the earth. Even though they have been scattered into many nations God has never forgotten His ancient people or reneged on His covenant promises to them, promises sworn in a blood covenant that can never be annulled.

The Covenant of Blood

If we do not have a revelation of the blood covenant God has cut with His Son for the nation of Israel that also includes the Church then we have not understood Him at all. If God does not keep His promises to Israel then why should He keep them to the Church? Have we been any less faithless than Israel has? Look at the state of the western Church today with its liberal theology, its ecumenism and interfaith associations, with its toleration and acceptance of homosexual ministers and its moral and spiritual bankruptcy. When King Solomon stood before the Lord for the dedication of the Temple He prayed this prayer concerning Israel recorded for us in God’s Word. “There is no one like you O lord, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel – the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for Himself and to make a name for yourself and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You made your people Israel your very own forever and ever, and you, O Lord, have become their God.” (1 Chronicles 17: 20-22)

His treasured possession

To God Israel is still His treasured possession and although He has chastised them more than any other nation because for their rebellion against Him He will never abandon them or give them up. He called them to be a holy nation and what He has called them to be they will become. God spoke to Israel through His servant Moses; “Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all the nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6) Even though they failed to become this and God established the Church He did not intend the Church to replace Israel. Even though the New Testament calls the Body of the Messiah “a royal priesthood, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” He does not cancel out his gifts and calling to Israel as a nation. After the time of Great Tribulation Israel will become a holy nation before the LORD.

Jerusalem, a cup of reeling

In the last days just before Jesus returns God will once again extend His hand over His ancient people and woe betide the nations that are coming against Israel in that day! The LORD spoke through the prophet Jeremiah; “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure (tear or rip apart) themselves.” (Zechariah 12:1-3) God will use the nations coming against Israel to bring about repentance and faith in Israel. As has already been mentioned God has called Israel along with the Church to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation who have been entrusted with the Word of God. God gave His word through His prophets and fully manifested that word in the person of His Son the lord Jesus Christ the living word of God made flesh!

The advantage of being Jewish

There is a great advantage in being Jewish because God revealed His word through that nation. The apostle Paul wrote; “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” (Romans 3:1-2) God Himself adopted Israel as a nation and took them as sons and they were to reflect His divine splendour and glory to the nations. They received both the Old and the New Covenants (Testaments) and the first Christians were Jewish. The Church owes a great debt to Israel. Paul wrote about this; “The people of Israel, theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (Romans 9: 4-5) They were given God’s promises and all of the spiritual fathers or patriarchs of faith came from Israel. Our very salvation has come through the Jewish people, a salvation announced by the Hebrew prophets and fully manifested in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! The Lord Jesus Himself was Jewish!

2.Another unique feature of Israel is that their entire history is foretold in Biblical Prophecy.

 Their enslavement in Egypt was foretold but they were delivered out of Egypt with great wealth. (Genesis 15:13) Their possession of the Land of Canaan (Israel) was also foretold. (Genesis 15:18-29) Their turning to idols in the Land of Canaan was foretold. (Deuteronomy 32:15-21) It was foretold that the Centre of their worship would be in the city of Jerusalem. (Deuteronomy 12:5-6) Their captivity by the Assyrians was also foretold. (Amos 5:27) (Amos 6:14) (Amos 7:17) Their Babylonian captivity was also foretold. (Jeremiah 16:13) (Jeremiah 21:10) The destruction of the first temple was also foretold. (2 Chronicles 7:19-22) The return from Babylon was also foretold. (Isaiah 6:11-13) (Isaiah 48:20) Then the destruction of the second temple was also foretold as well. (Matthew 24:2) (Luke 19:43-44) Their scattering among the nations was foretold. (Leviticus 26:36-39) (Ezekiel 12:15) Their persecution and oppression was foretold. (Leviticus 26:33-34) (Jeremiah 16:16-18) Finally their re-gathering from all of the nations in the last days was also foretold. (Zechariah 10:9-10).

1948

In 1948 God re-established Israel as a nation in almost 2000 years. It was a miracle! At that time there were around 600,000 Jewish settlers in Israel surrounded by 40 million Arabs bent on destroying them and driving them out of the land but they have remained to this day! Even though Jerusalem will be devastated and half the city sacked by the Antichrist they will never be driven out of the land again because God has promised it to them to be their everlasting possession. (Genesis 17:7-8) God Himself foretold their restoration to the Land of Israel through the prophet Isaiah. “Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children. Do I not bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord. ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.” (Isaiah 66: 8-9) God established Israel to bring forth their spiritual restoration, a restoration that is as yet still in the future. Many more Jewish people need to leave the Gentile nations and it will be anti-Semitism that will cause them to go back to Israel.

1967

In 1967 during the six-day war Israel reclaimed the old city of Jerusalem signifying that the times of the Gentiles rule over Jerusalem were coming to an end. Even though an exile of half of the population of Jerusalem is still to come they will never be totally removed from the city of Jerusalem or from the Land of Israel. Luke confirmed this fact when he said, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”(Luke 21:24).Even though the nations are once again trying to control Israel and create a so called “Palestinian State” Israel is still a nation that God calls Israel and will remain so forever because God has given His word and He can never violate what He has sworn through His oath made in blood. To a degree the nations are still seeking to trample Israel underfoot and the status of the Temple Mount is still hotly contested today between Islam and Israel. Sadly, after the old city of Jerusalem was captured including the Temple Mount, Moshe Dayan the Israeli General gave the Temple Mount back to the Arabs as a good will gesture. It was in fact a very foolish one which has had sad ramifications for Israel ever since then. While Israel is now a nation again its final and complete restoration will occur when the Lord Jesus comes back to establish His Millennial kingdom.

God’s prophetic timeclock

Israel is God’s prophetic time clock for the nations and for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of the world. Imagine a football game being played with five minutes to go before the final siren blows to end the game but a player is hurt and the clock stops. Then for an undetermined period of time the game has to be suspended while the ambulance is called and the necessary medical treatment is administered to the injured player. Once the player has been dealt with and taken from the field the clock starts to tick again! In 70 AD the clock stopped ticking for Israel and there was a long undetermined period of time when the Gentile nations ruled over the land of Israel but in 1948 with the rebirth of Israel God’s prophetic timeclock began ticking again. By God’s way of measuring time there is only five minutes left in the game even though by our time Israel’s rebirth as a nation happened over 60 years ago. God measures time differently than we do. A thousand years of our time is as one day to Him! (2 Peter 3:8)

3.Their scattering and re-gathering as a nation was foretold in the Word of God.

God’s Word gives us a step-by-step description of the scattering and regathering of the nation. Not only that, but God’s word also describes their spiritual revival in the land. They are gathered in unbelief but are spiritually transformed after they have been brought back to the land!

The Scattering of the nation was foretold. (Ezekiel 36:16-23)

They were in their own land but defiled it and themselves by their conduct. (Vs 16-17) They were judged by the Lord because they shed innocent blood and worshipped idols in the land (v18) They were scattered among the nations because of their rebellious actions against the Law of God (v19) They disgraced God’s name even among the nations into which they had been scattered (v20) God Himself would intervene to redeem the honour of His name. (Vs 21-23)

The Re-gathering of the nation was foretold. (Ezekiel 36:24-37)

They would be gathered again out of every nation by God Himself and be brought back into the Land of Israel. (v24) They will be cleansed from all of their impurity and idolatry. (v25) They will receive a new heart, i.e., one that is capable of responding to the will of God. (v26) God will also put His Holy Spirit in them to produce obedience to Him. (v27) They will dwell in the land of Israel, they will be God’s people and He will be their God. (v28) God will prosper His people in the land in every way. (Vs 29-37)

When you read verses 23-30 you will see that God Himself says, ”I Will” eighteen times. God will always respond to the prayers of His people when they humble themselves before Him and call upon His name. In the end God will redeem Israel from all her sins because of the honour of His name and not because of anything they have done. It is the same with the Church. In the last days God will have mercy and spiritually revive a remnant in Israel and in the Church for His glory and honour! Finally in verses 37-38 God responds to His people and brings them into their allotted inheritance. “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (v 37-38) This is glorious future in the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah our Lord Jesus.

A spirit of grace and supplication

In 1948 when the Jewish people were brought back to the land of Israel they did not believe in their Messiah the Lord Jesus however they will be spiritually renewed as a nation just before Jesus returns again. Zechariah prophesied this event, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives. On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.” (Zechariah 12:10-14 13:1-2)

The weeping in Jerusalem will be great!

Remember Joseph’s brothers who betrayed him and left him for dead and then years later after a lot of trouble and strife were re-united with their long lost brother and the weeping and joy was unrestrained as they hugged each other and healed the beech in their relationship. This is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus being re-united with His brothers when they will look on, “ the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great!”

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