(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.”
Can a country be born in a day?
In 1948 after almost 2000 years of exile the nation of Israel was reborn. Indeed Biblical prophecy was once more fulfilled. “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) Israel is once more in the land given to them by a covenant promise sealed in blood. God Himself had sworn an oath that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would inherit the land of Israel as an everlasting inheritance. “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 are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you: and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17: 7-8) There are many Old Testament prophecies given concerning the restoration of Israel in the last days. Three Major Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all foretold this event. However there are prophecies concerning Israel that have yet to be fulfilled. These events are also foretold in the Bible. There are four major prophecies yet to be fulfilled where Israel is concerned. In this study we will look at the first two of these prophecies.
1. A spiritual Revival in Israel just before Jesus returns again.
(Joel 2:28-32) “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.“
On the Day of Pentecost the apostle Peter quoted these verses after the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jews gathered in Jerusalem to hear what Peter had to say. As a result 3000 were born again through faith in Jesus their Messiah and received the Holy Spirit. After that the gospel spread throughout the known world and even beyond the frontiers of the Roman Empire. Peter said that this was, “to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” However in the original language of the text it says, “This is like that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel.” The Jewish way of understanding prophecy is “a pattern” where you see historical events happen that are similar in pattern that are partial fulfilments with an ultimate fulfilment to come. Peter was saying that what had happened on the Day of Pentecost was like what would happen to Israel in the Last Days. On the Day of Pentecost there were no wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke and the sun was not turned to darkness or the moon to blood. These cosmic events were to happen in the future and clearly at the end of this age according to other corresponding passages in the Bible.
The Gospel of the Kingdom
This was the last great sign the Lord Jesus said would mark the end of this age. The First Century Gospel preaching Church was Jewish and the Last Century Gospel Preaching Church will also be Jewish. While the Church will still be present on the earth at that time and preaching the gospel the Spirit of God will fall upon Israel in a special way and those empowered by the Holy Spirit will be the means through which multitudes will be saved. The Gospel will go forth to the Gentiles around about and Israel will again be “a light to lighten the Gentiles.” This is the clear teaching of Joel chapter two. Then in chapter three of Joel you have the nations coming against Jerusalem. Joel writes; “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up My land.” (Joel 3:1-2) In passing notice that God’s judgment falls on those nations that have divided up the Land of Israel. However, when you look at Joel chapters two and three the spiritual revival in Israel happens in the Last Days just before Jesus comes back. Everything that is happening to Israel today and is still to happen is for the sake of the remnant chosen by God’s sovereign grace and foreknowledge.
A new heart
The prophet Ezekiel also foretold this revival that would occur after the Jewish people had been restored to the Land of Israel. In that day what happened on the Day of Pentecost in the book of Acts will happen again. “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.” (Ezekiel 36: 24-32) The account of this revival continues in Ezekiel chapter 37:1-14. Then in Chapter 38-39 you have the nations attacking Jerusalem. The revival in Israel and the subsequent attack by the nations is given to us in Joel chapters two and three. Both Ezekiel and Joel are describing the same events.
A spirit of mourning
The prophet Zechariah also foretold the spiritual restoration of Israel in the last days. He writes; “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)
A joyful reunion
When Joseph’s wayward brothers finally had a revelation that he was their long lost brother whom they had betrayed they wept bitterly and rejoiced at the same time as they embraced each other unashamedly. Such will be the joy and weeping of the remnant in Israel when they encounter their Messiah! The text in Zechariah chapter twelve specifically says that, “They will look on Me, the one they have pierced,” however the text can also be translated in this way, “They will look to Me, the one they have pierced.” So this prophecy has a double fulfilment. When the armies surround Jerusalem and after the devastation by the Antichrist the remnant will “look to” the one they have pierced i.e., to say they will look to Him for deliverance from the Antichrist and the armies surrounding Jerusalem. However, it also means that the remnant will, “look on Him” when He comes in the clouds to stand again on the Mount of Olives. At that time the Antichrist will be killed, the armies of the nations will be destroyed and after a series of Battles Jesus will be totally victorious and commence His Millennial reign from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 63:1-6) (Revelation 19 & 20) From that time forth the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea and the Torah go forth from Mt Zion in Jerusalem! Now we need to look at the second prophecy yet to be fulfilled and we have already touched on this but will now look at it in more detail.
2. All nations will attack Jerusalem in the Last Days.
(Zechariah 14:1-2) “A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.”
Jeremiah the prophet also foretold this event. He writes; “The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the LORD.” These are the words the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “This is what the LORD says: “‘Cries of fear are heard—terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labour, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. “(Jeremiah 30:3-7)
A covenant of death
Today when you look at the situation on the Middle –East all the nations are turning against Israel. Over the years there have been quite a few peace treaties of one sort or another trying to placate Muslims and Jews as that is what is still going on in the Middle-east today as many western governments seek to find a solution but to no avail. The Bible tells us that there will be a covenant of peace Israel makes with other nations that previously have been hostile towards Israel but it will be a false peace that will not last. Isaiah the prophet spoke about a covenant of death that Israel will enter into with other nations at the end of this age. In fact any covenant that Israel seeks to make with the surrounding nations will be a covenant of death and not life because Israel will be trusting in man rather than in God. Isaiah the prophet said this would happen. “Therefore hear the word of the LORD you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.” (Isaiah 20:14-15) This covenant will be a “covenant of death” because they will rely upon man instead of the Lord for deliverance. Ultimately those whom they trusted to protect them will betray them and then the Antichrist will unleash on them a holocaust far worse than the one perpetuated on them by Adolph Hitler in the 1940’s. Zechariah the prophet also foretold that this would happen.
Two thirds will perish
Remember that the Jewish people chose Barabbas a wild beast of a man over the Lord Jesus the Lamb of God bringing on themselves terrible consequences. They called down a curse on themselves and on their children unleashing centuries of persecution, devastation and death. Zechariah said, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to Me!” declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn My hand against the little ones. In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ (Zechariah 13:7-9) When this happens Israel will experience what their Messiah experienced at the hands of evil men and for them it will be a betrayal and a crucifixion but in the end it will mean a glorious resurrection for all those who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved! This will be a period of trouble unequalled in history that will start in Jerusalem but engulf the whole world and only the return of Jesus will stop the world from total annihilation. (Matthew 24:21-22) (Daniel 12:1-3) For the sake of the elect in Israel and in the Church those days will be cut short.
The nations that will attack Jerusalem
In Ezekiel chapter thirty-eight the nations that attack Jerusalem are all Islamic nations today. God revealed them to the prophet Ezekiel and we must view them in the light of where they were located then and where they are still located today. The prophet Ezekiel wrote; “The word of the LORD came to me “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you. “‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land. “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people —all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.” (Ezekiel 38:1-11) This covenant of death will bring a false peace to Israel and they will be taken unawares. The prophet Ezekiel actually tells us who those nations will be that will attack Jerusalem. Other nations will support them but these nations are not named. The ancient nations mentioned are countries that exist today.
Islam fits the bill
The nations Ezekiel mentions are Meshech, Tubal, Beth Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 6 & 39:2) today these regions would be Turkey, Northern Syria and Northern Iraq. Then there is Persia (38:5) which today is Iran. Then there is Cush (38:5) which today would be the Sudan. Then there is Put (38:5) namely Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Then there is Libya (38:5). The final region mentioned is Gomer (38:6) which was also located in Turkey. In fact it could well be that the Antichrist will emerge from Turkey of course time will tell. In the book of Revelation we are told twice that Pergamum is the city where “Satan has his throne” and “where Satan lives” (Revelation 2:13) When you look at these nations listed in Ezekiel Chapter 38 they are all Muslim countries today. These nations or regions were also part of the Eastern leg of the ancient Roman Empire. When the Antichrist marches on Israel Muslim nations such as Pakistan and the southern Turkic speaking Islamic states of the former Soviet Union will march with him. Recently, Erdogan called for all Muslims to swarm the Temple Mount and for Turks in Europe to get the best jobs and to marry and populate Europe with Muslims of course. Erdogan is a major player in the Middle-east scenario today. It will be Turkey and not Russia that will lead the final invasion force against Israel.
The Mahdi of Islam
Today the Muslim world is waiting on the Mahdi their Messiah whom they believe will lead them to a global Islamic empire. Erdogan of Turkey is calling for the revival of the Ottoman Turkish caliphate that ruled over the Middle East for centuries before it was disbanded after WW1. Remember that the beast in Daniel begins with Ancient Babylon and the beast in Revelation ends with Babylon. Nimrod a major type of the Antichrist built Assyria and was the first ruler of Babylon and he sought to build a global empire through the tower of Babel. However, even though Jerusalem is ravaged and half of the city taken into exile the Jewish people will never be taken away again for the Lord will come to their rescue as He did for the Israelites when their backs were against the sea as they faced the army of the Egyptians. You can read about this attack on Israel in Ezekiel chapters 38-39.
When the armies look like they will destroy Jerusalem, and when the saints have almost been exterminated at the hands of the Antichrist, the Lord Jesus will come again, catch up His saints, return with them and the holy angels to destroy the Antichrist and his armies and rescue the nation of Israel. On that day after our Messiah fights a series of battles supported by His glorified Saints and his powerful angels Israel will also share in this victory of their Messiah. Israel will fight also against their enemies under their Commander the Lord Jesus Christ. (Zechariah 14:14) On that day Islam will cease to exist. Instead of the Islamic Messiah breaking crosses the real Messiah will be breaking the crescent moons sitting on the top of the Mosques and Minarets of Islam! Just like Gideon removed the crescent ornaments from the saddles of the enemies Camels after defeating them in Judges Chapter eight the Lord Jesus, after His victory, will in like manner remove all of the crescent moons of Islam. When God “steps up to the plate” to bat for Israel the nations attacking Jerusalem will be torn apart!
This is what the LORD spoke through the prophet Zechariah; “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) themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’ “On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. “The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honour of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:2-6)
Victory is assured!
The prophet Zechariah also wrote; “Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by My mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones (Saints) with Him. ” (Zechariah 14:3-6) this valley will provide a place of refuge for the surviving remnant in Israel.
A day of reckoning!
What a day of reckoning that will be for all of those nations that have savaged and violated Jerusalem, divided up the land and ravaged the people of God! Look at what Zechariah goes on to say in chapter fourteen, “This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other. Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps” (Zechariah 14:12-15).
The Valley of Decision
Likewise, the prophet Joel spoke of the same scenario when he said, “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness!” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” (Joel 3:1-2, 12-16) This prophecy in its context relates to Israel in the last days just before the Lord Jesus comes back. At the end of this age everyone will have a choice to make, Christ or Antichrist. No one will be left in a vacuum. Those who do not love and support Israel will side with Antichrist. For multitudes it will be the Valley of Decision.
The Holy ones!
Paul writing to the believers in Thessalonica also said that the Saints would come with their Lord. He wrote; “May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones (saints).” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). This present age will end with the destruction of the Antichrist and his Beast Empire and see the collapse of the kingdoms of this world at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judge, to rule and to reign over the nations of the earth. In that day Israel will indeed “possess their possessions”