As we will go out from this year so filled with terror, violence and disasters even as the Scriptures prophesy that darkness will cover the earth and the nations but then it also, thanks be to the Lord, says that just then His light and fullness will come upon our beloved Israel, may we all become channels to see this happen I pray!
“If their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”Romans 11:12.
“blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved,”Romans 11:25-26.
These are wonderful, wonderful verses of hope and assurance that even as God used something negative in Israel’s history, their rejection and diminishing to offer the Gentiles to be included and thus reconciled with the God of Israel – as part of His people and the Commonwealth of Israel, that even more so Israel’s coming fullness would result for this planet earth in greater majestic consequence. As Paul puts it – it will be as “life from the dead.”
It is this very truth which the Apostle Paul seeks to enlighten in this his epistle to the Romans that after the full, preordained number of Gentiles would be grafted into the tree and commonwealth of Israel – thus God would return in mercy to His people and graft them back again on their own tree where we Gentiles believers by our faith and repentance find ourselves situated. Thus Paul clearly states for all of us who are of honest and humble mind that, when the full number of Gentiles has thus been grafted in, a time would come that God would graft His own people back into their own tree! That then the Kingdom would be restored to Israel and ALL ISRAEL WOULD BE SAVED! (see Acts 1:6 and Romans 11:25-26).
I believe, as the Jews are obviously being gathered by God from all the ends of the earth Who has kept so His Word and Promise to them, that we are on the very threshold of these happenings. On one hand the completion of the numbers of Gentiles saved and grafted by the mercies of God into that one tree and commonwealth of Israel and on the other hand the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
It was this question which burned in the hearts of His disciples when they asked the Lord just before His departure, ‘Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ (Acts 1:6). The Lord answered this question of His disciples by stating that before there would be a possibility of the kingdom being restored to Israel – (the same point Paul made later in his epistle to the Romans) that first the full number of Gentiles needed to come in before all Israel would be grafted back into their own tree! We see by the massive aliyah or immigration of the Jewish people to their land and the reestablishment of their nation that we are indeed on the threshold of tremendous happenings in that land.
All the promises of God to His people, strangely enough, are linked to them being in the land He promised them as an everlasting possession. Strange because this is not so with us Gentiles, we can be anywhere when God chooses to extend His hand of grace to us. The Jewish people however are being told again and again to return to the land of their fathers and all the prophecies of the Old Covenant prophets tell the same story that it will be after they will have returned to this their land that God will pour out His Spirit upon them and circumcise their heart and adopt them again as His special and beloved people. This message is clear and unmistakable as the following scriptures show:
“Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ” Ezekiel 37:12-14.
‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them,’Jeremiah 32:37-42.
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn,”Zechariah 12:10.
“Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring,”Isaiah 44:2-3.
Now if these things are so we can expect, as always was the case in Israel’s long history, that the Devil will do everything possible to barricade and thwart this God’s wonderful, wonderful destiny and purpose with His people. Even as they were all nearly slaughtered by the Nazis in that terrible holocaust that slew two thirds of the Jewish people in Europe just as Jeremiah had already prophesied:
“For thus says the Lord: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord, ‘nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished,”‘Jeremiah 30:5-11.
This then was ‘the day of Jacob’s trouble’ prophesied to come upon them as these verses CLEARLY show just before they were to return to their land! And so it was: The holocaust ended in the year 1945 and in May 1948, just 3 years after this horrendous heartbreaking event, the nation of Israel was born and proclaimed in Israel!
But as this verse also shows, Israel’s troubles are not yet over – they have had after their return five wars and many acts of inhumane and beastly terror to suffer, but compared to the millions that died during their years in the Diaspora – the numbers however bad and painful have dwindled to the very level mentioned in this verse by Jeremiah: ‘I will only correct you in measure,’ (Jeremiah 30:11). This of course referring to the time after Israel has come back to their land!
But the battle certainly is not over yet. ‘We shall fight on Saturday and then on Sunday’ is the chant of many Muslims in the Middle East each time that war breaks out, meaning they will first fight and kill the Jews and then the Christians! For the true Muslim, this is part of his creed that Allah wants him to be involved in battle and jihad to submit THE WHOLE WORLD TO THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM: ‘ISLAM’ a word which in itself means submission.
The free and often tolerant secular mindset of the West is no match for this religious fanaticism and often fails to understand it in the mistaken notion that because they in the West are generally liberal and ready for cohabitation and tolerance that the Muslims will repay this kindness and tolerance in kind! But for a Muslim this is impossible, at least if he is a good Muslim. He or she must be involved in the slaying or at least the submission of all infidels till ISLAM will rule supremely on the face of the earth in every country and island. This is the official creed of ISLAM and unless officially abrogated will stand! Even if now behind the veneer of compliance for the time being in countries where they are not yet in a position to command allegiance and obedience to their ISLAMIC laws and regulations, they sit still as long as they will persevere in this their religious intolerance to any other religion, philosophy or Weltanschauung, they will use the hospitality, liberalism and tolerance for this their ultimate Islamic goal – which is the submission of the whole world to the teachings of ISLAM – unless they will be challenged to reform to be part of a pluralistic democratic world.
It is not possible to overemphasize the seriousness of this challenge and Israel at this moment more than any other nation is suffering already for years the consequences of this religious jihad and intolerance against her very existence as a sovereign Jewish democratic state, an island in the midst of a huge Islamic sea, filled with animosity and desire of annihilation towards them.
Nevertheless, God will cause His people again and again to have the victory over the will of all her joint enemies. For it is His honor that is at stake. It is as He says through His prophet Ezekiel not because Israel herself is already so holy but because of the greatness of His holy name that He will fulfill His word to them:
“So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name – when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!” ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.”Ezekiel 36:16-36.
This same theme is taken up by the Psalmist when he first describes the rebelliousness and enmity of the nations against God’s plan with His chosen people:
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3.
And then the clear answer from God to that rebelliousness and enmity of the nations:
“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion,”Psalm 2:4-6.
This then will be the final outcome of all the present strife and wars of the nations against Israel. The King and Kingdom will be restored to Israel, as planned and decreed by God all the time, and the nations of the world better wake up to this divinely set purpose! As the consequences of their unwillingness to serve this heavenly purpose will be their utter destruction! This is what we can read again and again by mouth of God’s holy prophets:
“For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined,” Isaiah 60:12.
‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord, ‘nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’ Jeremiah 30:10-11.
“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion,” Isaiah 34:8.
Paul states that in comparison to Israel’s diminishing which led to the fullness of the Gentiles being given the opportunity, because of Israel’s rejection, to be included into God’s people – Israel’s fullness will be like ‘life from the dead’ for the whole planet, in other words – a turn of events with enormous worldwide consequences. Unbelievably great and all encompassing!
So great will be the final outcome of Israel’s restoration and fullness that God calls upon the earth and the heavens to rejoice when He with all His heart and all His soul will plant them in His land and comfort them double for all the immense suffering and humiliation and persecution they have gone through.
“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ F or thus says the Lord: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them,’ Jeremiah 32:37-42.
“Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’ Thus says the Lord: ‘Again there shall be heard in this place – of which you say, “It is desolate, without man and without beast” – in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever” – and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the Lord,” Jeremiah 33:6-11.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord brings back Zion. Break forth into joy; sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord. For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard,” Isaiah 52:7-12.
“For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you,” Isaiah 62:1-5.
“Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, and milk the breast of kings; you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise,” Isaiah 60:15-18.
In fact the manifold passages concerning all these events relating to Israel’s coming fullness and restoration are so numerous and full of excitement that it is difficult to understand the blindness, arrogance and subsequent lack of support and excitement by nearly all the nations of the world and sometimes even among those who claim to believe these very scriptures as the written Word of God. Paul already warns the Gentile believers in his epistle to the Romans ‘not to be arrogant’ or ‘wise in their own conceits’ but sadly – in spite of this Pauline warning – many among the Christian believers today fail to get excited and supportive about Israel’s coming restoration exactly because of pride, blindness and self opinionatedness! How rightfully Paul foresaw all this!
Maybe one of the clearest and most known prophecies seen by Ezekiel concerning the soon to come restoration of Israel is found in Ezekiel 37 where the prophet sees a valley of many dry bones come miraculously alive and then after this physical restoration blown upon and filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful passage which shows that what happened on the day of Pentecost – in partial fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel – was only a mere foreshadowing of what will soon occur, not just to the 120 Jews who were gathered then in the Upper Room but to the WHOLE RESTORED HOUSE OF ISRAEL. The wind from the four corners of the earth will now blow upon the whole house of Israel, on all flesh, not just on those few Jews who then were part of God’s holy remnant.
I believe it is then that the Gentile and Jewish believers TOGETHER will enter their greatest and most powerful time in history doing the same works and even greater as Jesus and His early followers.
It will be a tremendous time, truly making the glory of the latter house greater than that of the former days of the Acts of the Apostles. It will be the time of restitution of all things.
The restitution of the Temple, the restitution of the prophetic Ministry of Moses and Elijah, the two end time witnesses of God, the restitution of the tribes of Israel, the restitution of Israel’s final borders, the restitution of the Ark and the Holy Temple as described in the last eight chapters of Ezekiel.
It will be as Peter said after the day of Pentecost to his Jewish people:
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus, the Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began,”Acts 3:19-21.
All this is exemplified in the Revelation of John the Apostle where we find the tribes restored, the Temple and those who worship there – the centrality of Jerusalem – not Rome, Utah, Canterbury or Geneva, present day centers of the churches – but Jerusalem and Israel with all that belongs to it have become the focus point again for this planet earth. It is as a great bible teacher Lance Lambert one day remarked in relation to the universalistic emphasis of most of today’s Christianity ignoring the central geographical place of Jerusalem and Israel in the end times: If Christians or theologians maintain that since the coming of Christ and the birth of the Church there is no more specific biblical interest in the land or people of Israel, why do we find in the book of Revelation – definitely a book describing the end time events – only or mainly references to God’s land and God’s city?
The two witnesses prophesy in Jerusalem, not in any other worldly city.
The 144,000 who follow the Lamb wherever He goes are standing in Jerusalem on Mount Zion and so on!
Surely any honest reader of and believer of the Bible must be willing to draw the only conclusion possible: God will restore His people and all things connected with Israel as is clearly shown in the book of Revelation! And as Paul puts it if their fall was riches for the world – how much more their fullness?
~ Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Newsletter of December 3, 2015.
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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