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Monday, November 25, 2019

So Where Am I on Modern-Day Israel?

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east
And from the land of the west;
I will bring them back,
And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
They shall be My people
And I will be their God,
 In truth and righteousness.’
-Zech 8:7-8 

There are so many scriptures concerning the future of Israel as a nation, it is almost dangerous to quote any of them lest we leave out a crucial detail. That being said, nothing is more clear in the Word of Truth than the return of a believing remnant of Israel to the promised land and the fulfillment of all of Yahweh's promises to her (Yahweh is the God of the Covenants). This includes the New Covenant which we have covered in many other studies and which is not in place yet.

So, do I believe modern-day Israel is the Israel of prophecy? Technically speaking, no. The common teaching among classic (Acts 2) dispensationalists that the founding of the nation in 1948 is a fulfillment of Israel being "born in a day" is worth considering, but I think it's a stretch.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once?

The verse in question is found in Israel chapter 66. This is the chapter which ends with the dead carcasses of the rebellious ones and enemies being tossed into the valley where "the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched." This is still future.

I will not quote the whole chapter here, but we are dealing with a time when God calls his remnant from all over the earth. True Israel is born at once. It will be an act of God. Was the United States born in a day, July 4, 1776, (or July 2 when the Declaration of Independence first passed)? And what can we say of any other nation which has declared an "independence day?" Were all these born in a day?  Israel was at war in May of 1948 and is still at war. She knows no peace. In 1948 she did not control all of Jerusalem or the temple Mount. She did not control Judea and Samaria.

In addition to knowing no peace, she is in only a sliver of the promised land and almost all of Israel is there in unbelief. Most Jews not only reject the Messiah, they reject Yahweh. There is not the problem of idolatry which plagued ancient Israel, but there is (like we have in the US) a general acceptance of sexual wickedness and unbelief.

So, what do I believe is true of modern-day Israel? I believe it is a foothold for prophecy. Just as the Lord prepared the Roman Empire years before the Messiah was born in Bethlehem, so he prepares the Middle East for future fulfillment. He is still in control. From my calculations, it seems as though this placeholder will be used, but we will not know until Israel is back in the center of God's plan for the ages.

I am a supporter of the state of Israel. I support the ethnic Jews right to a homeland (I am a Zionist). I believe it is historically the land of the Jews. I believe Israel is an island of liberty in a sea of hostile dictatorships. I believe God has a future plan and a purpose for that land and a remnant of that people. But what I believe we are seeing is a crew setting up a stage for play that is yet to start. 1948 the stage was secured. In 1967 the primary piece of the set was delivered.

When we see Yahweh raise his arm to fulfill scripture, there will be no question it is the Lord.

I think Christians should support Israel, reject wicked "Replacement Theology " (examined in several blog posts), and keep our eyes on Palestine. But when it comes to declaring scripture fulfilled, we need to be very careful.

In this dispensation, in regard to the blessings of the Mystery as given to Paul, all are Gentiles. There is one, spiritual temple being constructed. There is an ethnic Jew, but no longer is the Jew "first" in the plan of God as he was from Genesis 12 through the end of the Acts Age. We are not looking for "the hope of Israel" this hour or the earthly kingdom. But rest assured, that plan will come into view soon and the kingdom will be restored.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. -Acts 1:6-7

In a coming day, the 12 Jewish disciples who asked this question will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in her kingdom. In the meantime, we look for his appearing (Gk: epiphanea) as they await his presence (Gk: parousia) when this age is at an end.

[We have looked at the difference between the appearing and the presence in previous studies as well.]