The existence of the modern State of Israel is nothing short of a miracle of the Lord. I know there are many in the Christian Church who would strongly disagree with the above statement. To them, the modern State of Israel is wholly a man-made concoction, drafted in some covert meeting room with the Rothschild, Rockefellers, The Trilateral Commission; and assorted other globalists. In other words, they would not recognize the Sovereign hand of God in bringing back a people who had been in diaspora for almost 2,000 years to their homeland, restoring to them their language, the Hebrew tongue, that had been dead; and re-establishing them as a people against all odds and opposition of their Arab neighbors. Yes, I say it again, a true miracle of the Lord.
I realize that many of the above mentioned individuals and groups had their hands to a greater or lesser degree in the formation of the Jewish State. However, I believe that the Lord allowed them to do what they did to ultimately accomplish His plan. As one looks at the history of the re-birth of National Israel the concept of prophetic time comes into view. For example, a stirring of the Jews to return to their ancient homeland began in the latter 1800s. It appeared that the Jewish State would be established after WWI with the UK winning control of what many referred to at the time as Palestine from the Ottoman Turks, and the singing of the Balfour Agreement of 1917.
It was not to be however. Many Jews by this time had returned to the land under great persecution and resistance. Things would get much worse for the Jewish people before they ever got better. 1933 saw the rise of Austrian Adolf Hitler, and with his eventual rise to power as the German Fuehrer, and the formation of the Third Reich; antisemitism reached a fever pitch. Before the demonic despot Hitler’s evil reign was finished some six million Jews would make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in Hitler’s death camps. Many others also died during Hitler’s reign of terror such as, Romanians, Soviet POW’s, Polish and Soviet citizens, people with various disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religious and political opponents. All total, some 11 to 17 million people died by the hands of the Nazis, under the wicked leadership of Adolf Hitler. I personally believe there is a special place in Hell reserved for the likes of Hitler.
By 1945 WWII had come to an end, Hitler was dead, and approximately one-third (of the 9 million who had occupied Europe prior to Hitler’s reign) of the European Jews emerged from the ashes of the Concentration Camps. Having endured the horrors of the Holocaust the Jewish people now had the attention, and in most cases the sympathy, of a large portion of the world. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations signed a resolution to partition what they referred to at the time as Palestine, giving the Jewish people part of it for a homeland. It would not be until May 14, 1948 that David Ben-Gurion, Executive head of the World Zionist Organization and President of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Israel, a State independent from the British Mandate for Palestine, to be known as the State of Israel. The Arabs would invade the next day in protest and support of the Arab occupants of Israel. Israel has fought many wars since to protect their sovereignty and survival, never losing one yet. In the future, during the Great Tribulation period, they will suffer their one and only defeat at the hands of the Antichrist. Even then, a place will be prepared for them that they can flee to. [See Rev. 12:6]
Someone might say, “Pastor Kevin, OK, you gave us some history of the establishment of the modern State of Israel. Where does that fit into prophecy?” Yes, we have given a brief historical sketch of the birth of the Jewish State. Now we will turn our attention to what prophetic significance this had, if any. You typically have two extreme views within the Church. One looks at Modern Israel, in its present condition, fulfilling all of the end-time prophecies. The other extreme view says modern Israel has no more significance than any other nation in the plan of God. Both are wrong. Let me explain what I mean.
I believe that modern Israel is indeed a divine work and in the process of fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Modern Israel as it exists today could not be the final fulfillment of the prophecies for several reasons, not the least of which is that the vast majority of Jews still live in unbelief and in rejection of her true Messiah, Yeshuah (Jesus). In other words, they will never know and enjoy true peace until they embrace the Prince of Peace. Make no mistake, God’s plan of salvation is the same for both Jews and Gentiles. Paul said, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. [Rom. 1:16] Again, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [Acts 4:12] As the Reformers stated, salvation is by Grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone. Not Christ plus the Law. Not Christ plus our own merits. A Jew cannot point to their ancestry through Abraham and obtain salvation. They cannot point to the Mosaic Covenant and claim salvation. They must, just as non-Jews do, come to the Father by means of the Son! Be it known and clearly understood that so-called “Dual Covenant Theology” is a lie birthed in the very pits of Hell. This damnable doctrine basically says that Christians have no need to evangelize Jews as they already have a Covenant with God. This is a lie. God help the preacher or the ministry that will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance bringing Jews back to Israel, and yet never share the Good News with them. What good is living a few years in Israel, if you are going to spend eternity in Hell? No, our primary responsibility to our Jewish brothers and sisters is to share the gospel with them and introduce them to their Messiah who purchased their redemption some two thousand years ago on Calvary’s Cross.
To reiterate, modern Israel is a divine work and is in the process of fulfilling Bible prophecy. I believe that Israel, as she is constituted today, is a work of God in progress preparing the nation for the tribulation, which will lead to her national conversion, the second coming of Christ and His millennial reign. This is exactly what I believe modern Israel’s function in the great plan of God is. Obviously Israel is not what she should be, or eventually will be; however God is on the move there. Despite the thinking of some, Israel will not be pushed into the sea. Secondly, I’m sorry, but Israel has more significance in the great plan of God than does any other Nation. France, Germany, and the United States are not mentioned hundreds of times throughout the Word of God as is the case with Israel. The Bible makes it clear that God is not finished with His people, Israel, as some act He is. The Holy Spirit through the great Apostle Paul said succinctly, I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. [Rom. 11:1a]
There are dozens of passages which speak of the regathering of Israel in the last of the Last Days to her homeland. However, a mistake is made in lumping all of those passages together in fulfillment time-frame. We need to be very careful to determine the difference between those scriptures which will be fulfilled in “one day” and those that have a future fulfillment. In short, we can say that there will be two regatherings of Israel. One, before the Great Tribulation, and one after. Hebrew Christian scholar Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum- a graduate of Dallas Seminary- explains the biblical basis for the current state of Israel as follows:
“The re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 has not only thrown a wrench in amillennial thinking, but it has also thrown a chink in much of premillennial thinking. Amazingly, some premillennialists have concluded that the present state of Israel has nothing to do with the fulfillment of prophecy. For some reason the present state some how does not fit their scheme of things, and so the present state becomes merely an accident of history. On what grounds is the present state of Israel so dismissed? The issue that bothers so many premillennialists is the fact that not only have the Jews returned in unbelief with regard to the person of Jesus, but the majority of the ones who have returned are not even Orthodox Jews. In fact the majority are atheists or agnostics. Certainly, then, Israel does not fit in with all those biblical passages dealing with the return. For it is a regenerated nation that the Bible speaks of, and the present state of Israel hardly fits that picture. So on these grounds, the present state is dismissed as not being a fulfillment of prophecy.
However, the real problem is the failure to see that the prophets spoke of two international returns. First, there was to be a regathering in unbelief in preparation for judgment, namely the judgment of the tribulation. This was to be followed by a second world-wide regathering in faith in preparation for blessing, namely the blessings of the messianic age. Once it is recognized that the Bible speaks of two such regatherings, it is easy to see how the present state of Israel fits into prophecy.” [Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, 1982), p. 65.]
This is a very good explanation of the present state of the Jewish State. Lets examine it a bit farther. With the birth of the modern Jewish State in 1948 two things really occurred. First, it was an Important stage setting development. Secondly, it began an actual fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies of an international regathering of Israel in unbelief prior to the judgment of the Tribulation. Such a prediction is found in the following passages – [Ezek. 20:33 – 38; 22:17 – 22; 36:22 – 24; 37:1 – 14; Isa. 11:11, 12; Zeph. 2:1, 2; and Ezek. 39, 39 presupposes such a setting.] Lets look at a few of these passages in greater detail.
Zephaniah 1:14-18 is one of the most colorful descriptions of ” The Day of the Lord,” which we commonly call the tribulation period. Zephaniah 2:1-2 says that there will be a world-wide regathering of Israel before the day of the Lord. ” Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, before the decree takes effect- the day passes like the chaff- before the burning anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’ s anger comes upon you.”
Ezekiel 20:33- 38 speaks of a regathering, which must take place before the tribulation. The passage speaks of bringing the nation of Israel back ” from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out” (Ezek.20:34). ” With wrath poured out” is a descriptive reference to the tribulation. Thus, in order for this to occur in history, Israel must be back in the land before the tribulation. This passage clearly says that it is the Lord who is bringing them back. The current State of Israel is in the process of fulfilling this passage. In a similar vein, two chapters later, Ezekiel receives another revelation about a future regathering of national Israel (Ezek. 22:17- 22). This time, the Lord is “going to gather you into the midst of Jerusalem” (Ezek. 22:19). Like the metallurgist, the Lord will use the fire of the tribulation to purge out the unfaithful. The Lord is going to “gather you [Israel] and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you will be melted in the midst of it” (Ezek. 22:21). Once again, ” My wrath” depicts the time of the tribulation. It also follows here that the nation must be regathered before that event can take place. The outcome of this event will be that the nation “will know that I, the Lord, have poured out My wrath on you” (Ezek. 22:22). For this to occur, there must be a regathering by the Lord of Israel to the land, just like we see happening with the modern state of Israel. God is at work through the current state of Israel.
Surely, anyone who claims to believe in a national future for Israel would have to say that the valley of dry bones prophecy in some way, shape, or form relates to modern Israel (Ezek. 37:1- 14). The prophet describes a future process through which the nation of Israel will come to be reconstituted and (when the process is complete) enter into a faithful spiritual relationship with the Lord. This multistage process must surely include the current nation of Israel, in unbelief, that is being prepared to go through a time that will lead to her conversion to Jesus as their Messiah. This is said by Ezekiel to be a work of the Lord (Ezek. 37:14). Thus, the modern state of Israel is a work of God and biblically significant.
Following the gathering of Israel in unbelief, leading up to the tribulation period, they will be gathered a second time in belief. Many passages in the Bible speak of Israel’ s regathering, in belief, at the end of the tribulation, in conjunction with Christ’ s second coming, in preparation for commencement of the Kingdom Age (millennium ). These references are not being fulfilled by the modern state of Israel. Some of the citations include: Deut. 4:29-31; 30:1-10; Isa. 27:12-13; 43:5-7; Jer. 16:14-15; 31:7-10; Ezek. 11:14-18; Amos 9:14-15;Zech. 10:8-12; Matt. 24:31 and many more. I think that this regathering will fulfill the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) for the nation of Israel.
Matthew 24:31, records a future regathering of Israel, this time in belief. “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matt. 24:31). This is said to take place after the tribulation (Matt. 24:29), which would be the Second Coming.
The fact that the last fifty plus years has seen a world-wide regathering and reestablishment of the nation of Israel, which is now poised in just the setting required for the revealing of the Antichrist and the start of the Tribulation, is God’ s grand indicator that all of the other areas of world development are prophetically significant. Dr. Walvoord says,
“Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic destiny.” [John Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1964), p. 26.]
It is true that the Bible predicts a future time when Israel will be regathered in belief and will then enter into the kingdom for a thousand years. However, as I have shown above, the same Scriptures also tell us of a time when Israel will be regathered in unbelief, before the Tribulation in order that God may complete His plan for national Israel. The current nation of Israel is the beginning of fulfillment of just such prophecy. Modern Israel is the result of God’ s direct intervention in history. I believe that those who speak contrary to this will be found to be fighting God.
Next time, I want to take a look at the dark days ahead for Israel and the Jewish people. We will look at a time that will be like no time before or after. I speak of the Great tribulation period.