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Chapter 8:

Israel In Prophecy

 

Israel’s role in end-times prophecy is one of the most highly debated subjects among prophetic scholars. The traditional view is that after Israel rejected their Messiah God turned His back on them forever. It is believed by many that in place of Israel God has raised up the Church, and now Christian believers benefit from and will realize the promises that God has made to Israel. This doctrine is known as Replacement Theology, because it holds that the Church, the assembly of all who believe in and worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, has entirely replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.

With this doctrine in mind, scholars then proceed to go back into the Old Testament and rewrite the many end-times prophecies that were given about Israel and the Jews. Israel has been replaced, so the prophecies regarding Israel must be symbolically re-interpreted as referring to the Church, or they must be ignored as conditional prophecies that might have applied to Israel had they accepted the Messiah.

Now conditional prophecy is a tricky thing. Some scholars make the statement that all prophecy is conditional. But if this is the case then how do we know that it comes from God? If all of the prophecies in the Bible may or may not come true, then what good are they? God tells us that through prophecy He makes Himself known to us as the unique Creator of the universe. Only the being who has created the universe would also be able to step outside of the universe and see it as a completed work. He would be the only One able to see the end from the beginning, and to know the outcome of every situation. Humanity has free will, and our future is in our own hands, but God already knows how we will exercise our free will. He knows what we will choose and what path lies ahead. Prophecy may be conditional, but it is always given from the perspective of One who already knows whether or not those conditions will be met. That is how God’s prophecies dealing with Israel should be understood.

The Apostle Paul gave a very harsh rebuke of the teaching known as Replacement Theology in his letter to the believers in Rome, back in the 1st Century. Replacement Theology holds that God has permanently rejected Israel. Here is what Paul says in Romans 11:1-2,

"I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew."

Paul goes on to counter this false teaching that Israel has been permanently lost,

"Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!"

Paul says that the very truth of the matter is that Israel’s rejection of the Messiah opened the door to allow Gentiles, non-Jews, to be saved. If Jesus had never been sacrificed then humanity could not have been saved! Paul says that Israel’s transgression brought riches to the world, but that when Israel repents it will bring even greater riches to Israel.

In the next passage Paul compares Israel to the root of an olive tree. Israel is the root through which salvation came into the world, because the Messiah came through Israel. Jesus was a Jew and His life was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. Paul compares the Israel that existed after the rejection of the Messiah to branches that have been broken off from the olive tree. He then compares non-Jews who accept the Messiah to wild branches that are grafted onto the olive tree,

"If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you."

Replacement Theology boasts and says that Israel’s rejection of the Messiah resulted in the Church taking over God’s promises to her. Paul says that we should not do this and that we should remember that Israel was the original root, and without Israel there would have been no Church. Then Paul talks about the time when Israel will repent and come back into God’s favor,

"Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!"

Paul says in Romans 11 that unbelieving Israel, the broken branches, may be grafted back into the olive tree, but only if they do not persist in unbelief. In other words the conditions are that if Israel turns to God and repents and accepts their Messiah, then they will be grafted back into the tree. Paul remarks that this will be done very easily, because if God can graft wild branches onto the olive tree, meaning non-Jewish believers, then He could very easily graft the natural branches back onto their own tree!

Paul sums up his message in the following passage,

"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."

The believers who make the up the mystical entity known as the Church should not be conceited over Israel. She will be saved as an entire nation after the pre-destined number of Gentiles have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Replacement Theology teaches that God’s promises to and prophecies of Israel have been transferred to the Church, but Paul says that this is not the case because "God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable." The final result will be that Israel will receive mercy from God and she will be saved.

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Israel’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah put her on a very hard course. Her history, even during the past two thousand years, was recorded by the prophets in advance:

 

The Messiah would be rejected by His own people-

The rejection of the Messiah was predicted in several Old Testament passages:

Isaiah 53:3, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."

Isaiah predicted that God would become a sanctuary for many, but a stumbling stone for Israel, "The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare." Isaiah 8:13-14

Isaiah went on to write that this stone would be an unshakeable foundation in which every human being could trust, "So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed." Isaiah 28:16

Paul wrote that this rejected cornerstone was in fact Jesus Christ. Paul writes about Israel, saying, "They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone.’ As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved… Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." Romans 9:32-10:1

The prophet Daniel tells us that the rejection of the Messiah would result in His death, and that the nation of Israel would then become desolate, "…the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed." Daniel 9:26

 

Israel would be scattered on the earth-

Moses wrote down a message from God that predicted that if Israel turned their back on His laws then they would be judged. Jesus Christ was the complete fulfillment of the law, and so when they rejected Christ they received this punishment,

"I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins." Leviticus 26:33

"Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other… Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life." Deuteronomy 28:64-66

For centuries this was the situation that was faced by the Jews. They wandered the earth and they were driven from place to place. But through it all they held to their beliefs and they kept their language alive. There is no other culture, race or society that compares to what the Jews have been through, and nothing compares to the way in which, despite all their adversity, the Jews have been able to hold on to their identity.

 

An unconditional promise-

Despite these punishments that were to come upon Israel for unfaithfulness, God will always remember the unconditional promises that He has made to her. One of these unconditional promises is that King David will one day govern Israel as the world’s most exalted king,

"I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness-- and I will not lie to David-- that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky." Psalm 89:27-37

In this passage God promises that David’s line would never fail and that he would one day rule an eternal throne. God says that this will be done even if Israel turns their back on Him. God will not forget His promise and it is not a lie. David’s line was made eternal because Jesus Christ, as David’s descendent, is Himself eternal. After the Second Coming all of faithful Israel will be resurrected, including King David, and he will become the world’s foremost human king in the world, ruling Israel under the Messiah during the thousand-year Messianic Kingdom and then on into eternity.

 

The partial regathering of unfaithful Israel-

The prophet Hosea’s entire ministry was focused on Israel. The message he received from God was that Israel was an unfaithful wife, a prostitute who had cheated on Him by worshiping other gods. Israel was doing this prior to the time when they were captured and taken away by the kingdom of Babylon. Hosea chastised them especially for worshiping the pagan god Baal. But Hosea also predicted that prior to the last days there would be a period of time during which Israel would be without any national leaders and without the system of sacrifices that depended on the Temple, and that during this time they would also be without idolatry,

"For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days." Hosea 3:3-4

This has been fulfilled after Israel was scattered when the Romans destroyed them as a nation. After that time they lacked a national leader, they lacked a Temple for sacrifice, but though they generally stayed away from idolatry they were still far from God. Hosea ends by saying that they would return to God "in the last days."

Hosea predicted that the end result would be that God would forgive Israel and she would turn back to her first love, the One who had made her great and blessed her in the first place. The final forgiveness of Israel would occur because of God’s initiative, and He would begin to regather Israel while she was yet in a state of unfaithfulness, "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope… ‘In that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘you will call me ‘my husband;’ you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ …I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. …And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, ‘Thou art my people;’ and they shall say, ‘Thou art my God.’ " Hosea 2:14-23 KJV

Israel will be regathered back into the land, and after that Israel will repent and turn back to the Lord. God will once again say to Israel, "Thou art my people," and Israel will say, "Thou art my God." This has never been fulfilled in the past, because when it happens Israel will become God’s faithful wife forever, and she will never turn her back on God again.

Ezekiel was another prophet who spoke of the regathering of Israel back to her land. In the thirty-sixth chapter Ezekiel mentioned the nations who would slander, ridicule and scorn God’s people, because they had been driven from their land and become the possession of the surrounding nations. Ezekiel says that this malicious talk that is directed at God’s people will arouse His wrath and He promises to judge the nations who mock Israel. Then God says,

"But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children."

Ezekiel continues, "Again the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman's monthly uncleanness in my sight. So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are the LORD's people, and yet they had to leave his land.’ I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.’

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I show myself holy through you before their eyes. 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.’ "

God predicts a gathering of Israel while they still exist in unbelief, but the final result will be Israel’s repentance when they turn back to the Lord, "Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!" Ezekiel 36:31-32

God is very serious about the fact that the initial regathering of Israel is not because of anything that Israel has done, or because they have shown faithfulness to God or repented. On the contrary, Israel will be regathered while they are still profaning God’s name. God only acts to gather Israel because His name is being slandered among the nations, and His people are being mocked. By mocking God’s people the nations are mocking God as well, and so God acts to defend His name.

In the next few chapters Ezekiel describes how Israel will finally reach a point when they exist in peace and safety while living back in their own land. This will be followed by the terrible Magog invasion and God’s judgments that mark the beginning of the Tribulation period. In Ezekiel 39:26 God speaks of Israel’s unfaithfulness, even after they have been gathered back to their land,

"They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid."

The judgments that surround the Magog invasion will mark the point when Israel finally begins to turn back to God. He will show His holiness to the world through His defense of His people.

 

The Time of Jacob’s Trouble-

It will be through the great and terrible Day of the Lord that Israel will completely understand their dependence upon God and finally repent of their sins. That is one of the main purposes of the end-times judgments and that is why Jeremiah referred to the final Day of the Lord as the time of Jacob’s trouble,

"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 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 labor, 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. In that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’ " Jeremiah 30:2-11

Estimates are that almost one-third of the worldwide Jewish population perished in the Nazi holocaust of World War II. The prophet Zechariah writes that the future Day of the Lord will be even more terrible for Israel,

" ‘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 13:8-9

This has never occurred in all of Israel’s history. Zechariah predicts an unparalleled time of tribulation, after which Israel will repent and turn to God and call on His name. Then God will answer them and accept their repentance and say, "You are my people."

 

The final regathering of Israel-

The time of Jacob’s trouble will begin when Israel is still living in sin and separated from God. After it begins Israel will be faced with the rise of the Antichrist and every Jew will be forced to make the difficult decision to either accept Jesus Christ or accept the Antichrist. When the Tribulation begins the Temple will soon be rebuilt and the animal sacrifices will be offered again. However, Israel will be invaded by the Antichrist’s forces, the image of the Antichrist will be set up in the Holy Place of the Temple, Jerusalem will become his capital, and many Jews will flee. When the Day of the Lord comes to an end, and Jesus Christ returns, the people of Israel will again be scattered as a result of the Tribulation. This will make a final and complete regathering of Israel necessary. It will mark the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom, and it is a regathering that has been predicted by many prophets:

Amos wrote, "‘In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name… I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God." Amos 9:11-14

This regathering will be final and Israel will never again be uprooted. Hosea predicted that after this time Israel would be God’s faithful wife forever. Ezekiel said that this final gathering would leave none behind and that His Spirit would be poured out on the entire nation. Isaiah described this final regathering in at least two passages,

"In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth." Isaiah 11:11-12

"In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." Isaiah 27:12-13

Jesus drew from Isaiah’s predictions when He described the final gathering of the righteous to Jerusalem after the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation, "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Matthew 24:31

This gathering will include the final gathering of all of Israel back to their land, and it is also predicted in Isaiah 43:5-7, Jeremiah 16:14-15, 23:3-8, 31:7-10, Ezekiel 11:14-18, Zephaniah 3:18-20, Zechariah 10:8-12, among others, and because of its prominence in prophecy Jesus made sure to mention it in Matthew 24:31. This final gathering will probably take place so that all of the living tribulation believers, as well as those who are resurrected at this time, may partake of the wedding feast. This feast is mentioned in Revelation 19:9 and it will take place on the earth as described in Isaiah 25:6-9,

"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’ "

 

Israel’s singular Sin-

In addition to the many minor sins that God holds Israel accountable for, there is also one singular sin which stands out very distinctly. This single and unique sin is mentioned by several different prophets, first by Moses in Leviticus 26:40-42 (KJV),

"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."

The word "iniquity" in this verse is singular and should be translated that way. Moses predicted that after Israel is scattered among the nations they must confess and repent for an iniquity that they and their fathers are responsible for. The singular word "trespass" is translated as "treachery" in other versions. Israel committed a treacherous act against God, and they must confess it and repent before they can truly be blessed with the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Jeremiah also mentioned a specific iniquity that must be acknowledged before Israel can receive the Messianic promises,

"Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding… At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart." Jeremiah 3:12-17 (KJV)

There is one single sin for which God continues to hold Israel accountable for as a nation. It is a sin that was committed by the nation as a whole against God, and a sin that must be repented of by the nation as a whole.

This sin, Israel’s National Sin, was committed by the religious leaders of Israel when they rejected Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah after He had proven Himself to them almost two thousand years ago.

The leaders of Israel rejected the Messiahship of Jesus on the basis that He was possessed by the devil and the people of Israel followed them in that judgment. The Jews have continued to reject Jesus to this day and they continue on in the iniquity that was first committed by their forefathers.

After Israel’s leaders passed their judgment on Jesus He responded by saying that they had committed the unpardonable sin. They had judged that the power of God, which Jesus had used to perform the Messianic miracles, was in fact the power of Satan, and they had rejected their Messiah.

Jesus said to them, "Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come… But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:25-37

Jesus continued in His condemnation of these leaders of Israel and He said that their generation, the generation that committed the sin, would suffer the judgment for that sin. The punishment for the unpardonable sin would be that the final state of this specific generation would be worse than the first. It was an unpardonable sin only in the sense that the punishment for it could not be alleviated. Over the course of Jesus’ ministry He made it clear that this punishment would involve the destruction of the Temple, which occurred exactly forty years later, which is a Biblical generation. This national catastrophe then quickly led to Israel being scattered to all the nations.

Jesus was rejected by Israel and crucified, and then after He was resurrected He ascended up in the clouds to take His place in heaven. The prophet Hosea also mentioned the specific sin that Israel must one day atone for, and He did so in the context of a statement from God Almighty,

"I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly."   Hosea 5:15 ASV

In order for God to return to His place He must first be away from His place. God’s place is in heaven, and He was away from it while He was on this earth in the form of Jesus Christ. Israel committed their national sin by rejecting Him, and by concluding that His power was the power of the devil, and this caused Him to return to His place. The prophet Hosea tells us that Jesus Christ will remain at His place in heaven until Israel acknowledges their offence.

From these passages it becomes clear that the Second Coming is a conditional prophecy. Jesus will only return when Israel’s leaders, who led the nation to reject Jesus the first time, repent of their sin and lead Israel to accept Jesus as the Messiah. If the nation of Israel does not repent then Jesus Christ can never return!

With this startling fact in mind it becomes evident that Replacement Theology is a terrible error. If God has truly rejected the Jews forever, and has no place for them in the future, then how can they repent of their rejection of Jesus? How can they fulfill this pre-condition for the Second Coming of Jesus?

Fortunately for us we can be sure of the outcome of this conditional prophecy, because God knows how Israel will respond to Him at the very end of the Tribulation. Jesus said that by their words Israel was condemned, but by their words they may also be acquitted. After two-thirds of the nation of Israel has been destroyed, after the terrible judgments of Revelation have been given, and after Israel has been beaten down and ravaged by the Antichrist, they will look to the God of heaven and turn to Him in repentance. The prophet Zechariah describes the scene,

"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." Zechariah 12:10

Israel will finally look to Jesus, and as Hosea wrote, they will seek God earnestly in their affliction. When He appears in the sky they will recognize the Messiah as the One they pierced and they will weep and grieve over Jesus as if He were an only and firstborn son. Their repentance will be profound and God will accept it in love and mercy. The Tribulation will end and Jesus will return.

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." Matthew 24:30

The prophet Isaiah makes it clear that God can never, and will never, forget His people, the Jews who have yet to turn back to Him, in Isaiah 49:13-18,

"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’

‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live,’ declares the LORD, ‘you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.’"

Even when Israel is certain that God has turned His back on them God will still be there. Has God forsaken Israel? Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? God can never forget Israel, for He has them engraved on the palms of His hands.

 

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.
So shall it be! Amen."

Revelation 1:7

 

 

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