Scriptures

The Restoration Of Israel!

Introduction

There are a few religious groups, mainly those of the Premillennial persuasion, who sincerely believe that God is going to restore the land of Israel when Christ returns.

They believe this will take place during the ‘thousand year’ reign of Christ on earth, they believe that Jesus will set up His headquarters in Jerusalem and He will sit on the literal throne of David.

They also believe that Ezekiel 37-38 teaches that all Jews, from all over the world will be miraculously taken back to Palestine in order for them to reclaim their old tribal allotments according to the Promised Land, Joshua 13-24.

Before getting into the land promise, let’s quickly deal with the ‘thousand year reign’.

The Thousand Year Reign

‘Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:6

As I’m sure your aware, the book of Revelation is a highly figurative book and if we’re not careful, we can take things literal when they are supposed to be figurative.

These are the only verses in Scripture that mention a thousand-year reign but from them have come countless ideas to suggest a future thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth.

Notice what the text doesn’t say, Revelation 20 doesn’t mention,

1. The second coming of Christ.

2. A bodily
resurrection.

3. A reign on earth.

4. The literal throne of David.

5. Jerusalem or Palestine.

6. Us instead of they who lived and reigned.

7. Christ on earth.

Does this passage, especially Revelation 20:4-6, teach the establishment of an earthly kingdom and a thousand-year reign of Christ with the saints?

Notice first that the thousand years of this passage corresponds with the thousand years that Satan is bound in the bottomless pit of Revelation 20:2-3.

The number 1000 symbolises completeness or fullness and refers to the complete period of time Satan is bound. However long that is, Christ’s reign is the same period of time.

But who reigns with Christ? Revelation 20:4. These martyrs lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Neither the return of Christ to the earth, the establishment of an earthly kingdom or His reign on earth with His disciples for a literal thousand years is mentioned in this verse or any other verse in this chapter.

God’s Promise To Abraham

‘The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ Genesis 12:1-3

God promised Abraham that He would bless all the nations of the earth through his family name. He also promised to give land to his descendants and He promised that out of Abraham there would come a great nation. As we move into the next chapter of Genesis, we read that God’s promise is even clearer.

‘The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.’ Genesis 13:14-17

What we read here is the basis of the promise of a land as an inheritance for Abraham and his descendants. God tells him to go and walk through the length and breadth of the land, for God is giving it to him. God also says that through Abraham, all families of the earth will be blessed.

The Fulfilment Of The Land Promise

‘So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hands.’ Joshua 21:43-44

Terms And Conditions

Under the leadership of Joshua, the twelve tribes of Israel occupied the land and God’s promise was fulfilled. This means that nothing was left unfulfilled about God’s promise concerning His promise to Abraham about the land.

What people tend to overlook is that the Israel’s land promise came with terms and conditions attached. Moses even predicted their captivity, Deuteronomy 29:24-28 / Deuteronomy 30:16-18. Make no mistake about it, God fulfilled His promise concerning the land, Nehemiah 9:7-8 / Jeremiah 29:11 / 2 Chronicles 36:22.

The Coming Of Christ

‘The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.’ Galatians 3:16

When Jesus, the Messiah came into the world, when He went to the cross to die, He offered Himself as a sin offering for all of mankind. God’s promise to Abraham was to bless the nations through him, and they were fulfilled at Calvary. Jesus is the seed of the promise, that is the seed of Abraham, that all nations would be blessed.

The nation of Israel had served its purpose in preserving the seed line from one generation to the next of Abraham’s family, until the Messiah came from that seedline. In other words when Christ came, the Jewish nation ceased to exist as a nation, in fact the temple and Jerusalem were totally destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Think about this for a moment, if we are to believe that God holds a special place for the Jews as a nation and He has something special planed in the future for them, wouldn’t this be God showing favouritism to one set of people from another? Romans 2:11.

‘For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.’ Romans 10:12

It’s clear that when Jesus came and died, He removed any differences between nations, no matter who they were and where they were from. He blesses all who call on Him, regardless of race, religion or colour.

‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.’ Ephesians 2:14

When Christ came and died on the cross, he removed the barrier, the diving wall, which was the law of Moses. There are no longer Jews and no longer Gentiles, because Christ has made them one.

If we return to the Old Testament for a moment, we see the fulfilment of prophecy which was made to the Jews before and after their Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.

The Scriptures tell us in 2 Kings 24-25, after Solomon had died, the kingdom was divided, there were ten tribes in the north and two tribes in the south. The text tells us that the Assyrians captured the northern tribes and took them away to ‘Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes.’ 2 Kings 18:11, in 721 B.C.

The southern two tribes of Judah were taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon around 586 B.C., although some of the captives escaped to Egypt, 2 Kings 14:25-26.

It’s important to point out that before and during their captivities, two prophets, Daniel and Ezekiel foretold the exile would happen and also promised a return to the land. When we read these passages, there is no doubt that all of these prophecies were completely fulfilled.

There is no promise of a future restoration for the Jews to go back to the land, because the promise was fulfilled many years before Christ came.

What Jesus Said About The Nation Of Israel

‘Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. ‘The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. ‘But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. ‘Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,’ they replied, ‘and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes’? ‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.’ When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.’ Matthew 21:33-46

Now it’s clear that the tenants are the Jews, Matthew 21:45, and it was them, the Jews, who killed God’s Son and as a result of them killing Him, the kingdom of God would be taken away from them. It was God who took the blessings away from fleshly Israel and gave them to the Gentile believers.

In other words, Israel as nation was going to be replaced by something new, which is the church. Hence why the temple and Jerusalem were totally destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

What John Said About The Nation Of Israel

‘But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’ Matthew 3:7-10

John the baptiser makes this very clear, that the ‘ax is already at the root of the tree’, in other words, John is speaking about God’s overthrowing wrath against the Jewish nation because they rejected the Christ.

This meant their entire religious system was coming to an end, which again was in A.D. 70 when the Romans totally destroyed the temple.

What Paul Said About The Nation Of Israel

‘On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: ‘We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ Acts 13:44-47

When we read these passages it’s clear that the Jews as a nation, totally rejected Jesus the Messiah, Acts 18:5-6.

What James Said About The Nation Of Israel

‘Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’—things known from long ago. ‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.’ Acts 15:14-19

Notice that James quotes from Amos 9:11-12, which tells us that this is a prophecy that the rebuilt tent or tabernacle of David is the Lord’s church where both Jew and Gentile can find salvation.

What Paul Again Said About The Nation Of Israel

‘It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.’ Romans 9:6-8

Paul clearly teaches that being a descendant of Abraham, that is through his bloodline, won’t save anyone. This is because the children of the flesh aren’t children of God.

‘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. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me’? And what was God’s answer to him? ‘I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.’ Romans 11:1-5

Paul here teaches us that some Jews, that is a remnant, were accepted because they became a part of the elect of God in the church, Romans 9:27.

‘I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, 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 in this way 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.’ Romans 11:25-27

We all know that the Deliverer is Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Paul tells us that the Jews haven’t been thrown away because they too can be saved like the Gentiles, Romans 11:23-24.

‘Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ Galatians 3:23-29

When Paul writes to the Galatian church he tells them that the Law of Moses, which was for the nation of Israel, was only to last until the Seed, that is Jesus should come. Because of Christ, Christians are now all one in Christ, Christians have become descendants of Abraham by an obedient faith, not by physical lineage.

The Church Is Now The True Israel

‘Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: ‘Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.’ Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? ‘Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.’ Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.’ Galatians 4:21-31

In the very next chapter, Paul tells us that physical Israel, that is present Jerusalem, was cast out and replaced by spiritual Israel, which is the church. The Israel of God can’t be fleshly Israel because the Israel of God walks according to Christ, Galatians 6:15-16 / Philippians 3:3 / Colossians 2:11-12.

Conclusion

We’ve clearly seen that the land promise to Abraham was fulfilled during the leadership of Joshua and we’ve seen that God nowhere promised to restore Israel back to the land sometime in the future.

We’ve also seen that God doesn’t show favouritism because Christ died for all, Jew and Gentile, His death on the cross has brought the two groups together as one in Christ.

We’ve also seen that the Jews, that is fleshly Israel, aren’t God’s chosen people today, rather, the church, the spiritual Israel, is God’s special people.

‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.’ 2 Peter 2:9-10

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4

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