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Israel In Bible Prophecy?

As we start to look at the first of the 31 Undeniable Prophecies in the Book of Signs, I must admit that I am unclear on a very important point.  We are told that at some [very near!] point in the future, the Jews will return to God and that the Jewish Messiah will come for the Jewish people.  The point I don’t understand from the book is whether all Jews will come to God because they are Jews [thus making two ways of salvation: believing in Jesus or being Jewish] or whether all Jews will believe in the work of Jesus on the cross for their sins and so be saved.  Salvation through Jesus Christ alone is never mentioned, but perhaps the author means for it to be implied or self-evident.  

However, if the Jews are saved through coming to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour [the only legitimate way of salvation], then are they not Christians?  Does not Paul - himself a Jew - go out of his way to deliberately break down any racial divisions?

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses ALL who call on him.  Rom. 10:12, NIV

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are ALL one in Christ Jesus.  Gal. 3:28, NIV

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in ALL.  Col. 3:11

In any case, the impression I have is the focus of God throughout the ages - and especially in the ‘end time’ - is to have natural Jews live in the natural land of Israel.  I always thought that Jesus Christ was the focus of all things.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead. So that in everything He might have the SUPREMACY.  Col. 1:15-18, NIV

Isaiah 66:8

Israel Book Of Signs

The Book of Signs quotes Isaiah 66:8 as evidence that Israel’s becoming a nation on May 14. 1948 is the fulfillment of Scripture.  

Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?
Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
She gave birth to her children.  Is. 66:8, NKJV

No actual evidence that Isaiah is referring to an event almost 2,740 years in his future is given.  The verse is quoted, and it is simply stated:  “Secular Israel was born that day.”  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 4). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Considering that no one in mainstream Christianity understood this verse this way in the first 1800 years of Christian History, I doubt it could be considered undeniable evidence.

To what does this verse refer?  To understand that, we must look at both the context and the timing of Isaiah.  Isaiah was written before the Babylonian Captivity.  As we look at the beginning verses, we see that there are many Jews who are good at following the ritual and are saying with their lips that they want God to be glorified but whose lifestyle is abhorrent to God.  These people hate their fellow Jews who are humble before God and truly seek His ways.  God promises to be with the humble and defend them while bringing harsh judgment on their persecutors.

This fits very well with the situation before the invasion by Babylon, when the nation was destroyed, and the people were taken from the land of Israel.  What happened at the end of 70 years?

…the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying…the Lord God of heaven…has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.  Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem…Now these are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city.  Ezra 1:1-3, 2:1, NKJV

God motivated Cyrus to send the Jews back to Israel, and the nation was ‘born in a day.”  This is a natural and Scriptural fulfillment of this prophecy.

It is important to note that there are no [i.e. zero] prophecies about Israel’s return to the land made after their return from the Babylonian Captivity.  Check it out for yourself.  The books written after the Return are:  Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and the entire New Testament.  [Note:  The verses quoted in the Book Of Signs from Ezekiel and Jeremiah about returning to the land were made before the end of the Babylonian Captivity and were fulfilled in that return.]

There is another legitimate fulfillment for this prophecy.  The Jews of Jesus’ and the Apostles Day held onto their tradition and violently opposed the Gospel and were later destroyed in the fire of AD 70 [Is. 66:15-17].  On the Day of Pentecost, the new [and spiritual] nation of Israel was born in a day, with 3,000 people being saved [Acts 2:41] and another 5,000 [Acts 4:4] shortly thereafter.  

The Church, composed of Jews and Gentiles, is considered the New Testament spiritual nation of Israel.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  Gal. 6:15-116, NKJV

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens… Heb. 8:1, NKJV

This verse reveals that this section of Scripture is talking about Jesus, His work on Calvary, His victory and His subsequent representation of His people [Christians].

In this vein, Hebrews 8 goes on to say, 

I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—  not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Heb. 8:8-10, NKJV

From this, we can see that true believers - Jews and Gentiles - are considered the house of Israel in the New Covenant.  As we saw above, God is not a racist.  Jews and Gentiles are one people of God - a spiritual Israel [Rom. 2:8] - in the body of Christ.

Fulfilled Promises

I agree with the author in that God made four promises to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.  First, God promised to bless Abraham and make his name great.  We can certainly see that in the life of Abraham.  After Jesus Christ, there is probably no one better known or respected in the world, even today.  Three major religions [Judaism, Christianity and Islam] look to him as foundational.  Second, God promised Abraham that a great nation would come from him.  Israel, under Solomon, became the greatest nation on earth.  And the spiritual nation of the Church currently has over half the world’s population claiming to be in it.  Third, God promised to make Abraham a blessing.  Abraham and his descendants have been a great blessing to the world.  And, of course, his descendant, Jesus Christ, has been and is THE Blessing.  Fourth, God promises to bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse Abraham [descendants are not mentioned], and a reading of the story of Abraham shows this to be true.  [We study the Abrahamic Covenant as well as the other covenants in our free course: The Love Covenants.]

The whole basis for the rest of this chapter seems to be the idea that God made an unconditional, everlasting covenant with Abraham so that his descendants could live in the physical land of Israel forever.  This is seen as Israel in Bible prophecy.

The promise to Abraham is an everlasting promise because it is an unconditional covenant based on the grace and sovereignty of almighty God.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 12). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Israel In Bible Prophecy:
An Unconditional Covenant?

And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.  This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised…And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”  Gen. 17:9-10, 14, NKJV

What did God say? You shall keep My Covenant.  This sounds like God expects obedience as a condition of the Covenant.  He also says that a descendant of Abraham could break the Covenant and be cut off.  Is this unconditional?  God gave circumcision as a sign of the Covenant.  It was a promise on the part of Abraham and his descendants to walk in obedience to God.

When the nation of Israel was about to receive this promise of the land given to Abraham, Moses repeatedly stressed that continuing in the land was conditional upon obedience to God.

One example:

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess." Deut. 30:15-18

We look at this in more detail in our article Did God Make An Everlasting Covenant With Abraham?

Israel In Bible Prophecy:
An Everlasting Covenant?

And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.  Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”  Gen. 17:7-8, NKJV

Christians believe that things will vastly change when Jesus returns.  We don’t know exactly what this final state of life will be like, but it will not be the same as we know it now in many ways.  Nothing that is physical is eternal or everlasting.

...while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Cor. 4:18, NKJV

What is everlasting is the spiritual application of this promise.  A good way to settle this is to ask, How did Abraham himself understand this promise?

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going...For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." Heb. 11:8, 10

Abraham knew that the physical land promise was not the ultimate promise.  He looked for its spiritual fulfillment.  

Also, see our article:  The Purpose Of Israel

Israel In Bible Prophecy:
Fulfilled Land Promises

Israel, as a physical, natural nation, could have lived in the land for as long as heaven and earth remain.  God gave them the outward land on condition of outward obedience.  However, even a quick reading of the Old Testament will reveal how many times they broke the covenant.  God, in mercy and grace, sent them many prophets and warnings to motivate them to repentance and restoration.  In grace, He brought them back to the land after the Babylonian Captivity.  There was no promise of restoration after that point.  When they committed the ultimate evil by nailing Jesus Christ to the cross, they lost any claim to the physical promises of Abraham.  What we see in the land of Israel today has nothing to do with Bible prophecy.

Did Israel ever receive the full land promise according to the Abrahamic Covenant?

“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  Jos. 23:14, NKJV

“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.  1 Kings 8:56, NKJV

The promise was fulfilled in the time of Joshua and again in the time of Solomon, according to God’s own testimony.

Natural Vs. Spiritual

There is a Scriptural principle that says

"The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual." 1 Cor. 15:46

To some this seems to read: First the natural, then the spiritual, then the natural again.

You may disagree with me, but I think we can say that this prophecy as presented in The Book Of Signs: 31 Undeniable Signs Of The Apolapyse is far from being undeniable.

For more information about Glenn Davis see our About Glenn page and/or his Author's Page.

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