The Word Of God - Lesson VI D
God’s Covenant with Abraham
Having studied the subject of the Second Coming of Christ we will now look at the subject of Israel.
God’s relationship with Israel is based on covenants. The foundation of all these covenants is the one made with Abraham, called the Abrahamic Covenant, which was an unconditional covenant according to:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go 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.”
And Genesis 17:7-8
I (God) will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give you as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
The Promised Land has specific borders according to:
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
And Numbers 34:1-12
The Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites and say to them, “When you enter Canaan, that will be allotted to you as an inheritance will have these boundaries: Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. On the east, your southern boundary will start from the end of the Salt Sea, cross south of the Scorpion Pass, continue to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Sea. Your western boundary will be the coast of the Great Sea. This will be your boundary on the west. For your northern boundary, run a line from the Great Sea to \mount Hor and from Ount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north. For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Kinnereth. Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Salt Sea. This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.”
And Joshua 1:4
Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates – all the Hittite country – to the Great Sea on the west.
And Ezekiel 47:13-20
This is what the sovereign Lord says: “These are the boundaries by which you are to divide the land for an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel, with two portions for Joseph. You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to your forefathers, this land will become your inheritance. This is to be the boundary of the land: On the north side it will run from the Great Sea by the Hethlon Road past Lebo Hamath to Zedad, Berothah and Sibraim (which lies on the border between Damascus and Hamath), as far as Hazer Hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran. The boundary will extend from the sea to Hazar Enan, along the northen border of Damascus, with the border of Hamath to the north. This will be the north boundary. On the east side the boundary will run between Hauran and Damascus, along the Jordan between Gilead and the land of Israel, to the eastern sea and as far as Tamar. This will be the east boundary. On the south side it will run from Tamar as far as the water of Meribah Kadesh, then along the Wadi of Egypt to the Great Sea. This will be the south boundary. On the west side, the Great Sea will be the boundary to a point opposite Lebo Hamath. This will be the west boundary.”
God promised to give the Promised Land to Abraham and his descendants for ever according to:
All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring for ever.
God’s promise was confirmed with Isaac according to:
The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My requirements, My commands, My decrees and My laws.”
God confirmed His promise with Jacob according to:
He (Jacob) had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
And Exodus 32:13
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom You swore by Your own self: I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them , and it will be their inheritance for ever.
And Leviticus 26:42
I will remember My covenant with Jacob and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
God’s Covenant with the children of Israel
God confirmed His promise with the children of Israel according to:
“Therefore say to the Israelites, “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement. I will take you as My own people, and I will be Your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord Your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.”
And Deuteronomy 29:12-15
You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord Your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as His people, that He may be Your God as He promised you and as He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.
And Psalm 94:14
For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance.
And Psalm 105:7-11
O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the Lord our God; His judgements are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant for ever, the word He commanded for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.
And Isaiah 60:21
Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land for ever….
And Jeremiah 31:35-36
This is what the Lord says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that it waves roar – the Lord Almighty is His name: “Only if these decrees vanish from My sight,” declares the Lord, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before Me.”
And Jeremiah 33:25-26
This is what the Lord says, “If I have not established My covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.”
And Ezekiel 37:25
They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there for ever, and David my servant will be their prince for ever.
Israel’s disobedience would have consequences
However, God warned Israel that disobedience on their part would have serious consequences according to:
Deuteronomy 28:58, 64-67
If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name – the Lord Your God…
Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods –gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 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. In the morning you sill say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!” – because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.
And Deuteronomy 31:16-18
And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your fathers and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, “Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?” And I will certainly hide My face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.”
Israel did in fact disobey God’s laws so God did indeed discipline Israel according to:
“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.”
And Amos 9:8-9
“Surely the eyes of the sovereign Lord are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth - yet I will not totally destroy he house of Jacob,” declares the Lord. “For I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground.”
The First Stage of God’s Discipline of Israel
This discipline has taken place in two stages. The first one, which lasted seventy years, has been described by the Prophet Jeremiah in:
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
The Prophet Daniel refers to this prophecy in:
In the first year of his reign, I Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy year.
The Prophet Jeremiah speaks as well of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in:
For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: “They will be filled with the dead bodies of the men I will slay in My anger and wrath. I will hide My face from this city because of its wickedness.”
However, after seventy years the people did return to their land under Nehemiah according to:
Remember the instruction You gave Your servant Moses, saying, “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to Me and obey My commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for My place.”
And Nehemiah 7:6-73
These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive……..
The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers and the temple servants, along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelites, settled in their own towns.
The Second Stage of God’s Discipline of Israel
The second stage of God’s discipline of Israel has been decreed to last for 490 years according to:
Seventy “sevens” have been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy.
Up till now sixty-nine “sevens” or sixty-nine periods of seven years, which is a total of 483 years, have been fulfilled. However, one more period of a “seven” is to take place as the final part of God’s discipline of His people, the Jews.
We will look at that final seven-year period later on in the study.
Daniel describes the destruction of Jerusalem in:
After the sixty-two “sevens”, 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 above verse indicates the time of Jesus’ First Coming and His death. It furthermore speaks about the rule of the Roman Empire when Jerusalem was destroyed. This happened in 70A.D.
Jeremiah speaks about this second stage of God’s discipline of His people in:
I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have destroyed them.
The Prophet Ezekiel speaks about God’s discipline of His people in:
I dispersed them among the nations and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.
Jesus speaks about the destruction of Jerusalem in:
As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and your children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.”
And Luke 21:20-24
When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been written. Hoe dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The destruction of Jerusalem took place in 70 A.D. The reason for it was that the Jewish people had not accepted Jesus as their Messiah as we can read in:
All the people answered, “Let His blood be on us and on our children.”
God’s Discipline of His People only for a Season
However, God has made an eternal Covenant with the land and her people. Therefore, any rejection by Him will be for a season and not for ever according to:
I will remember My covenant with Jacob and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected My laws and abhorred My decrees, Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will nor reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking My covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. For their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.
And Deuteronomy 30:4-5
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.
Many of the prophets prophesy about the return of God’s people to their land, for instance the Prophet Isaiah says in:
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.
And Isaiah 11:12
“He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”
And Isaiah 43:5-6
“Do not be afraid for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, Do not hold them back. Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth.”
And Isaiah 54:7-8
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, “ says the Lord Your Redeemer.
The Prophet Jeremiah prophesies about the return of God’s people to their land in:
Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands; He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.
And Jeremiah 31:31-34
“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke My covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord, because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, “ declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”
And Jeremiah 31:37
“This is what the Lord says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done.”
And Jeremiah 32:37-41
I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in My furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be My people and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.
And Jeremiah 33:6-11
Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal My people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against Me. Then this city will bring Me renown, praise and honour before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.
The Prophet Ezekiel prophesies about the return of God’s people to their land in:
Therefore say: “This is what the sovereign Lord says; I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.”
And Ezekiel 20:41
I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
In fact, the Prophet Ezekiel gives us a detailed prophecy of the return of the Jewish people to their land in Ezekiel 36 and 37 when the nation will longer be divided.
Some of the verses from this prophecy are:
But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for My people Israel, for they will soon come home.
And Ezekiel 36:24
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.
And Ezekiel 36:28
You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be My people and I will be your God.
The Prophet Amos prophesies about the return of God’s people to their land in:
“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.
The Prophet Micah prophesies about the return of God’s people to their land in:
Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in long days ago.
The Prophet Zephania prophesies about the return of God’s people to their land in:
At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honour and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your eyes.
The Prophet Zechariah prophesies about the return of God’s people to their land in:
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save My people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in |Jerusalem; they will be My people and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”
The above passages are being fulfilled at this very moment as many Jewish people have already returned to their land and others are in the process of returning.
In fact on 14 May 1948 the state of Israel was reborn as was prophesied in:
Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things?
Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children.
However, God has declared that Jerusalem will be a cause of trouble for all nations according to:
I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.
Various Wars Prophesied
A specific attack by neighbouring countries has been described in:
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you – the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot.
Even though we may not recognise the names of many of these nations, they still exist but under a different name for instance:
Tents of Edom is Palestine;
The Ishmaelites are the inhabitants of Saudi Arabia;
Moab is Central Jordan;
The Hagrites are the people living in Egypt;
Gebal is Northern Lebanon;
Ammon is Northern Jordan;
Amelek is the land in which Arabs live south of Israel;
Phylistia is the Gaza Strip in Palestine;
The people of Tyre are the people of Lebanon;
Assyria is Syria.
At the time of that war Israel will deal with these neighbouring countries according to:
“They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand over the Euphrates river. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.”
This war has not yet taken place but is possibly the next important war to happen. Israel will be victorious and will expand her borders to what they were meant to be all along according to:
On that day the Lord made a covenant wit Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”
Israel will then live in peace and security. This will cause certain nations to rise up against her in jealousy according to:
Therefore son of man prophesy and say to Gog: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day when My people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against My people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I show Myself holy through you before their eyes.”
The nations involved in the above war are mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2, 5-6 as follows:
Magog, Meshech and Tubal are all part of Russia.
Persia is Iran.
Cush is Ethiopia.
Put could either be Somalia or Lybia.
Gomer is Germany.
Togarma is Armenia.
These nations are led by “Gog”. This is very likely a reference to a demonic being since he is mentioned again at the time of the final battle at the end of the one-thousand year reign of Christ on earth. We can read this in:
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.
However, the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2, 5-6 will be defeated according to:
“On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
A detailed prophecy of this event can be found in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
The Temple Re-build
A Temple will be re-built in Jerusalem according to:
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshippers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the Holy City for 42 months.”
Much preparation has already been made for the building of this Temple which very possibly will be build around the time of the Antichrist when Jerusalem will be going through the Great Tribulation for a period of 42 months or 3 and ½ years as the above passage indicates.
Even though many of God’s people have returned to their land, the majority of them are non-believing Jews. God has decreed that a final seven-year period needs to happen as part of His discipline of them to make them turn to Him. The Prophet Daniel describes that seven-year period called the Tribulation, Jacob’s Trouble or the Day of the Lord when the Antichrist will be on the scene in:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven.” In the middle of the “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
Jesus refers to this passage in Daniel in:
So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel –let the reader understand – Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of his house. Let no-one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
The “elect” in this passage are the Jewish people whom God has chosen to survive this ordeal according to:
“Then I (John) saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the seas or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
The Antichrist will confirm a seven-year covenant with Israel but he will break it after 3 and 1/2 years. He will enter the Temple and will not allow the sacrificial system to continue. Instead he will set up a false idol. This event will start off the Great Tribulation, which will last for another 3 and 1/2 years.
Daniel gives us a clear description of the Antichrist in:
The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of-things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regards for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, not will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above all. Instead of them, he will honour a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honour with gold and silver. With precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honour those who acknowledge him. He will Make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade any countries and sweep through the like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Lybians and Nubians in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
We can read as well of this time of distress in:
… There will be a time of distress such as not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered.
The Prophet Jeremiah prophesies about the period of “Jacob’s Trouble” in:
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.
The Prophet Joel prophesies about the Day of the Lord in:
Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
And Joel 2:1-2
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble. For the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand – a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.
The Prophet Amos prophesies about the Day of the Lord in:
Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.
The Prophet Zephaniah prophesies about the Day of the Lord in:
The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.
The Prophet Zechariah prophesies about the Day of the Lord in:
“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.”
As I have already mentioned God will protect a certain group of Jewish people during the Time of the Jacob’s Trouble. We can read this in:
“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.”
And Revelation 12:14
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and a half time, out of the serpent’s reach.
The prophecy in Revelation 12:14 refers to a group of Jewish people who would be protected by God for a period of 3 and ½ years, which is the time of the Great Tribulation.
The Return of the Lord
Towards the end of the Great Tribulation the nations of the world under the Antichrist will gather around Jerusalem for a final battle, called Armageddon. At that time the Lord Jesus Christ will return with the believers to put an end to the battle according to:
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.”
And Zechariah 12:9
On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
And Revelation 19:11-21
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a Name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dripped in blood, and His Name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron sceptre. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this Name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the Rider on the horse and His army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded the those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
The rider on the white horse is Christ and His army is the Church who has previously been raptured according to:
I Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The Church is now returning with the Lord.
Recognition of the Messiah
At that time the Jewish people who are still alive will recognise Jesus as their Messiah.
The Prophet Isaiah prophesies about this event in:
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.
The Apostle Paul refers to the above passage 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.
The Prophet Zechariah prophesies about this event in:
And I will pour out on the house of David and on 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. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like that of the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves; the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
The gospel writer Mark writes about the Second Coming of Jesus and explains that at the time certain elect will be gathered together by the angels in:
At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
The gospel writer Luke writes in:
I tell you on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.
The fact that some people are sleeping while others are at work very likely indicates that Luke refers here to people who live in different places and consequently in different time zones.
The elect in the above passage do NOT refer to the Church. The Church will already have been gathered to Christ before the event as described by Mark takes place. We can read of the gathering of the Church, which is done by Christ Himself, in:
I Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead of Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The elect in the passage in Mark are not being gathered by the Lord but by angels. This is therefore referring to a very different occasion and to a different group of elect people, namely Jewish people who have not yet returned to their homeland. The angels will at that time gather them from the nations and bring them into their homeland to meet the Lord.
The gospel writer Luke writes that the Jewish people will one day recognise
their Messiah in:
“….I (Jesus) tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
At the return of Christ He will rule the world from Jerusalem for a thousand years. At that time the Jewish people will finally fulfil their destiny for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable according to Romans 11:29.
The Prophet Isaiah describes what the conditions will be like during the time of Christ’s reign on earth in:
The wolf will lie with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm not destroy on all My holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
And Isaiah 65:18-25
But be glad and rejoice for ever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them, they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of My people; My chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain.
The conditions described here by the Prophet Isaiah are very similar to the conditions as they were before the Fall. The Apostle Paul explains that creation itself is longing to be set free from its present conditions because of the sin of mankind. We can read that in:
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the One who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
From the above passage we learn that the liberation of creation is very closely related to the redemption of the bodies of believers. Therefore the conditions as described by Isaiah in Isaiah 11:6-9 can only take place after the bodies of sons of God, the children of God have been redeemed which will take place at the time of the Rapture of the Church as we can read in:
I Corinthians 15:51-53
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
The Prophet Isaiah describes the role of Israel during the one-thousand year, or millennial reign of Christ on earth in greater detail in Isaiah 60-63 among other passages.
The Prophet Ezekiel prophesies about the future rule of Christ on earth in:
My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow My laws and be careful to keep My decrees. They will live in the land I gave to My servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there for ever, and David My servant will be their prince for ever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put My sanctuary among them for ever. My dwelling-place will be with them; I will be their God and they will be My people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when My sanctuary is among them for ever.
And Ezekiel 43:6-7
While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites for ever. The house of Israel will never again defile My holy name- neither they nor their kings – by their prostitution and their lifeless idols of their kings at their high places.”
The Prophet Micah prophesies about the future rule of Christ on earth in:
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills and peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will come and say, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
The angel Gabriel foretold Mary about the future rule of Jesus in:
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the Name Jesus. He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.”
During the reign of Christ on earth there will be a Temple in Jerusalem. This Temple has been described by the Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 40 and 41.
The Apostle John prophesies about the one-thousand year reign of Jesus. He explains that Satan will be bound during that period in:
And I saw an angel coming down, having the keys to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
At the end of the one-thousand year reign of Christ on earth there will be a final battle around Jerusalem as described by John in:
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand of the seashore. They marched across the breadth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
This final battle will bring the millennium kingdom, during which time Israel fulfilled her destiny, to an end.
Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire according to:
“And the devil, who deceived them, as thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
The White Throne Judgement will take place according to:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The New Jerusalem
The earthly city of Jerusalem will be replaced with the heavenly city of Jerusalem as described by John in:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
At that time a new era will begin, which will last for ever and ever when God comes to live among His people according to:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
We have come to the end of our study on the role of Israel. May it inspire you to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.