THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL
Elder David M. Green
King's Addition Baptist Church
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. (Romans 11:1-3).
The subject that was assigned to two other brethren before it was passed on to me is The Future of Israel. And, we will take as our text verse 1: “...Hath God cast away His people? God forbid...”
Before we get into the subject, let me define the word Israel. The Israel we are talking about are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We do not mean all descendants of Abraham, nor do we mean the church. God is very clear about this topic and I am amazed that it is even a question in the theological world!
Notice the foundational promises for this topic:
"And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." (Genesis 13:14-17).
"In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." (Genesis 15:18-21)
"And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:8).
Abraham was promised a specific land in a specific place. He was told it would be for an everlasting possession. And, notice, there were no conditions placed upon this covenant.
"And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year." (Genesis 17:20-21).
This covenant was again repeated, even after Abraham's failure in not waiting for the Lord. He made it clear that the covenant would NOT be through Ishmael, but through Isaac...Thus limiting it to certain of Abraham's seed.
"And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 28:13-14).
Again, we find the covenant repeated. This time limiting it further to Jacob (who became known as Israel - see Genesis 32:28).
"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever." (2 Samuel 7:12-16).
The covenant given to David assures him that his descendants will not be destroyed or displaced by another family. Whatever chastisements may come, the line of David will always have the right to rule over Israel.
"My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah." (Psalm 89:28-37).
This passage tells us without any doubt that the covenant given to David was unconditional and will last forever.
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:31-33).
The promises given to David are transferred to Jesus Christ, the descendant of David who will sit on that throne!
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:6-8).
Even the apostles expected these things to happen literally. When they asked our Lord about it, he simply explained that it was not for them to know the times or the seasons. He did not correct them for their thinking, so obviously they were right in asking. Those promises were LITERAL and they were UNCONDITIONAL!
The year 1948 marked the establishment of a new state of Israel and confirmed what premillinalists have been saying since the time of Christ. This was obviously an act of God. Tell me, what ancient people do you know of who have been scattered all over the earth, been away from their homeland for nearly 1900 years, able hold onto their national identity and finally become a nation again? While we are witnessing nothing short of a miracle today, we want to shift our attention from the past to the future. And, for the most part, that is where we will stay.
ISRAEL DURING THE TRIBULATION PERIOD
"For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." (Jeremiah 30:5-7).
The tribulation period is known as Jacob's Trouble.” It will be a horrible time on this earth, especially for Israel!
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:15-22).
Here we read of our Lord's discourse of the time of Great Tribulation. By this time, the Lord's people will be taken out of this world in the rapture. Praise the Lord we will not have to go through any of the tribulation period! But Israel will. Let us take notice of the “Abomination of Desolation” in verse 15.
"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Daniel 9:26-27).
This is the 70th week prophesy that was given by Daniel. The coming Roman prince will make a covenant with Israel... he is the Antichrist. And it seems he will be very clever individual. He will succeed in the Mid-East Peace Process and will allow Israel to resume their Old Testament worship. This in itself is amazing. In my office, I have a picture of Jerusalem right now and in that city there is a Muslim mosque where the temple should be. Nobody in the world wants to upset the Muslim world by allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple there and begin sacrifices again, but it will happen! Literally!
However, in the midst of that seven year covenant, everything will go downhill. The agreement will be broken and it will mean trouble for Israel!
"And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it." (Isaiah 28:18).
It is called a "covenant with death" and an "agreement with hell." This is not of God! Notice what happens:
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that
is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the
temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (2
This passage tells us that the Antichrist will sit himself up to be Godin the temple.
"And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." (Revelation 11:1-2).
Jerusalem will be given to the Gentiles again, and the city will be trodden for about 3.5 years.
"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels," (Revelation 12:6-7).
"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:13-17).
Although the devil will be cast out of heaven and he will try to destory Israel, God's protective hand will be upon them during that time. Some folks have tried to figure out what the eagle represents in that passage. It could be America, but it is doubtful that this country will still be her ally in the Tribulation Period. It might also be representative of an airplane. It very well could be a literal eagle that the Lord creates for His divine will. Nothing is impossible with God!
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."(Revelation 14:1-5).
There will be 144,000 Jewish men who will, I believe, be a testimony for our Lord during this horrible time on the earth! This “chosen few are the redeemed from the 12 tribes of Israel! To the post-trib brethren, let me just ask where is the church? Why does the Lord use Israel instead of His church? It is because the Lord's churches will not be here!
"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God." (Zechariah 13:7-9).
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:26-27).
The time of Jacob's trouble will take its toll on Israel....only 1/3 of the people will survive, but all of that number will be saved! I do not believe this will be a random 1/3, I believe this will be a chose third!
ISRAEL IN ARMEGEDDON
When our Lord comes back to the earth at the end of the Tribulation Period, he will come back and He willl fight for His chosen nation, Israel.
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." (Zechariah 14:1-5).
The time will come when the nations of the world will stop fighting each other and join together to fight against Israel and the God of Israel. Christ will fight for Israel and He will win!
ISRAEL DURING THE MILLENIAL REIGN
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:27-31).
When Christ comes back to stand upon the earth and fight for Israel, He will come in all His power and glory. It is during this time that all the people of the earth will see Him. It is also at this time, there will be a final regathering of Israel from the four winds. (See Deuteronomy 30:1-5).
"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." (Zechariah 14:16).
There will be a central method of worship and that will be by worshipping the true King of Kings in Israel! Isn't it interesting how different things will be! No the world will not be ruled from Washington DC or Rome or London.....Jerusalem will be the capital of the world.
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." (Revelation 20:7-9).
The final battle will be centered around Jerusalem, and again God will fight against the nations at that time.
THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matthew 24:32-34).
Since we have been in Matthew 24 in this sermon, I feel it is a good idea to take a look at this parable now. Some good folks believe that the fig tree is Israel. However, in this passage I see no evidence that the fig tree is not anything else than a fig tree. If it meant Israel, then from AD 70 until 1948, the Lord's people were very much mistaken when they were not waiting for and longing for Israel to be reborn. Yet, history tells us they were looking for the Lord to come back. Why were they not looking for Israel? Not one time were we told to be watching for Israel, we have always been told to look for the Lord's return! While this topic of Israel's future is important, we must not allow it to get in the way of where our focus should be.
Also, some well meaning folks have tried to date the rapture by this interpretation of the parable. At one time, theologians thought that it should be 40 years. Well, 1988 has come and gone. So now, there are disagreements between those who interpret the parable this way. The latest possible date I have found them to believe is 2068, based upon the 120 years found in Genesis 6:3. Could be, but what happens if you are wrong? You have bred a whole new group of scoffers. Others have simply shifted the date from 1948 to 1967 (when Israel regained all of Jerusalem.) Let's stear clear of such interpretation...When I preach about the Lord's return, I'll simply say what the Bible clearly teaches: that it is imminent and we are closer to His return than ever before!
What is this verse teaching us? All of these things will happen in a short, terrible time. Thankfully for Israel's sake, our Lord promised that when all these events of Matthew 24 happen, that generation will not pass away. So the remnants of that generation who goes through the Tribulation Period will live to see the setting up of the kingdom. Though it may seem that God is through with Israel, and they will all die, there will be some saved!
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming downfrom God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Revelation 21:1-2).
I find it interesting that though the world is made new He calls His holy city Jerusalem. It will be a HUGE city of about 1500 square miles. There is no reference of a new London or a new Rome. Not even a new Washington DC. But there will be a new Jerusalem!
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid..." (Romans 11:1).
Praise the LORD, He has not cast away Israel forever!
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