Volume 32, Issue 1 _________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

The Second Gathering of Israel

     The modern state of Israel re-emerged among the community of world states on May 14th, 1948. After being absent from the worlds long roll call of nation-states for nearly two thousand years, Israel miraculously and suddenly came back to life, after being cast out upon the ash heap of world history.

      This date has become a prophetic landmark along the highway of Bible Prophecy. Along with the 1967 capture of the city of Jerusalem by Israel; these two dates stand out as beckoning hallmarks signaling that God has indeed begun to bring to a culmination the parallel drama of the Church age, and the unfinished work of Israel among the nations of the world.

      Added to these dates however now can be added July 2000. The Camp David debacle of this past July should have signaled that Zechariah's prophecy about the city of Jerusalem becoming a Burdensome Stone in the Last Days; has finally inevitably reached the status point of no turning back.

      All of these things should have been anticipatory events on the Prophetic Bible calendar. The rebirth of Israel amongst the community of nation-states was an absolute springboard of necessity in God's plan to fulfill his promise to that nation. The recapturing of the city of Jerusalem on June 6th, 1967 in essence guaranteed that Jerusalem would become the Stone of Stumbling that it is today.

      In spite of all the clear prophetic evidence that is plainly associated with these epic dates of history, still many people within Christiandom remain unconvinced that any of these events signal anything of real significance when anticipating the second coming of Jesus, nor do they even find them a correlative factor signifying that the last days have even arrived.

      I often receive questions that ask something like this: "How do you know that Israel will not simply disappear once again from world history"? Why do you think that this particular nation of Israel should see the events of the last days? "How can you be so sure that Israel won't be scattered yet again, and yet be regathered, or recovered to the promised land again sometime far out in the future; maybe even thousands of years from now"?

      These are really very good questions. I appreciate these questions. They have very valid points to them. After-all; if the Bible doesn't plainly, and accurately provide an answer for these questions; then I would have no fundamental reason, or basis to contend that the imminent return of Jesus Christ is even remotely near.

      All too often Bible Prophecy expositors have only attempted to answer these basic questions by merely making a passing reference to Jesus own comments about the last days, in his parable concerning the "Fig Tree" which is recorded in Matthew 24:32-34, and also in Luke 21:29-32.

      But unfortunately, Jesus parable of the Fig Tree does not specifically and unequivocally answer these particularly pointed questions. This fact however does not lessen the importance of that parable.

      Everyone readily accepts the fact that the fig tree when used in the Bible is used in symbolic form to represent the nation of Israel, but most people fail to see any connection of this analogy to the present status regarding the state of modern Israel. The utilization within the study of Bible prophecy relating to the symbolism of the Fig tree requires an extensive knowledge of God's history with Israel, and his unique relationship with Israel.

      Lets go searching for these answers:

      In answering these questions, I usually remark to people that the answer is as simple as adding one plus one together and getting two. And in actuality it really is just that easy to determine that we are indeed living in the last days.

      Being a simple problem to answer, lets do some simple research through Israel’s history and work our way right on up to today.

      First of all, lets start with the call of Abraham. The call of Abraham to father the new nation which would ultimately become Israel is recorded in Genesis chapter 12, verses 1:2

      Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy Father's house, unto a land that I ( God ) will show thee.
      And I ( God ) will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing;

      These short verses of course laid the groundwork of the fundamental agreement between God and the man known as Abraham. The Abrahamic Covenant is the historical deed that described the boundaries of the land that has become known far and wide as the "Promised Land".

      It is the very land which is still being fought over today in the Middle East. Genesis 15:18 gives the actual borders of the Promised Land:

      And in the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed ( Abraham’s ) have I ( God ) given this land, from the river of Egypt ( Nile ) unto the great river, the river Euphrates;

      There you have it. Even the Sinai of Egypt belongs in the deed described herein; as well as the modern state known as Jordan; and even large portions of Saddam Hussein's dictatorial playground in today’s Iraq.

      The great long running controversy over just who inherited the covenant from Abraham began with his sons; Ishmael and Isaac. But in Genesis 17:21 God is specific about the matter of inheritance:

      But my covenant will I ( God ) establish with Isaac;

      This verse provides clarity for the inheritance passing from Abraham down to Isaac. But then a little later on when Isaac has two sons; the matter again becomes cluttered with controversy: Esau literally sold away his birthright for food; (Genesis 25:29-34) thus permitting Jacob to come into line for the inheritance. ( Genesis 28 )

      Something very interesting then happens to Jacob. In Genesis 35:9; God changes Jacob's name to Israel, and in verse 15 God documents that Israel shall be given the Promised Land. Thus, the controversy should be cleared up. But this has not been the case; Esau, Jacob’s brother whose descendants made up the nation of Edom; has never consented to God's arrangement in these matters. Even to this very day, the people of Esau continue to wage war to supplant Israel from the realization of God's covenanted land promise. (For more on this subject see “The Perpetual Hatred of Israel” article, for more details on Esau-Edom)

      And so it was this way in which Israel came into legal possession of the Biblical land deed that today is at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process and the controversy about who really owns the land!

      From this point we need to progress forward to the days of Moses and Joshua. It was only after Israel had served in bondage down in Egypt for 400 years that Israel finally embarked upon a mission to claim its promised land. Even this delay was prophesied by God in Genesis 15:13

      And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.

      Nevertheless, Israel finally crossed over the Jordan River after its Exodus from Egypt and under Joshua took gradual possession of the Promised Land. The first Commonwealth of Israel came into prominence with Israeli Kings such as Saul, David, Solomon, etc.

      This possession of the Promised Land marked the “FIRST” occupation of the land by Israel. Please keep this fact in mind as you continue to read; because it marks the "first item" that we need to add when we begin to do our addition. Lets label this item as "The First Possession!" ( 1100 BC TO 606 BC )

      After possessing the land for only a few hundred years Israel fell into idolatry and disobedience, and thence God allowed Israel to be over-run by the armies of the Assyrians and the Babyloninans. This era of dislocation, or uprooting from the Promised Land is historically documented by the Old Testament prophets Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and known as the 70 year Babylonian Captivity. ( 606 BC TO 536 BC )

      This epic travail in Israeli history is another item that we need to label and keep in our formula for later addition. Lets label it as: "The First Scattering".

      There is of course a lot of scripture detailing and outlining each of these era's of Jewish history. They entail a lot of Bible prophecy, but the purpose of this article is merely to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that we are living in the terminal generation; and proving that the rebirth of Israel in 1948 signals the countdown toward the imminent return of Jesus to Jerusalem. "Remember now, it will be as simple as adding one plus one; and netting two." Okay; ready; Lets proceed counting and labeling before we add:

      The next great prophetic wave of Israeli history finds the children of Israel returning from ancient Babylon to resettle in the Promised Land, and afterward, setting forth to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem and to construct the temple of Zerrubabel. Old Testament prophet Daniel prophesied of this great era of the Jewish "return" in his famous prediction in Daniel 9:25:

      Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem; unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in Troublous times.

      This is the infamous prophecy of Daniel that is commonly known as the 70 weeks of Daniel. It holds a tremendous amount of very important criteria for all of Bible prophecy.

      This prophecy and, the related subject for a "return" of Israel, is especially important because it spells out the fact that the real Messiah would appear specifically during this possession of the Promised Land. Not only that; but it also instructs us that Israel would not enjoy legal possession of the land, but rather be under Roman Domination; thus the analogy for Daniel's usage of the term, "troublous times".

      Nevertheless, this era of history informs us of the fact that Israel was indeed back in its land for the "second" occasion in its national history.

      The second era of actual residence in the promised land by the children of Israel did indeed see the wondrous birth of Jesus. All of the events of Jesus earthly visit to this world had been prophesied to occur specifically during this span of time. During this point in time, it would be left to Jesus himself to pronounce to the nation of Israel that because of her rejection of the Messiah; the 2nd occupation would soon end; and the precious city of Jerusalem, with its magnificent Temple would be left unto them desolate; and the people of Israel scattered to the four corners of the globe.

Continued page 2. . .

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