Jesus Affirms Physical Israel.

Dear reader,

When someone asks you an important question, how do you answer?  Naturally, it depends on the topic.  After Jesus Christ resurrected, the disciples asked him this important question.

¨Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6)?¨ 

When Jesus Christ heard this, two important points surface.  First, the disciples were familiar with God´s plan for the nation of Israel based on prophecies from God in their history.  Second, Jesus did not ignore or downplay Israel´s role in the end, but rather said that the disciples were not to worry about God´s timing for Israel.  Peter later records that Jesus did not fulfill all God promised to do through the prophets (Ac. 3:21).  

What final promises of restoration does God give Israel? 

In Jer. 30-33, Is. 11,12, 45-66, Ezekiel 36-39, and sections of the minor prophets (Zech. 9-14, Joel 3, Amos 9, Mic. 4,5, and Zeph. 3), Israel has a role in the last days.  Because of God's faithfulness and great love for the patriarchs (Rom. 11:28), God will be glorified through Israel in the end (Ez. 36:23).  

Although God rejected Israel and punished them at different times in history, the prophets before, during, and after the Babylonian exile prophesied a final and complete restoration for Israel in the end (i.e. spiritual purification, a return to the land, peace, the Messiah's kingdom, and the exaltation of Jerusalem).  This is what interested the disciples in Ac. 1:6.  

When a revealed word comes to a final prophet through spirit entities (angels, God, Jesus), it is important to examine how it treats Israel.  For example, Shincheonji changes Israel's primary meaning of ¨one who wrestles with God¨ to ¨one who overcomes¨ (the same title as the SCJ pastor).  The revealed word in Shinchonji removes national Israel from
the final scene. However, the independent voice in the Scriptures reveals something different.    

God's voice in the prophets refers to physical Israel in the end.  This can be seen in the language used.  For example, the phrase ¨your people¨ in the prophets refers to national Israel.  In Dan. 9:27, it is revealed that ¨seventy sevens are decreed for your people.¨  Dan. 12:1 speaks of Michael, the great prince, who protects ¨your people¨ in the end.  When Jesus gives information about a future abomination that causes desolation, he mentions a time of wrath against ¨this people¨ (Lk. 21:23).     

Imagine hearing God's voice through Ezekiel, Isaiah, or Jeremiah and hearing about Israel's future.  Then someone says, ¨Don't take these promises seriously because they refer to Gentiles in the future who are spiritual, not us.¨ This would be strange.  

For a more thorough study, look up all the references of Israel in the minor and major prophets.  See if God's promises refer to physical Israel in the future.  When we do, we see that God prophesies about Israel and the Israelites, are not figurative prophecies about one who overcomes or spiritual Christians.  It is referring to Israel as a whole.  

One of the surest prophecies concerning Israel's restoration is in Ez. 37:21-25.  This promise speaks of a return from a final exile, the Messiah's rule, and spiritual cleansing.   

¨This is what the Sovereign Lord say, 'I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone.  I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.  There will one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.  They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them.  They will be my people, and I will be their God.  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 forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever.'¨

Old Testament prophecies about Israel and the Israelites include many references that make it evident that physical Israel is the meaning.  If some Americans announce they are going to visit Washington (and include references to Mt. Helen or Seattle), such clues make it evident that Washington State is the intended meaning, not Washington D.C.  Similar language about national Israel also make it evident that God is referring to something in relation to national Israel.

God´s voice in the New Testament echoes this idea in Rom. 11:25-29 when Paul reveals that Israel will not be hardened forever (Rom. 11:25).  A time will come when they will be cleansed (Rom. 11:27).   God's voice uses words like ¨Zion¨ and ¨Jacob¨ that reveal physical Israel is in mind.  ¨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¨ (Rom. 11:26,27).

The danger with revelations to final prophets is that followers fall under a spell and believe that the Bible only affirms what the leader says it affirms.  They trust the prophet is God's voice.  But, when Christians are diligent to seek God's voice in all the passages, we begin to see God saying something different.  This is an important test.  

Sit down and read through all the references of a final restoration in the prophets and notice the references to Israel or Jerusalem (Is. 2, 11,12, 44-65, Jer. 30-33, Zech. 9-12, Ezek. 34-39, Dan. 11,12, Joel 3, Amos 9, Micah 4,5, Zeph. 3).  Why does Paul say in Rom. 11 that Israel is not rejected (11:1) and that they are still loved by God (11:29)?  According to God's Word, there is a time when Israel is no longer hardened (Rom. 11:25).