Pre-Tribulation Prophesies: The Re-Establishment of Israel
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(an excerpt from Chapter 1: Pre-Tribulational Events)
While Israel is known to the modern world as a viable nation, it was not that many years ago when biblical prophesies concerning a latter-day Israel seemed utterly untenable. After all, Israel ceased to be a nation in 70 AD and had been abandoned as anything more than an ancient memory. Yet, through unfathomable circumstances, she re-emerged onto the world stage in 1948 as a sovereign nation; as scripture had prophesied would come to pass.
The Re-establishment of Israel
One of the most fascinating pre-tribulational prophesies concerns a seemingly unlikely historical event. Israel is shown in Ezekiel 20 being restored as a nation, for the purpose of being judged and purged in preparation to repent and receive their Messiah, Christ. Israel will receive Christ toward the end of the tribulation but must be re-established as a nation prior to the beginning of the tribulation. This may not seem particularly fascinating on the surface, but considering that Israel was not a nation at all from the first century until 1948, this is actually a quite impressive prophecy which has come to pass in the lifetime of the current generation.
32 “‘You say, “We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.” But what you have in mind will never happen. 33 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will rule over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. 34 I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered–with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. 35 I will bring you into the desert of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. 36 As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign LORD. 37 I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
In verse 34 God informs Israel that he will “bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered.”
This prophecy is two-fold regarding the sovereignty of the nation of Israel. First, it determines the scattering of the Israelites among the nations of the world at a future date from Ezekiel’s writing. Secondly, it determines the gathering back of this people group into a nation once again. In historical retrospect it is understood that this timeline included almost 1900 years of the non-existent nation of Israel which would be brought back together and re-instituted by God’s pre-determined plan.
In verse 36 God draws a simile between this event and the exodus, when he brought Israel out of Egypt and judged them in the Sinai dessert for their rebellion. At that time he purged the nation of those who dissented against him and allowed a new generation to enter the Promised Land. Verse 38 states, “I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me,” indicating that Israel will at this future date again be purged of those who have rebelled against God. The unveiling of God’s program for Israel will be outlined later in this work, but begins with God’s bringing Israel back from the nations which she has been scattered for the purpose of this purging, which will be observed in chapters 3-5 concerning the great tribulation. In order for Israel to be subject to God’s purging of her unbelievers, he will reconstitute her into a nation once again.
Verse 37 speaks of Israel being brought into the bond of the covenant. This refers to the national salvation of Israel, bringing them into the new covenant with Christ, after their purging as noted in Jeremiah 31.
31 “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.
32 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.
33 “This is the covenant 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.
This text indicates the final restoration of Israel as they receive their Messiah. Yet this prophecy can only occur after Israel is once again a nation and has undergone the purging of Ezekiel 20.
This reconciliation of Israel from the nations of the earth is an important pre-tribulational event. It will furthermore be demonstrated in this work that the great tribulation will begin with the signing of a seven-year covenant between Israel and the Antichrist. For such to happen, Israel will be required to be a sovereign nation which is capable of accepting such a treaty.
Israel became a nation once again, gathered from the corners of the earth, in 1948, thus fulfilling the beginning, at least, of this prophecy.
Beyond this text, numerous other prophecies will be examined over the course of this study which will demand that Israel be a sovereign nation for their fulfillment to occur. If there is no Israel, these prophesies have no subject. It is essential to a literal interpretation of biblical prophecy that Israel would be re-established as a nation at some point prior to the great tribulation.
Surely there was a great period in history when such prophecies would have seemed an impossibility to be literally fulfilled. Israel had truly been scattered to the corners of the earth, as the nation was decimated by AD 70, seemingly never to be heard of again. Yet, through God’s providence a miraculous series of events transpired to bring Israel back into national status nearly two millennia after her demise.
Many questions must have existed to a pre-1948 prophetically inquisitive mind. How would Israelites retain a national identity 1900 years after the destruction of their nation? In America, known as a “melting pot” for its ethnic diversity, after only a few hundred years of history as a nation, many do not fully, or even partially know their ethnic heritage. Yet, the Jews always knew who they were, even after having been scattered among the nations and having countless generations integrated into other cultures. Prophecy teaches overwhelmingly that God is not finished with Israel as a nation. He therefore had forged their national identity into their collective memories, while so many other conquered people groups in history have forgotten their roots in very few generations. For 1900 years, Jews remained Jews although thoroughly distributed and ingested into other societies world-wide.
One also may have wondered how a group of people would be motivated to return to their homeland after fifty generations had passed from the demise of their national status. What is the call that would cause one to leave the only home one has known in order to resettle in an ancient homeland? Yet, Jews in great numbers desired to return to Israel when given the opportunity. For several hundred years prior to the re-establishment of a Jewish nation the descendants of Israel were migrating back to their geographical homeland. Truly nothing in history has come close to the perplexing migration of Jews back to their historical homeland.
While beyond the scope of this work, another phenomenal historic event was the very process of Israel’s re-establishment as a nation. That a group of people could re-emerge on their geographical homeland and defend themselves against sovereign nations intent on their removal has defied all logic numerous times over. Israel has outfought, outlasted and outdone herself in ways that can only be understood in light of a divine intervention on her behalf.
Today, Israel is a highly developed nation with exceptional world potential and one of the most educated populations on earth. As improbable as this must have seemed only one hundred years ago, it is an impeccable demonstration of the power of God’s hand in history and the firm grasp his Word has in reality. He has brought it to pass exactly as prophesied. Israel is a nation again after almost two millennia, in her place and prepared to receive her lot as God unfolds the destiny he has written for her.
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