|Q231 : Is Today's Return of Israel Scriptural?|
I started feeling some real disturbance in my spirit over the past few years, both on how Christians almost have a worship of Israel, and from my economic and historical research into the people who brought about Israel's return.
So I started out by searching every single scripture I could find that the church and theologians use to justify the return of Israel in the 20th century, and before the end times.
I started seeing a very interesting picture emerge . . . almost every verse attributed to the return of Israel, both in context and from ancient Rabbinical commentaries, showed that God would manifest the return of the land during the Messianic Age, and not before the King (references of King David shall rule over them - Messiah through His line) returns.
Plus I also found so many astonishing things . . . like the fact that Israel, the earthly temple, Judah, Jerusalem are not mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Lastly, I realized one important thing. When did the Israelites, or even the Judeans (Jews) ever repent? If they have not, then how can God go against His Word?
[I do not believe] the return of Israel in the 20th century is by the Hand of God, [but] a move by Satan (for his benefit).
|A231 : by Andy Woods |
First, regarding your statement that "Israel, the earthly temple, Judah, Jerusalem are not mentioned in the book of Revelation," please note Judah (Rev. 5:5; 7:5), the Earthly temple (Rev. 11:1-2), and the Earthly Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8).
Second regarding your idea that God's hand has nothing to do with the modern sate of Israel, here are my published remarks on the subject from a book called The Gathering Storma
Understanding the Tribulation period as a process where God takes the nation from unbelief to faith is necessary to counter a developing trend within evangelicalism that contends that God's hand cannot be on the modern state of Israel because she is currently in unbelief.[i] Such a contention is inconsistent with biblical predictions of a twofold national re-gathering. First, Israel will be gathered in unbelief in preparation for the Tribulation period. Numerous passages speak of Israel's initial gathering in unbelief prior to the Tribulation period (Ezek 20:33-38; 22:17-22; Zeph 2:1-2). Second, after Israel's conversion in the Tribulation, the nation will call upon Christ (Matt 23:37-39) and He will subsequently return and rescue her by re-gathering her a second time (Matt 24:31).[ii] Thus, Israel's conversion is simply the end of this prolonged process. According to this pattern, Israel not only has a prophetic program to fulfill after her conversion but she also has a prophetic destiny to complete prior to her conversion.1
Israel's entrance into a covenant with the antichrist and the erection of the Tribulation temple (Dan 9:27) are obviously prophecies that she will fulfill while still in unbelief. Thus, any analysis that discounts God's present hand on the Jewish nation simply because Israel is currently in unbelief fails to take into account all of the biblical data.
- [i] John Piper, "Land Divine?" World, May 11 2002.
- [ii] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiahb, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 99-104.
Furthermore, if faith and obedience are the criteria used to determine whether God's hand is upon modern Israel, then such a standard also forces one to conclude that God's hand was never upon the nation during the 1300 years of biblical history when the nation was in the land. Unbelief and disobedience characterized the nation during this era as well. In sum, the modern state of Israel, even in its present state of unbelief, could very well represent the initial gathering in preparation for the coming Tribulation period. This view is nothing new for traditional dispensational interpreters.
Note the following quote by John F. Walvoord as he reflected upon the prophetic significance of the modern state of Israel:
Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel's prophetic destiny.2
Please read this entire book since the definition of a true scholar is interacting with points of view outside of your own. This book will give you a different view. Here is a link to the bookc.