What is Israel’s Prophecy?
Prophecy Is Still Involved
The energy that keeps God’s prophetic clock running on schedule is the Jewish nation. God’s character demands that he honor his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-6). Since God promised to give the land of Israel to the seed of Abraham, it is only natural to interpret the return of the Jews as an indication that God’s timetable is coming to an end. The New Testament writers were careful not to confuse the church with Israel, recognizing they each existed as two similar yet distinct groups (1 Cor. 10:32). As we have watched the establishment and struggles of the State of Israel since 1948, we have seen Bible prophecy fulfilled before our eyes. The gathering of the Jews to a Palestinian homeland is setting the stage for Christ’s return.
God told Ezekiel he would bring his people back into the land (Ezek. 37:11-14). That promise included both the restoration of the Jews to the land that God gave Abraham, and the regeneration of that people in the land. During the past century, we have seen maps drawn outlining the boundaries of David’s kingdom (following World War I) and that kingdom in part given to the Jews (1948). During the Six-Day War of 1967, Jerusalem and other parts of the Jewish homeland were conquered and became a part of the national geography of Israel. When Israel declared Jerusalem her capital during the summer of 1980, yet another step had been taken toward the ultimate fulfillment of those prophecies concerning the restoration of the Jews in Israel.
The second part of Ezekiel’s prophecy concerned the spiritual rebirth of the Jews. God committed himself to restore the people to their land and said, “And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezek. 37:14). Even though some Jews have returned to the land today, they are there in unbelief (Deut. 30:1-3). Many Jews could not be considered good practicing Jews and most are certainly not Christians.
The apostle Paul also recognized a future time when “all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26). While some Jews are always being saved throughout the age (Rom. 11:5), most are still in spiritual blindness (Rom. 11:25). When Jesus returns, the Bible describes a national turning to God. This national regeneration will be the second fulfillment of Ezekiel’s promise.
The student of Bible prophecy must always find his authority in the Scriptures, not current events. When Bible teachers such as Drs. H. A. Ironside and C. I. Scofield taught the restoration of Israel to the land at the beginning of this century, their critics could show them maps which did not even have boundaries, let alone Jews, in the place they claimed a nation would someday be reestablished. Fifty years later the tables were turned and the teachings of Ironside and Scofield have been vindicated. Yet, the critics still reject the clear teaching of Scriptures.