"When these things start to happen, stand up and hold your heads high; because you are about to be liberated!" Luke 21:28

Israel Regathered - as the prophets foretold

Those who oppose Christian Zionists and despise the State of Israel as a political accident can not be reading the Prophets in any literal sense.

Replacement Theology - holds that the Church has replaced Israel in God's affections and purposes.

Its variant, Fulfilment Theology - holds that all the Old Testament prophecies were (finally) fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Adherents to both have to read the prophets in such a way as to not accept that they were looking beyond Jesus' first coming and referring to our days. The purpose of this page is to look at what the prophets said and to what time or times it applied.

Is it valid to say that prophecies had an initial and an end times fulfilment?

Here are two prophecies from the New Testament, looking forward to restoration. (that is, after Jesus had come and fulfilled many old Testament scriptures - not Old Testament prophecies looking forward to Jesus' first coming)

Act 3:19 - "Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased; so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord's presence; and he may send the Messiah appointed in advance for you, that is, Yeshua. He has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as God said long ago, when he spoke through the holy prophets.

Peter did not appear to find any difficulty in understanding what the prophets said as applying to a time after the first coming of the Messiah. This is not surprising, since at the end of their time together, Jesus / Yeshua declined to discount the restoration of Israel.

Act 1:6 When they were together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore self-rule to Isra'el?" - He answered, "You don't need to know the dates or the times; the Father has kept these under his own authority. "

Yeshua did not say that the assumption in their question was wrong; and that Israel would not be a sovereign state one day. He merely pointed out that it was not for the disciples to know when it is to happen.

Prophets in the Tanakh

Notice how the pre-exile prophets warn of the disaster God is going to inflict, but then look beyond that to times when God will restore his people to his land.
It is not clear even now which parts speak of the return following the imminent exile, and which to a distant, final restoration.
David Pawson has likened prophecy to looking into the future through a telescope; on an exceptionally clear day - you can see distant mountains side by side, but you can not tell how much further away one is than another. He also advocates the use of a "wait and see box" for filing less than obvious prophecies.
When these pre-exile prophecies speak of never again being disturbed, the spirit must be looking to the end times fulfilment, because "never again" is not true of the return from the Babylon exile.

Isaiah 60:1 "Arise, shine [Yerushalayim]*, for your light has come, the glory of Adonai has risen over you. For although darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the peoples; on you Adonai will rise; over you will be seen his glory. Nations will go toward your light and kings toward your shining splendor.
Raise your eyes and look around: they are all assembling and coming to you; your sons are coming from far off, your daughters being carried on their nurses' hips.
Then you will see and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with delight; for the riches of the seas will be brought to you, the wealth of nations will come to you.
Caravans of camels will cover your land, young camels from Midyan and `Eifah, all of them coming from Sh'va, bringing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of Adonai.
All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered for you, the rams of N'vayot will be at your service; they will come up and be received on my altar, as I glorify my glorious house.
"Who are these, flying along like clouds, like doves to their dovecotes?
The coastlands are putting their hope in me, with the 'Tarshish' ships in the lead, to bring your children from far away, and with them their silver and gold, for the sake of Adonai your God, the Holy One of Isra'el, who glorifies you.
Foreigners will rebuild your walls, their kings will be at your service; for in my anger I struck you, but in my mercy I pity you.
Your gates will always be open, they will not be shut by day or by night, so that people can bring you the wealth of nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation or kingdom that won't serve you will perish; yes, those nations will be utterly destroyed.

* Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) from the context of the rest of the passage

A Messianic prophecy, but still sounds like a final vindication for God's holy city. Also a huge warning for the Nations!

Jeremiah 31:1 (30:25) "When that time comes," says Adonai, "I will be God of all the clans of Isra'el, and they will be my people."
Here is what ADONAI says: "The people escaping the sword found favor in the desert - I have brought Isra'el to its rest." From a distance Adonai appeared to me, [saying,] "I love you with an everlasting love; this is why in my grace I draw you to me.
Once again, I will build you; you will be rebuilt, virgin of Isra'el. Once again, equipped with your tambourines, you will go out and dance with the merrymakers.
Once again, you will plant vineyards on the hills of Shomron, and those doing the planting will have the use of its fruit. For a day will come when the watchmen on Mount Efrayim will call, 'Come, let's go up to Tziyon, to Adonai our God.' "
For here is what Adonai says: "Sing with joy for Ya`akov! shout for the chief of the nations! Proclaim your praise, and say: 'ADONAI! You have saved your people, the remnant of Isra'el!'
Look! I am bringing them from the land in the north, gathering them from the far ends of the earth; among them are the blind and lame, women with children, women in labor, all together, a vast throng returning here. They will come weeping and praying as I bring them back. I will lead them by streams of water on smooth paths, so that they won't stumble. For I am a father to Isra'el, and Efrayim is my firstborn son."
Nations, hear the word of Adonai! Proclaim it in the coastlands far away. Say: "He who scattered Isra'el is gathering him, guarding him like a shepherd his flock."
For Adonai has ransomed Ya`akov, redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
They will come and sing on the heights of Tziyon, streaming to the goodness of Adonai, to the grain, the wine, the olive oil, and the young of the flock and the herd. They themselves will be like a well-watered garden, never to languish again.

A prophecy about the restoration after the exile to which Jeremiah was referring, but it is in terms of all of Jacob/Israel coming back to the whole land - not just Judah returning from Babylon. - - NB Shomron is Samaria, the so called "West Bank."

Ezekiel 36:23 I will set apart my great name to be regarded as holy, since it has been profaned in the nations - you profaned it among them. The nations will know that I am Adonai,' says Adonai Elohim, 'when, before their eyes, I am set apart through you to be regarded as holy.
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you from all the countries, and return you to your own soil.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them.
You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanliness. I will summon the grain and increase it, and not send famine against you.

A prophecy about the LORD vindicating His name by taking Israel from the nations and making them clean and giving them His Spirit. - A day which we still await (All Israel will be saved - Romans 11) - They are to be returned from among the nations; not just Babylon.

Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as ordered, and the breath came into them, and they were alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army!
Then he said to me, "Human being! These bones are the whole house of Isra'el; and they are saying, 'Our bones have dried up, our hope is gone, and we are completely cut off.'
Therefore prophesy; say to them that Adonai Elohim says, 'My people! I will open your graves and make you get up out of your graves, and I will bring you into the land of Isra'el.
Then you will know that I am Adonai - when I have opened your graves and made you get up out of your graves, my people!
I will put my Spirit in you; and you will be alive. Then I will place you in your own land; and you will know that I, Adonai, have spoken, and that I have done it,' says Adonai."

The famous Dry Bones prophecy. Surely this picture fits with the images from the Holocaust and the restoration of Israel!

Daniel 12:1 "When that time comes, Mikha'el, the great prince who champions your people, will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book. Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence.
But those who can discern will shine like the brightness of heaven's dome, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. "But you, Dani'el, keep these words secret, and seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there as knowledge increases."
Then I, Dani'el, looked; and I saw in front of me two others, one on this bank of the river and the other on its other bank. One of them asked the man dressed in linen who was above the water of the river, "How long will these wonders last?" The man dressed in linen who was above the water of the river raised his right and left hands toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times and a half, and that it will be when the the power of the holy people is no longer being shattered that all these things will end. I heard this, but I couldn't understand what it meant; so I asked, "Lord, what will be the outcome of all this?" But he said, "Go your way, Dani'el; for these words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end.

Here Daniel is given prophecies with clear guidance that the revelation of their meaning must await the time of the end. So Michael - champion of Israel - will fight for Israel, although Israel goes through unparalled distress. The sequence is not clear.

Hosea 14:5 (14:6) I will be like dew to Isra'el; he will blossom like a lily and strike roots like the L'vanon. His branches will spread out, his beauty be like an olive tree and his fragrance like the L'vanon. Again they will live in his shade and raise grain; they will blossom like a vine, and its aroma will be like the wine of the L'vanon. Efrayim [will say], 'What have I to do any more with idols?' And I, I answer and affirm him; I am like a fresh, green cypress tree; your fruitfulness comes from me."

Hosea is given prophecy for Israel, about restoration and rebirth from idolatry.

Joel 3:1 (4:1) "For then, at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Y'hudah and Yerushalayim, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Y'hoshafat [Adonai judges]. I will enter into judgment there for my people, my heritage Isra'el, whom they scattered among the nations; then they divided my land.
They drew lots for my people, traded boys for whores, sold girls for wine to drink.
"Moreover, what have you against me, Tzor, Tzidon, all parts of P'leshet? Are you paying me back for something I did? If you're paying me back for something I did, then easily, quickly, I'll pay you back right on your own head.
You took my silver and gold. You brought my good treasures into your temples.
The people of Y'hudah and Yerushalayim you sold to the Greeks, so that you could remove them far away from their land.
I will rouse them from the place where you sold them and pay you back right on your own head - I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Y'hudah; and they will sell them to the men of Sh'va, a nation far off; for Adonai has spoken.
"Proclaim this among the nations: 'Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men approach and attack.' Hammer your plow-blades into swords and your pruning-knives into spears. Let the weak say, 'I am strong.' Hurry, come, you surrounding nations, gather yourselves together!" Bring your warriors down, Adonai!
"Let the nations be roused and come up to the Valley of Y'hoshafat [Adonai judges]. For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations."
Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, and tread, for the winepress is full. The vats are overflowing, for their wickedness is great. Such enormous crowds in the Valley of Decision! For the Day of Adonai is upon us in the Valley of Decision!

Israel restored but the nations judged for what they did to Israel.

Joel 3:16 (4:16) Adonai will roar from Tziyon, he will thunder from Yerushalayim, the sky and the earth will shake. But Adonai will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Isra'el. "You will know that I am Adonai your God, living on Tziyon my holy mountain." Then Yerushalayim will be holy, and foreigners will pass through her no more.
Then, when that time comes, the mountains will drip with sweet wine, the hills will flow with milk, all the streambeds of Y'hudah will run with water, and a spring will flow from the house of Adonai to water the Sheetim Valley.
But Egypt will be desolate and Edom a desert waste, because of the violence done to the people of Y'hudah, because they shed innocent blood in their land.
Y'hudah will be inhabited forever, Yerushalayim through all generations.
"I will cleanse them of bloodguilt which I have not yet cleansed," for Adonai is living in Tziyon.
More on a final restoration of Israel (people and land) and cleansing, but punishment for the nations

Amos 9:11 "When that day comes, I will raise up the fallen sukkah of David. I will close up its gaps, raise up its ruins and rebuild it as it used to be, so that Isra'el can possess what is left of Edom and of all the nations bearing my name," says Adonai, who is doing this.
"The days will come," says Adonai, "when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one treading grapes the one sowing seed. Sweet wine will drip down the mountains, and all the hills will flow with it.
I will restore the fortunes of my people Isra'el; they will rebuild and inhabit the ruined cities; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, cultivate gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant them on their own soil, no more to be uprooted from their land, which I gave them," says Adonai your God.

More on a final restoration

Obadiah 1:15 For the Day of Adonai is near for all nations; as you did, it will be done to you; your dealings will come back on your own head. For just as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so will all the nations drink in turn; yes, they will drink and gulp it down and be as if they had never existed.
But on Mount Tziyon there will be a holy remnant who will escape, and the house of Ya`akov will repossess their rightful inheritance. The house of Ya`akov will be a fire and the house of Yosef a flame, setting aflame and consuming the stubble which is the house of `Esav. None of the house of `Esav will remain, for Adonai has spoken.
Those in the Negev will repossess the mountain of `Esav, and those in the Sh'felah the land of the P'lishtim; they will repossess the field of Efrayim and the field of Shomron, and Binyamin will occupy Gil`ad.
Those from this army of the people of Isra'el exiled among the Kena`anim as far away as Tzarfat, and the exiles from Yerushalayim in S'farad, will repossess the cities in the Negev.
Then the victorious will ascend Mount Tziyon to rule over Mount `Esav, but the kingship will belong to Adonai.

More on vengeance and restoration.

Zephaniah 3:16 On that day, it will be said to Yerushalayim, "Do not fear, Tziyon! don't let your hands droop down. Adonai your God is right there with you, as a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you and be glad, he will be silent in his love, he will shout over you with joy."
"I will gather those of yours who grieve over the appointed feasts and bear the burden of reproach [because they cannot keep them].
When that time comes, I will deal with all those who oppress you.
I will save her who is lame, gather her who was driven away, and make them whose shame spread over the earth the object of praise and renown.
When that time comes, I will bring you in; when that time comes, I will gather you and make you the object of fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth - when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says Adonai.

Clearly referring to Israel / Zion being restored from all over the earth to become an "object of fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth" This is yet to be fulfilled when the nations of the world have been convinced they were wrong to despise Israel!

Malachi 3:1 "Look! I am sending my messenger to clear the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the covenant, in whom you take such delight - look! Here he comes," says Adonai-Tzva'ot.
But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like the soapmaker's lye.
He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly.

Then the offering of Y'hudah and Yerushalayim will be pleasing to Adonai, as it was in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Very much a Messianic prophecy, but only partially fulfilled by Yeshua's first coming. Israel, Y'hudah, and the sons of Levi still figure in the plan at the Messiah's second coming.

Come uppance of enemies

Zephaniah 2:7 and the coast will belong to the remnant of the house of Y'hudah. They will pasture their flocks there and in the evening lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. For Adonai their God will remember them and restore their fortunes.
"I have heard the insults of Mo'av and the taunts of the people of `Amon, how they reviled my people and boasted of expanding their territory.
Therefore, as I live," says Adonai-Tzva'ot, the God of Isra'el, "Mo'av will become like S'dom and the people of `Amon like `Amora, a land covered with nettles and salt pits, desolate forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them, the survivors in my nation will inherit them."
This is what they will earn for their pride, for having reviled and boasted against the people of Adonai-Tzva'ot.

Clear warning against pride and despising Israel

Nahum 1:15 (2:1) Look! On the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, proclaiming shalom. Keep your festivals, Y'hudah, fulfill your vows; for B'liya`al will never pass through you again; he has been completely destroyed.

An end to the destruction of Judah

Zechariah - especially vivid snapshots of what is to come

More detail of a future time deliverance, when nations assemble against Jerusalem, and Israel as a whole, recognises their Messiah - Unlike at his first coming.

But they are not given in chronological order

Zechariah 8:1 A message came from Adonai-Tzva'ot: "Adonai-Tzva'ot says, 'I am extremely jealous on Tziyon's behalf, and I am jealous for her with great fury.'
Adonai says, 'I am returning to Tziyon, and I will live in Yerushalayim. Then Yerushalayim will be called Truth City, Adonai-Tzva'ot's Mountain, the Mountain of the Holy One.
Adonai-Tzva'ot says, 'Old men and old women will once again sit in the open places of Yerushalayim, each one with his cane in his hand, because of their great age.
The city's open places will also be full of boys and girls playing there.'
Adonai-Tzva'ot says, 'This may seem amazing to the survivors in those days, but must it also seem amazing to me?' says Adonai-Tzva'ot.
Adonai-Tzva'ot says, 'I will save my people from lands east and west;
I will bring them back, and they will live in Yerushalayim. They will be my people; and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice.'

This prophecy is very hard to fit to Messiah Yeshua's first coming, and it clearly yet to be fulfilled.

Zechariah 8:22 Yes, many peoples and powerful nations will come to consult Adonai-Tzva'ot in Yerushalayim and to ask Adonai's favor.'
Adonai-Tzva'ot says, 'When that time comes, ten men will take hold - speaking all the languages of the nations - will grab hold of the cloak of a Jew and say, "We want to go with you, because we have heard that God is with you." ' "
Some of us are doing this, but generally speaking, this is a future event.
Zechariah 12:2 "I will make Yerushalayim a cup that will stagger the surrounding peoples. Even Y'hudah will be caught up in the siege against Yerushalayim.
When that day comes, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who try to lift it will hurt themselves, and all the earth's nations will be massed against her.
When that day comes," says Adonai, "I will strike all the horses with panic and their riders with madness; I will keep watch over Y'hudah, but I will strike blind all the horses of the peoples.
The leaders of Y'hudah will say to themselves, 'Those living in Yerushalayim are my strength through Adonai-Tzva'ot their God.'
When that day comes, I will make the leaders of Y'hudah like a blazing fire pan in a pile of wood, like a fiery torch among sheaves of grain; they will devour all the surrounding peoples, on the right and on the left. Yerushalayim will be inhabited in her own place, Yerushalayim.
Adonai will save the tents of Y'hudah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of those living in Yerushalayim will not appear greater than that of Y'hudah.
When that day comes, Adonai will defend those living in Yerushalayim. On that day, even someone who stumbles will be like David; and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of Adonai before them.
"When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim; and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced." They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son.

Zechariah 13:1 When that day comes, a spring will be opened up for the house of David and the people living in Yerushalayim to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
"When that day comes," says Adonai-Tzva'ot, "I will cut off the very names of the idols from the land, so that no one even remembers them any more. I will also expel the [false] prophets and the spirit of uncleanness from the land;

The time Paul / Shaul looked forward to in Romans 11, when All Israel shall be saved.

But there is a snag - the Holocaust was not Israel's last catastrophe before the conclusion spoken of above!

Zechariah 14:2 "For I will gather all the nations against Yerushalayim for war. The city will be taken, the houses will be rifled, the women will be raped, and half the city will go into exile; but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city."

Then Adonai will go out and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle.
On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies to the east of Yerushalayim; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, to make a huge valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
You will flee to the valley in the mountains, for the valley in the mountains will reach to Atzel. You will flee, just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of `Uziyah king of Y'hudah. Then Adonai my God will come to you with all the holy ones.
On that day, there will be neither bright light nor thick darkness;
and one day, known to Adonai, will be neither day nor night, although by evening there will be light.
On that day, fresh water will flow out from Yerushalayim, half toward the eastern sea and half toward the western sea, both summer and winter.
Then Adonai will be king over the whole world. On that day Adonai will be the only one, and his name will be the only name.

Definitely referring to the second coming of the Messiah - with his Holy ones - to deliver Jerusalem from all the nations that have come against her. Ushering in the Messiah's Millenial reign.

Speaking of ADONAI, it says his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives - ADONAI does not have feet - but the Messiah does - he will return as they saw him go. (Acts 1v11)

How will this come about?

Here is one scenario.

Watching current events for a likely fulfilment of these prophecies suggests that the final conflict will not be Iran's nuclear weapons or an invasion from Arab / Muslim armies.

Zechariah 12 - 14 suggests that the battle before Yeshua the Messiah returns will be the outcome of the public opinion war that is raging right now.

The fulfilment of the words of Zechariah will probably come about when the world has become so obsessed with the untruths it believes about Israel that all the nations will send a United Nations force to invade Israel and besiege Jerusalem! (Never before have all the nations invaded Israel together)

The world leaders believe they can win peace with a two state solution, but neither a two state nor a one state solution will bring peace and the world looks likely to blame Israel and invade in order to impose peace.

This could happen surprisingly quickly! - - Watch and wait and see -

(our advocacy for Israel will not succeed in stopping the world, so why do we try?

(Although we do hope to win over God's people)

 

Completed 19/05/13

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