The original promises given to Abram and extended to Isaac, Jacob and then to the entire "physical" nation that God brought into existence at The Exodus involve both a spiritual and a physical future for that nation. Neither the physical blessings nor the spiritual blessings have been completely fulfilled for the nation of Israel. In order for that to take place, Israel must once again reside in the land area that God promised to them through Abram. The statement at Joshua 21:43-45 does not refer to a "complete" fulfillment of the promises to Abraham but to a fulfillment of the promises made to the "fathers" at the time the nation was delivered from Egypt some 47 years earlier. Furthermore, the "promised blessings" are yet unfulfilled based on the information God gave to Moses concerning the future apostasy, discipline and final restoration of the nation of Israel.

God prophesied that the nation would be removed from their land by divine discipline and be scattered throughout the world (Deut. 28:58-66; Lev. 26:27-39). This was fulfilled two times in the nation's history. The first time was in 605 to 536 BC for 70 years, administered by the Chaldean Empire and the second time was administered by Rome in 70 AD and remains in force to this very day. However, there are also promises of restoration from this time of discipline and captivity as recorded at Lev. 26:40-45. That was fulfilled the first time in 536 BC under the political administration of Cyrus of Persia. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel record for us the promises of this restoration but in addition, use language of restoration which was not fulfilled in 536 BC. Indeed, they look to a distant future restoration from a "different" dispersion which carries with it the promise of NEVER, EVER being oppressed again. It is because of these promises that Israel must once again be restored "physically" to her land as deliverance from the Roman dispersion of 70 AD and to be "physically" secured in her land, never to be oppressed again. Furthermore, it is apparent that Israel needs to be in the land in order for THE COVENANT of peace to have any significance. It is also obvious by the nature of the covenant and the worship activity that is practiced, that Israel will be in a spiritual condition of unbelief. Ie, occupied with the sacrificial system instead of embracing Jesus as the Messiah. Thus, there needs to be a re-gathering of the Jews from around the world into the land of Palestine where they can be the recipient of the "little help" that is offered them as we saw in Dan. 11:34. Hindsight is always wonderful in these situations and I shall certainly take advantage of it to recognize in some Old Testament prophecies the re-gathering of Israel (in unbelief) for the purpose of a refining and purifying that will result in their conversion to the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Ezek. 34:11-13a,

"For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for MY sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land;"

This passage tells us of a re-gathering of Israel into their own land from a world-wide dispersion.

Ezek. 34:13b-14,

and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing ground, and they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

This speaks of great material prosperity that will exist for the nation when they are re-gathered, although still in the condition of unbelief. The general mineral wealth that exists in Palestine is well known and certainly does not need to be documented here. In addition, Israel has worked wonders in bringing agricultural stability to a land once stripped bare and cursed by God.

Ezek. 34:15-16

I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.

However, here we see that even after the re-gathering of Israel into a land that produces great material prosperity, there still exists the need to "purge" from among them the spiritual rebels. "To feed them with judgment," refers to the purging process that takes place both before and after the arrival of the Day of the LORD. Before the Day, both prior to and during the great tribulation, the purging process will prepare many to trust in the true Messiah after He comes on the scene at that time. And afterwards, that purging process will continue to evangelize the nation to prepare them to inherit the earthly kingdom over which Jesus will reign for 1000 years.

Ezek. 34:17-24 describes the final stage of this "purging" with the end result that there is placed over the nation "one shepherd" in the person of "My servant David . . . to be prince among them."

And then Ezek. 34:25-31 describes the conditions on the physical earth in a "covenant of peace" with Yahweh God in which "they will no longer be a prey to the nations" (v. 28) and "not again be victims of famine in the land." (v. 29). This purging process was discussed earlier in reference to Dan. 11:35,

"And those who have insight (those who have trusted in Jesus as the Messiah) will fall (suffer persecution) in order to refine, purge and make them pure (evangelistic outreach to the Jews of the land), until the end time (The Day of the LORD)."

God has been dealing with Israel and will continue to deal with Israel, not because of any merits within that nation, but because of God's character which is unchangeable. He has promised and will not break "the word of His mouth" nor retract the "chosen" status of Israel. But it will all be done for His own glory and not because Israel deserves or merits it.

Ezek. 36:22-24,

Therefore, say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land."

It should be clear from this passage that at the time that God begins the re-gathering of Israel, the nation is still in unbelief. The nation is still in the condition of "profaning His name among the nations," which has occurred because of the continued national rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. God will carry out this re-gathering process, not for the sake of the unbelieving, but for the sake of His holy name.


Ezek. 37:1-8

"The hand of Yahweh was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of Yahweh and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, {there were} very many on the surface of the valley; and behold, {they were} very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord Yahweh, You know." Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh. Thus says the Lord Yahweh to these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. and I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am Yahweh." So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them; BUT THERE WAS NO BREATH IN THEM."

The vision of dry bones describes a process of coming to life; a re-gathering into the land, but in unbelief, so that the nation is viewed as HAVING NO BREATH. This re-gathering will precede the institution of the M.E.P.T.A. and continue afterwards during the time of religious toleration and peace, so that at the time that the "affliction" (the tribulation) begins there will be a maximum number of Israelites in the land to be recipients of God's special evangelistic outreach to them, through not only the church (Mt.10:21-23; 24:9-14; Dan. 11:35), but the two witnesses in Jerusalem as well (Rev.11:1-13). It is at this time that they will seek the Lord in fulfillment of Hosea 5:15,

"In their affliction they will earnestly seek me."

But the process of coming to life will not be complete until the nation accepts Jesus as the true Messiah. This will occur after the Day of the LORD arrives and is seen at Ezek. 36:25-26,

"And I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

It is imperative that we understand the difference between the "gradual" return of Israel into the land of Palestine in unbelief and the end result of that gathering which will be the establishment of a believing remnant in the land after the Messiah accomplishes His victory at Armageddon. Amos 9:13-15

"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine, And all the hills will be dissolved. "Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live {in them} , They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit. "I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them," Says the LORD your God.

The establishment of that remnant is based on the "purification" process which begins through the evangelistic activities of the church prior to the Day of the LORD and is culminated when God personally divides between those of Israel who have trusted in Jesus as the Messiah and those who have not. Most of the "restoration" passages view the gradual gathering and the final establishment almost in one breath as it were. But through the study of contexts we can see that there is indeed a distinction which must be preserved. The present existence of Israel "living" within her own land clearly fulfills not only the "necessity" of her presence, but the prophecies of her re-gathering in unbelief. Indeed, this very presence of Israel in the land is absolutely necessary in order for the prophecies of the Day of the LORD to take place. Robert Van Kampen in his book "The Sign," summarizes this present re-gathering of Israel into her own land as follows:

The great "Diaspora" from the Promised Land that began in 70 A.D. was the ultimate curse, scattering Israel to the ends of the earth. As a result, Jews had no homeland for nearly two thousand years. In 1897 a group of Jews met to discuss their common dream of a homeland - not a homeland just anywhere in the world, but back in the land God had promised to their forefather Abraham, where they had lived for many centuries in ancient times. The movement born from that gathering was called Zionism, after the name of the holy mountain on which the city of Jerusalem was built. Zionism has never gained wholehearted support from all Jews, and certainly not universal recognition, much less support from Gentiles. Nevertheless, the Zionist movement that began in the late nineteenth century gradually gained recognition from various world powers, especially Great Britain and the United States. After the First World War, the Balfour Declaration by Great Britain (1917) gave Jews land in Palestine to which they could emigrate and live under Britain's protection. It was not until the middle of the twentieth century, however, that the divinely prophesied and long-awaited reestablishment of the "nation" of Israel materialized, when in 1948 the United Nations officially recognized Israel as a sovereign state (p.167-168).

Once we find Israel back in the land, in a place where she can actually benefit from "a little help," the stage is practically set for the seals to be opened and the plan of God to be carried out for the final 7 years and 75 days prior to Messiah's physical reign on the earth. It is also clear that while Israel exists in the land, there will come a time when Palestine is viewed as possessing some great natural resources which will be in great demand throughout the world. The only thing that remains is the formation of a political body from where can arise a political and military leader who can make a genuine offer of "a little help" to the nation of Israel and bring to an end the bitter religious and military conflicts that have been going on ever since Israel has been back in her land.


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