The Future for Israel

As part of a series of papers on “The Future” this study looks at the future for the nation of Israel. It is linked with the other studies in the series.

The Coming of the Lord

In Isaiah 11 we are given a wonderful glimpse of the time of Israel’s blessing. Judah (the southern kingdom) and Israel (the northern kingdom) will not envy one another as they have done in the past. All the Israelites that have been scattered across the earth of the centuries will be gathered back to the promised land in Canaan. The root of Jesse (i.e. the Lord Jesus: David was son of Jesse and the Lord Jesus is descended from him) will rule over the earth. The earth will be at peace. Old time predators and prey will live together as they did when they were first created. The nations who used to attack and oppose Israel will come to worship God at Jerusalem, being subject to His kingdom. It will be a time of unparalleled peace and Israel will be running this kingdom as a testimony to God’s mercy and grace.

However, Israel will first go through some terrible suffering as they are attacked by those around them. In the timeline of Daniel’s seventy weeks (see “The Lord in prophecy”) the final week of seven years is divided into two parts of three and a half years. After the Messiah is cut off, there is a period of undetermined length of the “desolations” during which time Jerusalem and its temple are destroyed. This happened in AD 70 under the Roman Emperor Trajan who ruthlessly put down a Jewish revolt and flattened Jerusalem in the process. This event was also predicted by the Lord when he told the disciples that the temple would not be left a stone upon a stone (see Mark 13 and Luke 22). After this undefined period of desolations and suffering for the Jews the final week begins. It begins when “the Prince that shall come” in verse 26 (a Roman or European leader) makes a covenant with Israel and there are three and a half years of peace. He then breaks the covenant in the middle of the 7 year period (i.e. at the end of the 3 and a half years of peace) and invades Israel, setting up idolatry in the temple in Jerusalem and causing much persecution of the Jews. The Lord warned them “When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which is spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in what is a holy place, (he that reads let him understand,) then let those who are in Judaea flee to the mountains; let not him that is on the house come down to take the things out of his house; and let not him that is in the field turn back to take his garment. But woe to those that are with child, and those that give suck in those days. But pray that your flight may not be in winter time nor on sabbath: for then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be; and if those days had not been cut short, no flesh had been saved; but on account of the elect those days shall be cut short” (Matthew 24:15-22, see also Mark 13 and Luke 22).

This time of great suffering will not last long however: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more reduce him to servitude. But they shall serve Jehovah their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jeremiah 30:7-9). God’s desire is to bless the faithful remnant of Israel and fulfil His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The ‘day of Jacob’s trouble’ will come to an end.

The kingdom of Christ and Israel's blessing

“Behold, the day cometh for Jehovah, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. And I will assemble all the nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity; and the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. And Jehovah will go forth and fight with those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem toward the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west,-a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: ye shall even flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the holy ones with thee” (Zechariah 14:1-5).

Just when Israel looks like it will be wiped out the Lord returns. The armies of the nations will be judged and a way of escape will be cleaved through the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. Then begins the kingdom of Christ.

The kingdom of Christ which will last for a thousand years is characterised by great blessing for Israel and, through them, all the nations. The Lord will shepherd the nations with “an iron rod” (see Revelation 2:27 & 19:15) yet the nations that are left after the judgement at Armageddon will generally speaking seek after God. Satan will be in chains for a thousand years during this period (see Revelation 20:3) and therefore will be unable to be the impetus behind man’s sinfulness. Man will not be sinless, but the energy that was tempting them to sin will have been removed.

There will be great worship from Israel and the nations during this time. The Ark of Jehovah will have no place any longer because they will come to the Lord directly in Jerusalem. Israelites will be gathered from all the nations to which they have been scattered over the centuries. The nations will serve Israel and Jehovah their God. There will be peace on earth amongst both man and beast.

“And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied in the land and become fruitful, in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more, Ark of the covenant of Jehovah! neither shall it come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it; neither shall it be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem; and they shall no more walk after the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel; and they shall come together out of the land of the north, to the land which I caused your fathers to inherit” (Jeremiah 3:16-17).

“And it shall come to pass, that all that are left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, and to celebrate the feast of tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).

"But it shall come to pass in the end of days that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and the peoples shall flow unto it. And many nations shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and Jehovah's word from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many peoples, and reprove strong nations, even afar off; and they shall forge their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-knives: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. And they shall sit every one under his vine, and under his fig-tree; and there shall be none to make them afraid: for the mouth of Jehovah of hosts hath spoken it” (Micah 4:1-4).

“And many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem, and to supplicate Jehovah. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: In those days shall ten men take hold, out of all languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:22-23).

This chapter in Zechariah 8 shows us some wonderful features of the kingdom.

It says that when the Lord comes there will be a plague on nations. Some have wondered if, considering the symptoms of this plague on man and beast, whether one of the leaders on earth will have used a nuclear bomb in an attempt to destroy the armies of heaven and the armies at Armageddon at the same time. However, this is conjecture.

In the aftermath of Armageddon the deserts of Israel will be restored to paradise conditions. There will be a river of living water from Jerusalem which will split in two and go towards both the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea which shall become teeming with life. Jehovah will be king over all the earth and all Israel shall dwell in peace in their own place with all their enemies removed. There will be no idolatry and the world will come to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the ‘feast of tabernacles’.

“And it shall come to pass, that all that are left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, and to celebrate the feast of tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).

At the end of the thousand years of blissful peace and righteous rules Satan will be released for a short time (see Revelation 20:7). This will demonstrate that he has not changed, and he will gather armies to attack Israel and the “beloved city” of Jerusalem but though they will be so great in number as to be as the “sand of the seashore” the fire of God will destroy them and the earth will be destroyed by fire (see 1 Peter 3:10-12). The whole of this present universe will be removed (see Revelation 20:11) and the judgement of the Great White Throne will begin.

There is then introduced a new heaven and a new earth in which dwells righteousness. All the faithful from every period of earth will be in the new creation including the faithful of Israel.

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