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Saturday 28 October 2023

The Real Restoration of Israel

How can we be certain that the modern state of Israel is a work of man and not a work of God?

What I mean by a work of man, is that it is a work of the flesh seeking to fulfil the things of God, rather than a work of God to fulfil prophecy. Despite what I have written over the last week or so, you may not realize that I believe in a restored nation of Israel, with Christ ruling from his throne in Jerusalem. Indeed, I believe every nation will be restored to their lands in the Millenium or the new Heavens and Earth because the nations survive the old Heavens and Earth and are there at the end of scripture. The leaves on the tree of life exist for their healing, and it is God who determines the boundaries of nations, not man. God will restore all things, this means he will restore the nations, because they are part of “all things”. This includes, but is not limited, to Israel. There are no promises that the believing physical descendants of Israel get that the Gentiles grafted into Israel do not also get.  

It is because of a literal reading of scripture that we can say for certain that the modern state of Israel is not this fulfilment, it is rather a human attempt to fulfil God's plan, much like the Kingdom of Jerusalem was in the time of the crusades. How can we know this?

We simply need to read what God said about the issue:

"17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 11:17-21)

Ezekiel is clear, when God brings the people back to the land, there will be a revival accompanying it. They will remove all the detestable things from the land, which means idols and symbols of rebellion and truly trust in God, which means they will believe in his Son, Jesus. The modern state of Israel has not done this, they have not repented, or turned to Jesus and their most prominent city, Tel Aviv, is known worldwide as one of the most pro-homosexual cities in the world. This is surely not a work of God.

He re-emphasizes this in Ezekiel 37:11-14

"11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 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.”

When the Bible repeats itself, pay attention. When God returns the people to the land, this will also be accompanied by a redeemed, spirit filled people who know their Lord. This has definitely not happened yet. We cannot say that the modern nation of Israel is populated by a spirit filled, Jesus confessing, people of the Lord.

This is also written into the prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:1-10,

"30 And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, 2 and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. 5 And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. 7 And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. 8 And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. 9 The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

When God brings his people back to the land, they will be a law keeping, God honouring, commandment following, righteous nation of people. The only way to fully fulfil the law is through Christ, the one who fulfilled the law. Man cannot do that. So, Moses was looking to a time when the people of Israel would look to Jesus Christ, who is the fulfilment of the law. Circumcision of the heart is something we are told in the New Testament the Holy Spirit does for all believers in Jesus (Rom. 2:29). It is the only circumcision that counts now that Christ has fulfilled the law.  

The Bible does prophecy a return of the Israelites to the land. But for this to be fulfilled it requires:

1)     A repentant people, who turn from their sins and rebellion against God.

2)     They are now believers who trust in their Lord and Messiah, Jesus Christ.

3)     All Israel, not just Judah, but the whole 12 tribes is restored.

4)     They will inhabit all of the land, not just the fraction that they do now.

None of these conditions of the prophecy have been fulfilled, therefore we can say for certain that the current state of Israel is a work of the flesh, of man, and because of this it will fail. Most Jewish people do not want to move to the land of Canaan and many believe they should wait for the return of their Messiah before they do (they are right, but his name is Jesus).

My belief is that this whole situation will end up being a lesson to both the Church and to the Jewish people to look to Christ. Because only in Jesus can the promises be fulfilled because they are fulfilled in him (2 Cor. 1:20). It will be especially a reminder to the church not to try and fulfil prophecy before the time is right, a lesson the church has learnt in the past and forgotten and will learn again and forget again, but hopefully not for several generations at least. It will also be a reminder to the Church that we should be about the business of mission, not seeking to conquer the Middle East through badly justified invasions. The Church’s support of the modern state of Israel has done very few favours to the Christian Church in the Middle East, who have often copped the blame for the West’s interventions in that region. A sad tragedy which the Western Church should take some responsibility for and repent.  

If you believe in the restoration of an Israelite nation in the land of Canaan, as many do, this requires you to believe everything the scriptures say about it, and not be selective. It also requires you to be about the work of mission, because until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in this cannot be fulfilled, and it is clear to me by the mission work happening around the world that there are many Gentiles God still intends the church to reach and for him to save. And he wants the church to go out and find those lost sheep.

There will be a Kingdom of the Messiah in Jerusalem, but it will be part of a worldwide work of God to finally claim his world and set up the kingdom of God. When he does that no one will be able to oppose it, he will do it in his time, and it will not look like the modern state of Israel at all. It will be a place of worship of the true Lord, as revealed through his Son Jesus Christ, and it will be a place that people of all nations flock because it will be just one part of God's full claimed and established kingdom. It will not be a place where the church of God is persecuted as they are today, but where those who believe in Jesus Christ are honoured as they exalt Christ, their Lord and Saviour.

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