Key To The Understanding Of The Scriptures
by H.P. MANSFIELD
(19) The Modern Revival of Israel
Are the Jewish People Referred To?
The preservation of the Jewish people in spite of centuries of terrible persecution is a miracle (Jer. 30:11), at the same time the revival of the nation of Israel in modern times is in fulfilment of Bible prophecy, and constitutes a sign of Christ's second coming.
Throughout the Bible, God has proclaimed His purpose to restore them to their land. In the covenant made with David, He declared:
"I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more, neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as beforetime" (2 Sam. 7:10).
This predicts the return of the people of Israel to their land, the restoration of their State, and the establishment of a condition of things that will relieve them of all anxiety or affliction.
But many religious teachers refuse to accept that this promise relates to Israel after the flesh, and claim that it refers to what is termed spiritual Israel. It is necessary, therefore, to establish the fact that such promises and prophecies do relate to the Jewish people.
We advance three proofs, and commence first with the words of David, to whom the promise was made.
He believed that it related to that nation that God saved from Egypt: that is, Israel after the flesh.
The very words that he uttered on being given the promise. He declared:
"What one nation in the earth is like Thy people, even like Israel, which Thou redeemedst from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For Thou hast confirmed to Thyself Thy people Israel to be a people unto Thee for ever" (Vv. 23-24).
There is no doubt that the nation referred to by David is that redeemed from Egypt: Israel after the flesh.
Our second proof is taken from the words of Ezekiel. He declared:
"Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, 0 house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went . . . For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land" (Ezek. 36:22-24).
Thus, we learn that the nation to be restored to their land, is not at first spiritually alive to their responsibilities towards God, but one that has "profaned" God's holy name. Obviously, the reference is not to the spiritual "Israel of God," but the Jewish people.
Our third proof is found in the New Testament. Paul, in describing the Israel to be saved, states that they are "enemies of the Gospel" but beloved for the fathers' sakes" (Rom. 11:26-28), which surely cannot apply to people endorsing God's truth.
He furthermore declares of the Israel to be saved, that they would be noted for their ignorance of the Divine purpose, and their ungodliness (vv. 25-26).
The Israel to be restored, therefore, comprise that people whom God delivered from Egypt, who have profaned His holy name, who dwell in unbelief, who are enemies of the gospel, but who are the subjects of Divine mercy and restoration because of the faith of their fathers; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and because of the promise that God made to them.
Predictions Concerning the Restoration.
God clearly predicted that the Jewish people would never be destroyed as a nation (Jer. 30:11); He declared that His purpose with them is immutable, and cannot be prevented by man:
"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar . . . if those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever" (Jer. 31:35-36).
There have been many who have attempted to destroy the Jewish people, but all have failed. Babylon tried it, but BabyIon fell. The Romans scattered them, but where is the Roman empire today? Hitler murdered 6,000,000 of them and proclaimed his purpose to destroy them all, but it was Hitler who finally perished.
On the other hand, God has proclaimed his intention before all mankind:
"Hear ye the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock" (Jer. 31:10).
"Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-place . . . in the latter days ye shall consider it" (Jer. 30:18-24).
"I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel" (Micah 2:12).
In recent years, the world has witnessed a partial fulfilment of these prophecies. Thousands of Jews have returned, the lands have been tilled, the cities rebuilt, and the Jewish State has come into existence. And though complete fulfilment of these prophecies awaits the future, what has been accomplished is in accordance with the predictions of the Bible (see Jer. 30:17-18, 24; Jer. 32:37; Jer. 3:17; Hos. 2:23; Isaiah 37:31).
Indicative Of Christ's Coming.
Bible prophecy does not merely predict that the Jews shall return, but also states when it shall happen, namely, "in the latter days" (Jer. 30:24; Ezek. 38:8), or the days just prior to the setting up again of the Kingdom of God on earth. Consider these three significant statements of Bible prophecy:
"Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion (i.e. Jerusalem); for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come" (Ps. 102:13)
From the expression "the set time to favor her," we learn that the revival of Israel is not a matter of chance or caprice, but is of God, and is in process of completion at the time He determined. The Bible declares:
"When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory" (v. 16).
This statement shows that the revival of Israel is a great sign of Christ's imminent return to the earth. The same chapter states:
"This shall be written for the generation to come . . . who shall praise the Lord" (v. 18).
These words state that the prediction that "the Lord will build up Zion" was recorded for a future generation, one that would see the latter-day revival of Israel; in short, the present One.
We have, in earlier studies, shown how that Jesus, the king of the Jews, will set up his throne in Jerusalem, and assume his rightful prerogative over this people who have ignored his claims for so long.
Five Significant Developments.
Five remarkable events have happened to the Jewish people in recent years that have had the effect of focusing world attention upon the nation of Israel, now again in existence:
(1) Some six millions perished in the Nazi concentration camps in Germany under Hitler.
(2) Jews flocked back to their ancient homeland so that today nearly 3,000,000 have returned.
(3) The modern state of Israel came into existence.
(4) The ancient language of Hebrew was revived to become a living language once again.
(5) Jerusalem was occupied by the Jews, so that they have obtained control over it again after 2000 years.
These incidents have all been the subject of Bible prophecy.
(1) Hitler was a latter day "hunter" driving them back to their land (see Jeremiah 16:14-16; Deut. 28:65-67).
(2) God prophesied that the Jews would increase in the land (Jeremiah 3:16-17).
(3) Ezekiel predicted the latterday establishment of the state of Israel (Ezek. 37:22; 38:16).
(4) Zephaniah prophesied that Hebrew would again come in to use (Zeph. 3:9).
(5) Zechariah declared that the Jewish people (Judah) would possess Jerusalem at the time of the end (Zech. 12:2).
The present-day restoration of the children of Israel is a modern miracle confirming Bible prophecy. It is something that Bible students have long waited to see happen. As long ago as 1848, the Christadelphian writer, John Thomas, on the basis of his understanding of Bible prophecy, wrote:
"There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation of Christ, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonisation of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth . . . under the efficient protection of the British power . . ." (Elpis Israel -- An Exposition of The Kingdom of God).
Statements like this show that we follow no fantasy when heeding Bible prophecy, and that it does clearly set forth the future intentions of God.
The Ultimate Purpose of God With Israel.
Why does God treat thus with Israel? Not because the Jews are any better than Gentiles, but because "of His holy name" (Ezekiel 36:22), and because of His regard for the fathers of the Jewish race (Romans 11:28).
God promised Abraham that He would make of him "a great nation" (Genesis 12:2), and because of that promise He has preserved, and will completely restore the people of Israel to their land.
It is freely conceded that they are no more worthy of this treatment than are Gentiles. They crucified the Lord Jesus, and continue to turn their backs upon God's way of salvation, so much so that men claim that God would be justified in rejecting them.
Why does not God do so?
Because of a principle involved and set forth by Paul who declared: "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (or subject to change, as the word signifies Rom. 11:29).
The preservation and restoration of the Jewish nation is a token of divine mercy; it teaches us that we can place complete reliance upon all that God has promised. Though we may fail Him, He will not fail us.
Nevertheless, there are many problems yet facing the Jewish State and people, some of which we will outline in our next study. They will be humbled, reduced in power and status, and so humiliated by reverses that they will be forced to plead with God for help.
And help will come -- in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will assume his rightful position as King, and will compel their obedience. Under his administration, the land will blossom as the rose (Isa. 35:1), Israel will become the head instead of the tail of the nations (Isa. 60:3), and a disciplined and rejuvenated people will be so changed as to reflect to the glory of their God (Jer. 33:11,16).
Israel failed in the past because of "lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6); the current troubles of the Gentile world arise from a like cause (Eph. 5:6). Let us heed the warning of this, and seek that knowledge, and way of life, that will ensure for us a place in the Kingdom of God shortly to be set up (Rom. 1:16).
QUESTIONS TO STUDY No. 19
MAP of Middle East during Armageddon