Having just celebrated Resurrection Sunday, and closing out the Jewish Passover celebration, how fitting that we dive back into our study, Why Israel Matters: Rightly Relating to Our Jewish Roots. In a lesson to come, I will describe how the feasts of Israel serve as God’s calendar for end times. However, that will have to wait as we work our way to that point (soon) in our study! So, pull up a chair and let’s study together.
Previously, we dug deep into the Lord’s statement in Matthew 23:37-39:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” [Emphasis mine]
Indeed, the Jews will make that proclamation one day, providing evidence that God’s call upon them as the vehicle of world redemption is irrevocable! (Cannot be changed.)
But, in order to bring the King home, at least three conditions must be met:
- Israel must be in her land
- Israel’s historical mission must not fail.
- Israel’s destiny must be national, not simply “spiritual.”
In light of God’s call being irrevocable, let’s consider the first condition. In Acts 1, we read about the promise of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ ascension to heaven (following His death, burial and resurrection detailed in the gospels). Just as the disciples sat at Jesus’ feet on the Mount of Olives prior to His crucifixion, asking about the end times; so once more before His ascension to heaven, His followers questioned Him about a kingdom yet to come.
In verse 6, His followers asked if this was the time in which Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus told them it wasn’t for them to know the times and seasons. This was “kingdom talk.” The King will return to the kingdom when the Jewish people welcome Him home with “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:39)
Now, we know the kingdom He comes to rule will not be simply Israel as we know it today. It will be the Millennial Kingdom…the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, and the King will reign on His throne from Jerusalem.
But consider this: though the condition is that Israel must be in her land, Jesus Himself told them (Matthew 23:38) that the Temple would be destroyed! Furthermore, the Jews would be dispersed, and Gentiles would rule over Jerusalem. That brings about two dilemmas:
- How can the Jews welcome the King back to the kingdom (Israel) if they are not even there?
- Gentiles are not the welcoming committee of the King…the Jews are!
So, soon after this, the Jews were dispersed, and Gentiles ruled in the land? Did God’s promises somehow failed? Of course not! God’s call is irrevocable, and He uses even unforeseen circumstances to accomplish His purposes.
Though the Jews were dispersed, and though a string of Gentile “kingdoms” ruled the area (as described in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2), Israel declared statehood once again in 1948 and Jews have flocked from every corner of the earth back to their homeland!
The first condition is met! Israel is back in her land and will never again be uprooted!
The second condition necessary for the return of the King is that Israel’s historical mission must not fail. Tune in tomorrow and we’ll take a look at that!