Welcome back, Bible students! I hope you caught your breath because we’re diving deeply again today. Yesterday, we were reminded of Jesus’s parable of the fig tree, which represents Israel. In May 1948, the fig tree has budded, as Israel was reborn. Today we’re going back into Scripture to mine the nuggets that teach us about the importance of that historical event. So strap on your gear and let’s go!
We determined yesterday that, in order for end time prophecy to occur, Israel must be back in the land. But there are two other conditions that must be met in order for Jesus to return: Israel’s historical mission must not fail, and Israel’s destiny must be a national one, not just a spiritual one.
But what is Israel’s historical mission? We touched on it earlier, but re-read Genesis 12:3.
- According to the last phrase of that verse, what do you believe God’s mission is for Abraham and his descendants (Israel)?
- In what way will they bless all the families of the earth?
Israel delivered the Messiah! There is no greater blessing than that. Yet, if Israel had failed to do so, God’s plan of the end would have failed. We know God is sovereign, though, and Isaiah 46:10 tells us His plans are established and He will accomplish them all! Israel’s historical mission is being carried out every day as people come to know the Messiah! Israel did not fail because God would not allow it!
The third condition for the return of Jesus is that Israel’s destiny must be a national one, not simply a spiritual one. God first initiated a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, but didn’t actually make the covenant with Abraham until Genesis 15:12-18, after Abraham obeyed Him and left Ur of the Chaldees. Take a moment to read the Genesis 15 passage.
- Interestingly, verse 12 tells us a deep sleep fell upon Abram (Abraham). If he was asleep as the covenant was made, who do you suppose actually bore full responsibility for the covenant?
- What does that tell you about God’s initiative and His promise, despite our ability to uphold our own end of a covenant with Him?
- What two things were promised in the covenant, according to verse 18?
Indeed, God promised land and descendants to Abraham and his offspring! Israel’s destiny was not simply a spiritual one (though there is a spiritual element). It was a national one. God needed a real, physical place in which to place His real, physical people whom He tasked with blessing every family of the earth! Now, perhaps you begin to grasp the gravity of importance that Israel was reborn after almost 1,900 years of being scattered throughout the world. Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948 had to occur in order for the end time prophecies to be fulfilled.
Ezekiel 36-37 is the most prolific prophecy of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, but it is not the only place we see God’s promises to remember His covenant, give them the land, restore the land, and regather the Jewish people from all corners of the globe. God left no room for doubting, as He repeated those promises over and over through the words of psalmists, history writers and prophets. Take time to read at least 3 or 4 of these promises:
- Genesis 17:6-8
- Deuteronomy 30:3-5
- Psalm 105:6-11
- Jeremiah 16:14-15 and Jeremiah 31:8, 10
- Isaiah 43:5-7 and Isaiah 49:8-12
- Zephaniah 3:20
Based on what you read in those verses, how assured are you of God’s adamancy in fulfilling His covenant with Abraham?
We will move on to Ezekiel 36-37 tomorrow. However, if you are not quite done diving for treasures today, you will find more detail about the three conditions Israel must meet in order for end time prophecies to be fulfilled here:
- The Irrevocable Call of God
- Israel’s Historical Mission Must Succeed
- Israel: A National Destiny Fulfilled
We are seeing prophecy fulfilled in our day! God has called the Jewish people home and many, but not all, have returned to Israel. (That is called “aliyah” – return to the homeland.) Israel’s historical mission is being fulfilled day-by-day as the families of the earth come to know the Messiah, and Israel once again has a homeland…the land promised by God to Abraham!
Nice work today, fellow travelers! Climb back aboard our vessel and get some rest, because we dive again tomorrow! See you then!