Israel and the End-Times


The Bible makes it clear that God chose the family of Abraham to outwork his purposes.  This family grew over generations and became known as the Israelites, after Abraham’s grandson Jacob was renamed Israel by the Lord.  The promise God made to Abram (later, Abraham) when he first responded to God was:

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Gen 12:2-3).

Whilst Abraham’s greatest ‘son,’ Jesus, is the means to all people on earth being blessed, there is still a fulfilment of this word we haven’t yet seen.  It centres on the battle for Jerusalem at the end of the Armageddon campaign, which will take place in the last three and a half years before Jesus returns to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Peace treaty with Israel

Before this happens, certain events will take place.  The nation of Israel will enter into a peace treaty which will bring about peace and safety in the Middle East and in the world at large.  This will mark the beginning of a seven-year period referred to in the Bible as the Tribulation.  The peace will be short-lived, since the Antichrist who is responsible for instigating the treaty will break it (see Isaiah 28:14-18).  He will then gather the armies of the nations to attack Jerusalem.

The Armageddon Campaign

The Armageddon campaign culminating with the battle for Jerusalem will be the most devastating ever fought on earth.  Whoever wins this war will be worshipped and will rule the whole earth from Jerusalem.  The battle will take place during the second half of the Tribulation, when the Antichrist reneges on his treaty with Israel and it will culminate in the victory of Jesus.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured . . . then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle.  On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives . . . and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, forming a great valley . . . You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah . . . then the Lord my God will come (Zech 14:2-5 (part)).

The victory of Jesus

We’re told in Revelation 19 that when Jesus decisively wins the war, Satan will be bound (in a bottomless pit) and his agents, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire. 

Jesus will reign!

When Jesus intervenes to save Israel, he will be asked by the political leadership of Israel to take up his position as their King.  In order to avoid this scenario taking place, the Antichrist will unsuccessfully attempt to wipe out all the Jews on earth during the last part of the Tribulation period.  But the Jews who remain will invite Jesus to rule them as their King and longed-for Messiah.

The Jews during the Armageddon Campaign

Jeremiah warns us that the days before the End will be like nothing else.  Satan’s plan to exterminate the Jews gives us some idea of the intensity of his hatred for them.  The imagery John uses in his revelation to describe this is a woman (Israel) being attacked by Satan (a dragon).  The prophetic picture indicates that God will give Israel some supernatural protection during that time, and the church will stand with Israel during the persecution.  Zechariah 13:8 gives us some idea of the scale: two-thirds of the Jews will be killed and the remaining one-third will turn to Jesus for salvation. 

The New Jerusalem

The good news of the Kingdom is that Jesus the King is coming to confront and replace all the evil governments of the earth with his perfect government.  Once Jesus has established his position by uprooting the Antichrist he will begin to implement his worldwide leadership over the nations.  For the first time since the Fall, the whole earth will experience peace (shalom).

At that time Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem (Jer 3:17).

God says he will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.  He will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in his people.  The sound of weeping and of crying will never be heard in her again (Isaiah 65:18-19).

Heaven on earth

When Jesus returns and his Kingdom is established, Jesus’ prayer will be answered:

Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).

Heaven and earth will line up and God’s purposes for Israel and Jerusalem from the beginning will be fully realised.  Jesus’ coming will bring together the New Jerusalem, which we are told will come down from heaven to earth (Rev 21:2) with the earthly city in the physical land of Israel.  When Jesus rules and reigns, the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem will eclipse.  Jerusalem, meaning city of peace (shalom) will truly be the city of shalom.  The blessings of Jesus’ government will release the earth from her subjection to death and decay (Romans 8:22,23).

God chose Israel

God chose the Jews out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6).  They were to be a light to the Gentiles, illustrating what life in relationship with the living God was like.  However, they failed in the task, and Jesus, himself a Jew, came to show them what the perfect relationship with God looked like in practice.  The scriptures show us that God’s plan was not confined solely to Jews; his love extends to the whole world.  Many Gentiles were grafted in; take Ruth the Moabite, for example, who was one of Jesus’ ancestors.

The Gospel for Jews and Gentiles

Jesus’ ministry was mostly confined to his fellow Jews.  In the early days of the church the believers restricted their evangelism to the Jewish community and it wasn't until Peter had his vision of unclean animals that he was confronted with the challenge of receiving Gentiles into the church community.  Paul always took the Gospel message to the Jews first, and turned to the Gentiles only when the Jews rejected his message of salvation through Jesus.

The Jews in the End Times

Paul’s discourse in Romans 11 shows us that God’s End Time plan for mankind uniquely involves the Jews:  

i    Firstly, all Israel will be saved (verse 26).  While opinions differ, we take this to mean that when Jesus rules and reigns, all the Jews who survive the Tribulation period will be believers in Jesus.

ii   Secondly, the Jews are currently spiritually blind (verse 25) and (in the main) can’t recognise Jesus as their Messiah yet.  This blindness will be lifted so they can respond to him.

iii  Thirdly, the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ (verse 25) will provoke Israel to turn to Jesus.  This ‘fullness’ is the full number of Gentiles God knows will be saved before the End comes.  It includes the millions who will be saved in the greatest revival in history, which is yet to come and will be a prophetic sign that the end is close.  These believers will provoke the Jews and they will turn to the Lord.

The State of Israel and the Six Day War

The fact that the Jews (Israel) retained their distinctiveness and were not assimilated into the nations they lived in over a 2,000 year period is nothing short of remarkable.  Then, in 1948, they were given the land on the east side of the Mediterranean where their ancestors lived, and they called their nation Israel.  That they managed to establish themselves in the land was equally remarkable, given the opposition of their neighbours.  Then, nearly 20 years later, they won back Jerusalem, again in almost miraculous circumstances. 

The land of Israel is the clearest prophetic sign

We believe that Israel being back in her historic homeland (albeit not yet the whole land promised them) and that they have re-established Jerusalem, the city of David, as their capital city, is the clearest sign we have that we are approaching the end of the End-Times.  These things were prophesied and God’s word never returns to him void:

Again the word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions.  Their conduct was like a woman's monthly uncleanness in my sight.  So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols.  I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.  And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ''These are the Lord's people, and yet they had to leave his land.'  I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.  Therefore say to the house of Israel, This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.  I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.  For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land' (Ezek 36:16-24).

It's important to note that Israel is back in the land not because of their own righteousness or merit, but for the sake of God's holy name and so that the nations will know that he is the Lord.  This is God's sign to the nations.  Other prophets also declare similar things.  For example:

The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land (Isaiah 14:1).

Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it.  And I myself will be a wall of fire around it, declares the Lord, and I will be its glory within . . . The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem (Zech 2:4,12).

Therefore we need to keep our spiritual as well as our physical eyes open, to recognise the signs of the times and be ready for the imminent return of Jesus, when Israel and the Jews feature centre-stage and the promise to Abraham reaches its goal.

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains . . . and all nations will stream to it.  Many peoples will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.  The law will go our from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:1-4). 

We believe that Israel being back in her historic homeland (albeit not yet the whole land promised them) and that they have re-established Jerusalem, the city of David, as their capital city, is the clearest sign we have that we're approaching the end of the End Times

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