<< Previous | Index | Next >>"THE TIME OF THE END" The Restoration Of Israel INTRODUCTION 1. Our previous study established that God's promise concerning the land of Canaan was fulfilled... a. So say Joshua, the Psalmist, and the Levites b. Solomon himself ruled over the entire land described to Abraham 2. Yet many believe there were prophecies of a latter day restoration of Israel... a. To be fulfilled in modern times, just before the Lord returns b. That the return of Jews to Palestine and the establishment of Israel as an independent state in May, 1948, was a fulfillment of such prophecies 3. Intertwined with such a restoration are beliefs concerning... a. The rebuilding of the temple, where the Dome of the Rock now stands b. The reinstitution of animal sacrifices, as was done in the Old Testament [The idea of a "latter day" restoration of Israel is integral to the dispensational premillennial view of the Lord's second coming. To better understand the issues involved, let's first take a look at several...] I. ARGUMENTS FOR A LATTER DAY RESTORATION OF ISRAEL A. FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT... 1. God has promised to restore His people to Israel - Jer 29:14 a. From all nations and all places b. Not just Assyria and Babylon 2. There will be a second restoration - Isa 11:11 a. The first was restoration after the Babylonian captivity b. The second is supposedly happening today 3. Return prophecies made to those who had been restored - Zec 8: 1-8 a. People who had come back from Babylonian captivity b. Thus it must referred to later events, i.e., events happening today 4. The expression "in the latter days" confirm this - Jer 30:24 a. I.e., just before the second coming b. Assuming that's the time to which "latter days" refers 5. The promise of physical and economic restoration - Isa 35:1; 61:4 a. Not just political and religious restoration b. But also the land itself along with ancient ruins 6. Along with promise of victories over their enemies - Am 9: 14-15 a. No longer shall they be pulled up from the land b. Suggesting victory over any who would try -- Such are the arguments from the OT for a latter day restoration B. FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT... 1. The return of Jerusalem to the custody of the Jews - Lk 21:24 a. The city to be trodden down by the Gentiles b. Until the time fulfilled, believed to have occurred 2. The rebuilding of the temple - 2Th 2:4 a. Inferred by some from Paul's teaching about the destruction of the man of sin b. Who is to be destroyed at Christ's coming 3. The regathering of the twelve tribes - Mt 19:28; cf. Ro 11: 25-27 a. Inferred by those who believe in an end-of-the-age restoration b. That a national return in unbelief would be followed by national conversion -- Such are the arguments from the NT for a latter day restoration C. FROM CURRENT EVENTS... 1. The establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948 a. Offered as proof that the prophecies are being fulfilled b. As Jews from around the world migrate to Israel 2. The present day reclamation of the land a. After centuries of neglect b. Through irrigation and re-utilization of physical resources 3. The swift victories of the Jews over their enemies a. The War of Independence, 1948 b. The Sinai Campain, 1956 c. The Six-Day War, 1967 d. The Yom Kipper War, 1973 4. Other points often made: a. Control of Jerusalem now in the hands of Israel b. Plans are being made by some to rebuild the temple -- Such are the arguments from current events for a latter day restoration [The arguments for a latter day restoration may seem plausible, but do they really stand up against a close examination? Let's now consider...] II. THE ARGUMENTS EXAMINED MORE CLOSELY A. FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT... 1. The promise of restoration - Jer 29:14 a. This restoration is the one after 70 years of Babylonian captivity - Jer 29:10 b. Applied by Daniel to the time in which he was living - Dan 9:2 c. In which Jews throughout the Persian empire (not just Assyria and Babylon) were encouraged to return to Jerusalem - Ezr 1:1-4 2. The "second" restoration - Isa 11:11 a. This could apply to the Babylonian restoration, if the "first" refers to the deliverance from Egyptian bondage in the days of Moses - cf. Isa 11:16 b. However, the context suggests a figurative restoration made possible in the days of the Messiah - Isa 11:1,10; cf. Ro 15:12; 11:5 3. The return prophecies in Zechariah - Zech 8:1-8 a. Zechariah prophesied about the year 520 B.C. b. His prophecies were fulfilled in the days of Ezra (458 B.C.), Nehemiah (446 B.C.), and afterward - Ezr 7:1-10; Neh 11:1,2; cf. also 1 Macc 14:8-12 4. The "latter days" in Jer 30:24 a. As seen in a previous study, in the OT it can mean simply "in the future" b. The context of Jeremiah makes it clear that it refers to after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity - Jer 29:1,10,14; 30:3,22,24 5. The promise of physical and economic restoration - Isa 35:1; 61:4 a. These passages also have reference to recovery after the Babylonian captivity b. They can also have figurative reference to the coming of the Messiah - cf. Isa 61:1-3; Lk 4:18-21 6. The promise of victories over their enemies - Am 9:14-15 a. Again, these promises likely refer to the restoration following Babylonian captivity b. In any case, such promises were conditional - cf. Jer 18: 7-10 -- Such are the responses to those espousing a latter day restoration of Israel B. FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT... 1. The return of Jerusalem to the custody of the Jews - Lk 21:24 a. The passage speaks not of Jews retaking custody, but of the trampling down of the city b. "until the times of the Gentiles has been fulfilled" is interpreted by some to simply refer to the Parousia (second coming of Christ) - Lenski, Hendriksen 2. The rebuilding of the temple - 2Th 2:4 a. "the temple of God" is understood by many to refer to the church - Augustine, Jerome, Chrysostom, Barnes, Gill, Clarke b. It is so used by Paul and Peter - 1Co 3:16-17; 1Pe 2:5 c. Thus it may have no reference to the temple in Jerusalem 3. The regathering of the twelve tribes - Mt 19:28 a. A literal regathering may be inferred, but it is not necessarily implied b. The "twelve tribes" has been figuratively applied to Christians - Jm 1:1; cf. 2:1 c. Many understand Mt 19:28 to refer the blessed state of the apostles in the eternal state, as their reward in eternal life after suffering so much for Christ - Mt 19:29; cf. Mk 10:30 4. Regarding the passage in Ro 11:25-27, some thoughts from various scholars: a. "The term "All Israel" means the total number of elect Jews, the sum of all Israel's remnants." - Hendriksen b. "The term 'all Israel' in Rom. 11:26a must be understood as indicating the collective elect out of Israel." - Volbeda c. "'All Israel' in 11:26, is not the people of Israel, destined lo be converted collectively, neither is it the church consisting of united Jews and Gentiles; but it is the full number which during the course of the centuries is gathered out of Israel." - Bavinck d. "'All Israel' is to be understood as a designation not of the whole nation but of the whole number of the elect out of the ancient covenant people...and the adverb (so) cannot mean 'after that,' but only 'in this manner.' " - Berkhof -- Such are the responses to those espousing a latter day restoration of Israel C. FROM CURRENT EVENTS... 1. The claim that "the time of the Gentiles ended May 14, 1948, when Israel became an independent state," and that "the Jews have returned to their country in fulfilment of prophecy" is contradicted by the following facts (as per Hendriksen): a. Today only about one out of every five Jews is living in Israel b. Today the very existence of Israel - and of Jerusalem as an independent Jewish city - is still being threatened c. The great majority of Jews do not regard Jesus as their Lord and Savior 2. The second Hezbollah-Israeli War (2006) ended in defeat for Israel 3. The current land making up the country of Israel is but a small portion of that promised and fulfilled by God in days of Joshua and Solomon 4. It is unlikely the Muslims will let Zionists destroy the Dome of the Rock to rebuild the temple -- Such are the responses to those espousing a latter day restoration of Israel CONCLUSION 1. The arguments for a latter day restoration of Israel... a. Are based on a literal rendering of prophecy (cf."The Interpretation Of Prophecy") b. Depend on eisegesis that often fails to consider the context of Biblical history 2. They also overlook much of the teaching in the New Testament... a. Regarding the removal of that which divides Jew and Gentile - Ep 2:11-22 b. The passing away of the Law (with its sacrifices) - cf. Heb 8-10 c. The fact that in Christ Jews have died to the Law - Ro 7:1-6 d. There is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile - Ga 3: 28-29 3. The passing of time has also disproved a "latter day" restoration... a. It has been almost sixty years since modern Israel became a state b. Many events presumed to take place within a generation of that event did not occur It is not that God's Word has failed; rather, God's Word has been mishandled. Dispensational premillennialism, though it is the most popular view held today, more than any other has proven to be the most unreliable view concerning the Second Coming of the Lord... Note: Much of the material in this outline is based on an article by William Hendriksen entitled "Are Restoration Prophecies Being Fulfilled Today?" from his book, Israel In Prophecy, (Baker: Grand Rapids, chapter II, pp. 16-31). You can read it online here.<< Previous | Index | Next >>
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