The Restoration Of Israel
The Middle East is a basic resource material for the news media. The threat of violence is ever present, as witnessed by tragic assassinations, the threat of war, and general unrest. No matter what the news from the Middle East happens to be, there is always a revival in interest in the question, “What will happen to Israel?” Many preachers are getting very nervous over the possibility of things coming to a drastic conclusion here on planet earth. Those with overly active imaginations not only believe and preach that the great battle of Armageddon is about to take place, but also God is going to do something special for Israel
If there is one “key” doctrine in the premillennial system it is their speculative approach to the alleged restoration of Israel to the land of Palestine. If you’ve been keeping up on current events you know that the Palestinians have a different view and plan. They are not willing for the Israelis to occupy the land of Palestine. By way of reminder, Premillennialism is a system of doctrines centered on the second coming of Christ and the events they think will take place. The term comes from the idea of a thousand year reign of Christ on earth with His headquarters in Jerusalem as He sits on the literal throne of King David. The premillennialists all point to May 14, 1948 as of great importance to the prophetic pictures in the Old Testament. However, if this notion is false, down comes the entire premillennial system. In a book called The Late Great Planet Earth, Mr. Hal Lindsey wrote:
“Sometime in the future there will be a seven-year period climaxed by the visible return of Jesus Christ. Most prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled concern events which will develop shortly before the beginning of and during the seven-year countdown. (Notice that the countdown is the last seven years of the time, according to Mr. Lindsey). The general time of this seven year period couldn’t begin until the Jewish people re-establish their nation in their ancient homeland of Palestine.” That is found on page 32 of his book.
It is rather plain. Nothing can occur that is on the premillennial agenda or program until the Jewish nation is re-established as a nation in their original homeland. Their territorial and tribal boundaries must be reestablished. The alleged millennium, the so-called “Rapture”, the figmentary “Battle or Armageddon” join all the rest of these imagimary eschatological events in waiting until the Jewish nation is re-established just like it was in the Old Testament. One must never forget that Mr. Lindsey and others of his persuasion is speaking of a nation known as Israel being established as the twelve tribes of Israel. In fact, this restoration view claims that all Jews, from all over the world, will migrate involuntarily back to Palestine and reclaim their old tribal allotments according the division of the promised land. Ezekiel chapters 37 and 38 are used to prove this point.
Who are these descendants of Abraham? Is the nation of Israel the legitimate heir of the land which God gave Abraham? How did the ancestry of Abraham obtain title to the land known today as Palestine to begin with? These are questions germane to the issue created by the speculations and prophetic perversions of premillennialism.
A long, long time ago, God promised an ancient patriarch three wonderful things. He promised that He would bless all the nations on earth through this man’s family. He promised also to give this man an amount of land to own which in turn would be given to his progeny. Last, He promised to make a great nation of his family and their families after them. This man was called Abram at first and later known as Abraham. Read these promises to you from the Bible. In Genesis 12:1-3 the Lord said to Abraham, “Get out of your country, from your kindred and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The promise is even more explicit in the next chapter. “And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are -- northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width for I give it to you” (Gen. 13:14-17). Here is the embryo of the promise of a land as an inheritance for the grand old patriarch and his descendants. The promise is given as God tells him, “Arise and walk through its length and its width for I give it to you.” Next, the Lord added, “...in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
When the twelve tribes of Israel occupied the land under the leadership of Joshua, the land and national promise was completely fulfilled. After the conquest of the entire area, Joshua said, “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” He did not say, “part of the promise was fulfilled,” or “nearly all of it was fulfilled,” but “all of it was fulfilled.” That means nothing was left unfulfilled. Every aspect of the promise relative to the homeland of Israel was fulfilled. God promised Abraham that the land He would give him would be possessed by the descendants of Abraham and Joshua confirms that it came to pass. Not the slightest segment of it failed. Read Joshua 21:43-44.
When our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, lived among men, offered Himself as a sacrifice for man’s sin, the promise made to old Abram was absolutely and completely fulfilled. It is through Christ, who is the seed of promise, the seed of Abraham, that all nations of the world are to be blessed. Paul wrote, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). The “Christ” is the long awaited “Messiah,” the “Holy One” of God. The existence of the Jewish nation served its grand and primary purpose in preserving a seed line from generation to generation of Abraham’s family. That “Seed” is Christ. After Christ came the Jewish nation had no biblical reason to exist.
If, according to the premillennialists and dispensationalists, God has something special in store for the nation of Israel there are consequences that must be faced. For example, there is a special problem relative to favoritism. If God has something special in the future for the Jews as a nation, there is a distinction still between Jew and Gentile for which God himself is responsible. Yet Paul wrote, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him” (Rom. 10:12). The premillennial concept makes God a respecter of persons, for during the Old Testament time God had respect for Israel as “the apple of His eye” that He did not have for other nations (Deut. 32:10). However, in Christ’s death on the cross, that distinction was forever removed. “For He Himself is our peace who had made both one and has broken down the middle wall of division between us” (Eph. 2:14). The middle wall was the Law of Moses. The “us” refers to Jews and Gentiles. There is no promise God has made any people today that is not equally made to all people. If there is one, let the premillennialist give us scripture -- not speculation – to prove it.
In order to get this restoration idea, the premillennialist ignores obvious fulfillment of prophecy made to the Jews both before and during their captivity in Assyria and Babylon. The Bible teaches that after Solomon died, his kingdom was divided into the northern ten tribes and southern two tribes. In 721 B.C. the Assyrians captured the northern tribes and took them away (2 Kings 17:6). Notice especially in this passage that Assyria took them to Halah, Habor, and the river Gozan, and “the cities of the Medes.” In 586 B.C. Judah, the southern two tribes, were taken by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar back to Babylon. Now some of those captives escaped to Egypt (2 Kings 25:26). Before and during the captivity, prophets foretold the exile and promised a return. During the captivity, particularly prophets like Daniel and Ezekiel prophesied a return to their homeland. The premillennialists read these prophecies and jump centuries in one giant leap and think they are yet to be fulfilled. Here is a good example of what I am talking about.
“The same prophets who predicted the world-wide exile and persecution of the Jews also predicted their restoration as a nation. It is surprising that many could not see the obvious: since the first part of these prophecies came true also. This restoration was to come about in the general time of the seven-year countdown and its finale -- the personal appearance of the Messiah to deliverer the new state from destruction.” (Hal Lindsay, The Late Great Planet Earth, pages 37 and 38).
Mr. Lindsey and others cannot see the obvious. When one is so wedded to a false doctrine, the obvious is not obvious. Every single prophetic utterance relative to the restoration of Israel has been fulfilled. Mr. Lindsey and his ilk assert that the restoration prophecies are yet to be fulfilled while admitting that they were fulfilled when the Jews returned from captivity to Palestine. Respectfully, T this makes no sense.
Suppose for a moment that the restoration of Israel is yet to take place. There are insurmountable obstacles. First, it will be impossible to rebuild the old Jewish temple for the simple fact that the Moslems have the “Dome of the Rock” precisely on the location where the temple must to be built. The description of the rebuilt temple in Ezekiel chapters 40 - 43 gives details about the construction. At the end of these detailed plans God said, “And when they have accomplished the days it shall be that upon the eighth day, and forward, the priest shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah” (Ezek. 43:27). One thing the Jews have never done and never plan to do is reinstitute animal sacrifices. But the premillennial program demands that they do.
The promise of a restoration to their land was realized by the Jews long before Christ came. Since the coming of Christ, there is no promise to the Jews that is not equally promised to all men. We are all on the same footing with God. This future restoration is a fallacy of premillennial devotees. Don’t believe it. Believe in Christ Jesus as the king of your life right now and submit to Him fully and without reservation. Believe Him, turn to Him in repentance and put Him on in baptism (John 8:24; Acts 17:30; Gal. 3:27-28).
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