"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days" (Hosea 3:4-5).
The nation of Israel has long been without the things mentioned in verse four of our text. They have been without a king or prince since the Babylonian captivity when Nebuchadnezzar razed the city of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Israel has been without a sacrifice since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. when Titus, the Roman general, wrought destruction in Jerusalem. They have also been without the idols mentioned in verse four. One of the major purposes of God in the Babylonian captivity was to cure Israel of her affinity for heathen idols. Since the return from Babylonian captivity, Israel for the most part, has been a monotheistic nation regarding Jehovah as the only true and living God.
Most Bible students and scholars would heartily agree that verse four is to be taken in its literal and common sense as fulfilled prophecy. History, reason, and faith in the infallible Word of God support this logical conclusion. It matters not what camp of eschatology an individual resides in, there is little controversy as to the exact meaning of verse four in our text. The controversy arises when verse five is interpreted in the same way verse four was interpreted, in a literal manner. If verse five is to be interpreted literally then there is without a doubt a future for the nation of Israel as the chosen people of God. From the context of the verses under consideration there is absolutely no indication that verse five is not to be understood as having a literal fulfillment some time in the future. Sound Bible exegesis and honesty require the Bible student to interpret both verses in a literal manner.
This passage of Scripture is but one of many in the Old and New Testaments to support the teaching of the future restoration of the nation of Israel to the favor of Jehovah. This truth became even more apparent to Bible scholars when the nation of Israel was formally recognized as a Jewish state in 1948. Since then multitudes of Jews have returned to the homeland promised to them when God made a covenant with Abraham thousands of years ago. Though multitudes of Jews have returned to Palestine, they are dwelling there in unbelief. They have not yet been spiritually restored to God. Multitudes of Jews will be saved during the Tribulation Period, and an even greater number will be converted to Christ when He comes in the Second Advent. The elect nation of Israel will play a prominent role in the thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth. Jerusalem will be the place where Jesus Christ shall sit upon the throne of David and rule the nations of the earth in majesty, glory, and great power.
Many amillenialists deny that the elect nation of Israel has a future in the plan of God. They insist that the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament prophecies are to be spiritually applied to the church, not literally interpreted as relating to Israel's restoration. They do so without Scriptural warrant. I believe without reservation that the Scriptures teach a literal future for the elect nation of Israel. If Scripture means anything, Israel will be restored to God spiritually by regeneration and justification, and will physically dwell in the land that was promised to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in ancient times.
John Gill, the Baptist scholar of the 1700's believed in a literal restoration for the nation of Israel, as his comments on Hosea 3:5 reveal:
"The ten tribes of Israel, and also the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which are included in the name of Israel,...and these are joined together in parallel places; see Jer. 30:3,9 and 50:2,5; for though they did not go into captivity together, yet their return and conversion will be at the same time; and they are all spoken of under the name of Israel by the apostle Paul, when he foretells their conversion and salvation, Rom. 11:26. The return of them, here prophesied of, does not barely mean their return to their own land, which will be at this time; see Jer. 30:3; Ezek. 37:21-22; Amos 9:15, but their return to the Lord by repentance; when they shall repent of, and turn from, their sinful course of life, and particularly of their unbelief and rejection of the true Messiah, and embrace Him; and of their traditions and false ways of worship, which they shall discard; and of their own righteousness they shall now renounce; and shall turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in Him for righteousness, life, and salvation." (1)
The nation of Israel has been set aside by God for nearly two thousand years because of their unbelief. John 1:11 declares: "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." Even though Jesus Christ carried on a most miraculous ministry in their midst, the blinded Israelites and religious leaders would not believe. They failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah and would not receive the message that He had been sent by God. After Jesus had soundly rebuked the Jewish religious leaders for their hypocrisy and unbelief He said: "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matt. 23:38-24:2). In this passage Jesus formally pronounced the nation of Israel and her worship as being set aside by God. He departed from the temple and prophesied of its destruction which would be fulfilled by Titus, the Roman general, in 70 A.D.
From the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. until 1948 the Jews have been scattered over the face of the whole earth. God had prophesied of their scattering for rebellion, as well as their restoration, in Ezekiel 11:16-17 which states: "Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered and I will give you the land of Israel." For the last two thousand years Jews have been hounded, hated, and persecuted because of their unbelief and refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah. They are presently dwelling in the land of Israel in unbelief. Jews may occupy the land of Israel, but they are not yet restored to God. This will happen when God pours out His Spirit upon them and they look upon Jesus as the one whom they had pierced and acknowledge Him as their Messiah and Lord.
The time period when Israel is cast aside by God for unbelief is known as the times of the Gentiles. Jesus prophesied of this time period in Luke 21:24 which states: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Israel will remain in a national state of blindness until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, at which time they will be converted by God as Romans 11:25-27 reveals: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Israel is in a present state of blindness, but there is coming a grand day when they will see the glories of Jesus Christ, and behold Him with eyes of saving faith. They will be spiritually restored to God and physically restored to their land to reign with Christ and His people in millennial glory.
ISRAEL'S LITERAL APOSTASY AND SUBSEQUENT JUDGMENT DEMAND HER LITERAL RESTORATION
The same God who foretold of the apostasy of the nation of Israel and the judgments that would result from it, also promised that He would restore the nation of Israel spiritually as well as physically. The literal fulfillment of prophecies relating to Israel's apostasy and punishment demand a literal fulfillment of prophecies relating to her restoration. If the prophecies relating to Israel's apostasy and judgment as a nation are literally true, then the prophecies dealing with Israel's future restoration cannot vaguely be spiritualized away. A literal fulfillment of threatenings upon Israel argues for a literal fulfillment of the promises made to her concerning her future restoration. Simply stated, you cannot have one without the other. If one set of prophecies are to be understood literally then the other set must likewise be interpreted literally. What is amazing is that the threatenings for apostasy as well as the promises of future restoration are often found in the very same context of Scripture. Several passages of Scripture clearly prove this to be true.
"And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins...And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste...Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies. I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God" (Lev. 26:21;33; 42-45).
In this passage of Scripture God promises that He would smite the nation of Israel for disobedience, yet He would not forsake them utterly because of the covenant that He had made with Abraham. Both of these prophecies refer solely to the nation of Israel, one has already been fulfilled (the judgments), the other will certainly come to fruition unless Jehovah goes back on His Word which is impossible. God is not a liar, He will certainly perform all that He has promised regarding Israel because it is "...impossible for God to lie..." (Heb. 6:18).
Deuteronomy 30:3-6 declares: "That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the utmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers." The entire context of Deuteronomy thirty deals with the curses that Israel will experience when God drives them out of their land and scatters them among the nations for their disobedience. Just as surely as Israel literally experienced the judgment of God, she will also be restored to His favor and to her land as these verses plainly declare. If the prophecies relating to Israel's punishment are literally true, then the promises relating to her future restoration must of necessity be of equal force.
"Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But , The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers" (Jer. 16:13-15).
"Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and THEY SHALL NOT SORROW ANY MORE AT ALL" (Jer. 31:10-12).
Both of the above passages in Jeremiah clearly reveal that the future gathering of Israel is just as sure as their being scattered according to the declaration of Jehovah. The restoration of Israel is yet future as revealed in the latter part of Jeremiah 31:12. There has never been a time in Israel's history when they were free from all sorrow. This will be literally fulfilled in the glory of the Millennial kingdom.
Ezekiel 39:27-29 declares: "When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD." This passage of Scripture will come to complete fruition at the Second Advent when the Spirit of grace and supplications is poured out upon elect Israel. Then and only then will the face of God shine brightly and not be hidden any longer from the nation of Israel. Their eyes shall be opened to see the glories of a crucified and risen Christ. They will look upon the One whom they pierced and embrace His justifying righteousness through faith in His blood.
Again, if all of the declarations concerning the dispersion of Israel had a literal fulfillment, then logic and sound Bible exegesis demand that the prophecies relating to Israel's future restoration must also have a literal fulfillment. These passages cannot be explained away by amillilenialists by transferring the promises made to Israel, to the church. The Old Testament prophets knew nothing about the church. It was a mystery veiled to their eyes as Ephesians 3:1-8 so clearly states. When the Old Testament prophets wrote under the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Spirit they understood Israel to be literal Israel. We must likewise understand their prophecies relating to Israel in a literal vein.
THE COVENANTS INSURE A FUTURE FOR ISRAEL
The covenants that God made with the nation of Israel unconditionally insure the fulfillment of promises made to Israel. The Abrahamic or Palestinian covenant insures that Israel will have the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. The Davidic covenant insures that Israel will have a king to reign upon the throne of David. The terms of the New covenant insure spiritual blessings of regeneration, justification, and forgiveness of sins for elect Israel.
We can be sure that the terms of each of these unconditional covenants will be carried out by Almighty God. Whatever God has purposed and decreed will surely come to pass without fail. Jehovah Himself declared: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee" (Isa. 54:7-10). God has never gone back on His promise to Noah, so we may safely infer that He will never go back on His promises made to the nation of Israel. He has promised to bestow everlasting kindness upon the nation of Israel and to show them mercy because of the unconditional covenants that He made with them.
Jeremiah 31:35-37 declares: "Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD." This passage proves that the covenants made with the nation of Israel were unconditional and irrevocable. If language means anything it is impossible for the promises made to Israel to be annulled or spiritualized away. I like what R.T. Ketchum once said: "When the amillennialists have measured the immeasurable heavens and penetrated the impenetrable foundations of the earth, then, saith the Lord, they can talk with some degree of confident assurance about there being no future for Israel."
Paul the apostle made it very clear that God will never cast off His chosen people, the nation of Israel, in Romans 11:1-2; and 28-29 which state: "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? GOD FORBID. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew...As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." The Old and New Testaments make it very clear that God will not go back on the promises made to His elect nation. Oh, that God would give faith to those who deny a future for Israel and meekly receive the rebuke given to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: "Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25).
Now we will proceed to look at the covenants made with Israel that pertain to her future glory and restoration.
The Abrahamic or Palestinian covenant was the first one recorded in Scripture dealing with Israel's future glory. God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham and his seed in Genesis 17:6-9 which states: "And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." In this passage of Scripture, God without reservation or qualification, promises that the seed of Abraham would inherit the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession. We would do well to believe this Scripture just as it reads unless we are prepared to do away with the meaning of the word everlasting. If everlasting does not mean everlasting in this passage of Scripture, then how can we be sure it means everlasting in relation to salvation in John 3:16 and John 5:24?
The Abrahamic covenant was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob just as God told Abraham in Genesis 17:19: "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him." (See also Gen. 26:3-5; 28:13-15; and 35:9-15). In each of the instances where the covenant was confirmed those who received the confirmation from God understood the seed of Abraham to be his physical descendants which would later make up the elect nation of Israel. The fact that there is a spiritual seed of Abraham made up of all believers in no way nullifies the promises made to Abraham's physical seed with regards to the land of Canaan.
The very fact that Israel has returned in unbelief to the land of Canaan should serve as a testimony to the truth that the land is hers because of God's everlasting covenant with her. After being dispersed, hated, and scattered throughout the world the Jews have been gathered to their homeland in Palestine where they now dwell in unbelief until the Lord pours out His Spirit upon them at the Second Advent of Christ. One of the greatest of modern miracles has been the preservation of the identity of Israel as a race and a nation, dwelling in a land that was promised to her in ancient times. Ezekiel 36:24-28 declares: "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." Verse 24 has already been accomplished in part, but verses 25-28 are yet to be fulfilled as Israel has not yet been cleansed of her filthiness and given a new heart. I do not understand how anyone could deny that Israel has a future in the land given to her by God in the light of such clear statements of Scripture.
The truth of the future restoration of Israel to her land in peace and spiritual prosperity is strongly affirmed by Jeremiah 32:37-41 which states: "Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul." In this passage we have the testimony of Jehovah Himself, that He will most assuredly restore Israel to her land. If, as some contend, the nation of Israel has no future and no claim upon the land of Palestine these passages of Scripture are meaningless and not worthy of serious consideration. Yet, such a view casts reproach upon the covenant promises of Jehovah Himself who is a covenant keeping God that never changes. As for me I will accept the testimony of the Psalmist over those who deny a latter day glory and restoration for the elect nation of Israel: "He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a THOUSAND GENERATIONS. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, AND TO ISRAEL FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT" (Psa. 105:10).
The Davidic covenant further insures a future for the nation of Israel. God promised that a king would sit upon the throne of David in Jerusalem. This will have a literal fulfillment when Jesus Christ sits upon the throne of David in the Millennial Kingdom. This inspired promise was recorded by David in Psalms 89:29-37 and is supported by several other Scriptures.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6-7). None will deny that verse six was literally fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Verse seven is yet future because when Christ comes to sit upon the throne of David, He will establish the throne with judgment and justice just as the scene in Revelation 19:11-16 describes. It is at this time (the Second Advent) when Christ will establish the kingdom and make "Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isa. 62:7). This certainly cannot be understood as a present reality in some sort of spiritual kingdom as the ammillenialist asserts because Jerusalem is now a city that is cursed by the nations of the world.
The truth of the Davidic covenant and its resulting fulfillment and blessings upon Israel is further illustrated in Jeremiah 23:5-8 which states: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice IN THE EARTH. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them: and they shall dwell in their own land." Several truths relating to Israel's restoration and Millennial glory may be gleaned from this passage of Scripture. First, the manner of the King's reign will be one of perfect judgment and justice. Secondly, the sphere of His reign will be upon the earth. Thirdly, in the days of the earthly reign of Christ Israel and Judah shall dwell safely which has not happened since the days of Solomon so its fulfillment must be regarded as future. Fourthly, Israel has not dwelt in complete safety and without fear of her enemies for thousands of years and she will not until Jesus the King comes to sit upon the throne of David. Oh, what a glorious time of peace and spirituality awaits the earth's inhabitants when King Jesus establishes His throne in Jerusalem and reigns in power and great glory! How I long for the day when there shall be peace within the borders of Israel because it will mean that the Prince of Peace will be upon the throne reigning in regal majesty.
To further prove that there must be a glorious future for Israel in the Millennial kingdom Jeremiah 3:17-18 declares that Christ's throne in Jerusalem will be the chief place of worship for the nations: "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers." This passage of Scripture was not fulfilled in the first coming of Christ, but it will definitely be fulfilled at His Second Advent. Judah and Israel, who have been split and at enmity with one another since the days of Rehoboam, shall be gloriously reunited under the reign of King Jesus. God has given His unconditional promise that Israel would inherit the land that was promised to her fathers when King Jesus comes again to reign upon the earth.
Luke, the inspired writer of one of the four Gospels, understood God's promise to David and the children of Israel concerning a King to be literal and unconditional as is evidenced by Luke 1:31-33: "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Christ is now seated on the right hand of His Father upon the Father's throne (Rev. 2:21). acting as our High Priest and Advocate. But there is coming a day when He shall sit upon the throne of David reigning over a subdued earth in righteousness and holiness, in complete and literal fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. It is strange to me that orthodox men can believe in the literal aspect of virgin birth of Christ in this passage, and yet not believe in a literal reign of Christ in Jerusalem seated upon the throne of David. The literalism of this passage is conclusively proven to open minds by the literalness of the thing that was promised. If the throne of David in centuries past was a spiritual home in the hearts of the Israelites, then we must accept the amillennial theory that the throne of David given to Christ is likewise a spiritual throne in the hearts of the people. But if, on the other hand, the throne of David was a literal throne in a literal city on a literal earth, then when Jehovah says that this is what is to be given to Christ, why fly in the face of history with a perverted spiritualized interpretation? It seems to me that the literal interpretation of Scripture, except where it is purposely symbolical, is the only means whereby we can keep ourselves from the serious position of having much Scripture on our hands with which we know not what to do.
It is obvious from Matthew 19:28 that the Lord Jesus Christ also understood the terms of the Davidic covenant to have a literal fulfillment in the future kingdom: "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Jesus Christ believed and taught that He would be personally seated upon the throne of David, and that the twelve apostles would assist Him in the judgment of a restored Israel. In order for Christ to sit upon the throne of His glory, He must come back in His glory which will not happen until the Second Advent when He establishes the kingdom. Matthew 24:29-30 pinpoints the time when He shall come to reign: "IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: AND THEN SHALL APPEAR THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN IN POWER AND GREAT GLORY."
If the foregoing Scriptures mean anything then we can be assured that King Jesus, who was born a Jew, from the kingly tribe of Judah, will reign in great glory and power over a restored Israel upon a subdued earth. This was God's unconditional promise to Israel and Jehovah cannot lie.
The New Covenant has insured a future for the nation of Israel. God has promised Israel that in the latter days He would put His laws in their hearts and put away their sins and cause them to walk in His ways. The fact that God also does this for Gentile believers in salvation does not nullify or transfer this covenant with the nation of Israel.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 declares: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, (Tribulation Period, cf. Jer. 30:4-9; TWR) saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." God specifically states this new covenant would be fulfilled in the house of Israel and the house of Judah which put together make up national Israel. Israel was considered the wife of Jehovah in the Old Testament and in this passage God identifies Himself as the husband of Israel in verse 32. Furthermore, the terms of this covenant must have future fulfillment because the terms of verse 34 have yet to be realized "...for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them..." This will only be a literal reality when elect and restored Israel enters into the Millennial Kingdom, because all those who enter into the Kingdom will know the Lord.
Ezekiel 36:24-28 gives another picture of what God is going to do for Israel in fulfilling the terms of the New Covenant: "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." Right now there are Israelites in the promised land, but Israel is not yet restored. She will not truly be restored until God pours out His Spirit upon them, when the terms of the New Covenant are met, and "a nation shall be born at once" (Isa. 66:8). When God gives His elect nation a new heart by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit then He will also restore them to their land in righteousness and peace under the holy dominion of Christ Jesus who will be King over all the earth. I long to see the terms of the New Covenant met, when God will display His almighty power in a glorious way upon His chosen people!
The time of Israel's spiritual restoration to God and physical restoration to the land promised to her in the Abrahamic Covenant will occur in the latter days as several passages of Scripture make crystal clear. Hosea 3:5 declares: "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the LATTER DAYS."
Deuteronomy 4:30-31 declares: "When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient to His voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God; he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them." Thousands of Israelites will be saved during the Tribulation Period when they call upon the Lord. However, they will not inherit the land promised to them until the Second Advent of Christ. At the Second Advent of Christ multitudes of Israelites are going to be converted when they see their Messiah coming in power and great glory which corresponds with the inspired record of Matthew 24:29-30 which states: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn (cf. Zech. 12:7-10; 13:1; Rev. 1:7), and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Thus the time of Israel's complete spiritual and physical restoration will occur at the Second Advent of Christ when He will establish His kingdom upon the earth. This is further proved by the prophet Isaiah who wrote: "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD" (Isa. 59:20).
Paul the apostle also believed there was going to be a specific time when Israel would be restored and grafted back to God in Romans 11:25-27 which states: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Paul pinpoints the restoration of Israel to be after the fullness of the Gentiles be come in which has not happened as of yet.
When all of the foregoing Scriptures are compared and analyzed the complete spiritual and physical restoration of Israel will occur after the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, at the end of the Tribulation Period, and when Christ comes in glory at the Second Advent to establish His kingdom upon the earth.
Elect Israel will be regenerated by the Spirit and converted to Christ in the latter days by the visible manifestation of the Messiah as well as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them. Israel will not be saved and restored to God apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be saved precisely in the same way that all men throughout the ages have been saved, by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes again in glory the tribes of Israel will mourn over their sins, and they will repent and turn to the Lord. Zechariah 12:8-10 makes this very clear: "In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." This passage clearly refers to Israel's regeneration and repentance. When they look upon their Messiah in faith they will be cleansed from their sins by the fountain of His precious blood as Zechariah 13:1 declares: "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." Israel shall enter into millennial glory, possessing her land, cleansed from all her sins, undefiled and justified in the sight of the Lord through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh, glorious day when Israel will repent and recognize their Messiah and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. That which had a partial fulfillment on the day of Pentecost when God poured out His Spirit upon the first church at Jerusalem will become a literal reality when God pours out His Spirit upon His elect nation to restore them to His favor as Joel 2:28-3:1 states: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem."
Israel's conversion to Christ and their future restoration is clearly set forth in the Word of God in no uncertain terms. If we interpret all the foregoing Scriptures dealing with Israel in a literal vein, comparing Scripture with Scripture, just as it reads, we cannot help but believe that there is definitely a glorious future in store for the nation of Israel.
There are many amillennialists who despise the thought of a future restoration of God's chosen nation. Let us not make a similar mistake. Israel's restoration will mark the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21) when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters that cover the sea. Oh, glad Millennial day when the purpose of God for this earth is come to fruition and Messiah takes His rightful place upon the throne of David to rule and reign for a thousand years. How our hearts should rejoice as we anticipate such a glorious day: "O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the NATIONS UPON EARTH. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH SHALL FEAR HIM" (Psa. 67:4-7).