The Coming Kingdom
1-10-18 Isaiah 11:11-12 Lesson 30
Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 28 and take a look at verses 63-65. I think it’s been about a month since we met, so some of you may not remember what we’ve been studying. There’s a hint on the screen, The Coming Kingdom. I’m kind of using a book that I wrote as a topical study but the important thing is it’s not my book, it’s God’s book so my book just topically organizes some data. But what we’ve been trying to get at is the whole subject of the kingdom. And we’re now in chapter 12, so we’re trying to get at this point here; what does the Bible say about the kingdom? And it’s sort of a dirty trick I’ve pulled on everybody; I knew if we started to answer what the Bible says about the kingdom we’d have to study the whole Bible so I could have just said let’s study the whole Bible or I could do a stealth maneuver and say we’re going to study the kingdom, because probably if you don’t understand the kingdom you really can’t understand the big picture of the Bible.
So I know there’s a lot of cobwebs and it’s been a month since we’ve been at this so let me just sort of review where we’ve been if I could. The story of the kingdom starts there in the Garden of Eden where God was ruling through a man and a woman and they were governing creation for God. And that’s really the establishment of the kingdom on earth, that arrangement. You know the story from Genesis 3, they stopped listening to God and started listening to what they were supposed to be ruling over, the animals, in particular a talking snake, and they rebelled against God in the process and so once that happened the kingdom was lost to the earth.
So the story of the Bible is how the kingdom is restored to the earth. And so you start to see through the Abrahamic Covenant, the covenant that God entered into with Abraham, a plan is in motion, through a nation, to bring forth a king and a kingdom to the world. And the Abrahamic Covenant gave the nation of Israel ownership over three things: land, seed and blessing. That happens about 2000 B.C. And then you kind of move forward another 600 years to about 1446 B.C., about a year after the Exodus and God gives to the nation of Israel another covenant called the Mosaic Covenant, which (unlike the Abrahamic Covenant) is a conditional covenant. So the Mosaic Covenant gives to Israel, not ownership, they already had that, but what? Anybody recall? Possession or what? Enjoyment. So in order for the nation to possess or enjoy what they already owned they have to comply with the Mosaic Covenant. And who does the Mosaic Covenant point to ultimately? Jesus!
And we moved from there into the divided kingdom of the north and the south; just after the time of Solomon the kingdom was divided, the nation was divided. And of the two what’s the more important? The south because there’s prophecy given to Judah, found in Genesis 49:10 that through Judah is going to come this King and ultimately this kingdom. Then we got down there to number 5 where something called the times of the Gentiles started. And the nation of Israel got so bad that they were evicted out of their land and as you know from Sunday mornings in Daniel a new time period started around the 6th century called the times of the Gentiles, where Israel would not have a king reigning on David’s throne. And that started with the Babylonian captivity and as we’ve studied in the Book of Daniel that’s going to go all the way until the Second Advent of Christ.
So until the Second Advent of Christ takes place you’re not going to have the kingdom coming to the earth. And that took us to number six where the prophets, during this time of kingdom postponement sketch a beautiful picture of what the kingdom is going to be like. So the prophets sort of are functioning as a light shining in a dark place, as Peter says, during this time when the kingdom is absent what it’s going to be like one day.
And then the nation of Israel comes out of the seventy year captivity under the Persians, they go back into their land, the Persian Empire governing Israel is replaced by Greece; Greece is replaced by Rome and during the time period of the Roman Empire who shows up offering Israel their kingdom? Jesus Christ. And that is what is called the offer of the kingdom where Jesus, and John and the disciples said, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is” what? “at hand.” So had Israel, back in the first century, enthroned Christ, hypothetically the long awaited kingdom could have come. So we went into that concept and explained it.
But then you get down there to number nine and the tragedy is what did Israel do with their king and the offer of the kingdom? They did what with it? They rejected it and does anybody recall what chapter of the Bible that took place in? Matthew 12. So Matthew 12 is the hinge. And once that happens the offer is withdrawn and the kingdom continues in postponement. But God never leaves the earth without a witness of Himself, right? So we’re living, as we have been for the last 2,000 years in a time period where the kingdom is not here; it’s not going to come until the tribulation period and Israel finally receives the offer of the kingdom. As long as Israel has not received their king they remain the owner of her blessings but not the possessor and the kingdom remains not cancelled but postponed.
So that’s the time period that we’ve been in for 2,000 years but that doesn’t mean God is not working, just because the kingdom is not here. So what you start to get information about is an interim period of time where God is doing certain things and those things include the kingdom mysteries and also the church.
We looked at the kingdom parables, there’s eight of them, and Jesus, in these eight parables, given in Matthew 13… by the way, Matthew 13 follows Matthew 12, that’s very logical because 12 is the rejection of the offer of the kingdom, 13 is the consequences. So he explains very clearly in eight parables what the world is going to be like while the kingdom is not here. So we worked our way all the way through those eight parables.
And then the second thing to understand to grasp the interadvent age is the birth of the church. So the church age has been going on for the last 2,000 years, we’ve explained all about the church age. And probably the thing to understand is that the church, as wonderful as it is, is not Israel and is not the kingdom. Right? So God is clearly doing a work in the church, this new man, this new spiritual man, but it shouldn’t be confused with what He’s promised to bring to the earth one day through the kingdom.
So that, in a nutshell, sort of catches you up with everything we’ve covered. It took about 30 lessons for us to get here but we made it safely. And what we’re going to start moving into now is what in the world is God going to do once He’s finished with the church, because one of these days the earthly mission of the church will be over; the church will be taken to heaven through the rapture, and after the rapture takes place God does not leave the earth without a witness of Himself, right? So He’s still going to work; the question is how is He going to work and how is He going to bring the kingdom to the earth.
So we’re finished talking about what God is doing in the present and now we’re shifting to what God is doing after the church has gone. And God’s program, His kingdom program, revolves around the nation of Israel. At Mount Sinai God says this: “Now if you” and the “you” there is Israel, “Now if you will obey My voice and keep My covenant then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine.  and you shall be to Me a” what “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.’” [Exodus 19:5-6]
You see there the if/then clause? If Israel does this then the kingdom will come. So as long as Israel hasn’t complied with the “if” clause… and by the way, the “if” clause points to who? Jesus Christ. As long as they haven’t complied with the “if” clause the kingdom remains in a state of postponement. So really the goal of history is how is God going to get Israel into compliance so the kingdom can come.
And this was the thing that Jesus was talking about just prior to His death, during the Passion Week He made this statement at the end of Matthew 23, He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” now who’s He talking to there? Israel or the church? Israel! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her, how often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate, for I say from now on you will not see Me until you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” Which is really a citation from Psalm 118:26, which is a Messianic Psalm. [Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD….”]
And what Jesus is saying is I’m not coming back for this nation to establish My kingdom through this nation until you acknowledge Me as your Messiah. See that? So the whole kingdom program following the rapture of the church and how the kingdom ultimately comes to the earth all revolves around God’s program for Israel. See that? That means we need to study Israel.
So our study of Israel has five parts to it. Number 1, we have Israel in the Diaspora, I’ll explain what that means in a second. Number 2, you have Israel’s regathering in unbelief, and I believe we’re seeing that happen today, and that kind of shows us what time in history we’re living in. Number 3, you have Israel’s conversion through distress predicted. See, distress is what God is going to use to bring Israel to Himself. And then finally, number 4, there will be Israel’s final restoration. And unless you understand what God is doing, has done, is doing, will do through Israel you can’t really understand how and under what circumstances He brings this kingdom to the earth. So Israel to God is a big deal because she is the nation that has been given the covenants.
So let’s start with Israel in the Diaspora first. What does Diaspora mean? Diaspora is a Greek word that just means dispersion; Israel, in what we would call worldwide dispersion. So the nation of Israel in the first century (as you know) rejected Jesus Christ. In fact, the prophet Isaiah 700 years in advance predicted this would happen, Isaiah 53. Daniel, the prophet, in Daniel 9:26 predicted this would happen 600 years in advance. It says the Messiah would be cut off, rejected by his own nation. [Daniel 9:26, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”]
And one of the things to understand is God, when He brought the nation of Israel to Mt. Sinai and gave them the Mosaic Covenant, and here’s another picture of Sinai, they’re leaving Egypt, they go to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, which is the traditional view of where Mount Sinai is, some disagree and put Mt. Sinai elsewhere and that’s not really my point to get into that debate of where Mt. Sinai is. The point is God brought them to Mount Sinai and He gave them the Mosaic Covenant.
And the Mosaic Covenant has a lot of different aspects to it, including (and this is why I had you open to Deuteronomy 28) cycles of blessing and curses. And we’ve studied this, if Israel disobeys the covenant she will be materially and physically cursed by God. If Israel obeys the covenant she will be materially and physically blessed by God. You see all that laid out very clearly in Deuteronomy 28. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 are the blessing for obedience; Deuteronomy 28:15-68 is the curses for disobedience. By the way, did you notice there’s only 14 verses for obedience here, and the rest of the chapter is all curses for disobedience. It’s almost like God knew what would happen, right?
And one of the things that God said is if you disobey Me, take a look at Deuteronomy 28:49-50, at the height of Israel’s disobedience God predicted what would happen. Verse 48, “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand,  a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.” So what is predicted is at the height of disobedience God is going to bring a pagan power, speaking a foreign language, He’s going to bring that foreign power against the nation of Israel. That foreign power is going to be His instrument of disobedience and that foreign power is going to push Israel out of her land.
So God announced that this would happen and 700 years pass and God starts to make good on His promises because of the perpetual disobedience of the nation of Israel. You study the life of Solomon, for example, the third king of the united kingdom, and it’s almost like Solomon woke up one day and read Deuteronomy 28 and decided to do the opposite. The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 17, says the king is not to multiply wealth for himself, so what did Solomon do? He multiplied wealth for himself. The king is not to take on multiple wives; what did Solomon do? He took on multiple wives; the man had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
[Deuteronomy 17:15, “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.  Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’  He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”]
And that’s basically how you entered into a treaty with a foreign nation; the king gave you a princess as part of the treaty deal and the fact that Solomon’s got 700 wives show you how many treaties he entered into. And by the way, the Book of Deuteronomy also says don’t enter into treaties with foreign nations so you can see Solomon flagrantly violated that. I mean, you can’t get a more disobedient guy in the final forty years of his life than Solomon.
So what did God do? What did God say He would do in Deuteronomy 28, 700 years earlier? He said I’ll bring discipline, so discipline happened after Solomon left the throne and the kingdom was divided between the north and the south. The ten tribes in the north continued in disobedience and so what did God do? He brought the cycles of discipline again and scattered the north, and the rod of His discipline was the Assyrians. So God said I’m going to bring a nation against you whose language you don’t understand and this time He used the Assyrians, in 722 B.C. scattered the northern kingdom. You can read about that in 2 Kings 17. You can read about the division of the northern and the southern kingdom within the land of Israel in 1 Kings 12.
Now you would think that the two little tribes that remained…. anybody know the tribes that remained in the south? Judah and Benjamin. You would think they would learn their lesson and say well, the north got in trouble when they disobeyed God so we’re going to get our act together. When you get into the prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel describes these two kingdoms, north and south, as two sisters that are harlots, basically. The older sister is named Oholah and the younger sister is named Oholibah. The older sister represents (in Ezekiel 23 Ezekiel explains this) the northern kingdom and the younger sister represents the southern kingdom that remained.
And Ezekiel’s whole point in Ezekiel 23 is the younger sister should have learned what happened to the discipline God brought on the older sister because of her harlotry, but the younger sister actually became worse of a harlot than the older sister. And Ezekiel makes that statement as to how God’s hand cannot be withheld and God has to make good on His promises and He has to bring discipline. And consequently the southern kingdom (the northern kingdom had already been scattered by the Assyrians) is taken into captivity and this time God is not using the Assyrians to discipline the south as He did the north, but He’s using who? The Babylonians. So the Babylonians come under Nebuchadnezzar, remove the nation of Israel from her homeland and take her into captivity. And that’s where the story of the prophet Daniel, that we’re studying Sunday mornings, picks up at that point.
And you know the story from the Bible how they went back into the land after the seventy years of discipline were over and Jesus shows up and they mistreat Him and they reject Him, and so God now, based on Deuteronomy 28:49-50, is going to make good on His promises once again and He’s going to push the nation of Israel out of her land. And this time He’s not using the Assyrians or the Babylonians but He’s using the Romans. So that is discipline that God brought against His own nation about forty years or so after Christ left the earth. So Christ left the earth, first the nation rejected Him, they turned Him over to the Romans for execution. God actually turned lemons into lemonade because through that transaction who’s sin debt was paid for? Ours, the whole world, anybody that trusts in that provision. But God has to make good on what He said at Sinai, Deuteronomy 28:49-50.
So this time He brought the Romans against the nation of Israel; this is what Jesus is predicting would happen about four decades later in the events of A.D. 70. You’ll see Jesus’ predictions there in Luke 19:41-44. [Luke 19:41, “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,  saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. [43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side,  and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”]
And at that point the nation of Israel is pushed into what we call the Diaspora, worldwide dispersion. And they have been in that state of worldwide dispersion for 2,000 years, and that’s really how to look at the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel, as I speak today, is under the discipline of God. I love Israel, I think we should do whatever we can do to help Israel, but the reality is the nation of Israel for the last 2,000 years has been under the disciplinary hand of God, pushed into worldwide dispersion, an outworking of the cycles of discipline spelled out at Mt. Sinai.
And you’ll notice that Moses, all the way back at Mount Sinai, predicted this would happen. In Deuteronomy 4:27 it says this: “The LORD will scatter you among the” what? “the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the” what? “nations where the LORD drives you” that’s Diaspora language, you’re going to be scattered into the nations, and that really didn’t happen the way Moses predicted it would happen until A.D. 70.
And now we’re finally getting to the verse I had you open up to, Deuteronomy 28:63-65, another Diaspora prophecy. “It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.” Now they entered under Joshua and they were in that land for about one thousand three hundred years; they were out of it for the captivity of seventy years in Babylon, but they came back and Moses is predicting that although you’re going to be in that land for a long time, one thousand three hundred years to be exact, eventually you’re going to be kicked out of that land again.
 “Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among” the what? “all peoples,” is “peoples” there singular or plural? Plural, it’s not talking about them being located into one nation for discipline as was the case in Babylon, it’s talking about their global dispersion. “the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth;” see the Diaspora language there, global dispersion, “and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.  Among those nations” plural, see that, “you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul.”
And I can’t think of a better description of what the nation of Israel has endured for 2,000 years than what you find there in those verses, Deuteronomy 28:63-65. When you look at the language, when it says “peoples” and “nations” this cannot be the captivity in Babylon because the captivity in Babylon was just to one nation. They were there seventy years and then they returned from their captivity. What Deuteronomy 28 is predicting is something far worse than what happened to them in Babylon; it’s them being evicted into their land and being in global dispersion, worldwide dispersion for a prolonged period of time. And that dispersion, in my humble opinion, really did not start until forty years after the time of Christ, in the events of A.D. 70. And that is the condition the nation of Israel has been in for two thousand years.
So to understand Israel the first thing you have to understand is Israel in the Diaspora, Israel in the dispersion. To understand how God is going to bring His kingdom to the earth, which is ,as I’ve tried to explain, revolving around the nation of Israel you have to understand how God has dealt with great severity against Israel and pushed them into the Diaspora.
You say well, this is all very depressing. Well let me kind of give you a happy thought; can I do that? You say please, give us a happy thought. Deuteronomy 30:3 doesn’t just predict the scattering but it predicts their ultimate what? Regathering and restoration. Now here’s my happy thought of the day. Do you think the scattering happened very literally? Yes it did! That’s the obvious record of history. Well, if the scattering happened very literally then the prophecies about Israel’s what must be literal as well? Her regathering. See that. So when you see how accurately God has made good on what He said He would do through the scattering and you say wow, God really means what He says, then you have to take also at face value and literally the prophecies of regathering.
So Deuteronomy 30: 3 says, “then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from” where? From Babylon? NO! “from all the peoples [where the LORD your God has scattered you] of the earth.” See that,” where the LORD God has scattered you.”
Now there are many, many Christian churches, many, many Christian pastors, many, many Christian theologians, many, many Christian denominations that will not breathe a single word about this to you, in sermons of Bible studies. Why is that? Because they really don’t believe what it says and what they will do is they will say the prophecies there of Israel’s scattering are literal but the prophecies of Israel’s regathering and restoration are allegorical. You see that? And that is a doctrine called amillennialism or replacement theology, or kingdom now theology, where they’re basically trying to argue that all of the prophecies regarding Israel’s restoration are happening today in your local church, Jesus is reigning in your heart, that kind of thing.
So you see what they have to do here? They’ve got to take one-half of the verse literally, the scattering, and the other half of the verse allegorically. Now does that make any real sense logically? I don’t think the Holy Spirit is going to switch horses in midstream; I mean, if God said the scattering is literal, of a literal nation, the Hebrew nation, then their regathering has to be literal as well. So when you see how severely God has treated Israel, His wife (Israel is the wife of Jehovah, Isaiah 54:5 says that) it’s kind of easy to get depressed about it. [Isaiah 54:5, “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.”]
But then you start to say wait a minute, if God did everything He said He would do concerning her scattering then I have to also take at face value her regathering. And as Christians we have to pay attention to the prophecies related to Israel’s regathering because the whole manifestation of the coming of the kingdom to planet earth revolves around God’s program for Israel. See that? I mean, that’s why Israel is a big deal.
So we’ve seen Israel in the diaspora but then the prophecies go on and they begin to talk about her regathering in unbelief. If you look at my outline here there’s basically two regatherings.
Israel’s Two Regatherings
The Present (First Regathering) The Permanent (Second Regathering)
Return to part of the land Return to all the land
Return in unbelief Return in faith
Restored to the land only Restored to the land and the Lord
Sets the stage for Tribulation (discipline) Sets stage for Millennium (blessing
Adapted from: Price, Jerusalem in Prophecy, 219
First Israel is going to be regathered in unbelief and then as she goes through the events of the tribulation period and the persecution of the antichrist she’s going to be regathered in faith.
Now this chart here from Dr. Randal Price, who we’ve had as a speaker here before at this church,
I think you have it there in your notes, it’s one of the best charts explaining the two regatherings because a lot of people today are very confused as to what God is doing. God is regathering the nation of Israel today; He started that process… well, it really culminated and continues with their war of independence, May 14, 1948 and this is sort of a thorn in the side of a lot of people because they say well how could that be the plan and program of God? Israel today is an unbelieving nation, I mean, Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the nation of Israel, is not an evangelical Christian. Right? In fact, that nation is primarily atheistic.
And so people say well how could that regathering, how could that group of unbelievers in the Middle East be significant? After all, they’re not Christians. And the answer is you’ve got to understand that the regathering process has two parts to it. First He’s got to regather them in unbelief before He regathers them in faith. See that. Guess what you have to do before you can be a believer? Anybody know the answer to that? Before you can be a believer you have to be an unbeliever. Now let me just ask you a basic question—do you think God was at work in your life before you were a believer? I can look back at my life and I can very clearly see the work of God, at the time I didn’t know it but God was setting up the right conversations and allowing me to meet the right people and experience some failures and some emptiness and things where my heart was sort of searching. That’s all the plan and program of God.
In fact, Jesus, in John 16:7-11, where He says “the Spirit has come into the world to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment,” that’s the description of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the unbeliever. [John 16:7-11, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”] So if God can work in my life as an unbeliever and bring me to faith why can’t He do that with Israel. See that? And that’s how to understand the current regathering of Israel in unbelief, as still the work of God. You with me on that?
So this chart here shows you the difference between the two. We have Israel’s two regatherings. We have the present first regathering and that is to be compared to the permanent second regathering. In the present regathering Israel returns to part of her land; today Israel, see that dark blue area there? That’s basically what Israel possesses today. You see that lighter blue area? That’s everything that God has promised Israel. So in the first regathering she returns to part of her land; in the second regathering she’s going to return to the whole land and she’s going to get everything that God promised to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant, a plot of real estate that goes from modern day Egypt to modern day Iraq.
Backing up again, back to our chart, in the present regathering Israel returns in unbelief, but in the second regathering at the end of the tribulation period she returns in faith. And if you look at Matthew 24:31 it makes this statement, it says, “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” That is a description of God regathering His nation, in context, the nation of Israel, after they have been persecuted from the antichrist. So this is their regathering in faith. In the first regathering she goes back to her land in unbelief; in the second regathering she returns in faith. In the first regathering she’s restored to the land only; in the second regathering she’s restored to the land and the Lord. So in the second regathering she comes back into her own land as a believer, regenerated, just as real as you’re regenerated today.
The first regathering, and I believe that regathering is happening right now, is setting the stage for the tribulation period. It’s setting the stage for discipline; it’s through this distress or discipline that she’ll get saved. See that? But the second regathering is going to set the stage for the millennial kingdom and it will set the stage not for discipline but for blessing. So you see what’s happening here? We’re living in between those two gatherings; the regathering in unbelief is already happening. And by the way, this regathering in unbelief is a sociological miracle. How do I know that? Because when a nation is removed from its homeland within a couple of generations that nation assimilates into its host’s culture.
So the reality of the situation is there shouldn’t be Jewish people today; there shouldn’t be a group of people called the Hebrews. How do I know that? Because the Bible talks about the Amalekites, the Jebusites, the Girgashites, the mosquito bites, the termites, the out of sights, the electric lights… I mean, how many Amalekites do you know? Do you know any Amalekites? How many Jebusites do you know? They’re in the Bible. When the neighbor moves in down the street we don’t say oh, what a lovely Jebusite couple down the road. There are no Jebusites. Why? Because sociologically they were removed from their land and they assimilated into the host culture. They lost their ethnicity.
Sociologists tell us that within two to three generations that happens. Now how do you explain Israel being out of its land in worldwide dispersion, not for two or three generations but for two thousand years? How do you explain that? And then they go right back into the same land that they were evicted from two thousand years later, speaking the same language (Hebrew) and the same religion and the same culture.
And people say oh, I wish God would do some miracles today. Are you kidding me? If you look at the nation of Israel and the Middle East that’s a sociological miracle. That’s the best example I can think of, of a modern day miracle today. And God said this would happen, you’re going to go into dispersion, and yet He can’t bring them back unless they’re preserved, so through all these years and all this persecution they’ve been preserved and God recycles them back into the same land that they were initially evicted from. So that’s where we are today. And that’s why I believe that the church ag is rapidly coming to an end; I’m not a date setter but the reality of the situation is God is building the temple and basically what’s happening right now is He’s putting on the roof. It won’t be much longer until the church age is over because we see signs of it, rumblings of it in the Middle East, God is getting ready to turn His hand back on the nation of Israel and their regathering in unbelief is evidence of that.
So there are many, many prophecies in the Bible that reveal that God is going to regather His people in unbelief. One of them is in Ezekiel 20:33-38, you might want to look at that It says this: “‘As I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with My wrath poured out, I shall be king over you.” Look at this:  “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are” what? “scattered,” what’s our Greek word for “scattered,” diaspora, “with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out;  and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.” See that, they’ve been regathered in unbelief awaiting His judgment.  “As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord GOD.  ‘I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;” Look at this,  “and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgressed against Me;” see what he’s doing? He’s bringing them back in in unbelief for discipline. “I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.”
Now take a look at Isaiah 11:11-12, this one is very interesting. It says this: “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the” which time? “second time with His hand,” isn’t that interesting, it gives a number there, “The remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath,” those are all the nations where Israel’s been scattered, “and from the islands of the sea.  And He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
Now in context this is talking about the regathering in faith at the end of the tribulation period. Well, if that is the second regathering let me ask you a question, and it says the “second time,” when was the first one? People say well that’s Israel being brought back from Babylon. Well, that dog won’t hunt because when they were brought back from Babylon they weren’t brought back from the whole world; they were brought back from one locality. See that?
So what he’s saying here, Isaiah is, is there is going to be a regathering in faith which will be preceded by a worldwide regathering in unbelief. What are we seeing today. We are seeing the first of the two; there is a regathering in unbelief, that’s the first one. Then in the events of the tribulation period she is scattered again and then there’ll be a regathering in faith. And I get that because it says there “the second time.” Are you with me on that?
You say well, pastor, you’re crazy, why do you talk like this. So let me quote someone that knows more about it than I do. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, the great Hebrew Christian scholar, he’s making a statement here about Isaiah 11:11-12, because people will say this: oh, 1948, who cares, they could get scattered again and if they get scattered again God will bring them back again in unbelief. So they don’t believe there’s any prophetic significance to what’s happening in the Middle East today.
Well, once again that dog won’t hunt because Isaiah says “the second time.” If there’s a second regathering from around the world there has to be a what? A first regathering from around the world. See, Isaiah 11:11-12 refutes this mindset that’s so common among Christians that Israel in the land today doesn’t mean anything.
So Arnold Fruchtenbaum explains it this way: “But then the…view goes on to say that we really cannot be sure that the present Jewish state, as we see it today, is the fulfillment of those prophecies that spoke of the regathering in unbelief. Why not? Because they believe that it is possible to have several regatherings in unbelief before there is the specific one that fulfills the prophecies just discussed. But this passage in Isaiah” the one we just read, “shows that is exactly what cannot be: there cannot be several regatherings in unbelief from the four corners of the earth. This is the entire context of Isaiah 11 and 12. “…In this context, he” that’s Isaiah, “is speaking of the final worldwide regathering in faith in preparation for blessing.”
“Isaiah numbers the final worldwide regathering in faith in preparation for the messianic Kingdom as the second one.” You see that? “In other words, the last one is only the second one. If the last one is the second one, how many can there be before that? Only one. The first one could not have been the return from Babylon since that was not an international regathering from the four corners of the world, only a migration from one country (Babylonia) to another (Judea). The Bible does not allow for several worldwide regatherings in unbelief; it allows for one worldwide regathering in unbelief, followed by the last one, the one in faith, which is the second one. This text only permits two worldwide regatherings from the four corners of the earth. Therefore, the present Jewish state is relevant to Bible prophecy.” [Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, rev. ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel, 2003), 102–103.]
I can’t tell you how long I’ve heard from people that well, we don’t really know what it is, we can’t be sure. Let’s sort of pause and make sure we’re calm, cool and collected before we can categorically say that what God is doing in the Middle East today is prophetically significant. There is so much, what I would call prophetic agnosticism in the average evangelical mind today. People just will not take a stand on these kinds of subjects and hosts of other subjects for that matter. Well, I’m taking a stand on it. I’m not giving you a date and I’m not giving you a time. What I’m saying is this: what is happening in the Middle East today is a big, BIG deal and you shouldn’t take it lightly as a Christian. It is a sign from God and something like this has never happened before. It is a sign from God that God is saying I’m about to bring My kingdom to the earth, I’ve got to convert Israel first, so therefore I’ve got to finish up the work of the church; I’ve got to get the church out of here, I’ve got to take the church to heaven via the rapture, so I can finish what I said I would complete all the way back in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 28.
So as a Christian you need to understand something. You are living on borrowed time if you understand these prophecies correctly. You may not live out your full life expectancy; I may not live out my full life expectancy. Now then again, maybe we will, I can’t set a date, I can only know the general season that we’re in. You say well, this is all a bunch of academic stuff, give me some application. Here’s the application: if you’re committing some kind of sin in your life right now, you’d better knock it off! How’s that for application? Because you’re going to stand before the Lord at the Bema Seat Judgment and give an account in terms of rewards, not salvation but rewards.
Here’s another application; if God is putting on your heart to do a ministry you’d better do it right now. You’d better not presume… James says we commit the sin of presumption, you say well, tomorrow I’ll do this and I’ll go into this city over here and I’ll start a business and James says you don’t even know if you’re going to be alive tomorrow. We don’t even know if the church is going to be here tomorrow. So if God is calling you to do a ministry now is the time to do it. If God is calling you to share your faith with somebody, a neighbor, a coworker, or a family member or whatever, you shouldn’t say well, I’ll just do it next year; you should do it right now. And every time you look into the Middle East and you see the Israeli flag flying there and you see the Hebrew language being spoken, that is a testimony that this age is getting ready to wrap up. That’s what God is communicating in these things.
We’re so lackadaisical with our Christianity, there’s almost in the American church today there’s such a lack of urgency to what we’re going. A lot of times we’re just kind of going through the motions. And when you start to understand these prophecies what it introduces is immediate urgency into the life of the Christian. When they figured out the Titanic was sinking they didn’t waste their time rearranging the deck chairs. I mean, this was serious now, we’ve got to get people off this boat. And so what I’m trying to say is the Titanic is sinking! Now there’s hope because there’s a new world coming but this world is about to move into strenuous judgment after the rapture. And you may not have a lot of time left to warn people and get them saved so they can go up in the rapture.
Think about this for a second. Rome, in A.D. 70, kicks Israel out of her land. Rome, a worldwide power speaking Latin, kicks Israel out of her land; that’s A.D. 70. Flash forward 2,000 years—Rome is gone, Latin is a dead language. What remains? Tiny Israel and Hebrew is what? A live language. That’s the hand of God!
Of course, you know from our study in the Book of Daniel on Sunday morning that what will start the tribulation period is the antichrist entering into a peace treaty with unbelieving Israel. Daniel 9:27. [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]
Can I ask you a basic question? How can that happen unless you have a what? An unbelieving Israel in existence. We haven’t had that for 2,000 years. Oh, Rome, in our lifetime, there it is. God is setting the stage for the tribulation period is what’s happening. There’s a lot of prophecies that Israel has to fulfill while she’s in unbelief, therefore she’s got to be regathered in what? Unbelief! Have you read Revelation 11:8 lately? It’s in the tribulation, it says, “And their dead bodies” that’s the two witnesses, “will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” Where was Jesus crucified? Which city? Jerusalem. He’s talking about Jerusalem, and he says at that time Jerusalem will be like Sodom, known for depravity, right? And Egypt, known for bondage. You can’t have a prophecy like that unless Israel is regathered in unbelief.
Have you studied Zechariah 12:10 lately? “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit” the “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit at their conversion, “the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” This is the conversion of Israel.
Now watch this very carefully, before the Spirit comes upon them where is their geographical location. The Spirit comes upon them while they are inhabitants of Jerusalem; so they’re in Jerusalem in unbelief, then the Spirit comes. Well, I’ve got a question, how do they get there in unbelief? There has to be two regatherings, see that? A regathering in unbelief which paves the way for the regathering in faith.
You say well, pastor, I still think you’re crazy. That’s all right, a lot of people do. That’s why I like to quote people that know more about this than me. Long time prophecy scholar John Walvoord said, “Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic destiny.” [Israel in Prophecy, Page 26]
That’s exactly what I’m saying right here, isn’t it? I’m not making stuff up. All I’m doing is carrying forward a tradition that’s been handed to me and these older guys they got it from the Bible. Do you know when John Walvoord made that statement? He made it in 1962. You say well what’s the big deal about that? Well, Israel didn’t even get Jordan and Samaria and Judea back until 1967. When Walvoord made that statement the nation of Israel didn’t even have political control over the city of Jerusalem…1962. Can you imagine his excitement when Israel gets control, in what’s called the Six Day War, over the city of Jerusalem. Once they get control over the city of Jerusalem suddenly the Jews in Jerusalem, where they have to be before the Spirit comes upon them, suddenly that prophecy starts to make sense. The world calls that the West Bank but it’s better called Judea and Samaria; it’s a territory that Israel got in a war of self-defense called the Six Day War.
One quick thing, by the way, I’m in my book, pages 160-162 I’ve got three other quotes from Walvoord where he says that. He says things like that in 1962, I’ve just given you one quote. And people say well, you know, if you listen to John Piper, for example, I call him the Pied Piper, he’s very popular amongst the youth, kind of a motivational speaker type of guy, and he’s always saying Israel in the land today doesn’t mean anything. Why is that? Because Israel was in unbelief, so if Israel is in unbelief she has no right to [can’t understand word] That’s his logic. Well, news flash, Israel was in that land from the time of Joshua up to the time of Christ for 1300 years. Have you read your Old Testament carefully? Were they ever in belief? I mean, they were characterized by unbelief. So if you say that Israel has to be in belief before she has any right to the land then you’re got to throw out1,300 years of biblical history. And people like John Piper do not acknowledge that God can work with a people in unbelief before they’re brought to a conversion. And that’s what we’re seeing happening in our day.
So we’ve looked at Israel in the diaspora; Israel’s regathering in unbelief, then you say well once they’re regathered in unbelief how is God going to save them. So next week we’ll talk about that, how God is going to save them through distress and this is important to understand because God’s work through Israel is the mechanism that He’s going to use to bring the long awaited kingdom to the earth. So I will stop and those that want to stick around and ask a question, a few questions, we can do that as well.