“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land (Ezekiel 37:21-22).’”
May 14th, 1948 was an extraordinary date in terms of fulfilling Bible prophecy. On that day, the house of Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation after nearly two thousand years of exile from their land. The rebirth and resettlement of Israel as a nation was the realization of a remarkable vision that God gave the prophet Ezekiel twenty-six centuries ago.
Israel’s Birth as Modern Nation Fulfilled Ancient Prophecy
Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet who lived from 620 to 570 B.C. and spent much of his life in Babylonian captivity. God gave Ezekiel a prophetic vision concerning the future of the nation of Israel and also gave him the interpretation of the vision (see Ezekiel Chapter 37). In this vision, God showed Ezekiel a valley filled with a vast number of dry bones. He told Ezekiel that the dead bones were the house of Israel, which had been slain (Ezekiel 37:9-11). In Ezekiel’s vision, these Jews cry out, “Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished! We are completely cut off! (Ezekiel 37:11).” This part of Ezekiel’s vision actually came to pass in A.D. 70 when the Roman army laid siege to Jerusalem, then completely destroyed the city and slaughtered up one million of its inhabitants. The two million Jews who survived this calamity were then left impoverished, or sold into slavery or exiled from their own land and scattered abroad to all the nations. When the Roman army leveled Jerusalem, they fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy: “As He (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had known on this day what would bring you peace – but now is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will level you to the ground, you and your children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you (Luke 19:41-44).’” The Romans also completely demolished the Jew’s Temple of worship thus fulfilling another of Jesus’ prophecies (see Matthew 24:2; Luke 21:6). Jesus’ love and compassion for the house of Israel was evident by His ministry to the poor and sick and by His lament over Jerusalem: “O’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Behold your house is being left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matthew 23:37-39).’”
A Miraculous Rebirth Out of the Ashes of the Holocaust
For the next nineteen centuries, the Jews who were dispersed to foreign nations regularly suffered from “pogroms,” or the organized massacre of Jews by the inhabitants of those countries. Then, in the 1930s and 1940s, the complete annihilation of the house of Israel nearly occurred when Nazi Germany systemically slaughtered six million Jews. Hitler intended this holocaust to be the final graveyard of the Jewish people. But from the ashes of the holocaust, God miraculously gathered the Jews from all the nations and brought them back to their own land. This extraordinary event fulfilled Ezekiel’s prophetic vision in which God breathes on the dead bones (the house of Israel) and causes them to come together and return to their own land as one nation (Ezekiel 37:5-14). Like many Biblical prophecies, Ezekiel’s vision is multi-layered. It envisions a near- term, partial fulfillment and a complete fulfillment in the distant future. In this case, the captivity and return of a relatively small number of Jews from Babylon back to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. was a partial fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision. However, in Ezekiel’s vision, a “vast” number of Jews were slain; a great multitude (“the whole house of Israel”) were scattered in exile to many nations; and, finally, “an exceedingly great army” of Jews were brought back by God to their own land to be one sovereign, undivided nation. Only the remarkable events of May 14th 1948, when Israel was reborn as a modern nation, begin to completely fulfill Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of the dry bones.
God’s vision to Ezekiel actually contained two distinct provisions. God not only showed Ezekiel that Israel would be restored to her land; He also showed Ezekiel that Israel would be restored to her God and Messiah. “I will save them from all their sinful backsliding and I will cleanse them. They will be My people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them (Ezekiel 37:23-24).” The Davidic kingdom is the prophetic term for the rulership of the Messiah who is David’s descendent. Thus the first stage of Ezekiel’s vision (the physical restoration of the Jewish people back to their land as a sovereign nation) occurred on May 14th 1948. However, the second stage of Ezekiel’s vision (the spiritual restoration of the Jewish people to God and His Messiah) has still to occur. Yet this will undoubtedly happen. God once again made His covenant promise very clear to Ezekiel. “From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to Me. So I hid My face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid My face from them. Therefore this is what the Lord God says, ‘I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for My holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward Me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show Myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 39:22-29).”
Israel to Be Restored to God
Although God has brought the Jewish people back to their land, the Jewish people have not yet come back to their God. In A.D. 30, the nation of Israel (except for a very small remnant) rejected Yeshua ha’Mashiah. As a result of their rejection of the Messiah, God not only dispersed the Jews to many foreign lands, He opened the door for the Gentiles to come into the kingdom of God (Romans 10:21-11:11). This marked the beginning of “the times of the Gentiles” in terms of God’s spiritual dispensation. At the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus foresaw that the “times of the Gentiles” was about to begin. When Jesus’ disciples told Him that some Greeks (Gentiles) were seeking Him, Jesus knew this was a “signpost” indicating the gospel would soon be given to the Gentiles. Jesus then responded that His time to die had come so that He might bear much fruit (John 12:20-25). He knew that by His death and resurrection, God would bring all the Gentiles who are appointed for salvation into His kingdom. Jesus said, “I have other sheep (the Gentiles), which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd (John 10:16).” Thus, for the last two thousand years, we have been in “the times of the Gentiles.”
When will the Jewish people return to God’s fold and to the one great Shepherd, Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha’Mashiah)? Has God forgotten the Jewish people and rejected the everlasting covenant that He made with Israel? (See Isaiah 61:8; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 37:26). The apostle Paul answers this with a resounding, “Absolutely not! (Romans 11:1).” Paul then goes on to prophetically declare that the whole spiritual house of Israel – all those who are the true children of Abraham by faith (see Galatians 5:22-31) – will receive Jesus as their Messiah and be restored to God when the times of the Gentiles are completed. “I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of this mystery – so that you would not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in: and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant will them when I take away their sins (Romans 11:25-27).” The prophet Jeremiah also described this momentous event. “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God and they will be My people (Jeremiah 31:31-33).” Ezekiel also prophesied of this new covenant for the house of Israel. “For I will take you from the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land… I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; and I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and you will be careful to observe My ordinances (Ezekiel 36:24-27).” Thus all the true children of Abraham by faith – the children of the promise will be saved (Galatians 4:22-31). How many Jews will be saved? Only God knows, but we believe there will be far more than just a small, insignificant “remnant” when the last great worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurs.
Through Christ’s Death, Jews and Gentiles Will Become One Body
The Messiah’s sacrificial death on the cross made possible this New Covenant and divine heart transplant prophesied six centuries earlier by both Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God knew both Jews and Gentiles alike needed not only forgiveness from the penalty of sin; He also knew we needed deliverance from the power of sin. “Both Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin (Romans 3:9).” Therefore, Jesus Christ not only bore our sins on the cross; He also bore our sin nature on the cross with Him. When Christ died, God exchanged our terminally sin-sick heart with His Son’s holy heart. Thus God included us in His Son’s death so that He might sovereignly live in us. This is the gospel of Christ’s kingdom and eternal reign. “By reason of His resurrection from the dead, He became the first to proclaim light to both the Jewish people and the Gentiles (Acts 26:23).” However, we must always remember that all of God’s covenant promises, which were given through the Old Testament prophets, were originally intended for the Jews and only now apply to the Gentiles because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah (see Romans Chapter 11). From Genesis to Revelation, God’s love for Israel is a dominant theme. Throughout the Bible, God has revealed Himself as the God of Israel. Jesus Himself declared, “Salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22).” It is because of the temporary blindness of the Jewish people that God opened the door for the Gentiles to be included in His covenant promises. “Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6).” Therefore, although the gospel of Christ is for everyone, it was intended for the Jew first. The apostle Paul proclaimed, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes – to the Jew first and then to the Greek (Romans 1:16).” Consequently, God has not forgotten the Jewish people. God is not finished with them. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For just as you once were disobedient, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy (Romans 11:30-31).”
Because of God’s covenant promises to Israel, all Christians should have God’s heart to share the gospel to the Jewish people. When the house of Israel finally embraces Yeshua ha’Mashiah, God’s eternal purpose and promise for their church will be fulfilled. Then both Jew and Gentile alike will become one body with one heart and mind in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote of this, “His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two (Jew and Gentile), thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross… For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. So then you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you are also being built together into a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:15-22).”
The Time for the Restoration of All Things is at Hand
The point we are making is this: twenty-six centuries ago, God through His prophets declared the Jewish people would be restored first to their land and then to their God through His New Covenant in Christ Jesus. Then six centuries later, God through the apostle Paul declared the restoration of the Jewish people to God and their Messiah would occur when the “fullness of the Gentiles” had come into the kingdom of God. How will we know when that time comes? Jesus Himself gave us the answer when He said “the times of the Gentiles” would be fulfilled when Jerusalem was no longer under the control of the Gentile nations (Luke 21:28). This singular prophetic event as fulfilled during the Arab-Israeli, Six-Day War on June 7th 1967 when Israel regained sovereign control of the old city of Jerusalem for the first time in nineteen centuries. We believe this historic watershed event signaled the beginning of the end of “the time of the Gentiles” as Jesus declared. We are now in a time of transition at the end of this age. The time for the restoration of all things is at hand before the return of Christ (Acts 3:20-21). Although many more Gentiles will continue to come into the kingdom of God, particularly in the last great worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are also on the verge of the day when a vast multitude of Jews will also come into the kingdom of God through Yeshua ha’Mashiah. Thus the preaching of the gospel of Christ to the Jewish people is an important key to God’s fulfillment of His prophetic promises and outworking of His eternal purpose. If the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision that Israel would be restored to her own land was miraculous, how much more glorious will it be when God restores Israel to Himself?
The prophet Isaiah declared of that great day, “As the Bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:5).” Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha’Mashiah), the Bridegroom, is presently seeking those who would intercede for the restoration of His bride. “On your walls, I Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:6-7).” Daniel was a Hebrew prophet and contemporary of Ezekiel who lived from 620 to 540 B.C., and also spent much of his life in Babylonian exile. Toward the end of Daniel’s life, God revealed to him that the Babylonian captivity period of seventy years was drawing to a close. Knowing God’s heart and purpose, Daniel earnestly and effectively prayed that Israel would be forgiven for her unfaithfulness to God and restored to Jerusalem, her homeland (see Daniel Chapter Nine). In the same way, knowing God’s heart and purpose, let us also earnestly pray that the Jews of modern Israel (along with those Jews residing in all the other nations of the earth) would repent from their unfaithfulness and be restored to their God. Let us pray as the prophet Isaiah prayed, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness shines out like the dawn and her salvation like a blazing torch (Isaiah 62:1).”
Final Events Leading to Jesus Christ’s Return
Israel’s restoration to God will help usher in the Messianic Age (also called the Millennium) when Jesus the Messiah King (Melekh ha’Mashiah) will return and rule the nations of the earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years. The Bible describes a number of events that will occur before Christ returns to establish the Messianic Age. It is not our intent here to describe these events in detail or to establish an end-time timeline. We realize that many sincere Christians have differing opinions about the meaning and timing of these prophetic events. We are also keenly aware of our Lord’s instruction: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24:36).” However in the same passage, Jesus said, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door (Matthew 24:32-33).” And the apostle Paul wrote, “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5).” Although we may not know the exact day or hour, we can see the leaves on the fig tree and discern the signs of the times (Matthew 16:3). With this in mind, we have outlined a general roadmap of end-time events based on our interpretation of Biblical prophecy. Note that these events may not necessarily occur in the following order and some of them may overlap.
- Christ’s eternal gospel will be preached to all the nations (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 10:7; 14:6) thus fulfilling His great commission to the church and marking His imminent return (Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:15; Revelation 14:6-7). This eternal gospel is the message of the Cross and Kingship of Christ (Matthew 4:23; 13:19-23; 24:14; Acts 17:7; 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; Galatians 6:14).
- The great tribulation will come upon the whole world (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21; Luke 21:35). This will be an unprecedented time of worldwide calamity and distress, which we believe the church will also have to endure (Matthew 24:22; Revelation 7:14). This is the time of great suffering and labor pains on the earth leading to Christ’s return (Matthew 24:8).
- The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the whole earth with unprecedented scope and there will be a great harvest of souls (Joel 2:28-29; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 7:9-14; 14:14-16). We believe this last great worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be what the Bible prophetically calls the “latter rain” since the first great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (“the early rain”) occurred in the first century (Jeremiah 5:23-24; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7).
- The Antichrist (“the man of lawlessness”) will come to power and deceive and control humanity (Daniel 7:25; 8:9-14; 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 13:1-18). He will also persecute, imprison and kill the true saints of God (Daniel 7:21, 25; 11:33; 12:7; Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:16-17; Revelation 12:17; 13:7).
- The church will experience a great apostasy when many professing Christians will fall away from the faith and betray even their fellow Christians (Matthew 24:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 2:18; Revelation 11:2; 13:7).
- The Lord will have an overcoming remnant of devoted believers, many of whom will die as martyrs for their faith (Daniel 11:32-33; Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:16; Revelation 7:13-14; 11:7; 12:11; 14:4, 12-13; 15:2). The crucible of these trying end-time events will purify the faith of those true believers whom are called to be the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7; 21:2).
- Israel will be attacked by her enemies and threatened with imminent destruction (Ezekiel 38:15-16; Zechariah 12:2-3). This is the culmination of the great tribulation for Israel, which the Bible prophetically calls the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). The children of promise in Israel will be saved by God from the “eye of the storm” and restored to their Messiah (Isaiah 52:7-10; Jeremiah 30:7; 32:36-42; 33:14-16; Ezekiel 39:22-29: Zechariah 12:9; Romans 11:25-26). Note: The “eye” is the middle of a powerful, violent storm such as a hurricane. After the first destructive half of the storm, there is a brief calm in the eye of the storm before the last devastating half of the storm. At that time, all those Jews who receive Jesus as their Messiah will be saved, for they are the “children of promise” (Romans 9:8; Galatians 5:22-31).
- The world will experience God’s wrath and judgment (Isaiah 63:1-7; Zechariah 12:8-9; Romans 2:5; Revelation 6:15-17; 14:7-11; 17-20; Chapters 16-18; 19:11-16).
- Jesus Christ, who first came as the Lamb of God, will now return as the Lion of Judah and King of Kings to crush Satan, judge the nations and establish the Messianic Age (Isaiah 2:2-3; 9:6-7; Jeremiah 33:14-22; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Daniel 7:27; Micah 4:1-3; Zechariah 2:10-12; 8:3; 12:10-14; 14:3-19; Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Jude 14-15; Revelation 11:15; 20:4-6).
We believe the rebirth of the nation of Israel on May 14th 1948 signaled the beginning of these end-time climactic events. We are presently living in the very perilous “last hours” of the last days when the earth is in great spiritual darkness and deception (Isaiah 60:1-2). The world is Godless, lawless and loveless. The nations are filled with corruption and nearly ripe for judgment (Genesis 6:11-12). People are lovers of self, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Multitudes are practicing a counterfeit form of “Christianity,” but by their lives they deny Christ and His power because they are not submitted to Christ’s authority (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Israel’s many enemies are currently encircling her like hungry vultures gathering around a corpse (Matthew 24:28). The stage is now set for the Bible’s final end-time prophecies to be fulfilled.
The Great Tribulation and the Last Great Harvest of Souls
We believe our website www.ChristCrucified.info is one of many ministries that will help the church usher in the return of Christ by sending the eternal gospel of the Cross and the Messiah King around the world. This is one reason why we chose May 14th, 2011, the anniversary of Israel’s rebirth as a nation, as the date to launch our website. As the gospel of the Kingship of Christ spreads across the face of the earth to all nations, the next significant prophetic event to occur may likely be the great tribulation (Revelation 14:6-7). We are presently in the calm before the storm – on the eve of the great tribulation. The onset of the great tribulation will sound the “final hour” of God’s prophetic clock. Just like the days of Noah before the flood and just like the days of Lot before the fiery destruction, people are buying and selling, building and planting, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until that hour when the great trouble covers the face of the earth like a giant tsunami (Matthew 24:36-39; Luke 17:26-30). The rulers of the nations cannot see the great storm clouds now looming on the horizon. Today, if anyone preaches righteousness like Noah, the world mocks them saying, “Where is Christ’s return? Everything continues just as it always did for thousands of years (see 2 Peter 2:4-10; 3:3-12).” Yet when the great tribulation suddenly erupts, it will be cataclysmic and worldwide. This global calamity and the events which soon follow will cause to men faint with fear for their lives and brother to betray brother to death in order to survive (Luke 21:16 & 26). This earth-shaking catastrophe will set in motion the remaining prophetic events before Christ’s triumphant return (Matthew 24:21-22). Since these events are the final labor pains leading to the birth of the Messianic Age, they will occur with increasing frequency and greater intensity until the Lord returns. Jesus said the generation alive during that time would see all these events come to pass (Luke 21:32).
The King is Coming!
During the great tribulation, everyone who belongs to Jesus Christ can lift their heads and fix their eyes “on high” knowing that their Redeemer will soon return (Luke 21:28). Now is not the time to become discouraged and throw away our confidence in Jesus Christ, which will have great reward. Now is not the time to allow our faith in Christ to be undermined by the worries and pleasures of this world. Now is not the time to be misled by the antichrists and deceivers in the world. Now is the time for us to spiritually prepare for the coming storm by believing and acting on the power of the cross of Christ. Jesus Christ died for us and included us in His death, in order to remove our sin nature, so that He might now reign in us! The sun is about to set on the close of this age and Jesus Christ is standing at the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans 8:34). Now is the time for us to run the final leg of the race with endurance fixing our eyes on our King Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:1-2). Now is the time for us to carry our own cross and make disciples of all the nations because the great tribulation will be followed by the last worldwide outpouring of the Spirit and the great harvest of souls. Our Lord Jesus Christ has promised us, “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).”
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the nations of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds and from one end of the sky to the other (Matthew 24:29-31).”
Jesus said, “Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done… blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city… The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!”… He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:12-14, 17, 20).”