The God of Israel controls the future. Here’s what the God of Israel says:
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. (Isaiah 46: 10-11)
One of the most fascinating aspects about the people of Israel is their sacred book (which we call the Bible) and its mind-boggling prophecies. These are God-inspired predictions of events declared long before they happened, written by people who lived ages before the concerned generation even came into being. What people and what God does this? In a world of many religions, one cannot help but be amazed by the God of Israel’s bold declarations of the future. Today we see predicted events unfolding before our eyes, and especially those concerning Israel’s future.
Predictions Concerning Israel and the Gentile Nations
When we trace a timeline of recent world events we find that many are closely linked to Israel. We see that Israel is increasingly the vortex of the world. For example, the following events are prophesied:
The return of the Jewish people to their homeland [commenced late 1800’s, ‘Aliyah’ continues today]
The liberation of Jerusalem from Gentile domination [commenced 1917, completed 1967]
Establishment of a Jewish homeland [commenced late 1800’s, legalized 1922]
Continuing persecution of Jews outside Israel [encourages ‘Aliyah’ today]
Attempted division of the Jewish homeland and Jerusalem [sought by the UN, the EU and the PA]
Establishment of the State of Israel [the Jewish nation was ‘born’ May 1948]
Why look at Israel, or even think about this tiny little country? After all, Israel has only some 8 million people and is only the size of Wales. And isn’t stubborn little Israel a thorn in the flesh for the Palestinian people and a hard nut to crack for the UN politicians?
Yes – all that is true. But there is more to Israel than meets the eye – and the vast majority of the population fails to see it. A look at the facts, and a little reading of the Bible shows that Israel’s history and future are extremely important for the nations; she cannot be ignored. Like it or not, the milestones in Israel’s history and the prophesied milestones for the future are crucially important for the world. They affect all nations and all individuals.
The aim of this site is to be an eye-opener to the mystery of Israel. We want to spread the truth about the amazing role of Israel and how it can give us hope in an increasingly violent and chaotic world. Don’t walk away – this divine timepiece is running fast and events surrounding Israel will soon embrace the whole world. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, this site offers food for thought that you might find interesting and worth studying.
The timeline below is best viewed on desktops, laptops and tablets
If you’re viewing this on a mobile phone, click HERE for a PDF version
The Jewish State of Israel occupies the land the Jews call Israel (and Christians refer to as the Holy Land). The Gentile world and the Arab nations also refer to this land as Palestine. The (so-called) Palestinians want to establish a Palestinian state on some (and preferably all) of the land called Israel. Hence the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Let’s summarize the facts.
No Palestinian People: There is no historical Palestinian people. Despite the strong Muslim presence over the centuries, by the early 20th century Palestine was simply a mix of many peoples representing some 50 languages [1911 Encyclopedia Britannica]. ‘Palestine was ethnologically a chaos of all the possible human combinations’ [Richard Hartmann, historian], and so it did not share a common Arab identity. A ‘Palestinian people’ only came to prominence from the indigenous Arab population in response to increasing Jewish immigration after WWI.
It was not as if there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them … they did not exist [Golda Meir, Prime Minister, 1969]
No Palestinian Land or Country: Although referred to a ‘Palestine’ from Roman times, the biblical land of Canaan (today’s Holy Land) was not a ‘country’ and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries [Prof. Bernard Lewis]. The term ‘Palestine’ was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria, and it was applied to the territory placed under the 1922 British Mandate. Historically, there was no such country as Palestine:
There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not
[Arab Prof Philip Hitti (Princeton University), 1946]
Palestine does not exist at all
[Ahmed Shkari (PLO founder), 1956]
Birth of a ‘Palestinian People: Palestinian nationalism and an identifiable ‘Palestinian People’ emerged after WWI, probably in response to the threat posed by Zionism when waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine between 1919 and 1939. Prior to this time, these Arabs were citizens of the Ottoman Empire. A Palestinian identity was given further impetus with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. This was a political maneuver:
The Palestinian people does not exist … there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people [Zahir Muhsein, PLO, March, 1977]
The ‘Promised Land’: The Bible says that the Jews have been promised a land of their own. God made an unconditional promise to Abraham:
I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you … I will give to you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God
Land Partitioning – a Two-State Solution: Under the 1917 Balfour Declaration Britain supported the creation of a Jewish home in Palestine, with the proviso that the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities were preserved. This Declaration was based upon the biblical promise to Abraham and was formalized by the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine, where Palestine was defined as the land west of the river Jordan, including Judea and Samaria (now called the West Bank). In 1947 nearly half of Palestine was owned by Arabs, nearly half was “Crown Lands” under the 1922 British Mandate, and about 8% was Jewish. In the same year UN Resolution 181 recommended that this area be divided equally into an Arab state and a Jewish state, and Jerusalem was to be ‘internationalized’. The Jews accepted the resolution but the Arabs rejected it. When the British left Palestine, the Palestine Mandate was absorbed into Article 80 of the UN Charter, and still stands today.
Palestinian and Jewish Refugees: Since the two-state solution was rejected, immediately after the Declaration of the State in 1948 the Arab nations (notably the Egyptian and Syrian armies) invaded Israel. So Arab nations started the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which led to the refugee problem. In this so-called ‘War of Independence’, many Palestinians evacuated their homes under direction from Arab armies, hoping to return soon after the inevitable Arab victory, link. Instead, over 700,000 Palestinians became refugees that year in what is known as the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe). A further 250,000 Palestinians fled to the West Bank or Gaza Strip during the 1967 war, link.
What is not so widely known is that this war also displaced Jewish inhabitants of East Jerusalem link, and between 1948 and 1951, over 800,000 Jews were effectively forced out of Arab countries by oppression and persecution. These also became refugees, link.
Israel’s Temporary Borders: After the 1948-49 war, the Arab countries refused to sign a permanent peace treaty with Israel and so the 1947 UN Commission proposals never received legal international recognition. Instead, Israel’s temporary borders were established along the so-called ‘Green Line’ of the 1949 UN armistice agreements. This line excludes Israel from the West Bank and Gaza. Its originators never intended it to be Israel’s permanent borders.
The Concept of ‘Land Occupation’: Since the 1967 Six-Day War, the international community (notably the media) has claimed that Israel is “occupying Palestinian land”. But in international law, a territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state is declared terra nullius, and sovereignty over such territory can be legally acquired through occupation. This is the case of the West Bank and Gaza; neither have been legally recognized states and so legally cannot be occupied territories. So in the 1967 war, Israel simply took back Palestine Mandate land that was taken from her by war in 1948-49.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Today
Today, Israel’s legal borders are still defined by Article 80 of the UN Charter and span from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. According to Article 80, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. The land of Israel was meant to be home for the non-Jewish peoples as well as home for the nation, Israel. Sadly this has not happened because the Arab leadership refused, and still refuses to accept the State of Israel and so peace cannot be achieved.
The revised Hamas Charter re-affirms the Palestinian long-standing hatred of Israel:
Hamas will not give up on any part of the land of Palestine no matter the reasons, circumstances or pressures, and no matter how long the occupation remains. Hamas rejects any alternative to completely liberating Palestine from the river to the sea.
The Hidden Spiritual War
In all the conflicts with Israel it is important to recognize that they are driven by unseen spiritual forces. The root cause of such conflicts is the relationship of Israel to Jesus (Yeshua):
the dragon (Satan) … persecuted the woman (Israel) who gave birth to the male child (Jesus) (Rev 12.13)
Put simply, the salvation of mankind comes through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, link. This fundamental truth is why the enemy of mankind persecutes Israel. There is a spiritual war against God’s chosen people, Israel, and aggressive nations and leaders (including the UN and the Palestinian leadership) are simply Satan’s pawns. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just one example of this hidden but very real spiritual war.
The Bible liken’s the nation Israel to a fig tree. A fig tree produces both good and bad (inedible) fruit. So it was with the nation of Israel. Jews who were whole-hearted followers of God were likened to ‘good figs’, and rebellious Jews were likened to ‘bad figs’. The Bible also says that at the end of this age Israel will ‘blossom and bud’ and ‘put forth new leaves’ like a fig tree, and that this will be a sign of the imminent return of Israel’s true Messiah – Yeshua (Jesus Christ). Put simply, the Bible says that end-time events in the world will be closely linked to modern Israel.
Go directly to an interactive timeline for Israel-related events HERE
Signs of the End of the Age and of Christ’s Return
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mathew 24.3), He identified four types of end-time sign (see also Mark 13 and Luke 21):
Signs in the world – wars, earthquakes, famines, lawlessness, wild weather …
Signs in the church – worldwide gospel preaching, persecution, apostasy, false prophets …
Signs in Israel – invasion, severe persecution of Jews …
Signs in the heavens – fearful solar and cosmic disturbances, asteroids …
Jesus said that when we see these signs then “know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21.31). He said these signs point to His imminent return and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. So Jesus stressed that it was important to watch for these signs:
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming (Mat 25.13)
After describing the above signs, Jesus gave a mysterious parable. He associated the observation of these signs with the Parable of the Fig Tree. Why? It turns out that understanding this parable is the key to unlocking the mystery of what is now happening in the world. The parable leads to a very important sign, and one promised by the prophet Isaiah:
He will set up a sign for the nations (Isa 11.12)
What is it?
An Important Sign: The Parable of Israel the Fig Tree
After describing some end-time signs to watch for, Jesus ends with the parable of the fig tree. He told His disciples:
Now learn this 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 also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!
Why did Jesus associate a fig tree with the end time signs? Some argue that Jesus was just using a simple horticultural observation. Quite simply – the fig tree is one of the last trees to bud in the spring and so when it’s leaves are budding we know that summer is just around the corner! So, they argue, Jesus was simply saying; “when the fig tree buds you know that summer is near – likewise, when you see all these things happening, know that the end is near”. They deny that there is any positive association of Israel with a budding fig tree, link. On the other hand, Jesus used the concept of a parable, implying that underneath He was teaching a deep truth. Was He referring to Israel in the last days? Should we view the Parable of the Fig Tree as The Parable of Israel the Fig Tree?
Consider A Little Horticulture
The common or edible fig (Ficus carica L.) is native to the Mediterranean/Israel region, where it can produce three crops per year, link, link. Breba figs develop in the Spring (May) on the previous year’s shoot growth. They are generally inferior to the main crop and are often discarded to encourage growth of the main crop, link. Two main crops follow in July-November, with pollinated (caprified) figs in August-September. Pollination (caprification) of the common fig can markedly increase fig size, link and is done by fig wasps transporting pollen from Capri fig flowers. In contrast to most fruit trees, the Autumn figs (the main crop) develop on the new wood that grows in Spring.
Ficus carica was cultivated for its fruit thousands of years ago and figs are often referred to in the Old Testament. It is interesting to note that the Bible also refers to three crops of figs:
‘early, first ripe, first fruit before the summer, very good figs’ (Isa 28.4; Jer 24.2,3; Hos 9.10) – a relatively small crop with the best flavour, June-July
‘sweetness and good fruit, the season for figs’ (Judg 9.11, Mk 11.13) – main crop, August-September. Made into cakes for winter use (1 Sam 25.18)
‘green, bad, inedible figs’ (Song 2.13; Jer 24.2,3; Jer 29.17) – green or winter figs, small, unripened, unsweetened, inedible fruit, link, link
Spiritual Implication: the End-Time Budding of Israel
Fig horticulture identifies good sweet figs, the first of the summer figs, and poor, unripe and often inedible figs. The significant point here is that the Bible associates these qualities with the people of Israel. For instance, the ‘fathers of Israel’ or Patriarchs are seen as the best figs – the first-fruits of the summer crop:
I found Israel .. your fathers as the first fruits on the fig tree (Hos 9.10)
God sees this minority of Israel as the first and best of the nation. These figs contrast with the green, inedible figs. Both types of fig symbolize the people of Judah before their deportation to Babylon; they are seen as good and bad figs:
The LORD said to me ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ And I said, ‘Figs, the good figs, very good, and the bad, very bad (Jer 24.3)
Jeremiah 24.5-8 shows that God is referring to those Jews who are whole-hearted followers of God (the good figs), and to those rebellious Jews who had rejected God (the bad figs). Likewise, in the time of Christ, most Jews rejected Him and remained dead in their works and legalism. They were like green, unripened, unsweetened figs. Today, most Jews can be seen as green figs, whilst a few (the messianic Jews) are like sweetened ripe figs.
The consequences of rebellion against God is well illustrated in the incidence of the ‘Withered fig tree’ (Mat 21.18,19). Jesus found no fruit (apparently, not even the unripe breba crop), and so He cursed it and it died. This was prophetic, looking to the destiny of the Jews when they were to be scattered by the Romans in 70 AD. Like the cursed fig tree, the nation of Israel seemingly died. In contrast, Jesus gave an extremely important prophecy that applies to our time. To repeat:
Now learn this 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 also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! (Mat 24.32,33)
Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom is near (Lk 21.29-31)
Note that Jesus refers to the tender branch, implying new wood and the coming good summer fruit on the new wood. Since the fruit of the fig tree is established in the Old Testament as symbolizing the spiritual state of the people of Israel, many see this coming ‘summer crop’ as the restoration of the people of Israel (generically referred to as ‘Jews’) to their own land. The fruitless dead wood of scattered Israel is replaced by fruit on new wood. It is likened to a people drawn back into their own land and a nation that becomes a sign to the Gentiles. A remnant of this people become ‘the good, sweet crop’. This process has been underway now for over 100 years, link.
So when we refer to ‘Israel the fig tree’ we see both Old Testament Israel, and modern re-gathered or ‘budding’ Israel. The ‘good crop’ could include the 144,000 Messianic Jews drawn from the twelve tribes of Israel who will evangelize the gentile nations at the very end of this age (Rev 7.4-8). The result is the salvation of a countless number of Gentiles during the Great Tribulation:
I looked and saw a great multitude … of all the nations … clothed with white robes … these are the one’s who come out of the great tribulation (Rev 7.9,14).
The Message behind the Parable: Regathered Israel is a Sign to the Nations
It seems that when Jesus spoke of the appearance of new shoots on the fig tree as signalling that summer is near, He was actually alluding to the restoration of Israel and His imminent return. He was saying that when we see Israel regathered in her own land and ‘budding like a fig tree’ then His return is near – even ‘at the doors’. This will be the time of the coming of the fullness of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Israel and the Timeline for the Last Days
In Luke 21 Jesus said ‘look at the fig tree (Israel) and ‘all the trees’ (the Gentile nations) and so observe the signs of the times. He implied that Israel will be the vortex of the nations. So let’s now apply the parable of Israel the fig tree to the observed world scenario and ask the question, ‘When did the fig tree (Israel) start to bud?’ ‘When did Israel emerge onto the world scene?’ When we trace a timeline of world events from this time we find that many issues of today are closely linked to Israel! We see that Israel is increasingly the vortex of the world.
The timeline below is best viewed on desktops, laptops and tablets. If you’re viewing this on a mobile phone, click HERE for a PDF version
Historic Babylon and historic Rome were seats of power and authority over the world in their day. And today we see the ‘big five’ governments (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) in similar but larger seats of power. What do all these governments have in common? They were and are secular and Godless. Despite strong Vatican influence over Europe the EU has a ‘Godless Constitution’, and even ‘Christian America’ has a ‘Godless Constitution’, link.
What about a Future World Government?
There is much talk today about the coming (Godless) World Government. But in contrast to secular world governments, the final world government on earth will honour the God of the Bible. In fact, we know from prophecy who will lead this government. In the book of Isaiah (chapter 9) we read:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders … There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace
This prophecy clearly states that the leader of this government will be Jesus Christ. Now let’s ask some pertinent questions:
Is this a ‘World Government’ in the modern-day sense? Yes. When Christ returns to earth (and that is soon) He will be “King over all the earth” (Zech 14.9)
Is this a strong government? Yes. Christ will rule the nations “with a rod of iron” (Ps 2 8,9)
What about the secular Godless government on earth when He comes? It will be dashed to pieces and no trace will be left (Dan 2.35)
How long will this government last? Christ will reign on this earth for 1,000 years (the Millennium) (Rev 20.4)
Lastly, where is this seat of His government? The prophets tell us that too:
Thus says the LORD, I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth … for the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Zech 8.3, Isa 2.3)
Yes – it is certain that Jerusalem will soon be the seat of the future and final World Government. The eyes of the nations will be focused on tiny Israel and her King.
Is the future really determined by technology?
Or is mankind’s future determined by some transcendent source?
It has been said:
“Predicting the future is important for two reasons; first we need to start to think about what kind of future we would like for ourselves and to pass on to the next generation, and then we need to know what decisions we need to make today that will give the best result in the future“.
Noble thoughts – but who can control the future? Well … the UN thinks it can with its 17 Global Goals by 2030 e.g. end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice, link.
Others put their trust in man’s ingenuity to improve his lot and technology is seen as the way forward. It is true that we have seen great leaps in digital technology as in smartphones, cloud computing, multi-touch tablets, biometric passport recognition, 3D printing, electric cars and, or course, solar power. These are all innovations that have revolutionized the way we live and work. And some believe we are just getting started and claim that in the future we could live like how people in science fiction movies did, link. For example:
By 2050 there will be digital implants, age reversal pills, hyper-intelligence brain implants and bionic muscle upgrades, link. Artificial intelligence will eventually solve some of the world’s biggest problems, link
A Reality Check
But is technology really the answer to solving the world’s problems? Are there deeper issues at stake here? Lets be pragmatic. After 6,000 years of steady human progression the global scenario suddenly seems far less certain. From many aspects, life as we have known it suddenly looks threatened. We see demographic, climatic, environmental, financial, social and political instability. The population of Mexico City was 21 million in 2016. That’s large! End time demographic and financial instability was seen by the prophet Isaiah: “The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter“.
Over the last 50 years we have seen rapid world population growth (3 billion to 7.5 billion), the emergence of a New World Order, an undemocratic EU, electronic (cashless) trading, international terrorism, cyber warfare, nuclear proliferation, an apostate (liberal) church, the rejection of biblical morality, severe weather events, and increasing national debt. We even foresee possible asteroid impact, link! What is the UN going to do about asteroid impact?
So whether we like it or not, there are the big issues that will affect all our lives. World events are moving rapidly to a climax and the end of this age. But there is hope. The prophet Isaiah saw an end time spiritual darkness which is enlightened by God’s intervention:
Nations will be covered by (spiritual) darkness, But on you (Israel) the light of the Lord will shine. The brightness of his presence will be with you. (Isa 60.2)
The Relevance of the Jewish Menorah
The seven-candle Menorah was used in the ancient Jewish Temple, link, and a type of Menorah is lit in Jewish homes today. The Menorah’s God-given design symbolizes God’s light spreading throughout the world. The center candle symbolizes light given to mankind (the other six candles) through progressive revelation. This is seen through the history of Old Testament Israel e.g. through the Mosaic Law. Non-Messianic Jews see the center candle as a longing for God’s light to come and dwell (or tabernacle) among them.
In reality, this is exactly what happened 2,000 years ago! A descendant of the tribe of Judah – the Jew, Jesus Christ – came into the world and claimed: “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8.12). But He also said to His followers, “You are the light of the world” (Mat 5.14). And prior to this, God had also said to His servant, Israel through the prophet Isaiah:
You are My witnesses … I will give you as a light to the Gentiles … and set up My banner for the peoples
So today, both the Christian church and God’s servant Israel should be the source of the light needed in today’s dark, unbelieving world. They should reflect the light (truth, hope and reconciliation to God) given to mankind through Jesus, or Yeshua.
Israel Shines the Light on the Future – Watch what is Happening!
We see this light through the emergence of Israel onto the world scene. Over the past 100 years the Jewish population of Israel saw an amazing 7400% increase, link. Why? It seems Israel is once more becoming God’s witness to the Gentile nations. In fact, the Bible says that at the end of the age Israel will become the vortex of the world in the sense that major world events will be centered around Israel. Nations will be trapped in “darkness” (Isa 60.2) and will be forced to look towards the light – to Israel. At the end of the age the Bible says:
He will set up a ensign for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel (Isa 11.12)
An ensign means a national flag signaling the authority of the rightful owner! God owns the land and people of Israel (although many secular Jews still don’t recognize this). Israel is center to God’s plan for the future. So watch Israel and read about prophesied events, and the future is revealed. Ignore the UN’s goals and advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Ignore age reversal pills and hyper-intelligence brain implants. Even ignore climate change. The real issues are revealed in prophecies concerning Israel.
Here are some key events at the end of this age (all from Bible prophecy). Some are in fulfillment now:
The people of Israel will come out of the nations and live in the land promised to Abraham’s true descendants
The land itself will “blossom” and be restored, and Israel will find abundant natural resources
A chosen remnant of Israel (Jews) will preach a warning of God’s judgments to the world
There will be cataclysmic judgements on the earth
The last political leader of a corrupt world governmental system will invade Israel and “sit in the Temple”
Nations will war against Israel – Armageddon is the last war of this age
Israel will always be defended by the God of Israel
At the very end of the age Jesus (Yeshua) will return to rule the earth from Jerusalem
The location of Christ’s rule (a new temple) will be glorious
Spiritual forces of darkness that currently deceive the world and cause wars will be bound and ineffective
Nations will learn war no more and the lion will lie down with the lamb
The earth will experience an age of peace as Christ rules with justice and righteousness from Jerusalem
Gentile nations will make annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel
Now what about that! There are many other prophecies pertaining to the future, but they all relate back to Israel.
Most Important of All
The well-known writer Stan Hayward has pointed out the real issue in life, despite man’s technological advances:
In the future the world will be in your pocket – yet still you will ask ‘Who am I?’ and spend a lifetime looking for an answer. And so it will be fifty years from now, five hundred years from now, five thousand years from now, and on the dying breath of the last person to leave this earth
His point is this: despite any future technological, political or social progression, one question will remain; “Who am I?” The answer is found only in believing in Jesus Christ – the true Jewish Messiah.
The Connection between Jesus and Israel is Fundamental
What is written in the Christian Bible about Jesus and Israel is deep and mysterious. Yet this mystery will soon be revealed to the world through end-time world events. It will affect everyone. So with national Israel in world focus today, it is natural to ask:
Is there any connection with the risen Jesus Christ and the Israel we observe today (the people and the land)?
In particular, some ask
What do Jews and Gentiles think of Jesus?
Will today’s Jews every recognize Jesus as their ‘Messiah’. If so, when?
Are there two biblical Covenants, one for Jews and one for Gentiles? Or does the covenant promise to Israel merge into the New Covenant given to the church?
What is Christ’s relationship to the nation, Israel?
Did Jesus’ teaching replace the laws of the Hebrew scriptures?
Does Jesus fulfill the promises of blessing given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Put another way, does Jesus and His church fulfill the role originally assigned to the nation of Israel – to be a light to the nations?
If Jesus and His church have taken the place of Old Testament Israel, what is the status and role of the nation of Israel today?
Is the modern State of Israel a product of man’s will, or a fulfillment of God’s prophetic word?
Does God recognize as ‘spiritual’ Israel all who respond in faith to follow Jesus?
Is the church related to the so-called ‘Ten Lost Tribes’? Are their descendants scattered amongst the Gentile church, link?
Did Jesus’ primary ministry (reconciliation of man to God) fulfill all that the Old Testament temple symbolized? Is a new temple in Jerusalem needed (as some maintain)?
Does the modern State of Israel have any claim to the land (Canaan) promised to Abraham and his descendants, noting that Israel failed to keep God’s covenant? Put another way, are modern Jews still the true heirs of the land promised regardless of their continued unbelief in Jesus?
Bible Prophecy Holds the Answer to many of these Questions
In his book Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two?, David Holwerda (professor of New Testament Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary) argues for a spiritual fulfillment of Bible prophecies, link. He rightly concludes that there is only one covenant and that “The way of salvation for both Jew and Gentile is the same because both must call on the name of Jesus to be saved“. But does a spiritual view of prophecy fit with the facts, with observed reality, with what we see happening in Israel today? Why can’t we take a pragmatic view of prophecies where the text is quite clear?
Jesus’ First Mission: He came primarily to His own people, the Jews (at that time, essentially from the tribe of Judah), but they rejected Him as their expected Messiah (the Moshiach):
He came to that which was His own [that which belonged to Him—His world, His creation, His possession], and those who were His own [people—the Jewish nation] did not receive and welcome Him (Jn 1.11, Amplified)
And He came not to abolish the Jewish Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mat 5.17).
Jesus’ Second Mission: Why does Jesus return to the Jews in Jerusalem and not to the politically important people in the UN or the EU, for instance? The answer is that prophecy explicitly states that Jesus returns to rule the Gentile nations with justice as King from Jerusalem (Zech 14.9,16,17). He returns to sit on the ancient throne of king David, who reigned 33 years in Jerusalem (Isa 9.7).
He returns to usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God – a Millennial age of peace when the nations go up to Jerusalem to worship Him (Isa 66.23)! He returns to dwell with His chosen nation, the people of Israel (Ezek.37.26-27). Perhaps most important of all, Jesus returns so that His people recognize Him as their true Messiah, their looked-for Moshiach:
They (the Jews) will look on Me whom they pierced … they will mourn for Him … in that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem (Zech 12.10,11)
Again, these promises are difficult to spiritualize.
Jesus returns to Jerusalem: Bible prophecy says that Jesus will return at the end of this age. And the place of his return? Jerusalem! So at the outset, Jesus and modern Israel are inextricably connected via modern-day Jerusalem. Geologists have even discovered a fault line running through the Mount of Olives, as required for the mountain to split in two at Christ’s Second Coming (Zech 14.4). That is difficult to spiritualize.
Jesus’ return is Unexpected: It will be preceded by deception (false Christs), but his actual return will be sudden, unexpected, and globally observed. In the gospel of Mathew, chapter 24, we read:
Many false prophets will appear and fool many people … if people tell you, ‘Look, he is out in the desert!’ — don’t go there; or if they say, ‘Look, he is hiding here!’ — don’t believe it. For the Son of Man will come like the lightning which flashes across the whole sky from the east to the west
Who Takes Jesus Seriously?
Most Jews are confused over Jesus
As the video implies, most Jews in Israel today reject Yeshua (Jesus) as their looked-for ‘Messiah’ or ‘Moshiach’. Apart from a minority, those who claim to be religious follow Judaism, not Yeshua. This is alarming – but a fulfillment of prophecy. According to prophecy, God’s people (generically, the Jews) will return in unbelief to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. The New Testament says that these Jews are suffering a temporary spiritual blindness and a temporary hardening of the heart towards God and especially towards Yeshua (Rom 11.25). Only at the very end of this age, under tribulation, does the vast majority of Jews recognize Yeshua as their Messiah (Zech 12.10-14).
In an ever-darkening western world, skeptics claim that nobody of our era has seen Jesus of Nazareth as the person who lived some 2,000 years ago. Where is he? He died didn’t he? For example, a vast majority of young people in Europe now reject Christianity, link. Some 70% of young people in the UK identify with no religion.
Yet billions of people worldwide who call themselves Christians believe he is a living person, trust him, and hang on to every word he said, as written in the New Testament writings of the Bible. And it is these same scriptures that give shocking warnings to those who don’t believe and consciously reject him. The warnings are so radical that they are brushed off as delusional ideas of the disciples of this controversial personality. The warnings are seen as fundamentalist dogma.
Here’s a series of four thought-provoking exposés about Jesus of Nazareth, born in the land of Israel as a Jew and predicted to return to Jerusalem to become King of a world-ruling government.
Jesus the man Jesus the Jew Jesus the Creator Jesus the coming King
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