God Has Not Rejected His People

Norbert Lieth and Johannes Pflaum

This year, the modern Jewish state celebrated its 70th anniversary. Israel, surrounded by enemies, hated by the world, is a miracle of God. The role of the Old Testament people of God in the history of salvation today will be set forth in this article.

The famous Baptist preacher C. H. Spurgeon once posed the rhetorical question, “But is the Jew conquered? Is he a subjugated man? Is his country seized? No; he is still one of earth’s nobles—distressed, insulted, spit upon; still it is written, ‘To the Jew first, and afterward to the Gentile.’ He claims a high dignity above us, and he has a history to come which will be greater and more splendid than the history of any nation that has yet existed” (https://archive.spurgeon.org/sermons/0121.php).

Israel has a future which the church cannot rob. We’re even seeing it with our own eyes, as God gathers His people into the land of Israel. The land dispute in the Bible and the land dispute in current affairs make it unmistakably clear that God has truly not rejected His people Israel: “…and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jer 29:14).

If we look closely at Scripture, there are two gatherings of Israel in the end times; you could call it a two-part gathering. The first gathering occurs before the second coming of Jesus, and the second after His return.

The first gathering of the people into their original land takes place before the last tribulation: the fig tree branches grow tender and begin to sprout leaves (Matt 24:32); the graves are opened and the withered bones of the dead come to life and return to their land  (Ezek 37).

The second and definitive gathering of Israel follows the return of Jesus; it relates to the salvation of the remnant of the people and the beginning of God’s millennial kingdom on earth (Duet 30:1-10; Isa 27:12-13; Jer 16:14-15; Ezek 34:11-16). There the remaining nations will carry the sons of Israel back in their arms (Isa 49:22), which was not at all the case in the exodus after 1945 (the English put the Jews in detention camps in Cyprus, and the Arabs fought them when they entered the land). As a biblical consequence, we do not need to wait for an increase in return migration or a complete return migration before Jesus’ return. With the resurrection of the Jewish state, all the prerequisites have already been met for the last act on the stage of world history.

The first gathering of Israel, and thus the founding of the state in 1948, is a miracle of God before our very eyes. And Israel did not take this land itself! It is God’s land and He gave it to Israel. He speaks of “my land,” and He has chosen this land for no one else. This is why we read in Joel 3:1-3: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.”

Here we have the answer to where the “Land for Peace” policy, demanded by the international community, will lead: to the judgment of God. Why? It is His land that He has ordained in the end for none other than His people Israel. That the State of Israel still exists after 70 years is a divine miracle. A well-known author wrote: 

“In 5,000 years of recorded human history, it has never before occurred that a people returned to its ancestral land after 2,000 years as Israel did. It has never happened in 5,000 years of recorded human history, that a “dead language” was revived as an everyday language, as with Hebrew, the colloquial language of Israel. Never were so few people attacked so often, and by such superior strength, as happened to Israel. Never have so few people managed within so few days, to inflict such decisive losses on such powerful armies, as Israel has.”

It is interesting in this context that Hebrew was lost as the everyday language of the Jewish people, after Jerusalem’s defeat and the dispersal of the Jews by the Romans in 70 and 135 AD. It was only used in the synagogues, when reading aloud from the writings of the Old Testament, and was the learned language of the rabbis. Otherwise, the Jews spoke Yiddish or the language of the country in which they lived. But with the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, there was also the revival of Hebrew. Today, this language is once again the primary language of the Jewish people in Israel. Dr. Roger Liebi writes about it: “Such a thing had never happened before in the history of the world! Never before had a language over 1,000 years dead been brought back to life as a fully functional language.”

When the Lord Jesus went to heaven, the angels said to those present, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

When Jesus returned to heaven, He left a people who spoke Hebrew. He will return to a people who speak Hebrew. Doesn’t that show the great relevance of the biblical prophetic Word, down to the smallest detail?

We have become too accustomed to the existence of the State of Israel, and are hardly even aware anymore of the tremendous miracle that occurred when God led His people back to His own land! He did this with the one goal: that they should serve Him there (see Acts 7:7). The people, land, and service are inextricably linked. Even though we still see Israel’s infidelity and guilt today (Ps 106), the Lord still interacts with His people and will lead them to serve Him in His land. And, we may be eyewitnesses to how He continues to work wonders among His people through grace and judgment to achieve this goal.

“God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew…” (Rom 11:2).

Midnight Call - 10/2018

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