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© 2005, Dusty Peterson,  Bayith Ministries www.bayith.org  email: bayith@blueyonder.co.uk  You are very welcome to make copies of this article for personal research or for free distribution by print or email, but please respect our conditions that the content remains intact (including this copyright statement); that no misleading impression is given that we are necessarily associated with or endorse the distributor; and that proper reference is made to the title and author.  Website owners are encouraged to link to this page, but you must not incorporate this article into your own website without our prior written consent.  Thank you and bless you.

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The Restoration of Israel

By Dusty Peterson

            What is the “restoration” of which the scriptures speak, e.g. in Isaiah 49?  If we take the unbiased method of Bible interpretation that says “God’s literal prophecies will all come true literally” (i.e. before they have any allegorical meaning), then we would expect to see a restoration of physical Israel shortly before the Lord’s return…  

This is confirmed several times in the New Testament including: (a) where Christ says that we shall not see Him “til ye [i.e. Israel] shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39),[1] (b) where Paul reveals that Israel’s restoration is bound up with the resurrection to come (Rom. 11:15), and (c) where Christ uses the ‘shooting forth’ of the fig tree, an allusion to physical Israel, to be a portent of the end-times (Mark 13:28-29, c.f. Hos. 9:10).  God will bring Jews back to their original home for at least one very good reason:  

“I had pity for Mine holy Name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, … Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy Name’s sake, … I will sanctify My great Name, … For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezek. 36:22-24).  

(Jehovah is also known the world over as “the God of Israel”.  The Israeli people thus affect God’s reputation.  Furthermore, the nation of ‘Isra-el’ actually bears God’s name - “EL” - which the Lord will vindicate before the world – see Ezek. 20:44 and Isa. 48:11-12.  As 1 Sam. 12:22 says: “The LORD will not forsake His people for His great Name’s sake”.)  

A restoration, in many forms, of physical Israel is precisely what we have seen going on over the last century.  The following is only a partial list to prove the point, and numerous other scriptures could be quoted to support many of the aspects mentioned below.  The reader is strongly encouraged to look up the more important references quoted.  It will incontestably be seen how absolutely literal, rather than figurative, the passages are.

 

Restoration of the Language  

Despite Hebrew, like Latin, being a dead language for many centuries, it was restored in the 19th century.  We now have not just the limited range of Hebrew words that appear in Scripture but the complete tongue to enable everyday use - just as prophesied in Zeph. 3:9 and Isa. 19:18.

 

Restoration of the People  

Despite all the unspeakable and widespread persecutions committed against the Jewish people by the enemy over the last two thousand years, the Lord has kept them from being totally destroyed, as prophesied in places like Lev. 26:44-46 and Ezek. 11:16.  He is regathering them from numerous (well over one hundred) nations - just as predicted in several passages including Ezek. 36:24, Jer. 29:14 and Isa. 49:12-13.[2]  

“He … shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:12 ). See also v11.

 

Restoration of the Land  

Despite the huge improbability of such an event, the people have returned back, nearly 2000 years later, to the original land they were given, as prophesied in Ezek. 20:41-42, 37:12; Jer. 3:18 and Isa. 14:1.  Note that this is a land which God has given them forever (Gen. 13:14-17 and Psa. 105:7-11).  If they have no right to the land now, why did they have a right to it in Jesus’ day?  (Incidentally, the return and re-settlement has been greatly helped by non-Jews who care about the Jewish people, as per Isa. 14:1, 49:22 and 61:5.)  

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel” (Ezek. 11:17 ).  

The reader is urged to be careful of the various ‘ten lost tribes’ arguments.  Whenever parts of Israel were exiled, lowly remnants of each tribe were always left to look after the land - see, for example, 2 Ki. 24:14b, 2 Ki. 25:12, 2 Chr. 30:11 and 2 Chr. 34:9.  This is proved beyond doubt in Luke 2:36-38 because Anna is identified as coming from the ‘lost’ tribe of Asher.  (Note that those Jews who have assimilated with other peoples are no longer considered Jews by the Lord.)  The issue of who is, or is not, a physical Jew is easy to answer.  Whoever truly believes they are Jewish, and identifies with God’s People, is a Jew (as per Rom. 2:28 -29).  This deals with various arguments about the physical composition of modern Israel .)

 

Restoration of the Nation  

Despite all the pressures on them to assimilate, God has kept the Jewish people identifiable - and not just through genetic testing!  This was promised in Psa. 94:14 and Jer. 31:35-37.  God has also restored them as one Kingdom instead of two - as specifically prophesied in Ezek. 37:21-22 and Jer. 3:18.  The restored nation was born in a single day as foretold in Isaiah 66:8, and, despite overwhelming odds faced during each military attack she has suffered, has been protected so that she can never be uprooted again, just as promised in Amos 9:15, Jer. 24:6 & 31:38-40.  

“The God of Jacob … will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance” (Psa. 94:7&14).  

(See the 'Materials' section of our page on Israel here for astounding details of Israel’s many Divine deliverances.)

 

Restoration of the Capital  

Despite the world’s great efforts to avoid it, another huge miracle has been the return of the Old City of Jerusalem to the nation of Israel, as literally prophesied in Zech. 8:7-8 and Luke 21:20-24.  The Lord also foretold that, despite Arabs controlling the two places most sacred to Islam, there would be an immense fuss over Israel having control over her foremost, indeed her only, holy spot (see Zech. 12 & 14).  Note: (a) The Temple Mount site is not even referred to in the Koran, and (b) When journalists deceptively talk about “Arab East Jerusalem” they are actually referring to the Old City, the City of David .

 

Restoration of the Environment  

Despite the incredible desolation of the land of Israel right up until the last century, as prophesied in Ezek. 33:28, it has now been transformed.  The Lord promised that the “waste cities” and historic settlements would be rebuilt after many generations - and never to be uprooted again (this cannot therefore refer to any previous return).  See Isa. 61:4 and Ezek. 36:37-38 for proof.  

God further promised that the land, which barely had any trees on it as recently as the 19th Century, would become fertile and blessed, just as we have witnessed (Ezek. 36:8-12, 34:13-14 and Amos 9:13-14).  Unbelievably, Israel is now a huge exporter of fruit just as prophesied in Isa. 27:6 and Ezek. 36:30.  In fact, the land has returned to such high quality as to even support restoration of the vine culture as prophesied in Jer. 31:4-5,10-12 and Zech. 8:12.  Many restorations are ongoing, but they are also irrefutable.  

“And I will bring again [i.e. undo] the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Amos 9:14 ).

 

Restoration of the Faith  

We could go on and on about Israel’s miraculous physical restoration.  But the most exciting thing is to see the beginnings of her spiritual restoration - particularly now that she has regained her spiritual home, Jerusalem.  Despite being tormented by Rome and its horrible version of Christianity for centuries, the Jewish people are beginning to want to find out about their countryman, Jesus Christ.  (They have been utterly put off Christianity because they have been told that Catholicism – whose adherents have massacred so many Jews ‘in the Name of Jesus’ – is Christian.)  The restoration of Israel’s heart is promised in passages like Ezek. 11:19-20, 36:25-26 and Jer. 31:33.  

A few arguments, based on ambiguous verses pulled out of context, have been invented to deny that God’s original purposes for physical Israel are still intact.  The reader is encouraged to read the whole of Jeremiah 30 and 31 before deciding what is true.  (Please also see Ezek. 36-39 and Zech. 8.)  Additionally, the reader is encouraged to consider the dozens of parallels between the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob who ultimately revealed Himself to – and then saved - his brothers, the other sons of Jacob, and the two comings of Christ Jesus (who will, according to Zechariah, ultimately reveal Himself to – and then save – his brothers according to the flesh).  

Now, we should categorically state here that, all must have faith in the Messiah, the Word of God, to be saved (hence Rom. 10:11 -13).  And if a person is “in Christ” then they have equal value and standing regardless of their circumstances - hence Gal. 3:8 which says “there is neither Jew nor Greek … in Christ Jesus”.  But to take such a verse to mean that God sees His ancient People, the physical nation of Israel, as being just like any other nation, is to fly in the face of Scripture.  Even a simple reading of Romans 9-11 should be enough to dispel such a view, for those who put the truth first and have no axe to grind.  

Suffice it to say that, although God has indeed forsaken individual generations of Jews, He has nevertheless promised never to forsake physical Israel in perpetuity:  

“I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My Covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the Covenant of their ancestors” (Lev. 26:44-45).

 

Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands” (Isa. 49:14-16).

 

“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isa. 54:8).  See also Isa. 62:4 and Ezek. 39:33ff.  

            Note that the Bible still identifies the Lord as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” after the cross (Acts 3:13; Matt. 22:31-32).

 

An Old Objection  

It certainly appeals to the flesh to believe that the Church has replaced Israel and has inherited all the promises made to her.  However, the test is not how appealing the idea is, but how biblical.  Under the circumstances it is no surprise that some people hunt for reasons to avoid the truth.  “The Jews killed Jesus” is the most common cry, especially among Romanists.  

(a)  While many of the deceived Jewish people of Christ’s day rejected Him, it would be unrighteous to blame the entire nation for His death.  For a start, it was not Jews, but Roman soldiers who nailed Him to the cross.  And this was done at the insistence of the false leaders of God’s People: “The chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask [for] Barabbas” (Matt. 27:20, see also Luke 24:20; Mark 11:27-12:12 or Matt. 21:37-39,45).  

But in truth it was all our sins that put Him there.  (And just because the portion of Israel that was present said “His blood be on us and on our children” does not mean that every generation of the entire People are cursed – especially since Christ said “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.[3])  

(b)  We Gentiles were given the gospel to provoke Israel to jealousy - and thus to repentance (Rom. 10:19, Rom. 11:11, Deut. 32:21) - not to reject them and slaughter them in their millions.  They only rejected the Lord because they had been led away from God’s Word by false shepherds (Jer. 50:6, Jer. 23:1-2, Matt. 23:13, Luke 11:52 ).  

(c)  Satan hates Israel and has always sought her destruction.  Initially this was in order to prevent Christ’s first coming; now it is to try and prevent His second coming (Matt. 23:37 -39).  As “god of this world”, Satan has encouraged the world throughout history to reject Israel and to persecute her.  We must be careful not to assist him - e.g. by rejecting the “apple of God’s eye” (Zech. 2:6-8) just because of a minority of bad apples.  

            Satan continues to turn mankind against Israel to this day.  He uses disgraceful deceptions and highly biased ‘news’ reports about her – freely propagated through the media.  (Please see our page on Israel here for proof of this.)  The truth is that she is the only true democracy in the region (the arrangement forced on Iraq by America aside); unlike many countries in the region she has freedom of speech and a free press; she has, despite facing fanatical terrorist threats, a vastly better human rights record than her neighbours – including the Palestinians; she shows a much greater religious tolerance than other nations (no Jew is allowed to live in Jordan for example); and she has far less government corruption than her Middle East counterparts.  (She has also made big concession after big concession in the ‘peace’ process with the Palestinians, only receiving tiny salami slices back from the other side.)

            Israel is simply trying to defend her tiny country (which is only a fraction of the size promised by Britain in 1917) from nations committed to “driving Israel into the sea”.  These are nations who had no sympathy for her unimaginable sufferings during the holocaust, but who instead attacked this terribly battered and under-equipped people as soon as the United Nations gave her a home.  (It is true that a tiny handful of ‘terrorist’ acts have been committed by Israelis in the last sixty years, but if one compares the quantity and type of acts committed on both sides, and even more so if one compares the justifications and provocations that lay behind the acts on both sides, the Israelis are infinitely more decent in this regard.)  

            It is important to realise that, in 1948, Palestinians left the land for a variety of reasons – but very few were expelled.  In 1967, Palestinians fled Israel to get out of the way of the attacking forces of their Arab brothers.  Again, Israel did not throw them out.[4]  Palestinian and Jew had co-habited peacefully for decades previously.  Israel’s enemies claim that Palestine is a sovereign state.  But it has never been one:  

“Early Arab nationalists never referred to the Palestinians as such or to their rights. In May 1947 their argument at the U.N. General Assembly was that ‘Palestine was part of the province of Syria’ and that ‘politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity’. As late as May 31st, 1956, [8 years after the Arab ‘refugees’ left] Ahmed Shukairy, the Saudi Arabian delegate to the U.N. (and later the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization) told the Security Council ‘It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria ”.[5]  (See the rest of the Appendix of that book for many other facts which put the whole matter in a fundamentally different light from the one usually publicised.)  

            The tragic Palestinians who left the land could so easily have been absorbed by Israel’s many anti-semitic neighbours.  They have instead been cynically exploited as political pawns, and held unnecessarily in miserable camps for decades.  (Please see the superb book From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine by Joan Peters for much more information on this subject.  Also see our page on Israel here for many extremely informative articles on this subject.)  

            Regrettably, the world’s press has been duped.  As the fine website HonestReporting.com proves, the media have allowed in the worldly spirit of anti-Semitism.  The world’s press use every lever possible to denounce Israel.  They even make international news items about trivial problems in the Prime Minister’s homelife - while barely finding a single column inch for the frequent vicious conflicts within, and between, the nearby Arab nations – or indeed the grotesque brutality and corruption of the Palestinian Authority (which is so great that most Palestinians prefer to live under Israeli rule).  We strongly recommend readers check the history of modern Israel.  They will discover that the media have given us a totally misleading picture – something God is greatly angered by, according to Jer. 50:7,11-13 and Jer. 30:20.  

Note: Because the Jewish people are not yet spiritually restored, some commentators feel that the ongoing restoration of the modern state of Israel is a satanic counterfeit of a future restoration.  However, we should remember a few things:  

            Firstly, the Jewish people have suffered appallingly through the centuries and yet have shown a serious degree of godliness by withstanding unbelievable pressures to assimilate into the world.  Many survivors of this ‘sifting’ have tried to remain faithful to their veiled understanding of God‘s laws, and they are now displaying a real, if rudimentary, faith in the God of Israel by returning to the land He gave them.  

            Secondly, a physical restoration in the Bible sometimes precedes spiritual restoration (e.g. Ezek. 37:11-14; Gen. 42:25) and Israel’s promised spiritual restoration will apparently be fulfilled when Christ reveals Himself to His physical brethren - just as Joseph made himself known to the sons of Israel who originally rejected Him.  See Gen. 45:1-8 & Zech. 12:10 , 13:1-2,6.  Only after this will the physical restoration be completed.  

            If any readers reject our comments, then we would beseech them at least to look inside their hearts and ask themselves if they love the Jewish people to begin with.  The spirit of anti-Semitism is very powerful and will certainly colour one’s attitude to Israel.  If we do not care for them then we are badly out of step with our merciful God who has loved the nation of Israel with an “everlasting love” (Jer. 31:1-3) and His mercy towards her “endureth for ever” (Ezra 3:11 ).  See also 1 Ki. 10:9!  

As an aside...

As we have seen, the Church has not replaced physical Israel.  So what is the true relationship between them?  Two remaining possibilities exist, and the reader must decide which one is most in harmony with God’s eternal Word.  (This decision is crucial because the two positions lead to very different doctrines - and to radically disparate interpretations as to what proportion of the spiritual principles and non-symbolic instructions listed in the Bible have relevance to believers today.)  

            Either the Church and Israel are completely distinct (the much more popular view), or there is a middle position where God’s spiritual nation and His physical nation are different but related (akin, in some sense, to the way in which believing Jews were obviously related to unbelieving Jews before the New Covenant was made) - as is indicated by Rom. 11:18-24; Gal. 3:6-9,29; 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22 and Rom. 4:11-18.  But, either way, the Church certainly cannot afford to spiritualize, or appropriate for herself, any physical promises to physical Israel that have yet to be completely fulfilled.  

            In fact, we owe Israel an unrepayable debt.  Moses, David, Elijah: all were produced by Israel.  As were all the other Patriarchs after Jacob.  Israel gave birth to John the Baptist, to all the apostles, plus the writers of the scriptures.  It was Israelites who gave safe transmission of the Word to us too.  Amazingly, for the first fourteen years of its existence, all members of the early church were Jewish.  Most of all, it was Israel which physically gave us our Lord Jesus Christ Himself (“the glory of Thy People Israel”).  In view of all this, we should seek to comfort her (Isa. 40:1-2, Rom 15:27 ) and should pursue her good (Psa. 122:6-9, Isa. 62:1-7).  

Most of all, we should pray regularly for her spiritual restoration (Jer. 31:7, 1 Sam. 14:23 ).  As noted earlier, Queen Esther is a picture of the Lord’s Bride.[6]  Intercession for Israel was not optional for her (Esther 4:14 ). 

God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, on separate occasions: “I will … curse those that curse you”.  This promise has never been revoked.  Christians need to think carefully about this before turning against God’s ancient People or stealing His promises from them.  Indeed, I can vouch - from personal experience - that if we take God’s literal prophecies literally and obey His command to pray for Israel, it will not only transform our understanding of Scripture, but will revolutionise our whole walk with the God, for He also repeatedly said of Israel: “I will bless those that bless you”.

 

 


[1] Israelites now routinely say this phrase as part of their culture.  And 99% of them also observe the Feast of Passover.

[2] The return which followed WWII often involved only one or two people from an entire village, just as prophesied in Jer. 3:14.

[3] Note the way in which the Person who was killed forgave them straight away, and compare this with His so-called followers who still refuse to forgive them nearly 2000 years later.  (Many of these people purport to emulate Christ, if not to actually BE Christ.)

[4] An event at a place in Israel called Deir Yassin has been grossly exaggerated and used very dishonestly as a stick with which to beat Israel.  Be sure to read reports from ALL sides about this incident before drawing any conclusions!

[5] Lance Lambert, Battle for Israel, Appx, Section 2.

[6] Esther was adopted into a Jewish family just as we have been.

 

 

 

 

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