restore them to their own land
~ Jeremiah 16:15 ~
The Messianic Kingdom is part of an extended series of studies in support of the We Believe statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. Much groundwork for this present study has been laid in the four prior studies of the series, links to which are located above. It is urged that they be reviewed so that the present study may be more fully understood in its historical and other contexts. For even firmer foundation, it is suggested that the following studies be read or reviewed: The Destinies of the Dead, The Rapture, The Great Tribulation and The Second Coming of the Lord. Some of what has been examined in these studies will be touched on here, but not treated fully.
It is worth stating, once again, that it is of particular importance to realize that the prophesied Kingdom is a literal, earthly Kingdom in which Yeshua will reign bodily as king over Israel and the world. A polemic to this effect is presented in section IV of Part 1: Introduction.
As has been previously mentioned, a compilation of the Bible's passages concerning the Kingdom would constitute a book. It must therefore be recognized that what is herein presented is, of necessity, a much abbreviated outline and summary.
As in previous Kingdom studies, we will begin with a restatement of those declarations in the AMC We Believe statement that have relevance to the Kingdom.
In this study, we will focus on three facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom and the significance of their blessedness for the rest of humanity; but before we do, we will review key aspects of the Kingdom that have bearing upon Israel or that speak of Israel directly.
By the end of the Great Tribulation and the seventy-five day interval between the Tribulation and the Kingdom, the Lord will have utterly destroyed the evil world system and purged the earth of all unbelievers, including the armies of Antichrist which will seek to destroy Israel. Having done this, the Lord will renovate the Earth, making it a beautiful, edenic, safe place in which to live. Although not perfect because certain aspects of the Adamic curse will continue (most significantly, the sin nature and death for those in mortal bodies), many who will be born into the Kingdom will reject the salvation and Lordship of Yeshua, and because Edom and Babylon will be cursed to become utterly desolate habitations of demons, yet, the planet, as a whole, will be edenic compared to the way it is today.
The Kingdom environment will be characterized by divine presence. The Lord Yeshua will reign supreme over the nations from His throne in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will fill the earth with the splendor of the Lord's glory. No false religion, philosophy or occult practice will be allowed to flourish, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).
All who enter the Kingdom, whether as "walk-ins" from the Great Tribulation, or by resurrection, or by being returned, body and soul, to earth from heaven (Enoch and Elijah), will be saved. This glorious throng will be composed of all believers since Adam.
According to Revelation 20:6, all who had been resurrected in immortal bodies will reign with Messiah in some capacity for the duration of the Millennium. This group is comprised of all Old and New Testament saints, both Jewish and Gentile, the two Tribulation witnesses and all martyred Tribulation saints. Surely, Enoch and Elijah, who had never seen death but had been drawn up directly into Heaven, will reign, as well.
Yeshua will reign over the entire earth in general, and will exercise special kingship over Israel with resurrected King David reigning as king over Israel under Him. Under this dual kingship, the twelve apostles will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel, and there will be judges and counselors in Israel, as well (Isaiah 1:26). Zerubbabel, post-exilic governor of Judah, will be placed in some unnamed position in Israel (Haggai 2:23). The Gentile nations of the world will be ruled by Gentile kings, but Israel will have authority over them and their nations (Isaiah 14:1-2; 60:10-61:5). The body of Messiah and the Tribulation martyrs will rule over the Gentiles, as well (Revelation 20:4-6). How these different rulerships over the Gentiles will coordinate with one another remains to be seen. Civil laws will be rendered in the Kingdom (Micah 4:1-2) from Yeshua on down, and there will be laws regarding worship, as well, as we shall see in our next Shofar.
We will now address three key facets facets of Israel's blessedness in the Kingdom, and follow that by addressing the significance of Israel's blessedness to the nations of the world.
Every saved Israelite since Abraham will be gathered not just into the Kingdom, but specifically into Israel, to dwell in their Promised Land.
The passage describes a worldwide gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth. The phrase the second time identifies this particular gathering as the second worldwide gathering. The first gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth began in the latter decades of the nineteenth century and culminated in the birth of the modern State of Israel in 1948. As was shown in previous studies, the first worldwide gathering, which is ongoing, is for the purpose of bringing judgment upon Israel in the Land during the Great Tribulation (see The Great Tribulation). The second worldwide gathering will be for the purpose of blessing the nation whose remaining members will universally have welcomed Yeshua as their Messiah at the end of the Tribulation.
Note again, from the ends of the earth. Also note, everyone who is called by My name. The Isaiah context limits this everyone group to Israelites. Every Israelite alive at that time will be called by My name as all Israelite rebels will have been killed during the Tribulation - two-thirds of the nation - and the remaining third will receive Him (Zechariah 13:8-9).
Every Israelite will dwell in their promised homeland, and ever other person will dwell in their own homeland outside of Israel.
Note that the above passages speak of a regathering of Israelites from the farthest reaches of earth; but Mark 13:26-27 extends the reaches of the regathering beyond earth. Yeshua declared,
Which Israelites will be in heaven? Every deceased saved Israelite since Abraham.
To sum up, every saved Israelite since Abraham will be gathered from heaven and from earth to dwell in the Land of Israel.
Whereas the above passages emphasize the regathering of Israel, Ezekiel 37:15-22 emphasizes their being united into a harmonious, organic whole.
Ezekiel lived in Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Judah until he was he was taken captive to Babylon during the great Babylonian captivity of Judah. He was well aware that just 125 years prior, the northern Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by Assyria, and multitudes of Israel's inhabitants had been taken captive to the Assyrian Empire. Prior to that, Israel had been judged and split into the two kingdoms due to the idolatry of Solomon in his latter years, and now the two kingdoms themselves had been judged. In Ezekiel 37:15-22, God likens the two kingdoms to two separate sticks which, in the latter days, He will join into one stick, and they will be one in My hand (verse 19).
God spoke to Ezekiel of the uniting of the divided Kingdom, but the chapter makes it plain that He was speaking in a much broader context. He was speaking of the day when He would reunite an Israel that had been splintered and shattered into countless slivers as the wineglass under the heel of a groom at a Jewish wedding. Indeed, the shattering of the wineglass commemorates the destruction of the second Temple in 70 A.D., the central aspect of a subsequent judgment and scattering of Israel, brought upon her for rejecting her Messiah (Matthew 23-39, esp. verses 37-39).
Israel will not only be regathered after receiving her Messiah, but will be made organically whole, unified by the Spirit of the Lord.
Among other passages speaking of the worldwide gathering of Israel into their Promised Land in the Kingdom are Isaiah 11:11-12:6; 27:12-13; 43:5-7; Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:3-4, 7-8; 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:14-18; 36:24-28; Amos 9:14-15; Zephaniah 3:18-20; Zechariah 10:8-12; Matthew 24:31. The apostles likewise believed in the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. See Acts 1:6-7.
The Jeremiah emphasizes two things: that the delivery of Israel into their own Land will be of far greater magnitude than the delivery of Israel from Egypt, for God will bring up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them, and that He will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers - not to the ever-shrinking borders set aside for them by Britain, nor to the sliced and diced parcels allotted to them by the United Nations, nor to any of the shifting borders arrived at since then, or will be arrived at, by means of war or international pressure - but to their own land which I gave to their fathers - to the full allotment that God promised to the patriarchs.
You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers.
~ Ezekiel 36:28 ~
What Are the Full Borders?
Dr. Fruchtenbaum's email left
me with some questions, which he subsequently answered. In my
own words, here are his answers:
The Wadi El Arish is referred to as the river of Egypt in Genesis 15:18, and is often mistaken as the Nile River. It is not the Nile River. What this means is that the Promised Land will not include the Sinai Peninsula. Note, as well, from Dr. Fruchtenbaum's description, that the eastern border will not extend down the length of the Euphrates River to connect with the Tigris near the Persian Gulf, but "only for a few miles."
On the left is a map of the Promised Land with borders drawn by Dr. Fruchtenbaum. On the right is a comparable map found in the Wikipedia article, Promised Land, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land. An excellent study with borders that approximate the above is found at http://www.torahresourcesinternational.info/pdf/2PL.pdf.
Much has been said already on the blessedness and prominence of Israel in the Kingdom, but this study would be incomplete without addressing it, at least cursorily.
We have seen that every saved Israelite from Abraham through the Tribulation will be gathered into the full borders of the Land that God promised to the fathers. What a glorious reunion that will be!
This passage reminds us that, in addition to all Israelites at the end of the Tribulation period being brought to salvation, all Israelites from that time forward will be saved. There will be Israelites born in the Kingdom, and every one of them will receive the Lord - to enjoy fellowship with every saved Jew since Abraham!
This passage likewise promises Israel's national salvation, and also promises unbroken abundant and fruitful harvests.
Isaiah 27:6: In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit.
Israel will not only enjoy abundant harvests for their own enjoyment, but will fill the whole world with fruit.
Similarly, Isaiah 51:3: Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.
And Zephaniah 2:7: And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they will pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon [near the Mediterranean] they will lie down at evening; for the LORD their God will care for them and restore their fortune.
A few more representative passages:
Isaiah 10:20: Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
In our present time, Israel is continually humiliated by needing to curry the favor of powerful nations that often treat her disdainfully; but in that day it will not be so. They will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
Israel will receive honor and praise and a superabundance of material blessings and service from the nations of the earth.
Zephaniah 3:20: At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.
A detailing of the previous passages is hardly necessary. Suffice it to say that the Lord Yeshua Himself, true God and true man, radiant as the sun in His glorified body, will dwell in the midst of His people Israel, and they will have the LORD for an everlasting light. Every Israelite entering and born into the Kingdom will be saved, and they will live in unprecedented peace, abundance and honor.
Jerusalem will likewise be central in Kingdom worship, but we will address this in our next Shofar.
Micah 5:7: Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation which do not wait for man or delay for the sons of men.
Zechariah 8:23: Thus says the LORD of hosts, "In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'"
It is the national salvation of Israel that will prompt the return of the Lord (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39), and it is their centrality as the Lord's ministers in the Kingdom that will draw those who are the Lord's, or who seek the Lord, from among the nations to them for ministerial blessing.
What shall their salvation and blessedness be to the nations of the world? Life from the dead.
1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.
Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening.
Dr. David L. Cooper
Thomas Paul Simmons
More of Norm's studies may be accessed at www.BibleStudyProject.org.