In many Scriptures the present scattered condition of the nation of Israel is foretold, and, in connection therewith, there is also foretold their being gathered again into their own land.
Some have tried to attach only a spiritual signification to those Scriptures which speak of Israel’s restoration, whilst forced to admit that they are literally, and not figuratively, scattered.
But this cannot be tenable in the face of such a Scripture as Romans 11, where the whole subject of the breaking off of the natural branches, viz., the seed of Abraham after the flesh, because of their unbelief, and the consequent bringing in of the Gentile to the place of blessing and witness for God, is treated. For it goes on to state not only that God is able to graft them in again, but that, according to His ancient Word, He will do it. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Ver. 25, 26.) The same is alluded to in 2 Cor. 3:14-16: “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.”
Again, in Hosea 3:4: “The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.”
Again, in Ezekiel 37:15-28, by the figure of two sticks having written upon them the names of Joseph and Judah, the Lord foretells their restoration: “Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be to them all: and they shall no more be two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all,” &c. &c. The whole of this prophecy is clearly applicable only to the literal nation of Israel; and as it never has to this day been in any sense fulfilled, it must, according to the other Scriptures referred to, be yet reserved for accomplishment.
Many more Scriptures might be adduced in proof of the literal restoration of the nation of Israel to their own land, did space permit; but these may suffice to show how unmistakeably God writes upon this subject, as on all others, for those who will simply receive what He says, whether it agree with the traditional beliefs they have been brought up in or not.
It is also, however, clearly shown that, between the time of Israel’s return as a nation to their own land, and the time of their being ushered finally into the blessing and glory that awaits them, they must pass through a fearful and unprecedented ordeal of judgment, out of which few, if any, of the nation but the elect remnant shall issue. Of the circumstances under which the Jewish nation will return to the land and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, we have little information, but we do find unmistakeably that the scenes of the latter-day judgments do find them again in the land whence they were scattered, and conducting there an order of worship after the pattern of that which existed in the days of the Lord’s sojourn upon earth, until an oppressor, of whom much is written, shall, in self-will and blasphemy, set aside their order of worship, wear out the saints of the Most High, think to change times and laws, pollute the sanctuary of strength, take away the daily sacrifice, set up the abomination that maketh desolate, exalt himself and magnify himself above every God, and prosper until the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. (See Dan. 7:25; 11:31-36.)
Solemn words of determination: judgment to be “poured upon the desolator.” (Dan. 9:27.)
For whilst in faithfulness to His word God shall fulfil to Abraham’s seed, through Christ, every promise of blessing He has made, yet has He shown that judgment shall fall to the uttermost upon the nation that murdered His beloved Son. Already have we heard and seen, in the destruction of Jerusalem, the scattering of the nation, and the fearful treatment they received at the hands of their oppressors, the severity of God; but the very hottest hour of the furnace of affliction is yet reserved for the very last, that out of it, in the counsel of Jehovah, and by the might of His power, a chosen remnant of every tribe might be brought. Of this period, yet future, we read in Dan. 12:1: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Now some have tried to show that this prophecy had its fulfilment at the past destruction of Jerusalem. But clearly this cannot be; for the nation was not then delivered, neither has it yet been followed by the resurrection spoken of in the second verse.
Again, in Jer. 30:7: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his “(that is the oppressor’s) “yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.”
Another passage referring to the same time of tribulation is in Matt. 24. There, at verse 14, we find the gospel to be preached among all nations for a witness, then an allusion to Daniel’s prophecy; and in verse 21, the “great tribulation,” especially in relation to a Jewish remnant in Judaea, a time like to which there had been none before, nor ever should be again, corresponding exactly to Daniel 12:1; and finally, the appearing of the Son of man, the mourning of the nations, and the salvation, in the flesh and on the earth, of an elect people to be gathered from one end of heaven to the other.
From all these Scriptures, taken together and compared, it will be evident—1st, that this elect people is to be saved in the flesh from death, by the limiting of that period of extreme tribulation, and not through death and resurrection, or instantaneous transfiguration, as the church will be; 2nd, that they shall be saved by judgment upon their enemies, and not by being caught up into the clouds, as the church shall be; and 3rd, that this salvation will usher them into the possession of inheritance and blessing upon the earth, and not into the heavenly inheritance that is the portion of those saints who compose the body of Christ.